Best Home Security System & Alarm Company For 2019
Finding the best home security system to protect your home and your family is a tall task that requires hours of research and lots of pondering.
Below, we've outlined why we chose Frontpoint as the best home security system for 2019, but should you take our word for it? Yes and no. Yes, because we've spent countless hours researching home security systems and we've even tested Frontpoint in our homes. We've even developed a system of rating home security providers based on different criteria.
However, each household is unique, so before you consider choosing Frontpoint, it's vital that you ask yourself the following questions that will help you decide if it's the best home security provider for you.
Why We Chose Frontpoint
Frontpoint Security is our pick for best home security system in 2019. And it’s not just because they have a 100% cellular system, because they provide secret ways to keep your home safe, or because they take care of their customers, it’s more than all of that. As a Frontpoint customer, we can say from experience that they provide a good system and great customer service. We’ve also personally talked to others who use them, and we’ve researched multiple Frontpoint reviews online. Having this accumulated knowledge, we feel confident recommending them to our friends and family. And in our opinion, they have the best home security system in America for homeowners, renters, and vacation homeowners.
- Wireless Security System
- Uses a Cellular Signal
- DIY-installed without drilling
Frontpoint is for Commitment Phobes
Frontpoint is for commitment-phobes. They offer free trials, they let you move for free, they include everything you need to use the system, and you own the equipment.
One attribute that sets Frontpoint apart from other nationwide home security companies is that they are confident in their system. We can tell you all-day long how great they are, but you really won’t know until you try them out for yourself. You can try them out without a big commitment, as they offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
Once the system arrives and you set it up, you have 30 days to play around with it. You get to actually use it! If, after all of that, you decide that Frontpoint isn’t for you, return it. They’ll give your money back and pay the return shipping. There is no restocking fee, nothing tricky; it’s a real guarantee.
Most alarm companies, like Protect America and ADT, require that you sign a full 36 month contract, but only provide return periods of 0-14 days. Even then, they might stick you with a restocking fee if you decide to return the system. Other companies, like Vivint, might ask you to agree to a 60 month commitment without a return policy in place to protect you. That’s a very long commitment, and there are financial penalties should you decide you aren’t happy with your service during that 5-year period. Other companies up the commitment level by requiring that you also maintain internet service through them throughout the life of your security monitoring. With Frontpoint, you can choose between a 12-month and a 36-month contract. No matter what length you choose, you will be protected by their 30-day money back guarantee.
Move For Free
Another way the system is right for commitment-phobes is that it’s easy to move. If you prefer a nomadic lifestyle, Frontpoint is a perfect choice. As the system is wireless, it’s easy to relocate. When you are ready to move, give them a call, and they will ship you a free mover’s kit. The kit includes everything you need to relocate your system, including new adhesive. There is no fee for moving — not even a convenience fee, a shipping fee, or a transfer fee. The process is 100% complimentary.
Nothing “Extra” Required
Third, the service doesn’t require you to tie into other commitments. Cable companies who offer home security operate on this principle. If they can, they prefer to lock you into two or more services, not just one. As Frontpoint’s service is cellular, it doesn’t require that you have another service like a landline or high-speed internet (though you can add optional broadband backup for no additional cost). It stands alone. And you don’t need to buy minutes or set up a cellular carrier; everything you need is included in the control panel, called the Frontpoint Hub, and covered by the monthly fee.
Do you even need a security system?
Perhaps not everyone needs a system, but most people do. We need the peace of mind, and we need help protecting our family. However, if you are on the fence, there are some things you should know.
Easier Than Ever
In the past, many people found security systems useless. The act of arming and disarming was tedious, and the system was often left unarmed, so every month they wound up paying for a service they weren’t actually using. Fortunately, today’s systems are combined with automation. Many of these tedious tasks can be set up using rules that run without any effort from you. For example, you can set up a rule to remind yourself to arm your system if you drive away without arming it. You can also control the whole system from an app on your smartphone
An Alarm is More Than Burglar Protection
When determining if you need a security system or not, it’s important to understand that they do so much more than protect from burglaries. With the right equipment, they can also monitor for fires and can call for help if needed. The system also includes a medical alert button on the control panel that acts as a one-push panic button in case of emergency.
Also, a security system is an excellent way to jump into home automation. The platform is much more stable than DIY platforms and can do almost all of the same tricks while also implementing some basic home security rules. For example, you might want to set up your lights to turn on automatically while you are on vacation, or you can set your locks to lock when you arm your system.
Know What an Alarm Is and Isn’t
Something else that people need to realize is that an alarm system is a warning and a deterrent. Meaning that the system is likely to make someone think twice before breaking into your home and can call for help if needed, but it does not make you impervious to crime.
Is Frontpoint A Match For You?
While reviewing home security system reviews, it might be hard to tell if you are a match or not. 94% of customers give Frontpoint a thumbs up. You should consider them if you want a home security system that can call the police on your behalf 24 hours a day and 7 days per week. You should also consider them if you want a system that can be your eyes and ears, monitoring for everything from fires to floods to a door that was accidentally left open. This is a system that can do it all while providing peace of mind through mobile technology. Their app (iOS, Android, Kindle, Apple TV, Apple Watch) can tell you who is in your home, if you left a light on, and can also help you remember to arm your system as you drive out of your driveway. It is a home security system and a home manager that you can let run automatically or control while at home or from halfway around the world.
Compare All Major Alarm Companies
|Total Score||9.63 / 10||9.6 / 10||8.9 / 10||8.1 / 10||7.88 / 10||7.65 / 10||7.25 / 10|
|Fire Monitoring Included|
|Light Automation Included||No Option|
|Minimum Contract Length||12 Months||12 Months||0 Months||36 Months||36 Months||0 Months||36 Months|
|Website||Frontpoint||Link Interactive||Simplisafe||Setup Service||Protection 1||Vivint||ADT|
|Call||(855) 294-8040||800-340-7727||(844) 725-9572||888-989-9982||866-687-3778||(855) 659-2066||(855) 286-6396|
|Installation||DIY||DIY||DIY||DIY Optional Professional||Professional Installation||Professional Installation||Professional Installation|
|Our Review||Frontpoint Review||Link Interactive Review||Simplisafe Review||Brinks Review||Protection One Review||Vivint Review||ADT Review|
|Equipment Warranty||Life of Contract||3 Years||3 Years||2 Years||Life of Contract for Phone Support Only||Life of Contract||Fee Based|
|Move for Free||Limited||Limited||Limited|
|Return Policy||30 Day Risk Free Trial||30 Day Risk Free Trial||60 Day Risk Free Trial||30 Day Risk Free Trial||14 Days Less $79 Restocking Fee||3 Days||0 Days|
|Setup Service||Setup Service||Setup Service||Setup Service||Setup Service||Setup Service||Setup Service|
Equipment Pricing Across Major Alarm Companies
|Garage Door/Tilt Sensor||$44.99||$40.00||NA||$39.00||unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Glass Break Sensor||$74.99||$69.00||$34.99||$79.00||unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Buy Here||Buy Here||Buy Here||Setup Service||Buy Here||Buy Here||Buy Here|
The Five Questions To Ask Yourself When Comparing
1. What are you protecting?
First things first: What needs protecting? Do you own specific valuables or are you simply seeking peace of mind for your family? How many entry ways does your home have?
2. What’s your concern?
Do you live on the first floor? Do you live in a high crime area? Was there a recent string of burglaries in your area?
3. How much security do you want?
Are you looking for something simple that sounds when there is a break in, actively monitors using sensors and cameras, or something more advanced that you can control when you are not home?
4. What do you already own?
Do you already have security system hardware? Some providers allow you to use your existing system. What smart home devices do you want to integrate? Do you want to control your system from a computer, tablet, or smartphone?
5. How much are you willing to spend for that protection?
Of course, you want the best security out there—but you also want it for the best price you can get. Your price is determined by a number of factors like equipment choice, type of connection, selection of monitoring, and more. What’s your budget and flexibility level? Ultimately, what is the security you are seeking worth to you?
Things to Consider of When Comparing Alarm Companies to Frontpoint
Besides the obvious reasons stated above, there are other reasons why Frontpoint stays on top and if you choose to go with a different company you should consider.
Frontpoint uses a dedicated cellular signal, which means it is dedicated to your security system only and is separate from the signal your cell phone uses. But the most important feature is that they use a dedicated cellular signal that talks to your sensors and control panel and also between your panel and their central monitoring station. Many providers offer a cellular signal between your panel and the monitoring station, but not between your sensors and control panel. This is a feature that really sets them apart.
If you aren’t familiar with cellular alarm systems let’s back up for just a moment and explain. Cellular alarm systems are home security alarm systems that depend upon cellular phone services rather than landline or internet connections to connect with home security monitoring systems. The most dependable of cellular alarm systems are those that depend 100% on the cellular transmission of data. Because it's wireless, it won't matter if the intruder cuts your wire or disconnects your broadband — your system will still send an alert signal.
There are common misconceptions regarding cellular monitoring, which cause others to prefer landline or broadband. However, the facts are that:
- A cellular alarm system does not use your cell phone minutes.
- You do not need a separate cellular line for a cellular alarm to work.
- A cellular alarm system does not interfere in any way with your cell phone.
- You do not need a strong cellular signal at your house for a cellular alarm to work.
There are, however, a few disadvantages of cellular monitoring, but compared to other communication methods, these drawbacks are minimal.
Some Systems Are Not 100% Cellular
The most significant drawback at the moment is the fact that many companies are marketing their cellular alarm systems as such when they are not 100% cellular and this becomes confusing. For example, those that offer security systems with cellular BACKUP, but uses landline or broadband as primary communication. It is important as a new consumer in the cellular alarm market to know exactly what you are looking for before you go out to make your purchase and in this case you want to make sure that you are purchasing a system that relies 100% on cellular monitoring of your home.
Higher Introductory Price
Just because a company offers cellular doesn’t mean they have included this service in their introductory price. Cellular monitoring is more expensive than landline monitoring but at least you don’t have to pay for a phone line every month and it is more secure.
Not All Components Use Cellular Signal
Another drawback is that not all components can rely on a cellular signal. For example, if you add an IP camera to your alarm system there is a good chance that you will need to connect the camera via broadband even if you are a 100% cellular system.
Cellular Is Useless Without Battery-Backup
Most alarm companies, including Frontpoint, offer cellular AND battery backup. This allows their systems to work in case of power failures. If you choose to go and find an alarm company on your own, make sure they offer both technologies.
The Secret Sauce: Smash-Proof Protection
The “secret sauce” is built into the control panel. If a burglar finds and destroys your control panel, it calls for help even if it’s on the ground in a million pieces.
In actuality, it won’t really call for help. Instead, an all-clear signal is never received. You see, Frontpoint instantly sends a soft alert no matter what. Other companies have a delay. This delay was created to help prevent false alarms, but there’s a better way. Frontpoint’s soft alert is sent to the monitoring center. They know this means that you’re okay, you’re simply on your way to disarm the system. After the soft alert is received, they wait for you to tell them everything is still okay, which you do when you enter your passcode. Just like other security systems, this process helps reduce false alarms. The difference between this process and the process used by other companies is that someone else has your back from start to finish. To explain using a real-life example, let’s assume that a burglar opens your door. When he does so, the soft signal is sent. He sees your panel and he smashes it. In this case, the all clear signal is never received by the central monitoring agency. The soft alert turns into an active alert and help is dispatched.
We're Not the Only Frontpoint Fans in the Sea
We're not the only people to use Frontpoint and like it. There are others. For example, Yelpers. Yelpers are notoriously hard on businesses, but at the same time, the site uses a proprietary algorithm to weed out fake reviews, and they pay particular consideration to those that have taken steps to say, “Hi there, I’m a real person.” With that said, it’s impressive that in the majority of cities we checked, Frontpoint has 4 – 5 stars. Like in Nashville1 where they hold a 5-star rating, and in Sacramento2 they have 29 reviews with an average of 4 stars. Remember, Frontpoint is nationwide. They can provide service in all 50 states (plus Canada), but we wanted to pull a couple of examples to give you an idea.
In addition to Yelp, they have some fans on Angie’s List. They’ve won the Angie’s List Super Service Award seven years running and of the 7,617 reviews they has on their site last time we checked, 6441 of them are an A, giving them an overall A rating.
Finally, Frontpoint holds an A+ rating with the BBB and has held that rating for several years.3
While there are some complaints on large complaint sites, the number of complaints compared to other large, nationwide security companies are minuscule. By far, the most significant number of complaints are specific to the motion detector. Motion detectors are tricky, especially if you have pets. If you have pets or are concerned about this, it may be better to use a glass break sensor to cover large areas or other sensors besides a motion detector. This is a good tip for any security system, as you do want to reduce your chances of costly false alarms, which can bring a penalty in some cities.
What Makes A Good Wireless Security System?
Are You a Candidate?
Before digging into the details of what makes a good wireless system, you should make sure you are a candidate. Wireless security systems are great for the average home. If you have a home over 4000 square feet, you might want to consider a wired system versus a wireless system. Or, you should really dig into the wireless range of the system you select before investing. For the rest of the world, wireless is ideal. Choose a system that has some traditional home security elements. Things like door and window sensors, glass break sensors, and motion detectors are proven to work.
Wireless is best because you can move your components around as your security needs change. Also, should you ever need to move to a new home, you can take your wireless system with you. Some companies will install wired systems that can’t be moved and then charge you to move or worse, make you buy out your total contract value.
A good wireless system is easy to install. It’s so easy to install that you don’t need tools or technical knowledge. With that said, when researching wireless home security systems, you should look into the installation policy.
Is the system self-install? How long does the average person spend installing? What if you want to expand your system? What if you need technical support? Is an appointment required? Do they charge for this? Ideally, these would be things you can do on your own and things you should be allowed to do for free.
When looking for a good wireless system, you will want to investigate the company behind the system. Many home security companies use the same equipment, so the company and its policies are the make or break.
Start by looking into a company’s online reputation. Take a look at their BBB score and online reviews, but make sure they are reputable. In the past, we read many online reviews recommending LifeShield. Before LifeShield was owned by Digital Life, they had an F rating with the BBB.4 At the same time, companies like LifeShield have very long contracts, and other companies have very short to no return policy. You want to make sure you have a chance to check things out before being locked into a long commitment.
Total Home Protection
Ideally, your system will also be able to monitor for smoke, carbon monoxide, and medical emergencies. On the peripheral, check to make sure the system can grow with you. You might not be ready for home automation now, but you might want this in the future. Can you add additional equipment and expand your system? Is it easy to do? Keep in mind that some companies, like Digital Life, restart the clock on your contract if you make any changes.
Also, dig into the components of home automation as it relates to home security. Do you want video surveillance with security cameras you can view from your smartphone or your TV? What about automatic locks? A security company may say they have home automation, but that doesn’t mean they do everything. For example, SimpliSafe only offers a security camera and others lack lock automation.
On a related note, being able to control your system and set up rules is paramount. We already touched on this above so we won’t go into detail here, but getting a text message when you drive away without arming your system is not only cool, but it increases a systems ability to protect your home. A good mobile app includes remote arm/disarm, rules, and capacity to set up text and email alerts for multiple people. Most home security companies will call you if a system is breached, but making sure your entire family gets a text to stay away until the alarm is cleared is priceless.
Finally, good alarm systems provide monitoring services. Many self-monitored options can provide a good entry into home security, but it’s best to have someone watching your back especially when guarding against home invasions or fires. However, the best systems also provide good monitoring. Good monitoring is always UL listed, but you should make sure that they use multiple monitoring centers and are responding to alarms promptly.
Frontpoint uses a company called Rapid Response Monitoring to monitor alarms. Rapid Response has an excellent reputation in the industry. Their list of accreditations includes:
- Department of Defense approved
- Underwriters Laboratories Inc. tested
- Factory Mutual approved
- New York City Fire Department approved for commercial buildings
Rapid Response also employs redundancy tactics to make sure that THEY stay up and running when the power fails. After all, what good is a control panel that remains online if it has no one to talk to? Rapid Response has redundancy backups for power outages, telephone outages, internet, etc. They also use servers that have built-in redundancy to protect against failure.
Frontpoint’s Price is Clear with No Gotchas
Frontpoint has all of the features of a good wireless home security system. And they don’t nickel and dime for extra features. Instead, they clearly lay out their pricing so you can make an educated buying decision.
No Hidden Fees
Pricing includes everything you would expect. All plans include access to monitoring for burglaries, fires, and medical emergencies. A limited lifetime warranty also backs your equipment purchase. There are no extra fees for tech support. In fact, their salespeople are technically trained so that you can get more value out of a conversation and less fluff.
No Door Knockers
In addition to owning their system, we’ve secret shopped them multiple times. What we really like about Frontpoint’s sales process is that you can call to talk to a salesperson if you want, or you can snoop around online to decide what you want before making a call. This is a complete 360 from companies like Vivint and ADT, who are very secretive online and on the phone. Traditional companies require that you schedule an appointment to meet with a salesperson in your home to get any real information. Once inside, they are as high pressure as it gets, and they are absolutely trained to get you to sign the dotted line before they leave. Maybe you are strong enough to say no, but it’s tougher in your home and uncomfortable. Plus, there are many complaints online that are based on broken promises. Most of them read something like this,
“In my home, the salesperson promised me (free monitoring, free equipment, a short contract, a return period), but in the end, I got screwed.”
Don’t let this happen to you. What’s worse, the FTC warns that many of these door-to-door salespeople are scamming homeowners.5
Plans and Pricing
Frontpoint offers three plans. There are no hidden fees or gotchas. You get what you pick, and you get what you pay for. Check out their our review of Frontpoint's monitoring plan and equipment pricing here.
Frontpoint vs. Link Interactive vs. Brinks vs. Protection 1 vs. SimpliSafe vs. Vivint vs. ADT Pulse
We have compared Frontpoint to other systems, though we have not tested every single security system. Some of them we wouldn’t want to test as they don’t check all of the important boxes. However, we have tested a few, solicited feedback from people who have tested other systems, and done an extreme amount of research – more research than we would wish upon you. To help you compare, we’ve created this chart that is factual instead of opinion based since we have not tested all of the systems.
If you see any errors on this chart or think that we’ve left something out, please comment below. This chart is intended to be a living, breathing document that is helpful for people visiting the site. We want this to be valuable and accurate.
It’s important to note that some companies offer inexpensive entry price points to lure you in, then perform what they call an “upsell.” They may say they offer a $19 per month plan, but what you will find is that you are required to have a landline or existing equipment or that it is only for burglary monitoring and nothing more. We're not a fan of the bait and switch, but when comparing base pricing, it is important to note that some companies employ these tactics. In the chart below, we did not include this bait and switch base pricing. Instead, we looked at the cost for each company to see what it would cost to get decent service, which includes our recommended cellular monitoring, mobile app access with remote arm and disarm, and also basic light automation.
Frontpoint uses their own control panel called the Frontpoint Hub. The Hub comes with a cellular module, battery backup, and the ability to talk to other Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus home automation devices. It also includes a built-in siren that is loud enough to attract attention. Separate from the Hub is the Frontpoint Keypad. The Keypad is used to arm and disarm the system and can also be kept in a more conspicuous place like near entryways or beside your bed. You can attach multiple Keypads to your Frontpoint Hub.
If you prefer to control your home with a touchscreen, you will need to wait. Though Frontpoint once offered the Qolsys IQ panel as an upgrade, they are currently between panels. Look for a new touchscreen panel soon.
The control panels communicate directly with Frontpoint sensors. They have door sensors, motion sensors, smoke sensors, key fobs, home security cameras, flood sensors, glass break sensors, and more. You can learn more about the equipment and control panels here.
They are also slowly opening the door to 3rd party devices. You can now view your home security cameras from your Apple TV and you can control your system and connected devices using Amazon Echo or Google Home. Their smart doorbell is even technically a third-party device made by Skybell. Soon, they also plan to work with Sonos.
We know this article is long, but when recommending something as important as home security, we want you to know the “why.” Frontpoint has been good to us and good to others. Being good at customer service and providing a good security system are two entirely different things. Frontpoint offers both.
- Why We Chose Frontpoint
- Frontpoint is for Commitment Phobes
- Do you even need a security system?
- Is Frontpoint A Match For You?
- Compare All Major Alarm Companies
- Equipment Pricing Across Major Alarm Companies
- The Five Questions To Ask Yourself When Comparing
- Things to Consider of When Comparing Alarm Companies to Frontpoint
- What Makes A Good Wireless Security System?
- Frontpoint’s Price is Clear with No Gotchas
- Frontpoint vs. Link Interactive vs. Brinks vs. Protection 1 vs. SimpliSafe vs. Vivint vs. ADT Pulse
- Frontpoint Equipment