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What equipment should you get?Begin with a starter kit that covers your basic DIY home security needs such as the number of motion detectors and entry sensors for your home's size. From there, you can choose other devices to enhance the surveillance around your home. Most of the systems we tested sell add ons to boost your security beyond the basics. The most useful add ons are third party smart home devices. Scout Alarm, abode, SimpliSafe, SwannOne, Wink and Iris by Lowe's can all integrate with Nest, which means you can set up your home security system to work with other Nest products such as a security camera. Half of the systems we tested can also use If This Then That IFTTT, a free internet based automation service that helps DIY security systems and third party smart home devices work together. Of course IFTTT goes beyond smart home tasks, but we're unsure if linking your security system to financial services and restaurants has any material benefits at this time. Very few systems offer smoke detectors as an add on, and in the case of home8alarm, it uses a fireman device to send alerts when your smoke detectors go off. Most DIY security systems in our tests sell security cameras that record video if it detects motion, which can be used to help with police reports or insurance claims. Although most home security systems include alarms or sirens in their hubs, you can buy separate sirens to place closer to entry points for maximum effect, which can deter intruders and alert your family of a break in. If you buy smart plugs and smart lights for your home security systems, they can work together to deter intruders – when your system detects an intruder, it can turn your home's lights on.

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There are steep early termination fees, but if you go with Nest Secure, there is an alternative month to month plan. Protect America delivers the home security system equipment to your door and allows you to handle the installation and setup yourself. The company says that setup should take less than an hour. A key offering is SMART Connect, a free home security smartphone app developed by Protect America that allows remote control from anywhere, and is available for both Android and iOS. Furthermore, the company offers a landline option along with cellular and broadband, which can be a great backup when needed. On the other hand, the least expensive Protect America plans actually do require a landline, which some customers may find annoying.