We review only local Houston security brands on this page. If you're looking for national companies like ADT or SimpliSafe, you can find them on our main best home security systems page.
The Best Home Security Systems in Houston
You’re a proud Houstonian who avidly reads Skip Hollandsworth’s crime articles in Texas Monthly. The more you learn about crime in Houston, the more you think of getting a home security system.
We recommend a home security system to everyone, and we think it’s an especially good call in Houston. Houston’s a marvelous place to live, with lots of cultural diversity and an unbeatable culinary scene. But it also has abnormally high crime rates1 and a harsh environment. Whether you have a house in River Oaks or a condo in Greater Heights, protecting your home’s the smart thing to do.
Houston’s crime index is 4. That’s another way of saying Houston is one of the more dangerous cities in the US. You’re almost twice as likely to experience property crime in Houston than in anywhere else in Texas.2
We researched and called local security system brands that serve Houston and determined which would be most helpful for you. Get ready for home security, Houston style.
Compare home security systems in Houston
Data effective 1/10/202020. Offers and availability subject to change.
Houston home security vs. national
Houston home security is much different from national home security. Even if you’ve had home security systems before, you may be out of your element when finding a system in Houston.
Here are some of the major differences we saw.
A lot of national security companies make their own equipment. Since local companies are smaller-scale operations, they sell and install third-party equipment from security manufacturers.
Customization is the go-to in Houston. Most national companies offer a base plan at a set price. In contrast, local Houston companies tend to be interested in your square footage and may even want to walk through your home before talking equipment and pricing.
Some (including four of our recommended brands) do offer base plans, but most stress customization over those preset packages.
Lots of national security companies are hit-and-miss with mobile apps. They may not have one, or they may charge you extra to use it. In Houston, mobile apps are an expected feature. Every brand we talked to offers one, and only Fort Knox and Megasystems charge extra.
Local systems not cutting it for you? Here are our top national brands:
You can’t buy anything online from these local companies. Most of them don’t even have pricing on their websites. You must call to learn about their products and whether they fit in your budget.
We found that odd because most of the brands’ customer service reps were less than dazzling on the phone (more on that in a minute). Also, most of these companies seem to be understaffed—a lot of them told us they couldn’t speak to us immediately when we called. Putting more service functions online could free up employee time.
If you’re reading, Houston security companies, please beef up your websites. Potential customers may be less likely to write you off if you do.
A huge benefit to getting security from a large corporation? Companies with lots of revenue have more bandwidth for unified customer service training.
We mention this because it seemed most of the reps from the local brands we spoke to didn’t have much training or knowledge. Our top brands had the best customer service by far. Several reps from other brands struggled to answer basic questions. One rep didn’t know what professional monitoring is. More than one asked if they could call us back later in a less-than-polite way. (And no, they didn’t call us back.)
In contrast to the reps from other brands, the top brands’ reps were eager to speak with us. They knew what they were talking about and answered all of our questions with in-depth information. At the end of our conversations, we wished we actually were buying from them.
While national security brands like ADT often have 24/7 customer service, local Houston providers’ hours are limited. They tend to closely mirror business hours.
The phone is also the preferred mode of contact for these local providers. That’s a bit inconvenient, especially if you’re moving to Houston from out of state. We had some problems with audio cutting out when we called from Utah. Curiously, this happened with multiple brands. It seemed to happen when reps were using landlines; the reps who switched to cell phones could hear us just fine.
Fort Knox Home Security and Alarm review: Best monitoring price
Although it charges extra for its app, Fort Knox Home Security and Alarm has extremely affordable professional monitoring.
Fort Knox pros and cons
- Lowest monitoring price
- Most equipment brand options
- No equipment or installation charges
- Free relocation after first year of service
- Home automation
- Charges extra for mobile app
Why we recommend Fort Knox
Don’t let the name fool you; Fort Knox Home Security and Alarm is based in Dallas, not in Kentucky like the famous army post. This evocatively named brand delivers the least expensive offering of any Houston-serving company we spoke with.
It’s common to spend money up front to get security equipment and have the pros install it. Currently, Fort Knox doesn’t charge for either its equipment or its installations.
Fort Knox’s lowest monitoring price is $15.95 a month. Even with the added cost of $4.99 to use the app, the price is still lower than the next least-expensive brand we recommend, Benco Systems. Fort Knox’s Control 360 package also gives you the option to monitor your system completely from a PC or tablet at $49.95 a month. That’s in addition to professional monitoring; you’re just a pair of added eyes.
Fort Knox offers a vast range of equipment brands. From well-known brands like Honeywell and DSC to lesser-known labels like Napco, Fort Knox has it and you can too.
What smart devices work with your alarm system? It depends on the equipment brand your provider installs. You may want to talk with your installer to learn more about your equipment’s compatibility.
Fort Knox is one of the only providers with a selection of several preset packages alongside the customization options.
The basic package comes with the following equipment:
- a touchscreen keypad
- enough door sensors for each exterior door
- a motion detector
- a siren
- an emergency power supply
Fort Knox’s customer service rep was knowledgeable, helpful, and polite on the phone. He knew the answer to every question we asked and gave us some of the most detailed information we received from any brand.
The Fort Knox website is also one of the most customer-friendly ones we saw. Among other things, it actually lists the lowest monitoring price! Score.
Fort Knox Security and Alarm’s customer service hours are 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CT on weekdays and Saturdays.
True Protection review: Great no-contract option
True Protection has a no-contract option and does home automation installation. We also love that you can talk directly to the company owner.
True Protection pros and cons
- No-contract option
- One free relocation
- Home automation
- Camera in basic package
- Most expensive monitoring
Why we recommend True Protection
True Protection (formerly HomeStar Protection) does a bang-up job of living up to its name. The brand offers comprehensive service with customer-convenient perks, like the no-contract option.
Like every Houston provider we researched, True Protection has mostly customized packages. Because of this, we can’t predict what you’ll spend up front on your equipment. You’d have to consult with True Protection before you can get a ballpark price. While that’s hard on the budget, it is great to know you’re not buying anything other than what you need.
Sadly, True Protection has the highest monitoring price of the brands we recommend. The customer service rep who assisted us said that monitoring for a basic system tends to run from $39.99 to $42.99 per month. For the price, you get professional monitoring from home security brand Brinks. Brinks is an experienced monitoring brand, so we have no problems with True Protection outsourcing to its folks.
If you pay up front for your equipment, you may be able to get a lower monitoring price with the month-to-month, no-contract option.
Apart from the customized packages, True Protection offers a basic package:
- a touchscreen alarm panel
- three door or window sensors
- a motion detector
- a glassbreak detector
- a 5MP panel camera
It’s highly unusual to get a camera in a basic security package, so that’s a useful touch. A camera helps you know exactly what happens around your home and confirm any break-ins to police.
True Protection’s third-party security equipment is from Alarm.com and 2GIG—brands used and trusted by some of our favorite national security providers.
Besides installing basic security equipment, True Protection also sells and installs home automation devices for a full smart home suite.
We called True Protection and got a call back within a few hours from a customer service rep, Landon . . . who actually turned out to be one of the owners of the company. He quickly volunteered information and asked deep-digging questions. At the end of the call, he told us that he’d called us from his personal cell and that we were welcome to save his number and phone him anytime.
Officially, True Protection’s customer service hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT. But the owner said that customers often call him directly outside of those hours and that he’s cool with it. We were impressed that he cares so much about the customer experience that he'll take customer service calls.
Though you’ll be hard-pressed to find pricing info on True Protection’s website, the site does look nice and is simple enough to use. And hey, you can fill out a contact form instead of calling the reps directly (though the reps may call you anyway once they get it).
SecurStarAlarms review: Best for relocation
The SecurStarAlarms website isn’t much to look at, but the customer service is excellent. Among other things, the company makes it easy for movers by relocating your system or letting you sell or buy out your contract.
SecurStarAlarms pros and cons
- Free relocation
- Contract sale or buyout
- 24/7 customer service
- Unhelpful website
Why we recommend SecurStarAlarms
SecurStarAlarms may look like an amateur company from its website, but it has years of experience and can provide service anywhere in the nation. If you move, even outside of Texas, you can take your system with you.
Again, it’s hard to say what you’ll spend up front due to the highly customizable offerings. But you can always count on paying a $69 activation fee.
Like True Protection, SecurStarAlarms monitors through Brinks. In fact, SecurStar proudly proclaims its status as an authorized Brinks dealer. But the price is lower with SecurStar: it’ll cost you $32.95 each month.
A basic, non-customized package from SecurStarAlarms contains a lot of equipment:
- a keypad
- a panel
- three door sensors
- seven windows sensors
- a motion detector
- a siren
- a backup battery
- a wireless cell unit
The equipment comes from Hikvision, Honeywell, and 2GIG—big brands in home security equipment.
Three of the five brands we recommend use Honeywell. On the national scene, ADT Home Security uses Honeywell too. Honeywell sells its own security kits, but the prices are astronomical. There’s also no professional monitoring, so it makes more sense to buy Honeywell as third-party equipment from another brand.
SecurStarAlarms’ website is not helpful. When you look at the site, you can’t even tell what it’s for. There’s no pricing or plan information, just a statement about the brand’s use of Brinks. Overall, it’s more like a Brinks advertisement than website. We were 100% ready to write off SecurStar until its customer service rep called us back.
It turned out the SecurStarAlarms rep was one of the friendliest, most expert reps we spoke to during the research process. While other companies’ reps were annoyed by our comprehensive questions, our new friend James told us that he loved educating customers.
He gave us an excellent overview of the awesome moving policy. If you have to relocate while under contract with SecurStar, the brand provides service across the US and will help you move your system anywhere in the country. But you also have the option to sell your contract to the next homeowners or even buy it out from SecurStar.
We asked James about customer service hours. He replied that we could call Brinks to get alarm monitoring help at any time or we could call him or one of his technicians, Maurice, whenever we wanted.
Vertical Security Group review: Most straightforward
Vertical Security Group lets you avoid a contract by buying everything up front and paying month to month. It offers only one brand of equipment.
Vertical Security Group pros and cons
- No-contract option
- Free relocation after first year of service
- Only one equipment option
Why we recommend Vertical Security Group
Not everyone likes having a lot of choices, so if you want something simple, Vertical Security Group’s the way to go.
While the price for the customized packages is unpredictable, monitoring starts at $35.00 a month.
Vertical Security Group does customization only; it has no base packages.
This brand sells Alarm.com devices—a plus if you’re a fan, but it’s a huge con if you don’t like Alarm.com or want something it doesn’t manufacture.
Alarm.com equipment is frequently used by ADT and Frontpoint. It’s solid equipment that we confidently recommend.
The Vertical Security Group website is okay. There’s some helpful information, including clearly visible instructions for calling or emailing customer service reps. But the site doesn’t look very professional, which immediately decreases trust.
Vertical Security Group’s phone customer service hours run 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CT. You can also email the reps or fill out a form to request a quote. When we called, the rep answered our questions without hesitation.
Benco Systems review: Best customer service
Benco Systems sells you security equipment up front and requires just one year of contracted monitoring.
Benco Systems pros and cons
- Shorter contracts
- Local monitoring center
- Expensive up-front equipment costs
- Relocation costs are yours to foot
Why we recommend Benco Systems
You might wonder why we’ve declared that Benco Systems has the best customer service. In reality, all of the brands we recommend in this review have excellent customer service. We just noticed that Benco Systems designed its service to address common consumer complaints.
First of all, being locked into a contract can be a plague on consumers. Life happens, and sometimes it’s hard to know what your situation will be even a few months from now.
Benco Systems sidesteps this problem by using a direct-buy model. The equipment is yours, and upon buying it, you enter into a simple one-year monitoring contract with Benco. (You’ll pay a minimum of $23 a month for monitoring.) At the end of the contract, you’re free to renew your contract or find another alarm monitoring service.
Of course, initially buying the equipment hikes up the starting price. The customer service rep estimated that most Benco Systems customers pay about $1,300 for equipment, though it depends on what you buy.
Secondly, most security systems users hate calling offshore call centers. They worry about communication barriers. To avoid this issue, Benco Systems uses a local central monitoring station.
Finally, Benco’s one of the few local brands in Houston that offers a Wi-Fi connection for your home security system instead of a landline or cellular connection. There’s a lot to love about a Wi-Fi connection, but we do want to warn you. If your Wi-Fi goes out, so does your security system connectivity. You’ve got to have some amazing Wi-Fi to make this connection secure.
Benco Systems has a basic package. The package features the following equipment:
- a receiver or keypad
- a control panel
- three to four wireless contact sensors
- a motion detector
- a glassbreak detector
The equipment comes from Honeywell, GE, and DSC.
Benco Systems’ website is easy to navigate. There’s not much to find, but you can find what’s there without much trouble. You can call, email, or fill out a form on the site.
If you choose to call the Benco Systems office, the hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT on weekdays. Not the most convenient if you work during that time. But our customer service rep hinted that if you try your luck after hours, someone may still pick up.
How we chose
We looked on Google and at popular review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List to get Houstonian home security system recommendations. We ended up with about 30 candidates, which we then narrowed down by eliminating companies that sold only cameras (like Texas Security & Surveillance) or installed previously bought systems.
After all that, we called the 14 remaining brands to get the scoop on their pricing and offerings.
Other brands we considered
Here are some Houston favorites that didn’t make the top few.
Home Security Systems, Inc.
Home Security Systems, Inc. has shorter-than-average contracts for the industry at 12 to 24 months. The price is also reasonable at $24.00 a month.
If you move, your contract moves to the new residence with you, and the company provides new equipment.
The customer service rep we spoke with couldn’t answer a lot of our questions. She’s the one who didn’t know what professional monitoring is. To be fair, Home Security Systems, Inc. monitors its systems on its own rather than contracting with a monitoring company.
We’re not sure how effective this homegrown approach is since we’ve never seen it done on such a small scale.
OMNI Fire and Security Systems
With OMNI Fire and Security Systems, you get agreements, not contracts. (There’s no discernible difference between the two, but the customer service rep we spoke with was very insistent about this terminology.) As with Home Security Systems, Inc., your agreement could be for as little as 12 months. You can also pay as low as $21.95 for a month of monitoring.
You even have options if you need to move in the middle of your agreement. You can stay with OMNI and move all your equipment with you. Or, if you move to an area OMNI Fire and Security Systems doesn’t service, you can sell your agreement to your home’s buyer.
Last and best of all, if you refer someone to OMNI Fire and Security Systems, you get a cash referral bonus.
The website looks extremely unprofessional and has out-of-date content, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in the brand. Plus the rep we talked to, while polite, sounded bored and confused.
Bassec Security Systems
Bassec’s website is the most helpful. It shares five tiers of plans that you can buy—a nice alternative if you’re not into the Houston customization craze. The basic package comes with a key fob, which is convenient for turning your system on and off.
We were looking forward to learning more about Bassec Security Systems. But when we called, the rep asked us to email him instead as he was on an important call. He never got back to us.
Apart from the cool name, we were pleased when the Megasystems Security rep gave us some visibility into pricing.
It quickly became apparent that you have to be pretty far in the buying process to get an accurate estimate. Equipment costs can range from a few hundred to a few thousand, according to the rep. It all depends on the size of your home and what you’re looking for.
Megasystems Security also has multiple apps for different security needs, but the rep said there were too many to give an average price for. We didn’t even nail down a monitoring price. Overall, it was a pretty discouraging conversation for the budget-conscious user.
Cultris Security Systems Inc.
Cultris Security Systems Inc. contracts can be just 12 months long. It sells Honeywell, Bosch, DSC, and Interlogix systems.
Cultris was a bewildering experience for us. Upon answering the phone, the customer service rep informed us that this wasn’t her job and that she may not be able to answer all our questions. Once we’d asked three or four questions, she brusquely said that since we had so many, we should wait for her out-of-town colleague to contact us. We never did hear from that colleague.
Other local Houston security systems
|Security company||Phone number||View Site|
|Alarm Masters Corporation||+1-281-933-3900|
|Allied Home Security||+1-866-255-4338|
|ASAP Security Services||+1-877-418-2727|
|Cobra Home Security, LLC||+1-832-647-4868|
|Houston Fire & Security||+1-281-446-2182|
|JE Security Systems||+1-713-422-3720|
|Mesa Alarm Systems||+1-281-694-4313|
|OnDuty Systems, LP||+1-713-378-7500|
|The Security Store||+1-713-957-2915|
Houston home security FAQ
Do I need a home alarm system in Houston?
With Houston’s higher-than-average property crime rates, it’s smart to install a home alarm system. A basic security system will help prevent break-ins. But to be safe, we recommend a full-scale alarm system with outdoor cameras that will not only catch burglars but deter would-be intruders simply by their presence.
A home security system can also help you keep an eye on risky areas like swimming pools or rooms where you store firearms. A couple of sensors in these areas can let you know if someone is somewhere they shouldn’t be.
Can I get a discount on my homeowners insurance for having home security?
You bet! Lots of homeowners insurance companies will give you a discount if you can show them you’ve installed a home alarm system.
How much security equipment should I consider for my home?
Before you call a security company for a quote or head online to purchase equipment, count up all your external doors and windows and find your square footage. It’s good to be prepared with some knowledge beforehand so the reps can more effectively help you.
For the best possible home security coverage, you’ll need enough sensors to cover all your home’s entrances and any openable ground-floor windows. In a small apartment, you may be fine with most starter equipment packages. But if you live in a large home with several entrances and any detached buildings like garages or guest houses, you’ll need lots more sensors.
Security cameras—including video doorbells—can help catch package thieves or discourage people from trespassing on your property. And if a package theft does occur, you can help gather evidence using footage from your cameras.
If you have a pool, consider getting an extra sensor and a camera. A sensor on your pool gate and an outdoor camera can alert you so you can take action when someone is getting into your pool without permission or supervision.
Fort Knox and True Protection both offer home automation alongside a basic security system. A connected home gives you the option to load up on multiple high-end cameras, smart door locks, carbon monoxide detectors, and doorbell cameras.
These smart devices can make your system useful both day-to-day and during an emergency. You can manage them from across the city at work or from the football field during practice with the kids. For example, you can check your video doorbell to verify that the dog walker is at the front door. Then you can unlock your smart door lock to let them inside—all from your phone.
Even if you’re looking for something simpler, we recommend adding flood sensors to most security packages in Houston. These sensors let you know if water is somewhere it shouldn’t be—whether that’s from an overflowing washing machine or the monsoon-like rains Texas is prone to. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll learn about any flooding immediately.
You can also add a couple of freeze sensors to pipes. Houston might not freeze as often as northern cities, but it’s better not to be surprised. And if you’ve got a detached shed or garage with your home, it’s wise to look into alarm sensors and security cameras for those vulnerable areas.
Everything else, like smart locks or thermostats, depends entirely on your neighborhood, the amount of mobile control you want, and how much you’re willing to spend. For a more detailed look at property crime in Houston, CrimeReports has an interactive map that shows which Houston neighborhoods are most at risk for property crime.
¿Qué pasa si hablo en español?
¿Habla español? Podemos ayudarle a usted también. Aquí están nuestros proveedores de sistemas de seguridad favoritos para usuarios que hablan en español.
37% of Houstonians speak Spanish at home.4
When it comes to providing multiple languages, bigger companies have an advantage. They tend to have more money for accessibility. In line with that, none of the local companies we looked at specifically advertise Spanish-speaking services.
That doesn’t mean a Spanish speaker can’t still sign up with one of these brands. They all use professional monitoring services, which likely have some translation programs or bilingual workers. If you have to call your security system’s home office, though, you may be out of luck. The reps might not have a set strategy for connecting you to another Spanish speaker.
What about DIY security systems?
Do Texans feel safe living in the Lone Star state?
In our 2018 survey of Texas residents, more than half of Texans report that they’re concerned with property crime, which can be anything from car break-ins to burglaries. We also found that 53% of Texans are concerned with violent crime. That makes sense in a city like Houston, where crime rates are higher than average.
Not only that, but 70% of Texans expressed some concern that their house might be broken into while they’re not home. Common concerns associated with break-ins included vandalism, theft, stolen keys, stolen personal documents and information, and car theft.
Houston safety resources
A security system won’t protect you from everything. You should also know how to contact Houston’s local safety services.
Texas Medical Center: Houston is home to the world’s largest medical facility—the Texas Medical Center (TMC), which gives the city a big boost in quality of healthcare.
Houston Fire Department: The Houston Fire Department isn’t just there for you during emergencies. It also provides all kinds of safety information for Houstonians, like this summer safety guide, to nip potential emergencies in the bud.
Non-emergency phone number: (832) 394-6700
Houston Police Department: We looked at police response times in big cities throughout the country and found that Houston had the second-fastest average response time. Every minute counts in emergencies, so it’s good to know the Houston PD is as efficient as it gets responding to calls.
Non-emergency phone number: (713) 884-3131
Let’s go through those top Houston security systems one more time.
- Fort Knox Home Security and Alarm: If you want a low monitoring price, Fort Knox Home Security and Alarm is for you.
- True Protection: True Protection has an affordable no-contract option with two different types of equipment to choose from.
- SecurStarAlarms: SecurStarAlarms may be based in Texas, but it can move you across the country if you need it.
- Vertical Security Group: If you don’t like too many choices, Vertical Security Group’s simple offerings can be bought up front.
- Benco Systems: Benco Systems is doing its best to address common customer concerns.
If you’d like to try a national brand like Vivint or ADT instead, here’s our review of the best home security systems.
Or, if you want something you can install on your own, check out these DIY security systems.
Contributing author: Celeste Tholen
- Neighborhood Scout, “Houston, TX Crime Rates”
- Neighborhood Scout, “Houston, TX Crime Rates”
- Texas Monthly, “The Ultimate Real Housewife of Houston”
- City of Houston Planning and Development Department, “Language Spoken City of Houston, State of Texas and the United States”