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The Complete Guide to Finding the Best Home Security System

Home security is an important topic these days. Unfortunately, a home burglary happens once every 15 seconds in the United States. This translates to a staggering 2.2 billion burglaries each year. Burglars targeting residences will mainly strike during daytime hours when they assume most homeowners are at work. Many people are surprised to learn that the main point of entry for burglars is through the front door. Deadbolt locks help a lot, but they are not enough to deter a determined burglar. A home security system can be a crucial defense against thieves. The best security system for you might take some research - but we hope this guide will help you make the right decision for your family.

What Are the Advantages of a Home Security System?

Most people purchase home security systems mainly to protect their homes from burglars. In addition to serving as an effective deterrent against property crimes, these systems can also save your home from excessive fire damage and protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. They are typically equipped with several types of sensors that can notify a team of experts of problems around the clock. This way, if you leave an appliance on and it begins to smolder, the security company can have the fire department at your house within minutes to contain any flames.

Another advantage to having this type of system installed in your home is that most insurance companies will reward you for being proactive. They do this in the form of significant discounts on your home insurance policy. These discounts can range from 2 to 20 percent and this can help to mitigate the cost of 24/7 monitoring of your home.

What Features Should I Look for in a Home Alarm System?

When it comes to deciding on a home security system, think “layered security.” Layered security is having more than one type of protection. This can include sensors on the doors and windows that trigger home alarms, alarm services that include security cameras mounted outside your residence, and motion sensors that can turn on lights and activate alarms. Glass-break sensors are also a smart addition, as many wireless sensors will not detect the shattering of glass.

Some features that you can expect the best home security system companies to provide include:

  • Control panels and keypads
  • Smoke and heat detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Motion sensors
  • Wireless window and door sensors
  • Glass break sensors
  • Pressure mats
  • Panic buttons
  • Alarmed screens for your windows
  • Video monitoring
  • Flood monitoring in your basement, bathroom and garage
  • The ability to monitor and control your system remotely

Not all of these features may be important or appeal to you. The best home security system for you is one that offers everything you want at a price you can afford. There are many home security companies out there, so there is no need to compromise and give up a feature you want just because the company you choose does not offer it.

How Do I Select the Best Home Security System Provider?

Hiring a home security system provider is easy; hiring the best home security system provider takes a bit a research. Consumer Reports recently noted that the range of services and costs among home security companies varies significantly. Because you have many options and the prices can vary greatly from company to company, it's a good idea to make careful comparisons when you shop.

  1. Assemble a list of providers near you. You may want to include both smaller, local companies and large national companies in your list.
  2. Compile a list of features that are important to you. Eliminate any companies on your list that do not offer those features.
  3. Research each of these companies online. Sites such as Consumer Reports and Angie’s List will provide unbiased reviews of the companies you are considering. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the companies you are considering are trustworthy. Eliminate any companies that are rated poorly by these sites.
  4. Research price quotes from companies on your list. Keep in mind that there may be additional, less obvious fees such is if you must pay to lease the equipment used each month or if there are added costs if the service alarm is activated.

Based on the rates, narrow you list down to three or four companies and arrange to have each of them come to your house to give you an quoted price for installation and monthly service fees.

An important factor to consider when choosing a home security system is customer support and monitoring. Customer service should be friendly and efficient and the representative who came to your home should have been knowledgeable about what the company does and does not offer.

Home security systems include round-the-clock monitoring and can range from $20 to $60 per month, depending on the company and the features and services you choose.

Beware of Hidden Costs or Pitfalls

Scams and of hidden fees may be charged by one company, but not others. For example:

  • Early termination fees: Some companies will require you to sign a contract for a given number of years. Sometimes this is required of all customers and other times it is offered as a way to get discounts or free installation. Be aware of high early termination fees that are are applicable even if you move out of the house.
  • Promises by a salesperson: Sometimes, less scrupulous sales personnel will make promises to entice you, but if these terms are not in the contract you sign, you could be locked into an agreement that isn't ideal. Be sure to get all sales agreements in writing and included with your contract.
  • Security company liability limits: If your home is broken into or damaged, your home security company may be liable for a portion of your losses. The liability limit your security company has may cover the deductible on your home insurance policy, or it may be used to cover your entire loss. Some companies have very low limits for how much liability they will pay and you may be agreeing to these low limits when you sign the contract. Be sure to ask about this and read the contract carefully.

Do Not Rely Exclusively on Your Burglar Alarm

While home security systems can alert authorities of an intruder in your home, unless you live next door to a police station, you should not expect the police to arrive instantaneously. Burglars will still have time to grab some belongings and run. This is where layered security comes in. By taking additional precautionary steps, you can minimize your risks.

Some things you can do to keep your property safe include:

  • Always lock your door when you are not at home
  • If you have an alarm system installed, be sure to use stickers on your window or signs on the lawn to alert potential burglars that you are protected
  • Even if you do not have a dog, “beware of dog” signs may give a burglar pause
  • Keep your lawn and front porch clean and well kept, so that the front door to your home is easily visible by passers-by
  • Leave a radio on and tuned to a talk station when not at home
  • When you go on vacation
  • Ask a neighbor put some garbage in your cans and put them out on collection day
  • Put in a stop mail request with the post office
  • Put some lights on timers
  • Avoid advertising that you are on vacation by posting on social networking sites
Get Peace of Mind Knowing that Your Home Is Protected

Of course, home security systems are not all created equal. The brands available to you may vary depending on your home's specifications, and it is possible that one company might better meet your budgetary and some security needs than another. The important thing is that you review everything that your prospective companies offer before making a decision about which is the best home security company for you.

Once you have chosen a home security system and install it in your home, you can breathe a little easier knowing that your family and your possessions are safely protected from the dangers of fire and theft.


Marie Watson

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 11:54am EST

Thanks for sharing some tips for finding the right security system for your home. There have been some break-ins close to my neighborhood, so I want to make sure my house is properly protected against any intruders. It is good to know that many systems will also be able to protect me and my family against fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Hopefully, I can find a reputable company to install a security system for my home so I can have some peace of mind.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 12:38pm EDT

My wife and I have talked about getting an alarm system, and I think that being able to get some tips would be helpful for us. I’m glad you talked about being able to do some research online about different alarm system companies, and read some consumer reports. I think that by doing that, we’ll be able to see what alarm system would be best for us, and which company would be best for us to work with!

Elina Brooks

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 2:13am EST

I need a security system installed for my house soon since I’ll be leaving on a 2-week business trip and I won’t get peace of mind until I’m assured that my house is well-protected while I’m away. I appreciate your advice when you told us to compile a list of features that are important to us to help us narrow down our options when looking for companies to hire for our security system installation. I’ll be sure to do as you said while I look for a service provider to hire for my security system soon.

Elle Jones

Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 3:18pm EDT

We recently relocated to a sketchy area of the city, so my husband and I are thinking about acquiring a security system to offer us some piece of mind. Making a list of the security elements that are crucial to us and removing the companies that don’t offer those characteristics would help us limit our options for a system like this, according to your article’s excellent advice. Thank you; we’ll have it in mind as we select the ideal security solution for our requirements.

Elle Jones

Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 1:34pm EDT

We recently relocated to a sketchy area of the city, so my husband and I are thinking about acquiring a security system to offer us some piece of mind. Making a list of the security elements that are crucial to us and removing the companies that don’t offer those characteristics would help us limit our options for a system like this, according to your article’s excellent advice. Thank you; we’ll have it in mind as we select the ideal security solution for our requirements.

Clare Martin

Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 5:11am EST

I’m glad you mentioned that having a home security system means we can protect our homes from burglars since they act as an effective deterrent against their crimes. I live alone in my new home in Berry since I had to be transferred here for work so I am thinking of getting alarms installed on my property soon to keep me safe from now on. I’ll take note of this while I call security services to help me out with the alarm installation I need for my home soon.

Elle Jones

Friday, February 2, 2024 at 6:00pm EST

We recently moved to an area with a high crime rate, therefore to feel more at ease, my spouse and I would want to acquire a security system. I found your advice to be quite helpful in selecting a service of this kind, especially when it mentioned considering your desired characteristics. When selecting a new security system for our house, we’ll keep things like motion sensors and video monitoring in mind in addition to the usefulness of glass-break sensors.

Elle Jones

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 9:54am EST

My spouse and I recently relocated to a dubious area of the city, and to feel more secure, we’re thinking about installing a security system. You provided some excellent advice in your post on selecting a system of this kind, and I like how you suggested that we identify the security characteristics that are most essential to us and then exclude those companies from our list of options. Thank you; we’ll have this in mind when we select the most appropriate security solution.

Max Jones

Friday, June 23, 2017 at 1:32pm EDT

My wife and I have been looking into getting network cameras installed in our home as part of a security system, and I think that looking out for hidden costs would be smart. I like that you talked about asking about early termination fees for a security system with network cameras, even if you move out of the home. I would hate to get stuck paying extra for something, so I’m going to have to make sure that we choose our network cameras carefully! Thank you!

Kyle Winters

Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 7:21pm EDT

I really like the suggestion to make a list of all the features you know you’ll want out of a security system. After all, different homes have different needs for their security and you need to keep that in mind. For example, if your house has a front gate then you might need to consider putting a sensor on that as well as your actual front door.

Moira Blythe

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 9:51am EDT

My grandmother is looking to install a home security system. I appreciate your advice that we should narrow down our search to 3-4 companies and that we should have them come to her home and talk in person about fees and services. This would be really helpful because we would be able to really see how well each system would work for her!

Duncan Lance

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 7:59pm EDT

I love that the article goes over some of the features that you should look for when choosing a security system. After all, every home security system is different and comes with a varying number of features and abilities. That means that you have to be careful when choosing one in order to make sure that you choose the best security system to meet your homes needs.

Jocelyn McDonald

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 10:26am EDT

My husband and I just moved into a neighborhood with high crime rates, and we want to get a security system to help with our peace of mind. Your article had some great tips for choosing a service like this, and I liked how you said to consider the features you want. Glass-break sensors seem like a good idea, and I also like the idea of motion sensors and video monitoring, and we’ll keep this in mind when choosing a new security system for our home.

Malia Davis

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 12:28pm EDT

I like how you said to get together a list of alarm companies in your area and include a good mix of both large and small companies. That would be helpful because then you would be able to see exactly what your options are and compare them side by side. We want to get an alarm system for our home so that we’re protected, and I want to get a local company, but wouldn’t be opposed to checking out larger companies, so we’ll have to look at both. We’ll try out what you said!

Duncan Lance

Friday, September 7, 2018 at 4:22pm EDT

If you’re going to go through the effort of choosing a security system for your home you need to be careful about which features it has. Fortunately, the article gives a pretty detailed list on some features you should look for which can be very beneficial. I particularly like that it brings up glass breaking sensors so that you can be alerted when someone tries to get in through the window.

Caden Dahl

Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 12:35am EDT

The neighborhood that I live in is a pretty safe one, but you can never be too trusting of anyone. Now I’ve been looking at adding a security system to my home for some time now, but I’ve just never found the time. I do like how you mentioned that if you are searching for one, you should make a list of the features that each one offers and compare them. That way, you can find the one that best fits your home’s needs.

Jocelyn McDonald

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 8:23am EDT

My husband and I just moved to a shady part of town, and we’re considering getting a security system to give us some peace of mind. Your article had some great tips for choosing a system like this, and I liked how you said to make a list of security features that are important to us, and then narrow down our choices of company by eliminating the ones that don’t offer those features. Thanks; we’ll keep this in mind when choosing the best security system for our needs.

Shammy Peterson

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 2:12am EDT

It sure was nice when you said that you could consider listing all the features of a security system that are important to you so you could eliminate any company that doesn’t offer your needs. This would be a good tip for licensed installers who are looking for an alarm supplier. I could imagine how creating a list of their needs could better help them find a supplier that could provide all their needs at a reasonable rate.

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