Deciding on and installing home automation devices and sometimes even the best DIY home security systems can be a slightly daunting experience. There is so much to choose from with various products and different ecosystems and price points — it can certainly takes some time and research. There is always something to add or tweak to perfect it and with home security, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. I found this one gadget that helped me transform my garage in minutes by making it a “smart” garage.
Before I tell you more about this gadget, let me tell you the pain point that it solved for me. I recently went through the process of adding my own home security system and even though I write about technology for a living, a simple house automation project that requires tampering with wires, makes me anxious. Tinkering with gadgets — I love, but give me a mesh router to install myself and I might be quite at sea. I went ahead and ordered the simplest DIY home security system around — the Ring Alarm.
I bought the Ring Video Doorbell (battery), some window and motion sensors, the keypad, and a base station. Additionally, I also purchased a Ring outdoor camera (battery) for my garage which is one of the best outdoor security cameras right now. All of it was surprisingly simple to set up and I was very happy with my purchase.
Driving off to work one day though, I had a sudden realization that there was a loophole in my chosen devices. After leaving home, I just could not remember if I had closed my garage door behind me that morning. My outdoor garage camera faced outwards, so there was no way to check from there either.
The garage is the most common entryway of most houses, yet unfortunately none of the home security systems I looked at include a garage door sensor. All I needed was a sensor to tell me if my garage was shut or open and none of the best security system companies had one available.
The garage door opener I have that came with my house is the WiFi Liftmaster. It can connect to an app called My Q that should be able to do the job — but unfortunately, that doesn’t work. I tried to connect it to the app on my phone a couple of times but it got synced with another frequency in my neighborhood — and naturally, that made me jump out of my skin every time my garage door randomly opened. I abandoned that plan and decided I definitely needed a solution to my problem.
A small sensor that changed my garage
A smart garage controller can notify you every time your garage opens and let you use your phone as a remote to open your garage as well. My Q’s Chamberlain Smart Garage Control has a deal on it that makes it even more cost effective right now at $19 (it is currently $10 off) and is very simple to install.
I bought the device and put off installing it for some time because of the vast nest of wires I thought I would have to deal with, not to mention my frequency-faulty garage door opener. But it was simple enough. The base just had to be plugged in and kept in the garage itself, while the sensor had to be attached to the garage door. The rest of the installation required the My Q app.
The My Q app takes you through the step-by-step process in detail and the in-depth video walkthroughs helped me get set up in minutes.
The best part about this smart controller is that it syncs with most home security systems. It also supports Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. I connected it to my Ring ecosystem and was able to receive notifications in my Ring app whenever the garage door was opened or closed.
This device also lets Amazon delivery persons enter your garage to drop off packages if you enable that feature and want to keep your packages safe from snooping porch pirates.
Available on Amazon for $19 (opens in new tab) this is one of the best smart garage controllers and it is currently on sale from its regular price of $29. If you are looking for a simple device that can transform your garage into a “smart” one and give you the power to control your door from your phone, then the My Q Chamberlain controller is a good option.