The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Home Security System 2024

Posted November 16th, 2023 by SimpliSafe

Break-ins have become an unfortunate reality for many homeowners. This unsettling trend has increased the demand for more effective security measures. Smart home security systems have emerged as a comprehensive solution, merging technology and convenience to safeguard homes with DIY installation options, affordable prices, and customizable plans. These systems are designed to be easy to use, giving homeowners greater control over their home's security while providing the peace of mind they deserve when they’re away from home or asleep at night.

But, with so many security systems out there, how do you know which one is right for you? What devices should you incorporate in your system, and how much should you spend? These are just some of the basic questions homeowners may have when it comes time to invest in a system.

With this ultimate guide, we’ll answer these questions and more, so you can find the right security system for your home. Let’s dive in!

What is the Difference Between a Home Security System and a Home Alarm System?

Home security and alarm systems are often used interchangeably but have distinct functions and features. Understanding these differences is essential when choosing the right solution for your home security needs.

Home Security Systems: A home security system is a comprehensive solution that integrates various security components to safeguard a property. It's designed to offer a holistic approach to security, combining features such as surveillance, intrusion detection, and home automation. A home security system's primary goal is to provide alerts, preventive measures, and enhanced control over your home environment.

A home security system encompasses a wide range of functions and features that collectively create a comprehensive security infrastructure:

  • Security Cameras: Cameras provide surveillance coverage, allowing homeowners to monitor their property remotely.

  • Intrusion Detection: Motion and door/window sensors detect unauthorized entry attempts.

  • Home Automation: Integration with smart devices allows homeowners to control lighting, thermostats, and more.

  • Video Monitoring: Live and recorded video feeds offer real-time insights into the property's surroundings.

  • Remote Access: The ability to control and monitor the system remotely through mobile apps.

  • Professional Monitoring: Optional service where professionals monitor your home and respond to alerts.

Home Alarm Systems: On the other hand, a home alarm system is a subset of a home security system. Its main function is to detect and signal potential security breaches through audible alerts, notifications, or visual indicators. The emphasis of a home alarm system is on immediate notification, either to homeowners or a monitoring service, when an intrusion is detected. A home alarm system does not integrate with other security components, and instead, each component works independently. 

A home alarm system primarily focuses on intrusion detection and immediate notification:

  • Intrusion Sensors: Door/window contacts and motion detectors are strategically placed to detect unauthorized entry.

  • Audible Alarms: Loud sirens and alarms sound off when a breach is detected, potentially deterring intruders.

  • Notifications: Alerts are sent to homeowners, neighbors, or a monitoring service to prompt action.

  • Quick Response: Rapid alerts enable homeowners to act promptly by contacting authorities or assessing the situation.

While home alarm systems are integral to home security systems, the former offers a more comprehensive approach. Home security systems provide various features like video surveillance, home automation, and professional monitoring. These additional features empower homeowners with greater control, convenience, and advanced protection.

Key Components of Home Security Systems

Home security systems are meticulously designed to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to safeguarding your home and loved ones. These systems consist of many components, each playing a critical role in ensuring the security and peace of mind you deserve.

Cameras: Outdoor security cameras are the eyes of your security system, keeping a watchful eye on the interior and exterior of your property. These cameras capture activity around entry points, driveways, and other vulnerable areas. Both types of cameras provide real-time video feeds and recordings, aiding in identifying potential threats and reviewing events.

Motion Sensors: Motion sensors and detectors are essential components that trigger alerts when unexpected movement is detected. These devices are strategically placed around your property, providing an additional layer of security. Motion detection technology ensures that you're promptly informed about any unauthorized activity.

Entry Sensors: A security kit typically includes window sensors, which are important for protecting vulnerable entry points. These sensors detect if a window is opened or tampered with, sounding an alarm and notifying you immediately. Window sensors enhance the overall security of your home, preventing unauthorized access.

Control Panel: The control panel or keypad serves as the nerve center of your security system. They allow you to arm and disarm the system, customize settings, and manage alerts. With an intuitive interface, controlling your security system becomes seamless and effortless.

Base Station: The base station acts as the central hub that connects and manages all components of your security system. It coordinates device communication, controls the alarm system, and ensures smooth operation. In an emergency, the base station is essential when it comes to triggering the alarm, alerting homeowners with remote monitoring, and/or the authorities with professional monitoring.

Smart Home Integrations: Home security systems can be further enhanced by integrating smart home devices. Smart locks provide keyless entry, enabling you to control access remotely. Thermostats offer climate control and energy efficiency. These devices add both convenience and security to your home environment.

Mobil App Compatibility: A mobile app serves as a command center in the palm of your hand. It lets you control your security system remotely, receive real-time alerts, and access camera video feeds. An app empowers you to monitor and manage your home security system from anywhere, providing unparalleled convenience and control. If you get an alert, you can notify authorities and/or let a neighbor know so they can check on your home for you. 

The Difference Between a Monitored and Unmonitored System

While an unmonitored system is better than having no system at all (and an ideal option for those on a budget), the best way to bring your home protection to the next level is to invest in 24/7 professional monitoring. With 24/7 monitoring, you have the benefit of not just being alerted to emergencies at home but also having professional monitoring agents there to address any problems and alert emergency authorities if needed, all without you needing to place a phone call. 

SimpliSafe offers three different, affordably-priced monitoring plans, none of which require a long-term contract. Some of the key benefits of 24/7 professional monitoring include:

  • Whole home protection against break-ins, fire, floods and more

  • Instant alarm alerts on the mobile app

  • Access to video verification, allowing for faster police dispatch for verified threats 

Additionally, those who subscribe to SimpliSafe’s Fast Protect Professional Monitoring have the exclusive benefit of 24/7 live guard protection, an industry-first professional monitoring feature that can help stop crime in real-time by allowing monitoring agents to see and speak directly with intruders. The benefit, which is enabled by SimpliSafe’s Smart Alarm Wireless Indoor Camera, is a groundbreaking innovation designed to help customers receive a more immediate intervention when they need it most. 

The Difference Between DIY and Professionally Installed Systems

The decision to invest in a home security system comes with multiple considerations. One of the key choices you'll face is whether to opt for a DIY system or a professionally installed one. Both options have their pros and cons, which can impact the effectiveness and convenience of your security setup.

DIY: DIY systems have several pros, including being cost-effective and flexible, allowing control over where to place sensors and cameras, and tailoring the system to your needs. However, for those who may not feel comfortable with technology or may not have the dexterity to install a system themselves, a DIY could prove difficult. 

Professionally Installed: Professionally installed systems also have several pros, including leaving the heavy lifting and installation to others. Professionals also are able to give you advice on the best components for your home and where to place them. However, there are often higher costs associated with professional installation, considering you are paying for an additional service. 

SimpliSafe offers both DIY and professional installation options to its customers. If you still aren’t sure which option is best for you, consider reaching out to SimpliSafe’s customer support team. 

Invest in a Home Security System Today

Choosing the right home security system is essential for safeguarding your loved ones and belongings. By exploring the nuances of various options, from different components to monitored systems vs. non-monitored systems, you've gained valuable insights to make an informed decision. 

No matter what home security system you choose, the key lies in aligning your choice with your budget, property layout, and desired features. Your chosen security system is more than technology; it's your peace of mind and a proactive step towards a safer, more secure home. 

Visit the SimpliSafe shop to begin building your security system today!