Best Home Security Systems for Renters

We tested, mystery shopped, did extensive research, and grilled security brand reps to select the top five security systems for renters.
Best overall
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.45
Starts at
$14.99/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Reader favorite and our top DIY pick
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Base equipment: $229
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Limited home automation
Whole-property security
Frontpoint
Frontpoint
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Starts at
$49.99/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Lots of equipment options
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Base equipment: $99
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Great home automation
Best for automation
Abode
Abode
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$20.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Simple set up
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Base equipment: $231.99
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Best home automation
Best for apartments
Cove
Cove
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$15.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Custom systems
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Base equipment: $229
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Limited home automation

Data as of 7/19/2021

Of all the renter-friendly home security systems we looked at, SimpliSafe had all the amenities we wanted. 

SimpliSafe is low cost, low commitment, and won’t put any holes in your wall. The apartment security system is expandable and easy to take with you when your lease is up too. And with devices like indoor cameras, smart doorbells, and environmental sensors, even your landlord will be on board.



Compare home security for apartments

Brand
Professional monitoring starting at
Lowest equipment price
Financing available
Self-monitoring option
Learn more
Best overall
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe

$14.99

$229.00

Icon No  Light

No

Icon Yes  LightYes
Whole-property pick
Frontpoint
Frontpoint

$49.99

$99

Icon Yes  Light

Yes

Icon No  LightNo
Best home automation
Abode
Abode

$20.00

$231.99

Icon Yes  Light

Yes

Icon Yes  LightYes
Best for apartments
Cove
Cove

$15.00

$229.00

Icon Yes  Light

Yes

Icon No  LightNo
Budget pick
Ring
Ring

$10.00

$249.99†

Icon Yes  Light

Yes

Icon Yes  LightYes

†Amazon.com prices as of 7/8/2021, 7:00 a.m. MST. See full disclaimer.

Like renters, security systems have to move around sometimes—all of our picks are free of contracts and can move with you whenever your lease is up next. Each DIY home security system costs under $50 per month, and many have flexible up-front equipment purchasing options so they can fit your budget.

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Pay up front or finance?

Is the security system you want pricey? No need to resort to a ramen-based budget.

Security companies can finance your equipment for $0 down through in-house or third-party platforms. But you may loop into higher monitoring fees or a contract.

It’s a worthy deal if you need a home security system for a large rental pronto. But it could leave you with hefty fees if you cancel early.

Home security features you'll need while renting

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more helpful home security tips.


Apartment home security reviews

1. SimpliSafe: Best overall

Best Overall
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.45
  • Pros
    Starts at $14.99/mo
  • Pros
    Mobile app w/ upgrade
  • Pros
    Indoor & doorbell cameras
  • Pros
    Alexa & Google Assistant compatibility

SimpliSafe is a great fit for renters because it’s affordable, low commitment, and flexible. Professional monitoring costs less than a large pizza and won’t tie you down with contracts. (You already have a lease to deal with.) Its customizable equipment packages let you add and subtract equipment as you move from rental to rental. And its DIY installation makes it easy to set up every time.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet No long-term contracts
Pro Bullet Low monthly monitoring fee
Pro Bullet Subtle, stylish equipment
Pro Bullet Custom package options
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited home automation
Con Bullet No outdoor cameras

SimpliSafe also has a month-to-month, cancel-anytime monitoring policy. Contracts aren’t necessary for this service and you can monitor your system from your phone alongside the pros with the higher tier monitoring plan. SimpliSafe’s two monitoring options cost around $15 or $25 a month.

For many renters, moving day is just part of the circle of life. So you’ll want a security system that works with every new home. SimpliSafe lets you customize your system or swap out devices in equipment packages. 

So if you move into a new place with a sliding glass door, you can add a door and window sensor to pair it. Found a cute rental home and want to add a doorbell camera or smart lock? No problem. SimpliSafe can morph to fit your new apartment building, condo, townhouse, or home with simple installation each time. 

Read more in our SimpliSafe review about the company’s pricing, equipment, and policies.

2. Frontpoint: Whole-property security

Whole-property security
Frontpoint
Frontpoint
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
  • Pros
    Starts at $49.99/mo
  • Pros
    Mobile app included
  • Pros
    Indoor, outdoor, & doorbell cameras
  • Pros
    Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, proprietary smart home

Frontpoint combines home security with home automation seamlessly. These goodies make up for its steep price: a free mobile app, solid HD camera options, pre-programmed software, and broad compatibility with tech you already have like Amazon Echo or Google Home. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet $0-down option
Pro Bullet No-contract option
Pro Bullet Smart home devices available
Pro Bullet Mobile app in all plans
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet High monthly monitoring

Unlike SimpliSafe, Frontpoint includes its mobile app, smart home compatibility, and video monitoring with the monthly price. Your apartment security system will send you alerts if it senses something wrong, and you can check the home security camera feed directly from your phone (anywhere that there’s a cell signal). 

Cameras and smart home

Frontpoint’s equipment packages have all the DIY home security hits like motion detectors, door and window sensors, and a smart hub to connect it all together. 

The company also has four impressive home security cameras that stream in HD. So you can keep an eye on your pets (and mini-fridge) while you’re away. If you have a condo or small rental house, you can opt for the outdoor cam or doorbell camera that is easy to install without professional help. 

Frontpoint also integrates with tons of home automation security products:

  • Smart bulbs
  • Smart plugs
  • Smart locks
  • Amazon Echo
  • Google Home
  • Z-Wave devices

Frontpoint pricing and financing

But all these bells and whistles don’t come cheap. Equipment prices start at $99 with DIY system monitoring at $49.99 per month. You can finance the system for about $10 a month, but you’ll need to sign a contract to complete the deal. 

Learn more about monitoring plans and equipment in our full Frontpoint review.

3. Abode: Best home automation

Best home automation
Abode
Abode
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Pros
    Starts at $20/mo
  • Pros
    Mobile app w/free plan
  • Pros
    Indoor & outdoor cameras
  • Pros
    Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, Z-Wave, Zigbee, & proprietary smart home compatibility

Abode makes home automation more accessible for renters. It works with a handful of third-party smart products like Ecobee, Kwikset, Yale, and Z-Wave devices. And, in addition to being compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo, Apple Homekit users can work with Abode too. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Strong home automation capabilities
Pro Bullet Affordable professional monitoring
Pro Bullet Compatible with third-party products
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Fee for self-monitoring
Con Bullet Limited app ability

Abode smart home options

Abode’s CUE program connects with so many smart home devices that we had to write an entirely new article to list them all. If you have other smart products like light bulbs or smart plugs, you can link them to your Abode system. 

You can create chain reactions to turn on the lights when the door opens or activate video if the security camera senses activity from the motion detector. Like any smart home system, the possibilities are limited only by the products you have and your creativity. 

Monitoring your Abode system

Abode offers an option for self-monitoring for $6 per month. But we recommend the professional monitoring for $20 per month. The price is half that of top systems like Frontpoint but with the same quick response for emergencies.

Abode security equipment

Abode has two affordable systems for renters and owners alike. We’re personally fans of the Iota system that has a multi-talented base station. The Iota station comes with a built-in security camera and motion detector—perfect for renters with limited space. 

Both the Iota and the Smart Security package come with a contact sensor for your front door or main window (your choice), and you can add sensors with your package at checkout if you need more. 

Our full Abode review goes into more details about the system. 

4. Cove: Best security system for apartments

Best for apartments
Cove
Cove
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Pros
    Starts at $15/mo
  • Pros
    Mobile app w/upgrade
  • Pros
    Indoor camera
  • Pros
    Alexa & Google Assistant compatibility

Just like apartments, there are no two Cove systems that are exactly alike. Cove’s systems are tailor-made to fit uniquely shaped rentals or small spaces so you can keep an eye on your pets (and stuff) while you’re away. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Monitoring starts at $15/mo.
Pro Bullet Custom systems
Pro Bullet Flexible payment options
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited home automation

To create your system, Cove gives you a quick quiz to figure out what devices work best for you. None of the sensors are expensive, but they're priced individually, so it’s best for smaller apartments and studios. Once you get your results, the site gives you the option to add and subtract devices too. 

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Building a system

As a renter myself, I was curious about Cove’s custom quiz to build a system. In lieu of any standard packages, Cove’s website paired me with all this for $217.00: 

  • Cove Touch Alarm Panel
  • 2 door sensors
  • 3 window sensors
  • 1 motion detector
  • 1 smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector
  • 1 key remote
  • 1 indoor camera

Along with the building blocks of a home security system like a control panel, door sensor, and motion sensor, Cove offers hazard detectors for dangers like smoke and carbon monoxide. 

You can pay a lump sum up front for all your equipment and get a discounted monthly monitoring rate. Or you can skip the equipment payment and pay a little more for monitoring each month. Either way, you can cancel anytime—free of penalty.

Cove has a good range of alarm system equipment; we just wish they had some better home automation options. Check out our full Cove review to learn more about the security system.

Price reflects results from a custom quiz taken on 6/7/2021.

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Deal alert: Cove's "thank you" promotion

Cove is currently offering up to $475 in equipment and six months of professional monitoring (you pick the plan) for just $150 to certain populations:

  • Active duty military
  • Veterans
  • Military families
  • Police
  • 911 dispatchers
  • Firefighters
  • EMTs
  • RN, LPN, NP
  • Paramedics
  • Teachers (including college professors)


Visit the Cove website to verify your credentials and access this promotion.

5. Ring: Budget pick

Budget pick
Ring
Ring
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Pros
    Starts at $10/mo
  • Pros
    Mobile app w/ free plan
  • Pros
    Indoor, outdoor, & doorbell cameras
  • Pros
    Alexa, Z-Wave, & proprietary smart home compatibility

You won’t need three months’ salary for this ring. Starting under $250 for equipment and $10 per month, Ring Alarm is one of the cheapest home security systems out there.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Professional monitoring starts at $10/mo.
Pro Bullet Battery-powered video doorbells
Pro Bullet Alexa compatibility
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Confusing keypad
Con Bullet Controversy with Neighbors App

Ring equipment options

The 5 five-piece alarm kit comes with standard sensors, a base station, and range extender. You can also add sensors for homes with multiple entrances like sliding glass doors or ground floor windows.

Ring has a lot of standalone equipment to offer too. If you rent a house with a shed, consider adding one of the Ring floodlight cameras to catch activity in the dark. Ring is also known for its suite of video doorbells

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Deal alert: Ring's 20% discount

Ring currently offers a 20% discount on eligible equipment for the following people:

  • Active duty military 
  • Veterans
  • Military dependents
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • EMTs
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Medical staff
  • PreK-12 teachers
  • College professors
  • University students

Visit the Ring website to enter your credentials and access the promotion.

Ring optional pro monitoring

At $10 a month or $100 a year, Ring’s no-contract professional monitoring is one of the most affordable monitoring options out there. But if it’s hard to swing a monthly expense, you can switch monitoring on and off as needed.

Ring installation

For the most part, Ring is an easy system to use and install. But during our testing, we ran into some confusion with the keypad. And if you’re leaving your Ring Alarm for the next tenant, you’ll need to factory-reset all your devices. (We found out the hard way.) 

We have more about this home security system in our Ring Alarm review. We also feature it as a top pick in our cheap home security review.  

Bell
Ring Neighbors App controversy

The Ring Neighbors app was designed as a virtual neighborhood-watch tool.

But it comes with some concerns over too much police surveillance and magnifying users' implicit bias.

Check out our video on YouTube to learn more about Ring, Privacy, and the Police. We also have a Ring FAQ page

We have more about this home security system in our Ring Alarm review. We also feature it as a top pick in our cheap home security review.  

More brands we considered

Scout

More options
Scout
Scout
Starts at
$19.99
/mo
Pro Bullet Mobile app w/base plan
Pro Bullet Indoor & doorbell cameras
Pro Bullet Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, & Z-Wave, Zigbee smart home

For its price and the equipment you get, Scout is a good choice for an apartment renter. The basic plan includes motion sensors, a smart hub, and key fobs. 

It misses the mark on home automation features like smart doorbells, but it’s the only system we encountered with RFID stickers to keep track of valuables.

At just over $200, Scout’s equipment package aligns with other apartment security systems like SimpliSafe. But professional monitoring from Scout costs $20/month. Or you can opt for self monitoring at $10. 

Our Scout review has more details. 

Wyze

More options
WYZE
Wyze
$5
/mo
Pro Bullet Mobile app included
Pro Bullet Indoor, outdoor, & doorbell cameras
Pro Bullet Alexa, Google Assistant, & proprietary smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet Affordable professional monitoring

 *Amazon.com price as of 07/19/2021 at 11:00 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

For those tiny apartments, single-room renters, or dorm-dwellers, Wyze is a great option. Wyze’s standalone cameras can keep snooping roommates out of your stuff or solve the mystery of “who stole the last piece of pizza.”

Best of all, Wyze cameras are budget-friendly at under $50. Our favorite is the Wyze Cam Pan.

Want more than a camera? Wyze introduced its improved Wyze Sense 2 apartment alarm system in 2021 along with its $5 professional monitoring service

You don't have to pay for monitoring if you just want a Wyze camera.

Final word: SimpliSafe is for renters of all types

SimpliSafe checks all the boxes for us by offering quality home security basics without high-stakes commitment. Whatever type of rental you’re in, there’s an equipment package for your home.

Not sold on SimpliSafe? Our other picks are also contract-free:

  • Frontpoint makes high-end equipment and smart home integration accessible for renters who don’t want to leave a permanent mark.
  • Cove’s custom systems mean you buy only what you need for your home.
  • Ring is inexpensive and has tons of camera options to keep an eye on things while you’re away.
  • Abode marries smart home and DIY home security for nearly unlimited scenarios.

Our approach

We decided the best security system for renters should be affordable, easy to move, and non-invasive. We looked for DIY home security systems that cost under $50 per month with portable alarm systems you can easily take with you if you move. 

Monthly monitoring fees and equipment packages were part of the equation too. And for apartment dwellers, we focused on indoor equipment rather than outdoor cameras and video doorbells (though we still included systems with these devices).

With these criteria in mind, we evaluated our list of the best home security systems and selected the most renter-friendly of the bunch. 

Check out our methodology page to learn more about how we approached this and all our reviews on home security systems. 

FAQ

How can I protect my rental on a budget?

Apartment security for renters doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Work with your landlord to install deadbolts, new locks, or alarms for apartment doors. And renters insurance can reimburse you if something happens to your property while renting for under $20 per month. 

Security systems can be cheap too. Even if you rent a single room and have roommates, standalone equipment from companies like Kangaroo or Wyze can keep your rental safe without the extra fees. 

Can I get a discount on my renters insurance for having a security system?

Yes! It depends on your insurance company, but some like Farmer’s and Allstate offer up to 15% off for having security or safety devices in your rental.¹

Do I need to sign a contract for a security system?

While there are systems with contracts, a handful of great systems don’t require any long-term commitment. Alarm systems like SimpliSafe and Cove, for example, let you pay month to month for professional monitoring.

What’s the difference between an apartment security system and a security system for a house?

Because the structures are different, an apartment security system doesn’t need as many outdoor devices like outdoor cameras or lights. 

For homes, make sure your ground floor is covered. The main entrance and any windows or doors at street level will need sensors to watch for threats. 

What is a good security system for an apartment?

We like SimpliSafe's The Foundation package or Ring Alarm's 5-piece kit for apartments with a single entry point; Frontpoint's The Safehouse package for two entry points; and  Abode's Iota kit for open floor plans. If you're looking for the best apartment security system that's customizable and affordable, choose Cove.

Can a renter get ADT?

You cannot get a traditional ADT system if you rent. Only homeowners qualify for that system, mainly because the equipment is hardwired and the contracts last a long time.

ADT offers alternative DIY home security for renters through Blue by ADT. You get the same quality service from industry powerhouse ADT but with a renter-friendly wireless home security system.

What are some of the best apartment security devices?

Here are some ideas for purchasing and placing apartment security devices:

  • A motion-sensing camera that monitors a balcony or outdoor entrance
  • A glass-break sensor placed in a central location
  • Entry sensors on all ground-level or balcony-accessible doors and windows

SafeWise survey: Renters reveal their safety and security fears

When it comes to safety and security, what issues are renters most likely to encounter? What are their biggest concerns?

We surveyed 1,000 Americans who are currently leasing their home and found that today’s renters are even worse off than we thought. From nonfunctional locks to unresolved maintenance requests, it’s no wonder that nearly one in three respondents said they’ve considered moving out purely due to safety or security issues.

Safety and security provisions

While most landlords aren’t necessarily required to provide or maintain features such as security cameras or outdoor lighting, our survey results show a clear correlation: the safer a renter feels, the more likely they are to stay. So we were curious: what are landlords most likely to provide?

Most renters are provided with at least one of the safety or security enhancements above. But there’s certainly room for improvement. More than 1 in 10 renters are provided with none of these protections, and less than 16% are provided with four or more. 

Tenants’ safety and security risks

According to our survey, 52% of renters think someone could “easily” or “somewhat easily” break into their home. Though their reasons may vary, the following stats contribute to this concern:

  • 18% of renters have at least one door that doesn’t lock properly.
  • More than 20% have at least one window that doesn’t lock properly.
  • Nearly 30% of tenants say there have been break-ins in their home or building.
  • 35% weren’t required to do a background check before moving in.

Over 30% of renters have considered moving out of their current home due to safety or security issues. When we took a closer look at the responses of these survey participants, the correlation was clear. 

These renters are provided fewer safety enhancements and have more outstanding security issues compared to the rest of our survey respondents. Furthermore, 36% of them have unresolved maintenance requests, and 66% say their landlord is aware of the safety and/or security issues in their home. 

Landlords and property management

The property manager or landlord clearly plays a key role in residents’ overall feeling of safety and security, both directly and indirectly. A good landlord or property manager will make the effort to ensure you feel safe and secure in your home. However, lease agreements often include statements relieving the owner of any liability when it comes to security. 

These survey results shed light on the role property management plays in tenants’ overall feeling of safety in their home:

  • 36% of renters have submitted safety- or security-related maintenance requests in the past year that have yet to be resolved.
  • 3 in 10 tenants have had maintenance workers or staff enter their home without a mask since the pandemic began.
  • Over 30% say they don’t know how many people currently have access to enter their home.
  • A third of renters say that a landlord or property management staff member has made them feel unsafe.

With all of this in mind, it was especially surprising to learn that more than one in four Americans who lease their home admit to not being fully aware of their rights. Tenant rights may vary depending on your lease agreement and location, but a good place to start is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website.

As a renter, your safety and security is ultimately up to you. Despite the conditions you may live in, there are steps you can take to reduce your risks. 

Changing the locks and getting a home security system are great first steps. Many of the devices we mention throughout the page above are not only affordable but can be easily set up on your own and moved from place to place—making them perfect for people who plan to move in the future.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimer

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.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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