Best Home Security Systems in Virginia

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Per data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US residents experienced more than 1 million home burglaries in 2019. These burglaries resulted in approximately $3 billion in property loss, while the average loss per burglary was more than $2,000.

Roughly a third of US households have installed some form of added home security. And while no home security system is 100 percent effective against break-ins, the presence of a system equipped with sensors, cameras, and yard signs, can deter up to 60 percent of would-be criminals.

Below you’ll find our comprehensive breakdown of the home security industry. This includes our top picks for the best home security companies, important factors to consider when choosing home security, a side-by-side comparison of industry leaders, along with some useful FAQs to help you get started.

Per data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US residents experienced more than 1 million home burglaries in 2019. These burglaries resulted in approximately $3 billion in property loss, while t...
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Home Security

A Buyer's Guide to Home Security Systems

Jordan Grimmer
Jordan Grimmer | Senior Editor

What benefits does a home security system offer?

In addition to protecting belongings and loved ones, a modern security system provides a number of benefits to homeowners. Not only does a home security system deter the majority of potential break-ins from ever occurring, but they can also immediately alert and dispatch authorities when a home invasion does take place.

Home security systems can also integrate with other automated home safety systems to address emergency situations beyond burglary. For example, homeowners can add flood, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors to their security system and receive instant notification when a home emergency triggers one of these sensors.

Home security can also integrate with smart home technology like smart locks and garage door openers, smart lighting, and smart thermostats. This allows homeowners to have full remote control over their homes. And what more, installing a home security system can actually reduce your monthly home insurance costs.

DIY vs Professional Home Security

One important decision to make before working with a home security provider is whether to purchase a do-it-yourself system, or have your system professionally installed. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and are ideal for different groups of owners and renters.

DIY security systems are ideal for small homes and apartments where wireless sensors can stay within relatively close range of the system’s central hub. One of the most obvious advantages of a DIY system is cost. In most cases, homeowners only pay for the desired equipment, and have the option to build their system, piece by piece, over time.

However, one of the reasons DIY systems are less expensive than professionally installed ones is because important features like professional monitoring do not come standard, but rather as an optional monthly add-on. And although DIY systems have become much easier to set up than in years past, homeowners who are uncomfortable around basic tools or troubleshooting technology issues, may have more success with a professional installation.

DIY vs Professional Home Security

Do-It-Yourself Installation

Professional Installation

  • Pay only for the equipment
  • Easy to move to new location
  • As large or small as you need
  • Reliable, 24/7 monitoring
  • Expert-tailored systems
  • Integrates with smart home
  • Limitations in larger homes
  • Requires tech know-how
  • Pro monitoring costs extra
  • More expensive than DIY
  • Long-term contracts
  • Difficult to transport

Professionally installed systems remove all the guesswork from home security. Every step from the initial consultation and home survey, to system design and final installation will be handled by an expert security team. These systems also come with 24/7 professional monitoring, meaning a central monitoring station will provide immediate assistance when an alarm is triggered or if police or other emergency services need to be contacted.

That said, professionally installed systems have their own drawbacks. First, most professionally installed systems require a long-term contract, most often between three and five years. These contracts sometimes contain stipulations like early termination fees or a convoluted cancellation process, so homeowners interested in a professional install will need to read their contracts carefully.

Three Factors to Consider When Choosing Home Security


One-Time vs Recurring Costs

Understanding what you're paying for (and how often) is an important step as you add security to your home.

In addition to monthly monitoring fees, some companies may charge you upfront for installation, activation, or the equipment itself.


Contract Terms

One of the biggest pain points for home security customers is the contract many companies commit them to sign.

Before signing, ask about contract length, auto-renewal, early termination and restocking fees, and other important terms.


Customer Reviews

Verified reviews can tell you a great deal about how home security companies actually treat customers.

In addition to star ratings, read what customers are writing about their home security provider, particularly regarding customer service and potential for false alarms.

Compare Top Home Security Companies

Fort Knox Security Logo
star star star star star_half
249 User Reviews View Profile
Monthly Monitoring Cost
Contract Length
42 or 60 Months
36 Months
12-36 Months
0-36 Months
Return Policy
3 Days
30 Days
30 Days
60 Days
Cancellation Fee
100% of Balance
80% of Balance
80% of Remaining Agreement
DIY and/or Professional Installation
Cameras Offered?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do home security systems really work?

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While no home security system is 100 percent effective against home invasion, the presence of a security system is enough to deter most would-be burglars. On the off chance that a home invader breaks into a protected home, a professional monitoring station will alert both the homeowner and the authorities within seconds. In most cases, police will arrive on the scene within minutes of a trigger event.

Do I need an alarm permit to install a home security system?

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Most local governments require homeowners to secure an alarm permit prior to installing an alarm system. This is for a number of reasons, not least of which is to authorize the dispatch of emergency services when a home system has been triggered. Homeowners without a permit could also be subject to fines if their alarm siren goes off.

How much does a home security system cost?

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The cost of a home security system largely depends on desired features and services. Most security equipment packages can cost anywhere between a few hundred to nearly a thousand dollars. Monthly monitoring costs, meanwhile, can range from $15 to more than $40. Some companies will also charge homeowners installation or activation fees of $100 or more.

What does a basic home security system consist of?

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While every home security provider varies in what it defines as a “basic” package, most companies will offer some combination of the following security features:

  • Central control panel
  • Door and window sensors
  • Motion detectors
  • Yard signs and window decals

For an additional fee, you can expand your system to include indoor and outdoor security cameras, video doorbells, remote key fobs, and specialized sensors like a glass-break detector.

Which is better: DIY or professional installation?

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This largely depends on how responsible you want to be for installing, maintaining, and responding to your home security systems. If you live in a small house or apartment and would rather monitor your system yourself (rather than pay for professional monitoring), a DIY system could be right for you.

On the other hand, if your home requires more sensors or your property has more potential blindspots, a professionally installed and monitored system might be best.

Which is better: wired or wireless systems?

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Prior to recent developments in home security technology, hard-wired or landline-based systems were considered preferable to wireless systems because they were more difficult to tamper with or disarm. But wireless communication protocols have become much more sophisticated in the past few years, to the point where they are just as or more reliable than hard-wired systems. For example, most modern wifi- or cellular-based sensors test their communication to the central hub regularly — once every hour — to ensure the system is not faulty or being interrupted. Some security companies offer both communication types in the same system as a redundancy.

The real question to ask is whether you want your security provider to drill and run wires throughout your home. If you plan on staying in your home for a prolonged period, a hard-wired system might be preferable; but if you rent or plan on moving, a wireless system will prove much more portable and easy to install in your new home.

How do I avoid getting scammed by a home security company?

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One common pain point in the home security industry is the high-pressure, door-to-door sales tactics employed by some less reputable home security companies. To avoid getting scammed by bad actors, consider the following tips: 

  • Do not commit to a contract on the first day — sales representatives may try to pressure you into signing a contract by advertising low-cost promotional rates or other discounts for signing right away; however, these low rate are sometimes accompanied by steep upfront fees, and are often replaced by the regular rate after the first month of service.
  • Ask direct questions — sales reps and companies that use these tactics often prey on the ignorance of homeowners to make their sales. Asking direct questions can quickly help you root out which companies will actually deliver on their promises: 
    • “How long is your service contract?”
    • “What fees am I expected to pay upfront?”
    • “How long does your promotional rate last?”
    • “Do you offer a free trial, and if so, for how long?”
    • “What if I want to cancel services?”

If this information is not easily attainable, either by a sales rep, customer service rep, or the company website, you may want to align yourself with a company that can provide these answers in plain terms.

  • Read customer reviews — regardless of what a company may say about itself, you’ll almost always find the truth about how that company does business in the customer reviews. When researching customer reviews, look for objective platforms that publish both positive and negative reviews. 


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