As deliveries begin to roll in ahead of the holiday season, it’s prime time for porch pirates to swipe unprotected packages off of doorsteps. A number of strategies can foil their evil plans, and bringing a few smart home gadgets into play is high on the list.
Americans are estimated to spend $63 billion online for holiday shopping this season. But package theft could cost shoppers and retailers significant time and money. However, you can take some measures to ensure the safety of your packages. The proliferation of smart home devices means you can monitor deliveries from your phone. Here are three great security devices that will help ensure that your packages get to you.
Arlo Video Doorbell
The hardwired Arlo Video Doorbell has a high-definition resolution, a live video feed, motion alerts. (Tyler Lizenby/CNET/TNS)
CNET TAKE: Connected buzzers work in much the same way as traditional security cameras. The hardwired Arlo Video Doorbell has high-definition resolution, a live video feed, motion alerts and more — for a super reasonable price. Subscribe to the Arlo Smart cloud service for access to advanced motion alerts that differentiate between people, animals, cars and packages. You can also look back at your video footage with Arlo Smart to help neighbors and law enforcement (if necessary) identify who snagged your holiday deliveries.
The Arlo Video Doorbell is our current top pick in the category.
Arlo Pro 4
With an Arlo Pro 4 subscription, you can use two-way talk to scare off would-be porch pirates. (Arlo/CNET/TNS)
CNET TAKE: The Arlo Pro 4 is smart and feature-rich, with 2K video resolution, a built-in spotlight for nighttime deterrence, a surprisingly loud siren and all the smarts of the company’s video doorbell. With a subscription, you can look back at recorded events, get alerts and use two-way talk to scare off would-be porch pirates.
It’s our top pick in the smart security camera category.
Ring Mailbox Sensor
Ring has a mailbox tracking device, which makes tracking deliveries a lot easier. (Ring/CNET/TNS)
CNET TAKE: Ring’s Mailbox Sensor is a device specifically for tracking when people are opening your mailbox, which makes tracking deliveries a lot easier. But if you have a home security system at home, another easy way of monitoring your mailbox is using a door/window sensor — one of those magnetic gadgets that pings the system when an entryway is opened — inside the door of your box. Either way you do it, you should be able to track the delivery of small parcels — and make sure you know when someone’s opening the mailbox who shouldn’t be.
Sarah Jayne Photo Co./Walden Campervans via AP
Whether in vans, campers or school buses, the pandemic grew a new crop of folks who took off on wheels after tricking out their rides. Why not gift a van life adventure? A company outside Boston, Walden Campervans, has nicely done rentals with solar and hot water systems — and plenty of add-ons, including toilets. One of their rides is pet-friendly with a cozy crate. Gift cards can be had and never expire. A three-night minimum rental is required. The maximum is 30 days. No one-way trips. Prices are generally in the $300-a-night range, depending on van, season and extras. See Waldencampervans.com.
Ageless Innovation via AP
This image provided by Ageless Innovation shows the animatronic "Joy for All Companion Pet Pup" by Ageless Innovation. The plush toy has a heartbeat and built-in sensors that respond to motion and touch. Research is encouraging that such companion toys are beneficial to dementia patients.
Chronicle Books via AP
“There is something radical about loving your hair in a world that tells you not to; it shows an incredible amount of strength and self-love.” So wrote St. Clair Detrick-Jules in the introduction to her book, “My Beautiful Black Hair.” The filmmaker and photographer turned to friends and strangers for 101 natural hair journeys. The book is part love letter to her younger sister, Khloe, who struggled after white classmates called her hair ugly. Detrick-Jules combines the candid portraits she took and narratives she collected with letters of inspiration to her sibling written by some of the women. Chronical Books. $24.95.
Hot Shots Distributing via AP
Alice Cooper and hot sauce is a pairing that doesn't roll off the tongue, but in the world of celebrity deals in the food and beverage industry, why not the 73-year-old rocker? Turns out, the OG has always been something of a hot sauce fan and was hands-on in developing three of his own named for some of his hits: Welcome to My Nightmare (mild), Poison (reaper hot) and No More Mr. Nice Guy (medium). Cooper's favorite part of the process? “Tasting the sauces as we went along to get them right,” he said via email. Made from reaper peppers, one of the hottest around. $29.95 for all three. Also sold separately. Available on UnitedSauces.com, TheChivery.com and other top retailers.
Urban Arrow via AP
They're the rage among climate lovers the world over, or parents looking for a new way to haul both groceries and kids. Amsterdam-based Urban Arrow has a nice selection of electric cargo bikes, from the huge, three-wheeled Tender (can carry a boatload) to the compact yet still useful Shorty. Add-on accessories include rain covers, a poncho that connects to the rain covers, and a baby seat adapter with suspension to smooth out bumps. Sold through a network of dealers. These things are heavy and pricey — $6,000 to $7,000 for the Family model, depending on the motor — but may please just the right giftee. Head to Urbanarrow.com.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products via AP
Until we meet again, Ted Lasso, Warner Bros. has a shop full of gift options for the super fan. There's the AFC Richmond V-neck sweater, for $59.95, a team jersey for the same price, and a nice selection of hoodies, shorts, T-shirts and accessories, from socks to a “Be a Goldfish” mug. Go to the Ted Lasso shop at Wbshop.com while we wait for Season 3 of the Apple TV+ hit show.
The Op via AP
This vibrant, color-guessing game took flight on TikTok and has made its way into the hearts of families. It's also a great party game. A cue master pulls a card and lends clues on one of 480 hues displayed on the board without using the actual names of primary colors. So no red, blue, yellow, etc. Play takes about 30 minutes for three to 10 people. It looks complicated but is amazingly simple — for folks with vocabularies that differentiate hues, anyway. Guessing “grape” or “apple” won't get the job done. $24.99 from The Op. Widely available.
Hydrow via AP
The company that makes this high-end home rowing machine calls it the Peloton of rowers. It's sleek, quiet and — for $38 a month — comes with a Peloton-like membership full of pre-loaded watery workouts and live events displayed on a 22-inch touchscreen. It's heavy at 145 pounds but folds upright for storage with the help of a kit, sold separately. It uses an electromagnetic fabric strip as the drag mechanism to simulate the pull of water. The drag is screen controlled. It requires Wi-Fi but is not enabled for third-party apps like Netflix or Spotify. $2,295 with free standard delivery included. Shop at Hydrow.com.
SNS via AP
Sneakersnstuff.com, also known as SNS, has a great looking patchwork Polartec zip jacket and pants set that works for all genders. The color palette screams fall in moss, brown and earthy blue. Available on the site and in the company's brick-and-mortar stores in Stockholm, London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo. The jacket costs $169 and the pants $149.
Taschen via AP
With “No Time to Die” recently out and the 60th anniversary of the James Bond franchise next year, Taschen is out with a hefty, up to date book for the coffee table covering the making of every single movie. It's filled with more than 1,000 images, and features oral history from 150 members of casts and crews. Edited by Paul Duncan, “The James Bond Archives: 007” costs $200. Available at Taschen.com.