LiveWatch Review

LiveWatch ReviewSafeMart started rebranding itself as LiveWatch in 2013. The company offers do-it-yourself (DIY) home security product packages along with a menu of monitoring options. The company owns and operators three monitoring centers and services about 200,000 customers nationwide.

Their systems are all wireless, use cellular waves and you can purchase them through their website. Depending on the monitoring and equipment package that you choose, they also offer smart home appliance connectivity.

GE manufactures almost all of the sensors, detectors and cameras used by LiveWatch. GE also builds the entire smart home, Z-Wave appliance offerings except the two wireless deadbolt locks made by KwikSet. Quolsys makes the 7″ IQ Touchscreen Alarm Panel that manages the sensors/detectors and Z-Wave components. There are also a few specialty sensors made by Quolsys that only work with the IQ Touchscreen.

The two equipment packages come with 2-3 sensors, a console and keychain remote. You can customize your system and buy individual components, including smart home appliances, directly from the LiveWatch website. The GE consoles that come with each system package can connect up to forty sensors, detectors, and smart home appliances.

There are four monitoring packages. Three of the four allow you to manage the system using your smartphone. Prices vary starting at $19.95 and going up to $49.95. Video is only available with their most expensive monitoring package.

LiveWatch Pros

LiveWatch compares very favorably with the other major home security companies. The web reviews are mostly positive.

LiveWatch has several advantages:

  • 100% Wireless
  • One-Year Contracts
  • No Contract Termination Fees
  • Support for Z-Wave technology
  • Two-Year Warranties
  • A+ Better Business Bureau Rating
  • Range of Products Offered

LiveWatch Complaints

  • Very Little Equipment Included (most homeowners will require more)
  • Costly to Add Equipment
  • User-unfriendly Website
  • Self-installation Only

Home Security Packages Overview and Charges

Equipment Packages and Costs

Equipment PackagesPlug & Protect BasicPlug & Protect IQ
Charges$99*$99*
Door Sensorsxx
Motion Sensorxx
Simon XT Alarm Panelx
7" Touchpad with Camerax
Keychain Remotexx
Yard Sign and Window Stickersxx

*Requires Mobile Pro, Total Home or Total Home + Video Monitoring Contract


Monitoring Packages and Costs

Monitoring PackagesBasicMobile ProTotal HomeTotal Home + Video
Monthly Charge$19.95$29.95$39.95$49.95
Activation Charge$19.95$19.95$19.95$19.95
Equipment Package Discountxxxx
ASAPerxxxx
Crash and Smash Protectionxxx
Smartphone Controlxxx
7" Touchscreen with Cameraxxx
Smart Home Appliance Connectivityxx
2-Way Live Voice Assistxx
Location Based Controlxx
Video Capture and Streamingx
Camerax
Length of ContractOne YearOne YearOne YearOne Year

Home Security Service Overview

The LiveWatch home security system specializes in “plug and play” devices that provide high-tech products that home or small business owners can install themselves. The company uses name-brand, GE sensors, and consoles. They have a few signature offerings, such as ASAPer and Crash and Smash protection that help differentiate them from the competition.

The plug-and-play also has a 1-year return policy. Anytime within 365 days of purchase you can return the equipment for a full refund. The equipment itself is guaranteed for two years. Since it is all self-install, you can take the equipment with you if you change apartments or buy a new house.

The company’s monitoring contracts, which seem to be the center of just about all consumer complaints about home security companies, in general, also helps them stand out from some of the other major brands. The terms are considerably better than others offer and are more consumer-friendly than the majority of other home security industry leaders.

LiveWatch continues to receive high consumer ratings for service, just as their parent company SafeMart received. For example, in the past two years there have been only 15 complaints to the Better Business Bureau about LiveWatch products or services. One national brand received almost 5000 complaints in that same period. Most competitors average at least in the hundreds.

The company supports customers through what they term their Advantage service. Anyone with LiveWatch monitoring can call, chat or email the Advantage center for help with the installation or any other needs. The quality of the support receives consistently high ratings by users.

All of the equipment is wireless. The consoles communicate with the home monitoring stations by cellular waves. The smart home appliances come from a variety of companies that use Z-Wave technology in their devices.

The packages provide only the bare essential items a homeowner may need. You can buy each package for the full price, $299 or $399. The only difference an upgraded, touchscreen console with a built-in camera. However, the company offers both for $99 with a monitoring contract. If you cancel the monitoring contract within the first year, you must return the equipment.

Each package contains:

  • Two Door Sensors
  • One Motion Sensor
  • A Simon XT or IQ Touchscreen Alarm Panel
  • Keychain Remote
  • Yard Sign and Window Stickers

If you opt for the most expensive monitoring package, the Total Home + Video, LiveWatch provides an indoor camera as part of the package.

You can also purchase a variety of other sensors, detectors, cameras and smart home appliances.

Sensors

  • Basic Door
  • Flood/Water
  • Glass Break
  • Motion
  • Vibration
  • Garage Door
  • Freeze
  • Panic Button
  • Quolsys IQ Wireless PIR Motion Detector
  • IQ Door*
  • Quolsys IQ Wireless Secondary Touchscreen*
  • Quolsys IQ Wireless Wall Fob / Pin Pad*

Detectors

  • Wireless Crystal Smoke Detector
  • Carbon Monoxide

Cameras

  • Wireless Pan/Tilt IP Video Camera
  • IP Hi-Res Video Camera
  • Indoor Wireless Fixed IP Camera with Night Vision
  • LiveWatch Wireless Outdoor IP Bullet Camera w Infrared
  • LiveWatch Indoor Dome Hi-Res IP Video Camera

Miscellaneous

  • Talking Bi-Directional Keypad
  • Talking Touch Screen Keypad
  • Motion Activated Image Sensor*
  • Camera Motion Sensor
  • Keychain Remote

Smart Home Automation

  • GE Z-Wave Plug-In Fluorescent Light and Appliance Module
  • GE Z-Wave In-Wall Dimmer
  • Smart Switch
  • GE Z-Wave Outdoor Module
  • GE Z-Wave Wall Receptacle
  • GE Z-Wave In-Wall On-Off Switch
  • Advanced Zwave Thermostat
  • KwikSet SmartCode Wireless Keypad Deadbolt in Satin Nickel
  • KwikSet SmartCode Wireless Keypad Leverlock – Satin Nickel

*only works with the IQ control panel

ASAPer

The ASAPer feature essentially combines an automatic call/email/text feature to alert quickly anyone in the contact group within seconds of an alarm sounding. This allows your group to provide you input in the case of a false alarm. You can then resolve it from your computer or smartphone. You can speedily inform the monitoring center if it is a false alarm, as well as notify your group at the same time.

Crash and Smash Protection

This feature works if you buy the Plug & Protect IQ equipment package, which contains the 7″ touchscreen IQ control console. The IQ panel has a built-in camera. If anyone tries to disable or destroy the board, a photo is automatically taken and sent to the monitoring panel and homeowner.

The Plug & Protect Basic has the Simon XT push button console that does not have a camera.

Monitoring

All for monitoring packages provide reasonable levels of service. The Basic Package, for $19.95, while it does not allow smartphone management, includes ASAPer, which at least notifies you by phone text or email if an alarm is activated.

LiveWatch monitoring contracts are for one year. The industry standard is three years, and many require five-year contracts. The pricing is somewhat lower than many others are.

LiveWatch has no penalty for early contract termination. The majority of home security companies charges a minimum fee or prorates the amount based on the time left on your contract. This can cost over $1000 in many cases. If you decide to terminate your contract with LiveWatch, you pay no penalty. If it is within the first year of equipment purchase, you can get a full refund on the package you bought and any extra components.

LiveWatch does not contract out their monitoring services. All monitoring employees work for LiveWatch. The company owns three monitoring centers located in California, New Jersey, and Florida. Each center backs up the other. All have backup generators with ATT/Verizon cellular service.

 

Two-way Live Voice Assist

The panels each have two-way voice capability. This allows the homeowner to speak directly to the monitoring station. The feature is not active, however, unless you purchase the Total Home or the Total Home + Video monitoring.

Smartphone App

A smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone devices. Consumers give the app a four out of five-star rating. You can manage just about every feature of the system with your smartphone. As with Two-way Live Voice Assist, smartphone connectivity only works with Total Home and Total Home + Video.

A Simon XT or IQ Touchscreen Alarm Panel

The GE Simon XT series of control consoles can manage all the GE sensors and detectors. The only exceptions are a few specialty sensors made for connecting through the IQ Touchscreen. You will have to upgrade to the IQ from the Simon XT if you want to manage any smart home Z-Wave appliance.

The Quolsys IQ Touchscreen alarm panel is a portable Android tablet that manages all your components. If you did not purchase the Plug & Protect IQ component package, which includes the IQ touchscreen, you could buy a IQ panel separately for about $350.

Either panel allows you to connect up to forty sensing devices.

Basic and IQ Door Sensors

The basic and IQ door sensors have two parts: the sensor and the magnet. The smaller and more compact IQ sensor costs about $20 more than the basic sensor and will only work with the IQ panel.

Basic Motion Sensor

The GE 60-807-95R motion sensor is pet-safe for pets weighing 40 pounds or less. The sensor uses passive IR and has two sensitivity settings. It uses two, AA batteries and has an internal tamper switch.

Flood/Water and Freeze Sensors

The GE freeze sensors can protect against frozen pipes and other hazards associated with freezing temperatures. You mount the sensor flat by water pipes or other areas of concern in your home.

The flood and water temperature sensors will detect any overflow from a dishwater, boiler, or other appliance in the home that uses water.

The batteries will last 5-8 years.

 

Glass Break

The glass break sensor has a range of up to 20 feet. It has an acoustical sensor set the sound frequency generated by breaking glass. You can deploy the sensor facing a bank of windows and protect against any attempt to enter your home through one of the windows.

Vibration Sensors

The GE vibration sensors detect any vibrations made by someone trying to enter your home by trying to break down a door or break a window. The sensor also has an anti-tamper function that will alarm if anyone tries to remove the cover.

Garage Door

This component functions whenever the garage door or object to which it is attached tilts at more than a 45° angle.

Panic Button

You can wear the GE crystal panic button on your wrist, around your neck, clipped to a belt or you can mount it on a wall. Once the button is pressed, the LED face lights up and an alarm signal transmitted.

The panic button is water, chlorine and UV resistant.

Quolsys IQ Wireless Home Security Products

Quolsys manufactures several devices that only work with their console alarm panels that are used by LiveWatch. These include:

  • Secondary Touchscreens
  • Pin Pad
  • Motion Detector
  • Door Sensor
  • Camera Motion Sensor

The camera motion sensor combines a motion detector and camera. A photo is taken whenever the motion detector activates an alarm.

Wireless Crystal Smoke Detector

This unit detects smoke, heat and rise in temperature. It also has a tamper switch inside that will notify the base station whenever the detector is removed from the mounting plate.

Carbon Monoxide

This GE product will not work with older versions of the Simon XT alarm panel. You must have the 1.4 version or higher.

The sensors inside Carbon Monoxide detectors have a limited shelf life. The GE version sold by LiveWatch will alert the panel when the sensor begins to fail.

Wireless Pan/Tilt IP Video Camera

The pan/tilt indoor camera allows 350° rotation. You can set up to 20 preset views that you can manage remotely.

IP Hi-Res Fixed and Dome Video Cameras

These indoor color cameras have a fixed lens with 720P video resolution. There are three compression options for recording.

Indoor Wireless Fixed IP Camera with Night Vision

This model has an IR lens for better image viewing and capture in low-light conditions. It can be used with an existing Wi-Fi network also.

Wireless Outdoor IP Bullet Camera w Infrared

This outdoor camera also IR and has a 120 x 800 resolution with three recording compression options. It requires AC power.

Keypads and Keychain Remotes

The talking bi-directional and talking touchscreen keypads have built-in speakers and microphones with direct connections to the monitoring stations.

The keychain remotes have three buttons: alarm, disable and panic.

Z-Wave Light and Appliance Modules

LiveWatch offers several different GE light modules. There is a plug-in version for fluorescent lights that also works with any small appliance like a coffee maker. They sell two types of wall switches and a dimmer unit. There is also an outdoor plug-in module for outdoor lighting needs.

You can also buy a wall receptacle that plugs into the wall or a recessed, on-off switch that can replace an existing in-wall unit.

Thermostat

The GE thermostat can replace existing thermostats but will allow for remote control through your home security smartphone app or online portal.

KwikSet SmartCode Wireless Keypad Deadbolt and Leverlock in Satin Nickel

The wireless Kwik set locks each has a keypad for direct access but can also be opened or locked through the security system. The lever lock version includes a lever that, once the door is unlocked, must be used by the person desiring access before the entrance will open.

Company History

A former paramedic founded a company called SafeMart in 2002. The company sold GE and Honeywell home security products for almost a decade before Chris hired a new CEO to rebrand the company as LiveWatch. The SafeMart name still exists though technically LiveWatch became the “official” name of the company in 2014.

Monitronics, another home security company, acquired LiveWatch in March 2015. LiveWatch remains a separate entity distinct from the Monitronics brand.

Reviews

We would welcome any comments or suggestions regarding the LiveWatch brand and this article. If you have a LiveWatch system, please let us know about your experiences with the products and service. If you have any questions or concerns about LiveWatch or issues raised in this article, please contact us.

Recommendations

For any consumer that wants a do-it-yourself home security system, LiveWatch is an excellent choice. Home and small business owners tired of long-term, expensive contracts will want to consider LiveWatch. The lack of any contract cancelation penalties is also very attractive. The highly-rated GE products used provide peace of mind also.

For those who have never had a home security system but would like to try one, the one-year, full refund, return policy also makes LiveWatch a good option.

If you need professional installation, then you might have to consider another service.

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