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A Guide to Home Security Systems

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Nov 06, 2022
8 minutes read
  • Different types of home security
  • What they can cost you
  • Where home security systems should be installed

There are many kinds of home security systems on the market, boasting a real choice for the modern homeowner. Smart technologies have changed our lives and can be incorporated in and around the home for effective security solutions. Some of these can even be fitted yourself, saving on the trouble of paying someone to fit it for you.

The timeless burglar alarm and CCTV systems have improved since their creation and are viable ways to deter potential burglars. This article will take you through the various options available when it comes to choosing home security systems.

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Home Security Systems On Offer

Burglar Alarms

These are the standard set-up that most people imagine when thinking about home security systems. They can be wired or wireless and sound an alarm upon detection of an intruder through sensors and contact points. According to Which?, 71% of burglars are put off by the presence of an alarm system. That’s a reassuring figure to reinforce a decision to buy a burglar alarm.

For added peace of mind, leading operators of home security systems provide a recurring subscription on either a monthly or yearly basis. This means they will monitor your system for you and will alert you or the authorities if a burglar has been detected. By holding your details on file, you will be called if something is amiss or if you’re not available, either the police or a security team will be notified to investigate. These kinds of alarms are known as monitoring contract alarms.

What’s known as a bell only alarm will sound a siren either externally or internally when an intruder is detected. This is done to alert you or someone in the area that your home has been broken into. They can be ideal home security systems if you live in a built-up area and have relatives or friends around you. They are the cheapest and simplest burglar alarm to fit.

With burglar alarms, once a contact point has been broken or movement is detected inside, a countdown is triggered at the control point. If the alarm has been activated by the homeowner, it can be deactivated before the alarm goes off. If the alarm is triggered, it will set a siren off internally and either set off an external siren, inform a contact centre or contact the homeowner. Burglar alarm home security systems come in a number of forms to suit your needs.

Security Cameras

CCTV cameras have been a popular home security system since the 1980s. They’re usually installed externally to cover entry points and are now able to record in colour, 1080p and 4K, also working perfectly at night. The same Which? survey revealed that 46% of burglars are deterred by the presence of CCTV home security systems.

Security cameras have come a long way from relying on phone lines. Most of them are now compatible with smart devices and can store footage in the cloud to save up recording space. This means you’re able to remotely access them and their storage to view what’s going on when you’re away. Some CCTV home security systems come with a motion tracking feature and a 360° view or activate with motion sensors, which is useful for corners and bends, while others feature two way audio.

Just like burglar alarms, some security cameras come with rolling contracts that will alert a monitoring centre of any activity. The authorities can be alerted to any suspicious activity, giving you added peace of mind. These home security systems can either be wired or wireless and can work on batteries or rechargeable power. As they’re external, they’re resistant to the elements, so you know they can be relied on year long.

It’s important to comply with privacy and data protection laws if you’re considering fitting a CCTV camera. Home security systems with cameras can’t be pointed at public spaces or other people’s houses or gardens. Doing so means you have to comply with these laws. This can include erecting a sign to say that you are recording footage and what its purpose is for. If your CCTV is only covering your private property, these laws won’t apply to you, so it’s important to be mindful of how they’re placed and what you’d have to do to remain compliant if necessary.

Smart Home Security Systems

These are the new age standard in home security and incorporate systems that can be fully controlled and managed by your smartphone. They can include indoor and outdoor cameras, motion sensors, lights and alarms and are all interconnected by Wi-Fi. In this way, they can be considered the best home security system. If you’re looking to take home security systems into your own hands, these can always be fitted yourself. If the installation covers a bigger home, you can always get a professional to install the system for you.

One of the main benefits of smart home security systems is that they can be fully customisable in that you can choose what happens if certain criteria is met. If motion is detected, you can activate external lighting, for example, or set an internal camera to start recording once a contact point has been broken. Similar to CCTV cameras, you can store video locally or on the cloud, but it’s worth noting the charges you may have to pay for any wireless storage.

Internal cameras can be even more useful than standard external CCTV because you can see what’s going on inside the home when you’re not in. Useful for pet owners or parents with childminders, you can access the cameras at any time to see a live feed. You can also be notified if any cameras detect motion when no one is home. For the modern day individual, smart home security systems really do have it all.

The Price of Home Security Systems

With so many home security systems on the market and with DIY options available, you can expect to pay anywhere between £150 and £10,000 for a system to fit your needs, depending on how extensive they are. If you are getting a system installed by a professional, this can cost you around £75 an hour. What’s important is to choose the best home security system that will meet your requirements.

Burglar Alarms

You can expect to pay between £250 and £350 for a wireless alarm. For a bell only alarm and installation, this can be around £525. The price is mainly dictated by which alarm you go for, whether you fit it yourself or through an independent installer or if it’s all done through a nominated company. A monitoring contract with burglar alarm home security systems can cost you an additional £8-£40 a month.


CCTV home security systems can be on the pricier side. For a basic wired CCTV system consisting of four cameras, you can expect to pay around £800. The same CCTV system but wireless can cost around £450 to supply and install. The more cameras you wish to install and the difficulty of access to these areas will give you a higher price. It’s also useful to consider paying out for annual maintenance or a monitoring service, which will ensure your system is operating as it should, which can add an additional £100 to your costs.

We also have a guide for the best security cameras available now.

Smart Home Systems

Smart home security systems are more varied in their cost and can end up cheaper because you’re able to fit them yourself. You can pay anything between £100-£300 for one of these systems, depending on how much you get with the package. This could include the main hub, sensors and a camera. The more systems you want to connect, the more this will drive the price up. In doing so, it’s always worth sticking with the same brand to ensure they can all sync properly.

Where To Install Home Security

Home security systems are best installed in areas that you deem to be high risk. You need to first identify which parts of your home need protection and where the hub should be located. Ideally, you need to think like an opportunist. A hub works best when it’s not in sight, under the stairs, for example, while an external camera should cover areas that may usually be out of sight from the road. If an alarm is installed, the box should be located on the front of the house as a clear deterrent for burglars. The best home security system deters potential burglars by being seen, but not easily reached.

If you’re installing motion sensors, put them in main walkways and in rooms with high value items. Internal cameras can work in the same places, but make sure they can capture as much of the room or area as possible. Contact points on windows should only need to be on the ground floor and on first floor windows that are close to a flat roof or accessible point. While you can go all out with home security systems and fit sensors and cameras everywhere, doing so methodically can save you a lot of money.

Cheaper Insurance

By installing home security systems, you could lower your insurance premiums. Some insurance providers will only accept certain accreditations, such as NACOSS and SSAIB, while others will take into account that you have a system installed. If you have notified your home insurance provider that you have an alarm, setting it at night could be a requirement for your policy to be valid.

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