Understanding the Different Types of Home Security Systems

Landline home security systems

Home security monitoring with a landline relies on a wired phone connection and radio frequency to send alerts when sensors are triggered. If phone lines are down or there’s a power outage, these home security systems depend on a backup battery to continue monitoring your home. Landline security systems often require professional installation to connect to your phone line. But in the Digital Age, these are growing a lot less popular due to wireless systems offering easier installation, regular security updates and more additional features to give you more control of your equipment.

Wireless home security systems

Wireless security systems use cellular signals to alert you of triggered sensors. The security equipment is easy to install without a professional technician or drilling. Most equipment comes pre-programmed and ready to use when it arrives at your home. Wireless home security systems still offer professional home security monitoring and instant alerts. If you choose a wireless security package, consider your area’s cellular signal and ask the provider about options of your area has spotty cellular signals that may impact your equipment working properly.

Internet home security systems

Some home security systems rely on your home’s Internet connection to send sensor signals and alerts. You’ll receive alerts faster depending on your internet network’s speed. However, if your internet is down your system’s equipment may not work. Internet home security monitoring installation varies depending on the security provider.


Reading the Fine Print of Home Security System Contracts

Before buying a home security system read the fine print. Some security providers require a binding contract for a number of years for the lowest pricing or discounts. There are a few points to keep in mind when reviewing your home security provider’s contract:

If you don’t understand or have questions regarding your contract, reach out to your security provider before signing. After all, it’s a legally binding and long-term investment to help protect your home.


Home Security Installation

DIY installation

A DIY installation home security system requires you to set up your equipment yourself. Most security providers make this easily with ‘how-to’ videos, manuals and pre-programming the equipment so it’s ready to use immediately. A DIY home security system typically doesn’t require drilling or wiring and are easy to set up with removable adhesive or plugs into your standard wall outlet and completing the setup on your smartphone or Internet. With DIY installation, you’ll have the freedom to set up your system the way you want and when it’s time to move, you’ll be able easily to pack up the system and reinstall it in your new home without needing a professional technician.

Professional installation

Some home security systems require professional installation to set up your home’s security equipment correctly. If a technician is required, you’ll schedule an appointment for installation. On the bright side, this means you’ll save time and headaches of handling wiring and drilling, however, you’ll want to factor in the cost of professional installation when purchasing the home security system and equipment – as some cost over $200, but there may be a discounted rate depending on the security equipment or package purchased.  


Expectations for Home Security System Customer Service

To learn more about home security system providers, consider giving them a quick phone call to get all of your questions answered. Purchasing a home security system is a long-term investment so don’t just rely on their website and reviews to protect your home. Here are a few questions to ask about any home security system. By the end of the call, you should have a better understanding of the security provider, their offerings and how they help keep your home safe.


What to Look for in a Home Security System

Home automation

Look for a home security system with the power to connect your favorite home automation devices with your security equipment for a seamless smart home. Some security providers, such as ADT, use a hub or control panel to send signals to your smart lights, video doorbell, security cameras and more. The most popular home security systems connect to voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to control your home security system hands-free. Connecting these devices allows you to create automated routines to save you time and money. You’ll be able to create schedules to turn the lights on and off to trick lurkers into thinking you’re home when you’re away on vacation, or automatically lower the thermostat’s temperature and turn off the lights when you leave for work at 8 A.M. to save on your energy bill.

Mobile app

The best home security system mobile apps make it easy for you to control your home security system from your smartphone when you’re at work or watching TV at home. Home security provider mobile apps allow you to instantly be notified when your security system’s sensors and signals are triggered. If your security camera detects motion, you’ll automatically receive a notification and you’ll be able to see live footage using the app without ever peeking outside.

Professional monitoring

Having professional monitoring for your home provides peace of mind while at home or away. Professional monitoring services are dedicated to responding to any motion and sound detection signals your system notices. As soon as your security provider receives an alert from your home security system, they’ll investigate the situation including contacting emergency responders and notifying you of nearby danger. If you choose not to have professional monitoring services , your home security system will immediately notify you if a sensor is triggered, but you’ll be responsible for handling the situation including contacting emergency responders or scaring off intruders using your security camera’s two-way audio. Your security monitoring choice depends on your home and safety needs. Homeowners and renters alike use both options.

Usability

Your home security system is designed to help protect your home, making it easy for you to use without worry. .In the event of an emergency, you should instantly know where the ‘Panic’ button is or how to arm your security system. Your home security system should make it easy to understand what each sound or alert means. The system should also automatically alert you if there’s a power outage, batteries are low or there’s a technical issue with equipment.

Expandability

After installing your new security system or moving into a new home, you may need more equipment to help protect your home. Your security provider  can offer additional sensors, security cameras and other security equipment. Before buying a home security system learn about how you may be able to add more equipment to your existing system.

Design

Some home security systems are designed to be small, but powerful. Most homeowners enjoy a stylish home security system to blend into the home’s design without bulky wires and systems. Some systems offer touchscreen tablet-style control panels or smaller base stations to place in the kitchen or bedroom to be simple, stylish and less noticeable.


Shopping for the Best Home Security System Equipment

All home security systems come with the basics including a control panel or base station to manage all equipment and a ‘Panic’ button in the event of danger not detected by sensors. Each security system provider offers different equipment and packages to meet your specific needs. Here are the top security accessories homeowners find most helpful.


Top home security providers to consider

Best Industry Experience

ADT Security

ADT Security

BBB Rating: A+


Starting at: $28.99/mo

Our take on ADT

ADT Security is one of the oldest and most experienced home security companies, with over 140 years of experience. This vast experience sets them apart in the home security industry.

ADT is known for its high-quality customer service, affordable package prices and advanced equipment. All ADT packages include 24/7 professional monitoring with professionals ready to alert authorities if an alarm is triggered at your home. Monthly monitoring costs from ADT start at $28.99/mo.* and increase with higher packages. ADT’s available features include mobile control via the ADT Pulse® mobile app, email and text alerts, home automation capability, live and stored clips from indoor and outdoor video cameras and more.

Read more about ADT packages, pricing and features.

Best Smart Home Equipment

Vivint

Vivint

BBB Rating: C-


Starting at: $39.99/mo

Our take on Vivint

Founded in Utah in the 1990s, Vivint Smart Home Security is known for its unique security equipment. The company creates a lot of its own smart devices, and even has its own smart thermostat. Vivint’s monitoring system is 100% wireless and much of this top-tier equipment is offered even in basic packages.

Vivint has many available features, including burglary detector, home automation, cameras, professional monitoring and professional installation.

Read more about Vivint packages, pricing and features.

Best Technology Options

SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe

BBB Rating: A+


Starting at: $15.00/mo

Our take on SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is known for its dedication to helping homeowners take control of their security. With award-winning home security solutions, SimpliSafe offers a number of packages that you can choose from based on your needs.

With SimpliSafe, you’ll purchase and own your equipment. Security packages range from around $229.00 for the basic, Foundation Package to around $489.00 for the more inclusive, Haven Package. The basic package features a base station, keypad, entry sensor, and motion sensor while the highest tiered package adds on a key fob, panic button, environmental sensors, and more. SimpliSafe’s DIY alarm systems also feature the option of adding 24/7 professional monitoring.


Home Security System FAQs

How much can I save on my homeowner’s insurance with a home security system?

Homeowner’s insurance can cost up to $1,000 annually, but you may be able to reduce the cost with a home security system. Installing home security equipment can save you up to 20 percent depending on your home security and insurance providers.

Is a wired home security system better than a wireless one?

Neither option is better than the other, both have pros and cons depending on your home security needs. To determine which option is better for you, determine whether you’re owning or renting your home, what security equipment you need most and the cost. If you’re renting property, you’ll want to consider wireless home security depending on your leasing terms and conditions in regards to wiring any hardware.

Is a professional home security installation better than DIY installation?

It depends on your circumstances. If you’re renting an apartment, you may find it easier to self-install your equipment. Most DIY installation is installed using standard wall outlets and removable adhesive instead of wiring and drilling. However, if you’re worried about not installing your equipment correctly, ask the home security provider about professional installation options, videos or guides to assist.

How does my home security system work during outages?

Oftentimes, most home security systems include a backup battery to keep the system and equipment on during power outages. However, some features may not be available without connections to send the signals.

You’ve got everything you need to make your home safe and sound. Ready to pick the perfect home security system for your humble abode? We’re here to help. Check out our list of home security system providers, plans and features available today.