Home Security Basics
The right technology improves quality of life, yet there are plenty of good reasons why you might not want to go all in with the latest and greatest devices. Maybe you prefer less screen time, you’re intimidated by all of the options, or maybe you just want core functions without distracting bells and whistles. Whatever your reason for taking a less-is-more approach, we’ll help you narrow down the home security selection to make mindful, uncomplicated picks that will work best for you.
We have found that there are a few helpful concepts to point out and clear up when it comes to selecting home security systems and gear. If you’re unsure of what you want, start here by familiarizing yourself with the smart home and home security landscape.
The Simplest Home Security Systems, Services & Devices
Professionally Installed & Monitored Basic Home Security System
If you want a professional monitored home security system that’s easy to use, consider the entry-level packages from established industry leaders. These typically include a central command hub plus essential sensors (flood, fire, carbon monoxide, etc.) to monitor your household’s safety. By sticking to the basics, you won’t have to use a smartphone app or learn new digital protocols. In this category, we recommend the Traditional Package from ADT, with professional installation, cellular connectivity options and 24/7 monitoring.
Self-Installed Home Security System With Professional Monitoring
Maybe you’d like a basic system that connects you with a professional monitoring center, without the complication of someone coming to your home to install it. In that case, choose a DIY home security system and opt into a professional monitoring subscription.
SimpliSafe is quickly becoming a leader in this category. We like that you can purchase the essential equipment up front (base station, keypad, motion sensor and entry sensors) with the option to add on more once you get acclimated. Plus, the equipment itself is sleek and simple. They also have flexible monitoring and installation plans, so you can opt into only what you need without paying for anything extra. Review SimpliSafe packages here.
Frontpoint Home Security is another provider worth considering if you like the idea of self-installation. While they do require long-term contracts, they also have a reputation for excellent, straightforward customer service to guide you through the process. Review more DIY security providers here.
Security Camera That You Install & Monitor Yourself
To add a layer of security without a full-scale system or a monthly monitoring fee, consider getting a standalone security camera. On the downside, you won’t have professionals monitoring your household for you. On the other hand, automation features make it easy to monitor the camera yourself. If you know how to use a smartphone, you can get real-time alerts about activity caught on camera. And as long as your home has Wi-Fi, set up is a cinch too.
The Nest Cam IQ Indoor and the Ring Stick Up Cam are Safety.com’s two top picks for wireless security cameras. Both are simple to set up and offer benefits like 1080p HD video quality, two-way audio, motion detection and mobile alerts. For a deeper dive into easy-to-install camera options, explore our Best Wireless Security Cameras comparison guide.
(Note: All of the leading monitored home security providers offer higher-tier packages with add-on security cameras. However, these start to bring us into more advanced territory. If you definitely want a system that includes monitored home security and a security camera with mobile alerts, then start by comparing top home security companies and check prices on the specific configuration you desire. If you’re not tech-savvy, it will probably be easier to go through one company than to mix and match devices and providers.)
Personal Medical Alert or Panic Button
Personal medical alert systems and buttons provide the peace of mind of 24/7 monitoring without the hassle of a home set-up, so they can be a very streamlined way to represent your most essential safety and security needs. They’re ideal choices for independent seniors or individuals with medical conditions, especially those living alone. Depending on the company and configuration you select, they require very little equipment, virtually no installation and a minimal monthly monitoring fee, in addition to being very simple to operate.