2018’s Best Home Security Systems for Renters
SafeWise reviews the best home security providers on the market to keep your family and home safe.
Compare the Best Monitored Security Systems for Renters
Best Monitored Security System Reviews
For home security you don’t have to second-guess, you can’t do better than an ADT security system in your apartment, condo, or home. Our favorite thing about ADT is its six redundant monitoring centers. This technology ensures that you’ll never be without professional monitoring—even if a monitoring center loses power.
- Affordable Package Options
ADT has a variety of package options and prices to choose from. It also does a great job of offering discounts and deals to help ease upfront equipment and installation costs.
- Movers Security Guarantee*
As a renter, you don’t want to risk losing your security system just because your lease runs out. If you’ve been a customer for at least two years, ADT lets you move your system—or set up a new one—without incurring new equipment or installation fees.
*Certain terms and restrictions may apply. Guarantees may change at any time, so check with a representative for current details.
- Over 140 Years of Security Know-How
You can’t stay at the top of your industry for nearly a century-and-a-half without becoming an expert. Because ADT has more experience than any other home security company, this company knows how to deliver security you count on—whether you need to protect your apartment, condo, or single-family dwelling.
ADT delivers top-of-the-line protection, but ADT packages come with long contracts and penalties for cancelling early. When you’re renting, it can be tough to take on a three-year contract.
- Warranty Not Included in All Plans
ADT offers great deals on purchasing equipment, but that doesn’t mean you always get a warranty if something goes wrong. ADT requires an upgrade to activate an extended equipment warranty.
- Home Automation Requires Upgrade
ADT’s entry-level packages don’t include home automation capabilities. But you can upgrade to the ADT Pulse® package, which features IFTTT (If This Then That) tech that lets you control everything from door locks and lights to the thermostat.
- No Trial Period
There’s no option that lets you try out an ADT security package before making a full-on commitment. It’s hard enough to sign on the dotted line for a year-long apartment lease, so taking on a three-year security contract can feel daunting.
In addition to simple installation that you control, Frontpoint is also a customer favorite. This home security company consistently receives praise in customer reviews, as evidenced by strong customer loyalty and low cancellation rates.
- 30-Day, Risk-Free Trial
Renting can be full of surprises, but your apartment security doesn’t have to be. Frontpoint lets you try out a system for a full month before locking you into a contract. Whether you try out the Protection Plan (least expensive) or the Interactive (which includes remote access and control), you can cancel and get all of your money back within the first thirty days if you don’t like it.
- Smoke and CO Protection
Most security systems make you upgrade if you want the extra protection of smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring, but not Frontpoint. This company includes both smoke and CO monitoring in all its plans, so no matter what level of security you choose, you’ll get those extra assurances.
- 100% Wireless and Cellular
Frontpoint fits renter needs because its systems don’t require you to drill into the wall or tap into existing wiring. And 100% cellular monitoring means no wires for a burglar to cut. Your system will also remain active and connected to the monitoring center even during a power outage.
Frontpoint checks a lot of boxes for renters looking to upgrade apartment or condo security, but that quality isn’t cheap. We recommend doing your due diligence when selecting a package and taking full advantage of the free trial to make sure your Frontpoint system delivers the protection you need.
- Long Contracts
As with many home security companies, Frontpoint requires a 36-month contract, which can be a hefty commitment when you’re renting. On the positive side, their equipment is easy to install and move—and there’s no fee or penalty to move the system from one residence to another.
- Termination Fees
Along with long contracts, Frontpoint also imposes early termination fees if you cancel after the thirty-day trial period. You’ll owe 80% of your remaining contract if you back out, so be sure to take that into consideration.
Link Interactive receives top marks for customer service. The company scored 4.5 or higher (out of 5) from Yelp, Angie’s List, and Consumer Affairs. Customers rave about this security company’s friendly attitude, quick responses, and unending patience.
- Free Shipping, Setup, and Service
Because you can install Link Interactive’s security system on your own, the components are shipped directly to your home, apartment, or condo. We like that there are no extra hidden fees for shipping, installation help, or ongoing customer service.
- Easy Installation
Link Interactive’s DIY installation is so simple that most customers can get everything up and running in under one hour. But if you do run into any trouble, customer service is ready and willing to help guide customers every step of the way.
- Extensive Equipment Options
This security company provides comprehensive equipment options in every package. Not only can you get smoke and CO monitoring, but Link Interactive also offers up to forty-eight sensors in its most basic packages.
There’s a lot to like about Link Interactive, but one thing we’d like to see is a few more prepared package options. This company prides itself on customizable home security, but the number of options can be intimidating for security newbies.
- Upgrade for Video Monitoring
Because video monitoring (whether you do it yourself or use a monitoring center) is one of the most popular forms of home security, we’re a little bummed that you need to select an upgrade to get this feature from Link Interactive.
- Early Termination Fees
Even though Link Interactive offers short-term contracts, the company requires you to pay 100% of the balance remaining on your contract if you back out early. When you’re renting, things can happen that are out of your control; at least Link Interactive lets you take your apartment security system with you if you do need to move in the middle of your contract.
Protect America really seems to understand the security needs of renters. We like that this company makes protecting your apartment or condo easy and affordable.
- No Rate Increases
This is the only security company on our list that lets you freeze your rate for the duration of your contract. As long as you don’t cancel your service, your monthly monitoring rate will never increase.
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
It’s not easy to invest in things like a security system when you’re renting. But you don’t need to worry about losing that investment with Protect America’s lifetime equipment warranty. This means you can take your equipment with you (and upgrade as needed) for as long as you remain a customer—and it won’t cost you one extra penny.
- Lots of Options
Protect America has one of the most robust lineups of package offerings. The company lets you choose from five packages ranging in price from $19.99 per month to $42.99. The biggest difference in price is the type of monitoring you select: landline, broadband, or cellular.
While we like Protect America for its multiple plan offerings and affordable entry-level prices, the equipment included is fairly basic and doesn’t support complete smart home integration.
- Basic Plans Require a Landline
There’s a reason that Protect America can keep their basic package prices so low—those packages only offer landline monitoring. This means you need to have a landline in your apartment or condo, and you run the risk of relying on wires that can be tampered with.
- Limited Home Automation Capabilities
Because Protect America’s equipment is so basic, there aren’t a lot of home automation functions available. If you want home security that also gives you smart home capabilities in your apartment, this may not be the company for you.
LiveWatch has tons of policies that work for renters. The company even lets you take an entire year to decide how you like the system with a twelve-month money-back guarantee.
- Cancel Anytime without Penalty
This is probably the best policy out there for renters who also want home security. If something goes sideways with your landlord, or if you have to move for work or another reason, LiveWatch lets you cancel without any repercussions. This is the only monitored home security company that lets you walk away with no strings attached.
- ASAPer Feature
One reason people choose monitored home security is the instant link to the police and other emergency responders. LiveWatch goes even further with the ASAPer (As Soon As Possible Emergency Response) function. This feature alerts a preprogrammed list of emergency contacts as soon as trouble is detected. This ensures that you (or a trusted designee) are always aware of what’s going on at home.
One thing we’re disappointed about is the LiveWatch equipment warranty. All equipment automatically comes with a two-year warranty—but if you ask, you can get a lifetime warranty. We’d like to see the company offer customers this option upfront.
- Limited Access in Rural Areas
Unfortunately, if you live in a rural area with limited cellular access, it might be difficult to use LiveWatch home security. Most rental properties are usually closer to city centers, though, which could make this concern less applicable.
- Security Cameras Require an Upgrade
This is another security company that doesn’t include security cameras in its basic package. We don’t like that the only way to get this highly desired form of security is to pay more (around $10) each month.
Compare the Best Self-Monitored Security Systems for Renters
From the beginning, SimpliSafe has worked to be a different kind of security company—one without high-pressure sales, long-term contracts, or exorbitant cancellation fees. For a renter, this flexibility is a must-have.
- No Sales People
Simplisafe doesn’t employ a sales staff, so you don’t have to worry about being pressured into buying more apartment security than you need.
- 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee
When you don’t own the property where you live, it can be tricky to add extra services like a security system. With SimpliSafe’s 60-day money-back guarantee, you can make sure the system you select works for your apartment or condo before making the full commitment.
- No Contract
No matter how long you have left in your lease, you can take advantage of SimpliSafe security without being tied into a contract for years. Plus, you can change your services from month to month to make sure your home security always fits your needs.
The only real miss for SimpliSafe is its smart home capability. Although there are some home automation features available, they are very limited, and we hope the company adds more smart control in the future.
- Higher Upfront Costs
We love that you’re not tied into a monthly contract with SimpliSafe, but the upfront costs for equipment run on the higher end. So while you’ll save in the long run, it will take a bit more out of pocket to get started.
- Monthly Fee Required for Remote Access
The only way to get mobile control and access of your SimpliSafe system is to sign up for monthly monitoring. Because remote access is vital to effective self-monitoring, this is a big drawback.
Price and simplicity are what make Wink Lookout stand out. The system delivers the components you need to keep an eye on your home, apartment, or condo from anywhere. Wink doesn’t clutter the system up with expensive extras that you don’t really need.
- Affordable Starter Kit
The basic starter kit comes with the Wink hub, door and window sensors, a motion sensor, and a siren. For right around $200, this provides everything you need in order to know what’s happening in and around your apartment when you’re not home.
- Easy Setup
Wink has designed Lookout components to come pre-paired to your account, so all you’ll have to do is turn them on and set them up around your home. There’s no tricky timing or pairing proximity required to get everything working.
- No Monthly Fees
There are no fees to use your Wink Lookout system. You can receive unlimited alerts and add multiple users to your account without incurring any extra charges.
The biggest thing missing from Wink Lookout is a security camera. That is one security device you’ll have to buy separately, which adds another expense to your apartment security system.
- Relatively New
Wink Lookout was introduced on October 31, 2017, so it’s a relative newcomer to the DIY security scene. While early reviews are positive, we’ll be paying attention to any bugs that rear their head as the system gets more use.
- Motion Alerts Overly Sensitive
One bug that customers are already noticing is high sensitivity on the sensors. Even when you adjust the alert settings, it’s common to get multiple alerts for the same event. Keep this in mind when you decide where to place the motion sensor, and avoid high-traffic areas for pets and other household members.
The SmartThings control panel is also a smart home hub, which means turning your condo or apartment into a smart home is a no-brainer. Because the equipment is from Samsung, you can count on top-of-the-line technology and innovation to protect your home and make your life easier.
- Partnered with ADT
One of the smartest things that SmartThings has done is partnering with ADT for its home security starter kit. This puts together cutting edge smart home technology with more than 140 years of home security experience. We don’t think you can do much better than that when it comes to keeping your apartment and belongings safe.
- Professional Monitoring Available
Even though this is one of our top self-monitored picks, you can add professional monitoring. We like that you have both options available, depending on your specific needs. This gives renters the ultimate flexibility and control over the security they use to protect their home.
- Great Customer Service
SmartThings shines when it comes to treating customers right. Whether you contact them by phone or email, their response time is impressive. SmartThings knows your apartment’s security is important, so they won’t leave you waiting hours to get the help you need.
For a system that’s so tech-friendly, we’re disappointed that the app is the only way to access and control your system. There is no interface for a PC or Mac, which limits the way you can interact with the system.
- No Equipment Warranty
SmartThings comes with quality equipment and can be combined with nearly any other smart device on the market, but there is no warranty available. We were surprised to find out that a company like Samsung isn’t standing behind their product.
- Difficult Setup
Customers find the SmartThings security system tricky to set up. We recommend fully reading the instructions prior to setting up your system and putting customer service on speed dial in case you need to ask the experts for assistance.
If you want to integrate your apartment’s alarm system with things like smart thermostat control, Nest is one of the best options out there. This company is a real leader in the smart tech industry, and Nest Secure is a great place to start.
- Super Smart
This DIY security system is one of the smartest out there. Nest Secure features multipurpose sensors that alert you to motion and let you know whether windows and doors are open or closed. It also includes a built-in siren to scare off intruders.
- Sleek and Stylish
One thing you can always count on from Nest is elegant, chic design that complements home décor and doesn’t announce itself as home security. This adds another level of security without detracting from your home’s style, which matters even more if you’re renting a small place where bulky security equipment would be an eyesore.
For such a smart tech company, we’re disappointed that Nest Secure doesn’t have any Z-Wave or IFTTT compatibility. While Nest Secure works with other Nest products and a handful of other smart components, the options are limited, and there’s no voice control integration yet.
Nest delivers high-end tech and great style, but those come at a price. Nest Secure has the most expensive starter kit on our list, coming in at around $500, which is nearly double the cost of most other DIY security kits on the market.
- Security Camera Not Included
Even at $500, Nest Secure doesn’t come with any security cameras. If you want video monitoring as part of your security plan, you’ll have to pony up a few hundred dollars extra to add one of Nest’s indoor or outdoor security cams.
Canary provides simple, cost-effective security that’s perfect for renters. The small device (it stands just six inches tall and is three inches around) is unobtrusive and doesn’t require complicated setup with multiple components.
- Ideal for Roommate Situations
Because Canary includes video and sound recording—plus a ninety-decibel siren—in one compact package, it’s easy to look after your belongings if you live with roommates. You can monitor your room and possessions, even if the whole house doesn’t want to pitch in on a security system.
- Learning Tech
Canary also offers additional features like temperature and air quality monitoring. Best of all, the Canary device learns your habits and will automatically adjust monitoring settings based on your comings and goings, which cuts down on false alarms.
You can get everything that Canary offers for under $200, which makes it one of the most affordable DIY security solutions on our list. This means that if you are in a dorm or roommate situation, the cost of security won’t keep you from adding the protection you want.
The only real drawback to security from Canary is that if you want to cover multiple rooms or entryways, you’ll need to buy more than one device.
- Limited Range and Function
Canary has a 147° field of view, which is pretty good, but it only covers the room or area in which it is placed. Also, there are no additional motion sensors that feed into the device, so you can only detect action that is in range of Canary. This can leave some doors and windows vulnerable to intrusion without detection.
- Trouble Pairing with Phone
Users have reported some problems getting the Canary device to pair with their phone for mobile access and control. Because mobile alerts are how Canary lets you know about possible security breaches, this is a pretty vital function that we hope the company improves soon.
Features Renters Need in Apartment Security Systems
A security system can help make your apartment safer while protecting your valuable items and irreplaceable mementos. Our home security system finder offers a quick and easy way to compare options. As you do, keep these key features in mind:
It’s important to find out whether you or the company will own the security equipment. To make sure that you can take your system with you if you move, we recommend that renters own their apartment security system equipment instead of leasing.
DIY installation means avoiding installation fees and enjoying the convenience of setting up your system according to your schedule. All the systems on our list offer DIY installation, which is ideal for renters as you don’t have to get approval from your landlord or property manager.
Apartments usually have small footprints, only one entry door, and just a few windows. If this sounds like your apartment, you probably don’t need an extensive security system—a basic one may suit your needs just fine.
Invest in Renters Insurance
Renters insurance can give you the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens to your rental, your belongings and finances will be safe from harm. It can cover damage caused by natural disasters, fires, and break-ins—and it can even reimburse any costs you incur if someone is hurt on your property.