How to Choose the Best Home Security System: A Comprehensive Guide for 2023


Investing in a home security system is one of the best decisions you can make to help protect your property and family. With crime rates still a concern even in many safe neighborhoods, having a properly installed and monitored alarm system has been proven to deter burglars and provide serious peace of mind.

However, with the flood of home security companies on the market, it can feel overwhelming trying to determine which provider is the right fit for your specific needs and budget. You want to find a reputable alarm system partner you can trust to deliver quality equipment, reliable monitoring services, and excellent customer care for years to come.

This guide outlines the most important criteria to evaluate when researching home security companies to identify the ideal provider for your home. Taking the time to thoroughly examine potential providers using these key factors will help ensure you make the best decision for keeping your family safe.

Scrutinize Company Reputation and Reviews

One of the first steps is to investigate the reputation of any home security company you’re considering. Thanks to the internet, conducting background research is easier than ever.

  • Search for in-depth reviews on sites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau. Look for consistent positive feedback on customer service, emergency response time, and delivering features promised in the sales process. Watch for any red flags or patterns of complaints.
  • Check industry sites like SafeWise that conduct research and ratings on home security companies. These can provide great insight on factors like customer satisfaction, transparency of contracts, and hidden fees.
  • Ask neighbors and friends which security provider they use and if they’ve had a positive experience with prompt emergency dispatch and knowledgeable tech support. Word of mouth recommendations can carry a lot of weight.
  • Evaluate the company’s Facebook page and other social media sites for reviews. Also check for how responsive they are to negative complaints and issues raised by customers.

The reputation of a home security provider can speak volumes. You want to partner with a company that values customer service and transparency. Consistently positive feedback, with any negative issues addressed promptly, is a good sign.

Verify Experience and Proper Licensing

You also want to examine factors like longevity and proper licensing when evaluating home alarm companies.

  • Consider how long the security provider has been in business. Established companies with 5+ years (or better yet 10+ years) of experience usually deliver more stable and reliable services. Startups come with greater risk.
  • Verify the company is properly state-licensed for selling and installing home security systems. Unlike fly-by-night operations, licensed providers adhere to state regulations and requirements.
  • Ask companies about the background checks and professional training required for their security system technicians. Look for knowledgeable pros who can properly evaluate your security needs and educate you on using your system.

Partnering with an experienced, licensed provider with trained technicians delivers greater peace of mind and accountability.

Assess Emergency Response Times

A major benefit of professionally monitored security systems is having emergency dispatch of police, fire personnel, or EMTs if your alarm is triggered. So one of the most crucial questions to ask potential providers is: how fast is their average emergency response time?

  • Look for monitoring stations that offer alarm response times of 10-15 minutes or less on average. Delayed reactions above 20 minutes severely diminish the value of monitoring.
  • Ask if you are notified by the monitoring service if emergency dispatch response time is running slower than promised and what the reason is. Lack of open communication is a red flag.
  • See if the company offers two-way voice monitoring, where central station operators can audibly check-in through system speakers if an alarm is triggered before dispatching help. This can deter false alarms.

Quick emergency response is critical. Prioritize security partners diligent about fast alarm reaction.

Review Equipment and Installation Capabilities

The specific security hardware and proper setup is what provides your actual home protection. Be sure to ask detailed questions about the system equipment and installation process:

  • Find out what name-brand alarm system components they offer from leading manufacturers like Honeywell, GE, and DSC. Avoid no-name equipment more prone to issues.
  • A quality provider should customize the equipment package based on your home’s unique layout and specific security vulnerabilities. Cookie-cutter solutions signal lower standards.
  • For best results, select a company who handles the full installation in-house with their own trained technicians rather than subcontractors. This helps ensure seamless setup.
  • Ask about additional equipment add-ons like video doorbells, security cameras, and smart home integration in case you want to expand protection later. Choose a partner able to grow with your needs.

Top-tier equipment paired with professional installation provides robust protection. Never settle for generic or subpar components vulnerable to false alarms and other problems.

Demand Excellent Monitoring Services

Realize that the hardware components are only half of the security equation. They depend on expert 24/7 professional monitoring services when an alarm gets triggered.

  • Require UL-listed central monitoring stations that are staffed live around the clock. Automated monitoring systems can’t dispatch help or contact you directly in an emergency.
  • Ask if operators will first try to contact you and any other emergency contacts if an alarm goes off before notifying emergency responders. This prevents false dispatches if you accidentally trigger the system.
  • Tour monitoring facilities in-person if possible to evaluate their call center. Clean, modern facilities with multiple redundancy measures indicate a higher commitment to protection.

Top-tier monitoring services are just as crucial as equipment for swiftly handling alarm events. Never settle for automated or substandard monitoring prone to missed emergencies.

Verify Maintenance and Warranties Offered

Ongoing maintenance and adequate warranties ensure your home security system keeps working properly for years to come:

  • Maintenance visits should be provided annually or more often to inspect all equipment and test alarm signal strength. Quality providers assume this responsibility throughout your contract.
  • Look for solid initial warranties on installation and equipment of 3-5 years in case issues arise. Extended warranties for a fee are nice bonuses.
  • Understand the fine print on who pays for repairs, replacements, and battery changes. Reputable companies typically cover most standard maintenance costs.

Don’t get stuck paying out-of-pocket later if faulty equipment fails or the system stops communicating. Prioritize providers who offer complete ongoing system upkeep.

Scrutinize Contracts and Pricing

Take time to carefully analyze home security contracts and pricing:

  • Avoid long, complex contracts requiring early termination fees if you need to cancel service. Month-to-month or one year terms provide more flexibility.
  • Standard packages should offer fair market value prices for equipment and features sufficient for most homes. Start there when comparing company rates.
  • Watch for hidden costs and fees that inflate the monthly monitoring rates like activation fees, emergency dispatch charges, and steep equipment add-on costs.
  • Require transparent breakdowns of all equipment, installation, monitoring, and maintenance costs. Quality companies clearly list all charges upfront.

The right provider won’t lock you into overly restrictive contracts or bury you under hidden recurring fees. Demand fair terms and pricing.

Evaluate Accessibility of Customer Service

You want assurance that prompt technical and customer support will be available when you need it:

  • Live chat, 24/7 customer service hotlines, and local office contacts provide peace of mind help will be accessible. Avoid companies with very limited or automated-only support.
  • Inquire if you’re assigned a dedicated account manager for ongoing attention to your security needs and personalized service. This indicates a higher commitment to customers.
  • Ask about average hold times and response rates when calling with questions or issues to verify their support team is adequately staffed.

The most reputable home security companies make customer service a strong priority. Never settle for providers with poor accessibility or slow response to your needs.

Assess the Sales Approach and Process

Lastly, pay close attention to the sales approach as a reflection of the company’s credibility:

  • Legitimate security providers do an on-site inspection of your home before offering price quotes rather than generically selling services sight-unseen.
  • Professional sales reps take time to understand your unique security concerns rather than quickly pushing one-size-fits-all packages.
  • Quality companies focus on educating you on security solutions for your home rather than pressuring you to sign long contracts on the spot.
  • Avoid high-pressure salespeople who use misleading claims or scare tactics to close deals. This signals shady practices.

An educational sales process focused on your needs signals an honest company, while pushy hard sells reveal priorities on closing commissions over customer service.

The Bottom Line

Choosing a home security provider to trust involves carefully:

  • Researching the company reputation, licensing, experience, and customer feedback
  • Confirming fast emergency response times and quality monitoring services
  • Verifying professional installation and reliable name-brand system equipment
  • Evaluating fair pricing, contracts, warranties and accessibility
  • Avoiding companies with misleading claims or high-pressure sales tactics

Taking the time to thoroughly examine home security companies on these criteria will help you identify the ideal partner to meet your family’s unique protection needs for years to come. With this guide’s helpful criteria, you can have confidence making the best choice to keep your home and loved ones safe.

When beginning your search for a reputable home security provider, a good starting point is to make a list of the top national companies that come to mind or you may have heard of. While local providers can also be considered, larger companies tend to have the resources and capabilities to meet all the criteria outlined in this guide.

Here are 5 of the top national home security companies that tend to be industry leaders worth considering:

  1. ADT – Known as the pioneer of home security, ADT has over 7 million customers worldwide. They offer a full range of monitored equipment and integrations.
  2. Vivint – Features robust smart home integration including security cameras. Known for high customer service ratings.
  3. Frontpoint – Flexible no long-term contract options and customized solutions for each home.
  4. SimpliSafe – DIY-friendly systems with no annual contracts. Excellent equipment warranties.
  5. Deep Sentinel is a smart home security system that combines AI-powered surveillance with human guards to provide 24/7 protection for your family and property.

This list gives you a starting point of reputable major home security providers to begin researching using the criteria in this guide. Each company has strengths in certain areas, so thoroughly compare features and capabilities side-by-side. Local companies may also be considered if they meet the standards outlined here for responsiveness, equipment quality, customer service and more.

Don’t gamble with safety – invest in a quality home security system from a reputable provider who will be there when you need them most.

If you’re interested in learning more about home security, check out [our guide to the best home security systems](