Best Home Security Systems in Atlanta
There are plenty of businesses in Atlanta, but how do you know which one to pick? We reviewed the best home security companies in Atlanta on pricing, contract length, and home automation features and found that Frontpoint, our national pick, is still the top dog in Atlanta. It’s the easiest and most affordable to get up and running — and it has the best home automation technology of all the companies we evaluated. Ackerman Security also made our list of top picks due to its super-affordable cellular monitoring and great customer service — but you’ll have to get a home visit for a quote.
The Best Home Security Systems in Atlanta
Frontpoint is our number-one pick in Atlanta because it’s the easiest to get up and running, bar none. You don’t have to schedule an in-home consultation or installation, which Ackerman Security does. Plus, the pricing for all three of the company’s basic packages (Protection, Interactive, and Ultimate) is clearly defined on the website and each one is totally customizable.
It’s also incredibly affordable. Protection, its most basic plan, runs $100 upfront and comes with your average setup: one motion detector, three sensors, and a cellular control panel. As for monitoring, it runs $35 per month, but you’ll need to upgrade to a $45-per-month plan in order to take advantage of home automation features, like controlling a Wi-Fi deadbolt from your smartphone.
Home automation is a huge part of security, and Frontpoint has the smoothest technology of all the companies that we reviewed in Atlanta. The app is incredibly smooth, and it allows you to integrate third-party Z-Wave devices.
Ackerman Security's is a tad pricier than the competition, but still a great deal, starting at $20 per month for a landline system, and $28 for a cellular system. It offers a range of home automation options with smartphone integration, and can usually work with existing equipment if you previously had a security system in your home.
One of Ackerman’s best features could also be a detriment, depending on what you’re looking for. All its systems are custom-built, so there are no pre-bundled packages. On one hand, you’ll get the exact level of security you want. That means you won’t be paying for features you don’t need, and you can customize the exact level of security and automation that you want. However, it also means that pricing is less-than-transparent. While a sales representative offered to send an agent to my home for a free consultation, he couldn’t answer any questions about how much I’d end up paying upfront and month-to-month. Some customers note that they weren’t sure how much service would cost until it was time to sign on the dotted line.
Other Companies to Consider
EMC Security had the lowest prices we could find, starting at just $17 per month for landline monitoring, and $24 for cellular. Not only are those prices great, but they come with no contract, so you can cancel at any time if you move or decide to terminate service. (Note that if you live in an apartment, you’ll have to pay your first year upfront, but if you cancel early, you’ll be refunded the balance.)
While EMC does have some negative reviews online, they followed up personally with every dissatisfied customer, and seemed to remedy the problem in nearly every complaint. Many customers who left one-star Yelp reviews revised them to a higher rating after hearing from EMC’s customer service department. No business can please every customer, so we think that phenomenal follow-up is more important than a perfect rating.
The EMC customer service representatives we spoke to on the phone were the most informed of the bunch, and were incredibly transparent with their pricing and policies. While most companies we called couldn’t provide all their pricing information over the phone, EMC told us exactly what it would cost to get up and running, to the cent. They even gave us a couple of tips to save money on upfront security costs. That nothing-to-hide attitude earned our respect and highest ranking.
AMSA (Alarm Monitoring Service of Atlanta)
Pricing for AMSA starts at $19 per month for a landline system, and $30 for cellular. Their systems are custom-built, so they couldn’t provide us with setup costs over the phone. However, we were connected with a sales representative immediately, so hold times won’t be an issue if you choose service with AMSA.
AMSA can reprogram most security systems to be compatible with their professional monitoring, and they offer a free app for home automation. We also like their one-year warranty on all parts and labor. Many other companies only guarantee their systems for 90 days.
Atlanta City Policies
False alarms are a major drain on public resources in the city of Atlanta: almost 95 percent of all alerts are false alarms. While most of those are canceled en-route, it still takes about 20-30 minutes of the responding officers’ time. With 65,000 false alarms in 2012, that added up to a lot of wasted time and money.
Since then, Atlanta has implemented a false alarm ordinance in an attempt to curb those high numbers. Residents must register their alarms by visiting http://www.crywolf.us/atlantaga/ or calling 1-855-725-7102. Registering is free, but if you skip it, you can be ticketed $150.
“Our police officers take every alarm call seriously. In many cases, however, the call ends up being nothing more than a false alarm caused by accident or human error. This new program will allow our officers to spend more time responding to true emergencies.”
If your alarm goes off when there isn’t a real emergency, you get one free pass. If it happens again, you’ll be hit with a $50 ticket, and fines will escalate for each subsequent false alarm.
If you ensure your alarm system is in working order, and take care to keep doors and windows closed and locked, (especially those vulnerable to swinging open in the wind), false alarms won’t happen often.
The Bottom Line
With Frontpoint, you get the best of both worlds: an incredibly easy setup (you can install systems yourself) and really affordable startup costs. Ackerman Security is our favorite local provider thanks to its personal touch and affordable cellular monitoring contract, but it requires an on-site consultation and professional installation.