Best Home Security Systems in Tampa
There are nine different home security businesses right smack dab in the middle of the city — and those are just the local options. Needless to say, choosing the best home security system in Tampa can be quite a chore.
Fortunately, we’ve already done the hard work. We evaluated each one on a variety of factors to see how it compared to Frontpoint, our national recommendation. What we learned is this: Frontpoint is still king in Tampa, FL thanks to its top-notch tech and affordability. However, Protection1 comes in a close second place with an attractive no-money-down approach.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Tampa
In our review of nationwide providers, we learned that most of the home security equipment on the market (with the exception of home automation) is built off the same exact technology. That means that regardless of how aesthetically pleasing the devices are, they offer the same functionality, leaving cost as the most influential factor when you’re shopping for home security.
In our evaluation, we placed the highest value on affordability, but we also looked into a ton of other features, including contract length, cancellation policies, and customer service. In fact, we had multiple phone conversations with most every company we evaluated (except for the ones that wouldn’t answer the phone, of course) and received quotes for our ideal setup: A cellular system with enough sensors to cover a 1,300sq ft home. Keep on reading to see how each company stood up against the rest of the competition.
Tampa Home Security Company Reviews
Protection1 is the number-one local provider for one big reason: It doesn’t charge a dime for its standard “Basic Secure Plus” equipment package, which includes three contact sensors, a motion detector, a control panel, and a keychain remote. This convenient setup does come with a small cost, though. At $45 per month, Protection1 has the most expensive cellular monitoring payment by $5. (Guardian and A-1 fall in line at $40, and SafeTouch wins the category with $35.) This system requires a professional installation, which costs zero dollars.
Another big plus with Protection1 is that it constantly is offering ever-changing promotions, like first-time buyers discounts — which is what we were offered — and special home automation bundles. So even if you’re dead-set on one of our other recommendations, it’s worth calling Protection1 just to see what sort of deal you might stumble upon. (We didn’t see a current sale or promotion from any other business during our research.)
Now, the not so good. Customers are required to sign a 36-month agreement just like the rest of the crowd. And if you need to break that agreement, expect to pay the remainder of your balance.
Here’s another noteworthy consideration: Even though the equipment comes free of charge, you can’t take the equipment to your new home if you move. Instead, you’ll receive another free, carbon-copy system at your new location (which is a pretty smart sales move, we must say). And if you ever purchased any add-ons, they’ll transfer right along as well, no extra charge.
In sum, Protection1 is a solid, but doesn’t quite have the technology or affordability to compete with Frontpoint. Plus, if you can afford to put $100 down on Frontpoint’s system, it will wind up paying for itself: Three years with Protection1 totals to $1,620, while three years with Frontpoint flies in at $1,324.
A-1 Security Alarms, Inc.
A-1 Security Alarms' most basic cellular package runs $40 per month (which falls right in the middle of the competition) and requires $250 upfront for the equipment. Included are your standard set of devices: three contact sensors, a motion detector, and a control panel. If you get a landline system (we recommend cellular if possible), that upfront cost will only be $100, and the monthly monitoring cost will drop back to $30 per month.
Aside from Protection1, which doesn’t charge upfront, A-1 is the only company on this list with complete transparency about its costs, which we appreciate. SafeTouch and Guardian wouldn’t even give us ballpark figures without sending someone to the home for an inspection, which is kind of inconvenient — especially since most of the information could be relayed over the phone (number of doors, whether or not there is a garage, etc).
From the moment we spoke with Pam from A-1, we knew it would be one of our recommendations. It’s the only company without a phone tree to tangle with, and that makes it feel much closer to home. In fact, our customer service experience was so good that we shot it to number two in our list — even despite the fact that it is our only recommendation that doesn’t not offer home automation features (which we found were pretty crucial to a top-notch home security in our national review).
Like the rest of the competition, A-1 requires a 36-month contract. And if you have to break it, you’ll need to pay the remainder of your monitoring fees. It’s also worth noting that even though you’re required to put $250 down for the equipment, you do not own the system. If you wanted to own it outright, you’d have to cough up $850.
Safe Touch offers the cheapest monitoring of all our recommendations: $35 per month for cellular service and $22 for landline service. (That isn’t crazy low when compared to companies across the nation, but it is super competitive for Tampa — A-1 charges $30 per month.) Just remember: Cellular pricing starts at just $35, but can go up to $50 depending upon your setup and location.
So with such good prices, why is SafeTouch on the bottom of the list? It has a few disadvantages that we couldn’t look past. First, it offers nether life protection (think panic bracelets) or home automation devices, unlike Protection1. Secondly, it requires a on-site consultation before it gives out quotes. We pressed both representatives we spoke to give us an estimate for a 1,300sq ft house with two exits, but we were not successful. Heck, we also couldn’t get them to give us a yay or nay regarding who comes out owning the equipment after a purchase.
All things considered, SafeTouch offers little competition to A-1 and Protection1 with the exception of exemplary pricing — especially when it comes to landline monitoring. So, if you own a landline system already, or live in an area with poor cellular connectivity, SafeTouch might be your most affordable option… but that’s all depending upon what you get quoted for the system.
Companies That Didn’t Make the Cut
We started with nine businesses and ended with three recommendations. How so? A few of them were actually incredibly hard to get up with — one never got back with us. Others simply weren’t competitive enough to warranty a spot on our list.
Guardian Protection Services, Electronic Security Systems Inc., Security Lock Systems, Devcon Security, Fort Knox Fire & Communications Security Company, Maximum Security Services.
Tampa City Policy
Like most cities in the US, Tampa requires its citizens to register active alarm systems. What’s more, it doesn’t require any sort of initial fee. All you have to do is fill out this PDF form and mail it to the following address:
City of Tampa
Attn: A/R & Billing – Police False Alarms
306 E. Jackson St., 050A7E
Tampa, FL 33602
Unfortunately, there is no way to complete this form online.
What about false alarms?
False alarms are a big deal. Just consider this: The sheer volume of false alarms in 2012 cost Orlando $212,000. In order to help prevent that kind of damage in Tampa, the city will fine you for crying wolf. The good news is that you have two strikes before a fine sets in. Upon the third malfeasance, you’ll have to cough up $75. After that, the fees look like this:
- Fourth: $100
- Fifth: $150
- Sixth: $300
- Seventh: $500
The Bottom Line
Frontpoint is the most affordable home security option in Tampa; not to mention it’s the easiest to get up and running… and it has the nicest home automation technology. But, if you can’t afford to put $100 down on equipment, Protection1 offers service at no upfront cost. And if you’re looking for a landline service, Safe Touch offers $22 monthly monitoring, which undercuts the next cheapest option by a full $8 a month.