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ByJoe Supan Staff Writer

The Best Home Security Systems in Columbus

Columbus has a lot to feel good about in 2019: It’s Ohio’s fastest-growing city, residents enjoy some of the shortest commutes in the country, and Forbes recently dubbed it the 19th best city in the country for “business and careers.” However, despite all that positive momentum, it still has one of the highest property crime rates in the country, at nearly twice the national average.

With that in mind, a quality home security system can go a long way in providing some peace of mind while you’re away from your house. To find the best home security systems in Columbus, we spent eight months testing eight of the most well-respected nationwide companies. Whether you’re looking to keep an eye on a campus rental during the summer semester or protect your German Village townhouse while you’re at work, these companies all offer a variety of plans to fit any situation.

The best home security system for you will depend on your priorities. Some people just want some door sensors connected to a monitoring service while they’re away from work; others are looking for full home automation capabilities like smart thermostats and light controls. We’ll dive into each company’s strengths and weaknesses below, but we’d still recommend comparing quotes from all four (plus some local providers) to find the best deal.

The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Columbus

Columbus Home Security Reviews

Best
for Home Automation

Vivint
Vivint
Affordable smart home technology and constant innovation draws Vivint to the top of the pack for home automation.

With state-of-the-art technology that’s as intuitive as it is functional, we liked Vivint best for those looking to affordably turn their house into a fully automated smart home without sacrificing any must-have home security features.

Vivint offers equipment for every conceivable home automation situation, and it’s all controlled using a sleek command center or its mobile app. Our testers loved being able to arm or disarm their system through their phone, communicate with their pets while they were at work through the video system, or dial up the thermostat while they were on there way home. Best of all, you can program these settings to do the same thing every day, a big time and energy saver over the long run. Vivint’s equipment is just as sleek as ADT’s, but at a better price: Vivint’s home automation services start $39.99 without live video feed, compared to ADT’s $49.99 home automation package.

Vivint’s contracts also offer more flexibility than ADT’s, but be prepared to make a hefty initial investment. If you’re willing to purchase all of Vivint's expensive equipment upfront — a charge that can swing upward of $500 — you can go for a month-to-month contract, which can be canceled at any time. If it’s not in your budget to make that kind of lump payment, you can divide up your equipment costs into your monthly bill, although you’ll have to lock into a four- or five-year contract.

Best
Customer Support

Frontpoint
Frontpoint
Install worry-free with Frontpoint's extensive and personalized customer resources.

It was clear from our first phone calls that Frontpoint prioritized customer satisfaction. While other companies immediately started us off on a sales track, Frontpoint allowed our questions to direct the conversation, without ever trying to steer it towards a purchase. When we told Frontpoint reps we needed some more time to look around, they were always understanding and didn’t try to keep us on the line with awkward sales pitches. And when we were finally ready to commit to a package, our reps asked detailed questions about the layout of every room in our house, making sure that we would get exactly the right equipment for our needs.

That commitment to customer service is especially important when you consider that Frontpoint offers no professional installation. Since you’ll have to set up your system yourself, it’s much more likely that you’ll need to call in with questions. Fortunately, our testers found the installation to be surprisingly simple. A webpage personalized for your specific equipment walks you through every step of the process. When you’re done, all you have to do is call the customer service number to activate it. All in all, it only took our testers about half an hour to set up the entire system.

The biggest downside to choosing Frontpoint, aside from the DIY installation, is that video surveillance is only available with its most expensive package. Without remote video monitoring, it’s impossible to tell what’s tripping your sensors, making false alarm fines from the police much more likely. If the top package isn’t in your budget, you can always supplement your system with a standalone security camera, which typically start around $200.

Most
Flexible

SimpliSafe
With 24/7 professional monitoring for $15/month, SimpliSafe offers one of the best deals in the home security industry.

When it comes to building your own home security system, the first question is usually, how do I get started? Thankfully a variety of brands have made it easier than ever to have home security tailored towards you. SimpliSafe wants to lead that charge, by making its mission to deliver safety and security for a low price. With SimpliSafe you can build your own system; choosing motion sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, or even an HD indoor security camera.

The hardware itself is very impressive, giving off a clean, forward thinking design that makes it easy to blend into any home. It is also important to note that SimpliSafe's updated equipment comes with improved speed and functionality, making it more reliable than ever before. The hardware itself can be used in a standalone fashion as well, if you're willing to pay the upfront cost.

One potential drawback to SimpliSafe is that it has limited integration with other smart home and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, meaning it gets most of its milage from being a stand-alone system. This however means that SimpliSafe is very good at the one thing it prioritizes, keeping you and your home safe. Starting at $15 dollars a month you can add professional home monitoring to your system, with SimpliSafe offering even more than just its great equipment to guard your home. These considerations make SimpliSafe a no-brainer for anyone looking to get a fresh take on home security.

Guide to Columbus Home Security Systems

Research your neighborhood’s crime profile

As you’re building out your personalized security system, it’s wise to consider local factors that could influence the equipment you choose. Though Columbus hosts the high-crime stats token for large cities, your actual neighborhood could be quite different. Use local crime maps to know the kind of crime common in your area and the likelihood you could be affected.

Register your security system

Homeowners with security systems are required to register their system with the city of Columbus. You’ll have to apply for the permit and pay $45 to register the system with Columbus police, plus a $25 renewal fee every year after that. Though it may seem quite the chore, unregistered systems can face false alarm fees upwards of $1,000.

Consider a local company

While we only considered nationwide providers for our review of the best home security systems in Columbus, it’s always a good idea to compare quotes from a few different companies. Smaller providers may not have the reputation and ratings of nationwide companies, but they’re often able to provide better quality control. We used customer reviews from Yelp and Angie’s List to find five great local providers in the Cowtown area; all of these are worth checking out as you begin your search for a home security system.

Columbus Home Security FAQ

How much does a false alarm cost in Columbus?

The city of Columbus has some of the strictest laws in the state surrounding false alarms. And for good reason: In 2016, Columbus police received about 48,000 alarm calls, about 34,000 of which failed to produce evidence of a crime. And since police are required to respond to each call as if it’s the real deal, this presents a staggering drain on the city’s time and resources.

In June 2017, Columbus enacted new, harsher penalties to deal with these rampant false alarms. Once you’ve registered your alarm system, the first false alarm won’t cost you anything. After that, things get expensive fast: Fines range anywhere from $50 to $1,000 depending on how many offenses you’ve had, whether it’s a residential or business property, and if the owner is registered. The city can also force repeat alarm offenders to go through training on how to properly use their system.

If you think you’re in danger of having a lot of false alarms — if you live on campus and hear a lot of loud noises, for instance — you might consider upgrading to a system that provides live video monitoring. That way, you can check your property to see if the alert is real before the police are summoned.

What is Columbus’s crime rate like?

While Columbus has enjoyed considerable growth and prosperity over the last decade, it still has some concerning crime statistics. Property crime still reaches alarming heights, with 1 in 24 residents having been a victim last year — nearly twice the national average of 1 in 40.

With all that in mind, a quality home security system can go a long way in assuaging some of these concerns. One survey of Oregon burglars found that they were significantly less likely to break into a home if there was a security system present, especially one with a camera. Our top picks are a great place to start comparing quotes to find one that matches your priorities and preferred equipment an affordable price.

The Best Home Security Systems in Columbus: Summed Up

Vivint
Frontpoint
ADT
SimpliSafe
Prices start at
$39.99/mo.
$34.99/mo.
$36.99/mo.
$14.99/mo.
Contract length
Month-to-month
42 months
60 months
12 months
36 months
36 months
No contract
Cameras
Indoor
Outdoor
Doorbell
Indoor
Outdoor
Doorbell
Indoor
Outdoor
Doorbell
Indoor
Doorbell
Sensors
Intrusion
Smoke/flood/CO
Panic button
Intrusion
Smoke/flood/CO
Panic button
Intrusion
Smoke/flood/CO
Panic button
Freeze
Smoke/flood/CO
Panic button
Smart home features
Lights
Locks
Thermostat
Garage door
Lights
Locks
Lights
Locks
Thermostat
Garage door
Thermostat
Locks
Control panel
Touchscreen
Mobile app
Touchscreen
Mobile app
Touchscreen
Classic keypad
Mobile app
Base station
Keypad
Web or mobile app

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