Best Hardwired Security Systems

Prefer your security system hardwired? We’ve got you covered.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jul 19, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Jul 19, 2021
Smart Security Systems

It seems like everything these days is wireless, but sometimes hardwired is the better option. Certainly, that can be true of security systems. Hardwired security systems can’t be jammed, for instance, and they work, even if your internet goes down. With those advantages in mind, we’re taking a look at the best options in hardwired home security, ranking them top to bottom, and considering each one’s finer details. If you’re in the market for a hardwired system, you’ll find all the answers you need to protect your home right here.

Our Top Picks

Best Commercial Grade Security

Lorex Camera System

Editor's Rating
9.6
/10
Editor's Rating
9.6
/10
Lorex features an amazing range of camera choices, including night vision, audio, and doorbell cameras. And their home hub made it easy to control the whole system – it’s one of our all-time favorite control panels.

Best Overall Hardwired Security System

Swann

Editor's Rating
8.1
/10
Swann 4K PoE Cameras
Editor's Rating
8.1
/10
With Swann, we got weatherproof cameras and up to 2 TB of recording space, which meant that we didn’t have to worry about monthly fees.

Comparison of the Best Hardwired Security Systems

System
Lorex Camera System
Lorex Camera
Swann
Swann 4K PoE Cameras
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Reolink
ReoLink GO Solar Powered Camera
Ranking 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Ratings 9.6/10 8.1/10 7.7/10 7.7/10
NVR or DVR Both available Both available Neither – completely cloud-based NVR
Storage space Up to 2 TB Up to 2 TB 60 days Up to 3 TB
Self-Monitoring
Professional monitoring X X X
Installation DIY DIY or professional Professional recommended DIY
Smart platform integration Alexa and Google Assistant Alexa and Google Assistant Alexa and Google Assistant Alexa and Google Assistant
Package prices $149.99 – $2,399.99 $199.99 – $5,599.99 $309.98 – $414.98 $279.99 – $949.99
Contract lengths N/A N/A 1 month – 1 year N/A
Contract price per year N/A N/A $100.00 N/A
Read Review Lorex Camera System Review Swann Review Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit Review Reolink Review

Summary of the Best Hardwired Security Systems

  • Lorex - Best Hardwired Security System for Smart Homes
  • Swann - Best Overall Hardwired Security System
  • Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit - Best Hardwired Security System for Existing Sensors
  • Reolink - Best Hardwired Security System for Plug

Detailed List of the Best Hardwired Security Systems

  • 1. Lorex – Best Hardwired Security System for Smart Homes

    Editor's Rating
    9.6
    /10

    Lorex is another fully self-contained, self-monitored system. That meant once we purchased the security equipment, we never had to spend another penny. We chose to install everything ourselves, using Lorex’s handy videos to guide us, but the company also works with a network of professional installers for anyone who needs the extra help. What we liked most about Lorex, though, was the wide variety of camera options. We’re big fans of choice. And speaking of choices, we added several home sensors to our package for an added layer of security. Finally, it was easy to control all of this equipment from a central location with Lorex’s user-friendly home hub, which we tested out on our YouTube channel.

    What We Like
    • High-quality 4K video
    • Multiple camera options
    • Voice-controlled home hub
    What We Don’t Like
    • No professional monitoring
    • Limited customer service
    • No cloud storage

    Lots of Camera Options

    When it comes to security cameras, Lorex offers something for everyone. We chose a package that included both bullet cameras and dome cameras, but our options didn’t end there. Lorex also offers cameras with:

    • Two-way audio
    • Infrared night vision
    • Color night vision
    • Thermal monitoring
    • Optical zoom
    • Digital zoom

    We added the Lorex Video Doorbell to our package for $179.99. And had we needed it, they offered a doorbell camera with attached floodlights for $279.99. That was a lot of decisions to make, but we prefer that to the alternative of limited to no options with security hardware.

    Sensor Integration

    We wouldn’t want a security system that didn’t include cameras, but we’re also fans of sensors. With Lorex, we purchased door and window sensors for $19.99 apiece and motion detectors for $24.99 each. The really cool aspect of these sensors was that each one triggered a camera. That meant we didn’t have to waste storage space on 24/7 continuous recording. Luckily, no one tried to break in, though honestly we’re not sure what anyone would want to take from our apartments anyway. But if anyone had attempted to pick our smart locks, the system would have let us watch what happened in real time and recorded the whole event.

    Home Hub

    Lorex works like a dream with both Alexa and Google Assistant, but we didn’t need to use either. Instead, we controlled the whole system using the company’s hub center, a nice extra available with some packages. You can purchase the home center as a stand-alone or an add-on for $299.99. The video display was touch-sensitive, but it also worked with voice commands (not Alexa or Google Assistant, though!), which meant we checked out our camera feeds while cooking dinner. The intuitive interface allowed us to control the whole system, from camera angles to zooming. We even had a very nice chat with our UPS delivery person while we were draining pasta. When we weren’t watching footage, we streamed music and checked the weather. And it was all completely secure, with built-in face recognition, a form of multi-factor authentication.

  • 2. Swann – Best Overall Hardwired Security System

    Editor's Rating
    8.1
    /10
    Swann 4K PoE Cameras

    Swann offers one of the most affordable systems on the market. A basic two-camera package with DVR storage, just what we need for our tiny Brooklyn apartments, cost us $149.99. And Swann’s prices are competitive, even at the high end. Their full 16-camera package is a bit pricier than their basic package, of course, coming in at $2,399.99, but that price still beats most of their competitors. All of their packages come with weatherproof cameras, up to 2 TB of recording space, and complete integration with both Alexa and Google Assistant. Best of all, for a hardwired system, the installation was simple. Swann’s color-coordinated wiring was so straightforward that we handled the entire installation ourselves.

    What We Like
    • Google Assistant and Alexa integration
    • No monthly fees
    • Color-coordinated DIY installation
    What We Don’t Like
    • No professional monitoring
    • No sensors
    • No cloud storage

    A Range of Packages

    Swann offers a wide variety of packages, starting with their four-channel, two-camera option. Even that minimal system, though, came with 1080p HD video and a full 2 TB of DVR storage. Plus, we used Alexa to control the whole system, using voice commands to route video to our Echo Spot, Echo Show, Echo Dot with Clock, Echo Flex, and Fire TV. Swann cameras integrate just as well with Google Assistant and Google Home, which included our Nest Hub Max smart display and our Nest Mini smart speaker.

    At the other end of the price spectrum, Swann offers a robust 16-camera package for homeowners with more extensive security needs. Their most extensive package features NVR recording with 16 channels of 4K HD video and thermal-sensing cameras with IP ratings of 66.
    That rating means Swann cameras can withstand powerful water jets for up to three minutes, making them perfect for outdoor use. In short, whether you live in a modest brownstone or a mountain chalet, Swann has a package to suit you.

    No Monthly Fees

    Living in Brooklyn isn’t cheap. We have a pretty tight budget, so we’re always on the lookout for ways to cut costs. When it comes to home security systems, we’ve found that one of the best ways to save money is to self-monitor our video feeds. Swann made this easy with DVR and NVR recording options. We paid for the system, and that was that. With no monthly monitoring fees and no cloud storage fees, Swann is an awesome security system with no contracts. We checked out live feeds or recordings any time, or we pulled up video through Alexa or Google Assistant. And Swann sent us alerts any time a camera detected a human’s heat signature. No matter where we were in the world, we knew what was happening back at home.

    Color-Coordinated Installation System

    Swann also saved us money on installation. Hardwired systems can be tricky to install, and we’re certainly not electricians. Swann’s color-coordinated wiring and clear instructions, though, made it simple to do the whole job ourselves. Cameras are battery-operated, so the only cords ran from the cameras directly to the recorder. Mounting wasn’t as easy to install as peel-and-stick components, but the only tools we needed were a pencil and a Phillips-head screwdriver. In all, the whole process took about an hour, and we spent most of that time deciding where to place the cameras.

    The More You Know: Many hardwired security systems have PoE cameras, which is an initialism for “power over Ethernet.” These systems don’t need a battery or a power outlet, but instead get all their energy through a single Ethernet connection to the DVR or

  • 3. Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit – Best Hardwired Security System for Existing Sensors

    Editor's Rating
    7.7
    /10
    Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

    Ring shows up on our list of best wireless security systems, but they don’t offer a true hardwired security system. However, they have a complete retrofitting kit for $149.99 that allowed us to connect one of their Wi-Fi packages to our existing hardwired system. The Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit is perfect for anyone looking to take advantage of their existing sensors, but at the same time, transition to Wi-Fi. We saved money, because we didn’t need to buy any new equipment, but we still took advantage of Ring’s pricing, i.e., affordable cloud storage and full-service monitoring.

    What We Like
    • Professional monitoring available
    • Very affordable
    • No mandatory one-year (or longer) contracts
    What We Don’t Like
    • Requires existing hardwired sensors
    • No local storage
    • Unreliable connectivity

    Complete Retrofitting Kit

    When we moved into our apartments, we were excited to find that they were wired for complete security already. When we contacted the security company, though, to ask about monitoring, we discovered it would be way out of our budget. On the other hand, Ring offers the most affordable monitoring package on the market, perfect for anyone like us who’s looking to save a few bucks. Luckily, Ring offers the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit so we used the high-quality contact sensors we inherited from the previous tenants and took advantage of Ring’s affordable monitoring packages.

    Ring defines a “zone” as bundled wiring. Our apartment is fairly small, so all of our original wiring was bundled as a single zone. However, a single Ring retrofit kit works with up to eight different zones, so it’s compatible even with large homes. While the kit isn’t exactly DIY-friendly, Ring connected us with a local professional who took care of the installation in under an hour for $99.99.

    Professional Monitoring

    We didn’t find many hardwired systems that offered a professional monitoring option as well. Ring not only offers 24/7 monitoring, but they offer it for just $10 a month, or $100 for an entire year. That’s well under the average monthly price of $40 to $60. Of course, with Ring, we had the option to self-monitor. Their free app sent us real-time alerts, and we checked out live feeds and recordings anytime. The company offers an unmonitored recording plan with 60 days of cloud storage for just $3 a month, or $30 a year.

    System What’s included Price per month Price per year
    No storage
    • Real time alerts
    • Live feeds
    $0 $0
    Ring Protect Basic
    • Real time alerts
    • Live feeds
    • 60 days of cloud storage
    $3 $30
    Ring Protect Plus
    • Real time alerts
    • Live feeds
    • 60 days of cloud storage
    • Professional monitoring
    $10 $100

    In the end, though, we paid the extra seven dollars for the monitored protection. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make sure security experts were keeping an eye on our home. Ring even calls the police or fire department if anything goes wrong. After all, we can’t know when a break-in might happen while we’re getting our teeth cleaned.

    Affordability

    Monitoring isn’t the only thing Ring offers at a competitive price. From the Ring Video Doorbells to window sensors, Ring equipment costs less than almost every other security company on the market, usually. Here are some of the costs you’ll pay for Ring hardware:

    While Ring offers some prepackaged security systems, they made it easy to build our own personalized system so we only had to pay for the sensors and cameras we needed. All in all, we’ve purchased and tested a ton of amazing products and services from Ring like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, the Ring Video Doorbell 3, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, the Ring Peephole Cam, and more. Ring is scalable, so if you end up moving and need a security system for a larger home, you can head back to their website and order more components.

Methodology

We’re often asked, how do we arrive at our conclusions when we’re putting together a list like this one? Actually, we consider several specific factors. Some of those factors apply across the board to every security system we rate. Others apply more specifically to this list of hardwired systems only.

Equipment

As a starting point, we consider what kind of equipment each security company offers. That can include:

Of course, we’re interested as well in the quality of each device, looking specifically at durability and available features such as:

  • 1080p HD video
  • Cameras with night vision, both infrared and color
  • Two-way audio
  • Storage space
  • Smart device integrations
  • Person detection

Finally, we looked at how easy it was to customize security packages. We prefer home security companies that let us build systems ourselves so we don’t wind up spending money on equipment we don’t need.

FYI: Both DVRs (digital video recorders) and NVRs (network video recorders) record video. However, where DVRs process video on the device itself, NVRs process video on the camera before sending it to a

Installation

Another important factor we consider is how a security system is installed. Generally, we like DIY vs. professional installation, since it’s faster, cheaper, and allows us to make changes to suit our needs. However, if a system demands professional installation, we expect the company to have their own installation team or offer us a list of local contractors.

Monitoring

This list focuses on hardwired security systems. Hardwired systems, by definition, include self-monitoring through on-site DVR or NVR recording. As a result, most companies don’t offer professional monitoring services with their hardwired packages. After all, if you’re recording video footage yourself, the point is to watch it yourself rather than pay someone else at a remote site to watch it.

The exception on this particular list is the Ring Alarm. They don’t offer any kind of local storage, and their cloud storage costs $3 per month. However, they also offer Ring Protect Plans, which come with 24/7 monitoring for $10 a month.

Smart Home Integrations

Hardwired security systems aren’t as smart home-friendly as wireless systems, since most smart technology relies on some form of wireless communication between devices. However, we expect any system that makes this list to work seamlessly with both Alexa and Google Assistant. You can find out more about smart homes by heading over to our guide to home automation or our smart home guide. Learn how to make your smart home dreams a reality with the latest smart lighting, smart light switches, smart locks, and more convenient smart home devices.

Price

Here again, hardwired security systems are unique in that they are based on local recording and self-monitoring. In fact, one of the advantages to hardwired systems is that once you’ve purchased monitoring equipment, you’re done paying, in most cases. The exception, of course, is the Ring system. They don’t offer a DVR or NVR and charge $3 per month for cloud-based storage. Our primary focus then, for this list, was on the cost of the equipment itself. We compared prices between single security pieces like cameras, door sensors, and video doorbells. Some of the price ranges we found included:

  • Basic indoor security camera: $38 to $60
  • Outdoor night vision camera: $60 to $100
  • Outdoor camera with spotlight: $78 to $200
  • 1 TB DVR or NVR: $130 to $220
  • Doorbell camera: $60 to $130
  • Door/window sensor: $20 to $25

Of course, in each case, we considered the value we got for our money. For example, Swann’s cheapest camera sells for $38, which is $2 cheaper than Reolink’s cheapest camera. However, the Reolink camera comes with two-way audio, while the Swann camera doesn’t. In addition, some companies didn’t offer some components, which affected their rating. Swann, for instance, doesn’t offer door sensors. Reolink doesn’t offer doorbell cameras. And Lorex was the only system we came across that sold their own home hubs. Finally, we considered whether or not a particular security system allowed for DIY installation since, of course, DIY saves money. A professional installed system can run anywhere from $75 to $300 per camera.

Mobile Applications

Mobile apps are important for hardwired systems especially, since generally, they require self-monitoring. We start by exploring reviews at Google Play and the App Store. Ultimately, though, we prefer to do our own testing as well. We give better marks to apps that send us real-time alerts so we can keep a close eye on our homes. We also expect apps to give us full access to live-stream and recorded video, and we prefer it if we can make camera adjustments, like changing monitoring zones and motion sensitivity. Finally, we like apps that are intuitive and logical so we don’t have to waste time trying to learn how they work.

FAQs