Alarm Grid Pros & Cons
- Offers A Wide Selection Of Equipment
- Its Monitoring Services Are Optional
- No-Contract Monitoring
- Professional & Self-Monitoring
- No-Pressure Sales Process
- Offering Monitoring Services Isn't Its Top Priority
- You Must Rely On The Manufacturer For Equipment Warranty
- Offers A Dizzying Array Of Equipment
Who Is Alarm Grid Most Ideal For?
Alarm Grid capitalizes on the DIY movement. That said, it appeals most to DIYers.
Alarm Grid doesn't send sales reps to people's homes. It expects you to do your own research and know exactly what kind of security system you need before making a purchase. It simply lists all available security systems and devices on its website and it's up to you to choose which one is best for your home. Alarm Grid does offer some help in choosing a security system through a free over-the-phone consultation. Simply give them a list of the features you're looking for and Alarm Grid will recommend security systems for you.
Alarm Grid also expects you to install your security system yourself. It doesn't offer professional installation, but it does offer self-help videos and product manuals online. As for monitoring, you decide which monitoring service is best for you. In fact, although Alarm Grid offers monitoring services, buying a security system doesn't compel you to avail a monitoring plan. You can use the system as a local alarm or even hire another company for monitoring.
Alarm Grid Monitoring Plans Overview
If you decide to stay with Alarm Grid for monitoring, I have some good news for you.
Professional & Self-Monitoring Options
For one, you can choose between professional monitoring plans and self-monitoring plans. What's the difference? Professional monitoring involves a central monitoring center keeping an eye on alerts detected by your security system 24/7. The monitoring center is tasked of verifying alarms, notifying you, and dispatching help to your house if the situation calls for it. It adds assurance that wherever you are at whatever you're doing when an alarm occurs, there's always someone who can call for help on your behalf.
Self-monitoring is exactly what its name implies. Your system is monitored, not by trained professionals in monitoring centers, but by you. Availing a self-monitoring plan sets you up with the things you need for monitoring your security system. First, you get app access so you can control, access, and monitor your security system whether you're at home or anywhere in the world. The only requirement is that you connect your smartphone to the internet via Wi-Fi or 4G. Second, it sets up email and text alerts. If your system detects anomaly, your self-monitoring plan enables it to send you email and text notifications so you're on the loop wherever you are. More advanced self-monitoring plans also offer features such as Z-Wave home automation control, video monitoring, and your system's use of the more reliable cellular signal instead of landline or internet.
Low Monitoring Cost
Another good news is that the cost of monitoring is low. How low? Professional monitoring starts at only $15/month, and self-monitoring plans cost as low as $10/month. But here's the thing: lower tier plans use landline and internet monitoring. While these methods of communications are still used to this day, they are not the most secure and reliable. Phone lines can be cut and broadband connections are no strangers to disruptions. If you upgrade to cellular monitoring, which is way more secure than the other two communication methods, the cost will probably the same as the monitoring plans offered by traditional alarm companies. Professional monitoring that uses cellular signal starts at $35/month, while self-monitoring plans with cellular monitoring starts at $25/month.
One of the best things about Alarm Grid's monitoring service is that it's contract-free. Traditional alarm companies on average require a three-year contract. Within those three years, you're not allowed to cancel the service. Otherwise, you'll be subject to hefty termination penalties that can amount to hundreds of dollars. With Alarm Grid, you have the liberty to cancel anytime you want. Besides that, you can freely switch between professional and self-monitoring. For example, if you're self-monitoring your system and you're going away on vacation the following month, you can temporarily switch to professional monitoring for the next month.
Alarm Grid Equipment Review
Selling security equipment is Alarm Grid's primary business. There's no shortage of security products on Alarm Grid's website, with literally thousands of devices listed . It offers products from three of the biggest security manufacturers: Honeywell, Qolsys, and 2GIG.
We're not going to do an in-depth review of every device offered by Alarm Grid, but we're going to help you choose the right system for you.
Everything starts with a control panel, so begin by determining the best control panel for you. You can do that by knowing which brand you want, what features you need, and what security and automation products you want to connect. On Alarm Grid's website, you can sort the control panels by brand, wireless protocols supported, and whether its wireless, wired, or touchscreen.
Once you've chosen the right alarm panel, you can start adding equipment. Start with security sensors. It's best to know how many door/window sensors and motion sensors you need. You should also know if you need glass break sensors. For instance, if you have a sun room with sliding glass doors/windows, a glass break sensor is recommended.
Next, add accessories. For added security, we recommend adding sirens and strobe lights, panic buttons, and alarm keypads.
You should also consider adding environmental hazard sensors, such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and flood sensors.
Finally, add home automation devices if you want to. Alarm Grid sells smart lights, smart thermostats, smart switches, smart locks, and more.
Alarm Grid Monitoring Service Review
Alarm Grid offers monitoring service in partnership with Criticom Monitoring Services. Criticom provides secure and reliable monitoring service backed by its three monitoring centers across the U.S. The monitoring centers are in New Jersey, Florida, and California. In the alarm industry, this setup is called redundancy. Each monitoring monitors a balanced load of accounts, but when one of the monitoring centers fail to operate, the other two can takeover.
Aside from redundancy, Criticom has contingency systems in place in order to prevent sudden monitoring shutdown. All three monitoring centers are connected, so when there's a sudden spike in alarms activity, its server can automatically redistribute the load. Each center also uses uninterrupted power supplies and is backed up by two generators. The monitoring centers also use reliable communication technology from AT&T and Verizon, equipment from Honeywell, and automated system from Avaya.
Two-Way Voice Monitoring
Criticom also uses two-way voice monitoring. If the emergency phone number listed on your account can't be reached, the trained agent will remotely activate two-way talk on your control panel. This allows the agent to listen in and talk to you hands-free if you're within earshot from your control panel. The two-way communication remains active until help arrives so the agent knows whether to send more help. For example, during a fire emergency, if the agent hears that someone is hurt, they can call medical emergency responders in addition to the fire department.
Another feature offered by the monitoring center is video verification. This feature is only available if you connect security cameras to your system. Basically, if an alert is detected, the monitoring center will gain access to live video feed from your cameras so they can determine whether there's an actual emergency or just a false alarm.
If it's a clear false alarm, the authorities won't be alerted, preventing any false alarm penalties the police department in your area might subject you to. If it's a real alert, having video verification submitted alongside the police report will make your case high-priority. In some areas, the authorities prioritize responding to verified alarms.
Customer Service Overview
Alarm Grid's customer service is limited, but that doesn't mean it's poor. For one, it doesn't have an explicit moving policy. Because customers are responsible for installing the system, they can take it down whenever they want and re-install it in their new address. However, installation kits (e.g. screws, mounting tapes) won't be provided.
Alarm Grid also doesn't offer warranty services. All products sold by Alarm Grid are covered by the manufacturer's warranty, so when something goes amiss, you can only claim your warranty from the manufacturer.
There is also no cancellation policy. Alarm Grid monitoring services are contract-free, so you can cancel anytime you want.
So what kind of customer service does Alarm Grid offer? First, free consultation. If you need help picking a security system, you can call its hotline and ask for advice. Second, online resources. If you need help installing and setting up your newly bought security system, you can visit Alarm Grid's website to download user manuals and watch instruction videos.