What Alarm Company Do You Use/Recommend?


Per a reader’s request yesterday. I have used ADT and have not been happy so I’d be interested to learn who others use as well.

74 Comment

  • Our friends recommended Frontpoint to us. And so far we’ve been VERY happy with them. I’d absolutely give them a nod if your in the market! Local (DMV area) company too.

    • We also used them. We’re happy, although I’d say they were victims of their own success. They give you help with the DIY install, but after doing it I realized I could have just gone totally DIY and gotten a lower monthly cost, and lower equipment cost.
      I’d recommend Simplisafe or another legit national DIY company. Frontpoint is also very good and responsive. ADT I would not wish on my worst enemy.

    • +1 I got Frontpoint a year ago and love it. They have amazing service and I really like the app.

    • I’ve been using Frontpoint for more than 5 years and have absolutely no complaints.

    • Another vote for Frontpoint. It’s great for renters because you don’t need to install any permanent equipment, and you can take your equipment with you when you move (or send it back).

  • diploj

    I second Frontpoint. Local, competitively-priced, and unbelievable customer service when you’re getting things set up or if you have an issue with the equipment. Haven’t actually experienced a need for the alarm yet, though….

  • justinbc

    SimpliSafe. There’s no point in paying the bloated equipment prices that most major alarm companies charge, and you’ll save yourself half the monthly monitoring fee.

      • Yep. I can’t say enough good things about SimpliSafe. We’ve had two alarms (thankfully false!) and the SimpliSafe people called both times and the police also responded VERY quickly!

    • justinbc

      For an easy price comparison, I have a DIY system from SimpliSafe that includes:
      Base Station: 1
      Wireless Keypad: 1
      Keychain Remotes: 2
      Motion Sensors: 3
      Entry Sensors: 5
      Auxiliary Sirens: 1
      Yard Signs: 1
      Window Decals: 2
      Smoke Detectors: 1
      Glassbreak Sensors: 2
      I paid $450 for all of that, and my monthly monitoring fee is $15. To set it up you have to have an understanding of how magnets and stickers work.

      • We have most of that stuff with Vector and didn’t have to pay anything for our equipment. The system came with the house (that was flipped) so I wonder if it was a special deal with the developer or something? Anyway I guess my point is free equipment is a possibility to people should do their research.

        • justinbc

          I’m guessing you got some sort of deal, because their website mentions multiple times “designing a system to fit your budget”. One of the things I hated about almost all of the alarm companies I talked to while shopping (4 of them, before choosing DIY) is that none of them show prices for equipment on their website, and most don’t show monitoring either. It’s a sales job, and they’ve got lots of flexibility, so they don’t want people easily comparing prices. One of the best things about SimpliSafe and other DIY kits is that the prices are right there on the site for anyone to see and be well informed.

        • I don’t understand. The system came with the house. You paid for the house, so you bought the equipment. How do you know the developer didn’t pay for it?

        • It was “free” because it came with the house. It’s like the fridge, oven, microwave. You pay 600k or whatever for the house and it comes with it. It would have been really weird [and dumb] of them to say okay house is 600k and then you can pay another $450 for this security equipment.

        • You financed an alarm system with your mortgage. Good job.
          Just like how buyers of a flip finance that 2 year “warranty.” And that busy backsplash. And those vessel sinks.

      • how do the motion sensors work with regards to animals, I believe you just got two kittens? I have two cats, just curious. I have been wanting a security system for sometime and SimpliSafe seems just like what I’m looking for, thanks! Also love that it has a water sensor, one level of our house is underground and causes me lots of panic about flooding.

        • My vague recollection from when I was getting my alarm system set up was that there were regular motion detectors and “pet safe” motion detectors–i.e., ones that wouldn’t be triggered unless the thing moving was more than 25 pounds.

          • thanks!

          • What if your pet weighs more than 25 lbs — i.e. a 75-lb dog that stays indoors while we’re away?

          • My wife and I foster dogs and have had multiple dogs up to I think at least 60 pounds free-ranging around these sensors without triggering them. You’ll prob have a test mode where you can figure out a placement that minimizes/eliminates false alarms while still sensing humans. The sensors are fairly simple (i.e. there’s no computer chip computing your anatomy and judging human from animal) so there’s certainly room for error.

        • justinbc

          Despite their name, motion detectors don’t really detect motion, they’re really just heat sensors. These are wired to not alert you for a signature of a being that’s less than approximately 50 pounds. So with cats or most small dogs it shouldn’t be an issue.

          • FWIW I’ve had friends/family whose cats have set off motion detectors. I wasn’t aware that there are pet safe ones though. In each case the company came out and removed the motion detectors (rather than replacing them with pet safe ones).

          • Yeah, this is not true. At least not for the two separate systems I have had. In my current house, my alarm guy noted that cats WOULD set off the alarm going up and down the stairs because the motion detector reads it as a tall person over 50 pounds. So I never use it. And there’s no way to effectively put it elsewhere that won’t hit the stairs. Instead, I bought glass break sensors (which I set off all the time slamming doors).

            FWIW, I used Ackerman, which was pretty cheap. I paid next to nothing for equipment for signing a two year coverage agreement and only pay $20/month or so.

          • My small dog set off out motion detectors so we had to get rid of them.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          If you have a large pet, you can get glass break sensors instead (or just put window detectors and door detectors on all entrances). I have motion sensors (came with the house) and I just don’t turn them on when my dog is home (i.e., most of the time).

    • + eleventy million. Simplisafe is affordable and easy to install and, since I installed, I feel like I know the system very well and could fix/identify problems (if there were any!). We’ve also temporarily installed a simplisafe system in the home of a relative who’s passed away and the company was wonderful to work with and doesn’t require any long term contracts!

  • We use Vintage Security, after two friends recommended them. We have been very happy!

  • We use Guardian Protection. It’ $44 per month for monitoring. We live in a rowhouse and have a wireless system. Most windows have sensors, we have glass break detectors, and a motion detector. The total system was around $900 five years ago (if memory serves). They are easy to deal with for billing , and have been prompt in sending a repair man out to address the few equipment issues we’ve had. And, they call within seconds to make sure you’re ok if you hit the panic button by accident (oops!). Totally worth the peace of mind.

  • I recommend Simplisafe. The ability to add sensors ad-hoc over time is priceless. Scout is another, more progressive DIY provider, but they have fewer sensors (the big one missing is a flood sensor, which I use many of because of all the horror stories I’ve heard about water damage from burst pipes and the like).
    Another great thing about a DIY solution vs. the standard-bearers is that there are usually contract terms. There was an ADT system installed in our house when we bought it and ADT insisted on a 36-month(!!!) contract to activate the alarm in our name. When we refused, the alarm sounded until we pulled it off the wall and drowned it (upon Googling, this is actually a common problem with deactivated ADT alarms). So yeah, pretty sour on ADT.

    • That is to say, there are contract terms for the standard-bearers, though I’m sure ADT is one of the worse offenders. I pay $25/month for Simplisafe monitoring month-to-month, and the contracted monitoring services works just fine in my experience.

    • We moved into a new house right after I had my first baby (I went into labor on moving day). We decided not to activate the ADT system that came with our house due to the long contract term (5 years). The night I came home from the hospital our alarm went off and would not turn off. The sound was deafening. We called ADT and got no help.

      In an very exhausted post-birth hormonal moment I ripped the alarm off the wall and smashed it on the ground until it stopped. It was very Hulk Smash. Drowning the alarm in the sink would have been a lot easier on my c-section incision. Ever sense then I have hated ADT.

  • If you’re not interested in the DIY route, I’ve had excellent luck with Vivint. They updated the system several years after the initial install with no additional charge. I have window sensors, two removes, and exterior door sensors. It’s $52/month, but in hindsight I should’ve negotiated that down a bit. They’ve always been very responsive, even in false alarms.

  • There was an ADT system pre-installed in our place but I signed up with Ackerman. I think its about $30 or $35 a month including the cell monitoring and iPhone app. So far no issues, we’ve set it off before and they’re quick to call and confirm before dispatching.

  • Posted this on the thread yesterday but here it is again.
    A Vector Security system came with our house so that’s what we went with. A rep will come to your house and you’ll pick out the technology you want. It’s sort of the thing I love now that I never knew I wanted? There are a lot of different options: motion sensors, glass break sensors, monitored smoke detectors, cameras, window sensors etc. etc. We didn’t have to pay for any of the technology or installation so it was a pretty easy sell for us. It’s around $30 a month for monitoring but more if you want to use the app ($40ish). I definitely recommend the app it has cool features like notifications if you forget to set it an if you get a camera you view it remotely.
    This is our first experience with a security system so I guess I don’t have anything to compare it to but I feel much safer with it. When we first got it we accidentally set it off all the time and the people were always so nice and concerned sounding when they called to make sure everything was okay.
    Another thing I would mention is that the Vector Security main office people were much easier to deal with than the local reps that they contract installation out to. I thought the sales guy that came out was pretty sleazy and used lots of scare tactics to try to convince us to keep the system (we had already decided to since we didn’t have to pay for the technology) so don’t let the sleazy sales guy make you annoyed with the whole company. The sales guy also hated ADT with a passion so he talked lots of trash about them but I have nothing to compare Vector to.

  • Livewatch. Similar to Frontpoint but a little cheaper if you want access using your mobile phone (or at least that was the case when I compared them) Both have much lower up-front costs than outfits like ADP, you can install them yourself, they’re very customizable, and no there’s no contract. My monitoring costs about $25 a month.

    • Livewatch is $20/month now if you don’t care about using the app. Tough to beat that. Everything is on cellular bands, too, so an alarm will dispatch the 5-0 even if the power or landlines are out. Frontpoint is very solid, too.

    • I have LiveWatch too.

    • We have LiveWatch – had it since we got the house (3 years ago). Good system – the alarm has activated twice when we were away (once someone tried to get in a window and must have ran once the alarm went off and the other was probably a false alarm) – the police responded within 3 mins and livewatch called us and followed up with the reports from the police.

  • I use Petitbon, which is a local company. That’s the system that was installed in the house when we bought it six years ago, and we’ve always been very happy with their service.

  • justinbc

    I just want to add an additional comment for prospective buyers, given that a lot of people are saying they went with whatever system was already installed in their home. Almost all of this equipment is universally the same, there are very few proprietary differences. There’s almost zero reason to go with a system just because it has a certain monitoring company’s label on it, because any other company can run their services through the same equipment. Go with whoever makes you feel comfortable, don’t feel forced to stick with the label that’s already there.


    These guys are incredible on all fronts – the system they installed is perfect for me, and the cell phone monitoring tools is fantastic. On the occasions I’ve accidentally tripped the alarm myself or the power has failed, they’ve called me and then my contact list almost immediately. Their response time is just far superior to what I’ve heard from others. They take a ton of pride in their work and keeping people safe.

    I also appreciate that the CEO himself will respond to emails – it’s a local company that only uses full-time employees to do the installs and check on customers.

    Best of all, they have a month-to-month policy, which was unheard of with other alarm companies. Their philosophy is that you’ll see enough value in the service to continue working with them, and I DEFINITELY have.

    Cannot recommend this company enough, but if that’s not enough, check out their Yelp reviews and website!

    • justinbc

      I actually tried to get Urban Alarm to give me a quote based on how great other PoPville people said they were, but after multiple attempts to get in contact with them and no response I finally just gave up.

    • Highly disagree. I left them 2 messages and a tweet about getting a quote and never heard back.

      • also, Rachel M. you sound like you work for the company.

        • Yeah, so I definitely don’t work for the company but I am a single female that lives alone and is away for long stretches, so I care a lot about what’s protecting my house.

          I’ve always found them to be super responsive to me – via email and calling the direct office. When I first had it installed my tech came out on a SUNDAY that he wasn’t even working because it was the only time I had available to be home.

          Sorry to hear about your experience – not the norm for me!

    • This company has good reviews — what do you pay per month?

      • I went with the super-duper package, but you can pair it down to basic monitoring at around $20 per month I believe. Mine has cell phone monitoring (to turn on and off), motion sensors, and a back up that allows it to ride on battery when the power goes out – pretty relevant considering the recent weather.

        The use alarm.com for their cellphone app and I love it; fun features include a grid showing how many other users on the system are having a power outage when you are, an alert that goes off when my cell phone is more than 2 miles from the house and I haven’t armed the system, and a great “event” log of any event or user command.

        I’d check them out – ask for Chris Hall, he’s who set up my system.

    • I completely disagree.

      I tried to use them to switch from ADT. However, the inexperienced kid that came to my house didn’t know anything about the system, couldn’t tell me if my current system was compatible with urban alarm’s, and then sent an astronomically high quote for installation.

      I’m not a security buff, but I know how to google. For window sensors, urban alarm was charging something like 4x higher than amazon. $20 vs $79 per window adds up quickly.

  • You can blow so much money on alarm systems. We have the sign in our yard and stickers in our windows, but canceled the monitoring over 12 years ago. If we have any issues we’ll add a Beware of Dog sign (we don’t have a dog either).

  • Went with a small local outfit – N&D Security. They have been very responsive to my needs and have always shown up on time as scheduled.

    I highly recommend.

  • I bought my system online from SafeMart and installed it myself. The system cost about $350 upfront, and was fairly easy to install because it’s all wireless. Then I bought a cellular communicator from Alarm Relay for $150. I pay Alarm Relay $15 a month to monitor the system via cellular network. I can confirm that they will call the police if you set the alarm off and they can’t contact you.

  • Egad

    ADT. They have always been responsive when (thankfully no real) an accidental alarm went off.

    • Likewise. We’ve been using them for over 10 years and haven’t had any of the negative experiences, it’s all been good. We have our smoke detectors and CO detector monitored as well and are taking advantage of the reduced rate through our homeowner’s insurance. When we did our last move, the ADT rep who came out was one of the most thorough, knowledgeable, and nicest people with whom we interacted during the move. Obviously experiences will vary but thought it was worth mentioning that there are happy ADT customers.

    • We have used ADT for 13 years, and the experience has been great. I haven’t recently researched alternatives, and so I can’t say whether cost is competitive.

  • I like Ackerman. It’s cheaper per month than ADT (though my equipment was already installed when I moved in so I didn’t have to pay for that). They’ve been very responsive to false alarms, and there’s a neat web app that lets you control the alarm remotely.

    • +1. I use Ackerman. Also pre-installed in my house, though I added an extra keypad and glass break sensor. I pay $19/month and then some small fee for the web app/service. I’ve had no issues other than several times setting off the glass break sensor by slamming a door shut. They called immediately.

  • Urban Alarm. We went with it because there is no contract. But when you think of the cost of installing and whatnot, I’m not sure that is as important as we thought. But still, I like them. They’ve got a good app.

  • I have a slightly different question – I’m looking for a DIY security system that has wireless door/window sensors, motion sensors and cameras that I can monitor myself without paying any monthly fee.

    I don’t even need an alarm siren necessarily. I just want to get alerts on my phone when sensors are triggered and have the option to view live feeds and record video. With that info I can call the police myself if needed.

    Seems like all of the complete systems require subscriptions to get mobile alerts and live camera feeds. And non-monitored systems tend to be surveillance only (cameras, but no door sensors, etc.). I could probably cobble together different systems, but having an integrated system would be much better.

    Any recommendations?

  • Just come up with a name for some fearsome sounding security system (e.g., Titanium Pitbull) Security, print some decals and get a sign or two made, and voila — you get 90% of the value added of an alarm system at no cost.

    • My in-laws tried something similar. They bought a cheap security system at Costco, slapped the stickers on their doors, and didn’t sign up for the monitoring. Soon after, they were broken into and their house was trashed. So, no this won’t work.

  • ADT improperly installed our alarm system (it would sound the alarm, but not contact the police) and our home was broken into.

    We switched to URBAN ALARM 10yrs back and have been super happy. http://www.urbanalarm.com/services/residential-security-alarm/

  • We’re just about to move into a rowhouse with a Honeywell system (with cellular communicator and plenty of sensors) already installed. Previous owners appeared to get it via N&D, who it looks like in turn contracted the monitoring to Emergency24.

    Anyone any experience of getting this sort of system taken on by someone other than the original installer? Nothing against N&D, I’d just like to know I have a choice.

    Also, re the wireless ‘standalone’ system like Simplisafe – is there any concern over the main unit not being bolted down? Any issues hiding it away somewhere?

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