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SimpliSafe Medical Alert System Review – 2019

SimpliSafe Medical Alert System Review - 2019

SimpliSafe is a popular brand on the home security market offering one of the best wireless systems with and without professional monitoring, or lock-in contracts. In early 2018, the company released an all-new build of its equipment, SimpliSafe 3, which now includes a panic button you can configure to set off a medical alert.


Quality and Warranty

SimpliSafe manufactures its equipment and ships it preconfigured and with a 1-3 years warranty depending on your equipment. Notably, you can buy new or refurbished items (with a significant discount) and build your system from scratch, choosing only the components you deem necessary.

SimpliSafe also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, and you can self-monitor or subscribe to 24/7 professional monitoring with C.O.P.S. Monitoring.


Features

SimpliSafe system’s medical alert monitoring comes down to two options – a panic button and a key fob.

The panic button is a small peel-and-stick plastic box you need to place somewhere where you expect to have an emergency. The provider suggests you place it near your bed, but it’s not wearable as you would expect.

You need to hold the button for full 2 seconds to activate the alarm. The red LED light at the top right corner of the Panic Button should flash to confirm your panic signal has been sent.

Highlights include:​

  • The panic button can be configured to set off an audible or a silent alarm.
  • You can choose the type of alert it sends – medical, security, or fire.
  • The monitoring station calls your local city’s police department dispatch center and specifies the type of emergency you have.

The other SimpliSafe panic button is located on the key fob you use to arm and disarm the system. Its panic button feature also sends a distress signal to your base, which in turn sends it to the monitoring station. The keychain remote is portable but only works within 50 feet of your base station.

One nifty feature of it is you can disable its ability to arm/disarm your system and leave nothing but the panic button feature. This way, if your key fob is lost or stolen, the security of your system is not compromised, and you don’t need to change the settings to remove the lost key fob from the list of devices. And you can carry your panic button around your house. But there doesn’t seem to be an option to configure your key fob panic button to stand for medical alerts only.


Price​

SimpliSafe is particularly attractive to users who want to build their system without having to pay for a bundle they don’t quite need. And the company is transparent about its pricing. A single Panic Button will set you off $19.99, while a Key Fob is priced at $24.99.

SimpliSafe monthly, no-contract and optional monitoring plans are Standard at $14.99/mo (no mobile app), and Interactive at $24.99/mo (with mobile control).

You can choose to install the system by yourself or order professional installation for $199.

The company also offers preset equipment kits, with only two of them bundling key fobs and panic buttons:

  • Hearth at $374 provides one base station, one keypad, one key fob, three entry sensors, one motion detector, one 105dB siren, and one smoke detector.
  • Knox at $499 also offers one key fob, but more sensors – six entry sensors and two motion detectors.
  • Haven at $489 is the only kit that includes a panic button and one key fob on top of environmental and security sensors.

If you need several panic buttons and key fobs, it’s cheaper when you choose your components rather than opt for a preset kit.


Support

SimpliSafe provides 24/7 professional monitoring via C.O.P.S. Monitoring, an award-winning agency with multiple locations for redundancy.

When your panic button is triggered, and the red LED light blinks as a confirmation, your base sends the distress signal to the monitoring station. An agent then tries to contact you and others on your emergency contact list by phone. If the operator can’t reach you, and people on your emergency contact list can’t confirm if you’re having an emergency, the monitoring station alerts your local PD and specifies that you have a medical emergency.

The SimpliSafe tech support works regular 9-6 business hours and receives praise from SimpliSafe customers.


Installation

SimpliSafe DIY installation is straightforward – peel-and-stick adhesive on your panic button allows you to place it on almost any surface. Relocating it is easy since your equipment ships with additional two-side adhesive strips.


Things to Consider

  • The panic button in your SimpliSafe key fob only sends the distress signal. But you can’t configure it to send a medical emergency alert. In theory, when an agent calls to confirm your situation, you could specify that it’s a medical emergency. But the caveat is that people may be unable to answer the phone while having a medical emergency. So key fob’s panic button is a far cry from what you would call a medical alert button.
  • The panic button is stationary; you can’t carry it with you.

Important Tips

  • With the new SimpliSafe 3, you can choose from the panic button’s three modes – police, fire, or medical emergency.
  • SimpliSafe 3 keypad also has a red panic button on the top of the casing.
  • COPS Monitoring contacts your local police department in the event of an emergency. It might make sense to call SimpliSafe support to verify your local emergency phone numbers.
  • You can put your system in Test Mode and see it for yourself how the system works, and how fast the monitoring station responds to your distress signal.

Summary

SimpliSafe is an excellent home security system, and if you’ve already invested in it, it makes sense to add a few panic buttons to your system. But if you are only looking for a home security system with a robust implementation of medical alert monitoring, the SimpliSafe solution is only mediocre.

4.2

Pros:

  • Affordable equipment and monitoring plans
  • DIY and professional installation
  • Ability to set your panic button to trigger medical alerts
  • Fast response rates
  • No lock-in contracts

Cons:

  • Panic buttons are stationary
  • The only wearable panic button is the one in the key fob
  • The key fob panic button sends a distress signal without specifying it’s a medical alert
  • No specifically medical alert pendants or wristbands are on offer

LiveWatch Medical Alert System Review – 2019

LiveWatch Medical Alert System Review - 2019

LiveWatch offers rather basic medical alert monitoring to its subscribers. A few panic buttons across their equipment and a 24/7 professional monitoring can hardly count as a full-fledged medical alert system, but if you’ve already invested in their home security system, you can use it for medical alerts.


Quality and Warranty

LifeWatch uses Alarm.com equipment, so you get the standard quality and generic looks. But with a 365-day return policy backed by a full refund guarantee, it makes sense to focus on its features rather than looks. Most of its addon equipment comes from GE, as is the case with its water-resistant panic pendants.

A two-year warranty covers all equipment, but the company also provides a lifetime warranty upon request.


Features

LiveWatch control panels, Simon XTi-5 and IQ Gen 2, both come with two-way voice assists communicator. When an alarm is triggered, the monitoring station tries to reach you via your control panel to confirm the alert. It’s a fast and secure way to communicate with your monitoring professionals and ask for help or cancel the alert if a false alarm has been triggered.

Your control panel also comes with an embedded panic button – a white cross on the red background. You have the option to set off an audible or a silent alarm. Per LiveWatch manual, if the alarm is silent, the monitoring station dispatches police to your home. If the siren is set to audible, the monitoring station dispatches an ambulance.

LiveWatch water-resistant pendant panic sensor by GE works within an undisclosed range around your base console. The company states it works “just about anywhere” - at home, in the shower, or in the yard. In theory, the pendant should have 300-500 feet range to work outside your house.

Its features include:

  • LiveWatch medical pendant is water-resistant – you can wear it in the shower, but you shouldn’t submerge it in the water entirely.
  • It’s quite bulky, unlike other portable medical pendants from competitors, and looks more like a plastic doorbell than a panic button.
  • You can clip it to your belt, hang it around your neck, or attach it to a wall.
  • The battery should last you up to five years.
  • You need to press the panic button for at least two seconds to trigger an alarm.

When you press the panic button on your panic sensor, the embedded transmitter sends a distress signal to your control panel, which then sends a signal to your monitoring station.

Finally, the third option to trigger a medical alarm is by activating the panic button feature in your remote key fob that comes with the GE Simon XT panel:

  • It is semi-waterproof and has a 500-feet range around your control panel.
  • Its battery should last up to five years.
  • Its operating temperature ranges from 10 to 120°F (-12 to 49°C).
  • It’s compact at 1.26 × 1.96 × 0.34 inches, and you can wear it on a keychain, in your pocket, or in your purse.
  • The key fob doesn’t have a standalone panic button, but a combination of Lock and Unlock buttons activates its panic button feature and sends a distress signal to the central station.
  • There is no way of configuring this feature to stand for medical emergencies, however. You need to specify your emergency to the monitoring agent during your confirmation call.

Price​

With LiveWatch, you sign a one-year contract for 24/7 home security monitoring and pay the upfront cost of your equipment. The hardware kits can cost anywhere between $99 and $699. LiveWatch also lets you cancel anytime without incurring an early termination fee.

A one-time activation fee is $19.95 while the lifetime warranty costs an extra $50.

There are currently two preset equipment kits on offer:

  • Plug and Protect Basic at $599, which includes two door sensors, one motions sensor, and a high dB siren with mobile alerts.
  • Plug and Protect Complete at $699, bundling a touchscreen control panel and Bluetooth hands-free disarming.

None of the kits include the panic button device or the key fob since they count as addon equipment available at an extra cost. For instance, a key fob is $30, but you need to request a quote from the LiveWatch sales representative for the water-resistant panic pendant.

LiveWatch four monthly monitoring plans are as follows:

  • Basic at $19.95/mo includes ASAPer and 24/7 monitoring.
  • Mobile Pro at $34.95/mo adds remote arm/disarm, live voice assistance, and crash-and-smash protection.
  • Total Home at $39.95/mo bundles a mobile app, and a laundry list of home automation features, advanced alerts, and motion sensors.
  • Total Home + Video at $49.95/mo adds an ability to access live streams of your security camera.

Medical alert monitoring is included in the base cost of the monitoring plans.


Support

LiveWatch runs three monitoring stations for redundancy. The company also has a nifty ASAPer feature, which stands for As Soon As Possible emergency response. When your panic button is triggered, and the security agent can’t reach you, the monitoring station contacts everyone on your emergency contact list – by phone, text, or email based on your preferences. This allows LiveWatch to offer faster-than-average response rates.

As for their sales agents, be ready to handle pushy sales tactics.


Installation

LiveWatch systems come pre-configured, so that you can install your system in a matter of an hour. The setup is a bit convoluted, though. You need to create an account, then request an activation call, and then set up your system and connect devices.

A brief look at the instructions on how to activate a panic button device is enough to tell the company needs to focus on usability.


Things to Consider

  • Medical alert features are basic at best.
  • It’s not the cheapest – nor the most user-friendly – system, especially for seniors.
  • You can buy the same equipment on Amazon, and chances are you will find a better deal than with LiveWatch.

Important Tips

If the panic button device does not respond to you pressing the button, the company suggests it needs a new battery, which is a standard 3.5 VDC ½ AA Lithium Battery you can change all by yourself.


Summary

LiveWatch is a competent but pricey home security monitoring system. Its medical alert features come as an afterthought, unfortunately.

3.2

Pros:

  • Water-resistant panic button pendant
  • Key fob with a panic button feature
  • A panic button for medical alerts on the control panel
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • ASAPer
  • Cancel anytime
  • Up to five years battery lifespan
  • Fast response rates

Cons:

  • The panic button device is bulky
  • Above-average price
  • Not the most user-friendly installation and setup
  • Customer service experience may vary

Armorax Medical Alert System Review – 2019

Armorax Medical Alert System Review - 2019

Armorax home security system bundles 24/7 professional monitoring for security, environmental hazards, and medical alerts. While its medical alert features aren’t designed specifically for seniors or people with medical conditions, its panic pendants and key fobs can send a distress signal, and you can program it to stand for medical-only alerts.


Quality and Warranty

Armorax base equipment comes from 2GIG and Alarm.com, while RE Resolution manufactures peripherals and accessories. You have to buy the equipment, which suggests hefty upfront investment. But the equipment is compatible with hardware by many other brands and supports most communication protocols you need to set up a few automated tasks for your smart home. Also, you can use the devices with another home security service or self-monitor.

Armorax offers a 3-year warranty on its devices, but the RE Resolution specs sheets suggest the panic pendants and keychain remotes have a two-year warranty. Inquire with the sales agent about warranty on pendants and key fobs just in case.

Finally, Armorax offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and professional installation worth $199 for those who don’t like the idea of mingling with the DIY setup.​


Features

Armorax 2GIG GC2 keypad-enabled and GC3 touchscreen panels come with integrated two-way voice communication, which allows the monitoring station to call you directly in the event of an emergency.

There are two ways you can activate a medical alert here – via a panic button pendant, and the key fob remote.

The panic pendant is compatible with 2GIG but also works with GE and Honeywell, so if you switch at a later point, you can keep using it. The pendant is portable, fully-sealed and water-resistant. Note, however, that water-resistant means you can have a shower while wearing it, but you should not submerge it entirely, although it’s been tested to survive up to 1-meter submersion.

Features include:

  • A single red button has a nice feel to it and is easy to use.
  • An embedded Led light blinks every minute to confirm the device is functional.
  • The pendant has a reliable RF signal within a 150-foot range of your control panel.
  • The panic button ships with an elastic band and a neck pendant, so you can choose how you like to wear it.
  • The battery should last 4-6 years, but it is sealed and non-replaceable.
  • The temperature range is from 0F to 120F.

When you press the panic button, the unit sends a distress signal to your control panel, which routes it to your monitoring station. An agent then tries to call you via the two-way voice assist. If you can’t be reached, the monitoring station dispatches help to your home.

You can request your panic pendant to stand for medical-only alerts, which is essential since many people in the middle of a medical emergency may have difficulty breathing, let alone talking to confirm they need an ambulance instead of the police.

The second option to trigger medical alerts is to configure one of the buttons on your remote key fob. It’s not water-resistant, and it doesn’t have an elastic band, so you can’t wear it at all times, but it’s more compact and multi-functional than the panic pendant.

The key fob features include:

  • Tactile button click confirms the button has been pressed.
  • The embedded LED light blinks for feedback.
  • Recessed buttons help avoid “pocket false alarms.”
  • The key fob ships with a full pivoting built-in key ring for tangle-free storage.
  • It has a 300-feet range and runs from a GP27A battery with 4-6-years lifespan.

Price​

With Armorax, you can choose to pay-as-you-go or sign a three-year agreement. Early termination fees apply if you choose to cancel early.

Their three monitoring packages are:

  • Basic at $34.95/mo – 24/7 professional monitoring
  • Intermediate at $39.95/mo – monitoring, mobile app, video surveillance
  • Advanced at $44.95/mo – monitoring, mobile app, video and home automation

A 36-month contract provides discounts on your equipment ($99 on the Base instead of $649). Also, your monthly fee is locked during your contract.

Both the panic button pendant and the key fob are priced at $29 each, and the Base system kit includes one key fob. The panic pendant is only available as addon equipment.


Support

Armorax outsources its professional monitoring to COPS Monitoring, a UL-listed, CSAA-approved center licensed to operate in all 50 states. Their response times are “under two minutes,” while the system sends alerts to your mobile app, email, or a text message.

Armorax doesn’t want you browsing the equipment specs and pricing by yourself. Should you have any questions, you have to deal directly with their sales agents. Fortunately, their live chat runs around the clock, and the agents are quick and helpful.


Installation

Although the DIY installation is fairly hassle-free, it is not necessarily so if it’s your first time installing a security system. The control panel is plug-and-play while the pre-programmed sensors come with adhesive strips. But good luck finding a guide or a manual on Armorax website.

And while reaching a sales agent is easy, getting through to their tech support for help installing your system may not be so fast. Alternatively, you could opt for a professional installation, which is pretty expensive when compared to competitors’ rates.


Things to Consider

  • Armorax is a relatively young company, with just three years on the market and few reviews from existing customers.
  • It lacks transparency and a functional knowledge base.

Important Tips

To use your panic pendant or key fob for medical alerts, specify your request to the support agent to ensure your equipment comes pre-programmed to trigger medical-only alerts.


Summary

Armorax doesn’t put its medical alert features front and center, suggesting it’s not something they plan on improving in the nearest future. Their panic pendants and key fobs come from the well-established manufacturer, but overall, the system is not slated for seniors or people prone to falling or wandering.

3.5

Pros:

  • Alarm.com, 2GIG and RE Resolution equipment is universal
  • Wearable, water-resistant panic pendant
  • Remote key fob with a panic button
  • Can be configured to trigger medical alerts
  • Up to 300 feet range
  • Cellular and WiFi connectivity

Cons:

  • Lacks transparency
  • Upfront equipment costs

Link Interactive Medical Alert System Review – 2019

Link Interactive Medical Alert System Review - 2019

While Link Interactive scores high among home security systems, its medical alert monitoring features are fairly basic, and not apt for people with medical conditions, or seniors. The company offers a wireless panic button and a keychain remote with an optional panic button complete with 24/7 professional monitoring plans under short- and long-term contracts.


Quality and Warranty

Link Interactive provides a 2-3-year warranty on the equipment it sells – GE, 2GIG, and Honeywell. Under warranty, the provider is responsible for replacing faulty sensors and fixing any device issues.

With Link, you buy your equipment instead of leasing it. This means you can choose your components, and use them with another security provider at a later point. At the same time, it also means a reasonably hefty upfront payment for your hardware.

Fortunately, the equipment you buy via Link is priced competitively ($22-$112).


Features

Link Interactive medical alert system comes down to two devices – its wearable panic button and a keychain remote.

The wireless, water-resistant panic button PANIC1 is a competitive little gizmo with a 350 feet range around your base station. It’s portable, and ships with a wealth of accessories – a necklace cord, a wristband, and a belt clip, as well as several multi-functional clips and a wall mount you can use to attach the button to a wall or any other surface.

You can use the panic button in the shower because it is water resistant, but you don’t want to submerge it entirely since water-resistant is not exactly waterproof.

The panic button transmits your distress signal to your base station regardless of whether your home security system is armed or disarmed.​

Highlights include:

  • You need to press the panic button during five seconds to trigger the distress signal.
  • Its lithium battery, Panasonic CR2032, should last up to 3 years.
  • 350-feet range around the base console means you can use it from the yard or garden.
  • It can be programmed to stand for either police or medical help.
  • It comes with a red LED light, which activates to confirm the panic button has been triggered.
  • It’s plastic, white with a gray button, but not the most compact panic device out there, at 1.65 x 1.20 x 0.50 inches.
  • It comes with an excellent selection of accessories so that you can wear it on a belt, around your wrist or neck, or attach to almost any surface.
  • It doesn’t play well with cold temperatures since its operating range is 32° to 120°F (0° to 49°C).
  • The warranty is two years.

Link Interactive four-button keychain remote KEY2 is a convenient way of arming/disarming your system or setting off a distress signal.

It’s small, portable and uniquely identified, meaning each key fob is attached to a specific user within your system. You can have up to eight keychain remotes on your system.

Highlights include:

  • Its lithium coin battery, Panasonic CR2015, should last up to 5 years.
  • The wireless signal range is up to 350 feet around your base station.
  • It’s plastic, black and pretty standard in size.
  • It’s not water-resistant, and it doesn’t tolerate freezing temperatures.
  • It’s covered by a two-year warranty and ships with a key ring.
  • You can operate your garage door opener with a GDR1 interface.

Your control panel also comes with the two-way voice communication feature, meaning your monitoring station agents can talk to you directly through the base console when you trigger an alert.

It’s a convenient way for the monitoring station to determine if they need to dispatch medical, fire, or police help.

If you opt for a video surveillance plan, you can access your indoor and outdoor cameras live feed to keep tabs open on your loved ones if they have health issues.


Price​

Link is more flexible than many of its direct competitors, offering a 30-day money-back guarantee complete with a full refund, no questions asked.

The provider offers three monitoring plans – Standard at $29.99/mo, Gold $35.99/mo, and Elite $40.99/mo. All subscriptions include 24/7 professional monitoring for security, fire, and medical alerts.

Each plan is available in 12-, 24-, or 36-month contracts. The early cancellation fee is 75%-100% of the remaining balance on your contract.

Once you decide on a plan, Link Interactive helps you create a customized solution based on the equipment you need. There is no activation fee, while the price of your hardware depends on the items you choose.

For instance, a panic button is priced at $37, while a single keychain remote will set you off $24.

Link also offers a three-year guaranteed rate lock, so your monthly rate remains unchanged during the length of your contract.


Support

Link outsources the 24/7 monitoring to two AvantGuard monitoring centers. AvantGuard is considered one of the best in the industry, with approximately 20 seconds response time. But there is no response-time guarantee, however.

When you trigger the panic button, it sends a signal to your control panel that notifies the monitoring station. A monitoring agent then tries to reach you via the two-way voice communication in your control panel or by phone to verify the incident and dispatch help. If you do not answer the phone, the monitoring center contacts the authorities.

Link Interactive technical support is available 24/7 by phone and via live chat, earning the company overwhelmingly positive reviews from its customers.


Installation

There is no professional installation with Link – you take care of the business with a Phillips screwdriver and DIY installation guides. If you need help, the tech support is available via live chat around the clock.


Things to Consider

  • Link offers two versions of base stations – 2GIG Go!Control and IQ Panel 2, both touchscreen and have the in-built two-way talk feature. As far as adding and configuring a sensor is concerned, the IP Panel 2 seems to have a more user-friendly and modern interface than 2GIG, but it’s also pricier.
  • It only works with the cellular connection.

Important Tips

Ask for “agreement discounts” with long-term contracts.


Summary

If you already run a home security system from Link Interactive, it only makes sense to buy a few panic buttons to use in and around your house for medical emergencies. But it’s not the most robust medical alert package on the market.

4.4

Pros:

  • Water-resistant panic button with a 350-feet range
  • Keychain remote with a panic button, also with a 350-feet range
  • Two-way voice assist in the control panel
  • Fast response times
  • 30-day trial
  • Flexible subscription options
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • No landline or broadband connectivity
  • Upfront equipment costs

Nest Secure Medical Alerts System Review – 2019

Nest Secure Medical Alerts System Review - 2019

Nest Secure is a relatively new entrant to the home security market, which is both good and bad. The company invests in innovative solutions, but unfortunately overlooks some of the fundamentals. Its equipment is advanced and sleek, but Nest’s offer has several serious gaps, and the medical alert system is one of them. There is only one panic button on the base console, and you can’t directly customize it to stand for medical-only alerts. Nest Secure is not apt for families looking for basic medical alert features in their home security system.


Quality and Warranty

Nest Secure equipment ships with a two-year limited warranty. If some component of your Nest Secure requires a replacement, the company provides it. But that would be the end of warranty for the said component. In other words, replaced devices don’t get a warranty. On the bright side, Nest designs and manufactures its hardware, so the looks and quality are top-notch.


Features

Nest Secure base station, Nest Guard, is the brain of the system. Nest Guard has an embedded panic button at the back of its casing. Regardless of the alarm mode you have set – Off, Home and Guarding, or Away and Guarding – you can use the panic button to trigger an alarm.

Nest Guard initiates an audible alarm if the panic button is triggered. The specs sheets do not specify for how long you need to press the button to set off the alarm. It just says press and hold until the alarm sounds.

The Nest Guard’s light ring should turn red, and the siren should go off – a fairly straightforward confirmation your distress signal has been sent.

But if you release the button early, without the confirmation signal, your distress signal has not been sent.

If you self-monitor with Nest Secure, pressing the panic button triggers the system to send mobile notifications to everyone who has access to your home through the Nest app.

If you subscribe to one of the Moni-provided monitoring plans, the Alarm Response Center monitoring station needs to reach you first to confirm the nature of your alarm. Then, if necessary, the monitoring center dispatches help. If the station can’t reach you, it tries to reach the people on your emergency contact list and then sends police to your house.

Moni monitoring plans cover medical alerts, but the Nest Secure system lacks the necessary equipment to make medical alerts with professional monitoring functional. The disadvantages are glaring – there are no wearable panic buttons or standalone panic buttons you could attach to a wall near your bed. Nor is there a panic button on the keychain remote.

There is no keychain remote as such. The minimalist Nest Tags are lovely, but when it comes to evaluating their functionality, traditional key-enabled remotes you can program to have a panic button come out winning.

Nest Secure FAQs list the sensors that can trigger an alarm in different modes. For example, opening a window or detaching a power cable from Nest Guard triggers the alarm when the system is enabled. But none of the options on the list can be used for medical alarms, except for the panic button in the Nest Guard base.​

It means, should a medical emergency occur, you need to:​

  • Rush to your base station to send a medical distress signal.
  • Press it long enough to send the signal.
  • Answer the phone and confirm the nature of your emergency.
  • Or, wait till the monitoring station tries to reach your emergency contacts.
  • If they don’t know the nature of your emergency, police will be dispatched.

Notably, the Nest app doesn’t offer a way to use it as a panic button either.


Price​

The basic kit of Nest Secure is $499. It bundles Nest Guard, two Nest Tags, and two Nest detect sensors. A Nest Cam will set you off $199, while additional sensors are $59 each.

Professional monitoring plans through Nest-Moni partnership is available in two subscriptions:

  • $19/mo in a three-year contract
  • $29/mo in a month-to-month subscription

Nest Secure also offers an additional cellular backup connection for $10/mo for your system to fall back to should your WiFi connection go down.


Support

Nest Secure is just the hardware – you can use it to self-monitor, or you can subscribe to Moni monthly monitoring plans. The latter offer 24/7 professional monitoring through the Alarm Response Centers. Although the response times should be prompt, the station takes the time to reach your emergency contacts for confirmation before dispatching help.

If you – or people on your emergency contact list – can’t specify the nature of your situation, the monitoring station notifies your local police precinct.

If you self-monitor, and someone in your house triggers the alarm by pressing the panic button, you should receive a notification in your Nest app and be able to access your Nest Cam feed to assess the situation. In theory, this could work for medical emergencies. But users report notifications sometimes take up to an hour to arrive, which is unacceptable for both home security and medical emergencies.


Installation

Nest Secure DIY installation is intuitive, and you can rely on the Nest app to guide you. But when it comes to using its only panic button, the system is severely lacking. It’s on your base; you can’t wear it or move it, or customize it to stand for medical-only alerts.


Things to Consider

  • The medical alerts are implemented at a sub-standard level.
  • Not apt for families with children, seniors, or anyone with medical conditions.
  • Nest is a Google-owned product, so assess potential privacy concerns.

Important Tips

The Nest Secure support does not seem overly knowledgeable in the technical area. It might make sense to request tech support instead.


Summary

Most home security systems offer at least a panic button on their keychain remotes. Many provide standalone wearable panic pendants that are also water-resistant. Some go as far as powering their medical pendants with GPS trackers, and two-way voice assist. Medical panic button devices are essential parts of any home security system these days. Nest Secure, in its current build, is not apt for medical alerts.

1.8

Pros:

  • The brand

Cons:

  • Sub-standard implementation of medical alerts
  • Only one panic button on the base console
  • No wearable panic pendants
  • No standalone stationary panic buttons
  • No keychain remotes with programmable panic buttons
  • In self-monitoring, notifications take long to arrive
  • Overpriced
  • No two-way voice assist

Scout Medical Alerts System Review – 2019

Scout Medical Alerts System Review - 2019

The Scout Alarm install-it-yourself modular home security system is popular among techies, particularly fans of automation. It’s not ideal, but it is an affordable, transparent, and capable system, which allows you to add components easily. It also integrates with a wealth of devices, apps, and platforms like Google, Nest, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Alexa, Z-Wave, and Zigbee. It’s all wireless and flexible, and with the implementation of IFTTT, you can even create a panic button in your smartphone.


Quality and Warranty

Scout manufactures its equipment and backs it with a 1-3-year limited warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee. You have to pay for the equipment upfront, but you can return or replace the equipment you don’t need at a later point. The system relies on WiFi, with cellular backup.


Features

When it comes to medical alerts monitoring, Scout doesn’t have a physical panic button device or a panic button on its base console, but its IFTTT integration allows you to create custom recipes or tap the library of existing ones and add a broad variety of features to Scout’s base system.

In case you’re unfamiliar – IFTTT stands for IF This Then That. The free platform acts as a digital middleman that connects your Internet-enabled devices and services to make things work together and minimize manual input for you. In layman terms, it takes input from one device/service and triggers an action in another device/service.

You can use an existing IFTTT applet self-descriptively dubbed “Activate your Scout Alarm panic button,” which triggers your Scout siren – all you need to do is tap one button in your smartphone. Alternatively, you can create a custom IFTTT applet for a panic button, and add as many customized buttons as you like.

But if you need a panic button everyone in the family could use, you would have to set up the same IFTTT applet on all their smartphones (and ensure they know how to use it).

Scout also provides 24/7 professional monitoring for Samsung SmartThings users, so you could inquire if you can potentially set up your medical panic button via this integration. But the knowledge bases of both Scout and SmartThings lack cohesive confirmation on the matter.

Other than that, Scout is desperately wireless and keypad-less. Its obsession with zero-keypad design means even its door panels are RFID triggered and have no buttons.


Price​

With Scout, you pay an upfront cost for the equipment, none of which includes a panic button. Even Scout key fob only works for arming/disarming the system. For the basic setup, you are going to need a hub $129, and a few access or motion sensors and the total cost of your equipment can be significantly cheaper than with many competitors. But while Scout addon equipment includes several environmental hazard detectors, the provider flat out ignores medical pendants.

Scout has two monitoring subscriptions:

  • Always On at $9.99/mo or $107/year is a self-monitoring plan that comes with Scout proprietary mobile app you need to monitor your system and its components
  • Always On+ at $19.99/mo or $215/year, which includes a 24/7 professional monitoring

Unfortunately, self-monitoring without a subscription is unreliable and not user-friendly, since the monthly fee gets you Scout mobile app. Without it, you can only use your browser to control the system, which drastically hampers usability.


Support

Scout offers self-monitoring and 24/7 professional service with COPS Monitoring, an award-winning agency licensed to work in all 50 states.

Even though COPS is a reliable provider, an IFTTT-enabled panic button is not something you want to rely on in emergency situations. IFTTT recipes may work and then fail out of the blue, and you never know when that might happen. If you google “IFTTT reliability issues,” you will find various community forums discussing the reliability inconsistency, which persists. So the IFTTT implementation is a far cry from what you would call a full-fledged medical alert system.

The Scout community forum is a buzzing place, while the available tutorials and knowledge base are comprehensive, but good luck finding panic button-related materials. For example, there is no official confirmation from the company that medical help can be dispatched when you trigger your IFTTT panic button. Nor is it clear whether you can ask for the help to be dispatched to a location that’s different from your home address if, for instance, you happen to have a medical emergency when out and about.


Installation

You need to familiarize yourself with IFTTT and Scout mobile apps. From there, setting up your IFTTT panic button is relatively hassle-free – follow the instructions that come with the applet.


Things to Consider

  • Scout caters to the fans of automation and smartphone-enabled control. You need the mobile app or a web-based interface to control every feature of your system.
  • It’s apt for technically-savvy users.
  • It doesn’t offer medical panic buttons.

Important Tips

Scout can be impressive, but if a reliable medical alerts system is a priority feature for your home security package, look elsewhere.


Summary

Scout might be a massive step toward smart home security. But the lack of tangible – and reliable – panic button devices makes it unfit for use with medical alerts, especially if you are looking for medical panic button devices that can be used by not-so-technically-savvy users.

2.0

Pros:

  • IFTTT and Samsung SmartThings integration
  • IFTTT digital panic button
  • 24/7 professional monitoring available

Cons:

  • Sub-standard implementation of medical alerts
  • Requires advanced technical skills to set up and operate
  • IFTTT reliability issues

Protect America Home Security System Review – 2019

Protect America Home Security System Review - 2019

Protect America is a Texas-based home security company that’s been in business since 1992 and gained a reputation as one of the leading U.S. home security providers. The company caters to hundreds of thousands of households in the U.S. and Canada. Currently, BBB rates Protect America a modest C- due to numerous customer complaints, however.


Quality and Warranty

With Protect America, you can choose how your system connects to emergency operators – via 4G cellular network, landline or broadband. You install your equipment yourself with the customer service phone assistance.

The provider replaces or repairs its equipment, when necessary, but you don’t own your security set – you have to return it when you cancel your subscription.

That said, Protect America’s equipment has a lifetime warranty – as long as you continue service with the company, you are well-covered against malfunctions.

The company offers up to $1400 in free equipment, but fire and smoke detectors are not included.Finally, the warranty covers all damaged or defective equipment. But it only covers damage caused by intruders, not the abuse from the customer.


Features

​Protect America uses Simon control panels and proprietary sensors and cameras compatible with a variety of Z-Wave devices by other manufacturers.

You can choose from two types of control panels – Simon XT Pushbutton and Simon XTi Touchscreen, which can monitor up to 40 devices for security, environmental safety, and automation. On top of that, the company offers a miniature secondary control panel and a remote alarm control with a panic button.

The roster of sensors includes your typical door/window entry sensors, motion detectors, garage door and glass break sensors, smoke and heat, carbon monoxide sensors, and water leak and flood sensors.

As far as cameras and home automation options are concerned, they include indoor wireless cameras, keypad door locks, wireless light control, and Z-Wave appliance modules you can use on an

IFTTT (If This Then That) basis by creating rules that trigger events. This way, you can control your heat, air conditioning, lighting, window blinds and other Z-Wave and X10 connected devices through your Smart Connect mobile app or control panel.

Since Z-Wave and the X10 standard are widespread, you shouldn’t have difficulty finding compatible devices. For example, you can set your living room lights to turn on when the front door is unlocked, or turn on all the lights in the house to alert people with hearing impairment to alarms.

SMART Connect mobile app (Android, iOS) lets you arm/disarm your alarm system, view live video, adjust lighting, control door locks, and more. Text and email notifications warn you of suspicious activities when entry sensors, smoke detectors, and other equipment is triggered.

Note: it’s easier to control your system with a Simon XTi touchscreen, but the caveat is Simon XTi is only available in a Silver package and up at an additional one-time cost of $99. So the equipment is not entirely free after all.

Protect America security camera features 24/7 live feed in HD (to keep an eye on your babysitter), 60-degree field of view, night vision using infrared LEDs, and two-way audio.

Automotive GPS security is one of the unique features of Protect America. For $9.99/mo, you get a small gizmo that tracks your car’s GPS location if it’s stolen.

Protect America offers landline connectivity at $19.99/mo. Not all rural areas have a perfect cellular connection, so analog methods might work best for customers living there.

Last but not least, the company works with renters. If you move, you can relocate the equipment with you.


Price​

Protect America has three plans:

  • Copper costs $19.99/mo and is landline-only. The smartphone app is not included.
  • Silver for $37.99/mo includes ten sensors and one motion detector. If you choose Silver, you can buy the touchscreen version of the control panel for a one-time $99 payment.
  • Platinum is priced at $42.99/mo and features 15 sensors and one motion detector.​

Each plan includes a yard sign and window stickers. Also, you should be able to substitute a few entry sensors with some other security device – inquire with your sales agent. The security equipment fee is $99 for the basic setup.

As with any security company, you are well-advised to read the fine print when signing your contract:

  • Three years is the length of all first-time security contracts with Protect America.
  • Cancellation policy – you must notify the company in writing 60 days before the contract expires.Auto-renewal – if you fail to notify the company as described above, your three-year contract auto-renews.
  • Month-to-month service is available to customers who give adequate notice they do not wish to renew their three-year contract.
  • 15 days – you can cancel your contract during the first 15 days of shipment date if you are not happy with the product. In this case, you will be charged $19.95 activation fee, the first month of security monitoring, and all the shipping expenses associated with delivering the equipment to you and back to the company. Note: you must return the equipment within those 15 days of the date your shipment arrived.
  • Fire monitoring adds extra $10 to your monthly bill, which is unlike many other companies that include fire monitoring in their baseline prices. Video monitoring also costs an additional $10/mo.
  • Cancellation fees – if you choose to cancel the service well before your contract expires, you must pay the remaining balance and the cost of the equipment.

Support

Protect America handles emergency calls 24/7 through three monitoring centers for redundancy. If one station can’t connect to your system for some reason, the other two stations receive the same information and handle your situation.

Regular and tech support are available from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekends.

A C- rating from BBB is bad news, however. Most complaints revolve around the same thing – Protect America sales agents do not inform customers they are signing a three-year contract. Instead, customers are told they are on a month-to-month service with an opt-out option available any time. Also, customers keep getting billed after they’ve canceled.

The reports of billing-related issues are numerous, too. For instance, the company claims it doesn’t bill customers in cases when the equipment does not work, while in reality consumers report being charged.

The cancellation procedure is mind-numbing and tedious. If you should fail to follow its requirements, you are in for auto-renewal.


Installation

The DIY equipment setup is easy — you plug the camera into the power supply and install it through the mobile app. The sensors’ installation is equally straightforward. But if you worry you might mess up, you can rely on professional assistance over the phone, video instructions, FAQs, and an extensive knowledge base.

Before shipment, each unit is programmed for your unique needs, so that you can get set up quickly. No hammering or drilling is involved – each item is either freestanding or comes with removable adhesive.


Things to Consider

  • You are responsible for regularly checking your equipment. Some user reviews on BBB and Yelp allege that the company fails to warn users their equipment may be malfunctioning or out-of-date.
  • Long-term – if you’re looking for month-to-month service, look elsewhere. Protect America has a hefty cancellation fee if you bail early.
  • Incident procedure – when an event is triggered, the system responds by contacting you or anyone on your emergency contacts list first. Then it reaches the appropriate first responders.
  • You must buy a Silver plan if you want the touchscreen control panel, or home automation and video features.
  • Protect America does a credit check (but most security companies do these days).

Important Tips

  • If your power goes off, your control panel will run off of a battery.
  • You can take it with you if you relocate — ideal for renters.When you relocate your system, you can get a free moving kit from Protect America to help you with disassembling and mounting your system in your new home.
  • The system is more or less pet-friendly – its sensors shouldn't detect animals up to 40 pounds. If your little bud is over 40 pounds, consider glass-break sensors instead of motion detectors.
  • If you want to cancel, remove extra features before canceling. That way, your cancellation fee won’t include the cost of extra features.
  • You can transfer ownership of your contract and equipment to a qualified person.

Summary

Protect America‘s DIY no-fees installation and activation paired with reasonably priced monitoring plans make it a feasible solution if you are looking for a long-term contract with moderate upfront costs. It’s also flexible when it comes to connectivity, as you can choose phone line, broadband cable line, or cellular service.

Not all hardware is free, though, and there are no outdoor cameras on offer. But the biggest gripe here is the long-term contract and constraining cancellation terms that can make you think twice before even trying the system.

3.8

Pros:

  • Wallet-friendly upfront costs
  • Lifetime equipment warranty
  • Easy to install and configure
  • Loud siren24/7 monitoring
  • Responsive sensors
  • Wireless equipment
  • Cell, landline or WiFi monitoring
  • Indoor video cameras
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Home automation
  • Mobile appGPS vehicle tracking

Cons:

  • Three-year contract
  • Requires Silver subscription and up to use interactive features
  • Expensive accessories
  • Cellular monitoring costs more than landline
  • No outdoor video cameras
  • Customers do not own equipment
  • Appalling cancellation terms


Frontpoint Home Security System Review – 2019

Frontpoint Home Security System Review - 2019

Frontpoint Security Solutions is a Virginia-based company founded in 2007. The company boasts an A+ rating with BBB and an overall positive reputation. Its customers reviews on both BBB and Yelp, however, suggest the service is not without its flaws. Frontpoint’s major strengths include DIY installation, an entirely wireless system, professional monitoring service, and customizable plans paired with responsive customer service. Its high-end plans also include nifty home automation and video surveillance options. However, its plans are quite pricey, and the lock-in contracts hide draconian cancellation fees. You are well-advised to read the fine print.


Quality and Warranty

Unlike many other home security systems, Frontpoint relies on General Electric for its hardware. This allows a degree of flexibility when it comes to spare parts. The equipment is compact, ergonomic and portable, and can be installed and moved quite easily. Some sensors are standing while others have an adhesive strip.

Frontpoint bundles a three-year warranty, so if a sensor stops working they should replace it. On a side note, many reviews suggest a failing battery in a control panel is not covered.


Features

Cellular – Frontpoint’s system is cellular. Instead of relying on WiFi or landline for connectivity, its cellular system can’t be disabled if burglars cut wires.

Note: the camera and the doorbell equipment do need a WiFi connection to transmit your feed. Also, if you live in a rural area with a weak cellular signal, Frontpoint may not be the best home security system for you.

Self-diagnostics – the system runs self-diagnostics several times a day, and sends you notifications should some component fail.

Note: wireless systems have their weak points, too. Namely, they may experience glitches and connectivity issues more often than wired systems.

Customizable – Frontpoint offers advanced customization options when it comes to equipment. It offers two types of control panels – standard and wireless. Top that off with a mobile app, a keychain remote, a panic pendant, a smart lock, wireless indoor and outdoor cameras, a video doorbell, and a laundry list of sensors. You can choose from door and window sensors to glass break, recessed door, water flood, smoke and heat, carbon monoxide, garage door, light sensors, and whatnot.

Depending on your plan, you can optimize your house power consumption through smart home automation sensors, or monitor your video feed from your mobile device remotely.

Crash and Smash Protection – is a nifty feature of Frontpoint’s touchscreen control panel. If anintruder breaks it, the panel sends an automatic alert to Rapid Response.


Price​

The total price is comprised of two parts – the cost of your equipment and the monthly cost of Frontpoint monitoring services based on the type of your contract.

Picking equipment with Frontpoint is a geek’s dream, but if you need advice, you can rely on customer service for guidance.

When it comes to contracts and monthly pricing, Frontpoint is constraining, alas. You get to choose between a one-year contract and a three-year plan:

  • The Basic Protection Plan kicks in at $34.99/mo plus tax and includes 24/7 monitoring, fire protection, life safety, and environmental protection.
  • The Interactive Plan, which features a nifty mobile app you can use to arm/disarm your system remotely, will set you off $44.99/mo plus tax. You will receive email alerts, and text and push notifications. The plan also covers geolocation services and includes Crash and Smash Protection alongside sensor history.
  • The Ultimate Plan is priced at $49.99/mo plus tax, and bundles all the features of the Interactive plus live video streaming, and video and image history. Automated door locks, motion-activated alerts and video recording, energy management, thermostat control and other home automation options (i.e., light, climate) are also included.

The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which may not be enough in some cases. For instance, many reviewers mention identical issues with the magnets in sensors and batteries in control panels – problems that are unlikely to manifest themselves during the first trial month.


Support

Frontpoint customer service office is based in Virginia. English and Spanish-speaking representatives are available 8:00 am – 11:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekends. When it comes to troubleshooting, the team is helpful and professional.

When you talk to their sales representative, however, make sure you ask all about the contract length, possible extra expenses associated with equipment upgrades, and the cancellation fees. Many reviewers mentioned Frontpoint agents failed to specify these details.


Installation

A technician pre-programs the equipment before shipment, so you can handle your installation all by yourself. If you have a small house, you could make it in under an hour, but if you have a vast area to cover, you may need to spend more time sorting out the sensors placement and connectivity. Each set ships with detailed setup manuals, while the company website provides helpful videos.

Frontpoint partners with Rapid Response Monitoring Services to provide 24/7 emergency dispatching, so security monitoring is around the clock and professional.


Things to Consider

  • You need a personalized quote from the company. To offer you a personalized deal, Frontpoint is going to run a credit check on you. Some customers report the company makes a hard inquiry.
  • It’s cellular-only, which makes it a no-go for people in rural areas with less than stellar coverage.
  • Frontpoint only offers one- and three-year contracts with 85% cancellation fee you would have to pay for the unused months. The clause is covered in the contract’s fine print, which is a must-read.

Important Tips

  • The Skybell HD video doorbell requires a strong WiFi signal outside your door. Ensure your home WiFi signal is strong enough for the video doorbell to work.
  • Before signing up for a long-term plan, consider if you might need to move in the next three years. On the one hand, you can take your security system with you, which is the level of flexibility you won’t find with other providers. On the other, some high rise complexes, for instance, have a community security and fire system and disallow outside systems.
  • Frontpoint warranty doesn’t seem to cover replacement batteries for control panels. Inquire about replacing dead batteries with your sales representative.

Summary

Frontpoint is easy to install and offers an excellent selection of accessories. Its cellular-based system and 24/7 security monitoring are worth an investment, but the high-end price and the binding nature of its contracts might be off-putting to some.

4.2

Pros:

  • Wide selection of sensors and cameras
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Cellular alerts
  • Indoor/outdoor cameras in high-end plans
  • Environmental disaster protection and home automation
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • One- and three-year contracts only
  • Draconian cancellation fees
  • Credit check
  • No landline option
  • Customer service does not specify the length of contracts or the cancellation fees
  • A top-tier plan is required for live and recorded video

Vivint Smart Home Security System Review – 2019

Vivint Smart Home Security System Review - 2019

Vivint Smart Home is a veteran on the home security arena. Founded back in 1997, the company has evolved into one of the leading home security providers with over a million customers in the U.S. and Canada. In 2017, the brand made it to the Fast Company’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. Its home security and automation service is a well-rounded pack backed by professional installation and a broad selection of sensors, cameras, web and mobile apps, and a 7-inch touch-screen control panel in subscription-based and contract-less options.


Quality and Warranty

Vivint offers a 120-day warranty on proprietary equipment, such as smoke and motion detectors, and outdoor and doorbell cameras. Its software is compatible with non-Vivint hardware (Nest, Amazon Echo), so if you run those, you need to check with Nest or Amazon for warranty terms.

Vivint proprietary equipment looks sleek, noticeably smaller and more hi-tech than that of its competitors. Its doorbell camera, for instance, does look like an average doorbell without giving away that it’s a camera-powered device.

Its security system mostly relies on cellular connectivity to work and receive updates OTA. It means intruders can’t disable your security system by cutting wires, and your equipment can receive updates without requiring your attention.

Note: cellular-dependent systems may experience performance issues if the signal is weak. Also, customer reviews suggest some equipment starts to act out within weeks after installation.


Features

SkyControl is a 7-inch full-color touchscreen display, which is your security system’s nerve center. Here, you can lock and unlock doors, view live and recorded video, adjust heating and lights, and activate emergency services that alert your local police department directly. The panel also lets you assign user codes, run system diagnostics, and adjust alarm volume.

Connectivity – the cameras communicate with the panel using Wi-Fi, sensors and smoke alarm rely on RF, door locks – on Z-Wave.

Mobile and web UI – besides the control panel, you can control your system and view streams via your mobile app and web portal.

Doorbell camera lets you speak with your visitors even if you are not at home. It pairs with your mobile app and provides video and audio streaming with a two-way voice connection.

Customizable remote can arm/disarm the system and has a panic button. You can customize its functions to lock doors, adjust lights and thermostats, and more.

Indoor and outdoor video cameras offer live streams and can save your footage in the cloud.

Voice-activated home automation through Amazon Echo uses voice and biometric recognition, responds to commands to adjust ambient temperature, locks, lights, and more.

Vivint Smart Drive provides 30 days of non-stop video storage for up to four cameras.


Price​

Vivint is pricey, and it offers no money-back guarantee – you only have three days after the installation to change your mind. The installation fee is $49.99.

  • No lock-in contract option – you can buy your equipment upfront and then pay for monitoring services on a month-to-month basis. This way, you can cancel any time without penalties.
  • FlexPay – if you can’t afford to pay for the entirety of the equipment in a single swoop, you can pay in monthly installments. But you have to sign a 42–60 months contract. In which case, the cancellation fee is 100% of the remaining contract balance.
  • Plans – Smart Home is $39.99/mo (24/7 monitoring, mobile app, alert notifications), while Smart Home Video costs $49.99/mo (door locks, doorbell cams, lights and thermostats controls and other home automation perks). Both are available in 42 or 60 months contracts, or on a monthly basis if you pay for your equipment upfront.

Aa full pack of equipment can amount to $2,000 and beyond. Notably, the 3.5-year plan has higher monthly equipment bill than the 5-year contract. Also, you need to have a credit score of at least 600 to qualify for financing, and contract details vary based on your score.

Note: if you buy the equipment upfront, you can choose to monitor the system by yourself (mobile app and 24/7 tech support excluded).

Its pricing is higher than average, though, and BBB scores Vivint C+ due to recurring legal issues and deceptive marketing practices. Vivint had to settle with the States of Wyoming, Arkansas, Oregon, Ohio, and Nebraska in the past four years – all due to deceptive sales practices and the company’s refusal to honor its customers’ cancellation notices. In 2014, Vivint also settled two federal class-action lawsuits for allegedly violating TCPA.


Support

Unfortunately, Vivint features consistently poor user reviews of its customer service, sales representatives, and tech support. 71% of reviews on BBB are negative. Customers have accused Vivint of misleading, aggressive and pushy sales tactics, lengthy queues on tech support, and inability to opt-out of a contract when its tech support fails to fix a faulty system. Billing errors and failure to update customer address when it changes are among frequently reported issues, too.


Installation

Professional technicians install Vivint’s wireless security systems. The equipment then receives OTA updates, so it requires minimum input on your part. On a side note, when things don’t go quite as smoothly as they should, you can troubleshoot issues by yourself, request live phone assistance or schedule a visit from a technician. The latter will set you off another $50.

The basic equipment package includes Vivint SkyControl panel, the mobile app, 2–4 door/window sensors, a motion sensor, a smoke detector, a key fob, and the 24/7 monitoring.

Additional equipment is available á-la carte, so you can stock up on tilt sensors, recessed door sensors, flood/freeze sensors, carbon monoxide detectors, glass break detectors, small appliance controls, doorbell cameras, smart thermostats, panic pendants, and whatnot.


Things to Consider

  • Vivint requires an excellent cellular connection. If you live in a rural area with a signal that’s less than perfect, shop around for alternatives.
  • 3.5-5-year contracts come with 100% cancellation fee.
  • Vivint is notorious for its misleading door-to-door sales process.
  • The company’s installation technicians are paid on commission, so they aim to upsell you on more equipment than you might actually need.
  • To qualify for financing, you need a minimum credit score of 600.
  • The birds chirping smoke alarm is loud, but not alarming. You can’t change it.
  • The SkyControl panel can only handle 2.4 GHz frequency.

Important Tips

  • If you are not interested in equipment ownership, you should be eligible for monitoring-only contracts.
  • You can upgrade your contract or add extra equipment at any time. But you can’t downgrade your plan. Ever.
  • The cancellation period is three days only. If you don’t plan on keeping it, decide quickly.
  • Installation technicians check cell signal strength when installing your system. If the signal is weak, consider canceling.

Summary

The Vivint Smart Home system offers professional 24/7 security monitoring and advanced automation options alongside sleek wireless equipment. Keep in mind, however, that the contracts on offer are lengthy, cancellation is not an option, and the rates are higher than average. But the most disturbing thing about Vivint is its customer reviews. You are well-advised to weigh the system’s strengths against its history of poor customer service.

3.4

Pros:

  • Portable, elegant equipment
  • Cellular connection
  • Speedy event response
  • Nifty video doorbell with two-way voice
  • Remote control for door locks, cameras, sensors, and thermostats
  • No-contract is an option
  • Robust mobile app
  • Financing available

Cons:

  • Expensive upfront cost of equipment
  • Remote access is only available in contracts
  • Alarm sounds can’t be customized
  • Lengthy contracts with 100% cancellation fee
  • Poor customer service
  • Consistently negative customer reviews

LifeShield Home Security Review – 2019

LifeShield Home Security Review - 2019

Pennsylvania-based LifeShield was founded by Louis Stilp in 2004 as InGrid. With over 20 patents in wireless location, LifeShield holds the title of inventor of wireless security systems. In 2013, the company was acquired by DirecTV, and its user ratings have plummeted. In July 2017, Hawk Capital Partners bought the company, and new leadership seems to be hard at work re-establishing the company’s reputation. Currently, BBB rates LifeShield A+, although customer reviews are predominantly negative and the company is not a BBB accredited business.

LifeShield offers alarm systems in all 50 states. Its strongest selling points are affordable plans, availability of month-to-month subscriptions, practical features alongside mobile access available with its lowest-tier package. The biggest downsides include negative customer service reputation and lack of home automation features.


Quality and Warranty

When you sign up, LifeShield provides you with a base set of equipment for free, which means your equipment is leased and will be replaced at no charge.

If you buy LifeShield equipment (some of it is available for purchase), the warranty covers it during the first 12 months. Understandably, promotional items aren’t covered by the warranty. Nor are the items damaged by you, serviced or altered in any way unauthorized by the provider. Notably, normal wear and tear are not covered by the warranty either.


Features

LifeShield features a so-called Quadruple Defense system, which is based on four modes of threat communication – Internet, cellular network, text notifications, and landline. If one fails, or the wires are cut, your system is still up and running because it always has a backup method.

Monitoring is provided 24/7 by Protection 1 through five monitoring centers throughout the U.S. Each of the monitoring centers relies on a triple redundant system that consists of a primary system, backup system, and a disaster recovery center. That way, security monitoring is live at all times.

Remote and mobile access with LifeShield is available in both of its packages, which is a stark contrast to most home security companies that corner you into a high-tier plan to get the mobile access.

The dedicated mobile app, as well as the web portal accessible through any web-enabled device, allow you to arm/disarm your system remotely, manage your video monitoring settings, change system codes, view video feed, set up and receive custom notifications and alerts. LifeShield HOTLink is a company-provided tablet that comes with both of its plans.

Fire Safety Sensor is an exclusive feature of LifeShield. It “listens” to your smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms and alerts the central monitoring station if they go off. It effectively transforms the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home into a monitored system. The fire protection feature is free, and you don’t need to replace your existing fire and CO equipment.

Video monitoring with LifeShield wireless cameras is one of its strongest selling points. The cameras are inconspicuous and easily blend into any background. You can enable video recording on specific dates and times automatically, or when a motion sensor is triggered. Custom alerts also enable you to adjust your camera settings on the go. Your security camera streaming is also available through your mobile app.


Price​

Currently, LifeShield offers two plans:

  • Security Essentials costs $20.99/mo and comes with a starter kit at $199.99 (pricing of the kit may change). Essentials include 8 items to secure your perimeter – control base, keychain remote, a keypad, two wireless sensors you can use for doors and windows, one motion sensor (pet-friendly), yard sign and window stickers, LifeShield’s Fire Safety Sensor, and the mobile app. Essentials also come with the proprietary wireless security tablet.
  • Security Advantage kicks in at $24.99/mo plus the equipment kit priced at $299.99. The plan comes with 11 items, and brings all the features of the Essentials plus video monitoring, one indoor camera, 30-days worth of video storage, four wireless sensors, and a pet-friendly motion detection sensor.

Both plans are available in contract-less form – you can cancel anytime as long as you follow the requirements listed in the provider’s Terms and Conditions and the fine print in your contract.

You will undergo a credit check to qualify for month-to-month payments. Otherwise, you should sign a 36- or 60-month contract, complete with hefty cancellation fees.

Other highlights include:

  • 30-day money-back guarantee – you can return the equipment and cancel your service within the first 30 days of your order without incurring any early cancellation fees.
  • Early cancellation fees are unsurprisingly restricting. If you should bail early, you will have to pay the entirety of your remaining contract in full. Month-to-month plans do not have an early cancellation fee.
  • Auto-renewal – unless you specify otherwise, your contract auto-renews.
  • Canceling auto-renewal – if you do not wish to auto-renew, you must notify LifeShield at least 15 days before the start of new renewal term (written notice is required).
  • If you prefer professional installation, you can get it for $99.99.​

Support

While Protection 1 handles your security monitoring 24/7, LifeShield customer and tech support’s availability varies by location. Typically, live phone customer service is available Monday-Saturday from 9 AM to 10 PM EST, and Sunday 10 AM to 9 PM EST. You can also contact their customer service via email, but there is no live chat.

There is no direct line for installation assistance if you do it yourself. You must go all the way through automated machines to get to a human, who then redirects or handles your technical inquiry.

During LifeShield’s time under DirecTV, its customer ratings were mostly negative due to poor support experience and difficulty setting up the equipment. We have yet to see if Hawk Capital Partners takes a customer-centric approach to turn tables here.


Installation

Installation is fairly simple – the equipment ships pre-programmed. It is also freestanding or comes with adhesive strips, so no drilling and wiring is involved, except for cameras, which need a power source.

Although the process is straightforward, LifeShield’s manual and mobile app do not provide nearly as detailed step-by-step instructions you will find with some other top-tier providers.

The smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detector is also easy to set up because it’s a peel-and-stick device you can mount almost anywhere. Replacing batteries is also hassle-free.


Things to Consider

  • No home automation is on offer – LifeShield does not support managing automated thermostats, locks, and lights.
  • LifeShield requires new customers to pass a credit check.
  • If you fail to cancel within the grace period, you are subject to early termination fees.
  • Although it’s always recommended to take online reviews with a grain of salt, LifeShield’s customer reviews are mostly negative, which is worrying, especially considering that many of them revolve around hardware quality. Committing to a lengthy contract could be risky under the circumstance.
  • LifeShield’s wireless equipment is not compatible with other home security systems, which is a problem if you ever want to switch providers. But since the system is wireless, you can grab it with you if you move.

Important Tips

  • Since LifeShield’s sensors are wireless, they do not require direct power. The exception is LifeShield’s camera, which has a wireless video feed and a battery backup, but still needs a direct power connection.
  • The base/keypad has a battery backup but should be plugged into an outlet.
  • The base provides backup in case the control panel is broken by the burglar, in which case it immediately alerts you and local authorities.
  • Customers based in Florida can cancel their agreement by sending a written notice to the provider within three days after they have signed the contract. You can also cancel your contract (without early termination fees) upon a doctor’s order you cannot physically receive the services.
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces and reserves called for military duty away from their residence can cancel the service by providing proof of their service.

Summary

LifeShield gets a lot right — it’s wallet-friendly, DIY, flexible, and allows mobile access in all of its plans. It could be an ideal solution for small to midsize households not looking for home automation features. But its customers’ reviews and frequent change of ownership in the past few years adds a dose of confusion and uncertainty about the quality of their hardware and support. If you qualify for a month-to-month subscription, it could be a good idea to start with that instead of a long-term contract.

3.5

Pros:

  • Mobile access
  • Broadband, cellular, and landline connection
  • Easy DIY install
  • Professional installation is optional
  • Fire and carbon monoxide protection
  • Security cameras available
  • Reasonable prices
  • Renter friendly
  • Five monitoring stations

Cons:

  • No home automation features
  • LifeShield equipment you buy has a one-year warranty
  • Limited customer service hours
  • Limited equipment selection
  • Negative customer service reputation
  • 36-60-month long contracts