We evaluated the biggest home security systems and compared the process of ordering, installing, and using them in our own homes. Each security company offers the same basic security features, but our top picks rose above the rest with their cutting-edge technology, user-friendly equipment, and helpful customer service.
Top 5 Security Systems For Homes
- Ring Alarm puts whole-home security at your fingertips. Get alerts on your smart phone when doors or...
- Optional 24/7 professional monitoring is just $10/month. No long-term contracts or cancellation...
- Extended battery life – 2 year battery life on two AA lithium batteries with a combination of...
- 2-way audio – Talk to visitors through the Blink app on your smartphone or tablet.
- 【Plug & Play and Easy Setup】The wireless cameras and NVR are auto-paired during the factory...
- 【IP66 Weatherproof Security Camera】 Records in 960P HD to capture sharp and crisp images,...
- Ready to protect right out of the box. Just plug in the base station, place your sensors, and start...
- Optional 24/7 professional monitoring with police, fire & medical dispatch starting at 50c/day - No...
- MOTION DETECTOR: Built-in motion sensor alarm, when motion detector is triggered, WIFI cameras send...
- BATTERY POWERED SECURITY SYSTEM: Wireless home camera with 2-year battery life, powered by 2 Lithium...
How We Chose the Best Home Security Systems
Robust security options
In order to really outfit your home with the level of security in which you feel most comfortable, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice. Your home security system shouldn’t stop at basic motion sensors and an ear-piercing alarm to target intrusions only. In some way, you should be able to integrate protection outside of the home and for other hazards, like fires and carbon monoxide leak. This is why we evaluated each provider’s standard and supplemental security options, which, in our experience testing, should include a healthy combination of these features:
- Intrusion: door, window, and glass-break sensors
- Environmental: carbon monoxide, fire, and flood sensors
- Surveillance: indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras
- Safety: life alert and panic buttons
Smart home integration
The more we automate and become intertwined with the Cloud, the more vulnerable our personal data becomes to hacking. The demand for greater smart home automation also paves the way for voice assistant compatibility, which is helpful but also opens another window of opportunity for hacking or data leaks. However, big names — like the ones in this lineup — either tend to move quickly in the event of a data breach and/or constantly update security features to make sure your information isn’t leaked into the wrong hands. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful and keep tabs on your network’s security, enabling two-factor authentication, and constantly updating your system’s software, among others.
Broad incorporation of wireless protocols
At the very crux of integration lies the wireless protocols that actually enable device communication. Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and WiFi are among the biggest names in the home automation industry, so we took special note of those that offered at least one of the above.
A home security system should be easy to navigate, and the system’s design should make sense in your home. Most of our testers had positive things to say about living with their home security systems. They reported that their systems improved their overall peace of mind. If you’re prone to fretting late at night or while away on vacation, home security systems deliver on their promise of reassurance. That’s not to say there weren’t annoyances — which can become major sore points if you’re interacting with your system every time you leave the house.
The majority of home security companies recommend or require you to call when ordering your service. We recommend this as well because regardless of whether calling beforehand is required, having an attentive lineup of customer service comes in handy, especially when self- installing or encountering difficulty with the system. You can often get a lower price by discussing your quote with a salesperson. Sometimes home security systems require an installation fee, equipment fees, or an activation fee. It’s quite common that special deals can waive or lower those. In fact, sales reps from eight of the nine security companies we considered offered us a discount over the phone — we didn’t even have to ask.
Guide to Getting the Best Home Security
Research plans before you call
We recommend you get a good idea of what features and packages you want before calling to purchase, but be open to the advice from the sales rep. Our Frontpoint tester called on two separate occasions. The first time, she had a good idea of what she wanted system-wise but said she was still shopping around for a provider. The second time, she pretended to be an easy sell who just wanted a system but hadn’t done any research.
Explore DIY vs. professional installation
A few of our favorite providers allow you to DIY your alarm system installation, while others send a professional to do the task. The professional installation allows for a home security expert to evaluate your home’s security needs and educate you on how to best utilize your system. The drawback is that professional installation often involves an additional fee. When you opt to DIY, the process is typically quicker and you can avoid any appointment-scheduling acrobatics.
Understand your home automation needs
Home automation may not be something you’ve considered, but many home security providers offer it with higher-tier packages. Not everyone needs complete control over their lights, locks, and robovac, but home automation comes in handy if you travel frequently or desire complete convenience. Before choosing a home security package, think about your smart home needs and if this technology may be something you’ll want in the future.
Look at home automation protocols
If you decide that home automation is an important part of your home security, it’s a good idea to research home automation protocols to learn which one will work best for you. A protocol is the language smart devices use to communicate with each other, and it serves as the foundation on which a home automation system is built. Not all protocols are the same, with some supporting more devices or using less power. Before committing to any home automation devices, look into which protocol works best for your home and if it supports the devices you wish to incorporate into your home automation system.