Professionally Installed Home Security System
The best professionally installed home security systems take away the uncertainty that comes with installing a system yourself. Are there any blind spots, or improperly installed sensors, or other problems you wouldn’t think to check? Have these professionals come to your home and give you the certainty that you’re paying for quality protection. Home security systems like Vivint offer reliable monitoring, home automation, smart home integration, and threat response you need to feel secure at home.
Best Overall: Vivint Home Security System
A staple of professionally installed home security systems is the multi-year contract. In exchange for a professional consultation and installation, you must consent to pay for professional monitoring for years, on top of the leasing cost for equipment. Vivint gives you the option to pay upfront for equipment and pay month-to-month for monitoring, allowing you to cancel the service anytime and self-monitor with the equipment you own — making it an excellent choice if you can afford the high initial cost.
If you want the traditional security experience, Vivint offers a starter pack with an LCD touchscreen hub, two door/window sensors, motion detector, water sensor and a small credit towards additional sensors that falls somewhere in the $600 range upfront. But after your free consultation, Vivint will offer additional products: a variety of motion, glass-break, door, water leak, CO leak and window sensors, indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, smart doorbell cameras, and other peripherals like smart thermostats and smart locks. Your final cost will likely trend somewhere between $1,000–$3,000 depending on the size of your home; if that’s too much to pay upfront, Vivint lets you pay off your equipment costs with a zero-finance loan, but keep in mind that you can’t cancel your Vivint plan until you’ve paid off your loan in full.
Vivint particularly excels in home automation, controlling a variety of smart devices through its app. Arm your alarm or lock your doors remotely, or use GPS tracking to do so automatically if you’re away from home for a certain amount of time. Set temperature parameters and have your thermostat stay within a particular range, or have your Philips Hue lights turn on in response to a sensor activation using custom actions in Vivint’s app.
With a wireless system of connected devices and a $40/month fee for video monitoring (fairly pricey but not compared to other professional security companies), Vivint impressed us during our review and is worth approaching for a free on-site quote.
- Works with Alexa, Google Home, Z-Wave, and IFTTT
- Fast, all-in-one app with automations
- Free cloud video storage + optional DVR
- Option to pay upfront to avoid contract
- Solid indoor/outdoor camera performance
- Free home consultation plus fixed installation costs
- Only three-day return policy
- Expensive for full smart home with cameras
- No object detection on outdoor cams
Vivint Home Security System
Smart, professional protection
For a high upfront cost, you’ll get professional installation without the specter of a long contract hanging over your head.
Best Customer Service and Clear Pricing: Brinks Home Security
Source: Brinks / iStockphoto
For the past two years, JD Power has ranked Brinks as the best in customer service for pro-installed companies, with ADT coming closest at second. While every customer’s experience will vary, it’s telling that Brinks — which only reached a nationwide scale in 2018 — has done better than older companies, most likely because it has something to prove. With Brinks, you’ll hopefully receive good support when its monitoring center spots a problem or if your system goes down.
Brinks also eschews the old professional quote model by making prices visible on its website and allowing buyers to purchase a system and schedule an installation without having to speak to a pushy representative on commission. You choose one of their three preset systems priced at $199, $349, or $1,099, but you can purchase add-ons during the checkout process. Then, if you realize down the line you want something that wasn’t in your initial package, you can buy it on Brinks’ site, where you’ll find actual prices for each device, and install it yourself to save another pro fee.
With its support for Z-Wave, Alexa, Google Home, Apple TV, and Alarm.com devices, you will have an easy time controlling your security system through voice commands and controlling many third-party smart devices like smart locks and lights through the Alarm.com app or Brinks control panel. We also appreciate that the service responds to alarms with the ASAPer system, which immediately puts all emergency contacts on a live chat to ascertain if it’s a false alarm and if responders should be sent — preventing costly fees from the police.
Your primary negative is the required three-year contract, even if you choose to install the system yourself. If you do have someone else install the system or need a home consultation, your experience and price will vary based upon how good the local Brinks affiliate is. Monthly monitoring with video costs $39 per month, which is comparable with Vivint. You can choose to install Nest Secure instead, a DIY system that uses Brinks’ monitoring centers; the Nest video monitoring fee is half as much per month as Brinks’ system, for essentially the same service.
- Fully visible pricing online
- Easy to move with you
- Works with most smart speakers, third-party tech
- Top-rated customer service
- Option for Nest Secure with cheaper monthly monitoring
- Instant live chat in response to alarms
- Required three-year contract
- Authorized local dealers vary in quality
- No clear list of third-party compatible smart devices
Best Customer Service
Brinks Home Security
Friendly, fast monitoring
Buy direct from Brinks for complete price transparency, or buy a DIY Nest Secure set and get the same Brinks monitoring.
Best Expert Customization: ADT Home Security
ADT is a tricky service to judge or recommend, as its pricing and monthly fees vary from person to person. You’ll need to call them for a free quote, have a local technician visit your house, then receive another quote for equipment costs and fees that you can either accept or try to negotiate down. Some will dislike the amount of time you’ll need to invest before knowing what costs you’ll be facing; others will appreciate the expert advice on which devices your home needs, instead of trying to figure that out yourself.
To get full video monitoring and home automation with ADT, your monthly fee will be somewhere in the $50–$60 range, at the highest end of anything else on our list. To justify the high cost, ADT offers to pay $500 of your insurance deductible if your house is robbed, and boasts of its long service history and nationwide monitoring centers that will ostensibly provide more personalized and immediate assistance. If you don’t need video monitoring or smart home tech, its fees start at $29, which is more reasonable for a pro system.
To build a professional smart home with automation, ADT connects with hundreds of devices via Z-Wave, giving you the most options of any system for smart locks, bulbs, and thermostats that you can control through the SoSecure app. It supports geotracking alerts for when you’re away from home and remote arming and disarming.
If the price isn’t an object, ADT still offers the best professionally installed home security system that is curated to fit your needs, instead of trying to figure those needs out yourself.
- Country-wide monitoring service
- Theft protection guarantee
- Six-month return window
- Blue by ADT DIY option
- Compatible with Echo, Z-Wave, third-party devices
- Mandatory, no-cancel three-year contract
- Must get personalized quote with negotiable price
- ADT authorized dealers vary in quality, pricing
- Only 720p camera resolution
- Highest monthly fee for monitoring, smart home integration
Best Expert Customization
ADT Home Security
A household name in security
ADT offers a personalized security system for any home, but be prepared to haggle over the high price.
Best Regional Security System: Xfinity Home Security
Assuming that Xfinity is available in your area, consider this solid professionally-installed home security option, particularly if you use the company for internet or cable as well. Like Brinks, Xfinity makes it clear on its site how much you’ll pay upfront for equipment, and its prices are very reasonable. You’ll pay a flat $99 fee to have Xfinity engineers install your system, rather than worrying about accredited third-party teams that are trickier to hold accountable.
Xfinity only recognized voice commands through Flex, but its app can control a wide array of “Works with Xfinity” devices. Live video feeds, automated climate control, scheduled lighting, remote door locking and garage door controls, and smart outlet controls all work through the Xfinity app. Unfortunately, the company is more limited with IFTTT automations since it closed down the Stringify app last year.
If you have Xfinity internet problems, the basic monthly coverage includes cellular backup so you remain protected. The basic $40/month plan gets you professional monitoring and alerts, while the $50/month plan unlocks video monitoring and motion-activated recording. That’s higher than most services besides ADT, and as a cable company it’s more than likely that the number could increase after a couple of years, so check any contract you get.
If you bundle your Home Security with your internet, you’ll likely get a discount on the monthly cost, pay for everything on one bill, and get good performance out of Wi-Fi-enabled tech like Xfinity’s outdoor camera. If you plan on buying several cameras, Xfinity is a good choice because the cost of one indoor/outdoor cam is only $120, a genuinely affordable price when compared against Vivint’s $399 Outdoor Camera Pro or Brinks’ $249 Outdoor Camera.
- Bundle deals available for internet/ cable customers
- View alerts on TV or via app
- Excellent device support for “Works with Xfinity” tech
- Contract or month-to-month if paid upfront
- Affordable indoor/outdoor cams with 24/7 option
- Reliable Xfinity installation teams
- Only available in some parts of 39 states
- Monthly fees will likely increase after contract
- Not compatible with Alexa, Google Home
- $50 per month for video monitoring
- Limited IFTTT automation
Best Regional Security System
Xfinity Home Security
Combine internet and home protection
Xfinity offers a reasonable starting price and extensive connectivity for an all-in-one smart home app with security features.
Best DIY system with Professional Installation Option: Abode Iota All-in-one Home Security
DIY security companies design their appliances to be simple to adhere to walls and connect to a network, so anyone can do it. Despite this, some DIY companies offer a professional installation option, handy for those who can’t spare the time or aren’t physically able to mount cameras in high places. Of these options, Abode offers the most services that the very best professionally installed home security systems do, at a bargain monthly price.
For just $16.66 per month, you get professional monitoring with video, 30 days of video storage, a timeline of all alerts and events, geofencing, cellular backup, and other features. You’ll save hundreds of dollars annually compared to professional systems, don’t need to sign a contract, and even have the option to self-monitor alerts and only pay for monitoring during specific stretches of time (such as during vacations).
The company has a wide range of “Works with Abode” locks, thermostats, and bulbs, and connects with Alexa, HomeKit, Google Home, Z-Wave, and Zigbee. It even supports IFTTT, and you can fully automate and control your smart home devices in the Abode app using CUE automations. Triggered actions such as lights turning on in response to motion, or alerts if GPS shows all user phones away from home while a window is open or door is unlocked, only scratch the surface of what you can do with the app.
Abode’s primary weakness is the current lack of a first-party outdoor camera or video doorbell, which means your security will be confined to indoor feeds and sensors. You can reportedly connect Nest cams as a substitute, and have them trigger alerts in the Abode app, but they reportedly won’t trigger alarms or save video footage in-app, and you may need to pay separately for Nest Aware.
- Month-to-month, no contract or cancellation fee
- Cheap monthly monitoring fee
- Cheap upfront cost for equipment
- Widest range of door/window sensor designs
- Works with Alexa, HomeKit, Google Home, and Z-Wave
- Extensive customizable automations
- No outdoor, doorbell cams
- Keypad only included with pricier bundles
- Updated security app has middling reviews
Best DIY system with Professional Installation Option
Abode Iota All-in-one Home Security
Pro installation at a DIY price
Abode offers customized automation for self-monitored protection, plus a cheap price for pro monitoring.
With some exceptions, the best professionally installed home security systems will cost you, both upfront and in monthly installments thereafter. Because of this, we recommend Vivint’s Home Security because it rewards you for paying upfront by removing its multi-year contract, something ADT and Brinks don’t offer despite also charging you upfront for equipment. Vivint also offers the lowest monthly fee if you don’t require video monitoring but still want remote app access.
Out of all the companies that only offer professional installation, Vivint is the only one to make our overall Best Home Security Systems list. Generally, DIY systems offer plenty of the same features as you’ll find with more reputable companies like ADT, for a fraction of the cost. Only Vivint truly holds its own and justifies its high-end cost, with a system you can count on to keep you safe without bankrupting you.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Michael Hicks got his tech start in 2016, covering emerging tech like VR and self-driving cars before expanding to all things tech. When he’s not gaming or reading SFF novels, he writes freelance for Android Central and Windows Central.
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