To thoroughly test each system, we spent several weeks walking in front of motion sensors, opening and closing contact sensors, and setting off sirens. Next, we looked at cameras, keypads, and iOS/Android apps, when available. And finally, we armed, disarmed, and spied on each system from inside and outside the home, even testing each system’s battery backup by cutting its power.
We’ve been testing and reviewing security systems for five years. Each year we select the top systems based on reliability, flexibility, smart home integrations, and of course, affordability.
Figuring out which home security system is right for you doesn’t have to be stressful. At Security.org, we’ve tested out all the top options with a wide variety of features: DIY home security, professionally installed home security, home security systems that work with Alexa and Google Assistant, and plain old local alarms for the more tech-averse people in our lives.
No matter the size of your house, apartment, or business, there are many scalable options to choose from, and we’ve tested all our security systems personally to make sure they’re reliable. From options with no monthly fees whatsoever to options with 24/7, live professional monitoring, home security can look many different ways in 2021, and we’ve tried out everything, so you don’t have to.
Security Systems provides expert CCTV installation for your residential or commercial infrastructure.
Our Home Security System Picks
- SimpliSafe – Best Home Security System Overall
- ADT – Best Home Security System with Pro Installation
- Cove – Best Security System for Installation and Convenience
- Vivint – Best Home Security and Automation
- Alder – Best Security System for Response Times
SimpliSafe – Best Home Security System Overall
A popular choice for no-contract, easy DIY setup, and refreshingly affordable home security.
SimpliSafe made it easy and affordable to install a home alarm system ourselves. We were able to set up security and environmental protection in an hour or less.
SimpliSafe is a flexible, affordable, and easy-to-use live-monitoring security system. Setting it up was straightforward, with customisable alarm triggers and consistent monitoring response times. It’s also scalable to small and large homes and configurable with various accessories, from entry and motion detectors to fire and CO sensors to leak and temperature sensors. SimpliSafe also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to arm and check the system using only voice commands. However, unlike our other two picks, the system doesn’t have the option for a stand-alone outdoor camera, and it doesn’t work with as many third-party smart-home devices.
Read on for our reasons why SimpliSafe was best for no-contract home security.
What We Like
- No long-term contracts to sign
- Most effortless installation of any system
- Incredibly affordable monitoring plans
- Award-winning professional monitoring
What We Don’t Like
- High up-front equipment costs
- Limited home automation capabilities
- No outdoor security camera options
- It may be too simple for some homes
Low Prices for Equipment & Monitoring
SimpliSafe was our favourite lower-budget home security solution. We paid for a system upfront, but the expense was relatively low. A starter set cost us $244 before discounts. This security company had frequent specials, plus they offered us refurbished security equipment for less.
Along with yard signs and stickers, our SimpliSafe starter set included:
- A base station
- A wireless keypad
- A keyring remote
- One motion sensor
- Two entry sensors
We were excited that the deal also included a SimpliCam, a high-definition video security camera with a motion sensor that could send alerts.
A free SimpliSafe mobile app helped us monitor the system. With SimpliSafe, our professional monitoring costs $14.99 or $24.99 month-to-month. The $24.99 plan gave us mobile control of the system in addition to text alerts.
Although SimpliSafe security systems were inexpensive, they weren’t shoddy. Our equipment was low-priced mainly because SimpliSafe manufactured it themselves. Meanwhile, their competitors included go-betweens who passed along big markups.
One example of SimpliSafe’s high quality was their SmashSafe backup against tampering: If someone tried to disable our system, the monitoring service alerted police. Another example was the Heartbeat feature, which continuously checked that the security system was working as intended.
We weren’t super fond of the simplicity of SimpliSafe’s video cameras. They weren’t weatherproof, and we would have liked indoor or outdoor cameras with more advanced functions.
Simple to Install and Move
Setting up our SimpliSafe system was easy. From our understanding, most customers set up the equipment on their own and only about three per cent order help. We installed our system in about 20 minutes and estimated it would take someone inexperienced about 30 minutes to manage. All equipment was freestanding or attached to surfaces with removable adhesive. We could quickly move a SimpliSafe security system to a different home. The portability combined with no contracts helped make SimpliSafe a favourite for both renters and homeowners.
We were pretty sceptical of SimpliSafe at first. But they delivered on their promises of affordable and simple home security, right out of the box. Installing the system only took us 10 minutes. And it was a breeze to control using the mobile app. We don’t think any company beats SimpliSafe for essential intrusion protection.
With that said, we wouldn’t recommend this system to tech-lovers, as we think the features are a little too basic. For instance, we would have liked to see an outdoor camera and more smart home features. But if easy DIY installation, no-contracts, and low-cost monitoring is your thing, we think you’ll love SimpliSafe.
We think it’s also an excellent option for people who rent. You can take the equipment with you, and you don’t have to worry about penalties or installation fees at your new place if you want home security.
Without the steep prices or long-term contracts, we highly recommend looking into this provider.
Check out Security Systems’ range of high-end security access control systems installation for your home or office protection needs.
Why Choose SimpliSafe
- Easiest DIY Installation
- Low-Cost Monitoring
- Generous 60-Day Free Trial
ADT – Best Home Security System with Pro Installation
The biggest name in home security is known for professional installation and monitoring you can trust.
Back in the days of telegraphed security alerts, ADT was already a solid company. Since its founding, ADT has guarded more than six million homes and businesses with hardwired and wire-free alarm systems, all professionally installed.
Their home automation platform was called ADT Pulse. We appreciated that ADT Pulse enabled the use of voice commands with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It was something we’d gotten used to with our smartphones.
We also thought it was highly convenient to use the system’s high-end control panels via the ADT Pulse app. Systems guarded against burglaries, gave environmental alerts, and automated our home. Additionally, we also liked ADT-monitored medical alert devices. This was good to know if one of our parents needed to move in with us for a while. Read on for more details about why ADT was so famous.
What We Like
- 145+ years of security innovation
- Professional installation
- High-quality equipment
- Reliable monitoring with multiple centres
What We Don’t Like
- Professional monitoring is more expensive than others
- Customer service is hit-or-miss
- Requires long-term contracts
- Installation Technician must visit your home
Many new security companies design products for DIY installation only. We saw that there were advantages that resulted from ADT staying old-fashioned and setting up each security system themselves. One advantage we noted with the professional set-up was that we could be almost certain everything was installed 100% correctly. This gave us the peace of mind that all access points were guarded. We also found the professional installation beneficial in large homes, which made for stressful DIY installations.
Hardwired, Wireless & Hybrid Security
Many of the best home security companies we discussed focused exclusively on wireless communication among components. ADT was an exception. For decades, they installed and monitored hardwired security systems, and we liked that these were still available. We also noticed that ADT was among the minority of modern security companies that supported landlines. We figured this was one of the reasons they were a popular choice in remote regions that lacked cellular coverage.
ADT is a household name, so we frequently try out their systems to ensure they’re still up-to-task. In our latest round of testing, we realised that ADT home security systems are so popular for a reason. We think their home protection + home automation, + video packages are nipping at the heels of Vivint. That is, they made us feel secure in our home and kept us plenty busy with nifty intelligent home features. We especially liked the ADT Pulse App and controls.
We find ADT to be slightly more expensive than other elite systems. But if you don’t mind paying a premium price for a premium product, ADT might be the way to go. That said, remember that the franchise nature of the company can mean inconsistent customer support depending on your location.
Even still, ADT once again makes our list of best home security companies.
We also discovered that ADT monitored medical alerts. Our options included a variety of bracelets and neck pendants capable of sending emergency signals. Three plans were available:
- $29.99/month – Home-based medical alert
- $34.99/month – Home-based medical attention, plus fall detection
- $39.99/month – Fall detection included, Medical alert wearables had GPS tracking for emergency medical support at home or away
While we felt pricing for ADT medical alerts was clear, we recognized that costs for ADT home security were more complex and varied from home to home.
Why Choose ADT
- 100+ Years in the Industry
- Fast Response Times
- 6-Month Guarantee
Cove – Best Security System for Installation and Convenience
Cove flies under the radar, but if you want a quick and easy setup, they’re one of the best security systems around.
One way that we saved money with Cove was by installing the system ourselves.
Pre-programmed even before it was shipped to us, we stuck our sensors on our walls via their 3M-backed adhesives. On the phone with someone from Cove, we made sure each consistently worked, a reasonably long but necessary process. However, you can set it up in as little as an hour if you need that extra confirmation. But this is a system that’s easy to install and, best of all, free to install.
What We Like
- Integrations with Google Assistant and Alexa
- Month-to-month contracts available
- Can choose to pay nothing upfront
- Battery backup
What We Don’t Like
- Professional monitoring required
- Third-party security cameras only
- Expensive remote control
- Monthly fees required
24/7 Professional Monitoring
Being a newer company, we were surprised that all of Cove’s systems require 24/7 professional monitoring, but we liked that we could either sign up for a month if we paid for our equipment upfront or three years if we didn’t want to pay anything upfront. For those concerned with money, the latter is a good option, although your monthly rates will be more expensive, $25 to $35 a month compared to $15 or $25 (we paid $25 a month).
Text Communications with Cove Plus
We loved that during emergencies, Cove’s team could text us, which could be helpful if, god forbid, we’re ever in a hostage situation. That’s one of the reasons why Cove’s response rate is ten times faster than its competitors, and even if you’re part of a family, Cove can text the whole group at once!
Cove entered the market just when everyone was looking for affordable home security, a simple setup, and monitoring they can rely on. And the company offers all of this and then some. After using the system for over 100 hours, we can say that Cove gives other top brands like SimpliSafe and Frontpoint a run for their money.
First off, Cove’s pricing is downright affordable. We got a whole system set up for around $200, making it one of the cheaper options we’ve seen. It only takes about 10-20 minutes to install the system in your home, and once you’re up-and-running, the sleek touch screen panel makes a great addition to any home. It’s not the most intelligent system we’ve used, but it works with Alexa and Google Home, giving you hands-free voice control.
But what stood out to us about Cove was their 24/7 monitoring. It really (really) works. Our alarm went off, and the monitoring centre was on the line within 30 seconds, and the police were at our door within 15-20 minutes. This is made possible because of Cove’s AT&T 4G LTE cellular monitoring. It’s a significant improvement over the standard Wi-Fi connection we usually see in DIY systems.
We think Cove’s app experience could be improved, and we’d like to see them add an outdoor camera to their product lineup. Overall, though, we think Cove has a lot of staying power — especially with their generous 60-day money-back guarantee and month-to-month service starting at only $14.99.
Why Choose Cove
- Simple DIY Installation
- Touchscreen Control Panel
- RapidSOS Emergency Dispatch
Vivint – Best Home Security and Automation
An intelligent approach to home security with an impressive lineup of home automation features.
Vivint installed and monitored our wire-free home security system. We chose Vivint for basic security and environmental protection, but home automation with voice commands made this company stand out to us.
In our company research, we learned that Vivint worked with some of the principal intelligent home assistants such as Google Home and Alexa to develop a fully autonomous home. Most Vivint customers were homeowners with long-term security contracts, and the majority gave Vivint excellent reviews. Read on for three reasons Vivint was one of our favourites.
What We Like
- Best intelligent home automation features available
- Well-designed, modern equipment
- Lifetime warranty on equipment/devices
- Free professional installation
What We Don’t Like
- A long-term contract is required.
- Equipment and service is more expensive than most
- Costly to move equipment to a different home
- Equipment pricing can be confusing
Vivint partnered with Amazon Echo to offer voice control of home systems. Some of the possible commands were:
- Arm the security system “away.”
- Close our garage door
- Dim our lights
- Turn on our lights
- Turn the heat up three degrees
When we started feeling old-fashioned, we controlled our Vivint security with a key chain remote, a mobile app, or the main control panel.
Vivint made cutting-edge security cameras for our indoor and outdoor use. We could video anytime with cloud storage and remotely adjust each camera’s settings.
We were most impressed by the newest Vivint security camera, the Outdoor Camera Pro with night vision. It provided 24/7 “lurker detection,” thanks to artificial intelligence.
A doorbell camera, the Vivint Pan-and-Tilt camera, and an indoor ping camera were also in our Vivint home security lineup.
There’s a certain feeling that comes with using Vivint. We can’t put our finger on it, but this intelligent home security system did leave us feeling pretty secure and even a little wiser! The home automation options were the most impressive we’ve seen from any company.
We found their cellular monitoring responsive and reliable, but it was nothing worth writing home about. However, we think you’ll like Vivint’s award-winning Sky App, which made it ultra-easy to access and control our system remotely.
Keep in mind, though, Vivint is not a DIY system — it does require professional installation. Also, the equipment is a bit pricey, but you certainly get what you pay for. Thankfully, their monthly monitoring cost is on par with other top brands.
Overall, we think Vivint is a great fit for folks who want it all, but in one fully integrated and streamlined system.
Why Choose Vivint
- Best-in-class Smart Features
- Award-winning Mobile App
- Professional Installation
Alder – Best Security System for Response Times
With response times ten times faster than the rest, the professional monitoring from Alder was top-notch.
Every Alder system, including ours, came with 24/7 professional monitoring, but Alder did things a little differently than some other systems we tested. Their response times were up to ten times faster than competitors we looked at, with an average of 3.4 seconds in 2017. In-home invasions or even hostage situations, every second matter, so we felt super safe knowing that help was only a few seconds away.
What We Like
- Quick installation
- 30-day trial period
- User-friendly mobile app
- Free equipment
What We Don’t Like
- Three-year contracts
- Not many equipment options
- Pricing isn’t listed on the website
- Expensive monthly fees
When we signed up for Alder, we were shocked to find out that our only option was to agree to three years. Since we’re single and living, three years could feel like a lifetime. We had no idea what city we’d be living in by then? Fortunately, our Alder salesperson told us we could try our system out for 30 days. Of course, we only returned our plans once we were done testing them thoroughly over about a year, so that we couldn’t make these 30 days. However, if we had returned our system within 30 days of purchasing it, we would’ve gotten a complete refund, except for return shipping, which seemed pretty fair.
We were deep into the Amazon smart home ecosystem, so we had fun controlling our Alder system with Alexa, arming it, checking its status, and with the GC2 touchscreen control panel, controlling our intelligent thermostats.
It took us less than 15 minutes to install our Alder security system. All we had to do was plug in the control panel and set it up on the screen, stick the sensors on our walls, doors, and windows, and download the Alder Security app to our iPhones and Androids. Alder also offered us professional installation on the house!
We liked Alder security systems for their fast response times and overall versatility. And controlling our system with their touchscreen panel was effortless and pretty darn sleek. Otherwise, this company offers a similar feature-set as brands like Frontpoint and Brinks.
Where Alder impressed us was with their sub-5-second response times. Compared to the industry average, that’s lightning fast! They use 4G LTE cellular monitoring, which is the gold standard for monitoring these days.
That said, we didn’t love the high prices, lack of camera options, and the required professional installation. But overall, we think this up-and-coming security brand is a safe bet.
Why Choose Alder
- 4G LTE Cellular Monitoring
- Alexa & Z-Wave Compatible
- 7” Touchscreen Control Panel
Let Security Systems get you peace of mind by installing top-quality and reliable home security cameras in Melbourne.