There are plenty of solutions for home security, but which are the best? We did all the hard work for you!
Like all things technology touches, home security systems are evolving. There is still a need (and thus, a market) for traditional monitored security solutions from specialist companies, but many homeowners are moving to a more hands-on security setup. A big part of the reason why is the availability of excellent products that a homeowner can install and set up alone. Easy to use, and more importantly, easy to get it "right" products make installing a security system yourself a breeze.
You'll find complete turn-key systems that only require you to place them where needed and connect them as well as more modular and DIY systems using smart solutions like SmartThings. Properly installed and tested these products can provide all the security you need. Having said that, they need to be properly set up and installed and there are always risks involved — and you'll be assuming those risks yourself if you eschew a traditional setup from a licensed professional company.
We've taken a look at the home security system market and here are the best home security systems you can buy today.
Fortress Security offers an excellent starter kit with the S03-B Home and Business Security System. It contains everything you need to detect break-ins and movement and properly warn you and the authorities.
The kit consists of a central panel that controls and monitors the peripherals, with up to six numbers to call when triggered. You'll also find a loud (130 decibel) alarm and an outdoor siren, three key fobs to control the system, RFID tags for quick disarming, and a full range of motion sensors and door/window contacts. There's also a panic button for those just in case moments we hope never happen.
This is a hardwired system that needs a 120-volt connection (it has its own battery backup). There are no monthly service fees and no cloud capabilities, but the ability to use programmable NFC tags makes this system smart enough to get on our list. It's also a steal at $170.
SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security
SimpliSafe offers a great wireless smart security system for just about every home. A SimpliSafe system starts with a base station that monitors all the sensors and keeps you connected to SimpliSafe's service through the internet — with cellular backup in case Wi-Fi goes down — and a keypad to interface with the system itself. From there, you add motion and entry sensors as well as any alarm sirens you might need to fit your space.
One great thing is that all the monitoring and control is done through the base station, so if the keypad is disabled, the system is still active. A second great thing is that it's all wireless and installation is quick and painless. You can round out the system with products like an HD video camera with live viewing capability or carbon monoxide/smoke alarms. Bundled with the SimpliSafe app you can monitor almost everything to make sure your home stays safe.
SimpliSafe's features depend on a $15 monthly service contract. It offers 24/7 monitoring and police dispatch as well as connecting to the SimpliSafe app on your phone. Without the service contract, you'll only have local alarms. SimpliSafe systems start at $235 for a base, keypad, keychain remote and two sensors.
Nest is well known for its great smart thermostats, but the company also makes top-notch home security products.
A basic system comes with a Nest Guard base, two Nest Detects, and two Nest Tags. The Nest Guard includes a keypad to arm and disarm the system. (You also can do so with your phone.) Nest Secure products are wireless and integrate with Nest's cameras and Google Assistant which makes them "extra smart" through actions or IFTTT integration.
You'll want a service contract to use Nest Secure and there are two options. The first is $50 a year (or $5 per month) and is a cellular backup option that will keep the system connected to the Nest service and the Nest app should your home internet go down. The second option starts at $25 per month and offers full-service professional 24/7 monitoring through MONI (Brinks). Nest Secure isn't a cheap option, but it's easy to install, works great, and is fully modular.
SmartThings ADT Wireless Home Security
If you want the ultimate custom DIY security system, SmartThings partnering with ADT means you can have it. SmartThings is a Samsung-owned smart home platform that has an almost endless selection of sensors and smart switches as well as smart products like lamps or outlets. It's also Zigbee and Z-Wave-compatible so custom devices can be integrated. The ADT SmartThings Hub take this to the next level.
The ADT Smart hub works as a SmartThings hub and also connects to ADT's 24/7 professional monitoring service for a monthly fee. You can interact with the system through several different apps from SmartThings or ADT, and it's fully integrated with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and the Apple Watch. When they say smart, they mean smart.
You can connect a SmartThings ADT hub into your existing SmartThings network or use it stand-alone and connect motion and entry sensors. A great starter kit comes with the hub and three sensors for just $399.
Wink Lookout Smart Security Essentials
If you want a simpler but still custom DIY home security solution, Lookout Security's Wink integration might be perfect.
The starter kit comes with a Wink2 hub, three sensors, and an alarm/chime. This will connect through the Wink app on your phone and is ready to pair with hundreds of other Wink ready products like door locks, cameras, thermostats and more to provide a full home monitoring solution. It's more than a security system — it's also a great way to get started with Wink smart products.
A starter kit is $199 and is easy to install with wireless connections to every component.
What's your pick?
Do you have a smart home security system installed? Let us know what you like and don't like.