Alarm System Reviews
Each year we review over 100 companies. That’s right over 100 companies! We look at 14 different aspects of each home security company like price, equipment, warranty and more then rank them. Below are the top 5 home security companies. If you would like to view the entire list, click on the Top 100 home security companies in the menu above. While there are many companies out there, only a select few offer an excellent value of technology, service and equipment. The rankings and ratings expressed on this site are the opinion of our own and are subject to change. To keep this valuable service free, we generate advertising revenue from the companies featured in our rankings.
1st Place – Protect America
Visit Protect America
- Free Equipment
- A BBB Rating
Our Thoughts on Protect America
If you want the best value in home security, then look no further than Protect America. Protect America has pioneered the wireless home security system and self-installation model. They have been in business for over 20 years and are a favorite among consumers who are interested in protecting their home against intruders, fire and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide within budget.
The biggest advantage of going with Protect America is that you can choose the type of monitoring as well as customize the equipment with each package they offer. They will allow you to replace a motion sensor for another type of sensor if it makes sense to better protect your home with a different sensor. They have one of the widest range of home security plans in the market and all of their plans come with free equipment. Protect America has been voted the best diy home security system on several leading sites.
Protect America offers a wireless security system with a DIY installation model at the most affordable prices. They have a very competitive cellular offering and they use a company called Criticom for their central monitoring station. One of the advantages of Protect America is that they price match any competitive offer. If you are interested in learning more about Protect America give them a call at (888) 305-0285.
2nd Place Frontpoint
- 100% Cellular
- Equipment Warranty
Our Thoughts on Frontpoint
Frontpoint offers an easy do-it-yourself installation of their 100% cellular systems that takes less than 1 hour to install. Check out our Frontpoint review page to see us go through an actual install. If you need a professional installation, they can do this too, however it’s so simple that you won’t need too. Their home security systems are 100% wireless so they are perfect for both homeowners and renters alike.
Frontpoint’s security systems are monitored by Rapid Response and they provide Interactive services through Alarm.com They’ve won multiple awards for their customer service and it’s hard to find a single negative review of them. After speaking with customers and researching reviews about Frontpoint you can’t find a more reliable and customer friendly company. Their monitoring plans are extremely competitive and they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. Not many other companies in the industry offer a 30-day risk free trial period.
3rd Place – LifeShield Security
- DIY Installation
- Mobile/Web Remote Control
Our Thoughts on LifeShield
LifeShield Security is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and they carry and B- rating. This is good but still not as good as an A+ rating like Frontpoint and ADT carry. LifeShield offers cellular wireless home security systems. They have proprietary equipment that includes multiple devices that can signal their central monitoring station in case one of the units is damaged by a burglar. They also have a unique fire protection alert that listens for the sound of a smoke detector going off in the home and sends an alert to the central monitoring station. They have over 20 patents in the home security industry for their equipment and monitoring technology. Since they are not accredited with the BBB and the fact they have proprietary equipment they came in 4th place.
4th Place – Vivint
- Professional Installation
- Equipment Warranty
Our Thoughts on Vivint
Vivint is the high-end of home security and home automation and they do an excellent job at incorporating them both into a single solution. Vivint’s smartly designed systems control your lighting, HVAC, appliances, video and home security. They have a mobile application where you can adjust the environment of your home. They also use high quality equipment from 2GIG and Honeywell with touchscreen control panels. Similar to ADT, Vivint offers a professional installation only. Vivint has a solid offering but at a higher price point we felt it was too much plus their BBB rating isn’t quite as good as the others.
Home Alarm Company Comparisons
|Years in Business||22+||8+||15+||17+|
|Pricing||$29.99 to $54.99||$34.99 to $49.99||$29.99 to $39.98||$44.99 to $68.99|
|Contract Period||3 Year||3 Years||1 Year||5 Years||HOME SECURITY EQUIPMENT|
|Brand of Equipment||GE||GE||LifeShield||Honeywell|
|Garage Door Sensor|
|Carbon Monoxide Sensor|
|Glass Break Sensor|
|Change in Temp|
Top Alarm Companies 6 through 10
6. Broadview Security
Formerly known as Brinks but is now under the ADT umbrella. You’ll receive the same service and warranty as ADT Security. Broadview Security requires a professional installation service.
7. Guardian Protection Review
Guardian is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has been serving customers since 1950. With offices or dealers throughout the United States they have become a leader in the home security business.
8. Xfinity Home
Xfinity Home or Comcast’s home security offering was new in 2012. It is broadband only and carries with it hefty installation and setup fees. We only recommend cellular home security systems so Xfinity Home failed to make the best home security company list.
- Full Review
- Expensive Setup Fees
- Broadband Only
- Proprietary Equipment
9. Alarm Zone Review
Alarm Zone provides their customers with an affordable home security solution, with free equipment with even the most basic monitoring contract. The downside to this, of course, is that you install the system by yourself.
10. LiveWatch Review
LiveWatch was founded in 2002 by a paramedic and now serves over 200,000 homes and businesses across the country, including the U.S. State Department and Department of Justice. They offer affordable, self-installable, and customizable home and commercial security systems
Our Review Process
In our home security systems reviews we came up with five companies that we feel strong enough to recommend. We actually reviewed over 100 companies which you can view all of the reviews but our main page lists the top five that we recommend. Most of the companies we reviewed either had proprietary equipment, too high of up front costs or poor customer service, or no multi-state or national presence so they fell short of the top 5 or even top 10 for that matter. We rate each company on a 14-point system which you can see in our side-by-side comparison chart. We have a staff of experts that independently review each company then those results are tallied and the ratings are produced.
- Multiple Reviewers
- 100’s of Companies Reviewed
- Annual Reviews with Quarterly Updates
- 14-Point Rating System
Types of Alarm Systems
This is the traditional home security system monitoring, which is an older technology where the home alarm system connects to a landline telephone in your home. If the home security alarm is tripped the signal is sent over the landline. This type of system is vulnerable to a burglar cutting the landline from outside the home before the break-in occurs. The components in these systems are hardwired to main control panel so scalability is also an issue.
- Reliable Communication
- Simple Setup
- Can be Cut from the Outside
- Not as Secure as Other Methods
These alarm systems operate off your home Internet connection whether that is DSL, Cable or Verizon FIOS. The exposed Internet cables running from the outside of your home and the reliability of your Internet connection will determine if this type of system is a viable option for you.
- Fast Connection
- Simple Setup
- Can be Cut from the Outside
- Relies on Internet Connection
Cellular home security systems are the golden standard of today when it comes to security monitoring. They communicate using a cellular signal so there is no line that can be cut and you are not dependent on your phone or Internet service provider. The cellular network is a GSM digital network that is highly reliable. It’s a smarter and safer way to go. If you are going to take the time to install a home security system then we recommend you go 100% cellular monitoring.
- 100% Wireless
- Fast Connection
- Simple Setup
- Relies on Cell Coverage
Alarm System Monitoring
Purchasing a home alarm system with monitoring services is a wise investment for several reasons. First, you have a fully trained professional staff at the central monitoring station waiting to dispatch the authorities in the event of a break-in or a fire. Second, if there is a false alarm the alarm company will first attempt to call you to see if everything is ok. If there is no answer then they will dispatch the authorities. If you had a system without monitoring the authorities would be notified in the event of a false alarm and you could be charged for this.
Alarm systems with monitoring services also save more money on your homeowner’s insurance up to 20%. We checked with a national insurance provider and there’s anywhere from 5 to 10% difference in savings when you have a home alarm system with monitoring vs without monitoring. Check with your insurance company to see what discounts you can qualify for after purchasing your home security system.
- Central Monitoring Station
- Save up to 20% on Homeowners Insurance
- 24-Hour Professional Monitoring Team
- Immediate Dispatch of Authorities
- Peace of Mind
Home Alarm Equipment
This is the brains of the system which communicates with all of the sensors and sends information offsite to the home security company’s central monitoring station.
Window and Door Sensors
These sensors are placed on anything that opens and closes. You want to make sure you pick up enough to go on all openings on the first floor.
Glass Break Sensor
Glass break sensors detect the frequency that is created when glass breaks. They are great for protecting bay windows or sliding glass doors.
Recessed Door Sensors
These sensors operate in the same way that window and door sensors operate however they are recessed in the door frame for a cleaner installation. They are typically harder to install as you have to drill a hole in your door frame. If aesthetics are a concern then you may want to opt for the recessed sensors.
Motion sensors can detect movement in the house when enabled. Most motion sensors are pet friendly so your don’t set false alarms when the dog or cat roam the house. They have an effective distance up to 35 feet and are commonly used to secure larger areas like multiple rooms with an open floor plan or a room with several windows.
Smoke and Heat Sensors
Smoke and Heat Sensors will detect a rapid rise in the rooms temperature and can detect smoke particle in the air. When properly installed they can reduce the time it takes for the fire department to get to your home in the event of an emergency.
Garage Door Sensor
Garage Door sensors detect if you left the garage door open by sending a signal to the control center.
Carbon Monoxide Sensor
If levels of CO are detected in your home this sensor will trigger an alarm. It is common to only see one Carbon Monoxide sensor in a home.
If the Water/Flood sensor comes in contact with water it will trigger an alarm. They provide an early warning if your basement is flooding or if there is a water leak.
Winners by Category
We compare the best home security systems so you don’t have to. It takes us a considerable amount of time to pull together all of the home security statistics and information. At BHASR we like to educate our reader-base so they have the most up to date information that will lead them to a decision they feel comfortable with. Below we list how we rank each home security company and/or system for the different areas like best wireless security system so on.
Best Wireless Alarm
Every security company we reviewed offers a wireless system. In today’s day in age it’s an absolute must. The traditional hard-wired systems are quickly becoming out of date and require a sophisticated installation. Not to mention you can’t take them with you if you decide to move. Since this is such an important feature all of the top rated alarm companies offer a wireless security system.
Winner: Protect America- Protect Americawins this category hands down because they not only have a wireless security system. The entire system is completely wireless.
Best Apartment Alarm
This really goes hand in hand with the best wireless home alarm but there is a clear winner and it’s Frontpoint. While a lot of home security companies don’t want to bother with renters (sorry if you are a renter but it’s true), Frontpoint recognizes the importance of security especially for renters. Probably one of the best features of owning a home alarm system if you live with roommates is the ability to be alerted when someone goes into your room. Simply place a door sensor on the door to your bedroom then configure your system to send you a text message anytime it’s opened. If you want to take it a step further you can stream video from a home security camera.
Winner: Frontpoint – Again Frontpoint wins this as they are the only company that we called that is renter friendly.
Best DIY System
Frontpoint and Protect America both offer DIY installation of their home security systems. Installation is quite simple as all of the sensors and the control panel come with an adhesive tape that you can stick directly on the wall. The DIY installation typically takes less than 20 minutes to complete. At the end of the installation the home security company will test to make sure the connection and all of the equipment is properly configured and working.
Winner: Protect America – We have to go with Protect America here to as it took us a total of 40 minutes to install the system soup to nuts without even reading the instructions.
Best Professional Installation
The top company that made our best home alarms list are Vivint who both offer professionally installed systems through their service provider network. Vivint are a great option if you prefer to leave it to the professionals to install your system. Installation doesn’t cost much and they usually provide free equipment to make up for the installation charges.
Winner: Vivint – Vivint takes the cake here as they are known for their thorough installation jobs.
Best Pricing or Cost Effective
We get asked this question a lot and for good reason. Everyone is concerned about their budget and you want to make sure you get the most features for the best price possible. There are dozens of home alarm companies out there and after going through all of their pricing and monthly monitoring plans you can expect to pay the following monthly fees:
$20 to $35 per month:
This will get you basic monitoring services with landline or broadband technology. Nothing fancy just monitoring.
Winner: Protect America
$36 to 45 per month:
This will get you interactive cellular monitoring services. What does this mean? First you’ll have 100% cellular monitoring, which is the best technology you can have and it’s highly recommended from a safety standpoint. Second, you get the interactive features like access from your iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry. You can remotely arm and disarm your system, view logs, keep tabs on what’s going on at the homefront and watch streaming video from a video surveillance camera. This is the coolest feature of a home security system in our opinion besides the fact it keeps you safe. You can let people your home to fix something when you’re at work, check to make sure the kids got home in time to name a few of the things you can do.This is a very competitive price point as most all the best home security companies who offer interactive monitoring fall in this price range. You might have some companies offering free equipment and a higher monthly charge and there are a few companies who are offering a low monthly fee with higher upfront equipment costs. We have priced a lot of different configurations and Frontpoint comes out to be the best value when you take all of these variations into account. They also have the clearest pricing and do not hide their fees. This is just one of the reasons why we have rated as the best home security system.
Winner: Protect America
$46 to $70 per month:
This will get you all of the interactive features plus a lot of home automation options like remote control your home’s lighting, HVAC, etc… The best company and system for this is Vivint. If you are in to home automation then make sure you check them out. It does have a premium price associated with it but you have to look at your energy savings by being able to control the environment in your home. There is definitely a savings so look at your lifestyle and see if this type of system makes sense for you.
Warranties & Contracts
How important is a warranty? It’s very important as your equipment should always be in excellent condition and free from any defects. The top home security companies we ranked all have an excellent warranty program that range from 2 years to a Lifetime warranty. Lifetime warranty usually means “as long as you have the monthly monitoring services active”. You have to check with the exact home security company to make certain. You’ll find that the top home security companies we ranked all have a great customer service program so you shouldn’t have any issue with exercising your warranty.
Home security monitoring contracts are usually 3-years in length however shorter and longer terms are available. A few companies offer month-to-month contracts as well as a 1-year contract but your upfront fees typcially be over $500. We reccomend purchasing a home security system with a 3-year monitoring contract. It provides the best value and it is a good term length. If you live in an apartment you can still get a 3-year contract because the nicest feature of the home security systems we ranked is that they are all 100% wireless and 100% Cellular as well. This means no wires and they can move with you. The longer contract extend out to 5-years, but we don’t recommend that long of a contract as in three years you might want to switch providers if a newer and better home security technology is only offered through another home security company. It’s really the same as your contract for your iPhone or Android phone. You save on the equipment costs for a multi-year contract.
- Warranty Should be as Long as Contract
- Contracts Longer than 3 Years are Too Long
- It Should Be Easy to Initiate Warranty
Questions to Ask a Home Alarm Company
1. Do you have an accredited central monitoring station?
Don’t overlook what’s arguably the most important part of deciding which home alarm system to buy, the home security company’s central monitoring station. Find out who is monitoring your system. Is it a small call center in your neighborhood or is it an accredited response center with redundant systems in place?
The proximity of the central monitoring station to your home is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the central monitoring station is accredited. When asking potential home alarm companies look for the following accreditations.
- UL Listed
- CSAA Five Diamond
- IQ Certified
- FDNY Approved
- Security Industry Association
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- Electronic Security Association (ESA)
2. What is your home alarm equipment warranty?
The equipment should at least carry a 2 year warranty. The home alarm company should replace it free of charge if anything happens to the equipment.
3. What happens to my home alarm system if I move?
You should be able to take your equipment with you to the new home and not be charged any fees for moving. This is why it is important to look for a home alarm company that offers wireless or cellular home alarm systems vs a landline or hard-wired.
4. What are the contract terms?
Find out your options for contract terms is it 1 year or 3 years. Most home alarm companies offer 36-month terms. If you need to get out of the contract for any reason ask what their cancellation policy is. Some will require two-months written notice and others you will be responsible for a portion of the unused contract.
5. What happens if I get called to active duty?
If you are in the military ask the alarm company what policies they have if you get called to duty. Frontpoint offers a two-year suspension of services for those who are in the military and get called to active duty.
Burglary Statistics and Q & A
According to the FBI there were 2,159,878 burglaries in 2010. The 2011 data is still being compiled. Burglary offenses represented $4.6 billion in lost or stolen property.
Q: How do burglars target my home?
A: A lot of burglars will case a neighborhood to see everyone’s patterns. Who’s home during the day and are there homes clearly visible to any at home neighbors. Keep in mind that the majority of burglaries happen between 10am to 2pm when there is the least amount of threat of running into someone at home. A burglar will look to see if the bushes outside are overgrown because this could be a good place to enter while breaking a window. One of the most obvious is if someone leaves doors unlocked when they leave for work. No forced entry is required.
Q: How long do burglaries last?
A: On average a burglary only lasts a few minutes. They grab valuables then leave the premises as quickly as possible. Keep in mind there is a big difference between a burglary and a home invasion that is intended to harm the homeowners.
Q: What is the best kind of dog for home protection and safety?
A: There are quite a few breeds that make good protectors of the home but we recommend German Shepards and Doberman Pinchers. Both of these breeds are large dogs that are territorial and will sound you with their bark when someone suspicious is near.
ADT Security Blog, False Alarms – https://www.adt.com/resources/false-alarm-prevention
The Home Security Adviser – http://thehomesecurityadviser.com
ReadPlease Security Reviews – http://www.readplease.com/reviews/best-home-security-system/
Renters Insurance – http://www.rentersinsurance.com/