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Best Overall: Fortress S02-B at Amazon
"Ideal for small homes and businesses."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Ring Home Security System at Amazon
"The best possible system is the one that leverages the devices you already have."
Best Budget: Thustar Professional Home Security System at Amazon
"Great features, decent connectivity, and a price tag just under $100."
Best Wireless: OpLink Home8 at Amazon
"Powered by a plug-and-play simple installation process."
Best Smartphone-Enabled: SK-200 SkylinkNet at Amazon
"A superb choice for monitoring your home without spending hundreds annually"
Best Value: Kerui N6120G at Amazon
"More than loud enough to wake the neighbors."
Best Splurge: SimpliSafe Echo at Amazon
"If it's smarter home security you’re after, look no further."
Best DIY: Honeywell Wireless Lynx Touch L7000 at Amazon
"Offers a bright seven-inch full-color touchscreen for easy operation."
Ideal for small homes and businesses, the Fortress S02-B home security system offers a fantastic value and the main unit and sensors are fully programmable. The Fortress features an auto-dialing unit that can contact up to six designated phone numbers in the event of an alarm. The alarm itself is an ear-piercing 140dB (decibels), making sure you and your neighbors hear the immediate sound detecting a potential home intrusion. Protecting the inside of the home are 10 door/window magnetic contacts, as well as three passive motion detectors for sensing suspicious movement in a room.
Additionally, there’s an extra outdoor siren included, which provides even more awareness. Setup and installation are a snap with the main keypad allowing homeowners to disarm and arm the alarm. Additionally, the three supplied key fobs can disable the alarm prior to entering through a garage or front door. There's also a panic button that can activate the alarm if you suspect there’s an intruder in the home. Beyond all the features, the most notable benefit is the absence of any contract or monthly fee due to the lack of any monitoring service, though it does require a telephone jack to make outbound calls.
For another top choice in this category, we turn to a brand that has staked its claim as a smart home company with an eye for both security and connectivity — after all, with modern Wi-Fi and smartphone apps, the best possible system is the one that leverages the devices you already have. The Ring Home Security System starter kit comes with the base system, which connects to your home via Wi-Fi and serves as the main means of connecting additional third-party devices. It’s also a speaker that lets out a loud, 110-decibel siren for alerts. There’s the wireless keypad that lets you arm and disarm the system, contact sensors that you can rig to doors and windows that you want alerts about, and even a motion sensor to send you alerts when it picks up unexpected movement in a room. Ring has also thrown in a range extender with the system to make sure even big homes are covered just as well as small ones. The best part? You can add additional components to your system based on your needs.
The whole system can be controlled and monitored via the Ring app, which puts your home's security in the palm of your hand. The company also offers optional 24/7 security plans if you want professional alarm monitoring and immediate human support in emergencies.
For a solid budget option, the Thustar Professional starter pack fits the bill with great features, decent connectivity, and a price tag just under $100. It comes with all the standard components, including a central keypad system that installs by simply mounting it on your wall and putting in an SD card. From there, you can set your alarm and passcode and pair it up with the other included items: ten door/window sensors, four dedicated remote controllers, two passive motion detectors for room-specific security, the main keypad, a super-loud 110-decibel siren that’ll work indoors or out, and all the accessories to get it up and running.
Unfortunately, the Thustar isn’t the most user-friendly system, as there isn’t a central app to walk you through setup (you’ll have to do that on the keypad). But that have included SMS and call alert functions that will send alarms to your phone whenever there’s an intruder or something unwanted triggers the motion detectors. All in all, it comes at a great price, and even though you sacrifice some intuitiveness, it gets the job done.
With the rise in popularity for DIY security, the release of wireless options quickly grew in popularity. Powered by a plug-and-play simple installation process, the OpLink Home8 can be installed and activated quickly without any additional device pairing. The system is reliant on your smartphone for connectivity with 24/7 alerts and notifications. The ability to self-monitor eliminates the need for monthly fees or contracts; you just need the Optical Processing Unit to connect directly to your router. After that connection is made, download the smartphone app for either Android or iOS and begin placing your sensors.
Included with the Home8 system are the OPU, two wireless IP cameras, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one siren and two remote controls. Fortunately, extra door/window sensors, as well as motion detectors, are easily purchased online and connect right to your system. With the smartphone app, you can handily monitor your home through the wireless IP cameras. Additionally, a premium service offers unlimited video monitoring from a central location and video alerts directly pushed to your smartphone for a small monthly fee.
The smartphone-focused SK-200 SkylinkNet home alarm system has room for up to 100 sensors and controllers. The system itself relies on the Skylink smartphone app, which works with both iOS and Android. There are no monthly fees or contracts, so it's a superb choice for monitoring your home without spending hundreds annually. The basic kit includes an Internet hub, two door/window sensors, a motion sensor, keychain remote, power adapter, three-foot Ethernet cable and mounting equipment. Fortunately, installation is a breeze, so you can be up and running in less than 10 minutes.
Additionally, the technically savvy will appreciate the inclusion of support for IFTTT (if this, then that) compatibility, which allows for future integration with other smart home devices. Adding additional security items such as cameras, dimmer switches and alarms are easy following the plug-and-play aspect of the Skylink and they can work right out of the box. The only catch is all extras must be Skylink products. The keychain remote includes four separate buttons for alarming the system while away, arming while at home, disarming the system and sounding a built-in panic siren. The proprietary wireless system utilized by Skylink allows the entire system to cover a 600-foot range and still provide complete coverage.
With allowance for up to 120 wireless defensive zones and two wired zones, the Kerui N6120G has an outstanding value for a home security system. The futuristic looking panel features a backup re-chargeable battery that can last around eight hours in the event of a power outage. The inclusion of a 110dB alarm acts as a deterrent to potential intruders and is more than loud enough to wake the neighbors. The touch-sensitive buttons feel very modern and you can be contacted via the phone line in the event of an alarm activation. Additionally, you can even incorporate a GSM wireless SIM card into the system, so you can be contacted via SMS.
The Kerui alarm system includes five wireless motion detectors, 10 wireless door/window sensors, four wireless remote controls, as well as one wired siren for deterrence. Adding extra sensors or motion detectors is a breeze with plug-and-play technology. There’s even a pet immune infrared sensor that can be attached to help avoid false alarms if you have a large dog that has a habit of setting off alarms on other competitive units. With no contracts and no fees, the Kerui and its futuristic control pad are a great bet for staying safe and secure.
If it's smarter home security you’re after, look no further than the SimpliSafe wireless home security command Echo. Offering unbeatable 24/7 security for just $14.99, it might be one of the lowest cost alarm systems on the market. There’s no contract, no hard-wiring and no drilling required. It's just a pre-programmed box of sensors that are truly plug-and-play. Customizing your own solution is a snap, so you can start with what’s included with the Echo service and add more sensors by logging into your SimpliSafe account.
The Echo package provides a base, keypad, six entry (door/window) sensors, two motion sensors, two keychain remotes, an auxiliary siren, glass break sensor, smoke alarm and panic alarm. With all these extras, it’s easy to see why the Echo costs a little more upfront. The motion sensors can detect motion up to 30 feet away with a 90-degree field of view (it's best to place them in a corner to fully cover a room). The keypad itself can survive complete destruction from a forced entry since the base station continues to send alarm signals to the central SimpliSafe center without any phone line.
Released in 2015, the Honeywell Wireless Lynx Touch L7000 home security system offers a bright seven-inch full-color touchscreen for easy operation. With a slew of options available, the Honeywell offers control beyond the traditional alarm, including control of lights, door locks, thermostats and garage doors all from the keypad. The system includes three door/window sensors, one four-button key fob, one wireless motion detector, one Wi-Fi module, and one 4G LTE cellular backup module. The inclusion of Wi-Fi connectivity helps save on installation time and reduces monthly costs. Additionally, there is connectivity to an iOS or Android device to view the video through the downloadable smartphone app.
A monthly subscription is required for controlling extras (lights and garage doors) beginning at $15 monthly and costing as much as $45 per month depending on your requested features. Beyond the additional control options, adding more door and window sensors and motion detectors is easily done with the simplicity of plug-and-play, so they will work right out of the box with your system.