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Best Home Security Systems of 2020

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 May 12, 2020
Best Overall
Frontpoint logo
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
Techie Pick
3.5
  • Stylish design
  • Smart home integration
  • Pro monitoring with Brinks
  • Stylish design
  • Smart home integration
  • Pro monitoring with Brinks
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Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
We did a quarterly review of our Best Home Security Systems rankings and some newcomers shook things up. We added DIY newcomer Blue by ADT. And in response to customer interest and demand, we moved Google Nest Secure into our top five.

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.

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
Read Review
Best Overall Smart Home Pick No-Contract Pick Most Well-Known Techie Pick Best Newcomer Budget Pick Best Customization Self-Monitored Pick Entry-Level Pick
logo for blue by adt
$44.99 $29.99 $14.99 $36.99 $19.00 $19.99 $10.00 $30.99 $9.99 $29.00
$0.00* $599.00 $229.00 $0.00** $399.99 $199.15 $199.00 $50.00 $279.00 $299.00
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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
Apple HomeKit
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View on Kohl's View Packages View on Amazon View Packages View Packages View Packages
Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review Read Review

Amazon.com List Price as of 05/12/20 10:45 a.m. MST. (Full disclaimer)
*$0 due up-front with consumer financing.
**With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See SafeStreets.com for full offer details, terms, and conditions.
˄No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
† Professional monitoring provided by Brinks Home Security.

Best Home Security System Reviews


1. Frontpoint: Best Overall

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

SafeWise Rating: 4.8

SALE

For a limited time, Frontpoint is offering new customers a free doorbell camera ($149.99 value) + free shipping and security packages starting at only $99! Terms and conditions apply.

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 Frontpoint’s former contract.

That’s right—Frontpoint just got rid of contracts. Now you can get Frontpoint’s high-end DIY security systems without getting stuck in a contract for three years.

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 30 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 all plans
  • Easy, preprogrammed equipment
  • Smart home integration
  • Mobile app in all plans
  • No contracts for monitoring

Cons

  • No professional installation option
  • Higher monitoring fees

Higher monitoring 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. You also get mobile app control of your system with every plan.

Frontpoint offers high-end equipment and gives you the option to pay for your equipment outright or use its consumer financing option. Best of all, you don’t have to pay extra 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.

Mobile App and Smart Home Features

The home security company carries its 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. Plus, now you don’t have to upgrade to get the app—it’s included with every plan.

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. You can pick either 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 security devices and screens on computer interface

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

View Packages

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.

How Vivint is Responding to COVID-19

Vivint continues to monitor its security systems for emergencies but is making adjustments in other ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mainly, Vivint is following the Centers for Disease Control's recommendations for hygiene at work and in people's homes as well as administering "fitness for duty" tests to employees each day.

The company asks that if a customer or potential feels sick to reschedule appointments after symptoms have cleared up.

More details at Vivint.com.

Vivint Home Automation

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.

Favorite Plan

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

Deal Alert!

Right now you can get 20% off your SimpliSafe equipment package when you choose the Interactive Monitoring plan at checkout. That's almost $100 off the most expensive package, The Haven—putting it at just under $400 total.

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.

Great for Renters

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 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 Safe streets equipment banner

View Packages
855-374-4999

Call today and get a $100 Visa gift card with approved package.

SALE

ADT is offering a FREE doorbell camera ($229 retail value) with a new monitoring agreement. Terms and conditions apply.

LIMITED TIME OFFER.

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.

ADT's Response to COVID-19

ADT's multiple monitoring centers continue to watch systems and support customers across the world.

But it's taking precautions by instituting temporary policies for employees to work remotely and take paid time off as needed. It's also distributing additional cleaning supplies for technicians in the field and asking customers to disclose possible COVID-19 exposure or any illness before appointments.

Read more at ADT.com.

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.†

DIY from ADT

ADT now offers a full DIY home security system called Blue by ADT. Blue by ADT is the result of ADT’s acquisition and merger with LifeShield. ADT still supports LifeShield home security systems with customer service and professional monitoring. All Blue by ADT equipment and services are compatible with LifeShield systems. Learn more about ADT’s new DIY security system in our Blue by ADT 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. Google Nest Secure: Techie Pick

Nest Secure is smart on its own—but it’s even better with professional monitoring from Brinks.

SafeWise Rating: 3.5

Google Nest Secure logo and equipment

View on Kohl’s

Nest Secure provides innovative home security that’s designed to be self-monitored, but we prefer the option to add 24/7 professional monitoring with Brinks Home Security.

You can also 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 Secure review.

Pros

  • DIY setup
  • Responsive door and window sensors
  • Stylish design
  • User-friendly app
  • Affordable monitoring with Brinks

Cons

  • High up-front equipment costs
  • Skimpy starter package
  • Contract required for lowest monitoring price

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 $6 per month.

Right now Nest Secure has a few gaps in its security features (like an alarm that automatically delays by 30 seconds), but it’s still worth considering—especially if all you need is basic home security that you can monitor yourself.

Professional Monitoring with Brinks Home Security

You can add professional monitoring to your Nest Secure system through Brinks. Plans start at $19 per month with a three-year contract or $29 per month with no contract. And you might get a price break on your Nest Secure equipment if you buy it from Brinks instead of directly from Nest.

We believe the best way to secure your home is with the extra protection of professional monitoring. That’s why we recommend adding Brinks monitoring to your Nest Secure system. And when you consider that the average burglary results in around $2,700 worth of loss, the extra $20 or $30 per month makes a lot of sense.

Brinks also offers the option to finance your Nest equipment, so you can get this high-tech system without such a hefty out-of-pocket expense.

Read more in our Brinks Home Security review.

Favorite Plan
nest secure system with hub, nest tags, and nest detect sensors

Google Nest Secure with Brinks

Our Pick for Nest: Nest Secure with Brinks

You can buy your Nest Secure system directly from Brinks to kick professional monitoring into action immediately.

This starter pack includes the Nest Guard hub, two Nest Detect sensors, two Nest Tags, a yard sign, and window stickers.

  • $399 bundle price
  • $19 or $29 monthly monitoring with Brinks
  • 30-day money-back guarantee through Brinks

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 Brinks professional monitoring to your Nest system.

Google Nest COVID-19 Update

Google Nest has made some changes to customer support in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, phone support isn't available. Customers are directed to reach out using online chat (select "Contact Us" at the top of any support article), Twitter Direct Message, or Facebook Messenger.

If you're currently experiencing a smoke, carbon monoxide, security, or other safety issue that requires immediate assistance, you should contact 911 or your local emergency services. If you have Brinks monitoring for your Nest Secure system, please reach out to Brinks for updates on professional monitoring. Read the full statement at Google Nest Help.


6. Blue by ADT: Most Exciting Newcomer

Blue by ADT offers the best of both worlds—easy DIY home security backed by trustworthy professional monitoring from ADT.

SafeWise Rating: 3.5

View Packages

Blue by ADT is the latest release by security leader ADT. This DIY home security system is the result of ADT’s acquisition of LifeShield in 2019. Unlike traditional ADT offerings, you can get Blue without an in-home visit or a long-term contract.

This system launches ADT into the 2020s with smart cameras, optional self-monitoring, a free mobile app, and reasonable pricing. Our only real complaints are bulky equipment and a glitchy app.

Read more in our full Blue by ADT review.

Pros

  • No contracts
  • Affordable monthly monitoring
  • Straightforward pricing
  • Mobile app in all packages

Cons

  • Glitchy mobile app
  • Bulky equipment
  • Expensive smart camera

Blue by ADT security systems start around $200 for equipment. You can pick from a predetermined equipment package or curate your own setup to match your security needs.

As with any security system, the more equipment you add, the pricier it gets. And that price jumps a lot when you add smart cameras to any Blue system. We like that you can pick from indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras, but every smart camera Blue offers is $200.

Features and Tech

These cameras offer all the features you want (two-way talk, night vision, etc.) but they don’t win in the looks department. The cameras are pretty basic and bulky compared to other offerings out there at the same (or lower) pricepoint.

We like that you can use the Blue by ADT mobile app without any tricky fineprint or extra charges. Other ADT home security offerings require a monitoring plan upgrade to get remote control through an app. With Blue, you get the app from the start—whether you add professional monitoring or not.

That said, Blue is feeling some growing pains with its app. There have been a lot of reports about bugs and glitches that keep kicking users out.

Favorite Plan
equipment from the blue by adt doorbell camera kit

8-Piece Doorbell Camera Package

Our Pick for Blue by ADT: Doorbell Camera Package

This isn’t the cheapest security system from Blue by ADT, but we think it’s worth it for the convenience and security that comes with a camera.

For less than $400, you get two door and window sensors, one motion detector, and a video doorbell with two-way talk.

  • $349.99 bundle price
  • 24/7 pro monitoring for $19.99 per month
  • Free 30 day trial of professional monitoring plan

Bottom Line for Blue by ADT

If you like the reassurance of a name like ADT but don’t want the hassle of a three-year contract, this is the flexible option you’ve been waiting for. Blue by ADT is a refreshing addition to the DIY home security landscape and we like that you can choose 24/7 monitoring by ADT’s monitoring centers or monitor it yourself through the app.


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

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.

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.

Expand Your Ring System

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.

Favorite Plan
10-piece ring product kit on white backdrop

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.

Ring’s Statement About Security Breaches

“Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security.

“Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services. As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords.”


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

View Packages

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.

Sensors for Nearly Everything

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.

Link Interactive's Response to COVID-19

Link Interactive's parent company noted that its staff has been practicing remote work while continuing to answer questions, respond to alarm events, and troubleshoot. Find more details at MountainAlarm.com.

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

View Packages

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.

Pro Monitoring vs. Self-Monitoring

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
adobe iota security products

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

Abode Compatibility Update

Abode is now compatible with Apple HomeKit. This makes it one of the few security systems that works with Apple's smart hub.

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. Brinks: Entry-Level Pick

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

SafeWise Rating: 2.8

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

View Packages

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 contracts 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.

Professional Monitoring and Mobile App

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.


What Burglary Victims Taught Us about Home Security

Burglary is a costly crime that affects over 2.5 million people in America every year.1 To learn more about how to prevent this crime, we surveyed nearly 700 first-time burglary victims asking questions about their experiences, habits, and households both before and after the break-ins. 

Below are some of the most useful and interesting statistics gathered from our survey.

How Burglars Break In

When we asked burglary victims about the details of the break-ins, a few similarities stood out. These findings highlight the most vulnerable areas of the home and the times when a break-in is most likely to happen:

  • Most burglaries happen in the spring or early summer when the weather is nice.
  • 70% of respondents said no one was home when the burglar broke in.
  • The most common entryways that burglars used were back or side doors (34%), followed by windows (30%), and front doors (22%).
  • 84% of respondents said their entryways were locked and closed, but the burglar broke through, manipulated the lock, or found a spare key.

The Impact of a Burglary 

In 2018, burglary victims suffered an estimated $3.4 billion in property losses, with an average $2,799 lost per burglary.2 Here’s more of what our survey respondents had to say about the impact of burglary:

  • Among those who reported stolen property, 77% said it was never recovered.
  • 50% said the burglar stole or damaged items that were sentimental or irreplaceable.
  • While 90% of our survey respondents reported a burglary to the police, only 28% said the police caught the perpetrator.
  • 67% of respondents said the burglary significantly impacted their emotional and mental wellbeing, and 63% reported trouble sleeping after.

What Can You Do about It?

Over half of our respondents (62%) said they did not have a home security system at the time of their burglaries, but a home security system can reduce your chances of a home invasion by more than half. Statistics aside, the best way to protect your own home starts with identifying its vulnerabilities. A great place to start is with our Home Safety and Security Checklist.

You can find more statistics on our Burglary Stats and Facts page.


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. Landline monitoring is most vulnerable because a phone line could be cut, and cellular is least vulnerable because there are no wires.

Related Questions

Can I afford a home security system?

That depends on your budget and comfort with risk. At first glance, a $40 or $50 per month monitoring fee can seem steep, but that adds up to $600 or less per year. Keep in mind that the more features and extras you add to your system, the bigger the price tag. Some top-tier packages cost upward of $60 per month. That’s still significant, but it’s a lot less than the average loss of a break-in. While the rate of burglaries nationally has decreased, the average loss has increased—in 2018, that number was close to $3,0002 (more on that in the burglary statistics section above).

Related Questions

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.

Related Questions

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

“Wireless” refers to the use of wireless technology like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for monitoring and to connect the components of your system. “Wired” refers to a home security system that is hardwired into your home’s electrical system.

Both protect your home just fine, but 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.

Related Questions

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 with 24/7 professional monitoring.3 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.

Related Questions

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.

Related Questions

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—especially if you can pay for equipment up front. Most home security companies will charge you around 75% of the remaining term of your contract if you cancel early—and some require 100%.

Related Questions

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—think burglar alarms, security cameras, door and window sensors, motion sensors, and reinforced door locks. Home automation uses technology to automate everyday activities like locking the doors, turning up the thermostat, or starting the coffee pot.

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.

Related Questions

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.

Related Questions

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.

Related Questions

What is do-it-yourself home security?

Home security systems that are 100% DIY let you pick the security products, set them up, and monitor them—all on your own. Brands like Frontpoint or Link Interactive offer DIY installation with professional monitoring. Find some of our favorites on our full list of the best DIY home security systems.

Related Questions

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.

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. But there are some downsides to a pro install—primarily the up-front costs and

Related Questions


Safety and Security Sources Close to Home

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


Sources:

  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Criminal Victimization, 2018
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the US 2018
  3. Allstate, “Home Insurance Discounts

 

Disclaimers:

Amazon.com list price as of 05/12/20 10:45 a.m. MST. 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.

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.