How to choose a home security system that best suits your needs

With the uptick in crime in Houston, you may be considering installing a home security system, but which one is best for your needs?

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You have many options for home protection, from Do It Yourself to professional security systems, that offer cameras, motion sensor lights, and alarms when doors and windows are opened. You can get monitoring services on both versions.

First, experts say to determine how much protection you need based on crime in your neighborhood and your home's vulnerabilities. Most break-ins happen in the back of the home.  

Next, determine your budget.  Do It Yourself systems, such as Ring, Abode, and SimpliSafe, are the lowest cost and easy to install.  

"$40 to $100 to $300," said Gabe Turner, Editor-in-Chief at "It's going to depend on what systems, smart home systems you want, Google, Apple, Amazon. All play into your decision-making."

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Some, such as Amazon's Ring, offer monitoring starting at $20 a month, and Abode offers short-term monitoring, such as a few days while you're traveling.

Professional systems, like Vivint, ADT, Xfinity Home, Frontpoint, and Brinks, usually start at a few hundred dollars for equipment and installation, then monitoring fees that can range from $20 to $50 to $100 a month.  

"Then you have a really comprehensive ADT system where you have an outdoor camera, indoor camera, a video doorbell. You have someone watching all these things for you," said Turner.  

If you already have smart home devices, like Alexa, Google Assistant, or HomeKit, you may want a security system that works with them.  Some can turn on lights or lock doors at night.  

You can also choose systems that monitor for flooding, fire, temperature, or carbon monoxide.  


No matter which system you choose, make sure it's visible. And get three quotes before you buy to make sure you’re not overpaying. 

"We want to deter people and say this is not an opportune place to go," said Turner. "This is not convenient for you to take something from. It’s not an Ocean's 11 heist most of the time."