Top 10 Smart Home Security Systems of 2016
So far, this year has seen sustained growth in the smart home security industry, in general, in the self-installed and self-monitored niche in particular. Business is booming, but 2016 is also the year to examine the darker side of smart security. This February’s SimpliSafe scandal challenged how companies access the risk that hackers pose to the integrity of their systems.
Our 2016 guide ranks ten of the most popular smart security systems on the market today based on their safety, effectiveness, and price point (sorry SimpliSafe, you didn’t make the cut this time around).
A Google hardware venture, offers self-installed, self-monitored security equipment including a surveillance camera ($199 plus $100 per year for a 10-day video history), a thermostat ($249), and a smart smoke/carbon monoxide detector ($99).
We love do-it-yourself systems because they’re the future of smart security. Nest Cam is an inexpensive way to do security if you’re monitoring non-emergency situations or reviewing footage that doesn’t need to be addressed immediately.
2. iSmartAlarm, Inc.
It’s Deluxe Package has been PCMag’s number one smart home security system three years in a row.
The company’s cheapest package, the Preferred Package, includes a control panel, two contact sensors, a motion sensor, and two remote tags ($199). Add a Spot surveillance camera for $100.
iSmartAlarm’s equipment works well, is completely scalable, and has no monthly fees. The company does not, however, offer storage options like Google Nest does.
3. Link Interactive offers an impressive list of features in its basic plan ($179 plus $40 per month) including remote access, crash and smash protection (in case someone tries to gain entry by breaking your control panel), smoke/carbon monoxide/flood detection, and remote light control.
Link Interactive is trusted by Costco, which sells the product exclusively. The products have overwhelmingly positive online reviews.
This is considered the trusted market leader in home security.
Their smart service, ADT Plus (at least $48 per month), includes the features of traditional security, like professional monitoring and crash and smash protection. More comprehensive plans include home automation, like scheduled lights and locks.
Although it is one of the costlier options, if safety is what you’re after (and of course it is), well-established ADT is your best bet.
5. AT&T Digital Life
The company offers professional home security andvideo monitoring. Their basic security package, Smart Security ($50 plus $40 per month), includes an indoor siren, three door sensors, and three window sensors.
If you don’t want to make a long-term commitment to smart home security, AT&T has a shorter contract and a less expensive early termination fee (maximum of $720) compared to ADT (maximum of $2300).
They offer affordable, professionally monitored systems through vendors like LiveWatch. Its self-installed Mobile Pro package includes door sensors, smoke detection, and remote arm/disarm ($99 plus $35 per month).
Low monthly costs and no annual contracts are major pluses for Alarm.com/LiveWatch. This security service is perfect for the commitment shy.
Security provider Frontpoint offers smart intrusion, fire, flood alarms, and lifeline services with the basic Protection Plan ($99 plus $35 per month).
More expensive features include full smart home capabilities like automated and remotely accessible door locks, automated lights, and remotely accessible heating.
If you’re looking for a self-installed system with a service contract, Frontpoint is a good choice, since it offers discounts to customers who sign a contract.
Smart home pioneer Vivint offers security services integrated with complete home automation.
The provider’s basic plan, the Smart Protect plan, includes door and window alarms, professional monitoring, smoke detection, and severe weather warnings (at least $54 per month).
Vivint is an up-and-comer in smart security with great products. Just beware early termination fees that can top $3800.
9. Protect America
The company offers traditional landline security (from $20) as well as smart security plans. The Copper Plan, their basic security package, includes three door or window sensors, a motion detector, and professional monitoring ($42 per month).
Like Vivint, Protect America’s contracts aresome of the toughest in the industry, but, if you’re willing to make a firm commitment, this provider can lock you into the best rates with alow price guarantee.
Smart security company Scout offers a wide range of self-installed, self-monitored products including door and window sensors, motion sensors, and control panels. Scout also offers professional monitoring, but it’s not necessary to run its system.
Scout is great if you want a full security system, but don’t need professional monitoring. Scout sells equipment by the piece ($29 to $129) and monitoring starts at $10 per month with no contract.
Please feel free to make suggestion(s) for the next top 10 listing to appear in September 2016.