Top 5 Home Security Systems 2018 – w/ Advanced Detection

Have you or someone in your neighborhood been a victim of a break in? Thefts, break-ins, and home invasions are on the rise across the country. This has led more and more people to search for the right security system to protect their home and the people they love.

home security illustrationI graduated from the SCS Training Institute Security Operations Program. My interest in testing home security systems began after my parents were the victims of a home invasion. The situation was terrifying and left our family fearful.

My parents started to research home security systems and finally settled on Clarke Security. I remember coming home and seeing my father happy because of the CCTV and alarm unit that had been installed.

Seeing the alarm system calmed my anxiety and spurred my 10 year plus dedication to reviewing and testing the top home security systems available. Let me show you some of the best home security companies, discuss their features, and give a few tips on what you should consider before purchasing a security system.

10 Best Home Security Systems in Australia

  • Frontpoint—#1
  • Vivint—#2
  • Link Interactive—#3
  • Adobe Home Security Starter Kit—#4
  • SimpliSafe—#5
  • ADT—#6
  • Nest Secure—#7
  • LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0—#8
  • SkylinkNet Alarm System Starter Kit (SK-200)—#9
  • Swann Communications—#10

Scout, Protect America, and Armorax are other options I’ve tested. But, to me, the 10 mentioned above are the best.

What You Want from a Home Alarm System

You want your home and family to be secure whether you are there or not. Your best option is will vary based on your personal needs. Here are a few of the areas I found to be important when testing alarm systems:

  • Price
  • Features
  • Customer Support
  • Consumer Reputation

Our #1 Pick: Frontpoint

Pros:

  • Excellent value
  • Easy to install
  • Stellar customer support
  • Protected against smash and crash
  • Sensitive and responsive sensors
  • Variety of accessories

Cons:

  • Three-year contract
  • Expensive to view live or recorded video
  • No landline or broadband options available
  • Three-year warranty as opposed to lifetime warranty

Frontpoint starts at $34.99 a month. You don’t need professionals to install the system. The company frequently offers discounts on their wireless indoor cameras.

The touchscreen lets you customize the unit. The cellular backup Z-wave/ZigBee compatibility and environmental sensors are pluses. Frontpoint monitors your alarm event and quickly contacts law enforcement. Hands-down, this is the best security company with stellar customer service, transparency, ease of setup, and state-of-the-art tech.

Why Frontpoint Is Our #1 Pick

Quite frankly, it has never let me down. Their customer service is able to handle all issues and concerns that you have. They don’t try to upsell you or pressure you.

Affordability: Although not the cheapest system we will review, they give you a bang for your buck. The activation fee is high, but you have no installation fees.

Variety of Features: Frontpoint will protect your windows, your doors, and provide smart home security automation. Their app will alert you on your mobile phone if anything triggers or disarms your alarm. They also provide 24/7 video surveillance.

#2- Vivint Leads the Way in Technology and Home Automation

Pros:

  • Flexible options for payment
  • Z-wave technology and other high-tech home automation options
  • Free installation and lifetime warranty
  • Free equipment
  • Rapid response time
  • High-tech ergonomic technology
  • Cell monitoring
  • Two-way talk

Cons:

  • Upsell with pressure
  • Hard to cancel within the three day grace period
  • Requires a 48 – 68 month contract
  • High monthly fees
  • Bad customer service
  • No option for DIY installation

Vivint has a starter kit that’s great for getting the ball rolling with app control and other nice features. We’ve tested a number of their products, including their seven-inch sky control panel, and found them easy to use but slightly clunky.

Their Ping camera is neat as it allows you to look at any room in the house and have a two-way conversation with the individuals in the room. Night vision, mobile alerts, Alexa compatibility, and the ability to record superfast 20-second video clips are just a few of the cool features Vivint offers.

They have a flexible payment model that allows you to protect your home regardless of your budget. Did we mention that installation is free?

And the #3 Spot Goes to Link Interactive

Pros:

  • Customer service
  • Crash and smash protection
  • Contracts ranging from 12 to 36 months
  • 30-day free trial
  • Simple do-it-yourself setup
  • Customize your security package
  • Z-wave compatible technology
  • Cellular-based security system

Cons:

  • Weak warranty
  • Limited customer service hours
  • You still have to pay the rest of the contract if you cancel
  • No landline or broadband options
  • No professional installation

Seller-based automation to customers all over the world and 24/7 central station monitoring are some of the perks that this US-based home security company offers. This is one of the best security systems of 2018 because you get state-of-the-art technology at a price you can afford.

Link Interactive isn’t just designed to protect your home from a break in. It can monitor for things like frozen water pipes, carbon monoxide, water leaks, and much more.

They offer a number of packages that include cameras for inside and outside of your home. Since the equipment is preprogrammed, you don’t have to go through the hassle of setting up your wireless cameras or paying extra money for installation.

If you have any questions, Link Interactive has friendly customer support that’s always there to answer the questions you have.

Even though they offer different price points for their subscription, they will automatically give you a three-year subscription unless you state otherwise. But their 30-day money back guarantee makes them a safe option for you to try.

Pick #4- Abode Home Security

Pros:

  • Mobile and web access
  • Easy to install
  • Environmental sensors
  • Cellular backup
  • Power outage backup
  • Works with third-party devices
  • On-demand monitoring option if you’re gone on vacation
  • Mobile app optional
  • IFTTT support

Cons:

  • Limited one-year warranty
  • Inability to manage notifications for mobile app
  • No control panel included
  • Bulky sensors

Adobe’s do-it-yourself system is professional. It gives you visual verification. Whether you get their all in one smart home security system or their starter kit, you’ll find it works well with Alexa and Google Assistant.

This system is flexible and easy to use, making it the perfect intermediary between self-monitored do-it-yourself and professionally installed monitored systems. The system is equipped with a key fob, door and window sensors, a gateway hub, and a motion detector/camera combo sensor. The gateway is equipped with a LAN Port, Sim card slot, power to connect to a USB port, and backup battery. These are just a few of the features this system offers.

#5- SimpliSafe

Pros:

  • Three-year warranty system
  • Easy to set up wireless hardware
  • 60-day money back guarantee
  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating
  • No contract remote monitoring plan optional
  • Cellular monitoring is affordable

Cons:

  • No smart home automation
  • No cameras
  • Upfront cost for hardware can be expensive
  • Batteries must be replaced for wireless systems
  • Extra fees to connect from computer or smart device

SimpliSafe is the budget-conscious option with no contract and no hidden fees. The hardware is expensive out-of-the-box, but it is worth it with time.

SimpliSafe offers five packages, with the Ultimate Security package being more expensive than the rest. But it gives you everything that you need, including a wireless keypad, a keychain remote, frozen water pipe sensors, window decals, carbon monoxide detectors, and more.

For the penny pinchers, the SimpliSafe Standard package with 24-hour coverage will give you the bare essentials. SimpliSafe products, including the 85 dB siren, the Sim card, or the backup battery, are not designed to be sleek or attractive. But they work.

#6- ADT Pulse

Pros:

  • A number of state-of-the-art devices
  • Professional installation
  • Millions of users
  • Flexible prices
  • Reliable monitoring
  • Easy to use home control app

Cons:

  • The more add-ons, the higher the monitoring fees
  • Upgrades only available for the first three years unless specifically requested
  • Installation fees

ADT is used by millions of people around the world thanks in part to their 24/7 monitoring and dependable security solutions. ADT Pulse is a smart solution that includes wireless systems and the Cell Guard backup box.

ADT sells their product at a number of tiers. All of their packages are backed by trained technicians and a dedicated sales team that work to give you the best package for your needs. ADT Pulse is one of the best options in Australia.

#7- Nest Secure

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Supports Nest cameras
  • Works with third-party devices
  • Multipurpose sensors

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No IFTTT support
  • No voice commands

Nest Secure is great for do-it-yourselfers who want to outfit their home with multipurpose sensors. The Nest Guard is at the heart of the Nest Secure system. It’s a round device with a keypad on top of it. This is the hub of your security system. It will communicate with your other devices.

With a cellular backup, a battery backup for power outages, and a built-in siren, Nest provides the technology and communication needed to protect your home 24 hours a day seven days a week.

It should be noted that Nest has some gadgets that are not available currently in Australia.

#8- LiveWatch Plug & Protect IQ 2.0

Pros:

  • 365-day guarantee
  • No cancellation penalty
  • Homeowners who have qualifying credit get a discount
  • Comprehensive package
  • Complete refund if equipment is returned within the year
  • One-year contract
  • Z-wave compatibility

Cons:

  • Maximum of four cameras
  • Warranty for just two years
  • Cameras only available with the most expensive monitoring plan
  • No backup for power outage
  • No voice assistance compatibility

This is a great do-it-yourself system that is easy to set up and will monitor your home inside and out with security cameras. Since the control panel is preconfigured, it’s easy to install. One of the reasons why the system is so popular is because there are no multi-year contracts. There are also a ton of accessories available directly from the factory.

With LiveWatch, you can manage your home security with your iOS, Android, or web-based apps. You can arm or disarm the system using your smartphone, and you can see what’s going on live inside your home or outside. This is a great deal because you can control your locks, turn your lights on and off, manage your thermostat, and much more.

#9 SkylinkNet Alarm System Starter Kit (SK-200)

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Sensors are responsive
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • Base station also functions as keypad
  • IFTTT support

Cons:

  • No backup for cell
  • No backup Internet connection
  • No Z-wave compatibility
  • Doesn’t work with third-party devices
  • Will notify you by phone or by email
  • No web browser support

The SK-200 starter kit gives you all the basics you need for a modern home security system. You can monitor your property on your smartphone. This is a cheap solution that allows you to monitor your windows and your doors.

Sadly, this product does not have the advanced features you might expect from a modern home security system. For example, you don’t get email notifications, there’s no way to program event triggering, and since the ethernet cable is only three feet long, you are limited as to where you can put it.

The worst part is that there is no backup, so you don’t know what is happening on your property if the internet is down. We’re not saying that this is a horrible product because the 90 dB siren alone is enough to scare off an intruder. The mobile app is also nice. It allows you to keep track of things like when the system is armed or disarmed.

#10- Swann Communications

Pros:

  • Great nighttime video quality
  • A number of systems to match your budget
  • A variety of camera options
  • High-end systems have 4K resolution
  • Compatible with Android and iOS
  • No contracts
  • Provides up to 4 TB of local storage
  • One year warranty
  • Multi-channel DVR & NVR systems
  • One-year warranty
  • EHD support

Cons:

  • One-year warranty
  • No option for professional monitoring
  • Advanced systems are expensive

Swann Communications is special in that they manufacture their own surveillance gear and then sell it to affiliates like Amazon. With them, you get everything that you need for an advanced security system. But you are going to need to have some technical knowledge to set things up properly.

The kit gives you a couple of indoor and outdoor cameras, but you can purchase additional cameras to put around the perimeter of your property.

Their mobile app comes with home, away, or nighttime mode settings. Live streaming allows you to check in on your home when you’re away as well as control appliances, the lights, and energy usage.

Notable Mentions

Here are a few notable mentions that we did not include because we did not test them:

  • Bosch Security Systems
  • CTC Communications
  • SmartHome
  • CleverLoop
  • SECOM
  • AUSSEC
  • Arlo by NETGEAR

Things to Think about before Selecting a Home Security System

Some factors to consider when selecting your home security system include the size of your home, the location of your home, and your budget. If you do not feel comfortable doing the work yourself, look for a solution that provides professional installation. Before settling on a certain system, do your due diligence and talk to people who know what’s going on in the world of home security.

Is Wireless Right for You?

Many of the security systems we reviewed use wireless technology. This is good for many homeowners. However, hackers may be able to suppress alarms or create false alarms from as far as 250 yards away.

Swann Communications, Vivint, and ADT use radiofrequency signals that are not encrypted. Additionally, there is no authentication verification between the signals that are being sent. As a result, hackers can intercept, decipher, and control the data sent to gain access to your home.

There are things that you can do to prevent your home security system from being hacked. These include:

  • Having a secure password
  • Securing your router
  • Installing antivirus software on devices used to connect your security system
  • Never use public Wi-Fi
  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Purchase an anti-jammer

Cellular Versus Landline Monitoring

Cellular monitoring is the most secure way to communicate with monitoring centers. The cellular signal is sent directly to the monitoring system using an encrypted transmission when there is an emergency. If your wireless system isn’t cellular, it’s not secure.

The benefits of landline monitoring include the fact that it’s more affordable and can be used anywhere there is a phone line.

Most Australians no longer have land lines. This is one of the reasons why many choose to go the cellular route.

Do-It-Yourself Versus Professional Installation

If you are a beginner, it’s often easier to pay a professional to do the job. If you are good with technology, the do-it-yourself option is best. Professionals can answer questions that you might have. However, if you buy a do-it-yourself system, you can save money and avoid drilling unnecessary holes.

A do-it-yourself job might be installed incorrectly, mitigating the effectiveness of the system, whereas hiring a professional can take a lot of time and is expensive.

How We Selected the Best Home Security System in Australia

tech support vectorWe looked at home security from a number of angles. We looked at customer service because we feel that it is important for you to get what you pay for from a security service. It should be able to meet your needs at any time. For example, Swann Communications has 24/7 tech support. You can call them toll-free 24 hours a day to work through any issues you have with their system.

Here’s all the systems we reviewed stack up for customer service:

  • Swann Communications- #1
  • Vivint- #2
  • ADT- #3
  • Adobe- #4
  • SimpliSafe- #5
  • FrontPoint- #6
  • Link Interactive- #7
  • Nest Secure- #8
  • SkylinkNet- #9
  • LiveWatch- #10

Price and Affordability

A good security system shouldn’t break the bank. Swann Communications offers an eight channel security system that cost $909.95. Nest Secure came in at $499. The cheapest was ADT Pulse at $49.

Features and Equipment

home security featuresSmart technology is the name of the game. It allows you to do things like open your garage door, see who is at your door, and monitor your home from far away via an app on your mobile device. The top five on our list for features and equipment include:

  1. Frontpoint
  2. Vivint
  3. Link Interactive
  4. Adobe Starter
  5. SimpliSafe
  6. ADT

Why Not Just Buy a Security Camera?

We get this question all of the time. Some people install phony security cameras because they think no one is going to break in if they believe they’re being watched. These people are disappointed when their shops or homes are broken into and their fake security cameras are knocked down.

A security camera on its own is not going to do you any good if someone breaks in. A security camera might help cops catch a burglar or an intruder after the crime. But this isn’t always the case. Even the stupidest thieves will wear a mask and cover their face. That’s why monitoring is important.

Are Home Security Systems Worth the Cost?

In a word, yes. But you need to know what you are paying for before you spend the money. That’s the purpose of this guide.

A good home security system is going to monitor your home and allow you to get help and professional guidance during an emergency. But maybe you think that having a gun to defend yourself is your best bet. Most people who think this way have not seen the information on how unreliable a gun can be during a home invasion.

Even high-quality gun safes have been known to fail their homeowners. They do little to no good if a person has already broken into your home while you’re asleep. When you are startled in the middle of the night, you can’t rely on your ability to have the wherewithal to get your gun and use it to defend yourself.

Australia has had more than 200,000 break-ins recorded each year. One in five homes is broken into more than one time. You can bet your bottom dollar that the homes that receive repeat burglaries do not have a security system. Most burglars will think twice before going back to a home that has a siren in excess of 90 dB.

Is it worth the cost? Well, it really comes down to the math. Most burglars take things like TVs, iPods, cell phones, cash, jewelry, tools, credit cards, and stereo equipment. When you add up the value of all of these things in your home and compare them to the price of getting a security system, you see that it is more than worth it.

As I said at the outset, my interest in security systems began because of a burglary that took place in my youth. As an adult, I’ve been the victim of a mugging. I can tell you that these events can leave you feeling insecure. A home security system can give you a sense of peace that you would not otherwise have. And there is no price tag you can put on feeling safe and secure.

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