Best Home Security Systems According to Experts
Want to feel safer no matter where you live? Top security experts share their picks for the best home security systems.
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Who needs a home security system?
According to the FBI, a property crime occurred every 4.1 seconds in 2017. If that statistic isn’t enough to make you take a look at home security systems, then what will?
But how do you pick the right one? You must take your property and lifestyle into consideration. We spoke with several home security experts to find out what the best home security systems are for every need, home, and budget. Arm your home with one—and these 13 sneaky ways FBI agents protect their own homes.
Kate Ward of SecurityNerd suggests leaving large home security up to the experts. “We recommend going with a reputable company that will come to your home and asses your needs. It can be difficult with a larger home to spot all of your trouble spots on your own.”
Both Ward and Robert Siciliano of Porch like ADT. “This is the best overall system with an easy professional installation as well as the best 24/7 monitoring,” he says. “ADT’s systems are easily scalable for a large home. All of the installers are also expert security advisors, and they will go through your entire home to identify what security options are right for you,” he says. Here are 20 secrets your home security system installer won’t tell you.
“With an apartment, it’s important to keep in mind that you probably don’t want anything hardwired because you may not be allowed to drill holes. So, you’ll want a wireless option,” says Ward. “You may also want a DIY system because then you will likely be able to take the equipment to your next place.”
Both Ward and Siciliano recommend SimpliSafe. “Move it from home to home to apartment to condo. SimpliSafe designed its home security systems for smaller homes and apartment dwellers. It has a standard entry sensor that covers the main door,” Siciliano says. Outsmart burglars with these 13 home security tips or try any of these DIY home security systems if you want to save a buck.
When it comes to pets, “the best solution is any quality security system installed that doesn’t use motion detectors and only protects doors and windows,” says Neal Scott of Alarm Websites. But if sensors are a must, Ward recommends Vivint. “They have pet-friendly sensors and lots of home automation that you can use such as cameras that can watch your pet, environmental sensors, and the capability to lock/unlock doors from your phone for pet sitters or dog walkers.”
If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s important to have app and smart home integration. So, both Ward and Siciliano say if you’re on the go, go with Vivint.
“They have the best home automation, easy professional installation, and work with Alexa and Nest smart home systems,” says Siciliano. “This is full home protection, including burglary and environmental protection and home automation. It uses a radio frequency called Z-Wave, which many other smart home devices use. So, you can add other third-party devices to your Vivint system.” Don’t forget to do these things before you leave for vacation.
Siciliano likes Vivint’s outdoor cameras and video doorbells. “You can also live-stream the feed to the mobile app and save it for future viewing. The doorbell cam allows you to see and even interact with anyone who comes to the door, and the outdoor cam allows you to view a live feed whenever it detects activity,” he says. Worried about your car getting stolen? Check out these useful anti-theft devices.
Siciliano says SimpliSafe is the best bang for the buck. “If you are single or on a seriously tight budget, living in an apartment [or] moving around a bit, then consider The Essentials for $259 and live happily ever after. It provides a motion sensor and alarms for the main entry points,” he says. Trying to avoid monthly service fees to save yourself some cash? Consider these best home security systems without monthly fees.
Package theft is a major problem today, so most experts, including Scott, recommend front door cameras like Ring. “A motion detector will notify your smartphone of an approaching person. You can also talk with the visitor. Video is saved for identification. Ring has an outstanding app that allows you to share video snippets with your neighbors who also have Ring. Many police agencies have programs that allow you to connect your video to them,” he says. These are 8 telltale signs that the package at your door is suspicious.
Rebecca Edwards of Safewise calls Vivint the most comprehensive smart home security system because it has every feature you could need. “You can access all of your security control and smart home control through a single app and they can also customize your system to match your home (meeting all security vulnerabilities) and lifestyle/habits (with home automation).” Like smart technology? These devices are worth every penny.
Most security experts agree you can’t go wrong with the old standard, ADT. “I think ADT is a strong choice,” explains Edwards. However, you need to keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to hardwire a system on your own. “It comes with professional installation so you don’t need to worry about setting things up wrong, shorting out your system, or injuring yourself,” she says. Should you put up that home security system sign or sticker? Here’s why you might want to think twice.
Both Ward and Edwards like Frontpoint. Edwards says one of the best features of the system is the wireless panel. “You can set it on a table or shelf and don’t have to install it on the wall,” she says.
The brand recently added a smart hub, which improved the product significantly. Edward notes, “Because the equipment is wireless you can move with it or use it in an apartment, which helps out if you’re in a long-term contract with the company.” Wondering if burglars are scoping out your home? Learn these 22 signs your home is vulnerable and the 13 signs your home is being watched.
The Canary All-in-One system is chock full of features that Edwards likes. “It’s basically a security camera with extras like a siren and panic button that can send a direct call for help to emergency personnel, a neighbor, or family. On the Canary you can add pro monitoring through Noonlight,” she says. Not sure where to install your camera? Consider these 10 places.
“We think it’s a good idea to have at least one camera in a strategic spot. That being said, DIY companies like SimpliSafe are great options. They will offer you a basic plan without a camera,” says Ward.
Edwards agrees about SimpliSafe. “It is probably the best all-around home security system that doesn’t come with a camera included. It delivers everything else you want from the best home security systems, including pro monitoring, motion sensors, door and window contacts, and a siren, all for a reasonable price,” he says. Still on the fence about a security camera? Here are 12 of the best-reviewed.
Edwards recommends Ring for people who don’t want to get stuck in a contract. “It’s the cheapest option out there and if you add month-to-month monitoring, you only pay $10/month. But you can buy a full year up front for $100, which saves you the cost of two months. And, they’ll give you a prorated refund on an annual payment if you decide to cancel the monitoring,” she says. In addition to investing in one of the best home security systems, you should also do these 10 things every day to make your home safer.
Ward and Siciliano are both fans of ADT. “Since ADT has six different centers for monitoring, more than any other security company out there, you get extra protection. For instance, if a monitoring center is affected by a natural disaster or power outage, there are other centers open and operating 24 hours a day. You just don’t get that with smaller security companies,” he says. Wonder what they see at monitoring centers? Here are 11 strange things caught on security cameras.