Best Home Security Systems

We picked Vivint as the best home security system of 2024 after thousands of hours of tests and research. Our reviews help you see what each home security system does best to make it easier to find the right one for you.
Best professional home security
vivint sign outside
Vivint
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$29.99
/mo
  • pro
    Pro installation
  • pro
    Smarter security cameras
  • pro
    Advanced smart home features
Trusted brand name
adt sign in front of grey house
ADT
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$28.99
/mo
  • pro
    Pro installation
  • pro
    Longest money-back period
  • pro
    Google Nest products
Best customer rating
Cove
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$17.99
/mo
  • pro
    DIY or pro installation
  • pro
    60-day trial period
  • pro
    LiveAssist service
  • bullet
Best budget-friendly
ring security yard sign in grass in front of house
Ring
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$20.00
/mo
  • pro
    DIY installation
  • pro
    30-day trial period
  • pro
    Wide camera selection
Best DIY home security
simplisafe security yard sign in grass in front of house
SimpliSafe
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$19.99
/mo
  • pro
    DIY or pro installation
  • pro
    Efficient dispatch technology
  • pro
    Live video feed
  • bullet

Info current as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Full ADT disclaimer

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

What is the best home security system?

Over the past decade, we’ve researched, reviewed, compared, and ranked the best home security systems on the market to help you confidently protect what matters most in your life.

Vivint is our top pick because it's the leading company out there actively innovating to deter crime, not just record it. Vivint's state-of-the-art proprietary equipment, advanced smart home integration, and theft-deterrent features are a cut above the average system. Plus, every Vivint alarm system comes with professional monitoring, professional installation, and an in-home security assessment. For top-shelf home security from a name you trust, we also recommend ADT

SimpliSafe is our pick for the best DIY home security system because of its streamlined, affordable DIY home security system that comes without a contract and an optional subscription. SimpliSafe offers stress-free online shopping and has low monthly monitoring fees. Plus, you have the freedom to start or stop it whenever you like. Our next favorite DIY home security system is Cove, thanks to its super-simple installation and rave reviews from customers.

Whether you want to protect a big house with lots of land or a smaller home or apartment, we've got a security solution that will work. From security systems that come contract-free, have no monthly fees, or deliver white glove professional service from purchase to installation, here's our complete list of the top home security systems of 2024—and tips to help you choose the right one for you. 



Things to consider before you buy a security system

You don't have to guess when it comes to home security. Here are the top things to consider before you decide on a system. 

Are you most worried about your property, your pets, your people, your packages, or all?

Do you need to keep an eye on things outside or are you more focused on seeing what's happening inside your home?

Stand alone houses and apartments have different security vulnerabilities. Consider things like the number of ground-level doors and windows, multiple floors and entrances, and outbuildings—like a garage or shed.

I always say that you shouldn't have to risk financial security to have home security. Identify your budget before you shop and stick to it. 

Do you want a system that does everything for you—from installation to professional monitoring? Or is a DIY system more your style, where you can install it and monitor it yourself using a mobile app? Or do you want a little bit of both?


icon of the safewise owl icon with a banner saying deals
Check out this week's home security deals!

🔥 SimpliSafe is offering 40% off + a free indoor camera with Fast Protect™ monitoring

🔥 Cove is offering 65% off + free indoor camera

🔥 Frontpoint is offering 85% off  security packages+ free shipping

🔥 Abode is offering $100 off home security starter kits + a free camera

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

Compare the best pro-install and DIY home security systems of 2024

Brand
Installation
Monthly cost bullet
Best for
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Smart home compatibility bullet
Learn more
ProfessionalBest professional home security$599.00No *Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
ProfessionalMost trusted security brand$0.00YesAmazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
DIY or ProBest customer ratingQuote requiredNo *Amazon, Google
Ring
DIYBest budget-friendly pick$199.99NoAmazon, Google, Z-Wave
DIY or ProBest DIY home security$245.00NoAmazon,
Google

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.
Full ADT disclaimer


Video: Best Home Security Systems

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Our research: The best home security system for you in 2024

1. Vivint: The best professional security system

Best theft-prevention professional home security
vivint home security system on desk
Vivint security
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$29.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro High-end equipment
pro Advanced smart home features
pro Smart Deter lurker detection
pro Free in-home security consultation
con
Cons
con Higher overall cost
con No trial period

When Vivint switched its focus from smart home to smart security, it was a game changer. If you’re on the hunt for a smart home security system that doesn’t require you to lift a finger, Vivint is the best of the bunch. Vivint’s high-end equipment with pro installation, 24/7 monitoring, smart home features, and state-of-the-art security tech make it the best wireless security system available. 

Here's why Vivint is our top pick

We love Vivint home security for so many reasons:

Standout feature: Vivint's security cameras with Smart Deter lurker detection are a staff favorite. We love the video doorbell with AI and proactive features (like the whistle) that scare away porch pirates. Learn all about it in our Vivint cameras guide.

vivint banner

Image credit: Vivint

Like any luxury item, you’d expect Vivint to come with a luxury price tag. It’s a balance: its equipment is pricey, but Vivint’s monthly monitoring fees remain in line with other top security companies (the U.S. average is $31.99/mo.) The Smart Home Video plan gives you video, smart home control, and integration for about $40 per month.

See everything that’s got us revved up about Vivint—read our full Vivint review.

“Vivint is fantastic at what they do. I have had the system for 7 years now and haven’t had any major issues with the system at all. The thing I love the most would be the doorbell camera for my wife and I. I would highly recommend the system to anyone looking for a hassle free experience.”

—Garth, Vivint customer review

How we tested Vivint

vivint doorbell screenshot of package being delivered

Image: Vivint Doorbell Cam Pro in action, courtesy of SafeWise YouTube channel

We did hands-on testing of Vivint's smart security equipment and participated in multiple interviews with Vivint representatives. We also had demos with Vivint technical experts and visited their headquarters to see how Vivint tech is developed.

We didn't just test our Vivint system once, though—it's undergoing long-term testing in a real home. We also combed through several customer reviews to get more insight.


2. ADT: The most trusted security brand

Trusted security brand
ADT security
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$28.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro 6-Month ADT Money-Back Guarantee
pro 147 years of experience
pro 6 monitoring centers
pro Free whole-home risk assessment
con
Cons
con Long contracts with no trial period
con High termination fees

Money-back guarantee applicable for system problems during the first six months that ADT is unable to resolve. 

ADT is the most experienced security company in the country. If you’ll sleep better knowing that a well-known, tried-and-true company is watching over your home, ADT is worth the money.

This is why ADT’s experience matters

No one can beat ADT’s experience.

  • Top-notch protection delivered for 147 years
  • ADT Home Security looks out for more than 8 million people across the globe
  • 6 professional monitoring centers
  • Partnerships and integration with tech from Google Nest and Ford
  • 6-month service guarantee (the longest money-back period in the industry)

Standout feature: ADT Home Security has six redundant monitoring centers. If one monitoring station goes down, your home’s protection transfers to another center. That’s 24/7 protection that you can rely on, even when Mother Nature does her worst.

adt product bundle

Image credit: ADT

If you’re going with one of the best home security providers out there, you may as well go all in. The Complete plan includes home automation controls, wireless equipment, and video monitoring, starting around $60 per month (Vivint starts at $45 for similar features). That works out to just under $800 a year.

If you have a three-year contract, that's around $2,400 over three years. That may seem steep, but keep in mind that the average loss from one burglary is around $2,600.

Learn more about what ADT has to offer in our full ADT review.

How we reviewed ADT

still from video of Rebecca Edwards reviewing the ADT security system

Image: ADT security review, courtesy of SafeWise YouTube channel

We conducted hands-on testing, met with ADT for demonstrations and to ask questions, and even visited an ADT technician training center. We grilled friends and family who have ADT systems, read through customer reviews, and watched how ADT performs on both a daily and long-term basis.


3. Cove: The best customer rating

Best customer rating
Cove security
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$17.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro Free upgrades
pro No-hassle cancellation
pro Great customer reviews
pro 7-in. touchscreen panel
pro 60-day trial period
con
Cons
con Limited third party integration
con No Z-wave, Zigbee, or IFTT compatibility

If you’re motivated by good customer service, Cove will make you all warm and fuzzy inside. Cove told us its policy is to be “more than fair” with customers. That’s probably why Cove has a whopping 98%* customer retention rate. Customers love Cove, and we do too.

Here's how Cove puts customers first

Cove provides low-cost monthly monitoring without a contract and allows easy cancellation if the system doesn't suit your needs. Cove sets you free without punishing penalties and fees, unlike other security solutions that charge 75% to 100% of your remaining contract.

Cove has some more customer-forward goodies we love:

  • Large 7-inch touchscreen panel that comes with every package
  • InstaText service that lets you confirm an emergency through a quick text message
  • LiveAssist service that calls you through the control panel (no phone needed!)
  • Rapid response with RapidSOS to get you help sooner
  • Cove Equipment Rewards that let you to upgrade to the newest safety equipment or smart home device for free
  • Lifetime equipment warranty (only one other brand on our list offers a lifetime warranty)
  • Rate-lock guarantee that keeps your monitoring price the same

Standout feature: Cove sets itself apart with something it calls “done-with-me installation.” This combo of professional and DIY  lets you install the system yourself, with help.

The touchscreen walks you through installation with large, easy-to-follow illustrations. We’ll take it any day over installation booklets or tiny illustrations on an app.

cove home security system in box

Image credit: SafeWise

When it comes to monitoring, the Cove Plus plan is our pick. For $28 per month, it includes video recording and monitoring and smart device integration plus a lifetime extended warranty.

Dig into more of what Cove has to offer in our full Cove review.

“I’ve consistently been impressed with the customer-first focus from Cove. As a newer DIY security system, Cove is up against bigger players like SimpliSafe. It stands out with customer-first policies, seeks out feedback, and then responds to feedback (more camera options, please!) so it can deliver a better security system.”

—Rebecca Edwards, SafeWise security expert

*Information provided by an interview with Cove representatives in October 2021.

How we tested Cove

Cove talked to us about their identity, purpose, and what makes their DIY security system different. (We’ve met with the company multiple times since our initial testing). 

Plus, we got to try out Cove’s equipment. We ran a system through the setup process and tested all the sensors to see how they worked. And our YouTube safety expert Katie McEntire tested the system at home, read customer reviews, and shared her findings.


4. Ring: Best budget-friendly home security system

Best budget-friendly security
Ring alarm featured image
Ring alarm
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$20.00
/mo
pro
Pros
pro Ring Alarm Pro (the 8-piece kit) has a built-in eero WiFi 6 router
pro Wide camera selection
pro Affordable monitoring plan
pro 30-day trial period
con
Cons
con No cameras included with kits
con Up-front equipment cost

Ring is the best Wi-Fi security system for building your home’s protection around cameras.

This is why Ring is security camera royalty

Even the best systems seem to slack when it comes to security cameras. Brands often offer a basic selection with basic features. Not Ring. It has everything from Ring doorbell cameras to Ring floodlight cameras with excellent video quality and advanced features:

  • Geofencing
  • IFTTT compatibility
  • 3D motion detection
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Motion tracking
  • Advanced noise cancellation
  • Loud sirens
Ring alarm equipment spread out on a desk, including sensors, base station, window sticker, cords, etc.

Image credit: SafeWise

We love that you can power most of these cameras with solar accessories. Ring’s optional security lights are solar too: the perfect solution if you hate charging equipment or changing batteries.

Plus, Ring Alarm security kits are affordable. You can buy Ring's five-piece set and receive one year of monthly monitoring for approximately $400. This is cheaper than purchasing equipment alone from other DIY companies.

Standout feature: For $100 more than the basic 5-piece starter kit, the Ring Alarm Pro 8-piece kit comes with a built-in eero Wi-Fi 6 router. The router stabilizes Wi-Fi with speeds up to 900 Mbps and covers up to 1,500 square feet. Plus, your Ring system has 24/7 backup internet to keep it connected during a power outage.

Read all about Ring alarm equipment and prices in our full Ring Alarm review.


5. SimpliSafe: The #1 rated DIY home security system

Best DIY home security
SimpliSafe security
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$19.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro No contracts
pro Live feed and video recording available
pro Affordable monitoring
pro Great option for renters
pro 60-day trial period
con
Cons
con Basic smart home compatibility
con Limited third party integration

Our readers have spoken—and they love SimpliSafe’s affordable, straightforward cellular security system. SimpliSafe’s name says it all.

Its security systems are simple—and so is its pricing. SimpliSafe has some of the cheapest monthly monitoring fees available. Plus, you have the flexibility to start or stop it whenever you like.

Here's what makes SimpliSafe a fan favorite

SimpliSafe does home security on its own terms. That means ditching some things that turn off customers: brash salespeople and lengthy contracts.

  • You choose the equipment and monitoring level you want
  • No-pressure online shopping
  • Professional monitoring service on demand—no contracts
  • Rapid response with Rapid SOS to help you faster
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • New outdoor security camera (finally!)

Standout feature: SimpliSafe has RapidSOS to quickly get help in an emergency, which is only found in one other system. Instead of going to a monitoring center, information is sent directly to 911 dispatchers. This helps first responders reach you faster, no matter where you are.

SimpliSafe base station on desk, lit up

Image credit: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

What SimpliSafe monitoring do we recommend? Go with the Fast Protect™ plan. You can control your SimpliSafe security system through a mobile app for just $30 per month. Plus, you will get email and text alerts, and access live video if you add a home security camera.

Get the rundown on SimpliSafe’s offerings in our full SimpliSafe review.

"I like that it was easy to install on our own rather than requiring professional installation. I also like the affordability of the monitoring system…it feels like a good value…and the response time is great.

It made me feel safe; it made me feel that there was someone looking out for us and available to dispatch help at a moment’s notice."

—Vannessa W., SimpliSafe customer review
bullet
SimpliSafe's outdoor home security camera

We're thrilled that SimpliSafe finally added an outdoor camera. We think having an eye on the front door is important for home security, and SimpliSafe was too simple for its own good for a while. Glad to see them catching up and offering protection both inside and outside your home!

How we tested SimpliSafe

person holding simplisafe equipment

Image: SimpliSafe base and doorbell, courtesy of SafeWise YouTube channel

We've installed and used the system in four homes to date. We evaluated how easy it was to set up, arm and disarm, and how well its sensors and cameras performed.

We also met with SimpliSafe, got feedback from our readers and customer reviews, checked forum, and even tried jamming our SimpliSafe system.


6. Frontpoint: Best quality DIY equipment

Best quality DIY equipment
frontpoint equipment collage
Frontpoint security
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$24.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro Wide equipment options
pro Crash & Smash protection
pro Live video feed
pro ID theft protection
pro 30-day trial period
con
Cons
con Higher monitoring fees

Frontpoint delivers all the bells and whistles of full-service professionally installed systems but puts all the control (and installation) in your hands. For those who like the independence of DIY but don’t want to compromise on equipment options or features, Frontpoint fits the bill.

Here's why Frontpoint dominates DIY home security

Frontpoint delivers all the perks you want from any home security company:

  • Smart home integration
  • Lots of equipment to choose from
  • Mobile smartphone app control
  • Indoor and outdoor cameras
  • 24/7 video recordings
  • Surveillance footage you can access on your television
  • Video verification to reduce false alarms
  • Rapid response 24/7 professional monitoring with centers on each coast
  • No pushy sales and in-home consultations
  • Extras in its entry-level plan like CO and smoke detector monitoring
  • No wires for burglars to cut on this wireless alarm system

Standout feature: Every system comes with Frontpoint ID Protect powered by AllState Identity Protection. Yep, this smart system protects your home, those you love and your identity—plus you get this service for free.

bullet
New feature alert!

Frontpoint just added Personalized Emergency Response for customers. That means you can add vital medical information like allergies or preexisting conditions to your account so emergency responders can deliver faster, customized care if you have an emergency. You can add this update to your account for free by calling support at +1-877-602-5276 today. Soon you'll be able to add the update in the Frontpoint app.

frontpoint hub on table next to plant

Image: SafeWise

Learn about Frontpoint's plans, packages, and equipment in our review. Also, find out how simple it is to install with our installation guide.


7. ADT Self Setup: The best self-monitoring security

Best self-monitoring
ADT Self Setup Build Your Own bundle
ADT Self setup security
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$24.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro No contract
pro Self-monitoring option
pro Reliability of ADT monitoring
pro Many equipment and camera options
pro 30-day trial period
con
Cons
con Glitchy mobile app
con Bulky equipment

Here's why ADT Self Setup is different

If you’re looking for flexibility with the experience of ADT, look no further. ADT Self Setup offers easy DIY home security with the choice of either professional or self monitoring, backed by reliable monitoring from ADT.

Here's whyADT Self Setupis different. It gives you access to ADT's six trustworthy monitoring centers, without the contracts, professional installation, or in-home consultations required with standard ADT systems.

If you want to go pro with ADT Self Setup, the professional monitoring plan sets you back about $25 per month, and there are no contracts or commitments. And if you opt for self-monitoring, you won’t lose camera cloud storage. We love that.

image of products that come in the ADT self setup system, including window stickers, video doorbell, keypad, sensors, etc.

Image credit: ADT Self Setup

We initially ranked this system higher, but after a year of upgrades from other DIY companies, we bumped it down. We’re excited to see what this newcomer does next.

Read more in our full ADT Self Setup review.

Stand out feature: ADT Self Setup carries an enormous 15-piece system for just under $300. It includes an indoor camera and a gaggle of sensors and motion detectors. It’s hard to beat this price for what you get.

How we reviewed ADT Self Setup

adt yard sign in bushes

Image: ADT security review, courtesy of SafeWise YouTube channel

We tested the previous Blue by ADT system and loved its easy setup and simple, no-nonsense devices. But since re-branding as ADT Self Setup, we haven't had a chance to finish testing all the new goodies ADT is rolling out. We will update this review as we gain more experience with ADT Self Setup's new products. We will also keep an eye on customer ratings to see if there are any issues with self-installation and monitoring.

8. Abode: Best for smart homes and apartments

Best for smart homes and apartments
Abode security
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$21.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro Apple HomeKit compatible
pro Zigbee and Z-wave compatibility
pro Easy setup
pro Ideal size for apartments or dorms
pro 30-day trial period
con
Cons
con Up-front equipment costs
con Limited function for bigger homes

If you’re all about smart home automation, then Abode is the best smart home security system for you. It’s the only smart system on our list that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, and Zigbee. It lets you connect to almost any smart home device on the market, and this flexibility can’t be beaten by any other system on our list.

Why Abode is smarter than the average DIY system?

Abode can protect your home with its more traditional Smart Security Kit or its sleek all-in-one Abode Iota hub. Whichever one you choose, Abode makes your security setup smarter with voice control using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit. In fact, it’s one of the only home automation security systems out there that caters to Apple devotees.

abode iota on shelf next to books

Image credit: Celeste Tholen, SafeWise

On top of voice control, you can add smart lighting, smart locks, smart speakers, and smart smoke and CO detectors to your Abode system. Plus, pro monitoring starts at a around $20 per month.

Get the total rundown on Abode in our full Abode review.


9. Arlo: Best multi-function smart sensors

Best sensors
Arlo Home Security System
Arlo security
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$24.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro Variety of bundles
pro No contracts
pro Lots of equipment choices
pro One sensor has eight functions
pro 30-day trial period
con
Cons
con One year warranty

Arlo rolled out its security system in 2022, but don't let that scare you. We have long been a fan of Arlo's cameras, which have been going strong since 2018. Arlo has straightforward pricing and equipment packages that make it a good choice for home security newbies. We particularly love its eight-in-one sensors and outstanding security cameras.

How Arlo innovated with the security system sensor

Every Arlo system comes with sensors to detect if a door or window is opening or if there's motion. Arlo decided to take these basic devices and make them more useful. 

An Arlo sensor detects eight different things instead of just one:

  • Motion Detection
  • Open/Close Detection
  • Water Leak Detection
  • Freeze Detection
  • Tilt Detection
  • Light Detection
  • Smoke Listening (requires monitoring plan)
  • CO Alarm Listening (requires monitoring plan)

This means that you don't have to buy a particular type of sensor for each of your needs. It's one and done. 

familly sitting on couch in background with the Arlo security kepad and sensor on a counter in the foreground.

Image credit: Arlo

Like Ring, Arlo offers a wide range of camera types, from indoor to outdoor, plus spotlight, floodlight, and more. Check out all the details in our full Arlo security camera review.


10. Eufy: Best home security cameras

Best home security system cameras
Eufy Security
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$9.99
/mo
pro
Pros
pro Lowest monthly monitoring price
pro Fantastic security cameras
pro Local video storage for added privacy
pro No mandatory monthly fees
pro Apple HomeKit compatibility
con
Cons
con Limited device integration
con No cellular backup

Eufy's 5-piece alarm kit is similar to other DIY security systems. Setup takes less than 30 minutes, you can control it through a mobile app, and it has basic entry and motion sensors. But where Eufy really shines is its lineup of security cameras

This is why Eufy wows

The key distinction from Eufy is that there's no mandatory monthly fee. Eufy works without contracts, monthly fees, or cancellation charges, and you can monitor it yourself.  The company employs additional security measures such as encryption and local storage to bolster privacy.

Alongside its Home Alarm Kit, Eufy boasts an impressive array of security cameras for inside and outside your home. While cameras can't replace the vigilance of monitoring professionals, they provide an additional layer of security that helps contextualize alerts generated by your Eufy system.

If you want professional monitoring with Eufy, you can get it thanks to its partnership with Noonlight—the biggest price point is just $9.99 per month.

Eufy camera 3 with solar panels built in the top, sitting on a wooden counter

Image: SafeWise

While we love Eufy, its security kit is fairly new, so we hesitate to move it up in our rankings. We’re watching and waiting to see how it performs over time.

Read more in our full Eufy Home Security review.


How we tested the best home security sytems

We tested and researched each system in our roundup in our homes. We scoured customer reviews to capture their experiences and feedback. We also talked to the tech teams, CEOs, and other innovators at the companies we review. Below you can find a summary of our hands-on testing and research for the top ten security companies.

We are conducting a long-term test of Vivint in the home of one of our experts. We've also met with Vivint for demos and a behind-the-scenes look at their product development process. We talk to Vivint often about how their system works, what customers think, and what we want them to do next.

To date, we've tried SimpliSafe in four different homes and in lab tests (once I accidentally scared everyone in the office with the siren that I was couldn't turn off). We also talk to SimpliSafe representatives regularly about current and upcoming product offerings and follow SimpliSafe's customer forums.

We keep tabs on how ADT security systems perform in both the short- and long-term. We've tried out equipment in testing lab scenarios, followed long-term and new ADT customers to document what they like (and don't like), and gone through an ADT installer crash course to understand what you can expect when an installer comes to your home.

We've had two of our testing experts set up and live with Cove in their homes. We also meet with Cove regularly for demos, customer feedback, and insights about current and new product offerings. 

We took the Iota home to learn more about it firsthand. Then we passed the system around to our team members for four rounds of testing to date.

A few of our tests included setting up “CUE” and Quick Actions automation and triggering the alarm through the sensors and camera. We also watched SafeWise gueststar, Toki the cat, in the living room all day through the live feed while we were in the office.

We got to experience the Frontpoint home security system firsthand. Through our in-house tester we learned about customer service, the company's refund policy, installation, and the system's daily performance. 

We have a Ring Alarm system and our tester is using it at home to see how it works every day.

We bought the Starter Bundle and tested it for a week with an Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera from a previous review. We planned to use this system with the Arlo Pro 5S, but the wireless camera didn't come on time.

We will update this page after testing it. We also had our YouTube channel experts give Arlo a test drive in their home. Since the Arlo All-in-One Sensor has us so excited, we put extra care into seeing if they work as advertised.

Home security system frequently asked questions

SimpliSafe is our pick for the best home security system on the market today. We like SimpliSafe's no-pressure sales, optional subscription, and straightforwrd security options. Not only does SimpliSafe alert you—and the authorities—if there's an emergency like a break-in or fire, but it uses RapidSOS to make sure you get the help you need as fast as possible.

The biggest downside of SimpliSafe is your limited third-party and smart home integration. This is where the "simple" really comes into play. We like that they keep home security straightforward, but if you want more of a central smart home command center, SimpliSafe will likely disappoint. 

We're also not big fans of  SimpliSafe's mandatory 30-day trial of its professional monitoring. It's great to get 30 days to test it out, but we don't like that you're forced to sign up for the trial during setup and then have to remember to cancel within that timeframe. But the good news is that you're never on the hook with SimpliSafe for very long—you can start and stop monitoring when you want.

Yes, a home security is worth the investment over time. It would take around six years of paying for a home security system to match the cost of being burgled just one time. The average loss from a burglary is over $2,600.

With the average annual cost of a home security system coming in around $400 after equipment, it’s a preventative measure that’s worth it. Plus, you can get discounts on home owners insurance, and most burglars say they’d skip a house that has a security system.

Home security systems detect entry into your home. After a brief delay to allow you to disarm the system, a siren blares and a professional monitor—if you subscribe to such a service—calls to make sure it's not a false alarm.

Home security components communicate their status to the control panel, and the control panel communicates to the monitoring station (if applicable) and to your smartphone. Control panels typically use either Wi-Fi or cellular data to connect to your smartphone app and the monitoring center.

Home security communication protocols differ from system to system. Hardwired systems use electrical wires to connect all components to the control panel. Wireless home security components communicate to the control panel through radio frequencies or a mesh network.

For more information, check out our full article on what is a home security system and how does it work?

The pros of self-monitoring are: you have the flexibility of monitoring your home from your smartphone using a mobile app, there are no or low monthly fees, there is no middleman and there are no false alarm penalties.

The cons of self-monitoring are: there is no one else to call for help, you don't get any equipment or installation assistance, and there is no backup protection or fail-safe option in the event of an emergency or break-in. 

For more information, check out our full article on the pros and cons of self-monitoring home security systems.

That depends on your budget and comfort with risk. Based on our comparisons of home security monthly fees, the median cost of professional monitoring is lower than ever at less than $30 a month. Some plans, like Eufy Security with Noonlight, cost $10 or less each month.

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 security devices 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 remains high—around $2,600 per incident.

Related questions

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 check 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 notifications 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

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

Both protect your home just fine, but wireless home security systems have more flexibility if you 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 or if you can incorporate the installation into a renovation or new construction.

Related questions

What are the pros and cons of wired and wireless security systems?

Yes. Most insurance companies offer a discount when you install a security system. Depending on your insurance,  24/7 professional monitoring may qualify you for as much as 15% off your premium. When you’re looking for the best home security system to buy, verify that you’ll get a certificate to submit to your home insurance company after installation.

Related questions

Can purchasing a home security system decrease my homeowners insurance?

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

I rent an apartment. Should I still consider a home security system?

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 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

The best home security systems use tools and technology to help keep you, your family, and your property safe—think burglar alarms, security cameras, entry sensors, motion sensors, and reinforced door locks. Home automation uses technology to automate everyday activities like locking the front door, turning up the thermostat, or starting the coffee pot.

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

The difference between a traditional alarm system and a smart one is that different components 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

Home security systems that are 100% DIY let you pick the security products (like an entry sensor, smart lock, window sensor, cameras), set them up, and monitor them—all on your own. Brands like Frontpoint offer DIY installation with professional monitoring. Find some of our favorites on our full list of the best DIY home security systems.

Related questions

Sometimes you don’t have a choice. High-end home security companies like Vivint and ADT offer only professional installation. But most of the other best security companies on our residential security services 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 necessity to schedule an appointment and have someone come into your home.

Related questions

While a home security system on its own can't prevent a fire, it can help you spot one as it starts and get help faster. Most security systems now include sensors that listen for the sound of a smoke alarm. When the system detects the smoke alarm, it triggers the same emergency response as when a break-in is detected. If you have professional monitoring, that means a trained professional will check in to verify the danger and call emergency services. If you're monitoring your system yourself, you'll get an email, text, or other push notification that the smoke alarm has been activated. At that point, it's up to you to verify the danger and call for help. 

More resources about home fire prevention:

How we review the best home security systems

person testing home security system

Image: SafeWise. Getting "hands-on" with home security equipment.

Every month, more than 1 million visitors look to us for home security information and recommendations. Our honest reviews and expert insights come from thousands of hours of hands-on tests, interviews with real customers, and meetings with technical pros, owners, and CEOs of large and small home security companies.

How we chose our top picks

We put in the time to help you find out which home security systems are worth your time, money, and confidence.

We test security systems in our homes, our friends' homes, and our extended family's homes. We analyze customer ratings and reviews. We compare how each one performs in different settings and to meet different needs. We line up the pricing—upfront, monthly, and over time—to see how much investment you really have to make. 

  • 3.9k+ hours of research and testing
  • 15 in-home tests
  • 20 security systems considered for our top 10

The security systems that make it on our top 10 list come from tried and true home security, security camera, or smart home brands. Because home security isn't one size fits all, our best security systems represent a variety of options for homeowners and renters, work for different budgets, and demonstrate a consistent interest in customer and expert feedback.

While our strongest recommendation is for security systems with professional monitoring, we also value systems that offer easy, affordable, and reliable self-monitoring options. 

Our home security system ratings methodology

While we test and research, we look at five primary factors that matter most for protecting your home and family:

How much will it cost you upfront and over time? We look at how monitoring fees compare from brand to brand and in contrast with the national average of $31.99/month. We also consider the pros and cons of long-term contracts, how flexible companies are, and what kinds of penalties you get if you cancel.

Because we believe the best home security includes professional monitoring, we pay close attention to what each security company offers and if they do anything extra to get customers help faster. Because we don't want to get fined for calling emergency services as a test, we evaluate response times based on customer input, and how quickly the monitoring center responds when we trigger an alarm.

All security systems come with the same basics—a base, a motion sensor, and couple entry sensors. We look to see what security systems offer beyond that, and we love to see innovation that aims to stop criminals before they break in. And because we're obsessed, we also check out which other smart gadgets out there will work with each system (especially voice control).

Even though home security is one of the most vital and personal services you'll ever invest in, the industry hasn't always had the best reputation. We grill brands about how they treat their customers and then we check with real customers and examine customer reviews to see if the company line holds water. We examine policies to see if they're customer-first or if you need to watch out. And we keep an eye on how each security company is doing in the headlines, the courts, and customer reviews.

We like to have multiple people install and test the same system so we can find out where all the pitfalls are. We want to save you from our mistakes. We look at everything from how easily we can unbox the system to how intuitive the app and other controls are. Then we put it to the test with triggers, arming, disarming, video capture, and more.

Learn more about our rigorous testing process in our full methodology.

Disclaimers

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

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

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

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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