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99 at Pros: Fast and knowledgeable service reps. Many components available. Support for third party devices. Solid mobile and web apps. Cons: Expensive. Requires three year contract with hefty termination penalty. Some Pulse peripherals require third party mobile apps. Bottom Line: ADT Pulse offers just about everything you could want in a full service home security system, including many component options, support for popular third party smart home devices, and a solid app experience. Read ReviewSimpliSafe Home Security System ReviewMSRP: $229. 96 at Pros: Affordable hardware, reasonable monthly monitoring fees. No contract required.

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Some systems store recorded video locally on an SD card or a solid state drive, while others offer cloud storage. Locally stored video is a good choice for do it yourselfers on a budget, but you have to be careful not to overwrite video you may need later. Cloud storage makes it easy to store and access recorded video, but it can cost hundreds of dollars per year depending on your subscription. Some systems offer both cloud storage and local storage, and some provide a dedicated storage drive that gives you DVR capabilities with time lapse recording, which makes it easy to find a video event that took place at a specific point in time. All of the systems we've tested feature an app that lets you use your smartphone as your command center to arm and disarm the system, create rules, add and delete components, and receive push notifications when alarms are triggered. Most apps also allow you to do things like view live and recorded video, lock and unlock doors, change thermostat settings, and silence alarms.