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”How we tested DIY home automated systems For each new DIY security system, we test in two areas: user experience and ease of installation. These help build a picture of a system's effectiveness and how it affects you. For user experience tests, we see what each system and its companion smartphone app can do. In our experience, the best DIY home security systems have many ways to arm and disarm so you don't always need your smartphone. They also let you use a keypad or key fob to accomplish the same goal. We look at activity feeds and the organization of the mobile app to see what information an app gives you when an alarm goes off and if the alert gives you instant info. The top performers in this test were abode and Scout Alarm, with Nest Secure and SimpliSafe tying for third place. During installation tests, we make sure the manual or mobile app can get you through the setup process without contacting the company. We also look at whether the equipment in each system's starter kit requires additional tools such as screwdrivers and batteries. Finally, we time how long it takes to set up each component. We found Scout Alarm, SimpliSafe and abode easier to set up than most other DIY security systems.

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The potential drawback of wireless is its reliability. Just like Wi Fi routers or cellphones, wireless security systems are subject to various types of interference, that can cause your sensor to fail to respond or to respond unpredictably for example, triggering a false alarm. Electromagnetic interference can come from many other devices, including baby monitors, remote controls, power lines, microwave ovens, and fluorescent lighting. Structural interference comes from walls, floors, ceilings, or things like metal filing cabinets. However, these issues are rare. To help counter potential issues, each wireless sensor contains its own battery, which works great, especially in a power outage. Just make sure you stay on top of changing out your batteries so you know they’re always operating at peak performance. Additionally, wireless security systems are quite safe—to learn more, visit our blog post on wireless home security systems. If your home has been prewired for a security system, a hardwired option may be a better choice since the system will be easy to install. If you already know which provider installed the equipment, activating your system is simple—all that’s required is a phone call and maybe a tech visit to update the control panel. If you’d rather go with a different provider, installing and updating the system ought to be as straightforward as programming a new number into the control panel.