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Best Home Security Systems

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    Investing in a home security system is a smart way to protect your home and family in 2022. These days, a system can sync up with your phone, making it easier to keep an eye on things from anywhere. But this means it's important to work with a reputable company.

    Our research team compared 25 popular home alarm companies and chose our top 6 picks based on monitoring and installation options, costs, contract length, availability and other factors. 

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    Vivint Smart Home logoVivint Smart HomeADT logoADTBrinks Home Security™ logoBrinks Home Security™Frontpoint logoFrontpointRing logoRingAlder Security logoAlder Security
    # of reviews28,13114,3325,2748,0479256
    Our pick for Home automation features Large monitoring network Customer service DIY installation Self-monitored systems Quick response times
    Equipment cost $599.99+ $599 to $1,049 $199 to $699 $392.40 to $797.88 $60 to $1,010 Varies
    Monitoring cost $19.99 to $29.99+ $28.99 to $57.99 $39.99 to $49.99 $50 $0 to $10 $39.99 to $52.99
    Installation Professional Professional DIY or professional DIY DIY DIY
    Read Reviews Read Reviews Read Reviews Read Reviews Read Reviews Read Reviews
    Costs are as of time of publishing. Terms and conditions may apply.

    For more detail on how we selected our top picks, read our methodology. Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us — this does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

    Compare our top 6 home security companies

    Great for automation features Vivint Smart Home
    • Upfront costs: $599.99 and up*
    • Monthly fee: $19.99 per month to $29.99-plus per month
    • Installation: Pro ($49 to $199)
    • Contract: Typically 60 months
    Get a Quote
    vivint smart home security equipment

    *As of publishing; financing available for qualifying customers

    Vivint Smart Home systems are both high-tech and simple to use. There’s no contract required if you purchase the system upfront. We also like that it’s easy to switch over if you already have an existing system with another company. Members of the military get special offers.

    We like the Vivint Smart Video Monitoring system, which comes with mobile access, entry and environmental detectors and video surveillance. The system is expandable and compatible with devices from other companies.

    The installation fee for this package is $199. Monthly monitoring rates start at $19.99 per month. (You’ll have to pay more for extra video storage.)

    Vivint generally gets good marks. People seem to like the smooth installation process and thoughtful reps. “Having the peace of mind is worth the investment,” a reviewer in Utah said. “Being able to keep an eye on the house while we are away is a nice change.”
    You must speak with an agent to get the most accurate pricing information for your area. Professional installation is typically required, though Vivint can sometimes arrange for self-installation upon request.

    The company offers a free in-home consultation. During this time, a representative helps customize your system. They also make sure the system has strong enough Wi-Fi connectivity to support all devices.

    Homeowners looking for a comprehensive, integrated system. It’s not the cheapest company on this list, but we think Vivint is a good pick for those who don’t mind paying a little extra for quality products and extensive integration features.

    For more, see how Vivint compares with our top picks for smart security systems.

    Our pick for large monitoring network ADT
    • Upfront costs: $599 to $1,049*
    • Monthly fee: $28.99 per month to $57.99 per month
    • Installation: Pro ($99 to $199)
    • Contract: 36 months (60 months if financing)
    Get a Quote
    adt home security package

    *As of publishing; financing available for qualifying customers

    All ADT systems come with entry sensors, motion detectors, high-decibel alarms, backup batteries and 24-hour professional monitoring. Packages include a six-month money-back guarantee. Plus, if a burglary occurs while the system is armed, ADT will pay $500 of your insurance deductible (terms and conditions apply).

    Like Vivint, it also offers smart technology for home automation. You can upgrade your protection with different cameras and smart devices. Financing the equipment starts around $10 per month if you don’t want to pay for it all upfront (a 60-month contract is required).

    We recommend the Premium Protection plan, which includes three window and door sensors, an infrared motion detector, professional alarm monitoring and ADT Pulse, which includes automation. This lets you monitor and manage the system and smart devices through the app.

    People like ADT for its reliable service and new smart-home connectivity options. “The app is easy and convenient too,” according to a reviewer in Connecticut. On the downside, there are relatively limited video options and high installation costs.
    Professional installation is required, and you have to sign a three-year contract to get monitoring service. You should also be aware that termination fees apply if you want to cancel before the contract expires.
    Those who want a security company with a long track record of reliable services. Since it was founded in 1874, the company has become a pioneer in the automated alarm industry.

    Check out Blue by ADT for a DIY option with fewer contract obligations.

    Our pick for customer service Brinks Home Security™
    • Upfront costs: $199 to $699*
    • Monthly fee: $39.99 per month to $49.99 per month
    • Installation: DIY or pro ($200 to $450)
    • Contract: 36 months
    Learn More
    brinks home security package

    *As of publishing; financing available for qualifying customers

    Brinks Home Security also has some cool tech features. Through the app, you can monitor activity, arm and unarm the system, control lighting and communicate with people at your front door. Systems come with a battery and cellular backup, and the central hub is compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple TV and more.

    Other benefits with Brinks Home are that the company provides straightforward pricing and a two-year warranty on all equipment.

    Our system pick for Brinks Home Security is Smart Security Complete, the middle-tier package. It comes with a doorbell camera, wireless motion detector, two door sensors, a yard sign and window stickers. As of publishing, it costs $519 upfront plus $44.99 per month for monitoring.

    Happy clients highlight Brinks Home’s affordable options, simple setup and smart-home compatibility. “They seem to try to answer any question that I have or try to fix any issues if I report anything,” a reviewer in Georgia said. Reviews sometimes mention the strict cancellation policy or that the cameras cost extra.
    Professional installation is required for hard-wired systems. Some Brinks Home reviews mention it’s difficult to cancel the service. Additionally, video monitoring is only available through the more expensive packages.
    Homeowners who want more traditional or hard-wired home security. Components are customizable and expandable, which makes it a good starter system — you can always add devices later on.

    For more information, compare Brinks and ADT or Brinks and Vivint Smart Home.

    Our pick for DIY installation Frontpoint
    • Upfront costs: $392.40 to $797.88*
    • Monthly fee: $50 a month
    • Installation: DIY (free)
    • Contract: 36 months (if financing)
    Get a Quote
    frontpoint security kit

    *As of publishing; financing available for qualifying customers

    Frontpoint stands out for its reliable equipment that’s also simple to understand. The company provides automatic sensor checks, 24-hour battery backup and helpful customer service.

    We like the “Bunker” package, which comes with three window/door sensors, a motion sensor, an indoor camera, a doorbell camera and more. As of publishing, it costs $412.05 when you pay in full or $13.29 for 36 months with financing.

    “The setup was easy, the instruction was very clear, and they have a lot of tutorial videos to help you,” according to a reviewer in New Jersey.

    A few reviewers mention the cancellation policy or trying to reach technical support after installation is complete. Others highlight equipment options and peace of mind.

    Frontpoint is a little more expensive when it comes to monitoring rates. For another DIY option with more affordable self-monitoring, check out Ring below.
    Homeowners and renters who want easy DIY installation with plenty of camera options.

    For more DIY options, compare Frontpoint and SimpliSafe or Frontpoint and Cove.

    Great for self-monitoring Ring
    • Upfront costs: $60 to $1,010*
    • Monthly fee: $0 to $10*
    • Installation: DIY (free)
    • Contract: None
    Learn More
    ring security kit

    *As of publishing; financing available for qualifying customers

    Ring alarm systems are easy to install and operate, according to existing customers. Ring automatically records and sends notifications when activity is detected, making it great for catching porch pirates.

    Plus, you don’t have to get into an expensive monitoring contract since the app lets you self-monitor from your phone.

    We suggest the build-your-own option when choosing a system from Ring. You can mix and match video doorbells, security cameras, smart lighting and other security accessories. Plus, there’s free two-day shipping on all orders over $49 at the time of publishing.

    With the Basic monitoring plan, it costs $3 per month to activate video recording for one device. It’s $10 per month for the Plus option, which includes video recording for all devices and professional monitoring.

    The majority of Ring customers we talked to said they would recommend the company to a friend. A reviewer in North Carolina said that the “video and sound quality are great” and “the price is very affordable.”

    There are still a few customer issues — specifically, one reviewer said they had trouble connecting to the network where they live.

    While base alarm kit packages are relatively inexpensive, some of the add-on accessories can get pricey.
    Anyone who wants a DIY self-monitoring option without long-term contract obligations.

    For similar options, compare Ring and ADT Blue or Ring and SimpliSafe.

    Our pick for quick response times Alder Security
    • Upfront costs: Varies
    • Monthly fee: $39.99 per month or more
    • Installation: DIY ($100 activation fee)
    • Contract: 36 to 60 months
    Learn More
    alder security panel

    Alder security highlights include easy installation, reliable monitoring and great customer service. The company claims an average response time of three seconds, which it says is faster than other companies.

    Alder makes security recommendations based on details about your home. For example, if you want to protect a house from intrusion, you can find a package with door sensors, window sensors, indoor camera, outdoor camera and a key remote.

    “The user-friendliness is great and I love the fast response time,” a reviewer in Vermont said.

    Many reviewers say that installation is simple, but there could still be some hiccups. “The only thing I had problems with was trying to set up the camera ... but I didn't know it was through my phone. But everything else went very well,” a reviewer in Pennsylvania said.

    The company has a relatively strict cancellation process.
    Those who want an easy-to-use system with professional monitoring service. If peace of mind is your security goal, consider Alder.

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      How much does a home security system cost?

      Starter security systems usually cost $100 to $300 to set up. Monthly charges seldom exceed $50.

      Some companies charge a hefty setup fee, while others don't. Some companies offer monitoring services with free or discounted equipment, as long as you sign a contract.

      Home security costs can include upfront equipment and setup plus recurring monthly fees for monitoring services. If the system requires professional installation, you might have to pay more than just the listed price.

      The average loss per burglary is $2,661, according to the FBI.

      With some of the top cheapest home security systems, you can get started for under $100 with monthly fees of around $10.

      When comparing home security system pricing, consider the cost of equipment, monitoring and installation, as well as activation and local alarm permit fees. Some companies offer lower installation and starting prices in exchange for a longer-term contract. Be sure you know what happens if you move or otherwise need to end or modify your contract early.

      Also consider whether or not you want to buy your equipment outright. Be aware that many home security companies charge high cancellation fees if you terminate an agreement before you pay for your equipment in full. Even the top-rated providers sometimes get negative feedback for this.

      • Equipment costs: Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a basic system and up to $1,000 or more for top-of-the-line devices. Many security companies provide financing or rental options.
      • Monitoring fees: Rates range between $15 and $60 per month. Fees vary based on the type of system you have — for example, a monitoring system with smart video capabilities costs more than one without a camera.
      • Installation costs: Wired systems that require professional assistance start at around $100 for installation, and complete professional security camera installation costs are higher — up to around $500. A wireless system will be simpler to install, and you can often do it yourself (for free).
      • Activation fees: Some companies charge a one-time activation fee of up to around $100 to get the system working. Others include the activation fee in the price of installation.
      • Municipal fees for alarm permits: Some cities charge a yearly permit fee, usually $30 to $50, for local police to respond to emergency calls triggered by monitored home security systems.
      • Termination fees: Costly termination fees could apply if you break the contract. Depending on the company, you might be on the hook for the balance of your equipment costs, even if it was advertised as free. Even some of the top-rated home security companies get poor feedback regarding their cancellation fees.

      How to choose a home security system

      Finding a security system can be daunting. With so many hardware components and all the new technology, it can be difficult to pick the right option.

      If you don’t know where to start, start by considering your monitoring and connection options.

      Professionally monitored home security systems connect to a response center that automatically dispatches emergency responders when an alarm is triggered. Depending on your subscription terms, operators can contact the police, fire department or a medical response team to ensure the appropriate response.

      With an unmonitored (sometimes called “self-monitored”) system, you can track activity on your phone and get alerts when the sensors detect motion. However, it’s up to you whether or not you contact first responders.

      Depending on your situation, you might be able to self-monitor and save on monthly fees. The top self-monitored DIY systems let you customize alerts and stream live video footage from your phone.

      • Unmonitored alarm system: Good if someone is able to consistently monitor the system and respond to alerts when they’re away from home. It's not useful if you don’t consistently check your phone.
      • Monitored alarm system: Because intrusions can happen when you’re absent or asleep, many feel safer with a professional on the other end. Monitored systems are more expensive but are often worth it.
      There are two main ways a home alarm system communicates with the monitoring center:
      • Nationwide cellular system: May require professional installation. Once installed, they require little upkeep. With a battery backup, the system works during power outages. Depending on where you live, the signal might not be strong enough to be effective.
      • Homeowner's Wi-Fi/broadband network: These systems are easier to install (and easier to take with you if you move). However, the system might not work during power failures. In larger homes, the signal might not cover all rooms.

      Many of the top home security cameras are wireless and run on a cellular network connection, making them ideal for remote locations without Wi-Fi access. Hard-wired cameras are another option — though they require cables for power and video transmission, they provide reliable high-definition video that’s less susceptible to interference.

      If you have a large house, make sure your Wi-Fi is strong enough to reach devices in every room. If it’s not, consider getting a wired system (or install some boosters to strengthen your Wi-Fi signal).

      Residential security cameras typically use 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption, which is versatile and easy to work with but still can be hacked. The California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services recommends choosing an alarm company that provides “firmware, an encrypted network, or a strong firewall to prevent hackers from obtaining access to your video feed.” Otherwise, you risk cyber intrusions.

      Home security systems have two basic installation options: professional and DIY installation. If you purchase a wireless home security system, you usually have the option to set it up yourself. Most hard-wired systems require professional installation.

      Which is the best? There's no single answer. It depends on several factors, including:

      • How handy are you? Installing a wired security system requires some drilling and modification. Those who are allergic to ladders and screwdrivers might be better off with a professionally installed system.
      • What’s your schedule like? It's not difficult setting up your own system, but it can be time-consuming. If you value your personal time, it might be worthwhile paying a professional to install your system in a few hours while you work on your yoga or golf game.
      • How big is your house? A larger home may also be a good candidate for a professional installation. Running around installing sensors in a dozen rooms may not be a good use of your time. On the other hand, an apartment should be an easy DIY job.

      As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types. The best DIY home alarms are generally less expensive than those that require a professional technician to install, but many homeowners feel safer with a wired system.

      A DIY home security system is a great choice for renters because it’s portable. Plus, you can often get one with a short-term contract or no obligation. Some consider hard-wired security systems more reliable since they don’t require batteries to operate. Still, they can be disabled during a power outage or by a thief with scissors.

      For more, compare costs and monitoring options for DIY vs. professional systems.

      Some home security companies sell alarms and devices individually, and others offer packages for bundled devices. Most come with a base hub, entryway sensors and motion detectors, plus some yard signs and stickers. Finding the best for you depends on your personal security goals and needs.

      Of course, the more devices and features you want — surveillance cameras, video doorbells, smart door locks, motion sensors, glass-break sensors and other equipment — the more the system costs.

      For example, high-tech extras like touch screens and vanishing sensors cost extra — sometimes up to $300 or more. A package with video monitoring will likely cost more because you’ll need the features to stream and store footage.

      If you’re not sure exactly what you need, look for a system that’s expandable so you can add to it in the future if you want. Many home security companies offer monitored services with free equipment as long as you keep your monitoring contract.

      Reading alarm system reviews is the best way to find out what to expect from a company before you sign up for service. Existing home security customers are usually vocal about unfair fees and durability issues in reviews.

      By reading home security service reviews, you can also learn more about a company’s monitoring operators, installation technicians and customer service representatives.

      It’s important to make sure you understand all the terms before you sign anything — even some of the top-rated home security companies get negative customer feedback about their cancellation policies, so look for companies that offer a free trial period or money-back guarantee.

      For more on finding the best home security system for your situation, here are important questions to ask when you talk to a representative.

      video demonstrating how to choose a home security system

      Home security FAQ

      What is a home security system?

      Basic home security equipment includes window and door sensors, door locks and a central panel and base station that arms and disarms the alarm system.

      Optional devices include video doorbells, indoor and outdoor cameras, glass-break sensors and home automation features, which are available at an additional cost. Home alarm companies typically include a set of yard signs and window stickers — research shows these are effective in deterring potential intruders.

      Many burglar alarm companies’ monitoring packages come with a mobile app that integrates smart-home automation features. You can use the app to self-monitor for emergencies and control household items like lights, locks and doors.

      What are the different types of home security systems?

      There are several types of home security systems, but the main biggest differences are between monitored/unmonitored alarms and wired/wireless systems.

      A monitored home security system can be wireless or wired, but it’s rare to find wired unmonitored systems.

      • Monitored security systems: When the alarm is triggered on a monitored system, it automatically connects to emergency operators. Some have a two-way talk feature. Operators can dispatch local police, firefighters or medical services.
      • Unmonitored security systems: It’s up to you to keep an eye on things, usually through an app on your phone. For more, compare our top self-monitored home security systems.
      • Wireless security system: A wireless system uses battery-powered sensors to alert homeowners of potential intrusions. Many wireless systems incorporate smart automation technology, such as Zigbee, Z-Wave and IFTTT.
      • Wired security systems: A wired system is physically connected to a control panel through wires within the walls. Since the installation is more intensive, a professional is typically needed. Wired systems often incorporate some wireless components, such as motion detectors and smart-home automation features.

      Generally, you can save money with a wireless unmonitored system by avoiding monthly fees or upfront installation costs. Still, you’d lose the security that comes from automatic first responder calls.

      How much does a home security system save on insurance?

      Many home insurance providers offer discounts (sometimes up to 20%) if you get a monitored alarm system. For example, if you pay $1,000 for your homeowners insurance annually and get a 10% discount, you’ll save $100 each year on insurance simply for having a monitored security system. For more, learn about other ways you can save money on homeowners insurance .

      Can you change alarm monitoring companies?

      Yes, you can change alarm monitoring companies either by breaking your contract or choosing not to renew it. You may incur fees for early termination, so make sure you’re familiar with the cancellation terms of your current contract.

      Depending on your previous provider, you might be able to keep using your existing security equipment. Work with your new provider to find out if your current hardware is worth keeping or if you should upgrade to the latest in smart home security.

      Are wireless home security systems safe?

      Wireless home security is considered just as safe as a wired system. Wireless systems are easy to customize, with add-ons like window sensors and surveillance cameras, so you can create a system that makes you feel safe.

      Wireless security systems are continuously monitored and have battery backups so you’re protected, even during a power outage. They’re also harder for burglars to bypass since they can’t be disabled by cutting phone lines.

      Is there a security camera that works without Wi-Fi?

      Yes, some security cameras work without Wi-Fi. Cellular surveillance cameras work with a cellular network connection, making them ideal for remote locations without Wi-Fi access.

      Hard-wired cameras are another option; though they require cables for power and video transmission, they provide reliable HD video that’s less susceptible to interference.

      frequently asked questions about home security systems


      We started with a list of the 27 home security companies listed on this guide. To narrow it down, we first eliminated those with an overall satisfaction rating below 3.5 stars, leaving 16.

      To narrow it down again, we required companies to have a minimum 2:1 ratio of 5-star reviews to 1-star reviews on our site over the last year (August 16, 2020, through August 16, 2021). Availability was also considered when selecting our top picks, with preference given to companies that offer nationwide services.

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page.
      1. Pew Research Center, “What the data says (and doesn’t say) about crime in the United States.” Accessed August 17, 2021.
      2. California Bureau of Security & Investigative Services (BSIS), “Consumer Guide to Alarm Companies.” Accessed August 17, 2021.
      3. Connectivity Standards Alliance, “Building the Foundation and Future of IoT.” Accessed August 17, 2021.
      4. FBI, “Robbery.” Accessed August 24, 2021.

      Read home security company reviews