NOTE: This information is provided as general advice only and all local laws should be consulted for using these devices.
The best home alarm system will secure all parts of your home from burglars and other security threats. Although some alarm companies are nationwide, you may find the best home alarm system from a smaller local company right in your own back yard.
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In most areas of the country there are many alarm companies to choose from. Finding the best home security system for your dollar can be a challenging task. Many people go with the best known companies that you see advertising for on a daily basis such as ADT. But ADT and other large companies may not be the best home alarm system for you.
When choosing a security system, do a Google search online with your zip code and the words “alarm system” or “security system”. This should bring up at least a few different companies that offer service in your area. If you get a Google places or maps search result, choose from that list first.
I suggest calling at least 3-5 companies to provide a quote and suggestions for a system for your home. These companies will likely need to come out and look at the property you will want protected. There are all sorts of different devices to add to your alarm system that will increase your security. You will need to balance cost and security needs to achieve the best home alarm system for your needs.
Security System Devices
In my home I have a fairly secure system. I have motion detectors in the main areas of the house to cover both upstairs and downstairs areas. I have glass break alarms in each bedroom and each other major room on the lower level. I have window contacts on each window in my home and I have door contacts on every exterior door and one on my safe. I have a “waterbug” that will sense the water level in my sump in case the sump pump stops working. I have 5 smoke detectors and one carbon monoxide detector to protect my home from fire. I also have GSM (cell backup) which will allow the system to still operate even if the primary phone line is cut from outside the home.
A system like this can be fairly expensive, but provides a security level that is very difficult to get past.
A basic alarm system is fairly inexpensive and usually consists of the following components: 2-3 Door Contacts 1-2 Motion Detector 1 Keypad 1 Control Panel 1 Yard Sign and Stickers
Some companies will include a remote to turn the system on and off similar to a car alarm remote.
This type of system would provide minimal protection for a small home. With a system like this, you leave places like bedrooms unsecured. In many cases a bedroom would contain most of the valuables in a home. If a burglar would break into a bedroom window, he/she would likely be able to get away with significant valuables without leaving the bedroom and setting off the common area motion detector or any of the door sensors.
It makes sense to analyze where the majority of valuables are in your home and spend the extra money to be sure they are protected. If your primary concern is not protecting your valuables, but rather protecting yourself or your family then it may be best to invest in a system such as the one I mentioned about in my home.
How the costs stack up
The most common, nationwide alarm system providers are ADT, Brinks (now Broadview) and Vivint. With these companies you could end up paying much more than the smaller local companies so it is always best to shop around. Large companies pay big bucks for things such as advertising. They must pass the costs on to you so you may not get the best home alarm system for your dollar.
In most cases these large companies will put a system in for you for a small amount of money ($99 – $299). You will pay a monthly rate ranging from $39 and up depending on the system you choose. You will need to sign a contract for a period of 2 or more years depending on the system and the company you go with. When the initial upfront cost is low, you are likely leasing your system. This could end up costing you a very large amount of money if you keep the system for a long time.
With smaller companies the monthly fee can be as low as $15. In some cases it is possible to purchase the system and sign a contract paying low rates like $15 a month. If you plan to keep a system for an extended period of time, the monthly fee should be a huge factor in determining the system you go with. Most companies that offer the option to purchase will also give you the option to lease the system likely for a lower monthly fee than the big alarm companies.
If you are in Pennsylvania, I suggest giving Shearer Security Devices a call.