Evaluating Home Security Systems: What Type Should Homeowners Choose?

A Look at the Four Primary Types of Home Security SystemsA growing number of homeowners are choosing to install home security systems to protect their households. Homeowners have four security systems to consider, and each may contain different features, depending upon the manufacturer or vendor. To help homeowners choose a type of home security system, here are the four primary options.

Monitored Home Alarm Systems

A monitored home alarm system is what the name implies. It means a trusted professional is actively monitoring alarms and, if an alarm goes off after its circuit breaks, it will notify the homeowner and the authorities immediately. How the alarm triggers will depend upon the type of system in place. Typical triggers include opening doors or movement in the house detected by motion sensors strategically placed in areas of the home. Monitored home alarm systems are among the most popular alarm types on the market and are usually best installed by professionals.

Unmonitored Home Alarm Systems

Unmonitored home alarm systems operate similarly to monitored systems, except they don't notify anyone when the alarm is triggered (although some will send the homeowner a text message). Referred to as “local alarms,” unmonitored home alarm systems rely on a homeowner or someone nearby to call the authorities when the alarm goes off. Local alarms are the most basic type of alarm system on the market. They are less expensive than monitored systems but also less secure because they can be easily disabled. Unmonitored home alarm systems can be installed DIY or by a professional.

Wired Home Alarm Systems

Wired alarm systems are suitable for basic monitoring, but homeowners may find them limited in scope. They rely on a landline phone connection to send signals to a monitoring center, homeowner, or emergency services, depending on the system. Many feel wired systems are more reliable because there is a direct connection to the main control panel, and it is capable of delivering real-time information.

The major drawback of wired home alarms is that if the wires are cut or destroyed, the system is rendered inoperable. However, wired systems provide a reliable connection, and cellular backup is an option to ensure no disruption of monitoring occurs if the wires are damaged. Professionals often install wired systems.

Wireless Home Alarm Systems

Wireless home alarm systems are security systems that operate similarly to wired systems, just without the wires. They include sensors, cameras, and motion detectors connected to the main control panel. These are often compatible with other smart home functions, including lights and video surveillance.

Wireless home alarms are prone to outside interference, which may impact their functions. Additionally, users will need to monitor battery lifespan. Like their counterpart, when a sensor or motion detector is activated, an alarm sounds. If linked with a monitoring center, they'll take appropriate action. Wireless systems are an excellent choice for people who frequently move because they can take their security system and easily reinstall it in a new place after a move, either DIY or by a professional.

If in the market for a home security system, whether to improve the home's value or make the home safer, homeowners should do their research and understand the pros and cons before making a decision. Either way, installing any system is better than having no system. Barking dogs are not a significant deterrent for a good percentage of burglars; however, sounds from the home, including alarm systems, may have them thinking twice about breaking and entering.

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