The Best Home Security Systems in Austin
Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, according to the U.S. Census. The annual numbers break down to an estimated 150 people moving to the Austin-Round Rock area every day. Swelling population signifies different things according to your perspective, but from a security perspective, it means it’s time to beef up home security measures. A Reviews.com survey found growing concern among U.S adults about the safety of their home, but many are afraid to take measures because of the cost of home security. Almost half of U.S adults report cost as the biggest barrier to getting a home security system.
The best home security systems equip you with technology and support capable of protecting your valuable property without breaking the bank. We found four great home security companies to outfit your Austin home, each offering reliable protection for a wide range of properties and security preferences. Whether you’re looking for HD cameras or home automation tools, these four top picks have plans suited to you. Keep Austin weird, but keep your home safe.
How We Found the Best Home Security Systems in Austin
We evaluated the most popular local and national home security systems in Austin to find the four companies that offer the best professional monitoring. Each provides the home security equipment you need for four fundamental levels of protection:
• Intrusion — Door, window, and glass-break sensors
• Environmental — Carbon monoxide, fire, and flood sensors
• Surveillance — Indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras
• Life safety — Life alert and panic buttons
We assessed each company by borrowing from the methodology we used for our national review of home security. To find the best system from installation to first alert, first question, and beyond, we had to live with these security systems. We installed 8 systems in 8 team member homes and collectively monitored their behavior and usability for 8 months. We compared quality of customer service, ease of installation, and overall features each company offers. We gave bonus points to systems with mobile or home automation tools for easy home monitoring on the go.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Austin
Austin Home Security Reviews
Compared to the competition, Vivint is a fairly new home security provider. But the company has moved fast when it comes to advancing home security and home automation technology. If you are more keen to see where smart home innovation can take you than to simply outfit your home with the security basics, Vivint might be the company for you.
The Vivint mobile app allows you to control your home security system anywhere and anytime. Better still, the app is intuitive, which makes it easy to manage security services like HD cameras, door locks, lighting, and temperature controls. You can even set up mobile alerts to warn you when your house is vulnerable — no more worrying about leaving doors open. The core benefit of all this convenience? It encourages you to monitor and use your home security system, which helps you avoid paying for a service that goes unarmed. Every plan also includes a touchscreen control panel, which is both a nice change of pace from clunky keypads and proof that the company is breaking new ground with home security tech.
However, Vivint requires you to purchase all of your security equipment outright for access to a monthly plan — the alternative is a five-year contract. After installation, the company only gives you three days to cancel for a refund, which is a sharp contrast to industry standard 30-day trials. In other words, a Vivint home security system is a commitment. If you’re unsure about security systems, opting for a longer trial from another provider might be the better option.
The good news is Vivint is willing to return the same level of commitment to its customers. The company has the highest ratings of all the home security companies in the J.D. Power 2017 Home Security Satisfaction Report. It might not have the same level of experience as other providers, but the overall quality of its services makes Vivint an excellent choice.
In terms of commitment to customer support, no provider we tested was able to beat Frontpoint. From the initial phone call to system set-up, we never felt a lack of guidance or pressure for unnecessary upgrades. If you’re new to home security or don’t know where to start, Frontpoint is a strong option.
A quick phone call with a sales representative is all it takes to build the security package that suits your particular needs. Even more impressive is Frontpoint’s mobile site, which walks you step-by-step through the installation process. You’ll receive guidance on how to set up the control panel, where to place your door sensors, and more. The mobile site is also personalized, allowing you to stop midway through and pick up where you left off. If you get confused and stall on a step, a window pops up with a sales rep’s phone number, offering access to even more guidance.
During the installation process, our tester discovered her control panel was having trouble getting online. When the Frontpoint rep answered, he immediately began troubleshooting and discovered the control panel was defective. He had a new control panel shipped overnight. Once the panel arrived as promised the next day, our tester got her system up and running in about 15 minutes. Frontpoint lives up to its claims of immediate customer support and solutions.
Aside from the excellent customer service, you can expect the standard cameras, professional monitoring, and home automation features that make up any well-rounded security package. The different packages offer you different options such as live video monitoring with its premium plan. Granted, Frontpoint doesn’t have the same level of tech as Vivint or ADT’s century of experience, but we’re confident its packages will offer reliable protection and even better customer support.
ADT has been the largest home security provider since 1874. Today, this time-tested company has more than 6 million subscribers. But does ADT actually deserve its popularity? In short: Yes. With dependable security and over a century of experience, ADT is tough to beat.
Genuinely knowledgeable representatives available by phone help you determine the best combination of equipment for your home. Our tester reported, “My needs drove the conversation … [the rep] explained the purpose behind each device I was receiving and what the installation might entail. He took extra time to help me weigh whether I need home automation.”
We appreciated ADT’s focus on providing the best protection for individual homes rather than upselling everyone with add-ons. In fact, the technician performing the installation even offered a refund for unused equipment after determining our tester ordered more than they needed.
Speaking of equipment, ADT offers quality home security technology, including extensive video as well as standard home automation options. From cameras that record as soon as your door is opened to live feeds that you can view from your phone, you’ll be able to assess the situation before calling police in the event of an alarm — a good way to avoid false alarm fees. Home automation allows you to set up standard operations for additional protection such as automatic A/C shut off to slow the circulation of smoke when a sensor detects fire. In other words, ADT will have all the equipment you need to keep your home safe.
Where ADT comes up short is in home automation. The company’s home automation tech is only available when you sign up for one of its top two service tiers, which start at $49.99 per month. Its customer service also isn’t quite as impressive as Frontpoint’s, though that may just be a symptom of ADT being a much larger company. What it does have over its competition is a century of experience providing reliable and customizable protection. In short, it’s the most tried and true provider on the market.
Home security and protecting your home don’t have to be complicated processes, but with so many choices in home security it can be difficult. SimpliSafe wants to take this concern out of your home security system, by offering a system that has flexibility in mind. SimpliSafe doesn’t have contract options; this means you wont be forced into payments for years by a contract term. SimpliSafe also offers a 60-day free trial and money back guarantee, giving you an opportunity to see if SimpliSafe is right for you.
With SimpliSafe you can make the security system that you want. For only $15 per month you can sign up for 24/7 live alarm, envrionmental monitoring, and other professional services from SimpliSafe. However if monitoring is something you don’t want, SimpliSafe lets you have a fully operational DIY system with their equipment alone. Their hardware shows off a sleek and futuristic design, with updated equipment that SimpliSafe claims is “five times faster” than their older models. Finally if you want even more savings, you can opt for a suite of equipment that has been refurbished by SimpliSafe, or their SimpliSafe Original bundle. No matter what option you pick SimpliSafe will you keep you, your home, and your wallet safe.
If you’re a major DIY-er and are looking for a versatile home security system, Simiplisafe falls a little short in terms of integrations when compared to other names in the industry. But they do have a decent amount of interoperability.
Reviews.com home security survey
The home security market is heating up, with more and more companies offering services that give you control of your safety, DIY or otherwise. In 2019, Reviews.com conducted a home security survey to see what concerns and thoughts Americans had about home security. 18% of U.S adults aged 18-34 expressed concerns regarding being burglarized or having crime take place on their property. Older generations of Americans were less worried; only 15% of those aged 35-54 and 9% of those aged 55+ felt concerned. This could perhaps be attributed to a changing crime landscape. home security is part of that changing landscape: Over a third of U.S adults polled said they had had a package stolen or know someone whose been a victim of package theft. Younger Americans make up the biggest share of these results, with 45% reporting they have had a package stolen.
Guide to Austin Home Security Systems
Research your neighborhood’s crime profile
To get a sense of the typical crime activity in your neighborhood, check out Austin’s crime map. Enter your ZIP code to zoom in. The property crime rate in Austin is slightly higher than Texas and the United States as a whole, but certain areas contribute more to that total than others.
Crime statistics offer insight, but keep in mind that statistics alone don’t show the full picture. If you live near a shopping center, a good portion of those reported violations could be petty shoplifting. Still, if you happen to live in a neighborhood with higher property crime rates, take that as a potent sign that it’s time to invest in a security system.
Register your security system
Home security systems offer protection, but they can be prone to false alarms. One survey in Boulder, Colo., found that up to 99.8% of home security alarms were false. Additional research suggests the trend is especially common for metropolitan areas like Austin. False alarms can be triggered by lots of causes, but pets triggering motion detectors are one of the most common. Because false alarms are such a prevalent resource drain for emergency responders, most municipalities require you to register your security system upon installation. In Austin, you’ll need to acquire a permit every 12 months. The permit will run you $50 for a residential system and $110 for a business system.
While our top four picks will offer dependable protection, comparing quotes with smaller, local or regional providers ensures you get the best price possible. We scoured reviews on websites such as Yelp and Home Advisor to find the five best alternative providers to our top picks.
Austin Home Security FAQ
How much does a false alarm cost in Austin?
Most municipalities typically levy a fee if a false alarm leads to police officers at your door to arrest your dog. The fee offsets the resource cost and can be quite expensive in some areas. Fortunately, Austin’s false alarm policy is fairly lenient and offers forgiveness for the first three false burglar alarms and the first two robbery panic alarms during consecutive 12-month periods. However, if your home exceeds that limit, you will pay a fine anywhere from $50 to $100 depending on the number of offenses.
When you choose a home security provider, you’ll want to go with companies who attempt to contact you first to verify the alarm. And having video cameras as part of your security package will allow you to assess the situation and make an informed decision about contacting the police (our top four picks all include cameras). If the company can’t reach you, its operators will send the police to your home, potentially putting you on the hook for false alarm fees.
What is Austin’s crime rate like?
According to a report from Texas Monthly, Austin actually ranks as one of the safest cities in Texas — the crime rate is relatively low compared to communities with similar populations. Even so, a home security system can offer an extra layer of protection for your home and belongings. A survey of more than 80 burglars in Oregon revealed that home security alarms are an effective deterrent. While an alarm is the best form of protection in the case of a break-in, simply placing a home security sign in a window or on your lawn can act as a deterrent.
Most specialists agree having an alarm and video cameras in place is a smart choice. In addition to theft and burglary protection, home security systems can also protect you from dangers such as fires or carbon monoxide leaks. For those who want to protect their property, a home security system can offer overall peace of mind.
The Best Home Security Systems in Austin: Summed Up
Smoke/flood/CO Panic button
Mobile or web app