The Best San Antonio Home Security Systems
San Antonio is known for its small-town feel, but it’s a big city — the seventh biggest in the country — and falls victim to typical urban perils. According to the FBI, San Antonio has some of the highest offense rates among the country’s largest cities. That means property crime is a pretty big concern for San Antonio residents.
A home security system can give peace of mind to someone who lives near the Texas Triangle. For San Antonio, we’d recommend professional monitoring (rather than DIY) and video surveillance that you can view by app. The chances of stopping or preventing a crime are much better if you catch the criminal on camera. Beyond that, the level of monitoring and home automation you’re looking for will determine which of our top picks is the best security company for you.
The Best San Antonio Home Security Systems: Summed Up
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How We Found the Best San Antonio Home Security Systems
To find the best home security systems in San Antonio, we tested the nation’s eight largest security companies for eight months. We wanted security systems that could integrate into our lifestyle, blend in with our homes, and make monitoring effortless. As in our full review of the best home security systems, we prioritized four levels of protection:
- Intrusion — door, window, and glass-break detectors
- Surveillance — indoor and outdoor cameras
- Environmental — fire, carbon monoxide, and flood detectors
- Life safety — panic and life alert buttons
During installation and testing we kept track of usability, customization options, customer service, and value. Our three top picks stood out in each category. They all offer leading-edge technology and reliable service that you can trust to protect your home. Go with Vivint for advanced smart home features, Frontpoint for exceptional customer care, check out ADT for an established reputation, and SimpliSafe if you want a streamlined security set up — or check out your local home security options.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in San Antonio
Vivint is all about advancing home automation — so if you’re working on building a complete smart home, this is the security system for you. Our tester found Vivint’s technology simple to use, especially through its highly-rated mobile app. Vivint’s smart home devices can even connect with Amazon Alexa, letting you control your system through voice commands.
While ADT offers similar automation capabilities on a functional level, it’ll cost you more to upgrade to them: Vivint’s systems run for $40 per month without live video feed and $50 with live video, whereas ADT’s home automation starts at $50 per month. Vivint also offers à la carte equipment pricing, so you can choose exactly the equipment you need without anything extraneous tacked on.
The only catch? You’ll have to choose between purchasing your equipment upfront or locking into a five-year contract. No matter which you choose, Vivint can be a hefty initial investment. On the bright side, once you’ve purchased the equipment, it’s yours to keep. So even if you test Vivint’s professional monitoring month to month and decide it’s not for you, you’ll still be equipped with a fully functional DIY system.
If you value great customer service first and foremost, we recommend Frontpoint. Every interaction we had with the company only bolstered our trust in its support channels. During our initial purchasing call, the representative was impressively informed. In order to give detailed recommendations, she inquired about the layout of each room, personal safety concerns, and the state of the neighborhood.
This level of customer care extended to our installation experience. Frontpoint is our only pick that requires DIY installation, which can feel intimidating at first. However, its detailed mobile site walked us through the entire process in about 30 minutes. And if you run into any issues, you can call Frontpoint or use its online catalogue of guides and tutorials.
While all Frontpoint plans come with professional monitoring, they vary widely in equipment offerings. The first-tier Protection plan gets you basic door and window sensors. The next step up, Interactive, enables access to home automation features and the company’s mobile app. Frontpoint’s best plan, Ultimate, adds video surveillance, motion-triggered photos, and night vision on top of those core features.
Our tester chose the Interactive plan but sorely regretted the absence of video surveillance when her alarm was triggered on vacation. She had no way of checking to see if someone was breaking in or if her cat had tripped the sensor — a potentially costly guess. If you’re choosing Frontpoint, it’s wise to spring for the Ultimate plan or purchase a third-party security camera to supplement your system.
ADT’s blue octagon logo is universally recognized, making it an instant deterrent to criminals — and that’s just the company’s first line of defense. Although ADT has been around since 1890, its technology has kept pace with younger companies, meaning this is a veteran worth your consideration.
ADT has a wide range of equipment options. Customers can choose to keep it simple with the classic keypad control panel and a few door sensors or get techy with a touchscreen security hub and surveillance cameras. You also have the option to add home automation features, although you’ll have to upgrade to ADT’s top tier packages to enable the types of smart home features that come standard with Vivint. In addition, you’ll need to have all equipment installed professionally for a fee that ranges between $99 and $199, depending your plan.
Unfortunately, ADT falls a little behind when it comes to customer service. The company scored below average in J.D. Power’s 2018 customer satisfaction survey and has racked up more than 3,000 complaints on the Better Business Bureau website. (By comparison, Frontpoint has just 100 complaints on BBB.) To be fair, higher complaint numbers can largely be credited to the fact that ADT has many more customers than other companies. Still, if customer service is your first concern, we’d recommend checking out Frontpoint.
It can be difficult to decide between home security systems given the huge rise in competition over the last few years. SimpliSafe is able to differentiate themselves from the pack with their no-contract option and DIY installation. SimpliSafe provides the peace of mind for those who want to avoid the commitment of being on a long contract. Save money (and a scheduling headache) with their detailed step-by-step installation guide so you don’t have to pay a professional to set it up. Another bonus: SimpliSafe also recently revamped their equipment so you can rest assured knowing you have the most up-to-date system they can offer.
With plans starting as low as $15/month, SimpliSafe will provide you with 24/7 professional monitoring, environmental monitoring, and other major security features. One caveat to note: Simplisafe’s security camera offering is a little limted compared to others in the industry, but still allows you HD audio and video, and can record in night vision.
Guide to San Antonio Home Security Systems
Research your neighborhood’s crime profile
It’s true that San Antonio’s property crime rates are more than double the national average. However, this stat may be alarmist depending on where you live. To assess the actual threat of crime in your area, check out a crime map of San Antonio. Pinpointing the types and frequency of violations in your neighborhood will help you choose a security system that fits your needs.
You can also improve the safety of the whole city by getting involved in the community. Try joining a neighborhood watch Facebook group or following your local police department and news stations. For those feeling the call to action, San Antonio’s Police Department also lets residents be the eyes and ears of the community with its Citizen on Patrol program. Residents patrol their own streets and use cellphones to report crimes. To join, all that’s required is a four-hour class.
Register your security system
False home security alarms are a pervasive issue nationwide. The San Antonio PD reported in 2015 that about 91% of the city’s alarms were false — a huge drain on local resources. To combat the problem and recoup losses, San Antonio requires a permit and fee for all home security systems.
In order to avoid fines, you’ll need to acquire a valid permit from the police department for your alarm system and report it within 12 hours of installing. To get a permit, download the application or call the Alarms Office at (210) 207-8282 and request the application be mailed to you. The $40 permit fee is due at the time of submission.
Our tops picks have earned their nationwide reputations, but that doesn’t mean you have to count out the little guy. Smaller businesses tend to provide great customer service, since they can focus their resources on a localized customer base. We found the five most popular companies in San Antonio based on customer ratings from Yelp and Angie’s List. Any of these are strong options as you shop around for a company that will give you the best price on the equipment you need.
San Antonio Home Security Systems FAQ
Here’s the first thing you should know: Having a home alarm system without a permit is considered an ordinance violation in San Antonio. You’ll get whacked with a $50 fee right off the bat if an unregistered alarm brings policemen to your door.
Even if you do have a permit, false alarms will cost you. The first few are free (think of it as a warning ticket), but after that you’ll be fined starting at $75 per alarm. Costs escalate with each subsequent false alarm, up to $500 for your 10th or higher.