2020’s Best Burglar Alarm Systems in the UK
Our favourite home alarm systems in the UK
Compare home alarm systems in the UK
|Alarm system||SimpliSafe||Verisure||SECOM||Yale Sync|
|Best for||Best for flexibility||Best customer service||Award-winning monitoring||Most customizable|
|Lowest monitoring cost||£12.99/mo.||£42.00/mo.||£26.00/mo.||N/A|
|Contract length||No contract||Unavailable||36 mo.||No contract|
|Professional video monitoring|
|Cheapest equipment package||£279.00||Consultation needed||Consultation needed||£229.00|
|Alarm monitoring type||Professional||Professional||Professional||DIY|
SimpliSafe: Best for flexibility
SimpliSafe pros and cons
- No-contract alarm monitoring
- Affordable monthly costs
- Easy self-installation
- Customizable equipment packages
- Cellular connection
- Limited smart home integration
- No mobile access with cheaper plan
Why we like SimpliSafe
Even at its most expensive, SimpliSafe costs less than a Saturday night out at your favourite pub. For £19.99 a month, the pros will keep an eye on your system, get video verification before dispatching police, and monitor things like carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. You can also control your system from your phone and connect it with your Amazon Alexa or Google Home to control smart devices like lights.
Unfortunately, the base plan doesn’t come with police dispatch, mobile access, or live video. The monitoring centre will contact you and your keyholder if something or someone triggers your alarm.
Equipment and features
You can custom build your system or choose from one of SimpliSafe’s kits. SimpliSafe’s starter kit is simple but robust enough to cover the security needs of a smaller flat. It comes with a base station, a keypad, an entry sensor, and a motion sensor. Unlike most starter kit packages, it also comes with an indoor video camera so you can watch the goings-on at home while you’re not there. That makes it easy to verify whether or not trouble is afoot (or check on the pup while you’re at the office).
You can add more equipment to your system à la carte or upgrade your equipment package to meet your home’s needs. The base station connects to the monitoring centre via cellular connection, so you won’t need a phone line or broadband connection.
With limited compatibility with Z-Wave or Zigbee devices, SimpliSafe isn’t the best option for those who want to go all out on cutting-edge home automation. But as mentioned above, you can connect Alexa and Google Home smart assistants with SimpliSafe to get voice control and connect other devices. From there, you can create scenarios like turning on the lights when your SimpliCam detects movement.
SimpliSafe released a new smart lock in September 2019, but it's available only in the US at this time. We'll update our review if SimpliSafe announces plans to sell the door lock in the UK.
ASecureLife’s recommendation: SimpliSafe’s Pro Premium plan checks all the boxes for an effective and convenient security system. Mobile access and live video make it easy to use and verify when there’s an emergency, and police dispatch makes sure you get the help you need. Plus, SimpliSafe includes a camera at every level of its equipment packages so you don’t have to upgrade equipment to get these advanced features.
>>Get SimpliSafe with alarm monitoring for as low as £12.99/mo. View plans.
>>Want to learn more about SimpliSafe? We’ve got a UK review in the works. Meantime, check out our US review.
Verisure: Best customer service
Verisure pros and cons
- Gold accreditation with NSI
- Solid customer support
- Diverse equipment offerings
- Fast monitoring response times
- Flexible packages for every type of home
- Lifelong warranty
- High monitoring price
Why we like Verisure
vWe’re deeply impressed with the overwhelmingly positive customer reviews of Verisure. Its customers seem to be pleased with the system and the help they receive with it, and the company engages with customers quickly and respectfully. The company also offers a lifetime warranty that takes care of all maintenance and repairs free of charge, so there’s no out-of-pocket expense for you should something go wrong with your system.
Verisure has enough equipment options and package flexibility to work with any type of home—or even small businesses. Verisure systems are custom designed for each property through a consultation so you have exactly what you need to protect your home and loved ones. It’s a great option for families with kids as the systems are easy to access and control.
Verisure isn’t the cheapest option for professional monitoring of your security system, and we’d like more transparency around the equipment pricing. Monitoring plans start at £42.00 a month, but you have to call to get a quote for your specific property type, equipment needs, and features you want to access.
Equipment and features
The most basic equipment you’ll receive is a portable control panel, shock sensors, and an in-home siren. But Verisure has lots of products you can add to build the system you need. Its motion-activated photo detector makes sure Verisure monitoring professionals can quickly verify a break-in and contact police. And its smart key fobs let each user arm and disarm the system without typing in the security code—perfect for families with kids who may struggle remembering codes when an alarm is blaring in the background.
Verisure also has a unique device that, when triggered by the monitoring centre, impairs vision. The ZeroVision device creates a thick, nontoxic fog that makes it hard to see (much less spot valuables).
We also appreciate the thoughtful touches on devices like Verisure’s smoke detectors. Instead of yet another irritating tone for the alarm, a voice alerts you to smoke and Verisure will send a message to your mobile if the smoke detector is triggered. It lets you know what kind of emergency you’re dealing with so you can act quickly.
The biggest downside to Verisure is its high monitoring costs and opaque equipment pricing. It’s a challenge to know how much you’ll pay until you’ve invested a bit of time up front, and monitoring costs start at more than twice what you’ll pay with SimpliSafe’s most expensive plan.
ASecureLife’s recommendation: Verisure helps you get a custom system that works for your family and home. With its lifetime equipment warranty, you’re guaranteed that the system will last as long as you need it.
SECOM: Award-winning monitoring
SECOM pros and cons
- Gold accreditation from NSI
- Award-winning intruder verification
- Annual maintenance
- Mobile access
- Installation fee included
- 1-year equipment warranty
- Upgrade required for external siren and police response
- Poor customer service reviews
Why we like SECOM
SECOM’s monitoring has accolades from the NSI and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board, and the London Metropolitan Police recognized SECOM’s rigorous intruder verification for reducing the number of false alarms. Its top-quality monitoring is why we recommend it.
Plus, SECOM performs annual in-person maintenance checks to make sure your system is in tip-top shape, and its many local offices mean you can schedule an out-of-cycle maintenance or repair if needed.
We are disappointed, though, to see so many negative customer reviews over the last couple of years. We have to wonder if SECOM is resting on its laurels at the expense of its customer base.
SECOM’s prices are pretty reasonable for the quality of professional monitoring you receive. For £26.00 a month, SECOM will monitor your wireless system. We generally recommend wireless systems because they don’t have vulnerable wires someone could cut. The company offers that professional monitoring at an industry-average contract length of 36 months.
Each of SECOM’s equipment packages are tied to a specific monitoring plan, but you can buy additional equipment from the company for fairly competitive prices. Seeing package prices requires getting a quote, though.
Equipment and features
You can upgrade your monitoring plan to include an external siren and a couple of key fobs. You can give one to your keyholder and keep one for yourself so disarming your system is always simple. And the external siren makes sure the neighbourhood knows something is going on.
If you add on the ProControl+ app access, you can control SECOM systems remotely from your phone, tablet, or computer, which is useful if you forget to arm your system when you scramble out the door in the morning.
SECOM also gives you the option to purchase physical deterrents like window gates, aluminum shutters, and residential gates if an alarm system isn’t adequate and you want more barriers of entry into your home.
ASecureLife’s recommendation: SECOM has reasonable prices for award-winning monitoring with some good add-ons like mobile monitoring and key fobs. But we hesitate to recommend it higher because its customer service has been lacking lately.
>>Want award-winning monitoring? Go with SECOM. View plans.
Yale Sync: Most customizable
Yale Sync pros and cons
- Complete customization
- No recurring monthly fees
- Affordable equipment
- DIY installation with professional installation option
- Buggy app
Why we like the Yale Sync
From monitoring to installation, the Yale Sync system can be completely DIY and customizable. You can choose the equipment package that’s right for your home, add smart home devices like door locks, and install your own equipment with little home improvement skills. The hub simply plugs into the wall and your broadband router, and the rest of the equipment runs on batteries.
Yale doesn’t offer professional monitoring. While it’s nice to save some money by watching your system yourself, it’s not realistic that you’ll always be able to react to notifications. Still, self-monitored security is better than nothing, and Yale’s equipment offerings give you lots of options to protect your home.
We’re also fans of Yale’s smart home options like Amazon Alexa, keyless smart locks, and Philips Hue bulbs. It puts the Yale Sync in competition with other smart home security systems in the industry.
For around £240, you get a competitive amount of home security equipment in the Yale Sync Starter Kit.
What you get
- Smart hub with Ethernet connection
- Motion sensor
- External siren
- 2 alarm stickers
All equipment is simple to install on your own, but Yale offers professional installation on its website for an additional £220.
Equipment and features
Yale’s sturdy equipment comes ready to install and connect with Yale Smart Living, Alexa devices, and Philips Hue smart light bulbs.
Equipment packages in the Yale Sync line range from basic packages that will cover a small flat to more robust systems that cover homes with multiple entry points. But you also have the option to add on key fobs, panic buttons, cameras, and smart locks from the Smart Living line.
Most police forces require verification before they’ll send out an officer to check an intruder alarm. And without professional monitoring, you’re responsible for verifying an alarm before contacting police. Adding a camera lets you visually confirm there’s an intruder if you’re not at home so you can get an officer on scene.
If you’re relying on yourself for monitoring your security system, a keyless smart lock can be a helpful partner. With no exterior lock to pick, a tamper alarm, and encryption, it can help thwart would-be thieves from getting inside. It also lets you open the door to dog walkers or kids coming home from school without leaving spare keys floating around.
With the Alexa integration, you can set and disarm your alarm with voice commands. And if you add Philips Hue bulbs, your system can switch the lights on and off for you. That home automation is great when you come home with hands full of groceries or wriggling children.
One disappointment was poor ratings on the Yale smartphone, tablet, and Apple Watch app. Customers note that the app can be difficult to use at times—a big point of frustration since the app brings everything together into a smart home security system and lets you tap into neat features like partial alarm setting. If you’ve got a dog that stays at home during the day, you’ll want to be able to turn off motion sensors that Fido could set off.
ASecureLife’s recommendation: Yale offers a solid line of DIY home security systems and smart home equipment. Upgrade and get the well-rated Family Kit. It comes with an extra motion sensor and a door/window sensor so it’s easier to verify if an intruder enters your home.
>>Want DIY home security and smart home accessories? Check out the Yale Sync line.
How we chose
We dug into pricing, equipment, features, customer reviews, app ratings, and what other pros were saying about home alarm systems in the UK. From there, we compared our options and weighed things like NSI ratings, ease of use, and smart home integrations to determine which systems would work best.
What should I look for in a home alarm system?
In the United Kingdom, alarm system companies can earn accreditation from the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and certification from the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). Both organisations audit alarm companies for quality standards in regards to systems and emergency responses.
Verisure and SECOM are gold-certified by NSI, meaning those alarm systems and monitoring centres meet the highest standards set by the organisation.
Your system works only if you have the right equipment. A home with a front, back, and side entrance will need more sensors than a flat with a single entrance, since each entry needs its own sensor. Look for alarm systems with multiple sensor combinations—like motion and entry sensors—so you can cross-reference them and verify that you need police or guard response.
We also recommend exterior sirens for villas or detached homes, since they’ll alert neighbors of an intrusion.
Types of alarms
You’ll see a few different options when you’re shopping for home security.
- Bells only: This system doesn’t connect to a professional monitoring centre. Instead, it sounds an alarm to threaten away intruders.
- Dialer burglar alarm: This system will call people on your contacts list and alert them to a triggered alarm system.
- Keyholder response: With this option, you appoint a keyholder for your account who can talk to the monitoring centre and enter your property when an alarm goes off on your behalf. After reaching out to you, a monitoring centre will contact your keyholder and ask them to verify an alarm or disarm a false alarm.
- Guard response: If you don’t have anyone nearby to act as a keyholder, a guard contracted with or employed by the security company will go to your property and verify an alarm or disarm your system. A guard may also wait for police to arrive and conduct their business before leaving.
What’s the difference between professional and DIY installation?
Professional and DIY installation are your two options for setting up a home alarm system in your home.
Professional installation is a hands-off approach for system owners. The home alarm company will send out a technician to install the system and make custom recommendations for your home. They’re used to complicated wiring and connecting systems, so you can be confident it’s done right.
With DIY home security systems, a security company sends you the preprogrammed equipment and you set it up. The DIY systems we recommend are wireless, so most of the equipment runs on batteries and can be installed without connecting to any works. Base stations or hubs are often plugged into the wall and/or a router.
What does alarm verification entail?
The Verified Alarm Response Program (VARP) requires verification of an intrusion. It’s an effort to reduce police response to false alarms and avoid wasting public resources.
Verification can include determining how many sensors were triggered and in what sequence, reviewing video footage, or confirmation by the owner or a keyholder. VARP does not require verification on panic alarms.
All security companies with professional monitoring should meet these standards. If you choose a self-monitored system like Yale Sync, you’ll be responsible for verifying the alarm before calling dispatch.
What is a keyholder?
A keyholder is a trusted person you designate to verify an alarm when you cannot. They have a key to your home and your alarm code so they can enter your home and disarm the system if needed. If they see evidence of an intruder, they can contact the alarm company and verify that the alarm requires police response.
Most home security companies with professional monitoring have keyholder response and work with you to determine a keyholder on your account.
The right burglar alarm system will make you and your family safer without breaking the bank or overcomplicating your day-to-day life. The above systems should offer enough variety that you can find the perfect fit based on your needs. Here’s another breakdown of our favourite home alarm companies in the UK.
>>Go with SimpliSafe if you want a flexible DIY home security system with no contract. View Plans
>>Choose Verisure if great customer support and equipment options are important to you. View Plans
>>Pick SECOM if you want award-winning monitoring. View Plans
>>Opt for Yale Sync if you want a customizable experience from beginning to end. View on Amazon