Top home security systems
- Professional installation included
- 0% financing
- $0 activation
- Package protection technology
- Limited pricing transparency
- No DIY installation option
Vivint offers smart security systems that are installed by protection professionals. Each security system is customized to the unique nature of a home to provide more accurate and reliable protection. Vivint’s systems also include smart technology features like package protection to stop package thieves, car protection and fire safety. The company’s Smart Deter technology uses light and sound to scare away potential burglars or vandals. Because each system is customized, there’s no information about pricing on the company’s website. However, Vivint has 0% financing available, and systems can be installed with $0 activation.
- Wide range of packages
- Variety of price points
- Whole-home protection
- Slim camera design with wider lens
- Expensive monitoring
- No professional installation
Frontpoint’s wireless alarm systems come with fail-safe backups for added security. The systems also have additional protection, like fire and flood warning signals, that customers can use to protect their home from more than just break-ins. The cameras are designed to be slim enough that most people can’t see them but wide enough to catch more on screen than many other similar devices. Frontpoint packages start at $99. Professional monitoring plans cost between $40 and $45 per month, which is relatively high compared to some other home security companies.
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Free shipping and free returns
- DIY installation
- Sleek design
- No outdoor cameras
SimpliSafe sells security systems that can be used for small- or large-scale needs. These systems can be installed by homeowners, and the company states 97% of its 3 million customers set theirs up on their own. All systems include a 60-day money-back guarantee, free shipping and free returns. These systems can be used with smart devices, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, and can be controlled from the mobile app. Its Foundation package, which includes a base station, entry sensor, motion sensor, keypad and camera, is $229 without monitoring.
- One monthly fee
- $0 down payment available
- Customized protection
- Military discounts
- Not available nationwide
- Contracts required
Vector Security creates personalized security solutions for homeowners and tailors devices and placements for each home. Vector Security charges customers on a monthly basis for equipment and monitoring. Because of this, pricing is based on the location and customer needs. In Louisiana, its packages start at $44.95 per month. Vector Security is only available in select Eastern states.
- DIY “peel-and-stick” installation
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Takeover Program for added savings
- Three-year guaranteed rate lock
- Limited options
- Contracts required
Link Interactive sells do-it-yourself home security systems that can be set up over wireless internet. The company calls the installation process “peel-and-stick” to emphasize how easy and intuitive it is. Known for its fast and efficient monitoring, Link Interactive offers a Takeover Program that integrates its technology into an existing alarm system for added savings. Monitoring starts at $30.99 per month and is set up with one-, two- or three-year contracts. Products are relatively affordable, with doorbell cameras starting at $167 and sensors starting at $22.
- High-tech security systems
- DIY and professional installation available
- Trusted name in the industry
- Flexible options
- More expensive
- 36-month contract required for monitoring
ADT offers a more traditional approach to home security and offers packages that include professional monitoring and installation. Customers can also choose to purchase stand-alone devices, but most opt for one of the company’s three security packages: Secure, Smart or Complete. All products come with a six-month guarantee and professional monitoring. The website doesn’t include pricing on these packages because they’re customized to the needs of each home, but customers can get a free quote. Build-your-own systems start at $159.
- "No False Alarm" Guarantee
- 24/7 customer care
- Straightforward plan options
- Not available nationwide
- Limited price transparency
CPI Security offers home alarm packages in parts of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. This company prides itself on fast response times and accurate dispatches. Customers can choose one of its home security packages or buy specific pieces of equipment to build their own protection. The “No False Alarm” Guarantee promises to reimburse a homeowner if they’re fined for a false alarm. There’s no pricing available on its site, so customers must call for a specific quote.
Side-by-side comparison of home security companies
|Provider||Installation fee*||Starting monitoring cost*||Starting equipment prices*|
|SimpliSafe||$0 – $79||$14.99/month||$229|
What to consider when buying a home security system
Home security companies offer a wide range of products, technology and services. Because most homes have their own unique needs when it comes to protection, it’s important to compare a variety of factors in order to find the right solution. Here are a few of the things to look at:
- Wired vs. wireless connection: Security systems can work through landlines or wirelessly. Wireless systems may be more secure because a burglar can’t cut the wires and end all security footage, but they can also be more expensive and less reliable than wired systems.
- Professional vs. DIY installation: Some companies offer professional installation, which usually comes at a higher cost but can be more efficient. Other emerging companies sell systems that can be installed by a homeowner without much hassle. If you’re looking for the cheapest option available, DIY is the best bet. If you want to make an investment in proven protection, however, hiring a professional or paying the company directly to install your device is usually the right decision.
- Professional monitoring options: Traditionally, security systems came with professional monitoring for a monthly cost. Professional monitoring means that if your alarm goes off at any time, a monitoring company can dispatch help immediately. DIY monitoring notifies the system owner when an alarm goes off; the owner then decides whether to call the police. More companies are starting to offer DIY monitoring, but most people find that professional monitoring is worth the extra cost.
- Expandability and design: When comparing systems, you want to choose one that can be tailored to your home and your needs as they grow. For example, you might want to add more window locks or camera systems if you have children. Some companies make it easy to do this, but others make it a bit difficult. Keep this in mind when choosing a system.
Bottom line: What to know about home alarm systems
Home security systems are becoming increasingly popular, especially as companies start to sell more technologically advanced devices that are easy to install and use every day. But as the number of companies continues to increase, finding the right solution for your home can be more difficult. Pricing shouldn’t be the only factor in your search; instead, you should explore the fit for your home, how flexible it is for your needs and if it is easy to use on a day-to-day basis. Together, these factors can make a big difference in both your home security and your peace of mind.