Vector Security was founded in 1970, emerging from the breakup of Westinghouse Security Systems. Although they provide national coverage for business customers, they currently offer home security services in 23 states – making them the 8th largest security company in America. Their business model for the future focuses more on their business division, so it’s not likely they’ll be increasing their residential service area.

Price: $39.95

Installation: $99.00

Security Equipment

Vector mixes and matches equipment from several major manufacturers, most of it Honeywell and GE. Equipment for the basic package includes a wireless touchscreen control panel, window and door sensors, and a motion detector. As you step up to more comprehensive service packages, you have a deeper menu of equipment options, including smoke and heat detectors, low temperature sensors, glass break and carbon monoxide detectors, appliance switches, and electronic door locks.

Almost any serious security firm will offer cameras at some level of service, and of course Vector is no exception – indoor and outdoor cameras, to cover every corner of your property. But Vector offers something not many other companies have online yet – image sensors, a combination of a motion sensor and a camera. An image sensor will trip an alert just like a motion detector, but will also capture a live picture of whatever set it off so you can see in real time what’s happening in your home.

Equipment options include:

Basic level:

  • Wireless touchscreen control panel
  • Motion detector
  • Door and window sensors​

Additional packages:

  • Smoke and heat detectors
  • Low temperature sensor
  • Wireless indoor and outdoor cameras
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Image Sensor​

Home automation

Vector made a shrewd move in 2015 by forging a partnership with Alarm.com, a cutting edge developer and manufacturer of both hardware and software for the security industry. The Alarm.com app was released in 2012, and is widely regarded in the security business as one of the most functional and capable apps on the market. There are no automation options at the basic level, but as clients step up to more robust packages, the options are impressive.

Automation features at the middle and top levels are impressive. Customers can use the app to automate, monitor, and control not only the alarm system, but pretty much the entire house. The Alarm.com app allows you to monitor both real-time and archived video from cameras and image sensors, as well as readings from temperature sensors, smoke and heat detectors, and motion and glass-break detectors.

You can also use the app to lock and unlock doors, turn appliances and lights on and off, and adjust your heating and cooling system. Again, none of these features are available at the basic level, but clients who subscribe to the more advanced service packages consistently report high levels of satisfaction with the Alarm.com app.

  • Archived and real-time video monitoring
  • Monitor temperature, smoke, heat, glassbreak, flood, and motion detectors
  • Control door locks
  • Adjust climate control systems
  • Remote lock and unlock doors
  • Lighting and appliance controls
  • Instant alerts via email or test for any event

Company History

Vector is not only one of the older security companies in America, their parent company is one of the oldest companies, period – the Philadelphia Contributorship, a property insurance company founded by Ben Franklin in 1752. Vector itself came into being in 1970, when Westinghouse Electric broke up their security division, leaving a constellation of independent franchise throughout the country. Three of those franchises merged to form Vector Security.

The earliest version of Vector served primarily residential customers in Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. In 1992, the company began to focus more on business accounts than residential clients. Their business security division covers every state in the Lower 48, plus all Canadian provinces, but their residential security network is only available in 23 states. It’s no secret that business accounts are their top priority, so don’t look for them to significantly expand their residential service network.

The Good

  • No upfront costs or fees
  • Excellent automation capabilities with upper-end packages
  • Possibly the best online transparency in the industry
  • State of the art video monitoring
  • Image sensors

There are some things Vector does that few – if any – competitors do better. For one thing, no other major security company that we could find is more committed to making honest customer reviews available online. Vector contracts with a third party to compile and post reviews on the company website, and negative reviews are not censored. This is remarkable in an industry where bad reviews are common.

One of the reasons Vector is comfortable exposing themselves to that degree is the home automation smartphone app, which customers widely regard as one of the best in the business. There may be no other security automation app that offers more options and is easier to use – clients can essentially automate not just their security system but their entire house from their phone. Vector deserves major credit for anticipating the usefulness of this feature.

The company also leads the pack in video monitoring capabilities. Their trademarked CloudControl video system allows you to monitor real-time and archived images from both your image sensors and video cameras, to a degree that most other companies can’t offer. Instead of downloading imagery to a location with limited memory such as your hard drive, and making you access it from there, CloudControl stores unlimited data in a cloud account, to be viewed at your convenience.

Another feature that CloudControl offers is an alert function that notifies you immediately if one of your cameras or image sensors is disabled or tampered with in any way. And the image sensors themselves are another feature that few other companies offer – a combination motion detector and video camera, the sensor captures imagery of anything that sets off the detector. Within a few years, image sensors will be common in the industry, but right now Vector is one of the few companies to offer them.

The Bad

  • Contract is long and difficult to get out of
  • High monthly fees
  • Limited service area
  • Inconsistent customer service
  • Barebones service options with basic package

Vector is one of the most inventive companies in the security industry, but you’ll pay for that innovation. The monthly fee for even the basic service would get you a penthouse package from some other companies, and the basic package is limited.

The 36-month contract is one of the longest in the industry. Getting out of that contract is costly, too – if you change your mind, Vector requires you to pay 100% of the balance to part ways, even for active military clients. And the auto-renew clause in the contract can lock you in for a brand-new term if you’re not careful.

And, like most security firms, Vector has a mixed customer service track record. While their business security division consistently gets high ratings for customer service, the residential security department draws a lot of negative feedback – many customers report unresolved issues in spite of repeated calls.

The Bottom Line

Like a lot of security companies, Vector is a mixed bag. They’re expensive - and their chronic customer service issues are not to be taken lightly - but if you can get past those things, some of their service packages are among the best in the business. If you’re in one of their service areas, and are willing to commit for 3 years, they should be on your “call” list.

Vector Security Contact Information​

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