How to Choose the Best Home Security System
Technology

How to Choose the Best Home Security System

Clare H.
Dec 30, 2020

Today, we have a wide range of home security devices available to us. You can find everything from video doorbells to remote cameras that allow us to monitor our property from our smartphones. Choosing the right security system is one of the most important decisions that we can make because it will have an impact on the safety of our family and home. In this article, we will explore the many different types of systems that are available and some of the pros and cons of each of them.

Different Types of Systems

Security systems fall into two broad categories that are landline systems and wireless. Now, it is time to explore the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

Landline Systems

Landline systems are in a traditional way of installing security systems. With this type of system, various sensors are placed on the windows, doors, and critical areas of the home. They depend on a wired landline phone connection to operate. (1)

When the sensors are triggered, they will send a signal to a monitoring center that will trigger an alarm. Some of the systems will alert you, and some of them will call the authorities automatically, depending on the system. One of the disadvantages of a landline system is that it can be cut. They also depend on having a continual power supply, which means that you need a battery backup for power outages or when the phone lines are down. (1) Many of these systems also require professional installation, and you cannot do it yourself. (1)

Wireless Systems

It is not surprising that wireless home security systems are becoming more popular in today's world. They work in much the same way as a regular security system with sensors on the doors, windows, and other entry points to the home. The main difference is that they work off of a cellular system instead of a landline system. (1)

Many times, you can install wireless home security systems yourself, and they do not require professional installation. (1) These DIY home security systems might not be the best choice if you live in an area where the cell signal is unreliable or unstable. (1) Many wireless systems can be connected to your smartphone so you can monitor your own property while you are away.

Installation Options

Your two basic installation options are professional and DIY home security. Landline systems often require professional installation, but many wireless systems have DIY options. One of the advantages of having a professional installation is you know that your system is set up properly, and you know that everything is covered. (1) You also do not have to handle the wiring and do the drilling yourself. An improperly installed system will not perform as it should at the most critical time, and a professional installation gives you confidence that your system will work as it should. Some companies do not offer the option of DIY with their hardwired systems.

The DIY option requires you to set up your own equipment that you purchase. These systems typically work using a removable adhesive, and they will plug into your standard outlet. Many of them have software that you can use to complete the installation on your smartphone or over the internet. (1) This is an excellent option for those who live in apartments and cannot place a hardwired system and their home. If you move often, this is also a good option because you can take the system with you. Many of them have instructions that make installation easy, especially if you are the tech-savvy type.

What Features Are Offered?

Before you sign up with any service provider, it is important to read the contract first. You must pay special attention to the fine print, and make sure you understand what is included in the package and what is not. Some providers provide a binding contract for a certain number of years, and then the price will go up. Other things to look out for in the contract include:

  • Early termination fees for ending contract early
  • Installation and equipment fees
  • Understand coverage in case a break-in should occur
  • The ability to rent or lease equipment

It is important to read the contract and make note of these items, but here are a few additional questions that you should ask before you sign-up for service.

  • Who will be responsible if the equipment fails to work properly?
  • How does the system work? Will they call the police or alert you?
  • Does the equipment come with a warranty?
  • Is there any customer service or tech support available?
  • Will the system work if there is a power outage?
  • In the future, can I add Extra equipment, and how much will it cost?
  • Who is responsible for the upkeep and repair of the system?
  • Is monitoring included, or is it a separate contract?
  • What are you liable for if a break-in should occur?

A final tip for finding the best deal is to call several service providers and compare contracts and prices. The cheapest service might not always be the best, especially if it does not include liability or the protection that you need. Make sure when you are comparing services that you compare apples-to-apples.

Devices and Add-Ons to Consider

The ability to add devices and add-ons is one of the things that you should ask about before you sign the contract. Here are some of the options that you might be able to find in your area.

  • Glass break sensors. These sensors are designed to detect breaking or shattering glass within a certain range. They use microphones to listen for the sound and will emit a high-frequency audible sound if breaking glass is detected. (1)

  • Door and window sensors. Door and window sensors are included with most systems, but you need to ask about the type and reliability of them. Most of them use magnets to complete a closed circuit that will sound an alarm if the circuit is broken. (1)

  • Security cameras. Security cameras are placed inside and outside of the home and outside in strategic locations. Most of them work on motion and sound detection, which means that they only record when they detect the presence of motion or sound. Some of them will send an alert to your smartphone, or the monitoring company. Some of the more advanced systems allow you to speak to a potential Intruder using your voice from your smartphone. (1)

  • Video doorbell. Video doorbells are popular devices that will allow you to see who is at your door without having to get up to answer it. These doorbells allow you to get a message telling you that someone is at your door and will allow you to see them through your camera. Some of them produce an audible message, and others will allow you to have a two-way conversation. (1)

  • Smoke or carbon monoxide detector. Some companies allow you to add-on a smoke or carbon monoxide detector to your system. You can purchase these items as a standalone, or you can have them connected to the system that will allow them to alert the authorities and monitoring company if a problem is detected.

  • Smart thermostat. Other add-ons you might find are smart thermostats and other smart home devices to help you save energy and operate your home more efficiently.

Where to Find Good Deals?

When choosing a security company, it is important to choose a company that has a good reputation. This is an important decision for your safety and that of your family, so you do not want to go with a smaller company that might have unreliable service. Here are some of the top picks and services that have excellent reviews from professionals and users alike.

  • ADT Systems. ADT is one of the oldest and more popular choices that are available. They have low monthly service contracts, and they have many different choices and levels of coverage.

  • SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe is a popular choice for those who want to choose the DIY, wireless route. They have one of the lower monthly contract rates, and they have a free self-monitoring option.

  • Vivent SmartHome. Vivint shines when it comes to state-of-the-art equipment. This system can operate many of your smart home devices. One of the drawbacks of the service is that you have to use their branded devices, and it will not work with your existing smart home devices.

  • Frontpoint. Frontpoint Is one of the more expensive services, but it also offers one of the longest warranties on the list. Their warranty is for up to three years, and they offer a 30-day trial. One of the advantages of this system is that they are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices.

  • Cove. Cove is a popular no-contract service that works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It has inexpensive monthly fees and a low base cost for equipment and installation. The reason why people like them so much is that there is no contract or service agreement. You can simply pay on a month-to-month basis without a long-term commitment.

  • Abode. Abode is one of the cheapest options on the list, but they also offer the fewest features and perks. You can choose monthly plans for as low as $6 a month. They have DIY installation options, and they work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit systems.

Now you have a good understanding of choosing the best home security system for you and your family. Everyone's needs are different, and there are many excellent options available. The most important factor in the decision is to read the contract and understand what you are getting before you sign. Understanding what you are getting and reading the contract carefully will help ensure that you have a positive experience and can feel safe with your choice.

Sources

  1. Home Security Buying Guide, Safety.com, https://www.safety.com/best-home-security-systems/guide/

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