We have all seen the thieves on the local news running up and stealing packages from front porches. This problem had gotten so bad for some YouTube creators, they engineered “Glitter Bombs” to prank porch pirates. Glitter Bomb packages are highly engineered, mechanical glitter broadcast spreaders that are housed in an irresistible container like an empty Apple HomePod box. If you haven’t seen these videos, they are something else. The level of engineering that goes into these projects is off the charts.
BenchSentry, a division of The Genie Company, has come out with a lockable front porch bench that uses Wi-Fi to connect to the BenchSentry app. This simple bench has a very plain look that does not attract attention. The bench is essentially a smart package delivery box that also doubles as a sitting bench. If you need a bench for your front porch, and you regularly have packages delivered, this might be just for you.
I have not used a BenchSentry Delivery Box, nor do I intend to buy one, since I have no use for it. The unit pictured in this article was sitting at one of our distributors. I took the liberty to snap some shots, so I could provide my first impressions along with some additional photos that may help you in your buying process.
- Requires 2.4 GHz band Wi-Fi
- Access to a power outlet is required. AC Adapter included.
- Bench dimensions are 35” wide x 23” deep x 25” high
- Seat heat is 23” for sitting
- 7 cubic ft. internal capacity
- Weighs 44 lbs.
- 400 lb. weight load rating
- Code access is last four digits of tracking number or entry code (shared by homeowner)
- iOS or Android device compatibility
- Remote unlock available
- 3.5” 320×480 Backlit LCD, glove friendly
- Made from heavy-duty UV, impact, weather resistant thermoplastic
- Can be bolted to your patio, porch, or outside your garage
- HOA approved bench design
- Accessed by all delivery services (USPS, FedEx, UPS)
- Price $338 (at the time of writing this)
BenchSentry First Impressions
The BenchSentry package delivery box has a very unassuming look, but that is the point. The box that is holding hundreds of dollars in packages is not something you want to draw attention to. The unit pictured above is the tan version, but they also offer a slate option which will match homes with grey tones. The only thing that sets this unit apart from other deck boxes is the digital keypad screen dead center at the back of the box.
My first thought was the box should be metal for better security, but if you’re keeping cost down, molded plastic is the way to go. The box is designed to hide packages from would be thieves strolling the neighborhood looking for the obvious. It goes back to the age-old adage, out of sight, out of mind. I’m sure the impact resistant plastic is strong enough to handle basic attacks.
BenchSentry Touch Screen
The backlit touch screen on top is 3.5” in size and is used to gain entry inside the box. All the delivery person needs to do is enter the last four digits of the tracking number and the automatic lock will retract, allowing the lid to be opened. The homeowner can also provide the access code to anyone they like. The touch screen and BenchSentry mobile app will guide you through the setup instructions.
The interior of the BenchSentry package delivery box has a honeycomb design that was most likely molded into the panels to add strength. The company claims the thermoplastic material is impact resistant, but I’m sure a thief could get inside if they really wanted. There isn’t much stopping a crook with a 4ft crowbar. Not even a quality garage door.
Lock Mounted on Lid
The automatic lock looks heavy duty, but the parts are only as strong as the housing they are attached to. This is the powered actuator that makes the noise as you’re locking and unlocking the bench. This is mounted on the underside of the lid.
Light and Speaker Inside
The latch inside has a pin with a yellow emergency release cord in case anyone gets trapped inside the bench. Pulling the yellow strap will release the latch, allowing the lid to open. There also appears to be an LED light with some sort of speaker. The BenchSentry website does not go into a lot of detail on some features, so if you need additional information, it’s probably best to contact them before purchasing.
Wires Tacked Down Nicely
All the wires inside the unit are tacked down nicely to prevent anything from snagging and ripping them loose. The sides of the panels are held together with long rods that run in the corners. The installation videos they provide demonstrates how these are installed.
The lid hinges looked very nice, and they did a great job at keeping the lid open. They are a unique design and I assume the reason for this is so the lid can fall freely, making sure it is closed and locked after someone puts a package in the bench.
BenchSentry Wi-Fi Connection
The BenchSentry package delivery bench does not stream video, so it only requires a basic internet connection. What more important than internet speed is a good Wi-Fi signal where the bench will be located to ensure optimal performance.
Mounting the BenchSentry
The BenchSentry bench comes with pre-drilled holes, so you can mount it to the ground, wall, or run a security cable through it. Mounting the bench down to concrete will give you the best chance of coming home to your bench still sitting on your front porch.
Is the BenchSentry Waterproof?
BenchSentry claims their package delivery box is waterproof under normal conditions. The box is designed to keep the elements out, but it is not going to keep water out if the box is sitting in standing water, like in the case of a flood.
BenchSentry Connects to Genie Aladdin Connect
Aladdin Connect is the software used by Genie and Overhead Door garage door openers to give you smartphone control over your garage door. The BenchSentry bench can be connected to Aladdin Connect so larger items can be delivered inside your garage. A single use code will be provided to the delivery driver that allows them one time access to your garage.
BenchSentry Requires a Power Outlet
The BenchSentry Package Delivery Box requires a standard power outlet. Power is needed for the backlit LCD touch screen, automatic lock, interior light, and interior speaker. The power consumption is rated at < 5W.
Painting Your BenchSentry Delivery Box
BenchSentry claims you can paint your package delivery box to match your house, with your favorite team logo, or anything else that reflects your style. In the “DIY-Paint Your Bench” video they provide, the example they used was a homeowners last name with hand prints on the outside as a fun project for kids. They make no claim for warranty on the paint, as the final product is highly dependent on preparation and the paint that was used.
BenchSentry is so confident in their product, they have a $500 Guarantee. If you have a package stolen from a locked BenchSentry, they will reimburse you for the package up to the maximum amount of $500. It is important to note that they exclude tax and shipping from the reimbursement. Their guarantee is subject to limitations and conditions that can be found on their website.
Attention Delivery Drivers
This was the sign that was sitting on top of the demo unit in the showroom of our distributor. I am uncertain if deliveries are actually delivered to this unit or if it was for display purposes only.
This was the sticker that was on the actual unit on the right side. I don’t know how these units are shipped, but I would assume they might not have signs or stickers, so you don’t attract attention to the bench.
The BenchSentry lockable package delivery decorative box serves an essential purpose. First, it can be used as a standard bench to sit on to put your shoes on or take a break. Second, it serves as a safe place to have packages delivered and stored out of the weather in a time when front porch theft is at an all-time high. If these features appeal to you, and you frequently shop online, the BenchSentry lockable box might be just what you’ve been looking for.