Monitronics Review

Monitronics ReviewMonitronics works through a system of independent dealers to sell home security systems. The Dallas-based company claims to be the second largest home security company in the United States, servicing over 1 million homes and businesses.  The company provides monitoring services for all customers from their five-diamond rated center in Dallas, Texas.

Most of the equipment used and sold by the independent dealers comes from Honeywell or GE, though the local independent dealers determine what type and brand to sell.

The systems available include security, fire/smoke, carbon monoxide and Z-Wave smart home appliances. Remote control of the systems is available at extra cost. Monitronics systems require dealer installation and are not Do-it-Yourself (DIY).

The company offers three types of home security monitoring packages and two types of medical alert packages that include some home security devices as well.

Monitronics Pros

  • Good Selection of Equipment
  • Smartphone Remote Access Availability
  • Lifetime Equipment Warranty

Monitronics Complaints

  • Dealers Do Not Always Sell All Equipment
  • High Activation Fees
  • Equipment Pricing Varies
  • Service Cost and Plans Dependent on Local Dealer
  • Monthly Contract Terms Dependent on Local Dealer

Home Security Packages Overview and Charges

Each Monitronics dealer can set prices for the components and may have additional installation or other charges.

Home Security Packages

PackagesBasic SecurityHomeTouch SecurityHomeTouch Premier
Cost$34.99$44.95$54.95
Activation Fee$99$99$149
Color Touchscreen Keypadxxx
Motion Detectorxxx
Door/Window Sensorsxxx
Keychain Remotexxx
Indoor Video Cameraxx
Yard Sign and Window Decalsxxx
Medical Monitoringxxx
Services
Carbon Monoxide Monitoringxxx
Water/Flood Detectionxxx
Two-Way Voicexx*x
Local Weather Alertsxx
Remote Smart Device Controlx**x
Z-Wave Controlx*x

*Extra $5 monthly service charge
**Remote arm/disarm, and text/email notifications are free. Other remote services cost extra.

Medical Alert Packages*

PackagesHomeTouch CareHomeTouch Care Plus
Cost$46.95$56.95
Activation Fee$149$149
Touchscreen Keypadxx
Motion Detectorxx
Door/Window Sensorsxx
Keychain Remotexx
Medical Pendent or Watchxx
Indoor Video Camerax
Remote Arm/Disarmxx
Email and Text Notificationsxx
Two-way Voicex
Local Weather Alertsxx
Remote Z-Wave**x
Remove Video Accessx

*Basic equipment provided with the packages is free.
**Cost of Z-Wave equipment is extra.

Home Security Service Overview

Monitronics has been in the alarm business for over 20 years. The company works exclusively through local independent dealers who provide and install the systems. Customers must sign a three-year monitoring contract.

All of the Monitronics systems require professional installation. They are wireless and work through a landline or cellular. The dealers provide service support though the company website has various “how-to” and troubleshooting videos and instructions to assist customers.

There are three basic home security monitoring packages: Basic Security, HomeTouch Security and HomeTouch Premier. The Basic package does not allow any sort of remote or smartphone management. The HomeTouch has limited remote control, email and text notifications and arm/disarm capability. For an additional $5 a month, the HomeTouch package lets you manage the other system features through your smartphone too. The HomeTouch Premier includes full smartphone and remote management in the basic charge of $54.95 a month.

Two-way voice for the Basic and HomeTouch carries an extra $5 per month premium charge also.

Installation is free but there activation fees apply. The advertised activation cost runs $99 for the Basic and HomeTouch, and $149 for the Premier package. These costs can vary depending on the dealer however.

Monitronics has two other packages they list as Medical Alert Systems. Both packages include basic home security equipment, keypad, door/window contacts, motion detector and keychain, in addition to a medical pendent or watch. The premium version has a camera, smartphone remote management and two-way voice also.

The Medical Alert Systems require a three-year monitoring contract and have a $149 activation fee.

Your three-year package has stringent no-cancelation clauses. Any cancelations require you to pay the full amount remaining on the term. For example, if you have a basic system and pay $34.99 per month, and cancel after two years, you will owe the final year’s cost or $419.88.

You can have the system removed and re-installed at another location. However, depending on the local dealer’s policies, you most likely will be charged an installation and activation fee to do so.

Automatic local weather alerts come with all but the Basic Security Package and are part of both Medical Alert System packages. There is also an interactive map that is updated showing local crime activity and locations of any registered sex offenders in your neighborhood.

Monitronics provides the equipment free. However, the local dealers determine what sort of equipment to use, normally Honeywell or GE wireless sensors and detectors. Some sensors may not be stocked by the dealer. For example, your local dealer may only stock indoor fixed cameras and no pan and tilt.

The dealers have the freedom to charge different prices too. Specials, coupons and other promotions can lower the system’s cost considerably.

Here are the types of sensor, detectors and Z-Wave components available through Monitronics dealers:

  • Video Cameras
  • Keypads
  • Door and Window Sensors
  • Motion Detectors
  • Medical Pendant/Watches
  • Keychain Remotes
  • Light/Appliance Modules
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Moisture Sensors
  • Shock Sensors
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Heat Detectors
  • Image Sensors
  • Glass Break Detectors
  • Freeze Sensors
  • Door Locks
  • Thermostats
  • Garage Sensors

Monitronics CameraVideo Cameras

There are five types of cameras available from Monitronics: four indoor cameras and one outdoor. All but one are video.

The Image Sensor unit captures still photographs. Made for indoor use only, it also has a built-in motion sensor that will automatically activate the camera whenever the sensor detects movement. It has a low-light Infrared lens that allows good quality photographs at night. If you have the premier home security package or the Home Touch Care Plus Medical Alert, you can view the images at any time on your smartphone. You can also receive alerts and have the photos sent to you by text or email whenever the alarm activates.

There are two more indoor cameras offerings. Both models sit on a table, bookshelf or other flat surface. One is specifically made for nighttime use and provides good image quality in very low light conditions.

The forth indoor camera is a pan and tilt model that also has an automatic infrared lens.

The outdoor Wi-Fi camera has a fixed lens. The weatherproof casing permits installation on any part of your property within range of the keypad or control console.

All cameras require AC power.

Medical Pendant/Watches

The medical alert devices can either be worn around your neck as a pendent or as a watch. One version has two-buttons and requires you to press both at the same time in order to activate the alarm. The other one requires you to press and hold the button for at least two seconds.

The HomeTouch Care Plus has two-way voice so that you can speak with the monitoring station directly in the event of an emergency.

Keypads

Monitronics sells three keypad touchscreen control consoles: the 2Gig Go!Control, Interlogix Simon XTi, and Honeywell Lynx Touch L7000. All have interactive color screens with built-in Z-Wave smart home appliance controls.

Each touchscreen has user-friendly icons and are completely wireless. Each has a built-in speaker for two-way voice and siren. The screens will automatically display visually and warn you audibly of any tornado warnings issued by the U.S. or Canadian local weather services.

Door and Window Sensors

Door and Window sensors can be used interchangeable on a door or window. They come in two parts: the sensor portion and the magnet. The sensor usually attaches to the door or window frame and the magnet, the smaller piece, to the actual door or window.

Motion Detectors

The passive, infrared motion sensors used by Monitronics are pet-safe. They will not alert to pets under a certain weight and size. You can usually easily cover, on average, a 10 x 15 size room with one motion detector.

Keychain Remotes

The three types of keychain remotes work within 100 feet of the keypad control console. About the same size or smaller than your car key fob, you can arm disarm the system by pressing a button.

Two options are four-button fobs. The third option is a simple panic button that will activate an audio alarm siren and will notify the monitoring service to send police or fire to your residence.

Light/Appliance Modules

The light and appliance modules use Z-Wave technology to communicate and remotely manage these components through your home security system. Monitronics has two types of light modules. One devices lets you plug in any type of standard floor or table lamp into it. The module then plugs into the wall and you can control the light with yours smartphone or security panel.

The second type of light module functions the same way but has a dimmer.

The appliance module is for use with small appliances like fans or coffee pots, allowing you to turn them on or off remotely, or program through your security panel a time for the appliance to turn on or off.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The Carbon Monoxide or CO detectors are wireless and run on battery power. In addition to activating the console siren in the event of activation, the detectors have their own built-in sirens.

The batteries last for up to three years and the sensor for up to five years. There is a low-battery indicator and sensor failing indicator. You can program the panel to alert you by text or email for any CO alert condition.

Moisture Sensors

The Honeywell moisture sensors will alarm the panel if there is a flood or overflow of water. You normally place these sensors near any appliance attached to a water line or by your water heater.

Shock Sensors

Shock sensors detect the vibrations made by panes of glass hitting the floor or door panels kicked in. They work at a distance of about 15 feet and like a motion detector can cover a specific area of the home or small business.

Smoke Detectors and Heat Detectors

The smoke and heat detectors, like the CO units, have built-in sirens that activate along with the panel siren if Co is detected.

The smoke detector has a five-year, lithium battery as does the heat detectors.

The smoke sensors detect the particulate matter in smoke from a fire. The heat detectors will sense a specific temperature, usually above 135°F, as well as a sharp rise in temperature over a short period of time.

Glass Break Detectors

The glass breaks work up to 25 feet away from the windows. They work will opposite banks or windows or large window panes. They can save you money as you can use one sensor to cover several windows.

Glass breaks work by using an acoustical sensor tuned to the frequency of breaking glass. Most sensors will detect the breaking sound of most brands of glass utilized in homes.

Freeze Sensors

Freeze sensors placed near your pipes will warn you if the temperature starts to dip to the point that your pipes may freeze. The industry standard temperature for an alert to sound is around 45°F or below. Some freeze sensors will allow you to program the alert temperature within a certain range.

Door Locks

Monitronics sells three different types of Kwikset lever lock and deadbolt Z-Wave lock systems. All locks will fit any standard residential door. Installation does not require drilling any holes. You can install them using a screwdriver only.

The keypad system allows you to enter user codes for each person in our household. Using your Master Code for your alarm system, you can enable or disable a code at any time. You can set the system to alert you when someone enters the house and can view systems logs to see what time and which user entered the door.

There is a key override system too that comes with each lock.

The lever and deadbolt models come in three colors: polished brass, stain nickel and Venetian bronze.

Thermostats

Honeywell, 2Gig and Trane Z-Wave thermostats are available through Monitronics dealers. Each lets you set schedules for turning the system on or off or changing the temperature to help conserve energy. You can also get text or email alerts whenever the system setting go into effect or are changed by someone.

Garage Sensors

Garage sensors are normally installed on your garage or shed door. They will notify the control panel whenever your garage door is opened or closed. Depending on your programming, notification alerts can be sent each time this occurs too.

Company History

Monitronics has their headquarters in Dallas Texas. The company was incorporated in 1994. During the past 20+ years they have had unusually good growth each year and currently service customers most of North America.

In 2010, Monitronics was acquired by Ascent Capital Group Inc., a large Colorado-based company.

In March 2015, Monitronics bought the Do-it-Yourself company LiveWatch for $67 million.

The company does not have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating for the corporate headquarters. Each individual dealership normally has a BBB rating. The average among the independent dealers is B.

Reviews

Please share with us any of your experiences with Monitronics. We would love to hear about your service or product stories. Any of dealings with the monitoring centers and contract issues would interest our readers.

If we can answer any of your questions, or if you have anything to add or believe something in this review is incorrect, please contact us.

Recommendations

Monitronics gives you a solid and dependable home security system that provides you with enough choices to suit most home or small business owners. If you are not a DIY-type person, Monitronics likely is a good prospect. The monitoring center receives excellent reviews and is considered state-of-the-art by industry analysts.

If you do not like long contracts, and want all the latest and greatest in home security sensors and detectors, Monitronics might not be for you. The pricing can be confusing, especially if you want smartphone or remote management. You are also subject to the quality of service and pricing of your local dealer too, who also may not carry the exact type of sensor you desire.

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