What to Look for In A Home Security System

What to Look for In A Home Security System

Finding the perfect home security system is a balancing act between cost and protection. When considering what to look for in a security system, we suggest the following three-step process:

  • Identify how much you want to spend on the system. You can do this by looking at average industry pricesand creating a budget.
  • Choose the securityservicesthat offer the best balance between cost and protection.
  • Choose the security equipment that offer the best balance between cost and protection.

This article covers some of the most important ways homeowners balance cost with protection in a home security system. Specifically, we'll break that down into security servicesand security equipment.


And if you'd rather speak to a friendly and knowledgeable Ackerman professional in person about balancing cost and protection, you can always give us a call at 800.552.1111, or schedule a free consultation online.

Balancing Cost and Protection for Home Security Services

Three service variables should be considered when looking into a home security system:

  • Professional installations or DIY installations
  • Professional monitoring or self-monitoring
  • Landline monitoring or cellular monitoring

Professional Install vs. DIY Install

Homeowners have two installation options to choose from when it comes to home security: DIY or professional.

Do-It-Yourself Security Systems

DIY systems are ready to install right out of the box. You won't need a professional to help set these up, and because of that, the cost tends to be lower.

That said, DIY systems never take into account the design and layout of your home, leaving you open to camera and alarm system "blindspots."

Another factor that limits protection is a lack of support. A tech won't be there to set up your system and answer pertinent questions about it. A missed security feature could give a burglar the perfect opening past the home's defenses.

Professionally Installed Systems

Professional systems require a security technician to install for you. After they're installed however, they're as easy to use as a DIY system.

These systems cost more initially. But they have added security benefits that homeowners should be aware of, including:

  • The technician can install a custom system: Techs can spot areas where protection is weakest and defend those areas accordingly.
  • Mistakes are less likely during an install:Even DIY systems can be installed incorrectly. A professional installation reduces that risk.
  • Training on how to use the new system:The more comfortable you are around the new system, the safer you'll be.

Professional Monitoring vs. No Monitoring

Homeowners have two choices when it comes to monitoring their home: they can hire a professional service company to monitor their home for a fee, or they can monitor their home on their own for free.

  • Professional monitoringrefers to alarm systems that are monitored 24/7 by a professional security company. If an alarm is triggered, an agent will assess the situation and if necessary call the proper authorities. All of this happens within seconds. The downside of course is that homeowners are charged a monthly fee for the service.
  • No monitoring simply means not hiring a professional service company to monitor your home. This option is free of course. But it can cost you precious seconds during an emergency. This is especially true when you're at home and doesn't necessarily know what triggered the alarm and what emergency services to call. The biggest risk, though, is that a home is vulnerable if/when you aren't home to act quickly in times of emergencies.

Landline Monitoring vs. Cellular Monitoring

If a homeowner opts for professional monitoring, she'll have two options to choose from: landline monitoring or cellular monitoring.

  • Landline monitoring connects through a home's landline telephone cable. It's more affordable than cellular monitoring. But smart thieves can simply cut your home's telephone line and walk through the front door.
  • Cellular monitoringconnects through your home's WiFi network. It costs a few dollars more per month but has no single point of failure that a thief can attack and disarm.

Balancing Cost and Protection for Home Security Equipment

The second piece of the puzzle is equipment. A homeowner should consider two variables when making their decision:

  • Keep the current security system or purchase a new system
  • Purchase modern "smart" equipment or stick to more traditional systems

Keeping old equipment vs. purchasing new equipment

Many of our monitoring customers reach out to us to monitor their homes using the equipment they already have. That saves them a lot of money in new equipment cost, and they still get great professional monitoring rates through us. That's a win-win.

Alternatively, it's important to understand the age of your security system and when to upgrade it.

Security systems wear down and age like any other system. If you aren't sure whether you need to update your system, you can always get a free evaluation from one of Ackerman's expert security consultants.

Adding smart connectivity vs. keeping it simple

A universe of connected smart devices are making it easier than ever to secure, connect and simplify life at home.

Some of the most popular devices include:

  • Smart locks and garages: Smart locks and garages give you remote access to your home's entry and exit ways. You can lock and unlock doors and garages from your phone, and receive confirmation that your doors are locked if you're worried you forgot when you left.
  • Remote access security cams: The latest home security cameras let you access live video from your phone at any time. That's a huge advantage if you want to see what triggered a notification, or if you choose to self-monitor your home.
  • Smart lighting: With smart lighting, you can schedule your lights to turn on and off at certain times of the day. One important benefit of scheduled lighting includes making your home look "lived in" when you leave for vacation.
  • Smart doorbells: These incredibly popular security devices let you see and interact with someone at the door directly from your smartphone. You no longer have to answer the door or even be at home to speak with someone on your front porch.
  • Home sensors:Today's security alarms are equipped to handle more than just burglary. Homeowners can monitor and receive alerts for a growing number of potential threats, including carbon monoxide, smoke, flooding, frozen pipes and more.

It's up to the homeowner to decide whether to purchase these devices or stick with a more traditional alarm systems (which usually includes a security camera, alarm system and monitoring.)


If you're still not sure about the kind of security system you're looking for, you can always schedule a time to meetwith an Ackerman Security consultant. We offer a free, no-pressure consultation to help you decide on the security system that's best for your home and family.