Compare Home Security

From equipment & coverage to contract terms & cost, we research everything you need to compare home security and make a decision. Learn how our editors compare the different factors of home security below.
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Home Security Systems

What every informed consumer needs to know...

At the most basic level, a Home Security System is designed to detect an intruder in your home and report it to a monitoring company, who will then notify you and the authorities in case of an emergency. With upgrades that detect environmental dangers like fire, floods and carbon monoxide, your system can alert you if and when there’s trouble. Add on Home Automation, and you can control your home’s features remotely, all from a mobile device.

The FBI recently reported that in 2013, there were close to 2 million thefts. That means there is a break-in every 15 seconds! But homes with Security Systems are 60% less likely to be burglarized. With so many Home Security Companies on the market, protecting your home can be easy and you’re sure to find a system that will work for you.

Home Security Checklist

How we Compare Home Security

Equipment & Coverage - 25%
Monitoring Services & Technology - 20%
Customer Service & Reviews - 15%
Reputation - 15%
Contract Terms & Cost - 25%

Equipment and Coverage

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Starting with basic burglar detection, there are a number of additional detection sensors that you can add to protect your home from damages and threats. The most common additions are fire or smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Water and flood sensors are useful if you live in a heavy rain, or flood-prone area. Mold detectors are also available, but not as common. 

With video surveillance you can watch your home from wherever you are, make sure that your children make it home from school safely, or add extra coverage to areas of your home, yard, or garage with low visibility.

Home Security Systems are also at the forefront of the rapidly growing home automation movement. This allows consumers to have connected homes, in which turning the lights on or off, locking or unlocking the doors, and even controlling the thermostat, are all possible from a handy app on your phone or tablet. 

Home Security Systems can include:

  • 24 Hour Monitoring – Monitoring Services provided by your Home Security Company, which you pay for monthly.
  • Intruder Detection- Protection against burglars and other intruders by using sensors on your windows and doors.
  • Fire & Smoke Detection – Protects your family and your home against fires, much like your home fire alarm. The benefit of this option is that if your home catches on fire, an alarm will sound, your monitoring company will be notified, and help will be dispatched even if you aren’t in the home.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detection- Protects your family and home against this deadly and colorless, odorless gas. As with Fire & Smoke detection, your monitoring center will be notified and so will you.
  • Water & Flood Detection – Notifies you and your monitoring company the moment there is a problem. This is a good option for people who live in areas with heavy rains or flooding.
  • Video Surveillance – This feature allows you to keep an eye on your home when you are away. If you are the victim of a break-in, recorded footage from a video surveillance system could give police the evidence they need to find the person responsible.
  • Home Automation Features-  These are additional features that are not only fun and helpful, but also add to the protection of your home. You can lock & unlock your doors for home repair professionals, turn your lights on or off to give the impression that someone’s home, or adjust your thermostat for maximum energy efficiency. Home Automation makes controlling the features of your home easy from anywhere.

The Bottom Line

Not all companies offer the same types of coverage, but with over 200 Home Security companies to choose from, there is a system out there for everyone’s needs.

If you need to suspend your service for any reasons, talk to your service provider, they may be able to assist you. If you are a Military Service Member, many companies are more than happy to suspend service at no additional cost. 

Home Security with the Best Equipment and Coverage:

FrontpointGetSafeVivintADTProtect AmericaArmoraxMONILink Interactive
SirensYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Master Control PanelYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Keychain RemoteYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Motion DetectionYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYes
Glass Break SensorsYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYes
Door/Window SensorsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Video Security CameraYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Panic ButtonYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Fire & Smoke DetectionYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Carbon Monoxide DetectionYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Freeze & Flood DetectionYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Garage Door SensorYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Heat SensorsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Monitoring Services and Technology

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Home Security Companies want you to be in the loop, and not just when there's trouble. In addition to being able to control features in your home from a mobile phone or tablet, your system can be programmed to send you text or email notifications, depending on different scenarios.

For example, you can receive a notification whenever someone enters or exits your home. Or, if you leave your home without setting the alarm, you may be able to set your system to remind you when your phone goes outside a certain radius.  If you’ve chosen to add Home Automation to your system, you can keep track of when someone unlocks or locks your door, when a light is turned on or off, or be notified when your thermostat is adjusted.

And as always, if there is trouble in your home, you will be contacted immediately.

The Bottom Line

Technological advancements have made it easy for Home Security Companies to keep you connected to what’s happening in your home via text and email alerts, even when there isn't an emergency.

All of the Top 10 Home Security Companies offer apps for mobile phones and tablets or have an online portal that you can control your Home Security System from when you are away from home.

Home Security with the Best Monitoring Services and Technology:

FrontpointGetSafeVivintADTProtect AmericaArmoraxMONILink Interactive
24 Hour MonitoringYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Intruder DetectionYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Life SafetyYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Home Remote Automatic FeaturesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Geo ServicesYesNoYesYesNoNoNoYes
Email AlertsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
2-Way IntercomYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYes

Customer Service and Reviews

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Many of the biggest and best Home Security Companies use the same equipment from respected manufactures like Honeywell and GE, while others build their own unique systems.

By contracting with reputable manufacturers, companies have found that they can offer consumers guaranteed, high-quality equipment at competitive prices, without taking their focus off of monitoring. Since so many companies use the same equipment, consumers can change between security providers easily, without going through a new installation.

If you are looking for a more advanced or personalized system, companies who have built their own systems are better able to customize them to your needs. However, it is worth mentioning that these companies also offer basic systems that match the quality of larger manufactures. Just because you have a custom system doesn’t mean you have to stick with that company for the long haul. Monitor-only companies make a living working with consumers who have all types of systems. You’ll just have to make some calls to see if your system is compatible. 

Home Security Equipment Definitions:

  • Master Control Panel - The main brain behind your home security system. This panel will send any emergency signals to the monitoring company or set off the alarm.
  • Control Keypad- Additional devices that arm or disarm the security system.
  • Door & Window Sensor Pads - Sensors that are designed to trip the alarm if they are moved.
  • Glass Break Sensor- Some burglars will smash windows instead of trying to open them in order to avoid setting off the sensor pads. A glass break sensor prevents against this by monitoring the glass and if there is a disturbance, your monitoring company will be notified.
  • Motion Sensor Device- can either activate the alarm OR turn on the recording device for your video surveillance
  • Video Cameras- Can work hand in hand with motion sensor devices to film an area if there is movement, or it can be programmed to remain on continuously. Footage is recorded and kept for a limited amount of time in case you need to review it. You can also access the footage from a computer or app when you are away from home.
  • Intercom System – This allows for voice communication between your home and the monitoring company from your control panel, or from your home to your front porch.
  • Emergency or Panic Buttons- emergency buttons are helpful if you are in the middle of an emergency and need assistance.  
  • Yard Signs & Window Decals- can act as a deterrent for burglars who may think twice about going up against your security system

The Bottom Line

As long as you select a highly rated Home Security Company, you are almost guaranteed a solid product. We have noticed no difference in quality between companies that partner with manufactures and companies that make their own equipment, so we suggest looking at price point and quality of coverage instead.

 

Home Security Companies make their money on monthly monitoring fees, so if you are going to lock yourself into a long term commitment, don’t be shy about discounted or even free equipment. There may even be a special offer availably already!

Home Security with the Best Customer Service and Reviews:

FrontpointGetSafeVivintADTProtect AmericaArmoraxMONILink Interactive
Online ChatNoNoYesYesYesYesNoNo
Free Consultation ServicesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Toll-free PhoneYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Equipment Warranty3 Years1 Year120 Days after installationExtended Limited WarrantyLifetime Equipment Warranty3 YearsNot Stated2 Years
BBB RatingA+NRBA+A-AA+A+
Angie's ListN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
TrustPilot9.19.37.46.69.2N/A89.3

Reputation

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When it comes to Home Security System installation, companies have two approaches. Some get you to install the system yourself, which is referred to as the DIY (or Do It Yourself) method. Alternately, some companies require a professional technician to come to your home and install the system for you. Most companies will either have DIY or Professional installation, but rarely both options.

The DIY option is quite popular these days. The Home Security Company will walk you through a home assessment over the phone or through their website. Once you have decided what your home needs, the equipment will be sent to your home with detailed instructions on how to install the unit yourself. Most consumers report that this is a lot easier than they had anticipated. Once you’ve installed the system, you’ll contact the Home Security Company to test the signal to the system and check for any bad connections.

With the professional installation, you’ll need to schedule a time for a technician to come to your home. Often the technician will do an assessment of your home and provide you with safety suggestions, before setting up your system. Once installed, the technician will make certain that the equipment and signals are all working properly for you.

 

DIY

  Pros:

  • No installation fees
  • No scheduling of appointments, install the system when it works for you
  • You get to know your equipment – if it breaks you’ll be better prepared to diagnose the problem.
  • If you move, installation is easy and free
  • Most likely, no holes in walls or doors.

  Cons:

  • You will have to assess your home yourself
  • If you have trouble installing the system, no one will be coming to double-check your work.

Professional Installation

  Pros:

  • Professional Assessment of your needs
  • You don’t have to install the system yourself
  • Worry-free installation from someone who knows how to install everything

  Cons:

  • Taking time out of your day for your appointment
  • Installation fee for set up may be required.
  • If you move, you may have to pay an additional fee to have your equipment installed again.

 

 

 

The Bottom Line
As long as your system is installed correctly, there is no difference in the quality of your equipment. Installation is a personal preference. If you have a basic system and are handy, the DIY method may work best for you. If you choose a more complicated system with bells and whistles, Professional installation may be the best option.

Home Security with the Best Reputation:

FrontpointGetSafeVivintADTProtect AmericaArmoraxMONILink Interactive
Market Share4.70%Not StatedNot Stated25%Not StatedNot StatedNot StatedNot Stated
Years in Operation930181272422567
Associated with Electronic Security AssociationNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNo
CSAA or UL CertificationYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Contract Terms and Cost

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As is true in any industry, Home Security Companies can be pushy or even downright deceptive. However, we are pleased to say that each year there are an increasing number of great companies that offer exceptional customer service.

A great customer service practice that all of the Top 10 Home Security Companies offer is a money-back guarantee trial period. These trial periods range from 3 days up to 6 months, though a 30-day trial period is the most common.  Because Home Security policies are not always transparent, we suggest verifying that there are no “restocking fees” associated to the trial periods and that you will truly receive your money back from all the equipment and services provided BEFORE signing up with any company.

Additionally, we suggest reading reviews from consumers who have been in your shoes. This will give you an idea of how you will be treated if you become a customer.

The Bottom Line

Take companies up on their money back guarantee trial periods, but if you aren’t happy, make sure to notify the company and send any equipment back within the trial period otherwise you may be stuck in your contract. Always read your contract, or the terms and conditions of your agreement before you commit to any plan.

Home Security with the Best Contract Terms and Cost:

FrontpointGetSafeVivintADTProtect AmericaArmoraxMONILink Interactive
Contract Length36 MonthsNo Contract60 Months36 Months (24 Months in California)36 Months36 Months36 Months36 Months
Cancellation PolicyCall customer support for discussionCancel AnytimeCall customer support for discussionEarly termination costs 75% of the monthly service chargesPay out the remainder of the balance due80% of the remaining contractNot StatedNot Stated
Automatic RenewalYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYes
Transparent Company PoliciesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Equipment$99-$199.93$249$99$28.99FreeFreeNot StatedNot Stated
InstallationDIYDIYProfessionalProfessionalDIYDIYProfessionalDIY
Monitoring$34.99-$44.99/month$29 /month$39.99 - $49.99/month$28.99/month$19.99$24.95/month$34.95-$54.95 /month$34.99/month
Active FeesNot StatedNot Stated$99$25Not StatedNot Stated$99-$149Not Stated

Full Home Security Comparison

Equipment and CoverageMonitoring Services and TechnologyCustomer Service and ReviewsReputationContract Terms and Cost
Frontpoint Home Security10.09.99.89.19.9
GetSafe Home Security10.09.59.27.49.0
Vivint Home Security10.09.010.09.06.0
ADT Monitored Home Security9.06.08.010.09.9
Protect America Home Security9.09.08.08.08.5
Guardian Protection Home Security10.09.08.08.07.5
Armorax Home Security9.08.09.58.58.0
MONI Smart Security9.08.06.08.09.5
Link Interactive Home Security7.09.07.07.07.0
Home Safety Home Security7.06.08.07.58.0
Scout Alarm Home Security7.07.08.05.08.0
Cammy Home Security8.05.06.77.07.8
SimpliSafe Home Security7.06.57.55.05.0
Pinnacle Home Security6.06.07.06.06.0
LifeShield Home Security6.06.07.06.06.0
Alarm Force Home Security6.06.06.07.06.0
Fluent Home Security5.06.08.05.06.0
Canary Home Security Device5.05.07.08.05.0
Ackerman Home Security6.06.05.06.05.0
AlarmGrid Home Security6.05.05.05.06.0
AT&T Home Security4.05.05.05.03.0
Post Alarm Systems Home Security4.05.05.05.03.0
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Latest Reviews

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Home Security
m.drake
Hudson, Florida
4/14/2017
Been a happy (Monitronics) customer since 2009 and have NEVER experienced ANY problems with this company. I started out with the "basic" package (However, I had to purchase several additional window sensors as the basic package didn't include enough for all the windows) with a 36-month monitoring contract. In 2011, I contacted the company requesting to add-on to my system (having them install a cellular back up signal in case the phone lines were ever cut and installing an additional motion sensor). No problems at all (contacting them, customer service, or the technicians coming out to do the the work). My contract ended in 2012 (could have left) but choose to stay and continue paying every month. I was NOT asked to sign another contract and was able to leave anytime after that without penalties if I wanted. About 2 years ago, my son broke the keypad so again I had to call the company for services and once again, no problems. That same year, someone stole my (and my neighbors ADT) lawn signs. I called the company expecting I would have to buy a replacement sign but not only did they send me a new one for free, they even paid for the shipping. Today (April 13, 2017) I just learned Monitronics changed their name (or were bought out) to Moni Smart. I called the company because I was concerned but they answered all my questions and are even sending me new updated signs (again, absolutely free and they are paying for the shipping). We shall soon see if the new name will change their great service I've known for several years but they are already off to a great start. I grew up with ADT in my parents house they experienced several problems/inconveniences that eventually made my parents leave and left a bad taste for them when it comes to home security systems to this day. With all the bad/negative reviews I read, I wanted to share "MY" positive experience with this company.

Ron R
Holly Springs, North Carolina
3/24/2017
Customer service A+, Smart home features A++, 24 hours security monitoring A+, Bottom line nothing to complain about would recommend to everyone. Couldn't be happier with the over all service from Vivint!!

Andy
Antioch, Illinois
3/17/2017
Vivint has horrible customer service. They missed my appointment to install the system. They apologized like it didn't matter. The customer service manager was terrible sounded like a young kid who could careless about Vivint or customers. Pretty amazing. They seem to be too big as they are forgetting they have jobs because of their customers.

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Home Security