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Find the Best Home Automation Systems

by Lisa Montgomery Home Automation Systems Contributing Editor

Automated homes offer residents a more convenient, efficient and often safer living experience through various means. If you’re comparing options, use our guide to research the best home automation system for you. These home automation companies install technology into homes that let residents control home functions automatically or remotely. We explain what to look for in motion detection alarms, security lights, security cameras, glass break detectors and remote monitoring.

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What to consider in a home automation system

Services offered

Home automation companies vary based on the services they offer their customers.

  • Installation-only companies: Some home automation companies offer customers installation of home automation technology and controls only.
  • Installation and monitoring: Home automation companies that also offer monitoring both install automated technology in homes and watch over it for homeowners; this is particularly common for home security system automation companies.
  • Installation, repair and maintenance: There are home automation companies that offer customers installation of home automation systems, as well as maintenance and repair for their systems.

Price level

Home automation companies differ from one another based on the prices for their services and technology.

  • Luxury automation companies: Luxury automation companies charge very high prices for their services and technology, and they are often geared towards homeowners who are comfortable spending a lot to automate their homes. These companies often offer automation that allows a comfortable and convenient experience, like receding televisions, multi-colored room lighting effects, and more.
  • Basic automation companies: Many basic home automation companies offer low-priced services and technology for homeowners looking to add some simple automated additions to their residences.
  • Automation companies with diverse pricing: Some large home automation companies offer services and technology in a wide range of prices to appeal to a wide customer base.

Certifications

Home automation companies differ from one another based on the certifications of their technicians and employees.

  • Diamond Certification: Home automation systems with a Diamond Certification have been confirmed to have reliable, excellent customer service practices and highly-skilled service technicians.
  • NATE Certification: NATE Certified home automation companies are certified to be expert technicians in heating, ventilation, air condition, and refrigeration.
  • Uncertified companies: Some companies that offer home automation installation are not certified with any official organization for home automation.

Technology options

Home automation companies differ from one another based on the type of technology their automation requires and incorporates.

  • Motion sensors: Many automation company's technology works via motion sensor, so that processes in homes can simply be activated by someone moving into or out of a space.
  • Video: Some home automation companies offer both live and recorded video feeds so homeowners can view the spaces in and around their homes remotely.
  • Mobile apps: Home automation companies that offer mobile apps allow users to manipulate the features of their home automation via controls on tablets and mobile phones.

Control options

Home automation companies offer customers different means by which they can control their home automation systems.

  • Smart mobile control systems: Many home automation companies install systems that can be controlled by smart mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets.
  • Remote control systems: Home automation companies that utilize remote controls install systems that are controlled by specialized, dedicated controls provided by the company.
  • Manual control systems: Some home automation systems are controlled by manual controls within a home, like a thermostat or PC-based control system.

Installation options

Another way that home automation companies vary from another is by the installation options they offer customers.

  • Self-installation companies: Many home automation companies simply sell customers automatic technology and allow customers to install the technology themselves.
  • Custom installation: For customers looking for custom automation and installation services, some home automation companies can work with homeowners to install complex systems when convenient and over time, teaching customers to use the systems.
  • Basic installation: One-time, basic installation for automated systems is an option for many home automation companies.

Type of home automation companies

Full-service home automation companies

Full service home automation companies offer a wide range of services. These companies can help homeowners and residents automate a wide range of aspects - from lights and drapes to HVAC systems.

HVAC automation companies

HVAC Automation companies are specialized home automation companies that deal with the automating of heating and cooling systems. Most HVAC automation companies have technicians trained and certified to safely and competently handle the installation, maintenance, and repair of HVAC systems.

Outdoor automation companies

Many home automation companies specialize in the automation of things outside of the home, particularly automatic sprinklers. Outdoor automation companies are often experts in landscaping and gardening and can offer advice in lawn care, gardening, and more.

Security system companies

Security home automation companies are solely focused on installing automated security systems. Most of these companies also offer security monitoring of a home, as well as technology installation.

Who would benefit from home automation systems

Luxury homeowners

Any homeowner who is trying to create a luxury home experience would benefit from using a home automation company. Home automation companies can help homeowners make houses easier, more comfortable, and more convenient to live in.

Homeowners with large properties

Home automation companies help homeowners with lots of outdoor space maintain their space without having to do massive amounts of work. Outdoor automation companies can install sprinklers in large yards and ensure outdoor spaces stay healthy and thriving.

Elderly homeowners and homeowners with disabilities

Elderly homeowners with mobility or strength issues and homeowners with physical disabilities can benefit from using a home automation company. Home automation allows elderly or disabled homeowners to control aspects of their home that might otherwise be physically hard for them to access or control.

Homeowners with young children

Homeowners with young children can benefit from the safety features of home automation companies. Home automation companies can help ensure that electronics, appliances, and features remain safe for young children who do not have the capacity to operate or control them properly.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Home automation company author reviews

    Frontpoint Home Automation

    Frontpoint Security is an automated security company founded in 2007. Frontpoint Home Security is headquartered in Vienna, VA.

    Read more about Frontpoint Home Automation
    GetSafe

    Choose from 3 plans each for $35 a month, or a starter kit for $249 with additional add-ons. Contracts are 1-3 years with 1-year warranty and include the starter kit. No contract options are available and do not include the starter kit. Their wireless systems are portable and customizable to fit any size home with DIY install.

    Read more about GetSafe
    SafeStreetsUSA Home Automation

    SafeStreets USA is one of ADT’s authorized dealers, and they sell and install ADT-monitored home security systems exclusively. They operate in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

    Read more about SafeStreetsUSA Home Automation
    Honeywell Smart Home

    Honeywell is a name synonymous with home protection and heating and cooling systems. The legendary company has built on its reputation as a leading provider of home technology by developing a suite of home automation systems and connected products.

    Read more about Honeywell Smart Home
    Alarm.com

    Alarm.com develops technology and software that has been implemented into many home security and automation systems, such as Interlogix, 2Gig and Qolsys. The technology focuses on home security but also includes elements of practical, useful home automation.

    • Geo-services: Alarm.com was one of the first home automation developers to offer technology that would allow smart home devices to react based on the location of a consumer. Consumers can set a “geofence” that tells the home automation system to set the lights, thermostats, garage door, and electronic door lock based on their proximity to the geofence area.
    • Cellular: Alarm.com technology is wireless, but that doesn’t mean that the system is inoperable if a home’s Wi-Fi connection goes down. In this event, it communicates via cellular, which is important for maintaining contact with security monitoring services.
    • Apple Watch: Alarm.com offers a control app for the Apple Watch. This enables consumers to monitor and control devices connected to an Alarm.com system directly from a watch they wear every day.
    ADT Home Automation

    ADT has been in business for over 140 years. The corporate headquarters of ADT is located in Boca Raton, FL.

    Read more about ADT Home Automation
    Protection1 Home Automation

    Protection1 Home Automation is a home automation and security company founded in 1988 in Lawrence, KS. The company now operates out of Romeoville, IL.

    Read more about Protection1 Home Automation
    Clare Controls

    Home automation systems offered by Clare Controls cater to owners of mid-size homes and are affordable yet customizable by a professional home systems integrator.

    • Simple music access: Offered as part of a Clare Controls home automation system is a feature that enables homeowners to stream music from the Internet to speakers throughout the home.
    • Mainstream homes: Clare Controls partners with several leading national homebuilders to offer consumers automation packages as part of their mortgage.
    • Cloud storage: The professionally customized software that runs a Clare Controls home automation system is stored securely in the cloud. This means you can easily access information and data about your home anytime, anywhere.
    Control4

    Control4 is known for offering a variety of home automation solutions that allow homeowners to start small with basic features then easily and affordably add new features onto the system as their needs change and grow.

    • Home theater control: Control4 offers “starter” systems that focus on the control and synchronization of home theater equipment. Consumers can expand this basic system to operate other devices at any time, turning it into a full-fledged automation system that can manage lights, thermostats and other devices.
    • Easy to tweak: Although Control4 home automation systems are installed by certified Control4 dealers, the products have been designed to enable homeowners to modify the automation settings themselves. This saves time and money on professional labor charges.
    • High compatibility: Boasting compatibility with hundreds of devices from a range of manufacturers, Control4 offers a huge library of options to consumers who would like to connect their Control4 home automation systems to products of their choice.
    Elan Home Systems

    Elan Home Systems draws from years of experience in the manufacturing of systems that distribute music and video throughout a home. From these roots it expanded its product portfolio to include full-fledged home automation systems supported by a strong base of trained and certified dealers.

    • Intercoms: One of Elan Home Systems’ specialties is the design of high-quality home intercom systems. These communication products complement the company’s breadth of home automation offerings by enabling a user to speak with visitors at the front door conveniently from their smartphones whether they are at home or hundreds of miles away.
    • Simple to master: Although automation systems from Elan can be customized by professional homes systems integrators, the controllers that transmit commands to devices are extremely intuitive and simple for homeowners to learn to use. The menu of commands looks consistent across all types of controllers, including touchpanels, tablets and smartphones.
    • Wireless communications: Home automation systems from Elan are compatible with several wireless communications protocols, which means homeowners can easily expand and upgrade a system by adding wireless products to it.
    Remote Technologies Inc.

    RTI has roots in the audio industry as a developer and manufacturer of high-quality whole-house music systems. Over its 22 years in the business, RTI has expanded its product portfolio to include complete home automation systems as well as other smart home devices.

    • Smart, stylish remotes: Many consumers like the tactile feel of a handheld remote when interacting with a home automation system. RTI offers a wide range of remotes, from traditional push-button models to those with integrated touchscreens and voice control technology.
    • Award-winning software: RTI’s software tools have received many industry awards for its ability to help home systems integrators easily program and customize home automation systems for their clients. The benefit to consumers: less money spent on labor to have a system installed.
    • Wired and wireless options: By offering both wireless and wired home automation systems, RTI is able to cater to a wide range of consumers from those who are building a home to those who would like to add technology to their existing home.
    URC

    URC has been developing technology for the home for more than 25 years. It is one of the largest suppliers of remote controls to consumers, retailers, subscription broadcast providers, and home systems integrators. To this solid foundation it has added a breadth of affordable home automation products.

    • Huge customer base: URC has supplied customers with more than 100 million remotes over the past 10 years alone.
    • Expandable and affordable: URC offers systems in all price ranges. Consumers can start with a basic system then expand it later to introduce greater functionality.
    • Strong dealer base: Home systems integrators who sell and install URC systems undergo rigorous training and education.
    • Proven track record: URC systems have been installed in hundreds of homes nationwide, with excellent results.
    AMX

    AMX manufactures and sells enterprise-grade home automation systems through high-end home systems integrators. In the business for more than 30 years, its systems are noted as highly reliable and customizable, best suited for large luxury homes. 

    • Audio and video: In addition to several home automation solutions, AMX offers a wide variety of high-end audio and video equipment, including amplifiers and digital switchers.
    • Panoramic touch panel: AMX offers a variety of sleek, contemporary touch panels from which users can monitor, manage, and control devices connected to an AMX home automation system. One of the most unique is a panoramic touch panel. Shaped wider than a standard touch panel, it can display multiple windows of information, including streaming video content, home control menus and live feeds from surveillance cameras.
    Crestron Electronics

    Designing and engineering home automation systems for both commercial and residential environments for more than 30 years, Crestron offers a huge portfolio of products, covering every aspect of an automated home: lighting control, energy management devices, motorized shading, audio and video equipment and more. Crestron systems are available through a network of highly trained and certified home systems integrators.

    • Wired and wireless: Offering home automation systems that transmit command over wiring, as well as those that can operate over a wireless network, Crestron systems are designed to be installed into both new homes and existing homes.
    • Tailored technology: Crestron automation systems can be programmed by a trained home systems integrator to control a variety of different devices from any number of manufacturers.
    • User interfaces: Users can engage with a Crestron automation system from a many control devices, including touch panels, handheld remotes, smartphone apps and Smart TVs.
    Savant Systems

    Savant Systems is known for its Apple-based automation systems, which make them highly intuitive and easy to use. A wide variety of devices can be integrated into the Savant control ecosystem, and home systems integrators can use the Savant programming software to choreograph and synchronize the operation of these devices to a homeowner’s liking.

    • iPad Integration: The iPad is the control device of choice for most Savant customers, although the company also offers handheld remotes and keypads. People who already own an iPad can download the Savant control app to turn the portable device into a home control tool.
    • $500 starter package: Although Savant is well-known for its high-end home automation solutions, it also sells a starter package that is intended for installation in homes of modest size.
    • Video tiling: Savant is one of the first automation companies to offer a video tiling system, which allows multiple streams of video to be displayed simultaneously on the screen of one TV or projection display.
    Vantage

    Vantage got its start in the home automation business by offering sophisticated architectural lighting control systems and has expanded into the control of a host of other products including thermostats, audio/video equipment and motorized shading.

    • Keypads: Sleek, stylish keypads afford on-the-spot control of various devices throughout the home. The buttons on the keypads can be customized and labeled any way a homeowner desires. Smartphones and tablets can also be used.
    • Wired and wireless: By offering both hardwired and wireless home automation options, Vantage dealers can support both owners of new home and existing homes.
    Insteon

    Insteon offers a wide range of smart home products which can be integrated by consumers, managed by a customizable hub and controlled from an app on a smartphone or tablet.

    • HomeKit-enabled: With Insteon’s new HomeKit-enabled hub consumers can control both Insteon devices and Apple HomeKit-compatible devices via a smartphone app or Siri voice commands.
    • Platform of choice: Insteon apps are available for all major platforms including iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
    • More than 200 devices: With more than 200 Insteon products available online and at local retailers like Best Buy and Home Depot, consumers can find a solution that fits their needs.
    • Dual-band: Insteon home automation technology uses both wireless communications and a home’s existing electrical wiring to form a network of smart home devices.
    iRule

    iRule launched its software-based, cloud-enabled home automation system for do-it-yourselfers in 2011. The concept for the system was born from the founders’ passion for home theater and media room applications.

    • Custom graphics: Custom graphics are available to consumers that can be used to create a custom look for control menus on smartphones and tablets.
    • Tech support: iRule has a top-notch support team and an avid online community to help configure and customize your system.
    • Cloud-based setup: iRule is an app that runs on iOS and Android devices; a drag-and-drop cloud-based setup and configuration means no expensive software or hardware is necessary.
    Iris by Lowe’s

    The Iris home automation system is sold exclusively at Lowe’s home improvement stores nationwide to consumers who are tech-savvy and interested in setting up a system on their own.

    • Single app: Iris by Lowe’s streamlines home management by connecting compatible smart devices through a single app that’s accessible from a smartphone or tablet.
    • Easily expandable: With more than 60 compatible devices available at Lowe’s, from smart thermostats to electronic door locks, new technologies can be easily added to the system at any time.
    • Creating rules: Using the Iris app consumers can create rules for connected devices to follow. For example, when you walk into a room, the lights will turn on automatically.
    Zonoff

    Zonoff was founded in 2011 to develop and bring to market home automation systems that focus around the Internet of Things. The system’s control platform is protocol agnostic, which means it is interoperable with a wide variety of smart home products.

    • Subscription-based service offerings: For a monthly fee consumers can enjoy services like professional security monitoring and concierge services.
    • Cloud software: Zonoff’s cloud software and services provide remote access and device management for consumers. The cloud software also allows consumers to control their homes from anywhere.
    • Plays well with others: Zonoff home automation systems are able to communicate with hundreds of devices by employing a variety of communications protocols including Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
    SmartThings

    SmartThings is a home automation company founded by Alex Hawkinson, a leader in the industry of the Internet of Things. The company was founded by launching a Kickstarter campaign in August of 2012.

    • Affordable pricing: Compared to many companies offering home automation and security monitoring, SmartThings is relatively affordable with services starting at $99 with no monthly fees.
    • Free app: SmartThings uses a central "hub" device to control homes, and the app that allows users to control that hub is completely free.
    • Fun and creative features: SmartThings has built in the capacity to have fun with home automation, allowing things like having smart lights change color when users get a new Twitter follower to happen.
    • Garage connection: SmartThings can alert homeowners if they forgot to control the garage in addition to the doors of their home.
    • Sleek design: The hub of SmartThings is a small, white minimalist design, which makes a great and subtle addition to any home's décor.
    Smarthome

    Smarthome calls itself the Home Automation Superstore, offering a wide range of home automation products. The company was founded in 1992 in Irvine, CA.

    Read more about Smarthome
    Nest

    Formerly known as DropCam, the Nest Cam is a self-monitored camera that can be free-standing, mounted onto a tripod, or mounted onto any wall, including one with a metal surface thanks to its magnetic backing. The Nest Cam delivers a 130° wide-angle view straight to your mobile device so you always know when an unusual sound or movement is detected. Monitor your Nest Cam through a free app, which can also be linked to Nest’s thermostat and/or fire alarm/CO monitor to give your home total automation and security.

    Read more about Nest

    Compare Reviews for Top Home Automation System

    by Lisa Montgomery Home Automation Systems Contributing Editor

    Lisa Montgomery is a seasoned journalist who has covered and reported on a variety of topics in the home automation industry for more than 15 years. Knowledgeable about the technology behind and the major players of home automation systems, residential security systems, smart thermostats and more, she is able to translate technical terms into language that consumers can understand and will find informative and useful.

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