Want to keep your family safe while you are sleeping, or protect your home while on vacation, but don’t have the budget for a full security system?
A fake TV simulator is a great way to deter burglars on a budget.
These devices use multiple colored lights to give the impression that a TV is on and someone is home and awake watching it.
They cost very little, but are equally as effective as a deterrent as an expensive security system.
Of course, they are useless should a burglar decide to break in anyway, but that is unlikely, since any intruder would prefer to break into a home that doesn’t appear to have someone awake and watching TV.
The only question: which one to get? There are a number of options on the market, but most are not great.
We’ve sifted through them all and narrowed them down to the best, so that you can be confident you are getting a dummy TV that actually works and sells for a fair price. Let’s take a quick look at all of our recommendations.
Best Fake TVs Compared
Best TV Simulators To Keep The Burglars Away
Our top TV simulators are all excellent burglar deterrents and the answers to your security concerns. They allow you to protect your home on a budget and can be just as effective as expensive security systems in scaring off burglars.
Let’s take a look at a brief review of each one for a little more detail about them, to help you decide which one is best for your needs.
Huainel Fake TV Light
NOTE: This product is no longer available. The good news is that the remaining TV simulators below were always a better choice than this one, though this one did cost slightly less.
This is a great device at a low price, but as always, the price comes with drawbacks. While the light itself is quite bright and simulates a 27 inch TV, it does not have a timer to turn it on or off. This means you have to flip a switch.
If you don’t need a timer or the sensor, this is a great purchase. But if you plan to use it while you are away on an extended vacation, you’ll want a timer. In that case, look elsewhere (specifically, one of the Fake TV models featured further down this page).
- Replication a 27 inch LCD HDTV
- Compete with scene and color changes, fades, and totally unpredictable patterning
- Very realistic output
- About the size of a coffee cup
- Low energy consumption
- Good customer service
This simulator looks realistic, but the lack of a timer function is a huge drawback. If you only plan to use it for a night at a time, you don’t need a timer. But if you want to use it while you are gone for longer, the timer is vital.
“I set this thing up, and went outside to see how it looked. It was exactly like I was watching TV in my living room, with the random, flickering light. Amazing and anyone home watching for places to break into during summer holidays would never know I wasn’t there.”
“My neighbor actually got mad at me, demanding to know why I wasn’t answering the door or my home phone when I was watching TV! That’s how realistic it is.”
“We program this fake TV when we’re traveling so it looks like we’re around as normal in the evening. Love this thing, and I’m not sure if it’s prevented burglaries or not, but a few bucks for peace of mind? I’ll take that any day!”
The Takeaway On The Maximal Power Television Simulator
Overall, if you’re looking for a decent fake TV at an affordable price, look no further than the Huainel. It’s very realistic and as small as a coffee cup, but it does lack a solid dusk sensor or a timer function for turning it on or off. Check it out for yourself on Amazon.
GXG-1987 LED Dummy TV
The GXG-1987 LED TV Simulator is very similar to the previous entry on this list. It also has a shut off timer, but not one to turn on the unit.
It features a dusk sensor as well, to automatically turn on the simulator when it starts getting dark. That means you don’t have to leave it on continuously if you go away on vacation for a longer period of time. The dusk sensor functions well.
The one thing we don’t like as much about this model is that the colors change more slowly than a TV would. They gradually move from one color to the next, like a string of LED lights might. It does not look as realistic as the other models as a result.
Reasonably Priced Fake TV Light
It costs surprisingly little given the impressive features list. This home gadget produces the same light as you see from a real 42 inch LCD-HDTV. It will definitely make your home appear occupied. As mentioned. it has a built-in shut-off timer (after 4 or 8 hours).
Eco Friendly TV Simulator Light
Are you planning a vacation for the family? Don’t worry about leaving the GXG-1987 LED TV simulator on while you’re away because this is an eco-friendly device that doesn’t consume much power at all.
Less Realistic Looking Television Simulator
As mentioned, the one thing we didn’t like is the way the colors change more gradually than a real TV would. It probably won’t matter, but if a potential burglar is aware of the existence of fake TVs and decides to watch your window for a while, they will notice that you do not have a real TV running.
Hit the button below to learn more about the GXG-1987 LED Dummy TV on Amazon.
VertiGo Dummy TV For Crime Prevention
VertiGo also makes fake security cameras, so they know what they are doing when it comes to tricking burglars. Their dummy TV is a solid model at a great price, but it is not our favorite overall.
Low Priced Option
The VertiGo sells for a good price and is in the same range as the other fake TV simulators in our top 5 picks. It also only consumes 3 watts of power.
The dusk sensor means you can leave the device to turn on automatically when it gets dark. This is perfect if you go on vacation for a longer period of time. If you use it while sleeping, you can simply turn it on manually, but the dusk sensor allows you to just forget about it, if you prefer.
Replicates A 42 Inch TV
Like the other two models above, this one simulates the light of a 42 inch LCD HDTV. The lights change colors and brightness at random for a realistic looking simulation of a TV.
TV Simulator Light = Easy Set Up
The VertiGo dummy TV shows you that home security can be incredible simple and inexpensive. Instead of paying hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for a full security system, and they paying more to have it installed (or spending hours upon hours installing it yourself), you spend very little and simply plug it in and go.
Go to the Amazon page and get more info on the VertiGo TV simulator.
FakeTV FTV-7-US Burglar Deterrent
FakeTV FTV-7-US Burglar Deterrent
- New lower cost model
- Simulates the light of a 27 inch LCD HDTV
- Simple One switch operation
- Makes home look occupied - Deters Burglars
- Consumes just the power of a night-light, AC Adapter included
This model is our favorite budget option. It is actually less bright than the previous 3 (approximating a 27 inch TV instead of a 42 inch one), but it looks the most realistic. It also consumes very little power.
Random Color Changes And On-Screen Motion
The FakeTV FTV-7-US gives you the most realistic looking TV approximation, along with the next model below, which is basically the same, just brighter.
It has on-screen motion, scene changes and random color changes. This home security gadget turns on automatically when it’s dark outside. And it automatically shuts off 5 hours later, unless you opt to have it stay on until you shut it off manually.
It uses only 7 small LEDs to create the light from a 27 inch TV, which is bright enough to fill a small room. If you need more brightness, check out the next model below. It produces thousands of colors and changes colors and brightness at random, making the output very realistic.
Anyone viewing from outside your home will think someone is watching TV. This will deter any potential burglar. They will go find a home that appears unoccupied instead of targeting yours.
Eco Friendly with Minimal Power Consumption
The FTV-7-US uses the same amount of power as a night light, making it a very environmentally friendly way to protect your home. This video has more
Visit the Amazon page for more info and the current price.
FakeTV FTV-11-US Extra Bright Burglar Deterrent
FakeTV FTV-11 Extra Bright Burglar Deterrent Television Simulator
- Simulates the light of a 40 inch LCD HDTV
- Makes home look occupied - Deters Burglars
- Simple one-switch operation
- Perfect for vacations, vacant properties, out for evening
- Consumes just the power of a night-light, AC Adapter included
The FakeTV FTV-11 is the most expensive of our recommendations, but it is also the highest quality option. It is basically the same as the FTV-7 (the previous model above), but much brighter. It outputs the equivalent light of a 40 inch TV.
Easy To Operate And Energy Efficient
Like all models on this page, you just need to plug it in and turn it on. “Turn it on” can mean either “dusk + 4”, “dusk + 7” or “on.” The first two settings mean it turns on automatically at dusk and turns off either 4 hours, or 7 hours, later.
Even though it is quite a bit brighter than the budget FTV-7 model, it still only uses about as much power as a night light.
Deter Burglars With The Best Fake TV
The FakeTV FTV-11 is the best way to your home appear occupied when it isn’t, or to make it look like someone is awake, when in fact, everyone is sleeping. This will deter burglars from attempting to even enter your place.
Learn more about our top pick for best TV simulating device on the Amazon page.
Do Fake TVs Really Work?
Okay, so you’re planning on spending a bit of cash on a TV simulator and you want to know whether or not they really work. Let’s find out!
Any good TV security light can flicker on and off, replicating the real thing quite closely. Changes in colors, intensity, commercial breaks, etc. Of course, you’ll need to have your curtains or blinds closed, or it’ll be very obvious that it’s not a real TV inside your home.
Do they actually work at preventing would-be criminals from breaking into your home? In our experience, thieves will generally take a quick look at a house and if it appears to be occupied, they’ll just move onto the next one.
Chances are that a bad buy won’t spend more than a few seconds studying your house. It is highly unlikely they will wait around trying to decide if the flickering lights are from a fake TV, or a real one. They’ll just move to the next house that is pitch black and try their luck there.
But there are also drawbacks.
Because Fake TV’s look quite realistic from outside your house, it is possible to anger your friends or neighbors. They may knock on your door, but no one answers, even though they can see that someone is home watching TV….or so they think.
Final TV Simulator Review
Overall, our take on Fake TVs is positive. They can be a great addition to an existing security system, and they can also provide a bit of protection to a home that does not have any security system, by making it seem like a more difficult target. Because of the low price, we recommend a TV simulator to anyone who is out of the home on a regular basis.
More Home Protection Options
If you’re looking to protect your home as much as possible, then you’re going to want a few other devices besides one of these Fake TV’s. We’ll give you the brief rundown on our favorite home protection gadgets, including:
- Home security cameras
- Fake security cameras
- Solar lights
- Video doorbells
Home Security Cameras
One of the most important components of a total home protection package is a top-of-the-line home security system. Their main purpose is to keep an eye on things when you’re not around.
The best surveillance systems…
- Are fully customizable with the number of cameras you need, depending on the size of your home
- Have motion sensor alerts, with alarms sent to your smartphone
- Are night vision enabled
- Can be set up with a few simple tools in a couple of hours
Our top recommendation for home security system is Lorex. You can check out our full review here: Lorex DIY Security Systems.
Fake Security Cameras
Along with a fake TV, fake security cameras are one of the most affordable picks for home security. If you don’t have the budget for real security cameras, fake ones can still work great to deter burglars.
You can also use dummy security cameras as a cheap way to supplement real ones. These days, there are plenty of options for very realistic, affordable fake cameras. You can check out the top picks here: best dummy security cameras.
Another option for home protection are solar lights. Burglars love dark, shady areas in your backyard as a way to access your home. Prevent this by having some solar powered lights at key points around your house.
For example, you could place a solar light:
- At the back gate
- In the driveway
- By the front, and back doors
- Next to a basement window
Find out more details here: The Best Solar Powered Lights.
Finally, one of the most important devices to keep your home and family safe is a video doorbell. Many criminals gain access to a house simply by ringing the front doorbell. Having a video doorbell (accessible via screen inside your house, or phone app) allows you to see who’s there before opening the door.
It’s also an excellent way to keep an eye on things when you’re not at home. The best video doorbells have a motion sensor and send an alert to your smartphone when it is triggered, so you can see what is going on. Some of them even allow you to talk to the person at your door remotely.
You can check out the best options here: The Best Video Doorbells.
Home Protection Advice From Burglars
Best Fake TV: Your Thoughts
What do you look for in a fake TV? Do you have a preferred brand? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us. Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other people like you protect their home from unwanted intruders.
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Last update on 2023-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API