Viper Home review: The most comprehensive DIY security system yet

Colin West McDonald/CNET

From there, you can choose among the following: Arm Away, Disarm, Arm Stay, and Panic. There's also a Status section in the bottom right corner so you can see what setting you're currently using. The Panic button won't call the police, it will actually send notifications to emergency contacts you specifically add to the system. In fact, Viper Home is not designed to contact the authorities at all. It simply lets you know when a "security event" occurs and then you decide how to respond. If there is a security breach of any kind, though, you will receive an e-mail sent to the address you used during registration and a notification from the app.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

If you add in other features like the $149.99 camera/motion sensor, the $49.99 siren or additional door/window sensors and motion detectors you can do even more. With the camera and the $9.99 monthly fee, for example, you will receive live video alerts during security violations. And don't forget the home automation possibilities available with the addition of a Z-Wave bridge. That way, you can control a whole bunch of different home appliances from the same Viper Connect app.

Viper Home can support up to 32 users and up to 64 different devices. And the app has a history section where you can view the dates and times of specific security events and filter by user. It's easy and there are so many ways to make it work for your lifestyle.

Performance
I installed the starter kit, a siren, and a camera at home. I had no issues with the system during testing -- no false alarms or inconsistent notifications to note. Every time I triggered a security event, Viper Home responded as expected.

Basically, this meant that I got to spend a lot of time trying to stealthily get past the motion detector unnoticed and open and close the window to test the sensor. Every time I got near the motion detector when the system was armed, I received an e-mail and a notification. Same goes for the door/window sensor. The camera, too, doubles as a motion detector and it absolutely refused to let me sneak into my own living room (no matter how hard I tried).

Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNET

I guess it makes sense, since the motion sensors have a detection range of 39.4 feet. Also important: the siren was loud. Apparently, it can go up to 85dBA for a minute and a half after an intrusion is noted. It's surely loud enough to scare away a skittish thief.

Conclusion
I am extremely happy with Viper Home. It looks good, it's easy to use, it offers a lot of features, and it works. If you are interested in a DIY security system, Viper Home is a solid competitor.

If you really care about design, the Viper Home starter kit might even be worth the extra $30 over Oplink or iSmartAlarm -- whether or not you plan to upgrade. It also depends on what sort of system suits your needs. Piper and Canary are both intriguing design-focused options. The all-in-one system is definitely more subtle and it comes with a camera to capture footage of intruders.

I can't think of any reason you should get Oplink over Viper Home. Oplink's monthly fee is $10 more and it doesn't offer anything extra that justifies the price hike. So if you do want a camera that works and will offer live streaming, Viper Home is the best bet. And, if you're interested in a security system for your home and your car, Viper vehicle security and remote start options are accessible on the same Viper Connect app. There's something appealing about having all of your security needs efficiently condensed into a single, well-designed app.

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