Alarm Grid is one of the newer kids on the block when it comes to home security. Founded in 2012, they’re a DIY security company that prides itself on its lack of contracts and seamless user experience. While some security systems require professional installation and support, Alarm Grid systems are designed to be easy enough for the Average Joe to handle.
Right off the bat, it’s clear to me that the main difference between Alarm Grid and other security companies I’ve reviewed is their lack of a sales team. While most companies force you to engage in a lengthy conversation with a high-pressure sales person, Alarm Grid lets you buy equipment and monitoring on the site. This may seem like no big deal, but trust me, when it comes to home security, being able to avoid the sales team is a rarity. Of course, they do have consultants if you need help choosing a system. Already, I feel pretty good about this company- but of course, I’m going to do my research.
I purchased the Honeywell Lyric AT&T-LTE 3-1 Kit– a bit of a mouthful, but I’ll take it. Some background info: Alarm Grid offers security systems compatible with both AT&T and Verizon, or Wi-Fi if you prefer. Security Baron’s review of the Alarm Grid security system starts now!
What’s in an Alarm Grid System?
The Honeywell Lyric AT&T-LTE 3-1 Kit system comes with a Honeywell Lyric security system controller, a cellular communicator, door/window sensors, a motion sensor, and a cable for installation. I’m also going to discuss some other products that I didn’t purchase but that are compatible with the system I bought.
Honeywell Lyric Security System Controller
The Honeywell Lyric Security System Controller is the center of your security system. On its seven-inch touchscreen you’ll see the weather, date, as well as options to control your home security system and automation. From there, you can arm and disarm your security system, livestream and review your camera’s footage, and control all of your connected devices. All of your sensors will connect with the controller, as well as your connected devices. On the front of the controller, you’ll see buttons for “Home” and “Emergency Response” which will connect to your professional monitoring team (more on this later).
I’m impressed with all the controller’s functions. Not only does it have two-way audio and an 85-decibel sounder, it also has a built-in camera so you can see who disarmed the system. This is a feature I haven’t seen in any other security system’s base station, and I think it’s a great idea- like theft-detection powder for the digital age.
Honeywell AT&T LTE Cellular Communicator
Rather than rely on 3G networks from phone companies, Alarm Grid provides the Honeywell LYRICLTE-A, Honeywell’s first LTE cellular communicator. They originally made the communicator because they believe that 3G networks from companies like Verizon and AT&T will be phased out. The LYRICLTE-A connects with AT&T’s cellular network with faster speeds than the 3G network, according to Alarm Grid. Cellular data means that your security system will continue to work even if the power is out in your neighborhood or your Wi-Fi is down.
VERSA 2GIG Door/Window Sensors
Honeywell’s VERSA 2GIG door/window sensors will let you know whenever a door or window is opened or closed. The sensors have an impressive range of up to 500 feet. They’re also wireless and tamper-resistant. When you mount the sensors, you’ll place them next to magnets. When the sensors get a certain distance away from the magnets, they will alert your controller which will then notify you via phone or email (if your monthly plan includes notifications, that is).
SiXPIR Motion sensor
The SiXPIR motion sensor, also manufactured by Honeywell, will detect all movement in an area of 40 by 56 feet. It works through heat technology, which means you won’t receive false alarms from moving inanimate objects like cars or shadows. Similarly, the sensor is only active when the system is armed, so you won’t be overwhelmed with beeps and notifications. What if I have pets, you might ask. Will the sensor let me know every time my turtle waltzes across my carpet? If you’re a pet-owner, you can simply mount the motion sensor at seven feet, six inches high- it’ll make sure pets under 80 pounds don’t set it off. Like the door/window sensors, the motion sensor has tamper protection so you’ll know if someone tries to remove it. You can mount the sensor flat on a wall or in a room’s corner.
Aside from their packaged security systems, Alarm Grid offers some auxiliary security products that work with the Honeywell system.
Honeywell 5853 Glass Break Detector
Glass breaking is a definite bad sign, one that you’d want to know about immediately. Honeywell’s 5853 glass break detector can tell not only when glass is shattered, but also when someone tries to shatter it. It does this by listening to frequencies- higher frequencies for broken glass, and lower frequencies for glass impacted by an object but not broken. The glass break detector works within a range of 25 feet. I’m impressed that the Honeywell 5853 can be adjusted to four different sensitivity settings which dictate the range that your detector works in. If you’re having a lot of false alarms, for example, you can turn the detector to a less sensitive setting.
Honeywell LKP500 Wireless Keypad
Honeywell’s LKP500 wireless keypad looks like an old-school calculator, with a rectangular black screen and a plethora of buttons. It’s basically a fraternal twin to your security system controller. You can either mount the keypad to the wall or place in on a flat surface. From the keypad, you’ll be able to view your system’s status and control it remotely- it’s great if you don’t feel like going to your control panel. The keypad has a range of 300 feet, so it’s useful for anyone with a larger home with multiple floors.
Honeywell SIXFOB Key Fob
For even more remote control of your system, there’s the key fob. It looks exactly like a car key, without the key- it’s simply a black rectangle with different buttons. Aside from contacting emergency services, you can also use the fob to arm and disarm your system. They key fobs are totally wireless and can be assigned to specific users, which could be super helpful for a dog walker or housekeeper. Anything that prevents me from having to walk downstairs to my controller is fine by me!
Honeywell 5800COMBO Smoke, Heat, and CO Detector
Usually in my reviews, I have to write about smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors separately. Well, not today. Honeywell makes a single device that can detect heat, smoke, and CO completely wirelessly! You can expect this device to hold up for ten years, which is pretty impressive. Of course, the detector communicates with the professional monitoring team, so you’ll always be protected from environmental dangers, even if you’re not home.
Honeywell SkyBell DBCAM Video Doorbell
If you’re looking to expand your security system to your front door, SkyBell’s DBCAM, or doorbell camera, can integrate with the rest of your security system. It shows you exactly who is on your welcome mat in 1080p HD, the industry standard for video quality. You’ll be able to livestream the doorbell camera through your Total Connect app so you can communicate with your visitor in real time through two-way audio. You’ll know if you have a visitor as soon as the camera detects motion- usually before they even ring the doorbell! The DBCAM integrates with Nest thermostats, Amazon Echo and of course the Total Connect app. I can’t wait to never open the door for a sales person again!
Yale YRD256 Smart Lock
There’s a few different smart locks to choose from on the Alarm Grid website, but I’m going to talk about the Yale YRD256. Not only does it integrate with the Honeywell alarm system, but it’s also meant to be used with Apple HomeKit. Instead of a key, you’ll enter a code on a touchscreen keypad to lock and unlock your door. However, if you have a HomeKit Hub, you can control your lock remotely using Siri. The lock also allows you to set up to 250 unique codes, which can be great for kids, your plumber, or your cat sitter. It comes in Satin Nickel, Polished Brass, or Oil Rubbed Bronze (to put it more simply, gray, dark gray, and gold).
Honeywell Lyric 2 Indoor Camera
I already own the Honeywell Lyric 2 Indoor Camera, which integrates well with my Alarm Grid system. Let’s recap.
I like the look of the camera, and it’s surprisingly heavy- this says to me that it’s a sturdy camera that won’t fall apart at the drop of a hat. The camera is black with a round white frame. On its bottom, it has rubber padding to prevent it from sliding around, plus, a full 180 vertical tilt.
The Lyric 2 has excellent video quality- 1080p HD, a field of zoom of six times, and a field of view at 145 degrees. In every category, the video display goes above and beyond.
I’m happy to see that the Lyric 2 has two-way audio, not surprising since other elements of the system include it as well. How can two-way audio come in handy? Let’s say you have an intrusion. Given your monthly subscription plan, you may receive a notification that motion was detected, or maybe one of your door/ window sensors went off. From there, you’ll be able to livestream your footage and see exactly what’s happening, and then- here’s the kicker- you can literally alert the intruder that you have him on video, that you are recording the scene, and that you are contacting the police. From there, you can guess where the robber will go- away from your house!
Unfortunately, the Lyric 2’s night vision is lacking. The camera only has four infrared LED sensors, and could definitely benefit from at least a couple more. The package claimed that I’d be able to see clearly from 32 feet away, but I could only see about eight to 10 feet away maximum. I also had issues with my livestream during night mode.
I’m pleased to say that the camera offers both cloud and local storage options. It comes with a free SD card (very rare for cameras) and 24 hours of free cloud storage. If you want 30 days of cloud storage, you can upgrade for only $4.99 a month, an extremely reasonable price.
Smart Platform Integration
If you’re already in the Amazon ecosystem, you’re in luck- the Lyric 2 integrates with Amazon Alexa. Unfortunately, it does not integrate with Google Assistant, so if that’s your preferred smart home platform, this may not be the best choice for you.
While the Lyric 2 doesn’t have any person detection or facial recognition, it does have intelligent sound detection, meaning that it can differentiate between a baby crying and your various alarms. That means you’ll get an extremely specific notification, which is helpful. Still, I’m disappointed that the camera doesn’t have person detection. It makes getting professional monitoring even more important.
Honeywell 5802WXT Panic Button
Finally, there’s the panic button, which is completely wireless and can be worn as a necklace, bracelet, or belt clip. It’s great for seniors or anyone with limited mobility. The button is recessed to prevent false alarms or “butt dials” as they’re known colloquially. Once you press it, the monitoring center will automatically be alerted.
Professional Monitoring with Alarm Grid
So you’ve purchased your Alarm Grid security system. Now what? Well, you can either monitor your system yourself through your mobile app, or purchase professional monitoring. Professional monitoring means that you have a team of people monitoring your home’s security 24/7/365. This can come in handy if you go on vacation, if you’re sick, or tied up at work. I recommend that you purchase 24/7 professional monitoring with any security system.
How monitoring works
Alarm Grid outsources its monitoring to Criticom Monitoring Services, which has three facilities in New Jersey, Florida, and California. Alarm monitoring, which you’ll access on an app called Total Connect, includes the following features:
- UL Listed Central Station- In the event of an alarm, you’ll be called by a live operator to verify an emergency. Then, the operator will contact the necessary emergency services for burglaries, fires, and more. This feature includes Crash & Smash protection, which means that the monitoring team will be alerted if someone breaks your security system controller. Believe it or not, this is not a feature that every security system has.
- Phone or Internet– Your system will connect to the central station either through a phone or internet connection. Your phone and internet systems will be supervised and tested daily to make sure that everything’s in order.
- Internet Monitoring– to use Total Connect, you’ll need an internet alarm communicator connected to your system. Again, the professional monitoring team will survey your communicator to make sure that it’s up and running 24/7.
- Cellular Monitoring- Cellular backup is the most secure communication path. Alarm Grid will activate your cellular communicator and then pay for the data charges.
- Internet Communication- Basically, internet monitoring without the monitoring- you’ll just need an internet alarm communicator connected to your security system.
- Cellular Communication- For cellular data, you’ll need a cellular alarm communicator connected to your system. Alarm Grid won’t activate it for you, but they will pay for your data charges.
- Arm/ Disarm System Remotely- You’ll be able to see exactly what’s happening with your system and control it through a cell phone or computer.
- Email and Phone Alerts– You’ll receive text and email notifications when your system is armed, disarmed, when an alarm goes off, if you’ve lost power, etc.
- Remote Z-Wave Control– This enables you to remotely control connected devices like lights, locks, and thermostats
- Image Sensors– Building on the notifications, the image sensors let you receive screenshots of your livestream at the exact moment when motion is detected.
- Video Surveillance– In a nutshell, you’ll be able to livestream your footage and receive a video clip notification when motion is detected. You’ll also have access to cloud and local storage, discussed in more detail above.
Keep in mind that you can combine cellular monitoring with phone and internet monitoring to ensure that you system is always on.
You have four main options if you want access to the central station service- Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. If you don’t want professional monitoring, you can monitor your own system through four different plans, which I included in the chart below.
One of the best things about Alarm Grid is that they don’t make you sign a term-length contract- you can cancel your subscription anytime without having to pay a cancellation fee. Alarm Grid might be good for someone who isn’t looking for a long-term contract, or someone who may not want professional monitoring services. Keep in mind that if you move, you can take your system with you.
Alarm Grid’s Customer Support
Alarm Grid says it takes customer support very seriously, but I prefer to be shown, not told. How does one get in contact with Alarm Grid’s customer support team, and how supportive are they really?
I must say that I personally had a great experience with Alarm Grid’s customer support team. Instead of putting me on hold like other security companies, Alarm Grid had a support representative call me back a few minutes later. I love this feature, as I don’t have to spend tons of time on hold listening to terrible Muzak. The man I spoke with was very kind, patient, and informative. He really seemed to care that my system was up and running, and I felt absolutely no pressure to buy anything, as all sales take place online. All in all, it was one of the best customer support experiences I’ve ever had.
However, that’s just anecdotal evidence, and as we learned in school, that’s not real evidence. I am going to explain how Alarm Grid’s customer support works and what customers’ experiences were, based on big data.
How It Works
You have a few different options when it comes to Alarm Grid’s customer support. You can call them, email them, or live chat them on their website. There’s also an online section of Frequently Asked Questions, plus some helpful product manuals and videos. Although the videos look like they were made when Reagan was president, I’m still impressed with the depth of information available for the consumer.
Alarm Grid Customer Service Customer Reviews
To see what real Alarm Grid customers thought of their customer support, I checked out Google, the king of the internet, and the Better Business Bureau.
I’m thrilled to say that Alarm Grid has a perfect five star reputation on Google with 83 reviews. People described the customer support extremely positively.
“The support is amazing…All the techs have been excellent in answering my questions and do not give up until they figure out your problem,”
wrote Ken Brossel in a five star review. Almost all of the reviews were five stars. Clearly, Alarm Grid is a company that puts its customer first.
Better Business Bureau
I’m not going to lie- my jaw may have dropped when I saw Alarm Grid’s page on the Better Business Bureau (BBB for short). Not only do they have an A+ BBB rating, but they also have a five star overall customer rating with 24 reviews- by far the highest BBB customer rating I’ve ever seen. On top of that, they’ve had 0 customers complain to the BBB since 2013. About a third of the reviews mentioned the customer support team, and they were described as “knowledgeable,” “helpful,” and “responsive”. I’ve never seen such an overwhelmingly positive BBB page. Sounds like companies should take a page from Alarm Grid when it comes to customer support!
Alarm Grid’s Total Connect App
You can control your system remotely through the Total Connect app. I’m going to talk about what you can do on the app and what people thought of it.
Note: depending on which system you have, you might have a different version of Total Connect. Total Connect 1.0, the app’s first iteration, lets you remotely control your security system and receive notifications. In contrast, Total Connect 2.0 works with the newer Honeywell security systems (like the one I bought) and has more updated graphics and interactive features. Total Connect 2.0 is the app I’ll be talking about today.
Strap in, folks.
Total Connect App Features
From the Total Connect app, you’ll be able to arm or disarm your system, control all connected devices, view your livestream and video history, communicate with people through your video doorbell, and receive push notifications. You can also set up geofencing, which connect your phone to your security system, allowing you to arm or disarm it with your physical location alone. In addition, you’ll be able to add other users to your system so that they too can control your security system.
Total Connect App Reviews
You know I’m not done yet. What did customers think of the Total Connect app?
Apple users loved the Total Connect app- they gave it a 4.6 out of five star rating! This is a fantastic rating- one of the highest of all the security systems’ apps that I’ve looked at. Even with such a great reputation, Alarm Grid staff members still take the time to respond to reviews, whether positive or negative. This goes back to their customer support, which we know is of the highest quality.
The Total Connect app has a 3.6 out of five stars from the Google Play store. After all that positivity, I’m a little disappointed. While the majority of the reviews were five stars, there were quite a bit of negative reviews as well. Many people complained that the app often loses connection to the system, which defeats the purpose of the app in the first place. It seems like the app works better on Apple than Android.
Recap of the Alarm Grid Security System
I know that was a lot to get through, so congratulate yourself for making it to the bottom! At the end of the day, the Alarm Grid security system has its pros and cons. Among its pros are:
- Adjustable glass break sensors
- Video doorbell with 1080p HD
- No term-length contracts
- Great customer service
- Awesome app for iPhone users
- Indoor camera
- 1080p HD
- Six times field of zoom
- A field of view of 145 degrees
- Two-way audio
- Cloud/ local storage
- Integration with Amazon Alexa
But nothing in life is perfect, not even Alarm Grid! Some of its faults are as followed:
- Disappointing night vision
- No integration with Google Home, IFTTT, etc.
- Professional monitoring, notifications, livestreaming, and ability to remotely control devices not included
- App doesn’t work that well for Android users
Want to learn about other options? Check out the best security systems of 2019.