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Home Security Systems Reviews 2014

Winner
Best Home Security System 2013
(888) 268-6273

Runner-Up

Best Home Security System 2013 Runner-Up

(888) 255-7812
Third Place

LifeShield(866) 311-1331
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The security industry is highly competitive, from local mom and pop companies to international giants. It is a relatively easy industry to enter, but a very hard one to offer a consistently great product and service over time, especially with new technologies being released every day. It has become difficult to keep up with all the changes and wrap your head around the latest and greatest house alarm offerings. With so many to choose from and so many things to consider, how do you know which home alarm system is right for you? Our home security systems reviews cover the top contenders and bring you our findings in our regularly updated reviews.

Best Security System Awards

The winners of our coveted best alarm system awards are listed below. For an alphabetical listing by security company, please see the list in the next section.

Reviews of the Top 9 Home Security Systems for 2014

We evaluate the largest names in the security industry based on our research, and give you a concise summary of their offerings and pros and cons for each.

Click on a company name in the list below to jump straight down to its security system review (they are listed by ranking):

  1. FrontPoint
  2. Protect America
  3. LifeShield
  4. SafeMart
  5. SimpliSafe
  6. Guardian Protection
  7. Vivint
  8. ADT
  9. AlarmForce

Companies Not Rated:

Don’t see the company you’re looking for? Comment below with the security company you’d like reviewed and we’ll get right on it!

To help you to choose the right home alarm system for your needs, we have put together a home security systems comparison table that highlights the main features of each system along with the pros and cons of each. There is also a rankings table so you can see the score that we assigned to each company. We have also made a quick video to help you understand the rigorous process we use to pick our winner.

We have a listing of terminologies that will help you evaluate the best home alarm system for your needs that appears below the comparison table, as well as at the bottom of this page.

Winner: FrontPoint Security

1st Place Award for Best Home Security System

FrontPoint Security FrontPoint (888-268-6273) is our choice for best home alarm system for the eighth year in a row. The FrontPoint system is based on wireless and cellular connections, so the homeowner never has to worry about a power failure or cut phone lines. But what continues to really set FrontPoint apart from the competition is their amazing customer service and support. Jump down to our in-depth FrontPoint review for more.

2nd Place: Protect America

2nd Place Award for Best Home Security System


Protect America

Protect America (888-255-7812) is a great home security solution that will meet the needs of almost any homeowner. Out of all of the positives, there are a few issues that kept Protect America in second place. They do not make cellular monitoring a mandatory and in our opinion, cellular monitoring is the most secure communication available between your security system and monitoring station and therefore should be the highest priority. The customer service from Protect America continues to improve, but we still hear of a few negative issues from time to time. Navigate down to our in-depth Protect America review for details.

3rd Place: LifeShield

3rd Place Award for Best Home Security System

LifeShield

LifeShield (866-311-1331) has a great commitment to redundancy, as they not only offer a broadband communication option, they can back it up via a cellular line as well. Another reason they were able to take over the Bronze medal is that they are not a dealer or reseller, when you buy a system from LifeShield you are dealing with them directly. Whole home fire protection and many great promotional options makes LifeShield a sure bet. Check out our review of LifeShield below.

Home Security Systems Comparison Table

Home Alarm Comparison TablePlease visit our Home Security Systems Comparison Table (or click on the image on the left) for details of the home security systems that we review in this article. This table includes a side by side comparison of four different price points so you can see what each company offers. We’ll continue to update this table as new features and services are released, and will add new security system reviews based on your feedback and requests.

In the next section you’ll find our ratings table and in-depth reviews on each home security company and details on the systems they offer, as well as features and services. We outline a pro and con list, details to which (such as specific pricing) you can reference in the comparison table.

Home Security Systems Rankings Table

All scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.

FrontPointProtect AmericaLifeShieldSafemartSimpliSafeGuardian ProtectionVivintADTAlarmForce

Security Performance

5

4.5

4.5

4

4

4

3.5

3.5

3

Customer Service & Reputation

4.5

3.5

3.5

4

4

4

2.5

3

4

Equipment Quality

5

5

5

5

4

4

5

5

4

Equipment Warranty

3.5

4.5

3

2

4

3

5

3

5

Ability to Relocate

5

5

5

3

5

3

4

3

3

Home Automation

5

5

3

5

1

5

5

5

2

Total Score

4.70

4.35

4.10

4.00

3.90

3.90

3.75

3.65

3.65

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1st: FrontPoint Review

Call: (888) 268-6273 FrontPoint Security

Website: FrontPoint Security

FrontPoint is a great option when it comes to true value with its vast number of alarm system options. The biggest advantage FrontPoint has over the competition is their dedicated 100% wireless connection and dedicated cellular communication. This, combined with excellent customer service, helped them win our best home alarm system award from 2007 to 2014. The higher fee resulting from this 100% wireless and cellular advantage could be worth it depending upon your needs. The potential cons of Front Point is that they do not offer a two-way intercom or lifetime equipment warranty, but we know with their great customer service they will be able to help you out should your equipment fail.

Pros

  • 24-hour fully wireless and cellular monitoring service (no risk of lines being cut or network connections severed by intruders).
  • Excellent customer service.
  • “B+” BBB Rating.
  • Self installation (DIY) option allows for lower cost (no installation fees) and more customized pre-programmed equipment installation.
  • Easy and free relocation – if you move, your equipment can be easily relocated, at no additional charge, due to easy setup re-programmed equipment.
  • Supports Z-Wave equipment (door locks, thermostats, plug-in lamps, etc.) for home automation.
  • Interactive services via alarm.com.
  • Uses General Electric (GE) monitoring equipment.
  • Crash and Smash Protection.
  • Top winner of our coveted Best Home Alarm System award.

Cons

  • Not licensed to work in Las Vegas, NV; Henderson, NV; and the Canadian province of Quebec. However, they chose not to sell in Las Vegas due to the city’s non-response policy.
  • Not available in areas without cellular reception.
  • A 2-year equipment warranty – but remember that FrontPoint has a spectacular customer service record and should be willing to help with any equipment issue.
  • No 2-way intercom.

In Depth Review

Read our in-depth review of FrontPoint Security for more details.

 

2nd: Protect America Review

Protect AmericaCall: (888) 255-7812

Website: Protect America

Protect America is an affordable home alarm company that offers DIY installations. Protect America offers all of the services of their top competitor ADT and they offer it at a lower cost with a lifetime equipment warranty. The thing holding them back from snagging our top spot in our best alarm competition is their spotty customer service record and that they do not offer cellular monitoring (the gold standard in the security industry) in all their plans.

For a limited time, Protect America is offering a free security camera with digital packages!

Pros

  • Affordable monthly monitoring with four different options to choose from, including one of the best value plans that we have reviewed, the Copper Landline package is only $19.99 per month.
  • General Electric (GE) monitoring equipment with lifetime equipment warranty - but make sure to read the fine print to make sure you qualify.
  • The only company we reviewed that has free activation and no standard equipment charges!
  • Good customer service with live chat, phone support, videos, and forums.
  • System can be relocated.
  • Home automation available with “Z-Wave” products.
  • A-” BBB Rating.
  • Runner Up in our Best Home Alarm System Rankings.

Cons

  • Reputation for aggressive sales tactics.
  • Not 100% Cellular monitoring.
  • “Smash and grab” not available.
  • No free trial period.

In Depth Review

Our in-depth review of Protect America has more details.

3rd: LifeShield Review

LifeShieldCall: (866) 311-1331

Website: LifeShield

LifeShield is an affordable monitored security plan that stands out from the competition by offering both self install and professional installation options as well as backup communication with the emergency monitoring stations to ensure they know when there is a problem via multiple contact points. But, if you are looking for home automation they do not have this service yet (we hear it is coming later this year!). They do offer interactive monitoring, are on the cutting edge of technology and make their own equipment so hopefully they will add a few more bells to become a more competitive player in the home security system world.

Pros

  • LifeShield HomeScreen TouchpadFree Homescreen Touchpad for a limited time (pictured to the right)!
  • Affordable monthly monitoring.
  • Interactive security system control via a SmartPhone and new Android tablet LifeView control panel.
  • Systems can be relocated.
  • Redundant communication with the monitoring station so that fire/police are notified of your emergency without risk of any phone lines being cut or cellular signals being jammed/blocked.
  • Offers both self-install and professional installation options. Their professional installation cost ($99) is a lot less expensive than that of the top DIY companies (FrontPoint, Protect America, etc.).
  • Smoke and Fire protection is not an additional charge with the patented monitor that works with your existing smoke detector.
  • Dual Defense Technology – the LifeShield system has two “brains” (the base and the touchpad) so if one is compromised, the other sends out an alarm.

Cons

  • No home automation – does not offer recessed door and garage door sensors, intercom systems or any home automation services.
  • Only a one year equipment warranty – extended warranty available for $2.99 per month.
  • To get the best deals, you must sign a 63 month agreement.
  • C+ BBB Rating.

In-Depth Review

For more in-depth coverage, read our LifeShield Security review.

4th: SafeMart Review (Also Known As LiveWatch)

Call: (888) 793-5462

Website: SafeMart/LiveWatch

SafeMart (also known as LiveWatch in some markets) attracts a considerable number of ‘do it yourself’ home owners who want to install their own home alarm system. SafeMart also offers various big name brands for their equipment and cover all bases in terms of security services that they offer. SafeMart not only caters to those looking for alarm systems, but also to those looking for home monitoring, camera security, home automation and business security services. As one of the fastest growing privately owned businesses in the United States, SafeMart has attracted increasing numbers of patrons over the years, giving them recognition from Inc. 5000 every year since 2009 for their incredible growth. A low price guarantee and free tech support in addition to free shipping on orders over $199 are added incentives when it comes to features of SafeMart that attract homeowners.

Pros

  • Price match guarantee offers 12 months of free alarm monitoring for any competitors price that SafeMart cannot match (disclaimers apply so be sure this applies to your specific situation).
  • Considerable selection in home alarm system manufacturers.
  • Purchased items can be pre-set with desired options to make installation easier.
  • Offer both wired and wireless home security solutions, if hybrid security system is desired.
  • BBB A+ rated.

Cons

  • Upfront equipment costs can be prohibitive, oftentimes as much as $300 more than competitors.
  • Warrantees will vary depending on manufacturer.
  • No installation assistance.
  • Live chat customer service options are limited to certain hours during the day.

In Depth Review

Our complete review of SafeMart/LiveWatch has more information.

5th: SimpliSafe Review

SimpliSafe on AmazonCall: (888) 957-4675

Website: SimpliSafe

If a simple alarm system is all you are looking for with no additional cost past the original equipment fee, then SimpliSafe might be the best home security system for you. This company only offers equipment that is self-install, so there is no middle man to go through and no expense for installation. SimpliSafe uses dedicated cellular communication with the monitoring station which is a huge benefit but if the control panel were destroyed, it would no longer relay any messages to the monitoring station of an emergency which is a concern (no smash and grab technology). SimpliSafe does not require a contract and you can even opt out of having your system monitored by their 24/7 security monitoring center (but we do not recommend this – learn more about self-monitoring security). Since you can also upgrade your system later, it can be a great place to get started with a home alarm system so long as you are not looking for home automation as they do not have it today and they currently have no stated plans to add it.

Pros

  • No contract.
  • Dedicated cellular communication with remote monitoring station in Amcest, New Jersey.
  • 3 year warranty on equipment.
  • 60 day money back guarantee.
  • Can relocate since the system is wireless vs. hard-wired.
  • Smartphone app for remote control over system.
  • Monitored pricing starts at $14.99 per month.
  • Receives an “A+” from the Better Business Bureau

Cons

  • If the control panel (base station) is destroyed, all communication with the monitoring center will be disabled. But, there are compelling features built into the system to minimize this risk.
  • No contract = no price lock on equipment or monitoring
  • Interactive features (access from computer and/or smart phone) will increase the initial cost by $100 and the monthly cost by $10.
  • No security cameras and or home automation.

In Depth Review

Our complete review of SimpliSafe has more information.

6th: Guardian Protection Review

Call: (866) 533-6717

Website: Guardian Protection

Guardian Protection Services (not to be confused with Guardian Alarm or Guardian Alarm Systems) started out offering very basic protection services but recently has been adding to their arsenal of offerings. They use local authorized resellers for installation, but are only available in select geographic areas (see cons list below for details). What sets Guardian apart is that they monitor their own systems. And while their monitoring plans are on par with the competition, they don’t offer many upgrades, for example, a glass break detector. In addition, their customer service has a less than stellar reputation, depending on your local dealer.

Pros

  • They monitor their own systems (ie. don’t outsource monitoring to a monitoring station).
  • General Electric (GE) monitoring equipment is utilized.
  • Lifetime equipment warranty is available on all but the basic plan.
  • A BBB Rating.

Cons

  • Limited availability: Guardian Protection is only available in Phoenix, Arizona; Delaware; Orlando and Tampa, Florida; Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Southern Maryland; North Carolina; Western New York; Ohio; Eastern and Western Pennsylvania;  Raleigh, South Carolina; Texas; Northern Virginia; Sheboygan, Wisconsin and the panhandle of West Virginia. This also means if you purchase Guardian and move, you may have no option but to pay the expensive early termination fee.
  • Support materials, FAQ, etc. can only be accessed on the website if you have a contract with them.
  • Pricing varies by your location.

7th: Vivint Review

VivintCall: (855) 300-1751

Website: Vivint

Vivint is trying to make a name for itself in the home automation niche. Formerly APX Alarm Security Solutions, Vivint was relaunched in early 2011 with the help of Goldman Sachs capital. Vivint offers competitive pricing in exchange for longer than normal contracts (42 month commitments). While certainly not the most economical provider, Vivint does offer high-end packages that are really impressive.

Pros

  • Offers 100% wireless communication of their alarm systems. There is a wireless connection between the sensors in your home and the control panel, as well as a wireless connection between your control panel and the monitoring station.
  • Home automation options (controlling door locks, lighting, thermostat, etc.).
  • Supports Z-Wave equipment (door locks, thermostats, plug-in lamps, etc.) for home automation.
  • Lifetime equipment warranty.
  • 2Gig Go! touch screen control panel.
  • Alarm.com for remote usage.

Cons

  • Expensive monthly monitoring.
  • Aggressive sales tactics. Resellers will knock on your doors to sell products and are quite pushy. Phone reps will go to lengths to up sell and close a sale.
  • They use varied equipment manufacturers.
  • No BBB Rating (and not accredited).

In Depth Review

Read our more detailed review of Vivint Home Security for more information.

8th: ADT Review

ADTCall: (866) 672-3017

Website: Learn More About ADT

The ADT brand is by far one of the most commonly utilized home security names simply because it is one of the largest and most well-known. Chances are you’ve seen an ADT television commercial or billboard. ADT uses locally authorized resellers to sell and install their products in neighborhoods across the country. Your experience with ADT will vary based on your location.

Pros

  • A professional installation service for those not comfortable with the DIY (Do It Yourself) Security companies.
  • Up to date technological advances in equipment and monitoring services.
    • ADT’s Pulse, for example, is an inroad into the home automation industry (lets you control various aspects of your home via your cell phone – lights, door locks, garage doors, etc.).
  • 24/7 Phone and email support are available for customers.
  • Have more than one monitoring station in case of an outage at one location.
  • Same Day Installation is available.
  • Cellular monitoring is available but at an additional charge. It is called CellGuard and will make your home safer from risk of intruders cutting landline or broadband line to stall communication with the monitoring stations.
  • $500 in theft protection.

Cons

  • Relocation is not an option, but ADT does offer a “Mover’s Guarantee” which allows you to get a new System for free and you can purchase any additional hardware that is not included for 25% off. This offer is only available for 2+ year current customers and you must sign a new contract.
  • Warranty: manufacturers warranty is in place and ADT offers an equipment warranty at an additional cost.
  • No DIY (Do It Yourself) or self-install option.
  • Spotty customer service record due to local dealers – but keep in mind that ADT is by far the largest security company in America (estimated to be 10 times the next biggest company), thus there will be a larger amount of negative reviews.

In Depth Review

We invite you to checkout our in-depth review of ADT for more details.

9th: AlarmForce Review

Call: (800) 267-2001

Website: Alarm Force

Alarm Force attracts a number of customers through their zero upfront cost, affordable monthly monitoring fee, and lifetime warranty on their security equipment. They use an interesting model where they only lease their equipment to you. That’s how you get it for free (just make sure you don’t break it, or you’ll be charged). Alarm Force is aimed at the non-technical user and could definitely be considered ‘old school’. Their systems are customized on a home-by-home basis. However, they do not offer DIY (self-install) options, home automation, or interactive monitoring (via your smart phone).

Pros

  • No upfront cost.
  • Affordable monthly monitoring.
  • System is installed and maintained by AlarmForce – aimed at the non-technical user.
  • System can be relocated.
  • Lifetime equipment warranty (unless your break it, *see below).
  • Unique VideoRelay system that lets you see and chat with (via a surveillance camera and two-way intercom) anyone at your front door. Requires that you download and use their corresponding smart phone app to operate.
  • A+ Better Business Bureau Rating

Cons

  • No home automation.
  • No interactive monitoring.
  • They use proprietary equipment rather than big name companies (i.e. GE). This means you won’t be able to use your equipment with another alarm provider.
  • You don’t own the equipment (it’s on lease).
  • *You pay for the equipment if you break it (there goes the free equipment).
  • No DIY (self-install) option.
  • Offers most sensors other providers do, with the exception of recessed door and garage door sensors.

Video: Our Review Process

Wondering how we do our research and ultimately pick our winners for best home alarm system? Watch this short video that summarizes our analysis process to bring you the best picks every time.

 

Not Rated: First Alert Review

Call: # Varies by Location

Website: First Alert Professional

When trying to find information on First Alert, you may run into some confusion, as there are two companies with nearly identical names. First Alert Professional refers to the home security company (owned by Honeywell), while First Alert refers to a company focused on fire detection and prevention. For the sake of brevity, we’ll continue to refer to the security company as “First Alert” in this review.

Similar to ADT, First Alert uses authorized resellers to install their home security system. This means your experience may vary from location to location. The advantage to this approach, however, is that they are available in all 50 states.

Pros

  • Can be purchased in many locations: in all 50 states as well as in Guam and Saipan.
  • Affordable monthly monitoring (installation can be expensive however).
  • Only a two year base contract is required as opposed to three.
  • Customization options for home security systems are available through local carriers of First Alert systems.
  • Their Total Connect system is a new offering that provides interactive (access via Internet or smart phone) and video support.

Cons

  • Expensive upfront cost for installation and equipment.
  • No DIY, cellular or wireless option.
  • Up to date information on First Alert Professional home security products is hard to find without going directly to a distributor of First Alert products.
  • BBB record varies by location.

Not Rated: Monitronics Review

Call: (800) 290-0709

Website: Monitronics

Monitronics is another security company that uses local authorized dealers to install their systems. They offer home automation, a lifetime equipment warranty, and offer interactive monitoring via Alarm.com. One of the negatives with a Monitronics setup is that you are dependent on the support of your local Monitronics reseller, the reliability of which can vary by location.

Pros

  • Interactive monitoring via alarm.com.
  • Lifetime equipment warranty.
  • System can be relocated.
  • Offers home automation.

Cons

  • The use of local resellers means your contract, terms, and pricing may vary based on location.
  • Not all dealers offer the same equipment – that means some sensors may not be available in your area.
  • Service plans vary by location.
  • Indirect access to customer service (which is dependent on your local dealer) can cause support issues.
  • BBB record varies by location.

Not Rated: Pinnacle Review

Call: (877) 746-7233

Website: Pinnacle

Pinnacle Security offers all the necessary home alarm system needs but with no bells and whistles. They are vague about the cost of their services so it is difficult to determine whether they are an affordable option for home owners without sharing a great deal of personal information with their sales team. Since they are not available in all areas, start with asking if they can service your location and go from there.

Pros

  • General Electric (GE) monitoring equipment with lifetime equipment warranty.
  • Interactive features via SmartPhone app.
  • System can be relocated.
  • All essential sensor and home automation features are offered.

Cons

  • Undisclosed pricing information.
  • Limited availability as only sold in areas with retail sales teams (self-installation is not available).
  • Aggressive sales tactics.
  • BBB record varies by location but Pinnacle Security, LLC gets an “F“.

Not Rated: Protection 1 Review

Call: (866) 687-3778

Website: Protection 1

Protection 1 has many great options, but due to the lack of publicly available pricing information it is very difficult to compare them to other security system providers. They have come a long way recently with wireless access via their eSecure 2.0 app, video monitoring and some home automation features.

Pros

  • Color Touchscreen keypad is standard in all packages.
  • A+ BBB Rating
  • Two way voice technology

Cons

  • Equipment warranty is only available with a monthly fee.
  • No self installation options
  • Very limited pricing information on their website. Quotes are built based on the customer and location.

Deciding Which Home Security System is Right for You

The sheer number of home security companies competing for our business is enough to overwhelm anyone. In fact, for the most part people opt to go with the larger more well known companies simply so they don’t have to do all of the research and comparison themselves. If you do decide to truly do your research before choosing your home alarm company, there are a number of things that you should consider:

  1. The primary concern for any home owner should be the reputation of a security company as offering true safety to meet their needs in partnership with their available budget. Finding the perfect home security system is no use if it does not keep your family safe or you cannot afford to maintain monthly monitoring fees, particularly since the majority of companies require a three year monitoring contract to lock in an affordable rate. Remember, while cost is certainly important, your family’s safety is priceless so be sure to make the right choice for the long-term, not based solely on monthly costs.
  2. After narrowing down company choices by these requirements the next step is deciding which features of a home security system are requirements for you and which are additional perks that may be negotiable to reduce cost.

Deciding which home security system is right for your family and home is a personal choice and no one but you can determine your personal sense of comfort. Take the time needed to make the right choice – this is an investment in your safety.

Terminologies

Looking through all of the information listed above it can be a little aggravating running across terms and not understanding what they mean or what type of services they refer to. In the terminology list below, we have outlined what these terms mean so that you can use them as a key when referencing our home alarm comparison.

  • Upfront Cost: Upfront cost refers to the amount of money that will be required to have a security system installed; this includes the cost of equipment and installation fees as they are revealed by home alarm companies.
  • Lowest Cost Monthly Protection: Most home alarm companies offer a number of monthly monitoring packages depending upon your home security needs. This row refers to the most affordable package offered by each company as revealed by the official company websites. Be sure to ask a lot of questions when talking with these companies as lowest cost generally also means lowest safety available to still be called a home security system.
  • 24-Hour Monitoring: 24 hour monitoring means that an alarm company has a monitoring center that is staffed by living people twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. This means that any time of day your home alarm sounds, you will receive personal notification from the monitoring station.
  • Cellular Monitoring: a cellular network connection is the most secure option, as your system won’t go down if phone lines are cut or your wireless (Internet-based) connection goes down. A cellular network is when communication between the control panel and monitoring station cannot be interfered with or tampered with in any way by intruders, power outages, etc.
  • Equipment Manufacturer: Depending upon the home alarm company you select, the manufacturer of the alarm equipment you receive may be specific to one company, patented by the alarm company themselves or varied between a number of manufacturers. If you ever choose to change companies, this can make upgrading or changing systems quite expensive and complex.
  • Equipment Warranty: Depending upon the home alarm company you choose, you will find that the equipment warranty you receive will differ. Some companies offer an optional warranty that must be purchased at an additional cost, some offer lifetime warranties and others offer a limited time warranty. The equipment warranty refers to what is covered should any of the home security equipment prove faulty or malfunction in any way.
  • Interactive Monitoring: With an increased dependence on technology, many home alarm companies now offer the ability to access home alarms through smart phone applications or online websites. These services allow for alarms to be armed, messages to be received when the alarm sounds and in some cases for home automation services to be utilized.
  • Flood Sensors: Flood sensors come with few home security systems but for homes with basements or close to riverbanks this is an important feature. Flood sensors will trigger the home alarm system any time it detects a level of moisture that indicates flooding.
  • 2-Way Intercom: 2 way intercom refers to the ability for home owners to communicate directly with the home monitoring station through the home alarm system.
  • Wireless Sensors: Wireless sensors are sensors that do not have to be hardwired into alarm systems in order to work. These sensors are more affordable to install and are more practical in that they can be placed at any point throughout the home.
  • Heat Sensors: In addition to smoke detectors, some home alarm systems also feature heat sensors that can help to detect for fire by noticing changes in temperature versus the presence of smoke. Heat sensors alone do not detect for smoke.
  • Door and Window Sensors: Door and window sensors are a basic component of the home alarm system; they notify home owners when a contact between two sections of the sensor is broken as a window or door are opened.
  • Glass Break Sensors: Glass break sensors operate based upon vibration. When a window is broken a vibration is sent through the sensor which notifies home owners that a window has been broken.
  • Garage Door Sensors: Garage door sensors are much like he sensors placed in doors and window, however, they are specially formulated to work with garage doors which are much larger.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: For a long time, carbon monoxide detectors had to be purchased separately from home alarm systems, but more recently home alarm companies have started including these detectors as a part of the home alarm package.
  • Freeze Sensors: Freeze sensors work in the same way that flood sensors work and they help to prevent damage from burst pipes or other cold-related damage that may occur in homes that frequently experience below freezing temperatures.
  • Personal Security Devices: Personal security devices are often requested by homes with individuals who have special medical needs or in homes of elderly people. These devices are usually in the form of pendants or ceiling pulls that can be activated in order to call for medical attention through the alarm system.
  • Self Installed Systems: Self installed systems (often referred to as DIY or Do It Yourself Installation Systems) cut out the middle man and consequently the installation fees that many home security companies charge. These types of systems are almost always wireless systems; however, homeowners must be able to follow directions carefully in order to properly install the self install home security system. The companies selling these DIY install systems tend to offer customer service to help customers walk through the installation process if they run into problems or questions. These systems tend to be good for renters as well since they can be easily moved.
  • Home Automation: Home automation refers to the ability for a home owner to control basic functions in the home such as lighting and heating through the alarm system. With systems that allow for smart phone or Internet access, these functions can be controlled when the home owners is on their way home, still at work or on vacation.
  • System Can Be Relocated: The possibility for relocation of a home alarm system is important for many families, particularly those who live in rental properties or move frequently. Relocation services allow for home owners to take their alarm system with them and have it installed in their new home for a minimal fee or in some cases free of charge.

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About Jeff Butler

Jeff's first exposure to security systems came from a real life experience. Nearly ten years ago, after multiple burglaries at his 4,000 square foot retail operation, Jeff was frustrated with the high costs of his failing security system. Knowing there had to be a better way, he built an efficient and streamlined system that prevented many future burglaries. Now focused on home security, he loves to stay on top of this ever-changing industry.
  • Dan Levine

    I’ve now had my system for about a month and everything has been exactly as GEOARM said it would be. The system is the completely wireless and easy to install with the tech support videos. The Honeywell equipment is high tech and simple to program and set up with GEOARM. There are several innovative pieces to the system including the shock sensor that I also got, but the programming is the best.

    The alarm monitoring charge of $8.00 per month is unheard of compared to several other companies I found. Another good feature about them, is that they are nationwide and if I ever move I can take the system with me which is another real bonus. Last but not least, GEOARM’s customer service is excellent, they are very well versed on their many security products that they carry, which is many.

    I’m a happy customer and would highly recommend their system to prospective buyers, or people interested in switching their monitoring to them to lower the bill.

  • SUSAN

    What about Cox Home Security System?

  • Karen

    What about DIYSecurity(dot)com which uses Honeywell equipment? Says it was the voted the best system in 2013?

    • http://www.coverstorymedia.com/ Jeff Butler

      It appears that this company is only approved to monitor in: AL, AZ, CA, DE, FL, IL, LA, MI, OK, RI, TN, TX, & VA. Our reviews on this page are for companies that cover all of the United States.

      I see that they claim their security system was rated #1 by industry professionals, but their is no link or source for that claim and I was unable to confirm the ranking elsewhere.

  • cobaltclam

    Their site says they serve all 50 states…

    • http://www.coverstorymedia.com/ Alex Schenker

      Cobalt, can you point out to me where on the site you see that? It’s possible they were in test markets and are now national. I’ve asked them and am waiting for a response. Meanwhile, it’s strange that their alarm.com login link points to a URL containing “SafeLife-UT”. Was Link Home Security formerly affiliated with Safe Life?

      • http://www.coverstorymedia.com/ Alex Schenker

        Okay LHS replied quickly and confirmed that they are available in all 50 states now. We’ll proceed to review them and should have a review for them ready in a few weeks. To be notified when it’s available, subscribe to our feed.

        • cobaltclam

          Excellent! Thanx!

      • Kirk Brundage

        Yes Link Home Security used to be SafeLife. We had to change our name for brand protection issues.

        • http://www.coverstorymedia.com/ Alex Schenker

          Thanks for the feedback Kirk!

  • a seeker of security

    Why not Safemart for home security systems reviews also? They seem to be good – low price and high-tech.

    • A Secure Life

      Yes, we will include SafeMart in our next round of updates – thanks for the recommendation.

      Subscribe to our newsletter to the right of this post to receive an email when the review is published!

    • Michelle Schenker

      Read our SafeMart review here: http://www.asecurelife.com/safemart-reviews/ And if you have used this company, please leave a comment to let us know if you loved it or not.

  • Matthew

    Frontpoint and Protect America both feature the same GE monitoring equipment. My concern is does Protect America monitor it in a fashion like Frontpoint where initial sensor breach sends a signal to their monitoring station and then entering your keypad code sends another signal notifying them everything is safe? But if the keypad is destroyed and the second signal is not received it prompts the company to call to determine if it's a false alarm or not?

    Protect America keeps insisting the GE equipment is the same as FrontPoint but will not confirm that they monitor it in the same fashion. This is a big deal to me, especially when FrontPoint is actually cheaper. We are looking to make a final decision between the two and are leaning towards Protect America because of their lifetime equipment warranty vs only 2 years at Front Point. Over the years we are thinking it may be more cost effective to have a lifetime warranty than to continually replace equipment.

    • A Secure Life

      Excellent question. We got in touch with both FrontPoint and Protect America to see what their response would be to your questions.

      In regards to the first question, where two signals are sent to prevent a smashed control panel from disabling your system: FrontPoint calls this technology crash and smash protection. They offer it on all their plans except for the basic Protection Monitoring plan. Protect America also offers this technology, but not by default. You need to explicitly ask for it, and it costs more.

      As for the equipment warranties, you're correct, according to FrontPoint's contract, they offer a 2 year warranty. When asked, they mentioned the number of times they've done "the right thing" to protect their customer relationship, so that may mean that in certain circumstances (especially if it means keeping you as a customer), they'll replace the equipment beyond the 2 years. If you're concerned about this, I suggest giving them a call at (888) 268-6273.

      Protect America responded saying that their equipment warranty is indeed a lifetime warranty, and they will replace the same part no matter how many times it breaks. Their contract does say that the customer needs to call in regularly to test the system, or the warranty will be voided. To clear the air on this issue, Protect America responded:

      "Our lifetime warranty claims:

      'This warranty period will remain in effect for at least 90 days, or as long as Customer complies with the terms of the Agreement and the Equipment is monitored by PAI, whichever is longer.'

      Therefore, as long as the customer is actively being monitored by Protect America, the warranty will NEVER expire.

      We do 'require' the customer to test their system once a month in order for the warranty to remain in effect (not enforced). It demonstrates to our customers just how much we care about the safety of their home and family and allows us to build lasting relationships. In truth, we can test their system without the customer calling into Protect America, but we found that keeping our customers fully engaged with our company and with their system through this 'requirement' allows us to retain our customers. Furthermore, if the customer fails to call in and test their system and a part breaks, we will NOT deny them their lifetime warranty as long as they are current on their monitoring. In fact, we have never denied a monitored customer their warranty.

      When we do replace a defective part we mail the replacement out to the customer along with a return envelope (with postage) to ship us back the defective piece. If the same part breaks again, we will replace it again."

      I hope this helps answer your questions! Let us know if you need more information, and we'd be curious to hear who you decided to go with in the end and why.

  • Anonymous

    This article came up at a good time, since I am just beginning the process of searching for a home security system. I think this is the kind of information everyone needs to read before committing to a long-term contract with a company and/or a hefty set-up fee with a system that actually does not have all the necessary features. I also appreciated that the article did not take a bias toward one company or another, and simply listed what customers themselves saw as pros and cons in their own experiences.

    All in all, this gave me a lot more to think about. Before reading this article, I was ready to plunk down a lot of money for equipment and installation, since I just thought that this was industry standard. My information was obviously outdated, though. Then there were features like a cellular connection and free relocation that I had not initially considered as part of a potential system package.  After looking at all the article’s information, the question for me has changed from, “Do I need an alarm system at all?” to “What home security features are really important to me?”

  • a seeker of security

    Can you please add SimpliSafe to your home alarm review analysis? Thanks.

    • A Secure Life

      Yes, you're not the first to mention it. We're currently doing a review of SimpliSafe and will post our findings as soon as our research is complete. Subscribe to our newsletter at right to receive an email when the review is published! (or check back here – I'll try to remember to post an update).

      • a seeker of security

        Any updates or anything to share on SimpliSafe?  I like the features and the reviews I've found suggest it's a viable and cost-effective solution.  Appreciate your perspective if you can share something now.  Thanks.

        BTW – love your site – very helpful as I try and wind my way through this new territory.

  • a guest

    Where is the Safemart review?

    • A Secure Life

      We are working on it and hope to have it published by the end of January. Thanks!

    • A Secure Life

      Our in depth SafeMart Review is now published.

  • David

    Alarmforce??  Are you kidding me?!? I'm assuming that you didn't actually use the system as part of your review process.  

    The Alarmforce equipment is a joke.  First of all, it doesn't even have line seizure technology, so if the phone line is in use during an emergency, the security system cannot dial out.  In the past, Alarmforce required you to pay extra for a keypad, and if you didn't, you had to arm/disarm using your telephone.  This was a huge vulnerability as someone could hit redial and get your disarm code.  Even though keypads are now included, this vulnerability still exists.

    Lastly, their central monitoring station is a joke. When you call it, there is an IVR with five different options!! I selected the "report a false alarm option" and then the IVR prompted me with another three options.  I then selected, "My alarm is currently going off," and I was on hold for FOUR MINUTES before I was connected to someone.   One can only wonder how long it would take for someone to attend to your account in a real emergency.  

    I tried the same test with some other companies, large and small, and their CMS lines have only two options on their IVR, typically for language selection.  In addition, once you've selected your service language, you're connected immediately to a representative.  

    • a seeker of security

      AlarmForce uses proprietary alarm equipment, which means that you cannot get service or monitoring from any alarm company other than AlarmForce.  If you are looking strictly at a PROS and CONS list, and trying to decide who to do business with, this should be an automatic RED FLAG that you should be looking at another security provider.

      The fact that AlarmForce uses their own manufactured equipment also means that some of the recent developments, such as interactive features, are not yet available on their alarm systems.

      The PROS and CONS listings provided here is a very useful tool for first time buyers.

       

  • Caroline Warner

    Please let me know what you think about the Smith Monitoring Company.

    • ASecureLife.com

      At this time we have only reviewed national security companies. Currently Smith Monitoring is only available in Texas, Georgia and major metropolitan areas in Kansas and Missouri. We have plans to include regional security reviews in the near future and Smith will definitely be included. Thanks for your interest.

  • Anonymous

    I am in awe of everything that home security system companies offer now. I thought they just offered house alarms for things like your window and doors. I knew they also offered cameras, but some of the other stuff really surprised me.

    For instance, I had no idea that some security companies let you install your own devices. I also did not know that they had things that would detect carbon monoxide, freezes, floods, and fires. I have to say that I am pretty impressed by all of this. It makes me look at the term "home security" a little differently. Things are advancing so rapidly these days that there is a constant tidal wave of new information to learn from.

    I also had no idea that home security was so affordable. When I thought of home security, I always thought of rich people with advanced systems. But really, the prices are decent enough for someone like me to be able to afford a home security system without putting too much stress on my wallet. Now I just have to figure out which one I want. Thanks for putting this home security system review article together to make it easier to understand.

  • Anonymous

    My biggest reason for wanting a pro to set up my home security process is that I do not want to take any risks whatsoever about the safety of my family and my property.  Sure, install may be easy enough for someone to do if they have the time and the patience to follow instructions and can communicate with a support representative if needed.  But if I know anything about people, myself included, it is that we tend to get lazy and therefore sloppy when it comes to tedious, detail oriented tasks.

    The other reason I would want a professional to install my security system would be to ensure that they support it and stand by it moving forward.  In the company I work for, we offer the customer the option of installing their own equipment or having one of our technicians do it and although it does cost a bit more to have a pro install the hardware, if anything goes wrong we can trace it back to them and supply the necessary repair at no cost to the customer.  If a customer installs themselves and something goes wrong, then all bets are off.  

     

  • a seeker of security

    I think you may need to do some more homework. Vivint is 100% cellular and has been for quite some time. I have been with Vivint since APX, and have had the Go! Control Panel for 2 years now. I have absolutely no phone line running into my home, only use cellulars, and still have perfect connectivity between myself and the monitoring station. I have never had a problem.

    • A Secure Life

      Thank you – this is why we love our readers. You keep us honest. We do our best to double check all of our research but sometimes things slip through and this was a sizable one. We have updated all articles to reflect this corrected information on our site. Thank you again and take care.

  • Anonymous

    As a homeowner and mother, the security of my home is very important to me.  I do not live in a bad neighborhood by any stretch, but there are is a pretty high density of people in my area and with lots of people, trouble will usually follow.  I have done quite a bit of investigation on my own about home security systems and I am deeply impressed by the number of options I have at my disposal.  I like that I have options when it comes to the type of service I want, the type of equipment I need, and the overall budget I want to stay in.

    I understand how far wireless security systems have come.  I know that there are advantages to not having to run wires throughout the home that go above and beyond the cost savings you can achieve by not needing a professional electrician or technical expert from the security company.  However, even if I did select a wireless system, I would want the company that produces it to be the ones to install it.

  • cliff

    Any reviews?

    • Kristina

      We have not reviewed Vector Home Security yet, but I've added it to our list for future updates. Thanks!

  • Susie

    I cannot believe that you gave Lifeshield a 5/5 for customer service. I called them to get a quote, sat on the phone waiting for more than 45 minutes and when they finally answered and I asked for a quote, they asked me questions that made me feel like I was being accused of breaking in to my own home. So rude! I will not be using them and I think you should reconsider their rating for customer service. I cannot speak to their actual alarm system because I ended up looking elsewhere to someone who was actually nice and helpful to me.

  • Anonymous

    These are some really great reviews. I like the way you did not just offer all the good details about companies but gave up some of the bad parts of the home security companies as well. The whole point of reading reviews about any company is to gather information to make an educated decision. The way that some companies only allow positive things to be said about them means that they don't have enough faith in their own service to let some of the bad parts be exposed. There is no company that does not have some kind of flaw. They are like people and are each unique.

    There are several areas that I can allow flaws in and some areas that I can't. For instance, I need to know customer service is always there. My security is always an issue and if I am paying a service to limit how much I have to worry about that issue, then they better be there when I need them. Otherwise, they are not worth my time, much less my dime.

  • MJordan

    On the comparison chart, under first tier, the same company – Protect America – appears to come in 1st and 2nd.  Also, there doesn't seem to be a company in 3rd place.  Am I missing something?

    • Kristina

      The 2nd place for Protect America is their overall ranking, not just in the tier they are being ranked on. So they are the winner of that tier/category, but 2nd place in the full rankings. I hope this clarifies the information for you!

  • Anonymous

    I noticed right off the bat that there are several companies that nickel and dime you to death. It's kind of funny that you're trying not to get robbed, but the security companies kind of rob you with all the small fees.

    For instance, some of those security programs don't charge an upfront fee, but you do have to rent all the equipment along with paying the fee for the actual service. Then if the equipment gets damaged, you have to pay for it. How many people aren't thinking the same thing that I am? That you can rent equipment that was made cheaply so it breaks down after a limited amount of time. The number crunchers already know what the average life span of the equipment is and they plan their coverage for just before then. It seems the consumer is going to get robbed one way or another.

    Here's a security idea for you. Make friends with your trusted neighbor. Look out for each other. Buy a big dog who doesn't like anyone but you. Or, you can also just stop trying to let everyone know about the valuable stuff you have in your home. I swear, sometimes I want to be poor for life so no one will want anything I have.

  • Paul Thompson

    Is it considered "respectable" in the home security system industry to cold call home owners? Is that a reflection of the neighborhood I live in or the company, or both? Protection 1 is the most recent company to send a representative to my door offering to install a home security system. While I find these cold calls annoying, at the same time I wonder about the integrity of the companies doing it. I would appreciate any information you could provide me on Protection 1.

    • Drew

      Great comment Drew, I came to this page seeking information on ADT and Vivint because I have received cold calls from them both recently and I am in the market for a new security system. Based on what I've read on this page, it doesn't seem like either of these companies are highly touted and I'm starting to think they rely on aggressive sales tactics instead of providing a great product and service like FrontPoint and Protect America. I'm always hesitant about cold calls and I think I'm going to be more happy with a company who does not participate in these practices.

    • Kristina

      Hi Paul – Thank you for your comment! Please click the link below to read our review of Protection 1.

  • zanj

    great post! very informative!! :)

  • garage door installation las vegas

    Ha ha… I was just surfing around and took a look at these reviews. I can't believe there's still this much fascination. Thanks for writing about this.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for putting this together. You can't imagine how much easier this information and the table you provided make it for people like me who are ready to buy into a home security program, but don't really know where to start. I did not even know that some of these companies existed until I saw them here and on the security table you provided on the other page.

    There are a couple of things I was looking to learn about. I needed to know the prices so I could compare them to my budget, but I also wanted to be able to compare pricing between companies. In other words, I don't want to go with a company because it is cheap, but because it provides all the services I need at a price I can afford.

    I want to install my own system, rather than hiring someone to do it for me. This way I can design my home security to fit the needs of my house, rather than just be like the neighbor's. I also want dedicated wireless service so that I can track what is going on even if I am not home. You gave me all the info I need to narrow it down. Now to test the customer service…

  • Anonymous

    I have read a LOT about home security systems and service providers lately and the one thing that I have really come to understand about them is that if they are not designed and installed properly for the individual home they are assigned to, they are never going to be as effective as needed.
     
    There are a lot of companies now that allow for self-installation.  This is largely due to the fact that wireless technology has removed the requirement for hard-wiring an alarm and monitoring system into the home’s infrastructure.  In the past, you would need an electrician to do such a thing, but now it is so simple to place these devices and sensors that literally anybody with minimal technical knowledge can do it and it is largely being encouraged by the companies to help reduce cost and make things more accessible for more homeowners.  Obviously, this is a fantastic development for the industry, but it also allows for mistakes to be made. 

    If you are reviewing a company that allows for self install, please take into account your capability in installation when weighing your options.

    • a seeker of security

      You've made an excellent point that "Good home security begins with a proper installation", but how exactly does one determine their installation capabilities?

      Wireless self-install alarm systems are ALL touted as being simple enough for a six year old to install in 15 minutes.  This certainly doesn't make anyone sit back and wonder if they can do the job properly with enough alarm equipment as you correctly suggest.

      Very little is presented in the sales ads as a guideline for determining what minimal equipment is needed for your home.  Rather, the intent is to quickly sell a basic starter kit without a lot of mention of additional add-ons that could be purchased (at additional cost).

      Why?  The mention of spending some more money has the effect of reducing sales.

      The consumer isn't concerned about whether or not they are able to properly conceive and design a complete security system - they're being told that a child can do this installation blindfolded!  Most may end up with a lack of alarm equipment and reduced (or non-inexistant) security.

      Of couse, it's obvious that anyone can "peel and stick these things" to the walls.  BUT – do you have enough and are they placed in the correct locations?

      Thanks for an excellent observation and advice!

  • jim

    We would be interested in a review of Link Home Security in Ogden Utah. They are the company that Costco lists in their member services. Thank you.

    • Alex Schenker

      Hi Jim, currently our reviews are focused on national providers so we can cater to the majority of our readership. Link Home Security only services the Los Angeles, CA and Houston, TX markets.

      However, we are planning on expanding our review offering to include local reviews of home security systems in the coming months. Los Angeles and Houston are two of the larger markets, so they will surely be covered. Sign up to our feed or e-newsletter to be notified when the new local home security reviews are live.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this website and helpful information.

    I'm in the process of purchasing a new home and shopping around for home security. I came across NextAlarm and they seem to be offering pretty good service, but couldn't find much feedback on them.  Do you have any thoughts, comments, suggestions on their service/quality/effectiveness, etc.?

    Thank you once again!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so very much for putting this home alarm system review together.  I am currently researching different companies, many of them on your list, to see which one is going to fit my needs the best.  It can be a little crazy trying to figure out the differences and similarities between all of them, but I think with the help of your review, I have decided a few things about what I want even if I have not selected a specific company yet. 

    First of all, I want a big-name company that is recognizable around the country.  I may be exhibiting some herd-mentality type thinking here but I think it makes sense that a big company will have the financial horsepower to stand by their equipment and their service should anything (knock on wood) go wrong and a loss of property occurs.

    Furthermore, I want a company that will provide an affordable but professional installation service.  I want to know that everything is done properly from the very first day that I activate service.  To me, it is a way to protect my investment and definitely work. 

  • Anonymous

    I would caution anyone against a home security system that focuses on low cost, no contract, alarm-only business. What this means is that you would not have a monitored security system with standard pricing and programs. So once you start looking at monthly monitoring prices, you may as well have picked a company that has been around longer and has a better reputation.

    Monitoring means that there is an office (or multiple offices) off-site from your home who are on-call and hooked into your security system 24/7/365 to make sure that any alerts that are triggered in your home are verified and followed up with emergency care if deemed necessary. This can prevent a fire from destroying your home and a burglar from getting away with all your treasured belongings due to the ability to act quickly.

    If you do not have a monitored system but simply an alarm that sounds in case of intrusion, no one other than you (if you are even home!) will know of the break-in or fire until it is too late. So, yes, the alarm may scare a burglar away but it will not help them get caught and could end in the loss of belongings, your home or even loved ones in the case of fire. I do not mean to alarm (no pun intended), I just want to be sure that everyone understands the difference between paying a monthly monitoring fee vs. lower cost options so that you can make the best home security system decision to best meet your individual needs.

  • a seeker of security

    I am looking to get better understanding of titan-alarm.com service. They seem to use monitronics for monitoring and alarm.com for software/servers etc, but have their own instrument – titan touch panel. Any review you may have will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      LifeShield is new to the market but I was an early adopter of their high-tech, interactive system and am a true believer. I love it and hope they will continue to innovate to make home techonology and automation more attainable and affordable for all Americans. Thanks for covering them.

  • a seeker of security

    Vivint has auto lock and unlock for doors which is super cool and helpful for letting kids into the house without them running around and losing keys. Also great home automation stuff. I think I might go with them… does anyone have any bad experiences they can share before I make my decision?

  • James

    I found a company called Link Home Security through the alarm.com website.  But, I cannot find any info or reviews on this company.  Their pricing seems very competitive and they offer both GE and the 2Gig 2GO.  A review would be great!

    Many thanks, James

  • Anonymous

    Choosing a home security system may be one of the hardest things I have had to do. I know that a security system is important to have and I am willing to put out the money for it. I just need to find the one that is right for me and my household.

    I have a system I use before I shop for anything. I write down a list of what I am looking for in a product and a range of what I am willing to spend. Then I do some research on the product from various companies. Sometimes I learn that they actually offer more than I need and sometimes I learn about details I did not even know about. I adjust my needs and pricing according to what I learn during my search.

    Because I go to all that effort before I make a choice, I really appreciate articles like this. You probably just saved me a few days worth of research and you have no idea how much I appreciate that. Because you offered so much detail here, I can pretty much just use your article for the foundation of my research. I might do some more searching for customer reviews so that I can see how people feel who have dealt with some of these companies, but I think I have most of what I need right here.

  • Dan Lucci

    I have been referred to alarm.com twice recently, but I have no idea if they are any good.  I was looking for a review, but it wasn't included.

    Thanks, Dan

    • A Secure Life

      Hi Dan,

      Alarm.com is an interactive way to access your security system via your smartphone or tablet if your security company uses them to service their interactive programs. So, while they used to be a security company, today, alarm.com is simply the interactive technology and face for other security companies such as FrontPoint and Protect America. You can learn more by reading our article regarding the alarm.com app. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    With ADT, the fact that the company has been around for so long and been on commercials for so long makes people trust them.  I think there's that inclination that even when you might want to consider another system, you might feel pulled to a system like ADT because you know that they are going to fix things if they are wrong.  You'll have a guarantee that getting service people out to fix any issues is going to be a breeze. 

    I think with some other systems, people are only going to choose them if they have heard good word of mouth about them or somehow know for a fact that they are trustworthy.  Some of the companies you have listed, I have never even heard of.  I'm sure that they are probably notable companies too if you are listing them, so it's kind of surprising to me. I wonder also if these companies are more popular in certain parts of the country and not in others. I bet that is the case.  I think it would be a great idea to post consumer experiences and interviews along with these comparison articles too.

    • Michael

      I totally agree with your first paragraph, up until the last sentence about having a guarantee that getting issues fixed will be a breeze. Unfortunately in my experience, some of the biggest, most well known companies have been an absolute disaster to work with. These are companies that you see advertised all over place. It is my opinion that sometimes a company who gets to large begins to lose sight of the thing that matters most, and that is the customer.

      In the home security field, it seems like the big, established companies that have been around for many years are also very slow to adapt to new technology. Personally, I don't want a wired system that does not use a cellular connection, which seems to be ADT's bread and butter, but they are trying to improve. I'd rather go with a company that has positive reviews that are almost unanimous and alsos uses the best technology available. I think both FrontPoint and Protect America are seperating themselves from the crowd. 

  • Gate Opener

    These high tech security systems definitely provide security to our homes.

  • amyr

    Is there a Sydney, Australia based company I could talk to regarding alarm systems?

    • a Security Professional

      Google: "Alarm systems Sydney Australia" and then take your pick.  Also, try to talk with neighbors and friends in Sydney for their recommendations and experiences about their own alarm service providers in Australia.

      Typically, the Google results will lead you to larger alarm companies with budgets to advertise nationally.  However, smaller alarm companies can provide more personalized service that larger companies generally don't have the time for.

      The bad news is that smaller companies might not advertise on the internet since they would be overwhelmed and unable to respond to numerous requests for service at the same time (because they're small and don't have the staff).  The smaller alarm company also doesn't want to acquire the reputation of: "You call for service or information and it takes days to send someone out to your home."

      The smaller alarm companies with great service are already very busy with word-of-mouth referrals from their many satisfied clients, so they don't need to advertise on the internet.

      This is why you absolutely need to seek out the advice of family and friends in Sydney to discover the "rare jewel" alarm company that is providing exceptional service.  Just because a company is able to advertise on the internet doesn't mean that it's any good at providing quality alarm services.

  • a seeker of security

    Need security system with cameras as I have a neighbor that vandalizes my property when I am away from the house.  I have looked into Devcon, but they are not going to install cellular wireless which you recommend, only getting a router for the internet.  I am now wary of going with them.  Also, they lock you into a three year contract. Any advice?

    • A Secure Life

      Every year, we review the national security system companies to find out who is offering the best systems and services to their customers. Read our article on best home alarm systems to learn more. Best of luck and keep us posted on who you decide to go with for your house alarm.

  • Anonymous

    I think the evolution of home security equipment and home security systems into becoming products that regular homeowners can install themselves is a wonderful development and it makes a wider array of homeowners able to have improved home security where they need it most.  In the past, home alarms and home security systems were available only to the wealthy homeowners that could afford both the equipment and the professional installation that came with it.  Having a home security system installed was akin to having a major home improvement project done and cost thousands of dollars, finding a qualified contractor to do the project and provide the hardware was extremely expensive.

    These days, home security has advanced from the hard-wired systems of years past, to more modern and easily applied systems that communicate with one another over an invisible network.  This allows the homeowner to simply apply the necessary sensors around the area so that every major access point is covered, and any other areas of interest can be monitored as well.  No wiring is necessary and tapping into the electrical system is not required either.  Some hardware can be hard-wired into the home’s existing electrical system if desired, but an effective home security system can be achieved with all wireless technology. 

    A further advancement in home security is the addition of twenty four hour home monitoring available with a paid subscription.  In reality, home monitoring has become the standard for home security these days and without it, you essentially have an extra loud doorbell that relies on somebody hearing the alarm and alerting the police.  Home monitoring achieves security for home fires, home invasion, family medical emergencies, and even the freezing of pipes and flooding.   Cameras give a visual to monitoring agents that have local authorities on a direct line in case they see any suspicious activity or threats to the home. 

    Being able to avoid the high installation costs of typical systems, more homeowners and homeowners in lower income neighborhoods can safeguard their homes against break ins and burglary.  These are areas where home security can legitimately be proven to lower crime and protect lives.  This kind of protection should not only be made available to homeowners in high crime neighborhoods, but they should almost be subsidized by the homeowner insurance companies.

    Crime is a growing problem in our country as we continue to struggle through a troubled economic time.  There is only so much that can be done until better times come around again.  In the meantime, people will become more desperate to survive than the day before and be moved to more desperate measures to combat their situation.  What law abiding citizens must do is protect themselves with the best means they have available.  Self-installed home security systems are a vital step towards giving people the safety and security they not only need but they deserve.

  • Anonymous

    I decided to enter the home security market about a year ago and immediately began seeking out various reviews and guides about which ones were the best and what kinds of things I wanted to look out for.  After a lot of research and a lot of thought, I ended up selecting ADT as my home security provider and I made this decision based on several factors not least of which was their overall reputation across the country.

    ADT is one of the most recognizable of all the home security companies in this country.  It is a proven fact that the mere presence of their signage on the premises of your home will likely deter a potential burglar or robber.  Furthermore, they have a great deal of history in providing home security and have a great deal of options when it comes to outfitting your home for the future. 

    Lastly, I know that with such a reputation, ADT has a great motivation to provide top security and service to maintain their image in the marketplace.  All of these things together helped bring me to them and I will stay there.

    • a seeker of security

      While you may believe that ADT has a "great motivation to provide top security and service to maintain their image in the marketplace", I beg to differ.

      If ADT actually was interested in providing "top security" they shouldn't have installed thousands of Ademco Lynx self-contained keypad alarms monitored only by telephone line which burglars easily ripped off of walls, thus disabling the entire "security system".  Those unfortunate home-owners who thought they were purchasing "ADT's top security" were in for a very rude surprise.

      Several ADT clients wrote comments here for other readers to learn from their experience with those all-in-one self-contained alarms, the lesson being: STAY AWAY from ADT!!

      Have you read any of the other comments on this site concerning ADT, such as the one entitled "ADT FAILED my family"?  You should speak with those former ADT clients and see how they feel.

      I've seen ADT's installation work in my area and I'm not impressed.  Hopefully, it's better where you live, because it truly does seems to be dependent upon whom the ADT sub-contractor is (meaning there is no standard or uniform quality of work that I could see).  Some of the installs were decent, but most left much to be desired.  

  • Michelle

    FrontPoint is currently running a Back to School promotion where new customers get a Free Carbon Monoxide Sensor (a $89.99 value).  Limited time: August 7-14, 2013.  Click here or call FrontPoint at (888) 268-6273 and mention discount code CO14. Subject to the terms and conditions so be sure to ask Front Point for the details.

  • a seeker of security

    Is there a company that does 12 month contracts or no contracts? I will be renting a home, but only for a year. 

  • Anonymous

    I just want to let you guys know that I am always recommending this article to my neighbors and even some of my family members.  I recognize from reading your blog that home security really cannot be a one size fit all type of approach, and when people ask me who I use for my home security, I tell them, but I always recommend that they come to this article and look at all of the top options available.  For example, I don't have a deck with a glass door (well not yet), and right now my security needs are nothing like my neices.  She has this huge rambler.  It's only one floor and one section has glass windows surrounding a mini pool and barbecue area. 

    There is no way we can have the same security solution.  I think so many people make the mistake of grabbing a one size fits all solution when it comes to security.  I always, always tell people that securing their property should be a unique experience, unless their property is exactly like someone else's, their security system shouldn't be.  Thanks for compiling this!

  • Kevin

    Does anyone know how the 2-Way intercom works on security systems? It seems like a cool concept, but I'm curious if the connection is made via a traditional landline, via broadband or via cellular? It seems to me that if it were via a landline it would be pretty worthless because an intruder could just run over to it and unplug it. However, if it is a battery-backup based cellular connection, I can see how it would be very useful. 

    • Bill

      This is a great question and something that I'm trying to find more information on. It seems like their two way voice technology does rely on land lines. However, they do have line-cut protection which notifies the monitoring station as soon as a line is cut. So yes, I would imagine that the first thing an intruder would do is pull the intercom out of the wall, but the good news is that the station will be notified. 

      Safemart's 2-way voice works via a separate antenna, so it does not rely on a landline.

  • Anonymous

    As the author correctly points out, the home security system business is much cluttered right now. The players range from little mom and pop businesses all the way up to large national companies and every size in between. Choosing the right company and the right system can be a complicated and time consuming process.

    Fortunately, the author of this article has done a tremendous amount of research which is designed to save you from wasting your valuable time. The comparison chart and individual reviews of the various security companies provide a lot of helpful information.

    Personally, I think it would be a mistake to only look at one or the other. You should really take both the chart and the individual company overview together. Start with the chart to get an idea of the features which are important to you and start narrowing down your choices a little bit. From there, take the remaining contenders and delve into their individual reviews. Using the resources like this will really help you focus on your best options.

  • a seeker of security

    I'm also considering Simplisafe. Can you please post what you have found up to now as I need to make a decsion with my new home. I live alone and need a system asap. Thanks!!

    • A Secure Life

      Our team of researchers is currently working hard to add SimpleSafe to this home security systems review article and comparison table. Stay tuned and let us know which company you decide to go with – we would love to hear how the sales, installation and actual security experience goes to help guide our research in the future. User comments and input are essential to our process of providing unbiased reviews. Thanks!

      • a seeker of security

        Any news on Simplisafe? Just bought a house and really want security. Any info will be appreciated!

        • A Secure Life

          Simplisafe has been added to this Home Security Systems Reviews article. Take a look above for the pros and cons.

          And, we still know of no one who actually has any direct experience as a customer with them so if you have used them, please either write your post here in comments or send via our contact form. Thank you and we look forward to a Simplisafe consumer review soon.

  • Anonymous

    Since I started looking at home security systems a few months ago, I have devised that there are a few things aside from just price that you need to make your decision on.  Installation is one of the other major things that gets advertised a lot, but there is still more you need to consider when weighing your options. 

    As I mentioned before, installation is something you want to consider and your options lie between doing it yourself or having a professional install done.  Of course you can save money by doing it on your own, but whether or not you feel like that will be a good enough job is up to you.

    The other consideration is the maintenance that the system will require.  A good system, even the best one, will need to be tested regularly in order to make sure it is up to par and fully operational.  If the responsibility for this falls on you, will you be able to keep up with it?

    Lastly, the parameters of the agreement are important to consider as well.  Do you pay more now or later, that is the question.

  • Anonymous

    I went into researching the home security market about a month ago and what I have found is that it has come a long way from just home alarms with all the new technology at the service provider’s disposal.   Even just a few years ago, the prevalence of wireless technology was still far less than it is today.  Go back ten years, and it is almost like a whole new world.

    With the amount of data that can stream over the air and over the wire now, we can control our homes like never before.  Therein lies the rub of what has changed.  Security companies are no longer just offering security, they are offering a way to monitor your home alongside the company and control things such as temperature, lighting, and even remote control entry ways.  All of this can be done from the computer and even from some smart phones literally anywhere in the world.
     
    A home security system really is now a misnomer, it is really a home security and management system that is literally limitless in the potential uses.

  • Kevin

    The fact that you put Protect America #1 on your list, negates your list. Look at any respectable customer review websites and you see nothing but horrible things about Protect America. Horrendous customer service, hidden fees, contract issues, and countless other issues. Did you even research these companies before you put your list together?

    • Alex

      Hi Kevin,

      We conduct extensive research on the companies we review, as well as their products and services, prior to publication. And we regularly update this research based on new company and industry developments, as well as consumer feedback and opinion (which includes feedback from our readers on articles such as this one).

      Some things I'd like to point out to you:

      • Protect America holds the #2 (not #1) ranking on our list. As of today, it has never held the #1 ranking.
      • We are not aware of any hidden fees that Protect America charges, but are more than happy to investigate. Please give us a specific example so we can do so.
      • Consumer complaints exist for every company on this list, and we take these into account when we create our rankings.
  • Anonymous

    It comes as no surprise that there are a ton of review sites all over the internet. Despite this fact, you can use a review to your benefit, especially when you are interested in using it for research and making an informed decision about a product or service.

    The first step is to separate the junk reviews from the ones that have value. This article is a perfect example of a review that has a lot of value. You can determine this by seeing if the reviewer is simply acting as a paid spokesperson for the sites that they are reviewing. Instead, focus only on the ones like this article which provide both good and bad points about each company or system.

    As you are reading these reviews, first pay close attention to the similarities between the various companies and systems. Together, there will likely be a particular core set of features that are essentially standard throughout the industry. Eliminate those which fall below this curve and focus more on examining those which seem to offer the most.

  • a seeker of security

    Hello,

    I would like to get a review on a DIY home alarm systems provided by SimpliSafe.  Can you please research? Their cost is $14.99 per month. Your article recommends using a company that is no less than $30 per month.  So I'm wondering if SimpliSafe is simply a bad idea.

    Thanks for your help.

    Jane Richards

  • Rubin R.

    Location: Riverview, FL

    We have had GE System installed by Guardian for about a year and it has
    been a fairly bad experience all the way around. Administratively, we
    have had nothing but problems getting them to start automatic billing, so we
    lost confidence and just pay manually. Their system has broken down about 4-5
    times in just under a year, due to poor system design (power supplies giving
    out, panel having problems, etc). To add insult to injury, we have to pay for
    the repair of their ineffective system. Customer service has been
    questionable at best. The technicians are nice enough, but there seems to be
    a break in communication between them and the dispatch, as we have asked them
    to call us before coming and out of about 6-7 times out (several of the
    repairs took more than one visit), we probably were called only twice. I will
    most assuredly NOT renew with Guardian and not keep this system past the
    contract.

  • mary

    Any information on Infinity Technologies company would be appreciated. They operate in the Sacramento CA area and claim to be authorized by GE to service ADT systems.

    Thank you!

  • Shannon

    Didn't see a review for Alpha and would be interested in what you have today.

    • Michelle

      Hi Shannon,

      While Alpha may be a great alarm company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, currently we are only covering national home alarm companies.

      Thanks, Michelle @ ASecureLife.com

  • a seeker of security

    How do they rate among the other security companies?

  • Anonymous

    I love the in-depth reviews you gave here. They really lend some insight into how the companies operate and what they have to offer. But, it's late and my mind is roaming, so I also happened to think of something else.

    Can you imagine how many people buy products because the company name is the first one they saw or because they think that 3 A's mean the business is highly rated? I know it's a technique employed by companies on the basis of people using the phone book to look up businesses. Everyone wants to be the first on the list, but that doesn't mean they should be at the top of the list. I just thought that was something people should consider when they are looking into any type of service, but especially a service that is for your own protection.

    As for the services listed here, I just didn't realize that some companies offered so much. Freeze protection? Up here in the north that would certainly come in handy and save money on the plumbing bills. I had no idea that a service like that was even offered. I wonder if people realize how much energy they could save by using something like that rather than just leaving the water on all night or something.

  • kathy Woodson

    What is the rating on Secure Home Security system?

    • ASecureLife.com

      Thanks for the request Kathy. Secure Home Security is a regional alarm company that currently only services metropolitan Phoenix, parts of California and parts of Colorado. Right now we only review national security monitoring providers, but we have plans to do regional reviews in the near future.

  • Brian Bunt

    Please review alarm south. Thank you.

    • Michelle

      Hi Brian,

      While Alarm South is a strong regional player, they do not seem to have nationwide coverage in the largest markets like California, New York or Texas. So, at this time we are only covering national companies but should AlarmSouth's coverage area change in the future, we will certainly consider adding them to our comparison.

      Thanks, Michelle @ ASecureLife.com

  • Anonymous

    I personally do not employ the services of any home security company as I am a renter, but my father has recently had ADT security services installed in his home and he seems to be pretty happy with it. 

    First of all, they gave him a great deal on the equipment and the installation of it all.  He really was not in the market for such a service until they approached him and told him how easy it would be to get going.  In the past, he has just kept his doors locked and a gun at the bed side, but as he’s getting older he felt he may need a little more protection. 

    It is also useful for when he goes out of town for prolonged periods of time.  He used to just get a friend to come and check on the house to make sure everything was ok and there were no frozen pipes or anything. But now with ADT firmly in place, he can come and go more freely.  Altogether, it has been a very positive experience for him.

  • Alex

    One of our readers brought to our attention some inaccuracies (specifically, out of date content) in the ADT portion of this review. Specifically, we have updated points dealing with the following:

    • Cellular monitoring
    • Wireless & hyrbid installation options
    • Equipment warranties
    • Relocation policy

    While these updates are present in our ADT review, we apologize that they were not kept up-to-date in the ADT portion of this home security systems reviews article. We would like to thank our reader for taking the time to point out our mistakes. We do ask that in the future readers use our contact form for content inaccuracies as we will able to address the issue more readily.

  • Anonymous

    There is just so much to think about when it comes to home security that I don't even know where to start. I mean, I want something that is easy for me to use, but isn't easy for a robber to work around. I want the service to be affordable, but I want to get more than my money's worth out of it. I want safety and security, but I'm afraid that no matter what service I get, someone will always know how to work around it.

    Sometimes I think the best way to feel secure is to simply avoid ever having anything that might be worth stealing. In fact, as odd as people act, I sometimes don't even want to present myself as someone you might want to be around simply because I've had enough stalkers and people break in my house that I almost prefer to be disliked than liked.

    To me, this information is useful because it gives me ideas of what may work in my area. I don't live in an area where people are likely to know how to circumvent detailed eletronic security devices, but I still want one that is constantly being updated to provide the most secure product available. Because for me, it isn't just about keeping someone from stealing what I have. It's also about protecting the lives inside my home. I know that no matter what type of system I get, being able to deend myself is a top priority because no security system is going to do it for me. But, if it works like it should, it will alert me to be on my guard when a potential threat is present.

  • kathy

    As a renter, I had looked into ADT because they were one of the few companies that offered security options for renters. However, after reading the reviews of the company, there was simply no way I could trust my belongings to this company. I read review after review after review of people complaining about everything from customer service to possible theft by the company. It was enough to not only rethink my options, but to never consider ADT again. What I started looking into were systems that you purchase through any department store and install yourself. Many of these systems can work with cell phones and are easy to install. The only downside is that some of these systems can get quite expensive, ranging from $300 to several thousand. At this time, I haven't made a decision, but am happy to live in a rural area where everyone watches out for everyone else. When I move into my own home though, I will definitely be purchasing one of these systems. I love the peace of mind that a home security system brings and the fact that I can count on it if I'm home alone and someone decided to break in. As a victim of a robbery, safety is a big issue for me.

  • Anonymous

    With so many different types of home security systems out there on the market, and so many companies all claiming to be the best, how can you know for sure which one is the right choice for you? The simple answer to that question is to really do your research. I know that many people do not like to do research. It can take time, can be tedious and even a bit of a pain. But, I would hope that making the right decision for the protection and safety of yourself and your family would be worth a little time and effort.

    There are some online reviews which can help. The article listed here is a good example. There are a number of individual home security company reviews. The main thing to remember when using reviews is that they must be unbiased. This is not an easy task today. This article gives each company a fair and thorough analysis, even going as far as to list both pros and cons. Certainly this is an example of honest reviews.

  • Bettie Clark

    Hi, if you have a review of AlarmRelay, could you please email me your results?

    Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    This article has a number of really cool features which set it apart from many others that have attempted this topic. The first thing which is different is that it is truly unbiased. They are certainly not afraid to give you both the good and the bad about these companies. Many times, similar reviews are just thinly disguised come ons to get you to try a sometimes inferior product, service or other item. Not here.

    Even the chart gives out a lot of solid information. In fact, I think the entire point of the chart is to actually get you interested enough to continue down into the actual review sections. Here is where you will find the real meat to sink your teeth into. They also seem very committed to keeping the chart and all of their additional reviews and information up to date. That alone is something you find very rarely for a typical review site. Many times, a review site has established an affiliate arrangement with several of the sites they are claiming to review. Personally, I have never found it kosher to take the word of someone who is being paid to review a company.

     

  • Rickst29

    Las Vegas (and Henderson a suburb), both refuse to answer alarms – it's a policy of the Police and Fire Departments. When companies such as FrontPoint, and SafeMart, refuse to operate in those cities, they're being more honest with the fact that no off-site company or person can provoke a Police or Fire response.

    The only way to make a 247 monitor contract viable in Las Vegas is to make the alarm company call your neighbor, who can then look at your residence and call 911 if he/she sees a fire or burglary in progress.

    • Dan

      I am moving to Las Vegas and I stumbled upon this comment, I cannot believe that Las Vegas has this system in place. I assume it is due to false alarms? I wonder if there is any sort of litigation in place to change this policy? It seems like such a headache to have to get a neighbor involved, especially if you are just moving to the area like myself. Does anyone in Las Vegas (or any other city similar to this) have any work arounds for this situation?

  • a seeker of security

    Would like any review info you might have on ASG Security Systems.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.firsthomealarm.com/ Heather Protz

    Very informative alarm system reviews article. You've done a really good job analyzing the pros and cons. Thanks for including the reviews on various home security providers. I needed that. Kudos!

  • Sam

    Given Comcast's leading position in the cable industry, I think Xfinity Home has the potential to be a major alarm system product.

  • Anonymous

    This article provides some excellent reviews about the home security system industry. Actually, I think a very key point is made right up front. The author mentions that it is very, very easy to simply enter this industry. Yet, at the same time, it is not at all easy to actually provide a quality product that stands the test of time. One of the main issues or reasons why this is true is due to the nature of technology. There is new technology coming out all the time. Much of this has the potential to change the industry.

    Another factor to realize about the home security industry is the fact that there are businesses of all sizes here. These can range from simple one or two people shops (the mom and pop places that the author was referring to) to huge international conglomerates that have decided to open up a home security systems division. The reviews will make it clear that there are many factors to consider when choosing your home security system. Do not focus simply on the size of the company alone.

     

  • Grateful

    Grateful for this website!

    When an “Advertising and Marketing” representative from Vivint- “Not a salesman” he said,  showed up at our front door touting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a free security system, we were skeptical.  But wow, this guy was persistent: “Only 3 houses in the neighborhood are eligible… we offer this free deal in exchange for the advertising you’ll be providing by letting us place our Vivant sign in your front yard.”  Inevitably, came the “the only thing you’ll need to pay is the [expensive] monthly monitoring costs…” with commitments from 3.5 to 7 years.  I was able to excuse myself for a minute while my wife was talking with him and do a quick web search and was so fortunate to have found this site.  The comment about pushy, aggressive sales tactics was spot on.  It really helped us to realize we were being pressured and that this “once in a lifetime”, “only 3 houses eligible” deal was not a great deal at all.  Some other neighbors who signed up (more than 3 houses, by the way) had installers at their house 15 minutes after they signed.  On one hand, you could say it’s impressive. On the other hand, it’s a lot tougher to say “I changed my mind” when the hardware is hanging. 

    Anyway, I called a couple of the highly rated self-install companies listed on the site, and went forward with a system from Safemart/Livewatch.  There was no pressure from the reps, and they don’t have long term contracts. The contract is a year, and then month to month. I went with the $29.95/month mobile app interactive monitoring.  I also got a discount on the price of equipment by pre-paying for 12 months of monitoring when I purchased the equipment.  Installation was easy – just peel and stick – and tech support talked me through the questions I had regarding sensor placement location.  We’ve used the system for several weeks now and we’re pretty happy with it, especially since it’s 40% cheaper per month for monitoring for the same features. Although factoring in paying for the equipment costs upfront vs “Free” for Vivant, for us it will translate to approximately 30% savings going with Safemart vs. Vivant over the life of a 3.5 year contract.

    So anyway, grateful to asecurelife.com for the work you guys have done, also to others who’ve written really helpful posts on this site. I thought I’d write a post with my experience as a way to give back.