Our Favorite Home Security companies of 2020

4 suggested offers from our partners in Virginia. Accredited Partners

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ConsumerAffairs favorite picks for Home Alarm and Security Systems providers

When choosing a Home Alarm and Security Systems plan, the most important things to review are cost and coverage. You can break any Home Alarm and Security Systems offer down into a few main components.

Call & Mention Code: CONSUMERDEAL

Vivint

  • 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
Receive a free doorbell camera when you use code "Front Door"

Link

  • Easy DIY installation with No installation or Activation Fees
  • App to Control System Remotely & Control lights, locks and thermostat
  • 30-day Money-back Guarantee

Blue by ADT

  • No long-term contract (month to month)
  • Build your own security system
  • 24/7 Professional monitoring available

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.