Got a porch pirate problem? Packages are delivered to your doorstep, but someone snatches them before you can bring them inside. It’s frustrating, but you’re not alone. More than one-third of Americans report having had at least one package stolen from outside their homes, and police say that the coronavirus pandemic has actually worsened this problem, since so many people are ordering products online.
If you’ve had it with package theft and are looking for a fix, you should consider getting a smart mailbox (also called smart parcel box or smart package box). These boxes, which are accessible only to people who scan a code or enter a passcode, hold your packages securely until you’re ready to take them inside.
There are an array of smart mailboxes available, depending on your needs and budget. Here are five to consider, as well as how they work.
1. The best smart mailbox for large packages
Made from tough plastic, the PorchPod 2.0 ($279, PorchPod) will protect your packages from rain, snow, and porch pirates. It measures 20 by 18 by 33 inches, so it will hold most packages, and it’s simple to use.
Delivery companies scan the tracking code to unlock the box, place your packages inside, and close the lid. The packages remain safe until you unlock the box.
Worried thieves could just run off with the whole box? You can secure it by filling the false bottom with rocks, sand, or other heavy material to make it crazy heavy, or you can drill through the bottom and secure it to the floor. You will need an electrical outlet to power the locking mechanism (it comes with a 2.5-foot cord), though you may also be able to use a battery pack.
2. An affordable smart mailbox
The CleverMade Parcel LockBox ($69.28, Amazon) is a steal if it helps prevent theft. Like the others, you provide the major shipping companies with an access code, which they enter on the keypad to open the box and place packages inside. It also comes with keys and the materials you need to anchor it to the ground.
Made of steel, this box measures 18.1 by 18.1 by 22.63 inches, so it’s large enough for many packages, but doesn’t take up too much room.
3. Smart mailbox with camera
The Danby Parcel Guard ($399, Amazon) uses Wi-Fi so you can open and close it with a few taps of an app on your mobile device. It’s even decked out with a camera to livestream footage from your porch (or wherever you place it), and an alarm that will sound if anyone tries to break into it. It’s a bit pricey, but if you get a lot of deliveries of expensive items, it may be worth it.
4. Already have a box, and just need a smart lock?
Already have a sturdy container that can hold your packages? Then you may need only a standalone smart lock like BoxLock ($129.99, Amazon). This lock lets you turn any hasped box into a smart mailbox, working with a mobile app on your phone so you can track packages and get notices when your packages are delivered. It opens via an access code that you can provide to friends, family members, and delivery workers, and runs on rechargeable batteries.
5. Don’t have the room or budget for your own smart mailbox?
Amazon Locker works only when you shop on Amazon, but it’s free and easy to use. You just add items to your cart as you normally would, then select a locker location near you at checkout. You’ll then get a code, which you’ll enter into the locker you choose, and your package will be waiting inside. You can also make returns via the lockers.