The company

The pioneers of home security DIY installations have come a long way since Thad Paschall came up with the idea of Protect America while eating a cheeseburger and founded the company in the city of Round Rock, back in 1992, with the goal of making reliable home security available to all Americans.

The Texan company was able to go from a local, almost family business oriented, to international with customers all over America and Canada. In 2010 Protect America was sold to a group (Thad Paschall was part of this group) led by Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, a company that has in Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team, a managing partner. While this might seem irrelevant to some, we like to point it out as it speaks well about the importance the company has gained along the years as it was able to get the attention of a big firm involved in top business like it is the most important basketball league in the world. The Austin based company has since then had Scott Fleming as CEO.

The main focus of the company is to make security affordable for everyone and that’s something that they have accomplished as you will always find a plan that suits your needs. While the company was the first to offer DIY installation, and this says a lot about their vision and understanding of people’s needs, it is also true they don’t have mandatory cellular monitoring on their plans; something that might not be ideal as cellular monitoring is the safest way of communication between your home security system and the monitoring stations. We will talk later about monitoring stations but it’s worth mentioning the fact that Protect America leans on ADT for the monitoring operations, something we see as a plus.

Protect America is a solid company that offers solid equipment and that is affordable to everybody. The only thing that keeps this company behind the competition is their Customer Service. Despite the fact that it’s experimented a huge improvement in the last couple of years, it is still behind in the ways it interacts with the customers. Regardless of that, we like what we see from the Austin headquartered company and having it in our top 5 is a no brainer.

The good and the bad

Positives

  • Competitive prices on their plans
  • DIY installation available
  • Lifetime equipment (General Electric) warranty
  • 14 days trial
  • GPS tracker
  • Complete remote access
  • Offers month to month agreement
  • Despite being an international company, it still has a family business kind touch

Negatives

  • The cheapest plan requires a landline
  • Contract length is 36 months
  • Customer service needs to improve
  • Home automation not fully developed (but in progress)

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The tech

Protect America offers solid equipment. It is a basic kind of equipment as you will get what you need without any fancy stuff. Even their touchscreen Control Panel is not as elegant as those that other companies might offer you but you need to ask yourself a question: do you want a fancy and expensive equipment or you want a solid normal looking one that can do the job right at a fair price? The decision about getting a contract with the Austin based company might probably be taken on this fact. What type of security are you looking for? If you want something solid and you aren’t worried about full home automation and fancy designs, Protect America will give you the tech and the plan at the best price. It is a perfect choice if you’re looking for simplicity, but this won’t suit everyone

That said, most of the equipment the company will provide you is made by General Electric and has a lifetime warranty so, even if we focus on the “solid” and “not fancy” appearance of it, we are talking about an equipment that is made by a company that has over 120 years of experience in the field of technology.

In the last few years, the company has also developed, mostly thanks to GE, devices that go beyond just door sensors and motion detectors as they have presented smoke detectors, flood sensors and others in order to even the competition when it comes to adding extras to your home security. These devices are intended as a complete solution and not only as a protection of your home from burglary. Innovation has also been part of the development of the devices that Protect America offers. A big example of this are the Trident disaster sensor and the Firefighter sensor. The first will work as a sensor for heat, cold and leaks; the second will interconnect smoke sensors with fire alarms that notify the homeowner and the fire department in case of emergency.

 

All packages come with basic equipment, and if you want to add some of the “fancier” devices you will need to buy them aside at fair prices.

If there’s something we want to make clear over and over is the fact that the founder of Protect America had a goal: “to make home security affordable for all”. And even after the acquisition of the company by Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, they still work with that mantra in mind.

 

Let’s take a look with more detail to some of the equipment this Texan company has to offer their customers:

Equipment

GE Simon XT for Protect America

This Control Panel offers the possibility of monitoring up to 40 zones. It has a built-in touchpad and a status speaker that provides visual and voice messages for feedback. It works with Protect America’s app, so you will be able to arm and disarm your alarm remotely.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $119

Simon XT Two-Way Talking Touch Screen for Protect America

This touchscreen version of the Simon XT, offers not only a color LCD screen plus all the features of the Simon XT, but most importantly the possibility of pairing Z-Wave devices in order to gain control over most of the devices in your house. We strongly recommend that, when contracting Protect America’ service, you ask for this Control Panel instead of the basic one as it is worth paying the difference for it due to the wider possibilities it offers.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $129

Touch Control Panel from Protect America
Door & window sensor from Protect America

Door/Window Sensor

This nextgen door/window sensor features a transmitter circuit that increases reliability while conserving power. These little devices are extremely versatile as they can be installed in practically every door, including cabinets with guns and alcohol, so you will be able to monitor not only if someone enters your home but also if your teenage child tries to do some teenage stuff without your permission.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $39

Motion sensor

With a horizontal coverage range of 25 feet, this device can reveal movement inside the monitored space in order to send an alert to the control panel, and therefore to you and the monitoring center. This sensor is also pet friendly for mascots up to 40 pounds.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $99

Motion sensor by Protect America
Garage door sensor by Protect America

Garage Door Sensor

It is well documented that garage doors are one of the main points of entrance for burglars, so having protection on this side of the house has become almost mandatory. This device has the capability to detect the tilt of your garage door. The sensor, when detecting the movement will send a signal to your main hub and will let you know when the door is open and closed. If the system is armed, when the door reaches an angle of 45 degrees (so, midway its opening), the alarm will be activated.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $59

Glass Break Detector

By using pattern recognition technology, this glass break sensor can detect the sound of breaking glass within a radius of 20 feet (in a 360-degree range). This sensor should be used near a window or door that could potentially be used as an entry for thieves. Be sure to put it in an area where no walls interfere with the glass as this sensor needs to have straight communication with the glass.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $99

Glass break detector from Protect America by Interlogix

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon Monoxide can be very dangerous for your health and when not detected quickly, even lethal. This device will alert you of dangerous levels of CO. When the sensor detects a high concentration of this gas, an electronic pulse will be sent to the main hub. The higher the concentration, the quicker the response from the alarm. When potentially dangerous levels are reached, a signal will be sent to you and to the monitoring center and the alarm will reset only when the levels are down to optimum.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $99

Smoke Detector

This device is a must have in all homes when you think that just in 2015 over 7 billion dollars were lost due to fire related damages. The Interlogix Wireless (photoelectric) Smoke Detector integrates a fixed temperature and rate of rise heat sensors. Since not all fires will be smokey, it is important to have a detector that can sense a rapid rise in temperature immediately, and this device will do exactly that, helping you to prevent major disasters.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $99

Smoke detector by Protect America

Keychain Remote

This is your standard keychain remote with the ability to lock and unlock your security system. Featured with a panic button and a light bulb button, it’s easy to use also for elderly people.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $49

Protect America “Trident” disaster sensor

This amazing device is capable of detecting extreme heat, extreme cold and water leaks in your home, depending on how you want to use it. By talking with customer support, you will be able to activate or deactivate one of the functions if you feel it is not necessary. When a failure occurs, you will be notified on your app and you will be able to check for yourself if there’s a real reason to call the authorities.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $N/A

Smartview indoor camera by Protect America

Indoor HD Camera

This 720p HD camera is sleek and discreet. With a 60-degree field of view, is equipped with 4 infrared LEDs that provide night vision up to 16 feet ahead. The camera has a built-in mic and speaker. This two-way communication system can be used through the app on your smartphone, from where you will also be able to get live feed.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $N/A

Outdoor HD Camera

The Outdoor camera is an amazing 720p HD, 30 fps device with 24 integrated LEDs that will provide night vision up to 65 feet ahead. It comes, like the indoor camera, with 128-bit AES encryption in order to keep your feed secure. You will be able to monitor what’s going on wherever you are with the app in your smart device.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $N/A

Other equipment

Other devices worth mentioning are the Amazon Echo dot, GoControl Thermostat, August SmartLock… Since this company has so many devices and integrates so well with 3rd parties, you should consult with a ProtectAmerca agent in order to see what is best for your home and what suits your needs.

The Tech outside the Equipment

What else does Frontpoint offer?

Robust monitoring through ADT

We mentioned briefly the fact that Protect America relies on ADT Monitoring Centers for their monitoring. We think this is a great compromise when you try to sell a good and affordable service. The main ADT Monitoring Center is located in Aurora, Colorado. Those monitoring centers are able to take over 6,000 duress, fire or burglary calls, 7,500 schedule-related alarms and 6,000 customer service calls each day, with an average of 335 call stations in each facility. We can say that Protect America can count on always-ready and well trained personnel when it comes to the monitoring of their protégés.

Another plus of relying on ADT is the fact that having multiple Monitoring Centers will always provide a backup in case of the shutdown of one or more of these due to weather conditions. If Protect America would have just its own Monitoring Center (like many other home security companies do), in the eventuality of a shutdown due to some unexpected event, customers would be left on their own. This way, Protect America is sure that their customers will always be able to communicate with a specialist for any given issue that might come up. They won’t be affected at all and their home will be monitored as always.

Integration with 3rd parties

In the recent years, Protect America started to focus not only in the home security field but also in how this can be combined with home automation. While other companies might offer more advanced tech in this segment of the market, the Austin based company is making progress with the integration of their system and Z-Wave compatible products from third parties such as Amazon (Protect America offers the possibility to integrate Amazon Alexa devices) and Yale (Yale Real Living Touchscreen Z-Wave Smart Locks can be used when you have a broadband or cellular plan with the Texan company). This decision to move into the future after having a solid home security product can only be beneficial for the company as we can expect home automation to be at the grasp of every American home like Protect America did for the alarm system.

Thanks to the ADT Pulse App, you will be able to arm and disarm your alarm, lock and unlock your door, watch live video transmission from your camera and control home automation devices such as thermostats; everything remotely.

Price and lifetime warranty

Finally, we want to take a few lines to remark the fact that Protect America was the first company to offer DIY installation, something that changed the market and made the company able to offer competitive prices and life warranty on their equipment. We are always talking about the importance of innovation and sustainability when it comes to home security and home automation and we want to give credit where credit is due: Protect America was able to innovate outside the tech in the first place and build on that. 

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The Packs

Protect America is well known in the home security industry for having affordable packages when compared to the competition. Five are the packages that the Texan company offers. All of them have the option of DIY installation, but if you feel like a technician would suit best your needs, you can always pay $199 in order to have all the system set up by a specialist.

You will have a 14 days trial period for all packages and if you decide to not continue with the contract, you will pay only a restocking fee of $79.

Prices, Contracts and Equipment Packages

Protect America works with a standard contract length of 36 months. The more you pay monthly, the more you will receive in the basic equipment and the most features you will be able to add. Landline is required for all of the packages and cellular monitoring can be requested; it will cost just a few more bucks but we think it’s worth it as is the most secure way of communication between the system in your home and the Monitoring Centers.

Let’s take a look at the packages, what’s in them and how much you will pay for the service (first price row is for landline, second is for broadband and cellular monitoring).   

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Copper

$ 19
99 Per Month
  • $41.99 /month
    (with cell monitoring)

  • DIY Installation
  • Video Monitoring for a plus
  • Fire Monitoring for a plus
  • Lifetime Equipment Warranty
  • Disaster Protection
  • Mobile App Access
  • Different optional equipment and services

Bronze

$ 35
99 Per Month
  • $47.99 /month
    (with cell monitoring)

  • DIY Installation
  • Video Monitoring for a plus
  • Fire Monitoring for a plus
  • Lifetime Equipment Warranty
  • Disaster Protection
  • Mobile App Access
  • Different optional equipment and services

Silver

$ 37
99 Per Month
  • $49.99 /month
    (with cell monitoring)

  • DIY Installation
  • Video Monitoring for a plus
  • Fire Monitoring for a plus
  • Lifetime Equipment Warranty
  • Disaster Protection
  • Mobile App Access
  • Different optional equipment and services

Gold

$ 39
99 Per Month
  • $51.99 /month
    (with cell monitoring)

  • DIY Installation
  • Video Monitoring for a plus
  • Fire Monitoring for a plus
  • Lifetime Equipment Warranty
  • Disaster Protection
  • Mobile App Access
  • Different optional equipment and services

Platinum

$ 42
99 Per Month
  • $54.99 /month
    (with cell monitoring)

  • DIY Installation
  • Video Monitoring for a plus
  • Fire Monitoring for a plus
  • Lifetime Equipment Warranty
  • Disaster Protection
  • Mobile App Access
  • Different optional equipment and services

As we can see, the packages offer mostly the same service. The difference will be made primarily by the type of monitoring you get. Landline monitoring doesn’t have the option for mobile notifications, home automation or indoor cameras, while cellular won’t offer you the possibility of an outdoor camera but will allow you to have all the other features plus live video, cloud video storage and remote door lock control. If you want to have all the features Protect America has to offer you will need to go with broadband monitoring.

Secondly the difference in the packages will be made by the optional and additional equipment you will decide to purchase and by the amount of equipment that comes with every package.

Copper Simon XT Control Panel, Door/Windows Sensors (x3), Motion Sensor (x1), Security Sticker (x3), Yard Sign (x1)
Bronze Simon XT Control Panel, Door/Windows Sensors (x6), Motion Sensor (x1), Security Sticker (x3), Yard Sign (x1)
Silver Simon XT Control Panel, Door/Windows Sensors (x9), Motion Sensor (x1), Security Sticker (x3), Yard Sign (x1)
Gold Simon XT Control Panel, Door/Windows Sensors (x11), Motion Sensor (x1), Security Sticker (x3), Yard Sign (x1)
Platinum Simon XT Control Panel, Door/Windows Sensors (x14), Motion Sensor (x1), Security Sticker (x3), Yard Sign (x1)

Here we can notice the difference in the equipment is made by the amount of Door/Windows sensors that Protect America puts in the package. No camera is present by default, not even in the Platinum package, regardless of that we always recommend to get at least one indoor camera for your home protection as this can make a difference in a crucial moment.

Our review

Overall we think that Protect America is a TOP 5 company in the home security field and we can’t see a scenario where the Texan company falls out of this ranking (at least for the next 5 years).

When we take a look at the whole package Protect America has to offer, where they come from and where they are going, we can’t avoid to think this company is a solid one.

Affordable, customizable and (for the last few years) with an eye on the future like some of the features and equipment they offer show (Amazon Alexa integration, the “trident” sensor and the Yale door lock… just to name a few examples).

We briefly spoke about the fact that their customer service needs to improve and we already stated that if you are looking for a shiny and fancy equipment you need to look elsewhere. BUT we want to remind you one more time that we are talking about home security and that the Austin based company will give you all you need at an affordable rate.

We love when companies can merge home security with technology. We are fond of technology as we think the future is here and home security should and will rely more and more on tech. When it comes to Protect America we are aware that these guys offer such a solid base at such a competitive price (plus the fact that they were pioneers in the DIY installation of security systems) that it is matter of time they will catch up with home automation as competitors do.

Customers reviews (from consumeraffairs.com)

What people say

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