1. ADT – Best Overall Cellular System
ADT has a 140-year history in the home security industry and has six redundant monitoring centers across the country. So if one ever loses power, another call center can seamlessly take over so you are never without service. ADT is known for their reliability and they have a $500 theft protection guarantee. So if your home is ever burglarized while your system is armed, they will pay $500 towards your insurance deductible. They also offer same-day service whenever possible, as well as 24/7 phone and email support. Here is a quick summary of the ADT pros and cons.
- Six Redundant Monitoring Centers
- Free Shipping and Free Returns
- Cellular Connection
- Free Installation
- Six Month Money-Back Guarantee
- Customizable Plans
- Home Automation Features
- Voice Recognition, Interactive System
- High-Decibel Siren
- Environmental Disaster Sensors
- Medical Alert System Available
- Pet-Sensitive Motion Sensors
- Battery Backup (24-hours)
- Continual System Diagnostic Checks
- Indoor and Outdoor Video Cameras (optional)
- Long-Term Contract Required
- Varying Positive/Negative Customer Service Experiences
- Installation Requires a Technician (but ADT pays for this)
At first glance, ADT appears to be more expensive, and it is. However, their products and services along with their flexibility and customization justify the higher price. Basically, you get what you pay for. They offer a wide variety of features from which you can choose to start with or add on to later. For example, you can opt for a security system, video cameras, environmental sensors, a medical alert option, and as many home automation features as you want.
The ADT security packages start at $27.99/mo. and what you get will depend on which equipment, options, and the length of contract you choose. Another great feature ADT offers that most others don’t is same-day installation (in most cases). So if you’re in a hurry for your new system, you won’t have to wait.
2. Frontpoint – Easiest Installation
Frontpoint is an industry leader that provides high-quality home security systems you can install yourself. And they give you plenty of customizable features and options for your money. Additionally, they provide some of the best customer service in the industry and will happily answer any and all your questions no matter what time you call. Here is a quick summary of the Frontpoint pros and cons.
- DIY Wireless Equipment
- 100% Cellular Monitoring
- Cellular Activity Alerts
- Home Automation Options
- Affordable Pricing
- No Landline Required
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- 3-Year Equipment Warranty
- Excellent Customer Service
- Environmental Disaster Protection
- Optional Indoor and Outdoor Video Surveillance Cameras
- Non-Proprietary Equipment
- Equipment is Portable (ideal for renters)
- Automated System Checks (every 60 minutes)
- Geo-Location Notifications and Actions
- Long-Term Contract Required
- No Landline Option Available
- No Broadband Option Available
- Requires a Credit Check (this could raise the price)
Frontpoint has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and is one of the most popular DIY home security/automation companies in the industry. They offer affordable prices and send you a package with customized (pre-configured) equipment that can be immediately installed and used in less than 30 minutes with no special skills or tools required.
A 1-year or 3-year monitoring contract is required and they start at $34.99/mo. They also have three different equipment packages that start at $99.00. In addition, they have a wide variety of security and home automation options available, including indoor and outdoor video surveillance cameras with night vision, environmental disaster sensors, geo services, and an app you can use to access, monitor, and control your system remotely. Additionally, this equipment is user-friendly and easy to install.
3. SimpliSafe – Best Cellular Monitoring
SimpliSafe is an easy to use DIY installation with no contract, no hidden fees, and a 60-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, SimpliSafe makes their own products so there’s no middleman markup which saves you even more money. And, they’ve recently redesigned their equipment to be smaller, faster, stronger, and loaded with all-new safeguards built for a cellular connection then backed up with Wi-Fi.
- Alarm Works Without Monitoring
- Low Equipment Costs
- Professional Monitoring Available
- Wireless and Cellular
- DIY Installation (no wiring and no tools required)
- Remote Control (arm, disarm, self-monitoring)
- No Long-Term Contracts
- Free Shipping (with free return shipping as well)
- 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- Cellular Alerts
- Environmental Disaster Protection (fire, gas, freeze, flood)
- Covers Homes of All Sizes
- 30-Day Video Storage (optional)
- SimpliCam Indoor Camera (with night vision and microphone)
- Intelligent Motion Detection Algorithm (for those with pets)
- Constant Diagnostic Check-Ins
- No Home Automation (except for Alexa and August Locks)
- Up-Front Equipment Cost
- Proprietary Equipment
SimpleSafe is one of the fastest growing home security companies in the country, they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and are currently providing home security to over 2-million customers. Not to mention they manufacture their own equipment so they can pass those savings on to you.
This company offers some extremely affordable equipment and monitoring services. The SimpliSafe equipment packages start at $99 and their monitoring packages start at $14.99/month. You can either select one of their packages or customize your own.
SimpliSafe is an award-winning, no-frills wireless, portable, home security system that works exceptionally well. The equipment is easy to install with no tools or wiring required. This system is 100% cellular (wireless) so no landline is needed. The SimpliSafe equipment also works, whether you opt for a monitoring package or not. Additionally, there are no contracts to sign, they offer free shipping, a 60-day money-back guarantee, and will even pay for the return shipping if needed. And, they frequently offer discounts on select packages, making them even more affordable.
4. Vivint – Best Home Automation
Vivint has some of the best cellular home security systems on the market along with top-quality equipment and home automation features as well. Vivint also provides you with professional installation (required) except for the outdoor and doorbell cameras which have a small fee. Additionally, the Vivint equipment is noticeably advanced; however, it’s extremely easy to use. They also have cellular monitoring with two-way voice communication. And if you opt for their premium service, you will also get a lifetime equipment warranty as well.
- 100% Wireless
- Customizable Security Packages
- Indoor and Outdoor Video Cameras
- Doorbell Camera with Two-Way Voice
- No Activation Fee
- Professional Installation (required)
- 100% Cellular and Encrypted WiFi
- Environmental Protection (fire, smoke, flood, carbon monoxide)
- 24/7 Continuous Video Recording
- Local Cloud Storage
- Home Automation (thermostat, locks, garage door, etc.)
- Remote Access and Control (through an app)
- Battery Backup
- Voice Controls
- Lifetime Warranty (with Premium plan)
- Flexible Financing Options for Equipment
- Medical Alert Option Available
- Requires Professional Installation
- No DIY Option Available
- Fee for Installation (unless they are offering a special which is common)
Vivint is a leading security and smart home technology provider with more than one million customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. With Vivint you have two options, you can either choose from one of their packages or customize your own. They will set up a consultation with you so together you can discuss a package that will meet your particular needs. This means you will only be paying for the equipment you need and not for those you don’t.
Vivint has four packages with two different ways to pay. Their packages range from $11.83/mo. to $29.83/mo. plus a service fee. Or, you can pay for the equipment up front. Their upfront options range from $709.98 to $1789.83. Additionally, Vivint has a Flex Pay program that is basically a payment plan, but it also has some additional advantages as well. With Flex Pay, there’s no activation fee, no installation fee, lower service plan price points, and after the financing term, your monthly payment drops. The Flex Pay financing options are either a 42- or 60-month contract with approved credit.
5. Protect America – Most Affordable
Protect America has been in business for 25 years and offers DIY home security and home automation equipment, a lifetime equipment warranty, a price match guarantee, and something no one else offers, which is a lifetime rate lock. Additionally, they also don’t require any activation fees or installation fees either. They also provide you with up to $1400 in free equipment including a wide variety of interactive home automation features.
- DIY Installation (under an hour)
- No Upfront Costs
- 24/7 Professional Monitoring
- Three Redundant Monitoring Centers
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
- Landline and WiFi Monitoring
- No Activation Fees
- No Installation Fees
- Lifetime Rate Lock
- Price Match Guarantee
- Home Automation Features (garage door, lights, thermostat)
- Indoor/Outdoor Video Cameras
- Two-Way Audio
- Amazon Echo Dot Integration
- Pet-Friendly Sensors
- Environmental Disaster Sensors (fire, smoke, carbon monoxide, water, flood)
- Wireless Video Surveillance Camera with Night Vision
- Up to $1400 in Free Equipment
- 36-Month Contract
- Cellular Monitoring Adds to the Cost
- Credit Check Required
Protect America has been in business since 1992 and provides their services in the U.S. and Canada. They offer cellular service; however, they also have a landline option that’s a little bit cheaper if you prefer. Protect America will provide you with all the equipment you need for free and they don’t have any hidden or upfront fees. And you can access, monitor, and control everything remotely from the mobile app.
The Protect America monitoring plans start at $19.99/mo. which is cheaper than most of their competitors. And, they have plenty of add-on equipment as well. Additionally, Protect America has three redundant monitoring centers so if one loses power, your system will immediately be handled by another one with no interruption in service.
Benefits of Cellular Home Security Monitoring
Cellular home security monitoring is currently the most popular form of monitoring available and for good reason. The benefits of cellular home security monitoring are unequivocally valid and not just advertising fluff.
The most important benefit of cellular home security monitoring is the fact that it’s wireless. That means your security system will have fewer vulnerabilities because there are no lines that can be cut and your system isn’t dependent on your internet connection. So a cellular signal is always on and continuously monitoring your system.
Additionally, with a cellular signal, you won’t have to pay for a landline, your system can be serviced remotely, all communications are encrypted, and you can receive activity alert text messages, which is something you can’t do with a landline.
Features of Cellular Based Home Security Systems
The following are common features found in home security systems with cellular monitoring:
Cellular home security systems often include motion detectors that pick up on any unexpected movements during the late hours or when you are away from home.
Most security systems today will provide you with a mobile app which will send alerts to your mobile device whenever activity is detected. This will enable you to respond to any situation immediately and accordingly.
By arming your security system, you are activating it and basically telling it to begin monitoring. And by disarming your security system, you are setting it to stop monitoring.
A wireless home security system is one that doesn't require your equipment to be integrated with your electrical wiring. The installation of wireless security equipment is usually installed using adhesives, which is perfect for renters or those who don't want to drill holes in their walls/ceilings. Additionally, a wireless system provides an extra layer of security because there are no wires that can be cut and all communications are encrypted.
An entryway sensor is a two-piece magnetic circuit device. One piece is placed on the window or door frame and the other piece is placed in the same location of the corresponding window or door. These magnetic circuits touch when the entryway window or door is closed. When the window or door is opened and the magnetic circuit connection is broken, an alarm will go off and you, the monitoring center, and/or the authorities will be notified.
Glass Break Sensors
A glass break sensor is one that is placed on the glass of any window or door. They are designed to detect any type of glass intrusion. So when someone breaks the glass of any window or door that has a sensor on it, an alarm will go off and you, the monitoring center, and/or the authorities will be notified.
Most security system alarm panels are either a manual pushbutton panel or a digital touchscreen panel. They are generally installed on the wall near an entry door. The control panel basically controls all phases of your home security system. Most security systems these days can also be accessed using a mobile app so you can control them remotely.
Home automation is what enables you to control your security system and other functions of your home automatically and remotely adding a great deal of convenience to your busy lifestyle. Most home automation devices are voice-controlled. You can tell them, or program them, to arm/disarm your security system, lock or unlock the doors, turn on/off the lights, thermostat, garage door, appliances and more.
You will be capable of remote access to your home security/automation system when you use an associated mobile app. These apps will provide you with the ability to access, monitor, and control almost all the features of your system, including being able to view real-time video feeds.