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Best home security systems of 2021

TechRadar logo TechRadar 10/4/2021 Brian Turner
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If you're looking for the best smart home security systems to protect your home against intrusion, you've come to the right place.

Having the best smart home security systems can give you extra peace of mind, especially as many people look to return to the office and even book foreign holidays.

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 smart home 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.

Some offer home video surveillance as part of a smart security network to work within existing home automation systems, and sometimes monitored alarm systems can be added as an additional service.

Here then are the best smart home security systems currently available. Running a business from home? We've also chosen the best security camera systems for businesses.

Get a quote for a home security system:

Smart home security systems: What you need to know

Should I really install a home security system? 

If you’re even considering installing a home security system, you probably know that the answer to this question is yes. In general, a home security system is a strong deterrent to burglars and other criminals, with research showing that the vast majority will intentionally avoid properties with visible security systems. 

Does my home security system need to include CCTV monitoring? 

Not all home security systems include CCTV or home security cameras, but we highly recommend choosing one that does. For starters, the simple fact of having visible security cameras is often enough to deter prospective burglars. On top of this, it’s important to have evidence of break-ins or vandalism if they do occur, both for insurance reasons and to help the authorities catch the perpetrator. 

Are monitored alarm systems worth paying extra for? 

If you can afford to pay a little extra for a professionally monitored home security system, we’d highly recommend doing so. Although self-monitored systems do work, if someone has an eye on your property 24/7/365, it means it will be protected at all times, even when you’re on holiday, at work, asleep, or otherwise occupied. 

Will installing a security system affect my home insurance? 

Yes, in many cases, installing a security system will lower your insurance premiums. This won’t always be the case, though, so we’d recommend speaking to your insurance provider to find out more. 

Should I install a home security system in my rental house? 

If you’re worried about the safety of you or your family, you should consider installing a home security system in your rental property. Be sure to speak with your real estate agent and/or landlord before doing so to ensure you’re not breaching your contract, but in most cases, you will be well within your rights to install some form of home security. 

What features should I consider adding to my home security system? 

Some home security systems are highly customizable, which means you can add and remove elements as required. If possible, you should include some sort of video, motion, and unwanted entry monitoring. You may also add things like glass break detectors, door sensors, wireless cameras, and monitored alarms. Speak to your provider about exactly what it offers.

What does a home security system cost?

The cost of home security systems is highly variable and generally depends on the hardware and type of monitoring you go for. At the lower end of the spectrum, home security hardware can cost anywhere from around $99. However, more advanced systems can cost well in excess of $1000. 

Additionally, you will generally have to pay some sort of monthly fee if you want to take advantage of a company’s professional monitoring services. Some companies charge as little as $9 per month, although most of our top options start from around $40 per month for basic monitoring.

How we review home security systems

In order to review the home security systems listed below, we conducted both in-depth research and hands-on testing. Many components included in the best home security systems have been purchased and tested by members of our team. These include cameras, motion sensors, break-in sensors, and more. 

In addition, we scoured the web and analyzed countless online reviews by both customers and security industry professionals to ensure that the most accurate information has been provided below.

Best home security systems reviews:

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.

Frontpoint 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 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. 

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.

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 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 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.

Those with more modest homes, such as a rented apartment, may want a simpler plug-and-play solution, such as the Canary Pro . 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 Pro can be used with free access, a membership plan 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.

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.

This does not include a keypad 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 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 includes everything from the lower plans, complete with a year of professional monitoring.

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.

At the top-end, the Haven Kit, which 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).

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.

ADT Home Security Systems has been in the security business for over 140 years and, unsurprisingly, continues to be one of the leading home security system providers in the world. It offers a great selection of professionally monitored solutions, although some people will miss the lack of self-monitored options. 

Unfortunately, though, ADT Home Security is one of the more expensive companies out there. Its hardware tends to be quite high priced, and you will be forced to pay for professional installation. On top of this, it charges upwards of $40 per month for security system monitoring, which is significantly higher than the prices of many of its competitors. 

However, we did particularly like ADT’s integrations with smart devices. Its systems are compatible with Alexa, along with a range of other devices including smart thermostats, smart light bulbs, and garage door openers. 

Overall, you could certainly do worse than using ADT Home Security, especially if you just want a set-and-forget solution that you know you can rely on. 

Verisure offers high-quality home security systems and professional monitoring across a range of selected European and South American countries; Verisure does not operate in the US. Verisure is one of the best choices for residents of the UK, and it’s known for its rapid responses and high-quality hardware.

If you decide to use Verisure, you will have a choice of self-monitored and professionally monitored systems, although the professionally monitored option can be expensive. Prices aren’t openly advertised, which means you will have to request a quote if you want to know how much it will cost you. However, reports suggest that it is slightly more pricey than some competitors. 

In saying that, you usually get what you pay for with home security systems. For example, you will be able to take advantage of an obligation-free consultation with a Verisure representative before you enter a contract. The company uses a fog-based alarm system designed to impair intruders while the authorities are waiting to attend, and the rest of its hardware is great as well.

10 best features of home security

Intruder alarms: Any security system that’s worth using should include some sort of burglar or intruder alarm. In higher-end systems, these may be connected to your security company’s central monitoring hub, allowing it to respond rapidly if the alarm is triggered. In others, it may just make a loud noise to alert you and anyone else in the vicinity. 

Entry sensors: These are designed to alert you and/or your security company any time your property is breached. 

Motion sensors: A motion sensor will trigger your alarm system if an intruder manages to gain entry to your property without triggering your entry sensors. 

Cameras: Security cameras are a great tool for those who need to monitor what is happening around their property. 

Control panel: All top-end security systems should come with a central control panel that allows you to monitor and manage your system. 

Apps: In general, a complete home security system will come with an app that’s designed for you to monitor your property remotely. 

Smart integration features: These allow you to connect your security system with smart home devices like Google Home and Alexa. 

Wireless technology: Most modern security systems are based on some sort of wireless technology, which means you won’t have to worry about your system being compromised if an intruder cuts your wires. 

Video doorbell: Another common feature among high-quality modern security systems is a security doorbell, which allows you to see who is at your door without opening and potentially exposing yourself to danger. 

Flood, fire, and other sensors: These are designed to monitor your property and notify you if an accident occurs.

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