Alder Pros & Cons
- Wireless Equipment
- 24/7 Fire, Instrusion and Medical Monitoring
- Cellular Monitoring
- Professional or DIY Installation
- Response Time Exceeds Industry Standards
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
- Amazon Alexa Integration
- No Landline/Broadband Monitoring Option
- Three to Five-Year Contract With Auto-Renew Clause
- Limited Smart Home Offer
- Misleading and Shady Sales Tactics
- Sales Driven Customer Service
Alder Is For Almost Everybody
Unlike other security companies, Alder is not choosy about its potential customers. It has operations in all 50 states, it caters to everyone looking to protect their residence whether it's owned or being rented, and it doesn't require a certain credit score to avail its services. Almost anyone can become a customer. However, let's focus on the services Alder offers to see if its a good fit for you.
Alder offers professional monitoring as its primary service. Its monitoring centers keep a close eye on intrusions, fire, and deadly gasses, but it also monitors for flood and medical emergencies. If these are the things you are concerned about and want to get protection from, Alder can cover for you.
One thing to note about Alder is that it has a limited equipment offering. It's not a security system you can greatly expand. With that being said, Alder is most ideal for small families or single-living individuals. It might also be a good fit for elderly loved ones trying to live independently because it offers medical emergency monitoring. However, note that Alder's security system relies heavily on its high-tech control panel and smartphone app, so it might not be a good fit for seniors who are not comfortable using modern technology.
Alder Sales Process Overview
- Request A Quote
- Discuss Your Options With A Security Expert
- Sign The Contract
- Receive Equipment
- Install & Activate The System
In order to get an Alder security system, you must go through the company's sales process. Alder uses a traditional sales strategy, where in order to get a quote, you're required to leave your name, phone number, and email on its website. Giving Alder your personal information also gives the company consent to call or text you about promotions.
According to Alder, once you leave your personal information on its website, a "security expert" will give you a call within one business day to discuss your options. They might also schedule a visit to your home in order to gain better perspective of what you need.
We've noticed from reading customer reviews that some Alder sales reps offer deals that seem too good to be true. They might throw in free equipment, give you big discounts, and more. What's important to know is that there's almost always a catch, so keep an eye out for that. Based on our research, Alder uses these promotions to get you to sign a 60-month contract instead of its standard 36-month contract.
Professional Installation VS DIY Installation
Once you've chosen your equipment and monitoring plan, Alder will schedule your system's delivery to your house. The system is pre-programmed and is ready for DIY installation. However, if you're not comfortable installing the system yourself, you can ask for a technician to come to your house and install it for you.
Alder Security System DIY Installation Process
Alder assures that its system is easy to install. Everything is wireless and nothing needs to be hardwired to your house's power grid except for the control panel. However, most of Alder's sensors use screws for installation, which means drilling small holes on your wall or ceiling. Just a heads up for renters who want to keep their security deposit.
To help you out with the installation, Alder has a complete documentation on their website on how to install, activate, operate, and add devices to your control panel. If you need further help, you may contact Alder's tech support team.
Once everything is installed, the final step is phoning in Alder's customer hotline to activate your system. This is a vital step as it links your security system to the monitoring service.
Professional Installation Pros & Cons
If you decide to go the other way and have Alder send a professional to install your system, that's fine, too. Just be sure you're aware of these pros and cons.
On the upside, it's easy and convenient to just "call a guy" instead of going through the installation process. Because the technicians likely know what they're doing, it's also an added assurance that your system will work optimally.
While professional installation might save you time and energy, it certainly won't save you money. The first downside of professional installation is that you have to pay for the service. You also won't be able to do it on your own time, as you have to pick the date and time from the technician's availability. And lastly, blocking an entire day off of your schedule can prove to be a real hassle.
Alder Equipment Review
Alder offers a full suite of equipment that can protect you from risks such as break-ins, fire, gas poisoning, and water damage. For the most part, Alder's equipment consists of sensors.
Alder Security Sensors
For detecting intrusion, Alder offers motion sensors and door/window sensors. The door/window sensor is responsible for monitoring entry points. For maximum coverage, you should outfit all first floor doors and windows with a sensor. Alder also offers a recessed door sensor if you want your door sensor to be less visible. On the other hand, the motion sensor looks for movement within your house. It's your second line of defense in case an intruder somehow manages to get past the door/window sensor without sounding an alarm. Alder's motion sensor is a standard motion sensor with a 90-degree field of vision and 45-foot detection range. Finally, Alder offers a glass break sensor. It's a round sensor that listens for the sound of breaking glass.
Alder Environment Sensors
For fire detection, Alder offers a smoke/heat detector. This sensor detects both smoke and unusually high temperature. When it does, it sounds its built-in siren. It's battery-powered so it runs continuously even during power disruptions. Unfortunately, Alder's smoke sensor doesn't pair with the control panel, so it also doesn't send distress signals to the monitoring center. If you want your smoke sensor professionally monitored, you must purchase a secondary alarm system called the Firefighter. Its main component is a panel specifically designed to listen for the sound of smoke alarms. If it hears that sound, it sends an alert to the monitoring center.
The last two sensors offered by Alder are the flood/freeze sensor and the carbon monoxide detector. The flood freeze sensor detects the presence of water and is best placed in areas where water leaks might occur. Think pipes, water heaters, refrigerators, fish tanks, sinks, and more. The carbon monoxide detector is specifically designed to detect the presence of the potentially deadly CO gas and is best placed near the kitchen.
Alder Security Camera Integrations
If you want extra security coverage, Alder's security system supports third-party camera integrations. You can add three types of cameras to your system: an indoor camera, a doorbell camera, and a weatherproof outdoor camera.
The indoor camera supported by the Alder system is the Xiaomi Yi Home indoor camera. It's a webcam-like camera that is pretty cheap but offers advanced security features. It offers two-way audio, reliable motion detection, night vision, and live streaming. It has a 1080p resolution and up to 111-degrees field of view.
For front door monitoring, Alder integrates with Ring, one of the best doorbell camera providers in the market. Based on online resources, Alder integrates with Ring Video Doorbell 1. It's a dual power doorbell (hardwired or battery-powered) with a 720p resolution and features like two-way talk, one-way video streaming, and motion detection.
The third camera supported by Alder is Arlo Pro. It's a weather-resistant outdoor camera that runs completely on batteries, thus allowing you to place it almost anywhere. It has a 720p resolution, night vision, two-way talk, and motion detection. It also comes with Arlo's standard 7-day free cloud storage of alert videos.
Alder Home Automation
Alder also does offer third-party home automation products, but the lineup is limited. Unlike most alarm companies Alder doesn't offer smart thermostats, garage door controllers, appliance control modules, and smart lighting products. The Alder system only offers Amazon Echo and Yale smart locks. However, the system supports Z-Wave, so if you have other Z-Wave smart home products, you'll likely be able to pair them with the system.
Alder Simple Panel
All these devices offered by Alder are tied together by a control panel. Alder used to offer two types of control panel: the self-branded Alder Simple Panel and the GoControl GC2 control panel. However, it seems like GC2 has been scratched off from Alder's lineup and that the Simple Panel is all that remains. The Simple Panel is a touchscreen control panel that you can mount on a wall or let sit on a table. When wall-mounted, it taps into your home's power grid and draw power from it. When used off-wall, it runs on batteries. I highly recommend wall-mounting it so it can run continuously without needing to be recharged. Once mounted, the panel itself hides the wiring out of sight, maintaining a wireless look. On the subject of being wireless, the Simple Panel uses Z-Wave to connect with sensors and cellular signal to communicate with the monitoring center.
The Simple Panel offers simple yet intuitive controls of the Alder system. Using the touch screen interface, you can swipe through your connected sensors and see their status. You can also arm and disarm the system or go into different modes like "Armed Away" and "Armed Stay." If you add cameras, you may also use the panel as a monitor, showing you live streams. Aside from the touchscreen interface, the panel has two large buttons. The Home button takes you to the touch interface's home screen. The Call button is an emergency button that connects you immediately to the monitoring center. If you press it, the monitoring center will call your control panel and activate two-way talk.
Alder Smartphone App
Finally, Alder offers a free smartphone app. The app gives you control over your system from anywhere as long as your phone has internet access via Wi-Fi or 4G. It also delivers alert notifications and live camera streams.
On a positive note, the app has 3 stars on Google Play and 4 stars on App Store, which is pretty good for security system apps. However, user reviews indicate that while the app works, it has limited features.
Alder Monitoring Service Review
One of the things Alder takes most pride in is its monitoring service as you can see the figure "3.4 seconds average response time" numerous times on the company's website. The average response time refers to the amount of time it takes the monitoring center to take action after an alert is sent to them. For reference, ADT is reported to have a 45-second average response time (one of the longest response times among large companies) while Frontpoint has an average 15-second response time. The question, however, is "Does response time matter?".
To understand the significance of the response time, here's what the dispatch process looks like.
- Control panel sends a distress signal to the monitoring center.
- An automated system processes the alert and sends it to an operator.
- The operator reviews the alert and calls the homeowner to verify it.
- The operator follows protocol based on the homeowner's response. For example, if it's a real alert, the operator will dispatch help to the homeowner's address. If the alert is a confirmed false alarm, the operator will cancel it.
Response time only accounts for the second step of the dispatch process. Of course, the longer it takes for the system to assign an operator to an alert, the longer it takes for help to arrive. However, response time doesn't directly affect the amount of time it takes the authorities to respond. So to answer the question: Yes, response time is important, but it's not the measure that matters most. Instead of just measuring the response time, you should look for a monitoring center with a reliable alert verification process because authorities tend to respond first to verified alarms.
With that being said, Alder does verify alarms. Unfortunately, it doesn't share how it verifies alerts and how long it takes for them to sort out real alerts from false alarms. This should have been a much more significant figure to share rather than the response time.
Another thing Alder doesn't share online is their monitoring plan pricing, but we do know that their entry-level monitoring plan starts at around $35. This is a pretty steep price when compared to companies that offer $20 to $25 per month for monitoring. However, there's a good reason. Alder's entry-level plan uses cellular monitoring, which is more secure and reliable than landline and broadband monitoring. On the other hand, the $20/month entry-level price from other companies use landline monitoring. If you upgrade to cellular monitoring, the cost is most likely just the same as Alder's entry-level plan. It's worth noting that Alder only offers cellular monitoring. If you prefer landline or broadband monitoring, Alder can't cater to you.
For more information on Alder's pricing, check out our Alder deals and pricing review.
Alder Customer Service Review
Before signing a contract with any security company, it's vital that you know how they treat their customers. No matter how good a company's products and services are, a poor customer service from them can easily ruin your experience. The best way to understand how a company treats its customers is by being a customer, so we scoured the internet for Alder customer reviews and we summed it up here.
Slow/No Response To Customers
One of the most common complaint against Alder is its slow response to customer queries, whether it's related to technical, contract, or payment issues. Most of these complaints came from customers who wrote an email to Alder's customer support email. Customers who call Alder's customer support landline, don't get any better response. Although Alder can be reached immediately over the phone, the support team often don't resolve issues immediately. Phone calls often end in "We'll get in touch with you," which doesn't always happen.
Poor Follow Through On Promises
Many customers also call out Alder's inability to deliver on their promises. The problem is most likely the sales tendency of making big promises. For instance, customers claim being promised to get a buyout check if they cancel their contract with their existing alarm company and switching to Alder.
An Effort To Squish Sales Misrepresentation
On the brighter side of things, Alder is making an effort to prevent misrepresentation by untrained sales agents. If a person claiming to work for Alder comes to your house, Alder recommends using the online rep verification form. Simply ask for the rep's badge and enter the ID number on Alder's website. If the rep's information appears, they work for Alder. If it doesn't, then they are not from Alder.
Is Alder available nationwide?
Yes. Alder offers products and services in all 50 states.
When was Alder established and who owns the company now?
Alder was founded by Adam Schanz, who is still the owner and CEO of the company. Schanz established Alder in 2008.
What types of security systems and services does Alder offer?
Alder offers wireless security systems. They also offer alarm monitoring and professional security system installation, although you can DIY install your security system if you want.
Does Alder offer home automation products and smart home features?
Alder supports Amazon Alexa and third-party Z-Wave integrations, but currently, they only offer Yale smart locks.