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We have some exciting news from Alarm.com. The latest version of the Alarm.com Mobile App for iOS (Version 4.18) will make your enrolled smart locks compatible with Siri Shortcuts. This means that you will be able to control your smart locks with spoken voice commands. How convenient!


If you aren't familiar with Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts, they represent an innovative way to control your system and its integrated accessories using spoken voice commands. Each command is customized so that it performs the exact actions you want. Siri Shortcuts are available for iOS 12 and higher, so make sure your iOS device is on a high enough version before trying to set them up. We very strongly recommend reading this post from a couple years prior to refresh your memory on Siri Shortcuts and how they can be used. Overall, we think the Siri Shortcuts feature serves as a nice alternative to Apple HomeKit, which isn't compatible with Alarm.com or its associated security systems.

From what we can tell, the only way that a Siri Shortcut could control a smart door lock prior to Alarm.com iOS Version 4.18 was to do so indirectly through a smart scene. In other words, the user must create a smart scene that tells a door lock to LOCK or UNLOCK, and then create a customized Siri Shortcut to run that smart scene. Of course, a user would need separate scenes for LOCKING and ULOCKING, and they would need different scenes for each individual lock if they wanted complete control over their entire network of door locks. But with the update in iOS Version 4.18, smart lock control is made much more convenient and more easily accessible.

Thanks to the update, users can now create Siri Shortcuts that deal with locks directly, rather than being part of a smart scene. Each Siri Shortcut can control a single door lock, or a user can control all their locks at the same time with one single command. For a single lock, it's as simple as asking Siri to LOCK or UNLOCK a door based on the name of the lock. For example, you might say,

  • "Hey Siri, UNLOCK the FRONT DOOR."
  • "Hey Siri, LOCK the BACK DOOR."

Or if you wanted to control multiple doors,

  • "Hey Siri, LOCK all the doors."
  • "Hey Siri, UNLOCK every door."

Keep in mind that this door lock control for Siri Shortcuts is being made available in Alarm.com iOS Version 4.18. This update isn't available quite yet, but we expect it to be released in the coming days. At the time of this writing, the newest iOS Version we see is 4.17.3. You can check the version you're running by logging into the Alarm.com iOS App, and then choosing the Menu button (three horizontal bars) in the upper-left corner, and then selecting About in the bottom-left, and then About Alarm.com. The App Version will be displayed in white text across the top orange bar.


Remember to check the Apple App Store for the release of Alarm.com iOS App Version 4.18. Then open Settings within the Alarm.com Mobile App to access Siri Shortcuts. That is where you can enable the "Share Activity with Siri" settings and build customized Siri Shortcuts for use with your door locks. Remember that you can only control door locks that are enrolled with your Alarm.com account. Z-Wave door locks work great for this, and we have plenty of options available for purchase on our site if you are looking to get started.

Remember to check out our monitoring page if you are interested in starting monitoring service for access to Alarm.com. And please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you need help getting started with Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts for door locks. We're here to help you get the most out of your door locks and your Alarm.com service.

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We have some exciting news from Alarm.com. The latest version of the Alarm.com Mobile App for iOS (Version 4.18) will make your enrolled smart locks compatible with Siri Shortcuts. This means that you will be able to control your smart locks with spoken voice commands. How convenient!


If you aren't familiar with Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts, they represent an innovative way to control your system and its integrated accessories using spoken voice commands. Each command is customized so that it performs the exact actions you want. Siri Shortcuts are available for iOS 12 and higher, so make sure your iOS device is on a high enough version before trying to set them up. We very strongly recommend reading this post from a couple years prior to refresh your memory on Siri Shortcuts and how they can be used. Overall, we think the Siri Shortcuts feature serves as a nice alternative to Apple HomeKit, which isn't compatible with Alarm.com or its associated security systems.

From what we can tell, the only way that a Siri Shortcut could control a smart door lock prior to Alarm.com iOS Version 4.18 was to do so indirectly through a smart scene. In other words, the user must create a smart scene that tells a door lock to LOCK or UNLOCK, and then create a customized Siri Shortcut to run that smart scene. Of course, a user would need separate scenes for LOCKING and ULOCKING, and they would need different scenes for each individual lock if they wanted complete control over their entire network of door locks. But with the update in iOS Version 4.18, smart lock control is made much more convenient and more easily accessible.

Thanks to the update, users can now create Siri Shortcuts that deal with locks directly, rather than being part of a smart scene. Each Siri Shortcut can control a single door lock, or a user can control all their locks at the same time with one single command. For a single lock, it's as simple as asking Siri to LOCK or UNLOCK a door based on the name of the lock. For example, you might say,

  • "Hey Siri, UNLOCK the FRONT DOOR."
  • "Hey Siri, LOCK the BACK DOOR."

Or if you wanted to control multiple doors,

  • "Hey Siri, LOCK all the doors."
  • "Hey Siri, UNLOCK every door."

Keep in mind that this door lock control for Siri Shortcuts is being made available in Alarm.com iOS Version 4.18. This update isn't available quite yet, but we expect it to be released in the coming days. At the time of this writing, the newest iOS Version we see is 4.17.3. You can check the version you're running by logging into the Alarm.com iOS App, and then choosing the Menu button (three horizontal bars) in the upper-left corner, and then selecting About in the bottom-left, and then About Alarm.com. The App Version will be displayed in white text across the top orange bar.


Remember to check the Apple App Store for the release of Alarm.com iOS App Version 4.18. Then open Settings within the Alarm.com Mobile App to access Siri Shortcuts. That is where you can enable the "Share Activity with Siri" settings and build customized Siri Shortcuts for use with your door locks. Remember that you can only control door locks that are enrolled with your Alarm.com account. Z-Wave door locks work great for this, and we have plenty of options available for purchase on our site if you are looking to get started.

Remember to check out our monitoring page if you are interested in starting monitoring service for access to Alarm.com. And please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you need help getting started with Alarm.com Siri Shortcuts for door locks. We're here to help you get the most out of your door locks and your Alarm.com service.

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We recently came across an article from Bonka Bird Toys expressing their satisfaction with Alarm Grid and their new security system and security camera setup. Bonka Bird Toys is a local business, located right down the road from Alarm Grid. Thank you Bonka for your continued support!


Bonka Bird Toys has quite an intricate setup, centered around a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Security System. It is a dual-path system, complete with encrypted PowerG Sensors, and four (4) IQ Remote Keypads. Bonka says that they opted to not mount their IQ Remote Keypads, and instead carry them around loose like small tablets, and keep them at their desks. They particularly love being able to check their security cameras right from their IQ Remote devices. Having an IQ Remote at each workstation is really convenient!


According to Bonka Bird Toys, their favorite part of their setup is their security cameras. They used two (2) types of commercial grade Alarm.com Security Cameras, including the Alarm.com ADC-VC736 and the Alarm.com ADC-VC836. They even added the Alarm.com ADC-CSVR126 Commercial Streaming Video Recorder to facilitate a continuous 24-hour recording schedule. In addition to their IQ Panel 2 Plus and their IQ Remote Keypads, Bonka also set up a dedicated monitor that shows their camera feeds. They placed it up in a prominent spot where they can check it any time. We think this is a fantastic example of what kind of setup you can achieve with a security system and Alarm.com Cameras!


Bonka Bird Toys also set up a complete automation network of Z-Wave Plus devices, including lights, door locks, and thermostats. They love being able to control these devices locally from their alarm panel and keypads, and remotely from the Alarm.com platform on their phones and computers. Bonka Bird Toys also states that it was really easy to install their equipment. It took them just a single afternoon to get everything ready and going, and they saved thousands of dollars by doing it themselves rather than hiring a professional installer. This is the same type of robust setup that you can achieve for your home or business. And you can easily install everything yourself to save money,

If you are looking for the best bird toys, birdcages, aviaries, and accessories, then be sure to check out the Bonka Bird Toys website. And if you have any questions about how you can get started with Alarm Grid monitoring service, then reach out to us by emailing our support team and security system planners at support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We recently came across an article from Bonka Bird Toys expressing their satisfaction with Alarm Grid and their new security system and security camera setup. Bonka Bird Toys is a local business, located right down the road from Alarm Grid. Thank you Bonka for your continued support!


Bonka Bird Toys has quite an intricate setup, centered around a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Security System. It is a dual-path system, complete with encrypted PowerG Sensors, and four (4) IQ Remote Keypads. Bonka says that they opted to not mount their IQ Remote Keypads, and instead carry them around loose like small tablets, and keep them at their desks. They particularly love being able to check their security cameras right from their IQ Remote devices. Having an IQ Remote at each workstation is really convenient!


According to Bonka Bird Toys, their favorite part of their setup is their security cameras. They used two (2) types of commercial grade Alarm.com Security Cameras, including the Alarm.com ADC-VC736 and the Alarm.com ADC-VC836. They even added the Alarm.com ADC-CSVR126 Commercial Streaming Video Recorder to facilitate a continuous 24-hour recording schedule. In addition to their IQ Panel 2 Plus and their IQ Remote Keypads, Bonka also set up a dedicated monitor that shows their camera feeds. They placed it up in a prominent spot where they can check it any time. We think this is a fantastic example of what kind of setup you can achieve with a security system and Alarm.com Cameras!


Bonka Bird Toys also set up a complete automation network of Z-Wave Plus devices, including lights, door locks, and thermostats. They love being able to control these devices locally from their alarm panel and keypads, and remotely from the Alarm.com platform on their phones and computers. Bonka Bird Toys also states that it was really easy to install their equipment. It took them just a single afternoon to get everything ready and going, and they saved thousands of dollars by doing it themselves rather than hiring a professional installer. This is the same type of robust setup that you can achieve for your home or business. And you can easily install everything yourself to save money,

If you are looking for the best bird toys, birdcages, aviaries, and accessories, then be sure to check out the Bonka Bird Toys website. And if you have any questions about how you can get started with Alarm Grid monitoring service, then reach out to us by emailing our support team and security system planners at support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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The Alarm Grid holiday buying guide for the 2020 season continues, this time focusing on smart home automation. We will be covering our top picks for lights, door locks, and thermostats. As usual, our selections are compatible with our top security system picks for the 2020 shopping season.

If you haven't seen our earlier 2020 holiday buying guide releases, make sure to review them at some point. They will provide you with a good introduction before checking out our smart home automation offerings.

An automation device is a piece of equipment that you can have activate automatically based on a set schedule. These devices can also be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere in the world using a platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com and a simple app on your smartphone. When we talk about automation devices for alarm systems, we are mainly discussing lights that can be turned ON or OFF, dimmer modules that can adjust the brightness of lights, door locks that can be LOCKED or UNLOCKED, and thermostats that can increase or decrease the set temperature in the building when connected with an HVAC system. There are also some miscellaneous automation devices, including smart water valves, that we will also explore. Depending on the platform, you can also integrate these devices with smart home voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. We won't be exploring that too much in this buying guide, but it is something to keep in mind if you already have a smart home assistant set up in your house, or if you were considering setting one up in the near future.

To keep our automation section as simple as possible, we will be primarily looking at Z-WAVE PLUS automation devices. This refers mostly to 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices, though you may occasionally see some newer 700-Series Z-Wave Plus devices thrown in as well. Using certified Z-Wave Plus devices with a Z-Wave Plus controller will ensure the furthest possible wireless range, as well as the longest possible battery life, when applicable. Using exclusively Z-Wave Plus devices on a Z-Wave Plus controller is also the best way to ensure the strongest possible mesh network. Another advantage to going with Z-Wave Plus is that your automation devices will pair directly with your alarm system, which will thereby serve as your central automation controller. This keeps things as simple and as organized as possible, and it will ultimately allow you to keep everything in the same app on your phone.


However, we will also be including a few Apple HomeKit products along the way. We understand that we have many customers who use iOS and are building around the HomeKit platform for automation. When looking at our top security system picks, only the Honeywell Lyric is compatible with Apple HomeKit. This is out recommended system if you are building around the HomeKit platform. If you are starting from scratch and you are not a dedicated iOS user, then you will likely prefer Z-Wave Plus, as you can keep all your system control and automation control in the same app, with virtually no crossover. But, if you have taken advantage of what Apple HomeKit has to offer, and you want to continue building around the platform, then we have you covered. Remember, of our top system picks, only the Lyric can support HomeKit, and even then, your HomeKit devices will not pair directly with the Lyric.


Of our top security system picks for the 2020 holiday buying season, both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e support Z-Wave Plus technology. Both of those systems have their own integrated Z-Wave Plus controller, and they will allow you to take full advantage of what Z-Wave Plus has to offer. However, our other top pick, the Honeywell Lyric only has a classic Z-Wave controller built-in. You can still enroll Z-Wave Plus devices with the Lyric, but they won't offer the same range, battery life, and security provisions as Z-Wave Plus. This makes the Lyric the weak link of the three if automation outside of Apple HomeKit is particularly important to you. But rest assured that every product listed here should work with any of our recommended systems. Its just that you will get the best possible results by using a Z-Wave Plus compatible system, like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or 2GIG GC3e.

With all of that out of the way, let's begin exploring our favorite smart home automation devices of the 2020 holiday season.


Smart Lights

Smart lights can be split into a few different categories. They are usually either in-wall modules that replace your existing, standard light switches, or they are plug-in module that you simply plug into a regular wall outlet. Lights can also be split into groups of ON/OFF switches that merely turn the lights ON and OFF, and groups of dimmer modules that can actually adjust the brightness of the lights. As such, you will see four (4) groups of lights listed below. There are in-wall switches, in-wall dimmers, plug-in switches, and plug-in dimmers. We know that may seem a bit confusing, but it should make more sense once you see all of the categories properly laid out and organized. Spoiler, if you're looking for Apple HomeKit Lights, then skip to the very end of this section.

We will start with Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches. These devices replace existing in-wall switches, and they are able to turn the lights ON and OFF. When installing one, make sure to cut power at the circuit breaker first. Then simply remove the existing in-wall switch, and install your new Z-Wave Plus in-wall switch in its place. Keep in mind that most of these units will require the use of a neutral wire. Most homes built in the 1980s onward will have this readily available, though older homes may be lacking this wire. It's also important to mention that all of the in-wall switches listed here should readily fit into single gang brackets. We will also be listing coordinating 3-way switches in the notes section when applicable.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches.

Model Notes
GoControl WS15Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 600W for incandescent bulbs. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 14318 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46201 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46562 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5SWITCH From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Next up are Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers. These units also replace your existing in-wall switches. The difference here is that these devices have the ability to adjust the brightness of your lights, in addition to simply turning them ON and OFF. You will want to make sure you are using these devices with dimmable light bulbs. Again, you will want to cut power at the circuit breaker when installing. Most of these units will require a neutral wire, though there is an exception here. You should be able to fit these units into a single-gang electrical bracket.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 14299 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent. For dimmable bulbs only. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch. No neutral wire required.
GE 14294 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 300W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GoControl WD500Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 500W of lighting load. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5DIMMER From Resideo. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 150W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Now we will look at some more DIY-friendly options, starting with Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches. Unlike in-wall switches that you have to install using a screwdriver, these devices simply plug into your standard wall outlet. Just plug one in, connect a lamp, and you now have smart lighting control. These units couldn't be more straightforward and simple to use, and if you're intimidated by having to install your own in-wall light switch, then these are a fantastic alternative. Again, these units are only capable of turning the lights ON and OFF. You can also technically use some of these units with other plug-in devices, provided that the connected device does not exceed the maximum load limit.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches.

Models
Notes
GE 28172 From GE. Designed for lighting devices only. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Linear PS15EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5SWPID From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor.
Resideo Z5SWPIO From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor. Suitable for outdoor use.
Qolsys IQ Smart Plug From Qolsys. Supports up to 13A of power. Not just for lighting devices. Also sold as Qolsys QZ2101-840.

Our penultimate category of smart lights focuses on Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers. As you can probably guess, these are plug-in modules, but instead of just turning the lamp ON and OFF, you can also adjust its brightness. The use of dimmable bulbs is recommended. Again, this is an excellent DIY alternative if you don't feel comfortable installing your own in-wall dimmer switch. Just plug it in, connect a dimmable lamp, and enjoy your new smart lights!

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 28170 From GE. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.
GoControl PD300EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 300W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5DIMPID From Resideo. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.

Lastly, we want to give special recognition to Apple HomeKit compatible smart lights. We're keeping things simple by only listing products from Lutron. These lights work by building around a centralized base station and then pairing lighting modules with that main unit. Our team at Alarm Grid is wholly impressed by what Lutron has to offer, and we can definitely recommend these lights for anyone building around the HomeKit platform. One other major benefit of Lutron Smart Lights is that no neutral wire is required as part of the setup. This can be very beneficial if you do not have a neutral wire in your home's existing electrical wiring. Please note that Alarm Grid only offers the Caseta lineup from Lutron, so that is what we will be focusing on in this buying guide.

The Lutron section of this guide will be split into four (4) categories. First we will look at the smart bridges, or central hubs, that we offer for Lutron. Then we will explore some bundled deals we offer as starter kits. From there, we will check out individual Lutron lighting devices. Lastly, we will examine some accessories for Lutron devices.


First up, we have the Lutron Smart Bridges. There are only two (2) here. You need one of these devices to start building a network of Lutron Smart Lights. You will notice a standard "non-Pro" model, as well as "Pro 2" model. The main difference here is that the "Pro 2" model can integrate with Alarm.com, while the "non-Pro" model cannot. This is completely irrelevant if you are building a HomeKit network around the Honeywell Lyric, as you will be using Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive smart platform instead of Alarm.com. But if you are using HomeKit separately with an IQ Panel 2 Plus, a 2GIG GC3e, or pretty much any other Alarm.com Security System, then this can really come in handy, as you can then integrate your smart lights in with the same network as your alarm system.

Here are our Lutron Smart Bridges.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta L-BDG2 "Non-Pro" smart bridge for Lutron. Does not support an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.
Lutron Caseta L-BDGPRO2-WH "Pro 2" smart bridge for Lutron. Supports an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.

But before you rush out and buy one of the aforementioned Lutron Smart Bridges, you may instead consider getting one of our Lutron Starter Kits, which all include a Lutron Smart Bridge and some compatible devices to get you started. This can save you a bit of money if you are just getting started with Lutron. Unfortunately, we only have starter kits based around the "Non-Pro" smart bridge. If you are wanting the "Pro 2" model for Alarm.com use, then you will need to buy that model ala carte, along with all the devices you want to pair.

Let's check out our Lutron Starter Kits.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, In-Wall Dimmer, Pico Remote, and Wall Plate.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2P Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) Plug-In Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) In-Wall Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, Two (2) Wall Plates, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.

Now we'll look at the actual Lutron Lighting Components. These are the individual, ala carte lighting devices that you pair with your Lutron Smart Bridge. The included notes should help you decide which devices are right for your Lutron network. Lutron keeps things relatively simple here, as the selection is short but sweet.

Here are individual Lutron Lighting Components.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta PD-3PCL-WH Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module. Supports up to 300W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 100W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-5NE In-Wall Smart Dimmer for Electronic Low Voltage (ELV+) Lights. Supports up to 250W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs, 500W for incandescent, halogen, or ELV bulbs, or 400W for Magnet Low Voltage (MLV) bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-6ANS-WH In-Wall Neutral Smart Switch. Supports up to 720W for incandescent, halogen, ELV, or MLV lights, 6A for LED/CFL, or 3.6A for a ceiling fan.
Lutron Caseta PD-6WCL In-Wall Light Dimmer Switch. Supports 600W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 150W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.

Last but not least, we have some Lutron Accessories. These include the Pico Remote that you can use a remote control for your Lutron Lights, as well as various wall-plates and some bundles. There are quite a few accessories to cover, and they make the perfect stocking stuffer for the Lutron lover on your gift list.

Here are Lutron Accessories.

Model Notes
Lutron Caseta PJ2-3BRL-WH-L01R Lutron Caseta Pico Remote. Small handheld remote that you can use to control your Lutron Lights. Includes three (3) buttons for turning ON and OFF and adjusting brightness. Can also be used to facilitate a multi-pole setup for your Lutron Lights.
Lutron Caseta PICO-WBX-ADAPT Lutron Caseta Pico Remote Wallplate Adapter Bracket. Allows you to mount your Pico Remote to the wall. Wallplate not included.
Lutron Caseta PJ2-WALL-WH-L01 Lutron Caseta Pico Wall Plate Kit. Includes a Pico Remote, Wallplate Adapter Bracket, and Wallplate.
Lutron CW-1-WH Single Gang Wallplate for Lutron. Double, triple, and quadruple gang wallplates also available!

Door Locks

Door locks are fairly straight forward. They replace the existing deadbolt lock on your front door, back door, patio door, pool door, garage door, or really any door with a deadbolt lock. You will then have smart control over that door, meaning you can LOCK and UNLOCK it remotely using a compatible interactive service platform. This also includes the ability to have the door LOCK or UNLOCK automatically with smart scenes. Most of the locks listed here will allow you to use a traditional key if you want, but you can also manually enter a code into the lock using push-buttons or a touchscreen. This can be very convenient for getting in if you forget your key or don't wish to carry one around.

Virtually any door lock will accomplish the same goal, so what you should base your buying decision on is how reliable the brand is, how you control the door lock locally (e.g. a push-button touchpad or a LED touchscreen), and which design you like. You will also need to decide whether you need a Z-Wave Plus door lock or an Apple HomeKit door lock. Most of the models listed here are Z-Wave Plus variants, but we did include a couple of HomeKit versions for good measure. Many of the door locks listed here come in multiple finishing options to give you some added customization. You will notice that we do not list too many brands here. We really wanted to focus on the ones we feel the most confident in offering.

Here are our top picks for door locks.

Model
Notes
Yale YRD216 From Yale. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Yale YRD226 From Yale. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Kwikset 914 From Kwikset. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 30 codes. Available in Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, or Polished Brass.
Kwikset Obsidian From Kwikset. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 16 codes. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Oil Rubbed Bronze or Satin Nickel.
August Smart Lock Pro w/ Connect From August. Includes August Smart Lock Pro and August Connect, which makes integrating w/ Apple HomeKit significantly easier and more reliable. Supports BOTH Apple HomeKit and Z-Wave Plus connectivity. Also supports Bluetooth connectivity. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Dark Gray and Silver.
Yale YRD256 w/ iM1 Module From Yale. The integrated iM1 Module allows for use w/ Apple HomeKit. Lock itself can store 25 codes, pairing w/ HomeKit increases limit to 250. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel. There is also a Z-Wave Plus variant of the same lock that does not support Apple HomeKit.


Smart Thermostats

Now we're really getting into exciting territory, as smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home from virtually anywhere! This is perfect whether you want to keep energy costs low, or you simply want to ensure you arrive home to a comfy house. We all know how stressful it can be if you forgot to adjust your thermostat before leaving home. Well, now you can worry no longer! All you need to do to get started is cut the power at the breaker for your HVAC system, remove your old thermostat, and install your new smart thermostat in its place. This is easier than you might think! For this category, we will mostly be covering Z-Wave Plus thermostats, but we did include an Apple HomeKit thermostat in the listings as well.

Here are our top picks for smart thermostats.

Model
Notes
Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave From Resideo. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology.
Alarm.com ADC-T3000 From Alarm.com. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology. Compatible temperature sensor also available.
2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat From Nortek. Uses state-of-the-art 700-Series Z-Wave Plus technology.
Honeywell T6 Pro WIFI From Resideo. Uses WIFI to connect w/ Apple HomeKit.


Other Smart Home Devices


Alright, we're finishing this up with some great smart home devices that we couldn't really fit into any other category. Our main focus here will be on smart garage door controllers and smart water valves. These are super convenient and useful devices that make a great addition to almost any home. A smart garage door controller connects with your existing garage door motor so that you can open and close your garage door from anywhere or have it open and close automatically with smart scenes. Smart water valves are an excellent emergency tool that you can use to shut-off your water supply in the event of a flood or leak. Many users will pair them with flood sensors for inclusion in smart scenes. Unfortunately for Apple HomeKit users, we don't have any HomeKit devices for this section, and we will only be covering Z-Wave variants in this section.

Check out these miscellaneous smart home devices!

Model
Notes
Honeywell GDCK Garage Door Controller Kit From Resideo. Garage door controller kit that includes Honeywell 5877 Relay Module, Honeywell 5822T Tilt Sensor, and a SSA-1 Siren/Strobe. For use w/ Lyric and LYNX Touch only. Cannot be used with LiftMaster MyQ Garage Door Motors
GoControl GD00Z-8-GC Garage Door Controller From Nortek. Z-Wave Plus Garage Door Opener. Includes tilt sensor for detecting current position of garage door. Cannot be used with Lyric or LYNX Touch.
Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 Smart Water Valve & Meter From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve w/ Meter. Water valve allows you to shut off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Meter tracks your water usage for energy savings and efficiency. Typically installed by a plumber.
Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Smart Water Valve From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve. Used to shut-off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Typically installed by a plumber.


Reach Out to Us!

Got any questions about which smart home devices are right for you, or are you not sure about compatibility? Reach out to us! Our team is happy to help you make your holiday shopping season as easy and as stress-free as possible. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. And as always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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The Alarm Grid holiday buying guide for the 2020 season continues, this time focusing on smart home automation. We will be covering our top picks for lights, door locks, and thermostats. As usual, our selections are compatible with our top security system picks for the 2020 shopping season.

If you haven't seen our earlier 2020 holiday buying guide releases, make sure to review them at some point. They will provide you with a good introduction before checking out our smart home automation offerings.

An automation device is a piece of equipment that you can have activate automatically based on a set schedule. These devices can also be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere in the world using a platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com and a simple app on your smartphone. When we talk about automation devices for alarm systems, we are mainly discussing lights that can be turned ON or OFF, dimmer modules that can adjust the brightness of lights, door locks that can be LOCKED or UNLOCKED, and thermostats that can increase or decrease the set temperature in the building when connected with an HVAC system. There are also some miscellaneous automation devices, including smart water valves, that we will also explore. Depending on the platform, you can also integrate these devices with smart home voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. We won't be exploring that too much in this buying guide, but it is something to keep in mind if you already have a smart home assistant set up in your house, or if you were considering setting one up in the near future.

To keep our automation section as simple as possible, we will be primarily looking at Z-WAVE PLUS automation devices. This refers mostly to 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices, though you may occasionally see some newer 700-Series Z-Wave Plus devices thrown in as well. Using certified Z-Wave Plus devices with a Z-Wave Plus controller will ensure the furthest possible wireless range, as well as the longest possible battery life, when applicable. Using exclusively Z-Wave Plus devices on a Z-Wave Plus controller is also the best way to ensure the strongest possible mesh network. Another advantage to going with Z-Wave Plus is that your automation devices will pair directly with your alarm system, which will thereby serve as your central automation controller. This keeps things as simple and as organized as possible, and it will ultimately allow you to keep everything in the same app on your phone.


However, we will also be including a few Apple HomeKit products along the way. We understand that we have many customers who use iOS and are building around the HomeKit platform for automation. When looking at our top security system picks, only the Honeywell Lyric is compatible with Apple HomeKit. This is out recommended system if you are building around the HomeKit platform. If you are starting from scratch and you are not a dedicated iOS user, then you will likely prefer Z-Wave Plus, as you can keep all your system control and automation control in the same app, with virtually no crossover. But, if you have taken advantage of what Apple HomeKit has to offer, and you want to continue building around the platform, then we have you covered. Remember, of our top system picks, only the Lyric can support HomeKit, and even then, your HomeKit devices will not pair directly with the Lyric.


Of our top security system picks for the 2020 holiday buying season, both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e support Z-Wave Plus technology. Both of those systems have their own integrated Z-Wave Plus controller, and they will allow you to take full advantage of what Z-Wave Plus has to offer. However, our other top pick, the Honeywell Lyric only has a classic Z-Wave controller built-in. You can still enroll Z-Wave Plus devices with the Lyric, but they won't offer the same range, battery life, and security provisions as Z-Wave Plus. This makes the Lyric the weak link of the three if automation outside of Apple HomeKit is particularly important to you. But rest assured that every product listed here should work with any of our recommended systems. Its just that you will get the best possible results by using a Z-Wave Plus compatible system, like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or 2GIG GC3e.

With all of that out of the way, let's begin exploring our favorite smart home automation devices of the 2020 holiday season.


Smart Lights

Smart lights can be split into a few different categories. They are usually either in-wall modules that replace your existing, standard light switches, or they are plug-in module that you simply plug into a regular wall outlet. Lights can also be split into groups of ON/OFF switches that merely turn the lights ON and OFF, and groups of dimmer modules that can actually adjust the brightness of the lights. As such, you will see four (4) groups of lights listed below. There are in-wall switches, in-wall dimmers, plug-in switches, and plug-in dimmers. We know that may seem a bit confusing, but it should make more sense once you see all of the categories properly laid out and organized. Spoiler, if you're looking for Apple HomeKit Lights, then skip to the very end of this section.

We will start with Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches. These devices replace existing in-wall switches, and they are able to turn the lights ON and OFF. When installing one, make sure to cut power at the circuit breaker first. Then simply remove the existing in-wall switch, and install your new Z-Wave Plus in-wall switch in its place. Keep in mind that most of these units will require the use of a neutral wire. Most homes built in the 1980s onward will have this readily available, though older homes may be lacking this wire. It's also important to mention that all of the in-wall switches listed here should readily fit into single gang brackets. We will also be listing coordinating 3-way switches in the notes section when applicable.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches.

Model Notes
GoControl WS15Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 600W for incandescent bulbs. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 14318 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46201 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46562 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5SWITCH From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Next up are Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers. These units also replace your existing in-wall switches. The difference here is that these devices have the ability to adjust the brightness of your lights, in addition to simply turning them ON and OFF. You will want to make sure you are using these devices with dimmable light bulbs. Again, you will want to cut power at the circuit breaker when installing. Most of these units will require a neutral wire, though there is an exception here. You should be able to fit these units into a single-gang electrical bracket.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 14299 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent. For dimmable bulbs only. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch. No neutral wire required.
GE 14294 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 300W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GoControl WD500Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 500W of lighting load. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5DIMMER From Resideo. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 150W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Now we will look at some more DIY-friendly options, starting with Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches. Unlike in-wall switches that you have to install using a screwdriver, these devices simply plug into your standard wall outlet. Just plug one in, connect a lamp, and you now have smart lighting control. These units couldn't be more straightforward and simple to use, and if you're intimidated by having to install your own in-wall light switch, then these are a fantastic alternative. Again, these units are only capable of turning the lights ON and OFF. You can also technically use some of these units with other plug-in devices, provided that the connected device does not exceed the maximum load limit.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches.

Models
Notes
GE 28172 From GE. Designed for lighting devices only. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Linear PS15EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5SWPID From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor.
Resideo Z5SWPIO From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor. Suitable for outdoor use.
Qolsys IQ Smart Plug From Qolsys. Supports up to 13A of power. Not just for lighting devices. Also sold as Qolsys QZ2101-840.

Our penultimate category of smart lights focuses on Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers. As you can probably guess, these are plug-in modules, but instead of just turning the lamp ON and OFF, you can also adjust its brightness. The use of dimmable bulbs is recommended. Again, this is an excellent DIY alternative if you don't feel comfortable installing your own in-wall dimmer switch. Just plug it in, connect a dimmable lamp, and enjoy your new smart lights!

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 28170 From GE. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.
GoControl PD300EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 300W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5DIMPID From Resideo. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.

Lastly, we want to give special recognition to Apple HomeKit compatible smart lights. We're keeping things simple by only listing products from Lutron. These lights work by building around a centralized base station and then pairing lighting modules with that main unit. Our team at Alarm Grid is wholly impressed by what Lutron has to offer, and we can definitely recommend these lights for anyone building around the HomeKit platform. One other major benefit of Lutron Smart Lights is that no neutral wire is required as part of the setup. This can be very beneficial if you do not have a neutral wire in your home's existing electrical wiring. Please note that Alarm Grid only offers the Caseta lineup from Lutron, so that is what we will be focusing on in this buying guide.

The Lutron section of this guide will be split into four (4) categories. First we will look at the smart bridges, or central hubs, that we offer for Lutron. Then we will explore some bundled deals we offer as starter kits. From there, we will check out individual Lutron lighting devices. Lastly, we will examine some accessories for Lutron devices.


First up, we have the Lutron Smart Bridges. There are only two (2) here. You need one of these devices to start building a network of Lutron Smart Lights. You will notice a standard "non-Pro" model, as well as "Pro 2" model. The main difference here is that the "Pro 2" model can integrate with Alarm.com, while the "non-Pro" model cannot. This is completely irrelevant if you are building a HomeKit network around the Honeywell Lyric, as you will be using Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive smart platform instead of Alarm.com. But if you are using HomeKit separately with an IQ Panel 2 Plus, a 2GIG GC3e, or pretty much any other Alarm.com Security System, then this can really come in handy, as you can then integrate your smart lights in with the same network as your alarm system.

Here are our Lutron Smart Bridges.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta L-BDG2 "Non-Pro" smart bridge for Lutron. Does not support an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.
Lutron Caseta L-BDGPRO2-WH "Pro 2" smart bridge for Lutron. Supports an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.

But before you rush out and buy one of the aforementioned Lutron Smart Bridges, you may instead consider getting one of our Lutron Starter Kits, which all include a Lutron Smart Bridge and some compatible devices to get you started. This can save you a bit of money if you are just getting started with Lutron. Unfortunately, we only have starter kits based around the "Non-Pro" smart bridge. If you are wanting the "Pro 2" model for Alarm.com use, then you will need to buy that model ala carte, along with all the devices you want to pair.

Let's check out our Lutron Starter Kits.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, In-Wall Dimmer, Pico Remote, and Wall Plate.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2P Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) Plug-In Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) In-Wall Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, Two (2) Wall Plates, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.

Now we'll look at the actual Lutron Lighting Components. These are the individual, ala carte lighting devices that you pair with your Lutron Smart Bridge. The included notes should help you decide which devices are right for your Lutron network. Lutron keeps things relatively simple here, as the selection is short but sweet.

Here are individual Lutron Lighting Components.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta PD-3PCL-WH Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module. Supports up to 300W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 100W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-5NE In-Wall Smart Dimmer for Electronic Low Voltage (ELV+) Lights. Supports up to 250W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs, 500W for incandescent, halogen, or ELV bulbs, or 400W for Magnet Low Voltage (MLV) bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-6ANS-WH In-Wall Neutral Smart Switch. Supports up to 720W for incandescent, halogen, ELV, or MLV lights, 6A for LED/CFL, or 3.6A for a ceiling fan.
Lutron Caseta PD-6WCL In-Wall Light Dimmer Switch. Supports 600W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 150W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.

Last but not least, we have some Lutron Accessories. These include the Pico Remote that you can use a remote control for your Lutron Lights, as well as various wall-plates and some bundles. There are quite a few accessories to cover, and they make the perfect stocking stuffer for the Lutron lover on your gift list.

Here are Lutron Accessories.

Model Notes
Lutron Caseta PJ2-3BRL-WH-L01R Lutron Caseta Pico Remote. Small handheld remote that you can use to control your Lutron Lights. Includes three (3) buttons for turning ON and OFF and adjusting brightness. Can also be used to facilitate a multi-pole setup for your Lutron Lights.
Lutron Caseta PICO-WBX-ADAPT Lutron Caseta Pico Remote Wallplate Adapter Bracket. Allows you to mount your Pico Remote to the wall. Wallplate not included.
Lutron Caseta PJ2-WALL-WH-L01 Lutron Caseta Pico Wall Plate Kit. Includes a Pico Remote, Wallplate Adapter Bracket, and Wallplate.
Lutron CW-1-WH Single Gang Wallplate for Lutron. Double, triple, and quadruple gang wallplates also available!

Door Locks

Door locks are fairly straight forward. They replace the existing deadbolt lock on your front door, back door, patio door, pool door, garage door, or really any door with a deadbolt lock. You will then have smart control over that door, meaning you can LOCK and UNLOCK it remotely using a compatible interactive service platform. This also includes the ability to have the door LOCK or UNLOCK automatically with smart scenes. Most of the locks listed here will allow you to use a traditional key if you want, but you can also manually enter a code into the lock using push-buttons or a touchscreen. This can be very convenient for getting in if you forget your key or don't wish to carry one around.

Virtually any door lock will accomplish the same goal, so what you should base your buying decision on is how reliable the brand is, how you control the door lock locally (e.g. a push-button touchpad or a LED touchscreen), and which design you like. You will also need to decide whether you need a Z-Wave Plus door lock or an Apple HomeKit door lock. Most of the models listed here are Z-Wave Plus variants, but we did include a couple of HomeKit versions for good measure. Many of the door locks listed here come in multiple finishing options to give you some added customization. You will notice that we do not list too many brands here. We really wanted to focus on the ones we feel the most confident in offering.

Here are our top picks for door locks.

Model
Notes
Yale YRD216 From Yale. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Yale YRD226 From Yale. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Kwikset 914 From Kwikset. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 30 codes. Available in Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, or Polished Brass.
Kwikset Obsidian From Kwikset. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 16 codes. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Oil Rubbed Bronze or Satin Nickel.
August Smart Lock Pro w/ Connect From August. Includes August Smart Lock Pro and August Connect, which makes integrating w/ Apple HomeKit significantly easier and more reliable. Supports BOTH Apple HomeKit and Z-Wave Plus connectivity. Also supports Bluetooth connectivity. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Dark Gray and Silver.
Yale YRD256 w/ iM1 Module From Yale. The integrated iM1 Module allows for use w/ Apple HomeKit. Lock itself can store 25 codes, pairing w/ HomeKit increases limit to 250. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel. There is also a Z-Wave Plus variant of the same lock that does not support Apple HomeKit.


Smart Thermostats

Now we're really getting into exciting territory, as smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home from virtually anywhere! This is perfect whether you want to keep energy costs low, or you simply want to ensure you arrive home to a comfy house. We all know how stressful it can be if you forgot to adjust your thermostat before leaving home. Well, now you can worry no longer! All you need to do to get started is cut the power at the breaker for your HVAC system, remove your old thermostat, and install your new smart thermostat in its place. This is easier than you might think! For this category, we will mostly be covering Z-Wave Plus thermostats, but we did include an Apple HomeKit thermostat in the listings as well.

Here are our top picks for smart thermostats.

Model
Notes
Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave From Resideo. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology.
Alarm.com ADC-T3000 From Alarm.com. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology. Compatible temperature sensor also available.
2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat From Nortek. Uses state-of-the-art 700-Series Z-Wave Plus technology.
Honeywell T6 Pro WIFI From Resideo. Uses WIFI to connect w/ Apple HomeKit.


Other Smart Home Devices


Alright, we're finishing this up with some great smart home devices that we couldn't really fit into any other category. Our main focus here will be on smart garage door controllers and smart water valves. These are super convenient and useful devices that make a great addition to almost any home. A smart garage door controller connects with your existing garage door motor so that you can open and close your garage door from anywhere or have it open and close automatically with smart scenes. Smart water valves are an excellent emergency tool that you can use to shut-off your water supply in the event of a flood or leak. Many users will pair them with flood sensors for inclusion in smart scenes. Unfortunately for Apple HomeKit users, we don't have any HomeKit devices for this section, and we will only be covering Z-Wave variants in this section.

Check out these miscellaneous smart home devices!

Model
Notes
Honeywell GDCK Garage Door Controller Kit From Resideo. Garage door controller kit that includes Honeywell 5877 Relay Module, Honeywell 5822T Tilt Sensor, and a SSA-1 Siren/Strobe. For use w/ Lyric and LYNX Touch only. Cannot be used with LiftMaster MyQ Garage Door Motors
GoControl GD00Z-8-GC Garage Door Controller From Nortek. Z-Wave Plus Garage Door Opener. Includes tilt sensor for detecting current position of garage door. Cannot be used with Lyric or LYNX Touch.
Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 Smart Water Valve & Meter From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve w/ Meter. Water valve allows you to shut off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Meter tracks your water usage for energy savings and efficiency. Typically installed by a plumber.
Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Smart Water Valve From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve. Used to shut-off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Typically installed by a plumber.


Reach Out to Us!

Got any questions about which smart home devices are right for you, or are you not sure about compatibility? Reach out to us! Our team is happy to help you make your holiday shopping season as easy and as stress-free as possible. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. And as always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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Stolen packages are a concern for many individuals. But you can take a stand and prevent thieves from taking your stuff. All you need is a doorbell camera, a Z-Wave door lock, and a monitored security system with Alarm Grid. We'll help you protect your packages from pesky porch pirates!


It doesn't take a genius to figure out how a package gets stolen. The delivery person rings the doorbell and finds that nobody is home. They leave the package out in the open. Then a no-good package thief comes along, swoops up the goods, and you're then left wondering whether or not the delivery got lost in the mail. Countless packages fall victim to this very setup every single day. And if you don't have any evidence, then it can be next to impossible to catch the guilty party.

But there's an easy method to prevent this from happening to you. First, swap out your regular doorbell with a smart video doorbell camera. We recommend using one of the SkyBell Video Doorbell devices for this job. You can choose between a Total Connect 2.0 model and an Alarm.com model depending on which service you use with your system. Remember, you do not need special video monitoring service to get started with a SkyBell Video Doorbell. Total Connect 2.0 will allow a user to pair up to five (5) SkyBell devices per Alarm.com account, while Alarm.com provides support for one (1) SkyBell without true video monitoring service.


Next, configure your SkyBell device to work with your interactive service platform of either Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. You can get push notifications on your phone whenever someone rings your SkyBell device. With the push of a button, you can pull up a live feed of the person at your door and communicate with them using two-way audio. When you see that it's the delivery person, greet them with a pleasant "Hello", and explain that you aren't home at the moment. Then invite them to step inside to drop off the package.

But how will the delivery person get inside? And how will they avoid setting off your security system? Easy. With a Z-Wave door lock, you can unlock the door, and you can disarm your alarm system using either the TC2 or ADC app on your phone. You might even consider making a smart scene to have your door automatically unlock as soon as your system is disarmed. Alarm Grid offers a wide selection of door locks to choose from. We recommend Z-Wave door locks, as they are super easy to program, and they can interface with nearly every modern wireless security system.


Once everything is in order, instruct the delivery person to go inside and leave the package near the door. If you're feeling extra groovy, you might invite them to grab a bottle of water from the fridge. It's hot out there, and your delivery driver would really appreciate the kind gesture. We'll leave that up to you though. If you don't want them walking through your house, then leaving a small snack or a tip by the front door will also show that you care.

Once the driver is gone, re-lock your door and re-arm your system. And just like that, you know that your package is nice and safe, and the porch pirate's plan has been foiled. It may also be a good idea to track any packages you order and know when you can expect them. Also make sure to take a good look at the delivery person when you let them inside. While fraudulent delivery drivers are very uncommon, they're not unheard of. If you're in doubt, instruct the driver to leave the package behind your house or behind some bushes so that you can retrieve it later. This is better than leaving the package wide open in front of your front door.

Of course, this setup will require monitoring service for accessing Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. If your system isn't monitored, or if you don't have a security system, then Alarm Grid has you covered! We offer a wide selection of DIY security systems, including the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, the 2GIG GC3e, and much more. We also offer monitoring plans for all budgets. This type of setup won't require anything fancy, and it's nothing that will break the bank. In the long run, it's worth it for your peace of mind!

If you want to learn more about Alarm Grid monitoring service, or if you have questions about protecting your deliveries, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We'll be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Remember that our hours for checking email are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Stolen packages are a concern for many individuals. But you can take a stand and prevent thieves from taking your stuff. All you need is a doorbell camera, a Z-Wave door lock, and a monitored security system with Alarm Grid. We'll help you protect your packages from pesky porch pirates!


It doesn't take a genius to figure out how a package gets stolen. The delivery person rings the doorbell and finds that nobody is home. They leave the package out in the open. Then a no-good package thief comes along, swoops up the goods, and you're then left wondering whether or not the delivery got lost in the mail. Countless packages fall victim to this very setup every single day. And if you don't have any evidence, then it can be next to impossible to catch the guilty party.

But there's an easy method to prevent this from happening to you. First, swap out your regular doorbell with a smart video doorbell camera. We recommend using one of the SkyBell Video Doorbell devices for this job. You can choose between a Total Connect 2.0 model and an Alarm.com model depending on which service you use with your system. Remember, you do not need special video monitoring service to get started with a SkyBell Video Doorbell. Total Connect 2.0 will allow a user to pair up to five (5) SkyBell devices per Alarm.com account, while Alarm.com provides support for one (1) SkyBell without true video monitoring service.


Next, configure your SkyBell device to work with your interactive service platform of either Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. You can get push notifications on your phone whenever someone rings your SkyBell device. With the push of a button, you can pull up a live feed of the person at your door and communicate with them using two-way audio. When you see that it's the delivery person, greet them with a pleasant "Hello", and explain that you aren't home at the moment. Then invite them to step inside to drop off the package.

But how will the delivery person get inside? And how will they avoid setting off your security system? Easy. With a Z-Wave door lock, you can unlock the door, and you can disarm your alarm system using either the TC2 or ADC app on your phone. You might even consider making a smart scene to have your door automatically unlock as soon as your system is disarmed. Alarm Grid offers a wide selection of door locks to choose from. We recommend Z-Wave door locks, as they are super easy to program, and they can interface with nearly every modern wireless security system.


Once everything is in order, instruct the delivery person to go inside and leave the package near the door. If you're feeling extra groovy, you might invite them to grab a bottle of water from the fridge. It's hot out there, and your delivery driver would really appreciate the kind gesture. We'll leave that up to you though. If you don't want them walking through your house, then leaving a small snack or a tip by the front door will also show that you care.

Once the driver is gone, re-lock your door and re-arm your system. And just like that, you know that your package is nice and safe, and the porch pirate's plan has been foiled. It may also be a good idea to track any packages you order and know when you can expect them. Also make sure to take a good look at the delivery person when you let them inside. While fraudulent delivery drivers are very uncommon, they're not unheard of. If you're in doubt, instruct the driver to leave the package behind your house or behind some bushes so that you can retrieve it later. This is better than leaving the package wide open in front of your front door.

Of course, this setup will require monitoring service for accessing Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. If your system isn't monitored, or if you don't have a security system, then Alarm Grid has you covered! We offer a wide selection of DIY security systems, including the Honeywell Lyric, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, the 2GIG GC3e, and much more. We also offer monitoring plans for all budgets. This type of setup won't require anything fancy, and it's nothing that will break the bank. In the long run, it's worth it for your peace of mind!

If you want to learn more about Alarm Grid monitoring service, or if you have questions about protecting your deliveries, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We'll be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Remember that our hours for checking email are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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One of the biggest benefits of alarm monitoring service is that most plans include access to an interactive monitoring and automation platform for controlling your system and smart home automation devices remotely. This is extremely convenient, and it can offer you great peace of mind!

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Most Alarm Grid monitoring plans will include access to either Total Connect 2.0 (TC2) or Alarm.com (ADC). TC2 is for Honeywell and Resideo Alarm Systems, while ADC is for systems from other manufacturers, such as Qolsys, 2GIG, and DSC. For TC2, your system can use an internet communicator, a cellular communicator, or dual-path communication with both internet and cellular. But a panel using ADC must have a cellular communicator that is activated and registered. IP (internet protocol) connectivity is optional for Alarm.com.

Before buying a system and/or communicator, you should consider which monitoring plan is right for you. In order to control your automation devices through an interactive platform, you must have monitoring plan of Silver or higher. Keep in mind that anyone using Alarm.com will have a Gold Plan or higher, as Gold is needed for cellular connectivity. You can choose between central station plans for automatic emergency dispatch, and self plans where it is up to the end user to request help. This guide will tell you all about our monitoring plans.

The real fun begins once you have the right system, communicator, and monitoring plan. By accessing Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, you can control your system remotely by using a convenient app on your phone, or by opening a web browser. It is also possible to check the status of your system or an automation device, which is great if you forgetful and forgot whether or not you took proper action before leaving home. Some of the situations where this may be convenient can include:

  • Making sure you armed your system before leaving.
  • Turning ON your front porch lights if you're arriving home late.
  • Checking to see that you locked your front door before heading out.
  • Turning OFF your thermostat to save money while you're away.
  • Making sure your garage door is closed if you forgot.

Alarm Grid offers many smart home automation devices that allow for easy integration with a security system. Most notable are Z-Wave devices. The great thing about Z-Wave is that the smart home protocol integrates very nicely with most of the security systems we support. It is super easy to build a robust and reliable Z-Wave network of interconnected devices. Most of the new wireless systems we sell will readily support Z-Wave devices right out of the box.

We understand that this can be a lot to wrap your head around all at once. That is why we're here to help! We invite you to contact us so that we can help you plan the ideal alarm system and automation network for your home. The best way to reach us is to either email our team at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our planning team will be happy to help you every step of the way in building your new state-of-the-art system. We look forward to hearing from you!

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One of the biggest benefits of alarm monitoring service is that most plans include access to an interactive monitoring and automation platform for controlling your system and smart home automation devices remotely. This is extremely convenient, and it can offer you great peace of mind!

2gig gc3e verizon lte 10 1 kit wireless encrypted alarm system 1

Most Alarm Grid monitoring plans will include access to either Total Connect 2.0 (TC2) or Alarm.com (ADC). TC2 is for Honeywell and Resideo Alarm Systems, while ADC is for systems from other manufacturers, such as Qolsys, 2GIG, and DSC. For TC2, your system can use an internet communicator, a cellular communicator, or dual-path communication with both internet and cellular. But a panel using ADC must have a cellular communicator that is activated and registered. IP (internet protocol) connectivity is optional for Alarm.com.

Before buying a system and/or communicator, you should consider which monitoring plan is right for you. In order to control your automation devices through an interactive platform, you must have monitoring plan of Silver or higher. Keep in mind that anyone using Alarm.com will have a Gold Plan or higher, as Gold is needed for cellular connectivity. You can choose between central station plans for automatic emergency dispatch, and self plans where it is up to the end user to request help. This guide will tell you all about our monitoring plans.

The real fun begins once you have the right system, communicator, and monitoring plan. By accessing Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, you can control your system remotely by using a convenient app on your phone, or by opening a web browser. It is also possible to check the status of your system or an automation device, which is great if you forgetful and forgot whether or not you took proper action before leaving home. Some of the situations where this may be convenient can include:

  • Making sure you armed your system before leaving.
  • Turning ON your front porch lights if you're arriving home late.
  • Checking to see that you locked your front door before heading out.
  • Turning OFF your thermostat to save money while you're away.
  • Making sure your garage door is closed if you forgot.

Alarm Grid offers many smart home automation devices that allow for easy integration with a security system. Most notable are Z-Wave devices. The great thing about Z-Wave is that the smart home protocol integrates very nicely with most of the security systems we support. It is super easy to build a robust and reliable Z-Wave network of interconnected devices. Most of the new wireless systems we sell will readily support Z-Wave devices right out of the box.

We understand that this can be a lot to wrap your head around all at once. That is why we're here to help! We invite you to contact us so that we can help you plan the ideal alarm system and automation network for your home. The best way to reach us is to either email our team at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our planning team will be happy to help you every step of the way in building your new state-of-the-art system. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments