Our Favorite Home Security Companies of 2020

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Protect Your Home
Protect Your Home
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  • Possible Homeowner Savings
  • 2 Million Families Protected
  • Digital keypad for Police, Fire, and Emergencies
  • Up to $850 in Security equipment, plus bonuses including keypad & sensors
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Vivint
Vivint
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  • 30 Days of 24/7 Continuous Video
  • Smart Doorbell Camera w/ App
  • 2-Way Voice Panel with Monitoring Support
  • Month-to-month Contract Option
  • Vehicle Protection
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Link
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  • Easy DIY installation with No installation or Activation Fees
  • App to Control System Remotely & Control lights, locks and thermostat
  • 30-day Money-back Guarantee

What is a home security system?

A basic home security set of equipment typically includes window and door sensors, door locks and a central panel or base hub that arms and disarms the alarm system. Burglar alarm companies typically include a set of yard signs and window stickers to deter potential intruders. Businesses may also offer floodlights, motion sensors, video doorbells, surveillance cameras and extra sensors for fire and flood for an additional charge.

If you subscribe to a professional home security monitoring service, the system alerts your security system company’s monitoring center, which has emergency operators available 24/7. Monitoring operators dispatch the police to your residence when the alarm is triggered. Some home security system companies offer a two-way talk feature so you can describe your emergency to the monitoring center operator. Based on your situation, the monitoring operators contact the police, fire department or a medical response team on your behalf to ensure the appropriate response.

We think the best burglar alarm companies come with monitoring packages that have features like mobile apps and smart home automation integration. These smart home security systems can offer convenience and be controlled remotely through the mobile app. These systems are typically highly customizable and allow users to choose how they’re installed, what type of surveillance is used and the features included.

Types of home security systems

As you compare home security systems, it helps to understand the difference between wired or wireless systems and monitored or unmonitored alarms. A monitored home security system can be wireless or wired, but it’s rare to see home alarm companies offer an unmonitored, wired system.

A wired system connects to the home’s existing landline telephone systems and often requires physical installation. Wireless home security systems have similar components — such as home alarms, sensors, cameras, locks, or more — but don’t require hardwired equipment.

  • Wired home security systems: Wired home alarms and sensors are physically connected to a control panel through wires within the walls. Wired home security systems can also incorporate some wireless components, including motion detectors and smart home automation features.
  • Wireless home security system: Wireless home alarm systems utilize a series of battery-powered sensors to alert homeowners of potential intrusions. Wireless home security systems can be professionally monitored or self-monitored. Many wireless home security systems incorporate smart home automation features which you can ask specifically about. 
  • Monitored home security systems: When the alarm is triggered on a monitored system, the system automatically connects to emergency operators at 24/7 monitoring centers. Some systems automatically notify local police when the alarm is triggered. Other systems have a two-way talk feature so operators can dispatch local police, firefighters or medical services depending on the type of emergency.
  • Unmonitored home security systems: Unmonitored security systems rely on notifications and the sound of the alarm to prevent intrusions. Unmonitored or self-monitored systems, also known as local alarm systems, do not connect to an outside operating center. Instead, you self-monitor your home by receiving alerts on your cell phone if sensors detect activity.

You can save money with a wireless, unmonitored home security system since you don’t pay a monthly monitoring fee or upfront installation cost. However, you forfeit the added benefit of security that comes from knowing the appropriate authorities are alerted during an emergency for an additional cost.

How to find the best home security system

Finding a home security system can be daunting. With so many hardware components and so much new technology, it can be difficult to know which home alarm is best for you. Follow these steps to determine your best home security system option.

1. Figure out what security equipment and features you need

Consider the location of your home and the size of your property to decide what security features, technology and gadgets are most important to you. If you live alone, you might want a home security system with a doorbell camera and two-way talk features. Homeowners who live on a large property should consider supplementing a home security package with additional window and door sensors or smart locks to ensure all entry points are secure.

Some home security companies sell alarms and equipment individually, and others offer packages of bundled devices. In addition to burglar alarms, popular home security equipment includes surveillance cameras, window and door sensors, glass-break detectors and motion sensors. Many of the best home security services also offer environmental monitoring with equipment to detect smoke, fire, flood and carbon monoxide. Remember that the best home security equipment also includes a warranty.

Smart home automation technology is increasingly popular in security systems. With smart tech, you can adjust the lights, lock doors and arm or disarm your system from anywhere through an app on your mobile device.

2. Decide between monitored vs. unmonitored security systems

The most significant advantage of a monitored home security system is that it automatically dispatches an emergency response when the alarm is triggered. With monitored systems, police are summoned even if no one’s around to call 911. Many people feel safer with monitored systems because most break-ins happen when residents are absent or asleep.

  • Unmonitored home security systems use most of the same equipment as monitored systems. An unmonitored alarm system is intended to scare away thieves or notify you of any alerts, but it doesn’t connect to trained operators or dispatch emergency response help.
  • Monitored home security systems are generally more expensive than unmonitored systems, but they have the added security benefit of connecting directly to a professional monitoring center. Monitored systems require a monthly fee, and some monitoring companies require lengthy contracts with costly termination fees.

Both monitored and unmonitored home security systems usually include a mobile app. Depending on your security needs, you may be able to self-monitor your system and save on monthly fees.

3. Choose between wireless vs. wired security systems

Wired home security systems trigger a burglar alarm when a door or window is opened. In contrast, wireless security systems rely upon sensors that connect to a control panel or central hub.

Installing a wired security system requires some drilling and modification. Many homeowners consider hardwired security systems more reliable since they don’t require batteries to operate. Still, these systems can be disabled during a power outage or by a thief with scissors.

Wired home alarm systems are typically more expensive than wireless home systems because they must be professionally installed. DIY security systems are often preferable for renters because they are more portable and can easily be moved into a new home.

4. Calculate your home security budget

As you make your home alarm system comparison, be mindful of equipment costs. Most home security systems come with motion detectors, door and window sensors and a control panel or keypad option. Optional equipment, including video doorbells, indoor and outdoor cameras, glass-break sensors and home automation features, are available for an additional cost.

Remember to add in the price of home security system installation and activation fees. Also consider whether you plan to buy your security equipment outright. Some home security companies that offer free alarms and equipment charge more per month for monitoring. Additionally, many home security companies charge high cancellation fees if you terminate a monitoring agreement before you pay for your equipment in full.

5. Compare home alarm system reviews

Comparing home alarm system reviews is the best way to find out what to expect from a company before you sign up for service. Existing home security customers are usually vocal about unfair fees and equipment durability in burglar alarm reviews. By reading home security service reviews, you can also learn more about a company’s monitoring operators, installation technicians and customer service representatives.