Professional And Best Home Security Systems of 2022

AUBlog • 436 views • Publish 2021-07-10 • Update 2022-04-11

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A List of the Best Home Security Systems of 2022.We've been testing and reviewing security systems for 5 years. Each year we select the top systems based on reliability, flexibility, smart home integrations, and of course, affordability.

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Figuring out which home security system is right for you doesn’t have to be stressful. At Security.org, we’ve tested out all the top options with a wide variety of features: DIY home security, professionally installed home security, home security systems that work with Alexa and Google Assistant, and plain old local alarms for the more tech-averse people in our lives. No matter the size of your house, apartment, or business, there’s a ton of scalable options to choose from, and we’ve tested out all our security systems personally to make sure they’re reliable. From options with no monthly fees whatsoever to options with 24/7, live professional monitoring, home security can look many different ways in 2021, and we’ve tried out everything, so you don’t have to.

Testing Statistics

Number of systems tested40
Length of testing6 months
Available DIY installation9/10
Available cellular backup9/10

The best smart home security systems make it simpler and easier to protect your home against intrusion, and give you extra peace of mind.

It's not just about trying to deter opportunists, but also making sure that even determined burglars will have difficulty forcing their way into your home without being caught.

Yet there's such a wide array of home security options available to the homeowner, from CCTV and security cameras, to monitoring solutions, it can all seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are an increasing number of all-in-one solutions that use the latest smart home technology to bring together different aspects of surveillance, monitoring, and prevention, to help homeowners feel safer.

What's even better is that you no longer need a complicated setup of monitoring cameras, as most modern security systems are unobtrusive, easy to install and use, and even stylish.

Some offer home video surveillance as part of a smart security network to work within existing home automation systems, and sometimes monitored alarm systems can be added as an additional service.

Here then are the best smart home security systems currently available.

Our Best Home Security Systems of 2022

Compare the Best Home Security Systems of 2022

SYSTEMBASE COSTMONTHLY FEESPLAN LOCKINSTALLATION OPTIONSTRIAL PERIODWARRANTYVOICE ASSISTANT COMPATIBILITYOUTDOOR CAMERAMORE
Vivint Smart Home$599$29.99 and UpNo ContractProfessional3 DaysFor the duration of service agreementAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Plans 833-324-0283
SimpliSafe$229 and Up$14.99 and UpNo ContractDIY60 Days3 YearsAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Prices
Cove$219 and Up$14.99 and UpNo ContractDIY60 Days1 YearAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Frontpoint$326.96 and Up$49.99No ContractDIY30 Days3 YearsAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Prices
Abode$229 and Up$6.00 and UpNo ContractDIY30 Days1 YearAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit✔️View Options
Ring Alarm$199.99 and Up$3.00 and UpNo ContractDIY30 Days1 YearAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Prices
Blue by ADT$179.99 and Up$0 - $19.99No ContractDIY30 DaysVariesAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Plans
Link InteractiveVaries$30.99 and Up12-36 Month ContractDIY30 Days3 YearsAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Plans
Brinks Home Security$199 and Up$39.9936 Month ContractDIY, Professional30 Days1 YearAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Plans
ADT SecurityNo upfront cost. Installation fees apply.$28.99 and Up36 Month ContractProfessional182 Days90 DaysAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Plans 855-456-2729
Xfinity Home$360 and Up$30.00 and UpNo ContractProfessional30 DaysLifetime for All Parts Except Cameras (1 Year)Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant✔️View Plans
Scout Alarm$229 and Up$9.99 and UpNo ContractDIY60 Days3 YearsAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Options

Best Home Security Systems in Detail

Buying a home security system can be confusing, but we're here to help. We've researched the Best Home Security Systems of 2022 to help you choose a system that provides the protection you and your family need while fitting within your budget. The Best Home Security Systems of 2022 include:

Vivint Smart Home »

VivintSmart Home: Best Overall Home Security System of 2022

Our No. 1 home security system of 2022 is Vivint Smart Home, a feature-rich, wireless home security system that requires professional installation after an optional free home consultation.

Why Choose Vivint?

Vivint is a professionally installed smart home security system that not only provides home security but plenty of home automation as well. You can use Vivint’s home security equipment with its own smart home products and with products from some other companies. This means that a Vivint system can be used to control devices throughout your home, from video doorbells and security cameras to garage door openers and smart locks.

Although you will pay more for a Vivint security system than for systems from many other companies in our rating, you can finance the cost of equipment for 42 or 60 months without interest or a down payment. Paying in full upfront means you can purchase a month-to-month professional monitoring plan with no long-term contract.

A Vivint technician will provide an in-home consultation and will install and configure your system and devices. This home security expert will ensure that all equipment has strong Wi-Fi connectivity and works together to manage your home.

Who Vivint Will Appeal To

People looking for a professionally installed system with high-end equipment will appreciate what Vivint has to offer. It's a feature-rich security system that features one app to manage both smart home and security devices. Customers who want professional installation and monitoring but don’t want to be locked into a contract are also a good fit for Vivint.

Vivint Plans and Equipment

You can finance equipment for up to five years. While the starter package for a Vivint system costs $599, according to Vivint the average customer purchases about $2,000 worth of equipment initially. Monthly monitoring fees start at $39.99. Vivint's system integrates with many third-party home automation devices, so this is a good option if you're looking to add smart home capabilities now or in the future.

The Bottom Line

Vivint stands out as a professionally installed home security system with excellent equipment and an extensive array of compatible smart-home devices.

SimpliSafe »

SimpliSafe: Best DIY Home Security System of 2022

SimpliSafe, our No. 2 home security system overall and Best DIY Home Security System of 2022, is easy to install, easy to use, and relatively affordable.

Why Choose SimpliSafe?

SimpliSafe is a good choice for a wide swath of customers who are in the market for a do-it-yourself home security solution. It was one of the first DIY home security companies to offer a lower-priced alternative to more costly professionally installed home security systems. Today, it's one of the more popular DIY security systems, with more than 3 million customers.

Although it's relatively inexpensive, SimpliSafe offers all the features many people will need in a home security system. Installation is simple, and professional monitoring starts at a reasonable $14.99 per month. SimpliSafe customers control their system using a keypad that can provide voice prompts for operation if you need them. There's no long-term contract with SimpliSafe, and you don't even have to pay a monthly fee if you simply want an alarm to sound if the system detects something and you don't want professional monitoring. The $24.99 a month Interactive Plan provides the most features, including a smartphone app for turning your system on and off, receiving alerts and viewing video, and professional monitoring.

Who SimpliSafe Will Appeal To

SimpliSafe is best for people who want an easy-to-use system that can be controlled by more than just a mobile app, and for those who don't want to be locked into a contract. On the other hand, SimpliSafe doesn't have the lowest available professional monitoring prices (Ring Alarm does). Plus, SimpliSafe doesn't integrate with a wide array of home automation equipment, so those who want to add smart home devices – now or in the future – would be better served by other options like Abode.

SimpliSafe Plans and Equipment

SimpliSafe offers a starter package called The Foundation costing $229. The package includes one base station, one wireless keypad, one entry sensor, and one motion sensor. Professional monitoring plans cost $14.99 or $24.99 a month. One downside of SimpliSafe is that it only offers one camera, although it can be used indoors or outdoors with a protective cover.

The Bottom Line

SimpliSafe delivers just what its name promises: a simple-to-install, simple-to-operate security system that can effectively protect your home.

Cove »

Cove Security: An easy-to-install DIY system with professional monitoring

Cove Security offers the ease of installation and affordability of a DIY security system but includes key features of a professionally monitored system.

Why Choose Cove Security?

Cove Security offers easy DIY installation, relatively inexpensive professional monitoring, and the ability to send emergency alerts and set responses in several different ways depending on your preferences. The system can be controlled through its touch-screen hub, through which you can contact the monitoring center. Cove uses a RapidSOS technology platform to connect its systems directly to the monitoring center, giving 911 operators real-time information from its devices rather than relying on details relayed by the monitoring center.

Cove can't be self-monitored and must be paired with a professional monitoring plan. Other limitations include a relatively basic mobile app, which can only arm and disarm the system. In addition, Cove doesn't offer as much equipment as some other home security companies, and it has only limited ability to connect with third-party smart home devices.

Unlike many other home security companies, Cove doesn't offer equipment packages. Instead, prospective customers answer a few questions on the website, after which Cove will configure a security system to meet your particular needs.

Who Cove Security Will Appeal To

People on a budget will appreciate that Cove Security's equipment is cheaper than many competitors, thanks to frequent sales. Moreover, its compatible cameras are often free or half-price when you order a system. Cove's also offers professional monitoring that can be reached through the touch-screen alarm panel – a feature missing from some other companies' systems. On the downside, there are few customization options, integration with third-party smart-home devices is limited, and there's currently no doorbell camera available.

Cove Security Plans and Equipment

Cove's equipment is relatively basic and it doesn't sell pre-packaged systems. Instead, you buy equipment a la carte after answering a series of questions about your home and who lives there, after which Cove's website configures a system for you. This approach may appeal to those who want a simple, no-frills, self-installed system that's easy to set up and use. Equipment prices are about average among our rated home security systems.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for a simple, low-maintenance home security system with an emphasis on professional monitoring, Cove Security could be right for you.

Frontpoint »

Frontpoint – A DIY system with pro-grade equipment

Frontpoint is a competitively priced DIY home alarm system with professional-grade equipment that's quick and easy to install.

Why Choose Frontpoint?

Are you interested in installing your own DIY alarm system but want wireless equipment used by many professionally installed systems? Frontpoint offers reasonably priced sensors from Alarm.com, which also supplies Brinks Home Security and many local independent installers. Unlike many companies, however, Frontpoint doesn't lock you into a long-term contract and offers month-to-month monitoring plans. Plans cost more than those of many DIY systems, but all of them include access to the full capabilities of Frontpoint's mobile app. You won't need a credit check to open an account, and you don't have to be the homeowner.

Frontpoint is easy to install and includes equipment that's relatively sophisticated compared to many other DIY systems. It offers great customer service, and every monitoring plan includes full access to its mobile app. However, while Frontpoint integrates with some smart home devices, other companies offer more robust smart home compatibility. Plus, for smart home integration and video monitoring, you will have to purchase the most expensive monitoring plan. There's also no option to self-monitor.

Who Frontpoint Will Appeal To

Frontpoint is a good choice for people looking for easy installation of high-quality equipment with excellent phone-based customer support. It has a wide selection of competitively priced home security sensors, and its non-proprietary components easily integrate with those from other companies. However, if your DIY skills are limited, note that some Frontpoint equipment requires basic wiring and mounting. Also, video and home automation require a relatively expensive monitoring plan.

Frontpoint Plans and Equipment

Frontpoint is a DIY home alarm system with equipment that's quick and easy to install. Its entry-level package costs $294.30 for one hub and keypad, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one yard sign, a set of five window decals, and one door sticker. However, monitoring costs $49.99 per month, which is a higher monthly fee than most DIY home alarm systems.

The Bottom Line

Frontpoint is a great choice because of its reasonably priced, professional-grade equipment, and because it doesn't lock you into a long-term contract.

Abode »

Abode – Best for smart home integration

Abode offers a full-featured DIY home security system with no required monthly plan.

Why Choose Abode?

Abode is a high-quality DIY home security system that doesn’t lock you into a monthly plan. It's easy to install and use, but at the same time, it offers advanced capabilities to secure your home. In addition, you can link an Abode security system with a wide variety of smart home equipment if you want to install gadgets like smart door locks and lightbulbs.

Abode offers two different hubs: the Gateway (suitable for most single-family homes) and the Iota (designed for apartments and condos). The hubs don't have keypads, but you can purchase an external keypad if you want one. One unique feature available with a monitoring plan is Abode's ability to arm and disarm the system based on your location using geofencing or scheduling. The starter pack includes a key fob, which means you can control the system without using the mobile app.

An Abode system not only monitors for intrusions but also for medical emergencies and other safety concerns, such as fires or water leaks. All devices come paired to the hub, so they're easy to self-install.

Who Abode Will Appeal To

Consumers who want a wide selection of equipment with flexible plans for professional monitoring will probably be pleased with Abode. Plus, its home security system is compatible with all the major smart home ecosystems, so adding smart home equipment is easy. Those with larger homes will also appreciate Abode, as its sensors can be detected up to 1,000 feet away. Note, however, that Abode's starter kit is relatively minimal, so you will probably have to add more equipment unless you have a very small home.

Abode Plans and Equipment

Equipment packages are competitively priced from about $229 to $422, while monitoring plans cost about $6 or $20 a month. The system is easy to install and configure and is intended to be an open platform that's compatible with a wide array of third-party home automation devices. Abode is strictly a DIY system, though it has plans to partner with a nationwide network of professional installers.

The Bottom Line

Abode is an excellent home security system that doubles as a robust home-automation platform for complete control of your home.

Ring Alarm »

Ring Alarm – Biggest camera selection

With a wide range of cameras and the least expensive professional monitoring plan among the systems we reviewed, Ring Alarm is a great choice for those who want a camera-centric system without a high monthly cost.

Why Choose Ring Alarm?

The most affordable system in our ratings, Ring Alarm is a DIY security system with the option of professional monitoring with no long-term contract. A starter kit costs as little as $199, and professional monitoring costs only $10 a month. Ring Alarm is owned by Amazon, and the Ring Alarm system integrates tightly with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and smart home ecosystem for a more complete home automation option. You can also add a selection of Z-Wave smart devices to the system, including lights, locks, and garage door controllers.

Professional reviewers note that in addition to its affordability, Ring offers an extensive range of cameras and features easy DIY setup with wired or wireless installation options for many components. Plus, it features the Neighbors App, a platform where people can post security alerts.

Who Ring Alarm Will Appeal To

Ring Alarm is best for homeowners who want a complete monitoring and video service for a low monthly fee, an excellent selection of cameras and video doorbells, and quick DIY installation. However, a Ring Alarm security system has some notable limitations. For example, it doesn't provide visual verification to the monitoring center of events that trigger the cameras, you can't operate the system from a key fob, and other home security systems provide a wider range of sensors and other security devices, particularly in their starter packages.

Ring Alarm Plans and Equipment

Ring Alarm offers a $199 starter system called the Ring Alarm Security Kit. It includes a base station, a keypad, a motion detector, a contact sensor for doors or windows, and a range extender (which allows security devices to communicate over longer distances). Another major advantage of Ring is that it offers a bargain-priced $10 per month professional monitoring plan.

The Bottom Line

For an easy DIY home security solution that offers a wide range of cameras and can integrate with some smart home devices, Ring Alarm is a good choice.

Blue by ADT »

Blue by ADT – Best DIY system without a contract

Blue by ADT is a DIY security system that's controllable with a mobile app and comes with ADT's decades of experience in home security and well-regarded 24/7 professional monitoring.

Why Choose Blue by ADT?

Created from the LifeShield DIY security system that ADT purchased in 2019, Blue by ADT is the company's first DIY security system built from the ground up. ADT has a good reputation for providing full-featured, professionally installed home security systems. Like those systems, Blue by ADT features excellent equipment and professional monitoring. However, unlike an ADT professionally installed system, Blue by ADT doesn't require a long-term contract. It works with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant for voice control, as well as with Z-Wave for adding smart home devices from different manufacturers, such as smart lights and smart locks.

Who Blue by ADT Will Appeal To

Because Blue by ADT is controlled with a smartphone app and offers a lot of customization options compared to some other DIY systems, it's best suited to those who are comfortable with technology. People with larger homes will also appreciate Blue by ADT because it uses a different wireless protocol than most DIY systems that allows sensors to communicate over longer distances. However, consumers looking for a wide selection of equipment or those who don't want to tinker with a lot of customization options may want to consider other DIY systems.

Blue by ADT Plans and Equipment

Blue by ADT starter packs are available on ADT's website and through some retailers like Amazon. These packages begin at $219, and you can add more sensors and security cameras if you wish. You also can add compatible third-party equipment such as smart lights and smart locks.

The Bottom Line

Blue by ADT is an effective DIY home security system backed by the most experienced home security company in the industry and an extensive network of monitoring centers.

Link Interactive »

Link Interactive – Best for smoke, fire, and CO detection

Link Interactive offers a full-featured security system that can be used with Z-Wave-compatible home automation devices.

Why Choose Link Interactive?

Unlike most DIY home security systems, Link Interactive offers a complete build-your-own system instead of starter kits or packages. Similar to professionally installed home security companies, Link Interactive customizes a system based on your unique security needs. However, instead of sending a technician to your home, a quote is provided online or over the phone. You still get an excellent home security system tailored to your situation, with the ability to expand into home automation if you wish. Using Link’s Alarm.com app, you can monitor and control your home remotely and add Z-Wave smart home devices including door locks, cameras, and video doorbells.

Who Link Interactive Will Appeal To

Link Interactive is best for consumers seeking a system with affordable, professional monitoring that includes fire detection. It also will appeal to people who want to pay for equipment upfront and avoid a contract, as well as those who want flexible contract terms if you choose to finance equipment. However, those shopping for a system that can use a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, or consumers who don't want to be locked into a contract without paying for equipment upfront, might want to look elsewhere.

Plans and Equipment

There are no starter kits or packages, and you can't build a system online; instead, call the customer service department for a quote. You can choose to pay upfront for your equipment or spread the cost over one to three years. Link Interactive's component prices range from $29 for a tilt sensor to $331 for the IQ Panel 2. Completely DIY, the system is entirely wireless and professionally monitored over a cellular connection. The cellular monitoring plans cost between $30.99 and $44.99 a month.

The Bottom Line

For a smart-home-compatible system that can be customized for you over the phone and doesn't require a contract if you pay for equipment upfront, Link Interactive should be on your short list.

Brinks Home Security »

Brinks Home Security – Simple DIY system with great customer service

Why Choose Brinks Home Security?

Brinks Home is an inexpensive DIY smart home security system that bundles equipment and professional monitoring into a three-year contract. Brinks Home's equipment is supplied by Alarm.com. It costs less than equipment from some competitors like Vivint and ADT, but it's also not quite as sophisticated. The Brinks Home starter kit costs $199 for a basic selection of equipment plus $39 a month for home security and automation. The system can be self-installed or Brinks Home will install it for you for an extra cost. Professional reviewers praise Brinks' phone support, as well as the fact that it includes cellular backup in its plans.

Who Brinks Home Security Will Appeal To

Brinks Home will appeal to consumers looking for a large selection of home security devices with integrated home automation options, especially if they want a company with established monitoring centers and a large customer base. However, Brinks Home isn't the best choice for those looking for the most sophisticated equipment available or who don't want to be locked into a contract.

Brinks Security Plans and Equipment

Brinks Home's equipment packages range from $199 to $699, and monitoring plans range from $39 to $49.99 a month depending on the package you select. You can customize packages with additional equipment if you wish. A three-year monitoring contract is required.

The Bottom Line

If you don't mind having to sign a three-year contract, Brinks Home offers a good security solution with smart-home capabilities.

ADT Security »

ADT Security – Most experience and largest monitoring network

ADT Security is the oldest, most experienced home security company in the U.S. It also has a wide selection of excellent equipment and the largest monitoring network in the country.

Why Choose ADT Security?

ADT has been operating in the U.S. for 145 years and provides home security to about 6 million residential customers. It uses professionally installed monitoring equipment to watch over your home in tandem with a large network of professional monitoring centers, which is one benefit of ADT's size. Another benefit is that ADT has one of the widest selections of high-quality equipment in the industry. If you know exactly what you need, you can choose your own equipment on ADT.com and have it installed by an ADT technician, which professional reviewers note are some of the most experienced in the country. Otherwise, someone will come to your home and customize a system for your needs. If experience, longevity in business, and lots of options when it comes to equipment and services are important to you, ADT may be a good fit.

Who ADT Security Will Appeal To

ADT will appeal to people looking for a home security company with a lot of experience and a large customer base. Homeowners who want high-end, professionally installed home automation and home security devices should also consider ADT. However, this isn't the best company for those on a budget, as ADT has the highest prices in our ratings for both equipment and monitoring. You also should consider other options if you don't want to be locked into a three-year contract.

ADT Security Plans and Equipment

Pricing for an ADT security system starts at $599 for a starter kit plus $45.98 a month for monitoring and goes up to several thousand dollars for equipment and $59.99 a month for monitoring. Professional installation is included, and this should ensure everything works together seamlessly. ADT requires a 36-month professional monitoring contract. There's a six-month money-back guarantee if you change your mind.

The Bottom Line

If you want home security services from one of the biggest, most experienced players in the industry and are willing to pay a premium for it, ADT is an excellent choice.

Xfinity Home »

Xfinity Home – Best for integrating multiple home services

Xfinity Home offers a full-featured home security system that works seamlessly with its other services, such as cable TV and internet.

Why Choose Xfinity Home?

Xfinity Home works well by itself, but it makes the most sense for existing Xfinity customers who can have all their home technology working together in the same system. From home security to home internet and phone, to home automation to home entertainment (Xfinity is owned by the cable giant Comcast), it’s the ultimate “bundle." Xfinity's integration of its home security system with its other services has a number of benefits, such as being able to see live and recorded video feeds from your security cameras on your television and control your system with your Xfinity TV remote control (which has voice control built right in). If the convenience of having all your home technology services with one company appeals to you, Xfinity may be a good fit.

Who Xfinity Home Will Appeal To

As stated, existing Xfinity customers are the best fit for Xfinity Home. They will be able to enjoy a system that uses compatible equipment from one company, as well as receive a single bill for their home security, cable TV, and internet services. Plus, there's no need to sacrifice quality for convenience, as professional reviewers say Xfinity Home equipment is well-made, easy to use, and compatible with a wide range of smart home equipment. However, those who aren't already Xfinity customers will be equally well-served by other systems in our ratings.

Xfinity Home Plans and Equipment

Xfinity sells three equipment packages ranging in price from $360 to $600 when purchased upfront. Professional monitoring costs $30 or $40 a month. No long-term contract is required, although discounts are available with a contract.

The Bottom Line

An Xfinity Home security system is a great choice for current Xfinity customers but has fewer advantages for others.

Scout Alarm »

Scout Alarm – Best for custom notifications and alarms

Scout Alarm offers a simple, easy-to-use home security system for people with basic home security needs.

Why Choose Scout Alarm?

Scout Alarm is a flexible, DIY home security system that uniquely uses a radio frequency identification (RFID) system to control it. Instead of a keypad, you simply swipe a key fob over the door sensor or RFID sticker to arm or disarm the system. While you can purchase an optional keypad for $50, it’s not needed to operate the system.

Who Scout Alarm Will Appeal To

Scout Alarm is best for those looking for a system that offers customizable notifications and sequences of actions (like turning on a lamp when motion is detected), and that doesn't require a long-term contract. Professional reviewers praise Scout Alarm for its flexible, month-to-month monitoring, cellular backup, and the fact that it works with both Z-Wave and Zigbee smart home devices. On the downside, Scout reportedly isn't as easy to install as some other DIY home security systems, and there's no outdoor camera. Scout sensors also have a relatively limited range, which makes it not the best choice for larger homes.

Scout Alarm Plans and Equipment

Scout Alarm's equipment packages range from $229 to $549, or you can build your own system. Month-to-month monitoring plans cost $9.99 or $19.99 a month. You will need Scout Alarm's Always On plan starting at $9.99 a month for remote access with the app. This is the self-monitoring option, but it also includes 4G LTE cellular and battery backup. The fee jumps to $19.99 a month to get professional monitoring for burglaries and fire with Scout Alarm's Always On+ plan, which includes free cloud storage for one compatible camera.

The Bottom Line

Scout may be a good choice for you if you want an easy-to-use system with home automation capabilities and relatively low-cost monitoring.

Home Security Coupons and Promo Codes

  • ADT security coupons
  • Ring Alarm discount codes
  • SimpliSafe coupon codes
  • Vivint sales
  • Xfinity Home promo codes

Should I Get a Home Security System?

Pros and Cons of a Home Security System

Pros:

✔️Can deter burglars

✔️Can help if you need to file a police report, especially if there's camera footage of the incident

✔️Can reduce your homeowners insurance bill

✔️Provides peace of mind when you're not home

Cons:

❌Can be expensive and complicated to install.

❌Often requires a monthly monitoring fee

❌Won't keep someone from breaking in if they really want to

❌Doesn't guarantee that the police will respond faster or catch the criminal

❌Can present privacy concerns when it comes to remote monitoring and cameras

A home security system is designed to both detect when someone is trying to break in and to scare them away. According to research from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, just seeing a security camera prompts many intruders to find another target. A study of 422 randomly selected, incarcerated people convicted of burglary in Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina reported:

  • About 50% of the study subjects reported that they leave immediately if they find a security system and 37% said they sometimes leave.
  • About 60% said that whether there was an alarm system on the premises factored heavily in choosing a target.
  • More than 80% leave security systems they find alone and don't try to disable them.

Another study found that security cameras positioned in public areas can help reduce crime and apprehend suspects.

A home security system uses motion sensors, security cameras, glass-break detectors, and other devices to sense and record someone who breaks in. If you have a monitoring plan, your system can also call the monitoring center, which can dispatch the authorities if necessary. Later, recorded footage can help police investigate the crime.

Buying a home security system can save you money on homeowners insurance as well as protect your home. According to Insurance Information Institute director of media relations Scott Holeman, you might get a home insurance discount of 5% to 20% if you've installed a home security system. In addition, documenting a claim will be much easier if you have camera footage of the actual incident and/or resulting damage to your property.

Nevertheless, it's important to remember that a determined intruder can still break in no matter what type of home security system you have. Moreover, even if you have professional monitoring, the police might not respond right away – or possibly even at all. Security systems often generate false alarms, and police departments sometimes ignore them, at least for a while.

Even so, a good home security system provides an extra layer of protection and peace of mind. “The only person who shouldn't have one is someone who can't afford it," says Doug Huey, co-owner of Executive Security Consultants, which specializes in home security systems. "We no longer even have to convince most people that they need one."

Home Security System Use is Expanding

More and more people are buying home security systems, especially those that can be operated from a mobile app and used with smart home devices. According to research firm Parks Associates, 67% of security system owners, or 20% of all U.S. households with broadband internet, have a system that can be controlled remotely. Parks Associates also found that 31% of U.S. broadband households own a security system and 30% own a smart home device. “DIY smart home and security products have made average consumers more comfortable with [connected] devices in the home," a company representative said in a press release. "Connectivity and interactivity, which will evolve to include compatibility, are becoming standards when considering new hardware purchases.” And MENAFN, another research firm, expects the market for residential security systems to reach $77.94 billion by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 8.8% from 2017 to 2025.

Smart home devices that can integrate with home security systems are increasingly popular as well. An industry forecast predicts that the smart home market will reach $191 billion by 2026. According to the forecast, the market for remotely operated security systems, lighting, heating, and other connected devices is expanding in part because of the security and convenience they offer. Growth in the smart home market is also being driven by the increasing number of people worldwide with internet access and higher disposable incomes, along with greater awareness on healthy lifestyles and saving energy to fight climate change. Finally, lower prices for smartphones and other gadgets are making smart home systems affordable for more people.

How to Buy a Home Security System

When purchasing a home security system, take the following steps:

  • Decide how much security you need. Factors include the crime rate in your area, the size of your home and which areas you want to protect, and whether you need security at night or just while you're away during the day.
  • Decide how much you can spend. Alarm systems cost less than they used to, but they can still be expensive, especially if you buy a large system. Monthly monitoring fees add up as well. Don't buy more protection than you need.
  • Choose to install it yourself or hire a professional. Are you technically inclined, and do you have at least an hour (probably more) to install cameras, sensors, and other gear? Are you able to design an effective security system yourself, including knowing where to put various components for maximum effectiveness? If so, DIY installation will save you money.
  • Schedule a consultation. If you opt for professional installation, schedule a security company representative to visit your home, design your system, and prepare a proposal.

Pro-Installed vs. DIY Home Security Systems

When buying a home security system, the first choice to make is whether to get one that's professionally installed or one that you have to install yourself. Answering this question depends on how comfortable you are with technology, the size and complexity of the system you need, and how much time and money you have.

Companies that sell professionally installed security systems, such as Vivint or ADT, charge about $100 for a custom evaluation of your security needs by one of their technicians. The technician will tell you what sensors, cameras, and other equipment to buy, as well as where to place it for maximum effectiveness. This takes the guesswork out of the process and can save you a good deal of time, depending on the size and complexity of your system. The downside is that most professionally installed systems require long-term contracts, which makes them much more expensive over time.

You also can install a DIY home security system like Frontpoint or Abode. This option only requires your time and, with some systems, an activation fee. Today's DIY home security equipment is easy to install as long as you're comfortable with electronic gadgets. In addition, DIY systems don't require long-term monitoring contracts and let you go month to month. Because of these advantages, DIY home security systems are growing in popularity, with the global market expected to reach $11.35 billion in 2027. Probably the main disadvantage of a DIY system is that you have to decide where to install the sensors and other components. You also have to install each device properly and ensure that everything works. The good news is that the DIY companies in our rating use equipment that's designed to work together seamlessly, and there are step-by-step installation instructions and phone support if you need it. Nevertheless, even a basic DIY system will take most people at least a few hours to install.

Independent security consultant Mike Silva of Silva Consultants says DIY equipment has improved markedly in recent years and is often just as good as the equipment that comes with a professionally installed system. However, he recommends a professionally installed system for complex security requirements. "If your needs are relatively simple, DIY can be fine," he says. "If you have specialized needs, you probably would be better served by a professional company.”

Home Security FAQs

What is the Cost of a Home Security System?

How much a security system will cost you depends largely on the type, quantity, and sophistication of the equipment you purchase; whether you choose professional or DIY, and the level of monitoring you select. Although it may be tempting to get a less-expensive base package of equipment, realize that these typically contain only a few components and may not meet your needs. Monthly monitoring fees typically run about $40 a month, but can cost as little as $10 a month or as much as $100 a month if you have a large system.

What Equipment Typically Comes With a Home Security System?

The best home security systems typically include sensors that detect when doors and windows are opened, additional window sensors that can "hear" if glass is broken, motion detectors (usually activated when residents are absent and adjusted to ignore pets), and cameras and video doorbells that record video clips on a remote server or a local hard drive. Fire alarms, water-leak sensors, and smart home devices such as automatic lights can also be part of a home alarm system. Systems are usually controlled by a central control panel, keypad, and/or a smartphone app, and many rely on the owner's Wi-Fi connection or a wireless communications protocol like Z-Wave. While smaller homes may need only a few sensors, larger homes can require much more extensive installations. Read more about wireless home security here.

How To Protect Your Home Security System From Hacking

Some of the biggest innovations in home alarm systems are communications protocols like Wi-Fi and Z-Wave that allow your system components to communicate with each other wirelessly. This makes the security system easy to use and prevents the need to tear up walls to run physical wires all over your home. However, the downside is that any wireless home security system can be hacked by people looking to break into your home security system, either in preparation to rob you or just to invade your privacy. Although Z-Wave and Zigbee are very difficult (but not impossible) to hack, Wi-Fi – which many wireless home security cameras use – isn't as secure. The good news is that following a few simple tips from the National Monitoring Center, a home security monitoring company, will help keep hackers at bay.

  • Use strong passwords for your home alarm system and router, and change them often. We all have too many passwords, and it's tempting to use ones that are easy to remember. However, these are usually easy to guess. Change the default password as soon as you set up your home security system, because there are databases of default passwords for various devices and systems on the internet. Your new password should be at least 12 digits and include numbers, punctuation marks, and a mix of lowercase and capital letters. Avoid using personal information like your birthday. Try thinking of a sentence and making your password the first letter of each word of the sentence; that's easier to remember than a string of random characters. Finally, don't use the same password for your home security system and router.
  • Use two-factor authentication. This is an extra step that increases security by sending you a text message or email with a login code after you type in your password. That way, if someone guesses your password, they still won't be able to log in unless they also have access to your phone or your email account.
  • Make your home network invisible. Your router should have a setting that prevents your home network from being seen by a hacker's computer.
  • Don't use public Wi-Fi. Use your cellular service rather than public Wi-Fi to remotely monitor and operate your home security system. Public Wi-Fi is insecure, and anyone with some basic equipment can see what you're doing when you use it, unless you're also using a virtual private network (VPN).
  • Download app and firmware updates regularly. Firmware is the software that runs your home alarm system. Home security companies will periodically release new versions of its firmware and mobile app with security patches. Download and install these immediately.
  • Check your camera logs. Many security cameras keep a log of the IP addresses of devices that access them. Review the log periodically to see if anything looks suspicious.
  • Secure your phone. If you can control and monitor your home security system with a mobile app, your phone needs to be secured with a password.

Home Security in High-Crime Areas

If crime is especially high in your area, you will need the best home security system you can afford. It should feature at least the following:

  • Indoor and outdoor security cameras that allow you to see everywhere an intruder might enter.
  • Lights on the outside of your home that are equipped with motion sensors.
  • Door and window sensors on all floors of your home that detect when they're opened or if the glass is broken.
  • Motion detectors inside your home that cover all areas where an intruder is likely to go.
  • A high-decibel siren to scare off intruders before they can take anything or do any damage.
  • Cellular backup for your system so that it still works if your Wi-Fi goes down.
  • Remote monitoring capability that interfaces with your smartphone.
  • Professional monitoring 24/7, which is far more effective than self-monitoring, especially if you're asleep or away from home.

There are other things you can do to keep you and your family safe besides having a home security alarm system. According to Crime Prevention Security Systems, a security consulting company, these steps include:

  • Stay alert: Pay attention when you're walking around your neighborhood, particularly at night. Be aware of who's around you, and avoid distractions like looking at your smartphone. Don't wear flashy, expensive clothes.
  • Get to know your neighbors: In particular, learn who's friendly and who you and your family should avoid. If you can, join a neighborhood watch program, a group of like-minded people who live nearby and can help each other keep an eye on things.
  • Don't make your home a tempting target. Thieves tend to seek the path of least resistance, so make them think your home is harder to break into than it's worth. In addition to putting up a window sticker and yard sign from your home security system company, put away anything someone might want to steal. Don't leave things like lawn equipment in your yard or delivery boxes on your doorstep, especially if they look like they may be valuable.

Security Tips When Working From Home

Western Washington University has several tips for staying safe when working remotely, which many of us have over the past year.

  • Use your work computer, as it likely has the latest version of the operating system and good antivirus software installed. Plus, it may also use encryption. If you have to use your home computer for work, use cloud-based services like Microsoft 365 or Google Docs.
  • Turn on multifactor authentication, which protects your identity by requiring both a password and a device (a phone or hardware key).
  • Secure your wireless router and network by replacing the default administrator password with a strong, original password; enabling your router's firewall; installing router software updates; and configuring your wireless network to use a secure protocol.
  • Set your computer to lock after a period of inactivity so that others can't use it.
  • If you're using your home computer for work, don't let a family member use it while you're logged into your work account(s).
  • Don't use personal email or other accounts for work.
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