The Best Home Security Systems in Ohio
When it comes to crime, the Buckeye State is extraordinarily average. Ohio ranks 27th in property crime rate — slightly above the national average. Like in many states, crime rates are highest in the its largest cities. Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati all rank significantly higher for property crime than the surrounding rural areas. And that number has risen everywhere recently: Ohio saw a 4.3% increase in property crimes from 2015 to 2016.
With that in mind, now is as good a time as ever for Ohio homeowners to invest in a quality home security system. We spent eight months testing the top nationwide companies to find three of the best options for Ohioans. They all include HD video surveillance cameras connected to a 24/7 remote team of security experts, motion sensors for your doors and windows, and mobile apps so you can monitor your house from anywhere.
That said, the right home security system depends on your specific needs, so we recommend comparing quotes from all the three to find your best package.
The 3 Best Home Security Systems in Ohio
Ohio Home Security System Reviews
To find the best Ohio home security systems, we started by compiling a list of the most highly-regarded providers that offer 24/7 professional monitoring. As a baseline, we made sure they each provided four essential levels of service:
- Intrusion: Sensors that detect glass breakage or forced entrance
- Environmental: Smoke, carbon monoxide, and flood detection
- Surveillance: At least one camera, with options for indoor, outdoor, and doorbell add-ons
- Safety: Life alert and panic buttons
That left us with eight companies that met all of our criteria: ADT, Vivint, Frontpoint, GetSafe, SimpliSafe, Link Interactive, Protect America and LiveWatch.
The best home security is more than just a few cameras; it’s a holistic system of equipment and service working in harmony to provide true peace of mind. So, we signed up for each company’s service then spent eight months testing its features. We evaluated each of them on three qualities: technology, ease of use, and customer service.
For more details on our methodology, check out our nationwide home security review.
ADT has been in business since 1874, meaning its iconic blue shield logo is instantly familiar to anyone who sees it — including would-be burglars. The most effective home security system is one that scares criminals away from your house before they even enter, and we believe an ADT sign in your front yard or sticker in your window is the best deterrence out there.
Of course, the logo only works because its backed by ADT’s reputation as the most proven and reliable home security company around, and it all starts with its state-of-the-art surveillance equipment.
As soon as we watched some of our test footage, we were immediately impressed by the HD quality of ADT’s videos. We also liked how you ADT provides multiple command center options. You can choose between a futuristic touch-screen display or a classic keypad control hub.
One of the perks our testers emphasized over and over again was the convenience of the ADT Pulse app, which controls the home automation features in its Control and Video packages. While live video streaming is only available in ADT’s most expensive plan, testers loved being able to check on their home’s cameras when they were away from the house. That way, if an alarm is triggered, they can tell right away what set it off — and start taking action instantly.
The app is useful for less grim situations, too. You can control things like garage doors, thermostats, and lights from almost anywhere in the world. We especially liked the vacation mode, which automatically turns the lights on and regulates your house’s temperature while you’re gone.
One of our major concerns going into testing ADT was its customer service. It’s received over 3,000 complaints on its Better Business Bureau page. The company does have millions more subscribers than any other home security providers, but it was still an alarming number.
Our testers all had positive experiences when they called their customer service line, but if you feel like you might need additional live support, we recommend going with Frontpoint, which consistently wowed us with its service.
While all the companies we tested offer some home automation features, none of them were as intuitive and easy to use as Vivint. If you’re looking to turn your house into a fully-automated smart home, Vivint is the way to go.
It all starts with Vivint’s app, which allows you to control your house’s automation devices remotely. Things like arming and disarming the security system, adjusting the thermostat, and opening the garage door were so easy that our testers said they used the app more than the base system even when they were at home.
The app also sends you helpful alerts if you’ve left any areas of your home vulnerable — an unlocked door, for instance — or if any of your home’s motion sensors are triggered while you’re away. Best of all, you can check in on a live stream of your security cameras at any time, so you always know exactly what’s setting off your alerts.
Beyond that, Vivint’s home automation system had some nice customization elements that we didn’t see anywhere else. You can set your door to lock at the same time every day, lower your thermostat during the hours you’re at work, or automatically set your lights to go on at night if you’re on vacation.
All of this saves you plenty of time and money. For one, you won’t be paying for utilities when you’re not actually using them. And secondly, it insures your security system will always be armed when you’re not in the house, preventing you from paying a monthly bill for a system that’s often dormant.
That said, signing up with Vivint is a substantial commitment. The company gives you two options: Buy all your equipment upfront and pay a monthly fee for the security monitoring, or lock into a five-year contract with the price of the equipment added into your monthly bill at zero percent interest.
No matter what you choose, you’ll only have a three-day trial window to test your system out. Still, we thought Vivint’s technology was impressive enough that it’s worth the commitment for anyone who’s looking for a fully automated home.
Frontpoint has a lot to like about its home security service: state-of-the-art technology, an intuitive mobile app, and a control panel that lives up to its “indestructible” claim. But where the company really stood out was in its stellar customer service. If you’re new to home security and want a customer service department that doesn’t mind a little hand holding, Frontpoint is a great place to start your search.
Since Frontpoint doesn’t offer professional installation, helpful customer service reps are essential to a positive experience. As soon as we called Frontpoint for our initial consultation, we felt more taken care of than we did with any other company.
While ADT and Vivint were always kind and knowledgeable, our testers felt like they were often being funneled into a sales track. Frontpoint, on the other hand, seemed to genuinely care about answering our questions without trying to get into our wallet.
When we were ready to make a purchase, Frontpoint’s reps guided us through the process in an particularly thoughtful way: They asked us detailed questions about the layout of our house, what our specific concerns were, and what type of equipment we’d feel most comfortable with.
Once our equipment arrived, its website provided easy-to-follow instructions that helped us set it up ourselves. All in all, the whole process only took about a half hour — and we saved the $100 fee that comes with most professional installations.
One of our only complaints with Frontpoint is that the one package that comes with live video monitoring — an essential feature of any home security system — is the most expensive. But that added expense was offset by the fact that it offers the most flexible contracts of any of our top picks, with lengths from one to three years.
It also comes with a generous 30-day trial period (compared to three for ADT and Vivint), so it’s a great place to start if you’re just looking to dip your toes into the home security waters.
Compare the Best Home Security Systems in Ohio
Other Ohio Home Security Companies to Consider
While we’re confident that all of our nationwide picks provide top-notch home security, you still might be more comfortable going with a local provider. We cross-referenced Angie’s List, Google, and Yelp to find five other companies that received consistently high reviews:
- A&B Security Solutions
- AllSecure Systems
- Guardian Protection Services
- Habitec Security
- IPS-Technology and Security Solutions
Ohio Home Security False Alarm Policy
In every state in the country, false alarms from home security systems present a significant drain on local police’s time and resources, and Ohio is no exception. As Ramona Patts, an administrator in the city’s Division of Support Services, told the Columbus Dispatch, “Every alarm that we have has a different level of response by police...They all get dispatched until they’re canceled by radio.” The story is the same up in Akron, where police say 98% of the city’s 10,000 annual alarm calls fail to produce evidence of a real crime.
Since police officers are required to respond to every alarm as if it’s the real deal — that is, sirens blazing — the state of Ohio has instituted an escalating fine system for repeat offenders. Columbus alone collected almost $1.4 million from false alarm fines in 2016. And while policies can vary from town to town, Ohio does have some statewide laws on the issue.
In most Ohio townships, the first three false alarms in a year are on the house. After that, the penalties get pretty steep: The fourth false alarm will cost you $50, the fifth $100, and every one after that $150. Since many false alarms occur at properties where the owner isn’t actually living (think rehab projects or workspaces), and not everyone knows that police are going out to their property every time they receive an alert on their phones, many owners aren’t even aware that they’re racking up these fines until they’ve gotten well into the thousands.
It’s important to find out exactly how your alarms are reported when you’re shopping around for a home security system. Many companies will call you first to verify that it’s a real emergency before contacting police, which can help cut off false alarms at the root. Live video streaming is also incredibly helpful here: Even if you’re away from your home, you’ll still be able to determine right away if a police check-in is really needed.
Ohio Crime Rates
The Buckeye State is squarely middle of the pack in almost every crime measurement. Ohio ranks 27th in property crime rate, which includes everything from arson to theft. To put that into perspective, about 1 in 39 residents were victims of burglary, theft, or larceny in 2016.
While auto theft and burglary are actually even lower in Ohio, general property theft is a more significant problem, affecting 1 in 54.5 people (compared to the national average of 1 in 57.3).
That said, chances are your most precious asset — your home — is left empty for significant chunks of the day. A quality home security system can return some peace of mind during those times when you can’t be there yourself.