Over the last several years, home security has grown in popularity as more and more people feel the need to protect their homes and families. The news is filled with stories of home invasions and burglaries. A good quality home security system can provide peace of mind for homeowners and renters alike.
- Home Security System Reviews
- Best DIY Home Security System
- Best Wireless Home Security System
- Best Home Automation System
- Pre-Purchase Considerations
- Types of Communication
- DIY VS Professional Installation
- Local VS National Home Security Companies
- 24/7 Monthly Monitoring
- Is a Home Security System Worth the Money?
- Before Signing a Contract
- Read Next
Home Security System Reviews
Studies have shown that when a home is protected by a security system it is a lot less likely to be broken into; as much as 2/3 less likely in fact. If a secured home does get broken into, the losses have been reported to be much less according to the Unified FBI Crime Reports.
There are many different options available when it comes to home security systems. There are literally dozens of different companies on the market that offer home security. With all these choices, it may seem like a daunting task to choose one. That’s where we come in. This guide will provide you with a lot of valuable information about home security systems. We have also provided you with informative reviews of three of the top rated home security systems available.
Protecting your home is an important thing to do. Ensuring that the company you choose and the choices you make for equipment and services are high quality choices can make a big difference in the safety of your family.
Best DIY Home Security System
Protect America Home Security
Protect America is our top pick and our recommendation for those of you who want a DIY home security system. Please don’t be turned off by the term DIY as this is not an involved installation. We have setup this system in less than 30-minutes with barely looking at the instructions. It is very simple.
Protect America has over 22 years experience in the home security industry. They are a solution for homeowners that is affordable and that offers plenty of benefits and features. There are over 500,000 homes in the United States and Canada that use Protect America for their home security needs. With recognition like #1 Best Home Security Company and being cited as a Consumer Digest Best Buy for five consecutive years, it’s no wonder that Protect America is a top choice for homeowners that want a good, reliable home security system.
Protect America is an affordable system that takes less than 30-minutes to install. All components communicate wirelessly and the system is easy to operate.
Protect America’s security system is designed to find into their customer’s homes perfectly. The devices used in the system are able to communicate with the central control station effortlessly. This makes monitoring and protecting the family from medical hazards, carbon monoxide and fire much simpler. They have official security apps available in the App Store for iPhone and on Google Play for Android devices.
Protect America offers homeowners a choice of three monitoring options which are Copper, Silver and Platinum. Each level has a choice of landline, broadband or wireless for at different, affordable price points. They offer their customers:
- 24/7 Alarm Monitoring
- A Lifetime Equipment Warranty
- Locked Price Rates
- Smoke and Heat Monitoring
- Emergency Response (Medical Pendants)
- Carbon Monoxide Monitoring
Other benefits of Protect America include no installation fees, a low price guarantee and reliable monitoring that is top rate. They also offer a DIY option for those who want to install it themselves. It offers consumers the ability to control their systems from anywhere thanks to the security apps.
Equipment includes window and door sensors, glass break sensors for the windows, mini pin pad for the system, security cameras, yard signs, security stickers and more.
Best Wireless Home Security System
ADT Home Security
ADT has over 140 years in the security industry and have the privilege of being the company that comes to mind the fastest whenever anyone thinks about home security. They are rated as the most reliable in home security monitoring in the United States and have many features and benefits that have helped them reach this status. The ADT Pulse program allows a high level of control and peace of mind for any homeowner. This technology offers homeowners with the opportunity to be in complete control regardless of where you are.
You’ll be able to keep track of what is going on at home and can custom set a multitude of alerts from letting you know when the children come home from school to keeping track of who is knocking on your door when you’re away. There are many reasons to choose ADT as your home security system which include:
- Easy to operate systems via a keychain remote that allows you to disarm and arm your system with just the touch of a button.
- ADT Pulse offers the ability to control your security system from your cell phone or computer
- 24-hour monitoring for burglary, carbon monoxide, and fire.
This is just a few of the things that an ADT home security system can do. With over 6 million customers and a brand name that is recognized all over the world, it’s no wonder ADT is at the top of the list.
One of the features of an ADT home security system that customers value is the trustworthiness that they have built. ADT has record response times, in many cases contacting emergency services and getting them to the homeowner in as little as two minutes from the time the monitoring center is notified. If you’re looking for reliability and peace of mind, ADT provides plenty of it.
ADT offers customers wireless security systems that are super easy to install. There is no hardwiring or drilling necessary and they automatically sync with system upgrades and new equipment. There is even an ADT Pulse Voice App that allows homeowners to do the following all from voice commands.
You won’t have to wait weeks or even days to have your security system installed. ADT offers same day installation in most of their coverage areas. What this means is that the same day you call, they will be able to send an installer out to your home to get you set up. ADT offers 4 different plans that homeowners can choose from. These include:
Security Monitoring which requires a landline
- Basic Wireless
Wireless Security Monitoring, CellGuard
- ADT Pulse
Wireless Security Monitoring, CellGuard, Mobile Access +Alerts
- ADT Pulse + Video
Wireless Security Monitoring, CellGuard, Mobile Access + Alerts, Video Surveillance
The costs will vary for each of these programs and can be accessed by contacting the company. If you are looking for reliability, consistency and exceptional customer service and support, ADT is a great choice.
Best Home Automation System
One of the big draws to using Vivint for your home security needs is that they are one of the greenest home security companies available. There are many features that Vivint offers to their home security customers including the opportunity to have solar panel installation.
Vivint doesn’t just offer security for your home; they offer improved quality of life. You will always be up to date and aware of what is going on in and around your home thanks to the Vivint Smart Control.
This allows homeowners to check on the children, check on the babysitter, see that the pets are behaving, unlock your door remotely if needed and other things as well. You will be able to control small appliances, lamps, thermostats, cameras and locks from your cell phone or computer. This freedom and peace of mind is hard to beat.
Vivint offers three different packages for customers to choose from:
- Vivint Starter
- Smart Protect
- Smart Control
Each package offers customizable systems at a reasonable price. They offer doorbell cameras, medical pendants, video cameras and much more. Getting the package you need is easy. Customers love how easy it is to link together the energy efficient, security and automation features together into one seamless system. Customers also love the standard LCD touchscreen.
Vivint offers customers many different types of equipment to meet their home security needs. These pieces of equipment include:
- Door and window sensors
- Recessed door sensors
- Motion sensor
- Glass break sensor
- Key fob
- Lamp module
- Carbon monoxide sensors
- Temperature and Flood sensors
- Medical pendants
- Smoke detectors
- Tilt sensors
With all of this variety and capability, homeowners will have full control of their home’s safety. The pricing is all given up front so there are no hidden costs or fees. One thing to look out for is that installation costs can be high due to the professional installation required but customers could run into a special occasionally, or they could ask for a discount or break on installation. It’s not guaranteed that a discount would be given, but it definitely can’t happen if you don’t ask. Peace of mind will be an everyday feeling when customers choose Vivant for their home security needs.
There are several things that you want to think about before you choose a particular home security system. How you answer the following questions can help steer you towards the right company for yours and your family’s security needs. Think about the points below and get a clearer picture of what you want and need out of a security system.
Types of Communication
There are three ways that a security system can communicate:
DIY VS Professional Installation
The kind of installation your security system requires will affect the cost significantly. For those companies that offer DIY installation, there is usually a dramatic reduction in the cost. There are two different kinds of installs available: DIY and Professional Install.
There are some pros and cons to each of them. DIY install is recommended if the system is easy to set up, such as with peel and stick sensors that have been pre-programmed to match up with the different areas of your home that they will be applied.
Many people are not comfortable installing a system of such importance on their own, even if the company states that installation is easy. For this reason, many opt for professional installation despite the higher cost. Below we have listed the differences between Professional Installation and DIY Installs.
- Takes roughly an hour or two to set up
- Allows the homeowner to become very familiar with the system they have chosen and how that system works.
- DIY installation doesn’t require any appointments; do it on your own timetable.
- There are no installation fees
- Can be easily moved to another home should you move
- Requires very little to no running of cables, mounting or drilling
- Can be a challenge for those who are not DIY savvy
- Provides a sales pitch free experience
- Could involve having to contact tech support if there is any problem that arises during the self-install
- Worry can arise about the system being installed properly
- Requires an installation fee or activation fee although there can be specials
- Provides the opportunity for the homeowner to ask the installer questions.
- Security that the system is installed properly
- The opportunity for the installer to demonstrate how the system works so there are no questions
- Needs an appointment although most home security companies try to get installers out asap from the time you call to order it.
- Requires some drilling and running of cables or lines
- Involves having to have a stranger in the home
- Can take as long as 4 hours including demonstration and set up.
Local VS National Home Security Companies
There are some things that are better purchased local such as clothing, food and even furnishings. When it comes to home security systems, it is highly recommended that the homeowner purchase from national companies that are recognized and that have a strong reputation. National companies almost always strictly focus on home security only which gives them large amount of specific experience.
- Is cellular monitoring available?
- Where is the monitoring for the equipment handled? Are they redundant?
- What is the monitoring company’s response rate?
- What warranty or extended service plans are offered?
- What kind of features does the company offer? (video surveillance, etc)
- Do you offer DIY installation if desired?
- Is there 24/7 tech support?
- Do they offer different packages available?
- Do they run any installation specials?
- If you move, can the system come with you?
24/7 Monthly Monitoring
There are two aspects of the home security system: the system itself and the monthly monitoring that you can get. There are so many options on the market these days that you may be tempted to just get a system with no monitoring. Although it will have a smaller cost, what you won’t have is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the monitoring company has your back should there be problems such as fire, medical, or burglary.
Monthly monitoring will range in cost. It will vary from company to company according to the features and technologies that you choose. The basis of the service is the same no matter what company you choose; you pay for a company to respond to the alarm in case of an emergency. This peace of mind that someone is always watching out for you can bring so much peace of mind that many people feel it is worth it no matter what the cost. There are several benefits to having this monthly monitoring.
Emergency Response Plans
The majority of professional monitoring companies offer customization of the emergency response plan that can be tailored to your preferences and needs. This involves deciding who is called first in the event of an emergency and other decision.
A monitoring agent is trained to help people through emergencies such as a break in or medical emergency. This can be invaluable for those with latch key kids or elderly parents living in the home.
Medical Alert Help
Medical pendants or watches can be purchased that signal an agent that someone is having a medical crisis so emergency medical personnel can be dispatched.
This benefit is very good if you are ever the victim of a home invasion. You enter a code into the system that indicates you need immediate help and cannot be contacted.
Is a Home Security System Worth the Money?
So is a home security system right for you? So many people worry about wasting money or they have the mentality of ‘it will never happen to me’ but this is a potentially dangerous mentality to have. It is not paranoid to have a home security system with monitoring in place to protect your home and family. Things like yard signs and window stickers deter burglars from trying to break in a large amount of the time.
In addition, the home alarm’s siren can scare them away and reduces the amount of time the burglar is at the home if they don’t deter them from coming in altogether. Statistics show that having a home security system installed is far and above worth the investment for the peace of mind factor alone. You will have the knowledge that your home is protected by a system that will reduce the chances of your home ever being broken into.
- Every 15 seconds a burglary occurs
- There is a 30% increase in the chance of a burglary in homes with no security system
- Only 72.4% of the burglaries that occur are reported to the authorities
These statistics only cover burglaries. Add in the statistics that involve fires and medical emergencies and it’s very easy to see the benefits of having a home security system.
Before Signing a Contract
Now that you have decided a home security system is for you, there are a few things you want to make sure of before you sign any contracts. The following points protect you from getting hooked up with a less than reputable company or spending money you didn’t think you were going to spend.
- If the home security system company you are considering going with says that they ONLY work with their licensed monitoring system you need to move on to another one. Make sure that you will have access to the programming features and all access codes to your system and that you are able to go with the monitoring system of your choice when your current contract is over.
- Make sure the security system comes with a contract and a guarantee on labor and parts. You can also inquire about extended warranties. It may add a couple of hundred to your costs but it is worth it to know that the parts, labors and fees are covered should you need them.
- Find out the specifics of the contract before you sign up with a company. How long do they require service before you can move the system? Is there a way of cancelling the contract if needed? What happens in the event of a financial emergency that requires you to pause your monitoring system for a period of time? Are the monthly fees locked in for your protection or can they be increased with no notice? What do the costs revert to once the contract is over?
- What equipment is yours to keep once your contract runs out? Are you just leasing the equipment or are you buying it? What is their response time in regards to technical problems that affect the workings of the system? Do they offer system checks to make sure everything is working properly?
- Does the company have references? How do they act when you ask for previous customers that have their service? If they have references to give you, call them and find out what kind of service and response time the monitoring company has.
- Get a risk assessment to determine what kinds of security issues you will want to cover in your system and monitoring. These risk assessments should be free of charge and they should send someone out to the home, not attempt to do it over the phone by asking questions. If they will not send a person out to the home for the inspection, choose another company.
- Does the installer take the time to explain the workings of the home security system and the features you have purchased to you and the members of your family? Do they rush through the explanations or take the time to answer questions and make sure you understand everything?
- Get your quote in writing and make sure it includes all the equipment you’ve chosen, the monthly monitoring fees, warranties, set up, installation and any other charges they have told you about. Getting this quote in writing protects you from surprise charges and fees.
The right home security system can make a huge difference in the peace of mind that is in your home. It is especially important to have this protection and peace of mind when there are children in the home. The three home security companies we reviewed above are excellent choices that offer the homeowner a variety of packages, equipment choices and monitoring choices to fit all kinds of needs and preferences. When you have your system set up and working, you will be amazed at how much better you feel about the safety of your family and home.