Best Home Security Systems of 2020

  • Best Overall
    Full review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
  • Best DIY
    Full review
    4 out of 5 overall
  • Most Reliable
    Full review
    4 out of 5 overall
  • Customer Service
    Full review
    4 out of 5 overall
  • Self-Monitored
    Full review
    4 out of 5 overall

Our top picks for the best home security systems have had quite a shake-up since last year. We’ve seen so many companies upgrade their equipment or add in new smart home features that we had to take a totally new look at the alarm systems out there.

But good news: we’ve done all the hard work for you and we’re back again with the best home security options on the market. Whether you want to turn your house into a robot home of the future or you just want people to stop stealing your Amazon packages, we’ll help you pick the right system.

Compare top-rated home security systems
ProviderMonitoring priceInstallation typeSmart home integrationsDetails
Vivint Smart Home$29.99–$44.99/mo.ProfessionalZ-Wave, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
SimpliSafe$14.99–24.99/mo.DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView System
ADT Pulse$53.99–$59.99/mo.ProfessionalZ-Wave, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Frontpoint$44.99–$49.99/mo.DIYZ-Wave, Amazon AlexaView Plans
Abode$0–$20/mo.*DIYZ-Wave, Zigbee, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView System
Nest Secure$0–$29/mo.*DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView System
Protect America$19.99–$54.99/mo.DIYZ-Wave, Amazon AlexaView Plans
Link Interactive$30.99–$44.99/mo.DIYZ-Wave, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Brinks$29–$39/mo.DIYZ-Wave, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Xfinity Home$29.95–$39.95/mo.ProfessionalZigbeeView Plans
Cove$14.99–$24.99/mo.DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView System
Ring Alarm$0–$10/mo.*DIYZ-Wave, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView System
Scout Alarm$9.99–$19.99/mo.DIYZ-Wave, Zigbee, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView System

Data effective 12/6/2019 Offers subject to change.
* Self-monitoring is free, but professional monitoring costs extra.

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1. Vivint Smart Home: Best overall

Vivint kept its top spot this year. It’s still the best option if you want a powerhouse combo of home security and smart home devices.

Source: Vivint


  • Top-notch equipment
  • Tons of smart home devices
  • Easy mobile control


  • Aggressive door-to-door sales (call instead)
  • Expensive equipment

Why we chose Vivint

Vivint is the first class lounge of our best home security systems list. It makes high-end equipment, it offers a bunch of smart home devices, and it’s ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative features.

You know your neighbor who always has the latest and greatest of everything? Yeah, they have a Vivint system.

Vivint Smart Home plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile app accessSmart home supportLearn more
Smart Security$29.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
Smart Home$39.99/mo.YesYesView Plans
Smart Home + Video$44.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

High-end equipment

For all its fancy new tech, Vivint is a pretty traditional security provider. It offers only professional installation and its equipment is not some lightweight keypad you pull out of a box. Vivint’s control panel and sensors are sturdy, and once they’re in your house, it’s gonna stay there awhile.

Sorry, renters; if you move a lot, then Vivint might not be the easiest choice for you, but there are some super portable security options out there. But if you want a home security centerpiece that will stick around, Vivint’s an easy pick.

Smart home integration

If you want to control everything—from your lights to your thermostat and your garage door—all from your phone, then Vivint’s smart home integrations will serve you well.

Vivint lets you automate almost anything you want to. You can even turn off your curling iron from your phone with one of Vivint’s smart outlets. Plus, Vivint’s systems work with Amazon Alexa and Nest, so you don’t have to ditch your favorite smart thermostat.

The downside: pricey equipment

The main downside with Vivint is price. Not so much its monthly plans—those are on par with other companies—but Vivint doesn’t offer a ton of equipment discounts. And if you want to finance your sensors and equipment, you’ll have to sign a 3- or 5-year contract.

Prepare to shell out about $600 for a starter pack of Vivint equipment (or be willing to finance that cost over time). If you’d prefer a company that offers equipment discounts on the reg, scroll down to check out Frontpoint, Abode, SimpliSafe, and Protect America.

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Pro tip
You know that door-to-door salesperson that comes around trying to sell you on a Vivint system? Yeah, you should call in instead. Vivint’s had some complaints in the past about its door-to-door sales processes. (But it still has a high customer service score.)1

Want to learn more? Check out our Vivint review.

2. SimpliSafe: Best DIY installation

Strapped for cash? We love SimpliSafe’s affordable take on home security. Just don’t expect a lot of smart home stuff.

Source: SimpliSafe


  • Affordable equipment and monitoring
  • Online ordering
  • Easy installation


  • Few smart home integrations

Why we chose SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is like the opposite of a traditional security provider. It lets you order online, it has you install the equipment yourself, and it doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg for professional monitoring (or equipment either, honestly).

SimpliSafe plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile controlCamera support*Learn more
Standard$14.99/mo.NoN/AView System
Interactive$24.99/mo.YesN/AView System

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.
* SimpliSafe cameras work as standalone devices.

Super affordable

Have you always wanted an alarm system but would rather eat fire ants than pay those massive monthly monitoring bills? SimpliSafe to the rescue.

If there’s one thing you can say for SimpliSafe, it’s that it’s cheap. You’ll pay way less for SimpliSafe sensors and equipment than you would for something like Vivint or ADT.

Plus you can get professional monitoring (where someone calls you if an alarm goes off) for as low as $14.99 per month. That’s a pretty good deal in our book.

Easy to use and install

We tested out a SimpliSafe system ourselves and had it up and running in about an hour. The new equipment (SimpliSafe upgraded it in 2018) looks way better than the old stuff and we felt good about displaying the hub on our kitchen counter.

SimpliSafe does still use a keypad rather than a full touchscreen control panel, which is nice and simple but not quite as fancy looking.

The downside: Not many smart home options

It might be one of the best home security systems, but if you’re a home automation junkie, then skip the SimpliSafe system.

SimpliSafe is slowly adding in more smart home options, but in the meantime, it doesn’t have Z-Wave or Zigbee, it doesn’t work with IFTTT, and its Amazon Alexa and Nest integrations are pretty sparse.

We gotta say though, SimpliSafe does have a new smart lock on offer and it’s pretty sweet. It retrofits your existing lock (not unlike the August Smart Lock) and it works seamlessly with your SimpliSafe system.

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Insider tip
If you want to keep it DIY but add more home automation, Abode, Ring Alarm, or Nest Secure will work better for you.

Want to learn more? Check out our SimpliSafe review.

3. ADT Pulse: Most reliable

You know the name for a reason. ADT Pulse gives you the most trusted name in home security plus total home automation and control.

Source: ADT Security


  • Reliable monitoring
  • Lots of smart home integrations
  • Extensive equipment selection


  • Expensive monitoring packages

Why we chose ADT Pulse

Anyone who’s heard of home security has heard of ADT. It’s been in business for over a century, and all that experience means ADT knows what it’s doing. (But you’ll definitely pay for that expertise.)

ADT Pulse plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile controlCamera supportLearn more
ADT Pulse$58.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
ADT Pulse + Video$59.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

Ultra reliable monitoring

You pay for a professionally monitored alarm system because you want peace of mind. But it’s not great peace of mind if your security provider has only one call center and a single bad storm could put it out of commission.

ADT has six different monitoring centers across the country, which means nothing short of an outright zombie apocalypse will put your system at risk.

Smart home integrations

Like Vivint, ADT’s Pulse plans have all the smart home integrations your automation-loving heart could want. ADT has plans other than Pulse that don’t offer so many smart home features, and we really don’t recommend them. If you want the best, then ADT Pulse is where it’s at.

The downside: expensive monitoring

ADT Pulse plans are some of the most expensive we’ve seen. Its prices for equipment—like your control panel and entry sensors— are about the same as everyone else’s, but those monthly monitoring service prices will deal a serious blow to your wallet. You just have to decide if it’s worth it.

Want to learn more? Check out our ADT review.

4. Frontpoint: Best customer service

Frontpoint overhauled its security equipment and we like the new look—and the fact that it’s backed up by excellent customer service.


  • Responsive customer service
  • Equipment discounts
  • Easy installation


  • Pricey monitoring plans

Why we chose Frontpoint

Frontpoint overhauled its equipment last year and introduced an encrypted hub that lets you use smart home devices without also opening a door for potential hackers.  (Some other companies, like SimpliSafe, have had security issues in the past.)2

Plus, with Frontpoint’s new system, you also get Frontpoint’s consistently good customer service.

Frontpoint plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile controlCamera support**Learn more
Interactive$44.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
Ultimate$49.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.


Save 20% off Smart Home Security + Receive a FREE Indoor Camera

Looking to save on home security in the New Year?

Frontpoint is currently offering 20% off Smart Home Security + a Free Indoor Camera with your order ($99.99 value) + Free Shipping + No Contract.

Sounds too good to resist? View the offer now.

*Terms and conditions apply. See disclaimer for details.

Reliable customer service

We’ve had consistently positive experiences with Frontpoint’s customer service team, and we’re not the only ones. Frontpoint’s constantly topping home security lists for best customer service, and it has top ratings from organizations like the Better Business Bureau3 and TrustPilot.4

Secure equipment

Frontpoint’s equipment line is designed so that you can add in smart home devices and still keep your system secure.

Frontpoint’s new hub is encrypted and has cellular backup, so your system stays protected all the time. And the system now uses a keypad instead of a full control panel.

We’ve seen this kind of equipment from other companies like Abode. Frontpoint is just jumping on a growing trend.

Another trend Frontpoint’s jumped on? Getting rid of contracts. You used to have to sign a three-year agreement to get a Frontpoint system, but now you just pay month-to-month. That’s always a development we like to see.

The downside: expensive monitoring plans

One downside of Frontpoint’s edgy new look: its monitoring plans are pretty expensive. The average price for professional monitoring is under $40 per month. Frontpoint’s plans start at $44.99 per month.

That said, Frontpoint does have cheaper equipment than pricier companies like Vivint. And if you really want a Yale smart door lock, you can get it cheaper through Frontpoint than basically anywhere else.

Want to learn more? Check out our Frontpoint review.

5. Abode: Best self-monitoring

Prefer a total DIY approach? Abode lets you monitor your security system yourself without paying a monthly fee.

Source: Abode


  • Free self-monitoring
  • Option for professional monitoring
  • Smart home integration


  • Hit-or-miss camera quality

Why we chose Abode

If you just want some standard alarm equipment and don’t want to deal with contracts or paying for monthly monitoring, then Abode is a DIY dream. It gives you affordable alarm equipment you can monitor yourself from your phone.

If you decide you do want professional monitoring, Abode has an option for that—although it’s relatively pricey for this kind of system.

Abode plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile controlCamera support**Learn more
Basic*$0YesN/AView System
Connect*$8/mo.YesN/AView System
Secure$20/mo.YesN/AView System

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.
* Self-monitored only. No professional monitoring.
** Abode’s camera does not require a plan subscription.

No mandatory monthly fees

Most security companies make you pay a monthly fee for something. Whether it’s professional monitoring or just access to its mobile app, it’s hard to escape the monthly fee trap.

But if you want a one-and-done cost, then Abode is a great choice. It includes full access to its smartphone app when you buy a system, so you don’t have to keep paying for mobile control. (Looking at you, SimpliSafe.)

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Want professional monitoring, but only sometimes?
Abode is the only security provider we’ve seen that offers temporary professional monitoring.

Normally, you either have professional monitoring all the time or you don’t have it at all. But Abode lets you sign on for professional monitoring for short stints (3 or 7 days). Next time you go on vacation, you can let someone else keep an eye on your system.

Innovative motion detectors

If you don’t want a full-on indoor camera but want to see what’s going on when an alarm goes off, then Abode’s motion sensors are perfect for you. They combine motion detectors with a camera and they automatically take three pictures when they detect movement.

So you can see if that alert is just because your dog jumped on the couch or if it’s actually something you need to worry about.

The downside: mediocre camera quality

Abode makes an indoor camera, but its quality isn’t the best. The livestreaming can be a bit glitchy and the image isn’t super clear despite the little cam having HD vision. Not our top camera pick.

Plus, while we love the motion detector camera idea, the image quality isn’t great.

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Heads up
Abode does not include a control panel or keypad in its starter equipment pack. (It sells them à la carte.) You can use the system without one, but it’s easier if you just buy one as an add-on.

Want to learn more? Check out our Abode review.

6. Nest Secure

Nest’s security system is beautiful to look at and has some cool features. Nest Cam fans, this one’s for you.

Source: Nest

Nest Secure plans and pricing
Self-monitored$0/mo.View System
Brinks professional monitoring (with 3-year. contract)$19/mo.View System
Brinks professional monitoring (month-to-month)$29/mo.View System

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

What we like about Nest Secure

First of all, let’s admit it: Nest products are just pretty. They’re nice to look at and they’re usually nice to use, and Nest Secure is no different.

Nest Secure has pretty innovative devices. It gives you little key tags you can use to turn the system on and off so you don’t have to fiddle with a key code or your phone. It also combines motion sensors with its door and window sensors so you get at two-in-one device.

If you already use Nest products, like Nest’s smart thermostat or its indoor camera or outdoor camera, then Nest Secure will fit nicely into your existing system.

What we don’t like

Unfortunately, Nest Secure is expensive for what you get. You’ll pay a few hundred dollars for just a few pieces of equipment. Nest Secure also keeps its system exclusive. That’s a nice way of saying it doesn’t integrate with a lot of other smart home devices, which is pretty annoying.

Want to learn more? Check out our Nest Secure review.

7. Protect America

Protect America backs up its equipment with a lifetime guarantee. Plus, it has super affordable basic packages.

Source: Protect America

Protect America plans and pricing
Copper Landline$19.99/mo.View Plans
Copper Broadband$41.99/mo.View Plans
Copper Cellular$41.99/mo.View Plans
Silver Landline$37.99/mo.View Plans
Silver Broadband$49.99/mo.View Plans
Silver Cellular$49.99/mo.View Plans
Platinum Landline$42.99/mo.View Plans
Platinum Broadband$54.99/mo.View Plans
Platinum Cellular$54.99/moView Plans

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

What we like about it

Protect America gives you a lifetime guarantee on its equipment, and it lets you install everything yourself. The equipment itself is pretty standard, but it’s easy to put together. And if you don’t want to pay a super high monitoring price, Protect America has landline plans starting at $19.99 per month.

What we don’t like

Protect America’s super-basic plans might be cheap, but when we say basic, we mean basic. Landline security systems are old-fashioned at this point, and it’s really easy for potential burglars to disable them. (Seriously, all you need is a pair of scissors.)

If you want to go with Protect America, we recommend a broadband or cellular plan over the landline options.

Want to learn more? Check out our Protect America review.

8. Link Interactive

Link Interactive’s equipment is pretty standard, but it carries more types of security devices than anyone else we’ve seen.

Link Interactive plans and pricing
Standard$30.99/mo.View Plans
Gold$39.99/mo.View Plans
Elite$44.99/mo.View Plans

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

What we like about Link Interactive

If you want some super-special or particular security device, like a gun lock or a stovetop sensor, then Link Interactive is the place to go. It carries more types of home security devices than other security companies we’ve seen. No matter what you want to secure or lock down, Link Interactive can probably help.

Link Interactive also helps you add in basically whatever third-party devices you want. Its reps will even help you figure out how to install a smart lock you bought on Amazon.

What we don’t like

Link Interactive’s equipment and monitoring is pretty on par with other alarm companies such as Protect America, otherwise. And that’s our only real complaint—there’s not much about it that stands out from the crowd.

Because Link Interactive uses third-party equipment, you can get the exact same system from other companies. But on the bright side, Link Interactive does give you more contract options than basically anyone else. (You can choose from no contract, 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months.)

Want to learn more? Check out our Link Interactive review.

9. Brinks Home Security (formerly LiveWatch and Moni)

Brinks also offers standard equipment, but its monitoring alert features set it apart.

Brinks plans and pricing
Home Complete$29/mo.View Plans
Home Complete with Video$39/mo.View Plans

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

What we like about Brinks

Just like Link Interactive and Protect America (among others), Brinks uses third-party security equipment. That’s fine with us—it just makes it harder to stand out from the crowd of other companies who use the same stuff.

Brinks does have a couple of features that set it apart. First of all, we like that its monitoring centers can call, email, or even text you if an alarm goes off. (A lot of other companies can only call.) Brinks also gives you a group chat feature that lets you message everyone on your emergency contact list at once to check in.

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Just so you know
There used to be two separate security systems called MONI and LiveWatch. Those two systems merged together with Brinks in 2018 to make a single system under the Brinks brand name.

What we don’t like

Brinks does make you sign a contract for professional monitoring, which is a bummer. But Brinks also has a longer cancellation period than a lot of other companies (30 days when most companies limit you to three).

Want to learn more? Check out our Brinks Home Security review

10. Xfinity Home

Xfinity Home lets you bundle your cable, internet, and home security into a single bill. Plus, you can bring your own equipment.

Source: Xfinity Home

Xfinity Home plans and pricing
Home Secure$29.95/mo.–$39.95/mo.*View Plan

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

* Price goes up from $29.95 to $39.95 after the first 12 months of a two-year agreement.

What we like about Xfinity Home

If you already have Xfinity cable TV or internet, then it’s easy to add on an Xfinity Home system. It lets you keep everything on one bill and you might even get a couple discounts.

We also like that Xfinity Home lets you use equipment you already have, as long as it’s compatible with its system.

What we don’t like

Like most things Comcast, Xfinity lures you in with an intro price and then jacks the price up after the first year—all while you’re locked into a 2-year contract. That’s not fair, Xfinity. We’d rather have transparent pricing up front.

Want to learn more? Check out our Xfinity Home review.

11. Cove: Honorable mention

Cove is a new system but we’re already into its affordable equipment.

Source: Cove

Cove monitoring options and prices
PlanPriceContract lengthLearn more
Cove Basic$14.99/mo.NoneView System
Cove Plus$24.99/mo.NoneView System

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

Cove is still a super new system—it debuted in 2018. But its pricing and equipment is just as affordable as SimpliSafe’s low-priced stuff, and we think it works a little better.

The Cove system is super easy to set up and everything from its equipment prices to its monitoring plans are accessible to people who might not otherwise think they can afford a security system. Plus, the system looks nice. (Always a perk.)

We want more home automation options from Cove. Right now, there aren’t many to speak of. But we’re excited to see what comes next for this little system.

12. Ring Alarm: Honorable mention

Ring Alarm is super affordable, and it has smart home support.

Source: Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm plans and pricing
Self-monitored$0/mo.View System
Professionally monitored$10/mo.View System

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

Ring Alarm is almost brand new (it debuted in 2018). It’s one of the most affordable security systems on the market (with the cheapest professional monitoring plan we’ve ever seen), and it integrates with Z-Wave, Amazon Alexa.

If you already have some Ring cameras then you can control the Ring Alarm system through the same app. The only real downside is it doesn’t work with Google Assistant (or Apple HomeKit).

13. Scout: Honorable mention

Scout has great smart home integrations, but you have to buy the keypad separately.

Source: Scout

Scout monitoring plans and prices
Always On$9.99/mo.View System
Always On+$19.99/mo.View System

Data effective 12/6/2019. Offers subject to change.

Scout Alarm actually has a nice little system. Its equipment has both Z-Wave and Zigbee capabilities, and it’s easy to install and use.

The only real quirk is that Scout uses a door panel instead of a keypad (unless you order one separately). So instead of entering a code, you scan an a little RFID tag. We’d like to have the option to either enter a code or swipe a tag (like with the Nest Secure system), but if you’re a tag-only kind of person then Scout is for you.

Want to learn more? Check out our Scout Alarm review.

Recap: Which home security system is the best?

There are tons of home security systems out there, which is great news if you want to find one that suits your exact needs. When it comes right down to it, the best home security system is the one that works best for your house, your family, and your peace of mind.

  • Vivint Smart Home: Best overall—Vivint is like the BMW of home security systems. It’s professionally installed, it will look good in your house, and it supports a ton of smart home devices.
  • SimpliSafe: Best DIY installation—SimpliSafe is the poster child for easy-to-order, super affordable security systems. Plus, installation is a cinch.
  • ADT Pulse: Most reliable—ADT Pulse is super expensive for what you get, but like Vivint, it’s professionally installed and its monitoring centers are super reliable.
  • Frontpoint: Best customer service—Frontpoint gets an A+ for its excellent customer experience. Its system is pretty good too—but with pricey monitoring plans.
  • Abode: Best self-monitored—Abode gives you unique equipment features plus flexible professional monitoring. Quite the powerhouse combo.
  • Nest Secure: Best for Nest ecosystem—Nest has equipment to impress even the most serious technophiles. Just watch out for sticker shock.
  • Protect America: Best lifetime guarantee—Protect America backs up all its equipment with a lifetime guarantee, so you can rest assured it will always function properly.
  • Link Interactive: Best equipment variety—Link Interactive has a huge array of devices available. (And we mean huge.) If you want a super customizable system, this one’s for you.
  • Brinks: Best monitoring center alerts—Brinks uses multiple channels to contact you in the event of an alarm, so you won’t miss the memo.
  • Xfinity Home: Best home services bundling—Xfinity Home is a decent option for people who already use Xfinity internet or TV and want some sweet bundling deals.

Want to compare security systems you can install yourself? Check out our Best DIY Security Systems review. And let us know about your alarm system of choice in the comments.

Home Security FAQs

How much does a home security system cost?

There are two parts to how much a home security system costs: equipment and monitoring.

Equipment includes things like your door and window sensors, motion detectors, control panel, etc. The cost totally depends on which provider you choose, but expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a basic package—$200 would be considered cheap for a starter pack of home security equipment.

If you can’t afford to pay for all of your equipment up front, that’s okay. Most companies offer some kind of financing option where you can pay for your equipment over the course of your contract (although some contract-free systems don’t give you this option).

Should I choose a DIY or professionally installed security system?

There are benefits to both!

When to choose DIY: When you don’t want to have to pay an installation fee (which usually run around $100, sometimes more). Also, when you want to spend less money on equipment. DIY systems tend to cost less than professionally installed ones.

When to choose professionally installed: When you want to know for sure everything will be done right the first time around. If technology isn’t your favorite thing, it might be easier for you to just let the professionals handle it.

Professional installations also come with an in-home consultation where the technician will help you assess which parts of your home could be potential targets.

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Just so you know
In-home consultations are sales opportunities for security companies. These consultations can be super helpful, but they can also sell you on a bunch of equipment you didn’t think you needed (and probably still don’t).

Should I choose a self-monitored or professionally monitored security system?

The best home security systems have professional monitoring. We know it’s an extra expense every month, but we almost always recommend it.

Who knows when your alarm system will go off and you won’t be paying attention to your phone. These things happen fast, so it’s better and easier to have someone watching your system 24/7—whether for real intruders or just false alarms.

That said, some people just don’t want that monthly professional monitoring bill. If you really want to self-monitor, great. But if you’re just worried about the cost, we recommend looking into low-cost plans like SimpliSafe’s or Scout’s.

How much equipment do I need?

This totally depends on your house. If you have 15 doors and a million windows, then you’ll need more sensors and equipment than someone who lives in a studio apartment.

It also depends on how secure you want your house to be. You don’t have to cover every conceivable entrance to still be protected. And sometimes a single motion detector can cover for several entry sensors.

When you think about how much equipment you’ll need, you should also think about which home automation devices you want and which disaster-prevention devices you’ll need (like smoke alarms, CO sensors, and flood sensors).

The best home security systems let you order your equipment à la carte, so you can choose exactly what you need and skip what you don’t.

What are disaster home security devices?

Disaster security devices include things like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) sensors, and flood sensors. Basically, anything that warns you if your house is in danger of an environmental issue, like fire or water damage.

Most security companies sell disaster home security devices, and smart versions of these devices can alert you on your phone when there’s something going on.

How do I set up a home security system?

If you choose a professionally installed system, then just sit back and let the experts get to work. If you choose a DIY system, then your equipment will arrive in a box along with instructions on how to set everything up.

DIY systems are usually easy to install. If you run into any questions, security companies offer support over the phone. Their representatives can help you put the system together.

How do I use a video doorbell?

Video doorbells are awesome! You can see and talk to whoever’s on your porch without opening the door. Heck, you can do it even when you’re not home. Video doorbells help deter package thieves and just let you see who’s coming and going.

As for how to use one, they work the same as most other security cameras and hook into your existing doorbell setup. Sometimes you don’t even have to hardwire them, depending on which model you choose.

Once it’s installed, you’ll get alerts whenever the camera detects motion and you can see who’s at your door and talk to them through the camera mic.

Should I get a security camera package?

A security camera can be a nice extra burglar deterrent, but most people don’t really need them if they already have a security system.

If you don’t want to spring for an entire security camera package, then consider just getting a doorbell camera. Indoor cameras can also come in handy for keeping an eye on your kids and pets.

How do I build a smart home?

Smart homes are totally customizable, and you can build one however you want. But the standard feature is some kind of hub that all your other devices connect to. (With home security systems, it’s usually the control panel.)

Once you have your hub, you can add in whatever you want, including smart locks, smart lights, smart wall outlets, and smart garage door openers. If you can link all your smart home devices into a voice control unit, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, then that’s even better.

Cities with the Most and Least Property Crime in 2019

When it comes to home security, you’re paying for something you hopefully won’t need—but you never know. Your home security can protect you from losing something you can’t replace. And where you live might influence some of your home security system decisions.

We ran numbers provided by the FBI to find the US cities with the most and least property crime. Hopefully, this helps paint a picture of where you stand when it comes to potential property problems.

Map of safest and most dangerous cities for property crime.

The FBI defines property crime as burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. We excluded motor vehicle–related crime to focus on finding the safest and most dangerous cities to own a home, rental, vacation house, or investment property.

Safest cities for property crime

  1. Gettysburg, PA
  2. Midland, MI
  3. The Villages, FL
  4. State College, PA
  5. Wausau-Weston, WI
  6. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
  7. Wheeling, WV-OH
  8. Logan, UT-ID
  9. Glens Falls, NY
  10. Appleton, WI

Most dangerous cities for property crime

  1. Lake Charles, LA
  2. Monroe, LA
  3. Anchorage, AK
  4. Alexandria, LA
  5. Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA
  6. Fairbanks, AK
  7. Hot Springs, AR
  8. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
  9. Hammond, LA
  10. Wichita, KS

You might be wondering where places like the mean streets of Chicago end up on a list like this, but the truth is, it ranks lower for property crime than you might think. Even if you include motor vehicle crime, Chicago falls below many of the cities on our list.

Also, it’s worth noting that the FBI lists some major metros as being both underreported and over-reported without clarifying what that means or providing data.

Interesting takeaways

  • You’re more likely to take a loss in Louisiana, which features four of the worst places to live for property crime. The best-ranked Louisiana city, Houma-Thibodaux, still sits low at 290 of 374 ranked metros.
  • Wisconsin cracked our top 10 safest cities from property crime twice. The worst-ranked Wisconsin metro still comes close to the middle at 171 out of 374 ranked metros.
  • Cities with large populations of college students rank several times on the top 10 safest list (i.e., Logan, UT; Gettysburg, PA; Midland, MI; and State College, PA). A good education never hurt anyone, so we’re glad to see it translate to property safety.

Did your city make our list? Does that affect how you feel about property crime around you? Let us know if you’re thinking about adding a security system, video camera, or anything else to your home to help you stay safe.


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  • Cindy Whitehair

    I am curious as to what years FBI data you were using. West Valley City Utah has a population of 129,000+ as of the 2010 census, Provo has a population of 115,000+ (again as of 2010 census) and West Jordan Utah has a population of 103,000+. Those three cities all have populations over 100,000 (your stated thresh hold) and yet you say that Salt Lake City is the “only” city in Utah to meet that thresh hold. PS – no I do not live in SLC.

  • Charlie Webber

    Had ADT, technically still have. Just a heads up anyone considering ADT, they make you sign a 3 year agreement. At no point do they tell you that you are signing a 3 year agreement. It would seem important to mention. If you sign a 3 year contract and want to move at any point during that contract in 3 years and install ADT in the place, the 3 years resets. The contracts are address based. If you want to get out of the contract you have to pay 75% of the contract. So I still have 21 months of a contract I had no idea I was in, to get out I have to pay $783. Really frustrating. Again the sales people, or at least mine, do not mention the 3 year commitment. I called their customer service team and they acknowledged that the sales people do not have to mention it, it’s on you to read the fine print. I’m paying the lump sum, because apparently they auto renew you at some point unless you nail the timing. There are reports of having to send in a written not by mail. ADT is a nightmare, way too expensive, and not great.
    Ended up switching to Ring. Just as good and way cheaper.

  • NerdyPage

    Thanks for sharing this with us.I love new technologies, especially in the field of security, as it is important in the life of every person and its good to see the wide range of home security systems from various different brands.