As a new or seasoned homeowner, it is always a great idea to add an extra layer of protection to keep your family and goods safe. You never know what is going to try and break that trust, so we invested over 700 hours in our quest to uncover the truth about the home security industry.
Best for Recognizability and Professional Installation: ADT
ADT is arguably the most recognizable name in home security. The name itself on a sign outside a home will make intruders think twice. It excels in home automation and offers all the technology you need to turn your home into a fortress. It even offers hard-to-find medical alert protection. ADT also has six in-house monitoring centers, more than any of the top companies. ADT isn’t the best choice for those on a budget: There’s no pricing information online, and all equipment must be paid for upfront. It will be interesting to see what 2017 holds as ADT was purchased by private equity group, Apollo, and will merge with Protection 1. The most popular brand in the industry seems primed to grow even larger the next few years.
Best for Overall Reputation and Customization: Frontpoint
Frontpoint leads the home security industry in flexibility and customer satisfaction. Instead of requiring consultation, professional installation, and multi-year contracts, Frontpoint allows you to design your own system from scratch: you choose sensors, a monitoring package, and contract terms as you see fit. Large upfront equipment costs are a drawback: If that’s an issue, you’re better off with Protect America or Vivint, who front equipment in exchange for longer contract terms. But if you can afford it, you’ll likely be satisfied with Frontpoint — most customers say they’d recommend it to a friend.
Best for Low Up-front Cost and Initial Phone Call: Protect America
Protect America is the cheapest to get up and running among the big-name home security companies, but that’s only if you go the landline route at only $20/month for monitoring. (Keep in mind, the cellular monitoring will cost you over $40/month.) Also, there are no up-front costs at all — activation and installation are free, and so is the equipment. Protect America will lock you into a 36-month contract, with a 30-day return policy, and a pay-in-full policy should you decide to cancel after that. The company does get a special callout for having a great initial phone call that was helpful, clear, and informative.
Best for No-Contract and Low-Cost: GetSafe
Like Frontpoint and Link Interactive, GetSafe offers an easy-to-use system that you can install on your own. But when it comes to monitoring, GetSafe has one big advantage: It doesn’t require a contract. The upfront cost for equipment ($250) is a bit more than Frontpoint, but Its $35-per-month professional monitoring payment is par for the course — and you can change your mind and cancel at any time. GetSafe also supports a great variety of third-party home automation devices, but with a slight catch: You’ll have to buy a $65 Z-Wave adapter to use them. If you’re a renter, or prefer not to make a 36-month commitment, GetSafe is probably your best option. Note: If you don’t mind signing at least a one-year contract, GetSafe will give you its $250 starter kit for free, making it shortest and most affordable commitment of all our top picks.
Best Technology and Mobile App: Vivint
Vivint rolls the industry’s best technology and innovation into an attractive month-to-month service package. The mobile app, which you’d probably use daily, blows away every other company on the list (it averages 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 21,000 Google Play and nearly 5,000 iOS users). Vivint Sky will notify you if a door wasn’t locked when you leave your house. The downside with Vivint has always been two-fold: It’s more expensive than the rest of the industry and sports a spotty customer service reputation. You get what you pay for in terms of equipment and functionality, plus there are positive signs of Vivint turning around the poor customer experience.
Best for All-Around Value: Link Interactive
Link Interactive isn’t as widely known as some of our other top picks, but it’s certainly one to keep an eye on. The company offers monthly cellular-monitoring packages, home automation, and energy management at just $35 per month. For an extra $5 per month, you can get video monitoring as well. Link Interactive is part of Mountain Alarm, which has been in business for over 60 years and has a solid reputation — with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Look for Link Interactive to continue pushing ADT, Frontpoint, and Vivint in terms of flexibility, pricing, and home automation, which will only help improve an already competitive industry.
All are worth keeping an eye on in the future and during your purchasing process. Although not a top pick, each still boasts plenty of positive points.
Formerly known as SafeMart, LiveWatch offers two easy-to-install equipment bundles that can be outfitted with several different monitoring plans. There’s a 12-month monitoring contract and the basic plan runs $30. LiveWatch is a decent option if you’re on a budget, but we were stuck on the phone for 43 minutes, some of which was spent trying to sell us on the brand itself.
No matter how we sliced it, Monitronics failed to stand out from the competition. Another downside is that it won’t allow renters to purchase and set up a system – the actual homeowner is required to do the dirty work. The pricing is in line with most other home security systems, but there’s no place where Monitronics “wins” — instead, it’s acceptable across the board.
Alarm Grid offers a la carte equipment and the lowest monitoring fee in the business; however, its online presence is too nonexistent for us to recommend it over the competition. It also requires a working knowledge of standard security equipment to get started and the up-front costs aren’t exactly cheap.
Overall, picking the right home security is a huge choice for homeowners to make. But after reviewing the six best types and three runner ups, hopefully homeowners have more peace of mind.
For more information: http://www.reviews.com/home-security-system