The Best Home Security Buying Guide
What Different Types of Home Security Are There?
There are two key options to consider for your home security alarm systems: wired vs. unwired and monitored vs. unmonitored.
- Wired Home Alarm System: Wired alarm systems are basic burglar alarms. This system uses a low-voltage electrical circuit that flows between windows and doors to the control panel. When the door or window sensors are triggered, the circuit is disrupted and the alarm sounds.
- Wireless Home Alarm System: These alarm systems use a control panel and a series of sensors that are connected with built-in radio frequency transmitters. Once the system is triggered, a signal is transmitted and the alarm is activated.
- Unmonitored Home Alarm System: Unmonitored systems rely on someone to alert the authorities of an emergency. Audible and visual alarms are triggered whenever the system is tripped, but an alarm monitoring center is not automatically notified to dispatch help.
- Monitored Home Alarm System: Monitored alarm systems alert you when an emergency happens and it notifies the professional monitoring center operators to send for emergency services. They usually feature more bells and whistles too: motion sensors, door/window contacts, glass break detectors, Wi-Fi capabilities and smart home device compatibility. This type of alarm typically has a monitoring service that requires a monthly fee.
Do I need a home security system?
The main reason to invest in a security system is to deter home invasions. An alarm system is a good investment for peace of mind.
Where to buy a home security system on a budget?
If you don't have the budget for an alarm system with installation fees, you can purchase DIY home security systems. Sam's Club carries a wide range of security and surveillance equipment at exclusive members-only prices.
Can I install my own home security system?
Generally, do-it-yourself systems are less expensive but more labor intensive.
What to Consider When Buying a Home Security System
A home security system will help to protect your valuables and your family. Here are a few things to consider when buying an alarm system:
- DIY vs. Professional installation
- Smart Device compatibility
Difference between Wireless and Hardwired System
A hardwired system involves installing physical wires from alarm components, like motion detectors and other sensors to the central control panel. A wireless system relies on radio frequencies to transmit and receive signals between the alarm devices and the control panel. With a wireless system, you have the ability to remotely control different aspects of your home via your smartphone or mobile app.
Burglar alarms vs. Home Security Systems
A burglar alarm is an electronic device that emits a loud noise when someone attempts an unlawful entry into your home through a secured entry point. A home security system includes doors locks, alarm systems, lighting, motion detectors, security camera systems and more.
Home Security Systems and Power Outages
How your security system is wired will determine what happens when there is a power outage in your home. Most systems have AC power adapters and a backup battery.
- Telephone lines: will continue to communicate with the monitoring center in the event of a power outage.
- Wireless/Radio: continues to work during power outages, drawing their power from battery backup for several hours.
- VoIP: gets power from phone lines and some include battery backup but an internet outage can stop them from communicating with the monitoring service.
- Internet: without an internet connection to a monitoring center, alarm systems stop communication until power is restored and the Internet is up and running.
Alternative Energy Systems
Solar and other alternative energy sources are becoming more available to homes. Some of these energy sources are powerful enough to run home appliances and home security systems.
What size security system do I need?
The best home security system is based on your specific needs - not size. A basic system has a control panel and door and window sensors. Other security package add-ons like motion detectors, video doorbells or doorbell cameras, video surveillance options and touchscreen control pads will add to your upfront cost but are a nice addition to your smart home security system.
What to Consider when Buying Safes
A safe offers protection for your important possessions inside your home or business. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a safe:
- Fire and water resistance
- Where you will keep it
What size safe do I need?
It's recommended that you get one bigger than you think you need. Think of the contents you will be putting in the safe, and then make sure you have ample space for additional items in the future.
What items do I want to put in my safe?
A home safe gives you 24/7 access to important documents and keeps them secure. Here are some items you should always keep in a safe:
- Birth and death certificates
- Estate-planning documents
- Savings bonds
- Stock certificates
- Tax returns
- Insurance policies
- Property titles
- Social Security card
Fireproof safes are great for protecting paper documents against fire. Fireproof safes are manufactured to sustain heat up to 1,700 F for up to one hour.
Where should I put my safe?
Where you decide to put your safe should be based on the contents, how frequently you want access to them and its size. An out of the way spot is the best place to store your safe.
What to Consider when Buying Door Locks?
Secure door locks will be pick-resistant and bump proof. Also, consider the lock's style and aesthetics as well as the lock's grade and ease of installation.
What are the different types of door locks?
- Lever Handlesets
- Entry Door Knobs
- Entry Door Levers
- Electronic Door Locks
- Sliding Door Locks
How much are door locks?
The cost of door locks depends on the features. Sam's Club carries a variety of door locks at members-only prices.
Smart locks are Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled smart home device that allows users remote access to a door by a sending secure signal from their smartphone, computer or tablet.
Should I reinforce my door frame?
A reinforced door frame addresses the main points of weakness in exterior doors: the frame, locks and the door's edge. Reinforcing the door frame will add more security to your home.
What to Consider when Buying Alarms and Detectors
Detectors and alarms will help you stay alert and will let you know when there are unsafe levels of carbon monoxide or smoke in your home. Here are some things to consider when shopping for alarms and detectors:
- Size of your home
- How they are powered
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to silence during false alarms
Why do I need a carbon monoxide alarm?
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poison gas that can be fatal when inhaled. A carbon monoxide detector can sense the gas and alerts you when it is detected.
Where should I put my carbon monoxide alarm?
An alarm should be installed on every level of the home and in sleeping areas.
How many carbon monoxide alarms do I need?
It is recommended that you place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement.
What are the different types of smoke alarms?
There are three types of smoke alarms on the market:
- Dual sensor
What is the easiest smoke alarm to maintain?
Most modern smoke alarms are easy to maintain. Test them monthly to make sure the battery works and vacuum around your smoke alarm vents and replace the battery once a year.
What to Consider when Buying Flashlights?
A good flashlight should be a part of every house's emergency kit. Here are a few options to consider when shopping:
- Lumens and light output
What is the best battery type for flashlights?
Non-rechargeable batteries are good for those who use flashlights on occasion or in your emergency kit. If you use your flashlight often, rechargeable batteries or buying batteries in bulk will save you money in the long run.
How many lumens do I need for my flashlight?
Pick the lumen output that is most suitable for your needs. The more lumens a flashlight puts out, the brighter your flashlight's beam will be.
What is the most durable flashlight?
Typically, flashlights with metal or rubber enforced outer casings are the most durable.
What is the best flashlight on a budget?
Sam's Club sells a variety of flashlights with options for every budget.
FAQ - Home Security
How will a home security system impact my home insurance?
Security devices in your home typically reduce your homeowner's insurance.
How much do home security systems cost?
Professionally installed security systems will be more expensive than do-it-yourself systems. Sam's Club carries a variety of security cameras, alarm systems and smart home security systems at members-only prices.
Does Sam's install home security systems?
Sam's Club does not offer professional installation on home security systems.
How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detector?
It is recommended that you change the batteries in smoke detectors once a year.
What is the safest door lock?
Deadbolt locks are effective at keeping your door secure.