Best Home Security Systems in New Jersey
The Garden State has plenty of options to keep your home safe and secure. With so many overlapping service areas along the eastern seaboard, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. Frontpoint national favorite, but what about all the local options?
We compiled a list of locally-based providers and sized them up against Frontpoint in terms of pricing, contract length, and home automation. Frontpoint is still offers the best home security systems in New Jersey thanks to its affordable startup costs (as little as $100), top-notch home automation features, and self-installable equipment.
Omega Security Systems offers the cheapest upfront equipment cost of all our top local providers: $500 for a basic system. Independent Alarm also earned itself a mention due to excellent customer service and really affordable monthly monitoring, but it’ll cost you more upfront.
The Best Home Security Systems in New Jersey
Frontpoint has one clear advantage over the rest of our top picks: It has a super low upfront cost. Even if you choose the most expensive plan, called “Ultimate,” you’re only going to pay around $300 out of pocket (unless you purchase extra equipment, which can be done a la carte directly from Frontpoint.) A basic setup that includes three sensors, one motion detector, and a control panel costs $100. Independent Alarm and Omega Security Systems will run you over $500 for a similar basic setup, but you get to keep the equipment, whereas Frontpoint leases its devices.
Another different between Frontpoint and the rest of our picks is that it allows you to install your own equipment — and you can do so without any drilling or wiring. That means Frontpoint is our top recommendation for renters.
Being able to check in on your home via smartphone is big part of home security, and Frontpoint has the best home automation technology in the business. The app is incredibly smooth, and the system allows you to integrate third-party Z-Wave devices (which can be purchased directly from Frontpoint, Amazon, Lowes, and anywhere they’re sold). There’s just one minor downside: To take advantage of remote capabilities, you need to upgrade to the $45 monthly monitoring plan.
Omega Security Systems
Omega Security Systems quoted us $584 for a three-bedroom, two exit home, which was the cheapest of any local company around. The basic package includes a control panel, a key fob, ten window and door sensors (that’s seven more than Independent Alarm), and one motion detector. That total also covers the installation and relocation to a new home, if needed.
The tradeoff is a monthly monitoring rate of $45 and a five-year contract. But the main draw is that Omega agrees to keep your monitoring rate for life. You read right: Daniel, the sales rep, was quick to mention that customers from 30 years ago still pay $16 a month. He was quicker to point out that most companies raise their rates every 1-3 years.
If you want to score a more modest monthly rate of $30 (standard for our picks), you’ll have to scrape up an extra $400 for the start-up costs. This up-front cost could be worth it if you’re a more settled home owner: saving $15 a month with that lower monitoring rate, you’ll break even in a little over two years.
To get a quote, you’ll have to reach out to the Independent Alarm directly. It’s not as convenient as Frontpoint, but this is where Independent Alarm truly shines. For those of you worried about the sales call run-around, meet Joe, the rep we talked to: He’s retired law enforcement, very personable, and will give you the straight talk on what you need and how much it’s going to cost you.
For example, for a three-bedroom, two-exit house, Joe offered a standard kit that includes sensors for 3 windows or doors, a state-of-the-art touch screen control pad with remote access via phone app, and a key fob. Including installation, expect to pay $625, with the option of adding door sensors for $75 each. (That’s pretty expensive compared to Frontpoint, which charges $35 per device.) And with just $25 per month for cellular monitoring (the lowest of our options), Independent Alarm had the most reasonable and transparent pricing of all the local options we reviewed.
A major drawback is that the stellar monthly monitoring price is only with a five-year contract, and one-year contracts are not offered for cellular monitoring (due to the cost of frequently changing cell providers, Joe says, and we trust him.) But we doubt that will be an issue because Joe mentioned that contracts could potentially be flexible beyond the one-year minimum, so it’s worth negotiating.
Other Companies To Consider
GCSI Security Group
GCSI Security Group joined our other top options in the ranks of positive, efficient customer service and transparent pricing. Its more limited service area (South Jersey only) and inability to give a quote without a site visit pushed it below the comparatively more flexible Independent Alarm and Omega Security Systems, but GCSI is still a solid local choice.
Right off the bat, the receptionist who answered our call was impressive. He was able to answer some of our basic questions about the services available – notedly the widest range of companies we looked at, offering a high water level alarm that could help lessen damage from a faulty sump pump while you’re at dinner, for example. We were likewise pleased with the sales rep’s answers to our questions – quick yet informative. These guys won’t waste your time, and they’ll be clear and professional. Their Angie’s List rating (A) and Facebook fans lead us to believe that would also be the case in the field.
However, the company was not willing to even give us a ballpark estimate without arranging a site visit, which is a bit more of a commitment than we’d like. We did find out that landline monitoring is possible for as low as $22 a month, an option that none of our other top choices offered, as cellular is pretty standard these days. Note that cellular monitoring will cost you an extra $9, however, bringing the total to $31 – a mere $1 more than our other top choices so still totally reasonable. We were a bit irked to learn that home automation via cell phone control will cost an extra $5 a month, but at least they’re being transparent about how the cost breaks down, and we appreciate transparency, especially in the ironically shadowy home security market.
Another con is that Omega seemed pretty firm on its 36-month contract minimum, which is industry standard, yet leaves us pining for the likes of Independent Alarm and Omega who seemed willing to work with us and our shorter-term needs. But if you’re looking for straightforward and seemingly reliable home security, you can schedule a quote appointment with GCSI over the phone or on their website.
Technocality, Inc. proudly serves the entire state of New Jersey. Our customer experience is also thoroughly local – heavy Jersey accents and a little salty like that sea air, but overall, Technocality left us with the impression that they’d work with us and for us, with overall more flexible options than the main local competitors.
The sales rep we talked to was another Joe, also retired law enforcement, but whereas Independent Alarm Joe was playing Good Cop, Technocality Joe had more of a Bad Cop vibe. He definitely gave us the hard sell; his answers were short and gruff. Like GCSI, he was also not willing to give a ballpark estimate for a three-bedroom, two-exit house without a site visit, and their website has pretty pictures but offers little in terms of specific information about services.
Why choose Technocality, then? It was the only one of our top options that offered DIY installation up front as if it were no big deal. It also offers 12-month contracts which are not possible with GCSI, Omega, and most of the home security industry. Joe’s pitch emphasized his ‘doin’ this for 30 years’ and willingness to work with our situation provided more details, as if he didn’t want to waste our time or his with meaningless sales chatter without more cold hard facts, and we respect that. Given Joe’s interesting history in surveillance to spy on organized crime rings with hidden cameras and the like, his work would probably be heavily-customized to the space and the customer’s needs.
With a monthly rate of $30 for cellular monitoring that matches our other options and a solid track record among customers on BBB (A+) and Angie’s List (A), Technocality could be a diamond in the rough – a diamond that will be kept safe and secure by the plethora of security options Technocality has for home and business, including life protection. It might take more energy investment in the beginning but would be a good fit for a someone looking for a more personalized finished product.
Make Security a Shore Thing
If you’re one of the 93.7 million overnight tourists who visited New Jersey attractions in 2015, you left your home for the allure Atlantic City, the beaches of the shore, or other fun the Garden State has to offer. If you were among the 19 percent of these tourists coming from New Jersey itself, you likely left your home unattended and potentially vulnerable to opportunistic intruders, especially in high tourist seasons like summer.
The Newark Police Department cautions, “If you are traveling, ask a neighbor to watch your house. If you have an alarm system, use it!” Even if you’ve gone through all the work to invest in a home security system, something as simple as forgetting to activate your alarm can cost you an unwelcome portion of your Atlantic City casino winnings. Home automation systems can also help by turning lights on and off at regular intervals to add an additional deterrent and peace of mind so you can fully relax for your weekend away.
But it’s not just your home that may need more formal security attention. In 2000, New Jersey had 109,321 homes for seasonal or vacation use only according to the US Census Bureau, representing 3.3 percent of all homes in the state. That number is only likely to have increased, and with it, your need for security measures to protect your home away from home.
“Considerations to make when designing your video surveillance system includes the number and type of cameras and the quality at which the video is recorded.” — Newark PD
Once you’ve decided on one of our fine local providers above to watch your beach house, “You typically want to advertise via signs or window stickers that the structure is protected by an alarm system,” the Newark PD adds. You may even consider video surveillance that is remotely accessible, so that you can keep tabs yourself on your cottage in Sea Bright from your breakfast nook in Cherry Hill. Working with more flexible companies such as Technocality can make sure that you have a customized system designed specifically for your space’s vulnerabilities so that you can enjoy the sweet sense of security at home and away.