Best Home Security Systems of 2019

We researched the top 10 best home security systems when it comes to service, pricing & more. See why we rated Frontpoint as #1 in home security.
Written by | Updated September 6, 2019
Best Overall
4.8
  • Risk-free trial
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Strong customer loyalty
  • Risk-free trial
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Strong customer loyalty
Smart Home Pick
4.6
  • Smart home tech
  • Free in-home consultation
  • One app for everything
  • Smart home tech
  • Free in-home consultation
  • One app for everything
No-Contract Pick
4.3
  • No contracts
  • Monitoring for $15/mo.
  • Many equipment packages
  • No contracts
  • Monitoring for $15/mo.
  • Many equipment packages
Most Well-Known
3.9
  • Trusted name
  • Customer-first policies
  • 140+ years of experience
  • Trusted name
  • Customer-first policies
  • 140+ years of experience
Entry-Level Pick
3.75
  • Google Nest options
  • Simple packages
  • Fast response times
  • Google Nest options
  • Simple packages
  • Fast response times
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Last Updated: 1 month ago
We did a mid-year review of all the top home security systems, including new package and equipment offerings, price changes, updated or discontinued features, and the latest customer service reviews. The result landed Frontpoint on the top of our list once again and brought in newcomers Ring Alarm and Abode to our top 10 home security systems. See all the changes and updated information below.

How We Picked the Best Home Security Systems

We know home security. Over the past five years, more than one million people have come to us for home security information and recommendations. And we’ve helped thousands of those people pick the best home security system for their homes. We test, research, and compare home security companies based on the factors that matter most when looking at security systems—cost, response time, installation, features, customer service, style/design, connectivity, and ease of use.

Person testing home security equipment eq

SafeWise getting “hands-on” with home security equipment.

Compare the Best Home Security Systems

Brand
Lowest Monthly Monitoring Price
Starter Equipment Price
Contract Required
Installation
Smart Home Compatibility
Learn More
$34.99 $29.99 $14.99 $27.99 $29.00 $19.99 $10.00 $30.99 $9.99 $19.00
$99.00 $599.00 $229.00 $0.00* $299.00 $0.00* $199.00 $50.00 $279.00 $399.00
Yes No** No Yes Yes Yes No No** No No
DIY Pro DIY Pro DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Zigbee
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages

Data effective 09/03/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*$0 due up-front with contract.
**No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.

Best Home Security System Reviews


1. Frontpoint: Best Overall

Frontpoint offers great customer service and the best DIY installation experience.

SafeWise Rating: 4.8

Frontpoint indoor camera, hub, keypad, and mobile app

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In addition to having the best full-service DIY installation option, Frontpoint is known for the way it takes care of its customers. Frontpoint’s customers tend to stick around for an average of seven years—that’s more than twice as long as a standard Frontpoint contract. Plus, it’s one of the few security companies we’ve found that puts its money where its mouth is; you can try out the system risk-free for thirty days. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll get a full refund. Read the full Frontpoint review.

Pros

  • No-cost DIY installation
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Smoke, CO monitoring in basic plans
  • Easy, preprogrammed equipment
  • Smart home integration

Cons

  • No professional installation option
  • Higher monitoring fees
  • Required long-term contract

Higher monitoring fees and costly early termination fees hurt Frontpoint’s affordability score. But this alarm company delivers more in a basic package (like smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring) than many other home security companies, which explains why you’ll find higher entry-level prices.

Frontpoint offers high-end equipment and includes more than door and window sensors in basic plans. Best of all, you don’t have to pay more to have your system installed—Frontpoint is a leader in DIY installation. And we know firsthand how easy it is to set up a Frontpoint security system. Frontpoint carries that customer-first approach into its mobile app as well. Frontpoint’s smartphone app has a simple interface that’s easy to navigate and it consistently gets high ratings from both Android and iOS users.

Upgrade your security and your lifestyle when you pair a Frontpoint security system with compatible smart home tools like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. You can make it even easier by opting for a Frontpoint plan with home automation included. We recommend the Interactive or Ultimate Plans if you want DIY home security that’s easy to integrate with home automation.

For years, this company has topped our list when it comes to customer satisfaction. Fast, comprehensive service and a real interest in what each customer needs make Frontpoint stand out. In the past year, we’ve seen Frontpoint take direct customer feedback and use it to make its offerings, equipment, and buying experience better.

Favorite Plan
Frontpoint mobile, app, camera, hub, and doorbell

Frontpoint Interactive Plan

Our Pick for Frontpoint: Interactive Plan

The Interactive Plan provides a variety of equipment, remote access, and plenty of home automation options—all for under $50 per month.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• Remote access control
• Crash & Smash protection
• 100% cellular connection
• $44.99/mo.

Bottom Line for Frontpoint

Frontpoint puts the customer first. From transparent pricing to knowledgeable customer service help, this security company does everything it can to make sure you get the residential security features you need without any hassle or extra costs.


2. Vivint: Smart Home Pick

Vivint provides state-of-the-art home security combined with leading home automation tech.

SafeWise Rating: 4.6

Vivint logo and equipment: indoor camera, touch panel, doorbell, thermostat, and door lock

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There’s a reason Vivint put “smart home” in the middle of its name—this relative newcomer to the security game has gone all-in when it comes to combining home security and home automation. With hands-free voice control features, you can do everything from closing the garage door to turning up the heat without lifting a finger. Read the full Vivint review.

Pros

  • High-end technology and equipment
  • Customizable security packages
  • Short-term contract available
  • Highly-rated mobile app
  • Free in-home security consultation

Cons

  • Higher overall cost
  • Bigger up-front payment to avoid long-term contract
  • Steep termination fees

Vivint’s monitoring fees are in line with our other top security companies, which is impressive given the advanced proprietary equipment and services that come with a Vivint home security system. We also like that Vivint gives you the option to buy your equipment outright, which means you’re off the hook for a long-term contract—but that does require a hefty up-front payment.

If you don’t want to pay for your Vivint equipment up front, you’re looking at a contract ranging from 42 to 60 months, which is longer than most companies that require a 36-month contract. Once you’re in a contract, it’s not easy to get out of it. Vivint charges you 100% of the remainder of your contract if you want to cancel your service. But the company gives you some extra perks if you stick with them, including a lifetime warranty on all equipment as long as you’re subscribed to monitoring services.

Vivint’s equipment is the most technologically advanced of all the security companies on our list. Its smart home panel lets the system learn your habits, so it knows when to turn up the heat or dim the lights based on your routine and preferences. And Vivint includes full access to its mobile app with every package—a perk that most companies make you pay for.

One of the biggest perks of Vivint’s advanced home automation tech is the full integration of smart home management and home security. All of the equipment works together—from security cameras to smart locks—and you need only one app to control it all. Plus, Vivint works with third-party smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Nest.
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Favorite Plan
Vivint Equipment

Vivint's Smart Home Video

Our Pick for Vivint: Smart Home Video

We like the Smart Home Video monitoring plan because it includes security cameras and video monitoring. For equipment, you can work with Vivint’s home security and home automation experts to put together a package that gives you the components and features you want.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• Remote access and control
• 100% cellular connection
• $49.99/mo.
• $99 installation fee

Bottom Line for Vivint

Vivint’s strong commitment to providing intelligent safety and lifestyle solutions has made it a major home security player. If you’re looking for more than home security, Vivint offers the most comprehensive home automation and energy management upgrades.


3. SimpliSafe: No-Contract Pick

SimpliSafe does home security on its own terms, which means no sales people or long contracts.

SafeWise Rating: 4.3

SimpliSafe hub, keypad, alarm, camera, and smoke detector

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SimpliSafe has set out to change the home security industry. It doesn’t employ any salespeople and lets you choose the equipment and monitoring level you want. SimpliSafe equipment is modern, sleek, and easy to set up. Best of all, you don’t have to sign a contract. Read the full SimpliSafe review.

Pros

  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • No contracts
  • Affordable monthly monitoring
  • Great options for renters
  • Customizable plans and equipment

Cons

  • Higher up-front costs
  • Limited outdoor camera options

SimpliSafe offers a no-pressure online shopping experience and provides professional monitoring on demand (that means no contracts). The straightforward pricing makes it easy to know what you’ll spend out of pocket, but shelling out a few hundred dollars up front can be tricky for some of us.

The good news is that once you buy your SimpliSafe security system, you don’t have any other required expenses. But we strongly recommend adding 24/7 professional monitoring. You can get monitoring for just $15 per month, and you can cancel at any time with no penalties.
We also like SimpliSafe for smaller homes and apartments—the simple packages are perfect if you have less square footage, and the wireless installation makes it work whether you own your home or rent.

If you have a larger home or property you want to keep an eye on, SimpliSafe may be too limited for you. The only outdoor security camera that’s currently available is the Video Doorbell Pro, which is great for keeping an eye on visitors and package deliveries, but it leaves other parts of your yard vulnerable. If you have a large yard or outbuildings to protect, this system might not be the best fit.

Favorite Plan
SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe Hearth Package

Our Pick for SimpliSafe: Hearth Package

SimpliSafe’s Hearth Package includes all the home security essentials you need, plus fire and smoke detection. This isn’t the cheapest SimpliSafe package, but we think the addition of smoke protection is a plus worth paying for.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• 105 dB siren
• $14.99/mo.
• $374 equipment package

Bottom Line for SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe has some of the cheapest monthly monitoring fees available, and there are no contracts required. You can start or stop professional monitoring whenever you want to. Best of all, this security company doesn’t use high-pressure sales, so you won’t end up paying for more security than you need.


4. ADT: Most Well-Known

ADT has more monitoring centers and more experience than any other home security company.

SafeWise Rating: 3.9

ADT home security equipment and logo

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When it comes to home security monitoring, no one can beat ADT for experience. This home security company has been providing home protection for more than 140 years and serves more than eight million people worldwide. Read the full ADT review.

Pros

  • Fast response times
  • Outstanding customer guarantees
  • 140+ years of experience
  • Free whole-home risk assessment
  • Six redundant monitoring centers
  • DIY option through LifeShield

Cons

  • Long contracts with no trial period
  • Expensive early termination fees
  • Limited outdoor camera options

ADT is one of the more expensive home security companies, with high-priced video monitoring and steep early termination fees. But ADT is known to offer deals that alleviate the cost of equipment, which makes the overall cost for a 36-month contract a lot more reasonable.

ADT’s six customer monitoring centers (more than any other security company has) make sure your security never goes offline. If one monitoring station faces an interruption of service, your home’s protection is instantly transferred to another center.

For smart home features, we recommend the ADT Pulse package. It delivers full IFTTT (If This Then That) technology to let you remotely arm and disarm your system, turn lights and other electronics on and off, and control the thermostat so you never have to come home to a chilly house. ADT also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa so you can control your security system with your voice.

ADT puts customers first with its extra guarantees. Our favorite is the Theft Protection Guarantee, which covers up to $500 if you suffer a burglary loss while your ADT system is armed. We also like the six-month money-back service guarantee that provides a full refund of monitoring fees and installation costs if ADT is unable to resolve service issues during the first six months of your contract.†

LifeShield recently became an ADT company, so now you have a DIY home security option that gives you the reassurance of ADT’s experience and professional monitoring. LifeShield’s smart DIY security systems range in price from around $300 to $500, and you can get professional monitoring without a contract. If you like the gravitas of the ADT name but want a DIY system, LifeShield might be what you’ve been looking for. Read our full LifeShield review.

Favorite Plan
ADT Pulse touchscreen panel, mobile app, doorbell cam, keyfob

ADT Pulse®

Our Pick for ADT: ADT Pulse®

We recommend the ADT Pulse® plan because it includes home automation technology and wireless equipment. These features make home security easier for renters and people who may move before their contract is up.

• Wireless security monitoring
• Cell Guard®
• Mobile access and alerts
• $52.99/mo.
• Pro installation starting at $199

Bottom Line for ADT

ADT is the most experienced security monitoring company in the country. Even though prices are on the higher end, years of experience combined with the most monitoring centers in the land assure ADT customers get fast response times and helpful service when they need it most.


5. Brinks: Entry-Level Pick

Brinks has straightforward pricing and equipment packages that make it a good choice for home security newbies.

SafeWise Rating: 3.75

Brinks control panel, camera, motion sensor, door sensor, and zwave siren

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Brinks has three packages to choose from, including one that features Google Nest security equipment. You can install and test the Brinks system for one month to help you decide whether or not you like it. The 30-day money-back guarantee makes it easy to give Brinks a try—but if you cancel after the trial period, you could owe up to 100% of the remainder of your contract. Read the full Brinks review.

Pros

  • Fast response times
  • Nest security equipment available
  • Mobile app included in every package
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Required contract on most plans
  • High cancellation fees

Brinks makes shopping for a home security system simple. There are just three packages to choose from, and its equipment offerings are focused on home security basics like entry sensors, motion detectors, and smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring. The most expensive package, Home Complete with Video, lets you add video surveillance with a doorbell camera and one indoor security camera.

One of the most exciting things Brinks offers is the Nest Secure home security system. You can buy your Nest equipment from Brinks and add professional monitoring with no contract required. Monitoring fees begin at $29, and equipment costs range from $299 to $499. Brinks also provides financing options for both Nest Secure and Brinks home security packages. If you opt for one of Brinks’s home security packages (without Nest), a 36-month contract is required.

Brinks is a solid choice for basic home security that comes with well-regarded professional monitoring, but if you’re looking for home automation, it doesn’t have much to offer beyond Nest’s equipment. But we appreciate that you get mobile access and some smart home features through the app on every package—a perk most companies charge extra for.

Favorite Plan
Brinks control panel, motion sensor, door sensor, and camera

Brinks' Home Complete

Our Pick for Brinks: Home Complete with Video

The Home Complete with Video package will run you about $40 per month, but it comes with extras like a doorbell camera and an indoor security camera with night vision. You also get 24/7 live streaming video for peace of mind whether you’re at home or on the go.

• Smart control panel
• Hacker protection
• $39/mo.
• $499 equipment cost

Bottom Line for Brinks

Brinks offers simple home security options and straightforward pricing. Plus, the company’s money-back guarantee makes Brinks a solid choice for the commitment-averse that want to try out a home security system before signing a long contract. Just make up your mind before the trial period ends to avoid termination fees.


6. Protect America: Landline Pick

Protect America’s affordable rates and multiple connection options make home security accessible to nearly any household.

SafeWise Rating: 3.5

Protect America home security equipment

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Protect America is one of the only companies on our list that offers standard, landline monitoring. That helps keep costs low, and it makes home security available to people who live in rural areas or those who don’t want to rely on a broadband or cellular signal for their home’s security. You can also lock in your rate, which means that your monitoring fees will never increase as long as you don’t interrupt or cancel your plan. Read the full Protect America review.

Pros

  • Three monitoring options
  • Many packages to choose from
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Customer-first policies

Cons

  • Cheapest packages require a landline
  • Package and upgrade options can be confusing

We calculated the cost over three years for all the security systems we evaluated, and you can get landline security from Protect America for around $5 per week (excluding taxes and other fees) over the course of a 36-month contract. That takes a little bit of the sting out of the required three-year commitment.

Protect America’s main focus is on security, which is why there are three connection options: landline, broadband, and cellular. While cellular is considered the most secure connection, you can’t always get a reliable cellular signal. That’s why we like Protect America for people who live in places with spotty cell service, like rural locations, near mountains, or close to the ocean. It’s also a good choice if you want to add a security system to a second home or vacation cabin.

This security company has a number of policies that put the customer first, including a 30-day money-back guarantee and price matching. Our favorite customer service feature offered by Protect America is the lifetime equipment warranty. If something goes wrong with any of your Protect America equipment, the company will swap out the defective item for a brand new one. But you do need to sign a 36-month contract, and you’ll be on the hook for 100% of your remaining contract if you cancel early.

Favorite Plan
Protect America equipment

Protect America Silver Package

Our Pick for Protect America: Silver Package

This isn’t the cheapest package Protect America offers, but we think it provides solid home security that’s still affordable. And if you choose the landline option, your monthly fees will be under $40.

• 24/7 professional monitoring
• DIY installation
• Mobile app with broadband or cellular
• $37.99/mo. for landline connection
• No up-front equipment charges

Bottom Line for Protect America

If you have a limited budget but want to give your home and family the extra protection of a home security system, Protect America is a good place to start. Protect America also offers a connection option that will work no matter where your home is located.


7. Ring Alarm Security System: Budget Pick

For standard home security on a budget, it’s hard to beat the no-nonsense Ring Alarm security system.

SafeWise Rating: 3.3

Ring Home Security Equipment

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You can buy Ring’s five-piece security kit and add monthly monitoring for a year for right around $300—that’s cheaper than buying only equipment with most other DIY security companies. Keep in mind that this is no-frills home security, but if all you’re looking for is intrusion detection, Ring Alarm will give you a solid start. Read the full Ring Alarm review.

Pros

  • 3 equipment packages under $350
  • Savings if you pay for a year of monitoring up front
  • Compatibility with Ring video doorbells and cameras
  • Cellular backup with Ring Protect Plus plan
  • Ring Neighbors app

Cons

  • No cameras included with Ring Alarm security kit
  • Limited alert configuration
  • Up-front equipment cost

Ring Alarm is one of the newest out-of-the-box home security systems to hit the scene, and it doesn’t add anything new to the landscape. That said, it does deliver solid, basic home security that will detect motion, sense if a door or window is opened, and sound an alarm. Without the optional 24/7 monitoring plan, it functions like a standard burglar alarm. If you add the Ring Protect Plus Plan, you get professional monitoring and a direct link to help if the alarm is triggered.

If you already own a Ring video doorbell and want to expand your home security coverage, adding Ring Alarm makes sense. When you add other Ring products to Ring Alarm it becomes a more robust security system that can deliver live video streaming, two-way communication, and smart lighting. Of course, at that point, the cheap price tag becomes more expensive. Although the Ring Alarm security kits and monitoring plans are probably the cheapest out there, Ring cameras and lights run from about $40 to $200 each. It’s easy to see how that can add up if you want to add a few extras.

One of our favorite security services from Ring is its Neighbors app. The app is free to everyone (you don’t have to own a Ring product) and it works like a modern neighborhood watch where users and law enforcement can post crime watch updates and video clips of suspicious activities. One thing to watch out for with Ring Alarm is its preprogrammed alert settings. This limits how you can label your sensors and gives you fewer options when it comes to alert delays and the types of push notifications you get.

Favorite Plan

Ring 10-Piece Alarm Security Kit

Our Pick for Ring: 10-Piece Alarm Security Kit

We like the 10-piece Alarm Security Kit because it includes all the basics (base station, keypad, motion sensor) plus a few extra entry sensors. Ring recommends this package for homes with up to two bedrooms and around 2,000 square feet.

• DIY installation
• 24-hour backup battery
• Cellular backup with protection plan
• $10/mo. or $100/yr. for 24/7 professional monitoring
• $259 equipment price

Bottom Line for Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm is a bare-bones home security system that delivers protection at an affordable price. If you want to add extras like cameras or security lighting, the up-front equipment price gets a lot steeper—but there’s no company that can beat Ring’s $10 a month monitoring fee.


8. Link Interactive: Best Customization

Link Interactive offers customization on everything from the security equipment you pick to the length of your contract.

SafeWise Rating: 3.25

Link Interactive control panel, thermostat, skybell, door sensor, and smoke detector

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This security company provides some of the most comprehensive basic monitoring plans we’ve seen. Link Interactive’s mid-level Gold package ($35.99/mo.) offers everything except video monitoring and live streaming. That includes 24/7 professional monitoring, mobile access and alerts, home automation, and Crash & Smash protection, which keeps your system active if a burglar tries to damage and disable it. It’s rare to get all of that without having to upgrade. Read the full Link Interactive review.

Pros

  • Crash & Smash protection with all plans
  • Friendly customer service
  • Contracts as short as 12 months
  • Up to 48 window and door sensors in basic package
  • Extra sensors for everything from your stove to firearms

Cons

  • High termination fees
  • So many options that it can be overwhelming

You can get a Link Interactive system with a contract as short as 12 months, which is better than the three-year contracts that are standard across the industry. The length of the contract can depend on how much you can pay up front for your home security equipment. Monitoring costs are on the higher end, along with early termination fees, but the good news is you won’t be locked in for three years.

You’ll get up-to-date equipment from Link Interactive and a highly-rated mobile app. Unlike some other home security companies, Link Interactive provides up to 48 sensors in its basic package, including both fire and CO alarms. Link Interactive also offers extra sensors that most security companies don’t. We like the grill guard that protects little fingers from getting burned on the stove or the backyard grill, and the gun lock that has both a tilt sensor and a three-digit lock to help prevent accidental discharge.

It’s nice to see that Link Interactive doesn’t save home automation for only its top-tier packages. It uses Z-Wave enabled devices to make it easy for you to automate lights, locks, thermostats, and more—no matter which level of monitoring you select.

Favorite Plan
Link Interactive equipment

Link Interactive Gold Plan

Our Pick for Link Interactive: Gold Plan

The Gold Plan offers security you can rely on plus home automation and energy management features. We also like that fire and CO alarms are included.

• 100% cellular connection
• Home automation
• 24/7 professional monitoring
• $39.99/mo.
• Equipment for as little as $50 up front

Bottom Line for Link Interactive

Link Interactive offers basic packages that are anything but basic, which means you can end up with more security for your money. We also like that fire and CO alarms are included.


9. Abode: Self-Monitored Pick

Abode is a good choice if you want to skip professional monitoring and keep an eye on your home or apartment yourself.

SafeWise Rating: 3

Abode Home Security Equipment

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Abode has simplified home security into one multifunctional device that works as a security camera, motion detector, siren, two-way speaker, and smart hub. The Adobe Iota packs all of that security into one device that’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and a bevy of other smart home gadgets. Plus, you can choose to monitor your home through the Abode mobile app or add optional professional monitoring for $20 a month. Read our full Abode review.

Pros

  • No contracts
  • Sleek all-in-one security device
  • Smart home compatibility
  • Simple, quick setup
  • Ideal size for apartments

Cons

  • Up-front equipment costs
  • Limited function for bigger houses

While we like the Abode Iota security hub, it comes with only one entry sensor, which means you can’t protect more than a single door or window. Abode also offers a Smart Security Kit that includes only one entry sensor and one motion detector. Because that limits the number of entrances you can guard, we think Abode works best for smaller spaces like an apartment or dorm. It’s possible to add motion sensors for about $30 each, but that can quickly add up if you need to buy more than one or two.

Abode’s small scale makes it easy to forgo professional monitoring, especially if your main goal is to stay connected to what’s happening at home instead of deterring intruders. All Abode equipment comes with basic self-monitoring that gives you access to camera footage and alerts through the Abode mobile app.

But you can add 24/7 monitoring if you want the extra security of professionals watching out for you around the clock. You can pay for Abode’s monitoring service on a monthly basis (around $20 per month) or bundle it with your equipment purchase for a discount. Either way, there’s no contract and you can cancel your service at any time without any penalties. Just be aware that if you pay for a year of monitoring up front, you can’t get a prorated refund if you want to cancel—you’ll just get the full year of monitoring.

Favorite Plan
Abode smart security starter kit in the box

Abode Iota Security Basic

Our Pick for Abode: Iota Security Basic

Abode Iota gives you the benefit of three different security devices in one sleek package. The Iota works as a smart hub and security camera that you can control remotely via the Abode app.

• Iota hub
• 1 mini entry sensor
• Optional professional monitoring for $20/mo.
• $229 equipment cost

Bottom Line for Abode

Abode is a smart choice if you want to secure a smaller home or apartment. You get free access to the mobile app so you can monitor your system yourself from your cell phone or computer, or you can add on professional monitoring without any contracts.


10. Google Nest Secure: Techie Pick

Nest Secure is smart and it helps protect your home with DIY or professional monitoring.

SafeWise Rating: 2.8

Google Nest Secure logo and equipment

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Nest Secure provides innovative home security that’s designed to be self-monitored, although you do have the option to add on professional monitoring. You can add other Nest products like a camera or thermostat to make your home both smart and secure—but it will cost you. The starter pack is around $400, and that doesn’t include any security cameras. Read more in our full Nest review.

Pros

  • DIY setup
  • Responsive door and window sensors
  • Stylish design
  • User-friendly app

Cons

  • High up-front equipment costs
  • Skimpy starter package

Nest is pricier than most other DIY home security systems, but it’s a good choice if you want to monitor your system yourself. Nest’s mobile app is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly that we’ve seen.

The biggest perk of Nest Secure is its seamless integration with other Nest devices, like the Nest Protect Smoke Alarm and Nest Learning Thermostat. If you’ve already got smart home devices from Nest in your home, adding Nest Secure is a natural choice to keep your family safe. If you already have a Nest Cam, that gives your Nest Secure system an instant upgrade. But to record video or access live streaming, you need to add a Nest Aware subscription for about $5 per month.

Right now Nest Secure has a few gaps in its security features (like an alarm that’s automatically delayed by 30 seconds), but it’s still worth considering—especially if all you need is basic home security that you can monitor yourself. You can add professional monitoring to your Nest Secure system through Brinks. Plans start at $19 per month, and if you know that you want professional monitoring, you might be able to get a price break on your Nest Secure equipment if you buy it from Brinks instead of directly from Nest.

Favorite Plan
Nest Secure Equipment

Google Nest Secure Alarm Starter Pack

Our Pick for Google Nest: Nest Secure Alarm System Starter Pack

This starter pack bundle includes the Nest Guard hub with built-in keypad and multiple Nest Detect sensors to help you keep an eye on your home. We also recommend adding a Nest Cam to your alarm package for extra security—but that will cost you more.  

• Mobile access through Nest app
• Optional professional monitoring with Brinks
• $399 bundle price
• 24/7 monitoring starting at $19/mo.

Bottom Line for Google Nest Secure

If you want to be in charge of your home’s security, Nest Secure is a good choice. Through the Nest App, you can monitor your home, watch live video, and arm or disarm your system. And if you decide you need more protection, it’s easy to add professional monitoring to your Nest system.


Home Security System FAQs

What are the differences between landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring?

Landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring are different ways your home security system can be connected to the monitoring center. Landline monitoring uses a home phone line, broadband uses an internet connection, and cellular monitoring uses a cellular uplink.

How susceptible each connection is to tampering and which options are available in your area are important to consider when you’re looking for the right security system for your home. Landline monitoring is most vulnerable because a phone line could be cut, and cellular is least vulnerable because there are no wires.

Every company on our best home security systems list offers broadband or cellular connections, but not all give you a landline option. Landline connections used to be the most common, but broadband and cellular have taken over because they have expanded availability and fewer security vulnerabilities.

Related Questions

Can I afford a home security system?

At first glance, a $40 or $50 per month monitoring fee can seem steep, but that adds up to $600 or less per year. That’s still significant, but it’s a lot less than the average loss of a break-in. In 2017, people whose homes were burglarized lost an average of $2,416.¹ We found that most residential security systems cost less than that (usually by at least $1,000) for the whole term of the contract, which is typically 36 months—and that includes standard equipment.

When you factor in the financial and emotional costs of a break-in, the expense of a home security system is almost always less than the loss you’d face if the worst were to happen. Keep in mind that the more features and extras you add to your system, the bigger the price tag. Some top-tier packages cost upwards of $60 per month.

But we don’t want you to risk financial security for home security. Take the time to figure out your budget and identify exactly what you want from a home security system. That way you won’t end up paying for extra bells and whistles that you don’t need.

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What is the difference between professional monitoring and self-monitoring?

A professionally monitored security system has trained professionals keeping an eye on your home 24/7. Monitoring centers contact you if the alarm is triggered, and they can dispatch emergency services to your home. We recommend professional monitoring because it’s your most direct line to help if something happens.

With a self-monitored system, you and other authorized household members are the ones checking in to make sure everything’s okay at home. Depending on the security system you choose, that may or may not include motion detector alerts, outside security camera alerts, and life-saving alerts like notification that your smoke alarm went off.

You can save money with self-monitoring by avoiding monthly monitoring fees. But that can leave your home more vulnerable because you won’t have experts watching around the clock—and you won’t always have a connection to local law enforcement if you end up needing emergency assistance.

More security companies are offering contract-free professional monitoring options that are more affordable. You can get 24/7 monitoring for as low as $15 per month from DIY home security companies like SimpliSafe.

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What are the differences between wired and wireless home security systems?

This can be a tricky question. “Wireless” usually refers to the use of wireless technology like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for monitoring and to connect the components of your system. “Wired” on the other hand, refers to a home security system that is hardwired into your home’s electrical system.

That makes it easy to assume that a wireless home security system would not have any wires at all, but that’s not always the case. Some wireless security systems use a hardwired control panel that needs to be connected to your home’s electrical system—ADT’s Pulse® systems are a good example. There are truly wireless systems, like Frontpoint, that don’t require any hardwiring.

Don’t worry—being wired or wireless doesn’t really impact how well a home security system will protect your home. If power goes out, or the internet or cellular uplink goes down, the best security systems are designed to stay connected to the monitoring center (or send out an alarm) if the connection is disrupted.

From a practical perspective, wireless systems have more flexibility if you may move or don’t want to put holes in walls. A hardwired system could be the perfect option if you want a complete smart home and you’re able to incorporate the installation into a renovation or new construction.

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Does a home security system give me a discount on homeowners insurance?

Yes. Most insurance companies offer a discount when you install a security system. Depending on your insurance, you may qualify for as much as 15% off your premium.² When you’re looking for the best home security system to buy, be sure to verify that you’ll get a certificate to submit to your home insurance company after installation.

A word of warning—if you forgo 24/7 professional monitoring, you might not qualify for a discount. It could be worth weighing the monthly monitoring fee against the monthly or annual savings on your home insurance premium.

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Can I install a home security system if I rent?

Yes. Thanks to wireless technology, it’s now easy to add security to your home—whether you own, rent, or live in a dorm or with roommates. Many of our top home security systems have packages that meet renters’ security needs. To make it even easier, we also ranked the best security systems for renters.

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Will I be stuck in a long contract?

Possibly. It depends on which security company you choose. Many professionally monitored home security systems require a contract, and contract length can range from three to five years. But today you’ll find more home security options than ever before that offer shorter contracts and month-to-month (contract-free) terms.

The perks of a contract might include the ability to finance the cost of equipment. Many no-contract options require you to pay for your home security equipment up front. That can be tough when you’re looking at equipment costs that start around $300 on the low end and run all the way into the thousands, depending on what you want.

We like the flexibility of completely contract-free options (like SimpliSafe and Scout) because you can add 24/7 monitoring when you go on vacation—or during the holidays to thwart porch pirates—and drop it when everything’s back to normal.

Before you jump into a contract, be sure to read all the fine print, because most home security companies will charge you around 75% of the remaining term of your contract if you cancel early—and some require 100%.

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What’s the difference between home security and home automation?

The best home security systems use tools and technology to help keep you, your family, and your property safe. Home security is made up of many devices and resources including burglar alarms, security cameras, door and window sensors, motion sensors, reinforced door locks, and more.

Home automation uses technology to automate everyday activities like locking the doors, turning up the thermostat, or starting the coffee pot. Home automation is connecting smart products (like a smart thermostat) to one another over an internet connection and a protocol like Z-Wave or Zigbee. When connected, they can speak to each other and you can control them from smart speakers, a hub, or a phone. When combined with home security, home automation can help increase your home’s energy efficiency, remotely control your alarm system, and let you check in on kids or pets when you’re away from home.

Most of the companies that made our top home security systems offer some combination of home security and home automation—but a smart home upgrade can cost you. Different equipment, more sensors, mobile apps, and other features add up, so consider what you can afford.
And be aware that not all smart devices are compatible with all home security systems. If you’ve already made an investment in smart home tech (like Nest or Ring products), make sure your new home security system can work with your existing equipment.

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What makes a home security system smart?

The difference between a traditional alarm system and a smart one is that different components within the system can communicate with one another. Not only does smart technology give you the ability to control and monitor your home alarm system from anywhere—it also makes your system able to respond to your habits and routines.

The most common elements of a smart security system include a control panel (or hub), an app for remote access and monitoring, environmental controls, and smart accessories like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You can also find smart security cameras and lights to augment your home’s security. We like security cameras with two-way voice that let you talk to visitors (welcome or not) and family members even if you’re stuck in traffic.

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What are smart sensors?

Many home security systems offer extra sensors that provide protection beyond keeping out intruders. These sensors help you protect your home from things like floods and freezing temperatures. Smart sensors take information from the physical surroundings to detect changes in the environment that could signal trouble. Some security systems also use smart sensors to “listen” for CO and smoke alarms. When those sensors hear an alarm, both you and the monitoring center are notified and emergency help is dispatched if needed.

Flood Sensors

Floods can happen in every US state and can be the result of a natural disaster or a faulty appliance. Floods may range in severity from a few inches of water due to a leaky pipe to several feet of water from a severe storm. Flood sensors (sometimes called water sensors) are designed to send out an alert when the sensor comes in contact with water. Early notice of water in your home can prevent what could amount to thousands of dollars in damage. Flood sensors are a smart addition to any home security system, but they’re especially important if you live in a flood zone or have evidence of previous water damage in your home.

Freeze Sensors

If you live in an area that frequently sees sub-freezing temperatures, you know the risks of frozen pipes. Freeze sensors (also called temperature sensors) monitor the air for drops in temperature and send out an alert when the temperature dips below a safe threshold—usually around 40℉.

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What is do-it-yourself home security?

If you like to sling a sledgehammer, then DIY home security might be right up your alley. Home security systems that are 100% DIY let you pick the security products, set them up, and monitor them—all on your own.

Even better, you can go hybrid and opt for full-on professional monitoring with DIY installation (think Frontpoint, Protect America, or Link Interactive). This can save you money and give you the satisfaction of upgrading your home’s security with your own two hands.

Not every company gives you that option, but you can find some of our favorites on our full list of the best DIY home security systems.

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When should I go with a professional installation?

Sometimes you don’t have a choice. High-end home security companies like Vivint and ADT offer only professional installation. But most other companies on our best home security systems list give you a DIY option.

Using professionals to install alarm systems and sensors can make things simple. You’ll have an expert by your side who understands the best setup for your home security system—and both ADT and Vivint provide free in-home security assessments to make sure you have the right protection for your home.

Alarm systems that require wiring and sensor or camera placement benefit from professional installation companies—especially if an incorrectly placed motion sensor, door sensor, or security camera could lead to false alarms, or worse, an intruder.

Professional installers assess the layout of your home to determine where to place sensors, cameras, and devices for optimal performance. They can also resolve any issues with the alarm system along the way. And because the installer is certified and likely has years of experience on the job, you have added reassurance that the installation was done right.

But there are some downsides to a pro install—primarily the up-front costs and the necessity of scheduling appointments and waiting around for techs to get the job done.

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Here’s the Latest from Our Top Home Security Brands September 2019

Home security companies are adding new products and services to meet ever-changing home security needs. Here are some of the latest offerings from our best home security companies.

New SimpliSafe Smart Lock

This DIY home security favorite is adding a smart door lock to its stripped-down home security packages. The new smart lock will be available on SimpliSafe’s website on September 15, and you can buy it from Best Buy starting October 13. The lock is similar in appearance and function to the August smart lock that works with your door’s existing deadbolt. If you already have a SimpliSafe home security system, this is a nice addition that offers extra security and convenience for around $99.

Vivint Car Guard

Vivint is expanding its smart security solutions to your ride. With Vivint Car Guard you can have protection for your vehicle no matter where it’s parked. This auto security system syncs with your Vivint smart home system to coordinate things like lighting the way when you pull in the drive. It also provides GPS location tracking and tamper alerts if your car is bumped or stolen. Plus, it helps you keep up on your car’s maintenance with car diagnostics and reminders. The Vivint Car Guard module costs around $199, and monthly monitoring service starts at $9.99. Best of all, there’s no long-term contract required.


Safety and Security Sources Close to Home

Find local resources and security information to help keep your home and neighborhood safe.


Sources:

1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Burglary
2. Allstate, “Home Insurance Discounts

 

Disclaimers:

ADT 6-MONTH MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: Money Back guarantee only applies after ADT has made attempts to resolve a system related issue and has not been able to resolve that issue within the first six months of your contract. Equipment must be fully removed before a refund will be processed. Conditions preventing normal system operation cannot be caused by the customer.

ADT PULSE SELECT: ADT Pulse Select installation is an additional $199. 36-month monitoring contract required from ADT Pulse Remote: $52.99 per month, ($1,907.64), including Quality Service Plan (QSP).

** Google, Google Nest Secure, Google Home, Google Nest Protect, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.