Ratings Methodology for Home Security Systems

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for home security system providers are weighted averages of ratings in the following categories:
  • Pricing.
  • Offerings.
  • Video features.
  • Privacy.
  • Customer reviews.
  • Data collection and review process

    NerdWallet reviews several companies that provide home security systems for U.S. customers. Some of these providers charge additional fees for certain services.

    We collect data from providers and do firsthand testing as necessary. Our process starts by gathering information from providers and contacting providers for further information where needed. This information, combined with our specialists’ hands-on research, makes up our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance.

    The final output produces star ratings from poor (1 star) to excellent (5 stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

    Information updates

    Our writers and editors review providers on an annual basis. Throughout the year, we may maintain contact with providers and update any changes to their offerings.

    Factor weightings

    The weighting of each rating factor is based on our team’s assessment of which features are most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way.

    The review team

    The review team comprises writers and editors who cover home services. Each writer and editor follows NerdWallet’s strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

    The combined expertise of our team is infused into our review process to ensure thoughtful evaluation of products and services from the customer's perspective.

    Pricing

    If the provider’s list price for home security equipment is $200 or less, it earns the highest rating in this category. If the provider charges more than $500, it earns the lowest rating. We also consider the monthly cost of required subscriptions and/or professional monitoring.

    Offerings

    We consider whether the providers offer video doorbells, outdoor cameras, indoor cameras, alarm systems and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. If it offers all of these things, it earns the highest rating. If a provider offers none or only one of these features, it gets the lowest rating.

    Video features

    For this category, we consider whether the providers offer zoom-in capabilities, night vision, a wide field of view, two-way audio and intelligent or AI detection. If a provider offers all of these things, it earns the highest rating. If it offers none or only one of these things, it earns the lowest rating.

    Privacy

    We consider whether providers offer two-factor authentication or encryption. We also look for a history of security breaches, and we obtain each provider’s rating from Security.org, which evaluates the security features of a variety of devices. Providers that offer two-factor authentication or encryption, that have no security breaches and that have at least a 7 rating from Security.org earn the highest rating; providers that do not have these things earn the lowest rating.

    Customer reviews

    If a provider has a score of 8 or higher from Trustpilot, which is a consumer review site, it earns the highest rating. If a provider has a score of 2 or lower, it earns the lowest rating.


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