A wireless home security system is a worthwhile investment that protects your home and the people in it. They can include home automation features if you want additional convenience and security. Add on a monthly monitoring package to make sure your family and home are protected at all times, whether you’re at home or not.
Our top picks for wireless home security systems
We selected our top picks for wireless home security systems based on equipment options, pricing and customer reviews. All of the companies below offer wireless cameras, easy-to-use apps and professional monitoring services.
Keep reading to find out what consumers need to know about installing a wireless alarm system in their home. We spoke with Tyler Wrightson and Dr. Kevin Du. Wrightson, author of “Wireless Network Security: A Beginner's Guide,” is the founder of Leet Systems Cybersecurity. Dr. Du is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Syracuse University and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Good for automation features
Vivint Smart Home
Vivint Smart Home systems incorporate artificial intelligence technology, security cameras and intelligent entry-point sensors. Despite all the high-tech benefits, the systems are designed to be easy to install and operate.
Monitoring services start at $19.99 per month plus the cost of equipment. Select from smart locks, motion sensors, glass break detectors, cameras, lights and thermostats. For added environmental protection, you can opt for smart smoke alarms, water leak sensors and CO detectors. The equipment all works together so you can integrate as many automation features as you want.
Your intelligent devices connect to the Vivint Smart Home app or hub and are compatible with Google and Amazon. If an intrusion is detected, the system sends alerts to your phone and Vivint’s emergency monitoring center.
According to recent reviews, customer representatives are knowledgeable, professional and friendly. One verified customer described the picture quality of Vivint cameras as “great.” Please note, however, that not all of Vivint’s camera options are wireless. Reviews are mixed on whether wired cameras can be installed in a way that conceals wiring.
Good for renters
Like Vivint, Link Interactive offers cellular-based wireless security systems with smart home automation integrations and has a highly rated monitoring service. (As of publishing, all of Link Interactive’s ratings that mention response times are three stars or higher.)
“My system got off several times and the response time was excellent,” according to a verified customer in Georgia last year. “They've called immediately if my alarm goes off,” said another reviewer in New Jersey earlier this year about the system. “I like that they have a fast response time. The price is good and they worked with me on getting the equipment.”
Monthly monitoring fees start at $30.99. Wireless equipment options include cameras, door and window sensors, glass break sensors and panic buttons. The outdoor security camera is equipped with night vision to see more than 40 feet in the dark. Panic buttons come with a wristband, necklace cord and belt clip. Depending on your needs, you can program them to summon police or medical assistance during an emergency.
Link Interactive might be especially worth looking into if you currently have a hardwired alarm system and want to make the switch. “I could make use of the existing system that the builder installed but also add the features that I wanted,” according to a verified customer in Texas. “They were a little more involved than just coming to my house, installing a screen and a couple of glass break detectors. I got the support and knowledge that I needed.”
Good for custom systems
Blue by ADT
Blue by ADT utilizes Wi-Fi-enabled security equipment. With Blue, optional monitoring services start at $19.99 per month. Unlike traditional home security packages through ADT, Blue customers don’t have to sign a contract to get 24/7 professional monitoring.
Available equipment options include security cameras, motion detectors, door sensors and window sensors. If you live in a larger house, you might consider getting a range extender to strengthen the Wi-Fi signal to your doorbell, indoor or outdoor cameras.
The ADT mobile app gives you more control of your home and devices. You can arm or disarm your system and get email and text alerts when a sensor is triggered or your system is disarmed. You can also remotely control devices like smart lights, thermostats, door locks and garage doors.
Blue by ADT systems are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave Plus and IFTTT. Existing customers seem to appreciate that the device communicates through ethernet as well as a cellular backup. If you lose power, the backup battery can maintain the intruder alarm for several hours. Plus, the ADT monitoring center notifies you if they receive a low-battery signal.
Pros and cons of wireless home security systems
Wireless systems can be installed in a matter of minutes as a quick and painless DIY project. “Convenience is the major reason people switch to wireless,” Du said. Wired security systems that run through your phone lines can require more extensive installation and wiring. It’s hard to argue against a 10-minute setup when the wired option requires a professional installing wires underneath your house.
However, convenience doesn’t necessarily come with added security. Going from wired to wireless security means potentially exposing yourself to outside attacks if you don’t do it right. “You don’t need to enter a house to cut the wire with wireless” the way you would with wired security, Du warns. Without taking the proper security precautions, you could be leaving your home open to intruders who can jam your system and enter your home without your sensors picking up their presence.
- Easy to install and relocate
- Burglars can’t disable alarm by cutting wires
- More customizable and versatile
- Less vulnerable to power outages
- More vulnerable to hacking
- Connection may not be reliable in your area
- Not ideal for large homes
- Ongoing signal maintenance
How to keep your wireless security system secure
Don’t write off wireless systems based only on the added security risks. “It’s not an unsolvable problem,” says Du. Homeowners just need to be aware of the risks so they can prevent unwanted security breaches.
There are several guards consumers should put in place to keep their homes safe. The first is encryption, which comes standard on our top three wireless security system picks.
Encryption scrambles the information you send into a code that isn’t accessible to outsiders. Your wireless router should come with encryption on it, but it might not be enabled. Make sure to enable it manually if it isn’t already to keep your data and information secure.
Another form of security some companies use is Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS), which isn’t encrypted. Instead, the signals are spread out to multiple channels that can be captured if sniffers know which ones to check.
“Frequency hopping is a countermeasure against jamming,” says Du, and it is the technique used by the military to counter jamming attacks. “The effectiveness of this approach depends on how widely the frequency is spread and how hard it is to guess the hopping sequence.”
Whether you're using a wireless IP-based system or subscribe to a security component as a part of a smart home package, these technologies rely on user passwords to arm and disarm them. To keep these devices secure, it’s recommended that consumers regularly change their passwords and never share them with people outside the household. Make sure to change the manufactured password credentials immediately upon receipt and replace them with a passphrase that cannot be easily guessed.
If you go on vacation and have someone coming over to feed pets or check on your home, set a temporary password and reset it as soon as you return. As newer security systems transition to cloud-based, wireless platforms, it is important to guard yourself against network intrusion just as you would with protecting your identity and virtual assets online.
Compare our picks for wireless home security systems
Monitored systems are ideal for anyone who wants the comfort of knowing someone is always watching their home. Monitored systems range in what they have to offer — there are basic packages that include sensors and a keypad to extensive systems that also include video monitoring with live video streaming, remote access and temperature control.
|Monitoring fees||$29.99 and up*||$19.99 and up*||$30.90 and up*|
|Required contract||42 - 60 months||12 - 36 months|
|Trial period||30 days||30 days|
|Customer satisfaction||Read reviews||Read reviews||Read reviews|
|Monitoring fees||Required contract||Self-monitoring option||DIY installation||Trial period||Customer satisfaction|
|$29.99 and up*||42 - 60 months||Read reviews|
|$19.99 and up*||30 days||Read reviews|
|$30.90 and up*||12 - 36 months||Optional||30 days||Read reviews|
Wireless home security system FAQ
- How do wireless security systems work?
- Wireless security systems typically require a combination of radio, cellular and infrared technology. Both motion detectors and environmental sensors communicate to a security system’s central hub through radio frequencies. If the system has other wireless devices, such as security cameras or video doorbells, footage is stored on a remote storage system commonly known as the cloud.
Since the system isn’t hardwired, a cellular connection is typically used to transmit signals from the central hub to the emergency monitoring center. If your system is self-monitored, then the hub sends alerts directly to your phone.
Most wireless motion sensors utilize passive infrared (PIR) technology. The sensor establishes a grid and monitors for disturbances in heat and movement. If an intruder is detected, the sensor sends a signal to your system’s central hub through radio frequencies, which triggers an alert response.
- Can wireless cameras work without internet?
- Yes, wireless cameras can work without an internet connection. However, options are more limited and remote access might be challenging. If you want a security camera for a property that doesn’t have a Wi-Fi connection, you might want to look for a discrete hardwired model.
- How do you power a wireless camera?
- Wireless cameras are most commonly powered by batteries and transmitters.
- How much is a wireless home security system?
- Wireless home security system costs vary. Packages start at around $100 dollars for the equipment, and ongoing monitoring fees start around $20 per month.
- Are wireless home security systems reliable?
- Yes, wireless home security systems are generally considered to be reliable. Most reputable alarm companies that offer wireless options utilize encryption codes to safeguard devices.
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