Watch CBS News

How to choose a home security company you can trust

If you're on the fence about upgrading your home this year with a reliable home security system, maybe you just haven't found the right company. Home security systems are worth it for the added protection they can provide from intruders as well as the ability to remotely monitor your home -- but with so many companies and service packages to choose from, how do you know which home security company to trust? 

Since home security can be a big investment (whether you go with straightforward DIY solutions or professionally installed systems), it's important to know what factors to consider -- and questions to ask -- when comparing home security system companies. 

Put the safety of your loved ones and home first by reading up on the best home security systems below, plus everything you need to know before making your choice, below.

Tips for choosing a trustworthy home security company

 "Selecting a trustworthy home security system requires careful consideration of various factors," says Toney Greer, security expert and CEO of The Royal Society of the United States.

"By recognizing signs that indicate the need for a security system ... exploring top companies in the market, and following tips for selecting a reliable provider, you can make an informed decision to protect your home and loved ones effectively."

In other words, it helps to know what you're looking for with home security ahead of time. Do you have the budget for the long-term contracts many (but not all) home security companies require? Are you looking for systems that offer smart home integration? 

Below, we highlight several of the best and most trustworthy home security companies available in 2023, followed by important tips and questions to help you pick the best security solution for your home.

Protect your home with these top home security companies of 2024

Review some of the best home security systems from trusted names like ADT and Vivint below.

Stop going without the protection and security your home deserves. Find a home security system that's right for you and yours below.

Our pick for most trusted: ADT

ADT logo

Having been in business for more than 100 years, ADT Home Security is our pick for the most reputable and reliable company you can turn to for home security. 

One thing that sets ADT apart from other security companies is its dedication to prompt customer support and monitoring services. There are nine professional monitoring centers across the United States. This means there's always a well-trained operator ready to provide support or answer your call -- plus, multiple centers means your monitoring service won't be disrupted should one center go offline for any reason.

Plans start at $29 per month and go all the way up to $60 per month for the Complete package. This package comes with easy app access, live video, and smart home integration.

It's not the cheapest security company on the market, but you know you're getting top-quality service. Live monitoring services alone can cost upwards of $46 per month, although the DIY ADT Self Setup system includes monitoring plans as low as $25 per month. If you're not going the DIY route, professional installation typically costs between $100 and $200. 


  • More than 140 years of home security experience.
  • Nine monitoring centers -- more than any other home security system company -- across the country.
  • Top notch installation and security consultation services from trained professionals.


  • Higher than average prices, including pricey add-ons and upgrades.
  • Required contract that includes additional fees such as a $25 activation fee should you move, and an early cancellation fee equal to 75% of your remaining contract balance. 

Best professional monitoring: SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe logo
SimpliSafe SimpliSafe

If you would rather install and control your home security system on your own, SimpliSafe is one of the best companies around for a DIY solution. 

Although SimpliSafe's roots aren't as deep as other long-established companies, the company has grown since its founding in 2006. SimpliSafe staffs more than 1,000 employees out of two call centers, making this a solid pick for self-installed wireless security.

Want to know why SimpliSafe is worth the money? The answer is SimpliSafe's Fast Protect plan. This plan comes with 24/7 live monitoring, as well as emergency dispatch, fire monitoring, and medical response services. 

If you want to keep a close eye on your home while knowing there are professionals at the ready to cover any kind of home emergency, SimpliSafe is absolutely for you.

With this a self-installed option, you can personalize your SimpliSafe System to fit your home security needs. All plans come with a keypad and base station, but you can also include add-ons such as:

  • Entry, motion, and glass-break sensors for full coverage anywhere in the home ($15 - $40 each).
  • Additional security cameras: wired indoor ($100 each), wireless indoor ($140 each), or wireless outdoor cameras ($190 each).
  • Hazard sensors such as smoke detectors ($35 each) and carbon monoxide detectors ($60 each).
  • Optional add-ons including a panic button ($20 each), key fob ($25 each), or extra keypad ($70 each).

While you can simply pay for your equipment and incur no additional monthly fees, there are plans starting at $10 per month. That would be the self-monitoring plan with camera recording. The Fast Protect plan, which offers professional monitoring, video verification, and smart home integration services, costs $30 per month.


  • Customizable security packages mean you're only paying for what you need.
  • No contracts required, but paid monthly plans offer enough support and services to warrant total package costs.
  • Optional 24/7 live monitoring services available through select monitoring plans.


  • Limited smart home compatibility depending on your chosen plan.
  • Old-school keypad with clunky design.

Best monthly contract option: Vivint

Vivint logo
Vivint Vivint

Vivint offers a full-service home security system that comes with critical features: 24/7 professional alarm monitoring, smart security cameras, professional system maintenance, a lifetime equipment warranty and multiple contract options.

That last factor is especially noteworthy. There are no requirements to sign up for a long-term contract if you pay upfront, which means you can pay for live monitoring and finance equipment on a month-to-month basis. 

If you want to take full advantage of Vivint's security system offerings, you're looking at plans starting at $40 per month. This is a bit higher than your average monthly costs for other professionally installed systems, but a selection of smart tech (smart cameras, automatic door locks, thermostats, and more) and a comprehensive app that's easy to use make it all worth the money.


  • Multiple contract options including month-to-month.
  • An option for $0 down should you opt into financing.
  • High-quality security equipment with advanced features.


  • Higher than average costs.
  • Limited options for third-party smart home integration.

Who has your back? Tips for finding the best home security company

It's not just about houses and property lines; when the safety of you and your loved ones is on the line, you want a home security company you can trust. That means researching your options -- and in more than one place.

"Compare companies based on reputation, customer reviews, and ratings," Greer says. "Consider technology and features that align with your security requirements."

Greer pointed out the importance of aligning security packages with your own security needs. You might be all for a multi-year home security contract if it means 24/7 live monitoring, but someone simply looking to install a few security essentials such as a wireless keypad might steer clear of long-term contracts.

Questions to ask before you invest in a new home security system

Ready to shop around for home security solutions but unsure of where to start? Start by figuring out your personal goals for home security. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to protect with a home security system?
  • What's your budget?
  • Do you plan to move within the next three to five years?

If your goal is to keep a closer eye on pets or children, then DIY security options like the Ring Alarm Pro would make more sense than security packages that come with long-term contracts attached. The Ring Alarm is also a great option if smart home integration is important to you since it works seamlessly with Alexa devices.

Long-term security solutions like contracts with ADT or Vivint can be tricky to navigate during a move. There may be additional fees that come with taking down security devices and reinstalling them at a new location, especially if professional installation is required (Vivint).

Once you have your ducks in a row, it's time to get them properly covered by comparing home security systems. Reach out to a company representative and "request consultations to discuss security needs and gauge professionalism," says Greer.

Here are four key questions to ask before making your decision:

Has the company been in business for a long time?

Many people feel more comfortable buying a home security system from a company that's been in business for a while. An established track record, along with positive customer reviews and ratings, will give you the most complete picture of a company's reputation. A great reputation can mean a lower risk of disappointment and better customer service when you need something repaired or reviewed. 

Can the company provide a license number or certifications?

It's important to "verify certifications and licenses to ensure compliance with industry standards," according to Greer. When speaking with a representative, ask for a company's license number and any relevant certifications.

Many states require home security companies to meet certain standards. California, for example, requires companies selling alarms to be licensed by the Bureau of Investigative Services (BSIS). Unlicensed companies may not follow the same guidelines or provide the same quality of installation services as their licensed counterparts.

Does the home security company require a contract?

Some companies ask you to sign a long-term contract for home security services. Others may offer month-to-month arrangements or simply sell you systems you install and control yourself. Inquire about the length and terms of a contract before making a decision. Some home security companies that require a contract include:

  • ADT: 36-month contracts are required.
  • Vivint: contracts typically range from 42 to 60 months.
  • Brinks Home: Requires 36-month contracts, but also offers a trial period.

Are there any other fees or out-of-pocket expenses you should know about?

Nudging sales reps for more info on additional fees may not be fun, but it's an important conversation to have. Ask whether a company charges customers a cancellation fee. This fee could cost up to the full amount of your remaining contract balance or include any outstanding equipment costs. 

Some home security companies also charge for device removal, installation, and/or activation when you move. Checking for fees that are not advertised front and center by a service provider will help you make an informed decision.

How to decide on the best home security system for you

"First, look for companies with good customer reviews and ratings online," says realtor Isabella Griffin says. "Also, read through the fine print of their contracts and make sure that they offer comprehensive warranties on their systems and components. 

"Contact the company directly to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have. Doing your due diligence can help you make sure that you're picking a company and security system that best meets your needs and budget."

Company reputation can be a big deal in the world of home security. Well established companies like ADT, which got its start in 1874 when a nighttime break-in led to the creation of the first residential home security system network, have earned the trust of many families over the years.

Contracts are another thing to examine closely before you invest in home security. Longer security contracts can come with benefits such as professional installation or free equipment repairs (and may be required for all-day live monitoring services), but there's a few tradeoffs. 

For one, cancellation fees can cost up to 100% of your remaining contract balance. Vivint and Brinks Home are guilty of this, which means you should have a long term plan in place before signing up. Another con emerges when you need to move. Most companies don't penalize homeowners with moving or (re)installation fees, but there are caveats: ADT doesn't allow you to take equipment with you, while Vivint charges $149 for pro installation.

Long story short, make sure you're well versed on the terms of a contract before making a commitment. If you'd prefer to avoid a home security contract altogether, there are several great DIY alternatives to professionally installed systems

How we chose these home security companies 

The security of your home and loved ones is a serious issue, which is why we took great care when reviewing the most trustworthy security companies out there. In order to help you find the absolute best homes security solution for any situation, we used the following criteria when researching, comparing, and selecting companies: 

  • Company reputation: We looked for established companies that were supported by positive customer reviews and a long track record of keeping families safe and secure.
  • Expert recommendations: We spoke with professionals in home security and real estate to get a better understanding of the best solution to your security needs.
  • Device options: We looked for home security systems, bundles, and service plans that offered a variety of devices. From cameras and keypads to optional sensors and monitoring devices, we built a list with something for everyone.
  • Your needs: Whether you're looking for professionally installed home security systems or DIY alternatives, we have you covered with various budget-friendly and customizable packages.
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.