When picking out the right home security system, the one part of your home that is often overlooked is the garage. Unless you’re Fonzie, you probably don’t live in a garage, so you may not see it as part of your home.
However, most garages offer direct access to homes. In fact, many suburban families use them as their main entryways. If you start thinking of your garage as the true front door to your home, you can do a better job of picking the best home security system to protect your garage.
Car Guard, Vivint’s car alert and GPS tracking system
Vivint app’s compatibility with myQ
Free professional installation
What We Didn’t Like
Relatively expensive monitoring costs
No free self-monitoring-only option
Moving requires a fee
Long-term contract required
Vivint’s smart garage door opener gave us just about everything we look for in a handy remote controller. We were able to open and close the garage door from anywhere. When we were absent-minded and left the door open, we got notifications about it.
The smart controller even had an option that let us stop unauthorized entry. When we got garage alarms that the door was opening when it shouldn’t, we alerted the police with the touch of a button.2
Best of all, the smart controller integrated seamlessly into our Vivint smart home ecosystem. It even responded to Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands to open or close the garage. We kept our opener in the car so that we had access to it when we were driving, and we used the Vivint app when we were on foot.
Car Guard is a great piece of Vivint tech that allowed us to keep track of our vehicle, get data on our driving habits, and even diagnose potential maintenance problems. Of course, Car Guard also alerted us whenever anyone tried to tamper with our car.
We installed the program into the onboard diagnostics port of our vehicle and got it up and running in less than half an hour. From then on, it sent tons of useful information to our Vivint app, including our maximum speed, our idling time, and our fuel efficiency. One of our sisters used it to track her teenager’s driving habits and learned just how many times she accelerated too quickly each day.
Car Guard costs $10 per month for the first vehicle and $5 per month for each vehicle after that.
Top-Tier Professional Monitoring
We always advocate for professional monitoring. We want the peace of mind of knowing that someone is keeping an eye on our home 24/7. That includes our garage.
One reason we regard Vivint so highly is that its professional monitoring service is one of the best in the business. We were told we’d get cellular backup with whatever plan we chose, which meant our system would work even when the Wi-Fi went down.
The Vivint monitoring team was always ready to contact us and emergency services if anything went wrong. When our motion detectors went off while we were visiting friends in Connecticut, for example, the service provided us with continual updates until the crisis was resolved.
Vivint doesn’t advertise its monthly plans because costs are based on the equipment that you buy. Generally, though, Vivint prices for monitoring range between $15 and $40 per month. In addition, the company charges $5 per month per camera.
Ring Alarm works directly with myQ. MyQ is a smart home protocol built into smart Chamberlain and LiftMaster garage doors. It’s also sold as a separate device hook up to older Chamberlain or LiftMaster garage doors. MyQ has its own control app to control the garage door lift mechanism, and it informs users when the door is open or closed.
The program was easy to install and use, and the Ring app feature Quick Controls gave us peace of mind. Quick Controls is a simplified version of the app’s home screen, with just three tabs: Device Controls, Locks, and Garage.
All we had to do was glance at the app to find out our current garage status at all times. We didn’t have to search for the controls either. One touch of a button, and we opened the door. Honey, we’re home!
Alexa and Google Assistant Integration
A garage door is the sort of thing we want to operate hands-free. So while it might seem like a minor perk, we were ecstatic when we found out that we could use Alexa and Google Assistant to operate our Ring Alarm system.
We got notices when we left the garage open, and because we had voice control, we could close the door using our Alexa app, even while we were driving on the interstate. Normally, we either have to wait for an exit and pull off the road or fumble with our phones and risk accidents. Voice command functionality for Ring Alarm meant we responded to our alerts immediately and safely.
In addition to its smart platform integration, Ring has also begun introducing its own line of smart devices, many of which are focused on cars. The Ring Car Alarm alerts owners about events like break-ins or tow-aways. It also provides videos of those events, which could be super useful when we need to find our car.
Affordable and Flexible Professional Monitoring
Even better than being able to control our garage door with our voices is letting someone else worry about it for us.
One of the great things about professional monitoring is that someone responds to a break-in even if we’re getting our teeth cleaned.
Ring prices its professional monitoring at just $10 per month, one of the lowest prices in the industry. For example, compare Ring Alarm to SimpliSafe, another system that features low-cost monitoring. While SimpliSafe’s price is certainly affordable at $15 per month, that’s still $5 more than Ring.
Like SimpliSafe, Ring doesn’t require long-term contracts, although there is a discounted annual option. That meant that when we decided to go to the beach for a couple of weeks in July, we could purchase one month of monitoring and not break the bank.
Pro Tip: If you self-monitor, consider signing up for professional monitoring to secure your home when you’re on vacation. If you use a system with month-to-month subscriptions, you can sign up for the month when you’ll be away and unsubscribe when you return. And wherever you may be heading, protect yourself while you’re away with a vacation home security system.
SimpliSafe offers affordable equipment. How affordable?
Its lowest-priced package, The Foundation, is just $137. That system came with a keypad, a motion sensor, and an entry sensor, just the components we needed to cover our garage. Compare that to other top-rated systems like Brinks; Brinks’ price for its cheapest package is $200, more than $60 more than SimpliSafe.
$115 (included free in packages)
$70 (included free in packages)
Security systems are a necessary part of any safe home, but we recognize that home security can be costly to purchase and operate. That’s why we always appreciate companies that let us install systems ourselves.
We found the SimpliSafe system to be among the easiest DIY home security systems we have ever installed. Sensors were peel and stick, so they were as simple to install as putting a sticker on a door or window.
Plus, SimpliSafe’s indoor camera, the SimpliCam, is wireless, so all we had to do was plug it into a power outlet and set it on a workbench in the garage. SimpliSafe doesn’t sell a garage door sensor, so we needed a few tools and a little time to rig a door sensor to do this job. On the plus side, though, because the entire system was DIY, we had no trouble moving it ourselves when we decided to move to a new apartment.
Smart Home Integrations
We love great smart home devices. There’s something cool about setting our smart lights to come on when we open our garage door at the end of a long day. SimpliSafe works well with both Alexa and Google Assistant, so when we were loaded down with bags of groceries, we were able to tell the system to close the garage door.
In addition, SimpliSafe integrates with other smart devices, like Nest thermostats and August smart locks. That meant that not only could we set our lights to turn on when we got home, but during frosty winter evenings, we could also set the heat in our garage to turn on. We never had to deal with the cold, but we saved money because we didn’t have to leave the heat on all day.
The fact that Reolink offers crisp 1080p HD video and infrared night vision capabilities over a cellular security network is pretty extraordinary.
Plenty of families experience spotty Wi-Fi connections even within the main house. Garage components can be several dozen feet from the router, which adds extra worry the connection will fail at the crucial moment of a break-in. With Reolinks’ 4G/3G option, though, we were protected even if the Wi-Fi went out. Cellular connectivity makes Reolinks an especially great security system for rural areas which have stronger cell signals than internet signals.
Many Camera Options
The great thing about Reolink is that it specializes in cameras, so we had tons of choices in that department. And all Reolink cameras provide at least 1080p HD resolution and night vision to identify late night prowlers that try to access our garage.
We bought several cameras from Reolink, but the cool thing was that we could livestream from them all. At one point, we had seven livestreams going at once.
We loved the Reolink Go cameras, especially since we could use solar power to keep them charged. In addition, they don’t require Wi-Fi, so they’re a great option for anyone in a rural area. Overall, we found the versatility of Reolink’s options to be downright impressive.
Indoor, battery-powered, wire-free
Outdoor bullet, battery-powered, wire-free
4G mobile, battery-powered, wire-free
Reolink Go PT
4G mobile, pan and tilt, battery-powered, wire-free
Outdoor bullet, PoE (Power over Ethernet), 5MP
Outdoor dome, PoE, 5MP
Outdoor bullet, PoE, 4K
Outdoor dome, PoE, 4K
Indoor desktop, Wi-Fi, 5MP
Indoor spotlight, Wi-Fi
Outdoor bullet, Wi-Fi, 5MP
Outdoor bullet, Wi-Fi, 5MP, SD slot
Reolink cameras are some of the most durable we’ve seen, and that’s crucial if you’re trying to protect your garage. We stationed a camera on one outside corner of our garage, so it has to be able to handle the full force of New York summers and winters. All Reolink cameras have a minimum IP rating of 65.
What does that mean? That means they can resist water projected from a nozzle, and they are sealed against dust, making them durable enough for everything NYC weather has to offer.
Did You Know: An IP (ingress protection) rating reveals the conditions a camera can withstand. The first number details the solid elements a camera can handle, while the second number details the liquid elements it can handle.
When searching for the best garage security systems, we considered several factors, such as how well they worked outdoors, garage door compatibility, and costs. While this list is in no way comprehensive, it gave us a general overview of what to consider when deciding which garage security systems are the best.
Wi-Fi vs. no Wi-Fi needed: With wireless components, we are primarily interested in connectivity. That’s a special concern with garages since sometimes they can be far from a router. We also appreciate solar-powered devices, like the Reolink Go Solar.
Camera features: We discuss camera features much more in-depth in our security camera guide, but for garage cameras in particular, we look for features like DIY installation, infrared night vision, and weather resistance.
Durability: We choose outdoor components because most garages go from hot and humid to freezing cold over the course of a year. We looked carefully at IP ratings, which describe the conditions the cameras can withstand. We want cameras to have a rating of at least IP 65, which means they are dust-tight and can withstand water projected from a nozzle.
Both DIY and professionally installed security systems have advantages and disadvantages. Overall, we recommend DIY installation for those who want to save some money and don’t mind spending a bit of time setting up a system. For those willing to spend money in exchange for convenience, we recommend professionally installed home security systems.
We are most interested in whether systems offer personal remote monitoring or 24/7 professional monitoring. With professional monitoring, not only do we have full access to the features of a system, but we also have a team of people available at all hours to respond to garage notifications we don’t respond to.
We recommend getting professional monitoring, although it normally requires a monthly or yearly fee. We do recognize, though, that some of you are looking for robust self-monitored security systems, so we consider whether systems include features like free alerts.
We also prefer security systems with no contracts. Of course, signing up for a contract means a locked-in rate. In addition, some companies allow you to finance your equipment, and that means contracts. Certainly, long-term contracts may be a good choice for anyone who wants to pay for a security system over time.
Buying a home security system usually involves three major costs:
Equipment costs: Depending on the home size or amount of security you want, effective home security can get pricey. Luckily, most companies offer scalable solutions, such as security systems that fit apartments and security systems that fit large homes. Scalability is crucial, especially when it comes to garages. The pieces you want for garage security might be wholly different from what you want for the rest of the house.
Installation cost: Most systems we tested do not charge an installation fee. The majority of systems offer DIY installation that doesn’t require drilling or hardwiring. However, some companies like Vivint require professional installation. Typically, prices for professional installation start around $80 to $100. That’s why we made sure to include a good DIY option in our final four.
Monthly costs: While some systems don’t have any monthly fees, others require paid subscriptions for 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, and/or storage. Professional monitoring can run anywhere from $10 to $60 per month.
We like companies that offer monthly contracts, though longer contracts sometimes come with price breaks. We suggest that anyone not looking to pay any costs aside from equipment self-monitor their system. Different companies include different self-monitoring features, like livestreaming and motion-activated notifications, but those are often tied to monthly fees, so keep that in mind.
When looking at the mobile apps available with each garage security system, we want to livestream footage easily and control the system remotely. That control should cover the smart garage door when possible. Also, we make sure we get notifications for any security alarm and unexpected entry. Finally, we check to see if the apps are highly rated in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Your garage needs just as much security as your home, sometimes more. After all, that’s where you might keep your car, a pretty big investment to leave sitting around. Hopefully, this list has given you some good ideas about how you can make sure your garage is secure. Because protecting your home from invasions means taking your entire home into account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are four things the internet is curious about when it comes to garage security systems.
Yes, you can put an alarm on your garage and trigger the alarm with entry sensors, glass-breakage sensors, or motion sensors for general motion detection. That way, when you’re not home, you can alert your neighbors that someone is trying to break in, or check in on your cameras to check for false alarms.
We recommend Vivint as the best garage security system, thanks to its forward-thinking smart garage door controller and Car Guard options. Other great systems for garages include Ring Alarm, SimpliSafe, and Reolink.
Yes, you can lock a garage door with myQ. You can unlock your door as well, in case you need to let someone in. MyQ offers several advanced security features, including automatic garage door locking and unlocking. You will want to make sure your particular lock is compatible with MyQ, which works with both Chamberlain and LiftMaster locks.