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      December 7, 2019

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Get Safe vs Iris

Best Home Security Systems

To help you find the Best DIY Home Security Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Get Safe and Iris.

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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.

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Best Reviews

2019

DIY Home Security Reviews

4.5 stars
Get Safe

GET SAFE

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Features:

$249 for equipment starter kit (free with contract plans)

No installation fees

No-contract plans available, along with 1- and 3-year plans

Monitoring plans cost $35/month

GetSafe offers one of the most straightforward approaches to DIY Home Security. Created by a group of veterans in the home security industry, this provider is the only one in our review that is controlled solely through a smartphone app and/or key fob: no control panel to navigate.

If you're already familiar with GetSafe, you may recognize that they've made some changes; previously, they offered a self-monitoring option for a lower monthly cost, but that plan is no longer being advertised on the site. (Interestingly, on the site's Service Availability page, it says that customers in Maryland and Rhode Island can only use GetSafe with a self-monitoring plan, but there are no details as to how to access that service. If you live in one of those two states, you'll want to contact the company directly.)

Their current pricing structure is extremely easy to understand: 24/7 monitoring costs $35 per month, no matter what plan you choose or how many sensors and devices you have connected. If you prefer not to have a contract, you can pay for your equipment upfront; the required Starter kit sells for $249 and includes the Smart Hub controller, 1 Door/Window sensor, 1 Motion Detector, 1 Alarm Siren, plus window stickers. If you choose to sign a one-year contract, your Starter Kit is free, and with a 3-year contract, you'll also get a $250 credit towards that can be used to purchase additional equipment like a Nest thermostat, extra window or door sensors, and many other add-ons.

All GetSafe systems are controlled by a Smart Hub, which uses your home WiFi - backed up by AT&T Cellular coverage - to control all components of your system. We continue to be impressed by the number of devices - from motion-detecting cameras to smoke detectors, flood sensors, sirens and more - that can be used with the GetSafe system, which supports up to 32 individual users and up to a staggering 64 total security devices.

And, customer reports indicate that setting up the GetSafe system is exactly as easy as described:

  • Connect the Smart Hub to your home computer network via Ethernet cable
  • Get the GetSafe app on your smartphone and register your Smart Hub
  • Install the batteries in your sensors and mount them to your doors, walls, and/or windows as needed. These come pre-paired with your Smart Hub
  • Test your system by seeing which sensors activate; this will not set off an alarm but rather is part of the installation process

If you have any issues, GetSafe's customer service representatives are standing by to help you make any necessary tweaks and get your system up and running properly. You've got a 30-day trial period to make sure that your DIY installation is functioning the way you want and your home security system is meeting your needs.

We also found a lot of praise for GetSafe's service: the sales team is very non-pushy, so you won't be getting dozens of auto-dialed calls trying to sell you equipment you don't need. But, more importantly, you can expect to get very quick notification from the round-the-clock monitoring service if any part of your home security system is triggered.

GetSafe makes it easy and relatively affordable to protect your home, with no tricks in the fine print, and a fantastic no-contract-required option for those who want that kind of flexibility.

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3.5 stars
Iris

IRIS

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Features:

$14.95/month for all-inclusive professional monitoring plan

Free self-monitoring

90-day money back guarantee

Integrates with many third-party technologies such as Nest and Google

No contract

On the market for several years, Iris by Lowe's has had some challenges with reputation. Their original DIY home security products didn't offer any kind of professional monitoring, and users found their equipment to be buggy at best. However, over the last year or so, Iris has undergone numerous upgrades to try and keep up with the competition. So, how are they doing in that regard?

First and foremost, Iris by Lowe's now has options for professional monitoring - and they're priced much lower than comparable services offered by competitors. You'll have three options:

  • Basic: the most DIY plan, putting you in charge of monitoring your system and receiving notifications when alerts get triggered. You can manage components remotely, and it's up to you to contact authorities in the case of an emergency. The good news? It's completely free of charge. However, not all Iris systems/components may be included with the Basic plan.
  • Premium: for $9.99/month, you get access to additional features, such as 3GB storage of any video cameras in the system, a notification list for up to 6 individuals to receive alerts/alarm notifications, and other components for a more automated home experience.
  • Professional Monitoring: if you want the peace of mind of knowing that someone else is keeping an eye on you and your home, you'll want the $14.95/month plan. This plan includes all of the features of the Basic and Premium set-up while including full-service monitoring of burglary, smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide events. You also get 4G Cellular Backup service, should your system be disrupted due to an outage of your WiFi.

Compared with other services on the market, we were impressed by the pricing and intrigued by the possibilities. However, the Iris by Lowe's site doesn't make it easy to know what you'll need. When we clicked on the button to shop starter kits, we were taken to a dizzying array of possibilities. What do we need to get started? Is it included in this set or that one? It was hard to figure it out at a glance. At a bare minimum, expect to need the Iris Smart Hub ($69.99) and perhaps the Iris Security Pack ($109.00), which includes 2 Door/Window Sensors, Motion Detector, and Keypad. You can also look at the list of Iris Compatible Products (under the Products tab at the top of the site) and sort through the options according to Category, Use, Room, or Brand.

On a positive note, we really liked what we found on the Solutions tab: a sortable list of life situations that Iris can help manage, along with all of the necessary components and a rating as to the simplicity or difficulty of the set-up. For example, if you want to keep an eye on the kids when they get home from school, you can set up Iris to let you know that the door has been unlocked (or their key fob is present); the motion-activated camera can send real-time images to your smartphone, and there's even a smart plug for the TV so that they don't watch too many shows when they should be doing homework. Other configurations included Hands Off The Jewelry Box (or Cabinets), No More Smelly Cat (!), and Guest Room Perfection.

Iris is also one of the only DIY home security systems we found that has a specific plan for taking care of elderly or other family members who need extra supervision. Known as the Care system and included with the $9.99 Premium Plan (as well as the $14.99 Professional Monitoring Plan), this feature allows users to receive notifications when a loved one's routine changes: from refrigerator sensors to determine if the person has eaten that day to doors left open, movement sensors to see if he or she was up during the night, even medicine cabinet reminders to make sure that any needed medicines were taken. You can also purchase a Care Pendant, which features a large button that the wearer can press to alert others to a fall or other need for help.

Another plus for the Iris by Lowe's do-it-yourself approach to home security is that they are constantly expanding the third-party products that work with the Iris system. From Nest thermostats to Google Home, chances are good that you'll be able to use with your Iris home security system.

The biggest drawback with the system? It may be a little too DIY. We found numerous customers who struggled to get their system set up the way they needed it to be; while the installation of components typically goes off smoothly, there were more than a few who complained that it seemed to require a computer hacker just to get all of the components synced up and working properly with respect to the technology.

Fortunately, if you decide that your do-it-yourself home security project was more than you could manage, Iris by Lowe's does offer a 90-day money back guarantee.

In short, the low-cost professional monitoring options and integration with third-party technology make the Iris system attractive - but for non-techie homeowners and renters, the Iris home security system may be frustrating. And yet, Lowe's has brought the Iris system leaps and bounds from where it was in the past, and we expect good things to come as they continue to evolve their DIY home security options for even less technologically-savvy users in the future.

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Continued from above

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:

  • Equipment Costs. What does the company include with its home security packages? How many sensors will you need, and what will you be charged to get the level of coverage you want? What will you have to spend to get any additional equipment that you need for your particular living arrangements?
  • Monitoring Service. Will your DIY home security system include any kind of monitoring, or is that left as your responsibility through online apps and other features? If 24/7 live monitoring is available, how much will it cost per month? If there's a break-in or other emergency at your home, will the service contact local authorities on your behalf?
  • Reputation. What do other customers have to say about the business, the equipment, and/or the service received? How easy is it to get help, either with your do-it-yourself installation or with the service? Can you expect a satisfaction guarantee or refund if you are unhappy with the home security service?

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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