Frontpoint has been in business for less than ten years. The company has rapidly become one of the highest-rated home security companies on many internet review sites. Based in Virginia, the company offers do-it-yourself (DIY) installation and three different monitoring packages.
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Frontpoint uses GE technology. All components are wireless, and two of the packages allow you to manage the package features with a smartphone app. Smartphone app features are not available with the basic Protection Plan. The console connects with the monitoring station by cellular transmissions.
The most expensive plan allows connection and management of smart home appliances, including video streaming and access through the online portal or smartphone.
You can opt for a one or three-year monitoring contract though opting for a one-year will substantially raise the upfront costs you must pay for the equipment.
- Easy DIY Installation
- Excellent Customer Service Reputation
- Free Risk-Free, 30-Day Trail
- Dedicated Cellular Service
- No High-Pressure Sales Tactics
- Outsourced Monitoring
- No Free Equipment
- Three-year Equipment Warranty vs. Lifetime Offered by Most Competitors
- Confusing Price Models
Home Security Packages Overview and Charges
Packages: Equipment and Costs
|Packages||Protection Plan||Interactive Plan||Ultimate Plan|
|Door and Window Sensor||4||4||4|
|Glass Break Sensor||1||1|
|Wireless Indoor Camera||1|
|Yard Sign and Window Decals||x||x||x|
*Depending on promotions and local dealers, the equipment costs may be discounted or activation fee discounted or waived
Home Security Service Overview
Do-It-Yourself seems to be a growing trend with home security companies. The support mechanisms for those of us that are “tool-box challenged” often keep these prospective clients from considering DIY products.
However, Frontpoint appears to have solved this problem by their emphasis on customer support. The company has a multi-layered support structure to help with any and all issues that might arise with a DIY home security system. They provide written, video and online instruction manuals for each installation step. Their phone technicians are knowledgeable and will spend as much time as necessary to guide clients through the installation process. Any problems with equipment are also addressed in a similarly direct and redundant fashion.
User reviews from the vast majority of websites reflect this. They have an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating with a relatively small number, sixty, registered complaints during the past three years. Frontpoint resolved all complaints.
The cellular and wireless systems are provided with each of the three packages, which make it less likely that the system can be compromised than with landline systems. Frontpoint also provides GE control panels with “crash and smash” protection. The panels have internal tamper switches that activate in the event someone tries to break the panel off the wall or smash it. However, the crash and smash alarm activation will not function if you opt for the basic Protection Plan.
The packages differentiate themselves by the types of service offered by the monitoring center and what you can and cannot do using your smartphone.
Related: see comparison of Frontpoint and ADT
All the packages have wireless, cellular transmission which negates the use of landlines. When landlines are used, cutting the phone line to the residence or small business will render the security system useless. Cellular will work as long as there is power. The consoles use AC power but have battery backups for use during power outages. The sensors and detectors run off battery power, and the lithium batteries will around five years for the sensors and three years for the smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors.
The Protection Plan will allow professional monitoring of all security components for intrusion detection such as door and window or motion sensors. The monitoring station will also monitor fire or carbon monoxide detectors and panic alarms or pendants. You must, however, manage these items through your GE console or the Frontpoint internet portal. If you want to use your smartphone, you must upgrade to one of the other two packages.
You can connect smart home appliances and cameras to the system, but you would have to self-monitor these components, and there is no way to access or store the video or photo footage for the cameras.
The Interactive Plan adds smartphone management to your service. You can program the console to send you text messages for various alarm conditions or events. You can also do anything from the smartphone app, such as arm or disarm the system that you can do from the touchscreen panel.
The Interactive Plan gives you geo-location services also. This allows you to pair the system with your phone GPS and set up virtual security perimeters around your home. For example, if you leave you home and forget to arm the system, you can create a program by following a few simple steps and have the console send you a text or email reminder.
Related: All home security system reviews
The Ultimate Plan permits full use of all the possible features of your console. You can add video and smart home appliances. The plan comes with one camera, and there are several more to choose from, including a combination camera and motion detector that will take a picture whenever the motion detector senses something.
The Ultimate lets the user access live video feeds or achieved footage. You can do so using the smartphone app, console or online portal.
The smart home appliance feature lets you control lights, locks, your HVAC system and more depending on whatever smart home component you purchase. The smart home items work using Z-Wave technology. You must purchase any smart home components separately.
In addition to the cost of the equipment, you may have to pay an activation fee. The activation fee can be waived or discounted. This will depend on any corporate or local independent dealers’ promotions or coupons.
Each monitoring plan comes with certain equipment. You must purchase the equipment but have thirty days to try it. If you decide that you do not want to purchase it for any reason, you can return it to return it for a full refund. You can also cancel your monitoring plan without penalty.
The pricing policing can appear confusing at first. The Frontpoint website advertises the monthly costs of monitoring for each package. If you choose one and go through the checkout procedure, you can view the equipment costs, minus any current offerings or coupons, and clearly see the total “out-the-door” price you pay.
You need to click “edit” to fully understand some of your pricing options. For example, there are two control panels. The touchscreen panel only comes with the Ultimate Plan. It will add $150 to the price of your system. If you click “edit,” you can opt for the push-button console and save on the upfront costs.
You can also edit the sensors or other equipment from the shopping cart edit screen. You can get fewer or more of anything that comes with the package or add any equipment offerings you want.
You also have the option of changing your monitoring contract to one-year instead of three years. If you do, then the 50% discount worth several hundred dollars drops to $25 off (on the Ultimate Package).
To maximize your savings, you will have to go through several iterations on the checkout and edit screens to determine what might be the best mix of value and cost top suit your personal needs.
Frontpoint uses GE technology for virtually all of its components but brands it Frontpoint. The company offers a good selection of all sorts of equipment on their website. If you want, you can purchase additional equipment from any source as long as it is GE or GE compatible. Any Z-Wave smart home appliance will work with the consoles. If you have an existing thermostat or other component using Z-Waves, you can connect and manage it through the Frontpoint home security panel and smartphone app. You must, however, purchase the Ultimate Package monitoring.
Frontpoint lists their equipment under three categories:
- Touchscreen Control Panel
- Pushbutton Console
- Keychain Remote
- Panic Pendent
- Door and Window
- Recessed Door
- Garage Door
- Glass Break
- Image Sensor
- Carbon Monoxide
- Smoke and Heat
- Water and Flood
Cameras and Home Automation
- Wireless Indoor Camera
- Wireless Outdoor Camera
- Light Control
- Keypad Lock
Touchscreen Control Panel
The 7″ color touchscreen panel connects by cellular waves and by Wi-Fi simultaneously. It works on AC power, has a battery backup, and is protected by “crash and smash” from vandalizing or attempts to disable.
The panel has a built-in siren and an image-capture camera. If anyone attempts to remove or damage the panel, a photo is taken automatically and sent to the user’s smartphone and the monitoring center by text or email.
This panel will also link all Z-Wave controls to the system.
The push button console has the same smash and crash protection as the touchscreen. There is also a 24-hour backup lithium battery in case of power outages.
You can program up to nine user codes. The system does not have Z-Wave connectivity, nor can you connect video. The console comes with the Protection and Interactive Plans.
The Keychain Remote has four buttons: arm, disarm, panic, and light. The light button actives a small light in the remote.
The panic pendant is weather and shock resistant. You can wear it around your neck or clip it to a belt. The recessed panic button must be pressed and held for two seconds to activate the alarm. You can program it for medical, emergency response or both from the monitoring center once activated.
Door and Window
Door and window sensors always come in two parts: sensor and magnet. The sensors have a low-battery indicator that will transmit a low-battery signal to the panel when the battery must be replaced. Batteries are generally good for five years.
The recessed door sensors let you install the sensor inside the door frame. No one can see them from the inside or outside. You must drill a hole into the frame of the door and slip the oval-shaped sensor inside. The magnet usually goes on the door.
Batteries are good for five to eight years.
The garage door sensor works by activating a signal whenever the sensor is tilted at a certain angle. You can program the touchscreen panel to alert you by text or email if the sensor activates.
The glass break has a 20-foot range. The audio sensor inside is tuned to the sound frequency for breaking glass.
The motion sensors are “pet-safe” for pets up to forty pounds. They have a range of about 15 feet. The batteries last from two to four years.
The image sensors have a low light lens for night activation. These sensors combine a camera with a motion detector. The motion detector component, like the motion sensor without camera, is pet-safe.
If the sensor detects motion, the camera will take a photo of whatever it was that caused the activation.
The wireless and battery-powered carbon monoxide detector has a built-in siren to complement the control panel siren. The sensor element works for up to five years before it will need replacement.
Smoke and Heat
The smoke and heat detectors have two sensors inside. One will alarm when the temperature rises a certain number of degrees during a certain period. The other detects particulate matter from smoke.
The sensors last approximately five years.
Water and Flood
The transmitter and water sensor are separate. The water sensor portion is usually installed along the floor by an appliance like a washing machine, dishwasher or by the water heater.
Wireless Indoor Camera
The rectangular-shaped, miniature video camera comes with a stand. It is only for indoor use. It has infrared night vision and has excellent picture clarity at up to twenty feet.
Wireless Outdoor Camera
The outdoor, fixed-lens camera also has infrared night vision. Motion sensitive, any movement will trigger a recording. You can activate and view live images at any time using your smartphone or the online customer portal.
The light control, connecting by Z-Wave, lets you do a number of different things with your system. You can plug in any light fixture and have it turn on whenever an alarm is activated. You can also program it, using the console, smartphone or customer portal, to turn the lights on and off at a certain time of day or night.
The keypad lock has an electronic deadbolt. You can give everyone in your family a different access code and then view through your smartphone the time and date of whichever access code locked or unlocked the door. You can have texts or messages sent to you telling you when a certain code user accessed the house.
The lock allows you to program it so that when you arm your system the door locks automatically.
The thermostat can be pre-programmed depending on your desires. You can also change the settings at any time from work or when on vacation.
The geo-services allows you connect your Frontpoint panel with your smartphone GPS and maps. Each user can set up one or more virtual security perimeters and establish rules that will do certain things once you pass the perimeter boundary. You can remind yourself to arm the system, turn up or down the thermostat or even activate a Z-Wave garage door opener (not sold directly by Frontpoint) whenever you are a certain distance from the house.
The founder of the company, Peter M. Rogers, had a career in the security industry prior to starting Frontpoint. He worked for Tyco, a major supplier of security equipment and one of the world’s largest suppliers of CCTVs (Closed Circuit Television) and later as a managing director at a security consulting firm.
The company started off in the continental United States in 2007 and quickly expanded to Puerto Rico and Canada. There are approximate 300 direct-hire employees, most of whom work out their headquarters in Vienna, VA.
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If you have any questions about what was in this review, or anything at all about Frontpoint or home security, please contact us. We will do our best to address adequately whatever it is you would like to know.
Frontpoint has a solid DIY home security system. There are enough product choices to provide life safety for just about any house or apartment. The home automation offerings utilize what seems to be on its way to becoming an industry standard, Z-Wave technology. The all-cellular packages, including the option for a one year instead of a three-year contract, most consumers will find attractive.
The lack of aggressive sales personnel, which have caused legal and public perceptions problems for some of Frontpoint’s competitors, may also encourage many to try Frontpoint. The thirty-day free trial also helps attract new home security customer in particular.
If you do not like DIY, and prefer not to pay for the equipment up front, then Frontpoint may not be for you.