Fortress Securiy System Review

Fortress Securiy System ReviewFortress Security sells online home security packages through their website and other retailers. All of their systems are Do It Yourself (DIY). The company concentrates on marketing various prepackaged systems that are preprogrammed for the homeowner.

Fortress differentiates itself from the majority of home security companies by not offering monitoring, even with a third party vendor, at this time. Each of their panels has autodial functions that will dial whatever number(s) the user inputs.

All the sensors, detectors, panels and other equipment is proprietary and branded Fortress. Compared to the majority of the major U.S. home security companies, their products are inexpensive.

There are three product categories: Fortress SO2, Fortress GSM, and Fortress Total Security. Once you select a package from one of these categories, you can add additional sensors or detector accessories compatible with the package panel. The factory will preprogram the add-ons so that you need only activate and enter a few commands to add them to your existing control panel.

The company does not offer smart home Z-Wave appliance control. They have no still or video camera available, though the website advertised one will be available soon.

Fortress Pros

  • Everything is Do It Yourself (DIY)
  • No contracts
  • Free shipping
  • Everything is pre-programmed
  • You can use VoIP instead of landlines
  • Portable
  • Low cost components

Fortress Complaints

  • Confusing website and package offerings
  • No remote monitoring plans offered
  • Limited smartphone controls only available with some packages
  • Difficulty in finding a third party monitoring company that will monitor Fortress products
  • Alarm delays twice as the industry average of 30 seconds
  • Cannot name zones and they are designated by numbers only
  • Currently, no video offered
  • No Z-Wave
  • Limited homeowners insurance discount due to self-monitoring only

Home Security Packages Overview and Charges

Fortress SO2

Landline or VoIPBasic SystemSO2 ASO2 BSO2 CSO2 DSO2 ESO2 F
Price$99$119.99$189.99$189.99$215.99$219.99$259.99
Main Panelxxxxxxx
Door/Window Sensors251010101010
Standard Motion Detector123334
Pet-Immune Motion Sensor1
Key Fob2233333
Internal Siren111111
Indoor/Outdoor Siren11111
Panic Button1111
Smoke Detector11
Glass Break Sensor11

Fortress GSM 

Cellular and/or Landline and VoIPBasic Configurable SystemGSM AGSM BGSM CGSM DGSM EGSM F
Price$149.00$189.99$259.00$269.00$285.99$289.99$329.99
Main Panelxxxxxxx
Door/Window Sensors251010101010
Standard Motion Detector123334
Pet Immune Motion Detector4
Key Fob2233333
Internal Siren111111
Indoor and Outdoor Siren11111
Panic Button111111
Smoke Detector11
11

Fortress Total Security

Cellular OnlyBasicBasic ABasic BBasic CBasic DBasic EBasic F
Price$199.99$249.99$329.99$369.99$439.99$439.99$569.99
Main Panel*xxxxxxx
Door/Window Sensors251010101010
Standard Motion Detector123334
Pet Immune Motion Detector3
Key Fob2233334
Internal Sirenxxxxxxx
Plugin Siren1111
Indoor and Outdoor Strobe Siren1111
Solar Siren1
Panic Button11111
Smoke Detector11
Glass Break11
RFID Tag2244668
Keypad with RFID111
Total Security Outlet111

*Built-in Siren

Shipping is free within the continental United States for all packages and all orders over $99. The components have a three-year warranty.

Home Security Service Overview

The company makes most of their sales through their website, fortresssecuritystore.com. They also sell through Amazon, EBay, and similar sites. Each of their three categories of home security systems has seven separate packages with different items in each. Service is provided through their website

Since there are no monitoring contracts, they rely on sirens, strobe lights, and autodial to alert the users. The three categories of packages have different ways of dialling. The SO2 connects with landline and VoIP phones to autodial. The GSM uses cellular or landline and VoIP. The Total Security only uses cellular.

The cost for the packages runs from $99 up to $569.99. Each one contains at a minimum a control panel, at least two door and window sensors, a motion detector and a key fob. The control panels are different for each of the three categories, however. Only the Total Security control panel gives you limited application control through a smartphone app available for Android and iPhone.

Certain types of components and accessories only work with specific control panels. For example, there are door and window sensors compatible with the SO2 and the GSM only. You must buy specific door, and window sensors made for the Total Security packages.

Fortress Security provides service through online live support chat, videos, manuals, and various written material. The systems have an excellent reputation for being reliable and dependable. When something does break down or there is a problem with installation or accessory connectivity, most users give Fortress high marks for the quality of the support online.

There are 16 different sensor, detectors, and other components that Fortress includes in the different types of packages:

  • Main Panel
  • Door/Window Sensors
  • Standard Motion Detector
  • Pet-Immune Motion Sensor
  • Key Fob
  • Internal Siren
  • Indoor/Outdoor Siren
  • Panic Button
  • Smoke Detector
  • Glass Break Sensor
  • Plugin Siren
  • Indoor and Outdoor Strobe Siren
  • Solar Siren
  • RFID Tag
  • Keypad with RFID
  • Total Security Outlet

Additional items available not included with one of the packages include:

  • Gas Leak Detectors
  • Vibration Detectors
  • Water Sensors
  • Doorbells
  • Wireless Repeaters
  • Yard and Window Signs

Replacement parts such as brackets, extra sensor magnets, and batteries are also available.

Main Panels

All three types of panels, the SO2, GSM, and Total Security, can dial up to six numbers if an alarm is triggered. You can program the system to dial your cell, work, or whomever. You can also program the order in which it dials the numbers. You can install the wireless sensors and detectors up to 150 feet from the panel.

The SO2 uses a landline or VoIP only. The backup battery will power it for up to 72 hours. You can add up to 99 sensors in 32 zones.

With the GSM panel, you can also use a GSM SIM card (not included) in addition to enabling landline or VoIP dialling. If you use the GSM function, the panel will also send texts of system alerts or activations to a maximum of three phone numbers. This panel will allow up to 100 sensors and 10 zones.

The Total Security panels require a GSM SIM card. You can connect 150 sensors and can remotely arm and disarm your system on your smartphone.

Door/Window Sensors

The door and window sensors come in two parts: the sensor and the magnet. You attach on part to the door or window and the other part to the frame. Inexpensive at $12.99 each if bought separately, they have a battery that lasts up to five years.

Standard Motion Detector

The standard motion detectors detect movement of any kind up to 20 feet away at a 120° angle of detection. It uses a 9-volt battery for power.

Pet-Immune Motion Sensor

The pet immune sensors will not alert for pets up to fifty pounds. The detection distance and angle of detection are the same as the standard motion detector as is the power source.

Key Fob

The key fob has four buttons: arm, disarm, home and panic. It will work up to 150 feet from the control panel. The panel will emit an audible tone if one of the buttons is pressed. You do not need a passcode.

Internal Siren

The basic SO2 and GSM packages do not have an internal siren inside the control panels. All other SO2 and GSM packages have the integrated siren, and all Total Security package consoles have one.

Indoor/Outdoor Siren

The indoor/outdoor siren can be mounted anywhere on your property as long as there is AC power nearby. The siren is rated at 135 decibels. This siren is not compatible with the Total Security panel.

Panic Button

This panic button is wireless and one-touch. If you press the button, all other parameters of the system are overridden and the alarm will sound.

Smoke Detector

The smoke detector functions no matter what mode your system is in: home, away, armed or disarmed. The panels will support multiple smoke detectors.

Glass Break Sensor

The glass break sensors use AC power. The acoustical sensor inside is tuned to the frequency of breaking glass. The detector can cover a 50 square foot area. It is usually mounted on a wall facing the window(s).

Plugin Siren

This small, 85-decibel unit, plugs into any home AC outlet. One installed on the ground floor of most average size apartments or homes to alert the users and neighbors if an alarm is sounded.

Indoor and Outdoor Strobe Siren

These units need AC power to operate and have a internal backup battery also. It has a 140-decibel alarm.

Solar Siren

The solar siren is designed for outdoor use. It requires no external power.

RFID Key Tag

The RFID key tags work with any of the GSM or Total Security consoles. Just by swiping the key tag, you can disarm the system.

Keypad with RFID

This secondary keypad includes RFID to make disarming more convenient for the homeowner. The keypad is battery operated and requires three AAA batteries. You must have a user code to arm the system through the keypad.

Total Security Outlet

The total security outlet lets you plug in a light or appliance and turn it on or off remotely. The control panels will support up to twenty of these components.

Gas Leak Detector

The gas leak detectors detect several different types of combustible and dangerous gasses:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Liquid propane
  • Liquid natural gas

The unit plugs into any AC home outlet. In addition to signaling the control panel, it has a built-in flashing red light and siren.

Vibration Detector

These detectors will sense any vibrations of a forced entry into your home or business. For example, if someone breaks down your door, the sensors in the vibration detector will detect it.

Water Sensor

These units are normally installed along the baseboard or close to floor level. If water reaches the bottom part of the sensor where the probe is, the detector sends a signal to the alarm panel.

Doorbell

The wireless doorbells are compatible with the SO2 and GSM panels. You can program up to 50 different tones and melodies. The speaker unit plugs into the wall below it. The doorbell works off battery power.

Wireless Repeaters

The repeaters will extend the distance that your control panel can be from the sensors. Instead of 150 feet, you can extend the range to 350 feet or more.

Yard and Window Signs

The window stickers come in packages of four and are 4″ x 4″.

The yard signs are made of all-weather plastic and come one to a package.

Company History

The Fortress Security Store has been operating for over 20 years. Founded by current president Michael Hofeditz, in 2005, by 2012 it had become one of the largest suppliers of home security products in the United States. The company sells its proprietary sensors, panels and detectors throughout North America and abroad.

Their marketing consists of active and constantly updated Twitter and Facebook pages. Frequent coupons and other discounts entice followers to visit their pages.

Their equipment is manufactured by a third party and is not compatible with other systems. The company programs each component for the purchasers so that only a very few steps are necessary to integrate any additional sensor into an existing system.

The lack of contracts has attracted many clients in the past. However, to remain competitive the corporation recently announced they plan on introducing a monitoring option sometime in 2016.

Reviews

Please tell us about any experience, good or bad, you have had with the Fortress Security Store and their products. If you have a service story to share or anything at all concerning the company, please contact us and we will post it so that others can benefit.

If you have any questions at all, please contact us. Please email us if you find any errors or disagree with anything said in this review. We value your opinion.

Recommendations

Fortress sells a very functional and dependable system at a very affordable price. The cost of each component and package is substantially lower in some cases than any of their nearest competitors.

If you are looking for a simple, wireless, DIY system available at a reasonable price, then Fortress Security products are an excellent choice. If you are tired of the hassles of long-term monitoring contracts and do not need a third party monitoring your system, then Fortress may also be for you.

However, if you are not a DIY type of person, then you might consider looking elsewhere. If you need video and professional monitoring, Fortress will not be able to meet your needs.

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