5 Inexpensive Home Security Devices to Help You Stay Safer

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of How to Prep When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

Making your home safer seems more important than ever in these days of lax punishment for criminals. Why get a job if you can just steal from people and spend a couple of hours in jail before being released on your own recognizance? Protecting yourself by making your home harder to break into and capturing the footage you need to defend yourself against criminal charges if you fight back is more important than ever. Here are some inexpensive home security to make your home a little bit safer.

There are other ways, like securing your exterior doors with better hardware and frames or installing ballistic windows. Of course, you want to be well-armed and trained. But the options in this article are quick and easy to obtain. Anyone can put them into place, they don’t run afoul of any local politics, and they cost less than $100.

Add braces to windows.

Don’t let your windows be opened from the outside. Add simple braces to the inside to keep them from being raised up or slid over. If your home has a lot of windows, you can start out by securing just the downstairs windows. What I like about these braces is that I can still have my windows open slightly for fresh air, but they won’t be easy to move far enough to allow someone to slip in without breaking the window and making a commotion.

Unlike those fancy (and expensive) security bars that go on the outsides of windows, these braces can be easily removed for escape in the event of a fire. You don’t want to turn your home into a prison from which you cannot escape if necessary.

Add wedges near bedroom doors.

If an intruder breaks into your home, you may need to retreat while waiting for help to arrive. It could also happen when you aren’t at home, and vulnerable family members may not be prepared to engage an intruder. While it’s always best to replace interior doors with sturdier doors in better quality doorframes, a quick and inexpensive way to at least slow down the intruder is door wedges.

You can have the alarm on these on or off. I leave the alarm on when I’m at hotels but off at home. I tuck the one in my home behind the door on the floor so that I can always quickly access it. (Incidentally, I actually carry one of these in my purse, too, in the event I ever need to barricade a door.) If you don’t want the kind with a shrieking alarm, you can get these plain rubber ones. The advantage to these is the holes in them – you can run some string or ribbon through them and hang them from interior door knobs.

It’s true that there are bigger, sturdier devices, but I like the speed and ease with which the wedges can be deployed.

Consider cameras.

This suggestion will not work for everyone, but you may want to consider having a camera in your home near doors and entry points. Particularly if you are a gun owner, a camera can help to end the “I said, they said” nature of a violent interaction. I wouldn’t want a camera such as this to be set up in my main living areas for privacy reasons, but aimed at my front and back door, it seems like a pretty good idea.

It can also record intruders when you aren’t at home, which means you may have a better chance of recovering stolen goods. You may also want cameras outside your home pointing at entries.

If you choose to go with such an option, look for a device that is motion-activated. Decide whether you want the device to stream to your phone or to record on an SD card, and think about power options such as solar or long-term batteries.

Get a door intercom

Many home invasions have begun with what seems like an innocent knock at the door. But then, when the homeowner opens it, the culprit shoves their way in. Instead of a regular doorbell, consider a door intercom. Popular in secured entry apartment buildings, visitors have to ring the bell, which you can then answer inside, almost like a phone call. You can speak to them and find out who’s at the door (and why they’re there) without opening it, which adds to your safety. You can speak and provide instructions, such as, “Thank you, I can’t come to the door right now. Please leave the package on the porch.”

If your intercom is paired with a camera so you can see who is on the other side, all the better. However, the wireless intercom is a less expensive option.

Add a driveway alarm.

These are really great, and I had one when I lived in the country. A driveway alarm has sensors that alert you when someone crosses in front of them onto your property. This brand is inexpensive yet highly rated. A little more advance warning before someone gets to your door can give you valuable time to get the kids inside or just to be aware that somebody is there. These are motion-activated and play a little melody when they detect motion. You can play around with the sensitivity and angles so that you aren’t alerted when local wildlife crosses your driveway – this can take a bit of trial and error.

Small inexpensive home security changes add up.

This is by no means a complete list of ways to improve your home security. I recently added braces to the windows in my current home, and it got me thinking about inexpensive home security improvements that can be made on tight budgets.  All these are renter-friendly and simple to install.

Beef up your security with one item a month and make your home a little bit safer. I don’t expect to see crime rates going down any time soon, so it’s up to us to level up our home security.

Probably the most important thing of all can’t be bought. It is being aware and listening to your gut. The book The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker is a classic for a reason.

If someone isn’t supposed to be at your house, you are under no obligation to let them in. Just because a person knocks doesn’t mean that you have to answer the door. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Listen to your instincts and you’ll be safer anywhere you are.

What are some cheap options for improved, inexpensive home security that you recommend? Have you tried any of the recommendations listed here? Have crimes increased where you live?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • I recently bought the door alarm wedges from one of your other posts Daisy & really like them. I kept 2 & sent 2 to my daughter stationed in the UK who travels alot. I feel MUCH better knowing she can protect an entrance while traveling.

    I suggest taping the ON/OFF switch while traveling so it doesn’t go off in TSA or in flight! They are LOUD. I put one at the door at one hotel we stayed at recently. I had to warn my husband twice that it was engaged, put a piece of paper on the floor in front of the door for a visual (hey, he’s kind of mindless sometimes!) so if he got up before me to get coffee to slide it out of the way! ;

    • Hahahaha I have a mental image of hubby waking up the entire hotel. Those suckers really WILL get you wide awake fast!

  • Most doors are installed with short screws and have flimsy locks that will break open with one good whack. For about ten bucks you can get door bar brackets at Lowe’s, and for another few bucks, four inch lag bolts that go deep into the door frame. When the brackets are mounted, a length of 2 x 4 will bar the door from the inside and make it impossible to kick in the door without destroying the door frame and wall. Put the bar as close to the lock as you can, so that the bar absorbs most of the force. I recommend screwing a strip of plywood to the inside of the bar so that it fills the gap between the bar and the door. I also recommend sticking 5 inch plastic discs to the door and wall where the bar rubs, to prevent wearing a hole in the door and wall.

  • Great minds think alike sometimes.

    I have several of the rubber door stoppers handy, carry a couple in the truck, and have several more as part of a PAW (Post Apocalypse World) building salvage, recovery, and mining kit, along with several other things to make recovering abandoned items safer when there might be looters out and about, or other people that consider everything theirs that is not nailed down.

    There are some doors, of course, that open away from where a person might be, so the stoppers do not work. So, also carry a stout cord with loops on both ends. One for the door knob or lever, that can be cinched down tight. The other loop goes to a plate that can be slid behind a heavy object in the room. There are many different shapes that can be used, or just use another piece of cordage that can be wrapped around the heavy object and attached to the door cord.

    For more security than just a stopper at the bottom of the door and a device at the door lock, a brace from the door handle to the floor can add significant additional resistance to the door from being kicked in. Since you cannot do anything to the floor, purchase or make another wedge, this one a bit bigger with both carpet hooks and rubber anti-skid pads. A small pickup load positioning bar can be used as the prop. They are not too expensive and have quite a bit of adjustment to fit from the door handle to the floor wedge. Not as secure as one that goes into a pocket in the floor, but it certainly will give more time to react before they can get the door open.

    Some doors have enough gaps around the edges that a tiny camera on the end of a cable may be able to be used for doors without a peep hole.

    Just a few things off the top of my head.

    Just my opinion.

    Jerry

    Jerry D Young
    Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and always remember TANSTAAFL
    (“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” Manny, from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein

  • Last year we put up 9 wifi cameras around the outside of the house. We bought Blink cameras (Amazon) that run on AA lithium batteries that will last 2 years depending on how many alerts (traffic) they send. You can set each camera to ignore areas like the street and only alert on movement on your property. Running a power wire has been a turn off for us and these have worked very well for the 6 months they’ve been up. Easy install, works with Alexa, Google and Android and iPhone. Get the set with the sync unit allows you to save clips locally.

  • A cheap junk wash machine also makes a great security device. Just have it hanging above your front door secured by an electronic latch that you can release with a remote control. Don’t like the looks of that transgender girl scout with too much facial hair asking you to open the door so she/her/they/he/haw/whoops can sell you some girl scout cookies, Just press the remote and squash that intruder. Depending on how heavy your wash machine is you can sometimes just scoop up the remains, open the lid of your wash machine, dump the remains inside and your back in business.

    Someone yelled at me to get serious. OK. I am surprised there has been no mention of how worthless most front door locks are. If you have a typical door knob on your super secure heavy duty front door then you are only fooling yourself. I can tell for a fact it does not take much force to turn that door knob and destroy the locking mechanism and then just walk right in. What’s a better idea. A door knob with a deadbolt. There, I just saved you a lot of grief. If you live in an apartment you can ask your landlord for permission. If you are the one paying for everything the landlord should say OK since everyone benefits. And I hope you liked my Knock, Knock joke.

  • Great ideas Daisy! I have a few ideas that are inexpensive. I bought “Beware of Dog” signs that are hanging next to my front door and on my fence gate and I put a huge water bowl in my back yard. I’m hoping to find a large dog house at the thrift store sometime soon. I also have a bumper sticker on my car that says “I love my Pitt Bull.” Lastly, I’m looking for a motion activated vicious barking dog device for my front door. Every little bit helps! 🙂 Keep up your wonderful articles!

    • If you are a lady that lives alone you could also put a pair of large man sized work boots just outside the front door. A potential intruder may rethink his plan if he thinks there is a big fella inside with you.

  • Those of you that use Amazon security, be aware that Amazon gives that to the police depts without warrants. I will not even go introduce myself to new neighbors because I do not want to be on social media because of the security cameras without my permission.

  • I do not trust door locks put in by someone else so I use the after market locks at the door knob plus a prop of one type or another.

    Just my opinion.

    Jerry D Young

    Jerry D Young
    Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and always remember TANSTAAFL
    (“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” Manny, from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein

  • I really like your suggestions. I use the rubber door stopper inside the house and use the window locks on one window that has none. It is nice, as you said, to be able to open it for a breeze on a nice day and still feel secure. A couple of other inexpensive suggestions that we utilize are tension rods placed in the windows along the side tract and a door security bar. Brinks has this for $21.99 on Amazon, but it might be found even cheaper at a hardware store perhaps. Thanks for some good ideas.

  • We live in a very rural area and have had vandalism and trespassing on our farm.

    We have 3 large guard dogs, which are loose. Their primary job is to protect the livestock but they have adopt us into their family.

    I also open carry around the farm and keep a rifle in our UTV when checking on our property. I don’t mind being known as the “crazy lady with a gun” in our area.

    Security is very much on our minds and I like the window bar idea a lot. We have many large windows throughout our ranch style house. We are considering security film as well.

  • For security cameras, there’s an app called Alfredcam. You download the app to any phone/tablet laying around (think unused/old cellphones) and put them where you want to be able to watch.
    There’s also an option that you can talk to whoever you see on the camera view.
    It uses your home wifi.

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