Porch pirates have gotten so bold in recent years, people have come up with all kinds of strategies to combat them. Doorbell cameras might capture fuzzy images that the police will hardly give a glance. Tracking devices might show you where the box ends up, after the thieves have already stolen the contents and tossed the packaging aside. You can design devices that blast the thieves with glitter when they open the boxes, or even replace the contents with used cat litter if you seek a little revenge. But the reality is that in our collective frenzy of online ordering, we’re leaving valuables on our doorsteps for hours at a time. It’s no surprise that they’re getting stolen.
The only way to prevent package theft is to make sure your deliveries are secured from the moment they arrive. If you’re fed up with porch pirates and have some cash to spare, the new Aristos Home Smart Dropbox is well worth considering. Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the device is about the size of a trash can, securely mounts to the ground or the wall, and comes with extra features that make it more secure than the average drop box.
Aristos’ creators explain that over 210 million packages were stolen between 2020 and 2021, and that 64% of Americans reported being victims of package theft during this time. The problem is that most residential package drop boxes and lockers only deter the most casual of thieves — they either rely on keeping deliveries out of sight as thieves are cruising by, or they use simple padlocks that are all too easy to cut. Like most drop boxes, the Aristos keeps packages dry and protected, and it offers an anti-theft delivery slot that stops hands from going in the unit. But it also goes a lot further than that.
Made of strong metal and weighing nearly 40 pounds, the Aristos has an internal capacity of 75 liters and offers four methods of unlocking: by key, by fixed numeric pass code, by a one-time-use passcode texted to the carrier, or by remote unlock. Most people would likely use the fixed passcode to retrieve their packages, with the key as a backup option in case the unit lost power for some reason. But the remote unlock and one-time-passcode features allow you to leave returns on your porch for pickup, or enable the delivery of packages that are slightly too big to fit in the delivery slot.
The Aristos Home Smart Dropbox records every “event” and notifies you via an app, so you know if packages have been delivered, if someone has accessed the contents, if the batteries are low, and if there are any attempts to tamper with the box. If the door isn’t properly closed after retrieval or the wrong password is input, the box sounds an alarm and notifies all family members using the app. Each device can share up to 50 accounts. The Aristos uses the Tuya Smart platform, which also connects to a variety of smart cameras, doorbells, and locks (sold separately by other manufacturers).
If you’re concerned about any viruses or bacteria your package may have come into contact with on its journey, the Aristos also has a solution for that. An atomizer at the top of the unit disinfects packages with hypochlorous acid water in tiny particles that won’t harm the packaging or contents. The unit itself is made of shock-resistant commercial quality cold-rolled steel and ABS plastic that’s one-millimeter thick to protect contents from extreme weather conditions, from -13 degrees to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It fixes to the ground or wall with M8 screws.
With an MSRP of $478, the Aristos costs about the same as the Delivery Safe ($449), another popular lockable delivery box option with similar features that’s specially designed for food deliveries. It’s significantly less than the Box Sentinel, which is considered the gold standard drop box but costs a whopping $1,895 for a through-the-wall model and $2,995 for a standalone cabinet model.
Obviously, if you’re on a budget, none of these options are going to be particularly appealing unless you’re regularly ordering high-value packages and risking a lot of theft. For many people, the combination of a security camera and something like the Durabox Package Drop Box will have to do. But if you catch the Kickstarter, you can get the Aristos for up to 67 percent off at just $159 with an Early Bird pledge.