Best Home Security Systems of 2019

We researched the top 10 best home security systems when it comes to service, pricing & more. See why we rated Vivint as #1 in home security.
Written by | Updated August 8, 2019
Best Overall
Vivint logoVivint
  • Smart home tech
  • Customizable
  • Month-to-month contracts
  • Smart home tech
  • Customizable
  • Month-to-month contracts
Best Monitoring
ADT Protect Your Home logoADT
  • Fast response
  • Good guarantees
  • 140+ years of experience
  • Fast response
  • Good guarantees
  • 140+ years of experience
Best Service
Frontpoint logoFrontpoint
  • Risk-free trial
  • DIY installation
  • Great customer service
  • Risk-free trial
  • DIY installation
  • Great customer service
Budget Pick
protect america logoProtect America
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Locked-in rates
  • Many package options
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Locked-in rates
  • Many package options
No-Contract Pick
logo of simplisafe home securitySimpliSafe
  • Cheap monthly monitoring
  • Money-back guarantee
  • No fancy extras
  • Cheap monthly monitoring
  • Money-back guarantee
  • No fancy extras

How We Picked the Best Home Security Systems

We know home security. Over the past five years, more than one million people have come to us for home security information and recommendations. And we’ve helped thousands of those people pick the best home security system for their homes. We test, research, and compare home security companies based on the factors that matter most when looking at security systems—cost, response time, installation, features, customer service, style/design, connectivity, and ease of use.

Person testing home security equipment eq

SafeWise getting “hands-on” with home security equipment.

Compare the Best Home Security Systems

Lowest Price
Contract Required
Amazon Alexa
Google Home
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Vivint Smart Home logo ADT logo Frontpoint logo protect america logo logo of simplisafe home security Link Interactive logo blue brinks home security logo logo of scout alarm image of Nest Secure's logo LifeShield Logo
$29.99 $27.99 $34.99 $19.99 $14.99 $30.99 $29.00 $9.99 $19.00 $29.99
No* Yes Yes Yes No No* Yes No No No*
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages

Data effective 06/17/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.

Best Home Security System Reviews

1. Vivint: Best Overall

Vivint provides state-of-the-art home security combined with leading home automation tech.

SafeWise Rating: 5.0

Vivint logo and equipment: indoor camera, touch panel, doorbell, thermostat, and door lock

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There’s a reason Vivint put “smart home” in 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.


  • High-end technology and equipment
  • Customizable security packages
  • Short-term contract available
  • Highly-rated mobile app
  • Free in-home security consultation


  • Higher overall cost
  • Negative customer reviews

Vivint’s monitoring fees are in line with our other top security companies, which is impressive given the advanced proprietary equipment and services that come with a Vivint home security system. We also like that Vivint gives you the option to buy your equipment outright, which means you’re off the hook for a long-term contract—but that does require a hefty up-front payment.

Vivint’s equipment is the most technologically advanced of all the security companies on our list. Its Smart Home 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. And Vivint includes full access to its mobile app with every package—a perk that most companies make you pay for.

One of the biggest perks of Vivint’s advanced home automation tech is the full integration of smart home management and home security. All of the equipment works together—from security cameras to smart locks—and you need only one app to control it all. Plus, Vivint works with third-party smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Nest.

Vivint has been recognized for its outstanding customer service by organizations like J.D. Power and the Business Intelligence Group. The company employs around 2,000 people to support its customers (there are about 1.4 million of them in North America), and these customer service experts have a reputation for answering 90% of customer calls in under a minute.

Favorite Plan
Vivint Equipment

Vivint's Smart Home Video

Our Pick for Vivint: Smart Home Video

We like the Smart Home Video monitoring plan because it includes security cameras and video monitoring. For equipment, you can work with Vivint’s home security and home automation experts to put together a package that gives you the components and features you want.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• Remote access and control
• 100% cellular connection
• $49.99/mo.
• $99 installation fee

Bottom Line for Vivint

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

2. ADT: Best Monitoring

ADT has more monitoring centers and more experience than any other home security company.

SafeWise Rating: 4.5

ADT home security equipment and logo

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When it comes to home security monitoring, no one can beat ADT for experience. This home 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.


  • Fast response times
  • Outstanding customer guarantees
  • 140+ years of experience
  • Free whole-home risk assessment
  • Six redundant monitoring centers


  • Long contracts with no trial period
  • Expensive early termination fees

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

ADT’s six customer monitoring centers (more than any other security company has) make sure your security never goes offline. If one monitoring station faces an interruption of service, your home’s protection is instantly transferred to another center.

For smart home features, we recommend the ADT Pulse package. It delivers full IFTTT (If This Then That) technology to let you remotely 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. ADT also works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa so that you can control your security system with your voice.

ADT 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. We also like the six-month money-back service guarantee that provides a full refund of monitoring fees and installation costs if ADT is unable to resolve service issues during the first six months of your contract.

Favorite Plan

ADT Pulse®

Our Pick for ADT: ADT Pulse®

We recommend the ADT Pulse® plan because it includes home automation technology and wireless equipment. These features make home security easier for renters and people who may move before their contract is up.

• Wireless security monitoring
• Cell Guard®
• Mobile access and alerts
• $52.99/mo.
• $99 installation fee

Bottom Line for ADT

ADT is the most experienced security monitoring company in the country. Even though prices are on the higher end, years of experience combined with the most monitoring centers in the land assure ADT customers get fast response times and helpful service when they need it most.

3. Frontpoint: Best Customer Service

Frontpoint offers great customer service and the best DIY installation experience.

SafeWise Rating: 4.0

Frontpoint indoor camera, hub, keypad, and mobile app

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


  • No-cost DIY installation
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Smoke, CO monitoring in basic plans
  • Works with Alexa, Google Home


  • No professional installation option
  • Higher monitoring fees

Higher monitoring fees and costly early termination fees hurt Frontpoint’s affordability score. But this alarm company delivers more in a basic package (like smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring) than many other home security companies, which explains why you’ll find higher entry-level prices.

Frontpoint offers high-end equipment and includes more than door and window sensors in basic plans. Best of all, you don’t have to pay more to have your system installed—Frontpoint is a leader in DIY installation. And we know firsthand how easy it is to set up a Frontpoint security system. Frontpoint’s smartphone app also gets high ratings from both Android and iOS users.

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 DIY home security that’s easy to integrate with home automation.

Frontpoint is a customer service superstar. For years, this company has topped our list when it comes to customer satisfaction. Fast, comprehensive service and a real interest in what each customer needs make Frontpoint stand out.

Favorite Plan
Frontpoint mobile, app, camera, hub, and doorbell

Frontpoint Interactive Plan

Our Pick for Frontpoint: Interactive Plan

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

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• Remote access and control
• Crash & Smash protection
• $44.99/mo.

Bottom Line for Frontpoint

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.

4. Protect America: Budget Pick

Protect America’s affordable rates make home security accessible to nearly any household.

SafeWise Rating: 3.6

Protect America home security equipment

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Protect America is the most affordable residential security company to make our top five. It has the lowest monthly monitoring fees, starting at just $19.99 per month—but that price is only for standard, landline monitoring. 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.


  • Lifetime warranty
  • Many packages to choose from
  • Three monitoring options
  • Customer-first policies


  • Cheapest packages require a landline
  • Package and upgrade options can be confusing

We calculated the cost over three years for all the security systems we evaluated, and you can get Protect America security for under $6 per week (excluding taxes and other fees) over the course of a 36-month contract. That takes a little bit of the sting out of the three-year commitment.

Protect America’s main focus is on security, but the company does offer smart home compatibility and upgrades that can give you smart lock control, smart lighting, and a few other home automation functions.

The best customer service feature offered by Protect America is the lifetime equipment warranty. If something goes wrong with any of your Protect America equipment, the company will swap out the defective item for a brand new one.

Favorite Plan

Protect America Silver Package

Our Pick for Protect America: Silver Package

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

• Professional monitoring
• Mobile app with broadband and cellular
• Professional installation available
• $37.99/mo.

Bottom Line for Protect America

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.

5. SimpliSafe: No-Contract Pick

SimpliSafe does home security on its own terms, which means no sales people or long contracts.

SafeWise Rating: 3.5

SimpliSafe hub, keypad, alarm, camera, and smoke detector

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SimpliSafe has set out to change the home security industry. It doesn’t employ any salespeople and lets you choose the equipment and monitoring level you want. SimpliSafe equipment is modern, sleek, and easy to set up. Best of all, you don’t have to sign a contract. Read the full SimpliSafe review.


  • Lifetime equipment warranty
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Customizable plans and equipment
  • Great options for renters


  • Limited home automation options
  • Higher up-front costs

SimpliSafe offers a no-pressure online shopping experience and provides professional monitoring on demand (that means no contracts). The straightforward pricing makes it easy to know what you’ll spend out of pocket, but shelling out a few hundred dollars up front can be tricky for some of us.

The good news is that once you buy your SimpliSafe security system, you don’t have any other required expenses. But we strongly recommend adding 24/7 professional monitoring. You can get monitoring for just $15 per month, and you can cancel at any time with no penalties.

We also like SimpliSafe for smaller homes and apartments—the simple packages are perfect if you have less square footage, and the wireless installation makes it work whether you own your home or rent.

Favorite Plan
SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe Hearth Package

Our Pick for SimpliSafe: Hearth Package

SimpliSafe’s Hearth Package includes all the home security essentials you need, plus fire and smoke detection. This isn’t the cheapest SimpliSafe package, but we think the addition of smoke protection is a plus worth paying for.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• 105 dB siren
• $14.99/mo.
• $374 equipment package

Bottom Line for SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe has some of the cheapest monthly monitoring fees available, plus high-end equipment that comes with a lifetime warranty. Best of all, this security company doesn’t use high-pressure sales, so you won’t end up paying for more security than you need.

6. Link Interactive: Best Entry-Level Plan

If you’re wary of long contracts, Link Interactive offers contracts as short as 12 months.

SafeWise Rating: 3.4

Link Interactive control panel, thermostat, skybell, door sensor, and smoke detector

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This security company provides some of the most comprehensive basic plans we’ve seen. Link Interactive’s mid-level Gold package offers everything except video monitoring and live streaming. That includes 24/7 professional monitoring, mobile access and alerts, home automation, and 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.


  • Crash & Smash protection with all plans
  • Friendly customer service
  • Home automation capability
  • Up to 48 window and door sensors in basic package


  • High termination fees
  • Confusing DIY installation

You can get a Link Interactive system with a contract as short as 12 months, which is better than the three-year contracts that are standard across the 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.

You’ll get up-to-date equipment from Link Interactive and a highly-rated mobile app. Unlike some other home security companies, Link Interactive provides up to 48 sensors in its basic package, including both fire and CO alarms.

Link Interactive doesn’t save home automation for only its top-tier packages. It uses Z-Wave enabled devices to make it easy for you to automate lights, locks, thermostats, and more.

Favorite Plan

Link Interactive Gold Plan

Our Pick for Link Interactive: Gold Plan

This Gold Plan offers security you can rely on plus home automation and energy management features. We also like that fire and CO alarms are included.

• 100% cellular connection
• Home automation
• 24/7 professional monitoring
• $39.99/mo.

Bottom Line for Link Interactive

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

7. Brinks: Best Money-Back Guarantee

Brinks has customer-first policies that make it less risky to try out a home security system.

SafeWise Rating: 3.3

Brinks control panel, camera, motion sensor, door sensor, and zwave siren

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This is the only residential security company we’ve found that gives you a full three months to decide whether or not you like your system. This 90-day money-back guarantee makes it easy to try out a Brinks alarm system—but if you cancel after the trial period, you could owe up to 80% of the remainder of your contract. Read the full Brinks review.


  • Locked-in rates
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Power outage backup
  • Wireless door and motion sensors


  • High early termination fees
  • Expensive monthly monitoring

Brinks stands behind its home security systems with a 90-day money-back guarantee and a two-year equipment warranty. Its monitoring fees begin under $30, and you can usually find a good deal to help with security equipment costs.

One of the most exciting things Brinks offers is the Nest Secure system. You can buy your Nest equipment from Brinks and add professional monitoring with no contract required. Brinks also provides financing options for both Nest Secure and Brinks home security packages.

Brinks is one of the only security companies that offers both DIY and professional installation, so you can pick the option that works best for you. Just keep in mind that pro installation will come with a fee.

Favorite Plan
Brinks control panel, motion sensor, door sensor, and camera

Brinks' Home Complete

Our Pick for Brinks: Home Complete

The Home Complete with Video package will run you about $40 per month, but it comes with impressive extras like a doorbell camera and an indoor security camera with night vision. You also get 24/7 live streaming video, which provides peace of mind whether you’re at home or on the go.

• Smart control panel
• Hacker protection
• Hands-free disarm
• $39/mo.

Bottom Line for Brinks

Brinks offers cutting-edge technology that won’t let you down during a phone or power outage. Plus, the company’s money-back guarantee makes Brinks a solid choice for the commitment-averse that want to try out a home security system before signing a long contract. Just make up your mind before the trial period ends to avoid termination fees.

8. Scout: Best for Staying Out of a Long Contract

With Scout, you control your home security—from picking components to adding monitoring.

SafeWise Rating: 3.2

Scout security system with indoor camera and door lock

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


  • Low monthly monitoring fees
  • Tool-free installation
  • Multiple colors and finishes
  • Smart home capabilities


  • No security cameras

We like Scout’s sleek home security equipment, easy DIY installation, and affordable, contract-free monthly monitoring. When it comes to putting your Scout system together, you can choose from preselected “Scout Packs” or build a custom security system to meet your needs.

Scout’s security packs range from $229 to $549, and you can pay for everything up front or apply to pay with monthly installments. That flexibility is nice, but we don’t like that you need to pay $9.99 per month if you want to monitor the system through your smartphone.

If you’re looking for home automation, Scout works with Nest products, but its app doesn’t let you control Nest devices. That means you’ll have to add a Nest Aware account to keep tabs on everything.

Favorite Plan
product image of Scout Security System

Scout Always On+

Our Pick for Scout: Always On+

The Always On+ plan from Scout costs a little bit more, but it includes 24/7 professional monitoring, which adds extra peace of mind.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• Email and text alerts
• Cellular and battery backup
• $19.99/mo. (equipment must be purchased separately)

Bottom Line for Scout

Scout lets you control your home’s level of protection. You also control how much you spend because you build the system yourself. But equipment options are limited, and Scout doesn’t offer any security cameras.

9. Nest: Best DIY Self-Monitoring

Nest Secure is smart and it helps protect your home with DIY or professional monitoring.

SafeWise Rating: 3.0

Nest home security equipment

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Nest Secure provides innovative home security that’s designed to be self-monitored, although you do have the option to add on professional monitoring. 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 $400, and that doesn’t include any security cameras. Read more in our full Nest review.


  • Easy DIY setup
  • Responsive door and window sensors
  • Stylish design
  • Free Nest App


  • Expensive up-front costs
  • Skimpy starter package

Nest is pricier than most other DIY home security systems, but it’s one of the best choices if you want to monitor your system yourself. Nest’s mobile app is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly that we’ve seen.

The biggest perk of Nest Secure is its seamless integration with other Nest devices, like the Nest Protect Smoke Alarm and thermostat. If you’ve already got smart home devices from Nest in your home, adding Nest Secure is a natural choice to keep your family safe.

Right now Nest Secure has a few gaps in its security features (like an alarm that’s automatically delayed by 30 seconds), but it’s still worth considering—especially if all you need is basic home security that you can monitor yourself.

Favorite Plan
Nest Secure Equipment

Starter Pack with Nest Cam Indoor

Our Pick for Nest: Starter Pack with Nest Cam Indoor

This expanded starter pack bundle includes the Nest Guard hub and multiple Nest Detect sensors, plus one indoor Nest Cam to help you keep an eye on your home. You’ll save money by purchasing the bundle instead of adding on cameras later.

• Remote arm/disarm
• Live video with free Nest App
• Optional professional monitoring
• $498 for bundle (add 24/7 monitoring starting at $19/mo.)

Bottom Line for Nest

If you want to be in charge of your home’s security, Nest Secure is a good choice. Through the Nest App, you can monitor your home, watch live video, and arm or disarm your system. And if you decide you need more protection, it’s easy to add professional monitoring to your Nest system.

10. LifeShield: Best Smoke and CO Monitoring

LifeShield provides a lot of options to help you find the right residential security system.

SafeWise Rating: 2.6

LifeShield home security equipment package

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LifeShield is one of the only security companies to provide smoke and CO monitoring in every package. It’s also known for high-quality equipment that’s manufactured in-house. Read our full LifeShield review.


  • Smoke and CO alarms in every package
  • Apartment-friendly options
  • 3 layers of monitoring
  • Mobile access


  • No home automation
  • Weak warranties

If you’re watching your budget, LifeShield has some of the most affordable equipment packages. You can get a basic home security package (that still includes fire and CO monitoring) for around $200, which is about half of what you usually see from other security companies.

We also like that you can get professional monitoring from LifeShield with or without a contract. To stay out of a contract you have to buy your equipment outright. If you lease equipment, it means a three-year contract and a cancellation fee equal to 100% of your remaining contract.

Whether you opt for a contract or not, LifeShield offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you get time to try out the system and make sure the equipment and monitoring are right for you.

Favorite Plan

Security Advantage

Our Pick for LifeShield: Security Advantage

The Security Advantage package provides all the basics you need to keep your home secure, plus video monitoring.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• Free mobile app
• 30 days of video storage
• $39.99/mo.

Bottom Line for LifeShield

LifeShield provides more than security from intruders. Every package also includes fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide protection. You also get three levels of monitoring through broadband, cellular, and landline connections.

Home Security System FAQs

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

Landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring are different ways your home security system can be connected to the monitoring center. Landline monitoring uses a home phone line, broadband uses an internet connection, and cellular monitoring uses a cellular uplink.

How susceptible each connection is to tampering and which options are available in your area are important to consider when you’re looking for the right security system for your home. Landline monitoring is most vulnerable because a phone line could be cut, and cellular is least vulnerable because there are no wires.

Every company on our best home security systems list offers broadband or cellular connections, but not all give you a landline option. Landline connections used to be the most common, but broadband and cellular have taken over because they have expanded availability and fewer security vulnerabilities.

Related Questions

Can I afford a home security system?

At first glance, a $40 or $50 per month monitoring fee can seem steep, but that adds up to $600 or less per year. That’s still significant, but it’s a lot less than the average loss of a break-in. In 2017, people whose homes were burglarized lost an average of $2,416.¹ We found that most residential security systems cost less than that (usually by at least $1,000) for the whole term of the contract, which is typically 36 months—and that includes standard equipment.

When you factor in the financial and emotional costs of a break-in, the expense of a home security system is almost always less than the loss you’d face if the worst were to happen. Keep in mind that the more features and extras you add to your system, the bigger the price tag. Some top-tier packages cost upwards of $60 per month.

But we don’t want you to risk financial security for home security. Take the time to figure out your budget and identify exactly what you want from a home security system. That way you won’t end up paying for extra bells and whistles that you don’t need.

Related Questions

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

A professionally monitored security system has trained professionals keeping an eye on your home 24/7. Monitoring centers contact you if the alarm is triggered, and they can dispatch emergency services to your home. We recommend professional monitoring because it’s your most direct line to help if something happens.

With a self-monitored system, you and other authorized household members are the ones checking in to make sure everything’s okay at home. Depending on the security system you choose, that may or may not include motion detector alerts, outside security camera alerts, and life-saving alerts like notification that your smoke alarm went off.

You can save money with self-monitoring by avoiding monthly monitoring fees. But that can leave your home more vulnerable because you won’t have experts watching around the clock—and you won’t always have a connection to local law enforcement if you end up needing emergency assistance.

More security companies are offering contract-free professional monitoring options that are more affordable. You can get 24/7 monitoring for as low as $15 per month from DIY home security companies like SimpliSafe.

Related Questions

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

This can be a tricky question. “Wireless” usually refers to the use of wireless technology like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for monitoring and to connect the components of your system. “Wired” on the other hand, refers to a home security system that is hardwired into your home’s electrical system.

That makes it easy to assume that a wireless home security system would not have any wires at all, but that’s not always the case. Some wireless security systems use a hardwired control panel that needs to be connected to your home’s electrical system—ADT’s Pulse® systems are a good example. There are truly wireless systems, like Frontpoint, that don’t require any hardwiring.

Don’t worry—being wired or wireless doesn’t really impact how well a home security system will protect your home. If power goes out, or the internet or cellular uplink goes down, the best security systems are designed to stay connected to the monitoring center (or send out an alarm) if the connection is disrupted.

From a practical perspective, wireless systems have more flexibility if you may move or don’t want to put holes in walls. A hardwired system could be the perfect option if you want a complete smart home and you’re able to incorporate the installation into a renovation or new construction.

Related Questions

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

Yes. Most insurance companies offer a discount when you install a security system. Depending on your insurance, you may qualify for as much as 15% off your premium.² When you’re looking for the best home security system to buy, be sure to verify that you’ll get a certificate to submit to your home insurance company after installation.

A word of warning—if you forgo 24/7 professional monitoring, you might not qualify for a discount. It could be worth weighing the monthly monitoring fee against the monthly or annual savings on your home insurance premium.

Related Questions

Can I install a home security system if I rent?

Yes. Thanks to wireless technology, it’s now easy to add security to your home—whether you own, rent, or live in a dorm or with roommates. Many of our top home security systems have packages that meet renters’ security needs. To make it even easier, we also ranked the best security systems for renters.

Related Questions

Will I be stuck in a long contract?

Possibly. It depends on which security company you choose. Many professionally monitored home security systems require a contract, and contract length can range from three to five years. But today you’ll find more home security options than ever before that offer shorter contracts and month-to-month (contract-free) terms.

The perks of a contract might include the ability to finance the cost of equipment. Many no-contract options require you to pay for your home security equipment up front. That can be tough when you’re looking at equipment costs that start around $300 on the low end and run all the way into the thousands, depending on what you want.

We like the flexibility of completely contract-free options (like SimpliSafe and Scout) because you can add 24/7 monitoring when you go on vacation—or during the holidays to thwart porch pirates—and drop it when everything’s back to normal.

Before you jump into a contract, be sure to read all the fine print, because most home security companies will charge you around 75% of the remaining term of your contract if you cancel early—and some require 100%.

Related Questions

What’s the difference between home security and home automation?

The best home security systems use tools and technology to help keep you, your family, and your property safe. Home security is made up of many devices and resources including burglar alarms, security cameras, door and window sensors, motion sensors, reinforced door locks, and more.

Home automation uses technology to automate everyday activities like locking the doors, turning up the thermostat, or starting the coffee pot. Home automation is connecting smart products (like a smart thermostat) to one another over an internet connection and a protocol like Z-Wave or Zigbee. When connected, they can speak to each other and you can control them from smart speakers, a hub, or a phone. When combined with home security, home automation can help increase your home’s energy efficiency, remotely control your alarm system, and let you check in on kids or pets when you’re away from home.

Most of the companies that made our top home security systems offer some combination of home security and home automation—but a smart home upgrade can cost you. Different equipment, more sensors, mobile apps, and other features add up, so consider what you can afford.
And be aware that not all smart devices are compatible with all home security systems. If you’ve already made an investment in smart home tech (like Nest or Ring products), make sure your new home security system can work with your existing equipment.

Related Questions

What makes a home security system smart?

The difference between a traditional alarm 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.

The most common elements of a smart security system include a control panel (or hub), an app for remote access and monitoring, environmental controls, and smart accessories like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You can also find smart security cameras and lights to augment your home’s security. We like security cameras with two-way voice that let you talk to visitors (welcome or not) and family members even if you’re stuck in traffic.

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What are smart sensors?

Many home security systems offer extra sensors that provide protection beyond keeping out intruders. These sensors help you protect your home from things like floods and freezing temperatures. Smart sensors take information from the physical surroundings to detect changes in the environment that could signal trouble. Some security systems also use smart sensors to “listen” for CO and smoke alarms. When those sensors hear an alarm, both you and the monitoring center are notified and emergency help is dispatched if needed.

Flood Sensors

Floods can happen in every US state and can be the result of a natural disaster or a faulty appliance. Floods may range in severity from a few inches of water due to a leaky pipe to several feet of water from a severe storm. Flood sensors (sometimes called water sensors) are designed to send out an alert when the sensor comes in contact with water. Early notice of water in your home can prevent what could amount to thousands of dollars in damage. Flood sensors are a smart addition to any home security system, but they’re especially important if you live in a flood zone or have evidence of previous water damage in your home.

Freeze Sensors

If you live in an area that frequently sees sub-freezing temperatures, you know the risks of frozen pipes. Freeze sensors (also called temperature sensors) monitor the air for drops in temperature and send out an alert when the temperature dips below a safe threshold—usually around 40℉.

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What is do-it-yourself home security?

If you like to sling a sledgehammer, then DIY home security might be right up your alley. Home security systems that are 100% DIY let you pick the security products, set them up, and monitor them—all on your own.

Even better, you can go hybrid and opt for full-on professional monitoring with DIY installation (think Frontpoint, Protect America, or Link Interactive). 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 you can find some of our favorites on our full list of the best DIY home security systems.

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When should I go with a professional installation?

Sometimes you don’t have a choice. High-end home security companies like Vivint and ADT offer only professional installation. But most other companies on our best home security systems list give you a DIY option.

Using professionals to install alarm systems and sensors can make things simple. You’ll have an expert by your side who understands the best setup for your home security system—and both ADT and Vivint provide free in-home security assessments to make sure you have the right protection for your home.

Alarm systems that require wiring and sensor or camera 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.

But there are some downsides to a pro install—primarily the up-front costs and the necessity of scheduling appointments and waiting around for techs to get the job done.

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1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Burglary
2. Allstate, “Home Insurance Discounts

Four Burglary Facts You Need to Know Now

Think you can’t afford a home security system? Think again.

  1. Burglaries cost around $2,500 a pop.
    In total, burglaries cost Americans an estimated $3.4 billion in losses in 2017. The average cost per burglary was $2,416.
  2. Burglaries happen every 22 seconds.
    Every 22.6 seconds, to be exact. That adds up to more than 1.4 million burglaries across America in 2017.
  3. Most burglaries happen to homes and involve force.
    Nearly 60% of all burglaries in 2017 involved forcible entry, and 67.2% were at residential properties. Cities with populations between 100,000 and 250,000 had the highest concentration of burglaries, with 175,848 offenses.
  4. Burglaries are on the decrease, but those that happen rarely get solved.
    Even though burglaries decreased by 7.6% between 2016 and 2017, there were still more than 1.4 million burglaries across America in 2017. Just 13.5% of those crimes resulted in an arrest or identification of the offender.

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, 2017 Crime in the United States, Burglary; FBI Crime Clock

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