When looking for the best home security system, self monitored and company-monitored systems are the two categories of equipment available. A company-monitored service may be a good idea for businesses and properties in dangerous neighborhoods.
However, most homeowners decide to avoid the monthly fee and focus on identifying the best self monitored home security system. These systems provide numerous benefits. We have detailed important features and options for you.
No doubt, home security is a bigger deal now than ever before. As technology improves, the sophistication of home burglaries is on the rise, allowing thieves the opportunity to have access to your home easier than ever before.
If you're still on the fence about whether or not you need self monitored home security (or actively managed security), here are a few things to consider:
What type of home do you live in? This can be a large factor in whether you should consider a home security system.
If you live in a large, attractive home, this can be enticing to a burglar. And, if you live in a rural area, where homes are spread out, this makes it a lot easier for home burglary. These are two situations where securing your home with an alarm makes sense.
On the other hand, if you live in an apartment complex that constantly has people around, or in a gated community that is difficult to get into, you might have less of a need.
Burglars prefer low traffic areas and homes that are empty for long stretches of time, according to this report by the NCJRS.
This might sound pretty obvious, but it is worth a mention. What are the crime rates in your local area?
Bad company likes to hang out in bad neighborhoods. This isn't a knock on your area of living, but you must take an honest stock of the crime rates in your neighborhood.
Most of this data is published on your city's website for you to see. When looking, make sure to examine what time of crime occurred, paying special attention to burglaries.
The more crime in your area, the better served a home monitoring system will be.
For the context of this conversation, we aren't just talking about your land and dwelling when we say property - we are also referring to everything you own that is inside the house. And, the more property you own, the more necessary home security is.
It also helps to consider what your home insurance or renters insurance deductible is. If something is stolen, what would be the deductible cost to replace it if you filed a claim?
Don't forget that you run the risk of your insurance rates rising with a filed claim. It doesn't always seem fair, but it does happen.
Often times, it is a lot easier to just protect your property with a non monitored home security set up.
Home security systems don't just protect your property - they protect your family as well.
If you are single, then your primary motivation for protecting your home relates to your property. However, if you have family in your home as well, then a home security setup will also protect them.
Additionally, if your family is home for a large part the of the day, then you have even more reasons to utilize home protection security.
Do you spend long days at work, or travel frequently? As mentioned above, burglars love empty homes, and have a lot of time and technology to determine when you're not home.
If you're gone frequently, you have added reasons to monitor your home for burglary and thieves.
Additionally, this is one strong reason to consider an actively monitored solution. For example, if you have an issue while you are out of town, a self-monitored solution will notify you, but typically won't take any action. If you're on a plane or out of range, the security system won't do you much good.
Now that we've gone over all the considerations you should take into account, lets talk about the benefits that come with a home monitoring security system.
Thieves are looking for the easiest house on the block to rob. Over and over again, studies have shown that just making your home look protected and monitored goes a long way in deterring thieves.
If you are able to make your security system noticeable, then you will immediately gain from having a home that looks protected. In fact, many people just install fake security cameras to their house and garage, without ever hooking them up to a system!
Regardless, setting up security devices around your property will reduce the chances of a home break-in, just by the sheer nature of having this presence.
Protecting your home and property are perhaps the largest immediate benefits that come from installing a system to monitor your home security.
A home security system, at its core, will be there to protect against home break-ins. And, should they occur, your system will notify you (or authorities), allowing you to take action to prevent the damage and loss.
The loss that can come from a home break-in can be in the 6 figures, so protecting your property is a huge benefit.
Believe it or not, your home insurer might give you a discount for adding home monitoring. It lowers their risk, and they are often willing to pass long these savings to you.
Typically the savings will be minimal. And, the discount is usually lower for self-monitored security vs actively-monitored. But, every dollar helps!
Many people stop at the inital break-in when they think about a home robbery. However, dealing with the aftermath of a burglary is perhaps the worst part.
First, there is the cleanup, phone calls to the insurance company, and assessment of damage and loss. Next, there is the long, arduous process of recovering what was lost. Many times, what was stolen or damaged is unrecoverable.
Not to mention the personal feelings of violation and loss that come with a break in.
All of this takes time out of your busy life, and brings with it a good deal of frustration and angst. Avoiding a break-in all together eliminates all of this from your future.
Lets be honest - this is perhaps the largest benefit of a self home security system setup. Knowing that you have an added layer of protection for your home, property, possessions, and family members provides incredible peace of mind.
Only you can determine what that peace of mind is worth from a dollars perspective. However, for many, having an in-home security system allows them to sleep easier at night and live better during the day.
The biggest immediate benefit of self monitoring your home security is cost - after the up front investment, it is virtually free. However, there are numerous benefits to a self monitored security system in your house:
Once you've determined that you and your family are a good fit for a home security system, the next question becomes whether you need a self monitored security system or an actively monitored security system.
A self monitoring home security system is one where you set up the security equipment, but do all of the active security monitoring yourself, without the aid of a company.
Technology today makes this process a lot easier, with WiFi enabled cameras and monitoring devices. You can purchase a system that notifies you of any movements, and connect all of of your security devices to your smart phone and tablet.
On the other hand, an actively monitored security system is run and managed by a company. They handle the monitoring for you.
According to Safewise, "monitored security systems are systems that are actively monitored by a professional home security company. When the system detects a break-in, fire, or other emergency, it notifies the security team and, in some cases, emergency responders.
Many company-monitored systems come with a rent or fee-for-use component attached to the monitoring service fee. Self-monitored systems become the property of the homeowner. The latter pays the costs upfront or in installments and is free to install it whenever and wherever they want.
Until recently, hardwired security systems were preferable, as they were the only ones able to sound an alarm. Radio cell systems came second, and wireless systems came last, due to their limited coverage. Technology has improved considerably and hardwires systems have lost ground.
Self monitored security systems are easy to install. They come with easy-to-follow instructions, and do not require any special tools or advanced technical skills. Most of them have flexible configurations that allow the buyer to choose the components and add-ons.
Owners can access and control the alarm system from a distance. New systems come with dedicated apps that allow users to access the video cameras and the sensors and turn alarms on and off.
Most systems send automatic text alerts to the owners’ phones when they are triggered. So far, user reviews favor cell radio systems, deeming them more reliable and stable than wireless systems. Trends seem to change, though, as wireless technology is advancing.
Today’s self monitored security systems allow users to choose from and combine several types of sensors. A few include entryway sensors, infrared motion sensors, smoke sensors, and gas sensors. Usually, the more sensors the system includes, the safer and more secure the owner feels. In addition, the costs are higher.
Most systems have a control panel that allows the owner to adjust its settings, access its features, set, input, and change the security code, and more. The panel is usually installed on a wall close to the main door, so the owners can reach it fast and type in the security code.
Some systems allow the owner to set special safeguards for particular areas of their home, like a safe, an office, a medicine cabinet, or a minibar. Such systems are a great choice for home offices, families with children or pets, or members suffering from addictions.
Iris is more than just home security – it is the platform that Lowe’s has built its entire smart home product line off of. We love Iris because you can incorporate home security into a larger vision of having a smart home.
Of all of the self monitoring security systems we recommend, this is the cheapest option. You can pick up an Iris Smart Hub for well under $100, and then just need to add the security devices as you see fit, such as security cameras and motion sensors.
Iris feeds directly to your phone through its app, giving you full monitoring capability, no matter where you are. Since Iris connects with other smart devices in your house, you actually have a lot more functionality than just security monitoring.
A favorite feature is the ability to set up motion areas on the camera. You’ll be alerted on your app if there is motion in specific areas, but not in other areas. The extends to many different areas of control, by combining rules, scenes, and schedules, all of which you can control through the app.
The app is pretty sophisticated. For example, you can set up lights to turn on and off in your home even when you’re not there, for added security. You can also receive alerts if doors or windows are opened.
This smart system is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.
We recommend picking up the Iris Security Pack, which comes with a security keypad, motion detector, and 2 door/window sensors. Combine this with the Smart Hub, and your total cost will be under $200. You can add on more cameras, motion detectors, and sensors as you need.
There is no monthly fee for using the security features, although you are limited to only a 24 hour view of the security video log. Upgraded storage so that you can always access it, along with a few other features, has a small monthly fee.
Should you ever want professional monitoring down the road, you can add it on for a very reasonable monthly charge.
It is one of the most complex alarm systems on the market, available both with company-monitoring services and without. Many label it as the best home security camera system under $500 since all its equipment packages cost under $500. Users can add new equipment anytime. The company has an excellent reputation and low monthly monitoring service fees. The system is very easy to install and has some valuable innovative features meant to improve user experience and eliminate false alarms.
It is one of the best rated smart home security systems without professional monitoring on the market. It comes with dedicated iPhone and Android apps and sends notifications not only by text message and push notifications but also by phone calls and emails. Its only weakness would be the complicated marketing system. It has bundles, packages, and site-exclusive packages and the fact that only two of these include video cameras.
Samsung is a brand that speaks quality and performance. Their SmartThings home security packages confirms this. With customizable sensors and remote control, they provide the security, connectivity, and flexibility any smart home owner would want. Unfortunately, everything comes for a price, quite a steep one, compared to the other options above.
Although Piper security systems are not as flexible and customizable as the other ones reviewed above, they are definitely worth considering. Their main focus is on video surveillance. The packages they provide include state-of-the-art multifunctional equipment. Those who want video surveillance will surely be pleased with the options these packages provide, despite the matching prices.
The above-presented home monitoring systems have their strengths. However, none of them is perfect for all homes, needs, budgets, and expectations. The best strategy for those intending to invest in a security system is to:
As a general rule, the best self monitored home security system offers all the above-listed features. It includes sensors and detectors for all of the dangers threatening one’s home. In addition, it comes with reliable customer service, to eliminate potential installation and configuration issues.