We evaluated the biggest home security systems and compared the process of ordering, installing, and using them in our own homes. Each security company offers the same basic security features, but our top picks rose above the rest with their cutting-edge technology, user-friendly equipment, and helpful customer service.
Top 7 Alarm Monitoring Companies
- Remote Features:
- See what's happening at your property
- Ring Alarm puts whole-home security at your fingertips. Get alerts on your smart phone...
- Optional 24/7 professional monitoring is just $10/month. No contracts or cancellation...
- ■ REAL TIME/24x7 SAFETY & HIGH FUEL ECONOMY - EezTire TPMS system by EEZ RV Products is...
- ■ EASY OPERATION & MAINTENANCE - EezTire TPMS monitor has one of the largest display...
- Works with Alexa for voice control (hub required, Alexa device and hub sold separately)
- Touch Screen keypad and lock cylinder on exterior and thumb turn interior. Door thickness...
- Remote Wifi Temperature and Humidity Monitor. 5 Year Warranty... the last sensor you'll...
- Superior 1 Year+ battery life! Completely wireless, battery operated sensor (2x AA...
- Always-on streams of all of your cameras
- Pan/Tilt control
- Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, FACFEI, CHS-III, SET, CCI, President
- Example Product Manufacturer
How We Chose the Best Home Security Systems
Robust security options
In order to really outfit your home with the level of security in which you feel most comfortable, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice. Your home security system shouldn’t stop at basic motion sensors and an ear-piercing alarm to target intrusions only. In some way, you should be able to integrate protection outside of the home and for other hazards, like fires and carbon monoxide leaks. This is why we evaluated each provider’s standard and supplemental security options, which, in our experience testing, should include a healthy combination of these features:
Smart home integration
During our tests, we strongly considered home automation options, which allow you to remotely control features of your home, such as lights and door locks. But we wanted to figure out what these differences meant on a day-to-day basis: Which features were necessary for improved peace of mind? Which would be easiest to integrate into our daily routines? Needless to say, the market is increasingly shifting toward DIY home security, as people look for options that work seamlessly with their existing smart homes. Technology may not be at the point where an alarm will sound if your security camera detects an unfamiliar face or burglar — but it’s certainly not very far.
A home security system should be easy to navigate, and the system’s design should make sense in your home. Most of our testers had positive things to say about living with their home security systems. They reported that their systems improved their overall peace of mind. If you’re prone to fretting late at night or while away on vacation, home security systems deliver on their promise of reassurance. That’s not to say there weren’t annoyances — which can become major sore points if you’re interacting with your system every time you leave the house. LiveWatch’s piercing, impossible-to-mute beeps drew complaints from one tester, as did Link Interactive’s inaccurate digital display. Others, like Vivint and ADT, were easier to incorporate unobtrusively into our daily routines.
The majority of home security companies recommend or require you to call when ordering your service. We recommend this as well because regardless of whether calling beforehand is required, having an attentive lineup of customer service comes in handy, especially when self- installing or encountering difficulty with the system. You can often get a lower price by discussing your quote with a salesperson. Sometimes home security systems require an installation fee, equipment fees, or an activation fee. It’s quite common that special deals can waive or lower those. In fact, sales reps from eight of the nine security companies we considered offered us a discount over the phone — we didn’t even have to ask.
Guide to Getting the Best Home Security
Research plans before you call
We recommend you get a good idea of what features and packages you want before calling to purchase, but be open to the advice from the sales rep. Our Frontpoint tester called on two separate occasions. The first time, she had a good idea of what she wanted system-wise but said she was still shopping around for a provider. The second time, she pretended to be an easy sell who just wanted a system but hadn’t done any research.
Her initial call was much more informative and detailed. The sales rep walked her through each room in her house, asking her to describe where the windows and doors were in each room, recommending the right pieces of equipment for each space — likely because they knew she had done her research and was hungry for details.
Explore DIY vs. professional installation
A few of our favorite providers allow you to DIY your alarm system installation, while others send a professional to do the task. The professional installation allows for a home security expert to evaluate your home’s security needs and educate you on how to best utilize your system. The drawback is that professional installation often involves an additional fee. When you opt to DIY, the process is typically quicker and you can avoid any appointment-scheduling acrobatics.
Understand your home automation needs
Home automation may not be something you’ve considered, but many home security providers offer it with higher-tier packages. Not everyone needs complete control over their lights, locks, and robovac, but home automation comes in handy if you travel frequently or desire complete convenience. Before choosing a home security package, think about your smart home needs and if this technology may be something you’ll want in the future.
Look at home automation protocols
If you decide that home automation is an important part of your home security, it’s a good idea to research home automation protocols to learn which one will work best for you. A protocol is the language smart devices use to communicate with each other, and it serves as the foundation on which a home automation system is built. Not all protocols are the same, with some supporting more devices or using less power. Before committing to any home automation devices, look into which protocol works best for your home and if it supports the devices you wish to incorporate into your home automation system.