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Columbus has a lot to feel good about: it’s Ohio’s fastest-growing city, residents enjoy some of the shortest commutes in the country, and Forbes dubbed it the 28th best city in the country for “business and careers.” However, despite all that positive momentum, it still has high property crime rates, slightly eclipsing the national average.
With that in mind, a quality home security system can go a long way in providing some peace of mind while you’re away from your house. To find the best providers of home security in Columbus, we spent eight months testing eight of the most well-respected nationwide companies. Whether you’re looking to keep an eye on a campus rental during the summer semester or protect your German Village townhouse while you’re at work, these companies all offer a variety of plans to fit any situation.
The best home security system for you will depend on your priorities. Some people just want some door sensors connected to a monitoring service while they’re away from work; others are looking for full home automation capabilities like smart thermostats and light controls. And according to a Reviews.com survey, 33% of U.S adults want video surveillance, listing it as the most important feature of a home security system. In this review, we’ll dive into each company’s strengths and weaknesses but we still recommend comparing quotes from all four (plus some local providers) to find the best deal.
How We Found the Best Home Security Systems in Columbus
To find the best home security systems for Columbus residents, we used the same criteria as in our review on the best nationwide home security systems. We started our search by compiling a list of providers that offered 24/7 professional monitoring services, along with four essential levels of protection:
- Intrusion — door, window, and glass-break sensors
- Environmental — carbon monoxide, fire, and flood sensors
- Surveillance — indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras
- Safety — life alert and panic buttons
From there, we signed up for all eight contenders and installed them into our homes to see how they fared in the real world. We graded each company in three key areas: customer service, technology, and user-friendly equipment.
When it comes to home security systems, great customer service reps are a must. You rely on them to guide you through purchasing any equipment you’ll need, choosing the right plan, and answering any questions that come up during setup. We wanted reps that were patient, helpful, and happy to answer our questions without pushing us towards a sale. After customer service, we looked for technology that impressed us right out of the box, with HD cameras that produced crystal- clear images, window and door sensors that alerted us to any intrusions, and sleek command centers that controlled the entire system. Finally, we wanted this technology to be as easy to use as it was cutting- edge, so we evaluated each company on how easy its system was to incorporate into our daily lives.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Columbus
- Vivint – Best for Home Automation
- Frontpoint – Best Customer Support
- ADT – Most Popular Provider
- SimpliSafe – Most Flexible
Columbus Home Security Reviews
With state-of-the-art technology that’s as intuitive as it is functional, we liked Vivint best for those looking to affordably turn their house into a fully automated smart home without sacrificing any must-have home security features.
Vivint offers equipment for every conceivable home automation situation, and it’s all controlled using a sleek command center or its mobile app. Our testers loved being able to arm or disarm their system through their phone, communicate with their pets while they were at work through the video system, or dial up the thermostat while they were on there way home. Best of all, you can program these settings to do the same thing every day, a big time and energy saver over the long run. Vivint’s equipment is just as sleek as ADT’s, but at a better price: Vivint’s home automation services start $29.99 without live video feed, compared to ADT’s $44.99 home automation package.
Vivint’s contracts also offer more flexibility than ADT’s, but be prepared to make a hefty initial investment. If you’re willing to purchase all of Vivint’s expensive equipment upfront — a charge that can swing upward of $500 — you can go for a month-to-month contract, which can be canceled at any time. If it’s not in your budget to make that kind of lump payment, you can divide up your equipment costs into your monthly bill, although you’ll have to lock into a five-year contract.
It was clear from our first phone calls that Frontpoint prioritized customer satisfaction. While other companies immediately started us off on a sales track, Frontpoint allowed our questions to direct the conversation, without ever trying to steer it towards a purchase. When we told Frontpoint reps we needed some more time to look around, they were always understanding and didn’t try to keep us on the line with awkward sales pitches. And when we were finally ready to commit to a package, our reps asked detailed questions about the layout of every room in our house, making sure that we would get exactly the right equipment for our needs.
That commitment to customer service is especially important when you consider that Frontpoint offers no professional installation. Since you’ll have to set up your system yourself, it’s much more likely that you’ll need to call in with questions. Fortunately, our testers found the installation to be surprisingly simple. A webpage personalized for your specific equipment walks you through every step of the process. When you’re done, all you have to do is call the customer service number to activate it. All in all, it only took our testers about half an hour to set up the entire system.
The biggest downside to choosing Frontpoint, aside from the DIY installation, is that video surveillance is only available with its most expensive package. Without remote video monitoring, it’s impossible to tell what’s tripping your sensors, making false alarm fines from the police much more likely. If the top packages aren’t in your budget, you can always supplement your system with indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras, which typically start around $99.
Everyone recognizes that iconic blue shield sprouting up in a front lawn, and that’s kind of the point: Would-be burglars and home invaders know exactly what the ADT logo means. And that counts for a lot — one study estimates that 60% of potential intruders are scared off by a security sign or sticker.
And ADT has earned its reputation: Its equipment is as impressive as anything we saw, with video cameras, motion sensors, and a command center that all have an ease of use that belie the advanced technology behind them. We also liked how ADT, like Vivint, doesn’t force you into purchasing specific equipment with its packages. You can choose one camera or fifteen, sensors on every window or none at all. Whatever fits your home security needs the best, ADT makes it work.
Home automation features are only available through the Premium Protection with ADT Pulse, the provider’s most expensive package, but it’s worth checking out if you’re after more than basic security. Once you buy the necessary equipment, you can control almost any aspect of your home’s utilities through the ADT Pulse app. Forget to lock the back door in the morning? Want to turn down the thermostat while you’re at work? No problem — you can do it all from anywhere with internet access.
If you’re thinking of choosing ADT, be aware that you’ll have to make a heavy financial commitment right away. ADT only offers a three-day trial period on its products, and you’ll have to purchase all of your equipment upfront. After that, you’re locked into a three-year contract, paying a monthly bill for their monitoring services. If you’re still on the fence about what equipment you need, Frontpoint’s 30-day trial period may better suit your needs.
When it comes to building your own home security system, the first question is usually, how do I get started? Thankfully a variety of brands have made it easier than ever to have home security tailored towards you. SimpliSafe wants to lead that charge, by making its mission to deliver safety and security for a low price. With SimpliSafe you can build your own system; choosing motion sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, or even an HD indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras
The hardware itself is very impressive, giving off a clean, forward-thinking design that makes it easy to blend into any home. It is also important to note that SimpliSafe’s updated equipment comes with improved speed and functionality, making it more reliable than ever before. The hardware itself can be used in a standalone fashion as well, if you’re willing to pay the upfront cost.
One potential drawback to SimpliSafe is that it has limited integration with other smart home and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, meaning it gets most of its mileage from being a stand-alone system. This however means that SimpliSafe is very good at the one thing it prioritizes, keeping you and your home safe. Starting at $15 dollars a month you can add professional home monitoring to your system. These considerations make SimpliSafe a no-brainer for anyone looking to get a fresh take on home security.
Guide to Columbus Home Security Systems
Research your neighborhood’s crime profile
As you’re building out your personalized security system, it’s wise to consider local factors that could influence the equipment you choose. Though Columbus hosts the high-crime stats token for large cities, your actual neighborhood could be quite different. Use local crime maps to know the kind of crime common in your area and the likelihood you could be affected.
Register your security system
Homeowners with home security in Columbus are required to register their system with the city. You’ll have to apply for the permit and pay $45 to register the system with Columbus police, plus a $25 renewal fee every year after that. Though it may seem quite the chore, unregistered systems can face false alarm fees upwards of $800.
Consider a local company
While we only considered nationwide providers for our review of the best home security systems in Columbus, it’s always a good idea to compare quotes from a few different companies. Smaller providers may not have the reputation and ratings of nationwide companies, but they’re often able to provide better quality control. We used customer reviews from Yelp and Angie’s List to find five great local providers in Columbus; all of these are worth checking out as you begin your search for a home security system.
- AllSecured Security Services
- Executive Security Consultants
- Golden Rule Security
- Sterling Protective Services Inc.
- Vector Security
Reviews.com Home Security Survey
In the summer of 2019, Reviews.com polled U.S adults from many ages, demographics, and backgrounds in order to understand what users want out of a home security system. With an ever-growing home security market, it’s important for customers to make informed and carefully considered choices about their home security.
In our survey, we found that many Americans, 59% to be exact, have never owned a home security system, with only 22% reporting that they currently own one. Even more, Midwesterners are even less likely to own a security system, with 73% reporting they’ve never owned a security system. Maybe the residents of places like Columbus are running into a common barrier of entry for home security, the cost. Almost half of surveyed U.S adults expressed that cost was the main reason they haven’t owned a security system.
50% of U.S adults aged 18-34 voiced this concern as well, illustrating how important a factor cost is. This barrier can be a huge impetus to purchase (or not purchase) a security system, and with over one-third of Americans reporting they know someone or themselves have been victims of package theft, this is definitely a considerable concern. Overall we found a lot of common threads of concern across the survey, making it a great time to consider ownership of a home security system.
Columbus Home Security FAQ
How much does a false alarm cost in Columbus?
The city of Columbus has some of the strictest laws in the state surrounding false alarms. And for good reason: In 2016, Columbus police received about 48,000 alarm calls, about 34,000 of which failed to produce evidence of a crime. And since police are required to respond to each call as if it’s the real deal, this presents a staggering drain on the city’s time and resources.
In June 2017, Columbus enacted new, harsher penalties to deal with these rampant false alarms. Once you’ve registered your alarm system, the first false alarm won’t cost you anything. After that, things get expensive fast: Fines range anywhere from $50 to $800 depending on how many offenses you’ve had, whether it’s a residential or business property, and if the owner is registered. The city can also force repeat alarm offenders to go through training on how to properly use their system.
If you think you’re in danger of having a lot of false alarms — if you live on campus and hear a lot of loud noises, for instance — you might consider upgrading to a system that provides live video monitoring. That way, you can check your property to see if the alert is real before the police are summoned.
What is Columbus’s crime rate like?
While Columbus has enjoyed considerable growth and prosperity over the last decade, it still has some concerning crime statistics. Property crime still reaches alarming heights, with 1 in 28 residents having been a victim last year — slightly more than the national average of 1 in 24.
With all that in mind, a quality home security system can go a long way in assuaging some of these concerns. One survey of Oregon burglars found that they were significantly less likely to break into a home if there was a security system present, especially one with a camera. Our top picks are a great place to start comparing quotes to find one that matches your priorities and preferred equipment at an affordable price.
The Best Home Security Systems in Columbus: Summed Up
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