Home security systems used to be restricted to professional installations and were a luxury, but with the age of the smart home, they are becoming more accessible and far more intelligent than ever before.
It can be difficult to know which systems are reliable so choosing one for your home can be an arduous task. Well, you can take a rest because we’ve done the hard work for you. In this guide, you’ll find a round up of the best smart alarm systems available in the UK that can be self installed, along with an honest overview of the pros and cons.
What is a Smart Home Alarm System?
An alarm system is what helps you sleep peacefully at night, knowing that thieves are deterred from entering, and if they do you’ll know about it first. But, a smart alarm system takes this to the next level. By connecting to the internet, you’ll know what’s going on 24/7, even when you’re not home and can take immediate action to alert anyone if required.
There are three main types of alarm system, a smart alarm sits in the middle and provides a quality system for those who can’t (or don’t want to) have a professionally monitored system.
Alarm only: This system is made up of an alarm that is set off when there is an attempt to forcefully enter your property. The alarm is usually loud enough to be heard by neighbouring houses.
Smart home alarm: This type of system is usually integrated with an app that provides real-time notification of unusual activity.
Monitored security system: These are home security systems that are monitored 24/7 by professionals who can verify any break-ins and alert you and the emergency services.
In this guide, we’ll focus on smart home alarms, however some of the providers do offer professional monitoring for an additional fee so you can upgrade or downgrade as you like.
What’s Usually Included?
Depending on your needs and budget, manufacturers provide different starter kits for smart home security systems, and many can be extended easily in the future. Typical items found in a starter kit include:
- Cameras: This provides you with visual monitoring of the activities happening on the property in the form of videos and images. Some will have microphones but not always.
- Sensors: This is usually placed at the door and window to detect when they are open. Some can also detect when glass is smashed.
- Motion Detectors: This is placed inside the house to detect when someone is present.
- Siren: Usually attached to the outside of the home, it provides a visual deterrent and will trigger a loud noise if it detects forced entry.
- Keypad: This serves as the remote control that helps to set up the system and also arm and disarm the alarm(s).
- Range extender: Due to the wireless nature of these home security systems, some require a range extender to ensure connectivity between all the accessories regardless of the distance.
How Much Does Smart Home Security Cost?
The cost of smart home security varies largely based on the manufacturer, the kit size, and the presence or absence of subscription fees. Expect to pay around £200-300 for a trusted and reliable starter kit, if you have a larger home this could be more. For ongoing monitoring, you can pay anything between £8-15 per month for a basic package.
Best Smart Alarm Systems in the UK
Yale Family Kit – Best All-Round
What’s in the Kit?
- 1 x Smart hub
- 2 x PIR motion detector
- 1 x Keypad
- 1 x Door/window contact
- 1 x External siren
- 2 x Alarm stickers
Yale is one of the best DIY smart home security systems you can find around and is well known in the industry. You’ll likely have seen the alarms on homes as you walk around the streets. The family kit is wire-free which makes installation easy and stress-free. The Yale Home app also makes control and monitoring of your property easy, even if you’re many miles away.
As the name implies, it’s a smart home security system, so it integrates with other smart technology in your home. Whether you use Alexa or Google as your voice assistant, this setup is compatible with both. It has a 200m range which means you do not need to purchase an additional range extender. It should even reach your garage and shed for all-round protection.
If you’re looking for something for the long run, this is a great starter kit. The app is regularly updated so there is no fear of your unit being outdated soon. You can also upgrade your system by expanding your kit – it allows you to add up to 40 extra accessories while still working at its optimum, these are plug and play so you can purchase them as and when you need.
One of our favourite integrations is connecting with a Philips Hue coloured bulb which will turn on once the system is triggered. The geo-notification feature that works together with the smartwatch app reminds you to arm your alarm once you leave the house. Say goodbye to leaving your house without protection. A security system doesn’t get smarter than this.
Simplisafe (7 Piece ‘Essentials’ Kit) – Best with Monitoring
The Simplisafe security system is one of the best out there so it should come as no surprise that it is on our list. If you’re looking to get a smart alarm system, they have different kits you can pick from, depending on your need and budget. Their 7-piece kit is a good choice for a residential alarm security system consisting of a base station, entry sensor, simplicam, and keypad.
One feature you should take note of is the smash safe keypad. This means that in the event of an intruder breaking in and smashing it, the alarm system will still work perfectly. The entry sensor can be placed either at the window area or door and is designed in such a way that it can easily go unnoticed.
Installation is as easy as it gets. You do not need any form of technical knowledge to set it up and it only takes a couple of minutes. For an additional subscription fee, you can access 24/7 monitoring feature which is a great option to have. The system works nicely with Alexa and Google Home, as well as other welcome integrations such as Nest.
Unfortunately, a number of the key features are only available if you opt for the monitoring, this includes alerts to your phone whilst out of the house. Whilst this is one of the best smart alarm systems currently on the market, we would only recommend this kit if you plan to pay the monthly fee.
Ring (7 Piece Kit) – Seamless Integration with Alexa
Ring first gained their reputation through their video doorbells, but are fast becoming a leader in home security as a whole. The alarm system works nicely with the doorbells and they are constantly innovating with new ideas, such as the indoor drone cam announced in 2020.
With the Ring app that comes completely free of charge, you can monitor your smart alarm system and other ring products right on your cell phone. Real-time monitoring of the system is not the only smart thing you can do. This alarm system also works with certain Alexa enabled devices. Get ready to arm and disarm your alarm with ease.
The 7-piece Ring alarm home security kit contains a base station, contact sensors, motion detectors, keypad, and range extender. The range extender ensures that the signal from your base station extends to all other components of the alarm system.
If you are interested in additional features like monitoring and 4G cellular back up, you have the option of paying an affordable monthly fee. The setup is straightforward and quite easy to do without any technical skill. This is one kit you should be on the lookout for when you want to make your purchase.
What’s in the Kit?
- 1 x Battery Siren
- 1 x Wireless Keypad
- 2 x Contactless Tags
- 2 x Door/Window Contacts
- 2 x PIR Sensors
You most likely want an alarm system that is both easy to install and easy to use, enter the Honeywell home alarm kit. This is truly a DIY alarm system that needs no form of technical knowledge to set up. Also, every member of your family will have no issue operating it as it is designed to provide a great user experience.
Two features that stand out on the keypad that comes with this system are the preventative prompts and at home zoning mode. This means that you can arm some parts of your house while disarming other parts. This is especially important if you plan to keep your alarm armed for most of the day.
The battery of the system can last for as long as two years and even towards the end of the battery life, all accessories connected to the system will give notifications for a change of battery.
With this system, there are almost no limits for expansion as you can add up to 44 accessories to this system and still expect high functionality. The only downside is that we couldn’t find any way to add a camera to this system as we could with others.
What’s in the Kit?
- 1 x Link
- 1 x Indoor siren
- 1 x Motion detector
- 3 x IntelliTag
- 2 x Key fob badge
Why pay heavily for a high-end security system when you can get all its feature for half the price? Somfy Home alarm system is a great choice when it comes to getting the most value for your money.
The intellitags are a nice addition, these attach to your doors or windows and can detect any vibrations that may occur from smashed windows or forced entry.
The integrated app makes light work of monitoring your home and with the geo location features, it reminds you to activate the alarm when you’re not home. Somfy works nicely with Alexa and thanks to a pet-friendly sensor you’ll get less false alarms.
The kit we’ve recommended only includes an indoor siren which can still be heard by neighbours and is loud enough to scare off intruders. However, as your security needs increase, you can expand your system with additional cameras, sensors and add an external siren which can also be a good deterrent.
What’s in the Kit?
- 1 x Alarm hub
- 1 x PIR
- 1 x Magnetic contact
- 2 x Remote controls
The ERA smart alarm system is modular which makes it ideal for bigger homes, allowing you to keep adding devices to expand. Plus, it supports multiple locations if you have another address or business you want to monitor.
This alarm has one of the most secure alert systems as you can set up phone numbers to call when it detects unusual activity and it has the ability to add a SIM card for back up if your WiFi goes down which we’ve not seen on the others.
The app is well designed to have a simple user interface and you can add or remove users with ease, perfect if you want to give someone else access to your home. You can also make use of voice assistants as the system supports both Alexa and Google assistant.
The motion sensor is pet friendly, making it suitable for pets weighing less than 25kg which drastically reduces the chances of a false alarm.
The alarm system can be part-armed which enables you to arm only some certain areas of the house. You can arm the living area while disarming the bedroom, leaving you to sleep soundly knowing you are safe. The installation instructions are easy to follow and you can do it yourself.
Smart Alarm System Buyer’s Guide
With so many options for smart alarm systems in the market today, it can get overwhelming to choose between them, especially when you’re not sure what to be on the lookout for. This section will give you some key points to consider to help with your purchase:
Is it reliable?
When it comes to buying a smart alarm system, reliability is top of the priority list. You need to be sure that you are putting the protection of your home in safe hands. It is always advised that you go for products and manufacturers that have been tried and tested. You should also read reviews of previous or current users just to have an idea. Look out for features like battery life, internet connection, cellular connection, real-time monitoring and see how they are best suited to meet your needs.
Is an on-going subscription required?
Whilst all of the systems shared here can function without a subscription, others require an ongoing monthly fee so keep an eye out for this. The Simplisafe and Ring systems, along with others you’ll find in the market, offer assisted monitoring for an additional monthly fee which can add extra piece of mind.
Can I install it myself?
We put this list together with one key thing in mind – the ability to install it yourself with little technical know how. If you choose to purchase an alternative alarm, keep in mind that some require professional installation which usually incurs additional charges. Before making a purchase, be sure to confirm that the security system you’re buying is one that is designed to be installed with ease.
Voice assistant compatibility
If you have a smart speaker and have made Google Home or Alexa a key part of your daily life, then look out for the smart alarm systems that integrate with them.
Is It Future Proof?
If you’re looking to build your security system gradually, purchasing a starter kit at first is a good idea but be sure it is expandable. This means that it can accommodate additional accessories and will work fine. The best ones have plug-and-play capability, meaning you just connect them to your WiFi, add them in your app and it’s good to go.
Will My Pet Trigger the Alarm?
If you have a pet, depending on the weight of the pet, there are motion detectors that are designed to be pet friendly so they are not falsely triggered by their movements.
That’s all of the insight we have to share, we wish you luck finding the right alarm system and hope you found this useful.
Featured image credit: Simplisafe