There are a lot of different options out there when you’re shopping for a home security system. It’s definitely a difficult task to select the right home security system to fit your needs. There are not only a lot of different companies out there, but there are a lot of different options that can contribute to selecting the right home security system to fit your needs. This is especially true as the industry continues to grow every day. So in order to save you some time, we went ahead and did the research for you. Here are a few of the core components that you should consider when shopping around for the right home security system.
Things to consider when shopping around for the right home security system
- Types of home alarm monitoring
- Professional versus DIY alarm installation
- Technology & home automation capabilities
- Customer experience and support
- Home security system packages
- Security system costs
- Choosing a reputable brand
Choosing the Right Home Security System: Monitoring System
The method of monitoring is the heart and soul of every home security system. It keeps you safe in the event of an emergency and ensures that your home is always protected. However, it is important to note that not all monitoring methods are created equal. There are three main types of security monitoring methods that you will want to consider: landline, broadband, and cellular.
Landline monitoring means that your system uses a phone line to connect with your monitoring center when an alarm is triggered. This was the only method of connection for ages. However, it is now considered outdated by modern security standards since it is not as secure as newer methods. On the upside, it is the least expensive option if you’re on the market for a basic security package.
This method of communication might be part of the right home security system for you if you live in a remote location that is not within reach of a cellular tower. If this is not the case for you, we would not recommend it since it is subject to tampering. In other words, a burglar can simply cut the wires to your home and leave you stranded without access to your monitoring system.
Broadband monitoring uses an internet connection to alert the monitoring center of an emergency. This type of connection is far safer and faster than a landline and is less expensive than a cellular connection. You can also add home automation features with a broadband connection. The main downside to a broadband connection is its reliability. If your internet goes out, your security system will also be without service.
In most case, you pay a little more to have a landline connection backup your broadband connection. This provides you with a great way to have the ability to include home automation features while also having a fail-safe connection to your monitoring service.
Cellular monitoring means that your security alarm system uses a cellular uplink to communicate with your monitoring service center. This is quickly becoming the industry standard since it is the most reliable connection and is far less susceptible to tampering. Furthermore, this method of connection is far faster than a landline connection and broadband and is also easier to install since it does not require any wires. The only downside to a cellular connection is that it is the most expensive. That being said, if you opt for a cellular connection, you should expect to pay a few more dollars than you would for landline or broadband monitoring.
It is also worth noting that some home security companies only offer 100% cellular services. If this is the case, it is vital that you make sure that you live in an area with strong cellular coverage.
Choosing the Right Home Security System: Installation Process
One of the most important things to consider when looking for the right home security system is the installation process. We have outlined the key differences between DIY and professional installation. Both methods have their respective pros & cons. However, the decision is ultimately yours based on personal preference and needs. For instance, if you live in a remote location and need a landline connection, you’ll likely need to go the professional installation route. However, if you’re a renter, you’ll likely opt for a cellular connection, which is easy to install on your own.
With DIY installation, you have the benefit of having 100% control over the entire installation process. You get to decide where to install the sensors and devices. Furthermore, you decide how to piece everything together. Most DIY installation systems are wireless, simple to install and take anywhere from 40 minutes to a couple of hours. In the event that you get stuck at any point in the installation process, you can always call support and have a technician walk you through the process. One of the best parts about DIY installations is that they’re 100% free, so you end up saving big time on the up-front costs.
If you opt for the professional installation route, then you can plan on sitting back and relaxing. With professional installation, a professional technician takes care of the entire process from start to finish. The technician will assess the layout of your home, place sensors and other devices in optimal locations, and address any questions or problems. Furthermore, you’ll have the added comfort that comes with knowing that everything was done right the first time around. The two things that you’ll want to consider with the professional installation option are the fees associated with the service and the time that it will take. You might want to set aside a few hours to a full day for your scheduled appointment.
Choosing the Right Home Security System: Technology
Transforming your home into a smart home make your life a whole lot easier. Home automation features give you an added sense of control and provide a general sense of convenience. You can literally do anything, including, but not limited to turning your lights on and off, locking and unlocking your doors, and adjusting the temperature with your smartphone, tablet and computer. Most technologically advanced security systems will also connect with smart devices such as Nest, Alexa, and If This Then That (IFTTT) applications, among others, to give you even more control over your home.
In most cases, you’ll need to purchase a higher tier package if you want to add these types of features to your home. However, you can always start with a basic package and upgrade to a higher price point option at a later date. If you’re considering at a later point, make sure the security system you choose has all the capabilities you may want in the future. This will save you the hassle of having to switch provider and potentially pay early termination fees.
Choosing the Right Home Security System: Customer Experience
Great customer experience has the power to make you feel confident in a product or service. When you’re considering different security systems, make sure to pay attention to their customer service ratings. Check out sites like Consumer Affairs and Best Company to see what others have to say about the company you’re considering. Once you have a general idea, get some firsthand experience by giving the company a call and speaking with a rep for yourself. Take note of the small things – how detailed is the representative when answering questions, how patient are they on the phone, how willing are they to find the information that you need?
Having a security system is typically a long-term investment, so you want to feel comfortable with the company’s customer service approach. Your alarm system is also a critical part of your home’s safety, so you’ll want to pick a company that has attentive, knowledgable, and caring representatives.
Choosing the Right Home Security System: Package Prices & Features
Purchasing a home security system is a big investment. When you’re researching your different pricing options, make sure to keep these five common fees in mind:
- Monthly Fee
- Activation Fee
- Service Fee
- Relocation Fee
- Cancellation Fee
These charges will vary based on the company and package that you select, so you may want to create a spreadsheet to track the differences between each brand.
There are also companies that let you lease or own your equipment. Both options have their benefits, but it’s another thing to factor into your final decision. If you purchase your equipment, you can reuse it on your own or with another company. Whereas if you lease it, it’s typically a lower up-front cost, because the equipment fee is rolled into the monthly payment.
Finding the right home security system depends on your needs. If you want a basic alarm monitoring system without the bells & whistles, then a basic introductory package makes sense. You’ll get the monitoring that you need without the added expense that comes with extra features. If you’re looking for a middle of the road option that allows you to check in on your home while you’re away, then you’ll need web and mobile access capabilities with email and text notifications. These capabilities typically come with a mid-tier package. Lastly, if you’re looking to add home automation features, as well as streaming live video from indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras, you’ll likely want to consider a higher-end package.
Choosing the Right Home Security System for Your Needs
Now that you know what to look for in the right home security system for your needs, it’s time to pick a system that best fits your needs. If you’re ready to start your own research, there’s no better time than the present to get in touch with one of Protect America’s security experts. Give them a call today at 1-800-951-5111 or you can always build & price your system.