Canary Security Review
Canary is a home security company based out of New York City that got its start from a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2013 and is known for its line of home security cameras that have multiple features all in one complete package.
Canary security could be a good choice for homeowners or renters who want a reliable camera with features like HD video, two-way talk, environmental monitoring and smart home integration. And if you like flexibility, Canary gives you multiple options when it comes to paying for equipment and subscription plans.
There are also important features in the Canary app like one-touch emergency services and even an incident response team who will help you after a break-in if you have a premium account. But there are some downsides if you’re in the market for a robust security system.
Canary doesn’t offer window or door sensors, and the siren only works manually. If you catch someone in the act of burglarizing your home, you have to press the siren yourself. Users also have to become members in order to use the more advanced features that the system offers.
- Hardware: 4 out of 5: No matter which Canary camera you buy, you’ll get a compact and reliable system that keeps an eye on your family and home. Customers can choose from the Canary Pro, Canary View, and Canary Flex options. They are simple to use and come with a one or two-year warranty, depending on whether you become a member. They aren’t the sleekest design we’ve ever seen, but they are simple to use and have superb video quality.
- Customer Service: 2.5 out of 5: Canary gives customers multiple non-phone ways to get a hold of the company to ask questions or start a support ticket. However, our Security Nerd had a lot of questions about a potential system and it would have been easier to get on the phone and talk it out. Canary only has phone representatives for the premium cancellation line, so customer service is primarily chat, email, and Twitter. If your problem is better solved via the phone, Canary reps will schedule a time to call you. Our Security Nerd preferred contacting representatives via chat, although even then it was not an immediate response. It took two days for an email response, and a Twitter response took hours. Not ideal.
- Pricing: 4 out of 5: Canary is an affordable system, especially for all the features you get. If you chose not to become a member, the most expensive camera is only $129. If you decide on the subscription plan, that can lower the cost of your equipment and in some cases even make it free. It also may be worth chatting with a representative on the website. Our Security Nerd was offered 50% off the first year of premium membership via chat.
- The Mobile App: 2.5 out of 5: The Canary app needs some improvement, with ratings in both the Google and Apple store at a mediocre 2.4 and 2.2, respectively. For what it’s worth, Canary is actively responding to customer complaints in both app stores.
- Smart Home Capabilities 3.5 out of 5: While having environmental monitoring built into one of these Canary cameras is a pretty great feature, there are still some basic smart home features that aren’t offered yet through Canary. Right now, there are no integrations for smart lights, smart locks, or smart thermostats. It is compatible with Wink, IFTTT, Google Home and Alexa.
This is one of the most flexible DIY security companies out there, giving customers the option to go without a contract or to become a member. You’ll get rewarded with lower prices if you decide to commit to a two-year contract, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it to get the service. There is a basic service Canary offers for free if you don’t want any added monthly fees.
The most expensive Canary camera, the Canary Flex model comes in at $129, which is a bargain considering it is a weatherproof indoor and outdoor camera. It’s also incredibly affordable if you want to become a member and unlock higher tier features like extra video storage and two-way talk.
Canary offers a really unique feature that many other companies don’t have — a smart camera with all the security features in one place. The Pro model, or All-in-One, has a siren, climate control and AI technology in one piece of hardware, so you aren’t buying multiple pieces to get the same result. We also really like the fact that the AI technology will automatically arm and disarm your camera for you based on who it sees leaving the house.
Canary has one of the most generous trial periods on the market. If you try a Canary camera and just don’t like it after 60 days, you can return it for a full refund.
While Canary can offer advanced motion detection, it can only alert you about what it sees. Without door or window sensors, you leave parts of your home vulnerable unless you have a camera at every entry and exit point.
In order to unlock many of the features, you’ll have to pay the $9.99 per month membership fee. Two-way talk, custom modes and extended video storage are a few features you’ll have to shell out some extra cash to receive.
Users complain about lagging video and other bugs that make the app difficult to use. While Canary responds to each individual user’s complaint in the app store, there are still more 1 star reviews than 5 star reviews.
Equipment available from Canary
At this time, Canary only offers cameras and mounts in their line of home security accessories. It is important to note that the Canary Pro has a built-in climate monitor, where many other companies sell that accessory separate from the camera.
Basic Security System
- Canary Pro
- Canary View
- Canary Flex
- Secure mount
- Twist mount
- Stake mount
The Canary app
This mobile app from Canary has a:
- 2.5 rating in the Google store
- 2.2 rating in the Apple Store
The app allows users to view live video, get alerts based on what your camera sees and provides a timeline of what happened at your home during the day. Other features include:
- One-touch emergency response from in app
- Viewing the “health” of your home through environmental monitoring
- Arm and disarm from your smartphone
- Change into different modes, like Home mode, from your smartphone
With over 5,000 Canary app reviews in both stores combined, users are very frustrated with the functionality of the app. In fact, in the Google store, the majority of the reviews are 1 star. Customers say the app is buggy and it’s tough to get a hold of support. Although support responds with troubleshooting ideas in the app store, it seems like Canary has a long way to go with their mobile app.
Canary Smart Home Capabilities
Canary lags behind some other security companies when it comes to its smart home capabilities. While it does have a model with environmental monitoring, there is no smart lock or light integration yet. Here are the smart home options available with Canary products:
- Google Assistant
Canary Customer Service
Canary does not have 24/7 customer service because it does not provide professional monitoring. Canary customer service reps are available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can contact customer service via email, chat or Twitter. While there is a phone line to reach, it’s only a premium membership cancellation line. Customers have to escalate their issue through one of the other avenues before Canary reps will make a call to you to resolve your problem.
Our SecurityNerd researched the following processes with Canary using our firsthand account as well as customer service reviews:
- Sales: There is no dedicated phone line for sales. It makes it difficult to figure out what plan and which products are best for your own home. Chat was the best way for our Security Nerd to ask questions about specific pricing and features. However, it was not an immediate answer. It took a few minutes to get a response after each of our questions, so the process became quite tedious. When we asked about any additional smart home options via email, it took customer service two days to reply. While customer service is helpful when they do respond, it is much easier to talk to a person over the phone and we would have expected a more prompt response time in general.
- Design: Customer service reps can talk to you about how you want to design your camera system to work in your home. Since it’s DIY, they won’t be visiting your house to give any custom recommendations and our Security Nerd found this more difficult to get through without being able to speak directly to a rep on the phone.
- Install: Installation is DIY and simple. There’s no need for drilling holes, and customers get a choice of three different mounts that are very easy to install. If you have any issues, there are plenty of troubleshooting options on the website and during business hours. Chat is always an option for help as well.
- Alarm: The alarm on the Canary Pro is loud, but the downside is you have to sound it manually. That means if someone breaks in, you have to either be there or see it remotely on your smart phone and turn the siren on yourself. While it may help in some situations, it seems limited compared to other companies with automatic sirens.
- Service: If you’re comfortable with online customer service, you’ll like Canary security. Representatives answer your questions, but it can take a little extra time over email and twitter. Chat is responsive, but still not as quick as other companies.
Canary covers the following areas
- United States
- United Kingdom
Canary pricing and packages
When purchasing a system with Canary, here are the costs to consider:
- Equipment Costs: You purchase equipment up front with Canary. However, you can get a deal on equipment by subscribing to either the one or two-year service plans.
- Installation Costs: Because Canary security is DIY installation, you won’t have to spend any money on installation.
- Monthly Costs: If you purchase equipment up front and want only basic service, there are no monthly fees. If you decide to purchase the membership for premium service, monthly fees are $9.99 a month, or $99 per year for one year. A two-year membership brings the cost down to $7.42 per month or $89 per year.
- Activation fee: Unlike traditional home security systems, Canary does not charge an activation fee.
Although customers can choose to purchase predetermined packages with Canary, you can also buy equipment à la carte. Prices for standalone equipment are below.
- Powerful HD camera with night vision
- Temperature, humidity, and air monitor
- Real security with built‑in 90 decibel siren
- Simple setup: security in seconds. There's no installation. Set Canary on a shelf or table, connect to the Internet, and you're done. All...
- 1 Year Premium Service included: Unlock all Canary features and access Two-Way Talk, Unlimited Video Downloads, extended Video History to 30...
- Instant app notifications: Canary works by using the wireless internet in your home. By connecting your phone to the Canary system, you will...
- Works with iOS, Android, Alexa and Google Home: Monitor from anywhere with our Canary app or use voice control to stream video to Echo Show,...
- 1080p HD: See the details crystal clear, day or night, with our full-color 147° wide-angle lens, image pan, zoom and automatic night...
- AI-powered intelligence: Person detection with smart alerts included.
- Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately). Powerful HD camera with night vision
- Unrivaled versatility - Indoor / outdoor HD security that works wire-free or plugged in
- Works with Alexa - Stream video to Echo Show or Echo Spot; Field of View: 116° wide-angle lens
- Most common uses: Front porch, nursery, backyard pool, home office, small business
- HD Video, Day & Night - Wide-angle lens, auto night vision with image pan and zoom
- EXTRA SECURITY: Canary Secure Mount is an accessory for the HD security camera Canary Flex (sold separately) to make your home security more...
- WEATHERPROOF: Built for durability inside or outside of your home all year round.
- ANY SURFACE: It attaches to any wall or surface with a screw-mounted base for inside or outside – providing more stability and yet...
- ANY ANGLE: A ball joint allows easy device angle adjustment anytime. Simply press the button on the top of the Secure Mount and rotate the...
- EXTRA ANCHORING: An additional screw reinforces Canary Flex in the cradle of the mount.
- NEW PERSPECTIVES: The accessory Canary Twist Mount takes Canary Flex (sold separately) to unexpected places, indoors or out, creating new...
- ANY PLACE: Hang or wrap around fixtures, branches, and railings at any angle.
- INSIDE OR OUT: The silicone sleeve as well as the Canary Flex are both weatherproof and can withstand rain, snow, heat or cold.
- LOUD & CLEAR: Allows crystal clear sound to be captured while protecting your device.
- WRAPS IN A SNAP: Simple mount, no installation needed. No screws, no drilling and no holes in the wall necessary.
- MORE FLEXABILITY: Canary Stake Mount provides more possibilities to mount the most versatile HD security camera Canary Flex (sold...
- PLANT OUT OF SIGHT: Discreet design and blends in beautifully – ideal for gardens and planters with a durable hold in soil.
- WATERPROOF: The Canary Flex as well as the Stake Mount are made weatherproof and can work in and around indoor or outdoor plants under all...
- ADJUSTABLE: Rotate Canary Flex into any position from the magnetic base of the mount to get the best view.
Nerd Rating: 3.5 / 5
Canary security can be a good option for homeowners or renters who are looking for a high- quality camera system, and who are comfortable monitoring their homes without the help of a professional. With both indoor and outdoor options, and a Pro model with environmental monitoring, there’s a camera for anyone’s security needs. Set up is simple, and you can get some great deals on the equipment if you sign up for premium membership.
Customer service and the app are two areas where we think Canary needs to improve but its affordability and flexibility still make it an attractive option for the right customer. You don’t have to worry about any lengthy and expensive contracts as you would with the more traditional home security companies.
If you are still on the hunt for other options, here are a few to consider:
- Arlo: Arlo offers a powerful line of cameras and also doesn’t have any professional monitoring. It has some more advanced features than Canary, but you’ll pay more across the board for equipment.
- SimpliSafe: If you like the DIY aspects and affordability of Canary, but are looking for a few more security features, SimpliSafe is a great option. There are no contracts required, but you’ll get to customize your security system more with items like door and window sensors. You also get the option of professional monitoring.
- Larger national companies like ADT: If you’ve looked into DIY and it’s not for you, a more traditional security company like ADT will conduct a home visit, do all the installation and monitor your home 24/7. You will pay much more for the service, but you don't have to worry about monitoring your own home.
Canary might be the right choice for homeowners and renters who want great picture quality inside and outdoors with extras like environmental monitoring and person detection, as long as they are willing to handle monitoring on their costs even lower. And with a 60-day money back guarantee, you aren’t taking any risk to give it a try.
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About the Author
Erin is a freelance video producer and writer based out of Florida. She works with major retail companies and digital startups as a brand storyteller. When Erin's not writing, you can catch her scuba diving and spending time with her dog (not at the same time).