The Best Home Security Systems and Video Doorbells (part 2)

BEST OUTDOOR CAMERA

Arlo Pro 2

PC Mag awarded the Arlo Pro 2 its Editor’s Choice award because of its impressive video quality, compatibility with other smart home devices, and other perks such as its rechargeable battery pack and geofencing mode. Arlo’s cameras not only have automatic night vision, but are also weather-resistant, making this system the best pick for outdoor monitoring. It also has a three-second Look Back feature that captures activity that triggered a sensor, and you can set up activity zones to highlight specific areas where you want to receive motion and sound alerts.

Though Arlo cameras come with a free basic subscription plan that allows you to add up to five cameras and access recordings from the past seven days, there is a Premier plan for $10 per month or an Elite plan for $15 per month that provide additional storage, cameras, and unlimited tech support. At Best Buy, some reviewers preferred the original Arlo Pro since they found the 1080p resolution wasn’t an improvement enough to warrant the increased price.

BEST VIDEO DOORBELL

Google Nest Hello

Video doorbells like the Google Nest Hello are becoming more popular home security options due to their ease of use and affordability compared to whole-home setups. The Nest Hello is expensive for a video doorbell, but still more affordable than many complete home systems. If you simply want to be alerted to people at your doorstep, even if they don’t ring the doorbell, this is a good option for you. It can tell the difference between a person and an object, and with the Nest Aware subscription, it can identify a person as someone you know or a stranger.

Tech Radar reported that the audio “provides clear, crisp sound, making it easy for the person at the door to hear you,” such as when giving instructions for where to leave a package for a delivery. You can also set pre-recorded messages for when you’re away. You may require a professional to install it due to the wiring necessary, but some DIYers at Home Depot completed the installation themselves.

The Best Home Security Systems and Video Doorbells (part 1)

Today’s home security systems range from simple video doorbells to monitor who’s on your front doorstep to full security systems with multiple cameras, sensors, and keypads. There’s no longer a need to sign up for expensive professional monitoring contracts – most of these systems offer free DIY monitoring as well as optional contract-free, affordable professional monitoring subscription plans. No matter your needs, you’ll find a security system that works for your home and budget below.

BEST OVERALL

SIMPLISAFE

The SimpliSafe system is the best complete home security you can get that has 24/7 professional monitoring, no contract, and easy DIY installation. It has plenty of sensors to monitor doors and windows throughout your home, and they’re practically invisible so you won’t notice them. If this 12-piece kit somehow doesn’t include all of the components you want, SimpliSafe offers other bundles and add-ons like freeze sensors to help prevent burst pipes, extra entry sensors, keypads, and up to four more cameras.

The standard plan for professional coverage costs $14.99 per month, which is more than if you opt-out of professional monitoring, but SimpliSafe doesn’t require any contract. For $25 per month, you have more control over the system remotely through the SimpliSafe app. If you don’t want to pay any monthly fees, you can simply use it as an alarm and alert the authorities yourself.

BEST FOR ALEXA USERS

Ring Alarm

While most home security systems allow you to control your devices remotely through apps, Amazon’s Ring Alarm products provide the easiest hands-free voice control by connecting with Alexa. Alexa Guard also sends alerts to your phone while you’re away. Though this system is a great DIY option for customized whole-home protection, you can also opt into a 24/7 professional monitoring service for just $10 a month without a long-term contract or cancellation fees.

Though it’s cheaper than many complete DIY systems, Ring features quality, sleek hardware. Reviewers liked how Ring designed the hub and keypad separately, so users can place them where they prefer. And if you already have a Ring doorbell or security camera, the Ring Alarm will connect seamlessly under the same app. Amazon reviewers also recommended the Ring system as a replacement for others looking for a lower monthly cost for professional monitoring.

Protect your home with Eufy’s 1-camera home security system

Clip the on-page coupon to bring the Eufy Security eufyCam E wireless home security camera system down to $159.99 on Amazon. That’s on top of a pretty awesome discount at $180. The system usually sells for around $238 and was even going as high as $489 in early September. This is an all-new low for the 1-camera kit.

The camera comes with a base station that can control up to 16 cameras so you can add to it as you go. A 16GB microSD card is all you need to store up to a year of recordings. The camera can last one year on one charge and records in 1080p.

This 100% wire-free camera system is IP65 weatherproof-rated and has an internal battery that can last for a full year on a single charge (or three years in standby mode). One of the biggest concerns with getting a wireless security camera is whether or not the battery’s going to let you down when you need it most, but this one definitely won’t. It films in 1080p resolution and features night vision as well so you can see anything going on outside no matter what time of day it is. And using the EufySecurity app, you’ll be able to check in on the camera’s video feed no matter where you are.

Unlike other security systems, the eufyCam E doesn’t require that you pay for a monthly service to use it. A 16GB microSD card is included with its purchase so you can store up to a year of recordings without needing anything extra, but the home base supports up to 128GB so you can upgrade for more room if you want to. You’ll also receive mounting hardware so you can install the camera easily around your home.

If you’re looking to add more cameras to your setup, you can do that at any time in the future for $179.99 per camera. The packages above also include the required base station that helps the cameras all work together seamlessly, and it can support up to 16 total cameras and 34 sensors. The sensors are available for $39.99 apiece on Amazon.

How to choose a home alarm system

A home alarm system is a huge investment, so choosing the right company can be a tough decision. There are many options to consider before making a decision. The best thing you can do is to purchase a system which has non-proprietary features and can be modified or repaired by generic parts.

When picking an alarm company, you should consider these things:

  • Cost: Most alarm systems require monitoring payments every month. Make sure to select and set up a plan that is suitable for your budget.
  • Contracts: Some alarm companies ask for multiyear contracts, while other ones allow you to pay month-to-month without a long-term commitment. Although contracts aren’t always bad as sometimes it helps you get deals on equipment or extra warranties, be sure that you know what you’re signing up for before you commit.
  • Equipment: While some alarm companies have a huge selection of equipment, others only offer the bare bones. Decide what you want for your home and your family and make sure the system you select can offer what you really need whether it is an automatic door lock, a smoke alarm, or an outdoor camera.
  • Mobile access: The best alarm systems make it easy for you to check on your system wherever you are. It helps you be able to see that your home is safe whether you are in your bed or in another country.
  • Smart home support: A home alarm system is more useful and convenient if it can be synced with smart devices such as locks and lights. We suggest you choose a system that is compatible with a wide selection of third-party devices.

Here we suggest the top four home alarm companies on the market:

  • Frontpoint – Best easy DIY installation
  • ADT – Best industry reputation
  • Vivint – Best home automation and equipment
  • SimpliSafe – Most flexible contracts

Four Best Home Alarm Systems in 2019

Home alarm systems protect your family and home from fire, water damage, burglary, package theft, and more. Nowadays, there are so many alarm companies to choose from so deciding which one is right for you is not easy.

In this article, we highlight the most important things about the world’s top alarm companies. Consider finding the best security solution for your family, your home, and your budget.

1. Vivint

Vivint focuses on quality equipment and home automation, giving it an edge over other security companies. Moreover, it also offers cheap entry-level plan and contract-free option. Meanwhile, its main drawbacks are long contracts and pricey equipment.

PROS CONS
Contract-free option
Low-cost entry-level package
Top-tier equipment
Convenient mobile access with all plans
Flexible payment options Easy smart home integration  
High-priced equipment
Long contracts  

2. Frontpoint

Frontpoint offers a premium DIY installation experience along with superior customer service. Customer-first policies such as a 30-day money-back guarantee without fees if you move with your system help balance the higher monthly monitoring fees of Frontpoint. Therefore, although Frontpoint isn’t the cheapest system, users tend to stick with this company longer than other ones.

PROS CONS
Excellent customer service
Effortless unboxing & DIY setup
Home automation with Z-Wave equipment
100% cellular 4G monitoring
30-day money-back guarantee
Camera-only plans
Crash and Smash Protection
Free and easy relocation
No mobile
No landline or broadband options  

3. SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is one of the best options for cheap professional monitoring with no contract. Systems are inexpensive, contract-free, and easy to set up. Its small drawbacks include the lack of an outdoor camera and limited home automation.

PROS CONS
Easy setup
No contractsInexpensive equipment
Option to turn professional monitoring on/off
60-day money-back guarantee
Customizable equipment packages
No mobile access with a less
expensive plan
Minimal home automation
integration  

4. Link Interactive

For those that are big on customization, Link Interactive is amongst the best DIY home alarm systems. Its security systems come with transparent prices versatile and contract options. But one of its drawbacks is that it has shorter customer service hours than its competitors.

PROS CONS
Shorter contract options that
competitors
Transparent prices
No activation or installation
fees
Customizable equipment packages
Video analytics available with
Elite package
Customer complaints about the difficulty
in installing
Fewer customer service hours than
competitors