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Home Improvement

Best Home Security System

When looking for a great deal on a home security system it is important to know what you want it to do before you sign up for all the bells and whistles. If you just want to check in with your kids after school, you probably won’t need much of a system. However, if you want to monitor a distant property 24 hours a day then you will need something more. These following security systems were selected based on their many functions, their affordable price, and how easy they were to set up and operate. By the time you are finished reading them, you will be able to have enough information to make an informed decision about what system is right for you.

Zmodo PKD-DK4216-500GB H.264 Internet & 3G Phone Accessible 4-Channel DVR with 4 Night Vision Cameras and 500 GB HD

If you are no stranger to other wireless home security systems, you will know how many of them are made in China so that means no support, no updates, and a short operational life because nobody is accountable. This Zmodo system is different. You will have all those missing features, plus the ability to access it through Internet Explorer, your DVR, and any smart phone so you can check in remotely. Customer support can be reached here in America through a toll free 800-number where they all speak English. You will be able to reach the customer support when you need them most. Fast, effective customer support can be very important for home security, especially to be sure your system is set up right the first time. If you are looking for lots of value per price, then this is what you are looking for. It is not a commercial grade system, but will give you enough options to run an effective security campaign in your home office. Once installed, the power-up menu will give you a selection of menus that are about as difficult to figure out as the typical cable TV box, and so a little experience will go a long way here. You will basically be setting up another network in our home that runs on its own system, while taking direction through IE (Internet Explorer). The wireless installation instructions can also be found on the manufacturers’ website, or YouTube.

PiSector Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit with Auto Dial PS03-M20

This security system is great for home or office, or even other parts of your property such as a motor home, boat, or shed. When activated, you have the option of an audible siren at over 100-db, or a silent alarm for life-threatening moments. It can also be set to ‘door-chime’ mode, to alert you only when someone is entering or leaving, without setting off the alarm. If your active system’s landline is ever cut or short-circuited or somehow loses power, the backup power supply with keep you protected anyway for a few days. In case you have your new system installed remotely, you can be sure that it will still work until you get there to troubleshoot. Once activated, the PiSector brand will call up to 6-numbers and inform them that your property needs assistance. Calling the police is of course the first thought, but calling you, your spouse, and even a neighbor that might be home during the day is also good idea since they might be able to get a good look at the intruder. Maybe it is just some local wildlife, and nothing more. Each sensor can be given a name, so that you will be able to activate, and deactivate at your direction. Sensors are wireless, and attached to doors and windows with double sided tape, and also have an interesting feature. These sensors can be programmed to trigger an alert for only items over 50-pounds, to help minimize a false alarm brought on by a small pet. I know of no other home security system that has this feature, and that makes this unit particularly impressive. There is another nice feature that tells you when a door or window is open, so you won’t activate your system and leave the house. This is why it is important to give each sensor a name, so you won’t have to run through the entire home looking for an open window or door. The control panel is one of the most complete, and easily operated in the market. This PiSecor model will give you all you need in home security, and a little more.

Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master Security Camera System

Logitech has a good reputation for designing and building some very simple to use, “common-sense” instruments to be used by the consumer. This home security system is another fine example of how to do things effectively, without much hassle. In essence, when this system arrives, all you will need to do is install their software; plug in the master control unit, and connect it to your router via the supplied Ethernet cable. As for the cameras, simply plug them into their power source, and click ‘yes’ to connect them to your network- and it is just that simple. This system is designed to be a stand-alone, wireless security system that will not require you to fish CCTV cables through your home. The system comes with a 2 GB microSD card that will collect about a week of recorded video, even when your computer is turned off. Once set up and signed in, you will be able to watch your video stream from your own Logitech account, via your Logitech App installed on your Windows computer, iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry devices. You can have up to six cameras on one system, all built for indoor and outdoor use, able to withstand temperatures between -30°C - +50°C (-22°F-120°F). Some of the features these cameras include are tilt, pan, and zoom, so you can get in close and see exactly what’s going on. If you decide to use one of your cameras as a baby monitor, you can have a lot of fun with this feature, too. Because these are night vision cameras, you will also be able to track every detail, day or night including your child’s cuteness when they are awake. To add more security, you can install optional motion detector flood lights that will enable the cameras to see even more in low light. These are also wide angle lenses able to see up to 100-linear feet in complete darkness.

Fortress S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit with Auto Dial + Outdoor Siren

Many of the people who bought this model had very high regard for the seller; Mike. Almost every review said he was fast, courteous, knew his product and stood behind it 100 percent. He even included his cell phone number in the paperwork, in case you need help right away. So, when you purchase this Fortress, remember that Mike comes with it. One of the simplest home security systems to install, it already comes pre-programmed, so all the homeowner will have to do is attach the contacts to all the windows and doors, install a few motion detectors, set the control panel to your preferred settings, and then arm it for complete protection. This model comes with a remote key fob so you can arm and disarm with the click of a button, eliminating the need to remember yet another password. The ‘HOME’ button will also disarm the system so you can walk around freely without activating the motion detector, while still leaving the doors and windows armed. When leaving the house you can hit the ‘AWAY’ alarm button and everything is again reactivated when you leave. Another nice feature is that you can arm ‘zones’ within your property, in case you have a large building that needs isolated protection. Once activated, this system will automatically call whatever numbers you pre-program, or play a recorded message such as ‘Don’t move or I’ll shoot!’, or it can even play a custom sound such as a barking dog. You can even call in from your cell phone, and listen to what’s going on.

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System 8-piece Plus Package

If you are looking to install your own home security system with minimal monthly monitoring, then this will be a good model for you. SimpliSafe can offer complete home security, monitored by someone else 24/7 for as little as fifteen dollars a month, without any contracts or long term commitments that some of the other larger firms require. Like all home security systems, calls go through call centers, and each company will change what they like for this service. It's $15 a month with SimpliSafe, $100 and up per month with their competitors. SimpliSafe will also not hold you to any contract in case you move. They are strictly month-to-month. They will take care of all the programming and allow you to save some money by installing your security system yourself, and then letting the home office monitor it for you. This model includes an auto-dialing feature like most of the others, but you will have the option of using your cell phone, or a landline. Most other home security systems require a landline that adds additional costs. You also won’t have to experience the hard-sell salesmen that come to your home, and then refuse to give you a solid quote. These companies are notorious for pressuring people to sign the contract with scare tactics, and then get more money out of them with all the upsells. None of that here. SimliSafe sell system is an ‘a la carte’ sales system, so you can easily pick and choose what features you want, and upgrade later all from the comfort of your own computer. This is one of their newer models, and even comes with a flood-detection and carbon monoxide detection options as well.

Lorex Wireless LW292 Video Monitoring System

This Lorex is a great solution for indoor/outdoor security and surveillance, without the monthly fees larger companies charge. It is a complete wireless video-intercom system that permits you to mount the cameras as you see fit, and then monitor your property when you like with the fully programmable control panel. Some of the features include the ability to record motion only, so you will not be wasting time watching a still yard. You can also set it to record at intervals that you pre-set. The interval settings can be for only certain times of the day, or constantly throughout the whole day if you live in a densely populated area. Either way, you will have complete control over your video monitoring system and save yourself the monthly monitoring fees service companies like to charge. One downside is that this unit will only see about 30-feet in the dark, so if you are only concerned about something approaching your home this close, that should be enough. If you want a longer range, you will need to add spotlights, or mount another camera further away. Daytime viewing is much different. The clarity is so good; you can even see what color someone’s eyes are. This unit comes with 2GB of storage space, that allows for about four straight hours of recording time before it fills up. By changing the options, you can get more time if you chose to record only once every minute.

Opting for the larger 16GB recording time, you will be able to record continuously for three days, and simply set the unit to overwrite once this is filled up. You can access this information on your laptop, so you can check in from time to time and see what’s going on. This is a great feature if you have teenagers, and want to know what they are doing while you are gone. If you purchase the optional CD cable, you can monitor your property through SKYPE from anywhere in the world. The wireless feature will not interfere with your WiFi service, or cell phone use, so don’t be concerned about that. It will operate on its own frequency 24-hours a day without any problems. This Lorex model will also work as a two-way intercom in case you want to speak with your visitors without actually opening the door. It is as simple as pressing the TALK button, and releasing it for a response. The ‘beep’ function will allow a small sound to ring whenever there is motion if you want to keep that close a watch, but chances are you won’t find much. Just the presence of a camera alone will chase away most ‘would-be-intruders’. One of the other nice features about this Lorex is that the monitor frame looks like a picture frame. This way, it looks like you have a nice portrait sitting on your counter, and not a glaring video cam.

Fortress S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit with Auto Dial + Outdoor Siren

Many of the people who bought this model had very high regard for the seller; Mike. Almost every review said he was fast, courteous, knew his product and stood behind it 100 percent. He even included his cell phone number in the paperwork, in case you need help right away. So, when you purchase this Fortress, remember that Mike comes with it. One of the simplest home security systems to install, it already comes pre-programmed, so all the homeowner will have to do is attach the contacts to all the windows and doors, install a few motion detectors, set the control panel to your preferred settings, and then arm it for complete protection. This model comes with a remote key fob so you can arm and disarm with the click of a button, eliminating the need to remember yet another password. The ‘HOME’ button will also disarm the system so you can walk around freely without activating the motion detector, while still leaving the doors and windows armed. When leaving the house you can hit the ‘AWAY’ alarm button and everything is again reactivated when you leave. Another nice feature is that you can arm ‘zones’ within your property, in case you have a large building that needs isolated protection. Once activated, this system will automatically call whatever numbers you pre-program, or play a recorded message such as ‘Don’t move or I’ll shoot!’, or it can even play a custom sound such as a barking dog. You can even call in from your cell phone, and listen to what’s going on.

Mace 80355 Wireless Home Security System

This mace Wireless Home Security System was designed with the ‘Do-It-Yourselfer’ in mind. The system comes with the base unit, one window, one door alarm, and one key fob with panic button. This basic unit is expandable for up to 14 wireless sensors and 7 remote controls if you need to add these. Once set up and activated, this will call up to 5-programmable phone numbers to let people know there was a breach in service. This way, you can alert the police first, and then you or your spouse, and maybe a neighbor or the local NRA. You can also call in and listen to what’s going on in your home live, in case it was just your child showing up for a free meal. If it was an unexpected and welcomed guest, you will be able to sign in and talk to them via the wireless intercom, to let them know what is going on. The system can then be rearmed and activated remotely when they leave.

When arming your unit every day, it will give you the option of delayed activation, so you can give yourself plenty of time to leave at your own pace, and not try to get out the door before it goes off. This system can also be set to sound the alarm instantly, silent activation, auto-dial through your existing house phone, and even provide you with an alarm history, in case your kids are up to something. Once activated, the first phone call will ring within 10 seconds of alarm activation. The window units are also equipped with a broken glass feature that will activate through vibration, in case someone breaks the glass. This is an added bonus that is not listed among its other features.

G.E. Window and Door Alarm Kit 51107

Few people don’t recognize the GE (General Electric) brand name, so you can surely expect quality products and service from them. This particular product is a no frills, wireless security system priced to sell. It is not a central alarm that will call the local police, but rather a set of four independent alarms attached to the front door, and three windows. Each operates independently of each other, but together they will provide sufficient security for anyone that is not ready to invest in a full scale, monitored system. If you live in a dorm, or have a vacation home, you can have it somewhat protected while you are there, or away. Installation is very simple as there is no wiring or drilling involved. You will just need to attach the unit to the door via double sided tape, Velcro, or wood screws, program your PIN number and activate it. That’s all. You will have 45-seconds to leave your property before it activates, and 30-seconds to disarm it once you return.

You can also set it to operate as a doorbell, in case you want to be aware of when people are entering or leaving your property. This is always nice in a two-story building, or if you have little kids wandering around. Activate and disarm modes are managed by just punching in your 4-digit PIN as you are coming and going. This is not as sophisticated as other models, but easy to operate, with little chances of something going wrong because of its simple design. The window units are a little different though. These are operating independently of each other, and are not as loud as the 120-db door alarm. They will also require a PIN number, but also include an ON/OFF switch so that when you want to open a window, just flip the switch to OFF. When it’s time to close the window again, just flip the switch to ‘ARM’, and you are where you need to be. It is just that simple.

Kerri Ryan
I was a real estate developer in Washington, DC, both purchasing and remodeling commercial and residential property for over 25 years. During this time, I was able to experience the best of the best in all things related to the home; indoors and out. Kitchens & baths, both indoor and out, faux painting, high end furniture, whole property communication systems, anything that will make life easier around the house, was used and explored at one time or another while running this business. Budgets in DC were large, and their imaginations were even larger. Finding the right materials to keep the customer happy was just part of the fun and excitement of developing real estate for 25 years.
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