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.
Erin RaubAlarm & 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.
Top 15 Most Reviewed Home Alarm & Security Systems
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.
Vivint APX Alarm is a home security provider than offers automated security technology and 24/7 home monitoring. The company was started in 1999 by Todd Pedersen.
LifeShield, a company owned by DIRECTV, offers customers home security services and technology that are completely wireless. The company was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Langhorne, PA.
Protect America is a home security company that specializes in alarm equipment and security monitoring. Founded in Round Rock, TX, in 1992, Protect America also offers home automation services and products.
Monitronics is a home security company serving more than 1 million households. The company was founded in Farmers Branch, TX, in 1994, and has since been sold to Ascent Media Corporation.
Vector Security offers security systems and alarms for both homes and businesses throughout North America and the Caribbean. Since 1982, it has been associated with the insurance company founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1752.
Protect Your Home is a home security company in business for 18 years. The company sells ADT monitored home security devices, including systems that can be controlled remotely via smartphone.
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.
Protection1 is a company that offers home security and business security technology and monitoring. Founded in 1988, the company also sells fire alarm monitoring services.
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.
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.
Slomin's Alarm Systems offers customers home security services, in addition to heating and cooling services. The company, which is the largest private security company in the U.S., was founded in 1923.
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.
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.
Safe Home Security, Inc. is a home security company headquartered in Cromwell, CT. The company offers fire, burglary, and medical alert systems.
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Step One: Know what features are available
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 three basic elements to consider: upfront (installation) costs, ongoing (monthly) subscription costs, and equipment costs. Be aware that many home insurance providers offer discounts (up to 20%) 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+, while DIY is free but requires time investment.
- 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 catch a price break on monitored systems, which often offer equipment at reduced cost in exchange for signing a contract. If you purchase a system outright, expect to pay $100+ for a basic system and $500+ for top-of-the-line equipment.
Step Two: The Cost Breakdown
Many home security companies offer discounted equipment in exchange for a signed contract, similar to how your cell phone company offers low-cost phones. 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: equipment warranties, cancellation clauses, etc.
- Portability: Many companies make it easy to port your equipment to a new home, so if there's a chance you'll move during your contract, check first to confirm relocation possibilities.
There are two basic installation possibilities: professional installation and DIY options.
- 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.
Home alarm companies offer monthly monitoring via three types of connection: Internet (broadband/VOIP), phone line, or cellular service. Usually, Internet monitoring is the least expensive option, while cellular monitoring is the most expensive.
- 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: 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.
- Cellular: Monitoring via cell phone connection is the most expensive option, but also the most secure.
Step Three: Signing a Contract
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.
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).
- Security automation: Easily check that your alarm system is armed, your security cameras are functioning, your doors are locked, and other security features are engaged.
- Energy savings: 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: 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.
Many security companies today 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: Log into your company's website, e.g. mysecuritycompany.com, to have one-click access to your system.
- Smartphone apps: Monitor your home via a free smartphone app.
- Tablet apps: Many companies also offer comprehensive tablet-optimized apps to access remote security settings.
What do the experts have to say?
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.
- 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 cell phone.
- 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% 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 easily run $300+ once you add extra sensors, remotes and other accessories, purchasing your equipment can actually save you money in the long run.
- Warranty: Your Frontpoint equipment has a three-year warranty.
- Best for Homeowners, renters, DIYers and tech-savvy shoppers.
LifeShield security systems was founded in 2004 and has quickly grown to cover the entire United States. The company is proud to offer cutting-edge technology and knowledgeable tech support, and works to provide a high-quality product at a lower cost than its big-brand competitors.
- Free equipment: Choose your monthly package ($30-$41), and your equipment is free ($500+ value). Bonus: LifeShield's free security evaluation will help you determine which package and what equipment is right for your home.
- Triple security: LifeShield allows you to choose monitoring via phone line, Internet, or cellular – or a combination of all three. Even if your Internet goes down or your phone line is cut, your system still works.
- 100% wireless: LifeShield's wireless systems are plug-and-protect – easy to install in less than an hour, even without a professional.
- Self-install: LifeShield does not offer professional installation of any kind, although a Quick Setup Guide and installation DVD are included with your kit.
- Equipment: LifeShield's equipment offerings are constrained. For example, the company does not offer recessed door sensors, intercom systems, or home automation.
- Best for Homeowners, renters, DIYers and tech-savvy shoppers.
Founded in 1994, Monitronics is today one of the largest home security companies in the United States. More than 400 Authorized Dealers serve all 50 states, offering easily customized, tech-savvy alarm systems at mid-range cost.
- Customized equipment: Monitronics offers many equipment brands in different price ranges. Additionally, the company's offerings are comprehensive (varies by location), extending beyond basic security to home lighting control, keypad door locks, and remote-access thermostats.
- HomeTouch automation: Monitronics remote home security allows you to perform an array of tasks via computer, smartphone or tablet: arm/disarm your system, tweak your thermostat, lock your doors, and even check your appliances from afar.
- Backup power sources & monitoring: Redundancy is the name of the game: two power sources ensure you never lose security coverage, and multiple monitoring channels – Internet, phone line, and cellular – guarantee your system is always connected to the monitoring station.
- Available through approved dealer: Since there is no company standardization, deals and services are limited to what's available locally.
- Equipment: Monitronics device selection differs from its competitors. Before making a commitment, verify that your local dealer has your desired devices available.
- Best for Homeowners, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
Founded in 1992, Protect America is one of the largest security companies in the U.S., 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. (And even better, that free equipment is the high-end GE Simon XT system.)
- Low monthly fee: If you're looking for low cost, Protect America offers one of the cheapest security plans available: $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.
- Contracts: Free equipment comes at a price: a three-year contract with Protect America.
- Installation : Protect America offers phone support for your DIY installation.
- Best for Homeowners, renters, DIYers and tech-savvy shoppers.
Safe Streets USA is an authorized ADT dealer that operates in all 48 of the lower United States. Because the company specializes in ADT-monitored security systems, it can connect customers with a local ADT representative who will install an alarm system quickly and efficiently.
- Constant coverage: ADT alarm systems offer 24-hour coverage, 365 days per year. Trained professionals are always available to help protect customers' homes.
- 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 Safe Streets USA'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.
- Touchscreen keypad: Safe Streets USA provides the latest in alarm technology, including a touchscreen keypad.
- Total package: The Complete Monitoring package offers a range of features, including a keychain remote and a backup battery.
- Best for Homeowners.
Vivint, formerly APX, was founded in 1997 and today offers security solutions in approximately 98% of the United States and Canada. The company focuses on lifestyle solutions – security for working parents, the elderly, workaholics, etc. – and integrates alarms systems with home automation and energy management.
- Lifetime warranty: As long as you're under contract with Vivint, your professionally-installed home security system is covered by a robust lifetime warranty.
- 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 and frequent movers will appreciate Vivint's easy relocation options.
- History : Until February 2011, Vivint was known as APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc. Since rebranding, many consumer issues have been remedied, although the company is still working with accrediting services.
- Monitoring : While most security systems offer monitoring via landline, Internet and cell service, Vivint only offers cellular monitoring.
- Best for Homeowners, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
Established in 1988 and providing coverage throughout the U.S., 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 or 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: Build onto a basic package – 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.
- Professional installation required: Protection 1 systems require professional installation that could be pricey. At times, the company offers free or discounted installation specials.
- Warranty: Protection 1 requires a paid monthly warranty plan – and that plan covers part of the repairs, if anything goes wrong.
- Best for Homeowners, hands-off consumers and tech-savvy shoppers.
Vector Security is a member of The Philadelphia Contributionship, an insurance company founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1752. The company offers home security along the East Coast, Texas and California, 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 with CloudControl™: Not only does Vector Security offer video surveillance, but they'll also store your video in the cloud (online), so you don't need a video recorder and burglars can't steal video footage.
- Customer Satisfaction : Vector Security receives poor reviews from customers, often due to unhelpful service reps and inflexible contracts.
- Installation: Since Vector Security works with wired systems, they are not portable if you move. A second installation can be pricey.
- 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. They are a national company with service centers coast-to-coast that gives new customers rapid access to a new home security system.
- 24-hour installation: Protect Your Home has service centers nationwide, so most homes can have a security system installed in as little as a day.
- Inexpensive installation: When purchased with monitoring, home monitoring equipment is included in the price, so customers only need to pay an inexpensive installation fee.
- Beyond burglary protection: Monitoring services include fire, carbon monoxide, flood, smoke and break-in alarms.
- 24/7 monitoring: Burglars don't take days off and neither should a monitoring company. With ADT monitoring, homes are protected every hour of every day.
- Battery backup: When the power goes out, homes still need protection from break-ins or emergencies. With a battery backup system installed with each alarm system, home owners can leave with confidence, knowing that their home is safe and secure.
- Best for Home owners, renters, businesses and landlords.
Guardian Protection Services, founded in 1950, is available in select geographic areas of the U.S. Long regarded as a basic security services provider, the company has recently overhauled its offerings to include more advanced equipment and diversified add-ons.
- Flexible packages: With five basic packages and more than a dozen add-on upgrades, Guardian Protection Services offers some of the most flexible packages today.
- emPower™: The company's branded home automation controls your home's thermostat, lights, and locks.
- Best price guarantee: Guardian Protection Services used to have a reputation for high installation charges, so they countered with their Best Price Guarantee: they'll match any written or web-based quote for comparable home security system installation.
- Packages: Guardian's packages are flexible, but their basic packages offer limited equipment. Upgrades can be pricey.
- Coverage area: Guardian Protection Services offers coverage in certain parts of Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. If you move out of their coverage area, you'll pay a termination fee.
- Best for Homeowners, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
Slomins is a family-owned home security business. It has been offering home security in addition to air conditioning and heating services since 1981.
- Offers a 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 People who are away all day, renters and homeowners.
Mivalife home security is cloud-based wireless self-monitoring security that protects your whole home. Homeowners can choose from several different plans depending on their needs. Their systems all come with two layers of protection, making it more difficult for hackers to break into your system and your home. 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 Mivalife’s security system is best for homeowners who want more than just a camera and DIYers.
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, like timed monitoring (e.g. activate a security camera after dark), all accessible via mobile app.
- 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.
- Monthly cost: ADT's monthly plans top out at $54 for the Pulse package.
- Systems : ADT systems are hard-wired, making it inconvenient to move at times.
- Best for Homeowners, hands-off consumers and tech-savvy shoppers.
Safe Home Security was established in 1988 and is available in select areas of the United States. The company is known for its no-frills but flexible alarm packages, which combine security, fire and medical services.
- Flexible packages: From ultra basic to comprehensive, SHS offers nine different alarm and security packages.
- Multiple offerings: Safe Home Security bundles basic anti-burglary services with fire protection and medical plans.
- No home phone required: Unlike many companies that require landline phone service, at least as a backup, SHS offers plans that do not require any home phone connection.
- Customer service : SHS customer service works not only to protect from burglary but also includes fire alert systems and medical. Customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also like the easy payment plan: automatic payments from a bank account or credit card, quarterly invoices, or one simple payment for the year.
- Home automation: SHS does not currently offer any home automation packages.
- Best for Homeowners and hands-off consumers.
Brinks is a Virginia-based security company that specializes in transporting and protecting diamonds, jewelry, large amounts of cash and other valuables. It was founded in 1859, when valuables were transported by stagecoaches.
- Specializes in logistics: Users can expect security throughout the entire process of transporting and receiving cash or valuables.
- Offers technological solutions: Brinks continually updates its technology so that it can provide the latest security solutions for businesses that deal with large amounts of cash or valuables.
- Wide range of services available: Brinks provides everything from armored transport to cash management services so that users can choose the services that best meet their company's needs.
- Available globally: Brinks offers security services to companies all over the world, including those that need to ship cash, jewelry or other valuables internationally.
- Offers preparation services: Users who deal in jewels or precious metals can use Brinks to prepare their items and ensure that they don't lose any value during the process. Brinks offers storage, packaging and distribution services. They also help monitor trade to ensure that diamonds and jewels are only released to legitimate dealers.
- Best for Large businesses, international businesses, jewel and precious metal traders and businesses that transport cash.
Wireless Video & Security is a security company based in Cadott, Wisconsin. The company provides a range of video and security services, as well as a 24-hour emergency service.
- Full range of service: Wireless Video & Security handles customers' complete security needs, from the initial consultation to installation to monitoring of security equipment.
- High-quality equipment: The company provides and uses high-quality, commercial-grade video equipment.
- One-time fee: Wireless Video & Security only charges one installation fee and doesn't require monthly payments.
- Online deals: Via its website, Wireless Video & Security offers discounts, including $100 off every non-contract system.
- Technologically innovative: The company is run by a team of young tech and security experts, who are forward thinking and knowledgeable about all of the latest technological developments in the security world.
- Best for Homeowners, DIYers and renters.
Founded in 2000, My Alarm Center remains dedicated to offering only the most advanced technology as part of their monitoring services. They work with local technicians to make installations as easy and comprehensive as possible.
- Cellular monitoring: With cellular monitoring, even if a burglar cuts the phone lines before finding an entry point, the alarm system still works. If the power is out, cellular systems still work.
- Local installers: By working with a network of local installers, My Alarm Center gives customers fast installation and better communication.
- Home automation: With the intuitive dashboard, users can control automated light systems, smart thermostats and door locks.
- Video monitoring: Whereas many other alarm systems only use motion detectors, My Alarm Center offers a comprehensive security package. This includes video monitoring that is able to be accessed remotely.
- Real-time alerts: Never walk into a fire or flood again with My Alarm Center. The real-time alerts notify homeowners via text message of any problems or concerns.
- Best for Homeowners, renters and businesses.
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 not only offers state-of-the-art technology and security equipment but also an in-depth risk assessment process.
- 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 Businesses, organizations, homeowners and hands-off consumers.
SimpliSafe home security systems were designed to be installed and use simply. Their 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.
- No contracts: SimpliSafe doesn’t require customers to sign on to a contract in exchange for their service.
- DIY installation: SimpliSafe security systems are designed to be self-installed in a matter of minutes. They arrive pre-programmed to work instantly. Because they’re wireless, you don’t need to worry about drilling holes or running wire through your house.
- Optional monitoring: You can decide whether or not you want to pay an additional fee for monitoring. Without monitoring, your SimpliSafe will operate as a local alarm. You can upgrade at any time, and rates for monitoring start at 50 cents per day. There are no contracts to sign, so you can opt in or out at any time.
- Free smartphone app: Take control of your SimpliSafe system by downloading SimpliSafe’s free smartphone app. The app allows you to remotely arm or disarm secure your home from anywhere in the world.
- Customizable: SimpliSafe’s system is completely customizable, so you can add products as you need them. Their system supports up to 41 sensors. In addition to security sensors, SimpliSafe offers fire and environment sensors.
- Best for SimpliSafe is best for homeowners and business owners.
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. Comcast customers can bundle their XFINITY Home system with TV and Internet to save on their monthly bills.
- Bundle option: It’s easy to save money on your XFINITY system when you bundle it with your TV and Internet subscriptions. Comcast customers can enjoy an additional discount by bundling the three services together.
- Compatible with old equipment: XFINITY can upgrade your existing equipment, including door and window sensors, control panel and wiring, so you don’t need to worry about installing brand new equipment.
- XFINITY Home Control: Homeowners can add on the XFINITY Home Control package to their security package to enjoy remote thermostat, lighting and appliance control. The system can be self-installed or professionally installed for an additional cost.
- Customizable: Homeowners can choose from different base package options and then add different devices for a completely customizable home security and automation system.
- Control from your TV: You can control your XFINITY Home system straight from your TV with the X1 Entertainment Operating System.
- Best for XFINITY Home is best for homeowners who are also existing or new Comcast customers.
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 homeowners.
- ASAPer: Livewatch’s innovative ASAPer alert system sends homeowners alerts just seconds after an alarm is triggered. You have the option to resolve the alarm from your smartphone or computer. If you are unavailable, Livewatch’s monitoring center will automatically dispatch the police for you, giving you peace of mind.
- Simple DIY setup: Livewatch pre-configures your system for you before they send it. All you need to do when you receive it is take it out of the box, plug it in and activate.
- Upgrade as you go: Livewatch’s Plug & Protect system can serve as a hub for up to 40 security and/or smart home devices.
- Mobile monitoring: Livewatch’s smartphone app makes it easy to monitor your home from your mobile device, no matter where you are.
- Custom systems: If you aren’t happy with the three basic service packages on Livewatch’s website, call them for a free quote on a customized package. You can customize or upgrade any of the available packages depending on your needs.
- Best for Livewatch is best for homeowners and DIYers.
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.
- Bundling option: Cox Homelife can be bundled with Cox Internet, TV and phone for convenience.
- Text/email alerts: Sign up for text and/or email alerts every time someone opens a door in your home.
- Home automation and control: You can remotely control your home’s thermostat, lights and small appliances. Lights can be put on a timer so you never have to come home to a dark house again.
- Locks control: Use your mobile device to lock and unlock your doors remotely.
- Cox Homelife app: Download the Cox Homelife app before you buy to take a tour and see everything Cox Homelife has to offer. Once you have made your purchase, use the app to remotely monitor and control your home from anywhere.
- Best for Cox Homelife is best for homeowners who also have Cox cable, Internet and/or phone service.
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 two to 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, there’s no need to buy or connect multiple devices.
- Add extra cameras without paying for added service: 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 who just want a camera or two instead of a whole security system, parents who want to check on their kids who are home alone, those who want an easy DIY install project and homeowners who have a second home.
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.
ConsumerAffairs created an interactive map to locate the safest cities in the country. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top cities in each region. Click any city to find out how it ranks against others in the country.
Each city is ranked on the national and state level.
City and State Selected
Avg. Yearly Household
Change in Burglary Rate
Avg. per 10k population
Avg. per 1k population
Crimes per Day
Gray regions on the map and "--" in the table indicate missing or insufficient data, from current or previous year, as applicable.
Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime in the US 2014, US Census Bureau 2014, government websites
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16 – 32 Most Reviewed Home Alarm & Security Systems
Long considered one of the most well-known names in home security, Brinks Security was founded in 1859. The company offers a range of services in addition to home security, including cash management.
Central Security Group Nationwide offers home security services in western, Midwestern and Southern states, from California to the Carolinas. In addition to home security, it also offers home automation consulting services.
SAFE Security Systems offers wireless alarms, security systems, 24-hour monitoring and other services related to keeping homes secure. It also offers partnerships with security system dealers to help connect them with consumers.
Cox Homelife from Cox Communications is a monitored home security and automation system. It offers homeowners remote access to their home, 24/7 monitoring and text/email alerts so you always know what is happening in your home.
SimpliSafe’s mission is to provide simple security solutions for homes and businesses. Their systems are completely customizable and easy to install. Consumers can opt for monitoring for a small upcharge.
Livewatch was founded in 2002 by a paramedic who understood first-hand how important fast response times are in emergencies. The company offers a variety of home security and automation packages and solutions for homeowners.
Comcast offers a total home security solution and home automation service called Xfinity Home. This service provides residential customers with home security devices such as cameras, thermostats, locks, sensors, alarms and more.
FireX provides smoke alarms and other fire detection and safety tools. It offers both battery powered and AC hardwired smoke alarm systems to meet users' needs; all its smoke alarms also detect carbon monoxide poisoning.
Sentry Safe offers unusually loud and audible alarms so that users will be aware as soon as there is a breach in security. In addition to home alarm and security systems, it also offers secure safes to store valuables.
Millennium Security is one of nine service-disabled veteran owned security businesses in the United States. Sixty percent of staff have security or military experience that they use when responding to alarms.