We thank Money Magazine for providing our readers with this valuable information on home security systems. We hope that you find their thoughtful review process trustworthy and informative.
Heartland Property Management Staff
With technology continuously evolving and improving, home security systems today offer a wide range of protection and coverage options. Modern systems have features ranging from in-home motion and heat sensors to video doorbells and more, as well as apps and smart home integration that lets you monitor your home from any location.
If you’re in the market for a home security system, here are seven different security systems to consider, from automated and professionally-installed systems, to no-contract, self-monitored options.
Important Things To Know About Home Security Systems:
- Home security systems can range from basic with just door sensors, to comprehensive with fire and smoke sensors, glass sensors, and much more.
- Many home security systems now feature smart home integration, allowing you to control lights, door locks, and more from your smartphone.
- Some systems require professional installation, while others offer user-friendly DIY installations. Before using a professional, make sure to find out any costs associated with the installations.
- Your homeowner’s insurance may offer you a discount for having a home security system. Contact your insurance provider to see if you qualify.
Popular Home Security Systems of 2020
- ADT – Very versatile options for home, commercial, and small business protection
- SimpliSafe – A no-contract option
- Frontpoint – Excellent DIY setup
- Protect America – Noteworthy selection of options and features
- Vivint – For home and vehicle protection
- Ring – A complete DIY option
- Google Nest – Good for smart-home integration
Home Security System Reviews
ADT offers a variety of systems that can be tailored to your needs. With services available for homes, commercial, and small business facilities, ADT is a versatile option with a wide variety of features. You can add on door and window sensors, smoke detectors, flood sensors, and carbon monoxide detectors for complete monitoring via mobile apps even when you’re away from home. Video monitoring is also available with indoor/outdoor cameras providing live footage and recorded clips. Professional installation will have your system up and running quickly.
If you’re looking for home automation, you can also incorporate those options through an ADT system. A smart home alarm system lets you receive custom alerts on your smartphone and control your home’s locks, garage door, lights, and thermostat.
ADT also offers 24/7 monitoring of any threats and also offers a six-month guarantee; most contracts have three-year durations.
Cost: Monitoring packages range from $36.99 per month to $52.99 per month.
SimpliSafe is a DIY option that you can customize for your home protection needs. The system’s installation requires no drilling or tools and takes just minutes (though professional installation is available if you like). You can even try the system in your home for 60 days and return it (with shipping costs covered by SimpliSafe) for a full refund.
SimpliSafe offers systems for homes, rentals, and businesses, with HD security cameras offering indoor and outdoor protection. Monitoring against leaks, floods, and fires is also available. There is no contract to worry about, and coverage costs just $0.50 a day. SimpliSafe actively monitors systems, calls to verify that alarms haven’t been set off by accident, and can summon emergency help when needed.
Cost: $14.99 a month for monitoring + no contract; systems range from $99 to $400.
Frontpoint also offers a practical DIY setup for homeowners right out of the box. You can choose from three different plans, from basic to highly interactive. All plans include 24/7 professional monitoring and a price-lock guarantee. Intrusion and environmental sensors monitor for break-ins, and cameras let you livestream footage of your home from any location. Automated door locks, lights, and thermostats give you full remote control of your home no matter where you are. Motion-activated alerts, fire protection, crash and smash protection, and more, enhance these systems.
You can try the equipment for 30 days; if you decide to return it, Frontpoint covers the shipping. If you return the system during that 30-day trial, you’ll receive a full refund.
Cost: $99 and up; monthly monitoring starts at $45.
Protect America Review
Protect America offers a thorough selection of features for everything from basic to the most comprehensive coverage for homeowners. Start with window, door, and glass sensors for home invasion protection, then upgrade with interior motion detection that also tracks heat to spot intruders. Security cameras offer continuous monitoring and two-way voice capability.
Other features include monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection equipment and (for an upgrade) there’s smart home automation with a garage door, door lock, and lighting controls.
All of these devices are monitored 24/7 by Protect America, and if an alarm goes off, the company will call to verify it’s real before sending emergency help. With the iOS or Android app, you have complete remote access and control of your security system.
Installation is simple and requires no tools. The process takes about an hour, and technical support is also available seven days a week. Protect America systems also work in homes of any size. Additionally, the company offers a price match guarantee and a locked-in rate.
Cost: Packages start at $19.99 a month, with free equipment.
Vivint’s home security options include outdoor cameras, doorbell cameras, burglary protection, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, water sensors, and much more. The company also offers extensive smart home options, all connected to and monitored by the Smart Hub. With this feature, you can control your home’s lights, locks, garage doors, thermostats, and security system through an integrated touchscreen.
But Vivint’s home protection extends beyond your home – with Vivint Car Guard, you can protect your vehicle, too. You’ll be able to monitor your vehicle in the same home security app and you’ll receive alerts if your vehicle is being stolen, towed, or has been bumped.
Another cool feature: Because Car Guard is on the same platform as your home security, you can configure your settings to turn on your outdoor lights when a car disturbance is detected.
Like many home security system companies, your home will be monitored 24/7, and you’ll be able to communicate with Vivint staff through a two-way talk option on the main panel. Vivint offers free help in designing the smart home system that works for you, and professional installation is available nationwide.
Cost: $599 base plan; $29.99 a month monitoring fee.
If you’re a homeowner looking for a complete DIY option free of contracts and fees, Ring (owned by Amazon) has the solution. You can build a Ring Alarm kit to meet your specific needs, with options ranging from a basic alarm security bundle or add-ons like flood and freeze sensors, motion detectors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and more. A video doorbell lets you know who’s knocking whether you’re home or out, thanks to the Ring app. All of the components of your security system can connect through the Ring Base Station, which also integrates with Amazon’s Alexa devices. Additionally, Ring works with third-party accessories like smart locks, so you can create a larger, more comprehensive system completely controlled through the Ring app.
With the Ring Alarm, you’ll receive mobile and/or email alerts when Ring detects a security threat. If you would like the system to summon help, you can sign up for Ring’s 24/7 professional monitoring. Every Ring Alarm comes with a free 30-day trial of the professional monitoring, so you’ll be able to test it before deciding whether you’d like to sign up for a contract.
Cost: Multiple pricing options for in-home cameras; $10 a month monitoring or $100 a year.
Google Nest Review
Google’s entry into the security field is built around their smart-home line of products, that includes thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, locks and cameras. The Nest Secure alarm system uses a central hub to act as your command center, where you can control it via your phone, your voice, or a sensor that you can tap on it as you’re walking by. For an added fee, you can add 24/7 monitoring provided by Brinks Home Security — which will continue to watch your house if the WIFI is down via cellular. Like all Nest products, the expectation is that you’re going to install it yourself — but can opt for a professional if you want.
Cost: $399 for the system. $29.99 a month monitoring fee, or $19.99 a month with a 3-year contract.
Our Evaluation Process
In choosing these security systems of 2020, we evaluated each system using the following criteria:
Selection of Security Features
Security systems can range from basic to highly complex. We selected companies that offer a wide variety of security options, including everything from door sensors to video cameras and more.
Professional vs DIY Options
We also made sure to include a selection of both professionally-monitored and installed options, as well as systems that embrace a DIY approach. Some of these DIY systems require no tools and install in under an hour, while some offer optional professional installation help.
Contracts and Payment Options
While most security companies require contracts, we found some no-contract options for you, too. Most of the companies included that do require contracts offer at least a 30-day trial before commitment.
24/7 Monitoring and Assistance Availability
With 24/7 monitoring, a security company may summon help for you when you can’t. The companies included in this ranking all offer 24/7 monitoring and emergency assistance.
We weighed factors like the company’s Better Business Bureau rating, user reviews and satisfaction ratings, and the company’s reputation for providing responsive customer support.
- ADT – If you’re looking for versatile package options that cover home, commercial, and even small business
- SimpliSafe – With easy setup and a no-contract option, SimpliSafe is a user-friendly home security system
- Frontpoint – Easy to set up and no need for professional installation, Frontpoint is a versatile choice for many homeowners.
- Protect America – With everything from water monitoring to glass sensors, Protect America’s wide range of options means you can customize your security system to your specific needs and wants.
- Vivint – Home security doesn’t just cover homes, anymore. With Vivint, your security system can extend to your vehicle, too.
- Ring – Looking for a comprehensive security system that you can monitor on your own with no contracts and extra fees? Ring delivers exactly that, and 24/7 monitoring is available if you choose.
- Google Nest – Need a system that integrates with your entire smart-home system? Google’s Nest does this, while also adding on variable options to help outfit your house.