Selecting a Home Security System: Guide and Reviews

The supply of home security systems is vast today. These solutions are far from the overly expensive and complicated systems they used to be.

As you’ll see, you can install most of them by yourself, control them through your smartphone, and set up everything without drilling a single hole in the wall. Which system to buy, then?

Read on to find out.

Top Picks

  1. SimpliSafe – Best All-around Security System
  2. Vivint – Most-trusted Automated Security System
  3. Frontpoint – Budget Solution
  4. Abode – Top Choice For Smart Homes
  5. Link Interactive – Most Customizable Security System
  6. ADT – For Outdoor Surveillance

Top Choices in Detail

Now that we’ve had a chance to check out our list, we’ll continue with our in-depth reviews to help you select the ideal system for your needs.

1. SimpliSafe – Best All-around Security System

Professional installation: No

Monitoring: Yes

Smart/automation: Yes

Contract mandatory: No

Price: From $183, plus monitoring

Probably anyone who has ever considered setting up home surveillance has heard of SimpliSafe. It’s a company that manages to hit the sweet spot with its pricing, product quality, and the option for DIY assembly.

What we love most is that you’re not required to sign any lengthy contracts.

When you order a package from SimpliSafe, you get everything you need for setup in the box. Thanks to the manual with detailed, easy-to-follow instructions, there is no need to call the professionals to install it for you.

SimpliSafe’s home security systems come in several pre-built packages, so the customers can choose a bundle that suits their house and needs.

Of course, you can purchase everything piece-by-piece and create your own network of cameras, detectors, doorbells, and more.

The pricing starts at $183 for The Foundation package. It goes up to $391 for The Haven package consisting of 14 pieces, including entry sensors, a siren, motion, temperature, smoke detectors, and more.

You’re not required to sign any contracts with SimpliSafe. Plus, you even get a discount for its monitoring service if you purchase one of the DIY home security bundles.

Fairly affordable, highly modular, and easy to set up, SimpliSafe is unsurprisingly highly rated by customers.

Pros:

  • Quick and easy setup
  • Customizable system
  • Top-notch security

Cons:

  • Camera leaves more to be desired

2. Adt – For Outdoor Surveillance

Professional installation: Yes

Monitoring: Yes

Smart/automation: Yes

Contract mandatory: 36 months

Price: From $49/month, plus monitoring and installation/devices

ADT offers all-in-one security systems for homeowners and small businesses. This company is ideal when money isn’t an issue and offers subscription-based security plans instead of purchasing security cameras and other hardware separately.

Many security system providers have made a 180-degree-turn and now offer only solutions you have to assemble yourself. But, when you need a professionally installed home security system, ADT is the way to go.

The company first sends its team to assess the situation and talk to you about various options and setups for your home.

Only after that will the technicians bring the security equipment and install it. They’ll also teach you how to use it, set passwords, and check camera footage. You won’t have to check any online manuals.

When we said that ADT’s services are for people for whom the price isn’t an issue, we really meant it. This company operates exclusively under contracts.

Along with the system, your subscription includes 24/7 monitoring, anti-burglary protection, protection against fire hazards, and video surveillance. Unfortunately, installation is charged extra, but this is an excellent choice if you want the best for your family.

Pros:

  • High-end service
  • Impressive video quality
  • Great customer support

Cons:

  • Expensive service

3. Vivint – Most-trusted Automated Security System

Professional installation: Yes

Monitoring: Yes

Smart/automation: Yes

Contract mandatory: No

Price: From $599, plus installation and monitoring

Vivint is another all-in-one security system provider that offers professional equipment installation and monitoring. While not as affordable as DIY kits, it has the best smart home security systems money can buy.

So, what is it that you’ll be buying? First of all, a team of security experts will install the whole system and teach you how to use it.

Cameras Vivint uses rely on multiple fail-safes and connection sources for drastically increased protection of your home. These aren’t cameras you just stick to a wall. You won’t be able to hook them up without extensive training.

Then, there’s the central unit. It’s a tablet-like device with a touchscreen. You can use it to control everything and check camera footage.

It’s the ideal system for homes equipped with smart speakers like Amazon Echo. It even plays well with other smart home devices.

Speaking of devices, we can confirm there’s a profusion of them. The system can detect broken windows, carbon monoxide emission, and flooding, as well as protect your garage. You also get storage space to keep all security footage.

Obviously, this all comes at a price. While other systems offer many price points and affordable bundles that you can start with, Vivint’s offer is a premium one from the get-go.

Also, unlike some of its competitors, this company doesn’t list its prices. Instead, it requires you to call and ask for a quote. At least the installation is included.

Pros:

  • Smart-speaker integration
  • Highly automated
  • Affordable professional installation

Cons:

  • High starting price

4. Frontpoint – Budget Solution

Professional installation: No

Monitoring: Yes

Smart/automation: Yes

Contract mandatory: No

Price: From $99, plus monitoring

Frontpoint is another company known for its DIY home security solutions. The company has progressed over the past several years to offer systems that are among the leaders in business.

The base of Frontpoint’s security system consists of a keypad and a smart hub, with an optional touchscreen control panel. Everything can be connected either through Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and the system is compatible with smart speakers.

This is quite an affordable option as well. For $99, you get an entry-level kit with a couple of motion sensors and three sensors for doors and windows. If you need total protection, the Safe Home Preferred bundle comes in at $479.

Frontpoint’s camera is an excellent piece of tech, with a 180-degree viewing angle and high-resolution recording. It’s really worth upgrading to the pricier package for the camera alone.

Additionally, you can subscribe to the monitoring service at $44.99 a month. This includes 24/7 professional monitoring and alerts, with the addition of a mobile app for total control, making this one of the leading security camera systems.

Pros:

  • Contract not mandatory
  • Affordable pricing
  • Doesn’t rely on a home Wi-Fi connection

Cons:

  • Obligatory monitoring service

5. Abode – Top Choice For Smart Homes

Professional installation: No

Monitoring: Yes

Smart/automation: Yes

Contract mandatory: No

Price: Starts at $219.99, plus monitoring

Abode’s home systems are known for their unmatched level of interconnectivity. Pretty much any smart device you own can be, in one way or another, connected to this system, which is impressive by itself. Of course, that’s not the only great thing about these DIY kits.

The company doesn’t require you to use its professional installation services and won’t lock you into a contract. Instead, you can create the best home security camera system for your home and, optionally, sign up for the monitoring service.

Abode’s integration list counts about 150 smart products, from Alexa and Google Home to Zigbee and Z-Wave. Automation is a big selling point of this system. The four operating modes can be cycled on set intervals depending on your habits.

As for the starter kit, it’s really a good deal at $219.99.

With it, you get the central unit along with one door and one window sensor, a motion sensor, and a key fob. If you need a camera and another motion sensor, an Iota bundle is available at $275.99.

Abode offers professional monitoring, too. For 66 cents a day, your home will be protected 24/7 with local and cloud backups, as well as mobile notifications and live monitoring. It’s a comprehensive solution and pretty affordable, too.

Pros:

  • Highly customizable
  • Compatible with many smart devices
  • Affordable monitoring service

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer outdoor cameras

6. Link Interactive – Most Customizable Security System

Professional installation: No

Monitoring: Yes

Smart/automation: Yes

Contract mandatory: Yes

Price: Starts at $30.99

Link Interactive is an ideal option for people who want a DIY system. The company offers 100% DIY solutions. This means customers can pick every piece of the system without being limited to premade bundles and deals.

That being said, this is one of the rare companies that will tie you to a contract, but it’s still worth going with its products.

Link Interactive offers various products, from several control panels, with or without the touch screen, to multiple home camera and automation solutions.

You’re totally free to create your own system from scratch without having to purchase stuff pre-bundled. This makes it a great choice for customers looking for highly customizable solutions.

While the company doesn’t enforce professional installation service, as these are DIY kits, you will have to sign a one-year contract to get the most services.

The mobile app, automation, and monitoring are all tied to a contract. You can try it all out for 30 days risk-free, which is a neat incentive.

Price-wise, it’s not the most affordable company on this list. The absolute basics will cost you several hundred dollars, while the monitoring service starts at $30.99 a month. If you need video monitoring, too, the subscription jumps to $47.99 per month.

Yes, it’s costly to have it all, but Link Interactive makes up for its pricing with impeccable service. Its professional monitoring is 100% cellular, with several fail-safes in case of intruders or power outages.

When you fire up the mobile app, you’ll be able to automate a lot of stuff around your smart home and get instant notifications, so it’s worth signing up for the service.

Pros:

  • Straightforward installation
  • 30-day trial period
  • Good price point for bundles

Cons:

  • Contract is obligatory for all services

7. Ring – Most Beginner-friendly System

Professional installation: No

Monitoring: Optional

Smart/automation: Yes

Contract mandatory: No

Price: From $199.99, plus monitoring

Ring Alarm is another security kit you can assemble on your own. It is regarded as one of the top choices for people who want a no-frills smart system.

The company doesn’t require you to sign any obligatory contracts with high cancellation fees. The monitoring service, which is also optional, is relatively inexpensive.

Like with SimpliSafe, the equipment you purchase from Ring comes with clear instructions. Even better, each piece of equipment you get in the kit is already pre-paired with the base station.

You just need to determine where each unit should go and mount the equipment on your walls. The official app will guide you through the whole process.

That app is also why Ring Alarm is one of the best-rated home security systems on the market.

You can use it to control the whole system and check the cameras, while the main unit is used for switching among three modes – Disarmed, Home, and Away. The Home mode is excellent if you’re working from home, as it still takes care of the perimeter while you work.

You can either purchase premade bundles of Ring products or buy everything separately. The price starts at $199.99 for a five-piece kit and goes up to $329.99 for a 14-piece kit with motion sensors and many other useful devices.

If you want to add a monitoring service to this popular system, that’ll cost you an additional $10 per month.

Pros:

  • Pre-paired equipment
  • Good mobile app
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • The basic package is lacking

Picking a Security System for Your Home

Every security system is different, and every home is unique. While there are many companies to choose from, how do you even pick the right one for you? It’s really not that hard. Here’s what you should pay close attention to when reviewing various products.

Installation

There are two distinct types of security systems – those you can set up yourself (DIY kits) and those that require professional installation. This bit of information should guide your decision when shopping for the best home security system.

The DIY option is great if you want to save up some money and, as a rule of thumb, these systems tend to be much easier to operate.

With professionally installed systems, you usually get much more than a few sensors. Granted, this also means a crew drilling holes around your house to mount all those devices, but at the same time, you won’t have to lift a finger during setup.

Security

Of course, the reason you’re purchasing home security is to protect your home and family. The most basic protection you’ll get with popular home security systems is anti-burglary. This means motion detections, keypads, cameras, smart locks.

This isn’t the whole range of devices you can install, though. For example, a company may offer carbon monoxide, flooding, or smoke detectors as well as sensors that can warn you if a window has been broken, etc.

Safeguarding your home against as many possible threats is what should inform your purchasing decision.

Pricing

Price is a significant factor in choosing a security system. Your budgeting for the best security systems for home protection should factor in additional services the company offers.

These are usually optional, like 24/7 monitoring and backups. Still, sometimes the company might offer to install the system for you, which doesn’t come cheap.

Of course, you shouldn’t skimp out on this purchase too much if you’re concerned about the safety of your home.

Still, we advise you to browse the websites for more details as every home is different.

Monitoring and Contracts

Every company that sells these types of systems, no matter if they’re DIY kits or professionally assembled, will also offer you various upsells and services. Specifically, the monitoring service.

Even the most basic package needs to have 24/7 live monitoring and a mobile app that allows you to remotely control your smart home and get notifications if any of the detectors lights up.

Ideally, the company should also throw in local and cloud storage for video feed as part of the deal.

Another critical piece of the puzzle is whether you’ll be locked into a contract. This is mostly a thing of the past, especially for DIY kits. However, it’s a must if the company itself is installing the system in your home.

For monitoring, a contract is inevitable, so choose wisely and include it in your budget.

Companies used to charge you per day for professional monitoring, but monthly subscriptions are becoming increasingly popular.

On average, you’re looking at $0.60 a day, but that’s not set in stone. The most advanced solutions can cost $40 a month or more and include much more than simple monitoring.


FAQ

What is the most reliable home security system to buy?

SimpliSafe has proved to be the most reliable of its kind in recent years. The system is easy to assemble, affordable, and connects to various other smart devices you might have in your home. The company even offers 24/7 monitoring and a mobile app.

Is SimpliSafe as good as ADT?

They’re two different kinds of security products.

While SimpliSafe is a DIY kit you purchase and assemble yourself. ADT is a professional solution where experts analyze your home, suggest the setup based on the house layout, and then install everything for you.

Both are excellent products, so your decision should depend on the level of security you need and the size of your home.

What is the best and cheapest home security system?

Frontpoint offers the lowest entry price of just $99.

Is SimpliSafe easily hacked?

No. Like most other similar products, SimpliSafe employs a multitude of fail-safes in case someone tries to disable or hack the system. Considering the company is consistently at the number one spot in this industry, you can expect its security to be water-tight.

Which is better, Ring or SimpliSafe?

Both companies produce some of the leading security systems on the market that offer a lot of value for the consumer at a low entry price. We lean toward SimpliSafe because of its great deals on bundles.


In Summary

It’s important to keep your home and family safe, but how? We’ve presented you with the best home security systems and how to select the ideal one for your needs and budget, the rest is in your hands.

This article has been supplied by Petpedia, a paid advertiser. Content has not been independently verified by Los Angeles magazine.