What You Get
I purchased a touchscreen control panel, various sensors, and an indoor camera. Before I dive into each product, I did want to share my experience ordering a security system. From start to finish, my call lasted 44 minutes- by far the longest time I’ve ever spent on the phone with a sales rep. Keep in mind I went into the call knowing exactly what I wanted. Just something to consider as you learn about Protect America.
Let’s jump in!
Touchscreen Control Panel
The hub of your security system is the Touchscreen Control Panel. It’s a small white rectangle with a screen on its face that connects all of your smart home devices. From your control panel, you’ll be able to oversee all of your sensors as well as the temperature in your home. You can also arm and disarm your system through the control panel.
Door/ Window Sensors
The door and window sensors are small, white rectangles with rounded edges. They alert your system whenever a door or window is closed or opened. If a door is opened while your system is armed, your door sensor will alert your control panel, which will trigger your alarms. The sensors are completely wireless and have a five year battery life.
Like the door/ window detectors, the motion detector is wireless and can detect motion 25 feet horizontally. It measures movement through heat emissions, but don’t worry- it won’t beep every time your cat attacks her toy mouse. The motion detector can tell the difference between humans and pets, so long as they’re under 40 pounds.
Recessed Door/ Window Detectors
Don’t want anyone to see your door/ window detectors? Protect America offers two recessed options that are almost invisible. The first is the Ion Micra, a magnet contact transmitter. It’s a good option for windows or doors made of wood, vinyl or aluminum. The second option is the Ion Plunger, a one-piece option that fits right between a door or window and its frame. Both options are wireless. Beware: these detectors are harder to install than the regular door/window detectors. Like they say, beauty is pain!
Garage Door Detectors
Many people don’t realize how important it is to make sure that your garage doors are secure. Protect America’s garage door sensor is specially shaped to fit on hatches and roll-up doors. It’ll alert your control panel if it tilts, and doesn’t require any extra tools for installation.
I have to say that I’m a little disappointed with the camera’s video quality. It’s only 720p while the industry standard is 1080p HD. Similarly, the field of view is only 60 degrees- by far the smallest field of view that I’ve ever seen in a security camera. That means that to cover an entire room, you would need six cameras. On top of that, the camera lacks the ability to pan or zoom, a useful feature if you ever need evidence for the police. Overall, the indoor camera’s video capabilities definitely fell short of my expectations.
Blessedly, the camera has two-way audio. Why might a camera need audio, you ask? Well, if you’re an intruder and you hear a disembodied voice scream at you to leave, you’ll probably run away. It’s also useful for telling your husband to stop putting his feet on the couch from the next room over.
The camera has 4 infrared LED sensors.
If you purchase monitoring for your camera, you’ll receive a week of cloud storage. You can also buy an SD card for local storage. I love that the camera allows you to have both cloud and local storage- you’ll never have to worry about losing your footage, and the subscription plan is extremely reasonably priced.
Smart Platform Integration
The camera integrates with Amazon Alexa but not Google Assistant. If you’re looking for a camera that integrates with the Google ecosystem, you might want to look at the Nest Indoor.
Unfortunately, the camera does not have any artificial intelligence like person detection. Person detection helps you receive notifications that actually matter. There’s no need for you to be notified if your dog runs across the living room or if a car drives by. Some even more advanced systems can tell the difference between your friends and family and unfamiliar faces. I’m disappointed to see that the Protect America indoor camera does not have artificial intelligence software. However, given that the motion sensors can tell the difference between humans and animals under 40 pounds, artificial intelligence becomes less important.
The items that I bought protect the home from intruders. However, Protect America has some other products that deal with your home’s environment. While I didn’t purchase these products, I wanted to give you a little information about them anyway.
Not only will your smoke detector detect smoke (as you might have guessed), it will also communicate with Protect America’s emergency response team. The team responds to alerts in an average time of twelve seconds- extremely impressive and necessary, considering how quickly fires can overtake your home. Once the professional monitors get a signal that your smoke alarm has gone off, they’ll look into the situation and will alert police and firefighters if necessary.
Already have a smoke detector installed in your house? The firefighter sensor connects your existing smoke detector with the rest of the Protect America system. If your existing smoke detector goes off, the firefighter sensor will tell the security control panel, which can alert the fire department if necessary. Note: this product is only necessary if you already have smoke detectors hardwire into your home.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide is a scary thing because there’s no way to detect it without a machine. It’s completely colorless, odorless, tasteless, and deadly if undetected. Protect America’s carbon monoxide detector will make sure that your air is safe to breath.
Trident Environmental Sensor
Many people don’t know that the majority of water damage is preventable. All you need is an environmental sensor like the Trident. It detects water and extreme temperatures so you can prevent water leakage and pipes bursting.
Medical Alert Pendant
What if you’re without your smartphone and not near your control center? You’ll need the Medical Alert Pendant, a portable panic button that can be worn as a bracelet or necklace. Simply push the big red button to alert authorities that you need medical help.
Protect America doesn’t just manufacture security software. They also give you professional monitoring, which means that a team of monitoring professionals will keep an eye on your home and will handle any alarms that go off.
How monitoring works
Say you’re on an airplane when an intrusion happens- there’s no way you’d be able to handle a security situation. Even if you are able to receive the mobile app notification, you’re not always available to deal with any issues. That’s where professional monitoring comes in. If one of your alarms go off, the term will be alerted and can contact law enforcement if necessary. Of course, they’ll try contacting you first to prevent any false alarms, and you can cancel the alarm if you don’t need it. The monitoring team will also handle your smoke and fire alarms, carbon monoxide detector, and environmental detector. All systems are monitored 24/7 for free.
It’s also important to have landline or cellular backup. If the power goes out, you want to make sure that you have other sources for your security system to pull power from. Cellular/ landline backup is not included with your system but can be purchased for an additional monthly fee.
As 24/7 professional monitoring is included with the Protect America security system, you have the additional option to add landline or cellular coverage. Landline coverage is at a locked-in rate of $19.99 per month. Every additional camera adds $2 to the monthly cost (this will also get you a week of free cloud storage). If you want cellular backup, the sales team will customize a price for you based on your equipment and needs. Cellular backup can range anywhere from $19.99 a month up to $60 a month.
Contracts are 36-months long, or three years. Unfortunately, there is no way to get out of a contract once you’ve signed up- you’ll have to pay the entire contract.
Customer support is a little bit like airline food- it’s usually not very good. I’m hopeful that Protect America’s customer support team is knowledgeable and easy to reach.
I will say that I had an excellent experience with the customer support live chat feature. I had many questions about the security system, which were answered in an extremely straightforward and prompt manner.
Unfortunately, my experience with the customer support phone line was not as positive. I had a simple question about cellular backup and was on the phone for over 20 minutes, mostly on hold. The woman I spoke to talked over me and refused to send me any information via email. Unfortunately, many companies refuse to send you information so that you’ll have to speak to a sales representative. That’s why websites like Security Baron exist- to get you the info without all the hassle.
Let’s talk a little bit more about how the customer support works, and what other people thought of their experiences.
How It Works
On Protect America’s website, it has different topics with information, among them new installation, equipment tech support, and monthly system testing. You can also chat online with a customer support representative, or call their number directly. The phone line is available everyday from eight AM until 10 PM CST.
Although my experience with Protect America’s customer support team wasn’t great, I wanted to look at bigger populations of Protect America customers. In general, how did people feel about their customer support?
People generally had positive things to say about Protect America- it has a 4.1 out of five star rating on Google! I saw a lot of people compliment Protect America’s customer support process specifically.
“I had several questions for Protect America and instead of calling I used the chat feature. It worked very well. The customer service rep was very detailed, very courteous, and very knowledgeable,”
said Adriene Mitchell in her five star review. Props to Protect America for treating their customers right!
Better Business Bureau
On the Better Business Bureau, otherwise known as BBB, Protect America received an A overall rating. Customer reviews are not factored into BBB’s letter grade rating. Rather, the grade is “based on information BBB is able to obtain about the business, including complaints received from the public… information directly from businesses and from public data sources,” according to their website.
While the BBB rated Protect America positively, the customers were less happy. Their average customer review was less than three out of five stars, and they’ve gotten 525 complaints in the past three years. The two biggest complaint categories are problems with products and services and billing/ collections.
Since I’m looking to see how the customer support worked specifically, I checked out the 303 complaints about the product/ service. Many complained that customer service was rude, and it seems like many people were not aware of the terms of their contract. This happens often when people don’t read the fine print. Before you sign anything, always ask if the contract has a term-length or cancellation fee- it’ll save you a lot of problems down the line.
Not near your control panel? The Protect America app is where you can manage your entire security system, right from the palm of your hand. We’ll look at the app’s features as well as customer reviews.
Using the Protect America app, you’ll be able to arm or disarm your system, livestream your camera’s footage, and receive alerts if any of your alarms go off. It’s also where you can control your thermostat, if you purchased one.
I can’t tell you how important customer reviews are to a business. I don’t spend money with anyone before checking out their reviews, and it’s saved me from countless bad meals, lost packages, and other miscellaneous blunders. Is the Protect America app up to snuff?
On the Google Store, the Protect America app received a 3.1 out of five star rating, which is pretty middle of the road. While the majority of the reviews were five stars, one star reviews were a close second. Many people complained of trouble connecting to devices and arming/ disarming the system. I will say that Protect America has written extremely polite responses to every single review, mostly saying they will have a support technician reach out. It’s nice to know that Protect America is on top of its customer complaints.
Apple Store customers were not loving the Protect America app. It has an overall 2.4 out of five star rating with the majority of the reviews at only one star. I was surprised to see that only 82 people had reviewed the app on the Apple store, compared to 882 in the Google Play store. Again, Protect America responded to every review offering support.
Clearly, this app needs work, but Protect America does seem to care about its customers.
Protect America’s security system isn’t for everyone, but it may be right for you if you want:
- A motion sensor that can differentiate between humans and pets under 40 pounds
- Two-way audio
- Affordable cloud/ local storage
- Amazon Alexa integration
- Free 24/7 professional monitoring
- Good customer service
However, Protect America might not be your best bet if you don’t want:
- Camera with 720 p, a 60 degree field of view, and no option to pan/ zoom
- A three year contract that must be paid out
- An app that can best be described as “mediocre”