Guest Article from Money.com: The Best Home Security Systems for 2020

With technology continuously evolving and improving, home security systems today offer a wide range of protection and coverage options. Modern systems have features ranging from in-home motion and heat sensors to video doorbells and more, as well as apps and smart home integration that lets you monitor your home remotely.

Home security systems can range from basic with just door sensors, to comprehensive with fire and smoke sensors, glass sensors, and much more.

Many home security systems now feature smart home integration, allowing you to control lights, door locks, and more from your smartphone.

Some systems require professional installation, while others offer user-friendly do-it-yourself (DIY) installation. Before using a professional, make sure to know all the costs associated with the installation.

Your homeowner’s insurance may offer you a discount for having a home security system. Contact your insurance provider to see if you qualify.

In choosing the best home security systems of 2020, we evaluated each system using the following factors:

Security systems can range from basic to highly complex. We selected companies that offer a wide variety of security options, including everything from door sensors to video cameras and more.

We also made sure to include a selection of both professionally-monitored and installed options, as well as systems that embrace a DIY approach. Some of these DIY systems require no tools and install in under an hour, while some offer optional professional installation help.

While most security companies require contracts, we found some no-contract options for you, too. Most of the companies included that do require contracts offer at least a 30-day trial before commitment.

With 24/7 monitoring, a security company may summon help for you when you can’t. The companies included in this ranking all offer monitoring and emergency response.

We considered the company’s Better Business Bureau rating, user reviews and satisfaction ratings, and the company’s reputation for providing responsive customer support.

Best Home Security Systems

ADT – If you’re looking for versatile package options that cover home, commercial, and even small business

SimpliSafe – With easy setup and a no-contract option, SimpliSafe is a user-friendly home security system

Frontpoint – Easy to set up and no need for professional installation, Frontpoint is a versatile choice for many homeowners.

Protect America – With everything from water monitoring to glass sensors, Protect America’s wide range of options means you can customize your security system to your specific needs.

Vivint – Home security doesn’t just cover homes, anymore. With Vivint, your security system can extend to your vehicle, too.

Ring – Looking for a comprehensive security system that you can monitor on your own with no contracts and extra fees? Ring delivers exactly that, and 24/7 monitoring is available if you choose.

Google Nest – Need a system that integrates with your entire smart-home system? Google’s Nest does this, while also adding on variable options to help outfit your house.

This is abbreviated from the full money.com article which you can read at https://money.com/best-home-security-system/

What’s a ‘Smart Home,’ and What Elements of a ‘Smart Home’ Make Sense for You?

Home automation is now mainstream, thanks to a strong internet and widespread use of WiFi routers in our homes. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “smart home” used to describe a home with devices that can be monitored and/or controlled from your smartphone.

The most widely adopted such device is probably the Ring doorbell. You may have one on your own home. Rita and I do, plus one on the door of Golden Real Estate. If you ring our home doorbell, Rita gets an alert on her iPhone and can see and converse with whoever is there. The visitor wouldn’t know if Rita is home or not as they converse, and, even if the visitor doesn’t ring the doorbell, Rita’s alerted to “motion at the front door” and a video of it is archived in the “cloud” for later viewing — great for identifying “porch pirates.”

If you ring the doorbell at Golden Real Estate, I get the notification on my iPhone and can converse with you and perhaps arrange to have an agent meet you there shortly.

There are countless other examples of “smart” devices. For example, we have a car wash closet on the back of our office building, and I’m concerned about the pipes freezing if it gets really cold, so I installed a WiFi connected device which tells me on an app both the outdoor temperature and the temperature inside the closet. And it alerts me when the inside temperature drops below 35 degrees.

We also have security cameras inside and outside our building which I can view on my smartphone or in the office, allowing me to go back in time to capture suspicious events, such as when a snowblower was stolen last year. I have a similar system at home.

If you subscribe to Dish Network or DirecTV, you have a smart device there, able to schedule and even watch DVR recordings on your smartphone or tablet. My Samsung TV is itself “smart” which is what makes it possible to stream Netflix shows and movies.

Even our refrigerator is “smart.”  Rita and I can actually look inside the refrigerator on our smartphones while shopping!

A client of mine has an internet-connected garage door opener that alerts him when the door opens and closes, and he can open or close it from his smartphone — very useful since his detached garage faces the alley and he has no way of knowing if it is open or closed without leaving his house and walking around the garage to the alley.

WiFi-enabled (i.e., wireless) security cameras make it possible to have cameras in places not previously possible. The cameras are powered by lithium-ion batteries that last 4 to 6 months between charges and can be mounted up to 300 feet from their base station. One such application is the wireless camera on the EV charging station in our parking lot, which was once vandalized. Next time, I’ll be able to identify the culprit.

Other applications you might consider are WiFi-connected moisture detectors and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Baby monitors are a no-brainer, too. As long as you have your phone with you, you’ll be able to see and talk to your baby in his room.

WiFi-connected electric shades, especially on your out-of-reach windows, could help you save energy and money by opening and closing based on indoor temperature.

My solar PV system at home is internet connected, not only so I can monitor it but so the leasing company which has guaranteed a certain level of production can know when it has not produced as promised and can automatically send me a check for the under-production. (I have received two such checks.)

Nest is a big provider of smart devices, best known for their thermostat, which not only senses occupancy but can be adjusted remotely.

An alternative to lockboxes that is now widely available is the WiFi connected electric deadbolt. When someone rings your video doorbell and you want to let them into your house, you can unlock your door on your smartphone to let the person in and lock it when they go.

There are devices to make electric outlets “smart” so any device plugged into them can be powered on or off from your smartphone. A variation on that is one with dimming capability. As you can see, there’s no end to what you can do to make your home a “smart” home.

If you want to check out other devices for your home, Google is your friend, or simply go to www.SmartHome.com, which sells smart home devices from a multitude of manufacturers, including Ring, Next, Amazon, and others.

Alexa and other “smart speakers” are also “smart listeners” and, like all internet-connected devices, can be hacked, so it is important that you have strong passwords and take other precautions.