If you live in Buffalo, you’re no stranger to winter storms. Which means you’re probably also no stranger to frozen pipes, leaks, and coming home to a cold home. But did you know that a home security system can prevent all of these problems? Imagine getting an alert that your pipes are dangerously chilly, and being able to automatically heat them from your phone. Or learning you’ve sprung a leak, and shutting off the water with the touch of a button. You can even automate your thermostat to make your home warm and cozy before you walk in the door.
Our Picks for Best Home
Homes security has evolved. It’s more than just door alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. There are a variety of features that you can use to solve everyday issues, reduce stress, and have the peace of mind that comes with keeping your home and your family safe.
There’s so much to learn about home security, and hundreds of options to choose from. But don’t be overwhelmed—we’ve spent hours doing the research for you, and broken it down into a guide you can read in just a few minutes. In this article, we’ll discuss how security systems work, what you need, what you don’t, and where to get started. We’ve researched dozens of national home security companies, as well as providers in Buffalo, and narrowed our list down to a few recommendations that will help you make an informed decision that doesn’t take all day.
The Basics of Home Security Systems
Your home security system is made up of a variety of sensors that communicate with each other and connect to a control panel, either through Bluetooth, WiFi, or wires. Depending on what type of security you need, the sensors will monitor a variety of changes. Did a window break? Is your air quality compromised? Has there been a temperature change? These sensors will be set to communicate with you in different ways. Non-emergency sensors may just send you a phone notification, but if your system detects a potentially dangerous situation, your alarm will ring.
What happens next depends on whether you have a DIY setup or a professionally monitored system. If you choose to go DIY, you’ll be responsible for handling the situation once your alarm rings. It’s up to you to call the police or fire department if need be, and get you and your family to safety.
If you choose a professionally monitored setup, you’ll get a call as soon as your alarm rings, and emergency services will be dispatched to your home.
Professionally monitored home security provides an additional layer of safety, but DIY is right for certain circumstances. With DIY, you’ll generally pay a higher upfront cost (starting around $200), but you won’t owe a monthly fee. With professional monitoring, you’ll likely have a low startup cost, but you’ll need to sign a monthly contract. Monthly payments range from $15-$60.
How to Shop for a System
Security systems are sold in two different ways: bundled or custom built. A lot of companies will offer both options, and oftentimes you’ll see bundled packages that you can customize to your specific needs. If you’re looking to get the purchase process over with and have your system installed right away, bundled is the way to go. The pricing is upfront, and there are usually a variety of packages to suit your preferences. If your needs are more specific, or you want security that’s tailor-made, then we suggest custom. For custom, you’ll need to have a conversation with your security provider, either over the phone or in person.
Don’t get tricked into paying more for the same equipment. Most companies use the same sensors and control panels, personalized for their brand. So an expensive door sensor isn’t going to work any better than a cheap one. If your door opens, your sensor will detect it, no matter the price.
Before You Start
Think about your lifestyle, your home, and your future plans. Are you thinking of moving soon, or renting an apartment? A portable DIY system could be your best bet. Do you know you’ll be in your current home for years to come? Take advantage of a long-term contract with a lower monthly payment.
Do you have any special items you want specific protection on? There are sensors that can monitor when your jewelry box is opened, or cameras you can point at valuable works of art. Do you have children? You can set your security system to notify you when they get home from school, or limit the hours they can watch TV.
If the prospect of tons of home security features is already making you feel less stressed, then add on as many as you want. But if you’re starting to feel paranoid, then skip the extras and go for a basic package. The best security system is the one that gives you the most peace of mind.
Freshome’s Top Picks for the Best Home Security System in Buffalo
To start our search for the best home security providers in Buffalo, we dove deep into research on eight different locally owned companies. We took into account dozens of criteria in four main categories: Customer Service, Equipment, Reputability, and Cost. We scored each business in every individual category, then tallied our results and picked the two highest scoring companies to recommend.
We’ve also vetted a number of the big name brands, and we generally recommend you choose one of them. You’ll be able to get set up with security more quickly, and you’ll benefit from their large consumer bases by saving money on your monthly payment. However, we also stand behind the local businesses we chose, and it’s a good idea to get a few quotes before making your final decision.
Buffalo’s Best Local Home Security Companies
Doyle Security Systems
Doyle Security Systems is probably one of the oldest local security companies around in Buffalo. Since 1919, residents and locals have trusted Doyle Security Systems to protect assets. This company offers a variety of options, including home automation and security cameras, depending on your needs. With zero down, you can start securing your home or business for as little as $25 a month. That includes two door contacts, one motion sensor, and a live two-way voice.
You can also find out just what your budget can get you with a professional free security consultation. If you prefer reading customer testimonials before making the commitment, check out the case study and words of praise from customers here. Satisfied residents and business owners from Erie, Rochester, Albany, and more gave 10 out of 10 stars because of impressive customer service offered through Doyle Security Systems.
If security isn’t your concern, but you are worried about the well-being of an elderly loved one, Doyle Security Systems has you covered there, too. Working directly with other healthcare organizations, technicians with Doyle can set up a two-way medical alert system that puts your loved one directly in touch with emergency response professionals. In the push of a button, your loved one will have help on the way, and key contacts will be notified right away, depending on the situation’s severity.
Eastern States Sentinel Alarm Services
This Better Business Bureau-accredited business is focused on getting customers their ideal security system, whether it be for a home or business. To best align your needs, technicians will check out your property, ask questions about your preferred security requirements, and make the best recommendations for protecting your family, home, and possessions.
Get set up with a home monitoring system, which can include burglar and fire alarms all maintained through a service center that offers 24/7 monitoring coverage. One option for home security includes an iVision Door Monitor. If you’re not sure who is at the front door, let iVision do the work for you. Answer the door through the monitor to speak with the guest. The device also captures images and takes video so you can see who is visiting without having to answer the door right away.
Have a business that you need to secure? Eastern States Sentinel Alarm Services offers commercial and business security systems of all types. Consider access control, so you know precisely which employees are coming and going. Limit or give access to important inventory, depending on your desires. Want protection from things you can’t control? Keep the devastation of a burglar or fire away by setting up a state-of-the-art alarm system. Your protection starts the minute your system installation is finished.
Request information on any number of services or products by contacting a representative.
Best National Bundled Options
FrontPoint: FrontPoint provides three upgradeable packages, so getting started with security is easy. You can control your system through a free smartphone app, and sensors are easy to install. FrontPoint requires a 36-month contract for professional monitoring, and you’ll need to call to find out how much service is in your area.
Protect America: Peel and stick installation and $0 in upfront equipment costs make Protect America an appealing choice. Their professionally monitored services require a 36-month contract, and you can choose from five customizable packages. Call for a custom quote.
SimpliSafe: SimpiSafe is a great low-cost DIY/professionally monitored hybrid. You can buy a security kit starting at $200, and you don’t have to lock into call center monitoring. If you decide later that you want a professionally monitored system, you can keep your equipment and add a monthly fee starting at just $15 a month.
Best National DIY Security Systems
Lowe’s Iris: Lowe’s Iris is all about transforming your house into a smart home. They provide setups that keep track of everything going on in your home—from a notification when your dog finishes dinner, to a ping when a package is delivered. Their first generation sensors are available starting at $15, although a full setup will cost you closer to $200.
Piper NV: If a simple all-in-one system appeals to you, Piper NV could be a good fit. It’s a self-contained tower that houses all the sensors and controls you need. It’s compact and portable—great for a rental or small apartment. Systems start around $200.
Local Companies That Didn’t Make the Cut
Six of the locally operated companies we looked into didn’t make the cut. A variety of factors influenced our decision, like poor customer reviews, contracts that were less than transparent, and long delays in responding to our requests for a quote. Here are the home security providers in Buffalo that we researched, but didn’t recommend:
- Powered Protection
- Buffalo Alarm
- Synacom Networks, Inc.
- Amherst Alarm, Inc.
- Link Security Systems
- Advanced Alarm, Inc.
Preventing False Alarms
False alarms are a problem in Buffalo for a couple of reasons. First, important city resources are wasted attending to alarms that cry wolf. The police or fire department in Buffalo must attend to a triggered alarm, even if you tell your security company it went off accidentally, so false alarms take up time and money that could be going elsewhere. Second, the prevalence of false alarms dilutes the importance of alarm systems, and could affect how they’re responded to.
“We do spend a lot of time going to the same residences over and over and over again. There’s going to come a time when we wish we had an extra officer and he’s busy taking an alarm call at a place we’ve been to 22 times throughout the course of a year, and the guy never gets his alarm fixed.” – Lt. James Daugherty, Buffalo Police Department
You won’t be fined for up to three false alarms per year. After that, tickets range from $25-$50 per incident. It’s important to keep your alarm system up to date and in working order to prevent false alarms. Accidents happen, but there’s no reason your alarm should be crying wolf regularly. Check out our handy guide to keep your alarm in check:
Do I need to register my alarm in Buffalo?
While Buffalo does require every alarm system to be registered, the paperwork and filing fee is automatically submitted by your home security company. So there’s no need to worry about filing any forms with the city.
Is a home security system worth the cost?
There are so many low-cost home security solutions available these days, it’s hard to imagine that the added peace of mind an alarm system brings wouldn’t be worth the cost. Nearly 80% of homeowners rate their alarms effective at protecting their homes, according to Consumer Reports. And a security system will typically lower the amount you pay in insurance. Plus, you could be eligible for a small tax break.
Are cellular systems better than landline systems?
To put it simply, Yes.
Landlines are vulnerable to power outages and wire cutting, but your cellular connection isn’t as easy to disrupt. In an ideal situation, you’d have a landline connection with a cell backup, but if that isn’t possible, just choosing a cellular system is fine.
If you live in an area with poor cell service, a landline may be your best option, but if at all possible, go for a cellular connection.
What If I’m a renter, or live in a small apartment?
If you’re worried about drilling into the walls in your apartment, or just unsure of how long you’ll be staying in your current location, a DIY system could be a good option. Most are easy to transport, meaning you can take them along to your next home when the time comes. They’re also easy to install, and many don’t require picking up a single tool. Plus, you won’t be locked into a contract, so you’ll be free to change the amount of security you have at any time.
The Bottom Line
There’s so much information floating around about home security, but it’s really not that complicated. Once you make a couple of choices and narrow it down to a few recommended companies, all it takes is a call or click to get started protecting and maintaining your home. Hopefully this guide has answered your questions and empowered you to start shopping. As a reminder, here are our top picks for home security in Buffalo: