A home security system can bring peace of mind and protect you and your loved ones whether at home or not. With all of the choices available on the market today, from simple burglar alarms to advanced smart home integrated technology, choosing the best home security system for your needs can be a challenge.
Property security is essential in the UK and a home security system can greatly bolster security in conjunction with high-quality locks and other home security features. According to the Office for National Statistics, an estimated 58% of burglaries take place while someone is at home and those aged 16-24 tend to be the highest victim demographic of burglaries, at around 4.6% of households targeted. Nevertheless, burglaries can and do occur to individuals of all demographics and home security can play an active role in deterring attempts in the first place.
This guide will provide you with a general overview of the different types of home security systems available today in the UK, the benefits they provide, as well as how to install a home security system on your property.
Top five reasons to invest in a home security system
Why should you consider installing a home security system? Here are the top five reasons:
- Burglary deterrence: a home security system can act as a deterrent to burglars. Most burglars in the UK are opportunistic and may decide not to attempt to break into a home if they suspect that the homeowner has a security system in place;
- Protect yourself and your family: some burglars may resort to violence if they gain access to your property. A home security system can actively keep you and your family safe and secure;
- Protect your valuables: burglars often break into a property to steal valuables such as laptops, mobile phones, jewellery, or anything of real or perceived value. Home security systems can safeguard your valuable belongings;
- Increase home value: prospective homebuyers may be more willing to invest in a property with added security features such as British Standards approved locks, sturdy and secure doors and windows, and other home security features;
- Lower insurance premiums: home insurance premiums may go down if your home is secured with a dependable security system. Moreover, maintaining responsible security such as installing British Standards approved locks can keep you in full compliance with your insurer if your home is ever targeted by a burglar and you need to lodge a claim.
Shopping for a home security system? What to consider
If you’re shopping for a home security system, the choice can feel overwhelming. Modern home security systems come with a wide range of features suitable for different needs and preferences and for different types of property.
The first and most important way of securing your home is with sturdy and robust door locks. Read more about the best locks for your home or business and consult with a qualified residential locksmith for high-quality door locks and more.
Aside from locks, consider the following factors for a home security system:
- Home size and layout: small homes may have very different security needs than large estates, for example. Consider the size and layout of your home, including dark areas where burglars may hide, alternative access points such as garages or windows, side or rear entrances, etc.;
- Budget: simple burglar alarms may cost £100 or less, whereas complex, state-of-the-art smart integrated home security systems may cost £1,000 or more. Adjust your budget according to your needs;
- Wired or wireless: modern burglar alarms and home security systems tend to use wireless technology, but some homeowners may prefer wired systems. Wireless systems may require a dedicated SIM card or a stable internet connection (Wi-Fi) as well as batteries; wired systems are connected to your main power supply and tend to be cheaper to purchase and install;
- Monitoring: home security systems often have the ability to directly contact police and/or security professionals via monitored contract when set off. Most home security systems with monitoring (aka dialler alarms) either come with GSM (i.e. SIM card) monitoring or phone socket connectivity;
- Smart home integration: more and more home security systems now come with home automation integration or ‘smart home’ integration such as interconnectivity with phone or tablet apps, which can be used to automate lights, lock/unlock doors, and record peephole footage of anyone at the front door, for example.
Home security systems at a glance
There are many different types of home security system available in the UK today that simply didn’t exist in previous decades or were prohibitively expensive for the average homeowner. Fortunately, technological advancement and innovation have driven down costs on burglar alarms, CCTV & alarm systems, and smart home technologies to the point that it is practical and affordable for homeowners to invest in the peace of mind these technologies bring.
The main home security systems today are:
- Burglar alarm systems: the most typical type of home security system is a burglar alarm. Burglar alarms may have audible alarms (i.e. ringing, beeping) or they may be silent, either alerting the homeowner via app or directly contacting authorities if set off;
- CCTV cameras: while common in urban environments for police, CCTV cameras are sometimes practical for homes such as large estates, tenement blocks, university accommodations, and more. CCTV cameras may be motion-activated, some come with night vision, and most can be streamed or recorded on a dedicated hard drive or SD card, for example;
- Monitored alarms (dialler alarms): many modern home security systems function as monitored alarms which can alert the homeowner and/or police in the event that the alarm is set off. Many alarm manufacturers offer contract monitoring, e.g. ADT, Honeywell that provide 24/7 monitoring on a contractual pay-per-month basis;
- Smart home systems: Internet of Things (IoT) and integration are making leaps and bounds in home security, with many home security systems now offering smart home integration and features. These include webcam doorbells such as Google Nest as well as app-based control over alarms, locks, lights, smoke detectors, CCTV cameras, ambient temperature, and much more. Essentially, modern smart home security systems blur the lines between home automation and traditional burglar alarms into a seamless, user-friendly experience;
- Environmental alarms: carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors are typical home technologies that can save lives, but these types of environmental alarms are beyond the scope of this guide. Suffice to say that your home should have a smoke detector and the battery should be checked frequently; carbon monoxide detectors can also be life-saving devices worth having.
Keep in mind that there is quite a bit of overlap between these different types of home security system.
Additional security features for your home
A home security system can be an excellent complement to the most important security feature, sturdy and high-quality door locks such as British Standards approved locks. In addition to the aforementioned types of home security system, there are many other security features that may improve security even more. These include:
- Motion-sensing lights: illuminate areas such as your driveway or corners of your garden for your own convenience but also to detect any trespassers at night. Modern motion-sensing lights tend to be quite good at detecting humans rather than squirrels or leaves blowing in the wind, provided they are well-calibrated;
- Door and window sensors: typically part of a comprehensive home security system and burglar alarm, window and door sensors are typically one of the primary ways of setting off a burglar alarm and alerting authorities;
- Remote access control: many modern smart home systems have the ability to grant access remotely to guests or family members that need to access the property. This can also be helpful for Airbnb hosts and in shared accommodations where physical keys may be cumbersome or a security vulnerability. Remote access control can just as easily be used to withdraw access by invalidating an entry code, for example, or by remotely locking doors after someone has left the premises;
- Timed lights: useful for homeowners when away from home temporarily or on holidays, interior timed lights can give the impression that someone is home, which in turn can deter burglary attempts;
- Physical obstructions: fences, gates, and other physical obstructions can improve home security, as can the proper placement of shrubs and bushes to deter anyone from attempting to access a window, for example.
Some or all of these features may be part of a comprehensive home security system. Some of these features may be desirable to install in your home individually, whether or not they can be integrated with a smart home system, however.
How to choose the best home security system for your needs
Shopping for a home security system today is somewhat easy. Many e-commerce platforms sell individual home security devices and complete home security systems, but quality may vary significantly.
It is always worth the time to read consumer reports and authentic customer reviews from specific home security products and manufacturers. Many old-fashioned and well-established lock manufacturers such as Yale have entered the market to compete with Google, Samsung, and other established manufacturers of tech devices.
For all home security systems, it is important to also consider the importance of after-care services such as warranty coverage and product maintenance and servicing. This is especially important for smart home systems that may require occasional firmware updates and patches to retain full functionality, and by extension, home security.
Last but not least, consider shopping for home security systems at a locksmith retail shop. Many member partners listed on Rated Locksmiths have brick-and-mortar shops in the UK providing home security systems and their products are approved for home use and trusted by our vetted and approved locksmith member partners.
How to install a home security system
While many modern home security systems are designed to be user-friendly and can be installed relatively easily by a homeowner, some are more complex and may require – for good measure – a residential locksmith to properly install and calibrate for your specific needs.
The marginal cost of installing a home security system can be worth its weight in gold, since an improperly installed home security system could put you in even more danger of burglary since it may be inoperable and give a false sense of security.
We strongly recommend that you obtain a full security survey of your home from one of our reputable locksmith member partners listed on Rated Locksmiths. Not only can they help you make an informed purchase from brands they know and trust, but they can also identify any other security vulnerabilities that may require your attention, such as upgrading your locks, installing window locks, and much more.
Choosing a home security system
Choosing a home security system requires a good deal of research and planning, but choosing the best home security system for your needs can provide you with invaluable peace of mind knowing that your property is fully secured.
Consider the size and layout of your property, the type of home security system that best meets your needs, and install additional security features such as motion-sensing lights or remote access control as needed. Make sure that you choose a repuable security professional such as a residential locksmith to assist with the installation and calibration of complex home security systems and routinely have it inspected to keep your property as secure as possible.
Find locksmiths and home security experts in the UK with Rated Locksmiths
Rated Locksmiths has security professionals that can assist with all manner of home security, such as door and window lock fitting, lock upgrades, CCTV & burglar alarm system installation, and much more.
Start using Rated Locksmiths today and keep your property safe and secure.