Best Outdoor Smart Lights for Better Security

Novastella Floodlights

When it comes to changing the minds of would-be intruders, nothing works as well as getting your hands on the best outdoor smart lights that are out there. Security systems protect your home from break-ins, but a smart outdoor light behaves as a layer of preemptive security. These will change the mind of most prowlers and spare you the jarring experience of waking to the alarms of broken windows or jimmied doors.

If there’s a question of whether or not there’s someone at the light switch, a smart perpetrator would turn tail rather than take the gamble. This is the whole point behind the smart light.

Smart Light Vs Traditional Outdoor Lights

A normal outdoor light works well to illuminate your yard, driveway, backyard, or doorstep. But if a criminal who is thinking of breaking in can see that the light is on statically, he might avoid it and seek a different way in. No shock value, no scurrying, no surprises, and little deterrence.

A traditional outdoor light might keep people away from entry points immediately surrounding that area. Still, it won’t deter them from trying in other areas. Let’s face it; people have become immune to sensor lights- they’re everywhere.

With a smart light, you have a whole list of things you can do, depending on the capabilities of the light. It can turn on sensors that detect movement, set off alarms, take pictures, or begin recording video. Depending on the type you get, you can interact with a trespasser from anywhere in the world through a smart floodlight.

You can make them think you’re inside waiting for them & have already called the police. Or you can just let the sirens cut through the quiet night air and scare them off.

These lights are also a good way to find out what kind of intruders you might be having that are not human. With a unit equipped with a camera, you can find out what’s getting into your trash, or taking veggies out of your garden. Many people wind up shocked at the kind of wildlife traversing through their yard in the cover of night.

Summer Home Security at Smarthome

Make your Home Safer

As mentioned above, a smart exterior light adds a layer of defense over your in-home defenses. This is important to stop trouble from coming too close to your home, decreasing dangers that might come to you or your family, and your property.

Also, a smart outdoor light covers areas that remain vulnerable outdoors. Your vehicles, shed, barns, or other outbuildings, will all benefit by the eyes of a floodlight, when your home security system won’t reach.

Three of the Best Outdoor Smart Lights

Like anything else that’s labeled as “smart,” the outdoor lighting industry has meshed together with technology, increasing function and usability. Though many different types of smart lights boast a variety of fun features, not many include furthering the security of the home outside of brightening up the yard.

The following are three different smart lights that are geared toward securing the outdoors. These three all have cameras equipped and are app accessible on any device. After we have a look at all three, we’ll then decide which rises above the others by looking at what you get for the money.

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery or Wired

Price: Get Today’s Price!Ring Spotlight Cam

  • Captures 1080 HD Video
  • On-Demand Video and Audio
  • Scheduling
  • Infrared Night Vision Viewable up to 30 Feet
  • 2 LED Spotlights
  • Motion Sensor
  • Integrated Spotlight and 110 Decibel Siren Alarm
  • You can Choose Wired or Battery Operated- Includes one rechargeable battery pack
  • Compatible with all Major Platforms (Windows 10, IOS, Android, Mac, etc.)
  • Adjustable Mount
  • 270 Degree Advanced Motion Detection with Adjustable Zones
  • 2-Way Audio Featuring Noise Cancellation
  • Compatible with Alexa and other Ring Devices
  • Option of Either Black or White Casing
  • Casings are Weather Resistant
  • App Light Controls
  • Wi-Fi
  • Service Plan is Optional
  • Flashing Strobe when the Siren Sounds
  • Instant Notifications
  • Security Sticker, USB Battery Charging Cable, and Installation Hardware Included

Pros

This unit has two strengths that the other two smart lights don’t. It’s size and mobility. The Ring Spotlight Cam Battery doesn’t require any wiring at all, and you’re only limited by your Wi-Fi signal strength as it relates to locating and mounting the light. Not having to be concerned with any wiring makes this device a snap for the Do-It-Yourselfer.

Because it’s relatively small, it can be located in positions that potential intruders wouldn’t expect. Also, it can be situated to avoid normal traffic, reducing false alarms and alerts to your mobile device.

These two characteristics, along with all of the other features involved with the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery, make this a useful and versatile inclusion to your home security system.

Cons

One of the same characteristics that make this unit unique, and were just praised as a positive, also falls on the cons side of things- its size. Because it’s a compact design as an outdoor light, the lights aren’t as powerful as the other two.

Where the others would flood an open area with light, this unit might serve better where closer quarters are involved. The camera is more of the focal point in this unit, but will have problems trying to record or live stream in full-color HD at night compared to the others.

Yes, there is night vision that can remedy this as far as the camera is concerned. Still, infra-red recordings or pictures can be more difficult to identify someone than a full-color HD image. (This isn’t to say that the night vision couldn’t serve better doing several different tasks.)

Kuna Maximus Smart Motion Activated Outdoor Floodlight

Price: Get Today’s Price!Kuna Maximus Outdoor Floodlight

  • 1080p HD H.264
  • 24/7 HD Livestream
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • 155 Degree Field of View
  • Motion Activation- Detects Within 70 Feet When Installed at 8 Feet
  • Hard-Wired
  • 2 Bulbs Shine at 2400 Lumens
  • Adjustable Motion Sensitivity
  • Wi-Fi
  • 2-Way Audio
  • Option to Play a Recorded Message when Triggered
  • 115 Decibel Siren Alarm
  • Weatherproof Housing
  • Optional Service Plan
  • Manual Record
  • Scheduling
  • White Casing
  • Instant “Call 911” Feature
  • App Light Controls
  • Animated Event Thumbnails
  • React Through Lockscreen- Sends alerts to your device and is visible when the device is in “locked” mode.

Pros

The most prominent feature at first glance of the Maximus is the curved dual lighting setup. The design helps to spread light more evenly across the field of view, making the most out of the unit’s 2400 lumen bulbs.

The Maximus has a few features that the others don’t that should be noted. The instant 911 call feature is a great idea if you choose to use it for times that you’re away and are not near your device.

Another great feature is the option for a pre-recorded message to sound off when the light sensors have been triggered. The sensors are powerful, reaching across the yard over 70 feet. One could make the argument that nobody would be identifiable at that distance on the camera. That said, nothing is saying that you have to have it set so far out, though it isn’t difficult to come up with reasons to do so anyhow.

Cons

Like all of the traditional lighting systems, this unit is hardwired. You can replace an existing outdoor light- making use of the junction box, or run a wire to where you desire to place it.

Another con is that it doesn’t have any night vision capabilities. Now, from one point of view, the argument can be made that if you have two good sized lights illuminating your zone, why would you need night vision? The picture on the camera would be hi-def and decently lit to see anything you’d like to see.

But sometimes, when you have features that you don’t think you’ll use, you wind up finding reasons to use them. Night vision can be useful, fun, and opens up more strategic ways of catching someone in the act of doing something they shouldn’t.

Ring – Outdoor Wi-Fi Cam With Motion Activated Floodlight

Price: Get Today’s Price!Ring Motion Activated Floodlight

  • 1080 HD Video
  • 2-Way Talk with Echo Cancellation
  • Night Vision
  • On-Demand Video and Audio
  • Customizable Motion Zones
  • Wi-Fi
  • Hard-Wired
  • 110 Decibel Siren Alarm
  • Two 3000° Kelvin Floodlights
  • Ultra-Wide Angle 270 Degree Field of View Motion Detection
  • Motion-Activated Instant Notification Alerts
  • Real-Time Smart Zoom and Panning
  • Weather Resistant CasingRing Black Floodlight Camera
  • Optional Premium Service Plan
  • Lifetime Purchase Protection- Ring will replace a unit if it is stolen.
  • Compatible with Alexa and other Ring Devices
  • Comes in White or Black
  • Adjustable Mount
  • Scheduling
  • App Light Controls
  • Red Flashing Light when Siren is Triggered

Pros

With Ring’s Outdoor Wi-Fi Cam With Motion Activated Floodlight, you get all of the goodies that you get with the first unit, the Spotlight Cam Battery, and then some. But where the smaller counterpart is lacking this unit excels. Rather than two small lights lining the housing like the Battery unit, this has two more traditional looking floodlights.

Because this smart light has a brighter light capacity (two 1500 lumens LEDs), the camera can take better shots at greater distances. Also, the adjustable lights can be placed in a manner that best suits the contour of the space.

Another bonus that should be recognized is the customizable motion zones. The ability to create different activity zones reduce the chances of false alarms remove need to worry about bushes moving around in the wind, or traffic going by.

Cons

Just like the Kuna Maximus, this unit is hardwired. Again, without an existing floodlight to replace, you’ll have to run a wire to power the smart light. Not being battery powered, you’re stuck with wherever you can place it- and keep it there.

Another con would be that the base plate doesn’t mount properly with some existing electrical boxes. This isn’t a common complaint, but it has come up a time or two.

Novostella.net

What is the Conclusion?

This is the most frustrating comparative review to date. Why? Because all three contestants take the lead in their strengths, and not one smart light from the three outshines the others (pun intended).

The three smart lights in question all have their strengths and weaknesses. No matter what the verdict is as it relates to being the best of the three, your needs should trump anything said here. If your requirements dictate that one is better than the other, go with it!

Price

In the past, we’ve taken a look at different groups of products, and pricing was one factor that contributed to a final decision of which is best of the group. Often in a group of items similarly priced, you find some that are less of a product at the same cost as other (better) items. Surprisingly, this isn’t the case between these three.

As far as pricing goes, all three appear to be adequately priced in relation to their capabilities. They vary some from one another in price, but it seems to be a justifiable give and take.

Features

As far as the features go, the Ring Outdoor Wi-Fi Cam With Motion Activated Floodlight takes the lead. Let’s be honest. This could have been more of a race between two different smart lights (Ring Outdoor Floodlight vs Kuna Maximus) when it boils down to the feature’s category.

The reason being is that the two are very similar in many ways, and the Ring Battery Operated unit is clearly meant for closer quarters operation. For example, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery would be great to light up and defend a porch or deck, and the other two would be better for the yard and driveway.

Between the Maximus and the Ring Outdoor, The Ring gets the trophy in the feature’s category. The largest reason also happens to be among the few differences between the two units- Infra-Red Night Vision. That is what pulls Ring ahead in this category.

The Maximus had a few features that the others didn’t have, but not enough to compensate for what it didn’t have.

Function

This is where things get sticky. The smaller battery-operated smart light takes the lead in smaller or more focused areas. The Maximus takes the lead over the other two due to its bright and curved bulbs, providing even light dispersion. But out of the three, the Ring has the best motion zone customization.

The Winner?

The Ring Outdoor Wi-Fi Cam With Motion Activated Floodlight is the pick over the other two. The features, the price, and the functionality seem to check more boxes than the others.

As stated above, this was a tough comparison. Any of these would serve you well depending on what you’re looking your smart light to do, and where you intend to mount it.

 

NordVPN

 

 

Best VPN Buy of 2020 – Online Security!

In this article, we’re going to be featuring 8 of the most well-known VPN brands out there, to determine which of them would be the best VPN buy of 2020. We’ll have a look at the features provided by each service, giving you a good idea of what each has to offer, as well as how they differ from one another.

What is a VPN Service Provider?

The quick answer would be that a VPN Service incorporates several different layers of security and privacy measures that you can’t find with Internet security programs. Also, it’s a means by which you can do just about anything online while remaining anonymous or untraceable. Your real IP address isn’t visible to anyone who sees you online, even your ISP (Internet Service Provider). A nefarious actor online won’t be able to hack into your computer because they think you are in Amsterdam when you are in Phoenix, or vice versa. You can select one of hundreds of different places t0 show as your location. Hackers can’t get into your computer.

Why use a VPN Service?

This is one of those areas where ordinary people look at something such as a VPN service, and think to themselves, “I don’t do anything wrong or risqué online. Why would I need that?” You’d also hear things like, “What are they going to do? I’ve got nothing to hide!”

A VPN service isn’t there to mask undesirable people doing illegal or explicit things online. Instead, it’s to keep ordinary people safe from such types. We are living in a time where information is the new form of gold. Your information is available to the highest bidder when it comes to advertising, and is targeted by cybercriminals- whether you’re rich or poor.

On with the Best VPN buy of 2020

Just a quick note before we begin…

Every one of these companies has a 1-month price, as well as multiple month pricing that has enormous discounts. All are a little different in time and price-cuts from one another.

Because of this, I’ve only included the unaltered first-month pricing for each of them.

NordVPN

  • 1 Month Price- $11.95
  • 5454 Servers throughout 59 Countries
  • No-logs Policy- The policy means that nothing you do is ever saved, collected, shared, or recorded.
  • Uninterrupted Streaming
  • Next-generation encryption- All your internet data is safe behind a wall of security, including for mobile.
  • No Bandwidth Limitations
  • Bandwidth Throttling Bypass
  • One Account Protects up to 6 Devices
  • Personal IP Protection
  • IP Masking
  • P2P Servers
  • Double VPN Encryption- Hides your activity behind two servers instead of one.
  • CyberSec- Blocks dangerous websites, malware, and blocks ads. (Can be toggled on or off.)
  • Browser Extensions- Can be applied to your favorite browsers.
  • DNS Leak Checker- Prevents openings for your traffic to wind up being intercepted by a third party.
  • 24/7 Help and Support

NordVPN is based out of the Republic of Panama and was formed in 2012. They currently enjoy a customer base of over 12 million users. They’ve rightfully earned their reputation of being one of the best VPN’s out there today.

The only real complaints that have arisen about NordVPN is that some of their servers differ in speed than others. That said, with over 5,000 servers worldwide, you can always find a server that runs better than others. As far as their overall service goes, NordVPN continues to serve satisfied customers.

Nord 2-Year Plan

PureVPN

  • 1 Month Price- $10.95
  • 2,000 Servers in over 140 Countries
  • High-Speed VPN Servers
  • Military-Grade Encryption
  • Unrestricted Bandwidth Access- No limitations on your media usage.
  • Automatic VPN Kill Switch (Network Lock)- If your VPN service goes down, your internet connection is severed.
  • Split Tunneling- Provides more convenience while managing your online activities.
  • 24/7 Help and Support Service
  • Up to 10 Multi Logins- Protects up to 10 devices under one account.
  • Secure Wi-Fi- Places security protocols to protect your home Wi-Fi services.
  • Based in Hong Kong, and not required to store any of your data.
  • Port Forwarding- Access your service or devices from anywhere in the world.
  • Dedicated IP

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong and was established in 2006. They’ve served over 3 million customers throughout the years, and continue to run strong. To date, Pure VPN has been deemed to be among the most trustworthy VPN’s available.

Reviews for PureVPN are generally good, but some people find it difficult to work with the customer service reps (possibly due to language barriers or translation software). Also, their app didn’t work correctly on some devices. China presents challenges to this company, so it is a possibility that complaints might spawn from within the Chinese borders.

Best VPN

Surfshark

  • 1 Month Price- $11.95
  • Over 1,700 Servers in over 63 Countries
  • Unlimited Device Support
  • 24/7 Help and Support Services
  • CleanWeb- This is an ad blocker that eliminates phishing and malware.
  • Whitelister- A VPN bypass system for whitelisted sites.
  • No-Logs Policy- This means there’s no monitoring or recording of your activity in any way.
  • Kill Switch- Kill Switch cuts off your internet connection if your VPN connection is interrupted.
  • Camouflage Mode- Your use of a VPN remains a mystery to your ISP.
  • MultiHop- This allows you to connect to two different VPN servers simultaneously.
  • Private DNS & Leak Protection
  • NoBorders Mode- Allows access to restricted areas.
  • Hides your IP
  • AES-256 – VPN Encryption (Which is used by the US Government.)

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands and launched for business in 2018. Although this is a relatively new company in comparison to its competition, users are impressed by the full range of features. Another thing that causes Surfshark to stick out of the crowd is the lack of limits relating to data use and limitless device usage.

The most significant drawback appears to be its support information, which seems to be more geared toward installation rather than any in-depth problem-solving. However, their 24/7 customer support chat is available to help you out, saving you time looking for articles that aren’t there yet.

Surfshark 2-

VyprVPN

  • 1 Month Price- $12.95
  • Over 700 Servers spread out in over 70 locations around the world.
  • Supports up to Five Devices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • IP Address Protection
  • Chameleon- With this feature, you gain access to regionally restricted or censored content.
  • High-Speed Streaming through Updated Servers- All VyprVPN servers are owned by VyprVPN and updated accordingly.
  • VyprDNS- This protects you from any DNS leaks or breaches that might occur.
  • VyprVPN Cloud- This opens your own dedicated business VPN server.
  • Public Wi-Fi Protection
  • Kill Switch- Blocks all traffic from your internet or network if your VPN connection becomes compromised.
  • No-Log Policy- VyprVPN will not log any of your activities.

The parent company of VyprVPN is Golden Frog and is based out of Switzerland. The two major products produced by Golden Frog are VyprVPN and OutFox, with OutFox being geared toward gaming network performance.

There have been a few reviews that complain about slow server speeds in the US and UK, but we’re not given detail into any of the factors involved. Though there may not be as many servers available as their larger counterparts, what VyprVPN does, it does well. This is particularly true when you’re talking about their Chameleon feature, which hides the fact that you’re even using a VPN.

VyprVPN

HIDDEN24 VPN

  • 1 Month Price- $5.99
  • Servers in 7 Different Countries
  • Ticketed Support System
  • No App is required to use this service.
  • IP Address Replacement- Changes your IP to avoid tracking to your original IP Address.
  • 2048-bit Encryption- This protects all traffic that flows to and from your computer or other devices.
  • Public Wi-Fi Protection
  • Hidden24 can be used to avoid internet censorship and work around blocked traffic.
  • High-Speed Connection
  • No-Log System- Though they’re based in a country that can ask for records, none of your information is ever saved. In other words, there’s nothing to show.
  • Unlimited Surfing- There is no cap on surfing the web, and no cap on devices.

Hidden24 was launched in 2006 and is currently based out of Sweden. They’ve concentrated on making this a basic and streamlined product, that has found a way to make the most out of the positive end of not using any apps. Hidden24 is the cheapest service in this list of VPN’s.

However, the lack of having any apps available make this product more difficult to use than the larger, more polished VPN’s. That coupled with an outdated ticketed customer support system, makes this a tough product for the novice to make the most of. Also, there are issues with a lack of platform support using Hidden24 on a few popular devices.

Ivacy VPN

  • 1 Month Price- $9.95
  • Over 2,000 Servers in over 100 Countries
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • 256-Bit Encryption
  • Public Wi-Fi Security
  • No-Logs Policy
  • ISP Throttling Bypass
  • Geo Restriction Bypass
  • Internet Kill Switch
  • Dedicated IP- This lets you whitelist IP addresses as an extra layer of security.
  • Split Tunneling- This feature grants access to local and foreign content at the same time.
  • IPv6 Leak Protection
  • Secure DNS- Prevents DNS leaks.
  • Multiple Protocols- This allows you to create a military-grade level of protection over your network connection.
  • DDoS Protection
  • Up to 5 devices can be logged in simultaneously.
  • Secure Downloading- Ivacy scans and removes threats from downloads in real-time.

Ivacy VPN was established in 2007 and is currently located in Singapore. They claim to be the first VPN to introduce “Split Tunneling” to the market in 2010. Their software has been deemed easy to use and works well for the majority of their customers.

There are a few complaints about Ivacy that are worth mentioning. Their return policy is sketchy at best. They boast a 30-day money-back guarantee until you read the fine print. Then you learn that it’s a seven-day guarantee- if you meet specific criteria. If you don’t, there’s no money back. Though poor judgment in customer service might not speak to the quality of the software, it does tend to sour the grapes a little.

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ExpressVPN

  • 1 Month Price- $12.95
  • Over 3,000 Servers in over 94 Countries
  • 24/7 Live Customer Support
  • IP Address Masking- Change your IP address through their VPN servers.
  • VPN Split Tunneling- This lets you allow specific traffic through the VPN and other traffic routed directly.
  • TrustedServer Technology- This ensures that all data is wiped with every reboot, no information is written to their hard drive, and their software is reinstalled with every start-up.
  • Network Lock- This is a kill switch that blocks any more traffic from getting through if there’s an interruption to your VPN connection.
  • Zero-Knowledge DNS- They own and operate their DNS on every server. No third parties and no logs kept.
  • AES-256 Encryption
  • Public Wi-Fi Security

ExpressVPN was founded back in 2009 and are based in the British Virgin Islands. Managing over 3,000 servers, this VPN is robust and enjoys a good reputation and high ratings. If you’re a world traveler, this would be a good option due to how thoroughly they are spread across the world.

They’ve also received high marks in the customer service arena, providing fast 24/7 service as needed. Customers tend to be satisfied on every front. They seem to be able to make the most out of every feature ExpressVPN incorporates into its software, which isn’t always the case with several other companies in the VPN arena.

ExpressVPN – The World’s #1 Trusted

VPN Provider!!

CyberGhost

  • 1 Month Price- $12.99
  • Over 6400 Servers in 90 Countries
  • Hide your IP- You can hide your IP address with just one click if you choose to do so.
  • DNS and IP Leak Protection
  • 256-bit AES Encryption- You’ll be protected by military-grade protection at all times.
  • Unlimited Bandwidth and Unlimited Traffic
  • No-Logs Policy- No activity is tracked, and servers keep no records.
  • 7 Device connectivity- You can operate up to seven devices simultaneously.
  • 24/7 Customer Support- Live chat or email.
  • Servers Optimized for Torrent Sharing
  • Throttle Removal- The encryption tunnel removes opportunities for speed throttling by ISP’s.
  • Access to Restricted Content- Bypass geo-restricted materials or other blocked media.
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi Protection

CyberGhost was founded back in 2011 and is based out of Romania. With over 6400 servers at their disposal, they have the most extensive collection in this list of VPN’s.

What’s a mixed bag concerning CyberGhost is their server speed. Their speed is considered to be better than others when it comes to servers within the same country as the user. But if you’re reaching out across the world, there is a much different opinion. Another point is that CyberGhost has a tough time getting around difficult to breach censorship than other VPN’s.


Conclusion

After a great deal of time researching these 8 VPN’s, it is safe to say one thing. All of these products are similar and provide similar services. As is true with any group of companies within the same industry, all have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. These companies differ in their focus of attention on different aspects of online anonymity and security.

All that being said, when it comes down to answering “Who is the best VPN buy of 2020,” I’d have to conclude that the answer would be NordVPN. A close second would be ExpressVPN. These two appear to be the most functional, bearing the most useful features and is customer friendly. NordVPN pulled ahead of Express due to recent updates and fixing speed issues with their servers.

NordVPN has all of the features you’ll need; they have a longstanding history in the industry and has proven to be able to keep up with the changes that come through time. Another reason I chose NordVPN came to me while researching other companies.

Almost all of the contenders above use Nord as their measuring stick. Any comparative review that I could find (that wasn’t the equivalent to a paid advertisement) had Nord in the mix to try and compare itself to. That should say something. If these other companies find it to their benefit to try and outdo Nord, perhaps Nord would be the wisest choice in the first place?

Drop me a note below if you have any input on this subject or the products we’ve discussed today. I’d love to hear from you !