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Everyone wants to feel safe in their own home, no matter how big or small the residence. In the United States, there are over two million burglaries every calendar year, with losses averaging at least $2,000 per crime. Home security systems are the most popular, reputable way to deter would-be criminals and to catch them in the act.
However, many consumers are turning away from traditional home security systems which often involve lengthy service contracts, not to mention the installation of equipment and wiring that can leave unsightly holes in the walls - and that might not even be allowed by a landlord for those who are renting an apartment or house.
Monday, January 24th
Frontpoint continues to lead the pack when it comes to home security systems with DIY installation. With a low-pressure approach to sales, a month-long money-back guarantee, and a 100% cellular connection (which means you don't need a landline phone or internet connection for it to work), this company works hard to earn and keep your business.
One of the top features that sets Frontpoint apart from the competition is their Geo-Services, which uses your phone's location to activate various system components. You start by setting up a "geo-fence", or an area around your office or home. If you leave that area (with your phone, of course - but who doesn't keep their phone close at all times?), you can set up your system to change your thermostat until you return, or to notify you if you forgot to arm it before you left home.
There are three plans to choose from with Frontpoint, all of which include round-the-clock monitoring through top-ranked, third-party provider Rapid Response:
While some of the home security systems on the market, particularly the ones with DIY installation, don't charge activation fees, you'll pay a charge from $99 to almost $200 for the start-up fees with Frontpoint. All plans require a 3-year commitment, and you then have to choose an equipment package to outfit your home security system.
For example, the Pro Package includes one keypad panel, three door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one glass break sensor, and one keychain remote. You can add on other equipment, either when you place your initial order or after you have the system set up. Available add-ons run the gamut from Cameras and Sensors to Home Automation and other accessories.
Where Frontpoint really shines is when it comes to customer service. From an A+ rating with the BBB to the Angie's List Super Service Award, and with countless reviews from satisfied customers, it's easy to see that Frontpoint has been able to not only make a name for itself but also maintain that high standard. They're absolutely committed to their customers, also as evidenced by that 30-day risk-free guarantee and their low-key approach to sales - no pushy tactics designed to get you to buy anything you don't actually need.
Although the competition is stiff, Frontpoint receives our top rating when it comes to home security systems with easy DIY installation, easy-to-understand pricing, and top-notch service and monitoring.
While do-it-yourself home security systems may all start to sound alike, the service provided by Utah-based Link Interactive stands out in three ways.
First, they are one of the only systems on the market that is 100% cellular. You can connect your system to your home WiFi, and any alerts or alarms will be sent through both pathways - whichever one is fastest at the moment the system is triggered. But, if you live in an area where the WiFi is not the most reliable, knowing that your system will function and send through the same 4G LTE network as your cell phone if needed may give you peace of mind.
Next, Link Interactive offers two main control panel options that both offer two-way voice connection with the monitoring service. In other words, if an alarm goes off, the central station can talk to you through the panel to make sure you're safe and to call an ambulance or police department if you fail to respond.
Finally, all of the components sent by Link come preprogrammed. While that may not sound very do-it-yourself, this could be a lifesaver if you're good at the installation part and not so handy with the technological side of setting up a home security system. If you later add components to your system - maybe you start with basic sensors and motion detectors and then install video cameras a few months later - you can easily get them integrated into the new system through the equipment's serial numbers.
There are three options for monitoring with Link Interactive's systems:
So, what are the drawbacks, if any, of using Link Interactive for your DIY home security needs? While this may not be an issue for you, many customers don't like to be locked into a contract; Link requires a minimum contract of a year, and their monthly monitoring costs are based on a three-year obligation. Also, you may find their equipment to be on the spendy side: $450 for their top touchscreen panel, the IQ2, plus 3 door/window sensors and a motion sensor, just to get started. It's not going to be cheap to get your equipment, but we were offered a discount once we built a package on the site - though we had to enter all of our information, including address and cellular coverage preference, before we got to the end.
On the other hand, Link Interactive gets extremely high marks from customers when it comes to the company's attention to detail. The representative we spoke with was friendly, knowledgeable, and was also based in the US. Many people compliment Link for being very on-the-ball with responding to any glitches with installation or integration of components, and the company's 65+ year history in the business includes an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
If you like to do-it-yourself when it comes to installation but want a little more hand-holding on the technology side, Link Interactive may be a good choice for your home security system. Just be prepared for it to cost you a little extra, especially when it comes to buying the equipment - but know that you're covered by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee on the service and a 3-year warranty on the components.
Frequently promoted by big names like CNET Magazine and Dave Ramsey, SimpliSafe offers home security systems with do-it-yourself installation. What makes them popular with a get-out-of-debt guru like Ramsey? That's easy: there's no required contract, and monitoring service fees are some of the lowest available, starting at just $14.99 per month.
As with all of the DIY systems in our review, you'll have to pay for your equipment: the intro package includes a little less than some of SimpliSafe's competitors, with just a base station and keypad, one door sensor, one remote sensor, and one keychain remote. This will set you back $229.99. Unless you have a small apartment/home, you'll probably need much more than that to get your home protection up and running; larger packages add the following:
The trend continues, with additional sensors and features as you go up in price through the packages: Lookout, Classic, Master, and Ultimate. Of course, you can also use the Build My System tool to put together the exact components you want for your particular situation.
You may even be able to save more money if you're willing to use "pre-owned" equipment: SimpliSafe is the only DIY home security company to offer refurbished equipment for purchase. Your savings could be as much as 30% compared with brand-new components.
What about monitoring? SimpliSafe keeps things, well, simple:
New customers will appreciate that SimpliSafe components come with a 3-year warranty, and the company offers a stellar 60-day satisfaction guarantee that allows for returns for any reason within that period.
However, SimpliSafe has a significant number of issues that may give you pause. First, you may have noticed that you'll have to pay extra just to use an app to control your system. With most of the DIY home security systems on the market, that functionality is included as part of keeping up-to-date with technology. It will then come as no surprise that SimpliSafe does not currently offer any integration with smart home products, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Nest thermostats. For the truly DIY-and-tech-savvy customer, this is a glaring omission.
And, we found more than a few reviews that described being awakened by false alarms more than once - but not hearing from the monitoring service for up to five minutes. Customers also had difficulties in getting timely responses from SimpliSafe's customer service department when they needed help with their installation or when components weren't working as expected. One of the most common issues was with respect to the cellular connection, trying to switch providers in order to work with the more reliable network in their service area.
Given how expensive the SimpliSafe equipment can be, we're glad that they offer a 60-day return window. If you like what this company has to offer, you'll have two months to put it to the test before deciding if they're the home security company for your needs.
Instead, customers are opting to use DIY home security systems, which gives them the convenience of setting up their protection equipment exactly the way they choose and taking it with them when they move to a new home.
Of course, every good DIY home security system should be paired with common-sense protective measures, such as using top-rated deadbolts on all entry doors and making sure all doors and windows are secure before leaving home or going to bed in the evening. Home protection experts strongly prefer security systems that include 24/7 monitoring as well, for added coverage and peace of mind particularly when people are at home. Using live monitoring has been demonstrated to greatly reduce the likelihood of burglary or invasion, as most criminals want to avoid being caught red-handed.
An added perk to taking the DIY approach to home security is saving money. These systems tend to be less expensive to purchase and set up, and yet they are usually eligible for the same premium discounts on homeowners insurance: up to 20%.
When considering the various do-it-yourself home security systems on the market, what should you keep in mind? Each company differs when it comes to the type of equipment they sell and service, the ease of installation, and whether or not they offer live monitoring of your system. Keep the following criteria in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best DIY Home Security Systems available today. We hope these reviews help you find the best do-it-yourself home security system that will keep you and your family safe for years to come!
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