Best Home Security Systems with Monitoring

Monitored home security systems offer the highest level of home security imaginable. Home security monitoring means having the peace of mind knowing that your home is protected 24/7. Check out our list of the best home security monitoring companies.

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SimpliSafe Equipment Package
SimpliSafe
SecureScore™: 9.3/10
SimpliSafe works with or without monitoring, but their monitoring option won’t break the bank. It starts at just $14.99. The company operates six monitoring stations for redundant coverage in case of a power outage. With SimpliSafe, there are no long-term contracts or credit checks either.
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ADT
SecureScore™: 9.1/10
ADT has more experience and serves more customers than any other top pick. Their monitoring centers provide redundant service, so your home is always covered even if a center loses power. Other perks include professional installation, monitored medical alert systems, and 24-hour battery backup.
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Frontpoint Home Security
Frontpoint
SecureScore™: 8.4/10
Frontpoint delivers excellent customer service and a best value system. Each Frontpoint component is monitored by Rapid Response Monitoring Services for 24/7 coverage every day of the year. Plus, the entire system is easy to install yourself and doesn’t damage your walls.
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Top 5 Home Security Systems
with Monitoring in 2021

  • SimpliSafe - This company manufactures their own equipment, eliminating the need and cost of a middleman making their system cheaper than others in the industry. They have recently redesigned their equipment. And, they don't have long-term contracts, no hidden fees, and it's an easy to use "plug and play" system. Their packages range from $99 to $698 and they occasionally offer package specific discounts.
  • ADT - This company has a 100-year history in the security field and they are the largest home security provider in the U.S. and Canada. They also offer more products and services than most other home security companies in the industry. ADT's monitored security packages range from $27.99/mo. to $58.00/mo. and they offer a wide variety of home automation features as well.
  • Frontpoint - Is a DIY cellular, wireless, 24/7 professionally monitored security system with a wide variety of home automation options, including environmental protections. Their equipment packages range from $99.95 to $399.95 (plus monthly monitoring fee).
  • Vivint - This company has some big-name endorsements and provides customized wireless home security/surveillance and home automation features including 24/7 monitoring, professional installation, and no activation fee. They also offer a wide range of environmental protections as well.
  • Protect America - This 25-year home security company offers 24/7 monitoring with no installation fees, a wide variety of home automation features, has a price match guarantee, and a locked-in rate clause. They also offer free equipment and extremely affordable packages that range from $19.99/mo. to $54.99/mo.

With home security and home automation features becoming more and more widespread and affordable, why wouldn’t you want to buy something that could ultimately save your family’s life? There is a wide range of products and services that are either wired or wireless and extremely easy to install. So why not get yours today?

  • 1 SimpliSafe - Best Overall 24/7 Monitoring

    SimpliSafe Equipment Package
    SecureScore™ 9.3
    How We Review
    Customer Service
    9.2
    Value
    9.5
    Equipment
    9.2
    Features & Technology
    8.7
    Ease Of Use
    9.7
    SecureScore™
    9.3

    SimpliSafe if perfect for those who don’t want to sign a contract. The SimpliSafe system is a basic DIY installation that ‘s easy to use. You simply buy the equipment, set it up and you’re ready to go. This system is portable and affordable so it’s the ideal solution for renters or those who move a lot. And it costs less than most other home security systems with monitoring that are currently on the market.

    Additionally, SimpliSafe has now added a version “3” to their lineup that can be integrated with Alexa and August Locks so you can control your system using voice commands and remotely lock and unlock your doors (if you have August Locks). Here is a quick summary of the SimpliSafe pros and cons.

    • Affordable equipment and monitoring
    • No long-term contracts
    • Easy DIY wireless installation
    • 60-day money-back guarantee
    • Three-year equipment warranty
    • Indoor and outdoor cameras
    • Video doorbell options
    • Environmental disaster sensors
    • No-monthly-fee option
    • Integrations With Alexa, Google Assistant, August Locks, and Apple Watch
    • Award-winning company

    • Up-front equipment expenses
    • Control panel is push-button, not touch screen
    • Smartphone controls require a monthly fee
    • Sensors are slightly larger than average
    • Only one outdoor camera option

    SimpliSafe manufactures their own equipment so they can offer you the lowest prices possible because they eliminate the middleman. They have re-designed their equipment to be smaller, faster, and stronger so you have double the range with their cellular connection which is reinforced with Wi-Fi. They have six monitoring stations and they provide you with a 24-hour battery backup for power outages. And all signals from your system to theirs are encrypted. All their equipment is wireless so there’s no need for drilling, wiring, or tools of any kind. Additionally, the SimpliSafe motion sensors are designed to detect the heat signatures of humans, not pets so you’ll have fewer false alarms.

    The SimpliSafe monitoring plans start at $14.99/mo. and you can control your system from anywhere and receive activity alerts when potential problems are detected. Alternatively, you can self-monitor your home with the SimpliCam HD camera.

    The SimpliSafe equipment ranges from $99 to $698 or you can customize a system that best suits your needs. And they regularly offer discounts and other specials on select packages.

  • 2 ADT - Best Reliable Monitoring

    SecureScore™ 9.1
    How We Review
    Customer Service
    8.9
    Value
    8.4
    Equipment
    9.3
    Features & Technology
    9.5
    Ease Of Use
    9.2
    SecureScore™
    9.1

    ADT is a nationally known brand with a 140-year presence in the home security industry. They offer excellent service and reliability. They also have monitoring centers across the country providing redundant service. So if one call center ever loses power there will always be another one available to immediately take over so you’ll never be without service. And, unlike other security companies, ADT can offer their $500 theft protection guarantee that pays $500 towards your insurance deductible if a burglary occurs while your system is armed. Here is a quick summary of the ADT pros and cons.

    • Competitive Monthly Rate
    • Wireless or Hardwired Systems
    • Cellular and Landline Connections
    • Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
    • Smartphone Access and Control
    • Home Automation Equipment
    • Free In-home Consultation
    • ADT 6 Month Money-Back Guarantee

    • Long-Term Contract
    • Professional Installation Required
    • Customer Service Varies

    The ADT system is a little more expensive than other market options depending on the package and plan you choose and you have to sign a 36-month monitoring contract. Additionally, an activation fee and service installation charges could apply and will vary depending on the system configuration, equipment, and services you selected; however, the scope and flexibility of this service make it worth every penny.

    ADT offers a wide variety of features including security, video surveillance, activity alerts, and environmental sensors for fire, carbon monoxide, and flood, depending on the package you choose. Additionally, ADT also offers many home automation options that allow you to control your door locks, lights, garage door, thermostat, and more remotely using an app on your cell phone. Their equipment also includes a high-decibel siren and pet-sensitive motion sensors.

    The ADT service packages range from $27.99/mo. to $58.99/mo. and each come with their own set of equipment and contract requirements. However, with ADT you can also customize your home security system to fit your particular needs if you prefer.

  • 3 Frontpoint - Best Customizations

    Frontpoint Home Security
    SecureScore™ 8.4
    How We Review
    Customer Service
    9.6
    Value
    8.2
    Equipment
    8.0
    Features & Technology
    7.8
    Ease Of Use
    8.3
    SecureScore™
    8.4

    When it comes to high-quality DIY home security systems, Frontpoint is the obvious winner because they provide so much value for your money, not to mention their exceptional customer service regardless of when you call. Here is a quick summary of the Frontpoint pros and cons.

    • High-quality GE Equipment
    • Wireless Security Systems
    • Easy DIY Installation
    • LTE Cellular Monitoring
    • Home Automation
    • Indoor & Outdoor Cameras
    • Excellent App Experience
    • 30-Day, Money-Back Guarantee
    • Geofencing Feature

    • Somewhat Expensive Monitoring
    • Limited Service Hours
    • Touch-Screen Panel Sold Separately
    • Outsourced Monitoring Service
    • Limited Keypad Functionality

    Frontpoint is consistently rated one of the best home security/automation companies in the industry. They offer affordable pricing and customer service that is beyond reproach. The Frontpoint equipment is a DIY wireless installation that can be done in about 30 minutes. Additionally, Frontpoint has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

    There are three equipment packages that range from $99.95 to $399.95 and three service plans that range from $34.99/mo. to $49.99/mo. That coupled with their great customer service team is what makes them so popular.

    Frontpoint requires either a one-year or three-year security agreement. But to get the equipment package pricing, a 3-year agreement must be signed. These types of agreements are similar to those you would sign for your cable or mobile phone service.

    Frontpoint also offers plenty of options such as window and door sensors, touch-screen control panels, customization features, mobile app, surveillance cameras, home automation features including door locks, lights, and thermostat. They also provide environmental protections, geo services, remote access and controls, night vision and more. All of which are extremely user-friendly and easy to install.

  • 4 Vivint - Best Outdoor Cameras and Automations

    Vivint System with Accessories
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    How We Review
    Customer Service
    8.5
    Value
    8.4
    Equipment
    9.6
    Features & Technology
    9.8
    Ease Of Use
    9.5
    SecureScore™
    9.2

    Vivint is a top contender when it comes to stand-out home security and home automation systems. They offer top-quality equipment with packages that include everything you need along with free professional installation. Although, there is a small equipment fee for the outdoor and doorbell cameras.

    With Vivint, you can choose from one of their packages, or, their Smart Home Pros can help you customize and install one that best suits your needs. Here is a quick summary of the Vivint pros and cons.

    • Wireless Smart Security System
    • Smart Home Automation
    • 7” Touchscreen Smart Hub
    • Award-Winning Mobile App
    • Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
    • Professional Installation
    • Customized to Your Home
    • 100% Cellular Monitoring
    • Lifetime Warranty

    • Pricey Equipment Packages
    • Contracts May be Required
    • Installation Fees May Apply
    • Short 3-Day Cancellation Window

    Vivint is a leading industry home technology provider with over one million customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. And they offer some of the most diverse equipment available. Their equipment includes a control panel, a wide range of home automation features including environmental disaster protection, fixed and pan/tilt cameras, door and window sensors, keyfobs, and more.

    With Vivint, you can purchase all your equipment up front to get the no-contract billing. Or, you can pay for everything over a 42- or 60-month period using the Vivint Flex Pay Pricing option at 0% financing with approved credit. Alternatively, you can select one of their monthly monitoring plans starting at $39.99/mo. or their equipment packages starting at $53.99/mo. and as many add-ons as you’d like.

  • 5 Protect America - Best Low-price Guarantee

    Protect America - Copper Package
    SecureScore™ 8.0
    How We Review
    Customer Service
    8.1
    Value
    8.2
    Equipment
    7.8
    Features & Technology
    7.5
    Ease Of Use
    8.2
    SecureScore™
    8.0

    Protect America is another great home security company that has DIY equipment. They have some great offers such as a lifetime equipment warranty, a price match guarantee, and a lifetime rate lock. And, they don’t charge any activation fees or installation fees either. Additionally, Protect America has interactive features such as remote arming and disarming, live video monitoring, activity alerts, and a wide variety of home automation options that can all be accessed and controlled from the palm of your hands. Here is a quick summary of the Protect America pros and cons.

    • Low Price Guarantee
    • Wireless Equipment
    • DIY Installation
    • Cellular Monitoring Option
    • Indoor Video Cameras
    • Environmental Monitoring
    • Home Automation
    • Smartphone Controls

    • Three-Year Contracts
    • Cellular Monitoring Costs More
    • Not Transparent With Pricing
    • 15-Day Trial Not Competitive
    • Lease Equipment Only

    Protect America has provided affordable home security since 1992 and currently offers their services in all 50 states and Canada. They have three monitoring packages that start at $19.99/mo. and come with a wide variety of equipment depending on the package you choose. And, all of their packages can be upgraded by adding on as many extra features as you’d like.

    With Protect America, you can opt for landline or cellular monitoring with the landline monitoring being the least expensive option. Additionally, the equipment is provided free and there are no upfront costs.  So if you are looking for a low-cost option or live in a rural area, Protect America might be just what you need.

Do You Need a Permit for a Home Security System?

When we bought our first security system many (many!) years ago, we admit, we didn’t know we needed a permit until our installer showed up to get our system online. Why, we pondered, would we need a permit to use our own equipment?

Well, in many cities and towns, false alarms from home security systems began clogging up emergency responders’ budgets and schedules. Though false alarms aren’t super common in modern-day systems like ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint thanks to smarter technology, we also know that no system is 100% foolproof.

False alarms still present a substantial nuisance to emergency services, so some municipalities began requiring alarm permits for 24/7 monitoring to recoup some of their losses. The permit price differs from area to area, but you may have to pay a registration fee of about $50 if you want professional monitoring. And if your area requires a permit, you can also expect to pay about $50-$75 per false alarm that the police are dispatched to.

In mid-size cities like Columbus, Ohio – which happens to be where we live – we’re required to register our alarm system with the city. As residential homeowners under 70 years old, our initial fee was $45, with a $25 annual renewal fee.

FYI: If you happen to be “of a certain age,” we recommend looking at your city’s fee schedule to see if you qualify for a senior discount. Our city’s senior alarm fee is $25; other municipalities don’t charge seniors at all.

Beyond the budgetary considerations, though, we do want to emphasize that without registering or obtaining a permit, you might be violating your city’s laws. We urge you to check with your city or police department before buying any alarm system.

How Does Alarm Monitoring Work?

If you’re on the fence as to whether or not sign up with 24/7 professional alarm monitoring, this should with your decision.

First, your system will be connected to a central monitoring center by a Wi-Fi, cellular, or landline connection. If and when your alarm goes off, your security system will automatically send a signal to the monitoring station, and an emergency response agent (not first responders) will reach out to you. If they can reach you, and you tell them it’s a false alarm, they will cancel the call. If, however, you are unreachable or in distress, they will dispatch 911 to your home.

This is how alarm monitoring works in a nutshell. In our opinion, it’s worth the $20-$40 monthly fee for around-the-clock professional monitoring. It’s an added layer of security that you just don’t get from self-monitoring. But remember, be sure to have some money budgeted for false alarm fees!

Features of Monitored Home Security Systems

The following are common features and benefits of securing your home with a monitored home security system:

Redundant Monitoring

Redundant Monitoring is essential when it comes to monitored home protection. Several backup systems serve as a fail-safe in the event one system goes down. This might include secondary signals, multiple monitoring centers, and the like. Because let’s face it, natural disasters, power outages, and other unforeseeable events happen. Get the backup protection you need with redundant monitoring.

Wireless or Hardwired

The vast majority of monitored home security systems offer both Wireless and Hardwired connections. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. With that said, there’s a wireless revolution happening, as more people are opting for the easy setup and reliability that wireless offers. Hardwired systems are still an option, although they require drilling into walls, splicing circuitry, and other invasive installation methods.

Arm/Disarm Security

The best monitored security systems can be armed and disarmed locally and remotely. In fact, most systems offer a mobile app that allows you to arm/disarm your security from anywhere in the world. When the system is armed, a security breach will alert the monitoring center, day or night. This allows emergency dispatchers to keep a hawk-eye on your home, 24/7.

Specialized Alert Zones

Here’s another tech-forward feature offered by many professionally monitored home security systems. Specialized Alert Zones give you greater control over certain areas of your home. For instance, if you keep valuable items like art, jewelry, or firearms in one room — simply set up a specialized alert zone with cameras, motion detectors, the works. Rest assured you’ll be alerted at the first sign of activity.

Entryway Sensors

Entryway Sensors serve as your first line of home defense. These magnetic sensors secure entryways like doors, windows, garages, etc. When the magnets separate, the alarm sounds, you receive a real-time alert, and the monitoring center is immediately notified. This feature is critical to any monitored home security system. Thankfully, every system comes with an assortment of entryway sensors.

Glass Break Sensors

A monitored home security system with Glass Break Sensors is the full package. Place these sound-sensitive devices near windows, and rest assured the distinct frequency of breaking glass will be detected. When triggered, the alarm sounds, you receive an alert, and emergency dispatchers are on the line to offer help. Although typically sold as an add-on, these sensors are fast-becoming a must-have component.

Motion Detectors

Maximize your home protection with Motion Detectors. This feature comes standard with professionally monitored security systems. The infrared detectors are mounted indoors — specifically in large rooms, entryways, and hallways — and keep a constant watch for motion. When triggered, the alarm will sound and both you and the monitoring center are alerted. The best motion detectors can even discern between people and pets.

Control Panel

From manual pushbutton-style, to super-modern digital touchscreen technology — such is the evolution of the Control Panel. The top monitored home security systems offer sleek touchscreens with impressive capabilities. Arm and disarm the alarm, view live-stream video, and take total control of your system with the control panel. Many monitored systems even offer two-way voice to speak with emergency personnel directly through the panel.

Cellular Monitoring

If you’re on the market for a wireless home security system with professional monitoring, you’ll love this feature. Cellular monitoring does not require a landline, and yet still offers reliable, around-the-clock home protection. Powered via cell towers, much like a cell phone, cellular monitored systems are unfazed by wire snippers (no wires to snip!), power outages, and other local hazards.

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Written By
Rob Gabriele
Managing Editor & Home Security Expert

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.

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