Best Home Security Systems in Chicago
The Greater Chicagoland area has no shortage of home security companies, including Frontpoint, our national top pick. But how does each one stack up against the rest of the competition?
We thoroughly researched the plans, installation costs, and home automation features of 11 Chicago-based home security companies. Alert Protective Systems stood out as the best home security company in Chicago due to its long-term value and reputation. But if you’re looking for smart thermostats and smartphone-connected lighting, go with Frontpoint — it has the smoothest (and cost-effective) home automation technology. It’s also our only top pick with a self-installable systems, making it a great choice for renters.
The Best Home Security Systems in Chicago
Alert Protective Services
After dealing with Alert Protective Systems, it’s easy to see why the company earned an A+ from the BBB and an A from Angie’s List. The associates we spoke with easily answered our questions and informed us that the company’s central monitoring facility, (which is Underwriter Laboratories-approved) has the ability to track any model of alarm. What’s more, Alert Protective Systems will monitor an already existing system, even if installed by another provider.
Contract pricing starts at $30 per month, which is about $10 cheaper than most of the plans we encountered in the Chicagoland area. Getting a quote for upfront cost, on the other hand, requires a home visit. (We couldn’t get even a ballpark number on the phone, but systems generally run between $250 and $500.) It’s also worth noting that while Alert Protective System’s most common contract length is 36 months, the representative assured us that the company will work with residential customers to customize a plan.
Frontpoint has two big advantages in Chicago. First off, it’s the only company that doesn’t require an on-site consultation to get a quote. Each one of Frontpoint’s packages are clearly outlined on the website, and you know exactly what you’ll pay right from the start. The second advantage is that it’s the area leader in home automation. So if you’re interested in smartphone-controlled lighting, or a connected Thermostat (like Nest), Frontpoint has the smoothest, smartphone-friendly technology available.
Fronpoint systems start at $100 upfront — which is the cheapest of all our top picks — and $34 per month for cellular monitoring. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to set up and don’t require a professional installation (no screws, no drilling, no mess). Just remember that with Alert Protective Systems and Vintech High Tech Security Solutions, you own the equipment from day one. Frontpoint only leases its equipment, making it less attractive for those who plan to live in their current home for quite a while.
Vintech Security Solutions
Vintech Security Solutions specializes in both residential and business monitoring systems, and services include an emergency call box, video surveillance, burglar alarm monitoring, and access control. The company also has exemplary ratings on BBB (an A+, to be exact) and solid Facebook reviews.
When we attempted to get a quote for equipment and installation costs over the phone phone, we were greeting with a prompt, friendly voice who explained that contracts are drawn up on a case-by-case basis and require a detailed analysis of the property in question. However, she was able to tell us that if we signed the traditional 36-month contract, our cellular monitoring rate would start at $39 per month. There is also an option to negotiate a shorter agreement, but the monthly payment will go up.
What we really liked about Vintech High Tech Security Solutions is its dedication to equipment maintenance. No one understands how the effects of inclement weather more than Chicagoans, and the company backs up all its installations with regular check-ups and preventative maintenance services. Vin tech also offers life alert devices and home automation, so you can customize all your major home electronics through them.
We recommend Vintech for non-residential or temporary monitoring needs, as it specializes in construction sites and works often with property managers to design systems customized to individual needs.
Stealth Security Systems
Stealth Security Systems offers all sorts of high-tech gadgets, with particular focus on cameras and video monitoring. Services include CCTV surveillance cameras, home security systems, and home theater systems. So if video surveillance is something that is a non-negotiable to you, definitely talk to the folks at Stealth Security Systems to learn more about the variety of options available to you. The irony here is that Stealth Security doesn’t offer home automation services. So if a WiFi-connected thermostat is a must in your eyes, check out Frontpoint.
Basic cellular monitoring starts at just $30 per month, which is right on par with our top pick. What’s different, however, is that Stealth Security doesn’t require you to sign a contract. Associates will work with you to develop a monitoring system and maintenance plan that works for you. Operating out of Crystal Lake, Illinois, Stealth Security primarily serves the Greater Chicagoland area suburbs.
Chicago Crime Rates & Trends
Chicago is home to more than its fair share of theft and burglary, particularly in the city proper. The property crime rate, according to Neighborhood Scout, is five points higher than the national average. Now, that shouldn’t scare you into buying a system, but it does mean you live in an area that is prone to burglary.
Above all, home security is about your peace of mind. So before you buy a security system, consider whether having one would actually make you feel safer or not.
If you don’t have a security system, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to make your home safer, like keeping your yard tidy and using motion-sensing outdoor lights. We also found that even the visible and audible signs of an alarm system are enough to stop burglars in their tracks.
The Bottom Line
Frontpoint is the easiest (and cheapest) of all our top picks to get up and running: You’ll pay $100 up front and sign a 36-month contract. Alert Protective Systems is $5 cheaper per month for cellular monitoring, but like the rest of our top picks, it requires an on-site quote and will cost several hundred dollars for the startup equipment.