Companies in the home alarm system industry like to tell you that “they’re the best,” or that you can only receive a certain “special” offer from them. Unfortunately, these claims are usually false. With 10,000 companies in the U.S. alone, the home security market is incredibly crowded, making sorting through options more than a little overwhelming. Fortunately, there are resources that are now available online to help you – it’s just a matter of looking in the right places. There are quite a few places to look though, so where should you begin?
Hardwired or Wireless – What Security System to Choose?
The first question you should ask is this: Why is wireless safer? To be fair, having a hardwired security system is better than having no system, but a wireless home security system holds many advantages over a wired one.
The safest security systems are 100% wireless, meaning that along with wireless sensors, the system also communicates wirelessly with the monitoring station via a cellular chip. If the system is not using a cellular connection, it is relying on either a phone line or a broadband internet connection. These wires can easily be cut by a burglar or rendered useless when the power goes out. In comparison, a wireless security system uses the same means of communication as your cell phone. Just like a cell phone, there are no wires to worry about and a power outage will not affect the system’s communication.
A lot of alarm companies will try to offer what sounds like a wireless security system, but it won’t have a cellular chip. It will actually just be a hardwired system with wireless sensors. Don’t fall for their tricks and make sure to ask for a 100% wireless system. Also, check to see if they charge extra for the cellular communication. There are a few companies, such as FrontPoint Security, that only offer 100% wireless systems. If you want a safer security system, make sure you choose wireless.
Now that you know why a wireless security system is safer, it’s time to consider other factors: Pricing, monthly monitoring, and most importantly, customer service. So where should you begin your search?
Professional Review Sites: Home Security System Reviews
There are numerous sites that focus on reviewing home security systems, and nothing else. A Secure Life and Security System Reviews give out awards every year to the companies they deem the best in the industry. They look at all aspects of a company, from the performance of the security system itself to the level of customer service.
Thankfully, as wireless security systems become more prominent, more security system review sites have sections for just wireless alarm systems. The aforementioned Security System Reviews has a list for their Best Wireless Home Security Systems. Similarly, Alarm System Report also has a ranking of their Best Wireless Alarm Systems.
Reviews and Testimonials Sites: Where Customers Share Their Home Alarm Experience
Professional reviews are great sources of information, but some customers may want reviews with a personal touch. More than ever, customers want to hear what their peers are saying about a restaurant, movie, or book. Home security companies are no exception, as customers have voiced their personal experiences across multiple sites. Yelp, Consumer Affairs and Angie’s List are just a few examples of these places. Many customers go into great detail with their feedback, which can exceed the quality of a professional review.
When looking at customer reviews, it’s a good idea to look at both the good and bad reviews. If a company has a large number of negative reviews, try to find out why. There will probably a common theme as to why customers are dissatisfied.
Accreditation Sites: Meeting Home Security Industry Standards
Another great resource is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB does not review the actual security systems; they look at how a business operates. If a business meets a strict set of guidelines set by the BBB, they are awarded accreditation and a high rating. Taking a look at BBB ratings is a great way to see how a home security company handles business with its customers. The best feature the BBB offers is that it shows if there are any legal actions being taken against a company. The home security industry has many companies with questionable business practices, so use the BBB to filter them out of your search.
The Home Security System Review Checklist
With so many features and options available on security systems, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you’re looking for. A great way to break things down is to create a checklist and to see how companies compare in each category. Here are a few things you should be looking for:
- Hardwired or wireless? Cellular?
- Type of sensors available
- Environmental sensors
- Reliability of equipment
Pricing and Fees
- Cost of equipment
- Monthly monitoring fee
- Terms of contract
- Types of features available
- Mobile apps
- Online capabilities
- Safety features – Crash and Smash
- Home automation
Ease of Use
- Ease of installation
- Quality of customer service
- Time of response to an alarm
Finding a home security company that will fit your needs can be a difficult process, so use all available resources to help. Take your time and don’t rush into a decision. Make sure to get a wireless system and check the reviews. Peace of mind will come when you make a choice you are comfortable with.