Ultimate Guide to Home Security


A home security system is simply a series of sensors installed on windows and doors that connect to a master control panel. The system includes a digital keyboard that links to the control panel and arm and disarm the system. Most security systems include interior and/or exterior sirens.

Some may also include other sensors, such as motion, glass break, and fire/ smoke sensors. Many home owners link their systems to a central monitoring station. Tripping the alarm automatically notifies the police or fire department of a potential problem at the location.

Types of Systems

Homeowners have two choices when it comes to the type of security system: wired and wireless.

  • Wired systems require multiple wires to connect sensors, the control panel, and digital keyboard. They are more complicated and more expensive compared to wireless systems.
  • Wireless home security systems uses radio signals to communicate between the various components and are easy to install. One drawback of wireless systems concerns interference from the signals of cordless phones and wireless computer networks.

Homeowners can enhance security even more by installing security cameras or setup the system for monitoring over the Internet.

Does Home Security Work?

A system consists of three basic three pillars: design, detection, and notification.

A properly designed security system can protect you against burglaries and invasions.

Criminal who pick a location to burglarize choose easy targets. The simple act of installing a home security system, and making the installation obvious, reduces the odds of your home being burglarized.

If your home is invaded, the system can scare off the intruder and alert the police department. Fire and smoke detectors provide an early warning for your family to exit the structure and save your home from significant damage by alerting the fire department.

Professional Installation or DIY

Years ago, the complexity security systems required professional technicians to install it properly. Advances in technology have made it easier for a person with basic handyman skill to complete a do-it-yourself installation. You can not only save money and you don't have to wait. Many vendors offer videos and technical advice for DIY installation.

If you decide on professional installation, select a company that works with you versus trying to sell you a product. Most of all, you should make the final determination for the system's design and whether you need all the sensors recommended by the salesperson. Do not pay for equipment and for installation costs.

Home Security Pricing

Home owners can purchase basic DIY security systems for under $100, which includes a few sensors and a wireless control panel. More comprehensive wireless home security packages can cost $300 to $500.

Wired home security systems usually consist of individual components. Window and door sensor costs around $5 a piece. Sensors can run as high as $100. Depending on the complexity of the system, a DYI wired system can run from $300 to thousands of dollars.

Fees for a monitoring service cost $15 to $30 per month.

Choosing a Security System

When deciding on a home security system, start by determining the access points to your property you desire to secure - windows and doors of your home that are accessible from the outside.

Some people may want to protect the exterior perimeter, which requires the installation of a security camera.

Some home security companies tailor their security system to the needs of your home.

You will also need to decide if you want the system to scare off a potential intruder or link the system to a monitoring station. These factors determine the number of sensors and other equipment required to secure your home and the final cost.

Do not purchase a system without first reading home security system reviews thoroughly for each company you are considering. Many systems are sold for low prices or even free, but break frequently or are impossible to set up.

Other systems may cost a lot initially, but actually save you money in the long run. The only way to separate the good home security companies from the bad ones is to read reviews.

Burglary Prevention Tips

The best burglary prevention strategies will rely heavily on altering the perception of your home. When thinking about your home, ask yourself 'does my home look secure?'

Usually, a burglar will case a home before robbing it. This means you must find ways to make your home look occupied and secure. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect your home:

  • Improve your exterior lighting
  • Lock all outside doors and windows
  • Keep garage closed and locked
  • Trim shrubs and trees to limit the number of possible hiding places
  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside of your house
  • Place curtains in garage windows and basement windows
  • Store barbecues, bikes, and lawn mowers out of sight
  • Don't share vacation plans on social media
  • Put up an alarm system sign (even if you don't have one)

Each of these tips may seem like small measures but all of them together can make your house look like a less attractive target for burglars. Of course, these are all security measures you can take without a home security system. We recommend you also get a home security system with the following smart devices:

  • Door and Window Sensors
  • Doorbell Camera
  • Z-Wave Devices
  • Key Fob
  • Keypad
  • Motion Sensors
  • Night Vision Outdoor Camera
  • Contact Sensors

All of these products by themselves are formidable to potential burglars, but to make your home as safe as possible, we recommend potential home security customers choose one of the best home security companies possible.

But, how do you know which company is the best?

Choosing a Home Security Company

Here are the best home security companies and their key indicators of quality:

#1 Vivint Smart Home

Monthly Fee: $29.99-$49.99

Upfront Fee: $0

Score: 9.4

#2 Guardian Protection

Monthly Fee: $34.95-$59.99

Upfront Fee: $199+

Score: 9.3

#3 Cove

Monthly Fee: $14.99-$34.99

Upfront Fee: $0-$399

Score: 7.8

Of course, there are many home security companies in the industry and users should consider all the options. We recommend you check out all home security companies to find the best one.