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      December 9, 2019

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Protect America vs ADT

Best Home Security Systems

To help you find the Best Home Security Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Protect America and ADT.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Home Security Systems, please Click Here

Where can you find the best home security system? Today's marketplace gives you more options than ever, with packages ranging from budget-friendly, basic home monitoring with equipment you install yourself, to technician-installed systems that include smoke and flood detectors.

Before you determine which home security system is right for your needs, it's important to understand why you should have one. Although crime rates have been dropping in some areas, there are still nearly 2 million break-ins nationwide every year, resulting in losses of at least $2,000 on average. And, even if a burglary doesn't lead to a big financial loss, there's no way to put a monetary value on the peace of mind that vanishes when you find out that an intruder was inside your home.

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Best Reviews

2019

Home Security Systems Reviews

3.5 stars
Protect America

PROTECT AMERICA

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Features:

Home automation capabilities

$53.99 per month monitoring charge

Customer Information: 1-855-881-3071

For almost 30 years, Protect America has helped protect over 500,000 homes with self-installed security systems. This Austin-based company enjoys accreditation and an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau, and more than 8000 customers gave their service a perfect 5-star satisfaction rating.

However, Protect America isn't as upfront with their pricing as they used to be. You can enter some basic information to get your free quote, but the email you receive doesn't tell you anything about what their packages or monitoring will cost - only that you'll get a call or text from a Protect America representative. We'd like to see them go back to being more transparent, so that customers can more easily compare home security systems across multiple providers.

Alternately, you can click to build your system under the "Security Your Way" option: enter your street address to verify coverage in your area, and you'll be shown several packages of equipment that you can modify to suit your needs. Here are some examples:

  • 11-piece home security system: 3 door/window sensors, 1 key fob, 1 motion detector, 4 window decals, yard sign, and touchscreen control panel. You'll pay $39.99/month if you don't want to pay for your equipment package upfront. Otherwise, you can pay $454.98 for the equipment and then $24.99/month for the monitoring service. That saves you $110.01 over your required 3-year contract.
  • 24-piece home security system: 14 door/window sensors, 1 motion detector, touchscreen control panel, 1 key fob, 4 window decals, yard sign, plus indoor video camera and video doorbell. Your monthly monitoring will cost $54.99/month and that includes the cost of your equipment over the 3-year contract. Or, pay $799.99 for the equipment package upfront and your monthly monitoring drops to $24.99, saving you $280.01 over the length of the contract.

No matter which package you choose, you can always add on extra equipment. You may want additional door/window sensors or motion detectors, a glass break detector, extra keychain remotes or a video doorbell. Those prices are clearly spelled out under the package you create.

One type of protection we didn't find with Protect America's build-your-own packages is smoke/fire/carbon monoxide. You'll see that smoke detectors are listed under their equipment heading, described as "life safety", but there was nowhere in the custom build section that even indicated that coverage as a possibility. So, caveat emptor : they offer the service, but you'll probably have to speak with a representative to ask for it, and there's no advance notice on the site to tell you what you'll pay for the sensor or its monthly monitoring.

Protect America also doesn't place much emphasis on home automation in their build-your-own packages. While their available products page shows integration with most Z-Wave compatible devices, such as using Alexa to dim lights or using August Lock keyless entry doorknobs that can be secured remotely, there was almost no mention of that in the custom-design page. Once again, you'll have to work with a sales rep to get smart home devices in your home security system.

While Protect America, like any big business, gets its share of complaints, most of them revolve around customers who didn't understand that they were committing to a 3-year contract - despite the company clearly spelling it out multiple times during the sales process. We feel like Protect America could go the extra mile by offering a satisfaction guarantee of some kind, but that still wouldn't stop the problem of customers who want to cancel before their 3-year contract is up.

On the other hand, we found many reviews from happy customers who report that the home security systems sold and serviced by Protect America are easy to install, the technicians and customer service reps are friendly and helpful, and most importantly, the 24/7 monitoring is responsive and keeps them safe.

Although Protect America has been passed by some of their competitors, this company still offers home security systems that are worth considering - and you may appreciate being able to get all of your equipment at no cost upfront, even if it means you'll pay more per month for your monitoring.

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3 stars
ADT

ADT

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Features:

Installation fees starting at $99

Required contracts of 24 to 36 months

Monthly monitoring ranging from $27.99 to $58.99/month

Landline or wireless monitoring packages available

ADT enjoys some of the highest name recognition in the home security systems industry. It's no wonder - with more than 140 years of experience providing security of many different kinds, this company has been around for a long time.

One of the advantages of ADT's size is their 24/7 monitoring centers: with six locations throughout the US, you don't have to worry that a natural disaster or other event will disrupt your coverage. This is a huge benefit compared with smaller companies that use a single location to provide their monitoring services.

As with many products, however, brand names can equal more money from your wallet - and ADT is one of the most expensive home security systems available today. Their entry-level package, the Basic, sounds like a good deal at just $27.99/month - but you'll have to have a landline. That's great if you haven't made the switch to purely mobile for your phone usage; otherwise, you'll need to factor in the costs of installing a landline and paying for its monthly service separately from your ADT package.

There's a big price jump from the Basic to the next level of service, ADT Pulse. You won't need a landline because this package is monitored wirelessly, but you'll be paying $53.99/month for the service. And, if you want to add video surveillance to your home security setup, ADT charges a hefty $58.99/month for their highest level of coverage.

There are three main packages offered by ADT, which may be named differently depending on your part of the country and the partner provider servicing your area. In a nutshell, here's what you can expect:

  • Traditional: ADT's most economical home security system, this includes a digital panel, entryway contacts/sensors, wireless keychain remote, motion detector, yard signs and window decals, and 24/7 monitoring. While ADT doesn't specify on their site exactly how many entryway sensors are included, customer comments indicate that you should expect to receive 3 in your initial equipment package and you can add more as you need them.
  • Control: this level of coverage adds remote arm/disarm, smart home controls, and customizable alerts, schedules and automations to your home security system.
  • Video: as the top tier of service, this package increases your protection with security cameras that can be live streamed from mobile devices, and that allow you to record and save video clips.

All ADT systems require professional installation, with fees starting at $99 and increasing as you add more equipment.

Be aware that all of these prices may vary, depending on where you live. ADT doesn't publicize their rates on their main website, because the monitoring, installation and equipment charges depend on your local service area. So, take all of the amounts in this review as a ballpark figure.

ADT offers a 6-month money-back guarantee. It states that you "may receive a refund" of the installation price and any monitoring fees already paid if the company can't resolve any service- or installation-related concerns, but certain restrictions apply. Looking at the fine print, these conditions just require you to have all equipment fully removed before your refund is processed, and any system-related issues can't have been caused by you.

While ADT gives you the advantage of a long history and the comfort of brand recognition, their prices and packages are not transparent - and many customers complain about hidden fees, the lengthy contract requirements, and charges they didn't expect. Most of the home security systems ADT puts together can be found with other providers - who charge much less, with no required contracts.

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Continued from above

You may feel like your home won't be a target because you live within a gated community or you have strong deadbolts and motion-activated floodlights. While those preventative measures can make it less likely you'll be the target of a home invasion or robbery, the most determined criminals can still gain access to your house. For that reason, the experts strongly recommend that you invest in a 24/7 monitored home security system. Not only does it make it less likely that a criminal will target your house to begin with, but it also ensures that any attempts to break into your home will be detected immediately and reported to you and to local law enforcement.

When considering the many home security systems on the market today, you'll quickly see that they vary widely with respect to features, provided equipment, and service fees. Some providers give you all of the sensors and other equipment at no cost, with the understanding that you'll install the needed components on your own. Other services require you to make an appointment with a technician who will set up your home security system for you. Also, while most systems are monitored using wireless connections, some companies still use landlines - which can add to your costs if you are one of the millions of homeowners who rely solely on mobile phones and need to add a landline to use the home security system.

As you look through home security systems reviews, it's easy to get bogged down in the numerous packages, price points, and add-on features. Keep in mind the following basic criteria, to help you narrow down the options to find the right protection for your home:

  • Equipment and Installation Costs: What will you pay to get the equipment needed for the level of coverage you want? If the equipment isn't given to you free of charge, do you own it outright or do you pay monthly to rent it? If there's no charge, are there add-ons not included with the basic setup that you'll need to pay for? If a technician install is required, how much will you pay for the service?
  • Monitoring Service. Will your home security system be monitored around the clock? What do customers say about the response time of the service? Will local authorities be contacted directly and immediately, or will the company reach out to you first (e.g. false alarms)? How much does the monitoring cost per month?
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. If you're unhappy with your home security system for any reason, can you get a refund? Is there a warranty period on any provided equipment?
  • Reputation. What do current and previous customers say about their experience with the home security system? Has the provider been rated by the Better Business Bureau? Does the company deliver on its promises to keep you safe?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best home security systems available today. We hope this information gives you all of the insight needed to identify the home security system that will protect you and your loved ones now and in the future!

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