SafeWise Car Safety Guide

Auto Safety from Driveway to Highway

With over 250 million cars in the U.S., it’s safe to say that driving is an ingrained and essential part of our lives. Every day, Americans take 1.1 billion trips in the car and cover millions of miles while transporting pets and family members, going on vacation, running errands, and traveling to work.1 That’s why it’s so important to learn proper auto safety protocol to protect yourself in and around your car—and to protect your car itself. To help you do just that, we’ve compiled safety information about car seats, seat belts, defensive driving courses, car alarms, and more.

Under the Hood

Oil Levels

Oil keeps everything lubricated and running smoothly in your engine, preventing metal from grinding on metal. When oil is low or old, your car will overheat and break down—not to mention cost you a ton to get it fixed. Get your oil changed every 2,000–5,000 miles (depending on whether you choose real or synthetic products) and check it periodically with a dipstick to ensure oil levels are sufficient.

Hood Latch

After peeking under the hood, give the latch a tug to verify it’s locked up tight. You wouldn’t want it flying up while you’re on the road!

Battery

Car batteries last about six years, but extreme cold, not driving for long periods of time, and taking short trips (not allowing your battery to fully recharge) affect this dramatically. Avoid coming outside to a dead and unusable car by asking your mechanic to test your battery. If the charge is below 25 percent, get a new one or carry a backup for when it fails.

Lights

Daytime Running Lights

Daytime running lights allow drivers to see you better in all lighting conditions. Plus, they’re automatic, so you never have to think about enabling this added safety feature.

Headlights/Tail Lights

Before you drive anywhere, check your headlights and tail lights. These lights help you see critters and objects on the road and let other drivers know you’re there, so they’re really important. If you drive with broken lights you might discover another downside: getting tickets from the police.

Windshield

Wipers

Dirty windshields cause glare and blind spots, obstructing your view of the road and what’s in front of you. Don’t make a dirty windshield worse by using old windshield wipers to clean up the problem. Instead, change your wiper blades once a year (or more often) and keep your windshield wiper fluid levels up, so your glass is always clean and clear.

Glass

Cracks are dangerous because they weaken your windshield, reflect light, and block your view. Always have a professional replace windshields with cracks longer than six inches, and patch cracks larger than a quarter to avoid running into problems (literally).

Tires

Tire Pressure

Properly inflated tires provide traction and keep you in control of your car. However, when tires are overfilled they may burst while you’re driving, and when they’re deflated you could lose the ability to steer properly.

Most cars have lights that turn on when your tire pressure is low, but buy a gauge to check manually before long road trips and between oil changes. Look at the rim of your tire or your car’s manual to determine how many pounds of air your tires hold, so they’re filled correctly every time. Here’s a quick tutorial to teach you how to fill your tires at the gas station.

Extreme Weather

Driving in the wind, rain, snow, ice, or blistering heat requires different driving tactics, tires, and safety knowledge. All-weather tires tackle most of these conditions, but consider upgrading to snow tires if you live in a cold, icy, and snowy climate.

Here’s what you should do in the winter before going on a roadtrip and other tips to enhance your safety while driving any any time of the year.

Dash

Hands-free Devices

It’s a ticketable offense in most states to talk and drive without a hands-free device—plus, it’s dangerous. Hook your phone up to Bluetooth while driving and turn on automated text responses so you don’t get distracted by incoming messages.

Dash Cams

Dash cams are a fairly new technology that monitor everything that happens in and around your car. Some insurance companies use dash cams to determine your auto insurance rates, but personal cameras record accidents and crimes and offer protection in a court of law. For instance, if you get into a hit-and-run accident, your camera will record the license plate number so you can track down the driver. Buy a dashcam for your car to give yourself an iron-clad witness to everything that happens on the road.

Car Alarms

Deter thieves from breaking into your car or driving away with it by installing a car alarm. Models range in sophistication and price, so whether you want a car alarm that sends alerts to your phone or a basic siren that scares thieves away, there’s a security product for you. Stay a few steps ahead of potential car thieves by reading about how to prevent auto break-ins, too.

Steering Wheel Locks

Steering wheel locks are a great alternative to larger car alarm systems because of their affordable price tag. These locks differ in strength and design, but all models prevent the wheel from turning and someone from driving off in your car. Compare top steering wheel locks that are tough enough to stand up to an attempted carjacking to give yourself a solid defense against car thieves.

Back-up Cameras

Back-up cameras eliminate blind spots to help you avoid running over objects, toys, animals, and people while you’re in reverse. Most new cars have rear cameras, which show you what’s immediately in back of your car, but you can install backup cameras in older cars too.

Front Seat

Seat Belts

Seat belts save lives. In 2014, the CDC reported that 12,000 people survived car accidents because they were wearing seat belts, and seat belts reduced serious injury by 50 percent in all accidents reported.2

No matter how old you are, always buckle up before driving. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, car accidents are the ninth-leading cause of death in the world, so seat belts are a simple solution to this preventable problem.3

Passenger Safety

Cars become ovens in the sun. Between 1998–2016, 700 children died from heatstroke after being left in hot cars—about 34 per year on average.4 Unfortunately, dozens of dogs suffer this same fate every year. Even when it’s 78 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside, internal car temperatures can climb to 120 degrees in minutes. And on a 90-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for internal car temperatures to reach 160 degrees.5

Animals and children succumb to heatstroke in mere minutes when exposed to extreme temperatures, so never leave them inside without the car running—even when the windows are cracked or just for a couple of minutes. You may not think this will ever happen to you, but 54 percent of all child heat stroke-related deaths happened when a parent or caretaker accidentally left a child in the car. Kars 4 Kids has a safety app to combat this issue that reminds you when a child (or pet) is in your car so you never suffer a tragedy.

Back Seat

Car Seats

Car seats are vital to the safety of your child and are required in all 50 states. However, not just any car seat will do. SafeWise conducted vast research to find top-rated car seats that exceed safety standards, optimize convenience, and cater to the unique needs of parents and children alike. Read our review of the best car seats available and learn from child safety expert Gloria Delcasto, who shared tips exclusively with SafeWise about the importance of seat belts, car seats, and booster seats.

Welcoming a new member to the family soon? Prepare your home for a little one by reading our complete baby-proofing guide that covers everything from unknown household dangers to how to properly cover outlets and more.

Pet Harnesses

You wouldn’t put your child in a car without a seat belt, so why would you do that to your pet? When shopping for a pet car harness, do so wisely because 25 out of 29 dog harnesses haven’t passed realistic crash tests.6 That’s because the Consumer Products Safety Commission does not oversee or regulate pet harnesses since they aren’t viewed as consumer products. On the up side, four pet harnesses and travel crates did pass crash tests and are deemed safe to use for your precious fur babies.

Roof

Roof Racks and Cargo

Unsecured cargo can turn into a missile when you suddenly stop or swerve on the road, risking your safety and the safety of others. To prevent tragedy or an insurance nightmare, always use a roof carrier and tie-down straps to secure items. Here’s more about properly securing cargo to your car’s roof for safer travels.

Trunk

Jumper Cables

A dead battery means you’re stranded wherever you are. This is potentially dangerous if it’s bitterly cold, you have a medical emergency, or you’re in an unsafe part of town. Carry jumper cables so another driver can help get your car started, or keep an emergency jump starter in your emergency kit to charge your car yourself if no one is around.

Roadside Safety Kits

Cars rarely break down, blow a tire, or get into accidents in convenient locations. That’s where roadside safety kits come in. These handy kits include everything from flares and reflective triangles to jacks, water, and flashlights. Make your own safety kit to get better prepared and use our car safety guide to determine what else you should have in your car at all times to stay safe.

Cargo

Even though your car stops when you slam on the brakes, loose items in the car may not. Whenever possible, tie down and secure heavy items inside your car or trunk and pack heaviest to lightest, so objects don’t become airborne and get damaged—or hurt you or your passengers.

The Extra Mile: Auto Safety Education and Industry Standards

Defensive Driving Classes

Becoming a responsible driver comes from experience, but you may accelerate your driving prowess with education and awareness training offered in defensive driving courses. These classes teach drivers about developing better driving behaviors, avoiding hazards on the road, and the dangers of driving while drowsy or inebriated. Find a defensive driving class near you to round out your auto safety.

IHHS Top Safety Picks

Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHHS), an automotive auditing group with rigorous safety and quality standards, publishes a study on the safest cars. This study analyzes front and side crash test results as well as some of the safety features discussed in this article. If you’re looking to buy a new car or assess the safety of your current vehicle, take a look at IHHS’s top safety picks from 2006–2016.

Drive Safe!

Your car is your means to see the world and shuttle yourself and loved ones safely. The next time you take a drive, park in a lot, or lock up your car for the night, remember the tips in this guide to make your car and driving habits safer and more secure.

Find Your Perfect Home Security System

Vivint Home Security

Safewise Endorsed
Vivint logo

Packages starting at

$39.99

Vivint product

Current Deal: Get a FREE doorbell camera when you sign up for Vivint Smart Home Video!

What Sets Vivint Apart

Vivint leads the home security industry in terms of technology and home automation. With available features like a video doorbell, an automated door lock, and a smart thermostat, Vivint offers a state-of-the-art experience.

    Key Features

  • Security Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Security Cameras
  • Home Automation
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation

Order your Vivint package today.
Call 855-374-4999

About Vivint Home Security

Vivint home security serves over half a million customers. If you’re looking for the most advanced security technology on the market, Vivint may be your answer. Vivint boasts home automation and energy management features that can help you make sure the coffee pot is turned off when you leave and program your thermostat while you’re away. Vivint’s packages can get pricey, but they offer some impressive high-end packages, complete with 100% wireless components and leading home automation features.

Complete Home Automation

With every Vivint security package, you get alerts through emails or text messages. If any motion is detected while your system is armed, you’ll know about it. With the Smart Control package, you get the whole kit and caboodle. You can also control your thermostat, small appliances, and locks from any web-enabled device, no matter your location plus 1TB of cloud storage. Whether you want to turn on a lamp or make sure the coffee maker is turned off, you can do both from across town or across the country with Vivint Control.

About Vivint

Energy Management

With the Smart Control package, you can remotely control your thermostat, lamps, and small appliances from any web-enabled device. Whether you want to turn off the curling iron or turn down the thermostat while you’re not home, you can do so from your smartphone. In addition, Vivint also offers solar panel installation for customers looking to go green and lower electricity bills even more.

Completely Wireless

All the parts of a Vivint home security system communicate wirelessly, and the system communicates with a monitoring center via a cellular uplink. This means the entire alarm system is 100% wireless, no phone line necessary. Vivint offers a touchscreen panel with every package. This control panel is the hub of your system, and it includes an LCD screen and remote access capabilities.

Security Cameras

Vivint’s streaming video allows you to watch real-time camera footage or recorded clips of your home from any location. Just pull out your smartphone or other web-enabled device to check up on your home and see camera footage. If you’re home and don’t wish to record, simply use Privacy Mode on your camera to disable remote viewing and recording, or turn it off completely.

See how stacks up. View SafeWise’s best security systems review

Vivint Home Security Equipment

  • vivint Logo

    $699

    Navigate the user-friendly LCD touchscreen to control your security system. It includes 2-way voice communication, so you can speak directly to a monitoring center representative in an emergency.

    Vivint SkyControl Panel

  • vivint Logo

    $70

    This detector alerts you of the odorless, tasteless, colorless, toxic gas before it can harm your family.

    Carbon Monoxide Detector

  • vivint Logo

    $100

    This smoke alarm detects smoke particles as well as heat. It will alert Vivint professions to check on you and notify local fire authorities if necessary, all in less than a minute.

    Smoke Alarm

  • vivint Logo

    $50

    A door or window sensor lets you know the moment someone tries to open an entry point to your home.

    Door/Window Sensor

  • vivint Logo

    $100

    If any windows are broken in your home, you’ll know about it. With a 360 degree sensing angle, the glass break detector will even work in areas with several large windows.

    Glass Break Detector

  • vivint Logo

    $35

    Arm or disarm your system, press a panic button, and open or close your garage door from up to 100 feet away.

    Key Fob

  • vivint Logo

    $199

    Watch live-streaming video footage or recorded clips from any web-enabled device or smartphone. It’s like you never left home.

    Fixed Video Camera

  • vivint Logo

    $50

    Control a range of household devices, from curling irons to coffee pots, and instantly know if you accidentally left them on. You can also turn on your lights before you get home.

    Lighting/Small Appliance Control

  • vivint Logo

    $159

    Unlock and lock your doors from anywhere. Skip making copies of keys—when you need to unlock your door remotely, just pull out your smartphone or other web-enabled device.

    Electronic Door Locks

  • vivint Logo

    $199

    With a pan and tilt camera, you can view a large area of your home and watch live surveillance footage or recorded clips with a smartphone or any web-enabled device.

    Pan and Tilt Video Camera

  • vivint Logo

    $169

    Remotely control the temperature of your home from a smartphone or any web-enabled device. With 7-day programming, you can even set different temperatures for certain times of day.

    Smart Thermostat

Pricing listed requires a 3 year monitoring agreement. Prices subject to change.

Why Choose Vivint Home Security? The Bottom Line

  • Email and text alerts with every package
  • Every system completely wireless
  • Home automation and energy management features
Why Choose Vivint Home Security

Order your Vivint package today.
Call 855-374-4999

Vivint FAQs

How Much Does Vivint Cost?

Vivint’s Smart Home Security package starts at $39.99 per month and includes 24/7 monitoring, customizable equipment options, remote access to your security system, and automation features.

Vivint’s Smart Home with Video starts at $49.99 per month and includes everything the Smart Home Security package has plus video monitoring options.

How Does Vivint’s Security System Work?

Vivint’s security system works in three simple steps. Once a sensor is triggered, your control panel will set off an alarm. The alarm will then signal the monitoring center, and you’ll receive a call to verify the emergency.

Does Vivint Integrate with Other Smart Home Platforms and Devices?

Yes, Vivint integrates with Nest and Amazon Echo. With Amazon Echo, you can use voice commands to lock your doors, turn off your lights, adjust the temperature, and arm your security system. And with the Nest integration, not only can you adjust the temperature from your mobile app, but also the thermostat knows when you’re away and adjusts accordingly to save you money.

Do I Need a Landline Phone to Use Vivint’s System?

No, you won’t need a landline to use Vivint’s home security system. Vivint uses a wireless connection to communicate with its monitoring centers.

Vivint Home Security Reviews

Rated 4/5 based on 2503 customer reviews**

View all Reviews

10

The best

Otaniel M. from Johnston , RI | September 10, 2018
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Peace Of Mind Away From Home

My family and I frequently spend long stretches of time away from home. Last summer, Vivint notified us of a break-in during one such absence. When I think of what could have happened without Vivint, I am so thankful for the peace of mind knowing our home is protected. Thanks, Vivint!

Nelda F. from Las Vegas, NV | September 06, 2018
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Excellent Service

Great customer services

Paulette H. from Upper Marlboro , MD | September 06, 2018
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**In certain cases, customers are incentivized to leave a customer review. Specifically, those customers who leave an applicable and honest review of Vivint will be eligible to be entered into a contest to win a $500 gift card to The Home Depot. There will be one winner for each one hundred qualified review submitted.

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Top Home Security Providers

Choose from the options below to find your perfect system.

Do you own or rent?

This helps us determine the right system for your particular living situation.

Own
Rent

Installation Preference:

SafeWise strongly recommends professional installation to guarantee system performance and accuracy.

Professional
Do-It-Yourself

Select the system features you want:

Security systems offer a variety of features. Choose the ones that are most important to you.

Mobile Access

Home Automation

Indoor Cameras

100% Wireless

24/7 Monitoring

Top Providers:

SafeWise Recommended Brands

  • Frontpoint
  • ADT
  • Link Interactive
  • Protect America
  • Vivint
  • Scout
  • Monitronics
  • SimpliSafe
  • Lifeshield

# Frontpoint

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

# LifeShield

3.5/5 |

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

# Protect America

4.5/5 | Reviews

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

# Link Interactive

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

# Monitronics Security

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

# SimpliSafe

4.5/5 | Reviews

System Features

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Indoor Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • Professional Installation
  • Home Automation

Lifestyles

  • Working Professionals
  • Travelers
  • Energy Conscious
  • Parents
  • Elderly
  • Pet Owners

Security Options For Renters and Owners

Should you invest in a home security system?
That depends a lot on whether you rent or own your property.

Renters

Landlords tally up every nail hole and scuff when you move out and charge you for damages. That’s what makes this type of living situation kind of tricky for home security installations. While it’s important that you and your belongings stay safe, you’ll want to request permission before you start putting anything too permanent in your rental. Or, you can choose options that are minimally invasive like standalone cameras.

You can also do yourself a favor by scouting out a rental that is already very secure. Check for a property that has a locked front door, so that non-residents can’t enter the building without consent. Make sure it’s in a well-lit area and has a secure deadbolt on your unit too. All of these things can help enhance your security.

Owners

The joy of owning lies in the fact that you can do anything to your property that you want. If you would like to install a full home security system, you can drill into walls, wire cameras to every corner of your home, and even install a mote if you see fit. While you’ll want to be considerate of your neighbors if you’re installing bright motion lights, everything else should ultimately be left up to your discretion and budget.

How to Choose Between Professional Vs DIY Installations

How handy are you? Do you feel comfortable running the electrical for your own security system or climbing a ladder? Those are a couple great questions to ask yourself before deciding on a professional or DIY install. Here is some more information to help you pick.

Professional Installation

Some security companies require their products to be installed by a certified professional. While it’s a bit more expensive than a DIY option, you’ll be rewarded with convenience and peace of mind that the job has been done right. Plus, before the installation professional packs up for the day, he or she can also show you how to properly use your new security system and make sure everything’s running smoothly. Do keep in mind though that you might be a little inconvenienced for the appointment since you’ll need to be home during installation.

DIY Installation

Doing it yourself is a great way to save money on your home security system if you don’t mind following directions in one of two ways:

Voice Recording: With a voice recording, or electronic prompt, you can expect to be walked through the installation process by a robotic set of directions. This will have been pre-recorded by the security company you purchased your equipment from, so it should be thorough, but it won’t put you in contact with a person directly.

Calling a Representative: Calling a representative on the phone will be similar to an electronic prompt, but you’ll have the benefit of speaking to an actual human. If you have questions, you can get more detailed answers so you can ensure you’re installing your system correctly.

The one concern with DIY installs is that they take more of your personal time (about 30-40 minutes) and you might not be sure you set it up right. A security system is meant to make you feel safe and sound, so go with the option you feel confident about.

Features You Can Add To Your Home Security System

Keep it bare bones or go all out with your home security system—it’s up to you! Here are some options that you can lump into your package for added protection.

Mobile Access

With mobile access, you can use your smartphone or any device that’s connected to the web to control your security system. This feature doesn’t come standard, but most companies offer the option to add it and will have varying degrees of interactivity. For some, it’s just letting you arm and disarm your security system from afar. For others, it’s additional home automation like temperature control, locking doors, controlling lighting, and viewing live camera streams. What’s the right amount of connectivity you need? Figure that out and you’ll be ready to add proper coverage to ease your worries.

100% Wireless

Some companies have equipment that operates completely wirelessly through cellular uplink or internet connection. This allows for an easier installation process, transportable systems, and less wires that could potentially be cut by intruders.

24/7 Monitoring

This type of service is like a babysitter for your home. Albeit, an expensive one. You can buy this kind of coverage if you’d like to be connected to your security company directly and reach them immediately if there is an emergency.

Cellular

This is the gold standard in the security industry and the most advanced to date. Using cell towers, you won’t have to worry about shaky internet speed or connection or landlines being cut. It’s the most expensive option, but the best one out there if you live somewhere with good cell reception.

Landline

In the case of a security breach, your system will call the monitoring center for help through your phone line. This is usually the cheapest version of home monitoring, but it isn’t the most secure. If your phone lines are accessible, trespassers could cut them and render your system useless during a crisis.

Professional Installation

Like we mentioned above, you’ll need to decide if you’re comfortable setting up your own security system or need a professional’s help. Most companies offer professional installation at an added cost, but a lot of benefits. You’ll be able to trust in his or her skills, feel confident that the installation was done correctly, and ask questions about how to operate your devices while they’re at your home.

Home Automation

Home automation is as good as having a magic wand. Some companies will enable you to lock doors, control lights, adjust the thermostat, or even turn small appliances on or off from your smartphone or connected device. It’s a way to keep ultimate control over your house while you’re away and make sure it’s ready for you when you come home.

Broadband

Instead of using a phone line, this service communicates through your internet connection to contact a monitoring center. It’s faster and middle of the road in price, but it’s only as reliable as your internet connection.

Indoor Cameras

You can choose from a variety of models when it comes to indoor cameras. Pick one that tilts and scans a room, is stationary, or has a wide angle lens. With indoor cameras, you’ll be able to see what’s happening at your home when you’re not there. You’ll most likely have to pay more for monitoring services if you install indoor cameras, but if it’s a safety priority for you, then it should be worth it.

Security Terminology

If you’re new to buying a home security system, you may have come across some unfamiliar terminology on security websites, or even right here on SafeWise.com. Here’s a glossary of security terms that we hope will help alleviate any confusion.

Working Professionals

These companies have mobile apps and mobile alerts that can keep you in-the-know while you’re at the office.

Energy Conscious

Keep your energy usage in check with tools that support remote thermostat and lighting adjustments.

Elderly

You can get personalized pendants to wear from these companies in case you fall or are hurt and can’t reach the phone.

Travelers

Ideal for those who are away from home often, these companies support mobile apps and alerts to keep you informed and 24/7 monitoring plans.

Parents

Check in on your kids with live video streaming from a mobile app.

Pet Owners

Those who own pets should know that these companies offer motion sensors that can distinguish pets, so your alarm won’t go off because Fluffy jumps on the bed.

 

SimpliSafe

Safewise Endorsed
 
SimpliSafe logo
Packages starting at

$229

SimpliSafe product

What Sets SimpliSafe Apart

SimpliSafe offers some of the lowest monthly pricing on the market for monitored service. And if you only want professional monitoring for the month that you’re on vacation, you can add and cancel at any time—with no penalties.

Key Features

  • Security Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Security Cameras
  • 100% Wireless
  • DIY Installation

Order your SimpliSafe package today. View Packages

SimpliSafe Prices & Packages

Insider Tip: Purchasing monthly monitoring is optional with SimpliSafe, so keep in mind that you don’t have to pay for service if all you want is a security system.

The Foundation

$229

 
+ Monitoring
 
  • Optional Standard Monitoring ($14.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Free, built-in cellular connection
  • Optional Interactive Monitoring ($24.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Mobile app control
  • Text/email alerts
  • Remote system control
  • Equipment
  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • 1 Motion sensor
  • 1 Entry sensors

The Essentials

$259

 
+ Monitoring
 
  • Optional Standard Monitoring ($14.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Free, built-in cellular connection
  • Optional Interactive Monitoring ($24.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Mobile app control
  • Text/email alerts
  • Remote system control
  • Equipment
  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • 1 Motion sensor
  • 3 Entry sensors

The Hearth

$374

 
+ Monitoring
 
  • Optional Standard Monitoring ($14.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Free, built-in cellular connection
  • Optional Interactive Monitoring ($24.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Mobile app control
  • Text/email alerts
  • Remote system control
  • Equipment
  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • 1 Motion sensor
  • 3 Entry sensors
  • Key fob
  • 105db siren
  • Smoke detector

The Knox

$449

 
+ Monitoring
 
  • Optional Standard Monitoring ($14.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Free, built-in cellular connection
  • Optional Interactive Monitoring ($24.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Mobile app control
  • Text/email alerts
  • Remote system control
  • Equipment
  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • 2 Motion sensors
  • 6 Entry sensors
  • Key fob
  • 105db siren
  • Smoke detector

The Haven

$489

 
+ Monitoring
 
  • Optional Standard Monitoring ($14.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Free, built-in cellular connection
  • Optional Interactive Monitoring ($24.99/month)
  • 24/7 monitoring service
  • Mobile app control
  • Text/email alerts
  • Remote system control
  • Equipment
  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • 2 Motion sensors
  • 4 Entry sensors
  • Key fob
  • 105dB siren
  • Smoke detector
  • Panic button
  • Freeze sensor
  • Water sensor

Order your SimpliSafe package today. View Packages

About SimpliSafe

Mobile Access

With the Standard monitoring package, you get 24/7 professional monitoring that includes alarms if the system detects anything suspicious and environmental monitoring. Although SimpliSafe doesn’t offer as many features as a home automation system, it’s  great for those interested in no-frills security.

SimpliSafe’s Philosophy

SimpliSafe’s philosophy is clear. The company boldly claims: “There’s something wrong with the security system industry… and SimpliSafe is on a mission to fix it.” As such, SimpliSafe doesn’t have any salespeople in an effort to avoid pressuring people into buying its services. Plus, SimpliSafe doesn’t have any contracts, unlike other companies, which often have contracts full of what SimpliSafe calls, “nasty fine print.”

No Contract

It’s true: the main difference between SimpliSafe and other companies is that there’s no contract. As implied by its name, SimpliSafe’s model and prices are indeed simple and straightforward. You buy your security system, you install it yourself, and you own it (and can therefore take it with you if you move), free of any contract or minimum service agreement.

New or Used Wireless Systems

Choose between several 100% wireless security systems that use a cellular uplink to communicate with a monitoring center (no phone line necessary). SimpliSafe also offers refurbished (used) security systems at reduced prices.

Total Customization

Customize your system by selecting the equipment you need, then choosing your monitoring package: Standard or Interactive.

Guarantees

If you are unsatisfied with any system from SimpliSafe, simply return it within 60 days for a full refund. SimpliSafe also offers a product warranty for three years from the time of purchase. So, if anything goes wrong with the equipment within three years, SimpliSafe will fix or replace it—even used systems.
About SimpliSafe See how stacks up. View SafeWise’s best security systems review

SimpliSafe Equipment

  • simplisafe Logo

    Call for Details

    The base sensor is the brain of your security system, and it contacts the monitoring center in an emergency. It’s separate from the keypad, so if your keypad is smashed, your security system can still reach the monitoring center.
    Base Station
  • simplisafe Logo

    $14.99

    Place entry sensors at your windows and doors to let you know if an intruder tries to get in.
    Entry Sensor
  • simplisafe Logo

    $29.99

    A motion sensor can detect motion up to 30 feet away.
    Motion Sensor
  • simplisafe Logo

    $19.99

    Press the panic button to instantly trigger your alarm—even silently if you don’t want to alert the intruder.
    Panic Button
  • simplisafe Logo

    $29.99

    A freeze sensor will notify you if temperatures in your home drop dangerously low, so you can make adjustments before your pipes freeze.
    Temperature Sensor
  • simplisafe Logo

    $59.99

    A siren will alert the neighbors that your security system has been tripped, and let an intruder know that your home is protected.
    Siren
  • simplisafe Logo

    $69.99

    A keypad allows you to control your security system. Because a separate base station actually notifies the monitoring center of an intruder, the monitoring center will still be alerted if an intruder smashes the keypad.
    Keypad
  • simplisafe Logo

    $24.99

    Arm or disarm your system with the push of a button for this keychain remote.
    Key Fob
  • simplisafe Logo

    $19.99

    This sensor will trigger when it comes in contact with water, notifying you before water damages cost you a bundle.
    Wireless Water Sensor
Pricing listed requires a 3 year monitoring agreement. Prices subject to change.

Why Choose SimpliSafe? The Bottom Line

  • Built-in cellular monitoring
  • Customizable equipment packages
  • No contracts
  • 60-day, risk-free trial
Why Choose SimpliSafe

Order your SimpliSafe package today. View Packages

SimpliSafe Reviews

Rated 4.5/5 based on 25 customer reviews**

View all Reviews

Had Several Others, Simplisafe Is Best Yet

 
Have had several other systems over past 15 years between office and home including ADT (expensive, staff not helpful), Computerized Security (pathetic service, constant problems) and a few other independent’s. Simplisafe by far is the best, less expensive, better service.
Steve A. from Foley, AL | June 05, 2018
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Both Happy And Unhappy

 
If you do not get the monitoring the camera and use of your smart phone will not work with the system.
Mike H. from Benson, AZ | January 26, 2017
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Feel Safe

 
I feel so much safer with my SimpliSafe system. I have had ADT and had numerous problems with the equipment. SimpliSafe answers my questions, are always courteous, and does not try to pressure me into buying something I do not want. Their cost is less than other services I have looked into.
Sheila V. from Pineville, LA | January 03, 2017
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**In certain cases, customers are incentivized to leave a customer review. Specifically, those customers who leave an applicable and honest review of SimpliSafe will be eligible to be entered into a contest to win a $500 gift card to The Home Depot. There will be one winner for each one hundred qualified review submitted.

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Leave a review & enter to win $500 in The Home Depot spending cash from SafeWise!

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Find Out About Simplisafe in Your Area

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Scout

Safewise Endorsed
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Packages starting at

$9.99/mo

Scout product

Current Deal: Order today and get your money-back guarantee.

What Sets Scout Apart

Scout is a flexible home-security option for both homeowners and renters because of its wireless equipment, tool-free setup, and adjustable contract. By building your own system with Scout, you’ll ultimately have more control over how much protection your home needs from the amount of equipment you purchase to choosing the type of monitoring that best suits your life.

    Key Features

  • Security Monitoring
  • Mobile Access
  • Tool-Free Installation
  • No Annual Contract
  • Money-Back Guarantee
  • One-Year Warranty

Order your Scout package today. View Packages

Scout Prices & Packages

Insider Tip: Save money by choosing the $9.99/month ‘Always On’ option. You can enjoy the assurance of professional monitoring, as well as keep yourself up to speed on your home’s happenings with the Scout mobile app. You’ll get email and push notifications, and never be left wondering about your home’s security.

Always On+

$19.99/mo

  • Standard Features
  • Email Notifications
  • Push notifications for iOS and Android devices
  • Scout mobile app
  • Always On Features
  • 3G cellular and battery backup
  • SMS alerts
  • No annual contract
  • 24/7 professional monitoring service with UL-certified monitoring centers
  • Dispatch police on your behalf

Current Deal: Order today and get your money-back guarantee.

Order your Scout package today. View Packages

About Scout

Mobile Access

Scout technology allows you to check in from your smartphone and keep tabs on either your entire system or a single sensor. Not only that, but you’ll be able to set custom actions and alarms, arm and disarm your system, and stop false alarms from virtually anywhere.

Easy Installation

Installing Scout equipment requires absolutely no tools or hardwiring thanks to wireless connections and sleek mounting accessories. This also means that you can easily and safely install your Scout Hub, sensors, and panels yourself.

The Scout Commitment

Cutting-edge equipment is only half the story, Scout also wants you to be completely satisfied with its service. To accomplish this, Scout offers a money-back guarantee, one-year product warranty, and professional support.

No Annual Contract

Going with Scout allows you to modify your service plan whenever you’d like. With Scout, you’ll never be hit with penalties and you’ll reap the benefits of a flexible service agreement just in case you need to change things up.

UL-Certified Monitoring

When you choose the AlwaysOn+ monitoring plan from Scout, you’ll get UL-certified monitoring included. By certifying its services through the storied testing company UL, Scout monitoring has undergone a rigorous, independent analysis and has been proven to be a brand you can trust.

About Scout

See how stacks up. View SafeWise’s best security systems review

Scout Equipment

  • scout Logo

    $129

    The wireless relay center of your security system, this device connects all of your sensors and maintains constant contact between your smart devices and Scout.

    Scout Hub

  • scout Logo

    $69

    This device monitors anything that opens or closes, with the added capability of arming or disarming your Scout alarm when you tap your registered key fob at any entry door.

    Door Panel

  • scout Logo

    $29

    This is a wireless sensor that is also designed to monitor anything that opens or closes, such as doors, windows, and cabinets.

    Access Sensor

  • scout Logo

    $49

    Featuring a range of up to 25 feet, this sensor can detect movement day or night and can be installed virtually anywhere.

    Motion Sensor

Pricing listed requires a 3 year monitoring agreement. Prices subject to change.

Why Choose Scout? The Bottom Line

  • Cost effective with no annual contract
  • Easy, DIY installation
  • Wireless monitoring
  • Sleek, cutting-edge equipment
  • Money-back guarantee
  • One-year product warranty
Why Choose Scout

Order your Scout package today. View Packages

Safety and Home Security Statistics and Facts

SafeWise compiled this list with your welfare in mind because being informed about safety and security risks is the first step to protecting yourself—and the ones you love—from danger. After reading these safety and security facts, explore the SafeWise blog for proactive measures you can take to help your family stay safe.

cottage image

Property Crime Statistics and Facts:

  • In 2015, a property crime occurred every 3.9 seconds in the US. 1
  • Approximately twenty-five property crimes were reported per 1,000 inhabitants in 2015. 2
  • The number of property crimes committed in 2015 totaled about eight million—this is 2.6% less than 2014’s total.3
  • More than $12.4 billion worth of property was reported stolen in 2015, and only 26.1% was recovered.4 Read our tips to increase your chances of getting your stolen goods back.
  • Of all property crimes reported in the United States in 2015, 42.2% occurred in the South, followed by the West with 26.6%, the Midwest with 19.3%, and the Northeast with 11.9%.5
  • A robbery occurs every 1.6 seconds in the United States.6
  1. Sources:
  2. FBI: UCR, “Crime Clock
  3. FBI: UCR, “Property Crime
  4. FBI: UCR, “Property Crime
  5. FBI: UCR, “Table 24
  6. FBI: UCR, “Table 3
  7. FBI: UCR, “Crime Clock

Burglary Statistics and Facts:

  • More than 4,300 burglaries happen every day—or nearly 1.6 million annually—in the United States.1 Use our Home Security Checklist to make your home less vulnerable to a break-in.
  • A burglary occurs every twenty seconds in the United States.2
  • About 72% of all burglaries reported in 2015 were on residential property.3
  • Historically, the risk of burglary is higher for rental properties than occupant-owned properties.4 If you rent, consider the advantages of a wireless security system.
  • The average dollar loss per burglary increased from $2,120 in 2011 to $2,316 in 2015.5,6 Most home security systems don’t cost nearly this much, and they can help prevent a burglary from occurring in the first place.
  • Roughly 58% of all burglaries involved forcible entry.7
  • Damaging, removing, or destroying a door is the most common type of entry used in burglaries.8 Install a SafeWise-recommended high-security door to make your home less penetrable.
  • Burglars gain entry via open or unlocked doors or windows in more than half of all unoccupied residential break-ins.9 Add a smart lock to your home automation and home security system to control your door locks remotely.
  • The rate of household burglaries tends to be highest in summer and lowest in winter or spring.10 Learn how to properly secure your home before vacation.
  • Police solve about 13% of all reported burglaries, mostly due to a lack of witnesses or physical evidence.11Find out how your monitored home security system might help catch a burglar.
  • In 2015, 52% of all residential burglaries (in which a time was reported) occurred during the daytime.12 Install interior and exterior motion-activated home security cameras so you can see what’s going on in and around your home when you’re away.
  • Being the victim of a home burglary can increase the risk of future victimization for burglary, as offenders often target the same residence more than once.13
  1. Sources:
  2. FBI: UCR, “Burglary
  3. FBI: UCR, “Crime Clock
  4. FBI: UCR, “Burglary
  5. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary
  6. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Financial Loss Due to Household Burglary Increased from 1994 to 2011
  7. FBI: UCR, “Burglary
  8. FBI: UCR, “Burglary
  9. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary
  10. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary
  11. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends
  12. FBI: UCR, “Clearances
  13. FBI: UCR, “Table 7
  14. PDXScholar, “Prevention of Residential Burglary: A Review of the Literature

Assault Statistics and Facts:

  • Between 2003 and 2007, a household member was present in roughly one million burglaries and became a victim of violence about 26% of the time.1
  • In 65.1% of all violent burglaries committed from 2003 to 2007, the perpetrators and victims knew each other.2
  • The highest rate of burglaries committed with a household member present occur in homes occupied by single females with children.3
  • In 2015, a violent crime—including aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery—occurred every 26.3 seconds.4
  • Nearly four violent crimes were reported per 1,000 Americans in 2015.5
  • The total number of reported violent crimes increased 3.9% from 2014 to 2015,6 with reports of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter increasing almost 11%.7
  • The South reported more incidents of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter than any other region of the country, while the Northeast reported the fewest.8
  1. Sources:
  2. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary
  3. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary
  4. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary
  5. FBI: UCR, “Crime Clock
  6. FBI: UCR, “Violent Crime
  7. FBI: UCR, “Violent Crime
  8. FBI: UCR, “Murder
  9. FBI: UCR, “Table 3

Fire Safety Statistics and Facts:

  • A home structure fire was reported every eighty-six seconds in 2015 in the US.1 SafeWise recommends installing a smart smoke alarm as part of your home security system so emergency personnel are alerted to a potential fire even if you’re not home.
  • In 2015, an estimated $14.3 billion in property was lost in US fires.2 Store valuable and irreplaceable items in a fire-resistant safe to help protect them from damage.
  • Three out of every five deaths caused by home fires occur on properties with no—or inoperable—smoke alarms.3Learn how to properly install and maintain your home’s smoke detectors.
  • The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.4 Review our Smoke Alarm Buyers Guide to find the best smoke detector for your home.
  • The majority—70%—of smoke alarm failures are caused by missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.5
  • More home structure fires take place in January than any other month. The fewest fires are reported in June, July, August, and September.6
  • Between 2010 and 2014, 46% of all US residential building fires were caused by cooking-related incidents.7
  • Home electrical fires account for an estimated 15,000 fires each year.8Learn common household electrical hazards and how to fix them.
  1. Sources:
  2. National Fire Protection Association, “Fires in the US
  3. National Fire Protection Association, “Fire Statistics
  4. National Fire Protection Association, “Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires
  5. National Fire Protection Association, “Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires
  6. National Fire Protection Association, “Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires
  7. National Fire Protection Association, “Fire Causes by Month
  8. National Fire Protection Association, “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment
  9. National Fire Protection Association, “Electrical Fires

Home Security Statistics and Facts

  • As of 2010, there were an estimated eighteen million home security systems installed in the US.1
  • A 2003 study showed that United Kingdom homes without any security devices are 2.7 times more likely to be burglarized than homes with security measures in place.2
  • About 60% of convicted burglars say the presence of an alarm would cause them to seek a different home to burglarize.3
  • ADT has 6.6 million customers, which is more than any other US home security company.4
  • The average amount of stolen property from a burglarized home totals $2,316.5 In contrast, you can get a home security system for as little as twenty dollars per month.
  • Some homeowners insurance providers offer discounts up to 20% when homeowners install home security systems.6
  • Frontpoint is one of the only nationwide security providers with 100%-wireless equipment and 100%-cellular monitoring. Find out more about Frontpoint home security packages.
  1. Sources:
  2. The New York Times, “Weighing the Value of a Home Security System
  3. Ministry of Justice, “The Nature and Prevention of Residential Burglary: A Review of the International Literature with An Eye Toward Prevention in Denmark
  4. Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation, “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective
  5. Investopedia, “ADT: Who Are ADT Corporation’s Main Competitors?
  6. FBI: UCR, “Burglary
  7. Insurance Information Institute, “Twelve Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs

Family, Child, and Baby Safety Statistics and Facts

  • Unintentional suffocation is the most frequent cause of injury deaths for children up to one year of age.1
  • Unintentional drowning is the leading cause of injury deaths for children one to four years old.2 And sadly, three children die every day from drowning.3
  • Annually, nearly ninety children drown inside the home, with about 65% of these deaths occurring in bathtubs.4
  • The number of emergency room (ER) visits for playground-related traumatic brain injuries has increased in recent years.5 Read our tips for making your backyard a safer place to play.
  • In 2015, there were nearly 100,000 ATV-related ER-treated injuries in the United States, almost 30% of which involved children younger than sixteen.6
  • More than 86,000 unintentional poisoning incidents occurred in children under five in 2015.7 And poisoning kills about two children younger than nineteen years old daily.8
  • Of poisoning incidents involving children, 90% occur in the home.9 Review our guide to poison proofing your home to create a safer household for your children.
  • More than half of the states in the US are at moderate to high risk from earthquakes, and they are located all around the country.10
  • Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.11
  1. Sources:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “10 Leading Causes of Injury Deaths by Age Group Highlighting Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States—2014
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “10 Leading Causes of Injury Deaths by Age Group Highlighting Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States—2014
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Drowning Prevention
  5. US Consumer Product Safety Commission, “In-Home Drowning Information Center
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Playground Safety
  7. US Consumer Product Safety Commission, “2015 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries
  8. US Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Unintentional Pediatric Poisoning Estimates for 2015
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Poisoning Prevention
  10. US Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Poison Prevention Information Center”
  11. National Geographic, “Earthquake Maps Reveal Higher Risks for Much of US
  12. FEMA, “The National Flood Insurance Program

Older Adult Safety Statistics and Facts

  • One in four people sixty-five or older fall each year.1Make your loved one’s home safer by installing grab bars, securing rugs, and illuminating dark areas.
  • Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury death for people sixty-five years and older.2Panic pendants—which are available as part of many monitored home security systems—can help your loved one get care quickly in the case of a fall or other emergency.
  • The highest prescription painkiller overdose rate occurs among middle-aged adults.3Home safety devices like automated pill dispensers can help prevent accidental overdoses.
  • Compared to five other age groups, people eighty-five years and older have the second-highest rate of suicide. This age group accounts for 19.4% of all reported suicides.4
  • The risk of being involved in a traffic accident begins to increase at age seventy and is highest among drivers eighty-five and older.5
  1. Sources:
  2. National Council on Aging, “Falls Prevention Facts
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “10 Leading Causes of Injury Deaths by Age Group Highlighting Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States—2014
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the US
  5. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Suicide Statistics”
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Older Adult Drivers

Carbon Monoxide Statistics and Facts

  • About 400 people in the Unites States die every year from accidental non-fire related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.1 Learn the dangers of CO and consider enhancing your monitored home security system with a CO detector to reduce the risk of poisoning.
  • In 2014, twenty-eight people died from CO incidents involving portable generators.2
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends installing a battery-operated or battery-backup CO detector near every sleeping area in your home.3 Reference our Carbon Monoxide Detector Buyers Guide to find the best CO detector for your family.
  • Due to the dangers of CO, twenty-seven states require homes to have CO detectors.4
  1. Sources:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
  3. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Incidents, Deaths, and In-Depth Investigations Associated with Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide from Engine-Driven Generators and Other Engine-Driven Tools, 2004-2014
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
  5. National Conference of State Legislatures, “Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements, Laws, and Regulations

Auto Statistics and Facts

  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages five to twenty-four.1
  • Each day in the United States, nearly ten people are killed—and more than 1,000 are injured—in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver. Drivers under the age of twenty are involved in the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.2
  • Sadly, twenty-eight people in the United States die every day in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That’s one death every fifty-three minutes.3
  • In 2014, more than 600 children under the age of twelve died in a motor vehicle accident, and 35% of these children were not restrained in any way.4 Take a look at our Best Car Seats Buyers Guide for a comprehensive review of the top booster and car seats.
  1. Sources:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “10 Leading Causes of Injury Deaths by Age Group Highlighting Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States—2014
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Distracted Driving
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Impaired Driving
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Child Passenger Safety: Get the Facts

These safety and security facts are a bit unnerving, but there are plenty of things you can do to help avoid you or a loved one becoming another statistic. Start by keeping up to date with safety tips and other resources from the SafeWise blog and increase the security of your home with a SafeWise-recommended monitored home security system.

Find Your Perfect Home Security System

Take a Tour of Today’s Affordable Automated Home

Home automation takes the mundane, day-to-day activities involved in managing your home and leaves them to a computer, freeing you up to kick back and relax. Once a staple of science fiction fantasies and luxury homes, over the past decade home automation has become a realistic option for the average American homeowner. With this in mind, the home-automation experts at SafeWise have put together an interactive home tour, brief history, explanation of common features, and projection of future trends unique to today’s home automation systems. Hover on the image to learn more about home automation.

Home Automation Timeline

1930s

Debut at the World’s Fairs Chicago and NYC

1970s

Invention of the microcontroller

2019

Estimated overall market value of $16.4 billion

Home Automation Timeline

A Brief History of Home Automation

The idea of managing all the functions of a home with a centralized control system dates back to at least the beginning of the 20th century. The earliest working prototypes of automated houses debuted in the 1930s at World’s Fairs in Chicago and New York City, but those homes were never intended to be commercially available. [1] It wasn’t until the invention of the microcontroller during the 1970s that marketing a fully-wired, “smart” home automation system became economically feasible. With the growth of computer technology over the last fifteen years or so, the home automation industry has taken off.

  • In 2012, the estimated value of the home-automation market was around $3.6 billion. [2]
  • Smart-home device sales doubled the following year, [3] with 1.8 million new system installations nationwide. [4]
  • Some analysts expect 12 million new residential system installations in 2016 [4] and an estimated overall market value of as much as $16.4 billion by 2019. [2]

Indulge your inner control freak.

Control just about everything in your home… except your kids.

Lights

Today’s home automation systems make it easy for you to use your smartphone or tablet to control the lights in your home. You can switch on your lights and set them to an appropriate brightness, all while you’re away or lounging on your couch.

Locks and security systems

A home automation system will allow you to check—and change, if necessary—the status of your locks and security system remotely. Also, many systems allow remote monitoring of your home security cameras.

Appliances

With home automation, you can easily change the oven temperature, for example, while you’re relaxing in the back yard or watching a movie in the den thanks to wireless technology, smart outlets, and a smartphone app.

Entertainment systems

Some home automation systems also integrate entertainment. Set your TV’s recording schedule, manage your stored programs, and decide where to watch them, all from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Temperature and indoor climate

Use your home automation app to raise the temperature in the house a few degrees so you can stay comfy. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but you’ll also enjoy the pleasure of a lower energy bill.

Carbon Monoxide Detection

Your home automation system can detect increased levels of carbon monoxide in the air and set off an alarm if you’re in danger. It’s a far more reliable method than the old, standalone detectors from the hardware store.

How to Get Started with Home Automation

But hold on a minute—automating your home isn’t as simple as just downloading an app. It’ll take a little more than that to get started.

1. For one thing, you’ll need a controller. Today’s home automation systems can usually be managed straight from your tablet or smartphone, but some do still require the installation of a centralized control panel somewhere in your home.

2. You’ll also need access to a network in order to send messages from your controller to your home’s devices. Most home automation systems either use Wi-Fi or a simple Bluetooth connection. This, of course, depends on how you plan to use your system. For example, if you think you’ll want to interact with your devices while at work, a Bluetooth connection won’t cut it.

3. Finally, your devices will need some way to receive your instructions. For some, this isn’t an issue: today’s home entertainment systems often have Wi-Fi connectivity built right in before the components leave the factory. But for others—like, say, lights—you’ll need either smart outlets or smart lightbulbs to integrate them into your home’s automation system.

That may seem like a lot of work, but honestly, it isn’t. The bottom line is that if you’ve got Wi-Fi in your home and a smartphone in your pocket, you’re already most of the way there.

How to Get Started

So, What Does the Future of Home Automation Look Like?

You can’t talk about the future of home automation without mentioning the Internet of Things (IoT). That’s the catch-all phrase for the trend toward embedding sensors and microchips in everyday objects in a way that allows them to be connected to a network—like, say, the Internet. With the Internet of Things, your washing machine, for example, can send an alert to your phone when it’s time to move your clothes over to the dryer.

Analysts expect the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things to reach between 26 billion5 and 30 billion6 by 2020. And the more IoT-ready devices you have access to in your home, the more you’ll be able to accomplish with even the most basic home automation system.

In just 40 years, complete home automation systems have gone from high-tech curiosities to affordable and accessible modern home conveniences. They’re so simple now that just about anyone can take advantage of home automation to simplify their lives and enjoy what was once a luxury of the wealthy and tech-savvy. In another 40 years, we’ll wonder how we ever lived without them.

Note: Home automation features will vary depending on the system chosen.
Future of Home Automation

Find Your Perfect Home Security System

Safety Insights, Tips, and Expert Advice

Find answers to all your safety questions and stay in the know when it comes to protecting your family and home. Start by checking out our safety categories below.






Buy Smart. Live Safe.

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Who is SafeWise?

We know safety matters. That’s why we roll up our sleeves to research, test, and review home security products so you don’t have to.

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Like you, we’re real people who face real safety and security challenges. We seek the best products to help you live your safest, smartest life.

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We provide the answers you need to make smart home security and safety decisions. We test, review, and compare products to make your buying decisions easy.

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We are on a quest to find the best home safety and security products. We won’t settle for less, and we don’t think you should either.

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