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Increasing the security of your home is essential to protect yourself, your belongings, and your family. According to the experts, high unemployment rates and other economic woes in the nation are a factor in rising crime rates. With more than 2 million burglaries each year in the United States alone, and an average loss of over $2,000 per incident, it is well worth the investment to make sure your home is properly protected.
High-quality deadbolts and well-placed lighting on the exterior of your home can reduce the risk of becoming a victim. However, experience shows that skilled burglars can pick a lock, even a deadbolt, in a minute or less. On the other hand, crime data also demonstrates that criminals tend to avoid homes with an alarm system, to improve their chances of not getting caught.
Thursday, January 21st
Frontpoint offers affordable, state-of-the-art Alarm Systems. Their cutting-edge approach to home security and emphasis on excellent customer service puts them at the top of our list among providers of Alarm Systems.
One key feature of Frontpoint's Alarm Systems is that it is 100% wireless and 100% cellular. Why does this matter? With traditional, landline-based Alarm Systems, burglars can render the Alarm System useless with a quick snip of phone lines or cable wires. With Frontpoint, the alarms from your control panel communicate with their monitoring center over a secure cellular network - there's no need for you to provide a landline or phone connection of any kind.
Installing the Frontpoint Alarm System is a breeze. Unlike other Alarm Systems that require an in-person visit from a technician who will drill holes in the walls and hard-wire the system, Frontpoint offers a pre-programmed, DIY solution that you can set up in as little as 30 minutes right out of the box. The Frontpoint home security components use a wireless frequency to connect instantly to their Control Panel, which signals the monitoring station using its built-in cellular device, eliminating any need for a connection with a landline or internet cable. This gives you the flexibility to expand or change your Alarm System as needed, including taking it with you when you move!
Frontpoint's equipment is within reach for most budgets and can be configured to meet your needs with no hassle. There are three monitoring plans to choose from, all of which include 100% cellular monitoring and 24/7 coverage in the event of intrusion, fire, environmental hazards, and life safety conditions:
Frontpoint adds to the value of their Alarm System packages by offering free shipping on all equipment.
Frontpoint's higher-end monitoring packages put the power of technology in your hands. For example, once your Alarm System is installed, you can set your system up to provide you with instant alerts if a door opens, the power goes out, a window breaks, or even when a child comes home. Also, you'll be able to access your Alarm System with any Internet-connected device. If you have an iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, or Windows phone, you can easily use Frontpoint's free smartphone apps to check on your Alarm System. Alternately, if you're on a computer, a laptop, or a tablet device, you can use their online customer portal. Their advanced home automation features let you control lights, thermostat and door locks, from virtually anywhere in the world, giving you added convenience while helping you save energy. And, with the video surveillance feature included with the top-tier monitoring package, you can even see what's going on at home, at any time.
One of the most customer-friendly features of Frontpoint's Alarm Systems is how easily they can be expanded. Frontpoint sells and monitors a wide assortment of sensors that can be added onto your Alarm System as desired. These sensors can help you monitor for intrusions, fires, environmental concerns, and even medical emergencies. Plus, your monitoring fees stay the same, regardless of the number of sensors you install. Several of these additional Alarm System sensors include:
Frontpoint really stands out among the crowd when it comes to their attention to customer service, as evidenced by their "A" rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. They were also given the honor of receiving the Angie's List Super Service Award, which is given only to companies that have a superior service rating. And, Frontpoint is not lacking with respect to customer testimonials, with hundreds of reviews praising the products and excellent service received.
As further proof of their commitment to keeping customers happy, Frontpoint has a 30-day risk-free money-back trial on all of their Alarm Systems. If you're unhappy with your Alarm System or monitoring, you can send back your equipment within 30 days. You'll get a no-hassle refund, with no restocking fees and no return shipping charges.
Frontpoint is a clear leader in the Alarm Systems industry. They make sure that their customers have access to cutting-edge technology, including wireless sensors, free mobile apps, and numerous customization options. Their support staff is friendly and knowledgeable and their policies demonstrate their commitment to their customers. If you need a high-tech, feature-rich Alarm System that is easy to install as well as affordable, Frontpoint (1-877-602-5276) should be your first choice. They earn our highest ranking.
ADT has been protecting homes and businesses for many years, making them one of the most recognized names in alarm systems. ADT has four main alarm system plans to meet your needs, with options for both landlines and cellular users, fire detection, or basic intruder protection. With ADT, you should expect to spend some money on start-up costs for installation and/or equipment that other providers include at no extra charge, particularly for the landline-based alarm systems.
Another difference you'll see with ADT is that they'll send an associate to evaluate your home's alarm system needs prior to installation. Most of the systems are wireless but some in-person coding is necessary with certain add-on equipment.
ADT's entry-level alarm system package is $99 for installation, plus an additional monitoring fee of $36.99 per month. The equipment in this package includes:
This package does require a landline for use, and if you need more than three entry point sensors for your larger home, expect to pay more for your equipment.
ADT also has three wireless (no landline required) alarm system packages:
ADT does not tell you upfront what the equipment costs will be for those three wireless packages, or for additional sensors. But, at the time of our review, they were advertising free equipment on all four monitoring packages with the required installation charge. The fine print at the bottom of the page indicated that installation charges can be as high as $399 (or more!), depending on the system chosen, and that the free equipment offer is only valid for customers who sign a 3-year contract. This is quite steep compared with alarm systems in our review that take a more do-it-yourself approach to installation.
In short, ADT (1-866-238-9934) is a great choice for customers who need dependable alarm systems with all the bells and whistles and who are willing to pay extra for reputability and professional installation.
If you want an alarm system with cutting edge bells and whistles, Vivint will probably get your attention. From Nest thermostats to Amazon Echo, Vivint's alarm systems let you change your home's temperature, keep an eye on your kids while the babysitter is there, or even remotely unlock your door from any internet-connected device.
Each of Vivint's alarm system packages include the following:
In order to set up your Vivint alarm system, you'll need to choose from one of their three monitoring packages:
Vivint offers free equipment and installation with certain packages, which keeps them competitive with other providers of alarm systems. But, make sure to pay attention to the fine print before signing on the dotted line: depending on where you live, you'll need to make a staggering five-year commitment (four years in a handful of states) with a monitoring package of at least $60.99/month in order to qualify for the "free" equipment and installation. Vivint's site doesn't seem to indicate that they offer a customer satisfaction guarantee, making a five-year commitment (or paying the remaining contract balance) too much for many customers. Also, if you change addresses, you'll be assessed a $99 moving fee if you've been a customer of Vivint for less than 12 months; the fee is eliminated if you renew your alarm system contract at your new residence and you've been a customer for at least a year.
Vivint does have an optional warranty and service plan for an extra $10/month. Under this coverage, they will repair and/or replace any defective part of the alarm system at no extra cost. Without this extra Premium service plan, the warranty period is only 120 days past installation; after that point in time, Vivint will provide replacement parts at no extra charge, but you'll pay a $49 fee plus tax for the service call.
What's the bottom line for pricing on Vivint's alarm systems? The best answer is "it depends". Vivint does not make it easy to determine their package pricing, requiring customers to work with a company representative. (We even used the chat function on the website and got the answer that pricing is only offered over the phone or in person.) Many customer reviews complain about insistent salespeople coming to their homes late at night and rushing people into 5-year contracts without being open about the length of the commitment. And, with every feature you add, you'll pay more-so with base packages starting at $53.99, Vivint is easily one of the costliest alarm systems we reviewed.
We were pleased to see Vivint's A- rating with the Better Business Bureau. However, there have been almost 4,000 complaints registered with the BBB in the last three years.
In general, Vivint's alarm systems leave us with mixed feelings. If your security system must have the most high-tech components and you've got money to spare, Vivint isn't a bad option to consider. Just don't overlook the fact that you're making a five-year commitment, and be prepared to assert yourself to get help from customer service if you experience any problems with your equipment post-installation. Vivint earns good marks for their alarm system packages.
Promoted by celebrities such as Dave Ramsey and more, SimpliSafe sells wireless alarm systems with do-it-yourself installation and zero long-term commitments. Like the majority of no-contract alarm systems, SimpliSafe does require customers to buy their equipment outright. With a minimum price of $229.99 for the starter set, that's not an insignificant amount of money, but their low monitoring costs of $25/month or less definitely result in savings over time when compared with most contract-based alarm systems.
What comes with the SimpliSafe starter package? Best for dorms, small homes and apartments, this set includes one base station and wireless keypad, one entry sensor, one motion sensor, and one keychain remote for $229.99. Larger packages include the Economy package, which adds two more entry sensors for a total cost of $259.99; the Classic package, which adds a smoke detector and siren to the Economy set, for a cost of $349.99; the Master package, with a total of two motion sensors and six entry sensors, along with the smoke detector and siren, for $449. 87; and, finally, the Ultimate package for $539.85, which includes two motion sensors, four entry sensors, the siren and smoke detector, along with a panic button, water sensor, carbon monoxide detector, and freeze sensor.
If you need some extra savings, SimpliSafe is the only alarm system we found that has the option of buying refurbished equipment. You could save as much as 30% on the purchase of your package if you're comfortable with using pre-owned gear.
SimpliSafe breaks down their monitoring packages into two basic plans:
We were impressed by SimpliSafe's free shipping on all orders, a 3-year product warranty, and an excellent money-back guarantee for 60 days after purchase.
But, we felt that SimpliSafe came up short in two critical ways. First, most modern alarm systems include the use of technology to control everything from arming the system to changing the temperature in the home, while SimpliSafe charges more (via the more costly monitoring plan) just to be able to use their app to change the system's settings. With respect to technology, SimpliSafe also doesn't yet offer thermostat controls, door locks, or camera monitoring, though many of their competitors do.
In addition, we were dismayed by a significant number of customers who complained that they woke up multiple times to false alarms, and that the monitoring service took up to five minutes to contact the homeowner in response. Those same customers often had problems getting a prompt reply from SimpliSafe's customer service department when attempting to get to the bottom of the problem (which often seemed to be related to switching the alarm system's cellular connection from T-Mobile to Verizon or vice-versa).
Because of the expensive start-up costs and the less-than-perfect customer reviews, we encourage you to start with one of the smaller, less expensive packages for your SimpliSafe alarm system. This will give you the opportunity to fully test the system and use the 60-day return policy if necessary. SimpliSafe earns a good rating.
Guardian Protection Services brings 60 years of experience to the alarm system industry and recently included wireless-based packages in their offerings. We were surprised to find out that Guardian only services a few geographic areas themselves (which we discovered hidden away in the About Us section of the website); all other regions are "serviced by Guardian authorized dealers"
This Pennsylvania-based provider of alarm systems has four basic plans for equipment and monitoring:
To determine what you'll pay for your Guardian Protection Services' alarm system, you will need to make an appointment to speak with one of their specialists. From what we were able to discover, monitoring and equipment packages start at $34.99 and go up sharply from there. Guardian requires professional installation of any equipment, and we would prefer more transparency regarding costs-both for the installation itself as well as a pricing baseline for their different alarm system packages.
We also would like to see more obvious information on the Guardian site with respect to the required contracts for their services. We found reviews describing three-year contracts with steep cancellation fees; one frustrated customer was billed for their alarm system even after their house had burned to the ground and took a year to rebuild, even though they notified Guardian of their situation.
On a more positive note, Guardian Protection Services has received multiple accolades. For example, their monitoring center was given a five diamond rating by the Central Station Alarm Association. Guardian also maintains an A+ rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau, and they were given the Super Service Award by Angie's List.
We would gladly raise Guardian's rating with evidence of increased transparency in their pricing, both for alarm system monitoring and for installation, and in the terms of their service contract.
Alarm Systems have a wide variety of features, coverage, and price points. Some Alarm Systems charge hundreds of dollars for installation in addition to their monitoring services, while others offer free equipment and/or installation along with a monthly monitoring contract. The best Alarm Systems provide customers with flexible options with respect to installation and home phone line requirements.
As you consider which Alarm System will best meet your protection needs, it is wise to have a grasp of several common features offered by home security companies. These include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Alarm Systems available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right alarm system to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones for years to come!
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