As crime rates rise in America, more consumers are choosing to protect themselves with home security systems. Residential burglary resulted in an estimated $4.8 billion in lost property in 2011* and we’d all like to avoid being part of that statistic. But, considering all the alarm companies out there – with their “special offers” and wide-sweeping marketing claims – how can you decide which home security system is really the best?
Home Security Consumer Reports – Learn from Experience
If you’ve never owned a home security system, you don’t have personal experience to fall back on. But many people do. Thousands of homeowners and renters just like you have taken the step toward protecting their homes, and they can provide a wealth of knowledge.
You probably already use review websites when you’re selecting a restaurant or hotel. Many of these sites can also lead you to the best security systems. You can find detailed customer reviews describing everything from the home security shopping experience to system setup, to the special features their alarm company provides. Customers also share feedback on the level of service they receive. Some of this feedback may be negative, which can be as useful as a positive recommendation. If you see a lot of negative comments about a company’s customer service, you probably want to look for a different provider.
Consumer reports aren’t the only good resource. The home security industry has many reputable and educational websites, providing data ranging from the habits of burglars to rankings of the best home security companies. Of course the BBB (Better Business Bureau) is a classic resource and should be included in your pre-purchase research. A quick visit to their website will tell you which home security companies are accredited, what grade they earn (A- or C+, for example) and whether or not complaints are filed. For additional information on complaints, check out sites like RipOffReport.com and Complaints.com.
Characteristics of the Best Home Security Systems
So what specifics do reviewers share about home security systems? Our study of reviews across a multitude of consumer resources revealed the following common themes:
- Cellular monitoring is safer
- Wireless is the way to go – for simplicity, convenience and flexibility
- Mobile apps give you security on the go
- DIY security systems are easier than you think, and will save you money
- Good customer service is critical
For Safety – Go Cellular
The most savvy customer reviews distinguish between wireless security equipment and cellular monitoring. Both are considered essential in the best home security systems. In past decades, alarm systems connected through your landline phone, to communicate with the monitoring station. Newer systems promoted by the cable companies communicate through your internet connection. Unfortunately, neither of these monitoring connections is reliable. Burglars have learned to cut phone lines, knowing that when the connection is severed, your alarm system can’t signal for help. And who feels comfortable basing their home safety on an internet connection? Customers and experts alike agree that cellular monitoring provides the safest, most reliable form of home security. There are no wires for burglars to cut and the cellular connection is much less vulnerable to bad weather and power outages.
Wireless Home Security
Customers confirm that wireless equipment – wireless security sensors, video cameras, etc. – is a must-have component of a good alarm system. Wireless security is easier to set up and less “invasive” in the home, because, unlike traditional hard-wired equipment, it does not require drilling holes in the walls. The equipment is small, discreet and portable. If you move, you can easily pack up the wireless equipment and take it with you to the next house, instead of leaving your security investment behind.
Mobile Apps – for the Best in Interactive Security
You will find hundreds of reviews that mention iPhone security apps and other interactive, mobile features. Today’s best home security systems are accessible from the road, from a variety of smartphone or tablet devices. Mobile apps let you arm, disarm and customize your security system remotely. They also keep you informed by text or email alerts, updating you on any security-related activity at your house. The best home security systems also include advanced, cutting-edge features such as live video monitoring and home automation.
DIY Home Security – the New Trend
Since wireless sensors don’t require hard-wired connections, you can set up a wireless home security system yourself, and not have to worry about scheduling a technician appointment and bringing strangers into your house. In reviews, customers tell us that although they were intimidated by the DIY approach at first, it turned out to be a breeze. One lady said, “It’s so easy, my husband could do it.” Another gentleman remarked, “I am far from ‘techie,’ but this setup could not have been easier.” The trend toward DIY has definitely taken hold in the home security world, as customers shy away from complicated, time-consuming installations – and expensive installation charges.
The Best Customer Service
Of course, with any purchase, you want to work with a company that treats you right. Home security reviews provide great feedback about which alarm companies are truly customer-oriented. Since a home security system is a big investment, and involves new technologies, choose a security company that focuses on information and guidance, with the patience to answer all your questions. You definitely don’t want a hard-sell. Ultimately, the best home security company is the one you can trust.
* Source: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/property-crime/property-crime