Wandering through the Brinks website, I know one thing to be true: they talk a big game. It only takes Brinks 30 seconds to receive alarm alerts, compared with 330 seconds of other providers, according to their website. Brinks is able to answer alerts so quickly due to ASAPer, advanced monitoring technology that’s available on all Brinks systems. We’ll see what customers have to say, of course!
I’m also seeing pretty simple security systems, with tons of extra options to choose from. I ordered Brinks Home Complete with Video. Today, we’re going to talk about the Brinks security system- what it gives you, how well it works, and whether or not it’s worth buying. Security Baron’s Brinks security system review starts now!
What’s in a Brinks Security System?
Brinks has many products to choose from, and as much as I want to test them all, I’m not made of money. So, I ordered the Brinks Home Complete with Video which includes Brinks Home Touch, a SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell, a glass break detector, and a cellular communicator. I’m also going to talk about a few other products that Brinks offers, as I think they may suit people with different needs.
Brinks Home Touch
The center of your security system and home automation is the Brinks Home Touch Smart Home Hub. It looks like an iPad and can be either mounted to a wall or stood on any flat surface. The display is LCD and touch-screen, making for a super simple user experience. I love that this hub is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple TV, and more- it’s nice when your security system can integrate with your existing smart home platform. The Home Touch comes equipped with an 85 decibel siren (the noise equivalent of a diesel truck driving through your home) plus a front-facing camera so you can easily communicate with anyone in another room. Of course, there’s two-way audio so you don’t have to rely on your miming skills. For storage, you can use an SD card- but we’ll talk more about storage later. I love that all alarms are sent over a cellular signal- this makes for fast communication with Brinks’ security system, always important in an emergency.
SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell
Brinks offers the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell, an older version currently not available on the SkyBell website. Unfortunately, this video doorbell is pretty basic- it can’t zoom, doesn’t have any artificial intelligence features like person detection, and uses a bright white light for its night vision, meaning it will be obvious the camera is recording. The video quality is only 720p HD, as opposed to the industry standard of 1080p HD. I’m a little disappointed that I’m getting an outdated doorbell, as opposed to the doorbells showcased on the SkyBell website.
Glass Break Detectors
For added protection, there’s the glass break detectors. By measuring pitch and frequency, these detectors can tell when glass breaks for a range of up to 20 feet. The device will activate LED lights when it detects glass being broken, and can be used on all glass types up to 1/4 inches thick.
Simon Cellular Communicator
If you’re like me, you left landlines back in 1998. If that’s the case, then you’re going to want to purchase the Simon Cellular Communicator. Unlike Wi-Fi, which is notoriously spotty, cellular connections cannot be cut or go out. The cellular communicator will allow you to use cellular networks to report alarms and keep your system up and running, even if the power goes out. It’s important to note that this communicator is only compatible with GE Simon XT and XTi systems only.
Brinks Home Indoor Camera
I purchased the Brinks Home Indoor Camera. In my opinion, every security system should have a camera. You don’t just want to know if someone triggered an alarm- you also want to be able to see exactly what’s happening in your home. It’s incredibly useful not only for intruders, but also for checking in on your babysitter, monitoring your kids after school, or making sure your housekeeper is vacuuming under your sofa (a joke- unless you’re into that of course).
Right off the bat, I’m pleased to see that the Brinks Home Indoor Camera has 1080p HD, the industry standard for video quality. Unfortunately, its field of view is only 113, pretty narrow, and the camera can not zoom in, although you can zoom in on the app. While these may seem like small details, they becoming extraordinarily important when it comes to identifying intruders.
The camera has two-way audio, meaning that you can communicate with whoever is in the room. Tell an intruder to get out of your house, your husband to stay out of the cookie jar, or your kids to stop watching cartoons and do their homework already- from anywhere with an internet connection.
Brinks’ indoor camera has night vision powered by six infrared LED lights.
Store up to 1000 clips indefinitely on Alarm.com, if you purchase the monitoring plan that includes video (discussed in more detail below).
Smart Platform Integration
While Brinks’ security system itself integrates with Amazon and Google ecosystems, the camera has no smart platform integrations.
Rats! The Brinks Home Indoor Camera has no artificial intelligence features. That means that it can’t differentiate between moving objects like people, cars, shadows, etc. The motion detectors, however, are able to tell between humans and pets under 40 pounds, but the camera cannot tell you who you’re looking at.
I didn’t personally purchase the next few products, but they’re definitely worth a closer look.
For your outside-facing doors, there’s door sensors. Unlike other security companies that I’ve seen, Brinks does not recommend having window sensors. Intruders rarely break in through windows and a motion sensor can detect if windows are opened or closed, it explains on the Brinks website. While you can use the door sensors as window sensors, Brinks does not think it’s particularly cost-effective. I’m pretty impressed that Brinks is already thinking differently than other security companies- especially if it saves me money.
Simply put one sensor in each high-traffic area (a living room, kitchen, etc.) and be alerted when there’s movement. If you have pets under 40 pounds, no need to worry- the motion sensor will not detect them. For pets over 40 pounds, Brinks recommends putting the motion sensors above seven feet or in a room that pets don’t normally enter.
IQ Smoke Detector
I’ll admit it: I hate my smoke detector. It’s always going on the second I burn toast, the high-pitched beeping ringing through my ears until I get on a chair to turn it off. It would be nice to have a smoke detector with a more nuanced understanding of fire safety (i.e, it should be able to tell the difference between charred toast and a grease fire). That’s why I’m intrigued by the IQ Smoke Detector. The website describes it as “ultra sensitive” to prevent false alarms, while staying on constantly. It not only detects smoke, but also a rapid rise in heat (like from an electrical fire). And it doesn’t just beep- with Brinks Home Fire Monitoring, your smoke alarm can immediately connect with the fire department. This is especially useful if you’re not home. The detector can be mounted to a ceiling or a wall, which I like because it’s easily accessible. With a battery life of three to five years, you can rest assured that your smoke detector is in it for the long haul.
IQ Carbon Monoxide Detector
If you don’t already have one, Brinks’ IQ Carbon Monoxide Detector is a good choice. It’ll detect carbon monoxide (CO) around the clock, and will let out an 85 decibel siren if it detects dangerous CO levels. Of course, the CO detector communicates with your control panel, and will let you know of any tampering or battery condition issues. This detector should be good for five years, according to the manufacturer.
IQ Flood Detector
Finally, there’s the IQ Floor Detector. As a child, I remember literally wearing rain boots to go down to our basement; it was flooded constantly. If only I could travel back in time and install the IQ flood detector. Put it in any area where you want to detect water leaks, and it’ll tell you long before you have an indoor swimming pool. Like the CO detector, it’ll last for five years.
What’s Installing a Brinks Security System Like?
Being a more old-school security company, Brinks uses installation experts to set up their security systems. My installation expert (let’s call her Maude) called me and took about 10 minutes to explain how my system is set up. Next, she wanted to do a practice medical alarm call. After about 12 minutes and five failed attempts, she rebooted the system. The call worked…and another 15 minute explanation of the panel itself.
In general, Maude was very patient and understanding. She was willing to go through every detail with me, but also willing to move fast if I already understood something. All in all, the process took about 35 minutes, but I’d imagine it would take three times longer for someone unfamiliar with the system. Afterwords, Maude sent me a very nice follow-up email giving me her contact information as well as a link to Brinks’ helpful Youtube channel.
Professional Monitoring with Brinks
So you’ve got your security system and you’re feeling pretty good. You can stop there, or pay for professional monitoring. Although it’s not required of you (you can self-monitor your system through your mobile app), I recommend that you pay for additional professional monitoring. Let’s dig into why this matters, and how monitoring works.
How monitoring works
In a nutshell, professional monitoring allows your system to communicate with Brinks’ Alarm Response Center 24 hour a day, seven days a week. Say one of your alarms goes off. A monitoring professional will assess the situation and notify your local emergency services if necessary.
I know what you’re thinking: can’t I just call 911 myself? Of course, but you’re not always going to be able to. One, you may not be in a situation where you have time to handle an emergency and two, you may not be in your neighborhood, meaning you can’t contact your local police station. In contrast, the professional monitoring team can alert the proper authorities regardless of location or time. I’d also recommend checking in with your home insurance before making a decision- sometimes, professional monitoring can give you a sweet discount.
When it comes to professional monitoring, you have two options- Home Complete for $29/month and Home Complete with Video for $39/month if you purchased a security camera. Both options include:
- 24/7 monitoring- Your system will be monitored by a team of professionals
- Tamper protection- You’ll be alerted if someone tries to tamper with your security system
- Live voice assist- If, god forbid, you have an emergency, you’ll be able to communicate verbally with your professional monitoring team through your Home Touch
- Smartphone control- Use your phone to control your security system, manage alerts, and see recent activity
- Home automation– Connect smart devices like locks, thermostats, cameras, etc.
If you purchased a video camera and want to get the most out of it, there’s Home Complete with Video. In addition to the aforementioned services, you’ll also receive:
- Live video streaming- See what’s happening in your home 24/7 through your smartphone or tablet
- Cloud video storage– store up to 1000 clips on Alarm.com indefinitely
Brinks offers a 36 month (three year) agreement. I like that they let you cancel within the first 30 days without a fee. However, once the first 30 days are up, you’ll be locked into that three year agreement and required to pay the length of your contract. If you’re moving, you can easily take your security system with you, one of the advantages of DIY home security. Once your contract ends, you can either re-sign for another three years or go month-to-month.
Brinks’ Customer Support
No one wants to contact customer support, but sometimes it’s necessary. Suffice it to say, different companies provide different levels and qualities of customer support. Sometimes I get an efficient, helpful representative, while other times it feels like they’re doing me a favor. What side of the spectrum does Brinks fall into?
I will say that I had a pretty positive experience with Brinks’ customer support team. As an anti-social millennial, I obviously used the live chat feature, and am happy to say that I got prompt, informative responses. The only thing- and this is nit-picky- is that when I clicked to another page on the website, the chat box disappeared and I had to start a new conversation with another rep. Just make sure you stay on the same page if you’re using the live chat feature.
Similarly, my post-purchase phone call only took about ten minutes, about half the time of other security companies.
How It Works
You can contact Brinks’ customer support team via live chat, an online form, an extensive online help center, or by phone. The phone line is available from Monday through Saturday, seven AM until eight PM CST. These are not the best hours in the world (I prefer my customer support line to be open 24/7), but I’m into the variety of options. How do they work in practice?
I was happy to see that the Brinks website has both its Google reviews and its BBB page on its website. This seemed like a great sign- or so I thought.
While the Brinks website says that they have a Google rating of 4.4 stars, the actual Google review says that they’re at 4.1. It’s a small difference, but definitely doesn’t look great on their part. Despite this, 4.1 out of five stars is a good rating. When I looked at the reviews about customer support specifically, I saw a lot of issues with billing, which makes sense given the three-year contract. As I’ve said ad nauseam in my security system reviews, read your contract thoroughly before signing. However, most people writing Google reviews had a good experience with Brinks.
Better Business Bureau
Brinks has been a BBB-accredited business since 2011 and has an overall rating of A+. Unfortunately, their customers were not as kind. Brinks received a customer rating of less than two stars and 1,879 customer complaints in the past three years- pretty high compared to their competitors. Like other companies on BBB, the majority of the complaints were about Brinks’ products and services. For some reason, I wasn’t able to see any of the complaint details, so I couldn’t look specifically for customer support.
The Alarm.com App
Like a few other security companies, Brinks uses the Alarm.com app. Once again, I only ascertained this information by talking to customer support, which is a bit annoying. Regardless, let’s talk about the app’s features and what people think of it.
Let’s admit it: technology has made us lazy, and this app contributes to that- it makes controlling your security system easier than ever before. You’ll be able to arm or disarm your security system, view alerts, livestream your footage, answer the door, and control all of your connected devices- all from your smartphone or tablet. The less effort, the better!
People were liking the Alarm.com app. It received a 4.4 rating on both the Apple and Google stores, with the large majority being perfect five star reviews. Reading the reviews, I see that a lot of them are about the actual security system that the person bought rather than the Alarm.com app. In general though, the app seems to work pretty well.
Recap of the Brinks Security System
You could be the sweetest, juiciest peach in the world, but there’s always going to be someone that doesn’t like peaches. The same can be said for security systems. Brinks might be right for you if you’re looking for:
- 1080p HD video
- Two-way audio
- Amazon Alexa and Google Home integration
- Great customer service
- User-friendly app
- Cellular backup included
However, if any of the following scare you, Brinks might not be your best pick:
- An 113 degree field of view
- No ability to pan/ zoom the camera
- No artificial intelligence capabilities
- No local storage
- Three-year contract that you can’t get out of paying
- Must pay for remote control of system and livestreaming
Want to explore more options? Read about the best security systems of 2019.