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

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.
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.
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.
MONI 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.
Safe Home Security, Inc. is a home security company headquartered in Cromwell, CT. The company offers fire, burglary, and medical alert systems.

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.

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What features matter most?

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 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.

Contract

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.

Installation

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.

Monitoring

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.

Add-on features

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

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.

Remote access

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 are different types of alarm and security systems?

Basic protection

A basic security system includes 24/7 monitoring with police and fire contact.

Advanced security

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 flooding or frozen pipes.

Home automation

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.

Who's it for?

Homeowners

Homeowners who are interested in home security to protect their real estate, belongings and personal safety. This type of consumer often chooses a robust system with all the bells and whistles.

Renters

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. Wireless, portable systems with short-term or no contracts are usually a renter's system of choice.

Hands-off consumers

Homeowners or renters who prefer a fix-it-and-forget-it security solution – a system that keeps a home safe with very little input required. Hands-off consumers generally prefer systems with excellent monitoring, and do not care about remote monitoring, system apps and other consumer controls.

DIYers

DIY consumers are handy and capable of completing simple (or complex) system installations. They're often willing to exchange certain responsibilities for cost savings.

Tech-savvy shoppers

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.

What do the experts have to say?

  • Frontpoint

    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

    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.
  • MONI

    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.
  • Protect America

    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

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners.
  • Vivint

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
  • Protection 1

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners, hands-off consumers and tech-savvy shoppers.
  • Vector Security

    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.
  • Protect Your Home

    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.

    • Best for Home owners, renters, businesses and landlords.
  • Guardian Protection Services

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners, tech-savvy shoppers and hands-off consumers.
  • Slomins Alarm Systems

    Slomins is a family-owned home security business. It has been offering home security in addition to air conditioning and heating services since 1981.

    • Best for People who are away all day, renters and homeowners.
  • Mivalife

    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.

    • Best for Mivalife’s security system is best for homeowners who want more than just a camera and DIYers.

  • ADT

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners, hands-off consumers and tech-savvy shoppers.
  • Safe Home Security, Inc.

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners and hands-off consumers.
  • Brinks Security

    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.

    • Best for Large businesses, international businesses, jewel and precious metal traders and businesses that transport cash.
  • Smarter Solutions

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners, DIYers and renters.

  • My Alarm Center

    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.

    • Best for Homeowners, renters and businesses.
  • SafeZone24

    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.

    • Best for Businesses, organizations, homeowners and hands-off consumers.

  • SimpliSafe

    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.

    • Best for SimpliSafe is best for homeowners and business owners.
  • Xfinity Home

    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.

    • Best for XFINITY Home is best for homeowners who are also existing or new Comcast customers.
  • LiveWatch

    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.

    • Best for Livewatch is best for homeowners and DIYers.
  • Cox Homelife

    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.

    • Best for Cox Homelife is best for homeowners who also have Cox cable, Internet and/or phone service.
  • Canary

    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.

    • 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.

Safest cities

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.

The interactive map is only available on Desktop and Tablet devices.

QUICK FACTS

Get Started

Select a state, then a city from the above choices.

Zoom between the national and state map to select and display city statistics.

Each city is ranked on the national and state level.

RankCity

Burglary Odds

City population divided by reported burglaries in 2014.

Burgarly
Odds

Change in Burglary Rate

Percent increase or decrease in burglary rate from 2013 to 2014.

Change in
Burglary Rate

Police Officers per 10k

Total police officers per 10,000 residents for 2014.

Police Officers
per 10k

Crime Rate per 1k

Total number of reported offenses per 1,000 residents in 2014.

Crime Rate
per 1k

Crimes per Day

Average number of reported offenses per day in 2014.

Crimes
per Day
Nationwide----------
{{rank}}{{citySt}}{{burgChance}}{{burgChange}}{{policePer10k}}{{crimesPer1k}}{{crimesPerDay}}
Showing {{first}} - {{last}} of {{total}}

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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

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.
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.
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.
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.
Platinum Protection uses the latest technology in order to provide up-to-date home and business security solutions. It offers home automation and video monitoring services as well as traditional security.
My Alarm Center uses local technicians across the U.S. to help find the best technological security solutions for various markets. The company partners with regional brands such as ACS and SCAN Security to provide local services.
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