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The Best Home Security Systems in Seattle
Seattle ranks 6th on the U.S. Census list of cities with the largest population gains. It falls directly behind LA for the number of new faces it welcomes every day. Of course, with such an influx come the statistical dangers of a big city, including higher crime rates. Rest easy by installing a home security system to monitor your home, whether you’re there or not.
Our four favorite nationwide providers — Vivint, Frontpoint, ADT, and SimpliSafe — all have their place in the Emerald City. We dug into what each provider has to offer, and put those services in the context of Seattle crime and home security trends. You can use our breakdown to figure out which is the right fit for your home.
The Best Home Security Systems in Seattle: Summed Up
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How We Found the Best Home Security Systems in Seattle
For our nationwide home security review, we took eight major home security providers’ systems for a test drive. Each had to have the core of a good security system: cameras, sensors, and buttons to protect against intrusions and environmental emergencies, plus surveillance and life safety features. Here are the main elements we required prior to hands-on testing:
- 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
After ordering, installing, and using these systems for eight months, we found four standout companies. Vivint, Frontpoint, ADT, and SimpliSafe all provide an outstanding customer experience and intuitive, innovative security tech. We’d be comfortable outfitting our own homes with any of them — although each excels in a particular area. ADT offers superior brand recognition (a powerful crime deterrent), Vivint aces home automation, and Frontpoint offers a high-support option for those who want a streamlined, DIY system.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Seattle
- Vivint – Best for Home Automation
- Frontpoint – Best Customer Support
- ADT – Most Popular Provider
- SimpliSafe – Most Flexible
Seattle is home to tech leaders, as well as thousands of techies who keep those companies’ engines running. If you’re looking for home security that leads the way in gadgets and home automation, then Vivint is your best bet. This company’s tech is truly best-in-class, and we were impressed by its feature integration and usability.
Vivint also gives you the freedom to advance your home’s automation at your own pace. Unlike most other providers, you can mix and match equipment à la carte — a big plus if you know exactly what you want. (Maybe you’re into automated light switches, but not so worried about flood monitoring.) Plus, Vivint makes it easy to control the features you do choose through either its intuitive mobile app or the low-profile, wall-mounted SkyControl tablet.
The only part of the Vivint experience that isn’t automated is installation — that’s left to the company’s courteous, knowledgeable professionals. Our tester felt that the pro who installed his Vivint system was polite, timely, and honest (even reducing his bill after realizing they didn’t need to install one camera).
Vivint also allows you month-to-month flexibility (as opposed to ADT’s three-year contract), but only if you buy all the equipment upfront. If you don’t buy the equipment, you’ll be locked into a five-year contract with Vivint. That’s a big commitment, especially considering that once you’ve got everything set up, you have just three days to test things out and make a final decision.
If you’re looking to dip your toes into the home security world without going all-in, Frontpoint can support you. With unmatched customer service and a comparatively long trial period, you can get a sense of Frontpoint’s services and features without feeling the pressure to commit.
We had consistently pleasant, informative interactions with Frontpoint’s customer service, and were especially happy about its simple DIY install. After a grand total of half an hour, we were able to get our control panel connected and online, place our door sensors, and activate the system. Our tester did hit a roadblock when his control panel wouldn’t connect, but a service rep addressed the issue right away and new equipment arrived the next day.
Customers can choose among three package tiers, each of which offers a different set-up of features, from basic monitoring with the Protection package to live video streaming with the Ultimate plan. We recommend either going with the Ultimate package, or buying a standalone security camera to supplement — our tester found the video component to be indispensable for home security.
If you end up loving Frontpoint after your 30-day trial period, you’ll have the chance to opt into a one- or three-year contract. This relatively flexible contract option makes Vivint a good choice for renters and home security beginners.
You know the name, you’ve seen the signs — and therein lies ADT’s power. ADT has been around for more than 100 years, and provides home security for millions more people than any other provider. It’s tough to beat that notoriety when it comes to deterring break-ins.
Despite being an established industry giant, we were pleasantly surprised by the level of care we received from customer service. We were especially impressed with the customizability options. Customers can choose anything from standard monitoring to full-on home security automation, with the right combination of gadgets and services to fit their needs.
If you want to go heavy on home automation, for example, you can opt for settings that’ll trigger different reactions based on different threats. That means a fire being detected will set off a completely different chain of responses than a break-in, and so on. Just be aware that those features are only available at ADT’s upper two plan tiers.
We’d recommend ADT if you’re most comfortable with a well-known brand that has clout and a long track record in the industry. If you’re not sure whether you’ll want the system long-term, though, be aware that ADT requires a three-year contract and you can only test the system for three days before making up your mind.
SimpliSafe SimpliSafe is trying to change the home security landscape by offering no-contract options for a remarkably low rate, starting at just $15/month– which is half the price of competitors. You’ll receive 24/7 professional live alarm monitoring,
With a 60-day money-back guarantee, you will have plenty of time to see if you’ll stay on board with SimpliSafe or seek another option. The installation has a DIY option that requires no drilling, a step-by-step guide is provided to assist you through the whole process and if you’re still experiencing difficulty, feel free to call their customer services for more help.
SimpliSafe cannot guarantee against break-ins or theft, like most home security system providers (except for ADT). Also, another possible drawback, because of their no contract feature, they require you to purchase their equipment upfront. And it is important to know that SimpliSafe’s indoor and outdoor cameras options are limited, offering just one indoor camera with minimal capabilities. The big three smarthome hubs (Alexa, Assistant, and Siri) will connect just fine with SimpliSafe, however, not all third-party devices will connect.
Guide to Seattle Home Security Systems
Research your neighborhood’s crime profile
Seattle suffers a high number of property crimes every year, but how concerned you need to be will depend on the particular neighborhood that you live in. Browse the city’s crime maps to identify the rates of incidence in your area and tailor your security measures accordingly.
Register your security system
Over 97% of home security alarms in Seattle wind up being false. That’s why the Seattle Police Department (SPD) introduced its False Alarm Program in 2004. It uses fees and alarm registration to reduce the number of false alarms to which the department needs to respond. The main intent of the program is to save the city money and time. Both fees help the city make up for that loss, and penalize your company when police are dispatched to your house only to find there’s no emergency. Register your system as soon as it’s installed.
We can vouch for the national providers we feature, but it’s always worth shopping around locally for the best prices and features. Here are five Seattle home security providers we found that consistently get rave reviews on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List:
- Absolute Security Alarms
- Rev Associates LLC
- Freedom Systems, Inc.
- Burdick’s Security
- Puget Sound Alarm Co.
Seattle Home Security FAQ
How much does a false alarm cost in Seattle?
Seattle home security companies are legally required to attempt to contact you before dispatching the police to your home. If the SPD are dispatched and get to your home to find no emergency, your alarm-monitoring company will be charged a fee that they can legally pass on to you. Your decision about whether or not police should be dispatched is crucial, since fees change based on when an alarm is canceled:
- For alarms canceled before police are dispatched: $0
- For alarms canceled after police are dispatched, but before they reach your house: $30
- For automated burglar alarms to which police respond and find no threat: $115
- For activated alarms (panic/ duress/ robbery) to which police respond and find no threat: $230
Pro tip: Go to the SPD’s free home security workshops. You’ll learn how to avoid false alarms and get a free one-time fee waiver to use if you accidentally set off your system. You can attend a workshop and get a waiver once every seven years.
What is Seattle’s crime rate like?
As The Stranger put it, “Comparing crime rates between cities, and drawing the right conclusions from them, is complicated.” There’s no way to tell how many crimes go unreported, and crimes of varying severities may be lumped together. That said, caution is a good policy as Seattle’s property crime rate is on the high side.
While it’s not the highest in the country, Seattle’s rate is still about twice the national average. The SPD has been pushing to hedge those high numbers in recent years, with some success: In 2017, car prowls, auto theft, and burglaries were all targeted and the number of incidences decreased. If you take a look at SPD’s crime dashboard, the breakdown shows that the vast majority of property crimes in 2017 were larceny (a.k.a. theft of personal property), with burglary a distant second.
If you’re concerned about break-ins, take a look at this Ask Me Anything feed from 2017 on Reddit. Scotty Bach, a member of SPD’s Major Crimes Taskforce who focuses on property crime, gives tons of insider knowledge and advice — like tidbits on the value of home security videos and tips for where to place your cameras, among other things.