Choosing the Best Smart Security System for Your Home.
A few years back, getting a home alarm monitoring service meant having to part with hundreds of dollars in installation costs, not to forget the monthly fees to keep the alarm system up and running.
And after making all those financial and legal commitments in the form of long-term contracts with the security company, you still had to deal with a couple of false alarms every month as the systems were not flexible.
The costs of installing an alarm system in a rental unit were steep, despite the fact that cases of burglary and home intrusion in rental properties were the highest.
The Internet of Things
Few years down the line, the home alarm systems market has seen massive improvements. Things are different now.
Technological advancements and the Internet of things have revolutionized the way we protect our homes. Even lowly renters can now install DIY home security systems that they can monitor using their mobile phones.
Whether you dwell in a studio apartment or a six-bedroom townhouse, these new home security systems will give you the peace of mind that you so much need at a very affordable cost.
DIY Home Security or Professionally Monitored Home Alarm System?
In most cases, these new home security systems don’t come with a monthly bill and will not require you to sign a bunch of contracts.
You will be in total control of how you protect your house. They are integrated with sensors and other DIY-friendly technologies, just plug-and-play. These types of home alarm systems don’t require professional installations and are appropriate for people who live in rented houses.
DIY home security system leaves you in charge of your apartment’s security; you will receive notifications in the form of text messages via your smartphone if something’s wrong. For instance, if someone breaks into your house, it’s up to you to notify the police.
If you would still like to install any of the numerous professionally monitored home alarm systems available in the market, no problem. It’s definitely the better option if you live in your own home and can foot the monthly bill.
Put into consideration the level of security you need in your home, how often you are away from your home, how busy you are, and your financial well being — how much are you willing to pay for a home alarm monitoring service?
All these factors will help you make an informed decision on the best home alarm system for your house.
5 best Key Features of a Good Home Alarm System
Whether you choose to go with a DIY system or a professionally monitored home security system, there are certain features you should look for when shopping for an alarm system. Some of these features include:
Backup battery. Any home security system worth the name should be able to wholly or partly function for some time without power. See also battery care
Compatible with other smart home devices. If you have invested your hard-earned dollars in smart home devices set up, consider installing a home security system that will easily integrate with your smart home setup.
High-decibel alarm. This will alert your neighbors and scare off burglars.
Sensors on your windows, doors, and hallways. The alarm will go off when a window or a door is broken or if the motion sensors on the hallways detect any movements.
An internet connected camera and a smartphone application. These two features will allow you to watch your home from wherever you are remote.
Some of the best security systems for your home include:
Vivint has done an exquisite job at integrating home automation and high-end home security into a single package.
The Vivint home security system is smartly designed to control your home’s security systems, HVAC appliances, video, and the lighting system. The company completely understands the meaning of internet of things.
You can control all these features of your home using the Vivint app. However, the Vivint home security system can only be installed professionally plus their price is quite high given the company’s BBB somewhat unimpressive rating.
Frontpoint offers both professional and DIY installation options. This is your premier wireless home alarm system if that’s what you are looking for.
The company’s systems are 100 percent cellular and extremely easy to install. Frontpoint home security systems are suitable for renters and homeowners alike.
Once you install, you will get 30 days of free trial and the company’s level of customer service is hard to come by.
Going through their reviews, you’ll hardly come across a negative comment about the company or its services. Frontpoint’s rating on BBB is an impressive A+.
Just like Frontpoint, Protect America offers both professional installation and DIY home security options. This is the most flexible home security system in the market giving you options to customize the service you want.
You can even choose what type of sensors you want to install on which part of your house. If a highly effective but cheap home alarm system is what you are looking for, Protect America is your best bet.
This BBB A-rated home security system gives you the best value for your money. Protect America offers additional protection from fires and high levels of carbon monoxide.
SimpliSafe offers a vast array of multi-sensor that can be easily customized at a very affordable rate.
It is very easy to install a SimpliSafe home security system by yourself, the company doesn’t actually offer professional installation, but they do offer live monitoring services. However, you will have to part with a reasonable monthly fee for it.
The system is completely wireless, and the power backup can last up to 96 hours.
ISmartAlarm is a highly flexible DIY home alarm system that is very easy to install. This security system is completely controlled via cell phone; you actually can’t monitor your home through a desktop computer with this system.
The cameras cannot save videos, so you will have to work with snapshots.
There are numerous DIY and monitored home alarm systems out there all offering similar services.
It’s not easy to choose one of them but knowing what to expect will go a long way towards helping you make the right choice.
The Best Home Monitoring System
The Internet of Things is continuously making it simpler to set up a home automation system that allows you to remotely control and monitor your door locks, thermostats, lights, vacuums, and much more using a smartphone app. It has also made it simple to monitor your home from pretty much everywhere. Smart security systems can come as highly customizable, do-it-yourself units or full-blown systems that require professional installation and monitoring.
Here are the top home monitoring systems to consider:
Vivint Smart Home App
Vivint has done a great job by integrating home automation with high-end home security to produce a single compact package. It’s currently one of the best home monitoring systems that are smartly designed to control your home’s security features, HVAC appliances, lighting, and video system.
All these features can be enjoyed by simply installing a Vivint app. On the downside though, it’s important to note that a Vivint home security system can only be installed by professionals and the price is relatively high considering the somewhat unimpressive BBB rating.
The Vivint Smart Home app is a full fledge smart home control system that connects all doorbell cameras, door and window sensors, security cameras, smoke detectors, smart thermostats, and much more into a single user interface.
The simple, intuitive app eliminates the need to walk into every room flipping switches or switching between different home controls apps. Vivint Smart Home App is perhaps the best remote home monitoring system that allows you to live more and manage less.
Features of the Vivint Home Control App
The Vivint Smart Home app provides the following:
Monitor your home security system from the comfort of your bed hence a peaceful sleep.
Optimize climate controls to enhance comfort and energy saving.
See and speak with your front-door visitors through Vivint doorbell cameras from anywhere you are.
Remotely lock and unlock your doors with Vivint Smart Locks.
Get mobile notifications in case your front door or garage door is left open.
Operate garage doors remotely from where you are as long as you have access to cellular or Wi-Fi networks.
Ensure that kids safely arrive home from school through the Ping indoor camera.
Vivint enhances security, energy efficiency, and convenience.
Top notch customer service
A streamlined network that connects all your homes smart systems (lighting, HVAC, security, video, and much more) in a single interface.
It’s slow to view doorbell camera and sometimes difficult to talk through the microphone or hear the audio.
The sky panel displays old videos first, so you have to scroll down through several videos.
Frontpoint provides both DIY and professional installation options. This is one of the best wireless home monitoring systems you can find on the market. Their systems are 100 percent cellular and very easy to install. Frontpoint home security systems suit renters and homeowners alike.
The company offers 30 days free trial with top class customer service. You’ll hardly come across any negative reviews about this product on various online retail platforms. Additionally, Frontpoint has an impressive BBB rating of A+, so you can be assured of their quality.
Design and Features
The Frontpoint’s control panel forms the brain of the system. It comes with a 7-inch full color touch screen that connects to Frontpoint through a cellular connection. You can easily arm and disarm the system on the panel, view sensor status, check the weather conditions, and control home automation devices like door locks, thermostats, and lights.
Additionally, you can view images from the onboard camera on the pane and from any other connected image sensor (for example, motion detectors with in-built cameras).
It also allows you to access the settings menu and run system tests, configure the panel to appear as a photo frame when idle, add users, add new devices, and edit sensor names.
The Frontpoint system offers different control means, including iOS or Android mobile app and a Web-based console, all powered by Alarm.com. The systems are easy to navigate but the app lacks support for modifying home automation rules. However, you can achieve that on the web portal.
How it Works
To arm the system, you only need to tap the status icon and check “Arm Stay” (window and door sensors armed) or “Arm Away” (arms all sensors, including motion sensors).
When you tap the clock icon on the upper right corner, it opens a screen displaying a running events history like alarm triggers, door openings, arm and disarm times, image uploads, and Web console login attempts.
By tapping the three-bar icon on the upper left corner, you’ll open a list of tabs that allow you to jump to the status page mentioned above, where you can control all the connected lighting devices. The notification tab leads you to a screen where you can activate push notifications as well as add notification rules.
An important rule may be something like sending a notification when your front door is left open for certain duration of time. You can also use your cellphones location to activate the rules through the system’s Geo-Services. For instance, you can send a reminder to trigger the arm, the system trigger when the phone crosses a specified geofence border.
Frontpoint is a great choice for DIY security systems with some good flexibility in terms of contract terms. However, you should be ready to pay more upfront fees for a 1-year plan than for a 3-year plan. You can choose from numerous monitoring plans and order specific hardware you require to protect your home from intruders, floods, or fire. The installation is equally simple, and system is relatively responsive.
Having said that, add-on devices are often more expensive, therefore, the total cost of the home monitoring system may be pricier than the competitors over a three-year period.
Easy to install
Highly responsive sensors
A wide selection of accessories
The monitoring plans and accessories are a little expensive.
Requires 1 or 3-years contract.
You require a top-tier plan to view live and recorded videos.
Just like Frontpoint, Protect America provides both DIY and professional home monitoring system installation options. It’s a very flexible home security system that offers options to customize the services as you please.
You can even decide on the kind of sensors you need on each section of the home. The alarm system is highly effective and affordable, so if you’re working on a budget, Protect America is what to go for.
Protect America equally has a good BBB rating of A, which assures you of great value for your money. The system provides additional protection features from fire and excessive levels of carbon monoxide within the building.
Protect America also offers the lowest possible pricing on the market for monitored service. The company takes a no fees, no hassle approach that utilizes GE equipment backed by a lifetime equipment warranty. So, the device is protected as long as you remain a Protect America customer.
Features of Protect America Home Monitoring System
The system comes with mobile access with cellular or broadband monitoring. Using any web-enabled device, you can arm and disarm your home monitoring system from the comfort of your smartphone, computer, or tablet. Additionally, you can set up customized email notifications or text alerts.
Customizable Monitoring Options
With Protect America home monitoring system, all you need is to pick the security system and then figure out which monitoring solutions are appropriate for you. You can decide to connect to a monitoring center through cellular uplink, broadband connection, or even a landline connection.
Ability to Hook Up the Existing Systems
Protect America offers the best home monitoring services when it comes to linking existing monitoring equipment to the new monitoring system. They simply take the existing security system and make the necessary upgrades to allow cellular uplink without any need to buy new equipment.
GE Wireless Systems
The security package comes with a free GE wireless security system. You don’t have to drill holes on your wall and there are no running cables through the system. It’s easy to set up and that’s why many clients do it as a DIY. Of course you can save the $199 installation fee by doing it yourself. And that’s not all; you can call their installation representative to lead you through the steps as you do the installation at no extra cost.
It’s now easy to locate and track your car with the Protect America home monitoring system, thanks to its real-time GPS tracking feature. You can keep your teen drivers out of trouble by keeping check on their whereabouts and whether they are speeding. Additionally, you’ll get alerts when your car is stolen or locate your car in a giant shopping mall if you can’t remember the location.
Warranties and Guarantees
What makes Protect America one of the best home monitoring systems is the free lifetime parts replacement warranty that accompanies the package.
Mobile access through cellular or broadband monitoring.
Easy to set up as a DIY.
Relatively affordable compared to the competitors.
Arming and disarming from any web-enabled device.
Has a basic control panel
Its limited in home automation features e.g. natural gas leaks.
SimpliSafe provides a wide range of multi-sensors that you can easily customize at convenient costs. This is among the simplest home monitoring systems and one of the best wireless home monitoring systems to install as a DIY, and the company does not provide professional installation services other than their live monitoring services at a reasonable monthly fee. The system is entirely wireless and its power backup lasts up to 96 hours.
SimpleSafe is quite impressive as a Do-it-yourself home security system. It comes with a number of easy to install sensors that keep your home comprehensively secure yet very user friendly. The system is designed to run continuously even if the power is cut off, which is often not the case with most DIY security kits.
Additionally, SimpleSafe features both cellular and live monitoring backups. In case of any security breach in your home, you can be confident that your system will keep you and the authorities informed.
Features of SimpliSafe
The most outstanding feature about SimpleSafe is how the company gives a lot of flexibility to its customers. You have the leverage to choose between professional monitoring and DIY monitoring, and you can switch the system on and off as you please.
For instance, you can pay for professional monitoring for a single month when you’re travelling out of town and switch back to DIY monitoring when at home. This is especially helpful to tenants and people operating on a tight budget. They can still protect their home without paying monthly monitoring fees.
Another great perk of installing SimpliSafe is the easily customized setup. You can pick an equipment package and make additions later on or build your own special package with the kind of equipment you need.
More features include:
SimpliSafe provides environmental sensors designed to protect you from a wide range of threats other than burglary. Carbon monoxide, fire, and water are some of the things that can pose threats to any home of family, so adding freeze sensors, water sensors, CO sensors, and smoke detectors can be a wise decision.
SimpliSafe provides 5 different packages with varying numbers of sensors and prices. The prices often range from $230 to $540, which is relatively affordable as compared to other DIY home monitoring systems.
Highly flexible. Easy to set up as a DIY. Relatively affordable.
The cheapest packages don’t incorporate video cameras, and can’t connect to lights, locks, or other home automation appliances through wireless connections like Zigbee or Z-Wave.
Home security keeps evolving by the day, but so far, Simplisafe is among the most favorite DIY home monitoring system to consider. You’ll less likely find a system with live monitoring and easy set up at such a reasonable price. If flexibility is your priority, don’t look beyond SimpliSafe.
ISmartAlarm is another flexible DIY home monitoring system that is pretty straightforward to set up. This alarm system is entirely managed from a smartphone. There’s no option for desktop monitoring. Again, the cameras can’t save videos, meaning that you’ll have to work with snapshots.
It’s hard to put a price tag on the peace of mind that comes with a secure home, but that doesn’t mean you should spend a fortune on a home monitoring system. With the iSmartAlarm system, you’ll get a complete home security package at just about $199 without a contract or monthly fees.
All you need is to set up the motion sensors, alarms, and cameras and monitor everything from the company’s free app. This is a smart but affordable home security system that suits the needs of most new generation DIY-ers.
It’s important to note that this home security system doesn’t offer live monitoring, something that many skeptics are always quick to point out. When any intrusion triggers your alarm, you’ll get a text alert and an automated phone call on your cellphone, but it won’t alert the operator or the police. So, it’s your responsibility to inform the relevant authorities about the breach.
The iSmartAlarm is definitely not something you’d install to protect your Picasso, but it surely offers great security features for lower-stake scenarios. Consumers who have cried foul of highly-priced home security systems finally have a legitimate and cost-effective alternative. Its control and customizability are other additions that cannot be wished away.
Features of iSmartAlarm Home Security System
Simply put, iSmartAlarm is a modest system for securing a home within a slim budget. If you’ve probably invested in a more expensive system, you can still consider switching to iSmartAlarm and bid goodbye to those expensive monthly bills.
Here are some features you’ll love about iSmartAlarm:
Flexible features and customizable – iSmartAlarm comes with a variety of sensors that offer comprehensive coverage. The most preferred package costs about $199 and includes a motion detector, 2 remote tags for arming and disarming the system, 2 contact sensors that detect when windows and doors are open, and the CubeOne system brain with a built-in panic siren.
User-friendly – The system is easy to install. All you have to do is to plug it into a power outlet, connect to a router, and allow the app to lead you through every step of the installation process. The contact sensors, remote tags, and motion detectors then connect to the system within a few seconds.
Easy to set up. Expandable. HD quality videos. Multiple packages. Free cloud storage. No monthly fees. 100 percent wireless. No contracts.
Lacks live monitoring feature. Requires IFTTT when connecting to non-iSmartAlarm appliances. Issues of silent sirens. Delayed security camera notification. Does not notify the police on your behalf.
Depending on your budget and security needs, you can acquire a home monitoring system you can monitor yourself or subscribe to the best home security monitoring company that offers 24/7 home surveillance. It can be a little costly, but you should be willing to pay more to safeguard your valuable Picasso.
However, if you’re not ready to spend on a dedicated security system, there are plenty of home monitoring systems that you can install on your phone or tablet and easily monitor your home from anywhere. We sampled through the myriad of options on the market to bring you these great brands that you won’t go wrong with. So, choose the best remote home monitoring system that best suits your needs or budget.
Why we picked it:
Designed for motion-detected and continuous video recording to capture all camera footage
Automatically sends mobile Person Alerts when guests are detected at your door
Create Activity Zones using a mobile device to closely monitor specific areas