Compare Reviews for Home Alarm & Security Systems
Before shopping for alarm and security systems, consumers need to decide whether they just want a security camera to turn on and capture activity when they are away from home or a fully monitored alarm system that will alert the authorities in the event of a break-in.
Monitored systems have a higher up-front cost than non-monitored systems, but they include 24/7 monitoring of your home, which can give homeowners peace of mind in the event of a break-in, fire or other emergency.
Top 15 Most Reviewed Home Alarm & Security Systems
|Read 6394 Reviews|
Vivint APX Alarm is a home security provider that offers automated security technology and 24/7 home monitoring. The company was started in 1999 by Todd Pedersen. Find out more
|Read 5846 Reviews|
ADT Security Systems offers security technology and monitoring to homeowners and owners of businesses of all sizes. The company has been in the home security business since 1874. Find out more
|Read 5755 Reviews|
Frontpoint is a security company that offers home security technology and monitoring. The company sells security systems that can be controlled and monitored by home owners remotely. Find out more
|Read 3516 Reviews|
Vector Security offers security systems and home automation to residential and commercial customers throughout North America and the Caribbean. It is part of The Philadelphia Contributionship, which was founded in 1752. Find out more
|Read 2297 Reviews|
Protect America specializes in alarm equipment and security monitoring. The security company also offers home automation services and products. It has protected more than half a million homes since it was founded in 1992. Find out more
|Read 1875 Reviews|
MONI, a subsidiary of Ascent Capital Group, is a home security and home automation company serving over 1 million customers. It has several options to meet most consumers' needs. MONI was founded in Farmers Branch, Texas, in 1994. Find out more
|Read 1263 Reviews|
Link Interactive, formally Link Home Security, began in 1952. The company provides a DIY alarm system platform with a 24/7 monitoring station and cellular based automation. They allow you to take control from your cell phone. Find out more
|Read 1116 Reviews|
Guardian Protection Services was founded in 1950, and it is one of the world's largest private home security companies. The company offers remote security services and video surveillance. Find out more
|Read 781 Reviews|
Protection 1 offers security monitoring and fire alarm monitoring services. Founded in 1988, it now serves over 2 million residential and business customers. Protection 1 prides itself on exceptional customer service.
|Read 683 Reviews|
SafeStreetsUSA is the largest ADT Authorized Dealer selling and installing ADT monitored security systems. ADT has provided security technology and monitoring to homeowners and businesses since 1874. Find out more
|Read 465 Reviews|
Slomin's Alarm Systems offers customers home security services, in addition to heating and cooling services. The company was founded in 1923 and now serves customers throughout the Eastern United States. Find out more
|Read 32 Reviews|
Established by security professionals, GetSafe is a home security system that can be managed easily through a mobile device. GetSafe does not require a contract and is portable for relocation purposes.
|Read 3071 Reviews|
LifeShield offers customers home security services and technology that are completely wireless. The company was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Langhorne, PA.
|Read 1016 Reviews|
Protect Your Home sells ADT-monitored home security devices, including systems that can be controlled remotely via smartphone. It has over 100 branches across the United States. Consumers can see locations online.
|Read 243 Reviews|
Safe Home Security, Inc. offers fire, burglary and medical alert systems. The company has been in business since 1988 and now serves over 120,000 customers. Consumers can call for a free security assessment.
Alarm & Security Systems Contributing Editor
Erin Raub is a freelance writer, content marketer and blogger. She writes about home security and family safety, as well as digital marketing and business. Erin is also an experienced travel writer, and knows having a trustworthy security system can make any time away from home even more enjoyable.
Important security company and home alarm features
How much do alarm systems cost?
For many people, the price of a home security system is one of the most important factors in deciding which alarm system to purchase. There are four basic elements to consider: upfront (installation) costs, ongoing (monthly) subscription costs, equipment costs and municipal fees. Be aware that many home insurance providers offer discounts (up to 20 percent) for homes with monitored alarm systems.
- Upfront cost: Installation is either professional or do-it-yourself (DIY); some companies let you choose an installation method, while others offer only one option. Professional installation costs can run $100-$500+; DIY is free, but it requires more of the consumer’s time.
- Subscription cost: Subscription security systems – home alarms monitored 24/7 by outside companies – carry a monthly fee, usually in the $20-$60 range.
- Equipment cost: You'll likely catch a price break on equipment in exchange for signing a contract to have your system monitored. If you purchase a system outright, expect to pay $100+ for a basic system and $500+ for top-of-the-line equipment.
- Municipal fees: Some municipalities charge a yearly fee to respond to calls from a security alarm company. The consumer pays a small fee, often less than $50, to offset the cost of a police response to a false alarm. These fees are not collected by the alarm company, so it is important for homeowners to remember to pay this fee on their own.
Do alarm systems have contracts?
Many home security companies offer discounted equipment in exchange for a signed contract, similar to how your cell phone company offers discounts on phones when customers sign a service contract. Some contracts are more flexible than others, so read through the contract terms (and online reviews) before signing on the dotted line.
- Length: Most contracts are for 2-3 year terms. Many allow for cancellation within the first 2-4 weeks of the contract's term.
- Terms: Pay special attention to a contract's fine print. Look for information about equipment warranties, cancellation clauses, service call fees, etc.
- Portability: Many companies make it easy to transfer your equipment to a new home, so if there's a chance you'll move during your contract, check first to confirm relocation possibilities.
Who installs alarm and security systems?
There are two basic installation possibilities: professional installation and DIY.
- Professional installation: Many complex alarm systems, usually those that are hardwired into a home, require professional installation. This usually carries a hefty cost ($200-$500+), although some companies offer discount installation.
- DIY: Do-it-yourself security systems are generally easy to install, often requiring just a few hours to read through the manual and place your sensors.
- Third-party professional installation: If you purchase a DIY system but aren't a DIYer, you can hire a local handy person to do your installation at an hourly rate.
How are alarm systems monitored?
Home alarm companies offer monthly monitoring via three types of connection: Internet (broadband/VOIP), phone line or cellular service.
- Internet: Monitoring via Internet is inexpensive, but be aware that if you have an Internet outage (or a power outage that disables your modem), you will be cut off from monitoring.
- Phone line: You can use your home phone line (landline) to connect with your monitoring company. Be aware that if a burglar cuts your phone line, your system will not work. If your phone line is fiber optic, you’ll need a battery backup system to power your alarm if the power goes out.
- Cellular: Monitoring via cell phone connection is a good option for those without a landline. This service will remain available even in the event of a power or Internet outage.
What features can you add to an alarm system?
Basic systems are just that: basic. You'll most likely want to expand your system to meet your home's specifications – number of windows and doors, outdoor lighting requirements, etc. – so look for a company with the add-on equipment and features that suit your needs.
- Equipment: Equipment offerings vary greatly by company, so choose wisely before signing a contract.
- Monthly plans: Monthly plans can range from bargain-basement monitoring via Internet connection to all the bells and whistles, including smoke detection, medical monitoring and home automation.
- Service upgrades & downgrades: Lifestyle changes may require variations in your security needs; check with your company about the ease of adding services or switching monthly plans mid-contract.
Do alarm companies offer home automation?
Home automation is a very popular feature of today's home security systems – but one you'll pay extra to access. Automation affords peace of mind and also keeps your house running efficiently (and inexpensively). Be aware that many home automation features also require new home equipment. For example, to monitor whether your doors are locked, you’ll need to install locks with Bluetooth or Internet capabilities.
- Security automation: You can easily check that your security system is armed, your security cameras are functioning, your doors are locked and other security features are engaged.
- Energy savings: Home automation lets you adjust your thermostat while you're out, double-check that your lights are off, conserve energy by pulling your shades down and more.
- Monitor the kids: With home automation, you'll be able to unlock the door for your children (or pet-sitter), check that the kids got home safely from school and even ensure that they're doing their homework instead of watching TV.
What remote access is available for alarm systems?
Many security companies offer remote access to the system via web-based dashboards and mobile apps. You can use the app to monitor your alarm or manage an array of home automation functions.
- Internet dashboard: Many companies let you log into your security account online to have one-click access to your system.
- Smartphone apps: If the company has a mobile app, you'll be able to monitor your home via a free smartphone app. Standard data rates will apply.
- Tablet apps: Many companies also offer comprehensive tablet-optimized apps to access remote security settings.
Types of alarm and security system offerings
A basic security system includes 24/7 monitoring with police and fire contact.
An advanced system looks at the entire security picture, incorporating not only police and fire protection, but also monitoring for carbon monoxide, gas leaks, life safety (medical alert) and environmental hazards like flooding or frozen pipes.
Home automation capabilities are usually bundled into security packages, tacking on an additional $10-$20 to your monthly bill. Automated equipment is required to enable certain functions (e.g. electronic locks), and can add significant cost to your system.
People who should consider a home alarm
Homeowners who are interested in home security to protect their real estate, belongings and family will often want a robust system with all the bells and whistles.
Renters or homeowners who plan to move in the next 2-3 years, and therefore are not interested in long-term contracts or permanent equipment should consider wireless portable systems with short-term or no contracts.
Consumers who want a fix-it-and-forget-it security solution that keeps their home safe with very little input required generally prefer systems with excellent monitoring.
DIY consumers are handy and capable of completing system installations. They're often willing to exchange certain responsibilities for cost savings.
These homeowners and renters are interested in security with a technological component. They want systems with remote access, web-based portals, mobile apps and other tech solutions that allow them to tweak, manipulate and monitor their home security system.
Home alarm and security system expert reviews
Frontpoint was founded in 2007 and offers home security in all 50 states. The company prides itself on its cutting-edge technology and excellent customer service, which wins rave reviews from consumers enamored with Frontpoint's high quality monitoring at fair prices.
- Installation: All Frontpoint equipment is designed to be installed by the consumer, so the company doesn’t employ any installation technicians. This saves consumers a significant amount of money when getting a new system.
- Mobile access: Frontpoint's mobile apps let you access your security system, review information and control your home from anywhere you have an Internet connection via computer or smartphone.
- Cellular monitoring: The Frontpoint Control Panel communicates with the Monitoring Center via cell phone, so it's not dependent on a phone line. Even if your home phone line is cut or the system is smashed, your alarm will send out a cell alert to Frontpoint Monitoring.
- Portable: Frontpoint's 100 percent wireless sensors are easy to set up and require no hard wiring, so a Frontpoint security system can be easily moved to a new address.
- Equipment cost: With Frontpoint, you purchase your equipment outright. While your upfront cost could be a few hundred dollars once you add extra sensors, remotes and other accessories, purchasing your equipment can actually save you money in the long run. Frontpoint equipment has a three-year warranty.
- Best for: DIYers, homeowners, renters and tech-savvy shoppers.
LifeShield security systems was founded in 2004 and has quickly grown to offer services throughout United States. The company is proud to offer cutting-edge technology and knowledgeable tech support, and it works to provide a high-quality product at a lower cost than its big-brand competitors.
Founded in 1994, MONI Security is now one of the largest home security companies in the United States. Authorized dealers are located in all 50 states, offering easily customized, tech-savvy alarm systems at mid-range cost. The company, a subsidiary of Ascent Capital Group, serves over a million residential and business consumers.
Founded in 1992, Protect America is one of the largest security companies in the United States, offering home alarm systems in all 50 states. The company is dedicated to providing low-cost security systems that are highly customizable and easily portable.
- Free system: Protect America gets you started with a free, basic equipment package when you sign up for a monitoring plan. Consumers can upgrade equipment for an additional fee.
- Low monthly fee: Protect America offers one of the cheapest security plans available with options starting around $20 a month for basic equipment and monitoring via landline.
- Two-way voice system: Protect America's two-way landline intercom eliminates the need for the company to call your phone to verify a problem – and enables you to instantly call out for help, if required.
- Equipment guarantee: Protect America’s equipment is guaranteed for three years. The company doesn’t charge an insurance fee for this protection.
- Installation: Protect America offers phone support for your DIY installation.
- Best for: Homeowners, renters, DIYers and tech-savvy shoppers.
SafeStreetsUSA is one of the largest ADT Authorized Dealer in the nation that operates in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The company prides itself on offering excellent customer service from highly qualified employees.
- Same day installation: In many cases, new customers can have their system installed the same day they sign up for service.
- Insurance discounts: Nearly all insurance companies offer a significant discount on homeowner's policies with proof that the home is secured with an ADT alarm system.
- Money-back guarantee: Thanks to SafeStreetsUSA's partnership with ADT, the protection provided by the alarm systems is guaranteed. If any problems cannot be resolved, ADT will refund the installation charge or the first six months of payments.
- One-hour installation window: SafeStreetsUSA gives customers a one-hour window when their installer will arrive, and 99 percent of installers arrive during that timeframe.
- Package options: SafeStreets USA offers a wide variety of home security and home control packages. Consumers can see all the options, the included features and the prices on the company’s website.
- Best for: Homeowners and hands-off consumers.
Vivint, formerly APX, has been in business since 1997 and today offers security solutions in approximately 98 percent of the United States and Canada. The company focuses on lifestyle solutions – security for working parents, the elderly, workaholics, etc. – and integrates alarm systems with home automation and energy management.
- Customizable: Vivint offers many plans and options so consumers can customize their system to meet their individual needs. All packages include a touchscreen control panel, mobile access, a security system and alarm monitoring.
- Home automation: Vivint's comprehensive home automation allows for video surveillance, electronic door locks, smart thermostat and other extras that make life easier.
- Portable: Renters, military families and frequent movers will appreciate Vivint's easy relocation options.
- Specials: Vivint regularly offers specials for new customers. Interested consumers can visit the company’s website to see current promotions and special offers.
- Monitoring: While most security systems offer monitoring via landline, Internet and cell service, Vivint only offers cellular monitoring. Cell monitoring remains active even in the event of an Internet or power outage.
- Best for: Homeowners, renters, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
Established in 1988 and providing coverage throughout the United States, Protection 1 is a long-standing leader in national security. The company offers wired and wireless systems with or without home automation, as well as pricing that is flexible and competitive.
- Flexible plans: Protection 1 offers flexible plans that you can customize to your home, your security preferences and monitoring options (e.g. landline or cellular).
- Home automation: Log into Protection 1's mobile apps for remote access to automate home lighting, see live security video, arm or disarm your system, control your thermostat, unlock your doors and more.
- Versatile equipment: Consumers can add remote door locks, night vision cameras, wireless doorbells, garage door sensors and more to create a home security system that perfectly meets your needs.
- Deductible protection: Protection 1 customers have extra protection in the event of a burglary. The company will cover up to $1,000 towards the homeowner’s insurance deductible. Interested consumers should see the website for specific details and restrictions.
- Referral bonus: When existing customers recommend Protect 1 to a friend who signs up for monitoring, the original customer will earn a $50 referral bonus. The bonus will be paid as an account credit.
- Best for: Homeowners, hands-off consumers and tech-savvy shoppers.
Vector Security is part of The Philadelphia Contributionship, an insurance company founded by Benjamin Franklin, among others, in 1752. The company offers home security services in the Eastern and Southern United States and is known for its high-tech security and safety solutions.
- Lifestyle solutions: Vector Security works to customize home alarm solutions to fit your lifestyle, with options for singles, seniors living alone, empty nesters, families and couples.
- Varied tech offerings: Vector Security has several optional extras, including energy management, home automation, two-way intercoms, personal emergency response (push-button support) and more.
- Video surveillance: Vector Security offers multiple video surveillance options. Customers can view live video or recorded video and can also elect to add video monitoring to their plan.
- Medical alert: Vector’s Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) offers monitoring that can send for emergency medical personnel with the push of a button. This service will be especially appealing to older adults and those that live alone.
- Home automation: Consumers can choose several home automation options when setting up their security system. Vector offers tools to help with energy management and to ensure doors are locked when the homeowner is away.
- Best for: Homeowners, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
Partnered with ADT for monitoring services, Protect Your Home serves more than 200,000 customers each year. The national company has service centers coast-to-coast that give new customers rapid access to a new home security system.
Guardian Protection Services, founded in 1950, is available in select areas of the United States. Guardian Protection offers security, fire and medical monitoring services as well as home automation services.
- Flexible packages: With multiple packages and more than a dozen add-on upgrades, Guardian Protection Services offers some of the most customizable home security options.
- Smart Home Automation: The company's home automation controls Z-Wave powered thermostats, lights, locks and garage doors from an Internet-connected smartphone.
- Best Price Guarantee: Guardian Protection Services’ Best Price Guarantee says the company will match any written or web-based quote for comparable home security system installation.
- Monitoring: Guardian Protection Services never subcontracts its monitoring service, and their central station responds to signals in an average of 30 seconds or less.
- Relocation guarantee: Consumers who have had Guardian for at least one year are covered by the company’s Relocation Guarantee and will receive a free basic system at their new home and a 25 percent discount on upgrades. Interested consumers should contact Guardian for details and restrictions.
- Best for: Homeowners, renters, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
Slomins is a family-owned home security business. It has been in business since 1923 and offering home security since 1981. The company also offers heating and cooling services.
- Complimentary home review: Users get the benefit of learning what the security weaknesses are in their home prior to signing up for an alarm system, for no additional cost.
- Remote access: Users can access their alarm system and monitor their home from any Internet-enabled mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, regardless of the platform their mobile device uses.
- Central monitoring system: Slomin alarms are connected to a central monitoring system; if the alarm goes off and the user can't be reached, the company dispatches emergency services to the home.
- Protection against false alarms: Users can set up a password they can give dispatchers to cancel an alarm once it goes off.
- Customization available: Users can choose the features that make the most sense for their home, including remote access, home automation or live streaming of what's going on in their houses.
- Best for: Homeowners, renters and tech-savvy consumers.
Mivalife home security is cloud-based wireless self-monitoring security that protects your whole home. Homeowners can choose from several different packages depending on their needs. In addition to automation and security, Mivalife also sells a fire, heat and smoke alert system that will alert you in the event of smoke or fire when you are outside of your home.
- Easy DIY install: Mivalife’s systems are literally “systems-in-a-box” that only take a few minutes to install on your own. Connect the OPU to your existing broadband, activate through your phone and install the rest of your devices to be up and running in no time.
- Free app: Download Mivalife’s app for free on your smartphone to receive automated alerts anytime, no matter where you are.
- No contracts: You don’t need to sign a contract to buy a Mivalife system. In fact, you don’t even need to buy a plan that costs money to keep your home secured through the Mivalife security system.
- Optional group monitoring: You can choose select friends and/or family members at your discretion to have access to your Mivalife system so they can monitor your home and use your system’s automated features when they need to.
- Total package security: Mivalife’s security packages are more than just a camera or a keypad. They also include door and window sensors, remotes and an alarm that will sound when triggered to ward off intruders.
- Best for: Homeowners, DIYers, renters and tech-savvy shoppers.
Established in 1874 as a telegraph delivery company, ADT has evolved into one of the largest security providers in the United States. Offering service in all 50 states, ADT is well known for its state-of-the-art, mostly hardwired alarms, including the interactive Pulse service.
- Professional installation: Many ADT installation packages roll together equipment fees with professional installation, often for less than $100 total cost.
- ADT Pulse: This interactive system gives you remote access to home automation accessible via mobile app. The app lets users turn lights on and off, adjust their thermostats and more.
- Highly customized systems: An ADT technician will do a home visit to discuss your security goals and ADT system capabilities. The company offers comprehensive solutions for almost any security requirement.
- Satisfaction guarantee: ADT offers a six-month money back guarantee so customers have plenty of time to make sure they’re satisfied with the system.
- Existing systems: ADT has packages designed for those who already have an alarm system installed in their home. These customers can save a significant amount by avoiding installation and equipment fees.
- Best for: Homeowners, hands-off consumers and tech-savvy shoppers.
Safe Home Security (SHS) was established in 1988 and is available in select areas of the United States. SHS has memberships with the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NFBA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Smarter Solutions, based in Cadott, Wisconsin, provides residential and commercial property owners with security systems, video surveillance, alarm monitoring, burglar alarm systems and wireless security monitoring. Smarter Solutions boasts state-of-the-art equipment to work with any type of monitoring platform.
- Services: Smarter Solutions provides a variety of residential and commercial security systems. Services include security system installation, access control systems, video surveillance, alarm monitoring, burglar alarm systems, wireless security monitoring and free installation.
- Equipment: Smarter Solutions' equipment allows for wireless monitoring and smart phone notifications. Consumers can use a mobile app or their personal computer to monitor cameras or receive notifications from the company.
- Free consultations: Consumers can call Smarter Solutions for a free consultation about home security and any services they wish to have installed.
- Free installation: Smarter Solutions provides free installation as part of its offered services. Consumers can call the number located on their website to inquire about free installation.
- Specials: Smarter Solutions has specials on some of their services. Consumers should call the Smarter Solutions to learn about any deals or specials the company may be offering.
- Best for: Homeowners and business owners.
Founded in 2000, My Alarm Center offers advanced security tools as part of their monitoring services. They work with local technicians to make installations as easy and comprehensive as possible.
With over 20 years in the business, SafeZone24 provides a wide range of security solutions. Serving clients around the world, SafeZone24 offers everything from alarm systems for homes and businesses to secure access via facial recognition systems. The company offers state-of-the-art security equipment and in-depth risk assessments.
- Wide selection of alarms: SafeZone24 offers wired, wireless and siren-only burglar alarm systems for use in commercial spaces and private homes.
- Wireless smoke detector options: The company offers wireless smoke detector solutions that operate even when the power is out, notifying the fire department or a monitoring team in the event of a suspected fire.
- Custom system design: SafeZone24 performs a careful review of each business or residential site, planning a security system that fits the customer's budget and unique security needs.
- State-of-the-art technology: SafeZone24 uses high-quality surveillance equipment and facial recognition technology to prevent crime and catch criminals in the act.
- Training options: The company provides anti-terror training for businesses and organizations interested in learning how to minimize the damage and loss caused by a terrorist attack.
- Best for: Business owners, organizations, homeowners and hands-off consumers.
SimpliSafe home security systems were designed to be simple to install and use. The systems are customizable and can work with most home and business environments. Customers do not need to sign contracts or have a telephone line to use SimpliSafe.
XFINITY Home from Comcast is a smart security and home automation system. Consumers can customize their package, and they can also use their existing equipment with their new system.
LiveWatch was founded in 2002 by a paramedic who understood the importance of fast communication and response times in emergency situations due to his first-hand experience. Today, the company has several innovative security options for consumers.
Cox Homelife from Cox Communications is a monitored system that can be bundled with Internet, cable and/or phone service for Cox customers. It offers mobile monitoring, 24/7 monitoring and smart home automation.
Canary gives homeowners peace of mind by providing an all-encompassing system in a sleek design that can easily fit anywhere in your home. It is easy to set up and can be accessed from your mobile device as long as it’s connected to the Internet. The Canary comes with 12 hours of storage for free, or homeowners can upgrade to get 2-30 days of storage. Plans can be upgraded at any time.
- Fast emergency response times: Contact authorities with one-touch from your Canary app in the event of a break-in or other emergency.
- Automatic arming and disarming: Canary tracks your location through your phone and will automatically arm and disarm accordingly. You can also link the phones of your family members so Canary knows when the house is empty and when there’s someone home.
- Privacy setting: Canary is the only self-monitoring home security camera that has a privacy setting, so you can turn your camera off completely when you want to enjoy family time in private.
- All-inclusive: Canary includes video monitoring, siren and home air quality alerts all in one system, so there’s no need to buy or connect multiple devices.
- Extra cameras: You don’t need to pay for a separate service plan each time you add a camera. Buy up to four cameras under one service plan.
- Best for: Homeowners and tech-savvy consumers.
Expert grades are based on a combination of criteria including installation and ongoing costs, ease of use, warranty and contract terms, coverage flexibility, customer service, and customer satisfaction.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.