The Best Home Security Systems in Tampa
How We Found the Best Home Security Systems in Tampa
8 National Providers
8 Months of Testing
3 Top Picks
The Best Home Security Systems in Tampa
Crime in Tampa is on the decline, partly thanks to home security cameras. Home surveillance footage has been proven to help Tampa police identify and apprehend criminals. Even just having a recognizable security logo in your yard can deter more than half of would-be burglars. That’s good news for your peace of mind, and for neighborhood safety as a whole. But which system should you choose?
After eight months of research and in-home testing, we found the three best home security companies: ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint. They’re all great providers that use leading-edge technology to keep your home secure. Ultimately, the right one for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Here’s how they compare.
How We Found the Best Home Security Systems in Tampa
We evaluated the best Tampa home security systems using the same methodology we developed for our national home security review. To be in the running, companies had to provide 24/7 professional monitoring. They also had to offer four fundamental levels of protection:
- Intrusion: Sensors for doors, windows, and broken glass
- Environmental: Carbon monoxide, fire, and flood sensors
- Surveillance: Indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras
- Safety: Life alert and panic buttons
After narrowing down the list based on service, we spent eight months hand-testing our top picks. Our testing team rated the helpfulness of each company’s phone reps, the service they received from installation professionals, and their overall experience using the equipment. Our top picks — ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint — stood out for offering cutting-edge (yet easy to use) technology, and truly helpful customer service.
The 3 Best Home Security Systems in Tampa
When you think ‘home security systems,’ you might picture a blue octagon with three white letters at the center: ADT is the biggest player in the game, and has been since 1874. Its little blue yard posts and window decals decorate more than 6 million homes nationwide. But the signature ADT logo is more than just a decoration; it’s a guarantee of complete home security.
ADT arms your home with some of the best technology on the market. Its HD security cameras capture clear footage day and night, labeled window and door sensors let you keep tabs on activity around the house, and a panic button key fob lets you call for help at the touch of a button. Our Reviews.com tester also loved the ADT mobile app, which has a feature for remote security camera viewing. If your system sounds the alarm, you can check in on your phone and assess whether there’s a threat — then decide whether to disarm it or call in the cops. Remote viewing is especially important in Tampa, where false alarm fines are steep (up to $500 for repeat offenses).
We also recommend checking out ADT’s home automation packages. They come with some helpful customizable programs: for instance, ‘vacation mode’ will arm your system, maintain a steady temperature, and control the lights while you’re away to mimic someone being home, which can deter break-ins. Automation means an uptick in price, but it’ll afford you extra peace of mind at all times.
It’s worth noting that ADT doesn’t have a sterling record for customer satisfaction; its Better Business Bureau page has accrued over 3,000 complaints. While that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that ADT has millions of subscribers. Our own testers were actually quite happy with the help they received — but we realize that a few good experiences aren’t a guarantee of great service across the board. If you have a lot of tech questions and feel like you’ll want extra support, you might consider a more service-focused company like Frontpoint.
Overall though, ADT has earned its place as the most popular home security provider nationwide. Its full range of equipment and automation packages can be tailored to any home. And with four ADT authorized dealers in Tampa alone, you can work with a provider that understands your individual neighborhood and security concerns.
If you’re putting together a full-fledged smart home (or just love smart technology) then Vivint should be your first choice for home security. Vivint links your security system to all your smart devices for a seamless experience across the board.
Our testers fell for the Vivint platform right away. Its intuitive SkyControl panel makes home security a breeze; you can control smart locks and garage doors, check cameras, and arm or disarm your system all in one place. The touch panel also allows for two-way communication through your security cameras, so you can keep an eye on your house and call the kids for dinner without leaving the kitchen. All in all, our testers were impressed with how easy the SkyControl system was to use.
Like ADT, the Vivint app allows for mobile monitoring so you can check in on potential security threats. It has similar home automation features, too; you can set the doors to lock at a certain time, or the thermostat to drop while you’re at work. These are great if you (like us) tend to forget those little things. The main difference between ADT and Vivint here is that Vivint’s automation starts at a lower price tier.
We recommend carefully studying your options before signing up with Vivint. It’s our only top pick to offer service on a month-by-month basis; but if you choose that option, you’ll have to pay for all your equipment up front — which gets pricey fast. If you want to avoid the equipment down payment, Vivint locks you into a four- or five-year contract with a short three-day window for cancellation. It’s a pretty rigid payment structure. That said, Vivint is a great choice, and people dedicated to building a smart home should look no further.
Frontpoint shares a lot of perks with our other top picks. It uses top-of-the-line technology; including door and window sensors, motion detectors, and an “indestructible” control panel that keeps all systems armed even if it’s destroyed by an intruder. It also has a great mobile app. You can control your Frontpoint security system and respond to alerts remotely by phone or tablet. What we really love about this company, though, is its standout customer service.
When we called for an initial consultation, the Frontpoint representatives outshined those from ADT and Vivint. Our tester was especially “impressed with the sales rep’s attention to detail.” She asked for specifics about the home, its layout, and our tester’s personal security concerns, so they knew they were getting the right equipment for their needs.
During installation, we found that Frontpoint’s online tools are equal to its excellent in-person support. Frontpoint was our only DIY setup (ADT and Vivint both require professional installation), which seemed intimidating at first. But its personalized tutorials walk users through every step of the process. It even offered helpful prompts when we were stuck on one page for too long. After setup, we called a rep who quickly confirmed that the system was online and activated. The whole process takes about 30 minutes end-to-end.
Be aware that Frontpoint offers three different home security tiers. The first, ‘Protection,’ provides basic monitoring. The second, ‘Interactive,’ is a bit more full-fledged with home automation and mobile app access. Only the highest tier, ‘Ultimate,’ provides the full range of service you’d expect from ADT or Vivint; including video monitoring, nighttime vision, and motion-triggered photos. ‘Ultimate’ is pricier of course; but if you live in an area with low property crime — like the west Tampa suburbs — you may be okay with just basic monitoring.
Not sure which level of security you need? Reach out to a Frontpoint rep. They’re sure to be patient and helpful, and will work with you to find the right package for your home.
Guide to Home Security Systems in Tampa
Become familiar with the false alarm policy
False alarms happen pretty often, whether they’re due to human error (like punching in the wrong ‘disarm’ code) or electronic malfunction. Some estimates place the false alarm ratio as high as 98%. The exact number is debatable, but there’s no question that false alarms are a drain on local police. Checking in on all those calls takes up time for dispatch and officers — resources that would be better spent elsewhere.
To deter false alarms and reduce their impact on law enforcement, Hillsborough County maintains a false alarm ordinance. Under the ordinance, homeowners can be sanctioned for false alarms through warnings and fines. The county recognizes room for error — your first and second response only merit a warning — but the cost of subsequent calls is steep. Here’s how
Tampa’s false alarm policy shakes down:
- First and second false alarm: Warning notice
- Third false alarm: $75 fine
- Fourth false alarm: $100 fine
- Fifth false alarm: $150 fine
- Sixth false alarm: $300 fine
- Seventh false alarm and above: $500 fine per incident
Tampa residents only get two freebies, so make sure to take precautions against false alarms. The Tampa False Alarm Reduction program explains the most common causes and how to avoid them. For more information, check out the national False Alarm Reduction Association.
Know that Tampa’s crime rates are shrinking
Mayor Bob Buckhorn confirmed this trend in 2017, when he announced that overall crime rates had fallen by a whopping 25 percent over the past six years. Property crime alone has seen a seven percent reduction. So why the downward trend? In part, says Mayor Buckhorn, it’s thanks to Tampa residents and their home security systems.
Tampa homeowners have found that sharing security camera footage on sites like Facebook and the neighborhood bulletin NextDoor can help identify and catch criminals quickly. In one case, burglars who broke into a Seminole Heights home while it was being renovated were caught on camera, then identified through NextDoor and apprehended within hours.
The Tampa police department has caught onto this phenomenon. Recently it implemented a program called Project REC (Register Every Camera), which is aimed at connecting security system owners with criminal investigators. When security systems are registered through Project REC, police are able to pinpoint cameras in the area of a crime and analyze their footage. Members also receive a window decal to signify their participation.
The Tampa Police Department hopes this program will “make the city an undesirable place for criminal activity.” Indeed, a study from the University of North Carolina has already shown that the presence of a home alarm may deter up to 60% of burglars — so it’s not a stretch to think that initiatives like Project REC could double down on that effect.
Tampa Home Security System FAQ
Do I need to register my system?
Yes. In Tampa, you’ll have to register your home security system to be eligible for emergency response. Registration helps law enforcement reach you or a trusted contact if your system sounds the alarm. It also lets them keep tabs on whether those alarms are legit.
What about local home security companies?
ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint are all solid providers; we’d trust them with our house keys any day. Ultimately though, choosing a home security system is really personal. Your needs may change based on your neighborhood, your price range, and your equipment preferences. We recommend comparing our top picks with a few local providers, to see which one best suits your needs. We found the five top-rated Tampa home security providers on Yelp and Google. Take a look to see who offers the best home security systems in your area.