Home security is no longer just about wall-mounted control panels with loud intruder alarms, it can now ensure that your home is covered on all fronts. With advancements in technology, today’s security systems connect with your entire home, so you know when a pipe leaks, can unlock doors and turn on lights, and monitor cameras — all from your smartphone or device. Now, you can check from anywhere if there’s a package on your doorstep or the kids have arrived home safely.
Our Picks for Best Home
So whether you’ve just purchased a new home, want to add security to your current home, or are looking to outfit yourself with the latest and greatest of home security, there’s a home security system out there for you. But where to start? We dove into the basics of home security, so you know what options are out available and researched which companies both local and national are the best. Let’s begin.
Home Security Systems Basics
The Traditional System
A traditional security system, also referred to as a landline system, consists of door and window sensors that are wired to a control panel. If one of these sensors is triggered, the alarm will sound. However, today’s systems are much more advanced, often including video monitoring, motion detectors, and home automation, so that you have more control than ever. These new systems are also completely wireless and use cellular technology (unless you opt to pay for a cheaper option) to alert a call center if you opt-in for the monitoring service.
Home automation allows you to connect the devices and appliances in your home to your smartphone or device, so that you have complete control wherever you go. The possibilities for connectivity are endless and with most companies highly customizable. You can connect your thermostat, garage door, sprinkler system, lights, appliances, alarm systems, cameras, doors, locks, and many other units and devices in your home. You can be alerted when a package arrives on your doorstep or when your kids return home, turn off lights to reduce energy usage, and monitor your security system while away on vacation. For more about the benefits of home automation, read Top 10 Benefits of Automating Your Home.
Most security systems require you to pay for professional monitoring, which is when the security company monitors your system 24/7 at a call center. Standard monitoring solutions use your phone or internet service to contact the call center in the event of an alarm being set off. However, a newer and more reliable technology exists: cellular (or wireless) monitoring. Cellular technology operates even if the internet or phone goes down, or the wires are cut during a break-in; plus, it’s more reliable during a natural disaster.
Many security companies only offer cellular monitoring, but some do allow you to use your landline (phone or internet service) for a cheaper rate. When you pick your monitoring solution, it’s important that you choose the kind of monitoring technology you feel is best for your home, security needs, and budget.
Bundles vs. Customized Systems
Unless you purchase a DIY system, security companies will offer either bundles or customized builds. Both have great benefits, but you have to decide which is best for your situation.
Bundle systems are easy to install and operate, and you can purchase exactly what you need online. There is a set quote (unless you add upgrades) and you can often install them yourself to avoid the cost. Bundles often come with long-term contracts and professional monitoring services.
Customized builds are more complicated at the beginning, but are just as easy to use once installed. The system is customized to your wants, so a certified technician will need to survey your home. There is no way to estimate the cost beforehand but the survey is usually free with no expectations of purchasing. Most customized builds require long-term contracts and professional monitoring services, but some companies will allow you to pay for the equipment upfront so that you can avoid those contracts (unless you want the professional monitoring).
Some people believe that customized builds will be more expensive than bundles, and this can be the case if you want the most advanced security system on the market. Sometimes though, a customized build can get you a lower price because you aren’t paying for any unwanted features in a bundle. This is often true in unique homes — so don’t rule out bundles or customized builds just because of assumed costs.
Freshome’s Top Picks for the Best Home Security in Memphis
Finding the right security company is the first step in finding the best home security system for your home. Our team carefully selected nine Memphis companies and a handful of national companies. We evaluated, tested, and scored these companies based on pricing, reliability, and customer service. The companies listed scored the highest in all the categories and offered the best products.
If you want a national security company with great products and reputations, Frontpoint and Protect America offer the most affordable bundles for your home. SimpliSafe’s bundles are highly competitive, and it also offers customized builds as well as standalone systems.
If you prefer to choose a local company with customized builds instead of standard bundles, Memphis has a great variety of outstanding home security companies. Our favorite picks: Stop Alarms, Inc. and Frase Protection.
If the professional monitoring and long-term contracts that comes with most customized builds or bundles aren’t for you, we also researched DIY security solutions. Lowe’s Iris and the Piper NV combine home automation and home security in a high-tech system that allows you to customize your home for a much cheaper price.
Best Bundled Options
- Frontpoint: Frontpoint offers three cellular bundle options with a three-year warranty, and long-term contract professional monitoring. You can sign up for a 30-day trial and may be eligible for insurance discounts.
- Protect America: Protect America offers three bundle options with price variances depending on your chosen monitoring solution: landline, broadband, or cellular. Its quotes are available online and you can install the system yourself to waive the installation fee.
- SimpliSafe: SimpliSafe offers four wireless packages in addition to custom builds and refurbished security systems. Its standalone systems come with no contracts and are great if you’re planning on moving in the future. If you don’t like the system, you can return it for a full refund within 60 days.
Memphis’ Best Home Security Companies
Stop Alarms, Inc.
Stop Alarms Inc. is not only trusted by thousands of Memphis homeowners, but by businesses and government buildings as well. Stop Alarms Inc. has provided safety for in the Greater Memphis area for over 45 years; this being said, its equipment is by no means dated. Stop Alarms is continually adopting the most up to date technology. They are a GE Security Pro dealer creating package systems most suitable to you.
At Stop Alarms Inc. you can design your security system to be controlled by you from anywhere in the world. The team at Stop Alarms Inc. understands that conserving energy is key; through web control, you can adjust your home’s lighting and thermostat. Just think of how much you could save on energy bills as well! This remote technology also allows you to view your video surveillance from your cell phone so you can check in on the kids from the store or even just a few rooms away.
With home security monitoring, you can rest assured that another pair of eyes is keeping guard of your home. Stop Alarms Inc. has a 24/7 monitoring station at two connected locations. Live professional operators will assist you at any time through two way voice control and/or video verification.
Stop Alarms Inc. understands that when it comes to security you need to be fully comfortable with the people you’re working with. Stop Alarms Inc. does not employ subcontractors. All employees are full-time and undergo an FBI background check prior to employment. Consultants and installers also regularly participate in classroom and field training to ensure they are familiar with the newest security products.
Give a trusted team member at Stop Alarms Inc. a call to learn more about their security options and discover a security package and quote specifically designed for you and your home.
Frase Protection is one of the largest independently owned security companies in Memphis. They have protected their Memphis neighbors for over 40 years. Unlike many independently owned security companies, Frase Protection is accredited by BBB. Frase has been represented by BBB since 1995 and holds an A+. Their team is comprised of 19 employees and frequently generates positive feedback. One customer describes Frase Protection as having “Trustworthy competence with a focus on exceptional service.”
One of Frase’s most well-reviewed features is the company’s remote management. This tool can be used from not only your cell phone, but from your tablets and laptops as well. This device allows you to manage your energy savings as well. Remote management lets you arm and disarm your security system, unlock your doors, control the lights and temperature in your home, and even watch your surveillance cameras recordings live.
Most of us have been locked out of the house at least once in our lives, you may remember trying to pop out a screen or just having to wait outside on the curb until another family member or roommate returned. Frase eliminates this unnecessary inconvenience by allowing you to unlock any doors with a few clicks. You can share this control with other family members and limit their level of control by creating various user access codes.
At Frase, your system is catered to your lifestyle. You can choose to receive email, text, or visual alerts for notifications like severe weather alerts and high temperatures. In the event of an emergency, you can directly communicate with first responders through the 2-way emergency voice system. This communicative tool is reinforced to work even if your phone line has been compromised or your power is out.
Frase Protection offers IP, HD, DVR, Cloud, and Digital surveillance cameras. With their patented technology, your security system is protected even if an intruder destroys it. All installations include a full one-year warranty for both parts and labor. Quotes are free so why not check them out online or give Frase Protection a call.
Best DIY Security Systems
- Lowe’s Iris: Iris by Lowe’s is a home automation and security system designed with compatible devices, that you can control with an app through your phone. While the app is part of a free service, you can choose to upgrade to a premium plan for $9.99/month, if you want additional upgrades and users.
- Piper NV: Piper NV is a standalone wireless security camera and home automation system with optional accessories to customize your system. The Piper NV comes with no contract and no professional monitoring, but will notify you if security is breached.
Local companies that didn’t make the cut
Stop Alarms, Inc. and Frase Protection weren’t the only outstanding local companies for home security. We also have a few honorable mentions, so if our number one and two don’t meet your needs, check out these companies as well.
- Delta Surveillance
- Mautz Security, Inc.
- Electronic Security Specialists & Cabling
How to Register Your Alarm System in Memphis
All alarm systems must be registered by obtaining an alarm permit from the Metro Alarm Office — simply fill out the application form and mail it with a $30 registration fee. You must renew your permit by June 1st each year with an accompanying $5 renewal fee and cannot renew if you have any outstanding fines or penalties from false alarms.
Preventing False Alarms
False alarms are a big deal in Memphis — it costs the Memphis Police Department a minimum of $90 per false alarm. By creating the Alarm Service Office (Metro Alarm Office) and the false alarm penalty system, the police have greatly reduced the number of false alarms, but there are still 48,000 false alarms annually. To avoid unnecessary false alarms and their accompanying fees, there are several steps that you can take.
Following these steps will ensure your home security system works at its best and reduces chances of user-error false alarms. However, if you feel your false alarm is due to faulty equipment, make sure contact your security company to have the system inspected.
So what happens if you get a false alarm in Memphis? Memphis operates on a false alarm schedule of allowances for each permit year. The following are the penalties for each false alarm:
- One to three: receive a written notice and warning letter; no fee
- Four: receive a written notice and warning letter; $25 fee; attend required alarm class
- Five to seven: receive a written notice and warning letter; $25 fee
- Eight: receive a written notice and warning letter; $25 fee; no longer receive police response for alarms
What systems are available if I live in an apartment?
If you want to purchase a home security system, watch for systems that are easily transported if you need to move. SimpliSafe offers great systems that relocate easily, so work well for apartments. Also, DIY systems are wonderful options because you don’t have to worry about breaking a professional monitoring contract. The 5 Best DIY Home Security Systems provides more ideas for your apartment needs.
Will pets set off my alarm system?
Pets, and even loose curtains, can set off your motion sensors. To avoid this problem, you should make sure your system comes with pet-friendly sensors. These sensors can detect the size differences between pets and intruders so that your beloved pets don’t set off a false alarm.
What is professional monitoring?
Professional monitoring is when your security company monitors your system with a 24/7 call center. If any alarms are set off, the call center acts as a first response unit and contacts the police and you to ensure your safety.
What is a DIY security system?
DIY systems don’t include professional monitoring: you are responsible as the first response unit. If your alarm goes off, you are notified through your smartphone, computer, or tablet, and you must contact the police if needed yourself. DIY systems are cheaper because they don’t include monthly payments or long-term contracts for professional monitoring.
Do I have enough home security?
Home security is more than the basic alarm system: it’s how your home is protected, monitored, and appears to the passerby. You shouldn’t settle for basic burglary protection when security systems offer protection against so much more, such as fires, flooding, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other dangers to your home. Your system should monitor all these factors and alert you if there are any problems.
However, you don’t need to go overboard on the home security. If your system and extra precautions become a detriment to your lifestyle, or a loved one’s lifestyle, then it’s too much. Keep it simple and don’t let home safety cripple you.
The Bottom Line
Whether you live in country home, a city apartment, or the suburbs, there is a security system for you. No matter your budget, you can combine security and home automation to create a high-tech solution that keeps you safe and your home connected. Don’t settle for an old tech system, but embrace the possibilities that today’s home security systems have to offer.