How to shop for home security systems

How to shop for home security systems

With the recent uptick we’re seeing in crime, now is a great time to be aware of some new options in the marketplace for keeping your home safe.

Home cameras are a great option

Looking for a quality self-install digital security camera? There’s a new leader in the industry that’s been selling like gangbusters.

What used to be called the DropCam and is now called the Nest Cam retails for $199. This camera shoots in hi-def and provides free live feeds via an app for smartphone, some tablets, and on the web. You can also pay an additional monthly fee $10 for DVR capability if you’re a small business that wants to have tape to review from your workplace.

If you travel for work and an alarm is tripped at your home, you can look in on the security camera and see what’s going on real time. If you live alone, it will send an activity alert if it senses motion or sound. And it has 2-way audio so you can voice-threaten an intruder. This thing even shoots in the dark!

Video Doorbell by Ring is another option. It retails for $199 and replaces your home doorbell. It has a built-in camera and microphone plus it’s wireless, so you can see the person ringing your doorbell no matter where you are. You could even grant access to your home to visitors using the Ring if you wish.

For just $19.99, the Wyze Cam is a great affordable option that features an all-in-one 1080p HD smart home camera. With live streaming, 2-way audio and a sharing feature that lets others see what you see, Wyze Cam is hard to beat for the value it brings.

Read more: 12 quick DIY ways to save on your energy bill

Don’t overlook traditional home security systems

The burglar alarm industry is one that has a lot of honest companies, but there are also scamsters out there that you’ve got to look out for.

Nothing makes you feel more invaded than coming home to a break-in. Burglar alarm salespeople often read local police reports and may show up with an emotional sales pitch seeking to capitalize on your fear and anxiety. Of course, it’s better to search for an alarm-monitoring company before you need them.

  • First, ask if they require a contract. You never want to sign a long-term contract. If you do, you open yourself to the danger of hidden rollover provisions.
  • Your second question should be about their monthly monitoring fees. You want something in the mid-to-high teens — no more than $22 or 24 per month at the most.
  • Then ask about equipment installation costs. You can usually get a preliminary quote over the phone by counting the number of doors and windows you have to protect. Consider adding an internal motion sensor as well. Initial equipment installation costs can be anywhere between $600 and $800 for a typical home.
  • Finally, make sure your monitoring station is UL approved and also offers fire detection.
  • You might also consider, a company that offers $15 a month monitoring on simple burglar alarm systems you install yourself. No technical know how is necessary! Read an extensive review of the service here as well as other DIY security systems.
  • Don’t forget about the basics of home security. This article about 13 things a burglar won’t tell you has some sobering reminders about the simple things we do that inadvertently invite burglars into our homes.

Read more: 10 ways you’re ruining your home – and how not to


For more money-saving advice for your wallet, check out our Homes & Real Estate section!

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