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Best Home Automation System for 2016

We review the best home automation systems

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Home Automation Reviews

Home automation is a growing industry. There are 1.9 billion smart home devices available on the market. Advancements in technology allow us to do some amazing things. One of the most important is to better manage our homes. Many companies provide home security and home automation packages with exceptional technology to aid us in this regard.

Home automation gives us the ability to program and change functions within our homes. Some of these functions include managing its thermostat, remote locking/unlocking door and adjusting lighting. These controls can provide some great benefits such as a reduction in energy costs and/or you could save money on your home owner's insurance policy by adding these along with security features.

Speaking of security, many providers that make our list do so because they offer exceptional packages that combine home security and home automation functions, while also issuing superior customer service. As part of this, providers offer technology where you can access your home security cameras remotely and even receive alerts in the event there's a break in.

There are 1.9 billion smart home devices available on the market.

Moreover, many providers offer monitoring services as part of the package. When an alarm sounds in your home it will signal the provider to alert first responders in the event of a fire, flood, carbon monoxide leak or in the police if a sensor or camera detects theft.

Overall, these services can provide you with unrivaled control to your home's functions, peace of mind and some cost benefit savings. Before choosing a home automation provider, here are some things to keep in mind.

Home Automation: What to Consider

Most providers will offer the same type of equipment and package services. To separate the best from the pack, here are some components to be mindful of when choosing a home automation provider:

Reputation -A provider's reputation is indicative of the level of service and care it extends to its customers. You can do research on your provider by looking them up on the Better Business Bureau's website, who assigns grades based on a variety of components, including resolved/unresolved customer issues. A company tends to have a lower score if they have a high amount of customer complaints without resolution.

Customer service - Building on the previous point, it's important to gauge how other customers that used a provider's service rates it. Often, you can find customer reviews on a company's website, using a third-party review service or even just reading the reviews listed in our guides. In addition, you can visit the provider's social media accounts to see how it responds to customer questions or comments posted.

Monitoring services - Since most providers bundle packages to include security and home automation components, monitoring becomes a critical focal point. Does the provider have in-house monitoring? If so, is it available 24/7? If the company farms out its monitoring service to a third-party, what is the third party's reputation? What measures does the company have in place in the event of service disruption on its end? It's important to know the answers to these questions to ensure you receive reputable monitoring service that will be there for you when you need it.

Fees - You should also examine a provider's fees based on monthly service, equipment charges and installation costs. Then, you can compare its price to competitors to find the most affordable options for you.

Onboarding - Onboarding is when you sign up for service and a technician comes to install equipment. During this time, a reputable company will take the time to help you learn more about the equipment, such as how to use its services online and its mobile application. While it's easy for most novice users to pick it up, it's still important the technician shows you all the different home automation/security features available to you, as well as test them before leaving. Also, a reputable company will also do a follow-up call after the installation to ensure everything operates smoothly. Therefore, keep these things in mind when you do select a provider.

Service contract/guarantees - Many home automation companies are similar to cell or TV providers in that they will require you to do a contract for service. This term, normally specified in months, is how long you must keep service with that provider. If you elect to end service early, you might incur early termination fees as well as still having to pay the remaining balance owed for the term. With these things in mind, it's important the provider offers a right of recession (trial period) where you can try its service then cancel without penalty. Some providers might even allow you to transfer your contracts to a qualified person without charge, so be sure to ask your provider about its term policies before committing to one.

Installation - Installation is a crucial phase because it is when the technician installs all your equipment for service. Before doing this, however; you might have to acquire an alarm permit, if you plan to install one. Most providers can send your city's application for this permit. Moreover, there might be restrictions on the type of equipment you can install. If you are a property owner with an HOA, it's important to double check before using service. If you are renting a property, always check with the owner before scheduling installation.

Credit - Many providers might require a credit check to sign up for services. They do this to verify who you are as well as to see if you have outstanding balances in collection with similar companies. If you do, it might make it more difficult to obtain services.

Along with these factors, you can also read our in-depth reviews on top providers like Vivint, ADT, Protect America, Livewatch and Frontpoint. Furthermore, our guides on home automation companies are full of practical information you can use to learn more about the technology and what to look for in service providers.

Meet the Best Home Automation Companies

These five providers made our list because each offers flexible equipment/package offerings and outstanding customer service. Here's a closer look at each of the top five home automation companies:

Protect America Home Automation Review

  • Pros
  • Free installation
  • Affordable plans beginning from $19.99
  • Intuitive controls for home automation/security equipment
  • 24/7 monitoring for security features
  • Cons
  • Customer support isn’t available 24/7

Founded in 1992, Protect America offers some of the most modern home automation tools to help you control everything from your home's lighting to its appliances simply. With affordable plans starting as low as $19.99, and the ability to access your house's functions through your smartphone, Protect America provides you with affordability and easy to use features to make it among the top home automation providers available.

ADT Home Automation Review

  • Pros
  • Live chat feature for quotes
  • 24/7 support for email or phone
  • Flexible package and equipment offerings
  • Remote access for home security and home automation equipment
  • 24/7 monitoring from its first responders
  • Cons
  • 24/7 monitoring is an optional component for its basic package
  • Service requires a contract

ADT has been on the cutting edge of helping you protect your most important asset by supplying home security and home automation equipment. What separates ADT from other providers is its stellar service record. For over 140 years, ADT has been an industry leader in providing top of the line security solutions for your home, so you can have peace of mind in knowing when you go with ADT, you are aligning with a reputable provider.

Vivint Home Automation Review

  • Pros
  • Flexible packages to align with your needs
  • 24/7 monitoring and tech support
  • An online support center with equipment guides
  • One of the most reputable call centers in North America
  • Free installation
  • Cons
  • Requires a service contract
  • Alarm installation might require a local permit

Founded in 1999 by Todd Pedersen, Vivint's goal is to develop smart home solutions you can use to enhance your life. From the time of its inception, it has done an excellent job offering home automation products to conserve energy, add layers of security and overall make it simple to manage most of your home's functions with the press of a button. Since 1999, Vivint has installed more than 850,000 systems in the United States and Canada, which is an indication of how well customers respond to its functional product offerings.

Frontpoint Home Automation Review

  • Pros
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Installation takes 30 minutes as systems arrive preconfigured
  • Excellent support features on its website with user guides and instructional videos
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Cons
  • Packages are more expensive than other providers

Founded in 2007 by home security experts, FrontPoint emphasis is less on scaring people into buying its services and more on offering the best technology available. Not only will this help you manage your home's functions with ease, it also gives you peace of mind. It is important to note that Frontpoint would be higher on our list, but its monthly plans are more expensive than providers like Protect America.

LiveWatch Home Automation Review

  • Pros
  • Simple installation where you plug in and activate its systems
  • Exceptional array of support features on its website
  • Customization options to support many home security/automation needs
  • Excellent reputation evidenced by A+ rating with the BBB
  • Cons
  • Higher monthly price than other providers
  • Requires you to buy an alarm system upfront

Chris Johnson founded LiveWatch in 2002, with the goal of giving everyone access to faster response times in the event of emergencies. While LiveWatch's initial goal was home security, it extended its offerings to include home automation services as well. Now, when you sign up with a qualifying package with LiveWatch, you will have access to its mobile applications where you can turn on/off lights, control your home's thermostat and even lock/unlock your doors remotely with the push of a button.

Home Automation Advice

If you are new to home automation, want to switch providers or just need more information, our informative guides on home automation are a great place to turn. In each, we provide pertinent information to assist you in learning more about how home automation as well as home security components so you are mindful of each.

  • The advancements in technology have fundamentally changed how you can do everything from communicating with others to controlling the functions in your home with just the press of a button. Home automation is an excellent example of the unique abilities technology gives you, because you have access to a wealth of ways to control your home's features remotely. Our guide on how home automation works helps you learn more about its components and functions.
  • There's nothing more important than keeping our families and our homes safe. When away during the day and sleeping at night, you want to feel comforted knowing that your home is safe and protected by top-notch home protection services. When traveling, the same rules apply. The last thing you want when on vacation is to fear that your home is at risk of a burglary or other danger. Our guide on five ways to improve your home protection supplies tips to assist you in keeping your home safe.
  • Home monitoring systems are becoming more common as families seek to protect their homes. They are also more affordable than ever. However, just because you can afford one doesn't necessarily mean you actually need one. Use our guide to see if a home monitoring service is right for you.

When it comes to keeping you and the people you love safe, there is no way to overthink the measures you're taking to protect them. When figuring out the best home security companies for your specific needs, you should, in addition to checking out our list of favorites, consider a few aspects of each service above all else. Here are some very important things to consider when you're checking out security providers.

When moving into a home one of the key things that are top of mind for people are security systems. You want to make sure that you and your family are safe, but with so many systems on the market and so many different features, it can be difficult to narrow down it down to the one that suits your needs. Truth be told, your decision may just come down to your personal preference of home security features. Furthermore, your living situation could heavily affect your decision. Our guide on things to consider when purchasing a home security system can help you pinpoint the right one based on your needs.


With the rapid advancements in technology, home automation will continue to become a growing demand for families due to all the unique benefits available such as reduced energy costs, enhanced security measures and the simplicity of customizing your living environment according to your needs. When choosing a provider, reputation, service offerings and customer service are huge factors to keep in mind; this is why the five providers we selected are the best, because each exemplifies a commitment to providing you with the most intuitive home automation products available and excellent customer support to compliment them.

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Questions & Answers About Best Home Automation Systems

What is home automation and how does it work?

Home automation, simply, is connecting all of the systems in your home to turn it into a "smart home". You, as the homeowner, can connect all of the systems in your home and make them responsive to you at any time from any location. While burglar alarms continue to be the most common device connected via home automation, it is not the most exciting. Home automation systems can also connect music, entertainment systems and home theaters. Control of the home's lighting, as well as its energy use, are also the major reasons for home automation. The automation is, actually, the combining of two or more of these systems which are known as subsystems.

Is home automation complicated and difficult to operate?

Home automation can be simple to both install and to use. Everything pretty much operates via remote control through a mobile device. While your home will suddenly become extremely high tech, it will may make your life simpler and allow you to save much valued time. Your entire home is operated from wall mounted control systems, hand held remote controls or from your tablet or smart phone. All of the tasks involved from closing the shades to checking to ensure that your children made it home from school safely, are clearly labeled and are activated with just a touch of your finger.

Is home automation affordable?

Home automation systems can begin at around $500 and move up from there depending on the sophistication you might be looking for. For as little as $500, you can begin to turn your house into a smart home by being able to operate your television, some of the lighting in your home as well as control the thermostat from a remote location. A professionally installed home automation system, however, can give you far more flexibility and reliability than the simpler DIY systems. For a professional system that will cost between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on home size, you can get several integrated systems. Access to this upgraded home automation would be accessible from the Web or from your cell phone and could include security cameras, lighting and thermostat controls, music throughout your home as well as video access in multiple rooms.

Is home automation a practical and realistic thing for a homeowner?

In the hurried and fast paced world we all tend to live in these days, nothing could be more practical than home automation. How many times have we all been driving along and then suddenly try and remember if we locked all of the doors and engaged the security system? As for practicality, home automation will allow you to see who is at your front door without actually going to the door and opening it. How practical can that be if you are at work and want to know that the children made it home from school safely? And, if you are away on a trip or vacation you can set all of your lights to turn off and on at random times to make it appear that you are home and the house is occupied.

Will automating my home save me money?

Yes. When you begin to automate such systems as your lights, you will be using much lower voltage bulbs which will cost less and will last longer as lights turn off automatically when not needed. When using the high energy halogen bulbs, the brightness can be dimmed thus saving on the life of the bulb without any real loss in brightness to the room. In addition, the timers for the lighting system can be set to turn off automatically after a certain period of time and even the use of motion sensors will help keep your electrical use low. Many of the other electrical systems in your home can be automatically set as well.

Will home automation make me safer in my home?

The challenge with traditional security systems is that they don't sound an alarm until after someone has broken in to your home. Light is the number one deterrent to crime and you will have it all of the time to deter burglars before they even approach your home. The outside lighting from your home automation security system gives you added protection that often actually prevents a home break in from happening. You can also attach flashing lights to the system to make it more effective. With home security automation, you can actually see the situation at your home no matter where you are in the world and if something is wrong, the house can call you on your cell phone!

How does the home entertainment automation option work?

The home entertainment systems option puts all of your television, movies, games, and music right at your fingertips coordinated through one system. All of your favorite music, games and movies are available at the press of a finger. All of your movies and games can be downloaded into the system and filed in your phone to be called up at any time from any room in your home. An enhanced home entertainment automation system has the storage capacity of anywhere from 160 GB to a full terabyte. You can even tap into your favorite RSS feeds, news updates and weather reports.

Are there certain things to avoid?

One of the major hazards to home automation can be a tendency to incorporate far too much automation into your home. Most of the common automation systems include lighting, home entertainment, shades, security alarms, surveillance cameras and swimming pools. Before you automate, you need to sit and discuss with your family what exactly would be the best automation fit for you. Other pitfalls include not leaving your system enough room to upgrade when the technology improves and not having enough interfaces. Finally, one pitfall that most people never think of is to leave the systems with enough room to get proper air and ventilation to avoid overheating and burn out.

Can motorized shades actually ensure a great night's sleep?

There are many advantages to automating your shades throughout your home. It can help you to keep the heat in during the winter and the heat out during the summer as well as becoming a critical factor in getting a great night's sleep. If you decide to play some soft music at night, you can enhance the restful nature of it with shades and lights that can be in sync with the music. The shades and the lighting can also illuminate certain section of your home, like a hallway, for those who tend to get up during the night. Setting your shades to automatically close in your bedroom just prior to bedtime will create a cozy and restful atmosphere for you as soon as you enter the room.

Is whole house internet access available with home automation?

Yes. You not only will have the ability to access the World Wide Web from anywhere in your home, but you will be able to do so without any additional cables that can be both an eyesore and a safety hazard. Your current network can be retrofitted or a new internet access system can be installed using both wired and wireless technologies. After you have decided what will work best for you, you will have wireless availability throughout your home including access to printers in various rooms. You can, basically, have your own in-home network without the mess of additional cables and wiring.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.