Disclaimer: The folks at Canary kindly provided us a security unit for this review. As always, the opinions are my own.
OK. True story. This past summer when we were visiting Houston, we had a good friend check on our house a few times a day and let the dog out. One Sunday afternoon, we were visiting the Houston Zoo, when we started getting text messages about our house: “Did you make your bed before you left?”, “Did you have a glass of water on your nightstand?”, “Was your sun room open?” As the text conversation continued, the worst thoughts poured over me. Did someone break into our house? Did they sleep in our bed and drink a glass of water? Let’s hope it was just Goldilocks… turns out it was a door with a latch just loose enough to re-open if the wind was just right, a dog that loves to wrestle with the comforter and a friend dropping by to pick up some essential oils.
If only we had a Canary back then…
Whether you have an existing alarm system or not, the Canary is a useful and surprisingly fun gadget for the home. There are tons of wireless home security options in the market but I was led to Canary by doing my own research online. Here’s my review for us moms:
First of all, after looking and purchasing online, the Canary is much smaller than I thought it would be. The unit is about the size of a 12 oz. can (but slightly taller) that’s easy to move around should you need to.
To sync the device to your home’s Wi-Fi network, all you have to do is download the app to your phone and follow the step-by-step instructions on the app. You’ll see a pretty yellow glow when you’ve successfully paired Canary to your Wi-Fi network. Once the app was downloaded, I was able to get everything up and running in about five minutes! (and yes that’s a toiler paper roll next to the pumpkin, real life y’all)
There are three modes on the Canary: Armed, Disarmed and Privacy. Armed means you’ll get a mobile notification each time the Canary detects something unusual while you’re away, and send you a video clip of what it saw. Disarmed means it can still detect the motions as before, but will not send you alerts. You can still go back and watch these recorded clips. Privacy is designed for when you are home and do not want the Canary recording you (we have yet to use this function). The Canary iPhone app will use geo location to automatically arm itself when you leave the house, and disarm itself when you arrive home. This is a great feature and allowing the app to use my location 24/7 does not kill my phone battery! You can also add as many phones as needed so the Canary will know when to arm/disarm.
For a while we kept getting false alerts when the sun setting would reflect light in a way that confused the Canary. We relocated the unit and have had better success. If we ever did get a legit notification and noticed an intruder, the Canary app allows you to set off a 90+ db siren. Even more effective if we had more units (you can have up to four). You can also call a local ambulance, police, or fire station right out of the app if needed.
Especially with children, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Canary is a great alternative or addition to a traditional wired system (plus they just lowered the price to $200). State Farm also just lowered our home owners insurance by $80/year so the unit will practically pay for itself, all we had to do was request a letter from Canary. It’s fun to go back and watch the kids or dogs on occasion, especially if a disagreement starts or if you want to determine exactly when the two boys crawled in bed with mom and dad. After using a single unit for a couple months, I’m eager to add a second and maybe even a third unit to cover more of our house.