1. Cost and Contracts
Every home security system comes with a price tag of varying degrees, but it’s important to know exactly what you’re paying for, as well as where and when you want to spend.
The following factors will affect your overall monthly costs, as well as your startup cost:
- Self-monitoring versus pro-monitoring
- DIY installation versus pro-installation
- Purchasing equipment upfront versus a payment plan, if available
- Return policy and warranty coverage
- Length and terms of your contact, if applicable
Additionally, if your home security system utilizes your Wi-Fi connection over a cellular connection, you’ll want a fast and strong Wi-Fi plan, too. The faster your internet, the more expensive the plan is likely to be, so it’s worth considering if your existing home infrastructure is sufficient for the type of wireless home security you wish to install — or whether you’ll need an upgrade to get the most out of your monitoring plan.
2. Ease of Use: Installation, Monitoring and User-Friendliness
You’ll want your home security system to start working for you from the start, and that includes the speed and ease of installation and usage.
Not all home security companies offer DIY installation, but if you want to hit the ground running instead of waiting to schedule someone to set up your system, look for a company who offers that option without additional fees. Some home security companies require professional installation, though not all will charge for this service.
The quality of the equipment and user experience also matters: some security systems operate via a wireless touchpad or touch screen, whereas others use a keypad. Some companies allow you to control your security system or view your cameras from your smartphone with an app.
3. Security Features and Smart Home Integration
Every part of your home security plan can be customized to your needs, it’s worth the research to choose a company that offers the equipment and specific safety features you need, and even bonus features that allow for integration with your smart home systems.
The equipment available with each home security company differs: the types of indoor and outdoor monitoring cameras available to integrate with each system, doorbell cameras, the wireless monitoring system and more. Other variables such as glass breaking detection, carbon monoxide detection and medical emergency alarms are worth looking into if you want your home security system to offer additional perks that keep your home—and everyone in it—safe in any situation that could arise.
Each company offers different modes of smart home integration as well. Some systems offer home automation such as turning lights on and off, adjusting your thermostat, voice control or appliance control. Some systems allow you to schedule home automation services on a timer or control your devices from your smartphone. If those perks are important to you, check to make sure the home security system you’re purchasing can pair with your existing smart home devices or requires an additional smart home system to offer these functions.