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Believe it or not, property crimes have been on the decline in the Buckeye State. According to the Office of Criminal Justice Services’ second quarter report of crime in major Ohio cities, instances of property crime decreased by 9.6% from 2017 to 2018. Even so, a home security system creates assurance and adds another level of protection in the event that you are the target of property crime.
With that in mind, now is as good a time as ever for Ohio homeowners to invest in a quality home security system. We spent eight months testing the top nationwide companies to find four of the best options for Ohioans. They all include HD video surveillance cameras connected to a 24/7 remote team of security experts, motion sensors for your doors and windows, and mobile apps so you can monitor your house from anywhere.
That said, the right home security system depends on your specific needs; we recommend comparing quotes from all four to find your best package.
How We Found the Best Ohio Home Security Systems
To find the best Ohio home security systems, we started by compiling a list of the most highly regarded providers that offer 24/7 professional monitoring. As a baseline, we looked for four essential levels of service:
- Intrusion: Sensors that detect glass breakage or forced entrance
- Environmental: Smoke, carbon monoxide, and flood detection
- Surveillance: At least one camera, with options for indoor, outdoor, and doorbell add-ons
- Safety: Life alert and panic buttons
The best home security system is more than just a few cameras; it’s a holistic system of equipment and service working in harmony to provide true peace of mind. We signed up for each company’s service, then spent eight months testing their features. We evaluated each of them on three qualities: technology, ease of use, and customer service.
For more details on our methodology, check out our review of nationwide home security providers.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Ohio
- Vivint – Best for Home Automation
- Frontpoint – Best Customer Support
- ADT – Most Popular Provider
- SimpliSafe – Most Flexible
Ohio Home Security Reviews
While every company we tested offers some home automation features, none of them were as intuitive and easy to use as Vivint. If you’re looking to turn your house into a fully automated smart home, Vivint is the way to go.
It all starts with Vivint’s app, which allows you to control your house’s automation devices remotely. Things like arming and disarming the security system, adjusting the thermostat, and opening the garage door were so easy that our testers said they used the app more than the base system, even when they were at home.
The app also sends you helpful alerts if you’ve left any areas of your home vulnerable — an unlocked door, for instance — or if any of your home’s motion sensors are triggered while you’re away. Best of all, you can check in on a livestream of your security cameras at any time, so you always know exactly what’s setting off your alerts.
Beyond that, Vivint’s home automation system had some nice customization elements that we didn’t see anywhere else. You can set your door to lock at the same time every day, lower your thermostat during the hours you’re at work, or automatically set your lights to go on at night if you’re on vacation.
All of this saves you plenty of time and money. For one, you won’t be paying for utilities when you’re not actually using them. Secondly, your security system will always be armed when you’re not in the house, preventing you from paying a monthly bill for a system that’s often dormant.
That said, signing up with Vivint is a substantial commitment. The company gives you two options: buy all of your equipment upfront and pay a monthly fee for the security monitoring, or lock into a five-year contract with the price of the equipment added into your monthly bill at 0% interest.
No matter what you choose, you’ll only have a three-day trial window to test out your system. Still, we thought Vivint’s technology was impressive enough that it’s worth the commitment for anyone who’s looking for a fully automated home.
There’s a lot to like about Frontpoint’s home security service: state-of-the-art technology, an intuitive mobile app, and a control panel that lives up to its “indestructible” claim. But where the company really stands out is in its stellar customer service. If you’re new to home security and want a customer service department that doesn’t mind a little hand-holding, Frontpoint is a great place to start your search.
Since Frontpoint doesn’t offer professional installation, helpful customer service reps are essential to a positive experience. As soon as we called Frontpoint for our initial consultation, we felt more taken care of than we did with any other company.
While ADT and Vivint were always kind and knowledgeable, our testers felt like they were often being funneled into a sales track. Frontpoint, on the other hand, seemed to genuinely care about answering our questions without trying to get into our wallets.
When we were ready to make a purchase, Frontpoint’s reps guided us through the process in a particularly thoughtful way: They asked us detailed questions about the layout of our house, what our specific concerns were, and what type of equipment we’d feel most comfortable with.
Once our equipment arrived, Frontpoint’s website provided easy-to-follow instructions that helped us set up our system ourselves. All in all, the whole process only took about half an hour — and we saved the $100 fee that comes with most professional installations.
One of our only complaints with Frontpoint is that the only packages that come with live video monitoring — an essential feature of any home security system — happen to be the most expensive. But that added expense was offset by the fact that the company offers the most flexible contracts of any of our top picks, with lengths from one to three years.
It also comes with a generous 30-day trial period (compared to three-day periods for ADT and Vivint), so it’s a great place to start if you’re just looking to dip your toes into the home security waters.
ADT has been in business since 1874, meaning its iconic blue shield logo is instantly familiar to anyone who sees it — including would-be burglars. The most effective home security system is one that scares criminals away from your house before they even enter, and we believe that an ADT sign in your front yard or a sticker in your window is the best deterrence out there.
Of course, the logo only works because it’s backed by ADT’s reputation as the most proven and reliable home security company around, and this all starts with the company’s state-of-the-art surveillance equipment.
As soon as we watched some of our test footage, we were immediately impressed by the HD quality of ADT’s videos. We also liked how ADT provides multiple command center options. You can choose between a futuristic touch-screen display or a classic keypad control hub.
One of the perks our testers emphasized over and over again was the convenience of the ADT Pulse app, which controls the home automation features in its Control and Video packages. While live video streaming is only available in ADT’s most expensive plan, testers loved being able to check on their home’s cameras when they were away from the house. That way, if an alarm was triggered, they could tell right away what set it off — and start taking action instantly.
The app is useful for less grim situations, too. You can control things like garage doors, thermostats, and lights from almost anywhere in the world. We especially liked the vacation mode, which automatically turns the lights on and regulates your house’s temperature while you’re gone.
The one area where ADT fell slightly short was with the customer service line. While our testers didn’t have negative experiences by any stretch, the service was less detailed and friendly than that of Frontpoint.
With dozens of home security systems jockeying for recognition in the space, it can be tough deciding which is right for you. Fresh off a revamp of their equipment, SimpliSafe is quickly rising through the home security ranks. With plans starting as low as $15, you can feel safe knowing your home is being professionally monitored around the clock. Should you choose not to pay for a monthly plan, SimpliSafe also gives you flexibility to monitor the system yourself.
Regardless of whether you choose a monitoring plan or opt to self-monitor, SimpliSafe will require you to purchase equipment upfront. Fortunately, it’s less expensive than most major security systems (especially if you opt for one of their refurbished systems at 25-30% off), and you won’t have to worry about hiring a professional to set it up for you: Simplisafe has designed a detailed step-by-step guide giving users the ability for a simple, drill-free DIY installation. However, you still have the option to get a professional to come by and set it up.
Guide to Ohio Home Security Systems
Ohio home security false alarm policy
In every state in the country, false alarms from home security systems present a significant drain on local police’s time and resources. As Ramona Patts, an administrator in the city’s Division of Support Services, told the Columbus Dispatch, “Every alarm that we have has a different level of response by police … They all get dispatched until they’re canceled by radio.” The story is the same up in Akron, where police say that 98% of the city’s 10,000 annual alarm calls fail to produce evidence of a real crime.
Since police officers are required to respond to every alarm as if it’s the real deal — that is, sirens blazing — the state of Ohio has instituted an escalating fine system for repeat offenders. Columbus alone collected almost $1.4 million from false alarm fines in 2016. And while policies can vary from town to town, Ohio does have some statewide laws on the issue.
In most Ohio townships, the first three false alarms in a year are on the house. After that, the penalties get pretty steep: The fourth false alarm will cost you $50, the fifth $100, and every one after that $150. Since many false alarms occur at properties where the owner doesn’t live (think rehab projects or workspaces) and not everyone knows that a phone alert means that police are dispatched, many owners aren’t even aware that they’re racking up these fines until they’ve gotten well into the thousands.
It’s important to find out exactly how your alarms are reported when you’re shopping around for a home security system. Many companies will call you first to verify that it’s a real emergency before contacting police, which can help cut off false alarms at the root. Live video streaming is also incredibly helpful here: Even if you’re away from your home, you’ll still be able to determine right away if a police check-in is really needed.
Ohio crime rates
The Buckeye State is squarely middle of the pack in almost every crime measurement. To put that into perspective, about one in 41 residents were victims of burglary, theft, or larceny in 2017.
That said, chances are that your home is left empty for significant chunks of the day. A quality home security system can return some peace of mind during those times when you can’t be there yourself.
Ohio Home Security Systems FAQ
Are these the only Ohio home security companies?
While we’re confident that all of our nationwide picks provide top-notch home security, you still might be more comfortable going with a local provider. We cross-referenced Angie’s List, Google, and Yelp to find five other companies that received consistently high reviews:
- A&B Security Solutions
- AllSecure Systems
- Guardian Protection Services
- Habitec Security
- IPS-Technology and Security Solutions
Is a DIY home security system worth the money saved on a professional installation?
In our experience, yes, but this may vary based on a number of factors. When we got our DIY system from Frontpoint, it was extremely easy to install. None of us needed a background in electronics or engineering to get it working. And if we had any questions, Frontpoint was there with an answer. So, in that scenario, it was worth $100 to install it ourselves.
If you are considering a DIY system, we recommend looking at consumer reviews and ratings. Many of these will offer insights into how easy or difficult DIY systems are to install. While installing a system yourself (when the option is present) can save you money, you may be better served having it professionally installed if the system proves to be too intricate or involved.
The Best Ohio Home Security Systems: Summed Up