Best Home Automation Systems of 2021 (Pricing & Features)
To make it easier to decide with home automation security systems are most suited to your property, check out this side-by-side comparison table. Here you’ll find the key factors of each brand, such as upfront pricing, integrations, and trial period.
|Provider||Total Score||Upfront Cost||Monthly Fee||DIY instal||Trial Period||Warranty||Backup||Connectivity||Contracts||Customization||Indoor/Outhoor cams||Integrations||Mobile App||Monitoring|
|Protect America||9.6||$50+||$19.99+||Yes||14 days||Lifetime||Yes||WiFi||Yes||Yes||Both||Yes||Yes||DIY/Pro|
|Frontpoint||9.4||$100+||$34.99+||Yes||30 days||3 years||Yes||WiFi||Yes||Yes||Both||Yes||Yes||Pro|
|ADT||9.2||$125+||$27.99+||No||6 months||2 years||Yes||WiFi/Wired||Yes||Yes||Both||Yes||Yes||Pro|
|Link Interactive||8.9||$331+||$31+||Yes||30 days||3 years||Yes||WiFi/Wired||Yes||Yes||Both||Yes||Yes||DIY/Pro|
|Brinks||8.8||$799+||$29+||Yes||30 days||1 year||Yes||WiFi||Yes||Yes||Both||Yes||Yes||DIY/Pro|
|Nest||8.5||$499+||$19+||Yes||30 days||2 years||Yes||WiFi||No||Yes||Both||Yes||Yes||DIY/Pro|
What is Home Automation?
A good question to consider before buying one of these home automation security systems is what they mean when they talk about automated products. Just as people can walk up to an ATM and withdraw money, these safety ecosystems work similarly.
Of course, today, people can transfer money into another account from their mobile phones. In much the same way, customers can manage their camera devices and other equipment through a phone. This means customizing settings, synching products, using voice commands, and much more. It allows for greater safety and dependability, especially when users are out and about.
You may have noticed in the home automation and security system comparison chart that it listed installment options. Some brands have DIY set-up, while others require an expert to come out and get things hooked up.
As the name suggests, this is a do-it-yourself job. The goods news is that even if a person isn’t tech-savvy, they can still put together the products. Most of the equipment is ready to go, and it’s just a matter of hooking it up to the larger ecosystem (WiFi, landline).
- No house visits
- Quite simple
- Usually free
- Inconvenient for some
While some folks are fine with a DIY approach, others prefer the expertise and assistance of a trained technician. This way, customers can ask any questions and get reliable answers in-person. Plus, when a pro sets things up, you’ll know the equipment is properly connected.
- Can be more convenient
- Learn more about the products
- Proper set-up guaranteed
- The technician can answer questions
- Often costs extra
- Requires in-person visits
Benefits & Disadvantages
As with all things, there are pros and cons to any home automation and security system. Here are some general advantages and pitfalls to be aware of. Be sure to keep these in mind while shopping around for a suitable service plan.
Clearly, there are lots of advantages to these home monitoring systems. Below are some ways that the different cameras and alarm gadgets can protect you from wasting time, money, and energy.
#1 Greater Control
There’s no doubt that automated service grants users more power over their property and what goes on in and around it. The automatic processes that occur daily to keep things running smoothly while maintaining a higher level of safety.
#2 Remote Management
Another huge perk is that users can manage their products from their phones.
A mobile app means they can lock up, close doors, and activate sensors even when they're out of town.
It adds loads of peace of mind, too.
#3 Integrations & Voice Commands
Most of these surveillance kits come with some degree of integration. They may work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Z-Wave technology, or something else. Either way, it makes it easy to use voice commands to arm/disarm, view video footage, and more.
#4 Energy Savings
It’s not uncommon that a service provider offers potential energy savings for customers. Consider that intelligent integrations can automate the thermostat, lighting, and other appliances. This reduces excess electricity usage while maintaining a comfortable household.
#5 Never Forget to Lock Up Again
When clients have a service package that they can access anytime, from anywhere, there are way fewer worries. For example, if they leave the house to go on a trip and are unsure if they locked up, they can simply ask Alexa to activate the alarm.
#6 Emergency Response
Benefits like 24/7 expert monitoring ensure that customers get the emergency response they need promptly.
While some packages are self-monitored, others have professional agents that quickly respond to false alarms and real emergencies.
It can be hard to find that kind of trustworthy assistance in 2021.
#7 Added Convenience
Finally, the assurance and convenience of knowing the property are adequately protected just can’t be beaten. So many families long for something that can keep burglars away while watching over the kids when they’re alone. Automated kits synch to the entire line-up of alarms, doorbell cams, motion detectors, and more.
Of course, these alarm systems come with their downfalls, too. While considering those fancy doorbell cameras and other shiny objects, keep these factors in mind.
#1 High Costs
For those who have a strict budget, these packages may not be as accessible. There is an upfront investment to these plans, although monthly monitoring fees can vary dramatically. One way to cut costs is to opt for DIY kits.
#2 Technological Know-How
In all honesty, some people just aren’t tech-savvy. This can make an automated package more confusing than convenient. With all of the integrations, remote access, and video options, some individuals get overwhelmed. In this case, professional monitors and installers can help.
#3 Compatibility Issues
Sometimes, a household may already use products like a Google Assistant or Amazon Echo. Then, they purchase an expensive, automated surveillance kit only to discover it’s not compatible. While this isn’t true for all items, it’s certainly something to research before committing to a contract.
Smart Home Equipment
Even though each home automation and security system has its unique features, there are a few pieces of equipment that customers can find in just about any provider. Below are the highlights to look out for.
1. Smart Locks
These convenient locks sync with the other automated products so that users can access them from a mobile app. This adds a lot of assurance because sometimes you might walk out the door without locking up. Now, you can simply push a button on your phone to arm the device.
2. Smart Lighting
Likewise, these intelligent lighting modules allow clients to access them to turn lights on and off remotely. Some of them even have special dimming settings to help customers set the mood. Not only is this convenient, but it can reduce energy consumption and lead to monetary savings.
3. Smart Thermostats
Another way to save energy and money on utility bills is with these nifty thermostats. They can sync with the rest of the ecosystem and deliver notifications to your phone. Also, they had built-in sensors that tell the device to lower or raise the temperature at any given time.
4. Smart Speakers
This is a feature that may not be as common, but it’s a great addition for those who enjoy music or like to use voice commands. This is one piece of equipment that can make life much easier, especially for busy families. The thing is, different speakers are compatible with different products.
5. Google Home
This is a voice assistant from Google that can do pretty much the same things as Amazon’s Alexa. For instance, you walk into the house and tell the device what to do. This could be turning on the lights, arming the motion detectors, or playing back video from a surveillance camera.
6. Amazon Echo
Speaking of Amazon, the Echo is a small speaker that goes inside the Alexa product. It is capable of voice commands and other integrations to help families arm their locks, alarms, and other safety products. The Echo is compatible with many surveillance hubs, such as Samsung, Vivint, and Philips Hue.
Features of the Best Systems
Now it’s time to delve into the meat of a top-tier home automation security system. All of those automated processes can only be accomplished with some quality equipment and features. Here are the most popular aspects to look for in 2021.
Also known as a hub, this is the brains of the entire package. The panel is often a touchscreen for ease of use. It’s where customers can command all of their products, such as the alarm, outdoor cam, and motion detector. Most of the time, the hub is accessible via mobile phone, too.
It doesn’t make much sense to have home automation security without remote access. The two go hand-in-hand and make for complete protection of a property. With this capability, users can dim their lights, open their garage door, see live surveillance footage, and much more.
Another automated process involves using your voice to manage the products in the room (or out of the room).
Things like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa do this well. There are also particular gadgets that providers offer that can respond to your voice. This makes locking the doors and turning on the lights even easier.
Part of having an automated or voice-activated package is being able to arm and disarm everything regardless of where you are. Whether it’s through a voice command or a button on your phone, you’ll be able to activate motion sensors, view image captures, and more.
Remote Control Door Locks
This is one of the most convenient options because everyone has locked themselves out of the house at some point. That’s no longer a worry because people can use their phones to lock up or grant access to a visitor. No more searching for a spare key.
It’s not just the front door that people can access remotely. Many providers offer garage door commands, which allow users to simply push a button on their mobile phone and open or close the entryway. Also, monitors can keep track of the area to keep intruders away.
Intelligent thermostats, such as the one from Nest, make it easy to raise the temperature or turn down the heat. Everything is accessible via voice commands or the accompanying mobile application. This helps to create a more comfortable house while saving on energy consumption.
More and more appliances are joining the automated realm. Depending on the provider, users can remotely manage their televisions, light bulbs, dishwashers, and more.
Third-party integration makes it simple to manage it all from one small, convenient device. Imagine being able to turn on the lights, change the channel, and unlock the door without getting up.
Custom lighting modules can work as night-lights for the kids, extra brightness on the porch at nighttime, or colorful bulbs to set the ambiance. When these settings are automated, it’s simple to dim the room, save electricity, and save more money.
How to Choose the Best Home Automation Security System
So, now that you know what to look for in a home automation security system, it’s time to scout out the most suitable options. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Rather, it depends on the size of the property, how hands-on you want to be, and the budget.
1. Security System Equipment
One of the first things to consider when shopping for home automation security is the range of gadgets and their capabilities. Since safety is a top priority, look for things like indoor and outdoor cams, motion detectors, and entryway sensors. Integration goes perfectly with automated products, so pay attention to third-party compatibility.
2. Camera Capabilities
Not all cams are capable of the same things. Some can only record snippets at a time while others offer continuous live streaming. Others capture image stills, and some are only used indoors. Consider where you want to use this gadget, as well as how many you'll need for your property.
3. Contract Details
This is something that may scare commitment-phobes. The good news is that there are providers out there that offer their gadgets and monitors contract-free. Clients pay monthly and can cancel at any time. Others prefer contracts because it gives them time to pay for the equipment and eventually own it.
It's always a good idea to read client feedback and reviews before purchasing a big-ticket item. Consumers love to complain about their issues with a company, so check sites like BBB.org and Trustpilot to get the real story about a provider. This will also give you a chance to see the trust ratings.
5. Customer Support
Sometimes a company may have awesome gadgets, but the support team is severely lacking. This may be a trade-off that you're willing to make, but most people want representatives that they can count on. Again, a good way to learn about the staff is to read client reviews.
Last but not least is the overall cost. Home automation security doesn't come cheap, although DIY kits can save lots of money. When considering your budget, take into account activation fees and upfront charges, as well as the monthly rates. Another thing to think about is any add-ons you'll want later.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Best Home Security Systems?
There isn’t a single answer to this question, but that’s a good thing because it means that there are more possibilities. A great place for anyone to start is with this list of top home automation security systems. To determine the most suitable company or package, consider factors such as pricing, compatibility, and how many pieces come in the bundle.
Why is Home Automation Needed?
A residential surveillance package without automated gadgets is an incomplete plan. Automatic processes are necessary to make life easier and make up for any human error. Most people have forgotten to close the door behind them at some point. Or they wish they could check in on their property while they’re away on vacation. With automated products, this is as easy as pushing a button on a mobile device.
How Many Cameras Do You Need For Home Security?
Again, this is something that will depend on the specific property. To get a better idea, consider how many entry points are around the house. Include things like doors, the garage, and windows, especially those on the first floor. This will give you a hint as to how many cams you may want. That said, for smaller entryways, a contact sensor or motion detector can take the place of a surveillance cam.
Does Home Automation Save Money?
Yes. In many cases, people who opt for these types of ecosystems end up saving money on their utility bills. Not to mention, they bypass the devastating disaster of burglary or house invasion. With integrated light bulbs, televisions, thermostats, and more, cutting energy consumption and costs is easy.
How Do Smart Homes Save Energy?
This is mostly due to the automated gadgets that work together. Things like a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa can sync with other third-party products. Some examples include LFX lighting, the Philips HUE, or the Ecobee thermostat. All of these items work together and communicate with each other. So, a person could tell Alexa to turn out the lights, and they can cut their energy usage simply through a voice command. This is especially convenient when you’re out of the house and accidentally left the TV on.
If it’s about time that you got an automated plan for your property, be sure to explore all of the possibilities. Today there are more options than ever before, which is great but also confusing. Between do-it-yourself packages and expert assistance, as well as integrated gadgets and stand-alone accessories, there’s something for everyone. Fortunately, there’s a brand for every budget, household, and preference, so don’t let the wide selection overwhelm you.