security

Best home security systems 2020 – Techradar


Why a home security system is important

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Having the right home security system is crucial for ensuring you, your property, and any valuable possessions are properly protected against theft and vandalism. However, there is a huge range of security systems on the market today, which can make it very hard to know which option to choose. We can help you find the best home security system for your home and your family. Read on to find out more.

To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve analyzed numerous systems to bring you the following list of the best home security systems available in 2020. This includes options fit for every budget, as well as different types of systems with various components. 

Basically, different home security systems include different elements. Some come with simple CCTV and security camera surveillance, while others include motion and/or intrusion alarms. Some even include 24/7 monitoring by the security company so that intrusions can be dealt with as soon as possible. 

The bottom line: Following our extensive testing, we found that the following five home security systems offer the best combination of security, reliability, and affordability.

What you need to know

Should I really install a home security system? 

If you’re even considering installing a home security system, you probably know that the answer to this question is yes. In general, a home security system is a strong deterrent to burglars and other criminals, with research showing that the vast majority will intentionally avoid properties with visible security systems. 

Does my home security system need to include CCTV monitoring? 

Not all home security systems include CCTV or home security cameras, but we highly recommend choosing one that does. For starters, the simple fact of having visible security cameras is often enough to deter prospective burglars. On top of this, it’s important to have evidence of break-ins or vandalism if they do occur, both for insurance reasons and to help the authorities catch the perpetrator. 

Are monitored alarm systems worth paying extra for? 

If you can afford to pay a little extra for a professionally monitored home security system, we’d highly recommend doing so. Although self-monitored systems do work, if someone has an eye on your property 24/7/365, it means it will be protected at all times, even when you’re on holiday, at work, asleep, or otherwise occupied. 

Will installing a security system affect my home insurance? 

Yes, in many cases, installing a security system will lower your insurance premiums. This won’t always be the case, though, so we’d recommend speaking to your insurance provider to find out more. 

Should I install a home security system in my rental house? 

If you’re worried about the safety of you or your family, you should consider installing a home security system in your rental property. Be sure to speak with your real estate agent and/or landlord before doing so to ensure you’re not breaching your contract, but in most cases, you will be well within your rights to install some form of home security. 

What features should I consider adding to my home security system? 

Some home security systems are highly customizable, which means you can add and remove elements as required. If possible, you should include some sort of video, motion, and unwanted entry monitoring. You may also add things like glass break detectors, door sensors, wireless cameras, and monitored alarms. Speak to your provider about exactly what it offers.

What does a home security system cost?

The cost of home security systems is highly variable and generally depends on the hardware and type of monitoring you go for. At the lower end of the spectrum, home security hardware can cost anywhere from around $99. However, more advanced systems can cost well in excess of $1000. 

Additionally, you will generally have to pay some sort of monthly fee if you want to take advantage of a company’s professional monitoring services. Some companies charge as little as $9 per month, although most of our top options start from around $40 per month for basic monitoring.

Get a quote for a home security system

How we review home security systems

In order to review the home security systems listed below, we conducted both in-depth research and hands-on testing. Many components included in the best home security systems have been purchased and tested by members of our team. These include cameras, motion sensors, break-in sensors, and more. 

In addition, we scoured the web and analyzed countless online reviews by both customers and security industry professionals to ensure that the most accurate information has been provided below.

Home security companies comparison table

Monitoring Support Contract App Customizability
SimpliSafe Professional or self-monitored Phone + email Not required iOS + Android Limited
Vivint Smart Home Professional or self-monitored Phone + live chat Monthly subscription iOS + Android Highly customizable
ADT Home Security Systems Professionally monitored Phone Monthly or long-term iOS + Android Limited
Frontpoint Home Security Professionally monitored Phone, email, + online Monthly iOS + Android Limited
Verisure Professional or self-monitored Phone + email Three-year minimum iOS + Android Highly customizable

Best home security systems reviews

SimpliSafe — Best for affordable whole-home protection

Best home security systems 2020

(Image credit: SimpliSafe)

Monitoring: Professional or self-monitored | Support: Phone & email | Contract: No lock-in contract | App: iOS & Android | Customizability: Limited 

For
Fast and easy to install and set up
No lock-in contracts

Against
Can be a little expensive
Camera quality isn’t amazing

SimpliSafe is a popular home security brand offering a selection of powerful security systems. It uses wireless technology, which makes it very easy to install and set up, and all systems can be monitored by the Simplisafe team. 

On top of this, all users benefit from no lock-in contracts, which means that you can cancel your subscription at any time. And, with prices for professional monitoring starting from just $0.50 per day, the company’s low-end solutions are very affordable. 

SimpliSafe offers five starter kit options, which means you will have plenty of choices. The cheapest Foundation Kit costs just $229. It includes an entry sensor, a motion sensor, a base station, and a keypad, which is essentially all you need for basic monitoring. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the Haven Kit costs $489 and gets you the same as the Foundation Kit, along with three more entry sensors, an extra motion sensor, freeze, water, and smoke detectors, a key fob, and a 105dB siren. 

Overall, SimpliSafe is our number one home security system because of its exceptional service, lack of contracts for professional monitoring, and impressive hardware. 

Read our full SimpliSafe overview.

Vivint Smart Home — Best for flexible security systems

Best home security systems 2020

(Image credit: Vivint)

Monitoring: Professional or self-monitored | Support: Phone & live chat | Contract: Monthly | App: iOS & Android | Customizability: Highly customizable 

For
Huge range of sensors and other hardware
Powerful outdoor camera

Against
Professional monitoring is expensive
Requires costly professional installation

Vivint Smart Home is one of the most popular home security systems available, and for good reason. It uses a range of ultra-modern hardware to deliver high-quality home security solutions, along with smart technology designed to integrate with Google Home and Alexa devices (among others). 

Although Vivint doesn’t openly advertise its prices, customer reports suggest that they are relatively high. However, the good news is that you can customize your security package to meet your needs, with everything from high-quality cameras to a range of sensors and other detection systems available. 

One of the most noteworthy things about the Vivint Smart Home system is its 1080p HD video recording. This provides some of the highest-quality footage we’ve seen, and it can be used with both internal and external cameras. 

And finally, you can monitor your system through a mobile app (which can be accessed with a monthly subscription), smart security panel, or directly through your Google Home or Alexa devices. You can also opt for professional 24/7 monitoring, although reports suggest that this is quite expensive.

Read our full Vivint Smart Home overview.

ADT Home Security Systems — Best for simple, reliable service

Best home security systems 2020

(Image credit: ADT)

Monitoring: 24/7 Professional | Support: Phone | Contract: Monthly or long-term | App: iOS & Android | Customizability: Limited 

For
High-tech smart hardware
Great management app available

Against
No self-monitored options
Professional installation is required

ADT Home Security Systems has been in the security business for over 140 years and, unsurprisingly, continues to be one of the leading home security system providers in the world. It offers a great selection of professionally monitored solutions, although some people will miss the lack of self-monitored options. 

Unfortunately, though, ADT Home Security is one of the more expensive companies out there. Its hardware tends to be quite high priced, and you will be forced to pay for professional installation. On top of this, it charges upwards of $40 per month for security system monitoring, which is significantly higher than the prices of many of its competitors. 

However, we did particularly like ADT’s integrations with smart devices. Its systems are compatible with Alexa, along with a range of other devices including smart thermostats, smart light bulbs, and garage door openers. 

Overall, you could certainly do worse than using ADT Home Security, especially if you just want a set-and-forget solution that you know you can rely on. 

Read our full ADT Home Security Systems overview.

Frontpoint Home Security — Best for simple wireless security

Best home security systems 2020

(Image credit: Frontpoint)

Monitoring: Professionally monitored  | Support: Phone, email & online | Contract: Monthly | App: iOS & Android | Customizability: Limited  

For
DIY setup options available
Highly affordable low-end hardware packages

Against
No self-monitored options available
Expensive monthly subscriptions

Frontpoint is an extremely popular home security system provider offering a wide range of hardware packages. All packages come with 24/7 professional monitoring and impressive customer support, and they can be installed without professional assistance. 

On top of this, Frontpoint offers hardware packages from just $99 per month, although prices increase as more components are added to your system. Unfortunately, though, you will have to pay at least $44.99 per month for ongoing monitoring. Self-monitoring isn’t an option, which means Frontpoint definitely won’t be suited to everyone. 

Finally, Frontpoint is backed by impressive customer service and a powerful smartphone app. Get in contact with the support team via phone, email, or online contact form, and they will get back to you as soon as possible. The app is available on iOS and Android, and it enables you to control connected devices, arm and disarm the system, and receive notifications about the system status. 

Read our full Frontpoint Home Security overview.

Verisure — Best for European homeowners

Best home security systems 2020

(Image credit: Verisure)

Monitoring: Self or professionally monitored | Support: Phone & email | Contract: Three-year minimum | App: iOS & Android | Customizability: Highly customizable 

For
High-quality security monitoring across Europe
Extremely fast responses to issues

Against
Prices aren’t openly advertised
Professional monitoring can be expensive

Verisure offers high-quality home security systems and professional monitoring across a range of selected European and South American countries. It’s one of the best choices for residents of the UK, and it’s known for its rapid responses and high-quality hardware. 

If you decide to use Verisure, you will have a choice of self-monitored and professionally monitored systems, although the professionally monitored option can be expensive. Prices aren’t openly advertised, which means you will have to request a quote if you want to know how much it will cost you. However, reports suggest that it is slightly more pricey than some competitors. 

In saying that, you usually get what you pay for with home security systems. For example, you will be able to take advantage of an obligation-free consultation with a Verisure representative before you enter a contract. The company uses a fog-based alarm system designed to impair intruders while the authorities are waiting to attend, and the rest of its hardware is great as well.

10 best features of home security

Intruder alarms: Any security system that’s worth using should include some sort of burglar or intruder alarm. In higher-end systems, these may be connected to your security company’s central monitoring hub, allowing it to respond rapidly if the alarm is triggered. In others, it may just make a loud noise to alert you and anyone else in the vicinity. 

Entry sensors: These are designed to alert you and/or your security company any time your property is breached. 

Motion sensors: A motion sensor will trigger your alarm system if an intruder manages to gain entry to your property without triggering your entry sensors. 

Cameras: Security cameras are a great tool for those who need to monitor what is happening around their property. 

Control panel: All top-end security systems should come with a central control panel that allows you to monitor and manage your system. 

Apps: In general, a complete home security system will come with an app that’s designed for you to monitor your property remotely. 

Smart integration features: These allow you to connect your security system with smart home devices like Google Home and Alexa. 

Wireless technology: Most modern security systems are based on some sort of wireless technology, which means you won’t have to worry about your system being compromised if an intruder cuts your wires. 

Video doorbell: Another common feature among high-quality modern security systems is a security doorbell, which allows you to see who is at your door without opening and potentially exposing yourself to danger. 

Flood, fire, and other sensors: These are designed to monitor your property and notify you if an accident occurs.

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