Brinks has been a major player in security for well over a century.1 From our experience with their home security systems, Brinks combines fully customizable setups with reliable and professional monitoring. They’ve recently joined forces with Moni and Livewatch to further bolster their service offerings.2 We really liked a handful of things about Brinks. For instance, their features include automated arming and disarming, smartphone controls, Crash and Smash protection, and LiveVoice Assist. But there’s certainly room for improvement. Let’s see how they compare to the competition, and whether Brinks is right for you.
We’ve had our eye on Brinks Home Security for a while now. The company was founded way back in the 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that Brinks Home Security was born. Throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, Brinks built some incredible momentum, offering home security systems that rivaled those of ADT. Then, poof! It all disappeared. After a rebranding in 2009, and a couple of mergers later, the name Brinks fell off the map for almost a decade.3
Fast forward to 2018, and the company suddenly re-emerged as Brinks Home Security after striking a deal with Moni, a security brand headquartered in the heart of Texas.4 So naturally, we were curious about what Brinks offered to a market that seemed to have, well, everything. Were these systems any better than other options in the industry? And how do the features and technology compare to the competition? We set out to find answers.
FYI: Technically, Monitronics (Moni) and LiveWatch collectively rebranded their companies as “Brinks Home Security.”
Right away, we liked that Brinks sold three straightforward equipment bundle options. We also enjoyed the fact that it was simple to install and easy to use. The new trend in home security is DIY systems. And by offering 20- to 30-minute installation times, Brinks got this part right. But to be honest, we didn’t love the long-term contracts. For us, this requirement is the biggest weakness of Brinks Home Security. It’s hard to justify being locked into anything for three years. So, we wanted to get real-life, hands-on experience with their products to see if it was worth the commitment.
Our experience started off great. We purchased a pre-configured equipment package directly from the Brinks Home Security website. They keep it simple with only three options to choose from: Smart Security Essential ($199), Smart Security Complete ($349), and Smart Security Ultimate ($1,099). We went with the Ultimate option, which included basic home protection equipment (sensors, keypad, etc.), an outdoor security camera, and a doorbell camera.
|Brinks Equipment||Smart Security Essential||Smart Security Complete||Smart Security Ultimate|
|Brinks Home Touch||1||1||1|
|Wireless Door Sensors||2||3||3|
|Wireless Motion Sensor||1||2||2|
|Yard Sign and Stickers||1||1||1|
|HD Video Doorbell||Not Included||Not Included||1|
|Indoor Camera with Night Vision||Not Included||1||Not Included|
|Outdoor Camera with Night Vision||Not Included||Not Included||1|
At checkout, we had the option of upgrading our package by purchasing smart home devices, additional sensors and cameras, and other accessories. Brinks Home Security also makes it clear that they offer a 30-day, money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty on products, which is always nice.5 Overall, the sign-up process was straightforward and fast. They even had an option to call a representative to configure a custom package to better suit our needs.
Brinks offers free two-day shipping, so the equipment was on our doorstep in a jiffy. Right out of the box, we could see that our Brinks system was designed to be simple and easy to install. We had the entire wireless system in place and operating in less than 30 minutes, from start to finish. While the setup was quick, it certainly wasn’t the simplest system we’ve ever installed (Ring Alarm or SimpliSafe takes the cake in this category). Now, if you’d rather have an expert install your system, Brinks does offer professional installation for $199. This option may be expensive, but it does extend your warranty to lifetime coverage.
With our Brinks devices in place, we began exploring the equipment and monitoring service. Since GE makes much of the Brinks equipment, the devices themselves were refined and dependable. They also all seemed to “communicate” well with one another and the hub of the system.
We were able to arm and disarm the alarm and perform other commands using the Brinks IQ 2.0 Control Panel — a sleek touchscreen device that reminds us of Vivint’s award-winning SkyControl keypad. Also, we were able to control our system remotely with app-based controls. The Brinks app is decent, but it doesn’t measure up to the Ring app or ADT Pulse app. We’d like to see an all-around more intuitive app with an improved interface.
Did You Know: Many home security companies offer free self-monitoring using the companion app. Brinks is not one of them. While you can access and control your system using Brinks Home Security app, you have to pay for an additional monthly monitoring subscription.
During testing, we found Brinks entryway sensors and motion sensors to be very responsive. We didn’t even experience any false alarms, which is always nice. When the alarm sounds, you can expect a Brinks Home Security monitoring agent to get in touch within 30 seconds to assess the situation. Although the agents were friendly and professional, we’d really like to see Brinks add a free self-monitoring option, as many of the top home security brands already offer this alternative.
Finally, we weren’t all that impressed with Brinks doorbell camera made by SkyBell. 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 was a bit better, with improved image quality and a retail price tag of $249. Brinks also offers an indoor camera for $199.
The industry-average cost for monthly monitoring is between $20 and $30 per month. So, as you can imagine, we weren’t thrilled with the $39 per month monitoring price tag from Brinks. Remember, this expense is in addition to equipment costs. Brinks used to have a $29-dollar monthly monitoring option, but as far as we know, it’s now only available on Nest Secure systems. Thankfully, there is no activation fee to get started.
Pro Tip: We recommend taking advantage of Brinks no-interest equipment financing through GreenSky Financing. If you don’t have the money upfront, this avenue allows you 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 control panel), ASAPer service (instant interactive messaging), and cloud storage of video recordings. But other than that, their monitoring services didn’t really stand out as truly exceptional in any way, especially considering the relatively high monthly cost. Abode, Ring, and SimpliSafe already offer 24-7 professional monitoring for $10 to $30 per month with a lot more features.
One thing we really liked about Brinks Home Security was the extensive lineup of add-ons and upgrades. The prices are (mostly) reasonable, and the GE-made products are robust and 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 crowd. If you want cutting-edge features and technology, we recommend checking out Vivint or ADT’s premium plans. With 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.6 This feature performed well for us, but we’d like to see a more user-friendly design.
Another great aspect of Brinks Home Security is its easy DIY installation. Without any tools or handy 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 pre-configured and ready to protect your home.
The Brinks upper-tier plans include cloud video storage in the monthly fee. This addition allows you to store your recorded video footage and clips in the cloud for safekeeping and review. This feature normally costs between $5 and $10 per month extra at other companies, so it’s nice that Brinks includes it in select plans.
Brinks IQ 2.0 Control Panel features an LCD touchscreen for a streamlined look and user-friendly operation. In our experience, this device provided us with greater control over our system than we usually get from a push-button panel. This control panel also seamlessly connects all smart home devices 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.
We’ve found that 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 we thought was innovative. Each time we reached out, the customer support was good, but not necessarily great. The staff was friendly and helpful, but we have a way of asking the 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 them through their website, a ticketing system is available. Also, extensive self-service support resources give you answers to most of the basic problems that you may encounter. Finally, Brinks Home Security has a community set up so that you can 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 Home Security #1 in Customer Satisfaction with Home Security Systems in 2018.7 They also hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.8 Not bad at all.
Overall, we found Brinks to be a pretty good system for the money, especially considering the sleek and modern touchscreen controls. It’s easy to install and even easier to use. Plus, the monitoring was reliable with fast response times. However, next time around, we would probably choose the Smart Security Complete package to save ourselves a couple hundred dollars. With lots of customization options, smart home features, and affordable equipment financing, we 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 is too inflexible 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 and your family. All in all, it’s a decent system that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
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Sliwon-Stewart, A. (2018, March 12). MONI rebrands to BRINKS. Informa.
Burkitt, L. (2009, June 30). Brink's $120 Million Name Change.
Bosch, R. (2018, February 28). MONI CEO on Bringing Brinks Branding Back. Security Sales & Intergration.
Brinks Home Security. (2020). 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.
Brinks Home Security: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, May 8). BBB.