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Who Is Fortress?
Fortress was founded in 2005 and since then, it has been designing and distributing self-monitored security systems. Fortress' product line is ever evolving. Its main product line, SO, is now in its third generation. They've also created new lines for different purposes, such as a security system built for RV owners and renters and a security system that you can have professionally monitored by a third-party monitoring company.
Why They're Different
Fortress is unlike most alarm companies because it focuses on the development of security system hardware rather than monitoring. Their efforts enabled them to create several product lines and grow their portfolio to hundreds of devices.
Fortress is also unique because it doesn't charge for self-monitoring features. Granted, it offers a limited set of features, but once you purchase the equipment, access to those features is free. The only thing you'll ever have to pay on a recurring basis is the call minutes your system will use to send alerts via Fortress' GSM SIM card and that's also optional. Without the SIM card, your system can still send alerts via Wi-Fi or landline.
Who's It For?
Fortress works for both renters and homeowners, but only those who want to self-monitor. If something happens, Fortress' security system can alert you, but that's about all that it can do. Calling for help would be on you.
If you're looking for a system that can call for help on your behalf, we recommend getting a professionally monitored system from other security providers. For more information, check out our in-depth review of the best professionally monitored security systems.
In addition, some of the products offered by Fortress can work as alarm systems for temporary living spaces, like in an RV or hotel rooms. These devices don't generate alerts, but they have a built-in siren that will sound if a break-in is detected. These are called standalone products.
Equipment Kits & Key Features
Fortress offers three types of self-monitored security systems (SO3, S1 Stealth, and S6 Titan) and two standalone devices. Each of the three self-monitored systems are offered in four pre-built kits: Starter, Classic, Deluxe, and Deluxe Pet.
The Starter Kit is the cheapest and it includes the least number of devices. It's best for studio-type apartments and smaller living spaces.
The Classic Kit is more expensive and includes enough sensors to cover a small or average-sized home.
The Deluxe Kit includes enough sensors and accessories for large homes with four or more occupants. It's also more expensive than the Classic Kit.
The Deluxe Pet Kit includes the same number of accessories and sensors as the Deluxe Kit, but it's more expensive because it includes pet-immune motion sensors instead of regular motion sensors. It's best for large family homes with indoor pets.
As for the two standalone devices, Fortress offers a motion sensor and door/window sensor that both come with a built-in siren. They can work alone, but you can also pair them with up to 20 sensors and accessories. When a paired sensor is triggered, the standalone device's siren will also sound.
S03 vs. S1 Stealth vs. S6 Titan
The primary differences between the three security systems are how they communicate with you in case of emergency and how the base system operates.
SO3 is built around the SO3 control panel, which uses Wi-Fi and landline for communication. The panel has a built-in keypad that you can use to arm it in different modes (Disarmed, Arm Home, Arm Away), a RF reader for quick arming and disarming using RF Tags, and an analog screen that displays your alarm delay. You can also control it using Fortress' smartphone app.
The S1 Stealth system is built around a hub. The hub doesn't have a screen and it relies on wireless key fobs and the smartphone app for controls. It also doesn't support landline connections, only Wi-Fi. However, it does provide the option to use a GSM SIM card from Fortress for cellular communication. The SIM card will need to be activated and it will require minimal monthly fee. That said, you can use S1 Stealth even if you don't have an existing Wi-Fi or landline connection.
The S6 Titan is the ultimate system. It looks a lot like the S03 panel, but with a 2.4" colored display. It also supports Wi-Fi, landline, and cellular connections. It can also function as a two-way intercom. For example, if your kids are home, they can call your phone number through the control panel. It also has battery backup with power outage, low battery, and tamper alerts. The biggest between S6 Titan and the other systems is that it can be monitored professionally. However, Fortress doesn't offer monitoring services, so you'll have to look for a third-party company to monitor your system.
As self-monitored systems, the key feature is generating alerts. All three security systems can send text alerts, call alerts, and push notifications.
Text alerts are messages sent to your mobile number from the control panel with specific details about the alarm. They look something like this:
Wireless Sensor Alarm
Name: Door Sensor 1
Type: Door Sensor
Call alerts are actual phone calls from your security system to your phone number. If you take the call, a system-generated voice message will tell you the details of the alert. The advantage of call alerts over text alerts is that it's harder to miss. You can also program the system to call several phone numbers until one of them picks up.
Finally, push notifications are smartphone alerts sent to the Fortress smartphone app. They tell you when the alert occured, what sensor is triggered, and what type of sensor was triggered.
Beyond the pre-built equipment packages, you can purchase add-on sensors and devices. Take note that not all add-on products work with all three systems, but most of them are backwards compatible. Here's a list of products sold by Fortress Security:
- Standard Motion Sensor: $22.99
- Pet-Immune Motion Sensor: $29.99
- Contact Sensor: $12.99
- Glass Break Sensor: $34.99
- Vibration Sensor: $24.99
- Smoke Sensor: $27.99
- Gas Leak Detector: $34.99
- Water Sensor: $24.99
- Solar-Powered Siren: $99.99
- Outdoor/Indoor Siren: $49.99
- Indoor/Outdoor Strobe Siren: $59.99
- Indoor Plug Siren: $39.99
- Internal Siren: $19.99
- Panic Button: $14.99
- Remote Key Fob: $14.99
- RFID Keypad w/ Tags: $59.99
- Wireless Signal Repeater: $54.99
What geographic locations does Fortress serve?
Fortress sells its security systems nationwide and even internationally. However, the GSM SIM card they offer is only available in areas with T-Mobile or AT&T coverage.
How long are contracts?
The only service Fortress offers is the GSM cellular connection and it has no contracts.
How are Fortress Security Systems installed?
Installation is completed by the end user. If you need help installing the system, you may check out the installation videos on Fortress' website.
Can I try out Fortress security systems before buying? What if I decide to return it?
You can return the system up to 30 days after your purchase but it must be in good condition with complete packaging. They will issue a refund minus 10% restocking fee.
How much does the Fortress equipment cost?
Are CenturyLink Security Systems protected by warranty?
Yes, there is a three-year warranty.
Are there installation or activation fees?
For the system, no. It's self-installed and it activates automatically. For the SIM card, there is a $9.99 activation fee.