Best Alarm Systems of 2018

Alarm systems provide a sense of comfort and confidence.
We’ve compared the best and most affordable alarm systems in the industry.

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The Value of Having an Alarm System

Most families with alarm systems agree that the biggest benefit they realize is the peace-of-mind that comes with 24/7 monitoring. No matter where you are – on the road, on vacation or at work – if something goes wrong, knowing that your alarm system will link you to the proper authorities is not only reassuring, but adds value to your everyday life. And with the latest technology, most systems allow you to see what’s happening in your home from any mobile device – no matter your location.

Alarm systems have hidden monetary benefits that you might not be aware of. Your insurance company will look at an alarm system as an extra line of defense that decreases your risk of intrusion and fire; offering you a discount on your monthly payments. While the percentage varies depending on the providers and the sophistication of the system, many homeowners see their monthly insurance payments decrease by as much as 20%. Contact your insurance agent to find out more details. A good quality alarm system will also increase the value of your home. Families are willing to pay more for a home if they feel that they live in a secure place.

What Does an Alarm System Include?

What an alarm system includes depends entirely on the provider, your budget and your needs. The features can range from entry level systems that include basic motion sensors and alarms to full package deals with fire alarms, heat sensors and live-streaming video monitoring from your smart phone.

When purchasing an alarm system, you’ll need to decide whether you want a wired or a wireless system. Traditionally, wired alarm systems have been the go-to choice, but that trend has shifted with the increasingly sophisticated technology of wireless systems. The main benefit of the wireless alarm systems is the DIY installation and the ability to take your system with you if you move. This is ideal for those of us who do not want the hassle of dealing with service provider electricians.  

While alarm system features and prices vary from provider to provider, they generally have the following interior and exterior monitoring options to select from:

  • A wired or wireless central control panel

  • Motion sensors and exterior lighting

  • Door and window sensors so you are alerted if anyone is entering your home

  • Wired and wireless surveillance cameras inside and outside the home

  • Fire and environmental sensors for smoke, natural gas and carbon monoxide

  • Water sensors for flooding and freeze sensors for cold weather

  • Signage that will act as an additional deterrent to intruders

How Much Do Alarm Systems Cost?

If you have apprehensions of not being able to afford an alarm system – good news! Today’s alarm systems come in a variety of shapes, sizes and price, giving you the flexibility to pick and choose the must-have features you need to feel secure in your home. There are several upfront decisions you’ll need to make when shopping around – do you want monitored vs. unmonitored systems, wireless vs. hardwired and DIY vs. professional installation? Your final price is going to be directly related to how you answer those initial questions.

The average cost of the system installation and equipment ranges from $99 - $1,000, depending on the equipment you choose. After that, your monthly payments can start as low as $20 and go as high as $100. When you shop around, you’ll quickly realize that the cost of your system is affected by the technology you want. It’s like purchasing a car; the base price looks enticing, but the more features you add, the higher the end price. Features like security cameras and home automation are going to dramatically increase the cost. However, because you have complete control over your monthly costs by selecting the security features you need, almost anyone can afford some level of home security.

Choosing the Right Alarm System

With so many options on the market and technologies that are continuously evolving, how do you choose what alarm system is right for you and your family? While it can be overwhelming, you need to start by asking yourself what security features would make the investment worth it? What would make you feel secure? If your goal is to simply prevent burglaries and you’re not tech savvy, I would suggest that you go with a basic package with door and window sensors from any of the leading providers. However, if you’re keen on installing the system yourself and like the bells and whistles, I would suggest that you go with a DIY wireless system with home automation. While the equipment may be more expensive upfront, the month to month costs are not much more expensive than a basic package. With the additional features like smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detection, I would argue that the added value of preventing loss of life and property, is worth the extra price.

 

The biggest piece of advice is that you need to do your research before you jump into purchasing any system. Do not be pushed into buying from the first provider you call. Ask for customer references, a home demo and compare systems.