An important part of protecting your home is to ensure that you have the best home security system in place.
These systems can make a significant difference to the security of your property and the safety of your loved ones. Also, having a good home security system installed means that both you and your family can enjoy valuable protection and peace of mind.
In my research, I considered the best home security companies that are reputable, reliable, and who offer a wide variety of protection plans at an affordable price. A home security system not only makes your home harder to rob, but it also makes it a less attractive target for burglars.
I've reviewed the top home security systems to help you find a company that best suits your needs.
Our Top Picks
It is always advisable to weigh the pros and cons of a product before coming to a decision. Based on the above criteria, I found the best home security systems currently on the market. These picks offer superior protection options and industry-leading customer service.
- Monthly Price: $19.99-42.99
- Installation Fee: FREE
Protect America Review
- Availability of intercom systems
- Lowest price guaranteed
- No installation or equipment fees
- 100% wireless
- Landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring
- Outsources monitoring
- Cameras only record when alarm activates
Protect America provides access to a range of home security and safety systems, from home surveillance systems through to carbon monoxide detectors. Founded in 1992, it has earned the Best Buy Award from Consumer Digest for its low service fees, no upfront costs, and excellent service.
Protect America has many security packages available that encompass everything from protecting your home to your automobile.
There are five security systems available in total, with a number of packages to choose from based on the level of security you need and your budget. The package you choose will determine the number of security devices you receive. The company also provides access to intercom systems as part of its product offering, which is not an option available from many of its competitors.
One unique feature that Protect America offers with its home security packages is that there are no upfront costs at all, so you do not have to find large sums of money in order to get your home protected. Instead, the company incorporates the cost of the system into its monthly charges, much the same as cell phone providers do when they provide you with an inclusive phone as part of your contract.
It is also worth noting that the company does outsource its monitoring.
- Monthly Price: $36.99-58.99
- Installation Fee: $99
ADT Security Review
- 130+ years of experience
- Wide variety of products
- Automated and remote system monitoring
- Around-the-clock security monitoring
- 6-month satisfaction guarantee
- Costly installation fee
- User reviews indicate poor customer service levels
ADT is one of the most well-known and long-standing names in home security with over 140 years of offering security services for its customers. Today they offer a wide range of home security products including home monitoring and remote system control. They have six monitoring centers located across the United States to provide you with the support you need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
ADT stands out amongst the competition with its mobile app available for smartphones. Coupled with the home automation services gives you complete command over your home remotely where you can control temperature, lighting, locks, and even arm or disarm the home's security system.
However, expect to pay the price for this 'brand' name, as the cost of their systems can be pretty high compared to some others. The prices of systems from ADT are not the most competitive and having to get the system professionally installed simply adds to the expense, as there is no cheaper self-install option.
- Monthly Price: $53.99-69.99
- Installation Fee: $198
- Interactive monitoring comes with all packages
- Ability to customize packages
- Range of useful tools and resources on the website
- Free installation and equipment
- Limited to cellular packages only
- Monthly costs higher than average
The security systems that Vivint offers are all cellular based, which means that there are no landline or broadband options available. The packages available include a basic home monitoring system and more comprehensive packages that come with home automation and video cameras.
It is possible to create custom security systems, as you can mix and match the devices offered by the company to create the ideal system. It's also worth bearing in mind that all packages with this provider offer interactive monitoring, so you can use a mobile device to monitor and control the system.
When it comes to fees, the monthly charges that come with the packages from Vivint are higher than average. On the upside, the provider does offer a good variety of tools and resources on its website, which includes a number of user guides that can be downloaded for assistance. However, if are looking to keep your home security's costs low, then it's important to shop around to ensure you are receiving the best deal.
- Monthly Price: $44.99-49.99
- Installation Fee: FREE
- Self-installation option
- Excellent customer service department
- Customizable packages available
- Wireless technology
- Competitive pricing
- No 2-way intercom system
- No snapshot functionality
- Not licensed in some states
Frontpoint Security is a relatively new provider, starting in 2007, although its founders have decades of home security experience.
Making use of innovative wireless technology, Frontpoint offers access to a wide variety of systems to help make your home more secure. The advantage of having a wireless system is that it can't be externally disabled by a trespasser so you can enjoy peace of mind and security. You can also enjoy the option of self-installation, which is ideal if you want to save money and if you move into a new home in the future.
Frontpoint charges no installation or activation fees. You are billed only for your security system equipment and monthly monitoring package. Once you sign up, the security system is shipped to you.
The few shortcomings with this system are that it doesn't come with a 2-way intercom system or snapshot feature. Frontpoint is also not licensed to work in Las Vegas, NV or Henderson, NV so if you live in those areas, you're out of luck.
- Offers affordable home security packages
- BBB accredited business
- Quality proprietary systems that help to keep costs down
- Homescreen Touchpad with preloaded LifeView app
- System and security updates can be sent directly to the unit
- No home automation service, garage sensors or intercom systems available
- Limited number of packages
- Self-installation not an option
LifeShield Security is a provider that could be ideally suited to those who want low-cost home security systems, as it offers very competitive pricing on its packages.
The provider actually makes their own security devices rather than those from outside manufacturers. This is one of the reasons why the company is able to offer very competitive prices. You can also purchase advanced packages that include interactive mobile monitoring and security cameras.
LifeShield offers three wireless home security packages, called Security Essentials, Security Advantage and Security Professional with a three-tiered pricing structure of very competitive monthly fees based on a 36-month agreement. The Security Essentials is billed as a great starter package; the Security Advantage offers home security and video monitoring, while the Security Professional package claims to be an all-inclusive home security package. You can order the packages as configured, or customize them to your security needs with add-ons such as flood and glass-break sensors.
On the other hand, LifeStream has no home automation option while many of their competitors do. They auto renew their agreements, which can catch customers off guard, and do not have a sterling customer service record.
Compare Home Security Packages
The Best Home Security Systems
Considerations When Choosing a Home Security System
When it comes to our homes, families, and belongings, we all want to do everything we can to keep them safe. However, without the top home security system, our homes are at risk of all sorts of danger. If you are interested in best security system, here are a few things to reflect on before making your purchase:
1. Costs & Fees
From the decision to set up, there are a few different costs involved in getting a home security system. First, you have to purchase the equipment; then you have to have it installed and, if you want it, you have to pay monthly monitoring fees. However, some of these costs are better with certain providers. Some offer free installation, so you only have to pay for the equipment.
If you choose the home monitoring options, you may be able to buy a package that incorporates the cost of installation and equipment into the monthly fee, which means no upfront costs. Other companies will charge for installation and offer no self-installation option.
2. Installation Process
Once you've chosen what kind of system you want, it's much easier to decide how you are going to install it. Wired and monitored systems are typically the most complicated, and it's a good idea to hire a professional. In fact, some home security companies won't give you the option to install a security system yourself.
If you are dealing with a wireless system with no home monitoring, installation should be straightforward, and you will most likely be able to do it on your own.
3. Customer Service
Just like any company, a high BBB rating can mean a commitment to customer service. Next, you can look at the company's history. How long have they been in business? Longevity doesn't always mean an organization is reputable, but long-standing companies at least have a track record to reference.
Home Security System Features
All the top rated home security systems offer a plethora of features and equipment to better protect your home. Below I've compiled a list of services you can expect a home security system to provide. Be aware that not all of the companies reviewed in this article may have the features in this list. If you're looking for the top-of-the-line protection plans, be sure to look for the home security company that offers the complete package.
- 24/7 Home Monitoring System
- Fire and smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Motion sensor lights
- home security cameras
- Remote web/mobile access
- Email/text notification
- Voice Control
Related: Nanny Cams are not commonly included with a home security system, but should be considered if you have young children at home. For more information, read our buyer's guide to Nanny Cams.
Some of the top home security systems go above and beyond, offering numerous extra features that allow you to automate certain services in your home at the touch of a button. These smart home automation systems features are typically mobile or computer apps you can use on a smartphone or laptop. They include:
- Cellular connection
- Electronic remote door locks
- Lighting control
- Thermostat control
- Garage door control
Unsurprisingly, you can expect to pay extra for these services if you purchase them.
Security System Types
Home security systems can just come with the basics, or you can choose a variety of additional products, based on what the company offers and what you need. A typical alarm system comes with a control panel and sensors that are placed on all the entry points, including windows.
Beyond that, you can choose a myriad of different security products like intercom systems, security cameras, remote access, and home monitoring services. The necessity of these extras depends on what you think you need for your home and area.
1. Wireless Home Security
Some companies allow you pick a self-install option. In this case, you would buy the equipment and either install it yourself or hire your own professional. The easiest to install is a wireless home security system, where the control panel communicates with the sensors digitally. Because of this, it makes for the number-one DIY home security system.
These aren't as reliable as hard-wired systems because they can pick up interference from other electronics and even neighboring systems. However, their easy and non-intrusive installation makes them a popular choice for apartments and renters.
2. Wired Security Systems
Professional installed wired systems are hard to tamper with and are more reliable than even the foremost wireless home security system. These involve running wires through the walls to connect the control panel to the sensors. Installing wired systems is intrusive and complicated and best left to a professional.
3. Smart Home Systems
Smart home systems give you remote access to your home from a tablet or a smartphone can give you peace of mind if you are away from your property for extended periods of time. If an alarm is triggered, the monitoring system notifies the company. The company then evaluates the alarm to determine if it is false or legitimate and then notifies the police.
These systems connect to a monitoring service via three different methods: landline, cellular, and broadband. Cellular is the most reliable and (typically) the most expensive. If your telephone line and the internet go out, you'll still have a working monitoring system. However, broadband connections are faster and cheaper.
Home Security Packages
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There are many home security companies out there and even more products out there that will help you craft a DIY home security system. But since the security of your home is such an important topic, finding the perfect system for you is vital.
Do You Need a Security System?
There are some areas of the United States that are quite peaceful and violent crime rates are low. If you live in a place like Cavalier County, North Dakota, you may not need a world class security system with all the bells and whistles. However, if you happen to live near other people, especially in the major cities, some form of home security doesn't hurt.
According to an FBI estimate, there are over 2 million burglaries a year and $4.6 billion in lost property. With numbers like these, it's clear that protecting your home is something worth giving serious consideration.
You are 300% more likely to be broken into if your home doesn't have a home security system.
The FBI also reports that around 30 percent of burglaries happen through unlocked doors and windows and 60 percent are by forced entry. That's why it's a good idea to protect your entry points with an alarm. Although a home security system can't stop a break-in, it can act as a deterrent. Burglars prefer an easy target. So much so that it's said that you are 300% more likely to be broken into if your home doesn't have a home security system.
With a home security system, your home is a more difficult target. The loud noise an alarm makes and the potential for a home monitoring service sending the police severely limits the amount of time a burglar can get in and out without being seen. A home monitoring system is a good idea for extra security especially in homes with small children, elderly or if you are away for extended periods of time.
Peace of Mind
Robberies happen all the time, but it's true that a lot of people can go their entire lives without getting their houses broken into. Even if you're almost certain that your house will never be broken into, a home alarm system may be worth the cost simply for the peace of mind it provides you with. With a home security system in place, you no longer have to fret and worry nearly as much and can be comforted by the fact that you've taken steps to protect yourself and the ones you love.
Tips & Advice
The security of your home is imperative, and in most cases, an alarm is a great way to deter burglars and alert you of any potential danger. However, some home security companies may not offer alarms with their standard package, meaning you may have to spend extra. Customer service, legitimacy, and company reputation are three more important factors to consider when doing business with any of the companies reviewed in this article.
There are over 2 million burglaries a year and $4.6 billion in lost property.
Is Alarm Monitoring Worth the Extra Cost?
Alarm system monitoring doesn't have to be a huge expense, but it does add yet another bill to your stack so people hesitate to invest in it for their homes. Every individual has to decide, based on their budget but more importantly based on other factors, if alarm system monitoring is a good use of your money.
When an alarm is triggered, the monitoring service will call the residence. If you answer during an emergency, the service will notify the proper authorities immediately. If you answer during a false alarm, you give the caller a pre-determined password to let them know everything is okay, and you don't need assistance. If no one answers, the company will call the police.
How can you avoid false alarms? A false alarm every so often is bound to happen. Thunderstorms and clumsy birds shaking your windows are sometimes enough to trigger alarms. However, some companies charge fees for too many false alarms, so it is a good idea to know how you can avoid them.
Alarm companies have to be careful with alerting the authorities to false alarms. Law enforcement in some cities won't even respond to certain alarms because of too many false alarms. However, alarm companies work to report break-ins and other emergencies more accurately.
While there are plenty of options available when it comes to choosing a home security provider and system, it is important to take key factors into consideration. This includes reputation, reviews, suitability of products, and costs.
It is vital that you look at the overall picture when choosing a provider rather than focusing on just one particular aspect. This can help to boost your chances of making an informed decision.
If you also want to protect your home and belongings financially, you should also look our buyer's guide to home insurance. If you have elderly loved ones or you could use some extra personal monitoring when you are home alone, it could be worth investing in a medical alert system. You can learn more and see our top picks in our buyer's guide to medical alert systems.
Most home security companies do not serve apartments. Fear not, as there are ways to keep your apartment protected. Check out our guide to apartment security for useful tips and advice.