We review only local San Diego-based brands on this page. If you're looking for national companies, you can find that on our main best home security systems page.
Best Home Security Systems in San Diego 2020
Whether you’re renting among the hustle and bustle of downtown or living beachside in La Jolla, you may have considered local home security options in San Diego. A home security system is always a wise choice, but it's worth noting that property crimes are down in America’s Finest City—2017 saw only 2.71 burglaries per 1000 people.1
If you don’t want to go with a big national brand like ADT Home Security, consider a local home security provider. While local-based security solutions may not always have the most updated technology, they do often offer a more customized approach to security.
If that sounds up your alley, read on for the best local home security systems in the San Diego area.
Top security companies in San Diego
- Smart Shield Systems: Best No-Contract Option
- Dempsey Alarms: Best Reputation
- California Alarm: Best for Self-Monitoring
Compare home security systems in San Diego
Below, we’re looking at security systems offered to residents of the greater San Diego area and San Diego county.
Data effective 01/10/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.
Local vs. national security systems
When it comes to deciding between going for a local or national home security system, the matter comes down to choice. If you prefer a customized experience with a personalized touch, go with a local provider. But if you’d prefer to invest in more up-to-date technology, go for a national provider, like Frontpoint or Vivint.
Local alarm systems typically use third-party equipment from reputed brands like Alarm.com and Honeywell. Some national brands use the same third-party equipment as local companies, while brands like Vivint, SimpliSafe, and Ring make their own equipment in house, from control panels to the smart video doorbells.
Whether you choose local or national, you’ll more than likely be able to integrate your security devices into your smart home. That sort of technology is pretty much a given with most national security companies, with brands like ADT Pulse offering secure smart home solutions. And most of the local home security brands we talked to mentioned that their alarm systems could be integrated with a number of devices, from garage door openers to smart locks.
As far as mobile access, most local companies outsource that to a third party app, like Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. Sometimes you’ll have to pay extra for access. With national security brands, app access is more often than not included as part of your security package.
If you’re phone-phobic, a national security brand might be the way to go: you can often choose how to get in contact with customer service, from support chat and email to phone (but only when absolutely necessary).
Local security companies don’t usually have that variety of availability, although some on our list do offer 24/7 customer support.
Smart Shield Systems review: Best no-contract option
Not only does Smart Shield Systems offer flexible and affordable professional monitoring with smart home capabilities, but the company also has overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Smart Shield Systems pros and cons
- Affordable monthly monitoring price
- Mobile access included
- No cancellation fees
- Knowledgeable customer service rep
- Installation fee
Why we recommend Smart Shield Systems
Smart Shield Systems is a great option if you’re on a budget. Its monthly monitoring option starts at $29.95 a month, and you’ll get a bundle of free equipment (valued at about $1,500.00) without signing a contract.
Smart Shield Systems offers month-to-month contracts with no cancellation fees starting at $29.95 per month for their most basic package. That price includes mobile access, so you’ll be able to arm and disarm your system from your mobile device or tablet. You will have to pay an installation fee, though at $100, it's right in line with national brands.
Smart Shield Systems offers a good variety of the basics like door and window sensors and carbon monoxide alarms. The local brand also offers a lot in the way of smart home compatibility, with advanced smart home devices like Z-Wave thermostats and smart video doorbells. A majority of their equipment is from third-party brands like Qolsys and 2GiG.
When we emailed Smart Shield Systems via their online contact form, we didn’t hear from anyone, even after a couple of weeks. But once we called, we were connected to a knowledgeable customer support representative. He was helpful and answered all of our questions easily.
Smart Shield Systems has a positive reputation online too. Online reviews says the brand is constantly exceeding expectations, with some customers saying they prefer it over national brands like ADT.
Smart Shield Systems serves the greater San Diego area. So whether you live within the city limits or in Escondido, you’re eligible for coverage.
ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you’re looking for a flexible smart security solution that won’t break the bank, consider Smart Shield Systems. It has great reviews, a stellar reputation, and affordable pricing.
Dempsey Alarms review: Best reputation
Whether you’re in San Diego proper, Carlsbad, or Escondido, Dempsey Alarms offers solid security services and flexible contracts.
Dempsey Alarms pros and cons
- Flexible contracts
- Mobile access included
- Customer service with a personal touch
- Installation fee
Why we recommend Dempsey Alarms
Dempsey Alarms offers flexible contracts and a great reputation, whether you live in Clairemont or Encinitas.
Dempsey Alarms' monitoring plans start at $34.99 per month with a two-year contract and a $99 installation fee. After two years—about the amount of time it takes to pay off your equipment—plans go by a month-to-month basis.
If you don’t want to commit to a contract, no worries: Dempsey Alarms will let you pay month to month as long as you pay for all of your equipment up front. You can also opt for a no-contract option if you already have a security system in place and want to switch your professional monitoring to Dempsey.
If you have to skip town because you got your dream job across the country, Dempsey Alarms offers a little wiggle room. As long as you let the company know in advance that you need to cancel your subscription, you shouldn’t be subject to any cancellation fees.
Dempsey Alarms offers two base packages that you can add to and customize. Its most basic package starts with three door/window sensors, a motion sensor, a keypad, and a touch screen. If you have a bigger home and need more equipment, the monitoring price goes up to $44.99 a month, and the installation fee jumps to $199.
No matter which package you opt for, expect equipment—from sensors to security cameras—from reputable brands like 2GIG, Honeywell, and DSC.
When we filled out Dempsey Alarms’ contact form, we were contacted within a day or so by Eric Dempsey, the company’s founder. Eric was knowledgeable, helpful, and eager to answer our questions.
That overwhelmingly stellar reputation continues online. Customers say that Dempsey Alarms is professional and personable, with a smooth installation process and fair pricing.
Dempsey Alarms covers the greater San Diego area and can provide security alarms as far as Carlsbad, Escondido, and Chula Vista.
ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you’re looking for a reliable local security company with great reviews, look no further than Dempsey Alarms. You'll get a personalized security experience, flexible contracts, and robust customer service.
California Alarm review: Best for self-monitoring
California Alarm gives you options: install the materials yourself or have a professional do it; and choose between self and professional monitoring.
California Alarms pros and cons
- Customizable equipment packages
- Month-to-month contract option
- Pricing available online
- Can get pricey
- Expensive monitoring costs
Why we recommend California Alarm
If you prefer a DIY approach to home security, consider partnering with California Alarm. You can build your own security system and install it in your home yourself, plus the company lets you self-monitor if that’s more your style.
According to California Alarm’s website, residential monitoring starts at $39 a month, and commercial monitoring starts at $49 a month. You can also choose between a three-year contract and month to month—you’ll just have to pay for your equipment up front with the latter.
California Alarm also offers quite a bit of add-ons, but you’ll pay for each one. Here’s some of that pricing:
- Mobile control for $5 per month
- Smart home access for $10 per month
- Access for up to four cameras for $10 per month
Additionally, while self-monitoring is free, having access to emergency services will cost you:
- Emergency services for $5 per month
- Emergency services + Live 2-Way for $10 per month
California Alarm offers standard security equipment, like alarm panels and motion detectors; tools for home automation, like garage door controllers and Z-Wave thermostats; as well as video surveillance equipment, like doorbell cameras and indoor security cameras. Expect equipment from trusted brands like Alarm.com and Ring.
While we weren’t able to connect with anyone at California Alarm via its contact form online or email, most of their pricing and equipment information is online. In our experience, online pricing is uncommon among local security brands, so it's nice to see how California Alarm makes it easy for folks to shop on their own.
Despite the lack of communication, California Alarm still has a positive reputation according to online reviews. Customers say that the company is both professional and thorough.
California Alarm covers much of the greater San Diego county area, including as far north as Oceanside and as far south as Chula Vista.
ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you want a highly customizable local alarm system, consider California Alarm. You’ll have the option to build your own system, plus you can install and monitor it on your own.
How we chose
To find the best security companies in the greater San Diego area, we looked at Google and review sites like Yelp to get a picture of what companies were the most highly recommended. From about 20 companies, we eliminated any local brands that offer only installation services with no monitoring and those that specialize in only CCTV camera systems.
From there, we searched the remaining brands’ websites for pricing and information, then emailed and called those brands if we couldn’t find that information online. We eliminated those that were hard to contact via email, phone, or both. We also eliminated brands that never called us back with promised information. In the end, that left us with our top three picks.
Other brands we considered
Rancho Santa Fe Security
RSF Security offers Z-Wave compatible equipment, 24/7 customer service help, and alarm response services with no false alarm fees. The company’s most recent reviews are positive, with customers saying the services are professional and the prices are reasonable. But some reviews, as recent as 2018, describe malfunctioning systems and less than stellar customer service.
Call now: +1-800-303-8877
Other local home security systems
|All Secure Alarm Company||+1-877-247-7760|
|Halcyon Alarm & Monitoring||+1-858-668-5446|
San Diego FAQs
Do I need a home alarm system in San Diego?
Although property crime is low overall in San Diego, we recommend getting a home alarm system, especially because San Diego’s relative safety varies by neighborhood.2
Do I need a permit for my home security system?
If you’re operating a home security system with professional monitoring within the San Diego city limits, you’ll need to register your alarm and obtain a permit.3
There are two different types of permits:
The first is a permit with the Police Department. That permit is for monitored systems that detect burglary and robbery and costs $10 for residential and commercial properties.
The second is a permit with the Fire-Rescue Department. That permit is for any monitored system that detects fire, harmful gas like carbon monoxide, and smoke, and costs $18 for two years for residential or commercial properties.
Both permits can be obtained from the City of San Diego website.
Are there fines for false alarms?
By law, the city of San Diego charges fines for false alarms.2 If you—or your neighbor or doggie (who really is such a good boy most of the time)—trigger an alarm and the police respond, you’ll pay a fine. It’s $100 for the first false alarm, $200 for the second, and $100 for each additional false alarm, up to $500 in the same year. There’s also an additional $300 fine for police response to a false alarm without a permit.
Can I get a discount on my homeowner’s insurance for having home security?
Yes! Some homeowners insurance companies offer a discount—usually up to about 10%—if you can provide proof that you’ve installed a home security system.
Here are our recommendations for a good security system in San Diego, whether you live in North Park or Downtown:
- If you’d prefer to avoid the commitment of a contract, we recommend Smart Shield Systems. Monitoring is affordable, you won't be subject to any cancellation fees, and you’ll get a bunch of free equipment without signing a contract.
- If you don’t mind contracts but like them flexible, consider Dempsey Alarms. The brand has a stellar reputation, uses trusted brands, and offers professional and personalized services.
- More DIY than professional? Opt for California Alarm. You can customize your equipment, self-install, and self-monitor.
If you want more robust equipment or the convenience of being able to see all of your security options online, check out our top national home security companies.
- The City of San Diego, “San Diego Historical Crime Actuals 1950 - 2018”
- Neighborhood Scout, “San Diego, CA Crime”
- The City of San Diego, “City of San Diego False Alarm Reduction Site”