Best is subjective word – we can’t tell you which security system to buy. The best option for you depends on your budget, your preferences and your location. What we can do is give you some guidance on the available options to help you make an informed decision. After all, an educated consumer is a smart consumer.
Wired vs. Wireless
Until recently, hardwired security systems were the only option. With wired systems, motion detectors and sensors on doors and windows are wired directly to the alarm system’s central control panel and the home’s electrical system. Wireless systems, which are much newer but quickly growing in popularity, use radio signals to communicate from one device to another.
Wired systems are more expensive, largely because they require professional installation and extensive wiring, but they also tend to be more reliable. Wireless systems are less expensive and typically designed for self installation, but they are susceptible to interference from other wireless devices such as baby monitors. They’re also easier to disable because all of the system components are in a single location.
Check out this side-by-side comparison for more information about the pros and cons of wired vs. wireless.
Monitored vs. Unmonitored
Monitored systems notify a central call center when the alarm is activated. The call center will first try to reach you, asking for a password to cancel the alarm activation in case it was accidental. If you can’t be reached or the password is incorrect, police are notified.
Monitored systems also call for help in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide leak. And they can be used to check on the kids when you’re not at home (if you have cameras, of course) and turn lights off and on remotely while you’re vacationing.
Unmonitored systems produce a loud noise that may scare off burglars, but they do not call for help. This can be effective, since any sign of an alarm system tends to send a burglar running, but there are no guarantees. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need monitoring service but don’t have it.
Best Alarm Companies
There are four alarm companies that consistently get above average reviews: FrontPoint, ADT, ProtectAmerica and LifeShield. You’re probably familiar with at least one or two.
FrontPoint, ProtectAmerica and LifeShield sell wireless security systems, while ADT offers traditional hardwired systems. Click here to read more about how independent reviewers rank each company.
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