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How to Find the Best Home Security System

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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.

1st
  • Monthly Price: $19.99-42.99
  • Installation Fee: FREE

Protect America Review

  • Pros
  • Availability of intercom systems
  • Lowest price guaranteed
  • No installation or equipment fees
  • 100% wireless
  • Landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring
  • Cons
  • 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.

2nd
  • Monthly Price: $36.99-58.99
  • Installation Fee: $99

ADT Security Review

  • Pros
  • 130+ years of experience
  • Wide variety of products
  • Automated and remote system monitoring
  • Around-the-clock security monitoring
  • 6-month satisfaction guarantee
  • Cons
  • 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.

3rd
  • Monthly Price: $53.99-69.99
  • Installation Fee: $198

Vivint Review

  • Pros
  • Interactive monitoring comes with all packages
  • Ability to customize packages
  • Range of useful tools and resources on the website
  • Free installation and equipment
  • Cons
  • 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.

Compare the Best Home Security Systems

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The Best Home Security Systems

  • Protect America – FREE installation fee, $19.99-42.99 monthly price
  • ADT – $99 installation fee, $36.99-58.99 monthly price
  • Vivint – $198 installation fee, $53.99-69.99 monthly price
  • Frontpoint – FREE installation fee, $44.99-49.99 monthly price

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.

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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.

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.

Home Automation

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:

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

Company Installation FeeMonthly Price
Protect America FREE$19.99-42.99
ADT $99$36.99-58.99
Vivint $198$53.99-69.99
Frontpoint FREE$44.99-49.99

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.

Related: Ten Surprising Home Invasion Statistics

False Alarms

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.

Recap

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.

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Home Security Systems FAQs

Q What is the meaning of security system?

A

A security system is a device that protects your home, family and other property against a number of different hazards. A security system helps to deter crime such as burglary and attacks. It can also protect your home from fire, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. Most security systems have sensors through the home to offer a high level of protection.

Q How much is a home security system?

A

The cost of a home security system varies based on the complexity of the system and how it is connected. Security systems that are connected over an existing phone line often cost between $15 and $30 per month. Systems that are connected using cellular technology often cost between $40 and $60 per month.

Q How much is SimpliSafe monitoring?

A

SimpliSafe Monitoring charges a flat rate of $14.99 per month for its standard plan, which includes a cellular connection, 24/7 monitoring and an HD camera. Its Interactive plan, which also offers remote controls and SMS alerts, costs $24.99 per month. Both plans are available on a month to month basis with no contract requirements and no early termination fees.

Q How much does ADT cost per month?

A

The Essentials package from ADT costs $36.99 per month, or about $9 per week. You can also order a package that offers more features for an additional cost. For example, the Essentials Plus package is $42.99 per month while the Premium Protection plan with ADT Pulse is $52.99 per month.

Q What is a security system and how does it work?

A

A security system is a methods or means by which a home or other building is secured through a system of inter-working devices and components that trigger alarms when an intruder enters. Security systems work on the principle of securing entry points and interior spaces.

Q How do alarm systems work?

A

Alarm security systems have three main features-sensors, control panel, and monitoring service. Sensors are small devices used to detect the presence of a person or thing on your premises. They're placed on door frames, windows or any other entry point throughout your home. Some sensors are designed to detect broken glass, while others are strictly activated by movement. Any activity gathered by a sensor is sent directly to a control panel. The control panel is the core of the alarm system and is used by the affiliated monitoring center to disarm or alert the authorities of potential danger. With most home security companies, the control panel is monitored around the clock, 24/7. While a triggered alarm may send thieves or intruders running for the hills, it's more often than not recommended to have your system on constant monitor.

Q Should a technician install your home security system or should you DIY?

A

When it comes to a home security system, safety should be your number one priority. There are, however, two distinct ways to set one up in your household. The do-it-yourself route is rather simple if you know the basics. In a DIY security system package you'll receive the mountable keypad, window, door and motion sensors. A technician-installed system is more exact. A professional technician makes a trip to your residence with the installation equipment in hand. When you opt for professional installation, the home security company will typically throw in the equipment at no extra charge (compared to the do-it-yourself option). Conversely technician-installation is highly recommended if you're dealing with a complicated or wire system.

Q Do I need a security system?

A

A security system is important for your home with the rising incidences of burglary in the country. Following this trend, investing in a security system can help make your home less of an easy target for burglars.

Q Is a home security system affordable?

A

Yes, it is. Home security providers have worked hard to ensure home security is affordable to homeowners. Also, research shows compelling benefits to home security like peace of mind and risk mitigation, which can outweigh the costs for many homeowners.

Q What is home automation and how does it work?

A

Home automation allows access to all control devices in your home from your smart phone or other mobile devices. Lights, electrical outlets, heating and cooling systems are linked to a remotely controllable network.

Q Do I need a security system if I live in an apartment?

A

In the same way a security system can benefit a house, an apartment security system may be a good idea. However, check with the building association to make sure a system meets codes and regulation for your building before installing.

Q What is the best security system?

A

The best security system is one that suits your lifestyle and your home. By simply taking a good look at your home you can easily choose which the best security system for you. Consider factors such as if your home as a pre-existing system in place.

Q Is it possible to get a home security system without a phone line?

A

Yes, it is. With the evolution of wireless technology, you can get a wireless security system. The system is linked to a cell tower near your home and a cell transmitter in your home.

Q What features can I include in my security system?

A

While considering the features, look at the technological advances in security systems. However, a security system should always contain alarms, sensors, door chimes and a control panel. If you want to be automatically connected to the proper authorities during an emergency, you should also consider connecting to a remote alarm monitoring service.

Q Can I move with my security system?

A

This one depends on the system you have installed. It is possible to move with a "do it yourself" system as it means uninstalling from one location and reinstalling in another. In the case of contracted monitoring services, the contract dictates the possibilities. Plus, a wired system is difficult to move.

Q Should I install a wired or wireless home security system?

A

It depends on your security needs. Wireless systems provide an easier installation and can be used in areas where wired systems can't. On the other hand, wired systems provide an edge in reliability.

Q How do I decide which home security equipment I need?

A

Selecting the right home security equipment can be frustrating if you don't know where to start. Studies show that 90% of break-ins occur in either the front or rear doors so defending these entry points is critical. If you have a multi-level home, install floor and window sensors on the ground floor first, then work your way up securing the entrances in order of accessibility. Depending on the amount of your budget, you can outfit your home in a range of different tools.

Keypad

The primary purpose of a keypad is to create a central point which communicates wirelessly to additional parts in your home (window, door, motion sensors). When one is triggered by an intruder, the keypad receives a message that the premise is being entered and depending on the settings it may alert an outside monitoring center. Newer technologies have allowed many keypads to be designed sans the need for a landline or Ethernet cable.

Touch Screen

A Touch Screen is common in multi-level structures where the primary control center is located on the first floor. Through this device, you can monitor and even adjust thermostats, door locks, and lights. What's more, you can usually configure it to your smartphone or tablet for on-the-go notifications.

Panic Buttons

Companies like Frontpoint Security Solutions, have what they call "panic pendants" which allow homeowners to alert police or medical personnel of trouble immediately. You can conveniently fit these devices in purses, pockets, or kids' rooms. These monitoring devices are especially popular with older individuals due to the increased likelihood of injury and invasion.

Most companies allow you to tailor your security system with the monitor devices of your choosing. At an additional cost, you can pick and choose exactly the features you'd like installed.

Q If I lose electric power, will my alarm still work?

A

Home alarm systems operate on what's known as a low voltage system. Basically, what that means is that the systems are supplied power through the wall from a large transformer, not directly from your house power. So in essence, your system has an AC power adapter and a built-in battery pack. The back-up battery supplies power the alarm up to several hours after the fact. On average, these batteries have a lifespan of anywhere from three to five years. After that time, it is recommended to either replace it with a new, unopened battery or have the old one tested using a voltmeter.