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      November 15, 2018

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Link Interactive 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 Link Interactive 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

2018

DIY Home Security Reviews

4 stars
Link Interactive

LINK INTERACTIVE Visit Site

Features:

Monitoring plans from $30.99 to $40.99 per month

100% cellular monitoring

Contracts ranging from 1-3 years

30-day money back guarantee

3-year warranty on all equipment

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:

  • Standard: for $30.99/month, you'll get the basics covered, including intrusion/fire/crash & smash alarms and life safety (smoke, fire, carbon monoxide)
  • Gold: for $35.99/month, you keep all the features in the Standard plan, plus today's top home automation options via online dashboard or mobile app (such as lights, thermostats, locks, and energy management)
  • Elite: for $40.99/month, you can add HD video monitoring to your coverage, including motion-activated, scheduled, and on-demand options

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.

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3.5 stars
Iris

IRIS Visit Site

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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