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You may be surprised at the number of wireless security systems offered today. You can choose from popular companies that have been in business for decades to startup carriers marketing do-it-yourself, budget-friendly residential protection and automation.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a wireless security system, whichever solution you pick. There are products that can shield you and your family against burglaries when you're out that can also provide added assurance if you're among numerous Americans who work from home often. Want to see who is knocking at your door? You can get live video on your smartphone or tablet screen so you can choose whether to pause a remote meeting to answer the door!
Wednesday, September 28th
Over the last 10+ years, Frontpoint has made a name for itself within the wireless security system marketplace. They were the first brand to offer do-it-yourself installation in combination with professional monitoring services. Despite fierce competition, Frontpoint holds on to its top spot in our rankings, largely because their systems can expand to accommodate the vast majority of home automation equipment on the market today - even if you buy it from a third-party seller and not directly from Frontpoint.
Pick the gear you want
Getting started with Frontpoint is easy. If you know you want your wireless security system customized from the get-go, just browse all of the available equipment and add what you need to your cart. Otherwise, you've got three pre-made packages to choose from:
Plenty of add-ons to choose from
Frontpoint has so much to offer, you'll have a hard time finding a type of wireless security equipment they don't sell. Choose from dropdown categories that include Home Automation, Accessories, Cameras, Intrusion, Best Sellers, or Hazard Sensors to find what you need. During our most recent evaluation of Frontpoint, there was a 25% discount on most equipment, but we suspect that those prices are always in effect and not a "limited-time offer" by any means. The inventory of equipment isn't jaw-dropping, but the big perk is that Frontpoint's systems work with just about any Z-Wave equipment you might like to add - and it's no problem to bring along any gear you already have or that you purchased elsewhere.
One simple fee for monitoring
What will you pay for 24/7 monitoring? Frontpoint charges $49.99/month for any wireless security system with up to four cameras (which includes the doorbell); very few clients have more cameras than that, and there's no limit on the rest of the equipment you include with your system. Through the live chat offered on the Frontpoint site, we learned that customers can get a $5/month savings if they set up their payment account as an automatic debit from a checking or savings account.
You might be a little confused when you get to the checkout page and see a three-year monitoring plan. Wait - thought there were no contracts here? Our Frontpoint rep explained that it refers to the length of time that they guarantee your monthly fees won't increase. Not only can you cancel your wireless security plan at any time, but you also get 30 days to try it out and get a full refund if the system or service disappoints you for any reason.
Free ID theft protection
One complimentary service you'll get with Frontpoint's wireless security systems is ID Protect. This identity protection plan is backed by Allstate and could be a great way to replace a paid service you're already using (such as LifeLock), saving you some money and giving you extra peace of mind.
More than 10,000 4- and 5-star ratings from happy clients
Wireless security systems aren't all equal, and it's fantastic to see companies like Frontpoint who maintain such an excellent reputation. Not only have they kept an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, but they've also garnered plenty of praise from customers - 90% of whom say their service is "good" or "great" . We're always pleased to see glowing reviews from people who have used a service for years (or even a decade), and Frontpoint's got that as well. The one slightly problematic area is in getting a hold of someone in support to resolve billing or equipment issues; some recent complaints mention that. Fortunately, however, these problems don't seem to affect the round-the-clock monitoring or overall protection offered by Frontpoint's wireless security systems.
Top pick for wireless security systems
Sometimes a company's reputation can change from one year to the next, but not Frontpoint. They've got affordable equipment, no-hidden-fees pricing, and a great track record for service - and, best of all, with no required, lengthy contracts. If you'd like a solid wireless security system that expands to include all of the home automation gadgets you've always dreamed of having, this should be the first place you look. Frontpoint earns our highest ranking once again.
Who wouldn't love the idea of "DIY home security that's both effective and affordable" ? That's what Cove offers. They've only been around for a few years, but the accolades have already started coming in - like a US News and World Report award as the Best Home Security System in 2021.
Get a recommendation by answering a few questions
In order to see what Cove can offer for your wireless security system, you can answer some basic questions: whether you're protecting a residence or business, if you have an alarm system in place already, the number and size of your pets, and so on. You can access that in the "Want some help?" box towards the bottom of the Cove website.
Just the equipment you need
One of our favorite aspects of using Cove for wireless security is the customization: once you've answered those questions we mentioned, the next screen shows you the recommended system based on what you described and you can increase or decrease them as desired. (Maybe you want an extra outdoor camera or you decided you don't need sensors on your upstairs windows.) No problem. We really appreciate being able to get this granular without having to work with a sales representative first.
Pay a little, get a lot
Next, you'll choose your monitoring plan. There are only two here: Cove Basic and Cove Plus. Each one gives you round-the-clock monitoring of alarms and environmental alerts, 100% ATT 4G LTE connection, 24-hour battery backup, hourly automated system checks, and smash-and-grab protection. Basic is priced at just $14.99/month, and it gives you a one-year warranty on equipment. Jump up just a little to the Plus plan ($24.99/month) and get so much more: lifetime warranty coverage on all equipment, camera integration, control capabilities using your smartphone or Alexa/Google Home, a lifetime rate lock guarantee on monitoring, and a $5 credit each month that you can save up and redeem for new equipment anytime.
Less likely to have false alarms
Cove offers a feature you won't find with many wireless security providers: their TripleTouch Alarm Response means that anytime your system alerts, you'll immediately receive a text message and your control panel will activate the LiveAssist function in an attempt to contact you within the home. If their reps can't reach you in one of those two ways, they'll call your phone. If you either confirm that there's an emergency through one of those channels or they can't reach you, emergency dispatch will be contacted. In that way, you're much less likely to have false alarms (which means you won't have to pay any corresponding fees to your local first responders).
Affordable equipment - with no contracts
Better yet, Cove gives you all this with no contracts. Your only commitment is in buying your equipment outright, but that's not overly expensive either. For example, we priced out the gear needed to equip a wireless security system on a large two-story home with numerous door/window sensors, remotes for up to six family members, and so on; the price was just under $500 for all of the equipment. There's no required installation costs either: do it yourself (with Cove's phone support if needed), or opt in for professional setup for a one-time fee starting at $79. The choice is yours.
Risk-free trial for 60 days
You might be wondering what the catch is. As far as we can tell, there isn't one. You'll have 60 days to put your wireless security system to the test; if you're unhappy with how it performs, you can get your money back - and Cove even pays for the return postage.
Reputation is solid - and still going upward
Cove holds its ground reputation-wise too. They've earned an "A" rating and accreditation from the BBB, with just a few dozen complaints registered there in the three years prior to this evaluation. Those less-than-happy reviews usually mention problems with setting up the systems or with getting refunds, and some people have had less-than-awesome impressions of working with Cove support that is apparently overseas. Fortunately, though, those negative comments are vastly outweighed by positive ones: over 2500 people have given these wireless security systems a five-star rating, describing flawless installation, helpful representatives, and protection that is exactly as promised.
A rising star in wireless security
There are lots of companies to choose from with respect to wireless security providers, and Cove definitely gets our attention. We really like their directness with both equipment and monitoring costs, and it's a huge win to get systems without a required contract. We have every reason to expect that the few issues with customer support will get worked out as they gain experience in the industry. Despite being so new within the marketplace, Cove gets a big thumbs-up from us and we encourage you to see if their wireless security systems are right for you.
You may not have heard of Alarm Relay before, but that shouldn't stop you from checking out their wireless security systems. They've been around for the better part of 50 years and maintain an "A+" rating plus accreditation from the Better Business Bureau - with zero complaints registered there! That alone makes Alarm Relay stand out in the industry.
You're not going to find bleeding-edge technology with Alarm Relay security systems. If you're picturing sleek smart home features and gadgets that let you automate your residence from the top to the bottom, this won't be the provider for you. On the other hand, Alarm Relay does an excellent job of offering basic sensors and cameras with reliable 24/7 monitoring.
Lots of equipment + low-cost monitoring
Get started by browsing the available equipment on the Alarm Relay website: it's the easiest way to see what they can (and can't) offer. For example, under Cameras you'll notice a few indoor and outdoor choices, as well as video doorbells; under Sensors you'll find the basics of door/window gear, detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide, flood sensors, and so forth. When you see the equipment you think you'll need, add it to the cart. Just remember that your purchase isn't complete without choosing a monitoring plan: this is one of the few wireless security systems that lets you choose among wireless, internet and cellular options. You'll pay for your monitoring a year at a time; the monthly cost averages out to $8.95, $13.95, and $19.95 in your first year, and that cost increases slightly on an annual basis up through year four.
Help is at hand
Unsure what your security system needs? No worries. Use the "Need Help" button on the site (or call their toll-free number) to easily reach a representative. They'll help you assess your residence or business and make recommendations suited to your situation - usually in about 10 minutes or less.
Use the equipment you already have
Not every wireless security provider is willing to work with existing equipment, but Alarm Relay will gladly do so. Just make sure you let their representative know if you reach out for help, so that they can configure your package appropriately to accommodate what you're bringing over already.
Earns customer loyalty
Yes, Alarm Relay has a stellar reputation with the BBB, but they've also done an impressive job of earning their clients' loyalty. We found plenty of reviews from customers who have used these security systems for more than 10 years. Besides that, there are lots of comments from people who changed from a Big Security System Company to Alarm Relay, and they're thrilled to be getting such great service at more affordable prices. We only found a handful of random complaints directed at this company; their reps always seem to respond quickly, professionally and politely, and we're not overly concerned about anything we saw.
Terrific option for uncomplicated security systems
Alarm Relay offers all the basic home protection you need, at prices you'll love. You don't have to make a long-term commitment, and it's an easy way to incorporate any equipment you already have in place. Customers looking for the newest tech or home automation won't get what they need here, but for wireless security systems without all the fuss Alarm Relay is a trustworthy choice.
Brinks Home is a big name in wireless security systems. Named by Newsweek as a Best-in-State Winner for Customer Service, this company services more than a million clients in North America.
Choose from three equipment packages
If you're not entirely sure what you need in a wireless security system, begin by looking at the three ready-made packages Brinks Home offers:
Can integrate over 100 "smart home" pieces of equipment
Don't see exactly what you had in mind with one of those kits? No problem: your Brinks Home wireless security system can be as bespoke as you like, with the ability to add more than 100 smart home devices. These can include a flood sensor, smart door lock, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and much more. Spend some time browsing the Brinks Home site to see which components make your "must have" list and which would be "nice but not necessary" . That will help you have an idea before you work with a sales rep.
Expect a $pendy plan
Yes, that's correct: you won't know what your wireless security system is going to cost until you get a quote from a Brinks Home representative. We did a little poking around, and our research revealed that most customers are spending at least $199 for the Essential equipment package, plus monthly monitoring costs starting at $39.99. That could vary (up or down), based on where you live and the authorized Brinks Home dealer in your area, as well as any promos that could be in place when you're shopping for your security system.
3-year contracts at a minimum
Brinks Home doesn't come right out and tell you, but it's safe to assume you'll have a contract of at least three years with any of their packages and plans. At the time of our last review, they had a no-contract option known as Nest Secure; the site still refers to that in a few places, but we didn't see it included anywhere as a choice now.
Mixed reviews from customers
You'll see a range of sentiment from Brinks Home customers. We're glad that they have a good "A" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, and around 3000 five-star ratings from satisfied clients. However, it's hard to overlook the fact that 25% of the Brinks Home ratings we found were a dismal one star; combine that with more than 1600 complaints registered with the BBB in the year leading up to this evaluation and you'll see that it's not all rosy here. It's a positive that those BBB complaints get responses from Brinks Home representatives, but less so when customers say they got zero help until they filed there. Then again, any company with 1,000,000+ clients is going to have some less-than-perfect moments - and in the wireless security industry, some of those come from shipping delays, individual installers, and other factors largely outside of Brinks Home's control.
Top pick among the big names
When you look at the better-known names in wireless security, Brinks Home comes out on top. They've got plenty of customers, a great range of options (especially with home automation features), and their costs don't seem to be high by comparison. We'd appreciate seeing greater transparency with their equipment and monitoring costs, instead of forcing prospective clients into a conversation with a representative first. Brinks Home could also go a little further by offering a well-defined satisfaction or return policy. But, in most respects, Brinks Home wireless security systems can be counted on to deliver solid protection if you don't find what you're looking for with our higher-ranked providers.
Guardian Protection has been offering peace of mind through security systems for more than 70 years. They're proud of the fact that they were the first provider in history to earn the Security Company of the Year designation not once but twice, mostly due to their excellence in monitoring and their US-based customer support team.
9 packages to choose from
Guardian Protection has several equipment bundles you can choose from, but you'll have a hard time telling the differences between them just by looking at the names. Do you need a "Healthy (Green) Home" or a "Family First" setup? That could be anyone's guess. It's much easier to use the "Get Started" button instead: you'll take a short quiz that will make a recommendation based on your current situation. But, to give you a quick idea of what's in some of Guardian's packages, here's what you can expect from three of them:
Click to request a quote
Guardian Protection is yet another one of those wireless security providers that makes you request a quote to see pricing. We don't love it, but in this industry "it is what it is" . From what we could discern, Guardian's monthly monitoring costs anywhere from $34.95 to $59.95, plus the price of the equipment you choose.
Expect a required contract that lasts 1-5 years
Another thing Guardian Protection doesn't tell you straight up is their contract requirement. If you dig into the nitty-gritty of the Terms and Conditions page, you'll see that the majority of their wireless security systems come with a monitoring contract anywhere from a year to five years. We noticed a no-annual-contract option, but it comes with a mandatory equipment purchase of $1249 (and you only get a control panel, motion detector, and three door/window sensors - plus monthly monitoring fees they don't disclose).
A small decline in reputation
We noticed a little change in Guardian's reputation with the Better Business Bureau, going from an "A+" to an "A-" since our last evaluation. That's not a big deal, generally speaking, but it's also not the kind of trend we want to see. We still found plenty of reviews from satisfied clients; more than 1600 of them give Guardian Protection's wireless security system a five-star rating, and only 10% of reviewers say this service earns a "bad" or "poor" designation. Positive or negative, comments all seem to get a prompt, professional response from Guardian's support team.
Only 9 services areas nationwide
The main reason Guardian Protection ends up in the "just average" category is their limited service area. Only residents of certain areas of Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington DC are eligible to use this service for their wireless security coverage. In other words, the vast majority of Americans can't use Guardian Protection.
Decent wireless security systems - if they're available near you
For those who live within Guardian Protection's service areas, this is a good option for a wireless security system. The company offers the right amount of packages to get you the equipment you need (and not have to spend lots on unnecessary extras), and their monitoring is excellent-if-costly. We encourage you to look at all of the options available to you before signing a contract with Guardian, but at the end of the day you'll be safe and sound if you use this provider for your wireless security needs.
If you've started thinking about buying a wireless security system, chances are good that ADT is one of the first names that came to mind. In business for almost 150 years and with more than six million residential clients in the US, this provider has been a regular award-winner recognized by Newsweek, PCMag, Forbes and others.
Many homeowners turn to ADT because of their monitoring. As with any provider, you get round-the-clock coverage - but with nine different customer service/monitoring centers, ADT offers redundancy that is hard to find elsewhere. That coverage matters when there are widespread power outages or storms that could make it difficult to get help from a smaller wireless security company.
Choose from three base packages
There are three ready-made equipment packages at ADT to start with:
Get a quote from an ADT representative
Like most of the big-brand names in wireless security, ADT makes you reach out for a quote before disclosing any info about their pricing. When you request your quote using the form on the ADT website, you'll be contacted by a rep who will do an assessment of your security needs: the size of your home, number of entry points, and so on. The result will be a customized package that will keep you and your loved ones safe and sound, plus with any bells and whistles you'd like for smart home features. It's important to note that ADT works with authorized partners throughout the country, and "your results may vary" : your local retailer could have amazing installers and fantastic service... or not.
It's going to cost you
Don't expect to get an ADT wireless security system on the cheap. The equipment is spendier than most - not to mention the fact that the pricing is usually based on a 60-month repayment plan. You can pay it down more quickly, but the monitoring typically requires a minimum three-year commitment as well. It may be different where you live, but ADT's monitoring in most places starts at $45.99, with higher monthly fees if you have equipment that gives you remote video viewing and recording. You won't escape installation fees either: unless your local ADT partner is offering a promo, you could be looking at a cost of $599 just to set up your wireless security system. Ouch!
Money-back guarantee - with strings attached
Maybe you'll be excited to see that ADT offers a six-month money-back guarantee, but even that comes with some requirements. In order to be eligible for a refund, there has to be a system-related issue that ADT can't fix within the first six months of your service. In other words, you can't just decide that you don't like the way your wireless security system works. Also, your refund will only be processed once all of the equipment is fully uninstalled and returned to ADT. In our opinion, that's not much of a "guarantee" at all.
Lackluster client feedback
We know that really big companies get a significant number of complaints: what would you expect with six million clients and climbing? Their "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau ought to mean that, despite having thousands (and thousands) of complaints, the company is doing a reasonable job of attending to customer problems. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case: out of 2000 reviews we found outside of the BBB, 85% gave ADT the lowest possible rating of just one star. Customers describe serious problems with getting equipment problems resolved. The only mitigating factor is that your experience will heavily depend on ADT's partner near you: we found some that have an excellent reputation, which could make this wireless security provider an option. It's wise to see who the ADT retailer is in your area, and do some research into their track record specifically.
Adequate, not excellent
Will you get a good value for your money with ADT? Maybe, maybe not. We like companies that have been around for a long time, and we appreciate ADT's widespread monitoring coverage too. Is it worth the expensive installation costs, long contracts, and higher-than-most monthly fees for the monitoring? If you've got money to burn and you feel safer with a well-known wireless security company, the answer could be "yes" . Otherwise, you'll get more for your money with a higher-ranked provider of wireless security systems.
Over a million customers throughout the United States and UK use SimpliSafe for their wireless security systems. Founded in 2006, this provider offers both DIY and professional monitoring as you prefer.
Plenty of choices
You'll have several avenues to choose from when deciding on your equipment here. Want to save money? Check out the Refurbished section. Prefer a 100% custom build? You can absolutely do that. Looking for the simplicity of a package? There are five you can select:
DIY or professional install
Any package can be modified to include components you want - and it won't raise your monthly monitoring fees. While SimpliSafe wireless security systems are made to be easy for the everyday customer to set up, the company offers professional installation for $99 and up, depending on where you live and the number of components in your system.
Four choices for monitoring
SimpliSafe is one of the few wireless security providers that gives you more than two choices for monitoring. Here, you'll choose among unmonitored, self-monitored with camera recording, standard or interactive. They all have the functionality of arming and disarming the system remotely, keeping you up-to-date with push notifications, and sending you alarm, error and camera alerts.
No monthly costs if you monitor it yourself
If you just want a simple way to keep an eye on things at home, DIY style, the Unmonitored option is for you and you'll only pay for the cost of the equipment. There's not a lot included with this option: you'll get no access to dispatch of emergency services, no notifications via email/SMS, and your timeline will only span seven days of logged events. It's pretty obvious that most homeowners looking for a wireless security system aren't going quite this basic, but it might be a good option if you've got a vacation home that's usually unoccupied and you only need the simplest alerts.
Pay less than $10/month for DIY/cameras
SimpliSafe's next tier of service is Self-Monitoring with Camera Recording. Priced at a monthly fee of $9.99, you'll get an unlimited system history/timeline, all available notifications and alerts, unlimited recording on up to five cameras, and some smart home component integrations. If you like the idea of a wireless security system that doesn't include outside surveillance, this might be a good option.
Two options for professional monitoring
Most people want a wireless security system specifically because of the 24/7 monitoring, and this service gives you two choices. Standard is $14.99/month, but you don't get a ton for that investment: yes, it has monitoring but no SMS/email notifications, no arming reminders, and no smart home integrations. That's why SimpliSafe's most popular plan is the Interactive: you get every available notification and service plus unlimited recording on up to 10 cameras, all for a still-affordable $24.99/month.
60-day trial and no contracts
All of SimpliSafe's wireless security systems and monitoring plans come with a 60-day, risk-free trial. You'll also get their service with absolutely no contracts: cancel at any time with no penalty.
SimpliSafe offers two features that we didn't see with any other wireless security system, both available only with the highest tier of monitoring. First, Visual Verification is a tool the provider uses to confirm that any alarms/alerts are real: when your emergency is confirmed, police can be dispatched more quickly. Second, there's the Secret Alert capability: if you want to know if a particular drawer, cabinet, or room of the house has been accessed without letting the intruder know you're aware, you can set up your security system to alert you quietly when those locations have been compromised.
Recent updates are not an improvement
SimpliSafe was one of our preferred wireless security providers for a long time, so we were shocked when we found recent feedback that described significant, pervasive issues with their service. The biggest issue has been the implementation of two-factor authentication on all user accounts: that may seem like a good security move, but in this case it makes it so that only one person can access the security system remotely (unless everyone in the household logs in using the same user account). Imagine getting an alert and not being able to turn it off or respond. We confirmed these details with a SimpliSafe rep via live chat - and even more disappointingly, they confirmed that they had no target date for when multiple usernames could once again access the same system. They also didn't confirm if it would even be possible for everyone in a home to log in remotely with the same username and password, or if it would trigger issues with the security system.
Reputation on the decline recently
Recent updates aside, we're not seeing great feedback from SimpliSafe customers these days. Sure, they've got thousands of five-star ratings, but most of them are years old. The more current comments - left in the weeks just prior to this re-evaluation of the company - describe problems getting equipment repaired under warranty (or even connected at all), struggles to get refunds eligible for the 60-day trial, and difficulties reaching support representatives for help. It's easy to see why this isn't our first-place choice for wireless security systems at the moment.
Wait and see
We don't want to completely disregard SimpliSafe as a wireless security system provider: they earned our highest rating for many consecutive years, after all. However, the changes we discovered in the recent past have meant a downgrade in this provider's ranking. We're hopeful that these problems will get worked out over time; until then, though, you've got more reliable options for your wireless security system.
Ring got its start as "Caller ID for the front door" : that's what the inventor's wife called this company's well-known, first-in-the-industry video doorbells. These doorbells - and all of the other wireless equipment now available as part of these security systems - are part of Ring's mission to make neighborhoods safer.
Choose from two packages or customize
Like most wireless security systems, Ring lets you customize your package from start to finish. Otherwise, if you need a little more guidance, consider one of their two kits: Alarm and Alarm Pro. The former includes a base station and keypad, four contact sensors, a motion detector and a range extender; when you pull up that option on the Ring site, you'll see expanded Alarm packages that come with a video doorbell, two-packs of spotlight or floodlight cameras, and an indoor camera. Starting prices are around $249.99 and go up to just under $1,000 for the Deluxe Pro Bundle that comes with two wired floodlight cameras and two video doorbells (though we're not sure many homeowners need two of those).
Get the Pro kit to secure your home network
Bump up to the Alarm Pro package if you'd like a built-in eero Wi-Fi 6 router. Not only does this keep your connected Ring devices online even if your main internet connection is down, but it also gives you network security along with your home protection. There are several configurations of this package, which also starts at $249.99.
How about even more tech?
Ring lets you add lots of components to your system - either as part of your initial setup or a la carte at any time. Many homeowners like their wireless security to include electronic locks, smoke/CO detectors, smart home features like wall switches and dimmers, and so on. To save some money, be sure to check out the Certified Refurbished section of the Ring store too. No matter what you buy, all Ring orders over $49 get free shipping.
DIY or professional monitoring available
Not everyone wants to have outsiders surveilling their property inside and out. Ring lets you set up your wireless security system with do-it-yourself monitoring right from your phone, and that can be done with both the Alarm and Alarm Pro kits. Alternately, you can choose $20/month professional monitoring; we recommend you set up your system to minimize false alarms.
Ring customers are shockingly dissatisfied
At the time of our most recent evaluation, the Better Business Bureau listed Ring as "Not Rated" : the company had several complaints that were closed and then reopened, but no further information was available about which of the 400 filed complaints triggered the review. Beyond that, we found plenty of customer feedback that gave Ring the lowest possible rating: more than 2,000 Ring users. Frequent problems include poor-quality equipment (like doorbells that cease to function when it gets cold), issues with billing, no warranty repairs, and disappointing (or completely absent) responses from Ring support. Not even 20% of Ring users give these wireless security systems a five-star rating.
Huge concerns regarding privacy here
Those bad customer reviews don't even begin to touch the privacy risks that you could experience as a Ring user. Want to see for yourself? Use a search engine to research "hacked" and "Ring" (or "Ring" and "police" ) and prepare yourself for some results that will likely make you very uncomfortable. We're glad to see that the company is working to improve in those areas, but it's not enough yet to leave us feeling safe with Ring wireless security systems. No one wants to feel like Big Brother is watching, and Ring has some changes to make in order to reassure the public that they can be trusted.
Not the safest wireless security system
For many years, Ring was the brand to choose for video doorbells and do-it-yourself security - mostly because no one else offered it. That's not the case now: most of the higher-rated wireless security providers in our review can give you that same affordability, features and equipment, without any questionable product quality or uncomfortable issues surrounding privacy. For your wireless security needs, we think there are better options available.
CPI Security operates out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and services customers in several metro areas of NC, SC, TN and GA. The company was founded in 1991 and maintains an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.
Choose from two packages or make it custom
To set up your wireless security system with CPI Security, you've got three options:
Professional install required - at no cost
Your wireless security system here will have to be installed professionally - but the good news is that you won't pay anything to have it set up. One plus of these systems is that they also come with a "No False Alarm Guarantee" : should your equipment malfunction because of an error on CPI's part, you'll be reimbursed for any alarm fines you pay. (Just remember that user error, "acts of God" , or negligence aren't covered by this guarantee.)
Not many service areas
We had hoped to see a service area expansion for CPI Security in the time elapsed since our last evaluation. No such luck: these wireless security systems are still only available to residents of the NC/SC/GA/TN metro areas of Knoxville, Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Charleston, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greenville, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte.
More info upfront, please?
We also weren't exactly thrilled to see that CPI Security is still extremely tight-lipped about their costs. If you want to know what you'll pay for equipment or monitoring, you'll have to submit a contact form through their website. You can't even use their "live chat" to ask questions about pricing: that just brings you to a "call us" option or the contact form again. That stops CPI from comparing favorably with other wireless security providers who transparently disclose what customers pay without jumping through any hoops online.
Expensive plus long contracts
There's a reason why CPI Security doesn't come right out and tell you what their security systems cost: they're much more expensive than most. We had to go deep into their Terms and Conditions to find out that customers have a minimum equipment purchase of $499. It was only in customer comments on third-party websites that we also discovered monthly monitoring costs from $29.99 to $49.99+, and that all security systems have a contract from 39-60 months.
Not all customers have a good experience
Reputation-wise, CPI is not our favorite. Yes, they are in good standing with the BBB, but customer reviews say otherwise. Hundreds of ratings give CPI Security three stars or less, mostly because of poor customer service. Do you want to wait on hold for an hour to get help with a system that's malfunctioning? One customer went so far as to stay in a hotel because his alarm wouldn't shut off - and he wasn't able to reach a CPI Security rep to take care of it. Is your wireless security system actually keeping you safe if you can't get help from its provider?
Not impressed with these wireless security systems
In short, there's not much reason to use CPI Security to protect your home. The company has a very restricted geographic service area, isn't transparent with terms and fees, and doesn't seem to be doing a satisfactory job of providing customer support. With several other options for reliable wireless security systems, there's just not much to recommend CPI Security.
Have you been approached by a friendly, clean-cut Vivint sales representative? They're frequently seen going door-to-door, pitching this company's professionally-installed wireless security systems that come with some eye-catching tech (like integration with Amazon, Google, and Nest components).
Buy a package or customize your setup
You'll have to work with one of those Vivint reps to finalize your wireless security system - start the process online if you don't already have someone offering you a quote. Yours could include a fully-customized configuration, though Vivint advertises three ready-made packages too:
Be ready to spend a lot
We never like it when wireless security companies don't come right out and tell you how much you should expect to pay. In this day and age, it just feels shady. Going behind the scenes a little, we found that monthly monitoring fees are advertised as starting at $19.99/month, but most clients pay $29.99+ per month for systems with the more advanced tech included. Expect that your equipment will cost at least $599 for a minimal amount of gear (one motion sensor, one leak sensor, two door/window sensors). That's just the beginning, though: we discovered quotes on the most well-equipped wireless security systems starting at $1700, and that doesn't include monitoring costs.
Video doorbell with unique features
One mark in Vivint's favor is their Doorbell Camera Pro. Have you ever worried about unscrupulous passers-by stealing your UPS delivery right from your doorstep? Vivint's got you covered: their doorbell not only lets you know when a package has been delivered, but it also fires off a 65dB speaker and lights up a red LED ring if it detects someone trying to take a delivered package. And, don't worry: if you've got pets or kids (or neighbors) who walk by your front door on the regular, you can customize a surveillance zone so that it doesn't go off every time they're nearby.
You'll pay for professional installation
No matter which Vivint wireless security system you ultimately choose, it'll have to be installed by a Vivint pro. Your online quote process should let you set up an appointment for a free in-home consultation, and then you'll establish the time for your install. We've seen local Vivint authorized retailers offering promotions that waive the installation fee; otherwise, a $99 charge isn't uncommon.
Vivint will pique your curiosity, but their reputation indicates that they'll fail to deliver. Not once have we seen this company with anything but an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau; there were more than 1600 complaints filed there just in the year leading up to this review. No improvements are on the horizon: their BBB listing includes yet another settlement agreement with the FTC regarding fraudulent sales practices. Who wants to make a big commitment to a security company that leaves people even less secure than before?
Lowest-ranked provider of wireless security systems
Outside of shady sales practices, Vivint gets too much negative press for malfunctioning systems and technicians who don't show up for scheduled appointments - and all the while, the customers are still paying month-to-month for protection that doesn't even work. Yet again, Vivint gets a "hard pass" from us for wireless security systems.
What matters most when choosing a wireless security system? You'll likely want a few window/door sensors and some type of control panel as a basic option, which most systems tend to have. Some conventional devices still exist that consist of an in-wall panel, however the majority of today's systems have standardized on a touchscreen device of some kind to arm and disarm the security system. Lots of other choices exist, including video doorbells, indoor/outdoor cameras, smoke/fire and carbon monoxide detectors, and lots of other ways to maintain a feeling of security.
Today's systems truly are space-age technology. Just ten years ago, who would have dreamed that they could use a smartphone to raise or lower the temperature on the way home from work? Now you can! Who would have thought they could arm the alarm just by saying a few words while getting ready for bed? It's now possible! Hardly anyone thought they could sign into their system from a computer to check the lock on the front door, and lock it if it wasn't. That's one less thing you have to worry about now.
The task of choosing a wireless security system can be overwhelming when there are so many options. Here is a summary of what to consider when deciding so that you get the perfect system for your needs:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best wireless home security systems available today. We're certain that this detailed review will give you everything you need to know to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property with an excellent combination of equipment and service.
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