What are the best self-monitored home security devices?
We recommend starting with video cameras. If an alarm goes off at your house and you’re not there, the only way for you to see what’s happening is with video surveillance. Installing indoor and outdoor security cameras will help you know whether there’s an actual intruder or whether your teenager just forgot the code to disarm the security system.
How can I avoid false alarms?
Be sure to test your system regularly and change batteries in devices when needed. Keep any camera lenses clean and free of debris, especially outdoor cameras. Check for loose door and window sensors, and clean motion sensors regularly.
Can I self-monitor individual security devices without having an entire home security system?
Yes. Many companies offer multiple products that connect to a single smartphone app, so you can purchase devices individually and add them to the app as you go. The Ring doorbell is a good example. It’s not attached to an alarm system, but it has motion-activated video recording and it sends you an alert when someone rings your doorbell. A smart lock or smart doorbell is a good place to start if you’re not sure whether self-monitoring is right for you.
Can you monitor your own security system without a smartphone?
Some systems do offer internet monitoring through a PC or Mac, but most companies are phasing it out in favor of smartphone monitoring apps.
Can I have friends or family members help me with monitoring?
Yes, and we recommend it. Choose one or more trusted friends, family members, or neighbors to receive security alerts for your system so you’re not the only one handling any potential alarms.
Do self-monitored home security system companies offer equipment financing?
Not often. One reason professionally monitored security systems use contracts is to spread out the cost of your system. Companies will bundle your equipment payments with your monthly monitoring fee to give you a standard monthly payment. With a self-monitored system, it’s more likely you’ll have to pay for your equipment up front.