The Best Home Security Systems of 2020

Looking for a home security system? To simplify your research, we’ve compared the year’s best home security systems to identify the top providers and best values. Learn about what each provider has to offer and which features will protect your family, home, and property in 2020 and beyond.

Best for Industry Experience

ADT Home Security

Starting at $45.99

8.8 out of 10

Best features

  • 140+ years in business
  • 6-month money back guarantee
  • $500 Theft Protection guarantee

Best for Smart Homes

Vivint Security

Starting at $38.99

8.4 out of 10

Best features

  • Flexible equipment configuration
  • Flexible payment options
  • Variety of cutting-edge smart home devices and features

Best for Customer Service

Frontpoint Security

Starting at $44.99

7.2 out of 10

Best features

  • Month-to-month contract
  • Renter-friendly services and equipment
  • Good customer service

Best Entry-Level Pricing

Protect America

Starting at $19.99

7.2 out of 10

Best features

  • 25+ years of industry experience
  • Price-match guarantee
  • Mobile app access & control

Best for Easy Installation

SimpliSafe Security

Starting at $14.99

8.4 out of 10

Best features

  • Inexpensive professional monitoring
  • Wireless equipment
  • Cellular monitoring

Best Home Security Systems of 2020

How to Compare and Choose A Home Security System

How to Compare and Choose A Home Security System

Finding the best home security solution can be overwhelming. Home security companies are giving customers plenty of choices for equipment and services. Should you choose DIY or professional installation? Do you want the bells and whistles of smart home control or just the basics? Have no fear because we’ve narrowed down the best home security systems to help you choose the right equipment and service for your family.

Best Smart Home Security Systems Featured in This Roundup

Best Smart Home Security Systems Featured in This Roundup

Compare the Best Home Security Systems for 2020

Compare the Best Home Security Systems for 2020

SimpliSafe Security

Learn more about

Cove Security

Learn more about

Brinks Home Security

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Link Interactive

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Monitoring starting price $35.99/mo.* $38.99/mo.* $44.99/mo.* $19.99/mo.* $14.99/mo.* Not provided $14.99/mo.* $19.99/mo.* $29.99/mo.* $30.99/mo.*
Equipment starting price $99 for the Traditional Package $650+ worth of equipment required $255.96 for the Safe Home Starter package Basic equipment included with contract $259.95 for The Essentials Package Not provided Varies based on payment plan chosen $199 $199 for basic package with contract Basic equipment included with contract
Installation Professional Professional DIY DIY DIY with professional option DIY with professional option DIY DIY DIY with professional option DIY
Monitoring options Professional Professional Professional Professional Professional & Self-monitoring Professional Professional & Self-monitoring Professional & Self-Monitoring Pro for Brinks and Self-monitoring for Nest Pro & Self-monitoring option available
Minimum contract length 36 months 42-60 mos. or pay for equipment in full** Monthly subscription – no contract required 36 months Monthly subscription – no contract required 5 years No contract required No contract required 36 mos. for Brinks & Monthly for Nest 1 year
Alexa & Google Home compatibility Yes Yes Yes Requires upgrade Yes No Yes Yes Yes for Brinks and Google only with Nest Requires upgrade
Other smart home compatibility Z-wave Z-wave Z-wave Z-wave with upgrade none none none Z-wave Z-wave for Brinks Z-wave with upgrade
Guarantee $500 Theft Protection none none Low Price Guarantee none Price Lock Guarantee none 30 days none none
Warranty Option to extend limited warranty 120-day equipment warranty 3-year limited equipment warranty Lifetime equipment warranty 3-year limited equipment warranty From 1 year to lifetime depending on monitoring plan 2-year limited equipment warranty 3-year limited equipment warranty
Extended no-risk return period 6 Months N/A 30 days 15 days 60 days 30 days 60 days N/A 30 days 30 days
BBB rating A+ D A+ A A+ B- A A+ A+ A+
Best for Industry Experience Smart Homes Customer Service Entry-Level Pricing Easy Installation Basic Security Instant Text Alerts DIY Smart Home Security Combination of DIY & Professional Options Building your own package
*Price shown is monthly price for entry-level professional monitoring service.
** Month-to-month monitoring plans are available if equipment is paid for in full up front.
*Information updated as of 11/1/2019.
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The Best Home Security Systems: Full-Details

The Best Home Security Systems: Full-Details

  1. Best for Industry Experience

    ADT Home Security

    Our rating 8.8

    Starting at $45.99/mo

    Our take on ADT Home Security

    ADT Inc. stands apart as the home security company with the most experience and the best guarantee in the industry. That’s on top of certified monitoring centers and a competitive equipment lineup that includes intrusion protection, environmental monitoring, video surveillance and smart home automation.

    What we like

    • 140+ years in business
    • 6-month money back guarantee
    • $500 Theft Protection guarantee

    What we don’t like

    • Contract required
    • No self-installation option
    • Mobile app access not available in basic package

    ADT Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    ADT Control Package

    ADT offers one of the largest sets of equipment options on the market. Higher-tier packages include smartphone apps, smart home integration, camera options and more. We appreciate how ADT’s Command panel (available in the Control package and higher) doubles as a Z-wave smart home hub, so you can configure compatible devices from other manufacturers.

    ADT Monitoring Services

    ADT does not outsource its monitoring, like many smaller security providers do. It has six monitoring centers with 7,000 trained operators. These centers are certified by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and The Monitoring Association (TMA). They’re also fully redundant, meaning that connectivity has plenty of checks, balances and back-up options so you can count on 24/7 service and quick response time.

    Professional Installation

    ADT security systems require professional installation. This can save you a headache, since it ensures everything is set up correctly and includes one-on-one instruction. If you plan on moving in the near future, know that ADT offers a discounted Mover’s Package to qualified existing customers.

    ADT Pricing & Value

    To determine the price of your ADT system and service, add the costs of equipment, monitoring service and applicable taxes and fees. Note that ADT requires a long-term contract. Installation and early termination fees apply. You may also qualify for ADT specials and promotions.

  2. Best for Smart Homes

    Vivint Security

    Our rating 8.4

    Starting at $38.99/mo

    Our take on Vivint Home Security

    Vivint offers all of today’s must-have home security features (professional monitoring, top-of-the-line equipment, home automation, mobile app access) with the added benefit of extensive smart home options and flexibility with your equipment and payment plan.

    What we like

    • Flexible equipment configuration
    • Flexible payment options
    • Variety of cutting-edge smart home devices and features

    What we don’t like

    • Long contract if financing equipment
    • Expensive equipment cost
    • No DIY installation option

    Vivint Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    Vivint Security Products
    Vivint doesn’t limit your starting point to pre-selected equipment packages. Instead, build your own system from an extensive equipment lineup, which includes intrusion protection, environmental monitoring, security cameras and smart home devices. Vivint’s alarm panel doubles as a smart home hub, so it’s compatible with home automation devices from other manufacturers as well.

    Vivint Monitoring Services

    Vivint performs its monitoring in-house at its UL- and TMA Five Diamond-certified monitoring center. You can be confident that the responding agent will be a trained professional experienced with Vivint systems. Vivint offers two levels of monitoring service, and with Vivint cameras, you can also opt into video monitoring to allow agents to visually investigate alarms.

    Professional Installation

    Vivint requires professional installation. This service is a major benefit when dealing with new-to-you technology, but it is an additional expense (usually around $50).

    Vivint Pricing & Value

    Vivint systems can be expensive– a minimum of $599 worth of equipment is required to start service. Monitoring is also a necessity and it starts at at $38.99/mo. Financing is available for equipment, and service contracts match the length of financing terms. If equipment is paid for up front, there’s no long-term service contract required. If you’re serious about Vivint, call about current deals and promotions.

  3. Best for Customer Service

    Frontpoint Security

    Our rating 7.2

    Starting at $44.99/mo

    Our take on Frontpoint Home Security

    Frontpoint offers a competitive range of security equipment and monitoring services with the freedom of do-it-yourself installation and month-to-month contracts. We also appreciate their straightforward pricing and solid customer service reputation.

    What we like

    • Month-to-month contract
    • Renter-friendly services and equipment
    • Good customer service

    What we don’t like

    • Outdoor camera, doorbell camera only available as add-ons
    • Limited home automation devices available
    • High monitoring starting price

    Frontpoint Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    Frontpoint Preferred Package

    Frontpoint Security doesn’t offer the largest spectrum of equipment on the market, but its product lineup still includes everything you need for modern smart home security, including activity detection, cameras and mobile app access. Choose a starter package or build your own system from scratch. The Frontpoint alarm panel also serves as a Z-wave smart home hub, but its ability to integrate with some top smart home brands (like Google Nest) is limited.

    Frontpoint Monitoring Services

    Frontpoint outsources its monitoring to Rapid Response Monitoring, a multi-award winning monitoring center with two central stations. Rapid Response is UL-certified and approved by the New York Fire Department (NYFD), which is one of the strictest certifications in this field.

    DIY Installation

    All of Frontpoint’s equipment is intended for simple do-it-yourself (DIY) installation. This saves money on installation fees, avoids the hassle of appointment scheduling, and makes it easier to take the system with you if you move. On the other hand, it’s up to you to make sure the system is set up correctly.

    Frontpoint Pricing & Value

    Frontpoint equipment pricing is on the low end, but its monitoring services start at a slightly higher price point than the entry-level services of its competitors. However, Frontpoint offers all customers benefits that are often only available through higher-tier plans at other providers, such as complete mobile app access and “Crash & Smash” protection. Overall, Frontpoint pricing represents a good value as long as DIY installation works for you (and it’s even better if you can score a seasonal discount). There’s also a 30-day no-risk trial period.

  4. Best Entry-Level Pricing

    Protect America

    Our rating 7.2

    Starting at $19.99/mo

    Our take on Protect America Home Security

    Protect America stands out for its low starting prices, over 25 years of award-winning service and monitoring plans that are based on connectivity type. If you’re looking for a capable no-frills home security system you can install yourself, Protect America might have the best priced option.

    What we like

    • Price-match guarantee
    • Smart home devices and features
    • Mobile app access & control

    What we don’t like

    • Contract required
    • Must upgrade to get video surveillance, smart features and smoke detection
    • Cellular monitoring is the most expensive plan

    Protect America Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    Protect America Security Equipment

    Protect America’s equipment and plans center around simple and affordable home security systems, with upgradeable capabilities that include smart home automation, video service and smoke and fire monitoring. It doesn’t offer the same variety of smart home devices as some other top providers, but it does offer fundamentals like app control, smart lighting and locks

    Protect America Monitoring Services

    Protect America subcontracts its monitoring services to COPS Monitoring, an award-winning, UL-certified company with six nationwide monitoring stations and a 16.2-second average priority alarm response time. It also offers different monitoring plans based on the desired connectivity – landline, broadband or cellular.

    DIY Installation

    Protect America does not offer professional installation. Customers must set up their own equipment (no tools required, according to the provider) with the help of the online Quick Install Guide, or request help by phone through the customer service line

    Protect America Pricing & Value

    In our opinion, Protect America’s biggest downside is its three-year minimum contract. But there’s a plus side: Once you enter the contract, Protect America provides the essential home security equipment for free without additional upfront costs. You’re only responsible for the monthly monitoring fee and any optional upgrades. There’s also a price match guarantee.

  5. Best for Easy Installation

    SimpliSafe Security

    Our rating 8.4

    Starting at $14.99/mo

    Our take on SimpliSafe Home Security

    SimpliSafe could be considered a disrupter in the home security industry, because it was among the first to provide forward-thinking customer benefits like self-installation, self-monitoring, video verification and month-to-month pricing. Its generous 60-day risk-free trial helps ensure long-term customer satisfaction.

    What we like

    • Inexpensive professional monitoring
    • Wireless equipment
    • Cellular monitoring

    What we don’t like

    • Mobile alerts not available in the basic monitoring plan
    • No selection of smart home devices
    • Smart home capabilities not available in basic monitoring plan

    SimpliSafe Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    SimpliSafe Security Equipment

    SimpliSafe equipment is attractive, modern and easy to install, and it launches new products all the time. SimpliSafe systems work with Alexa and Google Assistant, so it supports voice commands through Amazon Echo and Google Home devices (sold separately). Note that the system doesn’t include a Z-wave or Zigbee smart home hub.

    SimpliSafe Monitoring Services

    SimpliSafe’s monitoring services are handled by COPS Monitoring, a proven leader with 41+ years of experience serving over 3 million customers. It offers two tiers of 24/7 monitoring plans (one with expanded app functionality, one without) with a Visual Verification option for customers with cameras. Visual Verification lets monitoring personnel review surveillance footage if an alarm is triggered, which SimpliSafe says speeds response time and reduces false alarms.

    DIY Installation

    Customers must set up their own equipment, but according to SimpliSafe, it usually takes less than 30 minutes. The ease of self-installation makes SimpliSafe a go-to choice for renters, homeowners and frequent movers alike.

    SimpliSafe Pricing & Value

    SimpliSafe pricing is very competitive. The main question is whether or not the DIY model and pricing structure work for you. With SimpliSafe, equipment packages start at $229 and must be paid for upfront (or financed through PayPal Credit) and monitoring fees are billed monthly. Long-term contracts not required.

  6. Best for Basic Security

    Alder Security

    BBB rating B-

    Starting at $/mo

    Our take on Alder Security

    Named the 10th fastest growing company in Utah by Fast 50 and Utah 100, Alder Security’s aim is to provide simple, customized home security solutions. Alder does not have a selection of pre-made packages you can choose from, but works with customers to build out security systems that are best for their homes. With Alder, you’ll find essential intrusion detection and environmental monitoring equipment. The price of professional monitoring will vary based on the equipment you choose. As some additional perks you’ll find with Alder Security, installation services are free if you ever need assistance, and your equipment is covered by a lifetime warranty.

    What we like

    • Fast, 3-second alarm response rate
    • Limited lifetime equipment warranty
    • Easy DIY installation process

    What we don’t like

    • No equipment pricing provided online
    • No monitoring pricing provided online
    • No smart home devices

    Alder Security Packages & Equipment

    Alder doesn’t offer any preset home security packages you can choose from. The provider instead will work with you to help you choose the right devices to protect your home. Some will find this aspect about Alder frustrating as they may be upsold on equipment that they may not need. Some customers may also want the ease of choosing a preset package versus working with a specialist.

    With Alder Security, you will find typical equipment such as a touchscreen control panel, motion sensors, door/window sensors, a key fob, smoke detector, flood & freeze sensor, and signage. Alder also offers security cameras. You can choose from the Arlo Pro Indoor/Outdoor camera or the YI Indoor Camera.

    Alder Security Monitoring Services

    Alder offers professional monitoring via a cellular network connection. The price will depend on the equipment you purchase. The provider doesn’t advertise monitoring pricing online, but by working with a specialist, you can find out how much you’ll need to pay for monthly monitoring.

    DIY Installation

    Alder Security systems are designed for self-installation. The provider claims that installation is an easy process–all you’ll need to do is follow the instructions for setup and you can have your system ready in as little as 10 minutes. Installation doesn’t require any tools on your part as most devices can be adhered in the appropriate locations.

    Alder Security Pricing & Value

    Alder doesn’t advertise pricing for its security systems online, and since each customer’s individual system may vary, the price may vary as well. We’re not able to compare Alder to other providers regarding price, but Alder does offer the essentials and more for protecting your home, and we believe that contributes to the provider’s overall value.

  7. Best for Instant Text Alerts

    Cove Security

    Our rating 7.4

    Starting at $14.99/mo

    Our take on Cove Security

    You’ll find the basics you need for intrusion detection with Cove Security. Cove stands out with locked monitoring rates, a lifetime warranty, and a $5 credit each month that can be used towards any future equipment purchases. While Cove does not offer any preset home security packages, you can easily build your own online. With Cove, you also get access to features like Cove InstaText™ for fast notifications on activity in your home and voice control when you choose a Cove monitoring plan. Cove monitoring ranges from $15/mo. – $25/mo.

    What we like

    • Custom packages with low-pressure sales
    • Easy cancellation
    • 60-day money-back guarantee

    What we don’t like

    • Premium app subscription required for many features
    • Relatively new company
    • Lack of smart home integration and camera options

    Cove Security Packages & Equipment

    Cove security equipmentCove doesn’t offer preset packages you can choose from, but you can easily put together your own security system online. Cove focuses on providing the essentials you need for protecting your home with intrusion detection equipment and an indoor security camera for monitoring your home. Cove’s Touch Alarm Panel boasts two-way communication and Smash & Grab Protection for additional security against intruders.

    Cove Security Monitoring Services

    You’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring with Cove through either the Cove Basic or Cove Plus plans. Cove provides this service through COPS Monitoring, an organization that has 6 UL-Listed centers. Your home will be monitored over a 100% cellular connection for greater protection against power outages or Wi-Fi internet issues.

    DIY Installation

    Cove Security’s system is designed for DIY installation. The provider claims their system can be installed in as little as 30 minutes. Cove’s equipment is pre-configured so that when it arrives, you’ll simply follow the provided instructions for setup.

    Cove Security Pricing & Value

    With Cove, you have greater control over the cost of your security system by choosing the devices you need and want online, no up-selling involved. Compared to other DIY providers, Cove’s equipment is less expensive, and you may be able to find the devices on sale during any promotions.

  8. Best for Flexible Monitoring

    Blue by ADT

    Our rating 8

    Starting at $19.99/mo

    Our take

    For decades, customers have trusted ADT’s equipment and services for extra home security and safety. Their home security systems require professional monitoring, installation and long-term contracts. Blue by ADT gives families flexible and affordable DIY security solutions with a focus on privacy with encrypted networks for your personal and home data. You’ll find smart cameras, ADT professional monitoring, and 24 hours of free cloud storage for easy home monitoring from anywhere.

    What we like

    • Smart home compatibility
    • 7-Day Practice Period
    • 24/7 professional monitoring available

    What we don’t like

    • Limited Blue by ADT equipment
    • No smart home add-ons
    • Cloud storage costs extra

    Blue by ADT Security Packages and Smart Home Equipment

    Blue Indoor Camera-minBlue by ADT has a collection of cameras that connect to LifeShield security systems wirelessly. Their equipment is easy to install and connect to smart home equipment including voice assistants. Their devices can be controlled used the Blue by ADT mobile app for modern home security.

    Blue by ADT Monitoring Services

    Blue by ADT offers self-monitoring for free and professional monitoring for $19.99/mo. The first month of professional monitoring is free and comes with one free month of cloud video storage.

    DIY Installation

    Blue by ADT is completely DIY for an easy, free set-up that doesn’t require a professional. Their videos and technical support make it easy to set up your cameras and connect them to your smart home devices for whole-home smart security.

    Blue by ADT Pricing & Value

    Blue by ADT has cameras and monitoring services – all at an affordable cost. All cameras cost $199 each and the monitoring service is $19.99/mo. on a month-to-month rate for more flexibility.

  9. Best for Flexible Installation

    Brinks Home Security

    Our rating 8.2

    Starting at $29.99/mo

    Our take on Brinks Home Security

    Serving over one million customers, Brinks Home Security bridges the gap between do-it-yourself smart home security and traditional professionally monitored systems. Whether you want flexible monitoring for a Google Nest system or a long-term plan with extensive equipment, Brinks has a plan for you.

    What we like

    • Flexible pricing and installation options
    • Award-winning customer service
    • Works with Google Nest

    What we don’t like

    • Contract required for all Brinks pacakges
    • Environmental monitoring not included in packages
    • Only top tier packages feature the smart home hub

    Brinks Home Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    Brinks home complete video package
    Brinks lets you choose between the Google Nest Secure Alarm System or Brinks’ own equipment packages. The Nest system (purchased through Brinks or major retailers like Google and Walmart) integrates with the entire lineup of Nest products and Google Assistant. Brinks equipment options include basic home security or home security with video, and the alarm panel is also a smart home hub compatible with Z-wave and Alexa devices.

    Brinks Home Security Monitoring Service

    Brinks owns and operates its own US-based monitoring center. Its monitoring service includes a benefit called ASAPer, which simultaneously messages a group of pre-set contacts to determine whether alarm activity is a true emergency or false alarm. Most monitoring center call household members one at a time, which can slow response times.

    DIY Installation with Professional Options

    Brinks security packages are meant to be self-installed. Optional professional help is available through a Nest Pro or Brinks Customer Care for an additional fee.

    Brinks Home Security Pricing & Value

    Brinks provides value by offering a choice of pricing agreements. The Nest option starts at $399 for equipment, and customers can choose between $29.99/mo. no-commitment monitoring or $19.99/mo. with a three-year contract. Brinks equipment packages require a 36-month contract. Equipment starts at $199 for the most basic package and monitoring starts at $29/mo.

Showing 5 of 10 providers

Showing 10 of 10 providers

How Do We Rank the Best Home Security Systems?

How Do We Rank the Best Home Security Systems?

At Safety.com, we continually refine our lists in order to provide up-to-date, well-researched insights. When ranking home security providers, we consider value, availability, brand reputation, trustworthy reviews, popularity, warranty and other reliability indicators. Learn more about our reviews and rankings methodology.

8 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home Security System

8 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home Security System

  1. 1

    Price

    Price is the top consideration for most shoppers. You can typically expect to pay two separate costs: the price of your equipment and monthly professional monitoring. Additional costs could include installation and or activation fees depending on the provider. Both of these costs tend to increase with security systems that feature security cameras, smart home devices, and home environmental monitoring devices.

  2. 2

    Contracts

    Some home security providers require a service contract. The average contract length is 36 months (three years). The plus side of contracted systems is that they often come with perks like professional installation and discounted equipment. However, they’re not very mover-friendly and may come with early termination fees. If you need to avoid a long-term commitment, choose a provider with month-to-month plans.

  3. 3

    Monitoring Options

    Home security systems may be professionally monitored or self-monitored. Professional monitoring means that a team of trained professionals is on call for alarm response 24/7. If an alarm is triggered in your home, the monitoring agent will asses the situation (usually by calling you) and dispatch emergency services if necessary. Self-monitoring can save money, but you’re responsible for monitoring your own system, either through smartphone notifications, activity alerts, or security camera footage.

  4. 4

    Connectivity Options

    Most providers offer a landline, Internet, or cellular connection for the security system and its components. A home security system with a cellular connection is more secure than one with just a landline or home Internet connection since the system remains linked to the provider’s monitoring center over cell tower signals. This is an advantage in the event of power outages. A landline connection, although less secure, is usually the least expensive option.

  5. 5

    Equipment

    Do you want just the basics for intrusion detection, or additional protection through devices like security cameras, smoke detectors, and smart home automation tools? With most providers, you can select a package and customize it to fit your needs. Some providers may require you to pay for all of the equipment upfront or allow you to finance it over a contract.

  6. 6

    Smart Home Integrations

    Most of the top home security companies offer some form of smart home compatibility. You’ll find security providers that offer smart home devices, and those who mainly offer integration, meaning that the security system will work well with devices from different manufacturers. Security systems that support home automation tend to be more expensive than simpler ones, so don’t feel compelled to purchase a security system with features you won’t use.

  7. 7

    Mobile App Access

    Today’s home security systems let you arm and disarm your system without laying a finger on a keypad or control panel. Thanks to mobile apps, you can view live video with security cameras, check notifications, and even create custom actions for your security system and smart home devices. Be aware, however, that many providers require a more expensive monitoring plan to access all app features.

  8. 8

    Trial Period

    No-risk trial periods should give you enough time to meaningfully test out your new security system. Most home security providers offer a trial period of 30 days, but it’s much shorter in some cases. You’ll need to be knowledgeable of what to expect in the event you’re unsatisfied with your system.

Security System Cost Breakdown

Security System Cost Breakdown

The cost of your home security system can vary based on the price of equipment, alarm monitoring, installation and more. Security system equipment is a large portion of what you pay for, with products including security cameras, motion sensors and additional smart security options.

  • Home security equipment typically costs about $200 in upfront costs or $25/month in fees.
  • Professional alarm monitoring should also factor into your security costs, with most monitoring services ranging from $15 to $35/month. Having a monitored home security system allows you to have greater piece of mind knowing that your security company is watching over your home 24/7.

You will also need to choose which installation option you prefer for your alarm system: professional or DIY. Professional installation can cost over $200, but the benefit is you ensure your home security equipment is properly functioning in your home. While home security systems are a big investment, there is a great payoff in feeling safe and secure in your own home.

DIY or Professional Home Security?

DIY or Professional Home Security?

Professional home security refers to packages that are professionally installed and professionally monitored. DIY stands for do-it-yourself. DIY home security refers to systems that are self-installed by the owner. These may be professionally monitored or self-monitored.

Professionally-Installed Home Security Systems

Pros

  • Greater assurance the system is properly installed
  • Maintenance typically handled by the provider
  • Technician can answer questions you may have

Cons

  • Usually requires signing a contract
  • Usually requires an installation fee
  • Could end up purchasing more equipment than needed

DIY Home Security Systems

Pros

  • Most do not require a contract
  • Monitoring is usually cheaper
  • More accessible for people who rent or move frequently

Cons

  • May have to pay for equipment upfront
  • Could improperly install the system
  • May be responsible for repairs
Which home security system is best for me?

Which home security system is best for me?

Everyone has different needs and living situations that need to be taken into consideration before choosing a home security system. Here are some recommendations we’ve put together based on different customer needs:

 

If you’re looking for affordable home security systems:

We recommend SimpliSafe, Protect America, Abode, and Scout Alarm. These affordable home security providers have lower upfront costs for equipment packages. Abode currently offers the cheapest professional monitoring out the four.

 

If you rent an apartment or townhome:

For renters, we recommend SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Abode, and Scout Alarm. The best home security systems for renters have wireless security systems that you can set up yourself to avoid any installation fees.

 

If you want a security system for your vacation home:

Some of the best home security systems for vacation homes are ADT, Vivint, and Guardian Protection. Each of these providers will have a professional install your system for you, and you can opt for cellular monitoring, which is the most reliable monitoring connection.

 

If you want a security system for your small business:

For small business owners, we recommend ADT, Vivint, SimpliSafe, and Abode. With each of these providers, you’ll have access to video surveillance, smart devices, and remote management by mobile app for convenient control.

Looking For the Best Home Security System in Your Metro…

Looking For the Best Home Security System in Your Metro Area?

We share some of the top home security system providers for the following cities and provide a deeper dive into crime statistics and equipment to consider:

Explore Additional Home Security System Resources

Explore Additional Home Security System Resources

Common Home Security Equipment and Features

Common Home Security Equipment and Features

Home Security Stats

Home Security Stats

Safety.com conducted a home security survey to find out more about security system ownership and the motivation behind security alarm purchases. Here’s a few insights about home security systems:

  • Just 38% of Americans own a home security product.
  • Of respondents who don’t own a home security product, 33% choose not to because they can’t afford it.
  • 50% of respondents who own security products wanted to add extra security to their home.
  • Home security product ownership is most popular amongst 18-34 year olds, with 41% of this demographic owning a security product or system.
  • Video doorbells are the most popular security product owned (18.2%) with a professionally monitored home security system (16.2%) as 2nd most popular.
  • 74.3% of survey respondents said their new home security system or product makes them feel safe.
Home Security Frequently Asked Questions

Home Security Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a home security system cost?

The cost of a home security system varies by provider. Some providers allow you to pick from preset equipment packages while others work with you to build a customized security system. Some security systems don’t require any equipment payment upfront, while others may cost up to $1,300.00 to get started. Providers differ in their payment structures, so it’s important to understand how you’ll be expected to pay for your system.

What equipment typically comes with a home security system?

The equipment that you’ll generally find with a home security system includes a control panel or hub, a keypad, motion sensors, door/window sensors, and signage. You can usually expand your security system with additional equipment like security cameras, smart home devices, and home environmental monitoring devices like smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.

What is professional monitoring and do I need it?

When your home is professionally monitored, it means that monitoring specialists are standing by ready to dispatch emergency services in the event an alarm is triggered. Professional monitoring generally carries a monthly cost on top of your equipment cost. We recommend having your home professionally monitored because of the extra layer of security that’s in place should you be away from home when something happens. Without professional monitoring, you’ll be responsible for monitoring your own home, usually with a mobile app and activity notifications.

How can I monitor my own home?

When a provider allows customers to monitor their own homes, this is called “self-monitoring.” Customers can monitor their homes with the help of motion detectors, sensors, and security cameras. In this case, the provider usually has a mobile app that customers can use to get alerts on their phones. In most cases, customers can also check the app to view live footage from security cameras.

How much does professional monitoring cost?

The price of professional monitoring varies from provider to provider. Typically, DIY providers (those who offer home security systems that can be self-installed) have cheaper professional monitoring prices. As a range of what you could expect, professional monitoring could cost as low as $8.00/mo. and as much as $55.00/mo.

Will I have to sign a contract?

This also depends on the provider, but you can anticipate signing a contract with providers who require professional installation of their systems. The average length of a home security contract is 36 months or 3 years. On the higher end, some contracts could span up to 60 months or 5 years. If you want to avoid having to sign a contract, we would recommend considering a DIY home security system instead.

Do all home security systems come with security cameras?

No, not all providers offer security cameras in their equipment packages. In some cases, you may have to purchase any security cameras separately. Generally, if you want to have a security camera for your home, you’ll end up paying for a more expensive package.

Can I get smart home devices with my home security system?

In most cases, yes. Many providers offer smart home devices and or integration features that you can purchase as part of a security system package or as a standalone product. Most home security providers do offer common smart security tools such as smart thermostats, smart lights, and smart locks.

Should I purchase a home security system if I rent an apartment?

You should check with your leasing department or landlord to make sure it’s okay to install a home security system in your apartment. There may be rules in place prohibiting you from installing a security system in your unit. If you are able to purchase a home security system for your apartment, we would recommend choosing a DIY security system. These systems are typically wireless and don’t require long-term contracts.

Will I be able to control my home security system from a mobile app?

In most cases, yes. Many providers have a mobile app that you can install for remotely managing your home security system, checking cameras, and checking notifications. Some providers may require you to purchase a more expensive monitoring plan in order to access all features.

Are there pet-friendly home security systems?

Yes, some security systems have motion sensors that are designed to avoid detecting pets up to a certain weight. Many providers have sensors that are built to avoid pets under 80 pounds. One of the benefits of these types of sensors is that they can prevent false alarms.

Are permits required for home security systems?

Often, local municipalities require home security alarm permits. These permits are said to help reduce the number of false alarms so that emergency services aren’t unnecessarily taxed. In some cities, the police are not required to respond to unpermitted alarms. There may also be false alarm fees in your city that are higher if the system isn’t properly permitted.


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Written by

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa develops content in the home security space and contributes to Safety's social media efforts.