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The Best Home Security Systems of 2018

When it comes to protecting your family and home, nothing but the best will do. To help you confidently protect what matters most, we’ve researched, reviewed, and ranked the best home security systems available. Check out SafeWise’s list of the top home security systems of 2018.

Written by: Rebecca Edwards  |   Updated: May 31, 2018
#1 Frontpoint: Best Customer Service
  • What We Love
  • 30-day, risk-free trial
  • Phenomenal customer service
  • Easy DIY, no-cost installation
Get the details
#2 ADT: Best Monitoring Experience
  • What We Love
  • 140+ years of home security experience
  • Fast response times
  • Outstanding guarantees
Get the details
#3 Vivint: Best Home Automation
  • What We Love
  • Leading home automation tech
  • Customizable home security
  • Energy management
Get the details
#4 Protect America: Best for Your Budget
  • What We Love
  • Lifetime equipment warranty
  • Locked-in rates for life
  • Great package variety
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#5 Link Interactive: Best Entry-Level Plan Options
  • What We Love
  • Crash & Smash protection with all plans
  • Great customer service
  • Home automation capability
Get the details

How We Picked the Best Home Security Systems of 2018

As a professional review and comparison website, SafeWise pays experienced writers to do in-depth research and provide objective reviews of products and services. To keep our services free for you, we provide phone numbers and links to purchase the products we review. When you click on these links, we may receive compensation. Learn more at our Ranking, Reviews, and Methodology page.

Top 10 Home Security Systems

  1. Frontpoint: Best customer service
  2. ADT: Best monitoring experience
  3. Vivint: Best home automation
  4. Protect America: Best for your budget
  5. Link Interactive: Best entry-level plan options
  6. LiveWatch: Best money-back guarantee
  7. SimpliSafe: Best for avoiding high-pressure sales
  8. Nest Secure: Best DIY self-monitoring
  9. Scout: Best for staying out of a long contract
  10. LifeShield: Best smoke and CO monitoring
safewise 2018 top 10 home security systems

Compare the Best Home Security Systems

 

Frontpoint

View Packages

ADT

View Packages

Vivint

View Packages

Protect America

View Packages

Link Interactive

View Packages
Lowest Price

$34.99

$27.99

$39.99

$19.99

$34.99

Installation

DIY

Professional

Professional

DIY

DIY

Warranty

3-year

Only with select packages

Lifetime

Lifetime

2-year

Contract

3 years

3 years

None, based on equipment financing

3 years

1–3 years, based on equipment financing

Mobile Access and Control

Included

Add-on

Included

Included with some plans

Included

Video Doorbell

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Smart Home Integration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Smart Locks, Lights, Thermostat, Appliances

Yes

Yes

Yes

No thermostat

Yes

Best Home Security System Reviews

#1 Frontpoint

Best Customer Service

Why Frontpoint Is Still #1

In addition to having the best DIY installation option, Frontpoint blows away the rest of the competition when it comes to taking care of their customers. Frontpoint has an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau and is one of the only security companies we’ve found that puts their money where their mouth is—you can try out their system risk-free for thirty days. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll get a full refund. Read the full Frontpoint review.

Pros
  • 30-day, risk-free trial
  • Outstanding customer service
  • DIY, no-cost installation
Cons
  • No professional installation option

How Frontpoint Stacks Up

Overall, Frontpoint offers the best combination of customer service and high-quality residential security equipment. Here’s a closer look at how they scored in all of our main criteria areas.

Price and Contract

This is Frontpoint’s kryptonite. Higher monitoring fees, plus costly early termination fees, hurt Frontpoint’s affordability score. However, you do get more in a basic package from Frontpoint, which explains why you’ll find higher entry-level prices.

Tech and Equipment

Frontpoint offers high-end equipment and includes extras like smoke and CO monitoring in basic plans. Best of all, you don’t have to pay more to have your system installed—Frontpoint offers DIY installation that customers find easy to complete and set up. Frontpoint’s app also gets high ratings from both Android and Apple users.

Home Automation

Upgrade your security and your lifestyle when you pair a Frontpoint security system with compatible smart home tools like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. You can make it even easier by opting for a Frontpoint plan with home automation included. We recommend the Interactive or Ultimate Plans if you want your home security combined with automation.

Customer Service

Frontpoint is the only company we evaluated that earned more than four stars for customer service. Fast, comprehensive service and real interest in what each customer needs make Frontpoint stand out.

Consumer Interest

Frontpoint has been very responsive to the suggestions and concerns of SafeWise readers. When we pass along suggestions or feedback, they respond to us and the customers quickly. We’re also impressed with their high customer retention rate and low cancellation rate.

Bottom Line

Frontpoint puts the customer first. From transparent pricing to knowledgeable customer service help, this security company does everything it can to make sure you get the residential security features you need without any hassle or extra costs.

“Frontpoint provides flawless reliability and, best of all, customer support is readily available and communicates clearly. Would immediately go with Frontpoint if I had to do it all over again.” -Ron S. from Pine Mountain, Georgia

Our Favorite Frontpoint Package: Interactive Plan

The Interactive Plan provides a variety of equipment, remote access, and plenty of home automation options—all for under $50/month.

Services

  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • Remote access and control
  • Crash & Smash protection

Price

  • $44.99/mo. (starting at $99.95 upfront)
View Packages

#2 ADT

Best Monitoring Experience

What ADT Does Best

When it comes to home security monitoring, no one can beat ADT for experience. This residential security company has been providing home protection for more than 140 years and serves more than eight million people worldwide. Read the full ADT review.

Pros
  • 140+ years of home security experience
  • Fast response times
  • Outstanding guarantees
Cons
  • Long contracts with no trial period

How ADT Stacks Up

Over the decades, ADT has learned the ins and outs of what it takes to protect someone’s home, and that’s exactly what we found—from strong consumer trust to high-end equipment, ADT’s reputation is well deserved.

Price and Contract

ADT is one of the more expensive home security companies, with high-priced video monitoring and early termination fees. However, they do offer deals to alleviate the cost of equipment, which makes their overall cost for a 36-month contract the second-least expensive among our top five systems.

Tech and Equipment

ADT’s state-of-the-art communication links provide backup to make sure your security never goes offline. If one of their six customer monitoring centers (more than any other security company has) does face an interruption of service, your home’s protection is instantly transferred to another center.

Home Automation

The ADT Pulse® package delivers full IFTTT (If This Then That) technology to let you arm and disarm your system, turn lights and other electronics on and off, and control the thermostat so you never have to come home to a chilly house.

Customer Service

ADT really shines when it comes to extra guarantees. Our favorite is the Theft Protection Guarantee, which covers up to $500 if you suffer a burglary loss while your ADT system is armed.

Consumer Interest

ADT is practically synonymous with home security, and it’s the most well-known and trusted home security brand we’ve found. But ADT doesn’t rest on its laurels. This company is constantly adapting its services to meet current customer demands.

Bottom Line

ADT is the most experienced security monitoring company in the country. Years of experience combined with the most monitoring centers in the land assure ADT customers of fast response times and helpful service when you need it most.

“ADT saved my life. I appreciate great security, and they furnish it.” —Jerry M. from Oak Forest, IL

Our Favorite ADT Package: ADT Pulse®

We recommend the ADT Pulse® plan because it includes all the home security expertise that comes with over 140 years in the business, plus the modern convenience of IFTTT tech that lets you combine the best of security with home automation convenience.

Services

  • Wireless security monitoring
  • Cell Guard®
  • Mobile access and alerts

Equipment

  • Wireless control panel
  • 3 wireless door/window sensors

Price

  • $52.99/mo. (call for activation fee)
View Packages

#3 Vivint

Best Home Automation

What Vivint Does Best

There’s a reason Vivint inserted “smart home” into the middle of its name—this relative newcomer to the security game has gone all-in when it comes to combining home security and home automation. With hands-free voice control features you can do everything from closing the garage door to turning up the heat without lifting a finger. Read the full Vivint review.

Pros
  • Leading home automation tech
  • Customizable home security
  • Energy management
Cons
  • High-priced monthly monitoring

How Vivint Stacks Up

As a smart home innovator, Vivint provides the best of both worlds. However, as often happens with young companies, Vivint hit a few bumps at first, leading to some customer service struggles. But Vivint has worked hard to overcome those issues, garnering recognition and awards for customer care and service in 2016 and 2017.

Price and Contract

Vivint’s monitoring fees start around five dollars more per month than any of our other top five security companies. They do give you the option to buy your equipment outright, which means you could end up without any extra financing charges added to your monthly bill—but that does require a hefty upfront payment.

Tech and Equipment

Vivint’s equipment is the most technologically advanced of all the security companies on our list. Its SkyControl panel lets the system learn your habits, so it knows when to turn up the heat or dim the lights based on your routine and preferences. Vivint’s mobile apps also have the highest customer rating among our top five.

Home Automation

One of the biggest perks of Vivint’s advanced home automation tech is energy management. Vivint SmartHome security may cost a little bit more, but you make some of that up in energy cost savings. Because you can automate your lights and thermostat, you have more control over your home’s overall energy efficiency.

Customer Service

Vivint takes a hit with a 120-day equipment warranty that pales in comparison to three-year and lifetime warranties offered by its competitors. The company has recognized its struggles and is making a concerted effort to improve customer service and satisfaction.

Consumer Interest

As a newer company, Vivint is tuned in to market demands and trends. This security company works hard to innovate and evolve at a pace that keeps its customers well protected and on the cutting edge of home automation.

Bottom Line

Even though Vivint has only been on the scene since 1999, a strong commitment to providing intelligent home solutions has made them a major player. If you’re looking for more than home security, Vivint offers the most comprehensive home automation and energy management upgrades.

“Vivint allows me to access my home from anywhere and will contact me immediately if there’s a concern. I feel safe in my home and know my teenager is safe when she’s home alone.” —Magdalena J. from Bayard, NM

Our Favorite Vivint Package: Smart Home Video

Work with Vivint’s home security and home automation experts to put together a package that provides you with the services and features you want.

Services

  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Remote access and control

Equipment

  • Customize your home automation equipment package

Price

  • $49.99/mo.
View Packages

#4 Protect America

Best for Your Budget

What Protect America Does Best

Protect America is the most affordable residential security company to make the top five. It has the lowest monthly monitoring fees, starting at just $19.99 per month. You can also lock in your rate, which means that your monitoring fees will never increase as long as you don’t interrupt or cancel your plan. Read the full Protect America review.

Pros
  • Lifetime equipment warranty
  • Locked-in rates for life
  • Great package variety
Cons
  • Entry-level packages that require a landline

How Protect America Stacks Up

Protect America makes home security accessible to nearly any household. Its affordable home security packages don’t have all the bells and whistles that some other companies offer, but they won’t break the bank either.

Price and Contract

We calculated the cost over three years for all the security systems we evaluated, and Protect America came out the lowest among our top five systems and second-lowest overall. You can get Protect America security for under $6 per week (excluding taxes and other fees) over the course of a 36-month contract.

Tech and Equipment

This is one area where you’ll notice the difference between Protect America and more expensive home security companies. The equipment offered in all of their packages is fairly basic and doesn’t include advanced protection like smoke and CO alarms. Another important thing to note is that Protect America’s less-expensive packages aren’t cellular, which can make your system more vulnerable to tampering.

Home Automation

Protect America’s main focus is on security, so the company is less compatible with home automation platforms. Currently, Protect America works with Amazon Alexa, but not with Nest or Google Home. However, they do offer upgrades that can give you smart lock control, smart lighting, and a few other home automation functions.

Customer Service

The best customer service feature offered by Protect America is the lifetime equipment warranty. As a younger home security company (they’ve been in business for just 25 years), Protect America has been working through growing pains and other wrinkles that can result in customer satisfaction problems. But there are signs that things are on the up-swing—reviewers on SafeWise.com give Protect America 4.5 stars.

Consumer Interest

Protect America is a relatively new home security name, but the company shows a strong commitment to turning customer input into action that improves its systems and services.

Bottom Line

If you have a limited budget but want to give your home and family the extra protection of a home security system, Protect America is a good place to start. Just know that if you want extra features like smart locks, you’ll end up paying more.

“I would definitely recommend [Protect America]. I always have a good experience with their customer service. They are prompt and ready to help patiently. Last time when we had tornadoes in our area, my panel was fried due to high voltage. The replacement keypad was provided within a week.” —Hithesh U. from Dallas, TX

Our Favorite Protect America Package: Silver Package

This isn’t the cheapest package Protect America offers, but we think it offers solid home security that’s still affordable. And if you choose DIY installation, you’ll save money upfront, which helps with the higher monthly fee.

Services

  • Professional monitoring
  • Mobile access
  • Professional installation available

Equipment

  • Control panel
  • 9 door/window sensors
  • 3 security stickers and 1 yard sign
  • 1 motion detector

Price

  • $37.99/mo.
View Packages

#5 Link Interactive

Best Entry-Level Plan Options

What Link Interactive Does Best

This security company provides some of the most comprehensive basic plans we’ve seen. Their mid-level Gold package offers everything except video monitoring and livestreaming. That includes 24/7 professional monitoring, mobile access and alerts, home automation, and their Crash & Smash protection, which keeps your system active if a burglar tries to damage and disable it. It’s rare to get all of that without having to upgrade. Read the full Link Interactive review.

Pros
  • Crash & Smash protection with all plans
  • Great customer service
  • Home automation capability
Cons
  • High penalty for early termination

How Link Interactive Stacks Up

If you’re wary of a long contract, Link Interactive is one of the only home security companies to offer contracts that are shorter than 36 months. For commitment-phobes, this is a great way to test out home security without feeling stuck.

Price and Contract

You can get a Link Interactive system with a contract as short as 12 months, which is not typical in the security industry. Monitoring costs are on the higher end, along with early termination fees, but the good news is you won’t be locked in for three years.

Tech and Equipment

You’ll get up-to-date equipment from Link Interactive, and their mobile apps are highly rated for both Android and iOS. Unlike some other home security companies, Link Interactive provides up to 48 sensors in their basic package, including both fire and CO alarms.

Home Automation

Link Interactive doesn’t save home automation for only their top-tier packages. It uses Z-Wave enabled devices to make it easy for you to automate lights, locks, thermostat, and even small appliances.

Customer Service

Customers pile praise on this friendly, helpful security company. What they love most is how easy the DIY installation is. Most users report getting everything up and running in under an hour. And if questions did come up, customer service was responsive and quick to help.

Consumer Interest

Because Link Interactive lets you build a completely customized security system, the choices can be overwhelming. Customers are used to being offered pre-selected packages, so all the options available from Link Interactive can make it harder for customers to make a purchasing decision.

Bottom Line

Link Interactive offers basic packages that are anything but basic, which means you can end up with more security for your money. They also knock it out of the park when it comes to taking care of customers.

“The price of Link Interactive’s equipment and the customer service I received when I called to talk to them about setting up a package were why I chose them. They went above and beyond and installing the equipment was super easy. I unboxed it and had it installed within an hour. We definitely feel more secure when we’re not home and I’ve already recommended them to my neighbors.” —Justin from Manchester, TN (Consumer Affairs review)

Our Favorite Link Interactive Package: Gold Plan

This mid-tier plan offers security you can rely on plus home automation and energy management features.

Services

  • 100% cellular
  • Home automation
  • 24/7 professional monitoring

Equipment

  • Intrusion alarm
  • Fire/smoke/CO alarms
  • Free apps for phone and tablet

Price

  • $34.99/mo.
View Packages

#6 LiveWatch

Best Money-Back Guarantee

This is the only residential security company we’ve found that gives you a full year to decide whether or not you like your system. This twelve-month money-back guarantee makes it easy to give LiveWatch a try.

Pros
  • 1-year money-back guarantee
  • No termination fees
Cons
  • DIY installation only
  • Limited rural availability

Price and Contract

Tech and Equipment

Home Automation

Customer Service

Consumer Interest


#7 SimpliSafe

Best for Avoiding High-Pressure Sales

SimpliSafe has set out to change the home security industry. They don’t employ any salespeople and let you choose the equipment and monitoring level you want.

Pros
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 60-day money back guarantee
Cons
  • No home automation
  • Higher upfront costs

Price and Contract

Tech and Equipment

Home Automation

Customer Service

Consumer Interest


#8 Nest Secure

Best DIY Self-Monitoring

Nest Secure provides innovative home security that is self-monitored. You can add other Nest products like a camera or thermostat to make your home both smart and secure-but it will cost you. The starter pack is around $500, and that doesn’t include any security cameras.

Pros
  • Easy DIY setup
  • Responsive Detect sensors
Cons
  • No professional monitoring option
  • Higher upfront costs

Price and Contract

Tech and Equipment

Home Automation

Customer Service

Consumer Interest


#9 Scout

Best for Staying Out of a Long Contract

Scout is a flexible, entry-level home security system. You build your own system, which gives you control over how much protection you have; however, options are limited and vital equipment (like security cameras) isn’t available.

Pros
  • No contract
  • Low monitoring fees
Cons
  • Limited equipment options
  • No home automation package

Price and Contract

Tech and Equipment

Home Automation

Customer Service

Consumer Interest


#10 LifeShield

Best Smoke and CO Monitoring

LifeShield is one of the only security companies to provide smoke and CO monitoring in every package. They’re also known for high-quality equipment that they manufacture in-house.

Pros
  • Smoke/fire/CO alarms in every package
  • Apartment-friendly options
Cons
  • No home automation
  • Weak warranties

Price and Contract

Tech and Equipment

Home Automation

Customer Service

Consumer Interest


What to Consider When Choosing a Home Security System

What are the differences between landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring?

There are three ways that home security companies monitor alarm systems—via landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring. The biggest difference between these methods is that some are more prone to tampering than others. More technologically advanced monitoring methods can also cost a little more.

Landline monitoring uses a home phone line to connect your security systems to the monitoring center. Broadband monitoring uses a broadband internet connection to communicate between the monitoring center and your alarm control panel. Cellular monitoring uses a cellular uplink to communicate with your home security system.

Cellular monitoring is the most advanced and provides the greatest security. Because it doesn’t rely on a landline or internet connection, there are no wires to cut, which makes your system less vulnerable to tampering. But if you live in a remote area with limited cellular connection, you may not be able to take advantage of cellular monitoring.


Find out more about security system monitoring:

Can I get a home security system without a phone line?

Can I afford a home security system?

A home security system is an investment, but it’s one that can be worth it. The average loss to burglary victims was $2,361 in 2016.1 In our research, most residential security systems cost less than that for the whole term of the contract, which is typically 36 months.

Among the systems on our list, the cost of initial equipment, installation, and monthly monitoring ranged from around $575 to about $2,300 for three years of protection. Monthly monitoring fees came in between $9.99 and $39.99 forent, installation, and monthly monitoring ranged from around $575 to about $2,300 for three years of protection. Monthly monitoring fees came in between $9.99 and $39.99 for basic packages. The average price for entry-level monitoring was $27.99 among our top ten security systems.

Keep in mind that the more features and extras you add to your system, the bigger the price tag—some top-tier packages come in around $60 per month. Taking the time to figure out exactly what you want from a home security system to make sure you don’t end up paying for extra bells and whistles that you don’t need.


Find more information about how to afford home security:

How much does a security system cost?

What’s the initial cost for a home security system?

Are home security systems and alarm monitoring worth it?

How much is alarm monitoring each month?

What is the difference between professional monitoring and self-monitoring?

The biggest difference between professional monitoring and self-monitoring is that a professionally monitored system has trained professionals keeping an eye on your home 24/7. That means that while you’re asleep, when you’re at work, or if you’re away on vacation, someone is always watching and ready to respond if an emergency comes up.

With a self-monitored system, you and other authorized household members are the ones checking in to make sure everything’s okay at home. The biggest benefit to self-monitoring is that you can save money by avoiding monthly monitoring fees. However, it can leave your home more vulnerable because you won’t have experts watching your home around the clock


Learn more about monitored and unmonitored security systems:

What is the difference between monitored and unmonitored security systems?

Why should I choose a company with professional monitoring services?

Can I have my existing security equipment monitored?

What are the differences between wired and wireless home security systems?

A wired home security system is one that is hardwired into your home’s electrical system. Wired alarm systems have been around the longest and usually use a landline to connect to the monitoring center. Wired systems are considered the most reliable because they don’t depend on internet or cellular connections.

Wireless security systems use wireless technology (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) for monitoring and to connect the components of the system. Wireless home security is becoming more popular because it offers more flexibility, and there are no wires that could be cut by a burglar. Because you don’t have to connect to the electrical system, a wireless system is easier to install and may be able to move with you if you get a new house.


Learn more about the differences between wired and wireless home security:

What are the pros and cons of wired and wireless security systems?

Does a home security system give me a discount on homeowners insurance?

One benefit of installing a home alarm system is that it may qualify you for a discount on your homeowners insurance policy. Because security systems reduce your risk of being burglarized, insurance companies are less likely to have to pay out a claim for stolen property.

Depending on your insurance company, you may qualify for as much as 15% off your premium.2

Insurance companies usually request a certificate as evidence that you have installed a security system. All of our best security systems of 2018 provide certificates to help you take advantage of discounts offered by your homeowners insurance company.


Get more details about saving on homeowners insurance:

Can purchasing a home security system decrease my homeowners insurance?

Can I install a home security system if I rent?

It used to be difficult for renters to take advantage of the protection provided by residential home security—whether you rented a house or an apartment. Thanks to advances in wireless home security and all-in-one security systems like Piper and Canary, renting is no longer an obstacle to home security.

Many of our best security systems of 2018 have special packages available to meet renters’ security needs. This is good news, especially when you consider that rental properties are at higher risk for burglary than occupant-owned residences.3


Learn more about home security for renters:

I rent an apartment. Should I still consider a home security system?

Will I be stuck in a long contract?

Nearly all professionally monitored home security systems require a contract. Most contracts require a 36-month commitment. It is possible to find systems that offer shorter contracts, but three years is the most common contract length. If you enter into a contract, make sure you understand the penalties and fees incurred for early termination. Most home security companies will charge you around 75% of the remaining term of the contract, but some require 80% or even 100% of the contract to be fulfilled.

Self-monitored systems are less likely to require a long-term contract. However, some systems—like Nest Secure—require a monthly subscription to access certain features such as cloud storage, live video streaming, or two-way talk.

What’s the Difference Between Home Security and Home Automation

We can’t talk about the best home security systems without getting into home automation. Today, you can get so much more than peace of mind from your security system. But what are the benefits of home automation, and how does it interact with your home security system? Read on to learn why home automation and home security are a perfect match.

Home security summed up

Home security is the application of tools and technology to help keep you, your family, and your property safe. Home security is made up of many tools and resources including burglar alarms, security cameras, window and door sensors, reinforced locks, and more.

Home automation overview

Home automation uses technology to automate everyday activities like locking the doors, turning up the thermostat, or starting the coffee pot. Home automation is what makes smart products (like a smart thermostat) smart.

How they work together

It really is a match made in heaven. Home automation makes home security more accessible and it gives your security system an IQ boost. Instead of having to turn the car around to make sure you locked the door, you can use your phone to double-check. Best of all—if you did forget—the only thing you need to do is swipe the screen and your smart security system will lock everything up tight.

Why you want both

It’s easy to dismiss home automation as something meant for super-geeks or a luxury item for people who are willing to pay for convenience. But there’s a lot more to it than that. These are our favorite reasons to combine home automation and home security:

  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Remote control of your home and systems from anywhere
  • The ability to check on kids, pets, or anyone else who has to be on their own when you’re away from home
Person holding phone with security app

What makes a home security system smart?

The difference between a traditional home security system and a smart one is that different components within the system can communicate with one another. Not only does smart technology give you the ability to control and monitor your home alarm system from anywhere—it also makes your system able to respond to your habits and routines. These are the most common elements of a smart security system:

Control panel or hub

This is the brain of your smart system. The hub is where all the parts come together for control and communication.

Remote access

A security system with home automation makes it possible for you to arm and disarm your alarm system from anywhere—using your phone, tablet, or computer. If your smart security system is connected to a smart thermostat or light control, you can also control temperature and lighting no matter where you are.

Remote monitoring

Most smart home security systems provide options for you to livestream video and receive alerts when a door is opened or a motion detector is activated. Some even let you talk to people at your house through your smartphone.

Environmental controls

Other common home automation features help you monitor the overall health of your home. Environmental sensors include smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You can also add sensors that let you know about air quality or the presence of water in a basement.

Smart accessories

Not all components of a smart security system come as part of home protection. What you want to look for is the ability to integrate your security system with home automation products like smart lights, locks, thermostats, appliances, and garage door controls.

Voice control

The latest development in home security and home automation is the ability to control your system and accessories with the sound of your voice. Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa let you turn up the heat, lock the door, or close the garage without moving a finger.

What Is DIY Home Security?

It’s an HGTV world, and more people are doing home repair and upgrades on their own instead of outsourcing to a pro. If you like to sling a sledgehammer, then you’ll love that DIY home security is on the rise. There are home security systems available that are 100% DIY, which means you pick the security products, set them up, and monitor them—all on your own.

Even better, you can go hybrid—opt for full-on professional monitoring with DIY installation. This can save you money and give you the satisfaction of upgrading your home’s security with your own two hands.

Not every company gives you that option, but three of our best home security systems of 2018 do: Frontpoint Home Security, Link Interactive, and Protect America. If you want to go this route, this is what you need to know about DIY installation.

DIY home security systems give you more control

You won’t have to miss half a day of work waiting for an alarm company installer to arrive. In addition, you have full control over how and where you install your security system, sensors, control panel, cameras, and more.

A DIY home security system can take longer to install

Because you’re doing this for the first time, it might take you a bit longer than a pro to get everything set up. But it can be worth it when you save a couple hundred dollars by skipping a professional install.

DIY means you might have to ask questions

If you weren’t born with a sixth sense about where to place wireless sensors, the control panel, and other components of your home security system, you can turn to your security company for help. Companies usually offer two support options: electronic prompts or verbal walk-throughs. One guides you step-by-step via online support, and the other is a simple phone call where an expert can walk you through the tricky parts.

DIY can impact guarantees and warranties

When an alarm system professional installs your home security system, their work is usually guaranteed if the system malfunctions due to improper setup. When you install the alarm system yourself, there are no guarantees and you’ll probably be on the hook for any issues related to how the system was installed.

Want to learn more about DIY home security? Check out our top DIY systems.

When Should I Go with a Professional Installation?

Professional installation of alarm systems and sensors for your home can make things simple. You’ll have an expert by your side who understands the best setup for your home security system. Alarm systems that require wiring and sensor placement benefit from professional installation companies—especially if an incorrectly placed motion sensor, door sensor, or security camera could lead to false alarms, or worse, an intruder.

Professional installers assess the layout of your home to determine where to place sensors, cameras, and devices for optimal performance. They can also resolve any issues with the alarm system along the way. And because the installer is certified and likely has years of experience on the job, you have added reassurance that the installation was done right.

The primary downsides to professional installation are the up-front cost and lack of flexibility.

Up-front costs

You’ll probably have to pay for professional installation, but that extra cost should come with a guarantee. This can protect your investment if equipment is damaged during installation and guard against any glitches due to faulty installation. Damage due to DIY installation may void the warranties on equipment.

Lack of flexibility

You’ll have to schedule an appointment to have your security system professionally installed, and you’ll also need to remain at home throughout the installation. In addition to the time commitment, many professionally installed security systems have restrictions that may prohibit you from taking equipment with you if you move.

Home security technology, equipment, and pricing changes often, and you can count on us to update these ratings and rankings throughout the year. Be sure to check back for updates and consult our in-depth reviews of our best home security companies.

Date effective January 20, 2018. Pricing and packages are current as of writing. Pricing and packages are subject to change.
  1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Burglary
  2. Allstate, “Home Insurance Discounts
  3. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary

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