Honeywell VISTA-21iP-6160KT Posts

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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 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 features.

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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We have already talked about the phase out of AT&T's 2G cellular network, but if you haven't read our previous article about the new GSMX4G and GSMV4G cellular alarm communicators, then you may not know that all existing AlarmNet cellular alarm communicators will become obsolete by the end of 2016.

Here at Alarm Grid, we urge everyone looking for a new cellular alarm communicator to only invest in 4G capable communicators. AT&T has formally announced that they will have completely dropped support of the 2G cellular network by the end of 2016. As cellular data use increases, AT&T has to find ways to add new throughput to their most advanced networks. One easy way to expand that throughput is to cannibalize their older and slower 2G network. As it is extremely rare to find a cellular phone in use today that still uses the 2G network, AT&T has no problems sacrificing the older 2G network to make the newer 4G network bigger and faster. Unfortunately, the alarm industry will be affected by the discontinuation of the 2G network as nearly all cellular alarm communicators in existence today use the 2G network. Since the difference in speed between the 2G and the 3G or 4G network wasn't needed when transmitting alarm signals, cellular alarm manufacturers never bothered to upgrade their communicators to support the faster networks. Now however, all alarm companies must act and act quickly. While the end of 2016 is the formal end of the 2G cellular network, certain areas of the country will lost 2G support well before 2016.

For most people, upgrading to the newer cellular network will be as simple as swapping their existing communicator to a newer communicator that has 3G and 4G support. Unfortunately, for everyone that invested in Honeywell's VISTA-21iP alarm control panel, the change to 4G cellular alarm communications won't be so easy. The VISTA-21iP is a great security system because it has a built-in internet alarm communicator.

While internet alarm monitoring is fast and inexpensive, it is not as reliable or secure as cellular alarm communications. Therefore, the VISTA-GSM was available as a snap-on module to the VISTA-21iP to provide an integrated back up cellular communication path. For some reason, Honeywell's engineers did not design the new VISTA-GSM4G to be backwards compatible with existing VISTA-21iP security systems. Therefore, all people that have dual path alarm monitoring using a VISTA-21iP and the VISTA-GSM cellular communicator will have to replace both their VISTA-GSM communicator AND their VISTA-21iP alarm control panel if they want a system that is supported by the 3G/4G cellular network.


We are fully aware of the burden this will place on people looking to upgrade to the future of cellular communications and we will do everything we can to help those people that are left having to replace their system and their communicator. If you have a VISTA-21iP and you are wondering if it is compatible with the VISTA-GSM4G cellular add on, you will have to look at your VISTA-21iP circuit board. If there is a sticker that says "SUPPORTS VISTA-GSM/4G" then it is compatible. Without that sticker, your system will not accept a new VISTA-GSM4G. We are not sure of the exact date that Honeywell began manufacturing the new VISTA-21iP panels, and the model and revision number are the same, but we do know that it was sometime in November. Chances are, unless you got your VISTA-21iP from a reputable source in the past month or so, your system will not support the 4G cellular communicator.

Of course, here at Alarm Grid, we only ship brand new VISTA-21iP panels that have the sticker and do support the VISTA-GSM4G. If you have questions about upgrading your VISTA-21iP, please call us today.

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Here at Alarm Grid, we know first hand how effective a security system can be. There is nothing more rewarding than getting a call or email from a new customer telling us about a successful apprehension or a thwarted burglary.

However, it's also nice to have some statistical proof that burglar alarms really do prevent burglaries. We just read about a recent study conducted in three different Pennsylvania suburbs that concluded that homes with a security system installed had 1.4% chance of burglary. The homes without a security system in those same suburbs had a 2.3% chance of burglary. Aside from the conclusion that Pennsylvania suburbs appear to be pretty safe, it's clear the security systems are helping. The study did not look at the differences between security systems that are monitored by a central station and security systems that are not monitored. I would be willing to bet that homes with a monitored security system have virtually no chance of being burglarized.

Another interesting finding from the same study, was that businesses in the same Pennsylvania suburbs had much higher likelihood of burglary. The businesses with a security system had a 4.2% chance of burglary, while the businesses without a security system had an 18.2% chance of burglary. We find it very interesting that businesses in these areas seem to benefit even more than homes from having an installed security system.

The L5100PK LYNX Touch wireless security system is a great fit for a home or a business so if you have a business that is not protected now, please call us today at 888-818-7728 to speak with a security expert that can help you design the perfect Honeywell security system for your business.

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While wireless security systems like the L5100PK LYNX Touch are easier to install then traditional wired security systems, there are some applications where the LYNX Series control panels will not be the right fit. When you have an older existing wired security system and you want to upgrade it to take advantage of today's  technology, the VISTA-21iP-6160KT is a great choice. 

The VISTA-21iP-6160KT includes a VISTA-21iP alarm control panel and a 6160 alphanumeric alarm keypad. You can use the VISTA-21iP control panel to replace any existing wired security system and the 6160 will provide a keypad that you can use to program and control the VISTA-21iP. If you need additional alarm keypads because your existing wired system has more than one keypad, you can add any of the Honeywell wired alarm keypads. Every Honeywell security system needs at least one alphanumeric alarm keypad to access the more advanced programming menus. The 6160 that is included with the VISTA-21iP-6160KT will provide you with ability to program the system but you can use regular fixed English alarm keypads like the 6150 for places in your home that you'd want regular system control. 

The VISTA-21iP is different than most wired alarm control panels, because it has a built-in AlarmNet internet alarm monitoring communicator that you can use to get central station monitoring. The VISTA-21iP is also compatible with AlarmNet's Total Connect interactive service. By signing up for an alarm monitoring plan that includes Total Connect, you will be able to remotely arm and disarm your VISTA-21iP from any computer or iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ or Blackberry® device. You can also setup the VISTA-21iP to send you instant emails and/or text message notifications when different security system events occur. 

You can save over $100 by designing your new wired security system around the VISTA-21iP-6160KT instead of ordering the VISTA-21iP alarm control panel and the 6160 alarm keypads separately. Call us at 888-818-7728 to speak with a security expert who can advise you on which security products to add to your VISTA-21iP-6160KT so that you can get the perfect security system for your property.

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