Locally stored video is a good choice for do it yourselfers on a budget, but you have to be careful not to overwrite video you may need later. Cloud storage makes
it easy to store and access recorded video, but it can cost hundreds of dollars per year depending on your subscription. Some systems offer both cloud storage and local storage, and some provide a dedicated storage drive that gives you DVR capabilities with time
lapse recording, which makes it easy to find a video event that took place at a specific point in time. All of the systems we've tested feature an app that lets you use your smartphone as your command center to arm and disarm the system, create rules, add and delete components, and receive push notifications when alarms are triggered. Most apps also allow you to do things like view live and recorded video, lock and unlock doors, change thermostat settings, and silence alarms. Some apps will even use your phone's location services to automatically arm and disarm the system according to your physical location.