Abode Home Security Review

We tested two Abode home security kits and liked their ease of use.
Most smart-home compatible system
Abode
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Pros
    Advanced smart home compatibility
  • Pros
    No contracts or cancellation fees
  • Pros
    Monitoring for $20.00/mo.
Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
Read More
Published on October 21, 2021

Abode’s simple security equipment and smart Iota security camera pack a wallop when it comes to smart home compatibility. As one of the only home security systems that works with Apple HomeKit, we’re hard-pressed to find a smart gadget Abode doesn’t play well with.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Advanced smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet Optional self-monitoring
Pro Bullet One year equipment warranty
Pro Bullet Custom home automation settings
Pro Bullet Ideal for smaller living spaces
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Up-front equipment costs
Con Bullet Muddy sound quality
Con Bullet Limited function for larger homes
Con Bullet Hidden cancellation fee

Abode cost

Abode offers two paid monthly plans—Standard ($6 per month) and Pro ($20 per month). They share these features:

  • 10 days of video storage
  • Push notifications
  • Mobile app arming and disarming
  • Unlimited cameras
  • Person detection on cameras

There are even more perks in the Pro plan:

  • Professional monitoring
  • Cellular backup
  • Homeowners insurance discounts with Branch
  • Faster shipping 

If you want to skip the monthly bills, you can use Abode straight out of the box without professional monitoring for free.

Compare Abode monthly costs

PlanBasicStandard Pro
Monthly cost
Video storageLive video only 10 days10 days
Arm/disarm from app
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
CUE automations
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Professional monitoring
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Learn more

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

Light Bulb
Get Abode monitoring on demand

Going out of town for a long weekend? With Abode, you can add pro monitoring for as few as three days. On-demand monitoring comes in three- or seven-day bundles and is perfect if you don't need a full month of protection but want to beef up security during a trip.

Is Abode right for you?

An Abode system is ideal in these scenarios:

  • You rent your home or apartment. Abode's Iota system doesn't get screwed into the wall.
  • You have (or plan to have) many other smart home devices. Abode is compatible with around 160 devices.
  • You use the Apple Homekit smart hub. Abode is one of the only security systems that works with Apple Homekit.
  • You want to self-monitor your system. You won't get as many perks, but self-monitoring is an option.
  • You want on-demand monitoring. Abode is one of the few home security brands to offer flexible, no-contract monitoring.

How Abode stacks up

Brand
Best for
Lowest monitoring price
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Read review
VivintVivint
Best overall$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
Reader favorite$229.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google
FrontpointFrontpoint
Whole-property pick$99.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
ADTADT
Pro monitoring pick$0.00
Icon No  LightYes
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
CoveCove
Customer-focused pickQuote required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google
Blue by ADTBlue by ADT
No-contract DIY pick$199.15
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
AbodeAbode
Smart home pick$279.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave, Zigbee
RingRing
Budget pick$199.99
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Link InteractiveLink Interactive
Sensor selection pickQuote required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
BrinksBrinks
Simple package pick$199.00
Icon No  LightYes
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave

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

Abode contracts and warranties

Abode won't lock you into a long-term contract. You can pay for the Standard or Pro plans on a monthly or yearly basis. 

You have 30 days from purchase to return the system for a refund. Abode doesn't pay for shipping costs on returned items and doesn't process returns on equipment purchased through third-party sellers.

If you cancel a plan when returning your system, a $35 fee is taken from your full refund. Although we prefer to see no cancellation fees, this is a relatively small amount to pay compared to other brands' cancellation policies.

Abode equipment comes with a one-year warranty. 

Abode equipment and fees

To get started with Abode, you'll need to choose a base station or hub. The hub is the brain of the security system, connecting all of the equipment together for automations and notifications. It also functions as a siren.

Abode has two hubs:

  • Gen 2 Gateway
  • Iota 

The Iota is more sophisticated because it includes a camera, motion sensor, and speaker.

Because a hub is pretty useless without some sort of motion or entry sensor, they're sold as a bundle. The most basic Gen 2 Gateway package—the Smart Security Kit—costs about $250 while the basic Iota All-in-One Kit costs about $330.

Prices like these land right between a budget pick like Ring and higher-end brands like Frontpoint.

You can choose from several other equipment bundles or build on the basic packages by adding a la carte devices like a glass break sensor, panic button, or additional cameras. See a full list of options and prices on our Abode equipment compatibility page.

Thumbs Up
New home security equipment

When we wrote our initial Abode security review, we mentioned that its lineup was missing an outdoor security camera and a video doorbell. We hesitated to recommend the system for homes vs. apartments.

We're happy to note that Abode now offers an outdoor smart camera that doubles as a doorbell camera.

You can read more about it in our full review of Abode cameras.

Compare Abode packages

Equipment price
Hub
Mini door/window sensors
Motion sensor
Key fob
Keypad
Camera
Smart Security Kit
Gen 2 Gateway
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Smart Security Kit Complete
Gen 2 Gateway
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes, Abode Cam 2 (2)
Smart Security Kit Plus
Gen 2 Gateway
Icon Yes  LightYes (3)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon No  LightNo
Smart Security Kit Elite
Gen 2 Gateway
Icon Yes  LightYes (4)
Icon Yes  LightYes (2)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon No  LightNo
Iota All-in-One Kit
Iota All-in-One Gateway
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightIncluded in Iota hub
Iota Kit Plus
Iota All-in-One Gateway
Icon Yes  LightYes (3)
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightIncluded in Iota hub
Iota Kit Elite
Iota All-in-One Gateway
Icon Yes  LightYes (4)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightYes (1)
Icon Yes  LightIncluded in Iota hub

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

What's in the box

In addition to the security equipment included in each kit, you'll receive these accessories:

  • Mounting hardware (if applicable)
  • Power adapter
  • Ethernet cable
  • 4 GHz SIM card
  • Activation code
  • Pairing guide
Abode Iota security kit in the box

The Abode Iota All-in-One kit: 4-in-1 Iota hub, mini contact sensor, key fob.

Abode setup and installation

Abode’s setup is pretty standard for a DIY-install system—connect the system to your home Wi-Fi, then pair the sensors and other accessories. Each kit comes with a simple pairing guide to help you connect all the devices.

The multifunctional Iota cuts down on extra equipment and setup time because it has both a built-in camera and motion detector.

In fact, the only sensor that comes with the Iota starter kit is a mini door/window sensor. Just apply the sticky backing to each component, then place it on the door or window of your choice.

The Smart Security Kit also comes ready for installation, and it has only one extra device (a motion detector) to install compared to the Iota kit. Once you set up the Abode Gateway hub, the other devices pair quickly and start working almost instantly.

Here's what happened during testing

We had a chance to test the Iota All-in-One Kit. It comes with the essential ingredients to guard your home, including a tiny, easy-to-install contact sensor and a key fob for remotely arming and disarming your system.

The Iota itself is a 4-in-1 device. On top of a built-in motion sensor, this sleek control center also has a camera, two-way speaker, and a siren.

Abode iota system

The Abode Iota kit we used was so easy to install that we did it while watching TV and didn’t miss a thing (in the installation or the show). Abode’s online portal did most of the work for us. We just needed the equipment and the code included in the box.

The Iota’s camera can shoot in 720p or 1080p and looks good on most settings. The night vision is decent too. We were able to watch Toki the cat wander around at night from where we set the camera. He even set off the motion sensor in the dark from where he was standing.

abode iota live footage

Abode’s two-way speaker needs improvement, though. The sound quality is muddy and creates feedback if the microphone is too loud, so expect to finetune the settings once you install the system.

Abode smart home features and compatibility

Whether you go with the Gen 2 Gateway or Iota, you can monitor and control your system directly through the Abode mobile app. From here, you can arm and disarm the system and watch live video feed.

During our initial tests, we experienced limited abilities when it came to adjusting settings or creating automations. But since we last gave Abode a test run, the company has completely revamped and updated the Abode app.

Here are a few of the things we like about Abode's app upgrade:

  • Native integration for iOS and Android for easy use across different devices (phone, tablet, etc.)
  • Streamlined customer interface
  • Customized quick actions screen
  • In-app panic alarms
  • Account controls to update passwords and other settings
  • Timeline filtering by sensor, camera, or other device

Compatible tech

Both Abode hubs are compatible with loads of smart home devices:

All in all, you can connect up to 160 smart devices like lights and outlets to your Abode system. For the price, that’s a lot of smart home.

Automations

If you subscribe to the Standard or Pro plan, you can use the platform “CUE” to program custom automations into your system. Automations are cause-and-effect commands that tell Abode what to do and when to do it. These “CUE” automations can match your daily routine. Set Abode to disarm when you get home, turn on lights when you’re gone, or capture video clips when the door opens.

The more components you add to your system, the more creative you can get with your automations. You can sync your Nest thermostat, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomePod, and other smart home devices with your Abode to create an entire automated home routine that runs on its own.

Abode customer service and support

The instructions included in the Abode box are minimal, but we were able to find plenty of help and resources online when questions came up. The extensive article database is a useful resource for Abode members. We found everything we needed from this archive during our tests. The database is searchable, so it’s easy to find the answer without ever picking up the phone.

If you do have questions, email, chat, and phone support are available.

We had some questions about camera specs and cancellation fees and used the phone and chat lines. We found all reps to be friendly and prompt. In fact, we were surprised we didn't have to wait on hold to speak to someone, which meant it was actually faster to call than to use the chat box.

Final word

While most of our in-person experience was with the Iota hub, the price, size, and features make both Abode hubs fitting for renters, college students, or anyone in a small home.

Neither Abode starter kit comes with a ton of sensors, so you’ll need to purchase extras if you live in a larger space. Abode isn’t perfect—especially its two-way audio quality—but you get a reliable home security system and a headstart for growing your smart home network.

Contributing writers: Rebecca Edwards and Cathy Habas

How we reviewed Abode

To form the most accurate Abode security review we could, we took the Iota home to learn more about it firsthand. A few of our tests included setting up “CUE” and Quick Actions automations, triggering the alarm through the sensors and camera. We also watched Toki in the living room all day through the live feed while we were in the office.

We didn’t test the Abode Smart Security kit this time, so we based this review on commonalities between the two systems. Both use an app for monitoring and have similar equipment.

We also scoured the web for helpful information from customer reviews, Abode’s support, and other professional reviewers to get a better idea of this system. Learn more about how we test systems and set standards at SafeWise, read our full methodology.

Abode FAQ

Yes, the Abode systems come with an ethernet cable that you can connect directly into your router, giving them access to the internet and other smart home devices without connecting to Wi-Fi. 

Under the Pro plan ($20 a month), Abode will connect you with professionals who will also watch your system, allowing you to relax and go about your day without worrying about false alarms or break-ins.

If your system senses a problem, it will send alerts to the professional monitoring center where trained techs will contact you and send the right emergency responders if there is trouble. 

False alarms happen, especially when you’re first learning the system. Start by explaining the system to everyone in your household. They should be aware of how the system works and how to arm or disarm it.

If you have pets, be sure to lower the motion sensor sensitivity. Toki the cat weighs around 15 pounds and managed to set off the alarm several times during our tests. 

Yes. If you purchase a plan and a system but then return the system for a refund and cancel the plan, $35 is deducted from your total refund.

 

Yes, the Abode Iota has a 93 db siren.

Yes, Abode's Gen 2 Gateway and Iota come with a 4G SIM card for cellular backup. But you have to pay for the $20/mo. Pro plan to activate cellular backup.

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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