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      December 7, 2019

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Best Home

Security Systems

  1. SimpliSafe
  2. Brinks
  3. Protect America
  4. Xfinity
  5. Guardian
  6. ADT
  7. Vivint
  8. Alarm Relay
  9. Protection One
  10. CPI Security
  11. Get Safe

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Best Home Security Systems

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.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2019

Home Security Systems Reviews

5 stars
Frontpoint

FRONTPOINTTopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Frontpoint is the name to know for affordable, leading-edge home security systems. Customers rave about the ease of setting up the equipment, the 30-day money-back guarantee, and the fact that there are no lengthy contracts obligating you to use the service for years at a time. You can add to your system at any time, making it possible to get just the right system for your home and your budget. For the best protection of your home and family at the best prices, Frontpoint should be your first choice.

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5 stars
SimpliSafe

SIMPLISAFE

If you want maximum protection on a minimal budget, SimpliSafe could be your perfect fit among home security systems. Their less-than-$15 per month monitoring fee covers every sensor and device you use, though you'll have to pay for your equipment upfront. While some customers have had complaints with their service after their DIY install, SimpliSafe offers a 60-day, no-catch refund policy and continues to have the highest rating from the BBB. This is a great option for a high level of coverage at a low, no-contract monthly price.

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4 stars
Brinks

BRINKS

Brinks is a big name in home security systems - and with good reason. This award-winning company has more than a million customers in the US alone. With 4 packages to choose from, and options for DIY or professional installation, Brinks puts the power in your hands to select the right home security system for all of your needs, with no shady reps or pressure to buy.

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3.5 stars
Protect America

PROTECT AMERICA

Protect America sells home security systems that are all self-installed. With a history spanning nearly 3 decades and 500,000 homes, the company maintains a strong reputation for protection and customer service. Pricing information can be hard to determine without speaking to a sales rep, but many customers like Protect America's packages that give them a complete system without having to pay for the equipment upfront.

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3.5 stars
Xfinity

XFINITY

You already know Xfinity offers TV and internet, but have you checked out their home security systems? If you live within their coverage areas, you definitely should: their equipment fees are reasonable, and their monthly service costs are both affordable and contract-free. You don't even need to be a TV/internet subscriber to qualify. But, if Xfinity isn't available in your area, you'll need to look elsewhere for your home security package.

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3.5 stars
Guardian

GUARDIAN

Guardian Protection has one of the industry's best reputations when it comes to the quality of their 24/7 monitoring centers. Customers have extremely good things to say about the customer service they've received throughout the entire process, from sales reps to installers. But, Guardian doesn't disclose anything about their fees until after you speak with a representative, and their limited service area may not cover where you live.

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3 stars
ADT

ADT

ADT scores high marks for its 140+ years of experience and customer base of more than 6 million. But, with lengthy contracts and expensive installation fees, this provider of home security systems comes up short when compared with other services that offer the same level of coverage with more customer-friendly terms.

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2.5 stars
Vivint

VIVINT

Vivint has over a million customers in North America that use their home security systems for the smart home features they offer at reasonable monthly prices. However, the company requires you to meet with a sales rep to find out exactly how much your system will cost, and unless you pay for your equipment upfront, you'll be locked into a contract of at least 42 months. And, with thousands of customer complaints leading to a "D" grade from the BBB, Vivint is our lowest-ranked provider of home security services.

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2.5 stars
Alarm Relay

ALARM RELAY

Alarm Relay is the only home security system in our review that lets you bring your own equipment to their monitoring service - for an extraordinarily low cost of $8.95/month. That's a great deal for anyone who already has all of the sensors and other gear needed for a strong home protection setup. The company has a great reputation with lots of happy customers. But, if you need installation or a wide range of equipment, you're not going to get it from Alarm Relay.

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2.5 stars
Protection One

PROTECTION ONE

Protection 1 used to have a limited service area. But, since being merged with ADT, this provider of home security systems is now available nationwide - though you won't get to decide which of the two companies returns your request for a free quote. There are some pricing differences between ADT and Protection 1, but essentially everything else is the same - including the lengthy required monitoring contracts and spendy installation fees.

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2.5 stars
CPI Security

CPI SECURITY

CPI has a good reputation for service, both from the BBB and from their customers. But, their home security systems can only be installed within a limited service area in the southeastern United States, and equipment and monitoring costs are higher than most nationwide competitors.

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1 star
Get Safe

GET SAFE

GetSafe used to offer affordable monthly monitoring costs on their DIY-install home security systems. It'll take you some time to discover it, but if you spend a few minutes trying to put together a package for your home, you'll eventually find the page that informs you that GetSafe doesn't actually sell home security systems to new customers anymore. The company only sells medical alert systems now, so you'll need to look elsewhere to protect your home.

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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!

Home Security Systems Terminology

There are many terms used by home security companies to describe their products. Here we have described what many of these terms mean so you can use them when looking at our home security systems reviews.

  • 2-Way Intercom: This refers to the ability for homeowners to communicate directly with their home security monitoring service with provided equipment.
  • 24-Hour Monitoring: When a home security system has 24 hour monitoring, it means that the alarm company has a monitoring facility that is staffed by real people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that any time of day your home alarm sounds, someone is watching your system and you'll receive notification from your monitoring service.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Recently, home security companies have started including carbon monoxide detectors as a part of their home alarm packages.
  • Cellular Monitoring: a cellular connection is the safest home security option, since your alarm system won't go down if your telephone lines are cut or your wireless connection goes down. Cellular monitoring is only considered 100% dedicated if the home security system provides a cellular signal between your sensors and the control panel, as well as between the control panel and your monitoring station. Some providers only offer a cellular connection between the sensors and the control panel.
  • DIY Systems: Do It Yourself systems cut out the professional alarm system installation fees that many security companies charge. These systems are usually wireless in order to make installation as easy as possible. They tend to be good for renters since these alarm systems can usually be moved.
  • Door and Window Sensors: Door and window sensors are a basic component of any home security system. They notify your alarm monitoring service when a door or window is opened and the contact between two sensors is broken.
  • Equipment Manufacturer: Depending on your home security company, the manufacturer of the actual alarm equipment you receive may be provided by a 3rd party technology company, developed by the alarm company themselves, or intermingled between a number of different manufacturers. If you choose to change home security companies in the future, this can make upgrading or changing your alarm system expensive and complex.
  • Equipment Warranty: This refers to the coverage provided if the home security equipment you install is faulty or malfunctions in any way. Depending on your home security company, your equipment may be covered by a full lifetime warranty, a limited time warranty, or an optional warranty for additional cost.
  • Flood Sensors: For homes with basements or close to water sources, flood sensors can be an important feature. Flood sensors will trigger the home security system if it determines that excess water may be accumulating in your home.
  • Freeze Sensors: Freeze sensors help prevent damage from burst frozen pipes or other cold-related damage that can occur in homes that experience extremely cold temperatures.
  • Heat Sensors: Some home security systems provide heat sensors that can help detect the threat of fire by measuring changes in temperature. Heat sensors do not provide smoke detection.
  • Home Automation: Home automation refers to the ability for a homeowner to control certain events in their home, such as lighting, heating, and cooling, through their security system. These functions can be controlled by the homeowner whether they're at work or on vacation.
  • Interactive Monitoring: Many home security companies now offer the ability to monitor your system through online websites or smart phone applications. These utilities will let you turn on your home alarms, receive messages if your alarm sounds, and in some cases even control certain events in your home through home automation.
  • Garage Door Sensors: Garage door sensors are similar to Door and Window sensors, except they are specifically designed to work with garage doors.
  • Glass Break Sensors: When a window is broken, the glass break sensor notifies your monitoring service.
  • Personal Security Devices: These devices usually come in the form of bracelets or ceiling pulls that can be used to call for medical attention through the security system monitoring service. They are usually requested by elderly people or individuals who have special medical needs.
  • Relocation: Systems that can be relocated let homeowners take their home alarm system with them if they move, and have it installed in their new home for free or for a minimal fee. Relocating a home security system can be important for people who move frequently or live in rental properties.
  • Upfront Cost: A home security system's upfront cost is the amount of money needed to have a security system installed. This includes the cost of installation and equipment.
  • Wireless Sensors: Wireless sensors do not have to be hardwired into home security systems in order to work. They're more convenient to install and are more practical because they can be moved without drilling holes in your walls.

 

Features You Can Expect To Find In A Home Security System

Here are a few things you can expect to find in a home security system:

Control Panels
These panels are the ‘brains' of home security systems. They are physically or remotely attached to electronic sensors and detectors throughout the house. They usually have a keypad with them to allow you to control, disable or activate your home security system.

Alarms
Home security systems can use sounds to alert you to the presence of an intruder, but it's important to remember that alarms can be useful in the case of carbon monoxide, fire, flood or other disasters too. Safety systems should be installed in your home along with home security systems.

Door and Window Sensors
These home security sensors have two parts - one that goes on the door or window itself, and another on the corresponding frame. Magnets keep a charge running through the home security sensor while the door is closed. When a door or window is opened, the circuit is broken and the sensor triggers an alarm via the main control panel. Keep in mind that window sensors won't work on windows that don't open - for that, you'll need a glass break sensor to recognize the sound of a window being broken.

Motion Sensors
Motion detectors are ideally used in large areas that either aren't or can't be secured with door or window sensors (for example, a large room with many windows or a backyard). They can generally detect motion from 40 to 80 feet away and can be connected to your home alarm system or to a security camera. There are two main types of home security motion sensors: active detectors, which emit light, sound or other forms of energy and recognize when that energy is being disturbed; or passive detectors, which recognize incoming signals sent from the disturbance, such as heat or sound waves.

Security Cameras
CCTV cameras are used for surveillance and are designed to transmit images to a specific place and a limited number of monitors. Analog or digital surveillance cameras are simply a camera attached (either by a cable or wirelessly) to a digital video recorder (DVR) that's used to record the images picked up by the camera.

IP/network cameras are similar to analog/digital cameras, but have an IP address assigned to them, allowing owners to view images on their computer through the internet, anywhere in the world.

Outdoor perimeter Protection
Fences, gates and outdoor lighting are all simple ways to deter intruders. However, there are also motion sensors and security cameras similar to the ones in your home that are specifically designed for outdoor use. Perimeter home security systems can also be used to sound alarms before an intruder crosses the border into your property (let alone into your home). Infrared, microwave and radar detectors, and buried cables are activated by someone crossing the boundary and can be placed around your yard for added protection.

These can be set up to sound a home alarm or turn on outdoor flood lights. They can also communicate with your systems within the house to alert you or your home security company of the breach. Outdoor protection can be mistakenly activated by natural factors such as trees, wind, and animals.

Homeowners today have a variety of options they can use to tailor a home security system specific to their needs.

 

Alarms, Cameras and Locks; How Home Security Can Help Prevent Home Invasion

The first thing anyone needs to realize in any given home security situation is an unfortunate truth: if a smart, determined, burglar wants to get into your house while you're out, they will.

But now for the good news: you can stall most, if not all burglars, long enough for them to be discouraged and move onto easier targets. How? Simple. Here are three easy things to consider in order to make your home more secure.

Be Aware
Simply being aware of your surroundings can save you, your loved ones, and your neighbor's headaches later. Google, or your local police department, has statistics on crime in your local area.

For example, recently a Seattle woman witnessed two suspicious men emerge from a neighbor's backyard. She took down descriptions of the men, a partial license plate and called the police. While police discovered her neighbor had indeed been burglarized, the woman gave them enough of a description that police recognized the suspects from previous offenses and were able to make an arrest.

Being aware also necessitates that you're aware of your property's weaknesses. Take the time to scan your property. Look for any easy entry points a burglar could use to invade your home. Once you've done that, consider ways to prevent it. It could be as simple as taking down a lattice on the side of your house for ivy, or installing more secure window and door locks.

Don't open the door for unexpected strangers, even if they claim it's an emergency. Home invasions, where criminals force their way into your house while you or loved ones are inside, are on the rise and the perpetrators are using increasingly deceptive methods to gain access to a home.

Fortunately, the same precautions used to prevent burglaries can help to prevent home invasions. Peepholes, or windows around the front door, are a good method of identifying and judging a stranger before opening your door. Doors with solid cores, bolt locks and reinforced windows can also buy you the time needed to call the police if an invader tries to force their way in.

Finally, talk with your family about burglaries and invasions, and be sure to discuss home security plans for both situations.

Upgrade Your Home
Adding upgrades to your home can also help prevent burglaries. A solid core door and deadbolt locks can go a long way in deterring potential pilferers. Upgrade the locks on your windows, make sure you have a thick glass and prevent your windows from opening more than six inches with dowel. Even small things, like buying signs showcasing your security oriented thinking, can make a criminal reconsider a possible burglary.

Get strong outdoor lights which automatically turn on when movement is detected at night. Burglars hate being bathed in light, and besides, a sudden light coming from your home while you're away can alert a neighbor to a potential burglary in progress.

Home security systems are an excellent way to protect your home and family. The best home security companies offer affordable systems that utilize the latest in technology, including wireless systems, motion detectors, and remote access while you're away. If you're considering a home security system, make sure you choose one that has a good reputation and a budget that meets your needs.

Finally, if you're going to be gone for a long while, perhaps on a vacation, consider purchasing light timers which can turn lights on and off automatically while you're away.

Lock Up, Be Safe
Lock your doors and lock your windows. That's the easiest and most overlooked way to prevent robberies or home invasions.

The vast majority of burglaries occur through open, or unlocked, windows and doors. If you want to prevent any trespasses, closing and locking any obvious entry points into your home is a good start — even if you're only out of your home for just a few minutes.

Do you keep a spare key? Do you have a nice hiding spot for it? Is it under a rock (or in a fake rock) near your front door? Unfortunately, that's too easy. Burglars know all the good hiding spots for spare keys. The first solution is, of course, to not lose your keys in the first place. The second solution, according to home security experts, is to give your spare keys to a trusted neighbor for safe keeping.

Burglars often discover the layout of a targeted house by posing as salesmen, delivery men, or contractors. They plan before they strike, and usually target someone they consider to be an easy victim. You can prove them wrong by planning ahead and being prepared.

 

How A Burglar Targets Your Home

Not all burglaries can be stopped, but most can be prevented. By knowing what a burglar is looking for in a target, you can better anticipate what home security measures you should take.

Here are four ways a burglar targets homes:

They Look For The Right House
Burglars often look for nice, out-of-the-way houses with, as retailers call it, "curb appeal". Typically they'll look for houses that are both remote, and have enough overgrown vegetation to keep their illegal activities relatively secret.

They also look for homes with easy access to the inside. Homes with windows that can be opened at ground-floor level, represent an easy mark, especially if the house doesn't have a home security system.

Homes with small compact backyards, are secluded from neighbors, or are located next to forests and woods are frequently targeted thanks to both the ease of access, and the ease of escape.

They Stake It Out
Staking out a house is no small matter to the professional burglar. In fact it can often be the most difficult part of the job.

There are a few ways crooks can learn your habits. First, there's the traditional stake out - where the burglar sits in a car, or a nearby hiding spot, in order to watch and observe the habits of whomever lives in your home.

Then there's the kind of intruder that you invite in. Not intentionally, of course, but ill-meaning contractors, such as plumbers, painters, or home renovators, can take the opportunity track you and your family's habits while working on your home. They can determine whether you have an active home security system, which can be a strong deterrent to their plans. They can also use this opportunity to make their theft all the easier by leaving doors and windows unlocked for when they return.

They Learn Your Habits
Most burglaries take place in the middle of the day when homeowners and their neighbors are away at work. But they typically don't just pick a house at random and wait for everyone to leave. Instead, during their stake-out phase, they learn the habits of a household in order to get a better understanding of what they're dealing with.

Through the stakeout they also discover ways that you get in and out of your house. Say, for example, that you have a spare set of keys hidden nearby that you, or a loved one, frequently uses. If this is used too often, burglars will see it and discover an easy way to enter your home. Burglars can also learn what sort of items you may have in your home. While a burglar may not steal your 60-inch big screen television, but they'll know you can afford it, and probably have small, more manageable possessions they can swipe.

Burglars also tend to keep track of family habits. They can easily learn what time everyone leaves the house and when they return. Some burglars may even keep track of the habits of nearby neighbors for an added touch of awareness.

The more risky burglars, and the ones more likely to get caught, will sometimes walk right up to a targeted house and knock on the door to see if anyone is home. If someone answers the door, they'll typically make up a cover, like they're landscapers looking for work. If not, they'll poke around the perimeter of the house looking for a way in. If your house isn't protected, they can easily gain entry this way.

They Steal, Then Steal Again
Unfortunately, statistics show that if you've already been the victim of a burglary, you're at a high risk of it happening again. A burglar will often hit the same home a second time after the homeowner has replaced their stolen items and have fallen back into their normal habits. Unless home security precautions are taken, it's not hard for the burglar to do, especially considering they've already hit the home once before and know the layout of the property.

 

Which Home Security System Sensors Are Right For You?

There are a variety of home security system sensors to choose from today, many which can provide multiple functions. Here's a quick run-down of the most popular home security sensors available today, and what they can do for you.

Door and window home security sensors
Door and window home security sensors are the basic sensors of home security. These sensors protect their respective elements by using magnets, and alert the main control panel if one is disturbed. If a sensor is disturbed in an unauthorized manner — such as late at night or while you're away during vacation — they will result in an activated alarm.

Door and window sensors are ideal for homes with only a few entrances and opening windows. In large houses with many entrances, it may not be practical or cost-effective to arm every single window in the house, but in a small house these home security sensors can provide a good deal of security. Door sensors can also be programmed to sound a chime to notify owners when a door is opened, which is ideal for households with small children.

Glass break home security sensors
Unlike window sensors, glass break home security sensors are more useful for windows that don't open and close. Like their name implies, these home security sensors are capable of recognizing the sound or sensation of glass breaking. If a break-in occurs, the home security alarm is raised. If you're concerned about people breaking your windows rather than forcing them open, they can be installed along with regular magnet window sensors.

Such home security sensors don't have to be an external accessory, either. Some windows are built with thin strips of metal in them that, when broken, can also trigger a home security alarm.

Motion home security sensors
Motion sensors are usually set up inside the house as another layer of protection after door and window monitors. These home security sensors can easily monitor an entire room, and are best used at night or when the house is vacant.

But motion home security sensors can be an imperfect solution. When armed, they can go off for any detected motion, including a family member or a pet. It's best not to place these home security sensors in frequented areas of the house (for example the kitchen or bedrooms). With recent technology, some motion security sensors have logic that can differentiate between an animal and a human moving around a room. This can cut down on the number of false alarms if you have pets.

Also, remember that motion detectors aren't necessary in every room of the house. Rooms without windows or doors can only be accessed from other rooms, so it's a better idea to spend money on extra protection in those more accessible rooms instead. Some motion sensors also include glass break sensors, so check the features of the model before installing both.

Security cameras
Security cameras can be positioned around your house with a home security system as a way to identify intruders if they break in. They can also be useful if you like to keep tabs on your household throughout the day - to check who's at the front door, make sure the kids are playing safely, and ensure that the pool door is closed.

If you're away from home on a regular basis, you can have network cameras installed that will allow you to "see" into your house through the cameras and your computer from wherever you are.

Outdoor perimeter protection
Arming the outdoor perimeter of your property is especially beneficial if you have a large or rural property that can't be adequately covered by motion sensors or home security cameras. These home security sensors notify you when someone crosses the boundary into your property and can either sound an alarm or alert you of the trespasser.

 

Customize Your Home Security System

There are many ways you can customize your home security system. Here are a few options for your consideration:

Wired or Wireless
When choosing a home security system you can opt for one that is installed with wires or without. A home security system with wires is usually best to install when the house is being built. Otherwise, the home security company will have to tear through your existing walls in order to install the system. Wireless home security systems, on the other hand, can be easily installed into either new or existing homes.

For example, a wired home security camera can be tedious to install into an existing home. Since a wire needs to run from the camera proper to the recording device, it needs to be either safely secured to the walls, floors and ceilings between the two devices, or it needs to be installed within the walls, a process that can significantly increase the cost of the equipment installation. Wireless home security cameras, on the other hand, are much easier to install and move after installation. Wireless home security cameras can take high quality visual (and audio) footage.

The downside of a wireless home security camera system is that it is more susceptible to interference from microwaves, the Internet, bad weather, cell phones, and so on. This interference can result in grainy or even lost footage. Because of the cables, wired home security camera systems aren't affected by interference. Wireless cameras are also much more easily hacked by outsiders; their wired counterparts are more secure.

Monitored or Non-Monitored
Many homeowners find that they're able to set up a non-monitored home security system on their own. That's mainly because installing the desired wireless features and connecting them all to one control panel is a relatively easy task.

These systems, when activated, will produce a loud alarm with the intention of notifying the owner to a break in or to scare off the intruder. The owner (or neighbors, if the owner is out of town) is then responsible for dealing with the situation or calling the authorities if necessary.

However, there is also an option, which is to have your home security system monitored by a home security company for a monthly fee. Monitored systems give owners the peace of mind that their home is being watched at all times, whether the owners themselves are at work, having dinner, in bed, or on vacation. They can wait a predetermined amount of time to see if the alarm is deactivated by the owner (in case of accidental activation). If it isn't deactivated, the home security monitoring company will call the appropriate authorities, whether it's police, fire or medical.

Choose Your Features
There are many different features available for home security systems and there are many different ways to customize those features. Home security can range from something as cheap and simple (albeit quite unreliable) as a fence and some floodlights to an expensive high-tech, multi-device, monitored, wireless, internet-connected system. With some systems you can install the home security monitors and sensors yourself, and some home security systems require a professional installer.

 

Differences Between Monitored and Non-Monitored Home Security Systems

What is a non-monitored system?

A non-monitored home security system is composed of whatever features you select for your home which aren't monitored by another human through a digital connection. Door and window sensors, motion detectors and surveillance cameras can all be set up as a non-monitored system, and can be installed either by you or by professionals. Non-monitored systems can be wired or wireless - technological advances allow wireless systems to be accessed remotely from your smartphone, tablet or computer to make it easier for you to keep tabs on your property when away from home.

What is a monitored system?

Monitored systems have the same components as a non-monitored system, but include the added security benefit of being monitored 24/7 by a security company. If an alarm goes off, the company will give you a few seconds to rule out accidental activation. If you don't enter a code into the alarm, or if you're not home, the security team will contact the police, fire or medical departments depending on what type of alarm has gone off.

Companies charge a fee for monitoring services, and those fees will have to be paid in addition to any costs associated with the equipment you choose to have installed. Most companies provide a lease service, allowing you to not rent the security features instead of outright buying them. These rental costs are added to your monthly fee to cover the equipment.

Pros and Cons: Non-Monitored

Pros:

  • Cheaper long term costs: Since you're not paying a monthly service fee, the only money you'll have to put out is for the security equipment itself. It also means that you own the equipment, so you won't have to deal with contracts or the hassle of changing your address.
  • DIY: Most home owners find that they are able to get their non-monitored wireless security system up and running within a matter of hours, cutting on installation costs.

Cons:

  • Depend on your neighbours: If you're not home and an alarm does goes off, you might have to count on your neighbours to check it out for you. Depending on who your neighbours are, this might not be an ideal solution.
  • Authorities won't be notified: You (or your neighbours) are responsible for calling the authorities in case of an emergency.

Pros and Cons: Monitored

Pros:

  • Added security: Having someone look out for your home while you're away from it can give you a peace of mind you might not get from a non-monitored system.
  • Call for help: Knowing that your security provider will call the authorities in the event of a problem can help you rest easy.
  • Proper installation: Since most companies will send an installation team, you can be assured that everything is set up properly.
  • Lower insurance costs: While many insurance companies offer discounts for home security features, having a monitored security system can save you 15-20%.

Cons:

  • Monthly fee: You'll have to pay for renting the equipment, installation costs, and a monthly service fee. This service fee can cost anywhere from $6 for less well-known companies to $40+ for large national companies.

 

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ADT Disclaimer:

$99 Customer Installation Charge. 36-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $36.99 per month ($1,331.64), 24-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $36.99 ($887.76) for California, including Quality Service Plan (QSP). Form of payment must be by credit card or electronic charge to your checking or savings account. Offer applies to homeowners only. Local permit fees may be required. Satisfactory credit history required. Certain restrictions may apply. Offer valid for new ADT Authorized Premier Provider customers only and not on purchases from ADT LLC. Other rate plans available. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Licenses: AL-15-1104, AK-35221, AZ-ROC217517, AR-2008-0014, CA-ACO6320, CT-ELC.0193944-L5, DE-07-212, FL-EC13003427, DC-602513000006, GA-LVA205395, HI-CT30946, ID-ELE-SC-39312, IL-127.001042, IN-City of Indianapolis: LAC-000156, IA-AC-0036, KY-City of Louisville: 483, LA-F1082, LA-F1914, LA-F1915, ME-LM50017382, MD-107-1626, MA-1355C, MI-3601205773, MN-TS01807, MS-15007958, MO-City of St. Louis: CC354, St. Louis County: 89767, MT-247, NE-14451, NV-68518, City of Las Vegas: 3000002944, NJ-34BF00021800, NM-353366, NY-Licensed by the N.Y.S. Dept. of State UID#12000286189, #12000286451, NC-1622-CSA, OH-53891446, City of Cincinnati: AC86, OK-1048, OR-170997, Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor Registration Number: PA22999, RI-3582, SC-BAC5630, SD-1025-7001-ET, TN-C1520, TX-B13734, ACR-3492, UT-6422596-6501, VT-ES-2382, VA-115120, WA-602588694/PROTEYH934RS, WV-042433, WI-City of Milwaukee: PAS-0002640, WY-LV-G-21499. 3750 Priority Way South Dr. Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46240 ©2014 Defender Security

 

Vivint Disclaimer:

Activation Fee and 42-Month Monitoring Agreement at a minimum of $49.99/mo., home ownership, and satisfactory credit history required. Local permit fees and/or sales tax may apply. Services not available in all areas.

 

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