About LiveWatch Home Security
We all want to feel safe in our homes, but the problem is that most security systems are expensive, require professional installation, and subject you to excessively long contracts.
Fortunately, as technology has progressed over the years, more and more inexpensive DIY security systems have made their way to market.
Originally founded in 2002, LiveWatch Home Security was among the first of these new-breed systems to appear, and the company claims they’ve been used by over 200,000 people ever since. Why?
We’ll talk about this in-depth later on, but LiveWatch tells us their professional-grade security systems monitor key events like an intrusion, fire, and carbon monoxide; require no tools for installation, allow you to control home automation devices, and provide access via a mobile app.
What’s more, LiveWatch claims their ASAPer service delivers the fastest reporting time in the nation (30 seconds, compared to 330 seconds for some of the competition).
Overall, purchasing a LiveWatch Home Security system occurs over a 4-step process:
- Choose your monitoring plan.
- Choose your hardware package. You’ll also be able to add or remove peripheral hardware like door sensors, motion sensors, and keychain remotes.
- From there, a LiveWatch technician will pre-program the components specifically for your home, and will test your system’s functionality before shipping it to your door.
- Unbox, plug in, and activate. Every sensor is conveniently labeled so you’ll know where it goes.
Together, LiveWatch tells us their home security systems are less expensive than the competition because they don’t use installers, and they only sell you the components you actually need to protect your home.
But does this mean LiveWatch Home Security is right for you? Are there any important considerations you should keep in mind?
Let’s explore all your questions so you can make a more informed decision.
What’s Included In LiveWatch’s Plug&Protect Systems?
Regardless of the LiveWatch system you order, you’ll complete a brief online questionnaire that will help the company appropriately configure your system.
Once it’s received, LiveWatch claims that if you can hang a picture, you can set up Plug&Protect without any tools. This is because each component comes with extra-strength, 3M adhesive strips, allowing you to complete installation in about 15-20 minutes.
Even then, we’re told a LiveWatch technician will be with you on the phone during setup. Afterward, they’ll “run a few tests” to ensure everything’s working.
Like most security systems, LiveWatch works using a central (touchscreen) panel and peripheral components such as motion sensors and door contacts. Instead of wires, though, the panel communicates with sensors using a low-power radio signal.
To communicate with the monitoring center, the Basic panel (more in a second) uses cellular networks, similar to a cell phone, while the top-tier system uses dual-path communication (cellular and Wi-Fi).
Unlike regular cell phones, though, LiveWatch’s panel can use any available cellular network in the event of an emergency.
According to the company, each door sensor uses a single 3V lithium watch battery, while motion sensors use two lithium AA batteries, both of which should last between 5 and 10 years before requiring replacement.
Finally, each panel can communicate with up to 40 Z-Wave smart sensors and home automation devices via their Android, iOS, or Windows Phone apps.
Now, let’s take a look at the differences between each LiveWatch system:
Features a GE Keypad Alarm Panel, which solely uses a secure cellular signal to communicate with the monitoring center. It also features a 24-hour backup battery, fast-action emergency keys, and a 104db siren.
Along with the panel, the Basic system comes with 2 wireless door sensors, 1 wireless motion sensor, 2-yard signs, 6 window stickers, and a free keychain remote.
This device allows you to arm or disarm your system from up to 175ft away, while the panic button allows you to dispatch police immediately in the event of an emergency.
LiveWatch’s Plug&Protect Basic system.
LiveWatch’s IQ system uses their IQ 2.0 Touchscreen Panel, which features a 7" display, Android operating system, dual-band connectivity (cellular and Wi-Fi), and a built-in camera.
This allows access to extra features, like weather and downloadable apps, as well as wireless updating.
As far as sensors and accessories, LiveWatch’s IQ system includes 2 wireless door sensors, 1 wireless motion sensor, 2-yard signs, 6 window stickers, and a free keychain remote.
LiveWatch’s Plug&Protect IQ system, with the dual-band touchscreen panel.
Now that we know more about LiveWatch’s different security systems, let’s take a closer look at each of their monitoring packages.
What Are the Differences Between LiveWatch’s Monitoring Packages?
In addition to their hardware systems, LiveWatch offers three different home security monitoring packages:
Includes 24/7 monitoring, ASAPer (more soon), and the ability to remotely arm or disarm your alarm (including setting a timer) from the mobile device of your choice.
You’ll also be protected with Crash&Smash, which automatically triggers an alarm if an intruder attempts to destroy your panel, along with LiveVoice Assist, a feature that allows you to talk directly to the monitoring center through this same panel.
Includes everything found in the Mobile Pro package, with the addition of:
- Smartphone Control – Use your smartphone or tablet to schedule alerts, view activity, and manage your system.
- Home Automation – Use your hub to control Z-Wave-based smart devices in your home, like cameras, locks, lights, thermostats, and more.
- Location-Based Control – Similarly, you’ll be able to use your location to trigger specific actions in your home, including changing the interior temperature, turning lights on or off, and more.
- Real-Time Alerts – If your system is disarmed, your windows are left open, or activity is detected, you’ll receive text and email alerts to your mobile device.
- Smart Image Capture – LiveWatch’s security panel (or an external image sensor) can snap photos of your home, which can then be saved to an SD card.
Total Home + Video
Includes everything found in the Total Home package, with the addition of:
- Smart Video Capture – Once an event occurs (e.g. motion detection, alarm triggered, or a custom event), your security camera will automatically capture a video clip. You’ll be able to store up to 1,000 clips per month via a cloud, while clips can be accessed remotely through a website or mobile app.
- Live Video Streaming – Using your mobile app or web browser, you’ll be able to view your camera’s live video stream.
- Security Camera – LiveWatch’s IP Indoor Wireless Camera promises to deliver infrared night vision; full color, 720p high definition video, a small 3"x3" size, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
What Is LiveWatch’s ASAPer?
Regardless of the package or monitoring option you choose, LiveWatch’s security systems use a proprietary technology called ASAPer (As Soon As Possible Emergency Response) to “find who you need, when you need them.”
In a nutshell, seconds after an event occurs, the system will send a text message, email alert, or phone call to each person on your emergency contact list (you can add as many as you like), which you’ll create after purchasing.
Then, using ASAPer’s group chat, you can make sure everyone’s in the loop and resolve the situation appropriately. If you’re unavailable, however, the monitoring center will dispatch the police to you.
How much will each of these systems and monitoring plans cost you?
How Much Does LiveWatch Home Security Cost?
LiveWatch’s hardware packages are priced as follows:
- Plug&Protect Basic: $99
- Plug&Protect IQ: $299
You’ll pay the following for their monitoring packages:
- Mobile Pro: $34.95 per month
- Total Home: $39.95 per month
- Total Home + Video: $49.95 per month
According to the company’s FAQ, your initial monitoring contract is for 12 months, after which it will roll over to month-to-month.
Note: It doesn’t appear that you’ll be charged a termination fee if you cancel within the first 12 months, although you’ll likely be responsible for paying for the remainder of your contract.
All LiveWatch Home Security systems come with free 2-day shipping, a 365-day guarantee, as well as a 2-year limited warranty. In order to reach customer service, you’ll need to call 855-LIVEWATCH or submit an online chat request.
How do LiveWatch’s prices compare to the competition?
LiveWatch vs. ADT vs. SimpliSafe
Although LiveWatch was one of the first simple, DIY home security systems on the market, there are several other competitors vying for their market share. Below, you’ll find a table outlining some of the key differences between LiveWatch and two of their biggest competitors.
|Upfront Price||$99+||$229+||Varies (you’ll need to contact customer service for a quote)|
|Home Automation||Yes||No||Lighting, thermostat, door locks, & garage door|
|Contract Length||12 months||None||3 years|
|Refund Policy||1 year||60 days||6 months|
|Termination Fee||No||No||Yes (Varies)|
Which of these is right for you? As with most security systems, your wants and needs will be the largest determining factor.
For example, is your primary goal to completely avoid contracts? If so, your only option above would be SimpliSafe, who also happens to offer the lowest monthly monitoring cost.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the most robust home automation capabilities, then LiveWatch might be the way to go.
Speaking of home automation…
What Is Z-Wave? What Are the Pros & Cons?
Z-Wave is a home automation protocol (you can also think of it as a “language”) that allows different devices in your home to “talk” with one another.
As a result, for example, you can program your panel to send a signal to turn on a connected light as soon as the alarm is disabled. Another example would be to automatically turn your thermostat to 78° once the alarm is activated.
For LiveWatch specifically, you’ll be able to use Z-Wave to control up to 40 components and smart home devices, including flood sensors, smart door locks, and more.
Now, Z-Wave isn’t the only home automation protocol; in fact, it’s one of the newest, although it’s quickly gaining in popularity. Some of the more popular competition includes Insteon and Zigbee.
Comparatively, Z-Wave operates on its own band and uses a mesh network to maximize signal strength and extend its range, while using less power than many other protocols.
The protocol is also used by more than 1,000 different devices, so if you’re looking to implement components from several different manufacturers, it might be one of your first choices.
On the other hand, depending on your familiarity with programming, some users have claimed that Z-Wave devices can perhaps be more complicated to set up than some of the other popular protocols.
What Can We Learn From LiveWatch Customer Reviews?
On BestHomeSecurityCompanies.com, LiveWatch Home Security had an average rating of 5.1 (out of 10) at the time of our research, based on 60 customer reviews.
There, common complaints appeared to revolve around high-quality products and monitoring services, solid customer support, and low prices.
On the other hand, some of the most common complaints related to billing problems, high-pressure sales tactics, and less-than-stellar customer support.
From a professional perspective, Security Baron liked that LiveWatch’s systems are completely wireless, they use Z-Wave technology, and that they offer short contracts without any termination fees.
However, they noted that most homeowners will require more equipment than what’s included in their packages (which is costly to add), and that their website isn’t very user-friendly.
From a company perspective, LiveWatch (formerly known as SafeMart) was founded in 2002 by former paramedic Chris Johnson.
When working, Chris came to understand the importance of timely emergency response, which is why he’s focused on providing the fastest responses in the industry, all in a simple solution that meets customers’ needs.
We’ve covered quite a bit of territory here, so let’s wrap things up and answer the burning question: Is a LiveWatch Home Security system right for you?
Who Might a LiveWatch Home Security System Work Best For?
As you might imagine, the “best” of anything depends on highly personal factors based on wants and needs.
As we briefly discussed this earlier, this means that choosing the right home security system will likely hinge on your top 3-5 must-haves. In fact, it can often come down to a single factor such as price, feature set, contract terms, ease of setup and use, and more.
With this said, while we didn’t test a LiveWatch Home Security system in person, based on what we learned during our research, they seem to strike a nice balance between many of the factors customers might find most important.
And if you’re not satisfied, they offer one of the best refund policies in the industry, without any early termination fees.
Just keep in mind that you still might have to pay for the remainder of your contract!
What do you think of your LiveWatch system? Does it meet your needs? In your opinion, what are some pros and cons? Give us the inside scoop by writing your review below!