Arlo Home Security System Review

We tested the Arlo Home Security System for a week to see how it compares to the best DIY security systems.
Best sensors
Arlo Home Security System
4 out of 5 stars
4
Monitoring starts at
$24.99
/mo
  • pro
    Amazing All-in-One Sensor
  • pro
    Great security camera options
  • con
    Confusing app menus at times
Plan
Monthly price
Annual price
Professional monitoring
Number of cameras
Cloud storage
Without a plan$0.00/yr.
bulletNo
UnlimitedNone
Arlo Secure$47.88/yr.
bulletNo
130 days
Arlo Secure$119.88/yr.
bulletNo
Unlimited30 days
Arlo Secure Plus$179.88/yr.
bulletNo
Unlimited30 days
Arlo Safe & Secure Pro$239.88/yr.
bulletYes
Unlimited30 days

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

John Carlsen
May 15, 2023
bullet14 min read

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Arlo's first foray into DIY home security systems is here. After a week of testing, we can confidently say that the Arlo Home Security System nailed the landing. It lives up to the legacy of Arlo's excellent security cameras.

We love the unique Arlo All-in-One Sensor and its wealth of built-in sensors. And the monitoring plan offers tons of extras like video storage, video verification, and Arlo Safe. The smart home features and Arlo Secure app could be better. But this is a new product, so we expect some rough edges to smooth out over time.

pro
Pros
pro All-in-One Sensor detects up to 8 trigger types
pro Outstanding security camera selection
pro Pro monitoring plan is packed with features
pro Great self-monitoring options
pro Easy installation and setup
pro Video verification
con
Cons
con Weak smart home compatibility
con Short warranty
con Some settings difficult to find in the app
con No smoke/CO alerts when self-monitoring
con Cellular and battery backup requires an $80 add-on

Arlo cost

Compare Arlo's monthly costs

The Arlo security system's monthly costs depend on how you monitor your Arlo Home Security System.

Self-monitoring with no plan

This free option gives you access to all of the system's features except smoke/CO alerts and cellular backup. While there's no cloud video storage for security cameras, you can buy an Arlo base station to store video locally.

Self-monitoring with cloud video storage

Arlo's cloud storage plans start at $4.99 a month, a little higher than rivals like Ring, Nest, and Wyze. Still, these plans are great for folks who want to expand their systems with cameras but aren't ready for professional monitoring.

Professional monitoring

For $24.99 a month, the Arlo Safe & Secure Pro plan watches your home with professional monitoring, which sends emergency assistance after an alarm. The monitoring center always contacts you to verify an alarm before it calls emergency responders—it sends help if you don't reply. You can also request assistance anytime via the Arlo Secure app or the Arlo Keypad Sensor Hub.

This plan adds unlimited cloud video storage and video verification to your Arlo security cameras. Video verification reduces false alarms by allowing the monitoring center to check your live camera feed after the alarm goes off.

Some features of the Arlo Home Security System are exclusive to this plan, like smoke/CO alerts and cellular backup—though the latter requires the Cellular & Battery Backup add-on (about $80).

bullet
Arlo Safe comes with the plan

In addition to professional monitoring, you can access the Arlo Safe personal safety app. It boosts your security away from home by offering easy access to emergency assistance, security experts, family safety tools, and automatic car crash response.

One of our favorite features is Walk with Me, a button you hold when you feel unsafe; it automatically calls for help if you release it.

Annual plans

Arlo recently began offering annual plans where you pay for a whole year to get a discount compared to the monthly plans. Yearly plans are becoming more common among DIY security systems—Arlo joins Wyze, Ring, Abode, Scout, and Kangaroo in this growing group.

How Arlo compares

Product
Best for
Lowest price
Base kit price
Self-monitoring
Smart home compatibility
Learn More
Read review
Best sensors$199.99
(3 pieces)
bulletOptional
Amazon, Google
Best overall$244.00
(4 pieces)
bulletOptional
Amazon, Google
Best budget system$99.98
(7 pieces)
bulletNo
Amazon, Google
Best for smart homes$279.00
(5 pieces)
bulletOptional
Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave, Zigbee
Best for Alexa$199.99
(5 pieces)
bulletOptional
Amazon, Z-Wave

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer

Arlo contracts and warranties

Like most DIY home security systems, Arlo doesn't require a contract when you sign up for professional monitoring or cloud video storage. You can cancel Arlo anytime.

Canceling with Arlo turns off auto-renewals—you'll have access to professional monitoring and cloud video storage until the end of the billing cycle. Based on what we gleaned from Arlo's terms and conditions, there's no prorated refund for annual plans.

Trial period

Every Arlo Home Security System comes with a 30-day free trial of Arlo Safe & Secure Pro. We like that it doesn't require a credit card to start the trial, but you'll need one to keep the plan after the trial ends.

Warranty

Arlo offers a one-year equipment warranty, which is on the shorter end for a DIY security system. It's not as long as Frontpoint's three-year warranty and doesn't hold up to the lifetime coverage available on some plans from Cove, Ring, and SimpliSafe.

Video: What the Arlo Home Security System Nailed and Failed

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Arlo equipment and fees

Choosing Arlo equipment is easier than with other DIY security systems because there's only a single multi-purpose sensor instead of an array of one-trick sensors. Arlo's incredible assortment of security cameras effortlessly goes toe-to-toe with heavy hitters like Nest, Ring, and Wyze—even if Arlo's cameras are more expensive on average.

Arlo offers two starter kits for the Arlo Home Security System: the Starter Bundle and the Step Up Bundle. The main difference between the two kits is the number of All-in-One Sensors, though the pricier kit also includes a yard sign.

Compare Arlo equipment packages

Package
Equipment price
What's included
Learn more
Keypad Sensor Hub,
Sensors (2)
Keypad Sensor Hub,
Sensors (5),
Yard Sign

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Build your own bundle to score a discount

You can also create your own bundle when buying from Arlo's website. It's a handy way to customize your system with extra sensors, cameras, and accessories. You'll get a discount on the entire bundle as long as there's a camera, doorbell, or floodlight in your order:

  • 10% off a bundle over $250
  • 15% off a bundle over $500
  • 20% off a bundle over $1,000

This is a solid deal since adding a camera to the base Starter Bundle is enough to score the first discount. Likewise, spending $1,000 seems like overkill, but buying just a few Arlo cameras and accessories can quickly push you over. The main drawback is that you'll pay the list price for some products, like the Arlo Pro 4, which is often cheaper on Amazon.

What's in the Starter Bundle box

  • Keypad Sensor Hub
  • All-in-One Sensors (2)
  • Magnets with adhesive (2)
  • Power adapter
  • Flat wall plate with screw kit
  • Corner wall plate with screw kit
  • Adhesives for sensors (2)
  • Quick reference guide
  • Window decal
Arlo Home Security System in the box

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

Here's what happened during testing

Here's a rundown of equipment compatible with the Arlo Home Security System and what we found during testing:

Arlo Keypad Sensor Hub

Arlo Keypad Sensor Hub on desk

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

Every equipment bundle comes with a multi-purpose hub and keypad. One of the first things we noticed about the Arlo Keypad Sensor Hub is how similar it looks to Ring Alarm's keypad. Both keypads have a number pad and dedicated emergency response buttons that can call for the police, fire department, or ambulance.

Aside from the security features, this product is the central hub for devices that use Arlo SecureLink, like your sensors and the Arlo Pro 5S security camera.

Sensors

While it's most useful for arming and disarming your system, the Keypad Sensor Hub also doubles as a motion detector and smoke alarm listener. It's less versatile than the All-in-One Sensor, but a welcome addition.

A built-in speaker also alerts you to door and window sensors opening. When an alarm goes off, you'll hear a piercing siren, which is handy for telling burglars to take a hike.

Access codes

In addition to a primary pin code, you can assign secondary pins on a schedule. It's a good way to create temporary pins for house sitters while you're on vacation. Still, Arlo doesn't track who disarms the system with which pin.

We like that it uses backlit keys, which are easy to read in the dark and send a clear signal about which arming mode is active. Still, you can turn off the backlight if you're not a fan.

bullet
Arlo Cellular & Battery Backup

The Arlo Keypad Sensor Hub doesn't include a built-in battery or cellular backup, which can make it less reliable during a power or internet outage. Fortunately, you can add these features with the Arlo Cellular & Battery Backup (about $80), which snaps onto the bottom of the hub. And while the battery backup works without Arlo's professional monitoring plan, the cellular backup does not.

Arlo All-in-One Sensor

Arlo All-in-One Sensor on door frame

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

The Arlo All-in-One Sensor is this system's most compelling feature because it combines multiple sensors in one device. The best part is that you don't need to settle on a single function for each sensor—a door sensor can also watch for motion, temperature, and light, and listen for smoke alarms.

Although other security systems have multi-purpose sensors like these—like Kangaroo and the now defunct Nest Secure alarm system—their detection options can't match Arlo's. Plus, you can buy extra sensors for just $30, which feels like cheating compared to some brands.

Testing the sensor

Using the All-in-One Sensor is a real treat. During setup, Arlo asks what you're using each device for and activates the appropriate sensor for your security system. We like this approach because it keeps setup easy for folks that want a functional security system as quickly as possible.

But seeing as this is a multi-purpose sensor, we wanted to explore the full depth of what each device can do—and it's awe-inspiring. We activated every feature on the sensor at the same time and went about testing everything. Here's what we like about each sensor function.

Motion sensor

The motion detection works well and offers a few standard options. You can adjust the detection sensitivity, turn on a pet-friendly mode, and tell the sensor LED to light up when it detects motion.

Access sensor

Using the sensor alongside a small magnet helps you track when doors and windows open. It also triggers a chirp on the Keypad Sensor Hub, which is great for listening to your kids constantly going in and out of the back door. There's an option to turn off the chirp, but it wouldn't stay off during our tests.

Tilt sensor

This setting is ideal for garage doors where a normal magnet sensor may not work. You mount it vertically at the top of your garage door, and it triggers as the door tilts open. It doesn't have to lean far to spot the door opening, so you'll get an alert even if someone forces the door up partway.

It's the only function that requires the Arlo app's Setup Assistant to work. It runs automatically when setting up a new sensor or from the Device Settings menu after that. Running the Setup Assistant resets the previous functions, so you must jump into the settings to turn them back on.

Ambient temperature sensor

Having many temperature sensors in your home is great for finding hot and cold spots, which you can use to optimize a smart thermostat. You can even have Arlo tell you when the temperature hits a certain threshold. This is great for spotting freezing temperatures that could burst pipes.

Ambient light sensor

Light detection does little to improve security by itself, but it's a nice supplement to other sensors. Using it with motion detection helps you know when someone tries covering your sensor. Likewise, it helps spot power outages. Unfortunately, you can't use ambient light as part of automations in the Arlo app, so this tool is more informational than anything else.

We also found a bug that persisted throughout our tests: the ambient light detection won't update the event feed unless you turn on notifications for the feature. The only workaround is turning off all Arlo notifications from the Android settings menu, which isn't ideal.

Water leak sensor

The All-in-One Sensor has two gold contacts on the back of the device that detects water using an open electrical circuit. When water connects the two contacts, the sensor pings your system. This feature works only when the device is flat on its back—you can't mount it on a wall.

Also, Arlo says the device can't handle deep water—massive leaks may break it. It's pretty basic as water leak detectors go, but it endured our testing without much issue.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm listener

These sensors don't directly detect smoke and carbon monoxide but can listen for the distinctive sounds of detectors going off. We like that Arlo requires you to test a smoke or CO alarm to activate this feature. This way, you know the sensor's close enough to your smoke alarm and that it's working correctly. This feature isn't available without a monitoring subscription.

Arlo Pro 5S 2K security camera

The Arlo Pro 5S 2K (about $250) is the only Arlo security camera that uses Arlo SecureLink to communicate directly with the Arlo Keypad Sensor Hub.

Using Arlo SecureLink can improve the Pro 5S's battery life and wireless range while keeping the camera running in a limited capacity during power and internet outages—as long as you have the Cellular & Battery Backup accessory on your hub. If you pay for professional monitoring, the Arlo Pro 5S uses the hub's cellular backup to send snapshots to your Arlo account.

Beyond SecureLink, the Arlo Pro 5S's only other new feature—compared to the Arlo Pro 4—is dual-band Wi-Fi. Arlo says there's a better image sensor in the Pro 5 so we're keen to see if it's worth an extra $50 when we test the Arlo Pro 5S later this year.

bullet
What cameras are compatible with the Arlo security system?

You can use older Arlo security cameras and Arlo video doorbells with the Arlo Home Security System because they have the same mobile app. While there's no direct integration with the Arlo Keypad Sensor Hub like the Arlo Pro 5S, you'll never notice any difference in practice.

Arlo setup and installation

Arlo Home Security System sensor setup

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

Setting up the Arlo Home Security System is a relatively straightforward DIY project:

  1. Download the Arlo Secure app and log in with a new or existing Arlo account.
  2. Set up and place the Keypad Sensor Hub.
  3. Set up and install the All-in-One sensors and any other Arlo devices.

The initial setup and installation take around 10 to 20 minutes, depending on where you place the hub and mount the two sensors. For additional devices, you can expect to spend about 5 minutes per sensor and 15 minutes for each security camera you add. Extra prep work can double or triple a camera's install time if you're using a wired outdoor camera or adding a solar panel accessory.

We encountered a minor issue while pairing one of our All-in-One Sensors to the hub. After successfully pairing the sensor, its LED kept flashing erratically. We fixed this issue by removing the battery and reinserting it. Easy peasy.

Once everything's in place, you can expect to spend an hour or more exploring menus and fine-tuning your arming modes and All-in-One Sensor settings.

bullet
Quick Reference Guide

We love the Quick Reference Guide that comes in the box because it runs through every feature. It's a great way to familiarize yourself with Arlo's capabilities, even if it doesn't tell you exactly where to find specific features in the Arlo Secure app.

Arlo Secure app

The Arlo Secure app is easy to use for the most part, though we had some problems finding security system settings at first. Here's what to expect from the app:

Arming modes

Arlo Secure App arming modes

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

Three arming modes determine what triggers an alarm or sends a notification to your phone:

  • Arm Away: Every sensor and camera can trigger an alarm—use it when nobody's home.
  • Arm Home: Door and window sensors can trigger an alarm, but indoor motion sensors are inactive, so you can move around the house without setting off a false alarm. This mode is ideal when you go to bed or settle in for the night.
  • Standby: This setting disarms your system, so it can't trigger an alarm and sends fewer notifications. It's perfect for when people are constantly coming and going.

On the keypad, you can activate the Standby mode with a pin code, while Arm Away and Arm Home work without one. Still, we like that you can turn on the option to keep kids from accidentally arming the alarm.

This won't be a problem for most folks if you stick with the system's original entry and exit delays. The entry delay beeps to warn you the alarm will activate if you don't enter a pin code, while the exit delay gives you time to leave the house before the system arms.

bullet
Bypassing a sensor

You can bypass the All-in-One Sensor when leaving the house without disarming the system, which is handy if you have an early commute.

Notifications

Arlo ties its notifications to the arming modes, so you'll see more or fewer notifications depending on your chosen mode. But the default notification settings are very aggressive. We had to adjust every device's notifications individually to cut down on clutter during testing. While this is relatively easy, it takes longer if you have a lot of sensors.

Feed

Arlo Secure App event feed

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

We love that Arlo saves all activity from your devices on the Feed tab of the app—even if you turn off other notifications. Each card in the feed shows a timestamp with the activity type and which device it came from. If you have Arlo security cameras, you can watch video events with a quick tap.

If the feed is too overwhelming or you want to find something specific, you can tap the three dots in the upper right of the screen to filter entries by type of event or device.

Automations

You can also set up automations to arm and disarm your system on a schedule, though the app defaults to arming at 8 a.m. and disarming at 5 p.m. We saw this during setup, but it wasn't until the next day, when a tone came from the keypad, that we realized it was running.

This has some potential for sending false alarms for new users, so we recommend adjusting or deleting the schedule on the first day, especially if someone works from home during the day.

Geofencing

Arlo also has geofencing—Arlo calls the feature Arrive/Leave—that can arm your system based on your phone's location. If you leave home, the system jumps into a new mode or disarms when you return. Geofencing is most convenient for family members with smartphones and the Arlo Secure app since everyone else needs to disarm the system on the keypad.

System-wide settings are difficult to find

Arlo Secure App location menu

The Location menu in the Arlo app is too vague for us.

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

Most of the Arlo app's menus for devices and settings are easy to navigate, but we had trouble finding system-wide settings like entry and exit delays and pin codes. First, the in-app settings menu shows up as a profile icon at the top of the screen. Second, upon opening the menu, there's some basic account info and app settings, but nothing immediately screams: "security system settings."

Only by tapping each menu—or looking it up on Arlo's support website—do you realize how many essential system settings are in the Location menu:

  • Adding new users and pin codes
  • Panic behavior, yet another submenu where you'll find entry and exit delay settings
  • Siren behavior

In Arlo's defense, this is a suitable place for tools that govern your entire home security system. Plus, most folks won't dig into these settings very often. But adding shortcuts to the Keypad Sensor Hub's settings or the Routines tab near the arming modes would solve our biggest gripe with Arlo.

Arlo smart home features and compatibility

Arlo's smart home compatibility is legendary among security camera brands, but it doesn't extend to the Arlo security system beyond some compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Google and Alexa allow you to arm and disarm your system with a voice command, though disarming requires a spoken pin code. Beyond that, you can view some Arlo security camera information on compatible Echo Show and Nest Hub smart displays, and within the Google Home app—we didn't see an option to view a live feed in the Alexa app.

Unfortunately, you can't see the sensors in the Google Home and Amazon Alexa apps, so there's no way to link them to third-party smart home devices like thermostats and smart locks.

Although many older Arlo products support Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings, these integrations aren't available for the Arlo Home Security System.

Arlo customer service and support

If you're looking for help with your Arlo device, you can search Arlo's support website, which hosts live chat and hundreds of detailed articles. You can also check out the Arlo Community, a robust user forum. While these are easy to find on a web browser, we like that Arlo includes them in the Arlo Secure App.

In our experience, we've always found answers to our questions in Arlo's support articles and online community so the live chat and phone support feel largely redundant. The live chat is reliable but can depend on the agent helping you.

Arlo offers a phone support line, but you need the mobile app to access it. Plus, Arlo restricts its phone support to paying subscribers after the first 90 days.

bullet
Watch out for Arlo support scams

Arlo doesn't have a publicly available phone number and doesn't offer email support, so searching for these on the web can lead you to an Arlo Support scam. Always use the Arlo Secure app or the official Arlo website to contact customer support—never use an Arlo contact from any other source.

Is the Arlo Home Security System right for you?

The Arlo Home Security System is an excellent DIY security system for self-monitoring and professional monitoring. We love how the All-in-One Sensor can transform your home into a lean, mean security machine. The equipment and monitoring offer a lot of value for the price.

It's too soon to say if Arlo can topple SimpliSafe, Wyze, and Abode on our list of the best DIY security systems, but the potential's there, and the future looks bright.

Arlo Home Security System FAQ

Is there a monthly fee for the Arlo security system?

You don't need a subscription to self-monitor the Arlo security system, but professional monitoring costs about $25 a month.

How we reviewed the Arlo Home Security System

Arlo Home Security System testing

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise.

We bought the Starter Bundle and tested it for a week with an Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera from a previous review. Although we intended to use this system alongside the Arlo Pro 5S, the wireless camera didn't arrive in time—we'll update this page once we test it.

Our tests focus on setup, ease of use, and overall usefulness. To maintain our privacy, we didn't test the professional monitoring. We spent much of our setup and ease of use testing in Arlo's Android app, where we evaluated the menu structure and as many features as possible. Since the Arlo All-in-One Sensor has many built-in detectors, we put extra care into seeing if they work as advertised:

  • To test the light and temperature sensors, we turned them on and observed their behavior. We also used a flashlight and freezer to evaluate responsiveness.
  • We regularly triggered motion, tilt, and contact sensors to see how quickly the system reacted.
  • We poured water on a paper towel under a sensor for water leak testing until it triggered. We also examined how long the sensor took to report dry conditions when removed.
  • We repeatedly set off our alarms to test the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm listeners.

While hands-on testing offers great insights, we also researched Arlo's support resources and customer reviews. This is essential for rounding out our knowledge of the brand, its features, and how our experience differs from that of customers. You can learn more about how we test, rate, and review brands in our full methodology.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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