Gone are the days of home security being just wall-mounted boxes with loud intruder alarms. Now, it includes everything from remote lighting control to water leak sensors to automated door locks and it’s set to be a 21.6 billion dollar industry by 2020. Whoa. With these technologic advances means there are a lot of options on the market and finding the best home security system is more overwhelming than ever. Enter Freshome.
Our Picks for Best Home
We set out on a mission to find the best home security system out there. We pored over reviews, customer reports, crime statistics, and both the local and national options available in Greenville. We spoke to customers of the most popular companies to understand its style of customer service. Lastly, we interviewed law-enforcement officials to get an expert’s viewpoint of the real-life threats that home security prevents.
What we learned? There’s a smart home system that works for everybody. Whether you’re a college student, perennial renter, or homeowner of 20 years, we found affordable and effective protection plans to fit your needs.
How Home Security Works
To make an informed decision, it’s important you know a bit about the safety measures behind your basic home security system. It basically boils down to this: all home security companies outfit your home with a system of sensors, devices, and even cameras, all of which are connected through physical wires, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. The system activates an alarm anytime one of the sensors detects a threat, such as a cracked window or a water leak.
What happens after the siren goes off depends on whether you have a professionally monitored or DIY system. Professionally monitored systems are tracked by a call center, which will notify first responders immediately after the alarm is triggered. Then they contact you, either by phone, text, or message via your home Wi-Fi. This setup is going to cost you a little more, typically between $15 to $50 per month, and requires you have a cellular, landline, or broadband connection.
The other option is a DIY system. These plans, which are usually more affordable, are not backed by a call center. You’re the one who will receive the first notice should your alarm be triggered. The most appealing part of DIY, which includes systems like SimpliSafe and Canary, is that it costs nothing to run once you’ve set it up. You just need to purchase the hardware and have an internet connection. The potential downfalls? It’s up to you to notify the authorities if your system detects a threat, and your system will only detect a threat so long as your power and internet connection work.
Shopping For Your Security System
Home security systems are most often offered in either a bundled or custom package. Bundled packages operate on a “what you see is what you get” philosophy. Monthly prices are set at a flat rate, which makes factoring a home security system into your budget that much easier. The equipment in each package is standardized and packages are typically tiered in pricing. The more basic bundles might include landline monitoring and a few door and window sensors, while the more elaborate may have a wireless monitoring option. The downfall? Many of these companies require a minimum of a 36-month contract.
The other way of going about this is through custom packages. If you choose a local provider, this will most likely be your only option. Because they operate in your area, they’ll typically send an agent to assess your home for security strengths and weaknesses and then provide you with a quote. The advantage of the custom package is a system truly catered to your needs; the disadvantage is the ambiguity in pricing. It’s also worth noting that many of these companies allow for month-to-month service.
And one more thing: you’re going to get the same security performance from almost every company. They all offer nearly identical devices and operate using similar mechanisms — namely cellular, broadband, and landline monitoring. To find the best home security system for you, it often comes down to pricing and lifestyle.
What to ask yourself
Take a look at your lifestyle and ask yourself what you really need in a home security system. Are you a student or renter? A DIY system is quick to install and you can take it with you every time that you relocate. If you’re staying put for a while, though, it behooves you to consider the hard-wired, custom systems.
Freshome’s Top Picks for the Best Home Security System in Greenville
We evaluated nine Greenville, South Carolina-based companies and scored them on customer service, pricing, and reputation. We then compared with Freshome’s top home security recommendations. After our analysis, three local companies shook out to be the clear winners: CPI Security Systems, Cherokee Alarm Systems, and AAA Locksmiths and Alarm Company.
That being said, the big guys—namely Frontpoint and Protect America—are still going to be your best bet for the easiest and most up-to-date systems. We suggest you go local only if you’d feel safer knowing your service was nearby. After all, it’s all about your peace of mind. As far as people who aren’t quite ready to settle down in one spot, we recommend the convenience of cheaper DIY systems like Lowe’s Iris or Piper NV.
Best Bundled Options
Frontpoint: Frontpoint offers wireless, customizable packages that you can DIY install at affordable prices. With a 30-day risk-free trial and top-rated customer service, it’s smooth sailing to a safer home. The catch? The best deals all require a 36-month contract.
Protect America: Protect America offers more packages than Frontpoint—five to be exact—starting at $20 a month. Installation is DIY and delightfully easy. With no upfront costs on equipment, you lock in your price from the get-go. Again, expect a required 36-month contract.
SimpliSafe: SimpliSafe is by far the most affordable, offering cellular monitoring for only $15 per month. Packages start at around $230 and SimpliSafe gives you the option of purchasing a refurbished system which will save you another 25-30%.
Best Local Home Security Companies
CPI Security Systems
This security company promises an alarm response in seconds, not minutes. With 20 years of experience in the industry, and a CPI “No False Alarm Guarantee”, we can see how CPI Security Systems can make that happen. All alarms are monitored through the regional southeast headquarters, so you’re guaranteed 24-hour customer care line that’s nearby and on-call for you.
If you like to stay on the up and up, inTouch Home services might be best for you. Stay connected with easy-to-use technology that provides you a wireless communication link to your system. You can manage everything from your lights, door locks, and thermostats with the click of a button with this option. It will keep you in touch no matter where you may be. Worried about an invisible invader like carbon monoxide? Because carbon monoxide poisoning is such a serious and severe danger, you can receive a notice immediately at the first signs of a leak.
CPI Security Systems is always running new deals on equipment and installation, so call for a free quote today to see which package would work best for your home or business. Once installed, you have access to 24/7 customer service, and there are also FAQs online to help you troubleshoot on your own.
This company is owner-operated and family-oriented, so the well being of customers will always be in the forefront of this company’s business mission. Cherokee Alarm Systems staff understand that each home or business will have different needs. Each customer’s property will have a different layout, surroundings, and architectural set-up, making each job a unique one that requires customization.
Whether you need a surveillance or monitoring system, professional installation and service needs are the priority of each technician customers come in contact with here at Cherokee Alarm Systems. Customers who invest in a system through Cherokee Alarm Systems can seek out insurance discounts due to the 24/7 monitoring that is provided. Depending on your needs and lifestyle, a system can be linked to any number of mobile apps for you to disarm or arm remotely. Even when you’re away, receive real-time updates via text or email. Some properties can even be monitored without phone or internet connections, making the possibilities of securing your rural business or home a reality.
If you like the idea of having Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) to monitor your property, ask your technician how it might best work with your home or business layout. Learn step-by-step instructions from your technician, and if you have questions, there’s always 24/7 customer service help.
Additionally, this company services and repairs all different types of brands of systems.
Since 1981, AAA Locksmiths and Alarm Company has employed certified, trained technicians to service and install the top-of-the-line home security and surveillance systems. For full security, consider having a burglar and fire alarm system installed inside your home or business. All of the equipment installed is U.L. Listed, which is approved by insurance companies, and often scores homeowners and business owners a discount. Medical alert notification systems are also available, so if you or a loved one falls or is injured, help arrives faster due to the placement of the system.
Video cameras, monitors, multiplexers, digital video recorders, IP cameras, covert CCTV equipment, video transmitters, video lenses and equipment for all phases of video surveillance are just some of the options available through AAA Locksmiths and Alarm Company. This company scores extra points for being a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited company, and for its ties to the Associated Locksmiths of America and the Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA). Other than access control systems and security systems, other services offered by this company include key control systems, locksmith services, safes, surveillance, and audio-visual systems.
Call today to learn more about the systems, and a technician will come out and walk you through your options.
Best DIY Security Systems
Lowe’s Iris: Lowe’s Iris is all about options. It’s a DIY system that allows for a professional monitoring upgrade and includes a laundry list of features like outdoor spigots and LED lighting. Ease of installation also earned Lowe’s Iris major points.
Local companies that didn’t make the cut
Some local home security companies just didn’t meet our standards. Old technology, confusing websites, and hard-to-find contact information were all grounds for getting the axe.
- ADP Security Systems
- GenX Security Solutions
- JSB Security Solutions Inc.
- Priority One Security
- OnPoint Security and Video
- Fusion Audio + Video
Preventing False Alarms
The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office responds to over 1500 false alarms per month. This is not good. It sucks up valuable time, energy, and resources that the police could be directing toward actual crimes. To combat the issue, the police issued an ordinance that would allow registered residents two false alarms per every three months. If you exceed that, you’ll be charged $100 for every additional false alarm. More if your system is not registered.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to significantly reduce the likelihood of a false alarm. First things first, register your system as soon as it’s installed. After it’s up and running, check your batteries regularly and do a monthly systems check to ensure all of your equipment is fully working.
Here’s another tip: explain how the system works to anyone who has to interact with it. We know it’s not fun, but it’s well worth the effort to read the manual and reach out to your home security company should you have any questions. Trust us, it’ll save you in the long run.
How to Register Your Alarm System in Greenville
Greenville requires you obtain a permit from the city to install a home security system by registering with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. To do so, you’ll need to fill out a form and mail in $10, payable to the County of Greenville.
Anyone caught without a permit will be subject to fines. If you incur a false alarm while your system is not registered, you’ll have to pay an automatic $50. So go ahead and make sure you register!
Is home security really worth it?
The short answer: yes. A resounding yes. We found a study from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in which 422 incarcerated burglars were interviewed and over 60% of the participants said an alarm system deterred them from robbing a residence. A full 50% said they never attempt to break into a house with a system. So no matter which system you choose, the presence of a system is oftentimes enough to keep invaders from your home. Every Greenville resident has a 1 in 21 chance of becoming a property crime victim (higher than the state average of 1 in 29), so any precaution is a worthwhile endeavor in our book.
What kinds of security do I need?
There are four main categories of protection: intrusion, surveillance, environmental, and life.
To break it down: Intrusion and surveillance are pretty similar. They are in place to protect your property from being stolen and serve to reduce the chances of worst-case scenarios such as hostage or violent intrusion. Most intrusion systems consist of door and glass break sensors, while surveillance often includes security cameras and motion detections.
Environmental security devices are meant to protect you from noxious gases like carbon monoxide and house fires. Everyone, no matter where you live, is at risk for these threats so having monitors installed gives you the best defense against these often unpredictable elements. Make sure you regularly check the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector; these things tend to get overlooked.
The most thorough home security plans incorporate some form of life protection, which often consists of a medical pendant or bracelet. Don’t mistake these devices as something only the elderly use. Truth is, anyone of any age could fall victim of a physical accident. You want to be able to press the medical panic button should you not be able to reach the phone.
The Bottom Line
Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home. To get your peace of mind, decide what factors are most important to you and how long you plan to be at your current residence. Nothing can guarantee break-in prevention, but small additions—from motion sensors to a simple sign in the yard—go a long way in protecting your home and loved ones.