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A recent article indicated that 52 publicly traded companies dealing in smart home automation experienced an average stock price increase of 34.5% in 2020. This is yet another indication that the smart home industry is stronger than ever, as expectations are being set high for 2021.

Of the 52 publicly traded smart home automation companies followed from January 2020 to January 2021, 38 saw their stock price increase, compared with only 14 that experienced a decline in stock price across the same time frame. For comparison, a similar study of 52 smart home automation companies from the year prior reported that only 8 companies saw stock price declines in 2019, while the other 44 companies had their stock prices increase. Because of this, we can't say that the smart home industry was stronger in 2020 compared with 2019. But 2020 was still a fairly successful year. And as the economy looks to recover following the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect that things will only get better in 2021.

One company in the list that had a particularly strong showing was Alarm.com. They enjoyed a fantastic 141% stock price increase, as their price of $42.97 in January 2020 was up to $103.45 in January 2021. Johnson Controls, the owner of Qolsys and DSC, experienced a more modest gain of 14%, as their stock price rose from $40.71 in January 2020, to $46.59 in January 2021. The same can be said for Silicon Labs, the operator of the Z-Wave Alliance. Their January 2020 stock price was $115.98, and it rose to a January 2021 stock price of $127.34, for a nice 10% increase.

Alarm Grid was happy to see some of the companies and manufacturers we work with have a successful 2020 year, despite all of the global challenges involved. If you are interested in starting alarm monitoring service with Alarm Grid so that you can take full advantage of great equipment from companies like Alarm.com, Johnson Controls, and Silicon Labs, please feel free to email us at support@alarmgrid.com for more information. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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The Alarm Grid holiday buying guide for the 2020 season continues, this time focusing on smart home automation. We will be covering our top picks for lights, door locks, and thermostats. As usual, our selections are compatible with our top security system picks for the 2020 shopping season.

If you haven't seen our earlier 2020 holiday buying guide releases, make sure to review them at some point. They will provide you with a good introduction before checking out our smart home automation offerings.

An automation device is a piece of equipment that you can have activate automatically based on a set schedule. These devices can also be controlled remotely from virtually anywhere in the world using a platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com and a simple app on your smartphone. When we talk about automation devices for alarm systems, we are mainly discussing lights that can be turned ON or OFF, dimmer modules that can adjust the brightness of lights, door locks that can be LOCKED or UNLOCKED, and thermostats that can increase or decrease the set temperature in the building when connected with an HVAC system. There are also some miscellaneous automation devices, including smart water valves, that we will also explore. Depending on the platform, you can also integrate these devices with smart home voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. We won't be exploring that too much in this buying guide, but it is something to keep in mind if you already have a smart home assistant set up in your house, or if you were considering setting one up in the near future.

To keep our automation section as simple as possible, we will be primarily looking at Z-WAVE PLUS automation devices. This refers mostly to 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices, though you may occasionally see some newer 700-Series Z-Wave Plus devices thrown in as well. Using certified Z-Wave Plus devices with a Z-Wave Plus controller will ensure the furthest possible wireless range, as well as the longest possible battery life, when applicable. Using exclusively Z-Wave Plus devices on a Z-Wave Plus controller is also the best way to ensure the strongest possible mesh network. Another advantage to going with Z-Wave Plus is that your automation devices will pair directly with your alarm system, which will thereby serve as your central automation controller. This keeps things as simple and as organized as possible, and it will ultimately allow you to keep everything in the same app on your phone.


However, we will also be including a few Apple HomeKit products along the way. We understand that we have many customers who use iOS and are building around the HomeKit platform for automation. When looking at our top security system picks, only the Honeywell Lyric is compatible with Apple HomeKit. This is out recommended system if you are building around the HomeKit platform. If you are starting from scratch and you are not a dedicated iOS user, then you will likely prefer Z-Wave Plus, as you can keep all your system control and automation control in the same app, with virtually no crossover. But, if you have taken advantage of what Apple HomeKit has to offer, and you want to continue building around the platform, then we have you covered. Remember, of our top system picks, only the Lyric can support HomeKit, and even then, your HomeKit devices will not pair directly with the Lyric.


Of our top security system picks for the 2020 holiday buying season, both the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e support Z-Wave Plus technology. Both of those systems have their own integrated Z-Wave Plus controller, and they will allow you to take full advantage of what Z-Wave Plus has to offer. However, our other top pick, the Honeywell Lyric only has a classic Z-Wave controller built-in. You can still enroll Z-Wave Plus devices with the Lyric, but they won't offer the same range, battery life, and security provisions as Z-Wave Plus. This makes the Lyric the weak link of the three if automation outside of Apple HomeKit is particularly important to you. But rest assured that every product listed here should work with any of our recommended systems. Its just that you will get the best possible results by using a Z-Wave Plus compatible system, like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus or 2GIG GC3e.

With all of that out of the way, let's begin exploring our favorite smart home automation devices of the 2020 holiday season.


Smart Lights

Smart lights can be split into a few different categories. They are usually either in-wall modules that replace your existing, standard light switches, or they are plug-in module that you simply plug into a regular wall outlet. Lights can also be split into groups of ON/OFF switches that merely turn the lights ON and OFF, and groups of dimmer modules that can actually adjust the brightness of the lights. As such, you will see four (4) groups of lights listed below. There are in-wall switches, in-wall dimmers, plug-in switches, and plug-in dimmers. We know that may seem a bit confusing, but it should make more sense once you see all of the categories properly laid out and organized. Spoiler, if you're looking for Apple HomeKit Lights, then skip to the very end of this section.

We will start with Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches. These devices replace existing in-wall switches, and they are able to turn the lights ON and OFF. When installing one, make sure to cut power at the circuit breaker first. Then simply remove the existing in-wall switch, and install your new Z-Wave Plus in-wall switch in its place. Keep in mind that most of these units will require the use of a neutral wire. Most homes built in the 1980s onward will have this readily available, though older homes may be lacking this wire. It's also important to mention that all of the in-wall switches listed here should readily fit into single gang brackets. We will also be listing coordinating 3-way switches in the notes section when applicable.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall switches.

Model Notes
GoControl WS15Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 600W for incandescent bulbs. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 14318 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46201 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GE 46562 From GE. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5SWITCH From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive bulbs, or 960W for incandescent. Compatible with CFL and LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Next up are Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers. These units also replace your existing in-wall switches. The difference here is that these devices have the ability to adjust the brightness of your lights, in addition to simply turning them ON and OFF. You will want to make sure you are using these devices with dimmable light bulbs. Again, you will want to cut power at the circuit breaker when installing. Most of these units will require a neutral wire, though there is an exception here. You should be able to fit these units into a single-gang electrical bracket.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus in-wall dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 14299 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent. For dimmable bulbs only. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch. No neutral wire required.
GE 14294 From GE. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 300W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses GE 12723 as coordinating 3-way switch.
GoControl WD500Z5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 500W of lighting load. Uses GoControl WT00Z5-1 as coordinating 3-way switch.
Resideo Z5DIMMER From Resideo. Supports up to 600W incandescent, or 150W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs. Uses Resideo Z53WSWITCH as coordinating 3-way switch.

Now we will look at some more DIY-friendly options, starting with Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches. Unlike in-wall switches that you have to install using a screwdriver, these devices simply plug into your standard wall outlet. Just plug one in, connect a lamp, and you now have smart lighting control. These units couldn't be more straightforward and simple to use, and if you're intimidated by having to install your own in-wall light switch, then these are a fantastic alternative. Again, these units are only capable of turning the lights ON and OFF. You can also technically use some of these units with other plug-in devices, provided that the connected device does not exceed the maximum load limit.

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in switches.

Models
Notes
GE 28172 From GE. Designed for lighting devices only. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Linear PS15EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, or 600W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5SWPID From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor.
Resideo Z5SWPIO From Resideo. Supports up to 1800W for resistive lights, 600W for incandescent lights, or a 1/2 HP motor. Suitable for outdoor use.
Qolsys IQ Smart Plug From Qolsys. Supports up to 13A of power. Not just for lighting devices. Also sold as Qolsys QZ2101-840.

Our penultimate category of smart lights focuses on Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers. As you can probably guess, these are plug-in modules, but instead of just turning the lamp ON and OFF, you can also adjust its brightness. The use of dimmable bulbs is recommended. Again, this is an excellent DIY alternative if you don't feel comfortable installing your own in-wall dimmer switch. Just plug it in, connect a dimmable lamp, and enjoy your new smart lights!

Here are our top picks for Z-Wave Plus plug-in dimmers.

Model
Notes
GE 28170 From GE. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.
GoControl PD300EMZ5-1 From Nortek. Supports up to 300W for incandescent lights.
Resideo Z5DIMPID From Resideo. Supports up to 300W for incandescent, or 100W for dimmable CFL/LED bulbs.

Lastly, we want to give special recognition to Apple HomeKit compatible smart lights. We're keeping things simple by only listing products from Lutron. These lights work by building around a centralized base station and then pairing lighting modules with that main unit. Our team at Alarm Grid is wholly impressed by what Lutron has to offer, and we can definitely recommend these lights for anyone building around the HomeKit platform. One other major benefit of Lutron Smart Lights is that no neutral wire is required as part of the setup. This can be very beneficial if you do not have a neutral wire in your home's existing electrical wiring. Please note that Alarm Grid only offers the Caseta lineup from Lutron, so that is what we will be focusing on in this buying guide.

The Lutron section of this guide will be split into four (4) categories. First we will look at the smart bridges, or central hubs, that we offer for Lutron. Then we will explore some bundled deals we offer as starter kits. From there, we will check out individual Lutron lighting devices. Lastly, we will examine some accessories for Lutron devices.


First up, we have the Lutron Smart Bridges. There are only two (2) here. You need one of these devices to start building a network of Lutron Smart Lights. You will notice a standard "non-Pro" model, as well as "Pro 2" model. The main difference here is that the "Pro 2" model can integrate with Alarm.com, while the "non-Pro" model cannot. This is completely irrelevant if you are building a HomeKit network around the Honeywell Lyric, as you will be using Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive smart platform instead of Alarm.com. But if you are using HomeKit separately with an IQ Panel 2 Plus, a 2GIG GC3e, or pretty much any other Alarm.com Security System, then this can really come in handy, as you can then integrate your smart lights in with the same network as your alarm system.

Here are our Lutron Smart Bridges.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta L-BDG2 "Non-Pro" smart bridge for Lutron. Does not support an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.
Lutron Caseta L-BDGPRO2-WH "Pro 2" smart bridge for Lutron. Supports an Alarm.com integration. Supports up to 50 Lutron devices.

But before you rush out and buy one of the aforementioned Lutron Smart Bridges, you may instead consider getting one of our Lutron Starter Kits, which all include a Lutron Smart Bridge and some compatible devices to get you started. This can save you a bit of money if you are just getting started with Lutron. Unfortunately, we only have starter kits based around the "Non-Pro" smart bridge. If you are wanting the "Pro 2" model for Alarm.com use, then you will need to buy that model ala carte, along with all the devices you want to pair.

Let's check out our Lutron Starter Kits.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG1W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, In-Wall Dimmer, Pico Remote, and Wall Plate.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2P Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) Plug-In Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.
Lutron Caseta P-BDG-PKG2W Includes Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, Two (2) In-Wall Dimmers, Two (2) Pico Remotes, Two (2) Wall Plates, and Two (2) Mounting Pedestals.

Now we'll look at the actual Lutron Lighting Components. These are the individual, ala carte lighting devices that you pair with your Lutron Smart Bridge. The included notes should help you decide which devices are right for your Lutron network. Lutron keeps things relatively simple here, as the selection is short but sweet.

Here are individual Lutron Lighting Components.

Model
Notes
Lutron Caseta PD-3PCL-WH Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module. Supports up to 300W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 100W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-5NE In-Wall Smart Dimmer for Electronic Low Voltage (ELV+) Lights. Supports up to 250W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs, 500W for incandescent, halogen, or ELV bulbs, or 400W for Magnet Low Voltage (MLV) bulbs.
Lutron Caseta PD-6ANS-WH In-Wall Neutral Smart Switch. Supports up to 720W for incandescent, halogen, ELV, or MLV lights, 6A for LED/CFL, or 3.6A for a ceiling fan.
Lutron Caseta PD-6WCL In-Wall Light Dimmer Switch. Supports 600W for incandescent or halogen bulbs, or 150W for dimmable LED/CFL bulbs.

Last but not least, we have some Lutron Accessories. These include the Pico Remote that you can use a remote control for your Lutron Lights, as well as various wall-plates and some bundles. There are quite a few accessories to cover, and they make the perfect stocking stuffer for the Lutron lover on your gift list.

Here are Lutron Accessories.

Model Notes
Lutron Caseta PJ2-3BRL-WH-L01R Lutron Caseta Pico Remote. Small handheld remote that you can use to control your Lutron Lights. Includes three (3) buttons for turning ON and OFF and adjusting brightness. Can also be used to facilitate a multi-pole setup for your Lutron Lights.
Lutron Caseta PICO-WBX-ADAPT Lutron Caseta Pico Remote Wallplate Adapter Bracket. Allows you to mount your Pico Remote to the wall. Wallplate not included.
Lutron Caseta PJ2-WALL-WH-L01 Lutron Caseta Pico Wall Plate Kit. Includes a Pico Remote, Wallplate Adapter Bracket, and Wallplate.
Lutron CW-1-WH Single Gang Wallplate for Lutron. Double, triple, and quadruple gang wallplates also available!

Door Locks

Door locks are fairly straight forward. They replace the existing deadbolt lock on your front door, back door, patio door, pool door, garage door, or really any door with a deadbolt lock. You will then have smart control over that door, meaning you can LOCK and UNLOCK it remotely using a compatible interactive service platform. This also includes the ability to have the door LOCK or UNLOCK automatically with smart scenes. Most of the locks listed here will allow you to use a traditional key if you want, but you can also manually enter a code into the lock using push-buttons or a touchscreen. This can be very convenient for getting in if you forget your key or don't wish to carry one around.

Virtually any door lock will accomplish the same goal, so what you should base your buying decision on is how reliable the brand is, how you control the door lock locally (e.g. a push-button touchpad or a LED touchscreen), and which design you like. You will also need to decide whether you need a Z-Wave Plus door lock or an Apple HomeKit door lock. Most of the models listed here are Z-Wave Plus variants, but we did include a couple of HomeKit versions for good measure. Many of the door locks listed here come in multiple finishing options to give you some added customization. You will notice that we do not list too many brands here. We really wanted to focus on the ones we feel the most confident in offering.

Here are our top picks for door locks.

Model
Notes
Yale YRD216 From Yale. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Yale YRD226 From Yale. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 250 codes. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel.
Kwikset 914 From Kwikset. Push button Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 30 codes. Available in Satin Nickel, Aged Bronze, or Polished Brass.
Kwikset Obsidian From Kwikset. Touchscreen Z-Wave Plus door lock. Stores up to 16 codes. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Oil Rubbed Bronze or Satin Nickel.
August Smart Lock Pro w/ Connect From August. Includes August Smart Lock Pro and August Connect, which makes integrating w/ Apple HomeKit significantly easier and more reliable. Supports BOTH Apple HomeKit and Z-Wave Plus connectivity. Also supports Bluetooth connectivity. Does not allow for traditional key locking/unlocking. Available in Dark Gray and Silver.
Yale YRD256 w/ iM1 Module From Yale. The integrated iM1 Module allows for use w/ Apple HomeKit. Lock itself can store 25 codes, pairing w/ HomeKit increases limit to 250. Available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Satin Nickel. There is also a Z-Wave Plus variant of the same lock that does not support Apple HomeKit.


Smart Thermostats

Now we're really getting into exciting territory, as smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home from virtually anywhere! This is perfect whether you want to keep energy costs low, or you simply want to ensure you arrive home to a comfy house. We all know how stressful it can be if you forgot to adjust your thermostat before leaving home. Well, now you can worry no longer! All you need to do to get started is cut the power at the breaker for your HVAC system, remove your old thermostat, and install your new smart thermostat in its place. This is easier than you might think! For this category, we will mostly be covering Z-Wave Plus thermostats, but we did include an Apple HomeKit thermostat in the listings as well.

Here are our top picks for smart thermostats.

Model
Notes
Honeywell T6 Pro Z-Wave From Resideo. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology.
Alarm.com ADC-T3000 From Alarm.com. Uses Z-Wave Plus technology. Compatible temperature sensor also available.
2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat From Nortek. Uses state-of-the-art 700-Series Z-Wave Plus technology.
Honeywell T6 Pro WIFI From Resideo. Uses WIFI to connect w/ Apple HomeKit.


Other Smart Home Devices


Alright, we're finishing this up with some great smart home devices that we couldn't really fit into any other category. Our main focus here will be on smart garage door controllers and smart water valves. These are super convenient and useful devices that make a great addition to almost any home. A smart garage door controller connects with your existing garage door motor so that you can open and close your garage door from anywhere or have it open and close automatically with smart scenes. Smart water valves are an excellent emergency tool that you can use to shut-off your water supply in the event of a flood or leak. Many users will pair them with flood sensors for inclusion in smart scenes. Unfortunately for Apple HomeKit users, we don't have any HomeKit devices for this section, and we will only be covering Z-Wave variants in this section.

Check out these miscellaneous smart home devices!

Model
Notes
Honeywell GDCK Garage Door Controller Kit From Resideo. Garage door controller kit that includes Honeywell 5877 Relay Module, Honeywell 5822T Tilt Sensor, and a SSA-1 Siren/Strobe. For use w/ Lyric and LYNX Touch only. Cannot be used with LiftMaster MyQ Garage Door Motors
GoControl GD00Z-8-GC Garage Door Controller From Nortek. Z-Wave Plus Garage Door Opener. Includes tilt sensor for detecting current position of garage door. Cannot be used with Lyric or LYNX Touch.
Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 Smart Water Valve & Meter From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve w/ Meter. Water valve allows you to shut off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Meter tracks your water usage for energy savings and efficiency. Typically installed by a plumber.
Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Smart Water Valve From Alarm.com. Z-Wave Plus Smart Water Valve. Used to shut-off the water supply in the event of an emergency. Typically installed by a plumber.


Reach Out to Us!

Got any questions about which smart home devices are right for you, or are you not sure about compatibility? Reach out to us! Our team is happy to help you make your holiday shopping season as easy and as stress-free as possible. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. And as always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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With Father's Day right around the corner (Sunday, June 21st), we thought it'd be a good time to suggest some security and automation gifts to surprise the dad in your life. You don't need to get your dad another neck-tie this year. We've got some neat gifts that dad is sure to love!


The Gift of Security!

If dad doesn't have a security system yet, then he's really missing out. You can have peace of mind in knowing that his home is safe while he's out doing dad stuff like golfing, fishing, or going to a bbq. Maybe your dad thinks he doesn't need security? Well, you could remind him of a big fat insurance discount that he could get by getting his home monitored. That will excite him even more than a weekend trip to the hardware store.

We have lots of great panels available, though the most popular right now are the Honeywell Lyric and the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. These are both wireless panels that are very easy to set up, even for the dad who doesn't know his way around a tool-kit. You won't hear any swear words coming out of the work shed when dad goes to set up his new system. And he'll probably want to show it off to all the neighbors.

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system


Shopping on a Budget?

Okay, totally understand if you're strapped for cash and can't drop a few hundred dollars on a brand-new security system. But just because you're looking to spend $30 rather than $300 doesn't mean you can't make dad smile. If your dad already has a system, then why not get him a new sensor or two? Door and window contacts are always affordable. Just get a model that works with dad's security system. The VERSA-2GIG and the VERSA-GE are both extremely popular, and they won't break the bank!

Maybe you've already surprised dad with a contact sensor before? You could always check out some motion sensors. These are great for knowing if someone is snooping around the basement or the garage. Again, you want to make sure you get a model compatible with dad's system. Popular options include the Honeywell SiXPIR, the 2GIG PIR1-345, and the DSC PG9914. And if you aren't sure which models will work with your dad's system, just reach out to us, and we'll be happy to help!

2gig pir1 345

Automation Excitement!

If dad already has a wireless system, then chances are that it doubles as an automation controller. You can surprise dad with some new Z-Wave automation devices for him to pair with his system. Lighting devices are always a great choice. Your dad will be able to turn the lights ON and OFF without getting up, and he can create smart scenes for automatic control. And a great thing about smart lights - they don't break the bank!

Your dad might like an in-wall switch as a nice weekend installation project. Some of our favorite in-wall switches include the GE 14318 and the Resideo Z5SWITCH. Or if your dad is not into wiring, you can get him a plug-in lamp module like the GE 28170 or the Resideo Z5DIMPID. And the great thing about these Z-Wave devices is that they are universally compatible and will work with any system that operates as a Z-Wave controller!

Maybe the smart lighting game has already been introduced to dad's house? In that case, you could make his day with a different automation device like a Z-Wave thermostat. Our favorites right now are the Honeywell T6 PRO and the Alarm.com ADC-T3000. Or if you really want to get your dad something a little more unique, then you could try a smart water valve like the Alarm.com ADC-SWV100. This can be very useful in preventing dad from experiencing the headache of a flooded basement or laundry room.

Ge 28170 side of z wave plug in smart dimmer

Help Dad Keep an Eye on the Neighbors

We all know that dads like to know what's going on outside. That is why we'd be foolish not to recommend some outdoor security cameras. These devices are actually easy to install, and they can give your dad a good look at the front lawn while he's tucked away in his man cave. You'll want to consider whether his system supports Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0. For ADC, we like the Alarm.com ADC-V723. If dad has TC2, then go with the Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1.

Maybe dad isn't ready to upgrade to video monitoring quite yet? Don't worry! He can still make sure the neighbor kids stay off the lawn with a different type of camera. One popular option is to use a SkyBell Video Doorbell. These can be used without needing to upgrade to a full-on video monitoring plan. There are models for Total Connect 2.0, and others for Alarm.com. Another possibility is to look into the Arlo Cameras that do not use monitoring service through ADC or TC2.

Honeywell lyric oc1 standalone wifi outdoor 1080p hd total conne

The Best Gift of All!

We've saved the best gift idea for last. It isn't something you can hold in your hand, but it's something that every dad will love, even if they have all the security gadgets under the sun. That is the gift of alarm monitoring service! Why not offer to cover dad's monitoring bill for the next year? That is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Talk it over with dad, and when you're ready, the two of you can contact us to make the arrangements. We'll charge your card every month, with no added fees or sudden surprises. Meanwhile, your dad will be able to spend his money on other important things like new golf clubs or something. Oh dads....

If you haven't already, make sure to check out our monitoring page. This will teach you about the different plans offered from Alarm Grid so that you can choose the perfect one for your dad's needs. Once you're ready, shoot us an email at support@alarmgrid.com or call us at (888) 818-7728 to set things up. Remember that our business hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our team will be thrilled to help you give your dad the gift of home security! We look forward to hearing from you!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

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About a month ago, Alarm.com started a special demand response program for Baltimore Gas & Electric customers who use Alarm.com for smart thermostat control. We are now proud to say that a similar cost-savings program is now open to customers of LA Dept. of Water & Power (LADWP).


Demand response programs, such as the one between ADC and LADWP, are designed to help mitigate demand for electricity during peak hours. Alarm.com customers who enroll in this new program can earn valuable rewards, including credits that go towards their energy bills. These savings will be in addition to the cost-saving benefits of owning a smart thermostat in the first place. This program is virtually identical to the previous partnership between Alarm.com and Baltimore Gas & Electric, which you can read about here.

By enrolling in this program, you will be allowing LADWP to make small temperature adjustments to any smart thermostat that has been enrolled with your Alarm.com account. These temperature adjustments are expected to be very small and only occur during peak demand hours, such as during a hot summer afternoon, when nearly everyone is expected to be running an AC system. This program is completely optional, and no additional equipment is required. You just need to be both an LADWP customer and an Alarm.com customer with a smart thermostat enrolled on your system.

All Alarm.com customers who use one or more smart thermostat devices with their accounts should soon be receiving a notification about this new programming through both the Alarm.com website and mobile app sometime in the near future. This will include information on getting started. If you sill have any additional questions about this program, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. You might also want to contact your energy provider directly to see if there are any similar demand response programs available in your area. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Baltimore Gas & Electric is now allowing their customers who use Alarm.com for smart thermostat control to sign-up for a demand response program that will enable them to earn credits toward their bills. The free program can help BGE customers save money and preserve natural resources.


The BGE program is designed to curb demand for electricity during peak hours. By participating in the program, BGE customers can earn credits that will help them save money on their energy costs. This is in addition to the savings presented from owning a smart thermostat and programming it to match the needs of your lifestyle. The program is optional, though anyone looking to save money can greatly benefit. No new equipment needs to be installed, making it super easy for Alarm.com users with BGE service to get started.

Upon enrolling, an end user will be giving permission to BGE to make small temperature adjustments to their thermostats. These adjustments should be very small and only occur during peak hours of electrical consumption. An example would be during a hot summer day when virtually everyone is simultaneously running their air conditioning systems. This will allow BGE to more effectively manage the distribution of electricity, prevent cost spikes for their customers, and delay the need for new power plants.

Alarm.com users should soon receive notification of the program through both the Alarm.com Mobile App and the Alarm.com Website. The notification will provide instructions for getting started. Please note that this program is available only for BGE customers who use ADC for thermostat control. If you are not with BGE, then check with your utility provider to see if any special rebates or demand response programs are available for you. Such programs are a great way to save money and manage resources more effectively.

If you are already with Baltimore Gas & Electric, but are looking to get started with Alarm.com, then we advise checking out our monitoring page to learn more about our plans that include Alarm.com service. Alarm Grid offers many security systems that are readily supported by Alarm.com. If you need help choosing a system, or if you have any questions for us, please email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We know how important it can be to beat the summer heat with a new smart thermostat. That is why we are presenting you with our very own best smart thermostats of 2019. These devices all make fantastic additions to any growing smart home, and they are perfect for daily use.


A smart thermostat is great because you can program it to save huge amounts of money on your energy bills, while still keeping your home nice and cool when needed. You can integrate these devices with excellent platforms like Alarm.com, Total Connect 2.0, and even Apple HomeKIt. Just be aware that platform compatibility will vary between different devices. Make sure you purchase a smart thermostat that is compatible with the network you want to use.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at the best thermostats of 2019:


Honeywell T6 Pro Smart Thermostat

Honeywell t6 z wave thermostat smart thermostat

Resideo really outdid themselves with the Honeywell T6 Pro Smart Programmable Thermostat. This is the only thermostat on this list that comes in two (2) distinct flavors. These are a Z-Wave Plus version and an Apple HomeKit version. Regardless of which version you choose, you get a neat and clean UI that even new users will feel comfortable using. A unique aspect of this thermostat is that the Z-Wave Plus model does not require a C-wire for power. Instead, the device can run reliably on battery power alone. However, the HomeKit version requires the C-wire connection for WIFI communication. And although the Z-Wave Plus version was built for use with Total Connect 2.0, you can still use it with other networks like Alarm.com and Samsung SmartThings. Just know that it was designed with TC2 in mind.

Best for: Total Connect 2.0 users, Apple HomeKit users.


Alarm.com ADC-T3000 Smart Thermostat



Created specifically for Alarm.com users, the ADC-T3000 offers all the advanced features you would expect out of a robust and powerful smart thermostat. This is a Z-Wave Plus Thermostat which integrates perfectly with any Alarm.com Security System. Although you can technically use this device with other smart platforms like Total Connect 2.0 or Samsung SmartThings, it works best when used with Alarm.com. With the ADC-T3000, you can take advantage of great features like Alarm.com Geofencing, external temperature detection, humidity sensing, smart programming, and more.

Best for: Alarm.com users.


iDevices Smart WIFI Thermostat

Idevices idev0005and4 smart wifi thermostat


The iDevices Smart WIFI Thermostat, also known as the iDevices IDEV0005AND4, was built for users who want a reliable and affordable smart thermostat, but don't necessarily want to integrate it with their alarm control panel. While its WIFI connectivity will not allow you to use the thermostat with Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, this product is great for those who use smart, voice control platforms like Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home. The iDevices Smart WIFI Thermostat boasts an easy-to-use color-coded touchscreen, along with push-button controls. It fits in nicely with any decor, and no external hub is needed to use the thermostat. You can also use the convenient iDevices Connected App on iOS and Android devices to easily control the smart thermostat from anywhere.

Best for: Apple HomeKit users, Amazon Alexa users, Google Home users.


Carrier Côr Smart WIFI Thermostat

Carrier cor smart wifi thermostat


Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa users looking for a premium smart thermostat can get great results out of the Carrier Côr Smart WIFI Thermostat. Although this thermostat is unable to integrate with alarm panels, it is still loaded with features that make it one of the best smart thermostats available. The typical homeowner saves 20% on their heating and cooling costs with this Energy Star Certified Thermostat. End users also appreciate the local 4-day weather forecast that is conveniently displayed on the main screen. Other features include Ideal Humidity System Management, Hybrid Heat Management, Ideal Away, and Intelligent Comfort to help the thermostat control the temperature more accurately. This thermostat features a 7-day programming schedule and auto-adjusting between heating and cooling.

Best for: Apple HomeKit users, Amazon Alexa users.


Need Help Choosing a Smart Thermostat?

Alarm grid inside security stickers


If you are having trouble deciding on the perfect smart thermostat for your home or business, please reach out to us! Our team is happy to discuss the pros and cons of each thermostat so that you can make the best purchasing decision for your needs. Remember, the best way to reach us is to always email support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email at our earliest convenience and respond back as soon as possible. You may also call our planning department during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F at (888) 818-7728. We look forward to helping you beat the heat with a brand-new smart thermostat from Alarm Grid!

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Hi DIYers! We are pleased to announce that the ADC-T3000 Smart Thermostat is now available for purchase from the Alarm Grid website. This thermostat improves upon the older ADC-T2000 Thermostat with increased capabilities, a new slimmer design, and advanced features for end users.


End users looking for a state-of-the-art smart thermostat can receive great results from the Alarm.com ADC-T3000. This Z-Wave Plus Thermostat is designed for use with the Alarm.com platform. However, you can really use it with any Z-Wave smart home network. This includes Resideo Systems that use the Total Connect 2.0 platform. No matter how you control your smart home devices, you will love the performance of your new ADC-T3000.

There are many great features that make the ADC-T3000 a worthwhile upgrade. For one, this has more space for wiring than the previous model. Installers will also appreciate the improved access terminals that make it easier to wire the connections. It is also easier to understand what action the HVAC system is performing, as the ADC-T3000 will actively display the word "Heat" or "Cool" based on the current activity. The device measures 4.1"L x 5.0"W x 0.7"D, which is even slimmer and sleeker than the previous model. The device uses two (2) AAA batteries for backup power, and all the necessary mounting hardware comes included.

Additionally, Alarm.com has also expanded upon the list of their certified Z-Wave smart lighting devices. All of the lights listed below have been certified by Alarm.com, but not for "real-time" status. This means that they have been tested and will work well with Alarm.com, but they will still count against the 10 device limit for displaying status. For more information on the Alarm.com displayed lighting status limit, please review this FAQ.

  • Jasco Enbrighten Smart LED Bulb A19 (39723)
  • Jasco In-Wall Dimmer Toggle (14322, 14296)
  • Jasco Dimmer Switch Toggle (14319, 14293)
  • Leviton In-wall Switch (DZ15S)
  • Leviton In-wall Dimmer (DZ6HD - 600W)
  • Leviton Plug-in Outlet (DZPA1)
  • Leviton Plug-in Dimmer (DZPD3)

Finally, Alarm.com has announced that the ADC-V622 Security Camera is now compatible with their Video Analytics feature. Video Analytics is an advanced feature that allows users to receive real time alerts (text and/or email) regarding unusual activity or movement, while ignoring routine movement. This is done using advanced AI software that is only available from Alarm.com. This technology can actively distinguish between people, vehicles and animals. It can also determine direction of movement and the duration of any captured activity.

If you have questions about any of these Alarm.com updates, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm EST M-F. Keep this in mind if you decide to email us. We look forward to hearing from you.

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