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Solid mobile and web apps. Cons: Expensive. Requires three year contract with hefty termination penalty. Some Pulse peripherals require third party mobile apps. Bottom Line: ADT Pulse offers just about everything you could want in a full service home security system, including many component options, support for popular third party smart home devices, and a solid app experience. Read ReviewSimpliSafe Home Security System ReviewMSRP: $229.

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Like most technical services, you can pay for professionals to craft your home security system or you can take matters into your own hands. DIY home security means you customize your device kit, self install, and then monitor alerts from your sensors and video feed. Self monitoring is the common difference between DIY and traditional security, but there are plenty of companies that strike a happy medium between both. We looked at providers offering pure DIY as well as those offering professional monitoring, either de facto or as an upgrade. We required all systems to have Z Wave Support — the most universal mesh network for communicating appliance to appliance. One of the biggest draws of a DIY system is the opportunity to add in third party equipment like Philips Hue lights or a Nest Thermostat at any point. Z Wave is available in over 2,400 home security and automation devices from more than 700 companies. Plus, you have flexibility in where you place various devices because Z Wave can communicate farther distances than other protocols — like Wi Fi, for example — since it functions by sharing an Internet connection between devices as opposed to a localized router. Ultimately, we wanted systems that could integrate seamlessly into our homes and improve our quality of life. To find which fit the bill, we spent a day outfitting a 1,900 square foot home with the equipment of our finalists. We appraised the installation process, the ease and clarity of registering and syncing, the app experience, and functionality.