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Best home security systems of 2020: the best in smart home security

TechRadar logo TechRadar 05/03/2020 Jonas DeMuro
a living room filled with furniture and a flat screen tv: Best home security systems © Provided by TechRadar Best home security systems

The one crime statistic that is falling across the US year-on-year is burglary, and that's because homeowners are turning to home-based security systems that can help prevent crime. It's not just about trying to deter opportunists, but also making sure that even determined burglars will have difficulty forcing their way into your home without being caught.

Yet there's such a wide array of home security options available to the homeowner, from CCTV and security cameras, to monitoring solutions, it can all seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are an increasing number of all-in-one solutions that use the latest technology to bring together different aspects of surveillance, monitoring, and prevention, to help homeowners feel safer.

What's even better is that you no longer need a complicated setup of monitoring cameras, as most modern security systems are unobtrusive, easy to install and use, and even stylish.

So we have done the legwork for you – we're good like that – to present this list of five of the best home security solutions. We think these products bring together the best in security, safety, and technology, to help give you peace of mind and better protect you, your family, and loved ones, from unwelcome intruders.

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Best home security systems - at a glance

  1. Vivint Smart Home
  2. Frontpoint Security
  3. Brinks Home Security
  4. Ring Alarm Security Kit
  5. Protect America
a person reading a book: (Image credit: Vivint ) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Vivint )

1. Vivint Smart Home

Comprehensive home video surveillance with smart home features

Smart features
Alexa and Google Home integrations
2-way audio
24/7 monitoring option
Professional installation

Vivint Smart Home is a comprehensive home surveillance system with video recording built in as standard, and smart home features also available as required. 

Core products include a video doorbell, indoor and outdoor cameras, smart locks, and garage control. The indoor video camera comes with full 1080p HD video recording as well as two-way audio. Custom notifications are available, and up to 30 days of continuous recording can be saved. A particularly nice feature is that it also includes a one-touch contact button that your family can push to contact you instantly.

Everything can be managed directly using a mobile app, a home security panel, and voice controls when using Google Home or Alexa. This means you can integrate it with other smart home features, not least lighting and heating, as required, using voice commands or your mobile app. Vivint can also integrate with other wireless security products such as from Nest.

What Vivint offers on top of everyone else featured here is a 24/7 monitoring solution. However, this usually requires a professional installer to set up your system, plus the monitoring will usually come packaged with a product set specifically put together for your home, rather than be offered as an addon with flat-rate pricing.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Frontpoint Security) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Frontpoint Security)

2. Frontpoint Security

The smart and mobile security point

No installation
Ready out of the box
Wireless system
Switch between wifi and cell network

Frontpoint Security offers a simple and smart monitored home security service, using a wide range of different wireless devices. No professional installation is required and you can set up your cameras, sensors, and other monitors precisely where you think you need them, and everything is pre-configured to work together out of the box.

At the heart of Frontpoint Security is the Frontpoint Hub, which serves as a central controller for all of your security devices. The hub can switch between a wireless and cellular network as required, so that even if there's a break in your internet connection your home security system can continue without interruption. Additionally, the hub is advertised as smash-proof, and even if it is somehow destroyed it will automatically send out a security alert.

The mobile app has also been made to be very easy to use. You don't need to swipe through multiple screens to arm it, you just quickly tap the icon and select your arming option. 

Additionally, you also have full control of your surveillance options, and don't need to wait for alerts in case you may be unavailable to take them. As a monitored solution, Frontpoint can call 911 for you if they detect a clear incident, ensuring that your home remains protected even if your smartphone is switched off. 

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Brinks) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Brinks)

3. Brinks Home Security

Brinks Home Security offers a range of monitored home security solutions that use a range of kit options, mostly based on a smart home control panel, along with various sensors, to work with your smartphone. 

The smart home hub can be used for just about any other home automaton device and is compatible with Amazon Alexa as well as Z Wave devices.  Brinks supplies motion sensors and door sensors, as well as live video cameras, and connections between the devices are all encrypted for security reasons. 

Most of the security kits available from Brinks are different combinations of the equipment above, namely in terms of door and motion sensors, but Brinks also offers a Nest Secure system that it can work easily with.

Whichever set up you have, you'll have access to tamper-proof kit, as well as cellular back-up and cloud storage for video streams, and there's a Live Assist feature to run with as well. Brinks also offers 24/7 alarm monitoring which allows for remote emergency calling as well as cancelling of false alarms.

Pricing for each kit depends on the features you select, but there's a lot of room for customization so you can really personalize it.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Ring) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Ring)

4. Ring Alarm Security Kit

A simple but versatile solution

Everything provided
No need for a contract
Simple to set up

The Ring Alarm Security Kit is an all-in-one security solution that's simple to set up, and doesn't require a service subscription to use. The standard Alarm Security Kit is priced at just $199 – cheaper than most competitors – yet comes with a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector and range extender. You can buy additional components individually to extend your protection, or purchase one of the larger Alarm Security Kit bundles.

The Ring Alarm Security Kit uses smart sensors and motion detectors that send mobile alerts when triggered. Everything is managed from the Ring app, which allows you to monitor everything from a single panel on your phone or tablet. It can also be integrated with other security devices from other brands, and you can even operate it using Amazon's Alexa.

A backup battery in the kit ensures that even in the event of a power failure, the Ring kit will continue to run for up to 24 hours, using your cellular network to keep connected.

As mentioned, there is no need for a subscription plan, though there are contract-free Ring Protect Plans available, for either $3 or $10 a month, which allow you to store more video using the Ring app, as well as access member benefits and discounts on additional security product purchases. These might be useful if you plan to buy other equipment from Ring, such as its video doorbell, sirens, smoke detectors, cameras, and more.

Read our review of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 here.

a screenshot of a cell phone screen with text: (Image credit: Protect America) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Protect America)

5. Protect America

Protection with 24/7 monitoring

DIY installation
Cheap basic plan
Long-term contract

Protect America is a security system that offers 24/7 monitoring and self-installation. They provide a simple and affordable plan that includes installation of a control panel, motion and entry sensors, a yard sign and entry stickers, and all with monitoring, for $19.99 per month and no upfront costs.

However, Protect America also offers an upgraded automated smart home solution that allows for more customization, to ensure you feel properly protected in your home. Hardware options include 720p HD wireless home security cameras for constant video surveillance and recording, which can also have infrared LED sensors for night recording, as well as two-way audio. Protect America can also supply motion detectors, monitored smoke detection, as well as home automation.

The home automation option allows you to integrate your home security system with lighting and climate controls, including smart locks on your front door and garage, all managed both through a mobile app as well as by voice control using Amazon's Alexa assistant. 

However, while Protect America does offer an initially lower monthly fee, do expect a long-term contract to pay for it.

Also consider these home security systems

Although we've listed the best in home security systems, here are some other worthwhile systems and security kits worth considering to protect your home:

  1. Canary All-in-One
  2. Nest Secure
  3. Abode
  4. SimpliSafe
  5. Honeywell Home
a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Canary) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Canary)

1. Canary All-in-One

The plug-and-play approach to home security

Affordable monthly plan
Simple setup
Single device less suited to larger homes

Those with more modest homes, such as a rented apartment, may want a simpler plug-and-play solution, such as the Canary All-in-One which retails for $169. One plastic canister provides a 1080p HD camera with night vision, a 90dB siren, an integrated temperature, air quality and humidity monitor, and the device is available in white or black to match a variety of decors.

Setup can be completed in a few minutes as the device just needs to be connected to electrical power and the internet for protection to kick-off.

While the Canary All-in-One can be used with free access, a membership plan of $9.99 monthly is needed to get the most out of it. Features included are full length videos that are stored for 30 days, unlimited video downloads, and two-way Canary talk.

Read our review of the Canary View Smart HD Security Camera here.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Google) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Google)

2. Nest Secure

A slick home security option from Nest

Plentiful expansion options
Multiple options to arm/disarm
Higher cost for the basic kit
Monitoring is expensive

Nest made its name in home technology with its thermostat which debuted in 2011. These days, Nest is part of Google, and the company has expanded into home security with Nest Secure.

This is sold as the Nest Secure alarm system, commanding a premium fee of $399, and it includes a base station, two Nest Tags, and two sensors. The Nest Tag is a key fob-style device that can arm or disarm the system when in proximity with the base station – other options for arming include a passcode, Google Assistant, and the Nest App.

The sensor is Stick Nest Detect, which is a versatile piece of hardware, as each one can be used to secure a window, door, or even a wall, as it detects motion, with additional sensors available for $49. All of these sensors feed their information through the base station to the Nest App.

Nest Secure works over Wi-Fi, but cellular access as a backup is a $5 additional monthly option. The system can also be expanded with options for indoor and outdoor cameras, and compatible Yale electronic locks.

Read our review of the Nest Hello here.

Read our review of the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor here.

Read our review of the Nest Cam Outdoor here.

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Abode) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Abode)

3. Abode

DIY professional-grade home security

Affordable professional monitoring option
Full variety of additional accessories
Few items in starter kit

Abode offers a security solution that is professional-grade, and yet easy to install for the homeowner. Like its competition, the company offers a starter kit that includes the essentials: a gateway, a mini door/window sensor, a remote key fob, a motion sensor, and a security sticker – that package retails for $299.

This does not include a keypad which will run you $79 extra, and is designed for self-monitoring via a smartphone app. There are a wide variety of expansion options available, including indoor add-on sirens, a water leak sensor, and a glass break and vibration sensor, to name just a few of the many offerings.

Upgrade to the next plan for $329, and this includes the same starter kit, plus a year of cellular backup on the T-Mobile or AT&T network, and 50% off the add-on keypad. The top plan goes for $379, which includes everything from the lower plans, complete with a year of professional monitoring.

a person holding a sign: (Image credit: SimpliSafe) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: SimpliSafe)

4. SimpliSafe

Whole home protection from this well-known vendor

Variety of starter kits
Large library of accessories
Higher-end kits aren’t cheap

SimpliSafe is a well-known brand in the security space. Unlike some other solutions, the company offers five different options for its starter kit. At the low-end is the aptly named Foundation Kit, which has a base station, keypad, an entry sensor and a motion sensor, all for $229.

At the top-end, the Haven Kit, which is priced at $489, includes the same base station and keypad, as well as a key fob, four entry sensors, two motion sensors, a 105dB siren, a panic button, freeze sensor, water sensor, and a smoke detector, which is suitable for a larger home, and obviously protects you from more than just burglary.

All kits are backed by a 60-day guarantee – the product can be returned if it does not work out for you – and you have a choice of monitoring plans that include professional monitoring and cellular backup (and neither requires a contract).

a screenshot of a cell phone: (Image credit: Resideo) © Provided by TechRadar (Image credit: Resideo)

5. Honeywell Home

For exapandable smarthome security

Smarthome capabilities
Amazon Alexa assistant
Exapanded range

Honeywell Smarthome Security is an all-in-one home security device that is intended to serve as the heart of a smarthome experience. 

The base unit itself can detect motion and sound, and when its smart sensors are triggered it can record in 1080 HD video. Although the unit has nightvision capability, it can also be connected with smart sensors and Z-wave lighting units, to expand its range both inside and outside of your property.

It's also compatible with a number of other smarthome devices, which can be configured so that even when you are away, indoor and outdoor lighting can be programmed to simulate someone at home.

When an event is triggered, an alert can be sent via text to your phone or other device, along with a video and/or audio clip of it. This allows you to decide whether the event is worth further action.

However, the base unit is intended to work as more than a security device, and is also powered by Amazon's Alexa assistant. This allows you to connected with your Amazon account to play music, radio stations, or audiobooks you may have associated with it.

Additionally, there's a membership plan available which allows you to expand on the basic 24-hours online storage to a 30 or 60-day storage plan, along with the ability to store more video as well as get further discounts at Honeywell.

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