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Last updated on Jun 29, 2020

What Does Home Security Really Mean?

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There was a time when adding a home security system meant installing a complex array of cameras, motion detectors, and keypads to your home — and sticking an easy-to-spot sign out front warning would-be burglars.

Today, those types of systems are still popular, but modern technology has allowed companies to diversify and offer consumers a wider, more customizable variety of devices, systems, and services to make your home security system as simple or as robust as you want.

But whether it’s a fancy, multi-device setup with a dedicated call center behind it, or a simple WiFi camera that pings your phone when something moves, home security is all about one thing: peace of mind.

Feeling Safe at Home

The home security landscape has changed dramatically in recent years – thanks, in part, to advances in technology and the increasing pervasiveness of the internet. While the impressive amount of choices on hand today can be empowering for consumers, it can also feel intimidating. Where, exactly, should you start?

We’ve taken a close look at a wide range of home security options, offering multiple levels of protection and monitoring. But no matter the system or device, a good starting point for most people would be asking yourself:

What do I need to feel safe at home?

  • If you’re just worried about someone grabbing your Amazon deliveries off the porch, maybe you just need a video doorbell.
  • Maybe you’re renting an apartment and need something you can set up yourself without running wires through the walls you don’t own. In that case, a DIY system might be a good bet.
  • Perhaps you’re looking for comprehensive protection at all entry points and solid integration with smart home tech so you can control settings from your phone. If so, a full-on system with motion sensors, glass-break detectors and professional monitoring might fit the bill.

Narrowing Your Search

Your options might also be dictated by what you’re actually allowed to do with your home. For renters, there might be guidelines in place about installing equipment and modifying wiring, among others. Local, state, and federal laws should also be considered, especially if you’re considering any video monitoring or recording equipment. We have a number of guides designed for a variety of situations so you can tailor your choices to your specific needs and situation.

For many, home security systems are long-term purchases, so you should also take the future into account. If you think you’ll be moving soon (perhaps before your contract term runs out), you’ll want to look at home security options that allow you to take your system with you or, at the very least, have reasonable terms if you need to cancel early.

Conversely, if you plan to stay and grow in your current home, it might be wise to consider a flexible, adaptable system that you can upgrade over time – maybe with additional sensors or cameras. Look for more “future-proof” systems boasting the latest connectivity standards, such as 5G cellular and support for the latest 802.11 WiFi standards.

What’s the Best Home Security System?

As you may have guessed by now, the “best” home security system really depends on you: your needs, your current living situations, your budget, etc. There’s really no single best home security system, but that’s what we’re here for.

At Reviews.com, we’ve spent years evaluating home security options for all types of needs and budgets. We have experts on staff that have been professionally monitoring (pun intended) the home security industry and regularly leverage that in-depth knowledge to offer guidance in the form of reviews, how-to’s, and more. Our review of the home security system is a great place to start, and be sure to check out all our related content to help you tailor your decisions to your own, personal needs.

We’re here to help you achieve that peace of mind.

About the Authors

Philip Palermo

Philip Palermo Lead Senior Editor - For the Home

Philip Palermo leads the For the Home category at Reviews.com, including smart home and home security services. Since November 2015, he’s worn a number of hats at Reviews.com, but these days, Philip helps manage the day-to-day editorial content workflow. He’s worked at Engadget, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Big Think, and several local/regional newspapers. Philip's also been known to use a lot of spreadsheets to gauge how much value he's getting out of his various services and subscriptions.