Not only can a home security system keep you and your family safe, but it can help you save on your homeowners insurance policy. The following are the best systems that can help protect your family, help protect your investment in your home, and help save you money on home insurance.
For reliable home security from a classic, trusted name, ADT is our top pick for homeowners. ADT is the largest home security company in the United States, and it’s no wonder with the large number of services the company provides. You can buy or lease equipment from ADT, or you can even have another company’s system monitored for as little as $20 per month. Here’s a look of some of the positives and negatives of ADT:
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. Monthly monitoring plans range from $37 to $53 per month depending on the equipment you have installed. For $20 per month, you can buy a monitoring plan to cover a system you already own. Systems are backed by multiple monitoring centers across the U.S. to ensure that a power outage won’t take down your home security.
ADT remains the most popular security choice in the United States and Canada for the systems’ wide range of options. You can choose a basic security system for protection against intruders, or you can opt for all the bells and whistles. ADT gives you options to add on video surveillance services, environmental disaster protection, and home automation products. Video surveillance can include indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and video doorbells. ADT cameras have 720p HD video recording with night vision. Cameras are triggered by motion detectors to record video clips that you can view, save, and store on the ADT app. You can program the app to send you the video or an alert whenever one of your cameras records a new clip. Through the ADT app, you can watch a live feed of your cameras at any time and record videos to save to your account. The video doorbell includes two-way audio, so you can speak through your app to anyone on your doorstep. For environmental disaster protection, ADT’s sensors 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.
The automation features from Vivint are second to none. The company offers a full line of smart products to automate your home without gaps in coverage. Systems can include a Vivint doorbell camera, Ping indoor cameras, Vivint outdoor cameras, an Element thermostat, Kwikset smart locks, an Amazon Echo, and Linear garage door control. With a smart home from Vivint, you get control, comfort, and convenience. You can control all your automated equipment from the Amazon Echo with your voice, from the physical control panel in your home, or from the Vivint app. The AI assistant that is built into the app, and it uses machine learning to automate and manage your smart home for you. If you program it to, the app can make decisions for your home based on sensors, geolocation, and history. Using the geolocation feature on your phone, the Element thermostat learns your preferred temperature settings and then auto-adjusts when you arrive home. When your home is empty, the thermostat readjusts to conserve energy.
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. The basic package starts at $29.99 per month. The package includes a control panel, the Vivint app, basic home security equipment, and 24/7 professional monitoring. You only pay for what you want, so other products are added to your package one at a time.
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:
Customer service may not be a high priority when you purchase a security system, but if you choose Frontpoint, you’ll be glad you did precisely because of the customer service the company provides. Just because Frontpoint has do-it-yourself installation, doesn’t mean that you’re on your own if you need a little guidance. The professional and polite customer service representatives can help you decide where to set up your new security equipment, troubleshoot any potential issues with your system, and answer questions about specific equipment capabilities or about home security in general. The customer service representatives know their stuff and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that each customer is comfortable with his or her security system.
With the concierge-level customer service, you might expect to pay an arm and a leg, but Frontpoint is one of the most affordable home security systems on the market. Equipment packages start at $100 and can be customized to include almost any security product. After you purchase your equipment, you’ll pay a one-time activation fee of no more than $199 and then choose the monitoring package that is right for the home system you’ve created. Monitoring packages cost $49 per month. Frontpoint security systems and the equipment in those systems are completely wireless, making it easy to expand your system to include even more devices. The wireless feature also makes this system an easy one to pack up and set up again if you plan to move. The price and wireless design of Frontpoint systems make this an outstanding choice for both homeowners and renters.
Frontpoint is affordable with great customer service, but what keeps customers coming back is the high-quality systems. Frontpoint systems use GE (General Electric) equipment that protects against intruders and environmental damage. Since each system is custom-built, you have a world of options. With the Ultimate Service Plan for monitoring, you can connect indoor and outdoor cameras to your security system and you can automate all your equipment for a truly smart home. Frontpoint offers indoor and outdoor cameras that record videos in 1080p full HD with infrared night vision, which means that these cameras will catch anything at night almost as clearly as they would in the daylight. You can also connect a doorbell camera that uses motion sensors to alert you every time someone approaches your door. All the cameras have built-in motion detectors, and any time one is triggered, Frontpoint alerts you to the activity. With the Frontpoint mobile app, you can automate your cameras, your home lighting, your thermostat, and even the locks to your home. Learn more about Frontpoint costs, or head straight to our full Frontpoint review for a deeper look at the system.
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 ($24.99 versus $14.99), but that extra $10 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:
Home security with Brinks is affordable, especially if you are a homeowner. The Home Complete package is $399, and the Home Complete with Video package is $499. Get the full breakdown in our Brinks pricing and package guide, and check out our hands-on Brinks system review for everything you need to know about Brinks Home Security.
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.