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      February 28, 2020

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Xfinity vs Alarm Relay

Best Home Security Systems

To help you find the Best Home Security Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Xfinity and Alarm Relay.

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

2020

Home Security Systems Reviews

3.5 stars
XFINITY

XFINITY

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Features:

Equipment costs ranging from $360 to $600Equipment costs ranging from $360 to $600

Professional installment required (fees of approx. $100)

Monthly monitoring costs of $30-$50

Customizable with most smart home brands

View cameras and more on your TV with Xfinity X1 service

No required contracts

Limited service areas

Xfinity has come a long way since our last evaluation. In the past, you were only able to use their home security systems if you were a subscriber to their X1 TV service. While it's still true that you'll get more out of your package if you have it - like being able to see your cameras and more directly on your television - you can still get a robust package of equipment and monitoring as a standalone service.

We like that Xfinity keeps their options simple. You only have to choose between two plans: the $40/month Home Security Plan or the $50/month Home Security Plus plan. Both packages give you 24/7 professional monitoring, the ability to control smart home devices (from a variety of brands, like Phillips and Yale), real-time alerts, cellular system backup, live HD video, all controllable through the Xfinity Home app. When you upgrade to the Plus package, you also get motion-activated, 24/7 recording (that can differentiate among people, vehicles and pets). (You may also find an autopay and paperless billing discount as you go through the ordering process. That brought our monthly costs down to $30 or $40/month.)

Then, choose your equipment package. Each one can either be paid for in interest-free monthly installments over two years, or as a one-time fee:

  • Base Home System: $15/month or $360. This includes 1 touchscreen controller, 3 door/window sensors, 1 pet-friendly motion sensor, battery and cellular system backup, and an Xfinity Home Security yard sign
  • Complete Home System: $20/month or $480. You'll get all of the equipment from the Base package, along with 2 extra door/window sensors, 1 wireless keypad, and 1 HD indoor/outdoor Xfinity Camera.
  • Ultimate Home System: $25/month or $600. This expands the equipment from the lower tiers by giving you 10 door/window sensors and 2 HD cameras.

Xfinity also offers an array of add-on equipment that can be monitored. For example, you can get a smoke detector ($70), an outlet controller ($50), or a Zen thermostat ($120).

The biggest drawback to the Xfinity Home Security System is the limited service area. Unless you have Xfinity available in your area, you can't subscribe to their service. For example, in one major metro area we tested, we were referred to their partner, Spectrum. Unfortunately, Spectrum doesn't offer any home security systems with their TV/Internet/Phone packages. That could eliminate a lot of prospective customers.

If you live in an area where Xfinity is available, congratulations! You've got access to an affordably-priced, contract-free home security system that has all of today's bells and whistles. If not, you'll need to check out the other providers we evaluated to find the one that's right for you.

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2.5 stars
Alarm Relay

ALARM RELAY

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Features:

Low monthly monitoring fees starting at $8.95

Compatible with equipment you may already have installed

Strong reputation

Alarm Relay is one of the most confusing home security systems on the market, in our opinion. Customers are instantly attracted to the low monthly monitoring costs of just $8.95 - an incredibly low price for a service that usually costs at least $30 per month. And, looking at both the "A+" rating from the BBB and hundreds of reviews from satisfied customers, your impression will probably be a favorable one.

What's the catch? The Alarm Relay site makes it really hard to find out what exactly you get for that $8.95/month fee. Digging around, you'll discover a few things. First, that monthly fee is actually billed annually. So, figure on spending $107.40 right out of the gate for your first year of service. There's also a one-time administrative fee of $35, so that Alarm Relay can program your system.

What system? Great question. In order to use the Alarm Relay service, you must have an active alarm system connected to a landline. if you moved into a home with equipment already installed, this could be the ideal setup - to use the sensors and other components already in place without having to use the original monitoring company. Or, if you found a great deal on a used system from Honeywell, DSC, GE or one of the other manufacturers supported by Alarm Relay, you could use Alarm Relay as your monitoring system.

If you're not confident that you can install or set up your equipment, Alarm Relay can refer you to a third-party contractor in your area who can help. Naturally, fees will vary based on the partner you select.

The $8.95/month fee covers standard burglary and fire signals, restorals, and a monthly communications test, as well as trouble signals like low battery power and AC loss. There are optional services, like weekly or daily communications testing, but you'll have to speak to a sales team representative to get more information on what Alarm Relay offers.

It took some surfing around, but eventually we found where Alarm Relay offers equipment for purchase. Sifting through the packages and individual components felt overwhelming. What would we need? How would we get the right equipment for our needs? Even on the front page, Alarm Relay advertised a simple plug-and-play, DIY alarm system, but when we clicked on the button for more information, it took us to two security systems that were definitely NOT simple or DIY.

While Alarm Relay may be the absolute best deal with respect to price and reputation, their website makes it hard to understand how their service works - especially for a consumer who may be brand-new to shopping for a home security system. If you already have equipment in your home and are just looking for the absolute lowest monitoring price, you might like what this provider has to offer. Otherwise, you might feel more comfortable getting your home security system from a provider that holds your hand just a little bit more as you get everything set up for the first time.

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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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