Canary Home Security Review: The Small Startup That Flew to Nationwide Coverage

There are so many surveillance systems on the market these days, which can make it hard for homeowners to choose the right one. This Canary home security review will serve as a guide for families in determining if this provider best suits their needs. It will look at the tools and hardware, the special features, the costs involved, and more. The key metrics with their grades are listed below, too.

Emily Brooks

Emily Brooks - Editorial Staff

Updated: February 27, 2020

Canary Security System

Canary Home Security Review: In-Depth

Canary home security got its start on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site. As of 2020, the company has expanded to include a mobile app, service plans, and a variety of smart technology. Part of the appeal is providing tools that work for customers, so they have added peace of mind even when they’re away from home.

Key Features

There are a few things that make this company stand out. Its grass-roots beginnings and dedication to user control appeal to consumers of all ages. Below is a review of some key specs one can expect from the system.

  • Battery backup
  • Device integrations (such as Amazon and Google)
  • DIY installation
  • Live home video streaming
  • Smartphone compatibility
  • Variety of surveillance camera modes

Background Information

The Canary team pitched their product idea on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo back in 2013. They had a goal of raising $100,000. In the end, they amassed nearly $2 million through the contributions of over 7,450 backers. Consumers were drawn to a single cloud device that syncs with smartphones and other smart home technology. Other businesses noticed, too including CNET, Mashable, and Popular Science. Today, the product is available at Target, Best Buy, Verizon, and on Amazon.

Features: The Details That Helped Canary Take Off

Even though the Canary security system is a single, smart device, it packs a powerful technological punch. Along with a convenient mobile app, the equipment offers two-way communication, night vision, live monitoring, and more. Below are some 2020 highlights that consumers might like.

24/7 Watch: Check-in on Things Anytime, Anywhere

24-7 Watch Canary

Streams live HD video and sound from the security cloud device at home to the user’s smartphone. This allows for anytime access to the security camera so consumers can keep an eye on pets and kids. Keep in mind that it’s only available with a premium subscription.

Motion-Activated Recording: Cameras That Never Miss a Beat

Motion-Activated Recording Canary

When the system detects movement, it will turn on the monitoring software. Once the motion stops, the recorder will turn off. The basic plan provides audio and video clips, which last 30 seconds, while a premium subscription allows for full-length recordings.

Different Modes: Personalized Safety Settings

This premium feature allows users to set up their cameras with custom modes, such as Home, Night, or Away. Each module has its distinct specifications that determine when it records and alerts individuals of movement. This helps avoid false alarms or ensure the house is secured at night.

Two-Way Talk: Great for Parents of Small Kids (or Pets)

Two-Way Talk Canary

If the kids are at home, but mom and dad are still at work, they can use the Canary security to have a chat. The parent can use the smartphone app to connect to the device at the house, allowing for two-way audio and great peace of mind.

Safety Button: A Smart Panic Option That Calls the Police

Safety Button Canary

The small surveillance device comes with a safety button that users can press whenever they feel they’re in danger. Plus, the system is passcode-protected, so not just anyone can access it. Pushing the button and not entering a PIN will notify the local authorities and dispatch them to the property.

Advanced Detection: Coverage When & How Customers Want It

Another premium option, this feature will automatically arm or disarm the system as well as respond to mobile commands. It can send alerts and notifications as well as activate a privacy mode, which disables the security camera and microphone.

Incident Support Services: One-on-One Assistance

Incident Support Services Canary

In the unfortunate event that a safety concern or problem does arise, this tool allows individuals to get in touch with the Canary security support team. These trained agents will know how to address the issue and will suggest the next steps for the family.

Desktop Streaming: Access Stored Video Files on a Computer

The system doesn’t only work on smartphones. Clients can access up to 30 days of home video footage on their desktop Web browsers, too. This can come in handy when trying to spot a neighborhood thief or ensure that no one is sneaking around at night.

Video History: Encrypted Footage Ready for Play-Back

Both Basic and Premium customers can access a timeline of system actions and video clips. The standard version only shows footage from the past 24 hours, but the paid one will play-back recordings from the previous 30 days.

Equipment & Installation: What Makes This One-Piece System Work

Now, review the hardware and specifications of the Canary smart home security system. Below is some insight into what to expect, as well as how the do-it-yourself installation works. There are three primary products and a couple of add-on accessories.

View: Best for Basic Surveillance

For those who are fine with the basics, this may be the item to go for. It’s an indoor 1080p camera with night vision and two-way audio capability. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google’s Nest cam and records 24/7 to capture any movement or disturbances. It costs $99, but users can get a discount if they combine it with a package.

Flex: The Next Step Up in Surveillance

The Flex is also smart-device-compatible and offers a two-way talk and HD camera resolution. Customers can use it indoors or outside since it’s weatherproof. It also has the option of going wire-free or being plugged in. Its $199 price tag reflects its increased capabilities, such as desktop streaming and video cloud storage for up to 30 days.

Multipacks: Full Protection for Larger Properties

For clients who have a larger property or just want more surveillance coverage, it’s best to consider a multipack. It costs $338 for two Canary Pro devices, which monitor movement, air quality, and sound. They also contain a 90-decibel siren, HD microphone, and an indoor/outdoor 1080p camera with night vision. Consumers can bundle a pack with a subscription plan for monetary savings.

Add-on Equipment: Three Mounts for Easier Set-Up

The additional accessories include mounts that allow families to place their equipment in the best location for their needs. The Secure Mount works with the Canary Flex and can affix to an interior or exterior wall. The Twist Mount allows for a more unique vantage point, as users can curl it around an object. Finally, the Stake can sit in the dirt or hide in a flower pot.

Installation

The best part of this residential security system is that it doesn’t require a trained technician or professional person. Customers can receive their products and set everything up themselves. It’s as easy as unpacking it and plugging it in. As long as the Internet connection is good quality, there shouldn’t be any issues with installation. Likewise, the app is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, with large, universal icons.

Canary Security Packages & Prices

The company tries to make things as simple as possible by offering just three plan tiers. The standard one is free upon sign-up, while the other two provide 12 and 24-month coverage. Below is a closer look at the packages in detail.

Basic

This is the “Basic Experience,” as the company calls it. Users get free access to round-the-clock home video monitoring and motion detection. While they also receive recordings and clip history, it is limited to 24 hours. With this plan, individuals purchase their product of choice (Pro, Flex, View), and they’re good to go.

1-Year Premium

Clients can upgrade to a yearly plan that costs $99 and includes more monitoring and video capabilities. For instance, they can play-back full recordings from the past 30 days and unlimited access to downloads. They’ll also get two-way audio, custom safety modes, and Incident Support Services.

2-Year Premium

This tier offers the same things as the previous version, except the coverage lasts for two years. It costs $89 a year for a total of $178. Plus, customers can choose from up to five smart devices, all of which will have a 2-year warranty.

Products

When selecting a plan, customers can pick and choose from a few different devices, which are the ones described below. The View costs $99, the Pro is $169, and the Flex comes in at $199. There are also multipacks and starter kits available, ranging from $338 to $597.

Comparison of Basic Experience & Premium Packages

Check out this side-by-side view of the three plan tiers. This makes it easy to see where the premium services surpass the standard offerings. Keep in mind that the upfront costs will depend on which specific devices the customer chooses.

BASIC EXPERIENCE 1-YEAR PREMIUM 2-YEAR PREMIUM
Monthly Fee$0$9.99$9.99
Devices IncludedUp to 4Up to 5Up to 5
Warranty1 year2 years2 years
24/7 MonitoringYesYesYes
Video Cam History1 Day30 Days30 Days
Motion DetectionYesYesYes
Two-Way TalkNoYesYes
Custom ModesNoYesYes
Incident SupportNoYesYes

Pro

Pro Canary

Also known as the Canary All-in-One, the Pro costs $169 and offers total home security. It sends notifications and alerts to the user’s phone and allows for remote monitoring via a mobile app. That said, most people need more than one of these for their property, so it’s not exactly an all-in-one dev

Pros:

  • Environmental and motion sensors
  • Mobile alerts and video access
  • WiFi and Ethernet connectivity

Cons:

  • Requires more than one for full protection

View

View Canary

At $99, this is the least expensive product option in the range. As an indoor cam, it works quite well. The HD image quality is great, and the device can sync with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for more hands-free accessibility. Unfortunately, it lacks things like live streaming, and two-way talk costs extra. Rather than a singular device, it would be a good accompaniment to another Canary product.

Pros:

  • 1080p camera quality
  • Affordability
  • Notifications

Cons:

  • Lacks the features to be an all-in-one system

Flex

Flex Canary

At $199, this is the most expensive option in the line-up. It’s capable of wired or wireless connection, plus the cameras are weatherproof and work inside and out. The large button on the front conveniently alerts police in case of an emergency. The Flex can be part of the Basic Experience plan or a premium subscription, in which case customers can save $80-$199.

Pros:

  • Good for inside and outside
  • Motion sensors and police dispatching
  • Wired and wireless

Cons:

  • Limited connectivity

Multipacks

Multipacks Canary

These packages range in terms of the number and types of devices. There is a two-pack of Pro products, and the Flex is available in a two or three-pack. The Outdoor Security Pack offers two Flex security cameras and a wall mount. The Starter Pack contains one Pro and one Flex, while the Total Home kit comes with two Flexes and one Pro. The kits cost anywhere from $338-$597 and can combine with plans.

Pros:

  • Offers more complete coverage
  • Some come with mounts
  • Variety of choices

Cons:

  • Pricing

Ease of Use

Overall, most customers agree that the products are easy to install and use. There’s the added convenience of not having to drill any holes or wind any complicated cables around. Even those without much DIY experience will be fine because it’s essentially a plug-and-play system. Those who like their Amazon or Google sensors will appreciate that the Canary cam is compatible. Moreover, the controls are straightforward, and navigating the mobile app is simple and quick.

Customer Experience

On the whole, clients have great things to say about the equipment. Where the company may fall short is on their customer loyalty and support service. Here are some more details about what buyers can expect from the brand.

Terms & Guarantees

The equipment has been tested in the United States, but not in other countries, so international consumers may be hesitant to buy. On the bright side, the company’s pricing will remain constant for customers, so even if the costs do go up, current clients won’t be affected. There is a 60-day refund policy on all items, although it only applies to things that were purchased through the Canary website (not Amazon, Best Buy, etc). Likewise, disputes with the brand should go through support@canary.com or to their New York office.

Customer Support

Customer Support Canary

There is a help page where individuals can find tutorials and article guides. There is also an open forum, or clients can submit a request ticket to team representatives. A live chat option is also available on the website, and the brand is active on social media.

Reviews (Positive & Negative)

The majority of clients agree that the brand has some great things going on with their products. The integrations might not be as in-depth as other competitors, but they’re still pretty strong. The mobile app is stunningly easy to operate, and the packages are flexible with contract-free options available.

On the downside, lots of people complain about the support, or lack thereof, that they receive from the team. As time went on, brand representatives lacked answers as to why the devices were becoming less inclusive. It turns out that to experience all that Canary has to offer, a premium subscription is required. For those who wanted a contract-free option and just the basics, they’re left out of some of the company’s most convenient features such as two-way communication and live streaming footage.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Canary a Good Security System?

    In general, the brand provides quality products that track motion, sound, and environmental triggers such as air and temperature changes. Plus, text alerts are accurate and convenient. The disadvantage is that the more affordable items lack most of the key features that people promote in the company reviews.

  • How Does the Canary Security System Work?

    Clients start by purchasing the equipment of their choice, whether it’s the Pro, Flex, or a multipack. Once they choose, they can automatically enroll in the Basic Experience package. Alternatively, they can opt for a one or two-year premium plan, which gives them a discount on their items. The standard protection includes a 24/7 HD video camera, person detection, safety button, a 12-month warranty. Paid services include audio downloads, clip recordings, custom modes, and two-way communication.

  • Can the Canary Camera Be Hacked?

    Any surveillance camera can be hacked, so it’s important to take precautions. This includes securing the WiFi network and creating a new passcode as soon as the new device arrives. Moreover, encourage family members and kids to keep the password a secret, and make sure that everyone understands how the remote access works.

  • How to Watch Canary Live?

    Clients can look at the video clips of their 24/7 Live Watch by logging into the Canary app through a mobile device. From there, they can log in and access the footage. Remember that it depends on what kind of plan they’re on. Basic coverage reviews only the past 24 hours only. On the other hand, premium subscribers can watch a timeline history of alerts and events from the past month.

  • Can Anyone Use Canary Without A Membership?

    Yes, as long as they purchase one of the products, such as the Pro, Flex, or View. That said, membership is pretty much the only way to take full advantage of what the brand reviews promote. This includes remote communication, incident support, video downloads, and more.

  • Does Canary Camera Record Sound?

    Yes. Both the indoor and outdoor cams can record sound, which makes it easier to spot intruders or rowdy kids in the neighborhood. Even so, if someone wants to access the two-way communication feature, then they will need to upgrade to a paid membership.

Canary Security Pros & Cons

There’s a reason why this brand amassed over $2 million for their project. The cameras are of great quality and allow a person to store image clips to the cloud. Moreover, the detectors can capture motion, sound, and environmental triggers such as temperature. Plus, smartphone capability and third-party integrations are convenient and simple to use. Consumers’ reviews point out the lack of contracts, although if a person wants the full experience, a one or two-year plan is necessary. Other perks include WiFi and Ethernet connection and DIY installment. On the downside, there’s no professional monitoring, and the support team doesn’t have the best reputation.

Pros:

  • No contract terms
  • No-fuss packages and pricing
  • Power outage protection
  • Remote access
  • Simple DIY installation

Cons:

  • Availability of equipment options
  • No professional monitoring

Should Consumers Take a Chance or Fly the Coop?

While it’s wonderful to support smaller start-ups, it’s also important that brands respect their customers and honor their loyalty. Canary security has a nice line-up of cameras and features, and their no-contract options are convenient. However, the company needs to improve its communication with clients and be upfront about the limitations on its devices.


Emily Brooks

Emily Brooks

Editorial Staff

As a journalist, Emily draws on her rich experience in home safety and seeks to research more on the topic. She is truly passionate about her interests. Emily is knowledgeable about security systems due to the in-depth studies that she has conducted for Securing Home.


Comments