(Check them out here.) Obviously, there are pros and cons to all four approaches, but if you’re here, I will assume you’ve decided to go the self-monitored route. I’ve been a technology reviewer since 2013 specializing in home security and smart home technology.
I’ve tested multiple self-monitored systems including e Tiger, Scout, i Smart Alarm, Simpli Safe, Smart Things v1, Smart Things v2, Piper, Armorax, Sky Link, Oplink, and dozens of security cameras.
I’ve also attended multiple Consumer Electronic shows in Las Vegas as well as other trade shows where I’ve had hands-on experience with self-monitored systems such as My Fox, Insteon, and more.
Self-monitored home security is relatively new and the technology young.
Companies like Simpli Safe have been in the game for a while, but there is an explosion of new companies offering self-monitored alarm systems through the smart home market.
With all the new choices, picking one can be a challenge.
In general, you will want to look for a system that can communicate to multiple people in multiple ways, that you can control and customize, and that will provide protection beyond burglaries.
If you plan to self-monitor your alarm, you are solely responsible for responding to any emergencies.
It should have the ability to follow rules with cause and effect relationships between different devices. Unlike the others, it starts with a hub and you add the equipment needed to secure your home. The new hub supports battery back-up and allows devices to work locally as well as in the cloud. From this one screen, you can arm your system, disarm it, check your system status, and even check the status of specific sensors.
Home alarm systems can be monitored or unmonitored.
With monitored security systems, you typically sign a contract and pay a monthly fee to have someone watch your back 24/7.
In doing so, it can potentially protect your home from flooding, fire, or even rapidly changing temperatures. Smart Things can also connect to other devices, like Amazon Echo for voice control and web-based products or applications through IFTTT.
With self-monitored or unmonitored home security, you’re responsible for calling for help should the need arise.
There is also “do-it-yourself” home security, which refers to monitored systems which are self-installed, and no contract systems which provide monitoring without a contract.