If you’ve outfitted your system with video cameras, you’ll want to consider how long your footage is stored. Depending on the company, it may be saved to Cloud for anywhere between 12 hours and 30 days, and you have to pay for increased storage. Consider how long it will take for you to review recorded activity, especially if you are frequently away from internet.
We just moved into our first house 5 months ago in a neighborhood we didn’t know well, and getting a security system was very important to us. We considered several, and ADT just seemed to have the most bang for our buck. Our system hasn’t disappointed us one bit. Usually when I walk out of the door, my hands are full while I’m juggling a toddler. The app helps so much so that I can activate our system from my phone once I’m in the car.
The Pulse app also lets you access ADT's Home View, though you'll need to initially configure that using the web portal. Home View lets you create a visual blueprint of your house room by room and map where all your smart devices and security nodes are located. Once configured, Home View color-codes these device icons to show their status and summary activity screens, and if one of them is a camera, you can simply click on it to get a live view of what the cam is seeing.
To make sure you’re getting the best-value system for your money get quotes from up to 5 companies first. Ask each of them to do a risk assessment on your property to see what areas of security need addressing and why. This on-site inspection should be free of charge. Never accept a company who says they don’t need to visit your property to do an inspection.

ADT Pulse is not a fully compatible z-wave system as they exclude many sensors that would make the system attractive for home automation. Reason for the limited functionality seems to be nefarious, i.e. trying to support their outdated business model relying on high price installer that sell overpriced. The system has potential but they need to get everything in order.
We appreciate SimpliSafe’s confidence in its own equipment and service. The company offers a 60-day money-back guarantee and a three-year warranty on equipment. To prevent triggering a false alarm, SimpliSafe Home Security provides additional sensor settings: High, Medium, and Low. This allows you to adjust your sensor settings to keep you from accidentally triggering a motion sensor.

Known for its innovative home automation features, Vivint offers professional 24/7 monitoring to homes across the U.S. Vivint’s cutting-edge technology includes add-ons like an intuitive smart thermostat, an indoor camera with two-way communication and a garage door control that lets you close it from your smartphone. One major pain point is that Vivint requires long contracts, which can be a problem if you don’t want to be locked into a long-term commitment. But, if you’re fine with a four- or five-year contract, Vivint’s worth a look.


Vivint is all about home automation and state-of-the-art technology. If you’re into things like controlling your lights, door locks, security cameras, and pretty much anything else under your roof that can connect to your smartphone, then Vivint’s alarm systems are worth heavy consideration. The company is starting to design more and more of its own equipment, so it doesn’t rely as much on third-party vendors as Frontpoint or ADT do. The Vivint Doorbell Camera is one of our favorite pieces of security equipment to date.
As the largest and most well-known brand in home security, ADT has a lot to offer homeowners looking for a professionally installed security solution from a company that has been part of the industry since the beginning. They continue to innovate and improve, taking advantage of technological advances and evolving their product offering to meet the needs of modern homeowners. ADT has recently made significant strides in the connected home space as the home automation market continues to expand. ADT’s Canopy® is a new professional monitoring service designed to support their partnerships and integrations with smart home devices and ecosystems such as Samsung’s SmartThings (as well as their smart watch, the S2), Nest and LG. ADT Pulse Home security also continues to evolve with the addition of voice command capabilities and the company’s partnership with IFTTT allows ADT Pulse users even more ways to interact and control their home environment and security system.
Really disappointed in these cameras. We had outdoor cameras installed and a few weeks later that they record 30 second clips, but after each 30 sec clip the camera is UNABLE TO RECORD for 4 minutes?? So, a bad guy pulls into my property. There's a 30 sec recording of them and then at a critical time there's no recording for 4 minutes? Why is this and how does this make sense??
Worst service ever. Was told that I would be quoted one thing when I ended up having to spend much more. Have been trying to get reimbursed for over a month now. Also spoke with someone on the phone and I expressed my frustrations and they literally laughed at me. I will never go with this company again. After my contract is up we will be done.Read More
We’re big fans of mobile access because it’s what home security is for—knowing your home is safe at any time and doing something about it when it’s threatened. Most companies now allow you to control your system this way from a keychain remote controller, mobile device (iOS or Android mostly), or web-based app for ease of use and distant check-ins.
Of all the DIY systems we looked at, Abode’s free self-monitoring plan packs the most punch. With no subscription whatsoever, you can use every feature available on the mobile app (which includes options like push notifications, a live surveillance feed, and system controls) and you get access to three days’ worth of system activity, like when a particular door was opened or a particular motion sensor was triggered. If you want to bump that history up to two weeks, the Connect plan costs $10 per month. And for $30 per month, you get a 90-day timeline plus professional monitoring.
ADT's latest rev of its software also supports its own Amazon Alexa skill. According to ADT, customers with an Alexa-enabled device, like an Amazon Echo, will be able to use it to arm and disarm their alarms and even access their smart devices using Alexa's voice recognition. However, this is not biometric voice security, meaning your individual voice pattern will not be enough to access the system; you'll still need to enter your alarm code or Pulse access pin number verbally.

Unlike our other top picks, Canary doesn’t have a backup cellular connection. Instead, it will give you a notification if it goes offline. The well-designed app does an effective job alerting you — just keep in mind that after letting you know of the situation, you will be powerless to do anything but return home. You’ll still be flying blind if the Wifi goes out in your house.
This particular Shield system comes with the SimpliSafe base station (which plugs into the wall), six entry sensors, two motion sensors, a keypad, and a key fob so you can easily arm the system when you leave. Like many other systems on this list, SimpliSafe doesn’t require any tools to install. Just stick the sensors to your windows and doors, pair them with the mobile app, and you’re ready to go. SimpliSafe sells additional sensors so you can expand your system as needed. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa. 

- I did notice a randomly occurring discrepancy where the SmartThings iOS app will, at times, say that there aren't any monitorable devices under Home Security, while other times the app will tell me the system is 'ready to arm'. Both the app and the security hub have up-to-date software so I'm not sure what's going on there. This doesn't appear to impact functionality as the security hub touchscreen will allow arming/disarming of the system in either scenario.
The best home security cameras offer features like night vision and a large field of view. The right location for your cameras depends on the exact layout of your home. We spoke with four industry professionals — a former FBI agent with experience testing home security systems, a criminal defense attorney, an ADT spokesman, and the president of a home security company — about video camera placement, and they offered a few general tips:
Then he tells me I get two free sensors with my package and must purchase each additional sensor.  Ordinarily, I would understand this, but when I spoke with the sales rep, he promised 7 sensors with my package at no additional cost.  There’s my third issue.  The sensors are $150 each but you can buy them online for only $30 to $50 and are exactly the same but you have to “learn” them into your panel, which the installers will not do (understandable, sure).

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