AlarmGrid Security System Review

AlarmGrid Security System ReviewAlarm Grid started Alarm Grid less than three years ago in Lighthouse, Florida. The company primarily uses home security products from Honeywell. Everything is Do-it-Yourself (DIY) with service support through phone, chat, email or videos. Alarm Grid emphasizes and promotes interactive monitoring through the internet or using a smartphone app for all their packages.

The elaborate but user-friendly website gives you a wide range of options and products including Z-Wave devices. The company has over 25 equipment packages with costs ranging below $200 to over $600. In addition to Honeywell sensors and smart home appliances, they see Leviton smart home lighting and Yale Z-Wave lock sets.

Alarm Grid has partnered with Criticom Monitoring Services for central monitoring. Unlike their competitors, there are no long-term monitoring contracts. All monitoring is month-to-month. There are also several self-monitoring packages that will alert you by phone or text of any alarm activations.

Alarm Grid Pros

  • Month-to-Month Contracts
  • No Activation Fees
  • Variety of Equipment Packages and Add-ons
  • Central or Self-Monitoring Available
  • Smartphone Management

Alarm Grid Complaints

  • Must Pay for Equipment Upfront
  • Relatively New Company

Home Security Packages Overview and Charges

Self-Monitoring Packages*

PackageSelf Bronze InteractiveSelf Silver InteractiveSelf Gold InteractiveSelf Platinum Interactive
Cost$10$15$25$35
Internet Communicationxx
Cellularxx
Z-Wavexxx
Image Sensor Control/Alertsxx
Video Surveillancex

*All self-monitoring packages allow arm/disarm using the alarm.com smartphone app

Central Monitoring Packages

Monitoring PackageBronze
Basic
Silver
Interactive
Gold
Cellular
Platinum
Video and Cellular
Monthly Fee$15$25$35$45
Phonex
Internetxx
Cellularxx
Mobile Appxxx
Email and Phone Alertsxxx
Z-Wave Controlsxxx
Image Sensor Control/Alertsxx
Video Surveillancex


Home Security Service Overview
 

AlarmGrid has intimate ties to Honeywell. Honeywell or 2 Gig manufactures all the console panels and sensors they sell. The entire range of home security products built by Honeywell available. The 2Gig products used include all the various control panel models the company produces.

The company’s youth and focus on technology make it one of the first home security businesses that started as a web retailer. Other companies began as traditional alarm businesses and transitioned to an Internet presence. AlarmGrid started an aggressive marketing campaign by instituting the alliance with Honeywell. This gives them not only the ability to compete on price but also gives them access to Honeywell’s existing online AlarmNet portal and their smartphone Total Connect services.

Everything is wireless and requires self-installation. Users report the installation process simple and questions promptly and thoroughly answered through AlarmGrid’s service center.

AlarmGrid aggressively markets to the modern consumer’s use of smartphones and internet services. Even their basic packages have some text or email notifications of some sort.

One of the biggest consumer complaints about the home security industry concerns the long-term monitoring contracts. On average, most companies require a minimum of three years and many five. Customers in many cases consider the contracts draconian and the enforcement tactics ruthless.

AlarmGrid only requires month-to-month contracts. You can cancel at any time without any fee or penalties.

Their A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating registers zero complaints since the company began and joined the BBB in 2013.

Related: see all security system reviews

Self-Monitoring Packages

The self-monitoring packages all permit remote arming and disarming by smartphone or portal. The use of Honeywell’s Total Connect remote applications requires an internet connection, provided with each self-monitoring package, to perform these functions.

You have two critical services with the self-monitoring packages. You can customize an email or text notification for any alarm indications. This includes being told anytime the system is armed or disarmed, whenever an alarm goes off, troubles with sensors, low batteries or power loss.

You can also disarm or arm the system remotely from the smartphone app or web portal with all the packages.

Except the $10/month Self-Monitoring Bronze, all the other packages allow Z-Wave appliance remote control.

The other differences among the packages concern cellular, considered the most reliable way to transmit home security signals and video. Single phone review and notifications by an image sensor can only be done with the Gold or Platinum packages. Video remote is only available with the Platinum.

Central Station Monitoring Packages

Criticom has three monitoring centers located in Florida, New Jersey, and California. The centers have multiple redundant power, internet and other infrastructure support. Each also serves as a complete backup in the event of any catastrophic failure of all the redundant systems at one of the other locations.

All the monitored packages allow control through your phone or the internet. You get cellular monitoring with the Gold or Platinum Packages. The monthly charge includes the cellular costs. You can also use the phone and/or internet connectivity as a backup to the cellular with these two plans.

Z-Wave can be controlled and monitored with the Silver, Gold, or Platinum Packages. Like the self-monitoring, only the Gold and Platinum have any still image or video monitoring as part of the service.

Equipment Bundles

AlarmGrid has a wide choice of initial system setup bundles. The equipment bundles are divided into four types depending on your monitoring package: wireless, internet, cellular and dual path.

  • Wireless: Twenty Honeywell and Four 2Gig Console Packages
  • Internet: Nine Honeywell
  • Cellular: Eight Honeywell
  • Dual-Path: Four Honeywell

The actual number of bundle offerings is not as numerous as it appears on the website. Many of the bundles, due to the built-in, three-mode transmission capability of the panels, are listed under each heading or tab on the AlarmGrid website. In other words, the same bundle, including the same number of sensors and control console, will be listed under the wireless and internet tabs. Pricing does not vary whether you buy wireless or cellular for certain bundles since the consoles already have both.

The various package offerings contain different varieties of sensors, cameras and smart home appliances depending on your requirements and monitoring selection. The dual-path utilizes IP and GSM to provide greater safety with the redundancy.

AlarmGrid includes touchscreen panel Honeywell consoles for sale as part of some bundles also.

Security Products

Aside from what AlarmGrid includes in their bundled packages, you can purchase sensors or detector components separately. These include:

  • Control Panels
  • Keypads
  • Cameras
  • Door and Window Sensors
  • Motion Detectors
  • Glass Break Sensors
  • Smoke and Heat Detectors
  • Environmental Sensors
  • Alarm Sirens and Strobes
  • Key Fobs
  • Panic Alarms
  • Medical Alert
  • Wireless Receivers and Communicators
  • Power Supplies

Home Automation (Z-Wave)

It is easy to review and purchase various types of Z-Wave products to add to your system. The bundled packages include different security products but not Z-Wave components.

AlarmGrid offers five types:

  • Home Automation
  • Controllers
  • Lights
  • Locks (Yale)
  • Thermostats

Total Connect 2.0

AlarmGrid uses Honeywell’s Total Connect service for smartphone and internet management of their products. Total Connect has all the functionality necessary for any sensor or home automation control. You need to opt in for the most expensive self or Criticom monitoring packages to take advantage of all that Total Connect offers.

You can download the Total Connect app for free on IOS, Android or Blackberry platforms. You access the system on a PC or laptop using Honeywell’s online AlarmNet services.

The 1.0 version lets you program notifications for up to eight security events. You can receive the notifications by an email message or text. The 2.0 version gives you full access to all the Total Connect options including:

  • Notifications
  • Controlling Console Functions
  • Z-Wave Component Control
  • GPS Tracking

The app and online portal comes in four languages: English, Spanish Portuguese, and French.

Wireless Bundles

The wireless bundles all use the Honeywell L5200PK, L7000PK or 2Gig Go!Control consoles. These are configured for wireless but cellular can be added if you upgrade to that service later.

The pricier control panels are the L7000PKs, which costs around $285 for just the console if bought separately. The L5200PKs are around $50 cheaper and the Go!Control about $125 cheaper than the 7000s.

The types and amounts of sensors depend on how much you are willing to spend. For example, the Honeywell L7000PK10-WIFI-3G bundle, priced at $639.99 has ten door/window sensors, key fob, and one motion sensor in addition to the control panel.

Internet Bundles

The internet bundles, like the wireless, use the L7000s and L5200s. The Go!Control console will not work. Some bundles include a communication device for the panel to allow it to mesh with IP systems.

Cellular and Dual Path Bundles

Security experts consider cellular the most secure. Users tend to desire cellular too as more and more homes lack landline phone service. Honeywell products use AT&T cellular.

Cellular has an advantage over Wi-Fi too as Wi-Fi can be disconnected or cut whereas cellular, using cell towers throughout the country, cannot be accessed by someone attempting to bypass your home alarm.

The bundles have both communication protocols embedded in the consoles.

Control Panels

Besides the wireless panels, you can buy Honeywell Vista panels through AlarmGrid too. The Vista panels cost less than the wireless but can be made wireless by purchasing a communicator separately.

Honeywell and 2Gig Go!Control touchscreens are available also.

Keypads

Any Honeywell pushbutton or touchscreen keypad can be purchased through AlarmGrid. Prices vary considerably. The top-of-the-line Honeywell Tuxedo Touch keypad that has a color touchscreen panel, Z-Wave controls, and other high-tech features costs over $400. At the low end of the pricing scale, a simple 2Gig pushbutton pad costs only $50.

AlarmGrid gives you a choice of twenty-two different models priced anywhere between these two.

Cameras

Cameras have become very popular items with homeowners. The ability to actually see what happens at your home at any time of the day or night has great appeal.

AlarmGrid has fixed and pan and tilt video cameras. The single outdoor model has a fixed lens. Most have low-light or infrared lens.

Door and Window Sensors

Honeywell has over fifty varieties of door/window sensors compatible with any of the bundles or consoles. They range from standard five-inch long, white plastic units to various types of recessed, slim or aesthetically-designed sensors.

Motion Detectors

Honeywell makes dozens of motion detectors also. AlarmGrid has indoor and outdoor varieties including ones that are pet safe.

Among the offerings is the latest Honeywell motion sensor, the DT906 that can detect motion out to 200 feet.

Glass Break Sensors

The glass break sensors come in a variety of shapes and colors. Some allow you to set the sensitivity. The FG1625RFM glass break can be flush-mounted into a false ceiling or sheetrock for stealthy installations.

Smoke and Heat Detectors

You can purchase a combination smoke and heat detector or one that only uses one form of sensor. Some of the heat detectors work by sensing a rise in temperature over a certain period rather than alarming only when the surrounding air reaches a specfic temperature.

Detectors may be limited to working only with certain consoles, so you will need to check the specifications before purchase.

Environmental Sensors

The environmental sensors are stand-alone Carbon Monoxide detectors or water detectors. The water detectors have probes attached to the actual sensor that can be placed near any appliance that could cause a flood or water damage if it malfunctions.

Alarm Sirens and Strobes

The alarms and strobes can be mounted almost anywhere in your home. Some of the sirens have two tones and decibels ratings of over 115.

Key Fobs

The four-button key fobs use lithium batteries and are compatible with all consoles. You can arm, disarm or press the panic button to instantaneously activate an alarm signal.

Panic and Medical Alert Alarms

The medical alerts serve a dual purpose. They have two buttons, one for medical and one for panic.

The panic alarms sold come in two types: mounted or mobile.

Wireless Receivers and Communicators

These items let you upgrade your existing system to cellular or wireless depending on the console.

Power Supplies

You can purchase battery backup units for the consoles or replace various types of AC transformers.

 

Home Automation Controllers and Light Modules

The home automation controllers are separate keypads, like the Tuxedo, or plugin devices that allow you to control lights or small appliances by Z-Waves.

The light modules include on/off switches, dimmer units, and plugin modules. They work with any type of light source including fluorescent.

Locks (Yale)

Yale manufactures the two Z-Wave electronic deadbolt locks for sale by AlarmGrid.

The YRD220 has an acrylic touchscreen keypad. It comes in three colors: bronze, brass or nickel.

The YRD210 is essentially the same lock inside but has pushbuttons instead of the touchscreen.

Both locks include a key override.

Thermostats

The only Z-Wave thermostat sold directly by AlarmGrid is the Honeywell ZWSTAT. Compatible with most home HVAC systems, you can not only control the system but also receive notifications regarding any changes.

Company History

Sterling Donnelly, President of AlarmGrid, spent a number of years in the home security business prior to forming AlarmGrid. His idea was to have a totally web-based company, selling systems throughout the country. The concept including entering into strategic partnerships with product and monitoring service companies so that AlarmGrid would have instant coverage throughout all fifty states.

His partner and marketing director Joshua Unseth also has a background in the home security business.

All service and support are done remotely through their headquarters in Lighthouse, Florida.

Reviews

We always actively seek your input for our reviews. We welcome any stories, anecdotes or just general comments about your experiences with AlarmGrid, Honeywell products or Criticom Monitoring. We would love to hear any installation or equipment issues either resolved or still outstanding.

Please critique us too. If you find any factual errors or disagree with a statement or section of this article, let us know about it.

Recommendations

AlarmGrid has many features in its favor that will attract not only those new to home security but those that may have had a bad experience with competitors. The company’s partnership with two of the most respected companies associated with home security services and products, Honeywell and Criticom, add to AlarmGrid’s attractiveness.

Marketing self-monitoring in home security is rare too. By emphasizing what today has become commonplace, smartphone management and usage, AlarmGrid seems to have created a new market niche.

Lack of long-term contracts will attract the vocal minority of home security users that have had bad experiences with other companies.

If you want to minimize out-of-pocket expenses, then AlarmGrid probably is not for you. The company does not offer any free equipment deals with monitoring contracts. The company, being new, does not have a service record established yet, and this may keep some potential customers from trying AlarmGrid until they have a more established reputation.

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