We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

What to Look for in a Home Security System

Young woman entering authorization code pin on home alarm keypad.
Daniel Jedzura

Your home should keep you safe from threats, but over one million people experience a burglary annually in the U.S. It’s more important than ever to have a security system to protect your property and family.

Choosing to Install a Home Security System

Home security systems are essential to keeping your home safe no matter where you live. A good one can prevent everything from crooks pilfering your packages to home break-ins.

Every house’s needs are different, and planning how and what kind of security you require is vital.

One of the best ways to figure out how sophisticated your home security system needs to be is to hire a professional for a consultation.


Generally, you can get quality security systems at prices ranging from $280 to $1,109. However, the cost will depend on how much security you want. More features mean more money, so you must determine how much protection you need and how much you’re willing to spend.

Installation Type: Professional or DIY

A man installing a video doorbell.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

There are two ways to install a home security system — have it done by professionals or do it yourself. A professional installation by a security company is usually the best way to ensure it’s set up correctly. Most security system companies offer installation services.

Do-it-yourself installation—or DIY for short—is an excellent way to save money. However, you must be confident you know what you’re doing. Many security systems have been made with DIY installation in mind. Still, remember to follow the instructions.

Smart Home Compatibility

Many smart home assistants, such as Alexa and Google Home, also have home security options. Amazon’s Ring alarm system and Guard feature monitor your home while you are away, and you can even listen for suspicious sounds like glass breaking. Alexa also has a security monitoring robot coming soon.

Meanwhile, Google Nest features doorbell and camera systems that can show exactly who has walked up to your door. They include facial recognition and can send you a special alert when a recognized person rings your doorbell.

For Impromptu Video Calls

Amazon Echo Show 8

The Amazon Echo Show 8 can serve as a hub for Alexa-enabled security devices.

Types of Connections: Wired vs. Wireless

A video doorbell attached to a home
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

There are typically two kinds of connections for home security systems, both of which have advantages and disadvantages. Wired connections use wires to connect to a power source and your internet. They are stronger than wireless ones, making your system more stable.

However, wired connections are much harder to move around than wireless ones, fixing equipment such as security cameras permanently in place. It is also much more expensive and difficult to install all the connections.

In contrast, wireless security systems are straightforward to install—so much so that you can do it yourself. They are usually cheaper and can be moved to different locations.

Wireless systems depend much more on your internet connection—poor Wi-Fi quality will directly affect your security. In addition, being dependent on the internet for connectivity opens up the possibility for hackers to invade your system.

Type of Monitoring

Professional home security programs such as ADT, SimpliSafe, and Brinks security have a wide range of equipment and features monitored through a central control panel or app on your smartphone.

Features of comprehensive security systems include door alarms, motion detectors, and a camera system in one package. Professional plans include a 24/7 monitoring hotline that can inform the police immediately if the alarms are triggered.

However, many DIY security systems allow you to monitor your house using an app on your smartphone or computer. These are great for those who like to be more in control of their home security.

Ring Alarm 14-piece kit (2nd Gen) -- home security system with optional 24/7 professional monitoring -- Works with Alexa

With the option for professional monitoring, you can feel safe with this Ring security system.

Equipment Options

When it comes to equipment, security systems have a lot to offer. A comprehensive home security system has many ways to monitor and protect your home. Most security systems have a central control panel, motion detection, and a door alarm system. They may include either a wired or wireless camera system as well.

Depending on your needs, you may not need a fully comprehensive system. Buying a door alarm or camera separately can save you money and provide the security you need. Many DIY security systems make it easy to set this equipment up and monitor it yourself.

Types of Storage

Man looking at home security cameras on tablet computer
Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.com

It’s vital to consider how to store your security system’s data. Home security systems process a lot of information, from passwords to door alarm logs to camera footage. Malicious actors can find and tamper with it.

Local storage refers to data storage systems that are built into the security. These keep information within the system itself, usually in a device. The main issue with these devices is their limited space, and you must constantly maintain them to use your system fully.

Cloud storage systems use cloud technology to store your systems’ data. They have much more space than local storage devices and are monitored by the company in charge of the cloud system. This means they require little to no checking on your part.

Invest in Home Security Systems

Finding the right home security system to meet your needs can be a long process, but the peace of mind it brings is well worth the effort. Take the time to consider your needs and research various options to keep your house as safe as possible.

April Miller April Miller
April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine with 3+ years experience as a technology writer and editor. Beyond Review Geek, you can find her work across the web on sites like Due, Training Industry, KnowTechie and more. Read Full Bio »