Many home security systems rely on your telephone lines to make contact with third party monitoring services that alert emergency responders to problems. But, more and more homes have no landlines — and if your home is one of them, chances are good you don’t want to install a phone system just so you can have security.
The good news is, home security without landline phone systems is definitely possible. In fact, it’s become increasingly common for security systems to rely on other technologies and many home security systems can be run using cell phones. Systems that don’t use phone lines are not only more convenient and cost-effective for homeowners who have cell service only, but they can sometimes even be more secure since they can’t be disabled by a criminal cutting the phone line.
Home security companies have options for homeowners who do not have a landline
You absolutely do not need a telephone system in your home in order to have home security. In fact, many security systems have now made wireless monitoring the norm to accommodate homeowners and renters without traditional phones.
With security systems that rely on wireless monitoring, the system typically uses cell towers near your home or cellular transmitters installed on your property. The system is able to connect to these transmitters or cell towers — just as your cell phone can — and so it doesn’t rely on your Internet connection or a landline telephone service in order for the system to be monitored.
Make sure you understand the pros and cons of a wired or wireless system
There are a number of key differences between landline security systems and a home security system without phone line connectivity. (We've got a full guide on wired vs. wireless systems.)
Home security system using cell phone signals typically are 100% wireless, which also means that the sensors and other system components all communicate without wires.
Systems that rely on a landline are often entirely hardwired — so electrical wire must be run through your house to connect each component. That makes these systems impractical in older homes or for renters, and it often means the systems are more expensive to install. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between these two types of systems.
Security systems connected to a landline are very reliable when it comes to staying connected, as landline systems are hired wired so don’t need to receive a signal to be able to communicate with the monitoring company. Unfortunately, if phone wires are cut, the system no longer provides protection unless it has wireless backup technology.
Wireless systems that rely on cell technology can’t be disabled by a phone wire being cut, but the signal can be transmitted only if the network is strong and stable. The cellular transmitter and wireless components may also be dependent upon battery power, which means that the system will no longer work if the battery runs out.
Wired systems can be more expensive to install up front when electrical work needs to be completed. But, once installed, the monitoring provided by a hard-wired system is often less expensive.
Wireless systems, on the other hand, don’t require cutting into walls or running wire so install can be cheaper. In some cases, it’s even possible to install the system on your own. But, ongoing professional monitoring with these is usually more costly.
Wireless systems typically offer in-demand features not available on systems that rely on landline technology. This can include sending mobile alerts to your cell phone as well as interfacing with home automation tools and devices. Plus, wireless systems that rely on cell phone technology are easier to update and upgrade than hard-wired systems so you can keep pace with changing technologies.
Some companies offer both security systems that rely on landline phone service as well as home security systems using cell phones. But, many others offer only cell-phone based services as fewer and fewer homes have landlines and as the technologies behind hardwired systems is being replaced with newer equipment.
Are there benefits to going with a landline or wireless?
Both landline and wireless systems have their own unique pros and cons. For example:
- Landline systems can be cheaper to monitor on an ongoing basis, but may have higher up-front installation costs.
- Landline systems can be more reliable in that they don’t rely on network connectivity but less reliable because they’re vulnerable to the phone wires being cut.
- Wireless systems can be more convenient to interact with, but also may require you to keep batteries charged for the system to remain operational.
Ultimately, you’ll need to assess your own unique situation to determine if a landline security system or a security system without landline phone service is a better choice for you. Of course, if you don’t have access to a landline in your home, the decision is an easy one as installing a separate landline just for an alarm is rarely worth the time or effort.
Our Pick for the Best Landline System
If you've decided to go with a landline based system, we strongly recommend looking into Protect America. They're known for providing solid, budget-friendly non-cellular plans. We've actually named it our pick for the best landline option in our full breakdown of the best security systems.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.