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?
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.
- Competitive Price
- Exceptional Customer Service
- DIY Installation
- Wireless Equipment
- No Landline Required
- Cellular Alerts
- 100% Cellular Monitoring
- Environmental Disaster Sensors
- Home Automation
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- Indoor/Outdoor Video Cameras (optional)
- Non-Proprietary Equipment
- Portable Equipment (perfect for renters)
- Automated System Checks (every 60 minutes)
- Geo-Location Notifications and Actions
- Three-Year Equipment Warranty
- Long-Term Contract
- No Landline Option
- No Broadband Option
- Credit Check Required and Could Raise Prices
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 and they provide the Alarm.com app (depending on the plan you choose) to give you remote access and control of your system.
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, Alarm.com 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.
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 generally offer same day service along with 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.
- Free Installation
- Home Automation Features with Voice Recognition
- 24/7 Monitoring
- Environmental Disaster Protection
- Cellular Connection
- 6-Month Money-Back Guarantee
- Customized Options
- Medical Alert System Available
- Optional Indoor/Outdoor Cameras
- Interactive Security System
- Six Redundant Monitoring Centers
- Pet-Sensitive Motion Sensors
- High-Decibel Siren
- Battery Backup (24 hours)
- Continual System Self-Check (system diagnostics)
- Free Shipping, Free Returns
- Long-Term Contract
- Inconsistent Customer Service
- Requires Technician Visit
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. And, in most cases, your new system can be installed the same day.
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.
- Low Monthly Rates
- No Hidden Fees
- 24/7 Monitoring Available
- Easy DIY Installation
- Wireless Equipment
- No Long-Term Contracts
- Equipment Works Without Monitoring Plan
- Remote Arming/Disarming
- Environmental Sensors (gas, fire, freeze, and flood)
- Indoor Video Security
- Limited Home Automation (Alexa and August Locks only)
- Proprietary Equipment
- Up-Front Equipment Cost (but reduces the monitoring costs)
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.
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.
- 100% Wireless
- 24/7 Monitoring
- Free Professional Installation
- 2-Way Voice with Monitoring Support
- Hands-Free Voice Control
- Home Automation (door locks, garage door, security system, lights, thermostat)
- Indoor Camera and Doorbell Camera (optional)
- Occupancy-Based Temperature Management
- Add-On Equipment Available
- Lifetime Warranty
- No Activation Fee
- 100% Cellular Connection
- Medical Alert Pendant Available
- Local Cloud Storage
- Professional Installation Required
- Higher Than Average Monthly Costs (unless you buy the equipment upfront)
- Long-Term Contract
- No Landline Option Available
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
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.
- 24/7 Professional Monitoring
- DIY Installation (in less than an hour)
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
- No Upfront Cost
- Landline and WiFi Monitoring
- Price Match Guarantee
- Lifetime Rate Lock
- No Activation Fees
- No Installation Fees
- Home Automation
- Environmental Disaster Protection
- HD Wireless Video Cameras with Night Vision
- Amazon Echo Dot Integration
- Up to $1400 in Free Equipment
- Two-Way Audio
- Pet-Friendly Sensors
- Long-Term Contract (36 months)
- Cellular Monitoring Costs More
- Credit Check Required
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.
Types of Home Security Monitoring
Protect America offers landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring connections. Landline monitoring uses your home (wired) phone line to connect your security system with the monitoring center.
Protect America also offers a broadband connection. A broadband connection uses your internet connection to connect your security system with the monitoring center.
Protect America also offers a cellular connection. A cellular connection is one that operates on a dedicated cellular channel (like your cell phone) and has now become the most standard form of security monitoring. A cellular connection wirelessly sends a signal through a secure, encrypted transmission to the monitoring center when a triggered alarm alert has been received.
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 is basically several backup systems in place to handle your alarm calls. If one system goes down, another system seamlessly picks up the signal and handles the call. So a security company with redundant monitoring is one that has more than one call center to handle their calls in case of an emergency, regardless of which of their call centers the alarm is coming from.
Wireless or Hardwired
A wireless security system is one that doesn't require your home to be hardwired for their equipment to work. A wireless system is generally one that uses Wi-Fi or a cellular connection to communicate with the call center and the equipment is generally installed using adhesives. A hardwired system is one that requires your security system to be installed by connecting it to your home's electrical wiring for it to work.
To arm your security system means to set it or turn it on, so to speak. This tells the alarm to begin monitoring. To disarm your security system means to turn it off, so to speak. By disarming your security system, you're telling it to stop monitoring.
Specialized Alert Zones
A specialized alert zone is a defined area of interest in your surveillance camera's view. The alert zones are predefined and setup to send an alert when there's motion in any of those designated areas. These can be used to narrow an area so you don't receive too many false positives due to pets or traffic.
Entryway sensors are basic two-part devices (one on the door or window and one on the entryway frame) that have magnetic circuits that touch when a window or door is closed. And when those magnetic circuits are broken, such as when the window or door is opened, an alarm will go off and you and/or the authorities will be notified.
Glass Break Sensors
Glass break sensors are placed on windows and doors and are designed to trigger an alarm when someone breaks the glass of any window or door that has a glass break sensor on it. The alarm then sends a signal to the monitoring center indicating there's a problem, at which time you and/or the authorities are notified.
Motion detectors are sensors that detect the motion in any room a sensor is placed. The motion detector will trigger an alarm when motion is detected and will then notify the monitoring center, as well as you and/or the proper authorities.
A control panel is either a manual pushbutton or digital touchscreen panel that is installed on the wall of your home and it controls all facets of your security system. Most (but not all) security systems can also be controlled remotely using a security app.
Cellular monitoring is basically a cellular connection that operates wirelessly using a dedicated channel just like your cell phone. So cellular monitoring, when used in a home security system, is the method used to connect your security system with the monitoring center.