The Best Home Security System Is Frontpoint?

Read this very detailed and long review of home security systems. It's from Wirecutter. They are a well respected consumer review site that does lots of research, gives it away for free and then makes money via referrals / affiliate programs.

I am curious what you alarm system experts think of their analysis and recommendations.

If you Google around a bit you can find a handful of similar reviews and a couple of YouTube videos that have similar wording around some of the key points "100% wireless" and so forth.

It looksl ike a basic GE panel, backed by a better than average online marketing campaign and monitoring prices of ~3-4x the avergae for consumer-owned equipment.

Nothing special about it, but nothing overly bad either. You could do better for your money on the hardware and monitoring, but I think they're targeting a mid-tier market of semi-informed DIYers.

It's nothing more than a publicity stunt.

The best system I know of is ELK. It's high-end and fairly expensive, but it involves no unrealistic hype like found in that article.

Wired systems are definitely safer than wireless ones. Well, unless one is talking about transmission to the central station. Any system out there has that possibility of transmitting wirelessly, most of the time as a backup mean.

I am pretty positive it's not a 'publicity stunt'. They may be wrong or misinformed but they have a good overall reputation for doing real research. The issue may simply be that they do not know enough in this space (where they are not experts).

What specifically is the 'unrealistic hype' in that article?

That 'thesweethome' link you lead with is ridiculously long. Who is going to read all that?

Ok, I did.

And if you get about 60% of the way through it (the slider on the right is below halfway, but not much) the author has an 'Unproven Honorable Mention' paragraph where he states that even though SafeMart uses exactly the same equipment and contract length/components as FrontPoint - and their monthly rates are only $30/mo vs FrontPoint's $43/mo - that Frontpoint is still 'better' (more 'proven'), as they have 2800 AngiesList reviews vs SafeMart's 91.

There are no concrete claims made at all in the entire article.... it's a bunch of marketing fluff with 'expert' recommendations from the author's former coworker Mike Brown.

I'll agree with Marty. The guy seems to go more into how he found all these reviews rather than reviewing it for himself. Yeah it's wireless (I personally still trust hardwired systems over wireless). It's cellular, everyone can do that not a big deal. Their pricing is lower than Vivint is where I am located, though. $30-50 for just monitoring is high my my account. $30 ain't so bad (company I work for charges $29 with cellular, not a nation company though) but if you're getting closer to $50 I would hope you're getting more than just monitoring.

I don't understand the hype about all in one systems. Yes they are easy to install. If pre-programmed the end user can install it him or herself (though usually not correct). But they are much easier to disable, despite what everyone says.

I will admit I do not have any experience with the "Anti-Smash and Grab" features, but I have heard some companies don't even act on those signals, assuming they are false alarms.

DSC (at least the powerseries) keypads have an optional switch at the back so that if someone pulls a keypad off the wall, the system will know right away. But, the reference manual states that this option should normally be OFF for those living in North America (or is it North of America <g>). I think it is a reliability issue. Had a client with such alarms even though no one pulled it off the wall.

As for anti-smash, I've never heard of it. Nonetheless, a trouble condition would be reported at the central station, no doubt.

seems to be more recommendations than reviews... i don't understand why the writer would want to enter into a contract when he owns the equipment... typically the national companies subsidize the cost of the equipment into the monthly charge and need to see the return that is why they have a long contract... when you buy the equipment outright they don't have have any skin in the game, the rest is providing the monitoring/interactive service...

I will admit I do not have any experience with the "Anti-Smash and Grab" features, but I have heard some companies don't even act on those signals, assuming they are false alarms.

"smash and grab" is an feature built into their interactive services... you can however select not to have that signal sent to your central station when setting up accounts...

if your central station is making assumptions based upon alarm signals and not responding accordingly it is time to have a conversation with them or get another central station... central stations rely on default or dealer instructions... they receive a signal and act accordingly... the local authorities on the other hand can choose to place the alarm signal at a lower priority in their dispatch sequence... unfortunately alarm signals are typically at the bottom of the priority list unless they have been visually verified by a person at the scene or through surveillance...

Looks like basic GE Simon panel to me. Personally, I have only liked one GE panel and that is the ATS-series. All the others are quite bad, in terms of using, programming and installing them. I do understand the point of wireless is the way to go, but if you want your system to last and to work as best as it can, use wired detectors. At least then you can choose the best detector for the job and from different manufacturers. As for manufacturers go, I finally installed Texecom Elite panel to my home. Before that I had DSC and the GE´s ATS, but somehow this won my heart. For now.

Some people like to use their panel with the App´s on their phones, but I don´t like them at all. If I can control it by phone, I´m pretty sure that someone else can also do it, for example if I loose my phone or it got stolen. Also why would I want to check my systems status all the time? I do not get the idea behind that. Maybe I´m too "old school" since I enjoy using the PIN on the keypad (Ok, sometimes TAG, if I´m on a hurry).

And here in Europe the EN-standard say that your keypad has to have a tamper switch and if you send data to a ARC, the tamper alarms have to go there. If not, the installation will not be graded.

But if I did not know any better, based on that review I probably would buy that panel. Overall it was quite well written and clearly targeted to consumers.

Well GE is not very popular in this region (QC, Canada). I've never found anyone using it. DSC (Canadian based) is by far the most popular, followed by Paradox (locally made - a few KM from here). Honeywell Adamco (US based) is popular in the States, but not here.

As for phone access, well if it doesn't require you to enter your personal access code as if you were at the keypad, then yes it is silly and not very safe. One good use for phone access is to do what you forgot to do before leaving the house. If you forget to arm before leaving in a hurry, then you can arm remotely. Obviously, the best use for cell-phone is to view your cameras when an alarm goes off, but I have yet to find an alarm system that does that.

Some people like to use their panel with the App´s on their phones, but I don´t like them at all. If I can control it by phone, I´m pretty sure that someone else can also do it, for example if I loose my phone or it got stolen.

Mikko the best thing to do to prevent that is to lock your phone... also if those people are using an app you can protect the app from opening by enabling passcode protection...

Oh I knew that, but since humans are lazy beings, they don´t want use them. And in the light of currect incidents of private and secret information floating all around, one must be careful. I will still prefer "old schooling", as the youth these days would say.

The fact they use GE is not a turn off for me at all. I actually rather like GE. In the limited bits I've worked with it I found it very easy to use and program (especially the Simon series, compared to the Honeywell Lynx-R)

Off topic, but does Paradox have any interactive services? Don't see a lot of Paradox in Manitoba since ADI stopped carrying them, only really worked with the Espirt and older Spectra series

I've never worked with GE panels, only looked at their website which I found a bit immature in terms of explanation of their products. I know DSC is not easy to program. ELK is quite easy if using their software, except for the home automation portion.

I suspect Paradox is popular here in QC because the manuals are written in French (not a translation). Protectron (perhaps the most popular installing company here) carries it now. ADT owns DSC, so to speak, both part of Tyco.

I'm a big fan of Wirecutter and have made many personal electronics purchasing decisions based on their professional and thorough reviews. As you said John, they are well-respected and well-known. I'm an alarm system user but not an expert. I do agree that this article falls well short of their generally high standards.

I have worked on, serviced, programmed, and monitored most of the brands listed above and to say the least, they all have their strong and week points.

Dsc is a preference as to functionality, ease, simple for the customer to use.

Most are installer friendly and programmer unfriendly. User friendly (EASY, Simple)

Since the upgrade of programmable features and ease of programming features it has made the systems easier to set up, program, turn over.

It still does nothing for professionalism.

The Stick on,Test, run method still has problems with the lack of training, knowledge,and professionalism in the industry.

The RmR is great , and Company Exec,s love it, keeping install cost down , and long term contracts up.

Over the years i have installed Adempco,Dsc,Ge,Radionics,Bosch,and many older panels where we went from the programmable, chips , eproms, Dos based to a computer based programmable type of programming.

I could not go back due to ease of use, functionality, programmability.

The Strong pt is time, less time to Install & Program, make changes, Turn on, shut off, secure the programming from installers, and make the industry a walmart of security.

This makes the employees low paid, non trained, expendable, easily replaced. lack of loyalty. What we have found over the years is the attitude is this way industry wide.

The Systems are only as good as the representatives, Installation, Service behind the installation, and the Responsiveness of the company to fix, repair, program in a timely manner to meet the expectation of the customer. Many systems installed improperly due to lack of training or company policies.

The GE stuff (now part of UTC) if very solid, I have used it for years and trusted it for my own home. I don't do much intrusion. Any longer but I can tell you the device prices listed were near dealer cost, they are obviously making the money on the RMR. That said, there seems to be a big push in the past couple years for DIY monitored alarms. I wonder what impact this has had on false alarm runs by law enforcement, it would be interesting to see if there has been an increase. Finally, I have people ask me all the time what to do for home security and they always say "there's a package that has 2 contacts and a motion for $99 install" and I always ask them if they have only 2 doors and 1 window in their house. It always comes down to the question; do you want to FEEL secure or BE secure?