Introducing the Best Home Security Systems for your Home or similar premises that you think could be at risk. This website mainly involves DIY (Do-It-Yourself) systems. When it comes to buying a new Home security system, it can be a bit confusing, particularly if you are not familiar with all the technology and terminology associated with the product. It is even more difficult to search for a new security system, because there are so many different brands and companies out there, all claiming that they provide the best. That is why we have done hours of extensive research to find the best security systems that are out there — we do not promote brands that have middling or poor reviews, but the best systems, at affordable prices.
However, please keep in mind that even the high-end “best” systems cannot guarantee absolute satisfaction for every user — but we have put in the work to satisfy your security needs. We concentrate on DIY and home monitoring systems, as well as keep on top of the latest technological advances. Home security companies are embracing and creating the latest technological advances in security, and we don’t want you to miss out!
Have you always interested in buying and installing a home security system in your home, but have been wary of the costs and alterations it might cause? We understand that this might be a big step for you and that you need to be informed of not just the benefits, but also how it will change your home forever.
What makes up a Home Security System?
Each of these individual entities makes up the home security system–the sensors that you place in the interior and exterior of your home, work together to inform the control panel (which will sound the alarm) when anything is breached when it is not supposed to be. Control panels not only are connected to the sensors, but also to the home monitoring company, in case of the alarm going off. Generally, these control panels are easily programmed, and you can choose to either use voice commands and/or passcode. Key fobs, where you simply turn the alarm off with the push of a button are also becoming very popular.
Home Security System Costs
Sometimes you have to pay an activation fee to turn your home security system on, sometimes not. It all depends on the individual company.
If you want to save on costs, the best thing for you to do would be to buy all of your equipment, monitoring services, and installation from the same company. This also has the added bonus of providing you with seamless service.
You should also keep the monitoring service–a place where you might be tempted to do away with to save money. As not only can you save money by using the same monitoring service, but it can also save you in equipment and installation fees, as well as great customer service and equipment replacement in certain cases.
What is a DIY Security System?
You will mainly receive a control panel and sensors to place within your home–anything else e.g. security cameras, etc, you might need to purchase separately if already not included in the package. The set up can be done on your phone quite easily.
You can still get several services that a traditional home security system would use, such as a monitoring system. Depending on which company and plan you choose, you can pay between $10 and $50 a month, to be updated and alerted through your cellphone, broadband, or landline. Generally, these services include alerting you that your alarm has gone off and sent emergency personnel to your home.
There are many pros and cons to the DIY security system–the pros are that you have a large amount of control and fewer costs associated with installing the system. However, the cons are that you might have to invest a bit more time and energy into your home security system than you may want to.
When deciding on what type of home security system you want–whether it is a DIY system or traditional, and furthermore, deciding on which company you should go with–your first consideration should be the lifestyle you lead. You will need to study your home to make this decision.
Ask yourself the following questions: landline or cellphone? Rent or own? Do you know how to install a security system? Has your home had a security system wired in before?
All of these questions will be instrumental in helping you make your decision on several fronts. If you rent, perhaps your system should be wireless, so you can accommodate any requirements from your landlord, and can take the system down yourself when you move.
Or perhaps you want more control over what happens if your home is ever broken into–this is where the monitoring system you choose and customization can occur.
But it all depends on you and what you want. For some, this means being able to install and decide on what pieces of security equipment to use. For others, it is buying the most expensive, expansive system, and having professionals install and monitor their home 24/7.
Other considerations–you may consider getting a two-way talk feature, which will allow you to communicate directly to the monitoring company via your control panel. Some also get geotracking, which works with your GPS to make certain adjustments (temperature, lock/unlock, arm/disarm your doors and alarms) when you are a certain distance from your home. Senior citizens who live alone and cannot get around easily may want to have a system that is as automated as possible.
Wired or Wireless – Which System to choose?
You could have both–a system can be both hardwired into a landline connection and wirelessly connected just in case the landline goes out. If you have a landline and a cellphone, this is a great option for you.
You may choose to use a wireless system because of its easy setup. There is nothing that has to be drilled or wiring that needs to be reworked just fit into your home. When you move, you can just disconnect the system via your phone, and then move it right along to your next address. The only real issue is that our wireless connection might not always be reliable, 100% of the time.
A wired system might be a better option for you if your home is already wired for a previous security system. All you have to do is call the provider and get your account set up, and maybe have a technician come out and make sure your system updated properly.
Security Cameras: Difference between Types
Indoor cameras, also known as “dome” cameras can be used to get full 360-degree coverage of a single room by itself. You could also get a “fixed lens” camera, that monitors only one specific area.
Outdoor cameras can be used to monitor wide swathes of area, and are built to be resistant to weather changes and lighting conditions. There are several features these cameras possess e.g. night vision, tilt control, remote pan, motion detection, etc, that would be extremely useful to you.
Motion detector cameras are cameras that only record when they detect motion, which can not only save you footage space but also alert you to any unknown activity.
Adjustable cameras are designed and programmed to monitor a wider range of areas that your usual security cameras. Most give you options (remote pan, tilt control, zoom control) to truly customize your experience.
Wireless technology cameras are great for people who need a remote area monitored, but don’t have any security system hardwired out there already. You can find wireless versions of most, if not all, security system equipment.
Cameras with a security system are not just talking about the video aspect. It’s about being able to use a video splitter to view more than one camera at a time on a screen. Or using a duplicator on the system to let more than one person monitor the feeds at a single time. These systems are incredibly flexible and can be used to allow friends into your home when you aren’t there, for instance.
Motion Detectors: How They Function
There are several different forms of motion detectors you can buy e.g. driveway, motion-activated floodlights, exterior, and indoor motion detectors.
Types of motion detectors are different. You can get active ultrasonic and passive infrared (PIR) motion detectors, which are the two most popular types. Dual technology, microwave, and tomographic are also options to consider.
Active ultrasonic motion detectors emit waves of sounds that bounce off the normal, everyday objects in the room or outdoors, and then return to their origin. When something or someone disrupts those sound waves, that will trigger an alert.
PIR motion detectors are the most popular of the two, as they can detect infrared heat, and notice increases. You can manage the detector by programming it to ignore a small range of changes in temperatures, otherwise, it will trigger an alarm.
The other motion detectors mentioned can detect changes and disruptions in radiation waves, which also triggers their alert system.
Dual technology motion detectors are as it sounds–two different motion detector types used to monitor your home. These can be a bit stressful, as they have a higher rate of false alarms compared to the others.
When you install your motion detectors, remember that they have an extremely limited range (50 to 80 feet), so make sure you have enough to cover every area. Make sure to place them where you get a lot of foot traffic or where you think an intruder might try to break in. However, do be sure to keep them at least ten feet away from anywhere the light shines through, or away from your heating ducts or oven, as that can trigger the alarm due to temperature changes.
Installing Home Security Cameras
Placement of security cameras should be in “high traffic” areas, areas that are most likely to be robbed if you have someone break-in. These places include front, side, and back doors (so put a camera outside of these doors, as well as inside), off-street windows (windows that do not face the street have a higher chance of being used as part of a break-in), driveway (many intruders either walk to your home via the driveway or try to break into your garage first), common areas (first place that is searched for valuables), and stairs (if you have a balcony or basement with a set of stairs, this is a place an intruder would try to get in through).
Pay close attention to camera placement. You want them near enough so that they capture everything, but not so easily reached that an intruder could knock the camera off or otherwise turn it off. The angle that you place the camera is also important. If you do not do it correctly, you could end up only taking surveillance of the top of the intruder’s head, not their face or clothing.
Lastly, if you are using a wireless system, make sure that your connection is secure and strong. If it isn’t, then not only could your entire system cut off in an instant, but could also result in very choppy and useless surveillance footage because of the ruined picture/connection.
Can My Pet Trigger My Security System At Home?
If you use a standard motion detector, then your pet will set off that alert, because they are a disruptive force in the sound waves that the detector uses to sense whether an intruder has entered your home.
However, you can buy a pet immune motion sensor, which was created after the developers spent hundreds of hours tracking and analyzing common pet movements. The result was a wide variety of different technology utilized together that could read and calculate mass, speed, and movement patterns of anything moving e.g. pet or a human, and could also read body temperature and infrared emissions to make a decision as to whether or not to sound the alarm or not.
Weight is also a huge factor when it comes to these pet immune motion sensors. If your pet weighs anywhere between 0 and 80 pounds, then it will not set off the alarm. This covers the majority of pets e.g. cats, birds, dogs, etc.
When deciding where to place your motion sensors, you should speak with a specialist. They will know exactly where to put them, particularly if you do not have experience with these sensors. The best defense against a false alarm is the perfect placement. However, if you want the alarms to work then they do not need to be on. It makes no sense to buy an alarm, put it in the wrong spot, and then just turn it off.
False alarms can happen–and can be quite costly (up to $200 per false alarm, after a certain threshold period has been reached). So be careful about maintaining your equipment to the best of your ability, as these false alarms can also be caused by user error, dead batteries, installation problems, etc.
Minimizing False Alarms
Use your pet motion sensor device. These are programmed especially to ignore any movement from your pets, allowing you not to worry about them setting the alarm off, while also not restricting your pets in their own home.
Make sure you know your code. Many times alerts are sent to the monitoring company because the passcode for the security system was entered incorrectly on the control panel. Memorize your passcode and practice inputting the code correctly.
Change your batteries regularly. Low batteries can cause a false alarm to go off. Changing them regularly will help. Your monitoring company may monitor the battery levels of your system, so ask if they will alert you when battery levels are low. Also, the security equipment should inform you when it is experiencing low battery power, so watch out for that.
Keep motion sensors free from flying objects. Anything that passes by a motion sensor can trigger the alarm, whether it’s someone throwing a ball, a pet, or a person walking by. Make sure you keep the area that the motion sensor monitors clutter-free, so you do not accidentally set off the alarm.
Windows and doors need to be firmly shut. This might seem like a no brainer but is extremely important. If your windows and doors are not closed completely, then you run the risk of not having your alarm work properly because of that. Also, they could trigger your alarm to go off.
Maintain your security equipment. Human error makes up a good part of false alarms, but the same could also be said of improperly maintained security equipment. Make sure to do regular check-ups on your equipment to see if it is still working correctly. Replace any parts that are not, or contact your home security provider to get it looked at if you are unsure what the issue is.
Wireless Security System and the Internet
If your alarm system is connected to the monitoring company via a wireless connection, and that connection is lost, technically you would not have a working system.
VoIP connections are vulnerable to wifi loss, as they are powered by the landline. To combat this, some security companies have technology that still allows your system to connect to the monitoring company in case of an outage.
Cellular radio is actually the most reliable out of all of the options, as it is not dependent on if your wifi is connected or not.
Power and Your Security System
If you have a phone line, then your alarm system will be able to communicate with your monitoring system that there is a power outage. Then it will draw on backup power for a certain amount of time.
If you have a cellular radio, your alarm system will work fine as this system will draw from backup battery power for the next several hours. It is unaffected by power outages because it communicates via cellular radio.
If you have Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), then your system will absolutely be affected, as their power is derived from your home phone line. They do have a battery backup, but communication can be halted if the power outage also includes an internet outage. Some companies have found other ways to keep their systems in contact with the monitoring companies to combat this problem.
If you have an internet connection, then this is the most vulnerable of all types of connections. Whenever the power goes out, usually the internet follows–which means you have no way of communicating with the monitoring company. It will not come back on and resume communication until the power and internet are back on.
Moving With My Home Security System
If you installed a DIY system, then you already own the equipment yourself and know how to install and reinstall it. Moving it to your new home would be a simple matter of taking it out of your old home, and physically reinstalling it into your new home. If you have a monitoring system, you will have to inform them that you have moved, but otherwise, the process is relatively painless.
If you had a professional home security system installed, with a monitor service to go along with it, then there might be certain rules you have to follow when it comes to the equipment and services that you contracted. Some security system companies will not remove and reinstall a security system in a new home, but will instead offer to install a new one into your new home. They may also discounts if you purchase additional sensors, like smoke detectors and window sensors.
Alternatively, they might also allow a free removal of the security system, but you will have to sign up for a new contract in your new home. Or they will charge you a fee to remove your security system for you. Remember to read the contract and know you are agreeing to, especially if you know that you will be moving in a few years.
Best Features in a Security System
You can use all of these features in concert with each other, or separately–it all depends on what fits your needs the best.
How To Choose a Home Monitoring System
Your first consideration should be the installation process. If you have never installed a home security system, then you should go for a professional system, where technicians will install it for you. Otherwise, a DIY system might fit your skills better, particularly since they are fairly easy to install, however, you will have to maintain them yourself. Next, consider whether you want a professional monitoring system or if you want to self monitor your own system. Self-monitoring won’t cost you anything but time, while it is the opposite of a professional monitoring system. Third, consider whether you want to be bound to a contract for any length of time. There are costs and fees associated with a professional system that you may not anticipate in the long run. Next, consider if you want to install smart home automation. This can be useful if you want to control your doors, alarm system, etc from the convenience of your phone. It is not that much more expensive than a traditional system, so keep that in mind. You should also consider the size of your home and whether or not you want home security cameras. The size of your home means that you may need several more door and window sensors than is traditionally offered in a basic home security package. Also, some companies do not offer security cameras as part of their basic package, so if you want extra sensors and home automation, you will have to add the costs to your budget.
Any of these factors could make your “basic” home security system much more expensive, so carefully weigh your needs and desires.
Phone Lines Have Been Cut - What About My Security System?
The majority of home security systems do have a cellular backup, which means that you can always get an alert on your phone if the worst should happen. There are two types: direct and indirect. A direct system sends an alert to the actual monitoring system that the security system uses, while the indirect system sends an alert to a third-party monitoring system.
A broadband backup can be used, but it offers the same drawback as a landline system. If your wifi is not working, then no alert will be sent via the broadband. This can be great for anyone who doesn’t have a landline, but still, be aware of the reliability of wifi.
If you want to have a great, reliable system, then a version should be implemented, where you have several different options in case your phone line is cut.
If You Suspect Your Home Has Been Broken Into?
The very first thing you should do is call the police–even if, at this point, you only suspect your home has been broken into. This allows for the police to make a report and collect evidence undisturbed for your insurance company. It also prevents you from accidentally walking in on the intruder, which has happened before. After the police collect their evidence, you should call your insurance company to file a claim, and then look at your home security cameras, if you have them, to see if they show any identifying marks of the intruder.
This footage also serves a dual role–it can be emotionally violating to see your home being intruded upon like this, having your personal items stolen, and you can use the footage to assess any security weaknesses you may have. Perhaps one of the sensors in your home was installed improperly and needs to be fixed, or perhaps you did not install sensors at the side door that no one uses and is usually locked.
Lastly, you should clean up from the break-in, which will be one of the first steps to your emotional healing.
Practice General Safety Tips
How Door Sensors Work
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If the alarm does go off, do not panic, just escort everyone outside so you can breathe in the fresh air, to replace any carbon monoxide you may have breathed in.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms
Carefully make your decision when considering what kind of a home security system you should buy, along with any extra features you may want to go with it, to be sure that it fits with your lifestyle and needs. In general, home security systems are not tex deductible, unless you operate some kind of business within your home. Weigh up the pros and cons of each feature, and remember–your safety is what’s most important!