Ackerman Security ReviewBy - 12/31/2016
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
Ackerman Security Equipment and Protection
First thing’s first, Ackerman Security is not for everybody. They have a very specific and oddly dispersed geographic area of focus. They protect homes in Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. As a local company that is marketed heavily in their area of coverage, Ackerman is getting lots of attention. Of course, it’s easy to get attention when you’re marketing low prices and their entry-level monitoring fee is inexpensive when compared to other home alarm companies.
As marketed, their monitoring plans start at $19.95 per month. This price applies to their base package, which uses landline monitoring. Landline monitoring is a type of security monitoring that does not provide a great deal of security. The other problem is that few households still have telephone service. If you don’t currently have telephone service, adding a line will only increase your monthly expense.
The entry-level service will monitor for burglaries, fires, and medical emergencies. Ackerman also has their own monitoring center located in Atlanta, which is UL Listed and CSAA Five Diamond Certified.
Like ADT, it seems like Ackerman’s goal is to capture your attention with a low monthly fee and then sell you on things like cellular protection, mobile app service, and other upgrades. And you probably should pay for those things if you want the best home security system possible.
Without a doubt, wireless home security monitoring is the most secure. Ackerman has an option for cellular monitoring or broadband monitoring (requires high-speed internet). If you don’t already pay for active phone service, you will need to upgrade to one of these two wireless options. And when you do, expect to pay more. Upgrading to either option will cost you an estimated $29 per month or $35 per month if you also want mobile app access. Do the fees climb higher from here? I’m not sure, but I’m assuming they do.
Another commonly advertised promise is that Ackerman will let you switch from another security company at no charge. To me, this is not a fair statement. While they may not charge you to switch (and most home security companies won’t), your current home security company is likely to charge if you are under contract. Almost all home security systems are purchased and monitored while you are under contract, even Ackerman. And if you are under contract, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to cancel your service without penalty. Most companies will require that you buy out your contract at either 100% or 80% of its value. Depending upon how much time you have left, this can be rather expensive. For example, let’s assume you are under a 36-month contract using ADT’s service at $49.99 per month. If you have 18 months left on your contract, you will pay $899.82. When switching to Ackerman, we will assume you will receive a cost savings of $14.99 every month. It would take you 60 months, or 5 years to see any upside on this deal.
Home Security Equipment
Ackerman allows customers to choose the equipment they want instead of forcing pre-selected equipment packages. Even better news? They use a wide range of equipment. They sell burglar alarm products, environmental sensors, and medical alert systems. Almost all of their security products are made by Honeywell, though they do use some fire safety products from First Alert. Honeywell is a major manufacturer of home security equipment, and this partnership allows them to compete with other security companies when it comes to the quality of their equipment.
Time for some bad news. Even if you choose wireless monitoring, professional installation is required, and it can get expensive (well over $1000). Also, your experience with the system will be highly dependent upon your installer. A bad installer can lead to false alarms and, unfortunately, there is no way for you to make adjustments on your own. If they do a poor job placing a motion sensor, they will need to come back out and adjust the equipment. And while they may choose to do this service call for free, any subsequent service calls will be a minimum of $90. To add insult to injury, if they can’t resolve your issue with one visit they do not accept responsibility. Several customers have shared that multiple visits were required to troubleshoot issues and each incurred a service charge, with some ranging well over the $100 mark.
Ackerman will also monitor existing alarm equipment for homeowners that have equipment from other companies or equipment that was preinstalled by a builder. If you choose this option, you will need to swap out control panels at a minimum. While I’m not sure how much Ackerman charges for a control panel, industry average would be between $100 and $200 for a basic non-touchscreen option, though multiple reviews state that they were charged $99 for this luxury.
As mentioned, an Ackerman installation can be expensive, and their equipment is also extremely expensive. Though I can only estimate the cost of equipment, it seems like they provide different prices to different customers. Perhaps it depends upon the package the customer chooses and perhaps there is room for negotiation?
Estimated pricing for one door sensor is $50-$80, glass break sensors $100-$150, smoke detectors $100-$200, temperature monitoring $100-$200, and keyfobs $50-$75.
Ackerman Compared to Other Home Security Services
Many customers talk about ADT and Ackerman, probably because these two companies have the biggest marketing presence in the areas Ackerman serves. But, there are other options. Our number one service provider has been Frontpoint for the last several years. Like ADT, Frontpoint is a nationwide provider, but they are a younger company with a fresher focus.
|Cellular Monitoring w/ Mobile App||$35.00 mo||$44.99 mo|
|Installation & Equipment||$1000+||$99+|
|Cost of Tech Support||$90+ / trip||Free for Three Years|
|Auto-Renewing Contracts||12 Month Lock-in||30 Day Lock-in|
|Return Period||3 Days||30 Day Risk Free Trial|
|Contract Minimum||12 Months||12-36 Months|
|24/7 Monitoring for Burglaries, Fire, Medical|
|Crash & Smash Protection|
|Geo Location Services||Unknown|
|Service Area||Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland,||Nationwide|
|Redundant Monitoring Centers|
|Extra Door Sensor||$40-$60||$32.99|
|Extra Glass Break Sensor||$100-$150||$74.99|
|Extra Smoke Detector||$100-$200||$64.99|
|Extra Key Fob||$50-$75||$29.99|
|Learn More||Visit Site||Visit Site|
- $19.95/Month is for Landline Monitoring, Requires Active Phone Service
- Before Swapping to Ackerman, Check With Your Existing Provider on Cancellation Fee
- Requires 12 Month Contract
- Tech Support Through Service Calls Are Expensive
In today’s world where smartphones and tablets are “all day everyday”, most people want them integrated into home security. Ackerman can do that, but at an even higher cost.
Ackerman’s mobile app can control your home security system and also any connected smart home devices. To make this happen, they use Honeywell’s Total Connect 2.0 app. The Total Connect 2.0 is available for download from Google Play and from iTunes . While they don’t have a dedicated app for Blackberry and Windows phone users, they do have a web portal that you can access using your personal devices.
This solution allows remote access to automated lights, door locks, and thermostats supported by Honeywell’s control panel. In addition to being fun, automating your home can give you extra security. With this upgrade, you will be able to receive push notifications to your smartphones or tablet when there’s a break-in or if anything suspicious happens no matter where you are. The app and web interface also support live feeds from your connected home security cameras. This service provides access to video verification anytime, anywhere as long as you’re connected to the web, 3G, or 4G wireless.
Customer Service and Support
Being a local company, Ackerman Security can have closer interactions with customers. In fact, in recent years, they’ve run an ad campaign where the owner, Jim Callahan, offers up his cell phone number. In general, the company is easy to reach, and they are usually quick to respond to service calls. On average, they say it takes them about three days to get a repair tech or installer onsite. Three days. Local love.
That all sounds pretty good, right? However, digging into other customer reviews on Yelp and other forum websites, you might notice that lots of customers are not satisfied with the service provided by Ackerman’s customer care team. And don’t forget how expensive those service calls are! While it’s nice to have someone come to your house to take care of things, it isn’t always convenient. Not only does it cost money, but it also requires time. Service calls are scheduled in advance, and you must be present during the window they provide. Other companies will allow you to troubleshoot over the phone. If they can’t resolve the problem over the phone, they will simply ship new equipment to your home. No extra fee, no extra time.
On a positive note, Ackerman holds an A rating with the BBB, and they have maintained that rating for at least three years, not bad. However, 146 out of the 199 complaints they’ve resolved over the past three years are related to product and service.
And before we close, I have two words of caution for you: renewals and moving. As Ackerman is a local company, moving out of one of their designated cities will cost you. And while they have a short 12-month contract, they sneak in an auto renew clause to keep you locked in. Both things you need to be aware of and wary of.
- A BBB Rating
- Requires 12 Month Contract
- Auto Renew Clause Warning
- Moving is Not Free