There are a lot of systems on the market, each claiming to be a one-stop shop for all your home security needs. But how do you know which system is right for your home?
Start by thinking about what your priorities are. Some things to consider include:
Home security is a worthwhile investment to protect your family and belongings. But it can get expensive, especially when you factor in up-front equipment and monthly fees, depending on your monitoring option and the number of sensors you need.
A basic system that includes sensors and a control panel can cost between $200 to $700, Micetich says. Add on extra sensors or features, such as fire, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors and breaking-glass sensors, and the costs can add up quickly.
The best way to keep a handle on the total cost is by choosing a wireless or cellular system, which eliminates up-front installation fees and typically comes with a lower monthly fee than traditional wired systems. You should also ask your homeowners insurance if they offer a break on home security systems that are professionally monitored. These systems connect to your mobile network via a SIM card and communicate immediately with the monitoring company’s central station, as opposed to hard-wired options that require installers to cut into walls.
Many security systems require professional installation to work properly. This adds to the upfront equipment costs, but you may find that it’s worth it in terms of safety and convenience. Pro installers are often knowledgeable about device placement and integration, and can offer a valuable walkthrough of your new system.
However, there are also home security systems that can be easily installed by homeowners and renters. These are generally less expensive, but they may not work well in all homes.
Regardless of the type of system you choose, you’ll need to decide how it will be connected to your monitoring center. This will affect how you receive alerts and access your app. Choose between landline, WiFi, cellular, or ethernet connectivity. Cellular is the least vulnerable to tampering, but it’s also usually the most expensive.
When a security system offers professional monitoring, this means that your alarms can be sent to a central station that has teams of employees standing by ready to dispatch police or fire departments in the event of a problem. These teams will also attempt to communicate with the homeowner through their control panel or smartphone app if possible, so they can explain what has happened and what needs to be done.
This option can add a lot of value to your home security system, so make sure that you choose one that has it if you have the budget for it. It will help you feel safe and secure in your home while giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that there are people on standby to protect it.
Keep in mind that most monitoring services come with monthly fees, so be sure to factor this into your overall cost. You should also look at the terms of the contracts. Some providers have long-term contracts, while others require a short commitment or don’t have any at all.
Compatibility with Smart Devices
You should consider how your system will integrate with the other smart devices in your home. If you have plans to add a smart thermostat or doorbell camera, for example, it’s important that they work well with the security system. Ideally, you want one platform to control all of your home’s automation features.
You may also want to install environmental sensors like smoke, CO and flood detectors. These alert the proper authorities as soon as an emergency happens, allowing you to get ahead of the problem before it escalates.
Some of these systems can even detect nefarious people and scare them away, keeping your family safe. It’s also worth noting that some systems offer specialized protection for elderly or disabled residents. They feature devices like emergency pulls or medical alert pendants, enabling you to contact help quickly in an emergency. Look for scalable systems that allow multiple app users and compatibility with third-party devices. Hubitat’s cloudfree hubs, for example, prioritize local control and adhere to industry interoperability standards, ensuring seamless connectivity between ecosystems.