One more thing before we get started. You know a home security system will help keep you and your family safe, but they can help you save on your home insurance policy, too. Keep that in mind while you’re shopping around.
If you’re looking for reliable home security from a company with a long-standing reputation, ADT is one of the best you can get. They’re the largest home security company in North America, and they’ve been around for over a century.
Their professional installation makes it easy for entry-level folks to protect their homes. And if you’re looking for around-the-clock monitoring, ADT has one of the best monitoring servies in the industry with loads of monitoring centers throughout the U.S.
ADT is one of the most recognized names in the home security business. The company was founded in 1874 as the first home security system network. Now, ADT is the nation’s largest home security provider. If you’re interested in a system, the company provides a free in-home security consultation to assess your security needs. Systems are professionally installed by an expert to ensure that your home is optimally protected. Packages include both wired and wireless options. ADT monitoring is required with any system purchase, as well as a three-year ADT contract.
While ADT prides itself on customizability, there are three main packages customers choose from — Secure Home, Smart Home, and Video & Smart Home. As you’d imagine, the equipment, features, and price go up as your package gets more robust. A bare-bones plan will run you about $919, or $15.32 monthly for 60 months (before the monthly monitoring fee), and the monitoring starts at $49.99 per month. The basic package comes with:
That said, larger, more expensive packages come with equipment like video doorbells, security cameras, and various types of sensors from ADT that offer protection from carbon monoxide, smoke, heat, floods, and water leaks.
ADT also makes home automation an easy next step with the ADT Pulse app, now called the Control App. The app gives you access and control of your cameras, your security, lighting, smart locks, thermostat, and more. You can make almost any appliance or electronic device automated with smart switches and plugs, and ADT offers more home-automation products than any other security company on our list. ADT gives you the power to control your automated system from the standard control panel on your wall, the ADT app, or the Amazon Echo with only your voice.
Now, ADT isn’t a perfect home security system by any means. We wish they offered a better lineup of outdoor cameras, and the contract is a minimum of three years long (CA residents only have to sign on for two years). But overall, it’s certainly the best pick for homeowners.
Learn all the ins and outs in our full ADT security system review.
Another option for homeowners, Vivint, stands out for top-tier technology. Its mobile app, Vivint Smart Home, was named the best mobile app for home security on the market, and Vivint’s home automation options are unbeatable. This company specializes in smart homes that won’t break the bank. Vivint gives you seamless automation and one mobile app to control your entire system. Here’s a look at some of the positives and negatives of Vivint:
Vivint makes cutting-edge technology easy to use. When we tested the entire Vivint system, we noted excellent environmental protection, smarter-than-average automation, and top-notch video footage from Vivint’s indoor and outdoor cameras. These are standard for most systems, but no other security company links their security products together into such a seamless system. After a trained professional installs your security system, Vivint ties all your devices together using its highly-rated mobile app. The Vivint app makes every device in your system accessible and controllable from the straightforward interface.
If you’re at all interested in home automation, Vivint is one brand you should really check out. Their systems can include a Vivint doorbell camera, their ping indoor cameras, their outdoor cameras, smart thermostats, smart locks, and garage door controls you can all access from your smartphone or through Amazon Echo. Or, if that’s too much work, you can program the Vivint app to make decisions for you based on sensor data, history, and geolocation. Talk about smart!
Vivint’s equipment and monitoring prices tend to run higher than many competitors, but that’s mostly because of the advanced technology and automation features you don’t get with lower-cost security systems. Vivint security pricing and packages start at $29.99 per month for Smart Security. The Smart Home package, which includes smart home integration, is $39.99 per month, and Smart Home Video, which obviously includes video monitoring, is $44.99 per month.
Frontpoint is a great choice for homeowners. Other companies say that they put customers first, but Frontpoint really does. It’s the company with the best customer service in the industry, and its equipment is noted for affordability and easy installation. No matter what time of day or night you call, you will connect with a courteous professional who wants to help and knows how to answer your questions. Here’s a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of Frontpoint:
We’re really impressed with how far Frontpoint has come over the years. While they used to require long-term contracts and offered subpar equipment, today they offer well-made equipment and lots of autonomy for customers – allowing for month-to-month monitoring – as well as a suite of really well-designed, DIY-friendly security equipment, as we noted in our Frontpoint review.
While it’s not the perfect system (to be fair, we’ve yet to find that), Frontpoint is a solid home security provider, especially if you’re not looking to get roped into a two-year-long monthly payment or punch a bunch of holes in your walls (to install the equipment or out of frustration).
Packages start at just $129.00, which you can build off of by purchasing additional sensors and components. Their most comprehensive package — the Family Lookout — will cover most single family homes and retails for $349.00. If you’re not finding what you need in a pre-made package, though, you can always build your own from scratch. More on that in our Frontpoint costs guide.
Another selling point is that Frontpoint’s professional monitoring is among the best in the business. They offer automatic sensor checks every hour, and incredibly fast dispatch times that will have authorities to your door as soon as you need them. Their monitoring package costs $49.99 per month.
Cove leads the pack in quick, easy installations (from boxed to fully armed in 12 minutes flat!). But their round-the-clock cellular monitoring and full range of environmental sensors can earn you serious discounts from your home insurance provider.
Most homeowners are looking for a security system for one main reason: to keep their homes and loved ones safe from intruders. But these days home security isn’t only about keeping the bad guys out. Wireless DIY monitoring services like Cove can also help lower your homeowners rate by giving you protective devices discounts for equipment like CO, smoke, and flood sensors, smart locks, and burglar alarms. For more on our experience outfitting an actual home with Cove products, here’s our complete Cove security review.
Cove scores two out of three points on the protective devices front with a full battery of environmental sensors and their TripleTouch Alarm Response — 24/7 professional monitoring with live support both via your wall panel and smartphone.
Cove’s advanced plan, Cove Plus, is going to make the most sense here. It’s a few dollars more per month ($27.99 versus $17.99), but that extra cash gives you the option to manage the whole house via the Cove app. Cove Plus also gives you a lifetime warranty on all your Cove equipment, which typically runs between $150 to $350 per house.
Just keep in mind that Cove doesn’t sell smart locks yet. If smart locks are a must-have, you might consider SimpliSafe, a close competitor with low monthly rates and easy installations.
Brinks Home Security is number four on our list of best home security systems for owners. With more than a million customers, it is one of the nation’s largest home security companies. Brinks systems are backed by the largest network of independent dealers in the United States that provide security products and monitoring support. Here’s a look at some of the positives and negatives of Brinks:
If you’re a homeowner, you’ve certainly heard of Brinks. What you might not know is exactly how affordable they are. While you’re going to have to contact the company for a quote for your specific needs, you can check out our Brinks pricing and package guide to get an idea of what you’ll pay. And if you’re interested in finding out more about what it’s like to use Brinks, check out our full Brinks system review.
Brinks wants you to be happy with the security you choose for your home. That’s why you can choose between DIY and professional installation. No other company on our list gives you that option. Usually you’re locked into either installation by yourself or by a professional with no wiggle room. Brinks gives you options, because there is no one size fits all when it comes to securing your home. You also get a money-back guarantee for 90 days to ensure that you’re happy with your new system. Brinks is a reliable, well-known brand for home security for a reason. They care about the services and equipment they provide and about the customers they serve.
As a homeowner, you will have options to save money by signing up for longer-term contracts, which cost less per month. A home security system can also save you money on your homeowner’s insurance. Learn how to cash in on these discounts in our home security and home insurance guide. Since you own and do not rent your home, you won’t have to limit your options to those that are easy to pack up and move.
The Control Panel is the nerve center of your home security system. It’s where you program devices to your system, arm and disarm, control automation features, and more. Needless to say, you want the best control panel possible. Luck for you — the best home security systems for homeowners now offer modern control panels with touchscreen technology and the works.
Go with a hardwired system for robust home protection, but be ready for a list of requirements. Hardwired systems typically require contracts, professional installation, and the fusing of your new security system with your existing circuitry. Or, go with wireless security for fast setup and takedown. Wireless can also be more reliable, as there are no wires for criminals to cut.
The best home security systems for homeowners all have Mobile Alerts in common. This feature sends real-time activity alerts and notifications via text message, email, or phone. These helpful alerts notify you of a security breach while you’re away. This allows you to contact police, or at least have your neighbor Ned check on your home. If you’re tracking, that’s mobile monitoring on-the-go.
Remote Control is another value-packed home security feature for homeowners. Get this option with your security system, and you’ll enjoy total control via mobile app. Arm and disarm your system, lock and unlock smart locks, open and close your garage, and more. Remote Control also comes in a keychain-sized device that travels well in your pocket or purse.
If a burglar can’t jimmy the lock, he’ll break the window. That’s why Glass Break Sensors are fast-becoming a popular feature for homeowners. Mount these small sensors near a window, and they leverage microphone technology to detect the sound frequency of glass breaking. The sensors then sound the alarm, protecting your property from damage, and protecting your belongings from theft.
Entryway Sensors are a standard feature that come loaded with home security plans for homeowners. Mount these magnetic sensors on door frames and windows, and your alarm will sound when the magnets separate. When combined with mobile alerts, these sensors dramatically reduce the chances of a burglar getting away with your valuables. Don’t go without them.
Break free from landline-based monitoring with Cellular Monitoring. It’s the 21st century, and cellular is now more reliable than ever. This connection uses the same cell signals that power cell phones, and so it does not require a landline or Wi-Fi connection. Also, there are no wires for a criminal to cut. Wireless cellular monitoring is the way to go for homeowners.
Break-ins, burglaries, and theft can happen day or night. So if you’re a homeowner looking for peace of mind, consider 24/7 Monitoring. Most security companies offer this feature with emergency response personnel always at the ready. If your alarm sounds, the monitoring center is immediately notified and trained to take the best course of action to protect your home.
Homeowners love Home Automation. And who could blame them? Imagine taking total control of your lights, thermostat, door locks, garage door — even your coffee maker! — from the convenience of your smartphone. It’s a beautiful thing. Smart home technology is always evolving, and the latest features are sure to impress. Home automation opens a world of possibilities for homeowners.
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.