2023 Best Home Security Systems for Renters
Data as of post date.
We crowned SimpliSafe the best home security system for renters after testing every wireless, no-contract system on the market. But it was a really close race, so we'll explain why you might want to consider other options instead.
In short, SimpliSafe's got the most affordable equipment and the flexibility of canceling your monthly subscription. But ADT Self Setup's the way to go if you want to the best professional monitoring in the business and Abode's the winner for small spaces like apartments or studios, and it's the only system that works with the Apple Homekit.
Info current as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Here are the best security systems for renters
- : Best optional subscription
- : Most experienced brand
- : Best apartment security
- : Best customer rating
- : What do renters worry about?
Compare the best home security for an apartment or rental property
Professional monitoring starting at
Lowest equipment price
|Best optional subscription||$19.99/mo.||$229.00|
|Most experienced brand||$24.99/mo.||$194.98|
|Best apartment security||$21.99/mo.||$231.99|
|Best customer experience||$17.99/mo.||$229.00|
Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Full ADT disclaimer.
Yes, renters need security systems
Renters are nearly twice as likely as homeowners to experience a burglary,1 but home security systems have traditionally catered to homeowners with credit checks, long-term contracts, hardwired equipment, and even "you must be a homeowner" clauses.
Fortunately, that baloney is now the exception rather than the rule.
Like renters, security systems have to move around sometimes—all of our picks are wireless, free of contracts, and can move with you whenever your lease is up. Each DIY security system costs under $50 per month, and many have flexible up-front equipment purchasing options so they can fit your budget.
Video: Best Home Security Systems for Renters
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1. SimpliSafe: Best overall
There's one thing you can't do with Cove: monitor the system yourself free of charge. If an optional subscription is important to you, try SimpliSafe. This DIY security giant recently (finally) improved their self-monitoring plan, meaning after your first month of professional monitoring, you can switch to self-monitoring if you choose. This makes it a great fit for renters who want to avoid a monthly payment.
What you can do with the SimpliSafe Unmonitored plan
Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise
Whereas SimpliSafe's free Unmonitored plan used to be nothing more than a local siren, it now includes some app functionality. You can arm or disarm the system, control the SimpliSafe Smart Lock, view a seven-day event history, and get push notifications when there's an alarm, camera notification, or system error—all without paying a dime.
Of course, you miss out on some nice-to-have things like emergency dispatch, cellular backup, and video recording by choosing the unmonitored security plan. But at least you don't have to sacrifice your home security when you go into penny-pinching mode to make rent. Plus, it's easy to cancel SimpliSafe and restart its $18 or $28 professional monitoring plans if your budget changes.
SimpliSafe also gives you a moving package
Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise
SimpliSafe sends its customers a free moving package with extra adhesives, wall stickers, and boxes made to fit each sensor and accessory. Call SimpliSafe's customer service line to request a moving package.
SimpliSafe also makes it easy to leave the entire system—or just a few components—behind for the next tenant. While we appreciate this flexibility, there's not much in it for you—no discount for swapping out equipment, for example.
SimpliSafe is easy to install, but not the easiest
Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise
We'll be brief here because we go into way more detail in our SimpliSafe installation guide: it's easy to set up SimpliSafe, but not quite as easy as Cove. Cove pairs each accessory with the smart hub before shipping.
Otherwise, you can expect the standard peel-and-stick DIY installation process with SimpliSafe. But, if you're over the DIY of it all, you can opt for pro installa tion from SimpliSafe—starting at $99.99
SimpliSafe might be too simple
SimpliSafe gives you a basic home security system and nothing more. Don't expect many cool smart home gadgets or third-party compatibility. Who says renters don't want smart homes too? When it comes to smart home integration, we wish SimpliSafe's offerings were more robust.
Read more about our SimpliSafe testing experience
2. ADT Self Setup: Most experienced security brand
ADT Self Setup combines a no-contract system with ADT's industry-leading monitoring services. It's a great choice if you wish you could get ADT but have been blocked by their homeowner-only policy. Plus, you get that professional monitoring for an incredible price: $24.99/mo. or about a third of what it can cost to monitor a full-blown ADT system.
ADT Self Setup's product line isn't super fancy, but it includes everything you need for a basic home security system. ADT Self Setup's equipment costs more than competitors like Wyze and Ring, so the main reason to get it is for that sweet ADT monitoring deal.
Image credit: ADT Self Setup
Standout feature: Big system under $300
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.
Learn more about our ADT Self Setup testing experience
3. Abode: Best for apartments
For apartment renters short on space, Abode sells a unique system called the Iota All-in-One Security Kit. We've tested the Iota—which houses a base unit, siren, speaker, motion sensor, and camera in a single tower—multiple times over the years, and we're always impressed by how much it can do from a single tabletop vantage point. No fuss, no muss—and certainly no screw holes or chipped paint.
Abode (probably) works with your landlord's equipment
Image: Celeste Tholen, SafeWise
Some security brands (looking at you, SimpliSafe and Cove) don't let their equipment mix and mingle with other brands. Abode has no such qualms. For renters, this means you might be able to integrate the Abode system with equipment provided by your landlord—like a smart door lock or smoke alarm.
Just check out our Abode compatibility guide before you buy—it integrates with a lot of devices, but still doesn't work with everything.
Abode's flexible no-contract monitoring saves you money
Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise
We know renting isn't cheap, so it's nice to save money whenever possible—including with professional monitoring. Abode is the only home security company that lets you pay for professional monitoring a few days at a time.
Going on an "unplugged" vacation? Turn on monitoring for about 66 cents per day. Working from home all week? Self-monitor for free.
Add third-party camera brands for outdoor surveillance
When we say Abode's best for apartments, we're not only talking about the size and layout of your rental, but also the fact that you probably only need indoor security. Abode's outdoor camera—the Cam 2—didn't work well for any of us when we passed it around for testing.
But the good news is that Abode connects to some excellent third-party cameras like Arlo and Blink. If you want to use Abode for a rental home with outdoor surveillance needs, save yourself a headache and skip the Cam 2. Everything else works great.
Learn more about our Abode testing experience
4. Cove Security: Best customer experience
Founded around 2018, Cove is an industry newcomer focusing on customer satisfaction. Every time we chatted with Cove customer service during our system tests, we experienced short wait times and friendly service. When we met with Cove in October '21, they told us about their unique "do it with me" installation option and a neat $5/month upgrade credit that rolls over each month, which is perfect for renters needing different equipment after a move.
Cove's security equipment is incredibly affordable . . .
You can head straight to the online shop or take a custom quiz to let Cove pair you with the equipment you need based on the number of doors and windows in your rental (among other factors). Here's what the quiz suggested for us:
- Cove Touch Alarm Panel
- 2 door sensors
- 3 window sensors
- 1 motion detector
- 1 smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector
- 1 key remote
- 1 Cove indoor camera
We did some extra mystery shopping and math to put these prices into context: Cove sells the most affordable equipment in the industry. You'd spend an extra $100 to $300 to get the same equipment from other top security brands.
. . . but its monitoring price is average
Here's one of the most important things to know about Cove: their $18/month monitoring plan isn't as attractive as it seems. Cove pulls the same trick that SimpliSafe finally corrected: its app is restricted to the $28/month Cove Plus plan.
So, for about $18 per month, the Cove Basic plan gets you professional alarm monitoring and little else—no camera recordings and no smartphone control.
Some renters ineligible for Cove's payment plan
If you live in an apartment or townhome with a unit number, you're not eligible for Cove's "economy payment" plan, which allows you to use $415 worth of equipment for free with a 36-month contract.
Instead, you'll need to pay for the equipment up front. On the plus side, you won't be locked into a long-term contract and can cancel at any time without penalty.
No drills required for Cove
All Cove equipment is peel-and-stick, so you don’t have to risk your security deposit by drilling any holes in the walls. It comes pre-named and pre-paired for one of the fastest installations in the industry. See for yourself in our Cove installation demo.
Read more about our Cove Security testing experience
More brands we considered
5. Wyze Home Security: Best budget pick
Recently a Wyze security issue was brought to light in an article from The Verge. For a brief period of time, Wyze was experiencing an issue with its online camera portal and a small number of logged in Wyze users were able to see camera feeds that were not their own.
Katie McEntire of SafeWise explains more in a short Tik Tok video.
Wyze's status page provided an apology for the incident and states that "this experience does not reflect our commitment to users or the investments we’ve made over the last few years to enhance security." Based on their lack of communication and transparency related to this incident, we have moved them out of our top lineup.
Wyze Home Security is a great option for single-room renters, dorm-dwellers, studio residents, or anyone else wanting to protect their space on a budget. But don't make the mistake of equating a cheap price tag with poor performance. Even though this company's products are some of the cheapest in the industry, we've found that they work well when put to the test.
Everything about Wyze is budget- and renter-friendly
Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise
Here's what you can get from Wyze for around $125:
- Security hub
- Indoor/outdoor camera
- Entry sensor
- Motion sensor
You can spend even less if necessary since Wyze home security packages are totally customizable.
Wyze's professional home monitoring service costs about $10 per month, making it the most affordable option in the industry. But that's the only plan available, so there's no way to pay a little extra and get more services, like cellular backup to keep the system running if your rental has terrible Wi-Fi. You get what you get.
Wyze's smart-home product line is huge
Think you can't have cool smart-home gadgets in your apartment without paying a hefty price? Think again. Wyze offers tons of smart home products at affordable prices.
You might need your landlord's approval before installing the thermostat and video doorbell, since those require hardwiring. Otherwise, most Wyze equipment is plug-and-play.
Learn more in our full Wyze Home Monitoring Review.
6. Ring Alarm: Excellent equipment, higher price
Ring Alarm didn't make our top five list this time around because it focuses heavily on outdoor cameras (not often a priority for apartment-dwellers). Plus, Ring's recent price hike makes their equipment more expensive than many of the other brands we considered.
That said, Ring does sell some renter-friendly video doorbells that are battery-powered instead of hardwired.
We think most renters will enjoy a wider selection of equipment at a better price with a brand like SimpliSafe or Cove instead of Ring Alarm. Learn more in our Ring Home Security review.
7. Ooma Home Security: Unique sensors for older rentals
Ooma Home Security sells a motion detector that sits on a tabletop, and it's the only security brand that includes height brackets for its contact sensors. If you're renting an older home with deeply recessed doors, this is a great option.
Plus, at around $15 a month, professional monitoring from Ooma is affordable. Some equipment bundles also come with free VoIP phone lines.
But Ooma is extremely basic. The list of what you can't buy from Ooma is longer than its catalog. It can't compete with Wyze in terms of price and equipment options.
Learn more in our Ooma Home Security review.
8. Scout Alarm: Good integrations
Scout Alarm combines affordability and smart home integrations, so it's worth investigating if our top picks didn't tick those boxes for you.
But Scout Alarm's not as smart-home-friendly as Abode, not as affordable as Cove, and not as reputable as SimpliSafe, so we have a hard time recommending it in general.
Plus, Scout charges nearly $10 a month for self-monitoring, which sounds like a rip-off—especially considering SimpliSafe and Abode let you do that for free.
Learn more in our Scout Alarm review.
9. Eufy Home Security: Excellent privacy
Eufy's 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit connects to most of Eufy's cameras and is a great option for renters who prefer to stay off the cloud. Eufy emphasizes local storage, on-device AI, and end-to-end encryption for maximum privacy, but cloud options are available.
That said, we'd like to see some improvements in Eufy's security system. Eufy doesn't sell any environmental sensors or alarm listeners, so that leaves your home vulnerable to fire, CO poisoning, and water damage.
Eufy's smart hub compatibility is also hit-and-miss, making it tough to fill in those gaps with third-party products. And not every Eufy accessory works with the Eufy Home Security base. The Eufy Smart Lock, for example, requires a separate bridge.3
Learn more in our Eufy Security review.
3 Security brands renters should avoid
Here's why some familiar names didn't make it onto our list of top home security systems for renters.
Vivint Smart Home Security
Vivint told us they don't typically install systems in apartment units. They're willing to work with you if you rent a single-family home as long as your landlord approves all the drilling and hardwiring. Other downsides to using Vivint in a rental include high equipment fees, long-term contracts, and a four-day trial period.
ADT 's original security system (different than ADT Self Setup) maintains a strict "homeowners only" policy—probably because they require credit checks, long-term contracts, and hardwired installation.
You'll be redirected to their DIY option ADT Self Setup as soon as you mention renting.
Brinks Home Security
Technically, renters can get a Brinks Home Security system, but there are plenty of reasons to steer clear:
- You have to sign a 36-month contract.
- You owe 100% of the remaining balance if you need to cancel.
- You need to pass a credit check.
- Its monthly fees start at around $40, which is higher than the industry average of $32 per month.
- Brinks equipment is usually more expensive than the industry average.
Final word: Cove is for renters of all types
Cove’s custom systems mean you buy only what you need for your home, and their customer service is second to none. Whatever type of rental you’re in, there’s an equipment package you can create for your home.
Not sold on Cove? Our other picks are also contract-free:
- SimpliSafe offers basic equipment at an affordable price and makes it easy to move or add to the system.
- ADT Self Setup has the best professional monitoring you can find, with 100+ years of experience in the industry and ADT's trusted brand name.
- Abode marries smart home and DIY home security for nearly unlimited scenarios.
- Wyze is inexpensive and has tons of camera options to keep an eye on things while you’re away.
Renter security FAQ
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.
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.
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. Abode even lets you pay for pro monitoring for three or seven days at a time.
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 entry sensors, motion sensors, or glass break detector.
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.
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
Find home security and safety resources in your area
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.
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.
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.
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.
How we chose the best home security systems for renters
To rank the best home security systems for renters, we focused on these criteria:
- No contracts (and, by default, no cancellation fees or credit checks)
- DIY installation (the easier the better)
- No "homeowners only" policies
From that list of must-haves, we narrowed down the contenders by looking at these features:
- Mover-friendly policies and packages
- Self-monitoring option
- Value for the money
- Equipment price
- Equipment variety
- Financing option
We also considered the most common renting scenarios—home rental, apartment rental, studio rental—and made sure we could recommend a brand for each one.
Finally, we factored in our team's experience testing each of the home security systems that made it to our final "best for renters" list. This hands-on knowledge confirmed whether a system is truly easy to install and take down—and whether the equipment and monitoring service is worth paying for in the first place.
Check out our methodology page to learn more about how we approached this and all our reviews on home security systems.
Related articles on SafeWise
- US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Household Burglary, 1994–2011." Accessed December 9, 2022.
- Randy Travis, FOX 5 Atlanta, "We Asked 99 Burglars 20 Questions--Their Answers Could Make You Safer," February 2018. Accessed December 9, 2022.
- Eufy, "Compatibility Between eufySecurity Devices." Accessed December 9, 2022.
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