Best Overall Value
Best Home Automation
We consistently review the top security systems to make it easier for you
When it comes to securing your home, everyone naturally wants quality and reliability, but good value is an important factor too, especially because the cost of these systems can add up over time. But nowadays, peace of mind comes a lot cheaper and easier than it used to. Not to mention, most home security companies now have embraced the latest home automation technologies and are incorporating numerous features that weren’t available to the average consumer just 5 years ago. There are a lot of systems out there, so to make it easy for you, our team has done the research across all of the top home security brands and has compared everything from their features, pricing, ease of use, durability, customer service, customer reviews, brand reputation and much more to determine which systems represent the best value.
|Features & Technology||8.5||9.8||8.1||7|
|Ease Of Use||9.7||9.5||9.2||8.9|
When it comes to having a good experience with a security company, Frontpoint really stands out as the clear winner. Other security companies can’t even come close! Not only does it provide very good value for money, but it also offers a level of customer service that no other company can match. Their customer service is concierge level, and it’s second to none. No matter what time of day or night a customer calls in with a question or concern, Frontpoint will be ready to answer with knowledgeable, capable, and polite customer service representatives who are keen to help. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the positives and negatives with Frontpoint:
Their dedication to customer service is one of the biggest reasons why Frontpoint is number one on our list of the top 10 highest ranked security systems. They offer something that other companies just can’t compete with, and they do it in a way that makes customers feel as though their business really matters. People like to be appreciated, and they like to feel that a company cares about them. Frontpoint gives them that, and then some.
Most likely, a homeowner with an active security system will never actually experience a break-in, so they will hopefully never need the full service functionality these systems provide. However, the value of customer service is so helpful to ensure proper setup and to answer any questions you might have along the way.
With prices for monitoring from $35 to $50 for most, the company is just a little more expensive than some. But, with superior quality and value, customers are happy to pay that little bit more for the added peace of mind. That’s one of the biggest advantages of dealing with the company and everything it offers, and it’s clearly worth the price.
There are no hidden fees, and with a DIY installation, you won’t be paying a lot of money for someone to come to your home to hook up your Frontpoint system for you. The value of this is in not needing to worry about whether you can be at home when the installer comes by to hook up the system. Instead, you can easily set it up on your own schedule and timetable, and then you can just sit back and enjoy the benefits of one of the best home security systems on the market today. Setup is incredibly easy, even much easier than we had anticipated.
There are also a lot of options that go with Frontpoint, too, including door and window sensors, great keypads and control panels, and more. If there’s something you’re looking for in a home security system, you can probably get it with Frontpoint. You can also expect excellent customer service, an installation that’s fast and easy to setup, and a very low-pressure sales approach that keeps you from feeling bothered about upgrade or additional purchases when you call in with questions or concerns. It’s a great way for the company to keep their customers feeling happy with their choice of security system.
Also, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, smash and crash protection that sends out a distress signal to Frontpoint in the event of a burglar trying to destroy the panel, and technology that’s compatible with Z-Wave. As part of the group of best home alarm systems, Frontpoint has the distinction of being our #1 pick.
Frontpoint is, in our opinion, the best all-around system for most individuals, families, and lifestyles. It has a robust feature set that serves most people’s purpose, without being too advanced. It’s incredibly easy to install and can be moved from home to home, making it suitable for both renters and owners. For a more in-depth look, see our editors Frontpoint review here.
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With Vivint, there’s a lot of great things to say about this company, and definitely enough to make it stand out as our number two pick for the best home alarm system, particularly for its technology and home automation options. The company’s customer service has seen vast improvements in recent years, and it has helped the company come a long way. Here’s a quick summary:
Unlike Frontpoint, Vivint requires professional installation and doesn’t offer a DIY option. It’s important to focus on the overall value you’re getting for your money, instead of just the cost of the setup. There are even flexible financing options for the equipment, in case you need more than what your budget is comfortable with.
Although the technology is very advanced, it’s also very user friendly too, so it’s easy to get started once the system is installed, and then working your system is generally quite intuitive too. There’s also cellular monitoring and two-way voice communication too as nice touches. The equipment is efficient, and if you choose their premium service, you’ll also receive a lifetime warranty on the equipment itself. That can go a long way toward protecting your budget and ensuring that you’re making the right investment. All of this means you can have peace of mind that you are well protected. The monthly monitoring cost is around $30 to $50 per month, and Vivint customer service will be excited to sell you their latest and greatest options. The system is a good one for the money spent. See a more in-depth Vivint review here.
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ADT is a well-known household name, but what makes it one of the best home security systems? It’s the service and availability, along with the reliability it provides. There are multiple centers for monitoring ADT alarms all over the country, so the chance of an outage is very low. There’s also 140 years of experience backing the company, so you know it has been around long enough to know how to provide customers with what they want and need. Phone and email support are provided on a 24/7 basis, and it’s possible to get an installation completed on the same day. You can also expect $500 off your insurance deductible in case you get broken into while you have ADT monitoring installed. Here’s a quick summary of their pros and cons:
ADT is traditionally just a little more expensive than other options, but most people who have the system can expect to pay between $29 and $60, depending on what plan and equipment they choose, along with some other factors. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad value, because the company has a lot to offer. For instance, the activation fee is as little as $25. That can help people who really want an ADT monitoring system to get what they’re looking for without having to break the bank.
You can control your garage door, lights, locks, and more right through your cell phone. There’s no relocation option if you need to move, so ADT works best for established homeowners who are going to be at the same location for a longer period of time. The franchise nature of ADT can also mean that you’ll find a somewhat inconsistent level of customer service and support depending upon where you are based, and that can be frustrating when you are used to receiving good service, but move somewhere else, and suddenly have poor service. On the whole, though, most ADT franchises are very good with customers, and are committed to providing a high level of quality and value for everyone who contracts with them.
As the nation’s most popular provider, it definitely makes the list of our best home security companies, but it’s not a perfect solution for everyone. It’s important to remember that all people are different, and what’s right for one might not be the best for another. With that in mind, consumers love ADT for the most part. Read more about our ADT review here.
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If you want one of the best home security systems on the market but don’t want a contract, SimpliSafe may be the right option for you. It’s less of a traditional security system and more of a monitoring system for people who understand the value of simplified home security. For people who are looking for monitoring systems to be used in an urban or suburban location, SimpliSafe has a lot to offer. Here’s a quick summary of their pros and cons:
It’s a DIY installation system, so you don’t have to take the time out of your busy life to wait for someone to come hook things up for you. Instead, you can just get the equipment and set everything up on your own. It’s great for people who are on a budget, and it’s also great for people who rent—You can take the equipment with you when you move, and won’t have to worry about being charged another installation fee for setting things up in your new location. If you choose SimpliSafe, you also won’t have to worry about canceling a contract and paying a high fee if you move to an area where a service provider doesn’t operate this system.
You have to buy the equipment upfront, but that means you own it, and it reduces the monitoring costs every month. That can make things easier for anyone who’s on a monthly budget and don’t want to spend a lot of money on monitoring. You can pay as little as $15 to $25 a month for SimpliSafe monitoring, depending on whether mobile access is important to you. That’s about half of what you would pay with some of the other best home security systems, and it can be well worth it for budget-conscious people who still want a good system.Read more about what our team found with Simplisafe here.
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Protect America is another one of the best home alarm systems, and definitely makes our list. Some of the perks of using this system include a rate that’s locked in for life and a lifetime equipment warranty. Those are both great ways to provide strong customer service, and to show that the customers matter to the company. Additionally, you don’t need to pay an activation or installation fee with this DIY option security system. It’s great value for the money, and you can even try it for free for 30 days to see if you like the equipment, monitoring, and service. Here are their pros and cons:
One thing this company offers that many others don’t is the option for broadband and landline monitoring. That can help customers in rural areas who might have trouble getting other companies to cover and protect them. In fact, on Protect America’s lowest priced package, landline monitoring is what’s automatically offered. In a rural location, you could be covered by this company and still not have to pay a lot of money every month. There are mixed home security system reviews on both the company and the mobile app, but most customers seem to really love what they’re getting through this company.
If you’re on a budget, it can be well worth trying Protect America, since the company offers landline monitoring packages starting at only $19.99 per month. That makes it very affordable for a lot of people, and can help ensure that everyone who wants to have a security system can get one they can afford to pay for. The peace of mind that comes with a security system is important, and that value shouldn’t be overlooked.
Protect America is going to stay firmly on our list of best home security systems, even with some negative reviews from customers, because they are exactly what some people need: a low-cost option that works well and that can be used even in rural areas. Without expensive monitoring every month, and with choices that work with a lot of different locations, this company is on the right track toward providing a strong, high-quality experience for the end user. See our more comprehensive review of Protect America here.
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Three of the most reputable names in security have merged to provide a personalized, reliable and affordable home security solution. By combining Livewatch’s DIY home security systems with Moni’s professional monitoring, Brinks Home Security is striving to compete with other major names in the industry by providing unparalleled brand recognition and competitive value. The company’s system is both affordable and loaded with features, which is why Brinks Home Security makes our list. Two monitoring options are available from the company. Here’s some pros and cons of the Brinks Home Security system:
Brinks Home Security offers two options. The Home Complete model is $29 per month and the equipment is $399. An upgrade to the Home Complete with Video provides access to more advanced solutions including Cloud Video Storage and Live Video Streaming. This monitoring service charges $39 per month and equipment costs $499.
This is a do-it-yourself system, which means most homeowners will be able to install the Brinks Home Security system on their own, though there are multiple steps to doing so. First, a few key benefits – it comes with a 30-day risk-free offer and a 2-year warranty.
The basic plan provides users with three wireless door sensors and one wireless motion sensor. It also includes the Brinks Home Touch display and a yard sign.
Key features of these packages include the smart home hub, which can connect to most home automation devices. This includes Amazon’s Alexa. It allows users to link all of their necessary smart home features in one place. There is also a Hacker Protection feature which encrypts sensor signals. This helps protect your home from those trying to gain access. The system also uses an LTE cellular signal to send alarms over. This helps to ensure fast response times.
The system uses wireless door sensors that are very discrete. They have a 200-foot communication range. One of the nice features is the Hands Free Alarm. The system detects a homeowner’s approved access through their phone and immediately unlocks the door for them.
The Video upgrade component also features an HD video doorbell and an indoor camera with night vision. This amplifies security throughout the home. It can help to provide access to video footage in real time so a homeowner can tap into an app and see what is happening around the home especially when an alarm is triggered. The entire system is easy to use and designed to be highly effective. Head on over to our more extensive review of Brinks here.
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Another good DIY option for the best home security system is Link Interactive. This system provides some of the best equipment available, and it has done away with a lot of the predesigned packages it had in the past. Now, you can pick and choose what’s right for your needs, so you can get the setup that’s best. That’s not always an option with companies that offer security services, as most of them have a set group of packages you have to pick from—and adding anything or making changes usually costs extra. Here are some of their pros and cons:
Fortunately, Link Interactive is very transparent, and the company understands that what works best for one person, might not work for another, even in similar situations. It’s so customizable, and that’s one of the biggest reasons that it makes our list of the top 10 best home alarm systems. It’s also very open about its pricing, with a $31 to $41 range for most people, along with 12-, 24-, and 36-month contracts to choose from. Having those options and choices can go a very long way for a lot of people who are thinking about getting a security system but aren’t sure what’s best for them.
You won’t pay installation or activation fees with Link Interactive either, and setting up the system isn’t complicated. You can also try the system for 30 days for free, and return it if you don’t like it. The customer service reviews are good, so you know you’ll be getting good treatment if you have questions or concerns, and the equipment is warrantied for three years. Customer service does have limited hours, but they’re very helpful during the times they are open.
If you cancel during your contract period, you can expect to be asked to pay 75% of the balance remaining for that contract, so just be sure you’re happy with the great system and the length of contract you’re choosing before you sign up. To see a full review on link interactive, see here.
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If you want a system that you can truly customize and make all your own, Armorax is a nice option. This system offers a number of great perks, which is why it makes our best home alarm systems list. It has benefits that just about any homeowner can appreciate. For example, you can pay as you go, giving you flexibility and versatility that’s very hard to get in any kind of reliable, quality security system. That sets it apart, and customers love that they can purchase equipment if they want to in order to lower their monthly costs.
You can add devices to the system later, so you can scale up what you have at the beginning and build out your system to give you everything you really want. That includes additional window and door sensors or motion detectors, and even security cameras. The DIY installation is easy, and the versatility of a truly customizable security system solution is worth noting. The GC3 touch control panel and Alarm.com compatibility are worth mentioning, but so is the mobile access fee and the upfront equipment costs. There’s a balance to be found with these types of systems, and Armorax appears to have found it.
There are versatile options for monitoring and a pay-as-you-go model, but the overall equipment monitoring is 100% cellular based. That helps reduce outages and improve the already high level of reliability this company has. Response times are fast, and SkyBell integration gives people just one more option when they choose Armorax. For customers who aren’t sure about this company, the customer service agents will be very happy to sell them a good system that will do everything they’re looking for.
Armorax has a good reputation overall, and can provide a truly unique type of solution for those who want to build their own security system just the way they want it. You can add to it over time, as well, making it a valuable choice if you plan to live in your current home and keep your current security plan for a number of years. Read to full review of Armorax here.
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Nest Secure makes our list of best home alarm systems partially due to all the neat gadgets that come along with it. While it’s definitely not the least expensive of the DIY installation home security options, at $399 there’s a reason why the starter kit is listed at that price. If you’re someone who’s already using Nest for your home, and you’re heavily invested in what that home automation system can offer, this is probably the perfect security system for you. You’ll even have the choice of whether you want to pay for professional monitoring or whether you’d prefer the self-monitoring option that won’t cost you as much.
The security sensors for this system are called Nest Detect sticks, and they pack motion sensors, window sensors, and door sensors all into one device. You can also use QuietOpen, so you can let the dog out without a problem by only deactivating that one door, or you can select Pathlight motion sensors to light up as you move to help guide your way. This is all part of an overall move toward home automation that many people are starting to explore and enjoy. The app is easy to use, as well, and of course the integration with other Nest products is seamless.
There are multiple entry options to protect everything that’s important to you, and the customer service from Nest is among the best. But that doesn’t mean Nest is perfect, and there are certain add-on subscriptions that you have to have if you want to do specific things with the system. These include T-Mobile cellular backup and Nest Aware, both of which can be costly. That’s especially true for people who are just starting out with Nest. The other concern that some people have with Nest is that they’re owned by Google, which is notorious for collecting data on users. If you’re someone who doesn’t want something in your house that may be recording your personal data, like when you’re home or away, when your home is armed or unarmed, and might possibly use that for advertising purposes, it might be best to look elsewhere.
If you’re not sure if Nest Secure is for you, or if you don’t already have a growing Nest ecosystem at your home, this might not be the right option for you. But for people who love what Nest has to offer, or who have always wanted a security system with these types of extra features and home automation compatibility that is sure to expand, then Nest Secure could be exactly the right choice for you. Read our entire Nest Secure review here.
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With Scout, you can pay as little as $9.99 per month; although if you want a plan that’s connected to a professional monitoring center, you’ll need to pay $19.99 per month. Still, that’s a very low price for a great company plan. Also, the equipment you’ll receive with this company is some of the best we’ve seen, and it’s well designed and high quality. You won’t need to worry about outdated options here. Here are the pros and cons:
You’ll only need to pay a low monthly price for your monitoring services, making this one of the best home security systems if you’re on a budget or just don’t want to pay a lot for monthly monitoring.
There aren’t any cameras or thermostats offered with this company’s security system, but if you have a Nest Cam or a Nest Learning Thermostat, you can hook them right up. That compatibility is important, and helps sell the value of the Scout system. There are no installation or activation fees either, and you don’t have to sign any contracts. If you pay for a year in advance, the company will even discount their monitoring price by 10%! It’s a great way to get a good system and save some money too.
There’s an upfront cost for the equipment, and it’s a DIY installation, so if you’re looking for a professional to come hook up your new security system, that won’t happen with Scout. The company also hasn’t been in business that long, so it’s hard to say how well they’ll perform over time. The equipment selection is somewhat limited too, but the equipment they do offer is new and modern, and you can expect it to work well.
No matter what your reasons for choosing Scout, the quality equipment and low price are big benefits. They can really help a customer who wants to save some money and still have a nice security system protecting their home. The peace of mind that brings is important, so it’s vital to consider that when you’re deciding whether Scout is right for you. Read the full review of Scout.
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|Starter Plan w/ Monitoring||Equipment Cost||Activation Cost||Monthly Cost||Contract Period||Installation|
|Protect America||$0||$0||$19.99||36 Months||DIY|
|Brinks Home Security||$400||$0||$29.00||36 Months||DIY|
|Link Interactive||$0||$0||$30.99||12, 24 |
or 36 Months
|Nest Secure||$399||$0||$24.99||36 Months||DIY|
Now that you’ve read about why we love these 10 security systems more than others, it’s time to consider what you should really be looking for in a security system. Some things are definitely going to matter more than others, and when you know what you want from the system, you’ll be better able to select the right home security system that’s suited to your needs.
One of the most important issues when taking a look at a security systems is what kinds of features are offered. The features provided can be all important, but not all of them are utilized at the same rate and frequency. In short, customers want certain features more than others. The easier something is to use, and the more application it has to daily life, the more likely it will be that homeowners will want it in their security system.
Those kinds of features have greater weight in ranking systems, mostly because they show that they are the things that consumers care about. Whether something offers a DIY or professional installation, the quality of equipment offered, and the value of customer service all ranked highly in our list, since homeowners are focused on these things. Additionally, what could be controlled through a smart phone app and whether there were false alarms and fast response times were deemed important as well.
When shopping for a home security system, these are the most popular features and services most people look for when deciding which system best suits their needs. Any given home security system will have one or more of the following features:
To learn more about each of these features, we have provided more information about each of them in the paragraphs below.
Among the biggest decisions to make when deciding which home security company to choose is whether you want to install it yourself or have a professional do it. Some people love the idea that they can install the system themselves, while others are concerned about being able to do the installation correctly. Additionally, some people want a professional to come to their home and show them how the system works, while others want to figure things out on their own. Which kind of person you are and what you can accommodate in your daily schedule are both going to matter when you are considering the installation options.
Generally, having a professional come and do the installation means they can also teach you more about the security system you’re going to be using. But it can also be frustrating if you need to take a day off work in order to be there for the installer. Also, most companies will only specify a day, but not a time for the installation or may specify a several-hour window when the installer will arrive—and of course, it will take some time for the actual installation too. Being aware of all of this beforehand can help you make the right choice.
With a DIY installation, there’s no need to worry about the timing: You simply get the equipment and hook it up when it’s convenient for you. That makes it a lot more convenient for people with busy schedules. But one problem with this kind of installation is that no one is there to walk you through how the system works. You also don’t have someone to help you get it hooked up, and if you have to work with customer service over the phone, it can become stressful. Still, there’s something that feels quite nice about being able to install the system yourself and to get it working right.
The best way to determine whether you want your home security system professionally installed or if you would rather do it yourself is to ask yourself the following questions.
Do I have the skills required to install a home security system?
Having some basic electrical or home repair knowledge about how things work will ensure you are able to tackle a project such as this without professional assistance. If you don’t even have a basic idea about home repairs and how things generally work, you might consider having your security system professionally installed. Especially if wiring is involved.
However, with that being said, there are some wireless DIY home security systems that are simple plug-in and use installations. So if you choose to do the installation yourself and you are not technically inclined, you might specifically look for a security system that is wireless and known for being easy to install.
If I choose to install a security system myself and I run into problems, am I capable of troubleshooting the issues to fix those problems, or will I end up doing more harm than good?
Even if you know a thing or two about home repairs, you could still run into problems when attempting to install your new security system. So, if you have the slightest doubt about being able to do the install as well as troubleshoot any issues that might arise, you might want to go with a professionally installed security system.
Do I have the necessary tools to install a home security system?
Some security systems require incorporating your new system with your existing wiring which means you will need to have the right tools for the job. Anytime you’re dealing with wiring and electricity, you really need to know exactly what you’re doing and have the tools to do it properly. Otherwise, you could end up damaging your new equipment, your existing wiring, or creating a fire hazard if it is not installed properly. So unless you truly know what you’re doing, you should probably opt for professional installation, especially if your new security system will need to be hardwired. If you choose a DIY wireless security system, most on the market today are fairly intuitive and easy to install. And, many of them don’t require any special tools or knowledge to get the job done.
Can I afford to have a new home security system professionally installed?
A security company will make more money if you opt for a professionally installed system. Generally, in this instance, a security company will oftentimes give you the equipment for free and provide you with a free installation. However, in exchange, they will require you to sign a long-term monitoring agreement. Therefore, you will need to be willing to sign a long-term contract and pay for that service.
Will I be able to take time off work or arrange for someone to be at my home if I choose to have a security system installed?
If you have your security system professionally installed, you will need to be able to take time off work or arrange for someone to be at your home while the system is being installed which could take a few hours or more.
Will I be moving anytime soon? If so, do I want to take my new security system with me or leave it? If I take it with me, can I afford to pay to have my system reinstalled at my new location?
If you don’t plan on staying in your home for an extended amount of time, you might want to consider a DIY wireless security system so you can easily take it with you when you move unless you are willing to pay to have a wired system moved and reinstalled at your new location.
As a renter, will my landlord allow me to install a hardwired security system or will I need to choose a DIY wireless installation?
Generally, most renters choose a DIY wireless installation because their landlord won’t allow holes to be drilled in the ceilings and walls. And because most landlords don’t want a third-party contractor tapping into the existing wiring which could create a liability for them should a fire occur.
If I choose a professionally installed home security system, am I willing to wait for an available installation appointment?
If you opt for a DIY wireless installation, you can immediately install your new system when it arrives. However, with a professional installation, you might have to wait a week or more for the next available installation appointment. Although, there are some security companies who offer same day installation, but those are few and far between.
Would I be more comfortable having someone install my new home security system so I can be there for them to show me how to set it up and use it?
When you have your new security system professionally installed, the technician will be there to help you set everything up properly, show you how to configure it and pair it with your internet and mobile devices, then show you how to use everything. However, if you opt for a DIY installation, you will have to learn how to do those things on your own.
Buying a home security system is a personal thing. A system should fit you and your family’s needs and home. Our guides are useful and fitting for a majority of visitors, but everyone’s situation is unique, so it’s important to do your own research and diligence to ensure you’re making the right choice. Consider the following questions:
Am I comfortable with the ongoing costs of a monitored security system?
Many families prefer a system with 24/7 monitoring so if the alarm is tripped, there is peace of mind knowing that an expert emergency response center can respond and dispatch authorities. Generally speaking, most major security companies offer (and even require) monitoring, which comes at a cost. If you just want to know if your alarm has been triggered through either alerts or the sound of the alarm, an unmonitored system may do the trick. However, if you want the authorities to be alerted if you’re not around, can’t get to the phone or you’re in trouble, having 24/7 monitoring is crucial.
Is it necessary to have 24/7 monitoring?
Most monitoring that is offered is 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. If you find a company offering paid monitoring systems that don’t have around the clock monitoring, we would suggest shopping around to learn more about your options.
Is professional installation necessary?
Professional installation was practically the only way to put in a home security system 15 years ago. Technology has come such a long way that DIY systems can offer the same level of security (and often more) with a self installed system. Further, there can be additional benefits to a DIY system because they’re typically much easier to transfer to another home if you move. For someone looking for a more complex setup like home automation, or someone that wants a trained expert to make the recommendation for the setup, expert installation is a great option. We’ve found that most people that were apprehensive about self installing a home security system actually ended up finding the process very easy. There are companies out there like Frontpoint that are known to be particularly helpful in this stage.
Should I have a wired or wireless system?
There are many different ways to answer this questions, but we’ve found that it generally boils down to this: If your home is already wired, it may be the easiest option. If your home is not pre-wired for security, a wireless system is perfectly fine. If you do have a wired system, while not imperative, we would recommend having cell communication with the monitoring company so your system could send a signal to them even if there is a power failure or a burglar cuts the phone line.
Do I need cameras, or will sensors be sufficient?
It depends on the size and layout of the home and the monitoring goals. The benefits of cameras are that you can get visual confirmation of any activity happening inside or outside the home. If video is part of your monitoring package, it can be a huge advantage in the event of a break-in because the monitoring company can report visual confirmation of the activity directly to the police to expedite the dispatching of personnel.
Should I get a system with home automation features?
Many of today’s most popular security systems come equipped with home automation features right out of the box. Furthermore, they often can be expanded on as you get comfortable with your system and your families needs. Some people will start with a basic setup that has the ability to upgrade, but then add additional cameras, home thermostats, sensors, voice controls etc. We recommend doing some research on what’s available in today’s home automation ecosystem and finding out what you desire to have and what can fit inside the current budget.
Is a keypad or touchscreen control panel better?
This is based on user preference, but many security systems are most commonly controlled by a smartphone app, so often times it is sufficient (and easier for guests) to just have a keypad and then utilize the app for controlling the system on a day-to-day basis. If you prefer a fancy experience and easier control right on your wall (or wherever the base is located) then a color touchscreen is a great option.
How important/convenient would it be to control your security system from your phone?
Many people don’t realize how easy and convenient it can be to control their alarm system from their phone. If you’re smartphone savvy, we highly recommend looking more into the app of the security system to make sure there is a good user experience and full control from the app.
How important is a company’s reputation for customer service?
Customer service is often overlooked in an industry like this where people don’t think they’re ever going to talk to their alarm company. We have first hand experience dealing with these companies (as customers ourselves) and firmly believe that customer service is very important. Especially for a DIY install system, having the ability to pick up the phone and get a security consultant on the line quickly to help you get setup or troubleshoot a problem, is critical.
What issues do I need to consider if I have pets?
Having pets means you will need to consider their size, movements, and any other factors that could cause problems. For example, if you have pets that are over 30 pounds, you will need a security system whose motion sensors can be adjusted or a system that can be installed in such a way that your large pets won’t cause false alarms to be sent every time your pet moves. If you have large pets, you might want to consider skipping the motion sensors and rely more on the window and door sensors which aren’t triggered by movement but are triggered when a window or door is opened.
Do I need a system that has a medical alert option?
If you have a family member or loved one who needs a medical alert option, such as a senior member of your family, or one with a disability, you might want to consider a system that includes one or more medical alert options so you can monitor their movements. You might also want to look for one that has a panic button and a two-way talk feature so they have access to immediate assistance whenever they need it.
Do I need a two-way talk feature?
Most people who purchase a home security system want a two-way talk feature included. This feature allows you to communicate with the monitoring center through the keypad or other home automation feature should the need arise.
Should I get a video doorbell?
Video doorbells, which generally come with a two-way talk feature, are important for any number of reasons. If you want to be able to see and communicate with someone at your door before you open it. If you want to have a recording of who’s coming and going from your property while you’re not there, to help protect yourself from porch pirates stealing your packages or other belongings, to have a video recording to give to the police if your home is broken into, to keep an eye on your kids and/or pets while they are in your front yard area, etc.
Do I need any handsfree features?
Handsfree features usually work in conjunction with your mobile device and/or your home automation system. Of course, you know you can use the voice option with Alexa and other home automation systems to control your equipment. But some security systems also have a handsfree feature that will work with your mobile device or a key fob to detect when you are within range of your system. And when you are within that range, it will automatically unlock your door and disarm your security system for you, handsfree. So if this is a convenience factor you’d like to have, then yes, you do need to look for a system that has handsfree options.
Do I need geotracking?
Geotracking works similar to the handsfree feature. When geotracking is included with your home security system, it works with the GPS feature on your smartphone, as long as you have the location services enabled. This feature will detect your location (as long as you have your phone with you) and you can preset rules as to how you want to use that feature. You can lock/unlock your door, arm/disarm your security system, turn your lights on or off, set the preferred temperature on your thermostat so it’s comfortable when you arrive. You can even preset it to close your garage door if you forget and it will do so once you’ve traveled beyond a certain range.
While considering which home security system you should buy, there are some basic features most people find necessary. Here are the most common features people look for when buying a new home security system.
What home security features and options you need will depend on your particular situation. For example:
Home Security Needs for Homeowner’s with a Family
If you own your own home, have a family, and enough money in your monthly budget, you’re probably going to want the works. Your entire family, their security, their individual needs, and the control and convenience factors could leave you needing every security/home automation feature available.
You will probably want good security cameras and/or doorbell cameras so you can see who’s coming and going, as well as what’s happening in and around your home at all times. You might also want the panic button and the two-way talk feature so your family can instantly call for help when needed. Window and door sensors and equipment that offers a cellular backup option so you don’t have to worry about the loss of security if any lines are cut or you lose power. Perhaps some environmental sensors to protect you and your family from fire or water intrusion events. And, of course, the convenience of home automation features so you can control and manage your home handsfree and/or remotely.
Home Security Needs for Renters
If you are a renter, your needs will be a bit different. For example, you will probably need a portable security system. A portable system is one that is wireless and usually a DIY installation. This will keep you from having to drill holes in your landlord’s walls, which could cost you in repair damages when you move out. Additionally, you will only need indoor cameras versus outdoor and doorbell cameras (in most cases). You might also consider window and door sensors, environmental sensors for smoke and water intrusion, a control panel with a panic button and two-way talk feature, and any home automation equipment you choose.
Home Security Needs for People Who Travel
If you travel often, your needs will focus more on being able to remotely access, monitor, and control your home security and home automation features. For example, if you travel, you might need to remotely unlock your doors for family or guests, turn your lights on and off to make it look like you’re home, turn your thermostat up if an extended freeze is expected, high-quality security cameras and doorbell cameras to monitor your home and property while you’re not there. You will also want all the basic security equipment as well, such as a control panel, window and door sensors, motion detectors, environmental protection sensors to protect your home from intruders or potential disasters such as a fire or pipe break, etc.
Home Security Needs for Seniors
If you are a senior, there are some extra security and home automation features you might consider in addition to the basics. For example, if you have mobility issues, you will probably want as many home automation features as you can get your hands on. These will allow you to remotely access, monitor, and control your entire home security system and much of your home’s equipment such as door locks, window blinds, small appliances, thermostat, garage door, and more. Having such features will enable you more flexibility with remote or voice controls and without having to physically handle these systems manually.
Another feature most people, not just seniors, love is the medical alert device. While this is called a medical alert device, it can also be used as a personal protection device because it uses GPS tracking and a connection to a monitoring center to locate and communicate with anyone who’s wearing one. All you have to do is push the panic button and you will be connected to someone who can help with any emergency you might be facing.
There are also some other unique features available that you might have never heard of before, but they really do exist. For example, you’ve probably heard of the Jitterbug cellphone for seniors and it’s great! But you might not have heard of anti-scald attachments for your faucets, the MD2 Plus Pill Dispenser (which is a locked automatic pill dispenser), a security pole to help you stand up from lying or sitting, location tracking devices to help if you ever get lost or disoriented, health and activity monitors, and more!
Oftentimes the home security system and home automation system you choose will greatly depend on the reason you have decided to buy one in the first place. For example, you might need one or more of the following, depending on the reason you’ve chosen to buy a home security system.
There are plenty of events that cause people to want home security and home automation systems. For example:
Do you want peace of mind?
If you simply want to protect your home and family and want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can monitor them at all times and react immediately if necessary, there’s nothing better than buying an advanced home security system with multiple home automation features. Features such as high-quality video surveillance cameras, doorbell cameras, a mobile app, environmental disaster protection (for fire and water intrusion), an advanced control panel with a panic button, loud siren, and two-way talk, etc.
Do you want to feel more secure?
Perhaps you have been exposed to a traumatic event such as being stalked, attacked, or cyber-bullied, etc. at some point in your life and you just want something to make you feel more secure. In this case, you will probably want a security system that has a quality control panel with a panic button, loud siren, two-way talk feature, high-quality surveillance cameras with real-time recordings and cloud storage, a doorbell camera, and some home automation features that will enable you to monitor and control your system remotely. These will also give you the backup and proof you need if for any reason you have to get the authorities involved.
Have there been recent break-ins in your neighborhood?
If your neighborhood is experiencing car break-ins, home invasions, burglaries, or other property crimes, you might consider home security systems that have high-quality outdoor HD video cameras. You will probably want high-definition video and doorbell cameras with wide-angle lenses, night vision, a two-way talk feature, loud siren, and cloud storage for the recordings. Additionally, you will probably also want to monitor your home and property in real-time via the mobile app.
Another great feature, in addition to the basic home security equipment, is the array of home automation features that allow you to remotely access, monitor, and control your security system and other equipment in your home.
Do you want to keep an eye on your nanny?
If you have a nanny, it’s natural to want to have the capability of watching over your kids when you’re not home. So in this case, the most important thing you will need is some high-quality nanny cams with cloud storage for the recordings. You might also need to be able to remotely lock and unlock your doors, etc. Just remember, that every state and municipality has different laws regarding privacy; therefore, you will need to make sure you know exactly where you can and can’t record your nanny.
Are you a senior who wants to live at home longer?
If you are a senior and want to live at home longer, but your children are worried about your health and safety, a home security system might be just what you need to keep both of you happy.
A home security system with medical alert options would provide you with a way to immediately reach someone if an emergency were to occur. Many home security systems with medical alert options come with medical pendants, 24/7 monitoring, a control panel with a two-way talk feature, panic buttons, etc. And, the home automation equipment has voice controls so you can lock/unlock doors, turn lights off/on, open/close blinds, work small appliances, control your thermostat, and more.
So needless to say, if you had all that, your family would feel much more comfortable knowing you had everything you needed to live alone including immediate access to assistance at the push of a button.
Do you want to keep an eye on your pets?
If you are a pet owner, then one of your needs might be to keep an eye on your pets. So if you’re shopping for a security system, you will also want to make sure you buy one that has great cameras and the right motion sensors, especially if you have any pets that are over 30 pounds. In addition, making sure you have environmental sensors for smoke and water intrusion will give you an extra layer of protection for your pets while you’re not home.
Are you a single parent?
As a single parent, having a security and home automation system will provide an extra layer of security you wouldn’t otherwise have. However, there are certain things you might consider before deciding which system to buy. For example, a two-way talk feature, whether that be on the control panel or the doorbell, allows your kids to communicate with you and the monitoring center should the need arise. And they will never have to open the door without first knowing who is there.
Additionally, having quality cameras so you can check-in on your kids via a mobile app to make sure they’re doing their homework, chores, or just to make sure they’re OK is an invaluable feature. Then there’s 24/7 monitoring that will give you an extra set of eyes, environmental sensors that will alert you if smoke or water intrusion is detected, a loud siren on the control panel that will give you a little extra time to react, as will sensors for your windows and doors, not to mention that having an alarm is a huge deterrent in itself.
Have you experienced an environmental disaster in the past?
If you’ve ever personally experienced an environmental disaster first hand, you know it’s something you’ll never forget. Something that never completely leaves your mind. If this is you, getting a home security system with environmental disaster protection is priceless. The fire and water intrusion sensors will alert you immediately, whether your home or not, if smoke or water is detected. This will enable you to respond quickly and could help save your life!
Are your hands always full with kids, groceries and pets?
If your hands always seem to be full, then home automation is something you will probably want to consider. When you have kids, pets, or are generally just a busy person and your hands are always full, having smart locks and lights will give you a handsfree feature you probably need. Many home automation features work remotely with your smartphone or a key fob and will lock/unlock your doors, turn your lights on, open/close your garage door, and even arm/disarm your alarm system once you come into or go out of range. Once you’ve experienced this kind of convenience, you’ll probably wonder how you ever lived without it!
In the vast majority of cases, home security is undoubtedly worth the price. Crime can happen even in the nicest and most secure of neighborhoods, although it’s much less likely to occur there. In truth, no matter where you live, there’s always a chance your home could be broken in to. But it’s not just about crime. There are fires, floods, and other kinds of natural and man-made disasters that a security system can alert you to. That’s true whether you’re in the home or somewhere else at the time, and it’s important that you know what’s going on.
Some people think that the cost of home security isn’t in their budget. But there are so many good choices on our list that really don’t cost a lot upfront or monthly. Most people can at least afford a monitoring system, and that can give most the peace of mind they’re looking for. If you want to have a good home security system you can trust and rely on, the above list will give you plenty of great options to choose from.
At the end of the day, the best home alarm system is the one that covers your needs and meets your requirements. If it gives you security, protection, and peace of mind, then it’s the right choice.
Still undecided? Take a look at the below categories to further narrow down your choices by the type of system.
Affordable home security can be high quality. Top companies provide equipment at low cost and go beyond the basics of entry sensors and motion detectors. Our favorites among the most affordable security systems support remote alarm control, panic buttons, smoke detector monitoring and other useful features.