How to Choose a Home Security System

How to Choose a Home Security System

It’s only natural to want to keep your home safe — and choosing a home security system will go a long way towards giving you peace of mind.

Below is a guide on how to choose the right home security system for you. Keep reading to learn more about what you need to know before buying a system to protect your home.

What are the different types of home security systems?

Before you can start shopping for the right home security system for you, you need to know the different types that are available on the market. These days, there are two main types of home security systems that you can choose from. They are:

1. Wired home security systems

Also known as “landline home security systems,” wired systems are the traditional type of security system. As the name suggests, this type of system relies on a phone line to send alerts when alarms are triggered. However, it usually also has a battery back-up that will send alerts if the home’s phone lines are cut.

As more and more homeowners choose to use cell phones over wired phone lines, this type of home security system has fallen out of favor. That said, if you are looking for a system that offers 24/7 professional monitoring, this might be your best bet.

2. Wireless home security systems

In contrast, wireless home security systems have become more popular in recent years. These systems use cellular signals to send alerts to the appropriate authorities when sensors are triggered. However, it’s important to note that if you live in an area where cell service is spotty, you may have trouble getting one of these systems to work.

Another thing that sets wireless systems apart from their predecessor is that they often don’t require professional installation. Most of the time, their equipment comes pre-programmed and ready to use, which means that the average homeowner should be able to set it up without paying a service fee.

What features should you look for in a home security system?

Once you have a better idea of what type of system would be best for you to use, the next step is to look at the features that various systems have to offer. To that end, we’ve listed them out for you below.

1. Equipment.

First, look at the equipment in each particular package. While every package setup is going to be different, most of them will offer a selection of the following:

  • Glass break sensors
  • Door and window sensors
  • Interior and exterior security cameras
  • Motion detectors
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon-monoxide detectors
  • Control panel

2. Professional monitoring.

Next, it’s crucial to decide whether or not you want a company that offers professional monitoring. Professional monitoring means that someone will be there to assist you in the event that one of your alarms is triggered. As soon as they get an alert, a professional monitor will analyze the situation and contact the appropriate emergency respondents on your behalf.

3. Smart home technology.

It’s also important to decide whether you want your home security system to include smart home technologies or not. Some systems include additional features like video doorbells and smart thermostats that can be controlled by a mobile app or by your home assistant.

Many people like these systems for their ease of use, but others worry about privacy concerns, so it’s up to you to do research.

4. Installation.

Additionally, you may want to consider what installation options a company offers. Most of the big-name security providers will offer a choice between professional installation or self-installation, but some newer companies only offer a DIY option.

While professional installation service might be easier, it’s also worth noting that that option usually comes with a fee.

5. Ease of use.

It may sound silly, but you need to consider how easy the system is to use before you commit to signing a contract. After all, no system is worth paying a fee for if it’s too complicated for you to use regularly. With that in mind, make sure you understand how the system works and how to set it before you commit.

6. Design.

It’s essential to take a look at the design of the system as well. While this shouldn’t be a primary concern, it is a factor worth keeping in mind. Ultimately, you certainly won’t want to invest in something that you consider ugly or obtrusive-looking.

Important questions to ask potential security providers

Lastly, before committing to a particular home security system, you’re going to want to make sure you understand the type of commitment that you are making. To that end, we’ve listed out a few questions for you to ask in order to get the information you need to make an informed decision.

  • What is the fee for your service?
  • How long is your contract period?
  • Is there a fee if I decide to cancel early?
  • Do I rent the equipment or buy it upfront?
  • Does your company offer tech support?
  • How does your equipment work in the event of a power failure?

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Tara Mastroeni

Tara Mastroeni is a real estate and personal finance writer. Find her at TMRealEstateWriter.com or on Twitter at @TaraMastroeni.