Alder isn’t exactly the new kid on the block in home security. Get this — they’ve been around since 2008! But if you haven’t heard of them before, don’t be too surprised. Only recently has this Utah-born company gained some serious momentum in the DIY home security arena. And today, it seems like they’re trying to take the industry by storm.
Alder calls itself a “Total Life Safety System.”1 It’s got a nice marketing ring to it, but there’s some truth to it too. The company offers home security and life safety devices. Think entryway sensors, security cameras, environmental hazard devices, medical alert pendants for seniors, and the list goes on. Of course, today we’re mainly concerned with Alder’s home security offerings.
So how does Alder home protection stack up against the fierce competition? Great question! We got our hands on their equipment and signed up with a monitoring plan. And we’re sharing everything you need to know (and literally nothing you don’t) right here, right now. So strap in and let’s go.
We’d love to show you a fancy chart with Alder’s pricing neatly laid out. But Alder requires a phone consultation before sharing equipment prices and monthly monitoring fees. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we found their custom consultations actually helped us to explore our options and walk away with the right system for our budget and lifestyle.
We got set up with Alder’s basic home security package, with a few add-ons thrown in (security camera and a smart smoke detector). The upgraded equipment ran us about $450. And the Alder sales guy — who was actually quite friendly — recommended a plan that costs $45 per month. We ended up going with a $35 per month plan, which is average for systems that include advanced features like Alder. Another good thing is that Alder offers 100% cellular monitoring, which is typically super-secure and reliable.
FYI: Think about the features and technology you want before you get on the phone with Alder. This will help you save money and find the best-customized security system for your home.
A guy by the name of Adam Schanz started Alder back in 2008, just in time for America to fall into a great recession.2 But he kept at it with that unrelenting pioneer spirit, and today his company provides service in all 50 states. One of the things that attracted us to Alder was their down-home values. They support local charities, local high schools (go Golden Tigers!), and even a junior golf association in their hometown of Orem, Utah.
Also, on their website, they list awards that showcase the brand as one of the fastest growing companies in Utah. Oh, and they offer Alder scholarships to the tune of $3,000 and $5,000. So that’s Alder in a nutshell… almost sounds too good to be true, right? Well, let’s dive into their features and our experience with their systems to find out.
Features and technology matter, a lot. But we believe that a home security system should balance helpful features with a dose of user-friendliness. Thankfully, that’s all in a day’s work for Alder. We’ll dig into this in the ‘Our Experience’ section below… but we found their wireless systems offered enough features to keep us happy. Although, we’d like to see more home automation options from Alder. Here’s what we liked most:
Alder makes its own equipment, which is good or bad, depending on how you look at it. We think it’s great because they can keep a close eye on quality control when the products are made in-house. They can also deliver faster repairs and/or replacements when equipment breaks. But we’ve also found limitations with proprietary equipment, like limited integration with third-party devices. All in all, Alder’s equipment is surprisingly well made.
Alder only uses 4G LTE cellular monitoring3, and none of that landline business. Cellular monitoring is the most reliable connection type. It’s the reason why Alder offers the fastest response times in the industry (3.4 seconds on average!). But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, as most brands offer ultra-reliable cellular monitoring. We just haven’t seen anything this blazing fast before.
Touchscreen panels are all the rage these days. Much like Vivint, Brinks, ADT, and other high-end systems, Alder brings their A-game with a 7″ modern touchscreen control panel with two-way talk. It looks and feels high-quality, and it allows for simple navigation between intrusion sensors, environmental sensors, and alert pendants (if you have one). But to be honest, it’s nice, but it’s nothing to write home about.
Tip: You can demo Alder’s touchscreen control panel on their website, which is pretty neat and something we’ve never seen before.
This is another must-have that we always look for in-home security systems. We’re all about controlling our system on-the-go, and Alder helps make it happen. Right now, their app is part of the SecureNet network.4 But a little birdy told us that Alder is building out their own mobile companion app that will launch this summer (don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted). As it stands, you can arm/disarm your system, view live-stream video, and perform other commands from the convenience of your mobile device. It sounds futuristic, but you can expect this from a few other leading home alarm systems today.
Now, Alder does not make its own cameras (yet). They currently have a deal with Kami and Yi. That is, Alder sells an outdoor camera made by Kami and an indoor camera made by Yi Technologies. Both of these devices are high-tech, offering features like 1080p HD video quality,5 night vision, advanced motion detection, instant alerts, smartphone controls, two-way talk, and some Marty McFly AI-powered facial recognition (Kami cam). With that said, you’ll have to call for Alder’s current prices and be ready to spend $100+ on these camera options (that’s the industry average).
Alder sells smart smoke and CO sensors, as well as flood and freeze sensors. These all connect seamlessly to Alder’s touchscreen panel for easy control. We didn’t experience anything all that innovative with these environmental monitoring devices. But keep in mind that if you’d rather not wake up to the Great Lakes forming in your living room, then maybe check it out.
This is where Alder really shined for us. We were excited to test Alder’s response time and the results didn’t disappoint. When our alarm went off, we experienced 5 second response times on average. That’s fast. In fact, it’s twice as fast — even three times faster — than many other systems we’ve researched and tested. Now, “response time” simply means the time it takes for the monitoring center to reach out in an emergency. But still, every second counts. So we were quite impressed with Alder in this critical category.
If you have a loved one aging at home, you can get Alder’s medical alert pendant and integrate it into your touchscreen control panel. We didn’t test this device, but the company claims 7 second response times (again, much faster than the industry average), 24/7 support, and a US-based monitoring center in Orem, UT. As far as we know, it’s for in-home use only, is a bit of a limitation.
FYI: There’s a whole market out there of medical alert systems that offer month-to-month service. So consider shopping around before choosing Alder’s alert pendant.
Alder requires a phone consultation before you can purchase a system. We filled out a form to “Request a free quote” on their website, and they promised to get in touch within 24 hours. In our case, it took only an hour for them to reach out (gotta make that sale!). The sales rep was easy to talk to, and he explained how it all works. After we chose a plan and signed a contract, he told us the equipment would arrive within 2 days, but it actually arrived the next day.
The do-it-yourself installation process was surprisingly fast and easy. But to be honest, this is something we’ve come to expect with DIY systems. With Alder, we didn’t need any wrenches, drills, or any fancy tools — and it only took us 13 minutes to install from start to finish. Not bad. It rivaled SimpliSafe’s ease of setup, which is saying a lot (the word ‘Simple’ is in their name!).6 So even if you don’t have any handy skills, you’ll be able to install this system in a jiffy.
Once we had the system installed, we took it for a test drive, trying out the motion sensors and entryway sensors. It was fairly easy to control using the touchscreen control panel and mobile app. Although it wasn’t as easy to use as other DIY systems like Ring, Abode, or SimpliSafe. There’s a bit of a learning curve if you want to use Alder with Amazon’s Alexa, or integrate Z-Wave7 compatible smart devices to the panel. Other than that, you’ll have no problem arming/disarming the system, viewing live video (if you have cameras), and all that jazz. It’s easy and intuitive.
This is a sticky topic for many folks who use Alder. But our experience was mainly positive. Alder offers both web support and phone support, and we used both. The web support was somewhat slow; in fact, it was a few hours before our ticket was addressed. However, the phone support agents were quick to pick-up and quite helpful. Just be sure not to call the sales line listed on Alder’s website. Look specifically for the “Customer Service” number that ends in 5337. While our experience was positive, it’s important to know that Alder is kind of a mixed bag when it comes to customer service.8 So be warned.
Alder offers three main guarantees. First, they have a “free move” guarantee, which means you’ll get “a new security system free of charge” when you move. They also offer a “free equipment” guarantee, where they promise to replace your equipment on-the-house if it breaks. Finally, they guarantee “free labor,” which means they’ll send a service technician to your home, free of charge. This covers installation, too. We must say, this lineup of guarantees is a breath of fresh air — especially the lifetime warranty and free installation.
Did You Know: It’s actually rare to see a lifetime warranty. Free professional installation is just as rare. So both offered together is kind of a sight to behold.
We signed up with Alder’s professional monitoring with ultra-fast response times (remember, 3.4 seconds!). The basic plan costs $35 per month, which doesn’t include video or smart home capabilities. However, the whole point of having a home security system is to, well, protect your home! So we kept going back to those industry-leading response times. Now, if you do want video capabilities and home automation (Alder offers both), then you’ll pay between $45-$65 per month, which is slightly less than the industry average.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to sign a 1-year to 3-year contract, which isn’t ideal. But most folks plan to keep their systems in place for several years, so this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Overall, we think their monitoring plans are worth the price for what you get. Sure there are DIY systems that offer monitoring for $20-$30 per month, but from what we’ve seen, Alder really stacks the value with plenty of advanced features to protect your home and family.
All things considered, Alder checks most of the boxes for quality home security. If you’re considering Alder, it might be worth it to hop on a call with one of their sales reps.
We do think their high-quality equipment — especially the touchscreen control panel — was impressive for the price. We will say that their response times were the fastest we’ve ever seen… and we’ve seen a lot. The devices were simple to set up and easy to use, and Alder also offers a few really attractive guarantees. So if you’re looking for solid home security and don’t mind spending $35 or more per month, then we recommend getting in touch with Alder to see if they have a plan for you.
Alder works with Alexa and offers Z-Wave integrations.
Alder’s monthly monitoring fees start at $35.
You have to call in and speak with an Alder salesperson.
Yes, almost all of Alder’s equipment is wire-free.
No, Alder offers both DIY install and a free professional installation option.
Yes, they offer a lifetime warranty on equipment.
Alder.com. (2020). Home Security System. https://www.alder.com/
History.com. (2019, October 11). Great Recession. https://www.history.com/topics/21st-century/recession
Klein, M. (2016, October 7). What is 4G LTE? https://www.howtogeek.com/273745/what-is-4g-lte/
SecureNet. (2020). Security, Smart Home, and IoT Solutions. https://securenettech.com/security/
1080p Video Quality. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 27, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080p
SimpliSafe.com. (2020). DIY Home Security System. https://simplisafe.com/
Z-Wave. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 27, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-Wave
Alder: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, March 27). BBB. https://www.bbb.org/us/ut/orem/profile/burglar-alarm-systems/alder-1166-22245938