How to Find and Choose a Home Security System

Find the perfect security system for your home with a few simple clicks.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Apr 4, 2022
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Apr 4, 2022

If you’re shopping for a home security system, then you might be feeling overwhelmed, confused, and a little lost. After all, there are so many companies to choose from, and so many security system packages with those companies. Not only that, but you can also customize systems.

So many choices, yet so little time to research them. What’s a person to do?

That’s where we come in. We’ve created a tool to help you find the right security system for you, whether you’re protecting your home or your business. You’ll have the answers you need in less than a minute with our security system finder.

Security System Finder

Simply answer a few questions to find the right home security system for your needs. Our experts have tested every security system we’ll suggest for reliability and affordability, so you can trust that every system is effective in preventing home invasions.

Security System Finder

Answer a few simple questions to find the security system that’s best for you.

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How to Choose a Home Security System

If you want to choose a home security system the old-fashioned way, we’ve got you covered. Here are the factors to consider.

What You Need to Protect

First of all, what are you protecting, both in terms of the building itself and the people in it?

  • Home or business: Most people want home security systems, although there are also great security systems for businesses.
  • Kids and pets: If you have a family, get a system that lets multiple people control it remotely. If you have pets, look for one of the best security systems for pet owners with features like pet detection and two-way audio.
  • Indoor and outdoor: It’s important to secure both the inside and outside of your home, assuming you don’t need an apartment security system. To stop crime before it happens, you should have outdoor home security as well. And don’t forget about securing your garage with a garage security system, especially if it’s connected to the rest of your home.
  • Special needs: Finally, consider any special needs of your family or household. There are security systems for the deaf and security systems for seniors, in case that applies to you.
Vivint Base Hub
Vivint Base Hub

Security Equipment

Now that you know what and who you’re protecting, it’s time to think about the physical components of your home security system. We’ve broken it all down below.

Installation

Decide if you want DIY installation or professional home security installation. DIY home security is cheaper than professionally installed home security, but of course, it requires some manual labor. However, wireless DIY systems make securing your home quite easy.

Installing the Ring Doorbell
Installing the Ring Doorbell

Smart Home Features

Do you live in a smart home, or do you want to make a smart home from scratch? If so, look for a security system that works with your home’s voice assistant, be it an Alexa security system or a Google security system. With home automation, you can have your internet of things (IoT) devices trigger one another, like your smart lights turning on when you arm your security system. Learn more in our home automation guide.

Monitoring Service

We recommend going with 24/7 professional monitoring for the most protection. That means a team of people will be able to respond to any alerts and contact the police for you if need be.

However, we understand that not everyone wants professional monitoring. Some people prefer unmonitored security systems, as well as security systems with no monthly fees. If that’s you, look for a system that lets you self-monitor, livestream footage, receive notifications, and control everything remotely for free.

If you want professional monitoring, let’s talk contracts. Some companies require a long-term contract for professional monitoring, while some have month-to-month options. Check out the best no-contract security systems if you’re looking for some flexibility. Especially if you need a security system for renters, you’ll appreciate being able to cancel your home security contract at any time without incurring harsh fees.

Notifications

With smart security systems connected to the internet, you’ll be notified if any of your alarms go off. Look for a security system with notifications and alerts so you can stay on top of your home’s security without depending on your neighbors to hear your alarms go off.

Lorex App Notifications
Lorex App Notifications

Backup

There’s also the question of backup, which will keep your system on in the event of a power outage. Choose from cellular security systems or no-landline security systems, as most security systems don’t need landlines these days.

Mobile App

Especially if you have multiple people in your home, look for a reliable and user-friendly mobile application that lets you livestream footage, get alarm notifications, and control components remotely. Some apps even have safety buttons so you can contact 911 silently and quickly. Check app stores for ratings, as bugs and fixes occur around the clock.

Customer Support

Aside from a robust online support center with FAQs and step-by-step guides, the company should offer great customer support from real humans. Look for companies with phone lines and live chat, as that’s where you’ll get the best and fastest help.

Usability

The system itself should be easy to use, which is usually the case with modern security systems. Long gone are the days of spending hours looking through security system manuals, figuring out which button means what.

Scalability

Most systems are also scalable, meaning you can add to them after your initial purchase. This will come in handy if you want a little more protection or simply some equipment upgrades.

Argus 2 Camera
Argus 2 Camera

Design

Take aesthetics into account, especially for parts of your home security system that will be visible. It’s important that your home security components don’t call attention to themselves, instead blending in with the decor of your home.

Budget

Of course, price is always a consideration, perhaps the most important one. How much home security systems cost ranges from just $30 for the most affordable security systems to thousands of dollars for the most expensive systems. You may also need to take home security permits into account, along with fees for installation, monitoring, storage, and more. And no, you probably won’t be able to get a tax deduction for your home security system — unless you use your home as your principal place of business.

Moving Policy

If you move, will you be able to take your system with you? Find out beforehand, as you may have to pay for installation again for your new pad.

Return Policy

With any large purchase, it’s important to take the company’s return policy into account. Take special note of any free trials, money-back guarantees, or cancellation fees before you sign on the dotted line.

How We Test Home Security Systems

We hand-test all of the security systems on our website to review how they work in terms of usability, installation, smart home integration, and other factors. We live with each system for a minimum of six months before reviewing it and look at its monitoring plans compared to competitors, the quality of the equipment, the company’s customer support, and more.

Testing the Ring Doorbell Video Quality
Testing the Ring Doorbell Video Quality

Do I Need a Home Security System?

The answer to whether you need a home security system is yes, usually. Whether you want to prevent home invasions or package theft, convicted burglars admit that even equipment as simple as entry sensors, motion sensors, or cameras would prevent them from robbing homes.

Multiple studies from the University of North Carolina1 as well as the U.S. Department of Justice2 have proven the effectiveness of security systems. Given that 70 percent of home burglaries involve entry through damaging or removing a door, basic sensors can go a long way. And since 60 percent of burglars would choose another home if they found an alarm system, conspicuous home security can prevent crime before it happens.

Blink Indoor Cam and Sync Module
Blink Indoor Cam and Sync Module

If that’s not enough of a reason for you, there’s always the home insurance discount that you could potentially get with a security system.

Of course, everything has its drawbacks, and home security systems are no exception. There’s the cost, which usually doesn’t end with the equipment costs, and false alarms. However, we think that protecting your home is worth the costs and potential false alarms. Plus, most false alarms are fixable with correctly installed systems, proper training, and occasional maintenance.3

FYI: The top causes of false alarms are faulty equipment, human error, low battery, incorrect installation, rodents, pets, insects, and unlocked or loose windows and doors.

The Latest Trends in Home Security

Home security systems are only getting more popular, especially as porch piracy becomes commonplace. Here are some statistics from our original research:

  • As of July 2021, 40 percent of adults in the U.S. have had packages stolen; 17 percent of these package thefts happened in the past three months.
  • Package theft occurs the most in apartment buildings (56 percent), condos (54 percent), and senior living communities and townhouses (43 percent).
  • Our June 2021 smart home research told us that 46 percent of U.S. adults use home security systems.
  • The most popular home security system in the U.S. is Ring Alarm, which makes up 31 percent of systems, followed by ADT, which accounts for 30 percent. Learn why these systems are so popular in our Ring Alarm review and our ADT review.
    36 percent of people pay less than $25 a month for their home security system, while 27 percent spend somewhere between $25 and $49 monthly.
  • 42 percent of people plan to switch or upgrade their home security system within the next year.
  • Of the people who don’t use security systems, 58 percent plan to or may buy them in the future.
  • For 30 percent of non-users, price is the most important factor in choosing a system, followed by apps and smart device integration at 25 percent.

As smart home technology becomes more popular and package theft increases, we’re expecting the home security market to increase exponentially in the coming years with smart, automated systems.

eufy 5 Piece System Equipment
eufy 5 Piece System Equipment

Best Home Security Systems

We’ve tested all of the best home security systems, from the best Apple security systems to the best security systems with no credit check. Also, check out the best security systems for new construction and the best security system smartphone apps.

SimpliSafe Base Station
SimpliSafe is our Best Home Security System Overall

Home Security Comparisons

If you’ve narrowed it down to two security systems, compare security systems head to head. From Ring vs. Nest to Arlo vs. Lorex, there are few security systems we haven’t compared.

Lorex vs Reolink
Lorex vs Reolink

Home Security Deals

You can save money on home security by cashing in on home security deals. The best time to buy is definitely Black Friday, as there are tons of Black Friday home security discounts. You can get savings of up to 50 percent, sometimes even more!

Home Security Tips

There are some things that money can’t buy, so a home security system alone isn’t enough to protect your home. It’s also important to follow these home security tips to keep your home safe from hackers and other threats.

How to Stop Your Home Security System From Being Hacked

One disadvantage of Wi-Fi-connected security is that it can be hacked, like anything else that’s connected to the internet. To prevent your home security system from being hacked, secure your account with a strong password and advanced authentication.

Pro Tip: Don’t use the same password for your home security account as you have used on other online accounts. Instead, make a password that’s long, complicated, and unique.

How to Work From Home Safely

Working from home is becoming more common, but just because you’re home doesn’t mean you’re safe from burglaries. Working from home safely requires arming some sensors but not others, keeping an eye on your livestream, and protecting yourself digitally with antivirus software, for example.

Best Antivirus
An Antivirus can protect you online while working from home

How to Protect Your Home on Vacation

You may be on vacation, but burglars are not. It’s important to secure your home while you’re on vacation as well as to secure your vacation home. Secure these homes just as you would the home you stay in normally, as burglaries can happen at any time and any place.

More Home Security Resources

We’ve created dozens of home security how-to pages to help you protect your home from invasion, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the easiest place to start is our complete home security guide.

Recap

We hope this page not only helped you to find a security system, but also taught you something along the way. You see, buying your system is only the first step in the marathon of securing your home. But once you’re past that first hurdle, you’ll be flying in no time.

Nest IQ Indoor
Nest IQ Indoor

Frequently Asked Questions

Still not sure where to start when shopping for a home security system? We’ve gotten the below questions dozens of times, so hopefully, we can guide you in the right direction.

  • What should I look for when buying a security system?

    When buying a security system, look for the following:

    • Affordable, high-quality equipment
    • Self-monitoring ability
    • Low-cost 24/7 professional monitoring
    • DIY or professional installation, depending on your preference
    • No activation fees
    • Low video storage fees
    • Scalable systems
    • Cameras with 1080p HD video, infrared night vision, and two-way audio
    • Smart platform integrations
    • Highly rated mobile app
    • Free livestreaming, remote control, and alarm notifications
    • Great customer support
    • Trusted companies with little or no history of data breaches or hackings
  • Which home security system is best for me?

    The best home security system for you depends on what you’re protecting, the size of your home, and how much protection you want. However, the best home security systems overall are SimpliSafe, ADT, Cove, Vivint, Alder, Brinks, Frontpoint, abode, Deep Sentinel, Ring Alarm, and Xfinity.

  • Which security system is the best value?

    The security system with the best value is SimpliSafe. For only $24.99 a month, we got 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, livestreaming, remote control, and notifications. SimpliSafe’s equipment is affordable, and we could cancel our plan at any time, which isn’t the case for more traditional systems like ADT and Frontpoint.

    We could set up our SimpliSafe system ourselves, which saved us money. Finally, SimpliSafe fit well into our smart home, integrating with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

  • What is the best wireless home security system?

    The best wireless home security system is SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe’s wireless components made it very easy for us to install, and with the Interactive Plan, everything stayed connected to the monitoring center and the SimpliSafe app thanks to cellular backup. Whenever the components got low on battery, the mobile app alerted us with push notifications as well.

    Other great wireless home security systems include Cove, Vivint, ADT, Frontpoint, and abode.

Citations
  1. University of Charlotte. (2021). University Communications.
    ucomm.charlotte.edu/

  2. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2021). Victimization During Household Burglary.
    bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/vdhb.pdf

  3. Cleveland County. (2021). The 6 Most Common Causes of False Alarms.
    clevelandcounty.com/sheriffs_office/documents/how_reduce_false_alarms.pdf