Approximately 40% of all British homes are equipped with home security systems. As these devices and systems become more affordable and easy to use, this number will likely rise.
However, choosing the best system can be challenging, especially if you’ve never purchased a home security system in the past. There’s so much choice, and everyone has different needs they have to think about.
This guide gives you a few pointers on what to look for when shopping for a new home security system, so you can make the right choice for your household, property and budget.
Consider Your Needs
The first thing you’ll want to do when choosing a home security system is to consider your needs and intentions. For example, do you intend to use a home security system to monitor a large property? Are you a landlord hoping to keep your tenants protected?
Your needs will help determine which home security system might be right for you. Some of the most common needs include:
- Property Size
- Number of Inhabitants
- Young Children
- Working patterns
Let’s take a moment to delve deeper into these reasons, so you can better identify your purposes for installing a home security system and choose a design that suits those needs.
If you live in a spacious home it may be challenging to keep an eye on your rooms. Or, all the doors and windows in a large house. An intelligent home security system can ensure that your property and possessions are secured.
It’s good to start by thinking about how many rooms you’re going to have to protect, the number of sensors you might need, and whether you want a wired or wireless alarm system.
We can help you work out the number of sensors you’ll need with our simple tool for designing your home security system.
Number of Inhabitants
Typically, the more people in your household, the greater the chance that one of them may forget to lock a door or close a window. More people with a key means more risk. With a smart home security system, you’ll be able to easily manage your alarm users through the app, or give fobs to your children or teens. No matter your house size or the number of inhabitants, it’s important to keep your household protected.
If your child is of an age where you trust them to come home from school and let themselves in, you’ll want a system that’s easy to use to minimise false alarms.
With easy to use touch-to-screen key fobs and the ability to arm and disarm the system from their smartphone via the Boundary app, your children and teenagers can come and go without triggering the alarm.
You can even check to see which user opened the front door and when, to check that your child has made it back safely.
Even the best-trained pets can make a mess while you’re away. So if you work away from home or simply have to leave your pets at home regularly, you’ll want to ensure that both your pets and your home are protected, without risking a false alarm. You don’t want your pet setting off the alarm every 5 minutes while you’re out, so you’ll want to make sure any home security system you invest in has ways to exclude pets.
Our PIR sensors, for instance, let you exclude pets under 35kg and you can create pet-friendly areas, to keep your home secure without worrying they’ll trigger an alarm.
What Home Security Features Are Important to You?
Did you know that a high-quality home alarm system can lower your home insurance payments? How much an alarm saves on home insurance varies depending on the system.
Choosing a system that has a number of security features may be the best way to enjoy maximum savings. That’s why it’s worth considering which home security features are most important to you.
The best home alarm system companies allow you to pick and choose from a list of useful features, designing an alarm system that perfectly meets your needs.
One of the best and most worthwhile home security features of any system are the contact sensors. These adhere to your access and entryway doors, as well as your windows. They use magnets to detect whether your main access points are open or closed. Once in place, you needn’t be caught off-guard by a door or window being inadvertently left open ever again.
Smart Home Integration
When comparing smart alarm vs. traditional alarms systems, one of the most noticeable differences is compatibility with other smart home devices. A smart alarm, like Boundary, is designed to integrate with smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Alexa as well as 1000s of other smart devices such as smart bulbs, lights and thermostats.
Using apps like Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, Alexa and Google Home you simply search for the Boundary integration, add it and start making routines that’ll make life easier.
Why not turn on the lights when a sensor goes off? Or set the noise of a dog barking through your smart speaker if an intruder is detected? A smart home security system opens up all kinds of possibilities.
Different smart alarms have different integrations available, so just do a quick double-check the integration you want is there before purchase.
How you arm your system; keypads, key fobs, apps and hubs
How you arm your alarm is a key consideration when you’re upgrading your security system.
For example, some home security systems operate via keypads. You can install these by your entryway door or outside your home. However, you will need to remember your password to activate or deactivate a keypad-based home security system.
For that reason, many households opt for a key fob in addition to the keypad. This allows you to easily arm or disarm your home security system without needing a password.
You need only touch each small, key-ring friendly plastic fob to your central hub to arm or disarm your system. It’s a touch-free alternative to keypads.
Boundary allows you to use key fob, PIN, smartphone and voice commands through your smart speakers such as ‘Alexa, arm my alarm’.
Sirens and Warning Alarms
Are you wondering how to choose an intruder alarm? If so, the answer is quite simple. You’ll want to select a siren that’s capable of startling your burglar and cutting through the noise, grabbing your neighbours attention!
The higher the decibel, the better. An outdoor alarm siren with a decibel rating of 95 or higher is enough to frighten most intruders away from your home.
The best of these sirens are also equipped with a night light. These lights make it obvious from the street your property is protected, deterring intruders and drawing attention if a burglary is in progress.
Do You Need Additional Security, Like Police Response?
Monitoring services including those with Police response are an excellent addition to any home security plan. After all, a home security system can alert you if intruders attempt to break into your home, but they won’t contact the police. This is where police response comes into play.
A monitored system alerts an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) if someone triggers your alarm. These centres usually operate 24/7 and are subject to stringent criteria. If someone attempts to enter your home without your knowledge, having an additional layer of monitoring could save your life and help keep your household safe.
Is Your Alarm System Graded?
False alarms are annoying and they take away something very important – your sense of security. To counter this there are recognised standards of build and design for security systems in the UK and Europe. Any system that meets these standards (BS EN50131) has to pass a series of rigorous tests including shock/drop/vibration tests, range testing, endurance in the presence of damp heat or sharp drops in temperature.
However, once certified that system is then deemed to be ‘graded’. There are different levels of grading, with systems designed to protect homes with valuables typically a ‘Grade 2’ and systems designed to protect banks and businesses typically ‘Grade 3’.
It’s a lengthy and expensive process. Many of the smart alarms on the market today in the UK are not graded. It was a key consideration in the design of the Boundary system, and has influenced every stage of design thinking. (Certification pending.)
As you can well imagine, having a graded system provides a level of assurance around build-quality, reliability and the security considerations that have gone into the design. It’s why having a graded system is what the police are looking for when providing a Level 1 response to a ‘compliant-system’ and it’s what insurers are usually looking for in order to offer you a discount.
Do You Want to Install It Yourself, or Get the Pros In?
Installing a home security system can be challenging if you’re not DIY-minded, which is why many home security services offer professional installation services. However, today’s smart systems tend to be far easier to install and with step-by-step app based instructions and minimal drilling required, can be an easy and effective option.
When choosing the best home security system for your household, you’ll need to choose between a DIY installation or a professional installation.
Some home security systems only require batteries, a stepladder and a power drill to install. Boundary, for instance, only needs a drill if you’re installing an external siren. The sensors come with sticky pads or screws, and the hub can be screwed to the wall or mounted on a desk stand.
Boundary offer the best of both worlds. Our system is simple to install yourself, and professional installation is an option if you’re short on time or you’d prefer to leave it to the experts. It’s worth noting that if at any point you’d like to add police response as a monitoring option, it’s a police requirement to have your system installed by a professional.
What Do You Want to Pay for Your Home Security?
Home security systems vary significantly in price depending on your chosen components, features, and additional services. That said, the initial cost typically ranges between £200 and £600, but can go even higher for a wired system.
Installation costs are another aspect to consider. Of course, some systems, like Boundary, offer DIY install straight from the box, with basic tools you’re likely to have at home already.
You’ll also want to consider ongoing costs like security plans and maintenance fees. These long-term costs vary depending on your chosen system and plan type. For example, you can choose to pay for monthly alarm systems or opt for annual plans.
Remember, some security systems incur high maintenance costs and service expenses. Before you purchase a home security system, be sure to calculate these costs. Doing so will help you choose a security system that suits your budget.
Everything You Need on a Flexible Plan, From Boundary
Not only is Boundary simple to install yourself, but you can design your own security system to make sure it meets all the needs of your home. With flexibly monthly home security plans available, there are different levels of protection for every situation. Our Pro Plan (Available 2022) will offer Police Monitoring with an annual maintenance included.