When it comes to the perfect home security system, everyone has their own set of unique needs. Of course, it’s not just about scaring away burglars anymore. Sure, if an intruder breaks a window, an alarm will sound. But we’re in the era of full home automation. That means if you forget to lock your doors, you can turn your deadbolt from your smartphone. Plus, home security systems keep you and your family safe with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Our Picks for Best Home
So, with all these options out there, how do you even begin to decide which home security system to install in your home? That’s where Freshome comes in. We’ve evaluated and ranked ten of the top home security companies in Charlotte and nationwide. Some made the cut, and some didn’t, but after we’re through, we’re sure you’ll have a solid list of contenders to start with.
Home Security Basics
At first glance, home security seems pretty easy, but how can you be sure you’re not buying too much — or worse, not enough? It really depends on your specific living situation and set of needs. Will a basic system (landline, audible alarm, door and window sensors) be sufficient for your home? Or do you need more features, like environmental security and cameras? We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of home security basics, so you know what you should be looking for.
Should You Get Professional Monitoring or DIY Monitoring?
Home security companies generally offer two kinds of monitoring: DIY (“do it yourself”) and professional monitoring. What’s the difference between the two?
Professionally monitored alarm systems are connected to call centers that contact first responders in the event the alarm goes off. To have professional monitoring, you have to have a phone landline, internet connection, or cellular service. The Charlotte-area security companies we evaluated ranged in price from $32 to $60 per month for cellular monitoring.
But maybe you want to be in control of your own monitoring — then DIY monitoring is the way to go. With DIY monitoring, your home security system isn’t connected to a call center. Instead, you have to contact the police or fire department when you get notification that your alarm’s been tripped. On the bright side, you save money on the monthly fee you would pay for professionally monitored systems. All you have to do is buy the system, hook it up to your internet router, and you’re ready to go.
Do You Need Bundled Security or a Custom Package?
Leading home security companies will likely have two options for consumers: Bundled or custom packages.
The quickest route for many people would be the bundled security package. The bundle works a lot like getting cable. Companies have two or three levels of preset packages that increase in price as you add more features. The most basic packages give you the minimum: Door and window sensors, keypads, and landline monitoring. Beyond that, premium packages allow consumers to add more security with internet or cellular monitoring. The best part of choosing a bundle is that the monthly cost is generally set in the contract. However, a 36-month contract is often required to buy a bundle.
If you have a larger house, or maybe more precious belongings that make your particular needs unique, then customization may be the way to go. Since each situation is different, most companies will send over a rep to assess your home and provide an accurate quote. With the help of an industry expert, you can then make an educated decision about what features your custom home security system will need. Be aware, most custom pricing is impossible to determine without a quote from the company. Still, many home security companies with custom packaging offer month-to-month contracts instead of those binding 36-month contracts you see with bundles.
Before You Buy
Before you submit your order, take a step back and ask yourself a few questions:
- What does my lifestyle require? If you rent and there’s only 10 months left on your lease, it wouldn’t make much sense to sign a 36-month contract.
- Do I have the time for DIY? DIY means you have to be on top of your own monitoring, but will that work if you’re working a full-time job and have kids? There’s no sense in adding another chore to the list if your life is already a handful.
- What benefits does a professionally monitored system have? If you’re a homeowner, a professionally monitored system may increase the value of your property and even give you a break on homeowner’s insurance. Be sure to call your provider and ask.
- How much security do I actually need? When you start your search for home security systems, consider only what will make your home more secure — no more, no less. Maybe that means cameras in every room, or just a simple set of door sensors, window sensors, and audible alarm. (The latter is Freshome’s suggested minimum.)
Freshome’s Top Picks for the Best Home Security System in Charlotte
The Freshome team took a look at the ten leading home security companies in the Charlotte area, and determined the best ones based on some crucial factors: Customer service, equipment, reputability, and monthly costs. Then we measured their standing against Freshome’s recommended home security systems. Of the ten companies, three stood out as the best.
If you prefer going with a local company, then we highly recommend you go with Custom Security, Inc., CPI Security Systems, or American Burglar Alarms. All three met our criteria of customer support availability, customer feedback, and affordability.
If going with a national company is more your thing, Freshome’s pick for best bundled options are Frontpoint, Protect America, and SimpliSafe. The standout DIY kits are Lowe’s Iris and Piper NV.
Best Bundled Options
- Frontpoint: Frontpoint delivers its DIY cellular system right to your front door. It has affordable options, incredible customer service, and unlike other DIY packages, Frontpoint is professionally monitored. Frontpoint offers three packages and requires a 36-month monitoring contract. Contact for a quote.
- Protect America: Protect America offers five security packages, unlike many of its competitors who only offer three. Protect America requires a 36-month monitoring contract and it offers DIY wireless setup — but there is no upfront cost.
- SimpliSafe: At only $14.99 a month, SimpliSafe may be the most ideal choice for your wallet. It offers four packages with no contract required upon installation.
Charlotte’s Best Local Home Security Companies
Custom Security, Inc.
Discover a multitude of ways to protect yourself with residential, commercial, burglar, and fire alarm systems by Custom Security, Inc. Since 1971, this company has served the Charlotte area, giving families peace of mind for more than 40 years.
Custom Security, Inc. boasts of staying on top of the trends and development within the industry to ensure that only the best equipment protects customers’ homes and businesses. Whatever your needs, you can find a system through this company: burglar and fire alarm systems, intercom and home entertainment sound systems, closed-circuit television, access control systems, and many peripheral systems.
Residential and commercial security isn’t the only focus of this company’s mission. If you have an elderly loved one who lives alone, there is also the opportunity to provide them with much-needed technology to be safe. Install a custom medical alert that will allow an elder to get help at the touch of a button; a technician will do a personal in-home setup and train you and your loved one as well. The two-way technology calls the local central station that monitors 24/7 for emergency situations. Your loved one won’t feel alone when a voice comes through the pendant letting them know that help is on the way.
Call today to receive a free property survey to learn how best to keep your family safe.
CPI Security Systems
When it comes to response times for home emergencies, you need a response to happen in seconds, not minutes. CPI Security Systems assures its customers that help is on the way when it is most needed. This company stands by its real-time verified emergency dispatch system, and guarantees there’s no false alarms going off. A phone line isn’t necessary, so every home is eligible to be equipped with a CPI Security System.
Get a free installation from a full-time CPI Security Systems employee trained to input your new system with ease and little mess. Once the technician pulls away from your driveway, a question or two may pop into your head. That’s why the 24/7 customer service representatives are just a phone call away. Additionally, once your system is installed, several times a year you’ll receive a check-up phone call to test your system and verify all your information.
Prefer to have control of your system with the swipe of a finger? CPI inTouch is the newest interactive security that allows you to adjust the settings of your home system from your smartphone, computer, or tablet. Control everything from your energy usage to the lights and doors all through the inTouch app. You don’t even have to be in the range of your house to be in touch with your home security. It’s that easy. Get your free quote today.
American Burglar Alarms
Since 1985, American Burglar Alarms has served the Greater Charlotte area. The team here understands the importance of keeping family and assets as safe as possible. From security products to personal safety options, American Burglar Alarms has you covered. The technicians here also can install high-quality home theater systems as well, so you never have to spend another dime at expensive theaters. As members of the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association (CEDIA), you can be confident that an experienced designer and installer is in charge of putting together your dream home theater.
As for security products, there’s plenty of options. Do your little ones stay with a nanny or babysitter on a regular basis? Consider installing a “nanny cam” that allows you to see how your precious ones are doing from six indoor or outdoor color cameras that can be viewed on a phone, PDA, or computer. If you want advanced technology with 24-hour protection, a system can be installed to notify both you and the police or fire department right away about a disturbance. Whether you’re home or away somewhere, you’ll have home protection built-in just how you like it. Because there are numerous home burglary and fire system packages and add-ons, you’ll want to call customer service for a personalized quote.
Still not quite comfortable with your system? You can go to the American Burglar Alarms website for additional training and FAQs to pick up some more knowledge via video tutorials.
Best DIY Security Systems
- Lowe’s Iris: Lowe’s Iris is the epitome of DIY, with a fully customizable system. Lowe’s offers starter packs if you’re not feeling adventurous, but for the Tony Starks out there, you can also build a setup from scratch. Iris is compatible with professional monitoring for a low monthly fee.
- Piper NV: If you don’t have much space, then the Piper NV system is for you. It’s a single standalone tower with a 180-degree camera, motion and sound sensor, and audible alarm.
Local companies that didn’t make the cut
Of the many local home security companies we evaluated, some of them simply weren’t up to our standards. Some had really shoddy websites that made it impossible to decipher what systems they actually offered. Others didn’t receive good reviews from consumers and not enough information out there. Then there were those who simply didn’t respond to our questions when we phoned and emailed.
- Safe Home Security
- Piedmont Security Systems
- Security Consult, Inc.
- Custom House Technology
- Phoenix Custom Systems
- United Security of America, Inc.
Preventing False Alarms
False alarms are a headache for both Charlotte residents and first responders. Not to mention, they cost you and the city a lot of money. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s False Alarm Reduction Unit, residents get a written warning for the first false alarm. But the fines increase with each incident. The 2nd alarm costs $50; the 3rd, 4th, and 5th are $100; the 6th and 7th are $200; and the 8th and 9th are $300. Any false alarm after that will cost $500.
So how can you prevent wasting all that money on false alarms, while also saving the time and resources spent by first responders? It’s pretty simple, actually. Each person living in your house should familiarize themselves with using the home security system. This includes bypassing the motion detector, what they should do if an alarm occurs, and how to cancel it if no police or fire department attention is needed.
Additionally, you should always remember to lock your doors and windows before arming the system, be sure to have equipment inspected on a routine basis, and keep up with your alarm’s maintenance. In other words, make sure you have fresh batteries.
How to Register Your Alarm System in Charlotte
When you’re ready to register your alarm system, the City of Charlotte makes it easy. Visit the CMPD False Alarm Reduction page and download an application. If you don’t want to waste paper, you can also register online. There is no fee, and the permit lasts 12 months. Residents have 30 days from the time of installation to register their systems.
Is a home security system worth it?
To put it simply: Yes. Not only does a home security system give you peace of mind, it will also significantly decrease the chances of your house being robbed. According to a 2012 study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 60 percent of convicted burglars surveyed said that the mere presence of an alarm system would force them to seek a new target altogether. Those are some pretty good odds.
How much security do I actually need?
To best answer that question, ask yourself, “How much do I want?” Freshome recommends that you choose a system with an audible alarm, door sensors, and window sensors at minimum. Anything more depends on how much space you have to cover. The larger your home, the more security you will need. And if you choose a professionally monitored package, then you should also add smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to give you more peace of mind.
The Bottom Line
The feeling of security is certainly subjective and varies from person to person. By adding a home security system to your living situation, however, you may feel like you have one less thing to worry about. There are all kinds of options for home security out there at different price points.. So if you are looking to secure your home while you’re asleep, at work, on vacation, then please consider one of the companies and options below.