Best Home Security System Companies
Alarm & Security Systems Contributing Editor
Updated on 03/16/2018
Before shopping for a home security system, you have to decide what level of protection you need. Do you want to set up a few security cameras to capture activity while you’re away from home? Or do you need a professionally monitored home alarm system that will alert the authorities in the event of a break-in?
24/7 monitoring of your home can give you peace of mind in the event of a home invasion, fire or other emergency. Our guide helps you compare alarm system prices, home security plans and overall customer satisfaction across the best home security companies on the market today.
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|Protect Your Home|
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Customize your own security system starting at $27.99 per month with a 3-year contract. Each system comes with panel and 3 sensors with upgrades available for purchase.
|Slomins Alarm Systems|
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Customize your residential alarm with plans starting at $29.95 per month with a 5-year contract. Basic equipment is included with your monthly payment. Pay $99 for professional installation.
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Choose from 2 plan options and get the cheapest alarm monitoring at $19.99 per month with a 12-month contract. DIY home alarm system installation with a price-match guarantee.
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Choose from several wireless home alarm system packages with no contract required. Offers the cheapest alarm monitoring starting at $14.99 per month with a 60-day money back guarantee.
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Choose from 3 different alarm system plans starting at $29.99 per month with a 3-year contract. Free activation for DIY home security systems or professional installation is available for purchase.
How to choose a home security system
How much does a home security system cost?
A basic home security system costs about $32 per month. Consider the cost of home security system installation, activation fees and monthly alarm monitoring fees before choosing a home alarm company. Adding more security cameras and sensors will cost extra too. Consumers report paying between $500-$1500 to get their residential alarm systems fully up and running.
- Burglar alarm installation and activation costs: Installation is either done by a professional or can be a do-it-yourself (DIY) project; some companies let you choose an installation method, while others offer only one option. Professionally installed alarm systems can cost $100-$500+; DIY is free, but it requires more of your time.
- Security system monitoring services: Subscription home security systems–home alarms monitored 24/7 by outside companies–carry a monthly fee, usually in the $20-$60 range.
- Home security equipment costs: You'll likely catch a price break on equipment in exchange for signing a contract to have your alarm 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 for alarm permits: Some cities charge a yearly permit fee, often less than $50, to respond to emergency calls triggered by monitored home security systems. Even in the event of a false alarm, police will still respond which can drain police resources over time. The permit fee helps offset this cost. Permit fees are not collected by the alarm companies, so it is important for homeowners to remember to pay this fee on their own.
Can I get a home security system with no contract?
Yes, some alarm companies offer no-contract security systems when you buy the equipment outright or agree to pay a slightly higher monthly rate.
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 up for a new plan. Some alarm system contracts are more flexible than others, so read through the contract terms (and online reviews) before signing on the dotted line.
- Contract length: Most alarm system contracts are for 2-3 year terms. Many allow for cancellation within the first 2-4 weeks of the contract's term.
- Contact terms: Pay special attention to a contract's fine print. Look for information about equipment warranties, cancellation clauses, service call fees, etc.
- Contract portability: Many alarm system 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 home security systems?
There are two basic installation options you can choose: professional installation and DIY. If you're thinking about purchasing a wireless home security system, you'll usually have the option to set it up yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Most hardwired systems, however, require professional installation.
- Professionally installed by the home alarm company: 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 home alarm system: Do-it-yourself security systems are generally easy to install, often requiring just a few hours to read 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 home alarm systems monitored?
When you opt for professional monitoring, home alarm companies offer monthly monitoring via three types of connection: internet (broadband/VOIP), phone line or cellular service.
- Internet: Monitoring via the 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 alarm 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.
- Home security equipment: Control panels, security cameras, door sensors, smoke detectors and motion sensors come standard with most basic home security packages. Some alarm companies offer custom add-ons like key fobs, panic buttons, doorbell cameras, touch-screen panels and hands-free voice control. Equipment offerings vary greatly by company, so choose wisely before signing a contract.
- Monthly monitoring plans: Monthly alarm monitoring plans can range from bargain-basement monitoring via an 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 home security needs; check with your company about the ease of adding (or removing) services or switching monthly plans mid-contract.
What remote access is available for alarm systems?
Many home security companies offer remote access to the system via their website and mobile apps. You can use the app to control your security system access your security camera feeds and manage an array of home automation functions.
- Website access: Many companies let you sign in to your home security account online to have easy access to your system from wherever you're at.
- Smartphone apps: If the alarm company has a mobile app, you'll be able to monitor your home while you’re away. Standard data rates will apply.
How much do you save on homeowners insurance with an alarm system?
Many home insurance providers offer discounts (even up to 20 percent) for homes with monitored alarm systems. So if you pay $1,000 for your homeowners insurance and get a 10 percent discount, you’ll save $100 each year simply for having a monitored home security system.
Types of security system companies
Smart home security systems
Smart home security systems focus on convenience and are remotely controlled using a smartphone and an app. They are highly customizable in terms of installation, type of surveillance and cost. Smart home security systems alert homeowners in emergencies as well as monitor and control everyday activities like turning off the lights and locking the doors.
Wireless home security systems
Wireless home security systems are minimally invasive in terms of installation. They use a series of battery-powered devices such as motion detectors and door and window sensors. This type of home alarm monitoring does not require a landline as it communicates via radio and cellular technology.
Wired security system
Wired security systems require an active landline and reside within the structure of the home. The system’s sensors are physically connected to the control panel through wires within the walls. Installing a wired security system will require some drilling and modification.
Monitored security system
Monitored security systems send notification in the event of an emergency. This type of security system can be self-monitored or with the use of a home monitoring company. Depending on the system type, the homeowner or the authorities will be contacted.
Unmonitored security system
Unmonitored security systems do not notify the homeowner or the authorities in the event of an emergency. When an intrusion is detected, sirens sound but it is up to those present to take the necessary next steps.
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.
Founded in Texas 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CPI Security Systems offers home security system installation and 24/7 monitoring in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. The company offers several packages and prides itself on providing excellent customer service.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.Are you an expert?
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.
Compare Top Home Security System Reviews
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Choose your home security plan starting at $29.99 per month with a 2-year contract. Bundle your security package with your internet, phone or cable service to save money.
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Custom home alarm systems costing around $40 per month with a 5-year contract. In addition to burglar alarms, the alarm company also offers fire alarms and medical alert systems.
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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.
|Canary||Read Expert Review|
Purchase your cloud-based security system for a one-time fee starting at $169. Add video storage for $99 per year. DIY installation with no minimum contract and no monthly fee. Wi-Fi required; system is self-monitoring only.
|My Alarm Center||Read Reviews|
Choose from 3 different security system packages with the cheapest home alarm monitoring at $19.95 per month with a 1-year contract. Equipment is free to return for 1 year with no cancellation fees.
|SafeZone24||Read Expert Review|
Choose your alarm system plan starting at $27.95 per month with a 3-year contract. Professional installation available, and each system comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
|Mivalife||Read Expert Review|
Purchase your cloud-based security system for a one-time fee starting at $240. DIY installation with no minimum contract and no monthly fee. Wi-Fi required; system is self-monitoring only.