Fortress Security System Review: Is Its DIY Home Alarm Worth the Savings?

Fortress Security System
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    If you want to save money while still protecting your home, you’ll want to look into DIY security systems. After all, professional installation and monthly monitoring can be costly. Fortress Security offers a true DIY option—you install and monitor the system yourself—that fits within most budgets. But will Fortress security systems actually fortify your home on a dime, or will you just be getting less because you’re spending less?

    Keep reading to find out if Fortress Security could be the right choice for your home.

    Fortress Security pros and cons

    • Pro BulletCustomizable, build-your-own systems
    • Pro BulletLots of add-on equipment
    • Pro BulletThree-year equipment warranty
    • Pro BulletNo contract or monthly fees
    • Con BulletNo central monitoring
    • Con BulletHard-to-navigate website
    • Con BulletNo pro monitoring compatibility with most systems

    How much does Fortress Security cost?

    You won’t pay for installation or monitoring with Fortress—you’ll pay for just equipment. As we said, Fortress gives you the option of building your own system, but it also has several packages if you want to buy a complete system.

    Fortress offers three primary alarm lines: the S03 Wireless, the S1, and the S6 Titan. Each of these lines offers a few basic packages: a Starter Kit (the least expensive), a Classic Kit, and a Deluxe Kit (the most expensive). We’ll break down the difference between those kits in a moment, but first let’s compare the price and basic features of a starter kit from each line.

    Data effective 12/11/2018. Offers and availability subject to change.
    Insider Tip
    As you can see, S03 is the cheapest, and the S6 costs the most—but offers the most connectivity options.

    What makes Fortress Security unique?

    Fortress Security offers 100% DIY home security. You choose the equipment you want—generally a control panel, some motion sensors, a few glass break sensors, maybe a siren—and install it yourself. After everything is in, you’re also responsible for monitoring it yourself or finding a company that is willing to monitor it for you.

    If something triggers the alarm, your system’s siren will sound and automatically call your programmed phone numbers with a prerecorded message to alert you about the incident. It will not alert the police or other authorities; you’ll have to do that yourself.

    While DIY systems like Fortress can save you money, we generally don’t recommend them because they’re less secure. Such systems rely on you to respond to incidents, which means that your home is vulnerable if you don’t get an alert right away (like if you’re on a run, in a meeting, or in a cellular dead spot).

    Fortress Security does offer one system—the S6 Titan line—that can be used with third-party monitoring companies to up your security. Of course, you’ll have to do the legwork to find a monitoring company in your area that’s compatible with the S6 Titan.

    That’s not the only way you can customize your Fortress system, however. The Fortress Security store lets you build your own system. You choose a main panel, and then you can decide what equipment you want to go with it. That lets you get the exact number of sensors, panic buttons, or key fob remotes you need. Just remember: if you don’t choose the S6 Titan line, your equipment cannot be used with a pro monitoring service.

    What equipment does Fortress offer?

    Once you know what line you want—S03, S1, or Titan S6—you can decide on a package. A Starter kit provides the least equipment, making it good for small spaces. A Classic or Deluxe kit will offer more equipment, making them ideal for larger spaces.

    S03 Wireless security kit

    S03 offers Wi-Fi and landline connectivity, and it’s the only system without a built-in siren.
    Data effective 12/11/2018. Offers and availability subject to change.

    S1 security kit

    Fortress S1 Kit
    The S1 line has Wi-Fi connectivity only, but it also has a built-in siren to scare off intruders.
    Data effective 12/11/2018. Offers and availability subject to change.

    S6 Titan security kit

    Fortress S6 Kit
    S6 Titan is the newest line. It has 3G/4G connectivity, which is great if your Wi-Fi isn’t the most dependable, and it can be used with third-party monitoring companies.
    Data effective 12/11/2018. Offers and availability subject to change.
    Pro tip
    Our Choice
    Remember, if you don’t see a kit you like, you can always build your own alarm system on the Fortress website.

    Other Fortress alarm equipment

    Fortress offers plenty of add-on equipment, available online at the Fortress Security store or on Amazon.

    Most notably, it offers pet-immune motion detectors, which you can use instead of standard motion detectors. These detectors won’t be triggered by cats or dogs under 50 pounds.

    Fortress also offers Safeguard and Guardian, two stand-alone alarm systems. We suggest steering clear of these, as they don’t have any kind of Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity and therefore offer little in the way of protection.

    Our recommendation

    While Fortress Security offers affordable DIY equipment, the lack of professional monitoring makes it less secure than we’d like.

    If you know you want a DIY alarm system, SimpliSafe is our pick for the best DIY system. It’s 100% wireless and contract-free, but it offers optional professional monitoring when you need it, which Fortress does not. That makes SimpliSafe more secure and more convenient than Fortress Security.

    For other options, check out our picks for the best home security systems. You’ll find more options for DIY installation with pro monitoring, as well as systems with professional installation and monitoring.