When it comes to home security systems, Brinks combines fully customizable setups with reliable professional monitoring. And now, backed with MONI and LiveWatch and their decades of experience in the home security industry, Brinks has bolstered their service offering1 with top-notch service and features.
There are lots of things to like about Brinks. For instance, their features include automated arming and disarming, smartphone controls, two-way talk via the control panel, instant interactive messaging, and cloud storage of video recordings. But there’s certainly room for improvement. Let’s see how Brinks compares to the competition, and whether it’s the right security system for you.
Brinks (named after founder Perry Brinks) started out as a security provider for banks and retailers way back in the 1800s. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that Brink’s Home Security was born. (And yes, until very recently, Brinks was spelled with an apostrophe.)
Throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, the company built some incredible momentum, with offerings rivaling those of ADT home security systems. Then — poof! — the company disappeared. After a rebranding in 2009, and a couple of mergers later, the name fell off the map again for almost a decade.3 Fast forward to 2018, and the company suddenly reemerged as Brinks Home Security.
So naturally, I was curious about what Brinks had to offer in a market that seems to have … well … everything. Are Brinks systems any better than other industry options? And how do their features and technology compare to the competition? I set out to find answers.
Did You Know: Monitronics (MONI) and LiveWatch joined forces to rebrand their companies as Brinks Home Security.
Right away, I liked that Brinks sells three straightforward equipment bundles. I also appreciate that their systems are simple to install and easy to use. The new trend in home security is DIY. So by offering DIY installation that’ll only take 20 to 30 minutes, Brinks gets this part right.
But what I didn’t love is that Brinks requires you to sign a three-year monitoring contract. There are other home security systems that require contracts like major players ADT and Vivint, for example, but a three-year commitment is unusually long for a DIY system. This requirement is the biggest weakness of Brinks Home Security.
So, let’s get real-life, hands-on experience with their system and see if it’s worth the commitment.
My experience started off great. I bought a preconfigured Brinks home security package directly from their website. Brinks keeps it simple with only three equipment bundles to choose from: Smart Security Essential ($199), Smart Security Complete ($349), and Smart Security Ultimate ($699). I went with the Ultimate option, which included basic home protection equipment (sensors, control panel, etc.), an outdoor security camera, and a doorbell camera.
|Smart Security Essential||Smart Security Complete||Smart Security Ultimate|
|Monthly Monitoring Price||$39.99||$44.99||$49.99|
|Touch-Screen Control Panel||1||1||1|
|Wireless Door Sensors||2||2||3|
|Wireless Motion Sensor||1||1||1|
|Yard Sign and Stickers||1||1||1|
|HD Video Doorbell||Not Included||1||1|
|Outdoor Camera With Night Vision||Not Included||Not Included||1|
Whichever package you pick, you’ll have the option of adding on equipment, like cameras, extra sensors, and smart home devices. Overall, the sign-up process is straightforward and fast. You even have the option of calling a representative to configure a custom package to suit your needs.
FYI: Brinks Home Security offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee, and a two-year warranty on equipment.3
Brinks offers free two-day shipping, so the equipment was on my doorstep in a jiffy. Right out of the box, it’s clear the Brinks system is designed to be easy to install. I had it up and running in under 30 minutes. While that’s impressive, Brinks setup isn’t quite as quick and easy as, say, our SimpliSafe installation. Still, 30 minutes isn’t bad. That “Seinfeld” rerun can wait.
Now, if you’d rather have an expert install your system, Brinks invites you to text or call their customer care department to set that up. (For a fee, of course.) And note that Brinks is currently including professional installation as part of their Ultimate package. That wasn’t the case when I tried it out, but it’s a nice perk.
Once your Brinks devices are in place, you can begin exploring the equipment and monitoring service. Since GE makes much of the Brinks equipment, the devices themselves are high quality and dependable. They also seem to communicate well with one another and the hub of the system.
You’ll be able to arm and disarm the alarm and perform other commands using the Brinks IQ 2.0 Control Panel — a sleek touch-screen device that’s a bit like Vivint’s award-winning SkyControl keypad. (Check it out in our Vivint home security review.) You’ll also be able to control your system remotely with the Brinks app. The app is decent, but it doesn’t measure up to the Ring app or the ADT Pulse app. I’d like to see it be more intuitive, with an improved interface. One thing to note here, though, is that Brinks recently came out with the Brinks Smart Hub, which is an improvement over the Brinks IQ 2.0 Control Panel.
Did You Know: Many home security companies offer free self-monitoring using their companion apps. Brinks is not one of them. While you can access and control your system using the Brinks app, you still have to pay a monthly fee for Brinks professional monitoring service. All of their systems require this monitoring subscription.
Brinks entryway sensors and motion sensors are very responsive. I didn’t experience any false alarms, which was nice. When the alarm does sound, you can expect a Brinks monitoring agent to get in touch within 30 seconds to assess the situation. Although the agents are friendly and professional, I’d really like to see Brinks add a free self-monitoring option like so many other top brands do. If you’re looking for self-monitoring, check out our guide to the best home security systems with no monthly fee.
Finally, I wasn’t all that impressed with the SkyBell doorbell camera offered by Brinks. It has a retail price of $199, but it only offers 720p HD video quality, which doesn’t really compare to the 1080p HD of most doorbell cams on the market today. Their outdoor security camera is a bit better, with improved image quality and a retail price tag of $249. Brinks also offers an indoor 1080p HD camera for $199.
The industry-average cost for monthly monitoring is $20 to $30 per month. So, as you can imagine, I wasn’t thrilled with the $49 monthly price tag from Brinks. (Remember, this is in addition to equipment costs.) You’ll pay slightly less for monitoring with the other two packages: $39 per month with Essential, and $44 per month with Complete.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have the money up front, take advantage of Brinks’ no-interest equipment financing through GreenSky. You’ll be able to spread out the cost over 36 months.
As far as monitoring performance, Brinks offers a few nice features, including LiveVoice Assist (two-way talk via the control panel), ASAPer service (instant interactive messaging), and cloud storage of video recordings.
One thing to really like about Brinks Home Security is the extensive lineup of add-ons and upgrades. The prices are (mostly) reasonable, and the GE-made products are built to last. You can customize any of Brinks’ three equipment packages with these devices:
Brinks Home Security isn’t exactly known for offering innovative features and technology. But that’s fine, as their systems are geared more toward the low-cost, DIY market. If you want cutting-edge features and technology, check out Vivint home security packages. That said, Brinks does provide a few helpful features that are practical for everyday use.
The Brinks security app lets you arm, disarm, and tap into your live video streams using your smartphone or other mobile device.4 This feature performed well for me, but I’d like to see a more user-friendly design.
Another great aspect of Brinks Home Security is its easy DIY installation. In fact, Brinks makes our list of best DIY home security systems. Without any tools or handyman skills, you’ll be up and running in 30 minutes or less. The sensors are easy to mount, and the whole system arrives at your door preconfigured and ready for action.
The Brinks upper-tier plans include cloud video storage. This addition allows you to store your recorded video footage and clips in the cloud for safekeeping and review. This feature normally costs an extra $5 to $10 per month at other companies, so it’s nice that Brinks includes it in select plans.
Brinks IQ 2.0 Control Panel features an LCD touch-screen for a streamlined look and user-friendly operation. It gave me greater control over my system than I typically get from a push-button panel. And the Brinks panel doubles as a smart home hub, seamlessly connecting all the smart devices in the house into one central unit.
While their warranty isn’t exactly a feature, it’s certainly worth mentioning here. All Brinks equipment comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee. This assurance allows you to test- drive their system for a full month to ensure it’s right for you. If you find it’s not the best fit, simply return it for a full refund. Even though a 30-day guarantee is fairly standard in the industry, not all companies offer it.
Having access to quality customer service can make all the difference. And Brinks really excels in this category. First off, they offer ASAPer, along with LiveVoice assist. These features ensure that highly trained emergency personnel are always close at hand. There are also traditional customer support channels staffed by Brinks security experts.
With phone support, you can speak with their dedicated customer care team, and you can even text them your questions, which is innovative. Each time I reached out, the customer support was good, but not necessarily great. The staff was friendly and helpful, but I do have a way of asking difficult questions.
Tip: Never underestimate the importance of customer service when choosing a home security company. You never know when you’ll need tech support, billing assistance, or help getting out of your contract in a pinch.
If you’d prefer to contact Brinks through their website, a ticketing system is available. Also, extensive self-service support resources give you answers to most of the basic problems you may encounter. Finally, there’s a Brinks online community that lets you connect with other users to ask questions, share solutions, and more.
As far as customer service goes, Brinks Home Security definitely makes the grade. J.D. Power ranked Brinks No. 1 in customer satisfaction with home security systems in 2018.5 Brinks also holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Not bad at all.
Overall, I found Brinks to be a pretty good system for the money, especially considering the sleek, modern touch-screen controls. It’s easy to install and even easier to use. Plus, the monitoring was reliable and the response times were fast.
However, next time around, I would probably choose the Smart Security Complete package to save a few hundred dollars. With lots of customization options, smart home features, and affordable equipment financing, I must say that Brinks delivers pretty good value.
That being said, don’t forget to consider the long-term contract requirement. Some people complain that Brinks isn’t flexible enough with its three-year contracts and strict cancellation policies. But if you plan on needing home protection for years to come (and who doesn’t?), then choosing this long-time leader in home security might make sense for you. All in all, it’s a decent system that I don’t hesitate to recommend.
Sliwon-Stewart, A. (2018, March 12). MONI rebrands to BRINKS. Informa.
Burkitt, L. (2009, June 30). Brink’s $120 Million Name Change.
Brinks Home Security. (2021). Terms and Conditions.
Brinks Home Security. (2019, July 30). Brinks Home Security. Google.
J.D. Power. (2018, October 25). Smart Home Features Emerge as Key Opportunity to Drive Customer Satisfaction with Home Security Systems, J.D. Power Finds.
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.