Whether you live in a house or apartment, make mortgage payments or dish out monthly rent checks, one top priority everyone can agree on is peace of mind: for your personal safety, your belongings, and your loved ones. So, how do you get that peace of mind? Two words: home security. While it’s not as exciting as redecorating or setting up a new sound system, home security ensures that your home is protected by more than just a door lock. Because no two home security systems will look the same, our team researched high and low for the details on how to find and design a system that’s perfect for you.
Our Picks for Best Home
Home Security Basics
Besides being where your heart it, your home involves a host of complex energy systems — lighting, appliances, plus sensors for heat, smoke, and carbon monoxide – that affect your overall home maintenance and finances. Home security isn’t just about blaring an alarm when a would-be burglar breaks the back window (though that’s certainly a key aspect of home protection), it’s about making sure your everyday, essential systems are using energy efficiently and contributing to your overall safety. The companies we checked out have created full-coverage systems to account for the various complexities inherent in maintaining and protecting a home.
From physical wires to Wi-fi to Bluetooth, the framework of home security can take on a lot of different forms. Plus, innovation in home automation means a lot of companies enable you to control your pad from your smartphone — locking doors, controlling lights, turning off stovetops, and activating/deactivating alarms (just to name a few). Home security can truly be at your fingertips.
Shopping for a System
Home security systems ultimately boil down to three options: Bundled, custom-built, and DIY. Most companies have a host of bundled options with flat-rate pricing, but if you want more or different features, you can get a quote to design a custom-built system that’s unique to your home setup. Then there’s DIY, which is more or less what it sounds like: not only do you select and install the system yourself, but you also monitor it on your own (meaning it’s not connected a security company’s call center). In the event of a threat to your home security, a break-in, fire, etc., an alert would go straight to your phone. If you’d like to install a DIY system but also want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve got an established home security company watching your back, a lot of companies offer monthly monitoring service (see prices below).
Frontpoint is a key player as they provide top-notch cell monitoring with remote access control of all your home’s energy systems. These more affordable and easily installed systems offered by companies like SimpliSafe and Piper NV vibe are great options for those who have yet to put down roots.
What to Ask Yourself
Every homeowner is naturally going to have different preferences. Most home security companies are more than happy to customize its existing packages to fit your needs, or offer add-ons.
So what would work best for your life, your home and your budget? If you’re renting and aren’t quite sure what the next two years hold, a DIY system would be the most dynamic choice. They’re relatively simple to both install and move (as they aren’t hardwired into the home), and you won’t be tied into a contract if you opt to go for the self-monitoring option. But if you find yourself more anchored (i.e. you own a home), a more extensively wired system may be your ideal choice. Considering the wide range of preferences you’re likely to have, we’ve cultivated a collection of favorites.
Freshome’s Top Picks for the Best Home Security System in Mobile
Protect America or Frontpoint are the home security industry leaders when it comes to highly acclaimed customer service, equipment quality, and overall reputation. The unparalleled customer service from TSI Alarms in Mobile made it the best local option. Numerous testimonials from satisfied customers noted the efficient, professional service and high-quality equipment. Custom Security didn’t bring quite the same standard of customer service, but performed with impressive numbers in reputation and overall performance satisfaction.
Best Bundled Options
- Frontpoint: Frontpoint offers three upgradable packages, each requiring a minimum 36-month monitoring contract. A clean, updated, and professional site makes the quote process a breeze. All-wireless equipment can be shipped directly to your home and requires no professional installation.
- Protect America: This powerhouse offers a free lifetime warranty on all equipment, which is a great deal considering it offers a wide array of options: five upgradable packages, no initial payment for equipment and no installation fees. There is, however, a required 36-month monitoring commitment.
- SimpliSafe: SimpliSafe isn’t messing around when it comes to simple safety. With no yearly contract, no middlemen, and no landline required, it’s a low-risk bundle. Four packages to choose from, all-wireless equipment, and a reasonable $230 for its standalone security kits.
Mobile’s Best Local Home Security Companies
TSI Alarms & Audio
Founded in 1998, TSI Alarms & Audio is an IQ certified alarm company providing security systems, medical alarms, home automation, and many other home improvement services to the Greater Mobile area. TSI is an authorized GE dealer and is licensed, insured, and bonded. The up-to-date equipment is installed by knowledgeable TSI security specialists and is always performed in a timely manner. A convenient aspect of TSI is that they’re able to repair and service almost any brand in the market. This allows you to use even damaged equipment from previous home security systems and save yourself a bit of cash.
TSI Alarms & Audio is recognized for having some of the most competitive prices on the market. Basic monitoring rates begin at just $20 a month; plus, when you register with TSI, a specialist will install a security system valued at $850 in your home for only $99. The monitoring rates for this plan are a bit more beginning at $36 per month. TSI is able to offer the utmost video surveillance products and installation at a fraction of competing prices as they buy their equipment straight from the manufacturer. The surveillance equipment also includes a manufacturer’s three year warranty.
TSI Alarms & Audio stands out in comparison to other security companies by offering another life-saving feature, medical alarms. TSI specializes in linear security personal emergency reporting systems, or simply put, push-button emergency system consoles posted to your walls or desks. Each console can be used for up to 16 linear wireless transmitters. You’ve probably heard of Life Alert or a similar company selling necklace alarms for elderly or disabled persons. TSI recognizes that some people do not wish to flaunt their emergency alarm button for all to see so the transmitters are available not only as pendants, but keyrings, handhelds, wristbands, or constructed doors and windows. You can also program the console to be voice-activated through a speakerphone. There is no need to panic if your power goes out, the console includes a rechargeable backup battery.
If you’re looking for security and safety for you and your loved ones, you’ve stumbled upon one of the best comprehensive security systems in Alabama. A TSI security specialist will even come to your home to inspect and inform you of all areas exposed to break-ins. Don’t wait until it’s too late; let the security specialists at TSI Alarms & Audio give you a free quote and educate you about your home’s safety.
Serving the Alabama Gulf Coast for more than 35 years, Custom Security has developed into a worthwhile resource for locals. Although they specialize in security; fire alarm systems; and home automation with reputable quality, Custom Security provides and installs intercom systems; distributed sound; telephone systems; central vacuum systems; and structured wiring with CATS wire and coaxial cable as well. Prices for security systems vary as Custom Security’s professional installers design systems catered to your individual lifestyle.
Many security companies will reclaim their equipment when you relocate or stop using their services; however, when you purchase a system from Custom Security, that system belongs to you. Cellular monitoring prices range from $36 to $39 a month while broadband connections have a standard rate of $29 per month. With cellular monitoring, you can register to receive text notifications for alarm, fire, and CO2 emergencies.
If home automation is something that interests you, you’ll want to consider Custom Security’s smart technologies. Their systems allow you to alter the temperature of your home, switch your lights on and off, and unlock your home from your remote device. Keep in mind that for temperature automation, you will likely have to swap out your current thermometer for a compatible system. As for lighting, your light switches will be replaced by your remote device.
If you’re interested in receiving more information about Custom Security, we recommend phoning them as their website offers limited information. The team at Custom Security are eager to answer your questions and begin preparing a system specially for you.
Best DIY Security Systems
- Lowe’s Iris: Pulling out all the stops when it comes to connected accessories and optional professional monitoring, Iris is the most tricked-out DIY system on the market. It offers three different kits (with different accessory options) ranging in price from $129 to $249, and each only takes an hour to install.
- Piper NV: Sleek and compact, Piper NV’s all-in-one security tower is tailor-made for an apartment. Its relatively small size — comparable to a large jar — belies the host of powerful security tools in its arsenal: an immersive-view, streaming-ready camera, plus detectors for motion, sound, light, temperature and humidity.
Local companies that didn’t make the cut
We found these brands to be a few strides behind TSI Alarms & Audio and Custom Security in overall reputation:
- Advanced Detection Security
- Security System Specialists
- American Security & Electronics
Preventing False Alarms
Preventing false alarms are inevitably part of managing a home security system and doesn’t take much extra effort. Consider what you’ll be doing for your community and local police force by keeping emergency responses dispatched to actual emergencies. In a lot of cases, the better the equipment, the lower the risk of false-alarm activation. That’s where a company like Protect America with its lifetime equipment warranty could be a huge asset.
Of course, preventing false alarms will entirely depend on what kind of system you have installed and what features you have deployed in the home. Ask your home security company what you can do to reduce alarms. For example, it’s a good idea to ask if the system has the intelligence to differentiate between the movement of a pet and an actual intruder. Simple installing new batteries on a routine basis can also be a major deterrent to pesky false alarms, as can making sure doors and windows are fully shut before arming the system (keeping wind and other environmental factors from activating the sensors).
If you have a more advanced feature in place, like an acoustic glass-break detector (this senses when a burglar tries to bust through the window), it can also sense, say, a wine glass breaking. You obviously don’t want emergency services dispatched in that case, so think about going with dual-tech glass-break technology. Essentially, it has to sense both the frequency of glass breaking and the shock against your window before setting off the alarm. This ensures that the alarm is sounding for an actual intrusion and not a household blunder.
Check out our infographic below for some simple tips that will lead to major false alarm prevention.
How to Register Your Alarm System in Mobile:
Like most major cities, Mobile requires you to register your alarm system so that emergency services can track the frequency of alerts and minimize false alarms. Luckily, the cost is relatively low at $25, and the permit is valid for a full year.
What does the typical burglar look for when identifying a target?
The most important thing to a would-be thief is the ability to accomplish the task quickly, efficiently, and without being seen. Therefore, landscaping (like large bushes) they could hide in, lack of security system signage, and absence of passersby are not huge deterrents. If it appears that it would take them more than a few minutes to get in and out, many thieves will bail for an easier target.
How much do I actually need a home security system?
Studies have found that on average and approximately every 13 seconds, a US home experiences a break-in — that’s two million homes a year. While these statistics take into account a wide variety of metropolitan areas, and you may very well be at low risk for a break-in, installing a home security system makes you, your family and your home far less vulnerable to future risk (you just never know).
How does a home security system play into my homeowner’s or renter’s insurance?
In a lot of instances, having a security system can drive down homeowner and renter insurance costs, often saving you up to 20% depending on your insurance company and plan. Be sure to check with your provider.
If I lose power, will my alarm system still work?
All the battery-powered systems we’ve reviewed include a backup battery that kicks in should a loss of power occur. Most companies are already equipped to notify you with a low battery signal so that you can prepare yourself before the fact and not be caught with a non-functioning system.
The Bottom Line
You know how important your home base, valuables, and family are and now you know how to better protect them with a host of home security options. We’ve narrowed it down to the top contenders, so all you need to do is match it to your needs and call for quotes.