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One downside to Scout Alarm is that you must pay a monthly fee $9. 99 to use the system, but this fee pays for built in cellular backup, which is often more expensive with other DIY home security systems. There's no contract so you can cancel service if you don't need it. You can also upgrade a Scout Alarm system to include professional monitoring $19. 99/month, so you can get extra protection when you're unable to monitor your home yourself. This system is the easiest to install as it walks you through every step of the setup process in the mobile app, taking about 10 minutes to install.

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While we see the Honeywell Lyric LCP500 L Security Controller as a hit with great new features, there is a glaring negative we see as well. If you signup for AlarmNet for Interactive Services and possibly Total Connect 2, you are sort of “locked” to your selected dealer for monitoring services. You can still change dealers at any time of course but it will require a factory reset defaulting the panel which blows away all existing panel settings and zone configuration. Honeywell has decided, and just for Lyric it seems, to make dealer “takeovers” of monitoring accounts very difficult since they now require the new dealer or DIY homeowner to reenter/reprogram all wireless sensors and more into the controller from scratch. If you start with a good monitoring vendor this will never be a problem, but we have an issue making it so burdensome for users to switch if their dealer service levels fall or their pricing is no longer competitive. If you don’t buy the equipment outright, Vivint requires either a four or five year contract — a long time to commit, especially given that you only have three days from the date of install to cancel. Afterwards, you’ll have to pay out the remainder of your contract. If you may be moving in the near future, it’ll cost you $99 to take the system with you. You could alternatively renew your contract, but then you’d be locked in for even longer. Vivint will waive any cancellation fees for extenuating circumstances like death, military circumstances, bankruptcy, or a move to assisted living. Still, it’s best to be intentional if you decide on Vivint.