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You’ve probably seen the ads, or maybe a neighbor’s home security yard sign caught your attention. Home security companies (and supposed deals) are everywhere these days! Unfortunately our beloved city does not have the lowest of crime rates, and if you’re here because you recently suffered a break-in, we’re sorry you had to go through such a traumatic experience. The good news is, armed with the right home security knowledge, you can significantly reduce your chances of a break-in recurring.
- Do I Really Need A Home Security System?
- Professionally Monitored vs Self-Monitored
- Best Home Security Systems (2022 Winners)
- Winner – Frontpoint Security
- Runner Up: Link Interactive
- 3rd Place: SimpliSafe
- The Rest Of The Pack: ADT, Ace, CPI, Ellies & More
Do I Really Need A Home Security System?
Great question! There’s many options for many budgets (which I’ll get into below), but if you can’t afford them or don’t want to spend on security, just having a home security yard sign (like this one on Amazon, which also comes with four window decals) can act as a big deterrent. But you may be surprised, given all the DIY options of today, what you can piece together for less than you’re paying for your entertainment services.
We should also mention, that a huge benefit of smart home security systems is the automation they provide – you can control many elements of your home from your thermostat to lighting, appliances, entertainment systems, and more. And most importantly – environmental monitoring – in other words, monitoring for smoke, carbon monoxide, water leaks, freezing conditions (to prevent pipes bursting in colder climates), etc.
Professionally Monitored vs Self-Monitored
One of the first decisions you’ll want to make is whether you’re interested in a professionally monitored system (by a central monitoring station) or a self-monitored system. What’s the difference?
When your alarm goes off, or an environmental sensor trips (such as a smoke alarm), your monitoring center will automatically be notified. It doesn’t matter if you’re home, if you’re asleep, or if you’re on vacation. If they monitoring station can’t get a hold of you, they will dispatch the respective authorities (law enforcement for a break-in, fire truck for a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, etc.).
For professional monitoring service, you’ll typically pay a monthly fee ranging from $20/month and up.
With a self-monitored system, only you (and contacts you designate) will be alerted when there’s an alarm or environmental event. As you can probably guess from the description I gave for pro monitoring, there is a higher degree of risk associated with this setup – particularly because authorities won’t be notified if there’s a carbon monoxide leak in the middle of the night (carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can kill you in your sleep) or if there’s a break-in while you’re on an airplane and don’t have your phone on to receive alerts.
Self-monitoring comes without a monthly fee, since you’re not paying for a monitoring station.
If you can afford it we highly recommend professional monitoring – it’s safer, and can give you peace of mind that professionals are available 24/7 to help you, without you having to take action.
Best Home Security Systems (2022 Winners)
Without further ado, here’s our picks for this year. We’ll present you with all the information you need to sign up – pros, cons, features, and pricing.
Winner – Frontpoint Security
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Frontpoint wins as our best overall home security system option for Winston-Salem and surrounding areas.
Why Frontpoint Won This Year
Frontpoint excels in three key elements that won them the top spot this year.
Their “white glove” customer service is exceptional. With nearly no wait times to speak to a human, they have hired and trained their employees to help you get maximum benefit from your system. And the sales department won’t haggle you with offers or try and keep you on the phone to purchase – they’ll simply answer your questions and let you decide. This is a rarity in our world of fast-paced aggressive sales tactics.
Why is this important? Companies like Ring, which are very popular, monitor your security system over a cable internet connection. You know that orange wire that companies like Spectrum don’t always bury below ground like you expect them to? All a burglar has to do is cut that line and bam, your cameras are disabled. With Frontpoint, your security system stays online since components communicate over a cellular connection. This is a costly technological advancement in home security, which is reflected in their relatively higher monthly monitoring price.
Robust Equipment & Selection
They’ve got a sensor or device for just about everything, and their equipment stands the test of time (we have some sensors that are still working well past a decade, and still supported by the newer control panel). You’ll be able to not only arm/disarm your system and monitor activity with cameras, but control your temperature and lights remotely and on schedules. Their app is comprehensive, gives you very granular control, and is powered by Alarm.com, one of the first companies to offer extensive home security functionality in the industry. They also offer smoke/carbon monoxide and flood sensors – all monitored by a top tier monitoring company (Rapid Response) with two monitoring centers for redundancy.
Areas We Feel Frontpoint Could Improve Upon
Frontpoint is our winner this year, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Here’s areas we feel could use improvement.
Frontpoint is not the most affordable option in our list, and their prices have increased over the years. But as they say “you get what you pay for.” Good customer service, equipment that works and lasts, and a reliable monitoring station aren’t available with all providers.
Let’s face it, Ring is the undisputed leader in this category. That is, as far as camera technology goes. The buck stops short when it comes to actual security. Ring cameras depend on a cable internet connection, which, as we mention above can be easily disabled by a burglar. Frontpoint technology, on the other hand, is powered by a cellular connection – the most robust security technology available on the consumer market. Important to note however, that the bandwidth is not enough to power Frontpoint’s cameras – so while your door, window, etc. sensors will remain active and working, your cameras will not in the event of an internet or power outage.
Runner Up: Link Interactive
Black Friday Sale: $100 off and a free indoor camera. Click here to take advantage of this promotion.
Link Interactive is our runner-up this year. See what got them into second place ahead of the competition.
What We Like About Link Interactive
Link’s systems are entirely customizable, which means you can build a system to perfectly suit your specific needs. Their monitoring costs are also lower than Frontpoint’s.
Customization – Build Your Own System Or Choose A Pre-Built One
Link lets you piece together your own system with their build-your-system option, or you can choose from an list of existing packages that have been put together for you. You’ll have a variety of cameras, motion sensors, tilt sensors, thermostats, smart deadbolts, window & door sensors, automated garage door openers, automated lights, and more to choose form.
All of Link Interactive’s plans offer cellular monitoring, which we consider the highest form of security as we’ve explained above. They have two monitoring stations (same as Frontpoint) for redundancy.
Competitive Monthly Monitoring Cost
Their monthly monitoring costs come in below Frontpoint’s, so you’ll be saving money in the long haul. Of course, this comes at a cost – while Frontpoint has no contracts (you can cancel at any time), Link requires you to sign up for a 1, 2, or 3 year contract. If you decide to cancel early, you’ll be responsible for 75% of the contract balance.
Areas We Feel Link Interactive Could Improve Upon
These are the factors keeping Link from grabbing the top spot in our showdown.
Link requires you to sign up for a 1, 2, or 3 year contract. If you decide to cancel early, you’ll be responsible for 75% of the contract balance.
Customer Service And Installation
While not terrible, Link’s customer service doesn’t get the rave reviews’ that Frontpoint’s does. And we’ve heard reports of hiccups during installation (which is DIY).
3rd Place: SimpliSafe
Black Friday Sale: 60% off and a free indoor camera. Click here to take advantage of this promotion.
SimpliSafe placed third because of it’s affordable monthly monitoring and easy installation.
What We Like About SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe has one of the lowest professional monthly monitoring fees in the industry and offers easy DIY installation.
Affordable And Simple
SimpliSafe has inexpensive monthly monitoring and you pay month-to-month, so like Frontpoint aren’t tied to any contracts. And while it’s possible to own the system and not pay any monthly fee, it becomes a lot less useful because you won’t be able to use the app or monitor your system remotely.
Responsive And Redundant Monitoring
SimpliSafe has six monitoring stations for great redundancy (if one goes down there are several more which your call can be routed to). Response times our extremely quick as well.
Areas SimpliSafe Could Improve Upon
Here’s some things keeping Simplisafe from the top spot this year.
Basic Equipment Selection
In this era of smart home technology, SimpliSafe offers a relatively basic selection of home security and automation equipment. They are especially lacking in the camera department, although they have finally added a couple camera options to their roster.
Website And App Are A Bit Too Simple
The website and app offer very basic functionality to control your system, and don’t go nearly as deep or offer nearly as many features as Frontpoint does.
The Rest Of The Pack: ADT, Ace, CPI, Ellies & More
How do our top picks stack up against other home security names you may have come across? Find out in our reviews of these popular national and local home security providers (coming soon!).
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