You already know that home security can keep your family and your valuables safer, but did you know that it can also make your life a little easier? Security systems these days go far beyond door sensors and carbon monoxide detectors. The same system that rings an alarm if your window is broken can also automate your thermostat, keep an eye on your kids and pets, and let you control every light in your house with the swipe of a finger.
Our Picks for Best Home
The smart home of the future has already arrived, and it’s more accessible and affordable than you probably think. There’s a wealth of information on home security systems available, and it can seem overwhelming to start digging through it. But fear not—you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put in the hours upon hours of research, so you don’t have to.
Dedicate a few minutes to reading this guide, and we guarantee you’ll come away informed and ready to apply what you’ve learned to your own living situation. We’ll show you how home security systems work, what you need to get started, and what you definitely don’t. Plus, we’ve gone deep into research on security companies—from your locally-operated Seattle providers, to the big name brands. We’ll share our findings and narrow the long list down to a few recommended providers.
Let’s get started.
How Home Security Works
Home security systems are based around a collection of sensors and sometimes cameras, all hooked up to a control panel through WiFi, Bluetooth, or hard-wiring. Some of these sensors are just for convenience, like a freezer thermometer, and if they are triggered, you’ll get a notification through your smartphone. But others, like smoke detectors or sensors that detect a break-in through your door, will trigger an emergency response. If one of these sensors is tripped, your alarm will ring.
Here’s where the type of security system you choose will make a difference. If you go with a DIY system, which generally has a higher upfront cost but no monthly payment, your alarm ringing will be the only action that takes place. You’ll be responsible for assessing the situation and calling the police or fire department if you’re in danger.
If you choose a professionally monitored system, you’ll get a call from your security call center the moment your alarm goes off. If you confirm you’re in an unsafe situation, the appropriate emergency services will be dispatched to your home immediately. Seattle is unique in that a triggered alarm without confirmation of danger will not always dispatch the police.
“Because of the high number of false alarms, police response to alarm calls is a low priority and cannot be guaranteed. The False Alarm Unit recommends that alarm users contact their alarm company to discuss private security guard dispatch. This can be a more timely method of getting a response to your burglar alarm and aids the police department by reducing false alarm dispatches. Your police department is required to respond to a much larger scope of issues and your response may be delayed due to higher priority calls for service.” – Seattle Police Department
In most cities, monitored alarm systems provide an additional level of safety, since emergency services are automatically dispatched. But since Seattle doesn’t always respond to security alarms, it might be a good idea to save some money and go DIY.
Shopping for a System
Home security systems are sold in two categories: custom built and bundled. Both are great for different situations, so consider your priorities before you start shopping.
Bundled packages will be a complete set of sensors, cameras, and control panels that are sold as a kit. If a security company offers bundled packages, there will usually be several to choose from, and you can often add on additional features if a kit is missing something you need. Bundled is a good option if you want to get started with home security right away, or if you’re overwhelmed by choices and want the decision made for you.
If you choose the custom route, setup may take a bit longer, and you’ll need to have your home assessed by a security provider. Sometimes this happens over the phone, and sometimes in person. With a custom-built system, you’ll get the exact level of security you need.
Whatever system you choose, beware of companies that charge substantially more for equipment than others. Most sensors, cameras, and control panels are made by the same manufacturer, just rebranded for each individual company. So look for a good deal, and don’t be swayed by anyone who tells you their sensors are more effective than others.
Before you Begin
Before shopping for home security, assess your living situation. Are you renting, or do you own your home? This could determine whether you need a system that is easy to uninstall, or wouldn’t mind something hard-wired. Are you planning on moving in the near future? Go for a portable DIY kit. What are some security features that could make your life a little easier? Maybe you’re just looking for a door alarm, or perhaps you want camera access and temperature control on your smartphone.
And remember, the best security system is the one that gives you peace of mind. If the idea of tons of sensors and cameras gives you anxiety, skip the extras and go for a basic protection plan. If home automation sounds exciting to you, then go for the upgrades and start building your smart home.
Freshome’s Top Picks for the Best Home Security System in Seattle
To find the best home security option in Seattle, we started our search with nine locally operated security providers. We scored each company on a variety of criteria in four main categories: Customer Service, Equipment, Responsiveness, and Cost. Then we revisited our list of top national brands to determine where you can get the best deal on a home security system. Getting started with a national brand may be a bit quicker and easier, although some of Seattle’s local options offered prices that could be hard to beat.
However, a couple of factors unique to Seattle lead us to recommend a DIY system in most scenarios. First, emergency services won’t automatically attend to an alarm in a timely manner. That means even if you’re paying for professional monitoring, you’ll still need to assess the situation yourself and call for help if need be. Plus, if you have an accidental false alarm, Seattle’s fines are astronomical, and there’s no grace period. With one of our recommended DIY systems, you’ll pay a little more upfront, save on your monthly fee, and have essentially the same level of security that a professionally monitored system will give you. That said, take a look at all of our recommendations and decide what’s right for your situation.
Best National DIY Security Systems
Lowe’s Iris: Lowe’s Iris makes home security fun. They provide tons of sensors and gadgets that you can use to stock your smart home and make your life easier. Everything is sold a la carte, so it’s a great option for any sized home. First generation devices start at $15, with a more complete setup running around $200.
Piper NV: If customizing your own system with individual sensors and cameras sounds like more of a headache than a good time, Piper NV is a simple way to get started with home security. They sell all-in-one towers that have everything you need to protect your home. Their compact, self-contained systems start at $279.
Best National Bundled Options:
FrontPoint: With cellular connection standard on all packages, you can rest easy knowing FrontPoint’s standards are just as high as yours. Their equipment can be installed without the help of a professional, and high customer service ratings across the board mean you’re likely to be happy with your service. Every situation is different, so you’ll need to call for a quote.
Protect America: If paying $0 for security upfront sounds pretty good, Protect America is a solid choice. You’ll need to lock in a 3-year contract, but if you know your security needs are unlikely to change in the near future, that could be a good thing. With five upgradeable packages, it should be easy to find a level of security that suits your lifestyle. Call for a quote.
SimpliSafe: If you’re not sure whether to go DIY or professionally-monitored, SimpliSafe lets you have the best of both worlds. You can start out with a $200 DIY kit, and add on optional call center monitoring for $15 a month down the road. It’s a great low-cost option for anyone—especially if your living situation may change eventually.
Seattle’s Best Local Home Security Companies:
Burdick’s Security has been in the home security business since 1959. Now family-owned for two generations, it offers high-quality, custom home and commercial security solutions to Seattle area residents.
The company is one of the only local Seattle providers to specialize in commercial security solutions, and also one of the only to offer locksmith services. Burdick’s actually began as a locksmith solution provider in 1959, and has expanded to include a diverse portfolio of security solutions. Some of its services include rekeying, master keying, panic bars, keyless entry, locking mailboxes, magnetic locks, and safes.
Burdick’s Security offers a lot of unique home security products, such as custom safes, intercom systems, and keyless entry. Its safes can be made fireproof, which is ideal for important documents like deeds, and residential keyless entry can be a great option for families with children and businesses.
The company also provides custom landline and cellular alarm systems, and is a certified GE Security Pro. It offers tons of options for homeowners, including 24-hour monitoring, video surveillance, panic buttons, and medical emergency alarms. This gives consumers peace of mind that they can reach a dispatcher with the touch of a button in case of an emergency.
Burdick is a great straightforward security provider that provides high quality security systems that work. It takes pride in being one of the fastest responders in the area. Our quote for monitoring started at $40 a month.
Washington Alarm is one of the oldest family-owned alarm companies in Seattle. In business for more than 70 years, it offers personalized commercial and residential solutions for the entire state of Washington.
The company offers tons of customizable security solutions for residential customers, including options for access control, fire safety, home security, automation, and intercom technologies. If you opt for a home security system with home automation features, Washington Alarm also offers an app that allows you to lock your door, adjusting your lighting, set the thermostat, and arm/disarm your system all from your phone or mobile device. The provider suggests this option specifically for vacation homes, but it’s a nice package for your primary residence as well.
Washington Alarm also offers nifty high tech features, including environmental monitoring, water leak sensors, fire and carbon monoxide detectors, and up-to-date touchscreen and keypad alarm interfaces. Its central monitoring station in Seattle is also UL-listed, and technicians are required to undergo continual learning.
The company’s packages are custom, so we encourage you to call for a quote. Ours came in at $60 per month for cellular monitoring, but prices will vary depending on your package.
Protected Systems Integrated is one of the most affordable and customer-centric security providers in Seattle. The company got great customer reviews and offers some of the most current security and automation systems for home and business owners.
For homeowners, Protected Systems offers tons of solutions, including video surveillance, alarm systems, monitoring, home automation, intercom systems, fire safety, and medical alert units. Business owners can enjoy many of the same features, as well as fire sprinklers and access control infrastructure.
Protected Systems also offers one of the most comprehensive home automation technologies. In addition to being able to manage your garage door, home doors, shades, lighting, thermostat, locks, and alarm system wirelessly, you can also upgrade your system to be Z-Wave compatible, enabling you to save on your energy bills based on your existing habits.
Another thing we loved about this provider is that it offers a maintenance plan that allows you to have a technician annually assess your Life & Safety devices and alarm systems to ensure compliance, quality, and function. The annual maintenance check is free for gold members. If you’re interested in this service, ask about it when you call for your quote.
Customers love Protected Systems. It’s one of the most customer-centric companies we’ve seen, and promises to keep “Pride, Service, and Integrity,” at the core of its operations. Our quote for cellular monitoring was also lowest in Seattle at $28 per month
Island Security Systems was founded in 1978 and has served the Puget Sound area for nearly 40 years. The company takes pride in providing the highest quality security systems for small businesses, commercial spaces, and homeowners.
The provider has a reputation for excellence and comes highly recommended. Island Security Systems installed the security systems for the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Storm, Seattle Sonics, Skyway Luggage, City of Seattle Golf Courses, Monorail, and the Mercer Island School District. The company also has 11,000 residential customers in the Puget Sound area in homes that range in value from $200,000 to tens of millions.
Island Security Systems focuses on providing simple, robust security systems that protect customers. Its team of security developers is trained to design security and safety solutions for new builds, and can assess your unique needs to create a powerful, custom solution for you or your business. With this, the company has a list of things you can do around your home to deter theft, which is a nice gesture.
This provider made an impression on us with its dedication to support the Seattle community. It has issued scholarships, helped with emergency animal rescue and funding, and helped homeowners stay in their homes. Island Security Systems is committed to the Puget Sound community, and that dedication shows.
Island Security Systems is a great provider if you are looking for a robust alarm system and monitoring service. Each quote is custom based on your needs. Ours came out to $60 per month.
Evergreen Security Systems is one of the largest locally owned security companies in the Puget Sound area. Started in 1978, it provides custom security systems that couple security and home management.
The provider’s approach to home security is unique. While the company offers alarm systems, UL-listed central station monitoring, UL-certified fire detection systems, and access and intercom systems, it finds a way to make the services useful in everyday life.
When generating your quote, a representative will find a way to address your security concerns with affordable, smart solutions. For example, if your children are home alone often, having mobile access to video surveillance might be a great option to give you peace of mind.
For commercial customers, Evergreen Security Systems also has a technology called Fleet Tracker that allows customers to track the location of trucking fleets using GPS technology. It gives managers more peace of mind in being able to check on a driver’s condition if an unexpected delay occurs, and it can be embedded into other commercial safety features.
Evergreen Security Systems offers tons of options for its customers, from medical alert systems to energy management technology, and everything in between. It’s a great local provider that takes a unique approach to home security by prioritizing what matters to you. Each quote is custom. Ours was $39 per month.
Local Companies that Didn’t Make the Cut
We researched nine Seattle home security companies, although only five made our list of recommendations. The remaining four were disqualified for various reasons, ranging from murky contract stipulations to lack of response to our requests for a quote. Here are the local providers that didn’t make the cut:
- Puget Sound Alarm
- Absolute Security Alarms
- Great Western Security
- Pacific Fire & Security, Inc.
Do I Need to Register my Alarm in Seattle?
While Seattle requires monitored alarm systems to be registered, they work directly with the security company to make sure your system is in compliance. Whether you choose DIY or professionally monitored, you don’t need to worry about registration.
How Can I Prevent False Alarms?
In 2004, Seattle Police were dispatched to 25,000 alarm calls. 97% of those were false alarms. Today, that number is down to 11,000. But it’s still important to reduce the amount your security system cries wolf—to conserve your city’s resources, and to save money. Here’s what you’ll owe if your system has a false alarm:
- Automated (Burglar): $115
- Activated (Panic/Duress/Robbery): $230
- Canceled After Dispatch (Prior to Arrival): $30
- Canceled Before Dispatch: $0
To make sure you’re not at risk of triggering a false alarm, follow our handy guide:
Is a Home Security System Worth the Cost?
With DIY systems starting around $200, we think home security is a great investment for your future. You’ll have the peace of mind that comes with protecting your family and your valuables, and optional features could make your life a little easier. Plus, you’ll usually nab a discount on your insurance, and potentially a small tax break. And if you choose to automate your thermostat and lighting through your security system, you’ll likely recoup your investment in the long run on utility bills.
How Can I Avoid Being a Target?
Criminals don’t discriminate. Everyone is at risk of a burglary or home invasion, across all demographics and every economic status. But burglars are opportunists, and there are a few steps you can take to decrease the chances of your home being targeted.
Is a cellular setup better than a landline?
A cellular connection is far more reliable than landline. Your system won’t be vulnerable to power outages and cut wires like a traditional landline connection would be. You may have the option of using a landline connection with cellular backup, which works just as well.
What if I rent or plan to move soon?
Many DIY systems are relatively portable, and since you won’t have to sign a contract, you’re free to move without starting over. Most sensors in DIY kits are easy to install and uninstall, and you can usually do all the work yourself. And if you ever decide you want professional monitoring, most will allow you to add on a monthly contract whenever you want.
The Bottom Line
There is so much to consider as you begin searching for your home security system, but hopefully this guide has helped you to feel informed, prepared, and ready to tackle the task. From basic burglar deterrents to full smart home automation, there’s a range of security that’s right for your needs. Start by assessing your living situation, then narrow down your options. Remember, the unique way that Seattle handles alarm calls and false alarms means a DIY system may be in your best interest. It’s smart to get a few quotes when you’re shopping for home security, so jump on in with our top picks: