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Best Security Systems For Pet Owners 2019

Living with pets is an absolute delight, but unfortunately, it can also make finding a suitable security system a little tougher for you. Fortunately, there are security systems that not only tolerate pets, but also give you features you can specifically use to make living with your furry friend a little easier.

Most security systems are not pet-friendly, which means your four-legged companion can cause false alarms. It becomes an even bigger problem if you have a monitored security system because then the police will be called and if they respond to a false alarm, they could charge you a penalty. You could even lose your police response privileges if false alarms happen frequently. The bottom line is that if you are living with a pet, you don't want a security system that cries wolf every time it sees your dog or cat. 

What To Look For In A Pet-Friendly Security System

If you've been searching for a pet-friendly security system, there's a good chance you've already come across "pet-friendly motion sensors" also known as "pet-immune motion sensors." The reason why these sensors are important is that regular motion sensors don't know the difference between humans and pets. If they notice any movement, they will trigger an alarm. Pet-immune motion sensors, on the other hand, have a way to measure the mass of the moving subject and know if it's large enough to be human. However, pet-immune motion sensors have weight ratings. When buying one, make sure that the sensor's weight rating is higher than your pet's actual weight. 

Cameras are also a welcome addition to pet-friendly security systems. For one, security cameras can provide an easy way to verify an alert before asking the monitoring center to send the police to your house. You can also use cameras to occasionally check on your four-legged buddy, especially when you're not home for long hours. They can function as nanny cams for your pets so you can make sure they are okay while you're away.

Lastly, we recommend a security system that supports home automation features. Beyond the normal functions of smart home products, you can use home automation to make sure your pets are comfortable while you're gone. For example, you can set up a smart thermostat to hold a temperature that is comfortable and safe for your pets during the times when you're away. 

To sum it all up, to build a pet-friendly security system, you need:

  • Pet-Immune Motion Sensors
  • Security Cameras
  • Home Automation

Below, we've listed the top three alarm companies we recommend for pet owners along with the reasons why picked them.

Vivint

Vivint gets our highest recommendation because of the innovation they've put into their products. 

Let's start with their pet-immune motion sensor. All motion sensors sold by Vivint are pet-immune, but by default, they are only programmed to ignore small pets weighing under 40 pounds. If you have a pet that weighs more than 40 pounds, you can set up the sensor to have large pet immunity by sliding the sensor off of its backplate and switching the jumper on the back of the sensor to the large pet icon. In this setting, the sensor will ignore pets up to 80 pounds in weight. Take note, however, that switching to this setting will also reduce the sensor's detection range. The normal detection range when in the small pet immunity setting is 50 feet, while in the large pet immunity setting, the detection range is reduced to 20 feet. 

Next, Vivint offers several types of cameras, the most important of which to pet owners is the Vivint Ping indoor camera. Ping is a freestanding camera with features such as motion detection, night vision, and a wide-angle field of vision. It also has an HD quality camera sensor that allows crystal clear view of your home via live streaming to your smartphone. With a Ping camera setup in your living room or near your pet crate, you can monitor what your four-legged buddy is up to during the day. At night, the night vision kicks in so that you can see clearly using your smartphone and don't have to get out of bed every time you hear a ruckus downstairs. The camera can also record to the cloud based on motion triggers (not pet immune) or record rolling videos to Vivint's Playback DVR (sold separately). 

Finally, Vivint supports home automation features. They offer the Element Thermostat and also support Nest Thermostats. They also support smart locks, which you can use for, let's say, letting a pet walker in while keeping all the keys to your house to yourself for security. Most importantly, Vivint has a comprehensive smart home platform that allows you to create intelligent automation rules and scenes. All you need is some creativity to improve your living arrangement with your pet and make you daily lives a little easier.

Vivint FAQ

  • Will a pet-friendly security system from Vivint cost me more than a regular system from them?

    Actually, no. All of Vivint's systems are pet-friendly. However, if you decide to go all in and add cameras and smart home products, your monthly bill will increase and you'll need to purchase all the add-on equipment.

  • What's the weight rating of Vivint's pet-immune motion sensor?

    The motion sensor is immune to small and large pets alike, but putting it in the large pet immunity setting will reduce the sensor's detection range.

  • Can Vivint's cameras record continuously?

    By default, no. However, if you buy a Vivint Playback DVR, you can make up to four cameras record continuously and playback recordings from anywhere using your smartphone.

  • Can the camera alert me whenever it sees my pet in a specific place in my house (e.g. on the couch, kitchen counter, etc.)?

    No. The Ping indoor camera currently doesn't have that feature. It can only notify you and record based on motion events. However, you can create a detection zone around specific areas to be notified whenever someone or something moves within the area.

  • Can I speak to my pets through the camera?

    Yes. The camera has two-way talk, so you can tell your pet to get off the couch even if you're miles away.

  • Will the camera alert me if my dog barks?

    No. Vivint Ping currently does not have bark detection nor can it alert you of loud sounds.

  • I'm interested in Vivint. Where can I find out more about them?

    We've put together an in-depth review that highlights all the features offered by Vivint. Click here to read our Vivint review. We've also outlined Vivint's cost, pricing, and deals details here.

Frontpoint

Frontpoint currently ranks as our #1 home security company for 2019 and they also offer pet-friendly security systems, making them another strong option for pet owners. 

Frontpoint's motion sensor is inherently pet-immune, but it only ignores pets that weigh less than 40 pounds. There is currently no way to make the sensor ignore larger pets, but Frontpoint offers tips on how to reduce false alarms.1 For example, they recommend placing the sensor high up and away from stairs or household furniture used by your pets for climbing. They also recommend pointing motion sensors towards doors and openings rather than open areas. Following these tips will help you greatly reduce false alarms. But what if none of these tips work for you? Frontpoint has a 30-day return policy. Within 30 days after the activation of your system, you can return it for any reason and get your money back. The return shipping fee will even be handled by Frontpoint. 

Another option you can try is using image sensors instead of motion sensors. Image sensors are like regular PIR motion sensors that are not pet-immune, but they have a built-in camera that they use to capture still images that they send to your email when motion is detected. You can use the image to confirm whether the alert is pet-related or a real intrusion. However, image sensors are much more expensive than motion sensors so it's not a solution we recommend placing all around your house. Instead, we suggest placing image sensors in areas frequented by your pets or where a pet-related motion alerts are common. Also, it won't prevent your system from sending pet-related false alarms. It only provides a way to verify alerts, so you'll still have to endure courtesy calls from the monitoring center due to false alarms. 

Lastly, if the Fronpoint system does work for you, they have cameras and home automation products as well as life safety monitoring. These features can help you ensure your pet's safety and comfort whenever they're left home alone for extended periods, like during the day when you head off to work. Life safety monitoring features alert you or Frontpoint's central monitoring station if a life threatening emergency occurs, such as fires or carbon monoxide leaks. Home automation lets you control your home from anywhere, from locking doors to adjusting the thermostat. And of course, cameras give you a visual of your home from anywhere through a smartphone or computer.

Frontpoint FAQ

  • Will a pet-friendly security system from Frontpoint cost me more than a regular system from them?

    The cost will depend on the type of system you'll build. Frontpoint has three monitoring plans, but even the lowest plan is enough to set up a pet-friendly system. However, if you're looking to add home automation, you'll need the mid-level plan and the high-end plan if you want security cameras.

  • What's the weight rating of Frontpoint's pet-immune motion sensor?

    The motion sensors are only programmed to ignore pets less than 40 pounds in weight. They also offer tips on how to make their sensors less prone to false alarms caused by pets.

  • Can Frontpoint's cameras record continuously?

    Unfortunately, no. Frontpoint can only record videos based on motion events.

  • Can the camera alert me whenever it sees my pet in a specific place in my house (e.g. on the couch, kitchen counter, etc.)?

    No. Frontpoint's cameras can't specifically tell you if your pet is on the couch or kitchen counter, but you can set up to three motion zones for each camera with varying sensitivity for each zone. If anything moves within the selected zones, the camera will alert you.

  • Can I speak to my pets through the camera?

    Absolutely. Fronpoint's cameras have two-way talk. The Premium Indoor Camera can even initiate a two-way talk to your phone with just a tap on the top of the camera, helpful for initiating a communication between you and a pet walker, for example.

  • Will the camera alert me if my dog barks?

    No. The camera doesn't detect the sound of dogs barking nor can it alert you if a loud sound is heard.

  • I'm interested in Frontpoint. Where can I find out more about them?

    Frontpoint is our #1 home alarm company for 2019 and we've written about them several times. You can read our most comprehensive review of Frontpoint here. If you're interested in their pricing, we've discussed Fronpoint's plans, deals, and promotions here.

Brinks

Brinks is another strong option when it comes to pet-friendly security systems. They offer two types of security systems: the Alarm.com-powered Brinks security system and the Nest Secure security system made by Google's Nest. When you're shopping for a pet-friendly security system, be sure to purchase a Brinks security system rather than Nest Secure because it is far more pet-friendly. 

The motion sensor included in the Brinks system is pet-immune by default, but it only ignores pets less than 40 pounds. Unfortunately, it lacks any options to further reduce the sensitivity to ignore larger pets. If you have a pet that weighs more than 40 pounds, the only solution Brinks currently offers is to place the sensors strategically to avoid them being triggered by pets, like placing the sensor 7 feet off the ground or in rooms not frequented by pets. 

Brinks also offers life safety features, such as fire monitoring, freeze and flood detection, and abnormal temperature detection. With these features, you can ensure your pet's safety when you're not home. The monitoring center can even call the fire department directly if there's a fire emergency. 

Video monitoring and home automation are also possible with Brinks. Brinks' indoor camera can stream live videos, send you photos, record event videos, and even alert you of movement within its field of vision. With home automation, you can automate lights, temperature, and locks. You can also control automated components of your smart home from anywhere using the Brinks smartphone app.

Brinks FAQ

  • Will a pet-friendly security system from Brinks cost me more than a regular system from them?

    All Brinks security systems are pet-friendly to a certain degree. The basic monitoring plan includes security and life safety monitoring as well as home automation. So to answer the question, it won't cost you more than a regular system to make your home security system pet-friendly. The only upgrade that will increase your monthly rate is adding cameras.

  • What's the weight rating of Brinks' pet-immune motion sensor?

    Brinks motion sensors ignore pets weighing less than 40 pounds.

  • Can Brinks' cameras record continuously?

    No. Brinks' cameras can stream on-demand and record based on motion, but they can't record continuously.

  • Can the camera alert me whenever it sees my pet in a specific place in my house (e.g. on the couch, kitchen counter, etc.)?

    Brinks' cameras currently don't have that ability.

  • Can I speak to my pets through the camera?

    Yes. While live streaming via the app, you can turn on two-way audio to speak through the camera.

  • Will the camera alert me if my dog barks?

    No. Brinks' cameras don't detect sounds.

  • I'm interested in Brinks. Where can I find out more about them?

    We've put together a highly-detailed review about Brinks here. The review can help you understand Brinks features and choose between their security system offers. Alternatively, you can check out our assessment of Brinks' pricing and deals here.

Self-Monitored Security Systems for Pet-Owners

All the companies we've discussed thus far offer professionally monitored security systems, and with such systems, pet-related false alarms are not only irritating but also costly. Just think of all the false alarm penalties if your alarm company sends the police to your house three or more times to your house within just the span of one year. If you want a surefire way to not get the police involved every time your four-legged roommate crosses path with your security system, we recommend a self-monitored security system. 

Of course, professionally monitored systems are always better than self-monitored systems if you look at it in a strictly security-focused standpoint. But if you're living with pets and you have the time to check and verify incoming alerts, then a self-monitored system could work for you. Still, it's of paramount importance that you choose a pet-friendly security system even if you're opting for a self-monitored security system. While false alarms won't cost you any penalties from your local police department, they can be irritating, and once you become irritated by false alarms, there's a good chance you'll end up not arming the security system at all. We've seen this happen to countless users before and it's not good for your home security. With that being said, here are a few pet-friendly, self-monitored security systems. 

Fortress Security

Fortress Security offers a wide range of security products, and while their security systems are not inherently pet-immune, you can opt to buy pet-friendly starter kits from them for a slightly higher price than their regular security systems. All three types of systems they offer support pet-friendly motion sensors that you can use to eliminate false alarms triggered by pets. Take note that Fortress doesn't sell cameras nor do they offer any home automation features. They are solely focused on home security, although they also offer some life safety features. 

To learn more about Fortress Security, check out our in-depth Fortress Security review or check out their pricing in our Fortress deals and promotions assessment.

Simplisafe is currently running one of the best promotions we've seen. Check their website for full details.

SimpliSafe

We usually recommend SimpliSafe to be used as a professionally monitored system, but if you have pets, we suggest looking into using it as a self-monitored system (local alarm) and then upgrading to professional monitoring once you've dialled down the pet-triggered false alarms. 

SimpliSafe's motion sensors are immune to pets up to 50 pounds in weight, which means medium-sized pets will likely not cause false alarms, especially if they are on the ground and not on furniture or stairs. If you have a larger pet, SimpliSafe also offers tips on how to mitigate false alarms. Most of the tips focus on the placement of the sensor. 

SimpliSafe also supports cameras and home automation integrations, but keep in mind that these features are only available if you choose the highest professional monitoring plan. 

Find out more about SimpliSafe in our SimpliSafe review or check out SimpliSafe's pricing plans, deals, and promotions here.

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