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Best home security in 2019: Professional surveillance, home improvement systems, video doorbells and more


Chris Monroe / CNET

Technology is everywhere in our homes and in our lives. And that has led to an indisputable boom in your home security and surveillance options. In addition to professional surveillance systems that have been around for decades there is a newly established range of lower-cost home improvement systems that you can install yourself along with cameras, smart locks and video doorbells which are also worth considering.

Admittedly, there is a great deal to do ̵

1; and today's home security solution providers do not always make it easy to compare the store. But hey, here we come in! Read on to learn more about the best home security systems, including home improvement installation, professional installation monitoring, and stand-alone devices such as video doorbells that we've tested to date.

Further information : Nest vs. Ring Abode vs. SimpliSafe: The Smart Home Security Systems with the Best Privacy Guidelines

Best Home Security We Have Tested

Best DIY System SimpliSafe 230 USD in advance Monitoring starts at $ 15 a month and $ 25 a month, including mobile app controls and integration with Alexa. View online
Best Professional Installation System Comcast Xfinity Home $ 99 in advance Monitoring costs $ 40 a month for the first year, then $ 50 a month. Bundle discounts with TV and internet available. View online
Best Video Doorbell Nest Hello 230 USD in advance Continuous record from $ 5 per month. View online
Ideal for part-time monitoring Stay $ 299 in advance Monitoring available for $ 20 per month. View online

Disclosure: CNET may receive some of the revenue from purchases made via the links on this page. The selected and tested products are independently selected by the CNET editors.

Self-Installing Systems

If a professionally-installed system sounds exaggerated, you can save a lot of money by purchasing a system that you install yourself. Systems like this offer the best value for your dollar in terms of home security.

You do not miss much in terms of functionality. Although professionally installed systems may offer a fancier touch screen for controlling security cameras, sensors, alarm systems, and monitors, the rest of the hardware is much the same as what you get when you're home improvement and rely mainly on wireless batteries Hold your house.

Read more: The Best DIY Security Systems of 2019

When DIY systems came onto the market as a cost-effective alternative to the professionals, few, if any, had an option for professional surveillance or customer service , That is no longer the case. Most handyman systems now offer the option of professional surveillance – and most of them require less professional supervision than professional installation security vendors. Automation and smart home appliances have helped reduce the overhead of third-party professional monitoring, resulting in savings that are passed on to you. And the fact that most home improvement systems require neither a service contract nor a monthly fee is another nice aspect of the playing field.

Chris Monroe / CNET

SimpliSafe's easy-to-install and easy-to-use system is positioned as one of the best home security values. It offers a full set of features, surveillance cameras and a very good mix of battery powered sensors, all of which have performed reliably in our tests. Starter kits start at around $ 230, or you can put together your own custom system with exactly the devices you're interested in-per-month plan that includes features such as mobile app control and voice support via Alexa and the Add Google Assistants. This also means you should opt for another pick, such as Abode or Ring, if you do not want professional monitoring, but still want to control your system from your phone. Total CNET Score: 8.5

One more thing to watch out for: All-in-one home improvement security appliances for smaller homes and living spaces. Basically, these devices are single-point desktop cameras equipped with additional sensors and detectors for motion, temperature and ambient light. For example, they are suitable for a studio apartment without garage door or many street windows to protect.

Names to consider are Canary Honeywell and the Abode Iota – although our favorite of the group, Piper is no longer on the market after Alarm.com has bought its parent company in 2016 . If we find another alternative that we like as much as we like, I will update that area.

Abode's excellent DIY system is worth considering.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Other options we tested

Our best SimpliSafe alternative, the sophisticated Abode system, supports both ZigBee and Z-Wave. It works with Alexa, IFTTT and Nest and offers a lot of flexibility in terms of professional surveillance – including the option to pay only for temporary surveillance when you are actually out of town. CNET Overall Score: 8.3

Ring's Alarm Security Kit, a subsidiary of Amazon, is quick to install and easy to use. Apart from a new "Works with Ring" program that integrates compatible Smart Locks and other third-party gadgets, nothing is particularly innovative, although Alexa users will appreciate that they use voice commands to activate the system and can disable. and that they can use Rings sensors to trigger Alexa routines. With buy-in costs of $ 199 and professional supervision for only $ 10 a month, Ring Alarm is a great choice. Total CNET Score: 7.5

This Google-owned Nest DIY option works great, but the upfront cost of $ 399 is much higher than its predecessor. It's a decent system, but it's only worth it if you want to integrate into a Google Smart Home ecosystem. Total CNET Score: 7.2

Professionally Installed Systems

These are the cornerstones of home security – company names like ADT and Brinks that you've probably been familiar with for years, along with the security systems offered to households from major telecom providers like Comcast and AT & T.

Pitch is pretty similar in all areas. In addition to basics like motion sensors, window sensors and door sensors, this type of professional installation also promises to curb false positives and seamlessly integrate things like door locks, cameras, keyboards, thermostats and touchscreens, and they are also commonly supported by Alexa and the Google Assistant. Most require an upfront fee for equipment or installation and most require multiyear service contracts. The monthly fees for the professional supervision are obligatory and are usually between 30 and 50 US-Dollar per month.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

It's not available in all regions (check local availability), but Comcast Xfinity Home impressed us as CNET Senior Editor Josh Goldman tested the system at his home in northern New Jersey. It's a rugged, well thought-out system that works well with your smart home equipment, including longtime favorites such as Lutron Caseta light switches and the Nest Thermostat. "What Xfinity Home showed me," wrote Josh, "was how smart home devices are much more useful when fully integrated with the sensors and cameras of a home security system."

You get the best value when you're ready You're ready to bundle Xfinity Home with Comcast's Internet and TV service, but you can also use it as a stand-alone service. I also appreciated that the sales approach was less intrusive and helpful than the competition when I called them for testing (I could get an offer for my home in about 10 minutes and the only personal information I gave was a zip code ). Total CNET Score: 8.5

Such high-end systems sometimes make it difficult to make comparisons. For example, if you visit the ADT website, you will find a lot of marketing text that demonstrates the value of the security company's different security offerings and services – but you will not find much in terms of pricing. Instead, the site directs you to request a "free quote" by either calling the security company's sales force or providing your name, zip code, phone number, and e-mail address. The latter ensures that an ADT customer service specialist "calls you from time to time for ADT offers." If you read the fine print, you will find that these calls are "provisioned" using automatic dialing technology.

Mind you, ADT is hardly alone here. Some are less outrageous than others, but you can find similar tactics – and similar fine print – on almost every website for professionally installed systems like this . If it's not clear on the website what a system created for your home would cost you, it's best to contact the security company directly, tell them what kind of setup you want, and request a quote.

Your experience may vary depending on the seller you're talking to. When I tried to call ADT for the first time, the seller told me that he could not make me an offer without first conducting a credit check . I politely ended the conversation and called back another day. I had a much better experience with a salesperson who charged me a core system price within 10 minutes without requiring a credit check or other sharing of personal information.

Shopping for a professional system

Basic costs in advance Monthly Costs Contract duration How long did it take me to get this information when I called? What personal information did I have to provide to obtain it?
ADT $ 129 ($ 229 for a system with a doorbell camera) $ 47 ($ 67 for a system with a doorbell camera) 3 years The first attempt would not make an offer without a credit check, the second attempt took 10 minutes No
AT & T Digital Life $ 550 installation fee $ 40 2 years Easily available on the website No
Brinks $ 399 installation fee $ 29 3 years Easily available on the website No
Comcast Xfinity Home $ 99 installation fee (not applicable if bundled with TV and internet) 40 USD for the first year, then 50 USD (175 USD in the package with TV and Internet) 2 years 10 minutes postcode
Vivint $ 99 installation fee $ 40 plus funded equipment costs (for a bare-bones setup about $ 10 a month for 60 months) No 17 minutes No

Whatever you call, do not be afraid to set your foot above your privacy. Companies that use robocalls and junk mail as a sales tactic have no right to your address or other personal information until they have earned their business, period.

That being said, the benefit With such systems, professionals come to you to install everything for you, and you can usually expect a higher level of hands-on technical support and customer service if you ever want to make any changes to your setup , Choose a professional system from a telecommunications provider, and you'll probably be able to bundle your home security with your TV or Internet service. This is a convenience that can also help you get a discount.


Vivint's system works well, but the equipment is not cheap.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Other options we tested

It is not cheap, but we liked this elegant system and the fact that uncomplicated pricing was available online. Our service professionals optimized the signal strength for each device in our setup during the installation – a nice touch that has helped make the Pro approach worthwhile. Total CNET Score: 8.3

Vivint is a solid system that worked well testing, but the equipment is a bit expensive. A basic starter kit with a mandatory touch screen, a motion sensor, and two entry-level sensors costs $ 599, which you can pay in advance or spread over 60 months. Do you want to add cameras to avoid false alarms? In addition to the additional cost of the equipment, another $ 5 will be added to your bill each month. A nice thing with Vivint: no contracts. Total CNET score: 7.6

Video Doorbells

If you do not need a complete security system and instead only want to keep an eye on the activities on your doorstep, you should install a video doorbell to keep you up to date.

Read more: The Best Video Doorbells of 2019

You now have many options, and thanks to automation, all send a warning message to your mobile phone or smart device when someone rings to show you who is at the door. Some also track unexpected movements or enable reciprocal speech – and we see many new options which can also recognize faces . This includes our top tip:

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Nest's stylish video doorbell passed our tests. Features such as person detection and geofencing are helpful and easy to use. You can also upgrade to Nest Aware's cloud subscription service to enable face recognition and access to stored records.

This is obviously the best for households that have already committed to it. The smart home ecosystem of Google and Nest, but the doorbell of Nest also works with Alexa and IFTTT, which contributes to nearly every one of them is a very solid choice. Total CNET score: 8.5.

Prices for doorbells like these are usually between $ 100 and $ 250. Most also charge an optional fee for viewing saved video clips. To choose one, you first need to find out if your front door has a hard-wired doorbell connection or if you need a battery-powered one. Then consider functions – eg. B. Do you have a porch at night, or do you need something with night vision?

From there, think about which smart home platforms your doorbell should work with. On this page you will find many options that work with Alexa and IFTTT as well as with Google and / or Nest. But Siri is still catching up – the only HomeKit-compatible video doorbell that we've recorded so far is the Netatmo Welcome which was released last January at CES.

Compared intelligent doorbells

August View doorbell camera Video doorbell 2 Bell Video Doorbell Pro Nest Hello video doorbell
Price $ 230 $ 199 $ 249 $ 229
Color paint Black, Red, White, Blue, Brass, Satin Nickel, Night Gray, Bronze satined nickel, Venetian (both versions included) satined nickel, Venetian, black satined, pearl white White and black
current source Replaceable battery Hardwired or replaceable battery Hardwired Hardwired
Resolution 1920x1440p HD 1920x1080p HD 1920x1080p HD 1,600 x 1,200 p HD
field No information 160 degrees 160 degrees 160 degrees
live streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes
cloud storage Yes, free basic package plus 15-day storage for $ 3 per month and 30-day storage for $ 5 per month Yes, 60-day storage for $ 3 a month Yes, 60-day storage for $ 3 a month Yes, free 3-hour image history. continuous admission from $ 5 per month
Local storage No. No. No. No.
Mobile App Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web application No. Yes Yes Yes
night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warnings movement movement movement Movement, Person, Face Recognition (with Nest Aware)
activity zones No. Yes Yes Yes (with Nest Aware)
Dimensions (HxWxD) 5.2 x 1.8 x 1.3 inches 5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches 4.5 × 1.9 × 0.8 inches 4.6 x 1.7 x 1.0 inches
Third-party integrations Alexa; Google Assistant; nest Alexa; IFTTT; to wink Alexa; IFTTT; to wink Alexa; Google Assistant; nest
Operating temperature range
-4 to 122 degrees F
-5 to 120 ° F
-5 to 120 ° F
14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit

Many of the most important home security systems now offer their own video doorbells, and some offer compatibility with standalone video doorbells and keyboards like these. Remember, if you think you want to expand to a complete system later.

Oh, and would you like more tips on choosing the right video doorbell? Megan Wollerton of CNET treated you .

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Other Options We Have Tested

We are big fans of the replaceable rechargeable battery in this version of the popular ring video doorbell – though it's a bit bulkier than average. If it fits on your door frame, it's a great choice that goes well with Alexa and IFTTT. Total CNET score: 7.4

The August view is one of your newest options. It looks great and was wonderfully easy to install, but the mobile app was annoyingly careless when we tried to view the live feed. That's the last thing you want when someone just picks up a package from your porch. CNET Overall Score: 7.1

Intelligent Outdoor Lighting

Many of us use motion-activated lights on our porch or outside our garage door – and although there is much debate about whether outdoor lighting can actually be used or not Experts agree that burglaries can play a role if used properly. If you are planning on upgrading to a smarter product than this cheap porch, you should consider some options.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Rings mix of motion-activated outdoor Smart Lights offers versatility for your home. The collection includes both hardwired and battery powered outdoor floodlights and floodlights as well as pathlights, step lights and a conversion kit that lets you optimize your existing landscape lighting to sync it with everything else.

What's great about Ring's? In intelligent outdoor lighting, each has its own built-in motion sensor, which can trigger the switching on of one or more lights or all lights. You can also trigger all ring cameras in your setup to start recording.

Some of the lights look a bit cheap for my taste, but I liked the battery-powered ring pathlights that you can use anywhere on your property. Benefit from a watchful eye. A starter kit with two pathlights and the Ring Bridge is $ 80. So it's not too expensive to shop, check if you like it, and build your setup from there. According to Ring, solar powered versions are also in progress, but I do not expect to see them until 2020.

Other options we tested

Ry Crist / CNET

If you use Alexa to control the smart lights in your home, you should Try Alexa Guard, a relatively new home security mode with some useful tricks. After you've turned on Protection Mode in the settings of the Alexa app, just say "Alexa, I'll go" as you go out the door to activate it. From there, Alexa turns your lights on and off so it looks like you're home. You'll also receive notification when your echo speakers hear an alarm or broken glass.

Don & # 39; You do not have an Alexa Smart Lighting setup yet? Currently, you get a third-generation Echo Dot, which comes with a two-bulb Philips Hue starter kit for just $ 65 – a bargain.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The outdoor lights from Philips Hue are, in my opinion, for the most part overpriced and really only worthwhile if you want to be pampered. Nevertheless, I really liked the Philips Hue outdoor sensor, which you can buy for less than $ 50. Mount it outdoors anywhere and track movement, temperature, and ambient light conditions. You can use this information to trigger your Hue lights and Apple HomeKit gadgets under your roof.

I wish that the Hue team offers a wider selection of outdoor practical lights that will not break the bank, as well as lights with their own motion sensors – but if you've already shopped or if you're using Apple HomeKit-compatible lights, the Hue outdoor sensor is definitely worth a look.

Originally published earlier and updated frequently.

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