Now more than ever, safety is on everyone’s mind. Installing the best home security system is one of the ways to ensure your family’s safety and your peace of mind.
What is a Home Security System?
Basically, a home security system is a collection of components that work together to secure your home’s entry points and keep you and your valuables safe. The best home security system covers all your bases through various hardware and software options. The essential list of components in a home security system are:
- A control panel that controls sensors and alarms and each access point.
- Door and window sensors.
- Interior and exterior motion sensors.
- Wired or wireless security cameras.
- A high-decibel siren or alarm.
- A yard sign or window stickers.
Not all home security systems will include each component but may have some of the items mentioned above. The best security system for you has the items you need at the price you want to pay.
Some home security systems are wired into a central office, and when an alarm is tripped, the police are notified and dispatched directly to your home. This type of system usually costs money per month or year.
How Does a Home Security System Work?
The premise of home alarm systems is that each point of entry (windows and doors) are equipped with sensors. When someone tries to break in, those sensors send a signal to the control panel, and a loud alarm goes off, to scare away the intruder or at least alerting the homeowner of danger.
- The control panel allows you to deactivate alarms, secure and unlock each sensor, and change passcodes. You can also set modes like “away,” “armed,” and “disarmed.”
- The door and window sensors send information back to the control panel if any of the seals are broken (meaning someone has opened or broke a window or door).
- Motion sensors monitor an area (like your backyard) or hard-to-see area and alert you if they sense any motion. Some systems can detect the difference between animals, vehicles, and people.
- Surveillance cameras are an important piece of the puzzle as they may catch the perpetrator’s face on camera (caught in the act), making it easier for the police to identify and apprehend them.
- Alarms - some systems come with alarms or sirens to alert you or your neighbors when there is a break-in.
- Systems like ADT use stickers on your windows or a sign on your lawn to warn intruders to stay away, and that security professionals are monitoring the premises.
Typically, people position surveillance cameras in dark areas outside their home, places that are hard to see, entryways, garage doors, or remote buildings. One of the best features is that you can view these cameras in a live mode right on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Surveillance cameras allow you to monitor your entire property without even being home.
The Best Home Security System You Can Buy
When comparing home security systems, it’s not a one-to-one equation. Some home security systems are wired and tied in with a professional monitoring company, whereas others are DIY, and you monitor and maintain them yourself. Therefore, we have split our best home security system section into two categories:
Professional Home Security Systems
Typically, professional home security systems are professionally installed and monitored, and they charge a monthly fee for the service.
ADT - Experts seem to agree that the overall best professional home security system is ADT. The ADT Pulse product comes with everything you can imagine plus monitoring, support, smart home integration, and many extras. ADT has a solid reputation built on 140 years in the business, and they do offer a 6-month money-back guarantee plus professional installation. However, they charge a monthly fee for monitoring.
- Smartphone apps.
- Smart home integration.
- Door, window, and motion sensors.
- Home hub.
- Z-wave compatible.
- Professional installation.
- Good reputation.
- $500 theft protection and 6-month money-back guarantee.
- 7000 trained operators.
- Higher-tiered packages can be pricey.
- Requires a contract.
- No mobile app in the lower-tier packages.
VIVINT is another excellent option if you are looking for a professionally installed, monitored home security system. It includes all the necessary bells and whistles along with some nice bonus features. Using a cafeteria plan style setup, you choose all the equipment you need and nothing you don’t.
- Professional home monitoring.
- High-end equipment.
- Home automation.
- Mobile app integration.
- Flexible payment plans.
- Five Diamond-certified monitoring center.
- Two levels of monitoring services.
- Expensive equipment.
- Requires a contract.
- Can’t install the equipment yourself.
Personal Home Security Systems
Personal home security systems refer to DIY or semi-do-it-yourself systems where you install the components and either opt for professional monitoring or not.
SIMPLISAFE is a unique animal combining DIY installation and monitoring with professional support and top-notch COPS monitoring services. Many users love this system with its proven technology (41+ years). SimpliSafe boasts of a customer base of more than 3 million customers.
- Sleek, modern design.
- Alexa and Google Home integration.
- Complete DIY system - installs take 30 minutes.
- No contract necessary.
- 60-day risk-free trial.
- Inexpensive services.
- Wireless technology.
- Cellular monitoring.
- The basic plan is limited, with no mobile alerts or smart home integration.
- No Z-wave or Zigbee smart home hub.
RING HOME SECURITY SYSTEM - The Ring home security system offers a fantastic low-cost alternative to SimpliSafe with inexpensive, but sturdy equipment that you install yourself, combined with affordable professional monitoring. To top it off, this system integrates seamlessly with dozens of other smart home devices (cameras, doorbells, lights, and locks).
- Only $179 for a kit, including everything you need to secure your home.
- Choose between self-monitoring or pay a nominal fee for professional monitoring.
- In the box: (1) base station, a keypad, an entry sensor, a motion sensor, and a Z-Wave range extender.
- Affordable monitoring.
- Easy install.
- Loud alarm.
- Integrates with various smart home platforms.
- Does not work with IFTTT or Apple HomeKit.
- Larger than usual sensors.
The Best Security Cameras
One of the most critical pieces of your home security system is the cameras. When putting together a system of your own, you will want to find the absolute best wireless security camera system out there. Therefore, to make that job easy, we have scoured the internet to find you the best home security camera system.
ARLO PRO 3 - Across the board, everyone rates the Arlo Pro 3 as the best home security camera. It is easy to set up and use, reliable, and includes a lot of bonus features like night vision, two-way audio, motion detection, and alerts. This model also works both indoors and out. However, it is not cheap, $500 at Best Buy, and you need to buy two to get the base station.
- A complete security camera with all the features: built-in siren, modes, advanced alerts for animals, people, vehicles, and package detection.
- Night vision.
- Two-way audio.
- Motion detection alerts.
- Built-in spotlight.
- 2K high-quality resolution video.
- Completely wireless.
- Smart home integration.
- Works outdoors and in.
- Magnetic wall mount.
- Super easy to setup.
- Need two cameras to use the base station.
WYZE CAM - Coming in at a close second is the Wyze Cam. This home security camera is a lot less expensive than the Arlo Pro, but it requires a wired power cord.
It does include 360 degrees Pan Scan (a very cool feature), smart motion tracking, and 14-days of cloud storage. However, if you are looking for a completely wireless security system, this isn’t it.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Select and Install a Home Security System
When deciding to purchase and install a home security system, you have to consider your options. Do you want one of those DIY home security systems, or a professionally installed, wired system that is linked to a security company?
There are typically two types of systems:
Wired - this type of home security system is hard-wired into your phone line and calls the security company and the police if there is an alarm trigged at your location. If the power goes out or your phone line is cut, this system may fail.
Wireless – a wireless home security system relies on wireless technology to connect the components and send alerts to you. As long as you have a strong cellular signal at your home, this system should work well.
Some steps to take when choosing a home security system are:
- Research home security companies and read the fine print of their contact. Ask about all the associated fees.
- Decide whether or not you want to do it yourself or have it professionally installed.
- Some things to look for in a good home security system are professional monitoring, usability (how hard or easy it is to use), a mobile app, automation, design and aesthetics of the system, and extensibility (how easily you can add on new components later).
When shopping for home security system equipment, be sure to consider the following elements:
- Door and window sensors.
- Breaking glass sensors.
- Security camera.
- Motion detectors.
- Video doorbell.
- Control panel.
- Smoke detectors.
- CM detectors.
- Smart thermostat linked to your control panel.
- Central control panel.
Steps to take when installing a home security system:
- Map out a layout of where you want to install things and a blueprint for vulnerable access points.
- Research compatibility with other equipment in your home - make sure everything will work when installed.
- Purchase all your equipment.
- Install motion sensors, door & window sensors, security cameras, doorbells, and other components yourself or hire a company to do it.
- Install the mobile app and control panel.
- Test the system thoroughly.
- Teach each member of your family how to use it.
- Set complicated passcodes that cannot easily be guessed.
- Start using your system.
Home Security System Wrap-Up
You have some very exciting options to choose from when selecting a home security system to protect you and your family. Each one has different components and services at various price points. After reviewing all the pros and cons of each, you should be able to decide which one suits you better.
The bottom line is the absolute best home security system is one that is reliable, affordable, and gives you the peace of mind knowing that your home is safe and sound.