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Vivint will waive any cancellation fees for extenuating circumstances like death, military circumstances, bankruptcy, or a move to assisted living. Still, it’s best to be intentional if you decide on Vivint. ADT doesn’t have the strongest customer service reputation among the companies we considered, racking up more than 3,000 complaints on its Better Business Bureau page. While we chalked most of this up to the fact that ADT has several million more customers than its competitors, our tester began his call with low expectations. He was pleasantly surprised, saying, “My needs drove the conversation. And once I finally had the quote, he explained the purpose behind each device I was receiving and what the installation might entail. He took extra time to help me weigh whether I needed home automation or not — and I’m almost positive it wasn’t scripted. ”Abode provides one of the most robust displays of third party integrations in this lineup. The company offers a decent amount of its own proprietary devices, but you’re certainly not limited to Abode specific products alone. An Abode system can communicate with a slew of Z Wave and Zigbee compatible smart lights and locks, light switches and dimmers, Nest products, IFTTT commands, and, of course, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Put simply: If you want the freedom to lock/unlock your door or turn on/off the lights all in one place from the Abode app, this system is definitely worth a look.

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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.