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Home Security Systems: Compare and Review

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Top Home Security Systems

Thinking of home security? Here are our top picks. Read our expert review to find out why they are the best in class.

Here are the top security systems you should not ignore:

In this article, we will detail about what homeowners like you need to know when shopping for home security and alarm systems and compare the top systems so you know what’s best for protecting your home.

What to Look for in a Home Security System

Security systems come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which one is best for you. Here are the key areas to pay attention to when evaluating your options.

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 Protect AmericaFrontpointVivint
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Home Security
Customer Service
Mobile App
Yard Sign
Home Automation


Like most other things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to home security systems. A simple alarm setup could cost you just a hundred dollars upfront if you are up to doing the monitoring from your own smartphone. On the other end of the spectrum, a complete security system with cameras, sensors and around-the-clock monitoring will require a monthly investment and possibly a multi-year contract.

Tip: If your biggest consideration is price, consider a provider like Protect America, our top choice alarm system for value. Plans start at just $19.99/month. You install the system yourself, receive a bunch of equipment upfront at no cost, and your monthly bill can be significantly lower than their competitors.

Customer Service

Online customer reviews can help you find out how the alarm company you are considering stands up to the competition. You can also check with your local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints filed. Be sure to ask friends and neighbors about their experience, too. Word of mouth goes a long way towards getting a sense of how a company operates after you have become a customer.

Tip: Check out our FrontPoint review to learn why we think their customer service is outstanding.

Installation: Professional vs. DIY

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Some home security providers offer wireless do-it-yourself systems. You will save money since you won’t need a professional to come to your house to get your system up and running.

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If a self-install does not sound like your thing, do not fret. Many companies will come out and install your system, but it’s probably going to cost you more.

Tip: If you want professional installation, ADT or Vivint will send a technician to your house to install your system. Otherwise, many consumers now opt for the do-it-yourself route, which is usually wireless and requires no drilling.

Types of Monitoring Connections

Most home security systems include 24/7 monitoring that notifies law enforcement at the first sign of a potential emergency, even if you are unavailable. However, it’s up to you to choose the type of connection that’s best for you. Your options include:

  • Landlines (popular but risky because thieves can cut the cord, leaving you unprotected)
  • Broadband (uses an Internet connection so it’s safer than a landline)
  • Cellular (uses cell towers and is comparable in price to broadband)

Did you know: FrontPoint is 100% cellular while Protect America lets you choose the technology to match your budget.

Security Cameras

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Whether you are home or not, video surveillance ensures no activity goes unnoticed. You can see if the cat has knocked your plant off the table or if a bad guy is the culprit.

Did you know: You could always skip the cost of live security cameras and install fake ones. The appearance of a surveillance system, even if it is just a camera showing a red dot, can be a huge deterrent for would-be intruders.

Mobile Access

Modern alarm systems allow you control many aspects of your system from your mobile device – you can arm and disarm, receive alerts, and even control lights, small appliances, and locks remotely. This means that no matter where you are, you will have control and a connection to your home.

Make sure you look over all the details as this is one area where many fancy marketing words can become confusing. Make sure you know what your actual system capabilities will be. If a home security system will be a big priority for you, make sure you understand what you’re getting and how much control you’ll actually have.

Home Automation

If you’re always on the go, home automation may be ideal for you. This technology allows you to schedule and remotely manage your thermostat, lights, small appliances and locks.

This is a recent offering in the home security realm and one way companies are trying to set themselves apart. First, figure out what you want to be able to control when you are away and then see which companies most closely align with what you are looking for.

Contract / Terms and Conditions

It’s easy to get excited at the idea of not having to pay for equipment. But watch out for hidden terms and conditions in your contract. Most companies lock you into a 3-year contract. SimpliSafe, on the other hand, requires no contract and lets you cancel anytime.

However, if you plan to stay in your house for at least 3 years, it might not be an issue for you.

Tip for renters: A wireless system means it can move it with you. If you decide to go with a hardwire system instead, make sure to check with your landlord to see if it's OK before installing.

Watch Out for Scams

Beware of fraudsters who travel from door-to-door posing as sales representatives. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), common signs of a security system scam include:

  • High-pressure sales tactics to get you to “act now”
  • False claims about recent burglaries in the area
  • An offer to upgrade your existing system
  • An invitation to continue coverage because your company recently shut its doors

If faced with any of these scenarios, shut the door and immediately notify your security provider.

Bottom Line

Deciding on a new home security system is a balancing act between what you want and what you can afford. What are your priorities and what are just nice-to-haves? And what things you don’t want anything to do with (for many, multi-year contracts hit this mark)? Can you handle a DIY installation or would you rather leave it to the pros? Are you determined to have round-the-clock monitoring (the costliest option) or could you make do with other ways to deter would-be intruders?

You do not want to spend more on your new system than you have to. Do some comparison shopping - we recommend comparing at least three providers—and it’ll become clear which one deserves the right to watch over your home.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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About CreditDonkey
CreditDonkey is a home security comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.

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