Best monitored alarm systems
Securing your home no longer means having to have wires and fixings set up everywhere just to monitor your security - now wireless systems means no-fuss installation of security cameras and detectors to help protect your home and keep you and your family safe. However, you also need third-party alarm monitoring for your home security system if it is going to be properly effective.
While there are a number of home security systems out there, not all come with monitored alarms. Additionally, while some do provide the ability for you to control and monitor your home security system yourself through your smartphone, that's of little help when your phone is switched off or otherwise out of hand.
We've therefore looked at some of the monitored alarm and security services available on the market. Some have a fixed set up, others allow DIY installation, and a number also allow you to control your home security system from your mobile devices. There are even options to integrate any alarm system with a smart home, so you can control lighting and heating from a mobile app or using voice commands. But what all of them have in common is 24/7 alarm monitoring to ensure that even if your home security system doesn't catch intruders on your property, these services will.
- We've also highlighted the best home security systems
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The customized security solution
ADT offers monitored security packages that are customized to protect your home. Main features include the ability control your home security system from anywhere, set up custom alerts, provide live video monitoring (both outside and inside), as well as emergency alarms triggered by smoke, carbon dioxide, or even flooding.
ADT provide three broad packages, with the Traditional package offering a full security system that includes a digital panel, high-decibel alarm, sensors for doors and windows, as well as signage to warn away potential burglars. This comes with 24/7 monitoring, as well as smoke, carbon dioxide, and flood detectors.
The Control package includes all of the above, with the added inclusion of mobile apps so that you can arm and disarm your security system remotely, as well as customize and schedule alerts by email and/or text. The Video package adds 720p HD video surveillance, which can be live streamed to a mobile device, while also including the option to record and save video clips from events triggered by motion detectors built into the cameras. There are also additional options that include a video doorbell with 2-way audio, and a medical alert system.
ADT also provide a smart home package, which can include smart door locks, lights, thermostats, switches and plugs, all of which can be operated remotely.
The cost of an ADT home security system will depend on the options chosen, and can include same-day or next-day installation by an ADT technician.
The smart security system
Vivint SmartHome is a smart monitored security package that is customizated according to the needs of your home. Main features included as standard include the ability to control your security settings, feeds, and alerts directly with a mobile app, even when away from home, as well as use voice commands when inside, along with a touchscreen security panel.
There are a range of different products and features, as you'd expect from a comprehensive home security system, not least indoor and outdoor cameras, video recording, and 24/7 monitoring, but also additional smart home features such as the smart locks, thermostat, and garage controls. There are also detectors for smoke, carbon dioxide, and flooding.
Once professionally installed, it's really the smart aspect that defines the Vivint Smart Home, with everything integrated into an easy to control system. The mobile app especially makes it easy to manage and monitor everything directly from your smartphone.
However, because this is a customized solution rather than a standard kit, you will need to contact Vivint SmartHome directly for a quote.
The smart and mobile security point
Frontpoint Security offers a simple and smart monitored home security service, using a wide range of different wireless devices. No professional installation is required and you can set up your cameras, sensors, and other monitors precisely where you think you need them, and everything is pre-configured to work together out of the box.
At the heart of Frontpoint Security is the Frontpoint Hub, which serves as a central controller for all of your security devices. The hub can switch between a wireless and cellular network as required, so that even if there's a break in your internet connection your home security system can continue without interruption. Additionally, the hub is advertised as smash-proof, and even if it is somehow destroyed it will automatically send out a security alert.
The mobile app has also been made to be very easy to use. You don't need to swipe through multiple screens to arm it, you just quickly tap the icon and select your arming option.
Additionally, you also have full control of your surveillance options, and don't need to wait for alerts in case you may be unavailable to take them. As a monitored solution, Frontpoint can call 911 for you if they detect a clear incident, ensuring that your home remains protected even if your smartphone is switched off.
For better value home security
Link Interactive is another provider who can supply a fully monitored home security system that works out of the box, so there are no installation fees. The company also advertises itself as providing the best value of the major home security providers by allowing you to pick and choose your own DIY setup. Everything can be managed through mobile apps, including settings, arm/disarm, and alerts.
There are a number of wireless security cameras available with fixed or pan/tilt options, for both indoor and outdoor use, some of which come with infrared night vision features. There are also door and window sensors available, as well as as detectors for smoke, carbon dioxide, or flooding, plus extras for smart home automation as well as panic buttons. Everything runs wirelessly, and can run from either your internet or cellular connection to ensure it continues running in the event of a power failure.
Whichever hardware options you choose, everything is comes with 24/7 monitoring. If you don't respond to an issue yourself, Link Interactive will try to contact you directly. In the event of a home invasion, Link Interactive will call 911 directly.
Protection with 24/7 monitoring
Protect America is a security system that offers 24/7 monitoring and self-installation. They provide a simple and affordable plan that includes installation of a control panel, motion and entry sensors, a yard sign and entry stickers, and all with monitoring, for $19.99 per month and no upfront costs.
However, Protect America also offers an upgraded automated smart home solution that allows for more customization, to ensure you feel properly protected in your home. Hardware options include 720p HD wireless home security cameras for constant video surveillance and recording, which can also have infrared LED sensors for night recording, as well as two-way audio. Protect America can also supply motion detectors, monitored smoke detection, as well as home automation.
The home automation option allows you to integrate your home security system with lighting and climate controls, including smart locks on your front door and garage, all managed both through a mobile app as well as by voice control using Amazon's Alexa assistant.
However, while Protect America does offer an initially lower monthly fee, do expect a long-term contract to pay for it.
Other monitoring alarm systems to consider
While we've feature some of the major providers of monitored alarm systems, there's also a growing number of alarm systems that you can set up at home and add monitoring to as an additional service. Here we'll look at some of those services, not least because the overall price can often be cheaper than dedicated monitoring solutions, not least because of the easy set up and install of the equipment yourself.
SimpliSafe offers a really simple home security solution, centered on a single base station which can be expanded out to cover a wider area, indoors and outdoors, using a range of additional sensors. Once you've bought the Simplisafe security kit you need, you can either monitor it all yourself, which is easily done, or else sign up to SimpliSafe's 24/7 monitoring for $14.99 per month, with no contract.
Scout is another option if you want to build your own home security system simply and effectively, using a range of sensors working with a base station for monitoring purposes. Like a lot of similar systems, while you can monitor everything yourself, there is a 24/7 professional monitoring service available for $19.99 per month, with additional camera and cloud storage options for your video recordings as well.
Brinks home security offers a more traditional monitored alarm system, by which your home security system can be professionally installed or set up by yourself, depending on the type of security hardware required. Whichever set up you choose, monitoring options come as standard, starting from $29 per month according to which payment plan you opt for, though cheaper options tend to come with long term contracts.