In the U.S., burglaries occur approximately once every 14 seconds. Homes without monitored alarm systems are three times more likely to be targeted by crooks than protected homes. If you’re thinking of getting a home security system, you have over 13,000 alarm companies to choose from. How will you sort through the mountains of marketing claims to determine which is actually the best home security company?
The Best Home Security Features
Wireless and Cellular
If you’re shopping for home security, start by determining which features are important to you. First, choose between traditional systems and the newer wireless variety. This decision may be fairly easy. Wireless is hugely popular in home security these days, because wireless technology offers many advantages over the traditional hard-wired approach.
Wireless security sensors communicate with the alarm system control unit over a wireless frequency. Setting up this type of equipment requires no drilling or complicated connections – which means it’s easy, and you don’t end up with holes in your walls. You can set up the system yourself, at your own convenience, without having to schedule (and wait on) a professional installer. Why bring strangers into your house if you don’t have to? With the flexibility of wireless, you can move or add sensors any time. Best, of all, you skip the installation charge!
Wireless systems offer:
- DIY (do-it-yourself) setup
- Time savings
- Money savings
The other type of security technology associated with wireless home security is cellular monitoring. The best home security system will have cellular monitoring as well as wireless equipment. With this type of alarm system, you get a cellular radio device built into the control unit. The system uses this device to signal for help in emergencies, communicating with a central monitoring station over a secure cellular network, rather than using your landline phone or internet connection.
This cellular communication is critical because both phone and internet lines are vulnerable. Burglars can bring down a wired security system simply by snipping the lines with wire-cutters. Power outages and weather can also affect phone and internet service. Do you want to be rebooting your modem during a break-in? No? Then we recommend the built-in safety of a cellular system. We think you’ll appreciate the extra reliability and peace of mind. And if you don’t have a landline – no problem!
Although many alarm companies now offer wireless equipment, don’t assume that means they offer cellular monitoring. Make sure you’re getting both. The best home security companies will not charge extra for cellular monitoring – watch out for those who do, and make sure you count those charges when calculating your total expenditure.
Many of today’s best alarm systems also include advanced features to fit the demands of a mobile, interactive lifestyle. If you’re looking for a security system you can access and control from the road, be sure your security provider offers cutting-edge features, including free mobile apps, video security cameras, instant alert notification, home automation, an online customer portal and a variety of customization options. These features will give you mobility, knowledge and control. You should be able to access your home security via virtually any device that can connect to the internet – a computer, tablet or smartphone. Sensor-triggered alerts will keep you looped in, via email or text. If a window breaks, or the power goes out, you’ll know it. If your child gets home, opens a medicine cabinet, or throws a party, you’ll know it. Unique user access codes tell you who entered your house and when.
Video Security Systems
Seeing is believing, right? The best-equipped home security systems let you monitor your home via live streaming video, anytime, from anywhere. Usually this type of service includes motion-activated alerts. Anytime the camera detects motion, it will trigger a 15-second video clip, which you will receive via email. You can opt to view the clip immediately, or at your convenience.
Video security cameras let you see inside specific rooms, your backyard or your driveway. Video is a great deterrent to crime, as crooks rarely want their faces “on TV.” Many home security customers also like to use video cameras to keep an eye on pets and children. For the easiest setup and operation, choose a security system that includes wireless video cameras.
The Best Customer Reviews for Home Security
Every company claims to be good at what they do. So, when you’re searching for the best home security, we recommend that you turn to reliable, third-party reports. These reports can give you unbiased, real-life feedback from other customers, and from industry experts.
Luckily, you have several of these reliable resources available in the security industry. The BBB (Better Business Bureau) also accredits and rates companies of all kinds, maintaining stringent guidelines for integrity and performance. The best home security company should be accredited by the BBB. In addition to receiving high customer praise, the best home security companies should also be lacking negative reviews. Check out sites such as Complaints.com or RipOffReport.com.
No matter what kind of product you’re buying, you expect extraordinary customer service. The comments and ratings posted by customers on review sites will show you which companies consistently provide superior levels of service. Choose the company that scores top marks with regularity on community sites such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Epinions, Yahoo Local and CitySearch.