Nest Cam
July 6, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

This digital age we’ve found ourselves in is sure a complex one. On one hand, people are increasingly anxious about their online privacy, to the point where all of Europe is blocking Facebook’s new facial recognition photo app. On the other hand, technology is giving us great tools to stay safe, like an app that’s helping people who were abducted in the Middle East alert the police.

Web security cameras are similarly divisive. Some people feel the devices’ cloud-connected features have the potential to spill their private moments all over the web. Meanwhile, countless others who’ve been victimized by burglars, stalkers, or abusive caretakers have found these to be lifesaving devices.

But you don’t need to record your every movement within your home to be safe. Here are five ways to use web security cameras around your property to keep your home and family members safe and sound:

1. Mind the door. Whether it’s a crook or your kid’s friends, if they’re coming in the house, they’re most likely entering through the front door. Positioning a camera so it catches the comings and goings is a good way to ensure everyone who is in your house belongs there.

The $149 Simplicam makes for a good greeter because it has facial recognition features that will send an alert to the camera owner’s smartphone if a stranger enters the house. Part of a monthly or annual subscription feature, the facial recognition service also lets you save video clips in the cloud (which is key in case someone makes off with your camera). And you can set the camera to stop recording when it recognizes specific faces, like yours, because there’s no need for this setting to be active when your watchful eyes are already in the room.

2. Watch those dark corners. Blind spots, dark corners, and out-of-sight areas — every old house has them, and some new houses do too. Putting a webcam in those troublesome places will give you the ability to look in those creepy crannies without actually having to go there.

Of course, the challenge is wiring, but Arlo by Netgear, starting at $199.99, will be your hero by operating anywhere your Wi-Fi reaches. Powered by four lithium-ion camera batteries that last up to six months, the web connected camera has night vision, is designed for outdoor use including in rain and snow, and provides motion alerts. But even better is its one free gigabyte of online storage for saving clips or the past seven days of footage. Most other cameras charge a subscription fee for this kind of service.

3. Keep an eye on your garage. One of the most vulnerable places in your home, garages store lots of valuable property (like your car, for starters) but they’re often overlooked when it comes to security. Whether it’s tripping the garage door’s emergency release lever with a coat hanger or roaming your neighborhood, channel surfing with garage door openers, burglars are masters at exploiting this space.

There are things you can do to stop them, but to catch them in the act, the $199 Sengled Snap will be a must buy when it comes out in September. A 1080p HD cloud-connected camera and LED lightbulb that fits perfectly into a flood light, this innovative invention connects to Wi-Fi while installation is as simple as screwing in a lightbulb. With motion and sound detection capability, it may even help you catch the crooks before they make it inside.

4. Help mom and dad sleep like a baby. Forget all the advice and home remedies. There’s nothing that will reassure new parents like the image (and audio) of their baby sleeping soundly. And while baby monitors are hardly new, using a Wi-Fi connected camera as one is a great way to get the best technological bang for your buck.

The $219 Nest Cam is not only perfectly named for watching over a young one, but it’s well suited for the task with a 1080p high definition resolution and a great mounting system to keep the camera (and cord) out of your kid’s curious hands. But the best part of using a camera like this instead of a dedicated baby cam is that when your little one gets bigger, you can reuse the Nest Cam elsewhere on your property.

5. Cancel the house-sitter. Whether you travel for business or to satisfy wanderlust, leaving all your belongings behind can be equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Eliminate the latter by using a web security camera as a house-sitter, keeping you connected to your home, no matter where you go.

Capturing 180 degrees of video while connecting to smart home devices, the $199 and up Piper is part camera, part security guard. Able to detect indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, light, sound, and motion, the device can link with window and door sensors to keep track of your home as if you never even left.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at

You May Also Like