Modern home security products have made it easier than ever for you to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property. By leveraging your home’s wireless network, they allow you to set up devices without running cables all over your house. Using your broadband connection, they let you easily connect to, view, and manage your system from anywhere. You can use your smart home assistant—be it Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri—to receive alerts and control your devices. In many cases, the events that your system tracks, along with those that your neighbors’ systems track, can identify issues in your community. Your internet-connected security system can even communicate with a professional monitoring center that can summon help for you, like any old-school security system.
In our latest PCMag Readers’ Choice Award survey, we asked you to rate the various home security products that you own: security systems that use various sensors throughout your home, security cameras for inside and outside your home, video doorbells that alert you to people approaching and package delivery, and smart locks to control who warrants entry. Any one of these products can immediately help you better understand what’s going on in and around your home. Use them all and you’ll feel super-safe.
Monitored Security Systems 2022
DIY home security systems exemplify the changing times. 75% of respondents whose security system was four years old or more said that their system was professionally installed, compared with fewer than one-third (31%) for newer systems. Over 90% of the respondents who have a Ring or SimpliSafe security system—the two most popular among our respondents—installed their systems without a pro.
The two top-performing companies are almost unprecedentedly evenly matched. We give the Readers’ Choice Award to SimpliSafe, which has won it now every year since we added this category in 2018 because it has more top satisfaction ratings. But both companies have good marks across the board and, in fact, tie on the two most important ratings: overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.
SimpliSafe and Ring (the latter Amazon owns) both earn overall satisfaction ratings of 8.8 on our scale from 0 (extremely dissatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied). The overall satisfaction rating is not an average of other satisfaction ratings. Instead, we base it on the respondents’ direct answer to the question, “Overall, how satisfied are you with your security system?” SimpliSafe’s overall satisfaction rating is up slightly from last year’s 8.7, while Ring improved from 8.6.
The two companies also received identical marks of 9.1 this year for likelihood to recommend, a key measure of satisfaction. Again, this is a small improvement for SimpliSafe over its 9.0 last year, and a slightly bigger bump up for Ring from its 2021 rating of 8.9 on this measure. The companies also tie on satisfaction with ease of use (9.3) and satisfaction with window and door sensors (9.1).
SimpliSafe edges out Ring on several other measures. The biggest gaps are in satisfaction with customer service (9.1 to 8.6) and with technical support (also 9.1 to 8.6). Interestingly, while SimpliSafe rates better for system cost (9.0 to 8.6), it receives its lowest score on satisfaction with the cost of a monitoring subscription, where it only gets an 8.3 to Ring’s 8.9. It’s not a requirement that your system is professionally monitored, but 90% of SimpliSafe respondents and 79% of Ring respondents do it.
It’s clear from the responses that consumers have two excellent choices for whole-home protection. While we give the edge to SimpliSafe, Ring stacks up very well against it. We look forward to seeing how the two companies try to improve against their competition in the coming year.
For our top-rated reviews, read The Best Smart Home Security Systems for 2022, then check out No More Monthly Fees: How to Build Your Own Home Security System.
Home Surveillance Cameras 2022
SimpliSafe is perhaps better known for its whole home security systems, but the company has been making security cameras for years. The cameras require a SimpliSafe base station and keypad, so they may not be the right choice if you have another security system or simply just want cameras. But the company’s top satisfaction ratings for its cameras may have you reconsidering.
SimpliSafe cameras earn the highest ratings in our survey for overall satisfaction (8.5) and likelihood to recommend (8.8). In addition, the company comes out on top in satisfaction with ease of use (9.1), set up (9.0), mobile control (9.1), and reliability (8.8).
If you’re looking for a home security camera that’s not necessarily part of a security system, you have options. Ring again finishes just behind SimpliSafe in overall satisfaction (8.4) and it has the highest satisfaction ratings among the competition for smart speaker integration (8.5), not surprising since the company is part of Amazon. Ring also comes out on top in satisfaction with motion detection (8.5), technical support (8.0), and customer service (7.9); it ties SimpliSafe for the best rating in satisfaction with reliability (8.8).
If cost is a major consideration, consider Wyze, which offers individual cameras as low as $20 and inexpensive monitoring options. The company receives the best satisfaction ratings in our survey for system cost (9.3) and monitoring cost (8.5). Wyze’s likelihood to recommend rating of 8.7 is second only to SimpliSafe.
For our top-rated reviews, read The Best Indoor Security Cameras for 2022 and The Best Outdoor Home Security Cameras for 2022.
Video Doorbells 2022
It’s been nearly a decade since Google acquired Nest Labs, which made its mark on the world with its innovative smart thermostat. Since then, the Google Nest brand has expanded to a full line of smart home products. The company’s video doorbell has been our PCMag Readers’ Choice each year since 2020, the first year we added the category.
Google Nest’s main competition comes from, no surprise, Amazon’s Ring, as the two tech titans battle for control of your smart home. Ring doorbells are far more popular with our readers, with over six times as many people using Ring over Nest. However, our survey measures satisfaction, not popularity. Regarding pleasing its customers, Google Nest receives an overall satisfaction rating of 8.5. Compare that with Ring’s 8.1.
Last year, the two companies had identical overall satisfaction ratings (8.2). This year, they tie on a different key measure: likelihood to recommend (8.3). This is interesting considering the disparity in their overall satisfaction ratings.
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Google Nest and Ring tie again on setup (8.5). 28% of Google Nest users say their doorbell was professionally installed, whereas Ring users seem to prefer being DIYers, with only 11% professionally installed. Ring does come out slightly ahead in satisfaction with system cost (8.1 to 8.0), which considers both the cost of the doorbell and the cost of installation, if any.
The two companies had the same satisfaction with two-way communications, both rating 8.2. This is the feature that allows you to talk to the person at your door through your smart speaker or phone. However, Google Nest comes out ahead on several other measures including mobile control (8.7 to 8.5), motion detection (8.6 to 8.3), night vision (8.5 to 8.3), and live view (8.9 to 8.6), the ability to see your doorbell’s live video feed on your smart display or phone.
For our top-rated reviews, read The Best Video Doorbells for 2022.
Smart Locks 2022
Smart locks put an automatic sentry at your door, letting you control who can come in and when. In addition to being practical for homeowners, the devices are especially useful for Airbnb, Vrbo, and other short-term rentals. They can allow for keyless entry using codes, smartwatches, and even voice control.
According to our survey respondents, Schlage provides the best satisfaction ratings and it once again earns a Readers’ Choice Award after having won the award for the first time last year.
Schlage’s only competition in our results comes from Kwikset, another well-known name in locks. On every satisfaction measure in which the two companies receive at least the requisite minimum of responses to be included, Schlage receives the higher rating, including overall satisfaction (8.5 to 8.3) and likelihood to recommend (8.2. to 8.0). While Kwikset customers aren’t quite as satisfied as those of Schlage, the company’s ratings are up from 2021, which we hope is only the beginning of a period of improvement.
For our top-rated reviews, read The Best Smart Locks for 2022.
The PCMag Readers’ Choice survey for Home Security was in the field from July 18 to August 8, 2022. For more information on how we conduct surveys, read the survey methodology.
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