A home security system is designed primarily to do one thing: alert you and the authorities to various threats. All home security systems warn if an intruder is present, while some also notify you if there's a fire, water leak or other problem. Many systems include video cameras, video doorbells, and other equipment as part of the package, and some allow you to monitor your home while you're away and receive alerts on a smartphone if anything is wrong. Still others integrate with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, smart locks, and other third-party smart home devices.
The best security system is different for everyone and depends on the size of your home, your budget, whether you want to install a system yourself or pay a professional to do it, and other factors. It's important to strike the right balance; buying less equipment than you need might not leave you adequately protected, but purchasing too much equipment runs the risk of blowing your budget while filling your house with unnecessary gadgets. Our home security guides will help you sort through your options.
To help you choose a top-rated home security system, we've researched the industry’s leading companies and compared prices, features, monitoring options, and more. Companies with the best home monitoring systems of 2020 are:
SimpliSafe: SimpliSafe is easy to install and relatively affordable, offering a starter package called The Foundation for $229. It includes one base station, one wireless keypad, one entry sensor, and one motion sensor. There are two professional monitoring plans priced at $14.99 and $24.99 a month. Read More»
Frontpoint: Frontpoint is a DIY system with equipment that's quick and easy to install. Its entry-level Safe Home Starter package is competitively priced at $99 for one hub and keypad, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one yard sign, a set of five window decals, and one door sticker. However, plans cost $44.99 or $49.88 per month, which is a higher monthly fee than most DIY solutions. Read More»
Vivint: Vivint Smart Home is a feature-rich, wireless home security system that is professionally installed after an optional free home consultation. Its security equipment integrates with many third-party home automation devices and can be paid for in installments over 60 months. Read More»
Ring Alarm: Ring's $199 starter system is called the Ring Alarm Security Kit. It includes a base station, a keypad, a motion detector, a contact sensor for doors or windows, and a device that extends the range of the communications between the devices. The company's $10 per month Protect Plus plan for professional monitoring is a bargain. However, a Ring security system is relatively basic and doesn't currently integrate with many third-party home automation devices that work with competing systems. Read More»
Abode: Abode is a full-featured DIY home security solution that doesn’t require a monthly plan. It’s also easy to install and configure. Unlike its chief DIY competitors, Abode is intended to be an open platform for a wide array of third-party home automation devices. Abode is strictly a DIY system, but the company has plans to partner with a nationwide network of professional installers. Read More»
ADT: ADT Security is the largest security company in the U.S., with more than 7 million customers, 12 interconnected monitoring centers, about 200 local offices and a vast network of authorized dealers. It offers a wide range of equipment and services. Note that the quality of the installation and customer service can vary based on the local ADT provider. Also, the exact price of your system, including professional monitoring under a required three-year contract, will only be provided after a technician visits your house. Read More»
Xfinity Home: Rather than thinking of a home alarm as a separate system, Xfinity Home can install a controller, keypad, door/window sensors, and a motion detector to complement other aspects of its services, such as internet and voice/phone. Xfinity Home can also add devices like smart lights, door locks, and a garage door controller. It can be convenient and cost-effective for homeowners to have a single company install and provide a comprehensive set of home automation. Read More»
Protect America: Protect America is a full-featured DIY smart home security system. Completely wireless, it's a self-installed system from a company with a 25-year track record. Positioning itself between the inexpensive DIY home security systems and the professionally installed solutions, Protect America offers a low-cost solution with an emphasis on customer service. Read More»
Brinks Home Security: Having licensed the Brinks brand and boasting more than 1 million customers, Brinks Home Security includes a robust monitoring service and an extensive choice of state-of-the-art security equipment. However, it requires a restrictive, expensive three-year contract. Read More»
Nest Secure: If you have a Nest smart thermostat or other Nest home automation products, then you’ll probably like the Nest Secure system. The $399 Nest Secure starter kit includes a tabletop controller/siren called Nest Guard, two window/sensors that double as motion detectors, and two radio frequency identification, or RFID, devices called Tags (thumbnail-sized discs providing easy arming/disarming). Nest’s home security devices and sensors are relatively expensive, so if you're not committed to the company's ecosystem of equipment, there are probably better options. Read More»
We explain what matters most to home and apartment owners, experts, and professional reviewers when it comes to Home Security Systems. Then we provide an unbiased evaluation of Home Security Systems. Our goal is to empower consumers with the information and tools they need to make informed decisions. More information about our 360 Reviews methodology for evaluating Home Security Systems is here.
Whether a top-rated home security system is worth the cost of the equipment, installation, and monitoring will come down to individual preferences and circumstances. Ask yourself:
If safety and security is a particular concern, you might want to consider a home security system.
While home security systems can't prevent break-ins, several studies indicate that they can deter them. For example, the University of North Carolina – Charlotte found that of 422 randomly selected, incarcerated burglars in North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio:
Along similar lines, a Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice study based on crime data from 2001 to 2005 in Newark, New Jersey, determined that home security systems were one factor that decreased both burglaries and the city's overall crime rate during that period.
If you're looking to save money on a home security system, check out our Cheapest Home Security Systems of 2020. The cheapest DIY home security systems include:
For a fee of $100 or more, a professional installer will visit your home, offer equipment recommendations based on your circumstances, and install the equipment. That saves time and hassle and can result in a system that's a better fit. For more information, see our Best Professionally Installed Home Security Systems.
Installing a home security system yourself can be a good way to save money if you're relatively comfortable with electronics and with choosing equipment yourself, perhaps after talking with a company representative over the phone. See our Best DIY Home Security Companies for more information.
Cameras can be an important part of a home security system, providing an extra layer of deterrence for potential thieves. Our Best Home Security Companies With Outdoor Cameras will help you choose a system with cameras that meet your needs.