Shopping locally is a great way to support small businesses, but when it comes to home security, using a local provider may not always be your smartest move. While the East Coast company Ackerman Security has a lot of the same positive traits as bigger national security companies, it falls short when it comes to customer service—and you might have a tough time getting out of your contract if you move out of Ackerman’s limited service area.
Ackerman’s packages start at around $99 for the basics, but anything beyond that will be between you and your sales rep. There is an undisclosed installation fee that many customers say they didn’t know about until they were billed for it, so be sure to ask about it up front. You can’t self-monitor your system, but monthly monitoring is only about $20, and it includes mobile access to your system through the highly rated Alarm.com app.
You have to sign a contract with Ackerman in order to receive services, and keep in mind that because Ackerman doesn’t cover the whole country, you may have issues if you have to move outside the company’s service area. Customers say that Ackerman has continued to charge them for monitoring even after they moved and that cancelling the contract requires a lot of snail-mail hassle and red tape.
Ackerman doesn’t disclose information about warranties or money-back guarantees, but it does guarantee that if your home is burglarized while it’s being protected by an Ackerman system, the company will reimburse you for 200% of your total losses.
Smoke monitoring in basic package
Undisclosed installation fee
No self-monitoring option
Small service area
Difficult contract cancellation
Features and Usability
Ackerman uses Honeywell equipment, which is a well-known security industry standard. The basic package comes with wireless door and window sensors, a motion sensor, and a wireless keypad. You can add on additional devices like video cameras and flood sensors for more security, and lighting modules and other smart devices for home automation. You can also connect your system and smart devices to your Amazon Alexa for voice control. Even basic systems come with remote smartphone access through the Alarm.com app, and Ackerman also offers medical monitoring through a First Alert emergency pendant.
If the installation process goes smoothly, you’ll probably enjoy your experience with Ackerman. But if there are any problems—like common glitches with equipment or compatibility issues—then you might be facing an uphill battle. Through researching customer reviews, we learned that Ackerman’s customer service is a lot like the old poem about the girl with the curl: when they’re good, they’re very, very good, but when they’re bad, they’re horrid.
Customers with system issues complained of being shuffled through various levels of unhelpful customer service. Some reviewers said they were stuck paying for a nonworking security system as they tried and failed (sometimes for months) to get Ackerman to resolve the issue.
Quality Honeywell devices
Medical monitoring equipment
Home automation options
Amazon Alexa integration
Poor customer service
No backup monitoring center
Ackerman Security started in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1967, and it’s been steadily growing ever since. It’s still not a large company, though—it serves customers only in the metro areas of Atlanta, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. But despite being a regional security provider, it installs equipment by leading security manufacturers like Honeywell and Yale, the same brand names also used by major national security companies like ADT.
Because Ackerman is a regional company, it has only one monitoring center, with no backups. Ackerman requires professional installation of its systems, and you won’t find much information about equipment and pricing online. When we called to find out more, we were told that we couldn’t get any pricing information until a sales rep came out to the house for a home security consultation.
If Ackerman has so many poor customer service reviews, why has it been in business for so long?
It’s possible that this is simply a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. When we did find positive reviews of Ackerman Security, most talked about service that was adequate and satisfactory.
We suspect that most Ackerman customers are quietly content with their security systems because they’ve simply never had a problem, and they probably recommend the system to their friends and neighbors, keeping Ackerman in business. Unfortunately, when customers do have problems, it seems like Ackerman doesn’t step up to remedy them, and customers make it known. That has significantly marred their reputation.
How does Ackerman medical monitoring work?
Ackerman uses a medical monitoring pendant made by First Alert (the company best known for its “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ads). You wear the lightweight pendant around your neck, and if you fall or have some other kind of medical emergency, you can push the button to alert the monitoring center. Monitoring center agents will contact first responders, and they can even share important information with medical personnel ahead of time, like allergies you may have and medications you’re taking.
What kind of monitoring center does Ackerman operate?
The Ackerman monitoring center has live agents, and it is both UL and Five Diamond certified through The Monitoring Association (or TMA). To achieve Five Diamond certification, a monitoring center must meet strict standards, including having a low number of false dispatches and consistently passing random surprise inspections.
How does the Alarm.com app work?
Many security companies use the Alarm.com app to provide a self-monitoring option for DIY security—but Ackerman has integrated the app with professional monitoring to give you added control over your system, even when you’re not at home.
The app gets great reviews, and it has a user-friendly interface. You can turn your system on and off and control other smart devices like lights and the thermostat right from your smartphone. The app also uses push notifications to alert you if your alarm goes off—and you can set rules to have it alert you to other events, like a particular door opening, or a certain person using their code to turn off the system.
What is the Response Time Guarantee?
Ackerman has a 45-second Response Time Guarantee, which means that the Ackerman monitoring center will contact you within 45 seconds of receiving an alarm event at your residence. Keep in mind that you may have to wait longer than 45 seconds depending on the amount of time it takes for the alarm to register at the monitoring station. Additionally, Ackerman can’t control how long it takes for first responders to arrive at your home.
The Bottom Line
If you live in the Ackerman service area, you’re planning to live there long term, and you have friends and neighbors who have Ackerman Security and like it, then you might want to consider it as your home security provider. You’ll have quality equipment at an affordable price, and you’ll be able to expand your system to include home automation and medical monitoring. You’ll pay a lot less for basic monitoring than you would with a national brand, but you should be prepared to run into some potential issues if you ever need to work with Ackerman customer service.
Smart device integration
Poor customer services
Limited service area
No backup monitoring center
How We Evaluated Ackerman Security
We studied the Ackerman website and scoured the web to read more about customers’ experiences with the company. We spoke with company representatives and compared user reviews to find the most accurate information. Find out more about how we review products by checking out our methodology.
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. Learn more