Best Home Security Systems in Cincinnati
Frontpoint is our nationally recommended home security provider, but is it always the best option for residents of Cincinnati? We evaluated four of the biggest local businesses to find out. And after researching each one on a number of criteria (like pricing, customer service, and the quote process) we determined that Frontpoint was still the top dog overall, while Dial One Security came in as our top local choice thanks to its affordability and stellar reputation in the community.
Home Security Company Reviews
Dial One Security
Overall, Dial One Security was pretty competitive with the rest of the competition, but it’s $34 cellular monitoring and excellent reputation in the community won it our top recommendation. (It received an A+ from the BBB and an A from Angie’s List.) Not only that; Dial One is cost effective as well. For an upfront cost of $100, you get a basic security package that includes three contact sensors, two motion detectors, a wireless communicator, and a professional installation. That’s the cheapest offering of all four local companies, and ties with Frontpoint’s starter bundle (though you’ll get a smoke detector with Frontpoint).
One thing that makes Dial One unique is that it offers “asset protection” devices. If you have children, listen up: These devices can be installed in a liquor cabinet or gun safe and will notify you if they’re opened. And for $6 more a month, you can upgrade to the company’s Total Connect system, allowing you to control your alarm system from your smartphone or computer.
Comparable to Cincinnati Alarm Systems, Dial One Security deals largely with Honeywell equipment. While its equipment is physically comparable, Dial One’s parts and labor warranty is only valid for a year whereas Cincinnati Alarm’s warranty extends for the entire contract (at least three years). If you’re turned off by the lesser warranty, don’t panic. Dial One does offer an extended warranty available for purchase.
Mr. Lock Locksmith & Security Systems
Mr. Lock Locksmith and Security Systems differs in many ways from the other three competitors in that it specializes in both residential security as well as locksmith services and hardware. It also has the cheapest landline monitoring ($22 per month) and the shortest contract length (12 months) of all. So if you don’t plan on living in your current home for very long, Mr. Lock is the company for you. Plus, the professionals at Mr. Lock aren’t your typical pushy sales reps; and while they’re a bit slow responding to emails, we spoke with a real human every time we called.
Where Mr. Lock doesn’t shine is in the realm of home automation and life protection — it doesn’t offer either. Another disadvantage is that its shorter contract length comes at the expense of a higher monthly monitoring costs: $37, which is $2 more per month than the next cheapest option. Finally, no matter how hard we pressed, it wouldn’t give us a definitive quote like the rest of the competition. So in order to know how much your system will cost, you’ll need to complete a full-on quote.
Guardian Alarm of Cincinnati
Unlike Dial One and Cincinnati Alarm Systems, when you call Guardian Alarm of Cincinnati you’re greeted by a real person instead of an automated phone tree. We were also impressed with the knowledgeable staff and online chat service. Plus, you can also get a quote online.
Guardian Alarm ties with Cincinnati Alarm with the second-most affordable cellular monitoring costs at $35 per month. However, Guardian runs its own proprietary UL-listed monitoring center, whereas Cincinnati does not. While this doesn’t necessarily translate into better service or faster response times, it does speak to Guardian’s dedication to the business of securing people’s homes.
Along with providing home security, Guardian offers safety and medical emergency devices, home automation, CCTV, and asset tracking. Like Cincinnati Alarm Systems, you’ll receive a full warranty for parts and labor for your entire contract period. (Lifetime warranties aren’t offered from the rest of the competition.)
Cincinnati Alarm Systems
Cincinnati Alarm Systems excels in video surveillance by offering a unique range of IP surveillance systems so you can keep an eye on the kids or an old relative while you’re away. But otherwise, there’s not much to write home about. It offers an industry-standard 36 month contract and its upfront equipment cost is $50 more than Dial One and Guardian. One perk, however, is that you’ll get full warranty on all equipment for the life of the contract, similar to Guardian.
In sum, Cincinnati Alarm Systems is a great choice, but doesn’t stand out enough for us to recommend it over the others.
Here’s a table to help you quickly compare each of our recommendations features and services:
Dial One Security
|Cellular Monitoring||From $37/Month||From $34/Month||From $35/Month|
|Landline / Broadband Monitoring||From $22/Month||From $29/Month||From $30/Month|
|Systems can Include a Cellular Backup||✓||✓||✓|
|Minimum Contract Length||12 Months||36 Months||36 Months|
|Initial Equipment Cost||Quote Required||$100||$100|
|Warranty||90-Day Parts and Labor||Life of Contract||Life of Contract|
|Offers Life Protection||X||✓||✓|
|Offers Home Automation||X||✓||✓|
|Can you get an online quote?||X||✓||✓|
|Business Security Options||✓||✓||✓|
|Can it work with an existing system?||✓||✓||✓|
Cincinnati False Alarm Policy
False alarms account for the majority of alarm calls in Cincinnati. Each one ties up several officers for 20 to 30 minutes, and the funds are coming out of your pocket as the taxpayer. Because of the obscene number of false alarms in the area, the City of Cincinnati Police Department created the False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU).
Every resident with an alarm system must register their system with the FARU. The residential alarm user fee is $50 biennial and is not transportable. This fee is due when you register and checks are to be made to the “City of Cincinnati”.
The penalties for operating an unregistered alarm system aren’t worth the risk. Registering your system for $50 will save you from facing a $100 unregistered alarm fine. Plus, the fee for just one false alarm to an unregistered system is $800.
You can any false alarm charges within 30 days of receiving notification. You must include a $25 administration fee along with your appeal. If approved, your fee will be refunded.
The penalties for false alarms in Cincinnati are as follows:
- 1st and 2nd: None
- 3rd: $50 (can be waived if you attend Alarm User Awareness School)
- 4th: $75
- 5th: $100
- 6th: $150
- 7th: $200
- 8th: $300
- 9th: $400
- 10th: $500
- 11th and more: $800
The Bottom Line
At $100 upfront, Frontpoint and Dial One Security are the two best companies to get your home secured as quickly as possible. However, if you don’t think you can swing a 36-month contract, Mr. Lock Locksmith and Security Systems' 1-year service agreement should be much more appealing — as long as you can swing a couple extra dollars each month for monitoring, that is.