Best home security systems
The one crime statistic that is falling across the US year-on-year is burglary, and that's because homeowners are turning to home-based security systems that can help prevent crime. It's not just about trying to deter opportunists, but also making sure that even determined burglars will have difficulty forcing their way into your home without being caught.
Yet there's such a wide array of home security options available to the homeowner, from CCTV and security cameras, to monitoring solutions, it can all seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are an increasing number of all-in-one solutions that use the latest technology to bring together different aspects of surveillance, monitoring, and prevention, to help homeowners feel safer.
What's even better is that you no longer need a complicated setup of monitoring cameras, as most modern security systems are unobtrusive, easy to install and use, and even stylish.
So we have done the legwork for you – we're good like that – to present this list of five of the best home security solutions. We think these products bring together the best in security, safety, and technology, to help give you peace of mind and better protect you, your family, and loved ones, from unwelcome intruders.
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A simple but versatile solution
The Ring Alarm Security Kit is an all-in-one security solution that's simple to set up, and doesn't require a service subscription to use. The standard Alarm Security Kit is priced at just $199 – cheaper than most competitors – yet comes with a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector and range extender. You can buy additional components individually to extend your protection, or purchase one of the larger Alarm Security Kit bundles.
The Ring Alarm Security Kit uses smart sensors and motion detectors that send mobile alerts when triggered. Everything is managed from the Ring app, which allows you to monitor everything from a single panel on your phone or tablet. It can also be integrated with other security devices from other brands, and you can even operate it using Amazon's Alexa.
A backup battery in the kit ensures that even in the event of a power failure, the Ring kit will continue to run for up to 24 hours, using your cellular network to keep connected.
As mentioned, there is no need for a subscription plan, though there are contract-free Ring Protect Plans available, for either $3 or $10 a month, which allow you to store more video using the Ring app, as well as access member benefits and discounts on additional security product purchases. These might be useful if you plan to buy other equipment from Ring, such as its video doorbell, sirens, smoke detectors, cameras, and more.
The plug-and-play approach to home security
Those with more modest homes, such as a rented apartment, may want a simpler plug-and-play solution, such as the Canary All-in-One which retails for $169. One plastic canister provides a 1080p HD camera with night vision, a 90dB siren, an integrated temperature, air quality and humidity monitor, and the device is available in white or black to match a variety of decors.
Setup can be completed in a few minutes as the device just needs to be connected to electrical power and the internet for protection to kick-off.
While the Canary All-in-One can be used with free access, a membership plan of $9.99 monthly is needed to get the most out of it. Features included are full length videos that are stored for 30 days, unlimited video downloads, and two-way Canary talk.
A slick home security option from Nest
Nest made its name in home technology with its thermostat which debuted in 2011. These days, Nest is part of Google, and the company has expanded into home security with Nest Secure.
This is sold as the Nest Secure alarm system, commanding a premium fee of $399, and it includes a base station, two Nest Tags, and two sensors. The Nest Tag is a key fob-style device that can arm or disarm the system when in proximity with the base station – other options for arming include a passcode, Google Assistant, and the Nest App.
The sensor is Stick Nest Detect, which is a versatile piece of hardware, as each one can be used to secure a window, door, or even a wall, as it detects motion, with additional sensors available for $49. All of these sensors feed their information through the base station to the Nest App.
Nest Secure works over Wi-Fi, but cellular access as a backup is a $5 additional monthly option. The system can also be expanded with options for indoor and outdoor cameras, and compatible Yale electronic locks.
While this system is designed to be used for self-monitoring through the Nest App, there is also an option for professional monitoring via Brinks Home Security for $29 monthly, or $19 monthly with a three-year contract (more about that later).
DIY professional-grade home security
Abode offers a security solution that is professional-grade, and yet easy to install for the homeowner. Like its competition, the company offers a starter kit that includes the essentials: a gateway, a mini door/window sensor, a remote key fob, a motion sensor, and a security sticker – that package retails for $299.
This does not include a keypad which will run you $79 extra, and is designed for self-monitoring via a smartphone app. There are a wide variety of expansion options available, including indoor add-on sirens, a water leak sensor, and a glass break and vibration sensor, to name just a few of the many offerings.
Upgrade to the next plan for $329, and this includes the same starter kit, plus a year of cellular backup on the T-Mobile or AT&T network, and 50% off the add-on keypad. The top plan goes for $379, which includes everything from the lower plans, complete with a year of professional monitoring.
Whole home protection from this well-known vendor
SimpliSafe is a well-known brand in the security space. Unlike some other solutions, the company offers five different options for its starter kit. At the low-end is the aptly named Foundation Kit, which has a base station, keypad, an entry sensor and a motion sensor, all for $229.
At the top-end, the Haven Kit, which is priced at $489, includes the same base station and keypad, as well as a key fob, four entry sensors, two motion sensors, a 105dB siren, a panic button, freeze sensor, water sensor, and a smoke detector, which is suitable for a larger home, and obviously protects you from more than just burglary.
All kits are backed by a 60-day guarantee – the product can be returned if it does not work out for you – and you have a choice of monitoring plans that include professional monitoring and cellular backup (and neither requires a contract).
Other home security systems to consider
Brinks works with a wider variety of smart home devices than most other companies, plus it offers both DIY and professional installation options as required. You can buy into Brinks Home Complete, or purchase the Nest Security System (see above) at a discount through Brinks. The service is really focused on providing the monitoring for you, which comes in relatively cheap in industry terms at $29 per month, after hardware costs. The one caveat is to expect to sign a three-year contract, with early exit penalties coming into play 30 days after purchase.
ADT is an established security company that offers equipment tied to a subscription-based monitoring service, most of which will require professional installation that the company can provide. Like Brinks, ADT pushes for a three-year initial contract, which afterwards is renewed monthly, but unlike all the other firms listed it's not very transparent about pricing. While other companies are happy to offer a single fee per product/package, ADT pushes on custom sales for custom packages, which means it’s difficult to make a direct price comparison.
Frontpoint Security sells itself on ease of use, with a DIY home surveillance and security kit based on free-standing sensors that don't require any wall mounting, drilling, wires, etc. However, the equipment is sold as part of a contract-term package, and pricing will depend on the period committed to upfront. Plans cost between $34.99 to $49.99 a month, with the cost of equipment discounted to $99 if you commit to a three-year contract.
Like its rivals we’ve just mentioned, Vivint offers a combined equipment and monitoring service package, with everything run through a cellular network with backup batteries. However, Vivint SmartHome is something of a premium option, requiring a five-year term and monthly prices that can stack up. Even so, some argue that you get what you pay for, and Vivint certainly has a strong reputation in the security industry.
Link Interactive costs less than most of the other solutions listed here, plus it boasts an admirable range of security options you can customize yourself. Promoting itself as "the best value in home security", the company runs on a cellular network rather than a landline, and puts less reliance on using a phone app for monitoring. By providing a two-way voice panel, if you can't get to your phone, the firm can contact you or the emergency services directly if they suspect there's a need to.