Everything feels wireless nowadays. It used to be that the only thing wireless was your cell phone service, but nowadays, wires are seen by many people as a thing that’s best left behind in the past. But that’s neither fair nor accurate. There are plenty of good reasons to prefer wired over wireless in some situations. Home security is one of those cases.
A hardwired security system takes a bit more expertise to install, but the upshot is getting better, more reliable service for your money. You can also get technology that’s just as modern and cutting edge as what you’ll find with wireless home security. Here’s what you should know about the best wired home security systems on today’s market.
ADT is the name a lot of people think of when they think of home security. How long have these guys been around? Long enough that their original name was American District Telegraph. Of course, that was in 1874. Nowadays, the brand is known simply as ADT, and they keep things pretty simple: you can choose an ADT package that fits your lifestyle without blowing out your budget. And, ADT offers professional monitoring at reasonable prices.
The company touts itself as “America’s Number 1 Home Security Provider.” They offer both wireless and wired service, so let’s glance at some pros and cons of the latter.
ADT offers 24/7-monitoring and a rapid response time. It’s got home automation and voice recognition. The biggest issue with ADT might be the fact that the company uses authorized retailers rather than company stores. That means you’re going to get a wider variance in the type of customer service you both see and experience.
Though its sales tactics occasionally have been called out for being too aggressive, ADT stands out among security companies as one of the best systems for seniors, as well as one of the top systems for homeowners. Read our full ADT review for more details on this classic security brand.
One key benefit of wired home security equipment is that you don’t have to depend so heavily on a Wi-Fi connection. We always hope our Wi-Fi doesn’t go out, but that’s just not realistic for most of us. Wiring your system ensures you won’t lose access to your system if you experience a Wi-Fi outage. Learn more about wired systems in our complete security system buyers guide.
Plus, with a wired system, it doesn’t matter if there are sunbursts or something else that might cause electrical interference. You’re not running off radio waves, so you’re good.
Worried about hackers? Wireless systems are harder for bad actors to hack. The idea of someone hacking into your home security system may feel like a plot out of B-movie thriller, but it can happen with wireless systems. To interfere with your wireless systems, someone would have to cut the wires. That’s not impossible, but it means they’ll have to get a lot closer to your house than someone who just wants to hack into your Wi-Fi.
With wireless systems, you also don’t have to worry about constantly replacing batteries. You’ve got power cords, and that’s really all you need.
You’re all set to make an offer on a dream home when the real estate agent mentions something else: There’s a prewired security system left behind by the sellers. They didn’t want to take it with them, so now it’s up to you to decide what, if anything, you want to do with it.
As far as “things left behind by the previous owners” go, a wired security system is a lot better (and less dangerous) than something like a backyard trampoline. You’re also not forking over any money for installation, which is nice.
What you do next depends a lot on the particulars of the system. You should be able to get some information about how things work from the sellers. If the wired system was installed 10 years ago, you may be eager to upgrade if, for instance, you want to pair your home security system with other connected devices for smart home automation. Such automation should be possible in most cases. But call the home security company first to make sure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew.
The following are some common features of wired home security systems:
If you want door locks, get a key. If you want smart locks, get ADT. You don’t have to worry as much about losing your keys when you can simply open your doors using ADT’s Pulse app. If you’re monitoring your home cameras from your phone and see a friend coming over to drop off something, you can use the app to unlock the doors.
ADT knows that operating a control panel shouldn’t feel like a puzzle. Each control panel keypad comes with backlit panels and characters that are easy to make out, even in the dark. If you’re not at home near your keypad, then you can just pull out your smartphone and control things from there. You can arm or disarm your system using the ADT Pulse app, and you can also control smart devices that are connected to the lights, door locks, and more.
If something happens in your home, you won’t be responding alone. If a sensor or alarm gets activated, you’ll be contacted by an ADT representative who can send whatever help you need, including the firefighters or police officers. Professional monitoring isn’t something that only takes place during business hours. After all, fires and burglars don’t work from 9 to 5, so ADT’s monitoring centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
These motion detectors will detect any suspicious activity and ignore something like your Pomeranian wondering around the living room holding a toy. In fact, you can set it to ignore weights up to 50 pounds.
When someone comes into your house through a door or window, you’ll know. You can receive email or text notifications about expected arrivals, like if your spouse gets home from work before you. You’ll also be notified if any intruders manage to sneak in through a window or other entrance.
Picking the right security system is hard enough without having to worry about installing it yourself. With ADT, you’ll get professional installation. There’s no need to test it out yourself and make sure it works; a trained technician will do all that for you. The technician won’t leave your house until the security system is up and running.
If a home security system was represented by a pyramid, then security cameras would act as the base. Without them, there’s nothing to support the other stuff. ADT’s hardwired security cameras will give you crystal clear images both inside and outside your home.
In movies (and often in real life), it seems like the bad guys always gain access by breaking glass first. But if they do that to your ADT system, the glass break sensors will go off and alert you. You don’t need one of these on every single window, either, as a single sensor works within a range of up to 25 feet.
If you’ve got smart devices, then ADT can make your life even easier by integrating those devices with your ADT Pulse app. If you want to turn off the lights or adjust the temperature, you can do that. You’ll also be able to do things like open or close the garage door
As Managing Editor for SafeHome.org, Rob Gabriele has written and edited over 1,000 articles in home security. His expertise is in smart home automation and home protection with thousands of hours of testing and research under his belt. Formerly a reporter and producer for the USAToday network, Rob has been a writer and editor for over 10 years. He holds a Master’s of Science with an emphasis on writing from the University of Montana, and he currently lives in the Reno/Tahoe area of Nevada.