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A security system is either monitored or unmonitored. While you can use an unmonitored system, we're here to tell you why having your system monitored is so important. Alarm monitoring service is the best way to ensure that responders arrive as soon as possible during an emergency.

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When a monitored system goes into alarm, it will activate a siren to alert those on-site, and it will send alerts to a central monitoring station and/or the end user directly via text and/or email, depending on the user's monitoring plan. If a system is not monitored, then the siren will still activate, but no remote alerts or notifications will be sent out.

The only way an unmonitored system is useful is if you are always on-site with the system. Then you will hear the siren and know to take action regarding the alarm. But what if you are away from your home or business and a fire or break-in occurs? That is when you count on your security system alarm monitoring service to ensure that the appropriate party is notified.

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There are two (2) types of alarm monitoring service. Central station monitoring involves having your system send an emergency alert to a central monitoring station where a highly trained operator will take immediate action. They can see the type of alarm that occurred (e.g. security, fire, carbon monoxide gas, medical, etc.) and contact the authorities in your area for help.

Some users prefer self-monitoring service. This involves having an alert sent to you via text, email, and/or push notification. The alert will tell you what type of alarm has occurred and which sensor or zone on your system caused the alarm. This way, you can take your own action regarding the alarm event. Just know that in order for help to arrive, you must be able to reliably respond to the alert.

It is also possible to get a central station monitoring plan that includes self-monitoring service. This way, you can still have emergency help sent out automatically by a central station operator, while also receiving a personal alert so that you immediately know what's going on. This is a "best of both worlds" option, and it is what most new users ultimately select when setting up their monitoring service.

Whether you go with central station monitoring, self monitoring, or a hybrid of both, having your system monitored is the best way to ensure that your home or business is protected while you are away. Alarm Grid offers monitoring plans for all types of homes and businesses, and we have a wide selection of security systems available. Our team is happy to help you every step of the way.

If you want to learn more about choosing and installing your own DIY security system and saving hundreds by not hiring a professional installer, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our system planners are available from 9am to 8pm ET to help you choose the best security system for your needs. You might also want to check out our monitoring page to learn more about what we offer. We look forward to helping you get started with your new security system!

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Nortek and 2GIG made waves last year with their release of the 2GIG GC3e System. This panel is known for its exceptional build quality and its robust and powerful features. It is a great option to consider if you are new to alarm monitoring. Here are five (5) things we love about the GC3e.

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel

1) Many Sensor Options

When you get a 2GIG GC3e System, you will have the choice of many sensor lineups. Arguably the most powerful are the encrypted 2GIG eSeries Sensors. These are the only encrypted sensors available for the system, and they offer an impressive wireless range of 350 nominal feet. Other wireless sensor options include the 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and the Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors. And if you have hardwired sensors, you can bring them over using a Honeywell 5800C2W or a 2GIG TAKE-345.

2) Partitioning Support

Referred to as "Smart Areas", the 2GIG GC3e provides support for up to four (4) individually controlled partitions. If you aren't familiar with partitioning for alarm systems, it basically means splitting the system up into different sections that can each be armed and disarmed individually. Each Smart Area Partition can be assigned its own selection of zones its own set of user codes. This is perfect for businesses, multi-family homes, guest homes, rental properties and more.

3) Z-Wave Plus

The 2GIG GC3e features a built-in Z-Wave Plus controller for using smart home automation devices. You can add a variety of devices, including lights, locks, thermostats, and more to create a truly customized smart home that meets your needs. These connected devices can be controlled directly from the panel, and it is even possible to establish smart scenes to have multiple home automation devices activate automatically based on a set schedule or with certain system events.

4) Alarm.com

If you want to truly unlock the potential of your GC3e system, you will want to get it set up with an alarm monitoring plan that includes access to Alarm.com. This is an interactive service platform that you can use to control your GC3e from anywhere using a web browser or a mobile app on your phone. Once you have accessed Alarm.com, you can arm and disarm the system, control Z-Wave home automation devices, view the live feed for Alarm.com Security Cameras, and more.

5) Great Build Quality

While this is hard to measure, we are honest when we say that the 2GIG GC3e arguably has the best build quality out of any alarm panel we have ever seen. The panel is extremely tough and very well-made. It doesn't feel flimsy like some other security panels, but it is still sleek and compact enough that you will be proud to display it on your wall. If mounting an alarm panel isn't your style, then the 2GIG CP-DESK can be added to rest the system on a sturdy table or desk.

Get a 2GIG GC3e System from Alarm Grid!

If you have decided that the 2GIG GC3e System is for you, then we would love to help you get started! You can email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions about the GC3e or our monitoring services in general. Our technical support specialists are available from 9am to 8pm ET M-F to provide you with the help you need. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Most of these best security systems lists are frustrating to navigate. Many of them include companies and their respective rating. ADT, Brinks, Vivint, or others will make the cut. We’re sad to never be included in these lists. But that reflects the state of the industry. Many people don’t know that other alarm monitoring companies exist. Still others only include the new DIY systems that are on the market like Simplisafe, Ring, Nest, or Scout. Consumer Reports, for example, only reviews Nest, Ring, Abode, Frontpoint, Simplisafe, and Samsung’s Smarthings integrated GC3 that they produced for ADT. This list is, in no way, a complete list of products. Moreover, it completely ignores legacy and current systems. And, while we like “new,” being in the industry, we are proud to say that the so-called “professional” systems that are out there are better than these systems for a few simple reasons.

Our list includes exclusively professional equipment. It is the same equipment that ADT or other installation companies might sell you. We’ve tested a lot of these DIY systems. They work well to varying degrees. But we have found that nothing surpasses the quality or features of a professional system. What’s more, we provide the help that you need to turn these professionally installed systems into the DIY systems that you may be looking for.

Yup! You heard that right. You don’t need a professional to install a professional home security system.

They are simple enough to install and operate that you can do it yourself. Additionally, you can have them monitored by anyone. We think that this feature is the feature that sets them apart from any of the new “DIY” systems. Simplisafe systems must be monitored by Simplisafe. Ring systems must be monitored by Amazon. Nest systems must be monitored by Google’s chosen provider: Monitronics (now Brinks).

But a professional system can be monitored by any alarm company. We certainly do monitor them. But if you’re interested in having a local installer at your beck and call, you can have Larry the alarm installer from down the road monitor it as well.

In all, these systems are not easy to rank. Each one comes with its own set of features and benefits. So we have organized the following list based on your own possible set of needs.

So without further ado, here are the 3 best alarm systems of 2020.

Best Interactive Service of 2020

Alarm.com

Interactive services are the apps that allow you to control your alarm system from your phone or computer. There are dozens of such services. Some companies, such as the ones we mentioned above have their own proprietary service. But then, there are a few universal services. These are sold by Interlogix, DSC, Alarmnet (Honeywell), Securenet and others. Our favorite of these interactive services is alarm.com. It is a great service that works with Qolsys products, DSC products, Interlogix products, 2GIG products, and more. Unfortunately, it does not work with most Honeywell products.

It provides a wide array of controls, including the ability to use SIRI to command your system and schedule Z-Wave scenes. The drawback is that Alarm.com requires users to sign up for cellular monitoring. This is the best, most robust kind of monitoring. But some users don’t want that level of connectivity. Some end users are satisfied with just IP monitoring. In the 90s, particularly, phone line monitoring was the norm. Modern monitoring has found other, better, more secure options. No one can cut the line of a cellular device, for example. IP monitoring suffers from many of the same problems as phone line monitoring. But it also allows users to get many of the advantages of cellular monitoring, including homeowner’s insurance discounts. Even still, despite this drawback of alarm.com, it is our preferred interactive service.

That said, its closest competition is Honeywell’s Total Connect. Total Connect only works with Honeywell. It does almost everything that Alarm.com does, with a few specific differences - no native SIRI control, for example. That said, Honeywell makes excellent equipment. The Lyric alarm, for example, works with HomeKit. This integration will allow individual control of the unit from SIRI. This is actually more robust than even alarm.com’s SIRI integration. And the only options that a HomeKit user has on the Alarm.com side is the DSC iotega, which is a system that works, but for many reasons, doesn’t make this list.

Ultimately, whether you use Alarm.com or Total Connect, it will depend on your system’s interactive service compatibility. If you are interested in system features, look at the systems below. If you are more concerned with the usability of the interactive service, you can certainly pick a system based on its qualities and compatibility with an interactive service.

Runner Up: Total Connect

Best Overall System of 2020

Qolsys IQ Panel 2+

This security system is an amazing piece of equipment. It is a great looking home automation controller as well as a security system. It’s Alarm.com compatibility is a great feature that makes the Qolsys IQ Panel 2+ a stratospherically better panel than almost anything on the market. The system is built on the Android operating system. Ultimately, the Qolsys is what you get when you beset a Silicon Valley company with the task of building a professional alarm system. It is feature filled, beautifully and competently built.

One of the frustrations with the Qolsys is its lack of modularity. It is an expensive system. Everything is built in to the panel. Whereas most security systems allow a user to install (and uninstall) a cellular communicator, the Qolsys builds the communicator right into the panel itself. This sounds like a great feature, and it is. But that’s until the system’s communicator becomes obsolete. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often, but every 10 or so years, the cellular companies deprecate one or more of their networks. At this very moment, Alarm Grid’s subscribers are preparing to replace thousands of communicators. As Verizon and AT&T deprecate their old CDMA and 3G networks, the systems that have included these communicators are coming due for an upgrade. The drawback of the Qolsys is that there is no upgrade per se. Rather, end users with an older Qolsys will have to replace the entire panel.

Despite this drawback, the Qolsys is a great unit. One of its best features is its ability to take over old systems. For those that are looking to replace an old system, the Qolsys is a great choice. The new Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus’s come in different varieties, each with a daughter card that allows them to grab the signals from other company’s wireless sensors.

Just awesome!

In our opinion the best feature of the new Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, however, is not its amazing home automation features or its ability to take over other systems. It’s not even its slick Android interface. All those features can and are replicated by its competitors. Rather, our favorite feature of the Qolsys is its sensor’s ranges. The Qolsys is a panel whose PowerG sensors, which are encrypted, are capable of being monitored over HUGE ranges. We have seen the Qolsys detect sensors that are nearly a half mile away. This makes the PowerG line of sensors that are compatible with the Qolsys an amazing feature that no other all-in-one system has. These sensors basically remove the need for expensive repeaters. They are modern sensors that no other company has.

Eat your heart out Google, Amazon, and all ya’ll Silicon Valley companies trying to build better systems. None of these systems even touch the quality of the Qolsys in our opinion.

Runner-up: 2GIG GC3e

Best HomeKit Compatible System of 2020

Honeywell Lyric

The Lyric is in competition with DSC’s Iotega, which works as a HomeKit controller. If you’re looking for HomeKit control, and your home is filled with DSC sensors, the Iotega might be a better choice for you. But if you’re starting from scratch, nothing is better than the Lyric controller. This system is compatible with a wide range of sensors, including America’s most sold sensor, the 5816. It looks great on a wall. It’s fairly priced, and it does everything you’d want from a good looking system, including a photo album feature.

We sold more Lyric’s in 2019 than any other system on the market. This is largely due to Honeywell’s trusted name. The quality exemplified by the brand is epitomized in this sleek wall unit. Its versatility is buttressed by the hundreds of compatible sensors that Honeywell has released over the years.

We like Honeywell’s no-nonsense approach to monitoring. They put security over all. They were the first mainstream system on the market with both a panel and encrypted sensors. And the sensors work immensely well. We love Honeywell. We love the Lyric. At the moment, we believe that the Qolsys has surpassed the features of Honeywell’s alarm system. But the Lyric has one feature that Qolsys simply does not: the ability to be monitored by WiFi only. In fact, nearly all of Honeywell’s all-in-one systems can be monitored by WiFi only. For an end user, this means that they can be professionally monitored at a price that is significantly cheaper than that of a cellular system. For the budget conscience consumer, this presents an amazing opportunity to save money while getting all the benefits of a monitored system, including insurance discounts. We are a big fan of cellular monitoring. But the option is there for those who simply don’t think it’s as important as we do or for those who don’t want to pay the cost of cellular monitoring.

Runner Up: DSC iotega

Best Budget Alarm System

Honeywell L3000


We spent a lot of time debating whether the L3000 would be the best system for someone on a budget. We actually prefer the GC2e as a system. It’s a great looking system, it’s inexpensive, and it uses Alarm.com. But here’s the problem: it requires that anyone using it purchase a cellular communicator. Additionally, because its most minimal monitoring will include Alarm.com. This puts anyone purchasing it into a different category of spending. That said, if it’s not outside of your budget, the GC2e is a great system. It is our runner-up, because it is a good budget system, but it’s not great.

The low price of the L3000 is no indication of its quality. It is because it is a legacy system. It is often used by alarm companies that are putting systems into big apartment buildings. The system is amazing. It’s effective, will last for a very long time. Unfortunately, it’s ugly and can be a bear to program. Luckily for owners, programming is not something you do more than one time. And if you’re with Alarm Grid, there is a strong chance that we can program it for you.

Unlike the GC2e, the L3000 allows users to do IP-only monitoring. It also allows old-school phone line monitoring. That means, for the budget-conscious consumer, the L3000 is both cheaper to purchase than the GC2e, and will save an end user between $10 and $20 per month. In all, the L3000 will save anyone who installs it between $120 and $240 per year, while also being incredibly affordable at the outset. Huzzah! Oh, and for those concerned about sensors, the L3000 works great with any of the Honeywell’s 5800 sensors. You will have a ton of sensors to pick from, which also makes the system the most versatile budget system on the market.

We love the L3000 as a budget system.

Runner-Up: 2GIG GC2e

Best Wired Alarm System of 2020

Honeywell VISTA 20P

This is an oldie but a goodie. The VISTA 20P has been produced by Honeywell for many many years now. It's an excellent system with great, modern features. Honeywell produces update chips that they release every once in a while. These updates allow the system to take advantage of modern features like those available in the VAM or Tuxedo Touch. Home Automation? You can do it using the VISTA 20P. Manage both wired and wireless sensors? You can do that very easily with the VISTA 20P by adding a wireless receiver or a keypad with a wireless receiver built in. In all, this system has all the same great features of its all-in-one wireless contemporaries. 2 drawbacks to speak of, though: 1) it's big and bulky; 2) programming these systems sucks.

Runner-up: Honeywell VISTA 21iP

What Else is Coming in 2020?

Every year, professional systems get better and better. The systems that are coming soon are no different. In the coming months, we are expecting the release of Qolsys’s new Hub as well as Honeywell’s ProSeries panel. 2GIG hasn’t announced anything yet. But they just released the encrypted versions of their panels.

Unfortunately, 2019 saw the close of Interlogix’s security systems production division. While interlogix was not known for the incredible innovation of their systems, they made great budget models that gave users a simple, cheap entry point into security systems. They will be missed. But the three main producers--2GIG, Qolsys, and Resideo (formerly Honeywell)--are continuing to pioneer new and innovative features.

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The 2GIG GC3e is one of the more interesting security system options for the 2019 holiday season. The system was just released earlier this year, and it comes from a strong manufacturer in 2GIG and Nortek. This buying guide will help whether you are considering the system or expanding upon one.

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panelAt first glance, the 2GIG GC3e is kind of an odd system to choose when considering the other options out there. It doesn't have the option for IP only monitoring like the Lyric, as Alarm.com requires you to activate a cellular communicator. It also doesn't offer as many features as the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and it isn't as easy to program. Also unlike the IQ2+, the GC3e needs you to add a separate cellular communicator module. That's something else you will need to consider when buying this system. But beyond all of these downsides, the 2GIG GC3e really is one of the best panels on the market today. It has some great features, and its build-quality is second to none.

If you aren't already aware, the 2GIG GC3e is a wireless all-in-one system from 2GIG, which is owned by Nortek. The system offers support for up to 100 wireless zones, four (4) "Smart Area" partitions, integrated WIFI, built-in Z-Wave Plus, encrypted wireless sensor support, one-touch arming, capacitive touch buttons, and more. It is the successor to the successful 2GIG GC3 System, which has been used by countless homes and businesses alike. If you are familiar with 2GIG programming, or you don't need all of the flashy features of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, then the 2GIG GC3e might be the system for you.

Building a 2GIG GC3e from Scratch

2gig gc3e at and t lte 10 1 kit wireless encrypted alarm system

As we mentioned earlier, you will need an added cellular communicator if you intend on using a 2GIG GC3e System for alarm monitoring service. You have two main choices, which are the 2GIG LTEA-A-GC3 (AT&T LTE) and the 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3 (Verizon LTE). It is recommended that you just go with whichever service works better in your area, regardless of what you use for a personal smartphone. Choosing one over the other will not save you any money in monitoring expenses, as the cellular service charges are covered by your alarm company as part of your monitoring plan. If you decide to get monitoring service with Alarm Grid, then you will want a Gold or Platinum Level Plan (Self or Full) or a Cellular-Only Plan. By choosing a Gold or Platinum Plan, you will be able to control your GC3e System remotely using the ultra-convenient Alarm.com platform app on your phone!

The easiest way to get started with a new 2GIG GC3e System, cellular communicator and all, is by purchasing a 2GIG System Kit from Alarm Grid. A new 2GIG GC3e System Kit will include a GC3e System, a cellular communicator, some sensors, and a Honeywell LT-Cable for powering the panel. We have kits with either the AT&T LTE Communicator or the Verizon LTE Communicator. You will also need to decide whether you want a 3-1 kit with three (3) door and window sensors and one (1) motion sensor, or a 10-1 kit with ten (10) door and window sensors and one (1) motion sensor.

In total, we have four (4) 2GIG GC3e Kits available. They are listed here:

Sensors for New and Existing GC3e Systems

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There are two (2) main categories of wireless sensors that you can use with a 2GIG GC3e System. These are non-encrypted 345 MHz sensors, and encrypted 2GIG Sensors. Both types work great with the system, and you can certainly mix the two! The encrypted sensors are good for preventing any wireless hacking or takeover attempts by savvy intruders. But the non-encrypted 345 MHz sensors have more options available, as the encrypted lineup was only released earlier this year.

The 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Wireless Sensors are good for preventing wireless attacks that could cause non-encrypted sensors to not work properly. These brand-new sensors are designed exclusively for use with the 2GIG GC3e and its little brother, the 2GIG GC2e. The lineup is very small at this time, as we only have five (5) sensors available on our website. But the good news is that we hope to have several new sensors from this lineup available soon!

Here are the 2GIG eSeries Sensors that are available from Alarm Grid at the time of this writing:

Of course, you will need to supplement these devices with 345 MHz sensors if you really want to broaden the capabilities of your 2GIG GC3e System. You can use both 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors, as well as various third-party 345 MHz sensors. For our discussion, we will focus on the 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors, but don't be afraid to look to the Honeywell 5800 Series for some extra devices!

The 2GIG 345 MHz lineup is quite robust, and it really has everything you need. What's great is that the lineup includes some rather unique sensors that you probably won't find elsewhere. We won't list every 2GIG 345 MHz Sensor here, but we will cover some of the more notable and the more interesting ones. Check them out:

Accessories for Your GC3e

As we mentioned earlier, the 2GIG GC3e has a built-in Z-Wave Plus controller for you to start adding Z-Wave devices. We recommend using certified Z-Wave Plus devices for optimal range and battery life, but you can use classic Z-Wave devices as well. By activating your GC3e System with Alarm.com you can control these devices from pretty much anywhere using your phone. You can also create smart scenes through Alarm.com to have your Z-Wave devices activate automatically based on a schedule or with predetermined system events.

There really are many Z-Wave devices to choose from, but here are just some of our favorites:

If you decide to sign up for a monitoring plan that includes video surveillance, such as an Alarm Grid Platinum Plan (Self or Full), then you will want to get some Alarm.com Security Cameras as well. Alarm.com has some great cameras to choose from, which gives your some nice options. Remember that you can view your cameras remotely using the Alarm.com Mobile App on your Android or iOS device. This is awesome if you want to take a look at what is going on in or around your home while you are away.

We won't list every Alarm.com Camera here, but we have three really good ones that you should make sure to check out:


And there are certainly some extra accessories you can get for your 2GIG GC3e. If you are looking for a keypad, then we recommend the 2GIG SP1-GC3. This is a full-color touchscreen keypad that offers some great features like the ability to bypass zones, voice annunciation, home automation control, a 5-day weather forecast, and more. If you only need a basic secondary keypad, then you might also consider the 2GIG PAD1-345 Push-Button Keypad. Although this keypad is extremely simple, it is perfect if you just want to setup another spot in your business for arming and disarming.

2gig sp1 gc3 wireless touchscreen keypad for gc3Finally, there is a great desk mount for the 2GIG GC3e called the 2GIG CP-DESK. This is actually the same desk mount used with the other 2GIG Security Systems. It will keep the GC3e Panel nice and sturdy if you decide to not mount it to a wall. A desk mount like this is perfect if you want to avoid drilling holes in the wall and hard-mounting the panel. This is also ideal if you know that you may be moving sometime in the future, and you want to bring the system with you on your move!

2gig cp desk go control panel desktop mountWe hope this buying guide helps you whether you are considering a new 2GIG GC3e, or expanding upon an existing panel. As always, you can email us with any questions at support@alarmgrid.com. We also invite you to call us at (888) 818-7728 to learn more about any of our products or our alarm monitoring services. Remember that our support hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to helping you!

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Just like any residence, an apartment is at-risk for a burglary or break-in. An unlocked door or a shattered window offers an easy entrance for an intruder. With an apartment security system you can be ready if this occurs. But picking a system can be daunting with so many options available!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Luckily, Alarm Grid is here to help you pick the best apartment alarm system for your needs. A good apartment security system usually features a wireless panel that can be installed using a desk or table stand. This will allow you to easily take the system with you when you move, and it will prevent you from having to drill holes in the wall. The wireless sensors can similarly be mounted using double-sided foam tape, and they can be easily removed if you relocate. You may also want the panel to include some cool smart home automation features to make your life more convenient.

It is strongly recommended that you select an apartment security system that is non-proprietary. This means that you will be able to take it to a new monitoring company if you cancel your current service. A great option is to go with a DIY no-contract alarm monitoring company like Alarm Grid. Our company does not charge you anything to start or stop monitoring service, which is really convenient if you ever need to take a month off of service while you are moving. We also offer systems that are super quick and easy to install without having to hire a professional installer!

With that in mind, we have our picks for the top 5 apartment security systems of 2019. All of these systems work great if you are looking to set up your own apartment alarm system that you can take with you if you decide to move later on. These systems are all very easy to use, and you can set them up in a matter of minutes. Let's check out the systems!

5. Interlogix Simon XTi-5i

Interlogix has long been known for their cost-effective systems. While they are ceasing operations at the end of the year, they are leaving us with a very good system. The Interlogix Simon XTi-5i is great if you need a no-frills alarm panel for basic operation. It has a 5-inch touchscreen display, support for up to 80 wireless zones, and some great communicators available, including some dual-path options. Adding a communicator will also make the system Z-Wave ready. You can even choose from an exclusive lineup of Interlogix Encrypted Sensors to add to the system. And for apartments, there is an excellent table stand you can buy for the system!

4. 2GIG GC2e

2gig gc2e wireless encrypted alarm panelThe 2GIG GC2e is the current entry-level option from 2GIG. It packs some great features into a small package, and it provides some nice upgrades over its 2GIG GC2 predecessor. With the GC2e, you will enjoy a larger 5-inch touchscreen, built-in Z-Wave Plus, and support for 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. Some other specs include support for up to 60 wireless zones and 64 different user codes. Remember to add a cellular communicator so that you can use with system for monitoring service through Alarm.com. And don't forget about the desk mount!

3. 2GIG GC3e

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel2GIG offers an impressive high-end security system with their GC3e. It still retains a lot of similarities to the discontinued 2GIG GC3, while offering some new upgrades in its own right. Namely, the panel now supports the 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, and it offers a fresh redesign over its predecessor. Returning features to the GC3e include a 7-inch touchscreen, support for up to 100 wireless zones, 100 user codes, partitioning, integrated WIFI, and built-in Z-Wave Plus. Note that you will still need a cellular communicator to monitor the system and use it with Alarm.com. Interestingly, the system uses the same desk mount as the 2GIG GC2e.

2. Honeywell Lyric Controller

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security systemThere are many reasons why we can confidently say that the Honeywell Lyric Security System is one of the best panels on the market today. It is one of very few panels (and currently the only one on this list) that can support Apple HomeKit. The Lyric offers a very impressive 128 wireless zones, 64 user codes, built-in Z-Wave, and a 7-inch touchscreen. You will have no trouble filling up the zones with Honeywell SiX Series Sensors, which offer military-grade 128-bit encryption! Other features include a built-in 2MP camera for disarm photos and ten (10) different chime settings.

The panel also comes with built-in WIFI, and unlike the other systems on this list, it can be monitored across IP only. Not only does this mean you do not need to add a communicator, you can use the Lyric on a less expensive IP-only monitoring plan. This is perfect for users looking to cut-down on monitoring costs. But you can still add a Lyric Cellular Communicator if you want. The Honeywell LCP500-DK is the recommended desk mount.

1. Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

There is so much to like about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus as an apartment security system. It is sleek and modern with its thin profile and beautiful 7-inch touchscreen. You will love its built-in glass break sensor, integrated 5MP camera, and support for up to four (4) partitions. This is also the only system on the list that is dual-path ready right out of the box, as it has both an LTE communicator (AT&T or Verizon) and a WIFI card. You can even live-stream compatible Alarm.com Cameras right from the panel once you have connected the system with Alarm.com.

Other features include built-in Z-Wave Plus technology for smart home integrations, as well as integrated Bluetooth for optional automatic disarming. If that weren't enough, the system offers support for PowerG Sensors, as well as one legacy frequency (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz). The PowerG support is particularly useful, as PowerG Sensors utilize military grade 128-bit AES encryption and a wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the panel. This is way further than you will likely need in an apartment, but it's still cool nonetheless! A standard desk mount comes included with the system, but you can also purchase the Qolsys IQ Stand if you want something a little more robust. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is without a doubt the pinnacle of apartment security systems in 2019.

If you need help choosing a system, or if you want to learn more about the alarm monitoring plans offered from Alarm Grid, then please reach out to us! The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. You are also welcome to call us at (888) 818-7728. Just keep in mind that our regular business hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We know that it can be difficult to decide between all the available security systems on our site. Today, we're going to make that decision a little easier by presenting our list for the Top 5 Security Systems of 2019. We really have some great alarm panels to present!

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A good security system is easy to use, supports many sensors, and offers some excellent features. In 2019, competition is stiff, as alarm systems are becoming more and more user-friendly, and they are stepping up their game in terms of capabilities. Any of the 5 systems on our list would make a very nice addition to your home or business. But make sure to stick around until the end so you can see our favorite system!

With that out of the way, here are our Top 5 Security Systems for 2019:

5. Interlogix Simon XTi-5i


Interlogix may be shutting down at the end of 2019, but at least they put out a decent panel to go out on! The Interlogix Simon XTi-5i is a solid budget alarm system that offers a pleasant 5-inch touchscreen display and a customizable UI. It supports up to 80 wireless zones and a variety of Alarm.com Communicators, including dual-path options. Adding an Alarm.com Communicator will also allow you to use Z-Wave devices with the system. There are even some new Interlogix Encrypted Sensors specifically designed for the Simon XTi-5i System!

4. 2GIG GC2e

2gig gc2e wireless encrypted alarm panel

The 2GIG GC2e is a budget-friendly system that is perfect for users who are familiar with the old 2GIG Go!Control Panel. As an upgrade from the 2GIG GC2, the new GC2e includes a larger 5" touchscreen, Z-Wave Plus functionality, and support for the 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. The GC2e supports up to 60 wireless zones and 64 user codes. Note that you will need to add a compatible cellular communicator to get the system monitored and connected with Alarm.com!

3. 2GIG GC3e

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel

The 2GIG GC3e is the flagship system from 2GIG, and it includes everything you could want in an alarm system. It features encrypted sensor support, partitioning, integrated WIFI, built-in Z-Wave Plus, and a beautiful 7-inch touchscreen display. The GC3e is very robust with its support for 100 wireless zones and 100 user codes. Just remember that a cellular communicator is needed to activate the system for monitoring and connectivity with Alarm.com. Once you add a cellular communicator, the system will be dual-path ready!

2. Honeywell Lyric Controller

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

The Lyric has been out for a few years now, but it is still one of our favorite security systems. It is the only panel on this list that offers compatibility with Apple HomeKit, and the only one of these systems that can be monitored through WIFI only. The panel features built-in WIFI, but you can add an optional LTE cellular communicator to make it dual-path ready. The Lyric is also the only system on this list that uses the Total Connect 2.0 platform instead of Alarm.com. Another benefit is that the Lyric has its own lineup of encrypted SiX Series Sensors. And you will love its 7" touchscreen. Other features for the system include support for up to 128 wireless zones, classic Z-Wave, 48 total user slots, a built-in 2MP camera, 10 chime settings, and so much more!

1. Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is the best security system of 2019. There is so much to love about the IQ Panel 2 Plus. It has a sleek, crisp design with a 7" touchscreen display. It is dual-path ready right out of the box with a built-in LTE communicator (AT&T or Verizon) and integrated WIFI. It offers some outstanding features, including live-streaming for compatible Alarm.com Cameras, support for four (4) partitions, automatic Bluetooth disarming, a built-in glass break sensor, a 5MP camera, and so much more. There are three (3) versions of the IQ Panel 2 Plus, with each one supporting a different legacy sensor frequency (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz). But the icing on the cake is that you can use DSC PowerG Sensors with ANY version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus. These sensors offer a wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus in open air, and they utilize 128-bit AES encryption for maximum wireless security. This is truly the best system on the market right now!

If you have any questions about any of these systems, or if you want to learn more about the monitoring services offered from Alarm Grid, please reach out to us! The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com or call us at (888) 818-7728. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We know by now you are probably aware of the Alarm.com integration for Amazon Alexa. Today, we just wanted to remind you of the superb features and functions this integration offers and how it can make your life more convenient. Prepare to learn about the Alarm.com Alexa Skill!


It goes without saying that Amazon Alexa is one of the most popular smart home automation platforms available today. This is due in large part to its accessibility. An Alexa Hub is extremely easy to set up and use. And since so many people use Amazon Prime for ordering products online, they realize that adding a simple Alexa Hub in their homes makes sense.

There are many functions you can perform through Amazon Alexa voice commands if you have an Alarm.com Security System. You can have Alexa arm your system, check the current system status, perform entire smart scenes, and control individual Z-Wave smart home devices. Truly, the automation features offered from Alexa voice commands for Alarm.com are particularly exciting.

Alexa even allows you to set up special "Secure Commands" for Alarm.com, which include disarming your system, opening your garage door, and unlocking your Z-Wave door locks. These Secure Commands require you to provide a valid PIN code when speaking with Alexa. This way, you can be sure that it is you or someone you trust controlling your system through the hub!


To get started using Amazon Alexa with Alarm.com, you must first have access to the Alarm.com Platform. This will require having a system with a compatible Alarm.com Cellular Communicator. You will also need to get an alarm monitoring plan that includes access to Alarm.com. Two of the best plans to choose from are the Alarm Grid Gold Plan and the Alarm Grid Platinum Plan. You can learn more about these plans, plus all our other monitoring plans, on our alarm monitoring page.

Once your system is activated for monitoring service, and you have successfully created your Alarm.com account, you can then enable the Alarm.com Alexa Skill. Simply search for Alarm.com in the Skills & Games section of the Alexa App, and locate the Alarm.com Skill. You will need to provide your Alarm.com account information when you go to enable the skill. This will allow Alexa to communicate with your Alarm.com account.

You can then try controlling your system and paired smart home devices through Alexa voice commands! Remember that commands for use with your system will lead in with "Alexa, tell Alarm.com to..." As long as you remember that, you will have no shortage of exciting and convenient voice commands that you can use with Amazon Alexa and Alarm.com!

If you have any questions, then remember that the Alarm Grid Support Team is happy to help! We will answer any questions you have about the Alarm.com Alexa Integration or about the Alarm.com platform or our monitoring services in general. The best way to contact us if you have questions is to email support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! Today, we would like to discuss no-contract monitoring and why we feel that it is the best decision for anyone looking to get started with home or business security. The no-contract model offers many advantages that you will simply not receive with traditional "contract" plans.

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If you did not know, no-contract monitoring is exactly what it sounds like. You receive alarm monitoring service, without locking yourself into a long-term commitment. You pay for a small time period of service (usually one month), and you can cancel your service at any time. This is still a relatively new offering in the security industry, as the traditional model required customers to sign long-term agreements committing them to service. But with no-contract monitoring, consumers now have an alternative option available.

Below are three reasons why you should sign-up for no-contract alarm monitoring:


It Offers The Best Flexibility.


If you want flexibility in your monitoring service, then a no-contract plan is definitely best for you. The ability to cancel service at any time can be very useful in certain situations. For example, if you are moving, then you might not need service for the month of your move. You can stop service on your old home and then start service at your new location when needed. Many people run intro trouble when they try to cancel a "contract" monitoring plan early for whatever reason. Some people are left on the hook for thousands of dollars for service they no longer need. This will not happen to you with a no-contract monitoring plan.

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It Makes Changing Plans Easy.


Many people who are new to alarm monitoring sign-up for a plan that isn't right for them. While they might be happy with the service they receive, they might soon find that they need features only available on a higher-tiered plan. Or maybe they find that they are paying extra for services they don't really need.
With no-contract monitoring, this is not a concern. You can quickly and easily change your monitoring plan to meet your needs. If you decide to upgrade to have your monitoring service include cellular connectivity or home automation you can quickly change. Or if you are finding that you don't really use the remote access app as often as you thought you would, you can certainly downgrade to reduce costs.

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It Keeps Monitoring Companies Honest.


When a customer signs-up for no-contract alarm service, the monitoring company must work hard to continue to earn their business each and every month. If the customer is ever unhappy with their service, then they can certainly leave and take their business elsewhere. But with a "contract" plan, the monitoring company has no reason to offer the best service. They have the customer right where they want them. A dissatisfied customer will still be locked in for the duration of the contract and on-the-hook for any of the costs involved. By going with a no-contract monitoring plan, you can be sure that your alarm company is always working hard to provide you with the very best service. And if you ever feel that they are not, then it is in your power to leave.

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Now that you have three great reasons to choose no-contract alarm monitoring, we would like to recommend service with Alarm Grid. While there are many no-contract alarm monitoring companies out there, we feel that Alarm Grid is the best. Our monitoring plans are all offered on a month-to-month basis. If you ever need to cancel or suspend your service, we can shut it down at the end of your pay cycle to avoid having you pay for another month. There are never any added fees, and the price you see is what you will pay. We also do not charge fees for starting or stopping service, so you will not have to worry about that. Best of all, any equipment used is yours to keep. If you are not happy with Alarm Grid, you can take your system elsewhere, without experiencing any problems.

If you would like to learn more about Alarm Grid, please click the orange Alarm Monitoring button at the top of this page. You may also email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We are always happy to talk about our alarm monitoring plans and help new and prospective customers get exactly what they need. Remember, our team is here to help you every step of the way. We will continue to work hard each and every month to prove to you and those around you that we are the very best at what we do. We would like to thank you for considering Alarm Grid, and we hope to become a trusted part of your home or business.

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Hi DIYers! We are happy to announce that the first 2GIG Encrypted Sensors are available on our site. The lineup includes two contacts, a motion, a key fob, and a glass break. Anyone with a 2GIG GC2e or 2GIG GC3e System will absolutely want to make use of these powerful new sensors.


The new 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors represent perhaps the biggest selling point of the new 2GIG Alarm Systems. These sensors are designed exclusively for use with the 2GIG GC2e and 2GIG GC3e. When enrolled, they will make use of encryption in all their wireless communication. This makes these sensors virtually impervious to any wireless hacking or takeover attempts. This is the best way to ensure that your system is always protected.

It is important to note that you cannot bring these sensors over to the older 2GIG Go!Control GC2 and 2GIG GC3 Systems and expect them to work as non-encrypted wireless sensors. These new sensors can only be utilized as encrypted devices on the GC2e and GC3e Systems. However, you can bring over the older 2GIG Sensors and the Honeywell 5800 Sensors and use them with the GC2e and GC3e as standard 345 MHz sensors.

With that out of the way, let's start checking out the new encrypted sensors!

2GIG DW10e



The 2GIG DW10e is a surface-mounted door and window contact sensor. It offers a super thin profile, with dimensions of 2.59"L x 1.03"W x 0.49"D. This makes the sensor practically invisible when mounted flat on a white surface. There are two programmable loops for the DW10e. One loop will have the sensor operate as a standard contact with a reed switch. The other loop allows you to connect a single Normally Closed (NC) hardwired contact to the DW10e and have it communicate with the panel wirelessly.

2GIG DW20e



The 2GIG DW20e is a recessed door and window contact that is perfect for users who want to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing installation. The sensor and its accompanying magnet need to be inserted into holes that are drilled into the door or window and its frame. The only way to see the sensor after installation is to look at the door or window frame from the side when the door or window is already opened. The DW20e has an impressive 450-foot wireless range when used with direct line of sight.

2GIG PIR1e



The 2GIG PIR1e is a wireless PIR motion detection sensor. The device works by looking for the changes in IR energy that occur with movement. It uses a quad-element PIR sensor for superb reliability. The trustworthy and reliable motion detecting sensor offers a coverage area of 30' by 50'. This is perfect for a home or small business. There are three different sensitivity settings you can choose from. When used on low sensitivity, the device will provide pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 55 pounds.

2GIG GB1e



The 2GIG GB1e is a wireless glass break sensor. The device will effectively monitor plate, tempered, and sealed insulating glass that measures between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick. The sensor listens for both the low-pitched "thud" of an object striking the glass and the higher-pitched "shattering" of the glass itself. This dual-detection process helps to ensure that false alarms do not occur. It is great for monitoring windows for forced entry, but it can also be used with protective glass casings that display products.

2GIG KEY2e



The 2GIG KEY2e is a wireless 4-button key fob that gives you a convenient way to control your GC2e or GC3e while you are on-site. There are dedicated buttons for Arming Away, Arming Stay, Disarming, and activating a relay device. You can also program a dual-button press of the top two buttons (Arm Away and Disarm) to trigger an instant panic. Any button must be held down for a full 2 seconds for the command to go through. This helps to prevent accidental inputs. It has a wireless range of 350 feet.

If you have questions about any of these new 2GIG eSeries Sensors or the 2GIG GC2e and GC3e, or if you just want to learn more about our monitoring service, please reach out to us! We are here to make sure you get the perfect equipment for your needs. The best way to contact us is always to email support@alarmgrid.com. If you want to speak by phone, you can reach us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm EST. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We are happy to announce that there are new firmware updates available for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e & GC3 Systems. Qolsys users can apply the firmware update locally at the panel. 2GIG users can apply from USB or have it pushed from Alarm.com for a small fee.

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Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Version 2.3.4

Starting with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, Firmware Update 2.3.4 is now available. This is a relatively minor upgrade to the system that improves recognition of the PowerG daughterboard for supporting wireless PowerG Sensors. Although you can technically apply this update to an original Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System, it won't make a difference, because that system does not have a PowerG daughtercard. Since you can apply this update locally at the panel, there is no fee required to receive this update. Remember, your system must be actively monitored and connected with Alarm.com for the update to go through.

In order to apply this update, you must have your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus connected to WIFI. The panel should be plugged into AC power, and it should not have a low-battery condition. To begin, start from the main screen of the system. Press the small grey bar at the top of the screen. Choose Settings > Advanced Settings> Installer Code (default 1111) > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.3.4 > OK > Upgrade Using Network. The system should begin downloading the update. Once the download is complete, the update will be applied. This process should take about five (5) minutes. The panel will reboot at this time. The process is complete after the reboot finishes.


2GIG GC3e & GC3 Firmware Version 3.2.3

The 2GIG GC3e System just became available very recently. This Firmware Update Version 3.2.3 is a great way to get your new GC3e System up and running. Additionally, existing users of the original 2GIG GC3 System can also apply this same update. The update provides support for the new AT&T LTE Communicator (coming soon!) and allows for 6-digit user codes with both the panel and compatible Z-Wave locks. It also provides various fixes and helps the system run smoother overall. It is recommended that every GC3e and GC3 user receives this update so that they can continue to get the most out of their system.

The easiest way to receive Firmware Version 3.2.3 is to simply have it pushed down from Alarm.com. To do this, the system must have an Alarm.com Cellular Communicator installed and activated. You must contact your alarm company and ask them to push the update. There will be a small fee for this service. If you don't have Alarm.com, you can get more information on our monitoring page. The latest update can also be applied directly at the panel. To do this, you must download the update file onto a USB flash drive and insert the drive into the panel. You will then be able to apply the update locally at no cost. More information on this process can be found in this helpful FAQ. Although that FAQ is specific to the original 2GIG GC3 System, the 2GIG GC3e will follow the same process. Remember, there is no cost required to update via USB.


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If you have questions about either of these firmware updates, or if you would like to learn more about our monitoring services, please reach out to us! The best way to contact us is always to email support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email at our earliest convenience and reply back as soon as possible. You may also call us at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions!

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