A Comparison of 5 Top Home Security Control Panels

Best overall
Vivint
Vivint
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$29.99
/mo
  • pro
    Advanced smart home tech
  • pro
    One app for everything
Budget pick
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$17.99
/mo
  • pro
    Most popular DIY system
  • pro
    Money-back guarantee
High-end DIY pick
Frontpoint
Frontpoint
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$34.99
/mo
  • pro
    Easy DIY installation
  • pro
    Risk-free 30-day trial
Trusted brand name
ADT Shield
ADT
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$28.99
/mo
  • pro
    Trusted name
  • pro
    9 monitoring centers
Best optional monitoring system
Blue by ADT
Blue by ADT
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$19.99
/mo
  • pro
    Affordable price points
  • pro
    No contracts
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The control panel or hub is the brain of a security system. Since you'll be using these devices a lot, you want to find one that works for what you want—whether that's a simple keypad or something with a that you can review video from.

Each alarm panel or hub on list our falls into three categories: touchscreen panel, separate keypad and base station, and mobile app-controlled device (that may or may not have a keypad).

Notepad
What's an alarm panel?

An alarm panel controls practically every aspect of your security system:

  • Arms and disarms the system.
  • Sounds a siren and informs the monitoring center when an alarm goes off.
  • Shows system status, adjusts system settings, and adds new security devices.


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1. Vivint Smart Hub

Image: Vivint Smart Home

The Vivint Smart Hub panel's seven-inch color LCD touchscreen display serves as an interface for Vivint’s security system features. This smart home control panel aggregates data from every sensor and homeowner habits to offer tips on how to use the system more effectively.

Safety features

  • Offers one-button alarm activation.
  • Streams live HD video from Vivint video cameras and the Vivint doorbell camera. Provides recorded video clips via a DVR application.
  • Allows for direct two-way communication with alarm monitoring professionals via built-in microphone and speaker.

System security features

  • Communicates via cellular technology—more reliable than landline or Wi-Fi connections.
  • Updates the system automatically so you always have the latest features.
  • Allows you to add up to 50 user codes.
  • Has a battery backup that lasts at least 24 hours.

Home automation features

Other features

  • Capacitive touchscreen responds to a light finger touch, instead of applied pressure.

2. SimpliSafe Keypad

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

The SimpliSafe Keypad works in tandem with a base station (similar to Frontpoint) to control any combination of security sensors, smart locks, and security cameras. SimpliSafe sells components a la carte or in starter kits—all starter kits include a keypad and base station.

Safety features

  • Keypad has a hidden panic button.
  • Base station includes a 95-decibel alarm.

System security features

  • Cellular and internet connections let you communicate with the monitoring center even if one loses connection.
  • Base station has 24-hour battery backup for when the power is cut.
  • System contacts monitoring center if someone smashes the keypad.

Home automation features

  • Base station controls up to 100 sensors—plenty for all but the biggest of homes.
  • System works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and August smart locks.

Other features

  • Keypad easily mounts on your wall.
  • Light-up keypad display is easy to see at night and turns off when not in use.
  • Keypad display doubles as directional button for selecting settings from the menu.
  • Base station uses voice prompts for easy setup.

3. Frontpoint Keypad and Hub

Images: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

Frontpoint uses a combination of a keypad and hub, similar to what you find on SimpliSafe. But unlike SimpliSafe's keypad, Frontpoint's lacks a screen. If you're willing to pay an extra $105 or so, Frontpoint also sells a touchscreen panel, but it isn't the default option like it is on brands like Vivint and ADT.

Safety features

  • Arms and disarms the system with the touch of a button.
  • Includes 104.5-decibel siren.
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Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

System security features

  • Includes a 24-hour battery backup.
  • Offers simultaneous cellular and Wi-Fi connection for redundancy backup and improved speed.
  • Is compatible with Crash and Smash protection, which enables the system to send an alarm signal even if it has been damaged.
  • Allows you to program unique user codes.

Home automation features

  • Supports up to 80 individual sensors, including smoke and heat, carbon monoxide, and water and flood sensors.
  • Works with home automation devices using Z-Wave, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Other features

  • Easily mounts on a wall or rests on a table.

4. ADT Command®

Image: ADT

The ADT Command interactive touchscreen panel has a seven-inch color HD screen to manage your ADT-monitored home alarm system. This ADT control panel is like a tablet, so you can use it on the go anywhere in the house.

Safety features

  • Phone notifications, like disarm snapshots that can be sent to phone.
  • Video package that accommodates 8 cameras and 6,000 clips.
  • Monitoring available for carbon monoxide, fires, and floods.

System security features

  • Bluetooth disarming when user is close to keypad.
  • Remote door locking/unlocking for visitors.
  • Encrypted alarm sensors for added security and increased wireless range.

Home automation features

  • Automation for smart home devices like lights, thermostats, cameras, and deadbolts.
  • Security system status updates for all home entry points.
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa voice controls and support for Google Home app.

Other features

  • Two-way voice over cell.
  • Built-in how-to videos.
  • Crash and smash protection.

5. Blue by ADT Smart Home Hub

Blue by ADT Smart Home Hub

Images: Blue by ADT

The Blue by ADT Smart Home Hub is similar to SimpliSafe's base station in design. But instead of using a separate keypad, it places it on top of the base station. You can get a wall-mounted Blue by ADT keypad for about $90, but it's optional.

The keypad is one of the simplest on this list (no screen) since Blue by ADT allows you to control system with a mobile app and no subscription.

Safety features

  • Includes a built-in siren.
  • Offers a one-touch panic setting to send an immediate signal to the monitoring center for police, fire, and medical emergencies.

System security features

  • Communicates with the central monitoring station by cellular signal.
  • Run off AC power and has a rechargeable 24-hour backup battery.

Home automation features

  • Uses Wi-Fi to connect to the Blue by ADT mobile app (no subscription required to self-monitor system).
  • Integrates with system components such as cameras, door and window sensors, and doorbell.
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Z-Wave smart home devices.

Other features

  • Rests on a shelf or tabletop—there's no wall-mount option.

Other security system control panels and keypads

Brand
Availability
Our brand rating
Learn more
Read review
Optional add-on
4 out of 5 stars
4
Included in basic package
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Included in basic package
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Included in basic package
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Optional add-on
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Included in basic package
3 out of 5 stars
3
Included in basic package
3 out of 5 stars
3

Final word

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a home security system. Having a home security panel that is user-friendly and meets your needs and lifestyle is among the most important. For homeowners who have many entry points to manage and enjoy bells and whistles, the HD touchscreen tablet panels from Vivint and ADT would fit the bill.

If you live through your smartphone, Frontpoint and Blue by ADT might be best. And for those who don’t like or need potentially complicated interfaces, the straightforward LCD screen and rubber keypad security panel from SimpliSafe is ideal.

Now that you know more about the popular control panels on the market, research the best home security systems and find the system that’s right for you.

Disclaimers

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

Full ADT disclaimer

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


Compare the best home security systems

Brand
Best for
Monthly cost Icon Tooltip  Dark
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Smart home compatibility Icon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Read review
Best overall$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Budget pick$245.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google
Most experienced$0.00
Icon No  LightYes
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Best customer experienceQuote required
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon, Google
Best optional monitoring$199.15
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
See ADT disclaimer for full offer details, terms, and conditions.​

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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