The Best Smart Home Security Systems

We’ve tested and researched smart home security systems to help you find the right DIY or professionally installed security system to protect your home.
Written by | Updated October 18, 2019
Best Overall
Vivint
  • Cutting-edge tech
  • Easy app control
  • Cutting-edge tech
  • Easy app control
DIY Pick
Frontpoint
  • Simple installation
  • Great customer service
  • Simple installation
  • Great customer service
Best Monitoring
ADT Pulse®
  • Trusted reputation
  • Z-Wave compatibility
  • Trusted reputation
  • Z-Wave compatibility
Budget Pick
Ring Alarm
  • Monitoring for $10/mo.
  • Affordable equipment
  • Monitoring for $10/mo.
  • Affordable equipment
No-Contract Pick
Abode
  • Optional monitoring
  • Extensive compatibility
  • Optional monitoring
  • Extensive compatibility
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Last Updated: 4 days ago
After testing a number of smart home security systems, we re-ranked our roundup of the best smart home security systems. Vivint held on to the top spot, and Frontpoint and ADT round out the top three. Ring Alarm and Abode debuted on the list thanks to their affordable and simple security solutions that are versatile enough for larger homes or small apartments. Unfortunately, Samsung SmartThings was dropped from our ranking altogether.

Bottom Line: Vivint Serves Up the Smartest Home Security

Vivint is so committed to smart home technology that it put the term smack-dab in the middle of its name. Vivint is the only home security company that can deliver a setup that transforms your house into an actual smart home. Its free security consultation and professional installation are focused on making your house as secure and automated as possible.

But Vivint’s high-end tech and seamless smart home integration don’t come cheap. You’ll probably pay more for your Vivint equipment, but if your goal is a true smart home, it’s worth it. And once you get past equipment prices, monthly monitoring fees are in line with industry standards.

Compare the Best Smart Home Security Systems

Lowest Monthly Monitoring Fee
Starter Equipment Price
Smart Home Compatibility
Learn More
Best Overall
DIY Pick
Best Monitoring
Budget Pick
No-Contract Pick
$29.99 $34.99 $52.99 $10.00 $20.00
$599.00 $99.00 $0.00* $199.00 $199.00
Z-Wave Z-Wave Z-Wave Z-Wave Z-Wave
Zigbee
IFTTT
View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans

Data effective 09/18/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*$0 due up-front with contract.

What Makes a Security System Smart?

A smart security system does more than alert you if a burglar tries to break into your home. Smart home security uses your Wi-Fi network to connect entry sensors and sirens to devices like smart door locks, smart thermostats, and smart lightbulbs. Once connected, these devices can talk to each other and integrate with your security system to make your life more convenient and more secure.

One of the most important features you should look for in a smart security system is a mobile app that lets you keep tabs on your home from anywhere. If you have indoor and outdoor security cameras or a smart video doorbell, you should be able to access live or recorded video from the app. This is important to help you tell a real emergency from a false alarm.

Other features to consider in a smart security system are detailed below.

  • Cloud storage for video and still photos
  • Types of notifications and push alerts
  • System requirements for iOS and Android apps
  • Night vision capabilities
  • Customized settings for contact sensors, motion detectors, and glass break detectors
  • Wi-Fi network requirements

Reviews: Best Smart Home Security Systems

Vivint: Best Overall

Vivint's Equipment
vivint indoor camera, keyfob, control panel, keypad

You get the best of both worlds with a Vivint system—reliable home security and cutting-edge smart home tech.

We like that Vivint develops and manufactures most of its equipment in-house. That means your smart security system is designed based on feedback from people (just like you) who live with the system every day.

Vivint Smart Home Security System Basics

  • 24/7professional monitoring
  • In-home security consultation
  • Professional installation
  • Contract-free options with equipment purchase
  • Contracts ranging from 42 to 60 months
  • Mobile app included in all packages
  • Smart home features include voice control, climate control, lighting control, two-way audio, garage door control, keyless entry, and live or recorded video footage.

One of Vivint’s standout features is the Vivint Smart Home app. You can control both your security system and your smart home devices in this single app. Many security companies require you to use multiple apps—one to arm and disarm your system and others to access security camera footage or control smart home components.

And if you already have some smart home devices, you might be able to integrate them with your Vivint security system. Vivint works with Amazon Echo or Google Home for voice commands, and it syncs up with the Google Nest smart thermostat.

Pros

  • Advanced smart home tech
  • Integrated security and smart home features
  • Comprehensive mobile app
  • Professional guidance and installation
  • No-contract option

Cons

  • Expensive price tag
  • Long-term contracts
  • Steep termination fees
  • Pushy sales

Vivint: Bottom Line

Vivint is a great choice if you’re starting home automation from scratch and want the peace of mind of professional installation and a comprehensive, fully integrated system.

Get all the details in our full Vivint review.

Frontpoint: DIY Pick

Frontpoint's Equipment
Frontpoint home security system unboxed

Frontpoint combines the ease of DIY installation with the convenience of home automation.

You’re not going to get the same kind of integration that Vivint offers, but Frontpoint has stepped up its smart home game in the past year.

Frontpoint Home Security System Basics

  • 24/7professional monitoring
  • DIY installation
  • Required 36-month contract
  • Mobile app access with upgraded packages
  • Smart home functions include voice control, lighting control, small appliance control, smart lock control, two-way communication, garage door control, and live or recorded video footage.

Frontpoint’s smart home equipment isn’t proprietary, but it comes from trusted security brands like Yale. And you can turn almost any appliance in your house into a smart one with Frontpoint’s wireless smart plug. Smart plugs give you remote access to control devices like your lamps or TV through the Frontpoint app.

But Frontpoint doesn’t include mobile app access in every package. You have to upgrade to the Interactive Plan (monitoring starts at $44.99 a month) if you want to control your system with an iOS or Android device. That’s an extra $10 per month compared to Frontpoint’s starter plan.

Pros

  • Easy, DIY installation
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Excellent customer service
  • Third-party smart device integration

Cons

  • Required upgrade for mobile app control
  • Long-term contract
  • Steep termination fees

Frontpoint: Bottom Line

If you prefer to do things yourself rather than hiring outside help, Frontpoint’s smart home security options are a great fit. You get the benefits of security and home automation on your terms. Just remember that you’ll have to upgrade if you want to control your security system with your smartphone.

See all of Frontpoint’s offerings in our complete Frontpoint review.

ADT Pulse®: Best Monitoring

ADT's Equipment
ADT Pulse touchscreen panel, mobile app, doorbell cam, keyfob

No home security company is better known than ADT—if you’re looking for smart home security with a name that could stop burglars in their tracks, this is it.

ADT’s Pulse security packages come with connected, wireless equipment and mobile app control. Plus, you get the extra reassurance of ADT’s six monitoring centers (that’s the most of any security company).

ADT Pulse® Security System Basics

  • 24/7professional monitoring
  • In-home security consultation
  • Professional installation
  • Mandatory 36-month contract
  • Mobile app included
  • Smoke and CO monitoring
  • Quality Service Plan (extended warranty)
  • Smart home features include voice control, smart device integration via Z-Wave, climate control, lighting control, and live or recorded video footage.

Because ADT uses Z-Wave for home automation, there are a lot of smart gadgets that can work with your security system, including Google Nest equipment. The downside is that ADT’s Pulse packages will cost you over $50 per month for monitoring, which is among the highest prices available.

Pros

  • Wireless equipment
  • Z-Wave compatibility
  • Good customer guarantees
  • Professional installation
  • Six monitoring centers

Cons

  • Pricey monthly monitoring
  • Required long-term contract

ADT Pulse®: Bottom Line

For smart home security you can trust, ADT delivers 140+ years of experience and redundant monitoring centers. That means your home will never be unprotected, even if one monitoring center experiences a power outage or an extreme weather event.

See if ADT is right for you in our full ADT review.

Ring Alarm: Budget Pick

Ring's Equipment
ring alarm

Ring isn’t known for having the best deal on video doorbells, but the company’s smart security system is the best deal we’ve found.

You can pick up a Ring Alarm starter kit for around $200, and optional monthly monitoring is just $10 a month.

Ring Alarm Security System Basics

  • Equipment kits range from $200 to $329
  • DIY installation
  • No contracts
  • Optional professional monitoring
  • Mobile app included in all packages
  • Smart home features include voice control, door lock control, garage control, smart lighting, small appliance control, and live or recorded video with security cameras.

If you want simple, straightforward home security that still packs in a few bells and whistles, then Ring might be your best bet. It’s not the fanciest smart security system out there, but it gets the job done—and it does so without draining your bank account.

Ring Alarm works with a lot of smart third-party devices from companies like Kwikset, GE, and Leviton. But the best part is that you could buy Ring’s five-piece starter kit and add professional monitoring every month for a year, and your grand total would come in under $350.

Pros

  • Cheap monthly monitoring
  • Simple package options
  • Many security cameras to add on
  • Compatibility with other smart home brands

Cons

  • Basic security equipment
  • Extra cost to add cameras

Ring Alarm: Bottom Line

Ring Alarm delivers standard home security options at a price that’s hard to beat. If you’ve got a small home to protect or just want to dip your toe into the smart home security pool, Ring is a good place to start.

Learn about all of Ring Alarm’s features in our complete Ring review.

Abode: No-Contract Pick

Abode's Equipment
Abode smart security starter kit in the box

Abode packs a lot of smart security features into a small package. Whether you pick the Abode Smart Security kit or the Abode Iota all-in-one security camera, you get reliable smart security that you can monitor yourself.

Plus, you have the option to add professional monitoring without any contracts.

Abode Security System Basics

  • Scaled-down smart security equipment
  • DIY installation
  • No contracts
  • Optional professional monitoring
  • Mobile app included in all packages
  • Smart home features include voice control and compatibility with both Z-Wave and Zigbee devices.

Abode’s smart security equipment is scaled down in size, making it an ideal fit for apartments and other small spaces. The Abode Iota is a smart security camera with extra safety features like two-way communication, a siren, and an indicator light that lets you know when it’s recording. The Iota also works as a smart home hub to help you connect and manage all of your smart gadgets.

If you opt for Abode’s Smart Security kit instead of the Iota, you get a base station that works with smart home devices plus a motion sensor, a remote key fob, and a mini contact sensor for your front door. That’s pretty minimal if you have a larger home, but you can buy extra sensors for additional doors and ground-floor windows.

Pros

  • No contracts required
  • Extensive smart home compatibility
  • Optional professional monitoring
  • Low-profile equipment that's great for apartments

Cons

  • Limited mobile app functions
  • Poor speaker quality on Iota

Abode: Bottom Line

Abode’s minimalist take on smart security is refreshingly simple and perfectly suited for renters or people living with roommates. The optional professional monitoring is a nice perk, but Abode’s self-monitoring through the app is sufficient—especially if you’re more interested in checking in on pets or kids than keeping tabs on potential intruders breaking down the front door.

Get all the ins and outs of Abode’s smart security options in our full Abode review.

Other Smart Security Systems to Consider

Protect America

Protect America's Equipment
Protect America equipment

Protect America offers DIY home security with Z-Wave compatibility and voice command options. The company even includes an Echo Dot in some of its SAFE smart security packages.

All you have to do is add the Protect America skill to your Amazon Echo, and you’ll be able to arm and disarm your system with the sound of your voice.

Protect America Security System Basics

  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • DIY installation
  • Required 36-month contract
  • 15-day money-back guarantee
  • Mobile app included in broadband and cellular packages
  • Smart home features include garage door control, keyless entry, light control, small appliance control, and voice control.

Find out everything Protect America has to offer in our full Protect America review.

SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe's Equipment
SimpliSafe equipment

SimpliSafe is one of our favorite DIY home security companies, but it’s not a leader when it comes to smart security. With SimpliSafe, you get basic smart home integration that works with a few third-party brands, like the Nest learning thermostat and the August smart lock.

The company is slowly adding more smart home compatibility, and we hope to see the base station operate as a true smart home hub in the future.

SimpliSafe Security System Basics

  • DIY installation
  • Optional monthly monitoring
  • No contracts
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Required upgrade for mobile app control
  • Smart home compatibility includes voice control, climate control, lighting control, and smart locks.

Learn more in our complete SimpliSafe review.

Link Interactive

Link Interactive's Equipment
Link Interactive equipment

Another smart security system option with DIY installation is Link Interactive. Like Vivint, Link offers professional monitoring, but it has shorter contracts.

Its Z-Wave compatible technology means you have a large selection of smart devices to choose from, so you can put together an affordable smart home system that works for you.

Link Interactive Security System Basics

  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • DIY installation
  • Contracts ranging from 12 to 36 months
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Mobile app included in Gold and Elite packages
  • Smart home features include geofencing, smoke and CO monitoring, automated door locks, smart thermostat, voice control, and live or recorded video.

Get all the details in our complete Link Interactive review.

The Smart Devices You’ll Want to Use with a Smart Home Security System

As smart home technology advances, it can be tricky to keep up with all the gadgets available. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of smart home security equipment.

Security Camera

For maximum home security, install both exterior and interior video surveillance. Smart security cameras can automatically start recording when they detect motion, and they can be programmed to send push notifications to your phone so you can watch the live feed.

Video Doorbell

When someone approaches a smart doorbell, the doorbell’s motion sensors will trigger the built-in camera to start recording. When a visitor presses the doorbell, it will alert you through your phone, and you’ll be able to see who’s at your front door and speak with them using a two-way communication feature.

Smart Lock

Keyless deadbolt locks have keypads that let you unlock your door with a four-digit code and lock it with a press of a button. But you don’t have to use the keypad—your smart phone can act as a remote control so you can lock and unlock the door remotely as well. You can also arm your security system when you press the lock button and disarm the security system when you unlock it.

Smart Lights

You can set rules for when your smart lightbulbs turn on or off. Setting smart lightbulbs to turn on and off at different times of the day can fool people into thinking you’re home when you’re not. You can program your lights to automatically turn off when you set your system to “away,” or you can have them turn on automatically when your security system is disarmed. You can also set them to flash if your alarm goes off.

FAQs

How should I start building my smart home security?

Start with a smart home hub, but keep in mind that some devices—like the Nest thermostat—can act as a hub for other devices. If you have any specific smart devices you’re interested in, find out which systems they’re compatible with before you buy your hub.

What is IFTTT? 

IFTTT stands for “If This Then That” and is a free platform that lets you integrate multiple home systems through your smart devices using if/then statements. For example, you can tell your devices, “If the security system is set to ‘away’ and it’s 8 p.m., then turn on a light.” Or, “If Matt enters his code to turn off the security system, then alert me with a text message.”

Why should I integrate lights into my smart home security?

Lighting is one of the best ways to deter criminal activity because no burglar wants to get caught in the spotlight. Outdoor motion sensor lights are a great first-line deterrent to scare off intruders.

You can set lights to turn on when motion is detected, or you can set lights to turn on and off at different times when you’re not home to fool burglars into thinking the house is occupied. And a nice bonus: integrating lights into your system can make your home more energy efficient.

More Ways to Make Your Home Secure and Smart

Because most security systems already use smart home technology, starting with a smart security system is a great way to begin your journey to a fully integrated home. Once your home is secured, add on more devices and appliances to make your life easier, like a smart coffee pot or smart dishwasher—find out how in these smart home guides from SafeWise.

The Best Smart Home Device for Each Room In Your Home
How Long Does It Take to Install Smart Home Security?
How to Build a Smart Nursery for Your Baby
What Is Home Automation and How Does It Work?

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more

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