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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best smart security systems

For keeping you and your loved ones safe from burglaries, fires, and other hazards, a smart security system provides peace of mind and allows you to monitor your home at all times. However, the variety of kits and features available can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to home security systems.

Unlike traditional home security systems, a smart security system can integrate with accessories like smart speakers or smart thermostats, acting as the control center for your home. If you already own smart appliances, integrating a security system is a natural next step—or if you don’t have any smart home devices, this is an ideal place to start.

The number of accessories and features varies greatly from one set to the next, offering you a range of choices in terms of both price and functionality.

Best Smart Security Systems
Most brands offer a line of compatible security devices. This means you can start small and add additional components as you see fit, linking them with your current system.

How to buy the best smart security system

On top of the considerations for choosing a traditional home security system, you’ll also need to weigh things like whether you need a wired or wireless system and how you want to control your security system.

Are smart security systems worth the money?

The cost of a system depends largely on what security components you need. If you’re just looking for a doorbell or a set of door sensors, sets can be fairly inexpensive. 

However, smart security systems are generally more expensive than their traditional counterparts. If voice control or smart home integration are important features to you, then the added price may be worth it.

Wired or wireless?

The majority of smart security systems are wireless. A hardwired system has the advantage of not needing batteries, but the pros end there.

Wireless systems are easy to install yourself and don’t require professional help. In addition, you can bring them with you without hassle when you move. 

Fees of smart security systems

When you’re comparing your options, consider any monthly fees that may come with systems. 

Cellular backup plans provide a connection in the event that your home is without power or internet. Some savvy burglars may cut your home’s power or cable lines before entering. Cellular backup fees are often around $10 a month, or they may be bundled with other subscription fees. 

A professionally monitored system means that you alone are not responsible for responding to alerts or notifications—which may be just what you need for a stress-free vacation. These services average around $30 per month, so think carefully before opting for a system that requires a monthly subscription.

Dyk1-Smart Security Systems
Did You Know?
Some outdoor security cameras are solar-powered, so there’s no need to worry about the power supply or battery. 
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Common features of smart security systems

When comparing models, consider the number and type of components, how your home will be monitored, and how you will interact with features like locks or other linked smart home devices.

Number of monitors and cameras

You could start off with a smart lock or doorbell, or you could opt for a full set of cameras to monitor your home. The right choice depends on your budget, needs, and preferences. 

  • Security cameras come in sets ranging from a single camera to a dozen cameras. There’s nothing wrong with starting out with one or two cameras placed in strategic locations, but if you’re rather cover your whole home, inside and out, then a larger set may suit you better
  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should already be a part of your home. But switching to a smart security system is a good opportunity to upgrade your environmental alarms so you can get updates when you’re away from home
  • Contact sensors for doors and windows will alert you when the sensors come apart and someone may be entering your home. Some models can also be programmed to play an audio message from a speaker telling you which window or door is open.
  • Glass break sensors can pick up the sound of a shattering window, giving you an alert when regular contact sensors won’t.
  • Temperature sensors will alert you to the presence of extreme cold or heat in your home. If you live in an area prone to natural disaster, these can help to protect your home no matter where you are.

Monitoring method: professional or self-monitoring?

A self-monitoring security system will send you alerts on your phone when anything is amiss, whether it’s motion detected by a camera or an opened window.

Professionally monitored systems usually come with a monthly fee, but in return, you get the services of a team that will verify any disturbances in your home and contact the appropriate authorities. 

Both options offer your home protection, but the right choice depends on your budget and how hands-on you want to be.

Interface system

Most smart security systems include a control panel, which may have a touchscreen for controlling things like arming and disarming your system, turning off alarms, or locking doors.

Some systems may also allow you to use voice control or to control your system with an app. Consider which method you find most convenient when comparing options.

Additional features

  • A battery backup will keep your system running and recording, even without power. Typically, this is a feature that comes built in, not a component bought separately.
  • Cellular backup is a feature that keeps your system online regardless of internet connection status. These usually require a monthly fee, but they prevent burglars from easily tampering with your internet to disable your whole security system.
  • Online storage or local storage record footage captured by your cameras or doorbells so you can review any disturbances. Cloud storage may require a monthly fee, but built-in local storage is usually considered in the price of your system.
  • Alarms will quickly let any intruders know that they have tripped the system, and if you’re home, they’ll let you know there has been a disturbance. 
  • A hub serves as the center of your smart home network and allows devices to communicate with one another. Some smart security systems include a hub or can operate without one, while others require you to purchase a hub separately.


Check with local laws to see whether authorities require a permit for alarm systems. This may be required if you opt for a professionally monitored system.

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What other equipment do you need for a security system? 

On top of additional components like extra cameras or a video doorbell, consider further protecting your home with a few accessories.

Hard drives 

If your system has cameras, consider a hard drive to locally back up captured footage. Be sure to keep the hard drive in a discreet location so it isn’t stolen or destroyed by intruders.

Smart speakers

Though they have a wide range of functions, smart speakers offer an easy way to control your security system. If you already own a smart speaker, check the compatibility of smart security systems you are considering.

Flood lights

A well-lit lawn is a major deterrent for burglars. In addition, a flood light can help outdoor cameras capture clear footage.

St2-Smart Security System
Staff Tip
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of putting cameras in your home, consider opting for outdoor cameras. Or, you could avoid cameras altogether and instead place window and door sensors throughout your home.
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What is the price of a smart security system?

When comparing systems, don’t forget to take subscription fees and monitoring costs. These can range anywhere from free to $60 per month.

Inexpensive

Basic sets may include a single security camera, a video doorbell, or a few window and door sensors for $50 to $100.

Mid-range

For $100 to $400, systems may include a range of components, often offering cameras, video doorbells, smart locks, and window sensors. In addition, these sets often include cellular backup capability with a monthly subscription.

Expensive

Comprehensive kits for $400 and more typically offer 4K security cameras and include a hub. While camera quality is excellent in this price range, these sets do not necessarily include more components than cheaper options.

Tips

  • Keep security cameras out of reach. A can of spray paint can quickly render a camera useless, so mounting cameras high up can make it more difficult for burglars to tamper with them. 
  • Make entry to your home as difficult as possible. Check for any doors with glass or windows near the handles, and replace out-of-date locks that could be easily broken.
  • Protect your garage as well. This is particularly important if you have valuable sports equipment or appliances.
  • Use two-factor authentication to log into your system. When paired with a strong password, this can make it harder for burglars or hackers to access your system.
The Best Smart Security Systems
A smart security system with an app not only allows you to keep tabs on your home, but it can also let you check in on your pets.

FAQ

Q. Are smart security systems susceptible to hacking?

A. While many systems have built-in safeguards, systems that are connected to the internet could be hacked. To prevent this, opt for a system from a reputable brand, and avoid older models. Keeping your system’s firmware up-to-date can also prevent hackers.

Q. Should I put up signs for my security system to warn burglars?

A. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s hard to judge the effectiveness of a security system brand sign. In addition to this measure, keep your home well-lit, and place security cameras in visible locations.

Q. How long until a smart security system becomes outdated?

A. In general, your smart security system should be functional for 10 to 15 years. However, if the company stops supporting the firmware with regular updates, it is probably time to upgrade.

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