AlarmForce Security ReviewBy - 09/01/2017
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
Before we go any further, take note that AlarmForce no longer offers services in the US. Their service locations are now exclusive to nine cities in Canada: Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Regina. Also, as of November 2017, AlarmForce agreed to be acquired by Bell Canada. We still don’t know how this acquisition will affect AlarmForce, but Bell Canada plans on using the acquisition to expand their services for residential homes. Stay tuned for further updates.
AlarmForce is a traditional home security company. They require no upfront fee, give you free equipment after you sign their contract, and charge you a monthly fee for monitoring. However, unlike most traditional security systems, you can use AlarmForce’s equipment without a phone line. With a complete overhaul of their plans and packages, they now offer 100% cellular monitoring. Compared to landline monitoring, cellular monitoring is safer because it eliminates the risk of having your phone line cut by a burglar.
All systems are built around a control panel. The Secure bundle includes an analog control panel, while the Connect, Control, and Command bundles all include a touchscreen control panel made by 2GIG. The 2GIG control panel includes a two-way voice feature. This feature allows AlarmForce to offer 2-way voice monitoring. In theory, they can use it to call you in the event of an emergency. When they call through the panel, they first try to contact you. If you’re not home, they listen for clues to verify that the alarm event is real and not a false alarm. They can even speak to an intruder to let him/her know that your home is monitored while they simultaneously dispatch help. With their confirmation that the alarm event is real, law enforcement will prioritize your alarm call over a non-verified alarm call.
AlarmForce offers 4 security and automation packages: Secure, Connect, Control, and Command.
|AlarmForce Secure||AlarmForce Connect||AlarmForce Control||AlarmForce Command|
|Touchscreen Control Panel|
|Home Automation Equipment||Indoor Camera or Doorbell Camera|
|Z-Wave Home Automation|
The first plan is the AlarmForce Secure bundle, which starts at $29.99/month. The plan includes a basic security system controlled by an analog control panel. It also includes a motion sensor and two door sensors
With the Secure bundle, you get to enjoy 24/7 professional monitoring plus 2-way voice monitoring.
AlarmForce Connect expands your system, giving you a free touchscreen control panel, 3 door/window sensors, and 2 motion sensors. The Connect bundle costs $39.99/month.
Aside from professional and 2-way voice monitoring, Connect also provides mobile app access. The Alarm Force Connect app allows you to control your system remotely, monitor your sensors, and receive smartphone alerts when your alarm is triggered.
The third bundle is AlarmForce Control. This bundle starts at $44.99/month. The Control bundle gives you a touchscreen control panel, a motion detector, 3 door/window contacts, an image sensor, and a multi-functional sensor that detects heat, smoke, and extremely low temperatures.
The Control bundle has the same monitoring features as Connect. The difference is you can add automation devices and control them using the mobile app. You can add devices like smart lights, smart door locks, smart thermostats, and a garage door controller. These products are sold separately, so if you’re going to add them to your system, you’ll have to pay upfront.
The last bundle is called AlarmForce Command, starting at $54.99 per month. Unlike the other bundles, Command requires you to pay a $199 downpayment. It includes a touchscreen control panel, an extra analog keypad, 2 motion detectors, 3 door/window contacts, a smoke/heat/freezing sensor, and your choice of either an indoor camera or a video doorbell. You can also purchase add-on cameras and automation device. For a limited time, they’re also offering Google Home for free if you add a smart thermostat, smart lock, or a garage door controller to your system. More on that integration later.
Command’s monitoring features are similar to the Control and Connect bundles, except you can add cameras to your system. AlarmForce has several cameras you can choose from including an indoor camera, outdoor camera, panning camera, and the doorbell camera.
Additional Equipment & Services
If you choose to upgrade your security system by adding additional equipment, you can do so by paying for the devices a la carte. While it’s never fun to come out of pocket, the good news is that there’s no need to upgrade your plan to use these devices.
Carbon Monoxide Detector – Notifies the monitoring center if poisonous Carbon Monoxide gases are detected.
Micro Door/Window Sensor – Door/Window sensor, except smaller.
Glass Break Sensor – Sensitive to the sound of breaking glass.
Water Detector – Detects water for early-detection of flood.
Another service offered by AlarmForce is AlarmCare. This service revolves around a personal emergency response system (PERS) that is offered through two separate bundles. The first bundle, AlarmCare Home, includes a base station with two-way voice and an emergency pendant or wristband. This bundle is designed for elderly people who spend most of their time at home. The second bundle, AlarmCare Go, includes a unique emergency pendant that has a cellular chip and GPS tracker in it. The pendant works anywhere in Canada where there is a cellular signal. If pressed, it transmits an emergency signal to the monitoring center and they will be able to track the location of the pendant. This way, they can send help no matter where the user is. The pendant can also detect if the user falls down.
Also, unlike home security services, AlarmCare is non-contractual. You can terminate your service at any time.
- Cellular Monitoring
- A La Carte Services and Products for Greater Protection
- Touchscreen Panels
- AlarmCare For Medical Emergency Protection
AlarmForce Home Automation
AlarmForce also offers several Z-Wave automation devices including camera, smart locks, thermostats, plugs, and smart bulbs. All of the devices can be monitored and controlled using the Connect app or by logging into your account using the web app. Of course, you’ll need to be subscribed to AlarmForce Control or Command and have the right devices to enjoy automation features.
Home Security Camera
As mentioned earlier, AlarmForce offers four cameras. All cameras can be monitored using the AlarmForce Connect app. Also, though the system is cellular, all four cameras require Wi-Fi.
The indoor camera is the ADC-V521IR camera from Alarm.com, one of the leading security solution providers. The camera has a 720p HD resolution. It is also backed by night vision that can see up to 20 feet in the dark. The camera can be used wirelessly by connecting it to Wi-Fi. You can also hook it up to your router using an Ethernet port.
The panning camera is also from Alarm.com. It is an indoor camera, but it can pan and tilt so you can monitor a larger area. You can control its panning and tilting using your smartphone. You can also create a preset view so you can check out a specific area in your house with just one tap on your phone. Like the other indoor camera, it has 720p resolution. The downside is that it lacks night vision.
The outdoor camera they offer is the V721W Outdoor Camera from Alarm.com. It is a sturdy weatherproof camera with an IP rating of 66 (waterproof and dustproof). It also has powerful night vision that can see up to 40 feet in the dark. It has a resolution of up to 1280×800, but it can be downgraded to 600×400, 300×200, or 174×144.
Finally, the video doorbell they offer is SkyBell. SkyBell is one of the leading video doorbell brands today. It has a 1080p resolution, it can zoom up to 5x, and it can use night vision to see up to 40 feet. You can also use it as a two-way voice intercom and speak with someone at your door from anywhere.
AlarmForce offers a touchscreen door lock from Weiser. It is a deadbolt lock that you can use to unlock your door using your smartphone, a physical key, or by entering your PIN on the lock’s touchscreen keypad. It can give personalized access to 30 users, including family and guest access. The lock uses 128-bit encryption to ensure privacy.
Wi-Fi Power Plug
The Wi-Fi power plug allows you to turn on/off your non-smart appliances remotely using your smartphone. Basically, it’s a wall plug adapter that connects to Wi-Fi.
The Wi-Fi Thermostat is a 7-day programmable connected thermostat. But aside from following your schedule, it also uses data from your security system to know when to adjust. For example, you can set it to adjust to a less energy-consuming temperature when you arm the system (i.e. leave the house) and make it comfortable when you disarm your system. It also has geofencing. Using your phone’s location, it can tell when it’s time to heat up your house or save energy. You can also conveniently adjust the temperature using the app.
Smart Light Bulbs
The Z-Wave Smart Light Bulb is a soft-white dimmable bulb that can be controlled using the mobile app.
AlarmForce’s mobile app can be downloaded to iOS and Android devices. You can also access its features by logging into your account on connect.alarmforce.com. Sadly, customer reviews show that the app can be stubborn and hard to work with. Issues range from being unable to arm a system remotely to buttons that don’t. And when you are considering a system controlled by an app, a poor app experience is kind of a deal breaker. Fortunately, AlarmForce has been working on their system and products for the past year. Let’s hope they work to improve the app too.
Recently, AlarmForce announced that customers who subscribe to the Command bundle will be able to integrate their home automation system with Google Home, a smart speaker. Using the integration, users can ask Google Home to turn on connected lights, lock doors, record using specific cameras, adjust the temperature, and more.
- Camera with two-way voice
- Android and iOS app with web app
- Light, Lock, and Thermostat Automation
Customer Service & Support
After reading most AlarmForce reviews online I realized they’re the recipient of lots of positive feedback. The BBB has given them an A+ rating and some customer reviews claim that they offer help when needed. Also, as long as you are under contract, warranty for replacement parts and labor are all covered so long as you pay for the technician’s trip to your house. But there are also not-so-good reviews, most of which are about their contracts.
As it turns out, some customers have had a hell of a time ending their contractual relationship. Maybe it’s because the contract auto-renews? If you don’t provide a written 30-day notice, your contract will be automatically extended, like it or not. Maybe it’s because customers didn’t realize the equipment was not their own? You see, even if you manage to end your contract, you still need to send the equipment back in good working order; shipping fee courtesy of you. Sending back damaged equipment may cause additional fees.
There are gray areas as well. For instance, do they have a return policy so you can return your system if you don’t like it? Also, what happens if you move? If you have to move to an area not covered by AlarmForce, will you have to pay for the cancellation? These are some of the things you should look out for before signing a contract. To find some of the answers, I went undercover.
In talking to my sales rep, I confirmed that AlarmForce requires a three-year contract. In talking about moving, things became clear. You can only move within their service area. If you move outside of their extremely limited service area, you must buy out your contract or sell your contract to someone else. Considering that they have a limited service area that only covers parts of Canada, this might be difficult for many people.
- A+ BBB rating
- 3-year contracts
- Equipment must be returned after cancellation
- Moving Penalty for Moving Outside of Service Location
AlarmForce Customer Review