The bottom line: Vivint can teach an old house new tricks
Vivint has a few more features that made us sit and stay. We’re especially fans of the one-of-a-kind Vivint Indoor Camera which doubles as a motion sensor and takes 20-second clips of activity whenever it detects action. It also has two-way talk, so you can comfort anxious animals or catch them in the act of digging through the garbage.
For all its purebred glory, Vivint is accessible for folks on a budget (now you can buy the fancy dog food). Professional monitoring and equipment from Vivint start at around $30/month.
Data effective 12/15/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.
We started by looking for alarm systems with compatible equipment like high-range motion detectors and indoor cameras with two-way communication. Those with professional monitoring and remote control got extra points too. Most of our research was spent reading through product manuals, setup guides, and customer reviews. Learn more about how we researched this and our other reviews by reading our full methodology.
We looked for features like motion detectors, glass break sensors, video monitoring, and smoke and CO monitoring to keep your pet safe while you’re home and away. We also considered professional monitoring a plus because it generally gives you better control over your system remotely and is more effective at reaching first responders in an emergency.
If you want a professionally monitored and installed security system that works for your family and pets, Vivint is the cat’s meow.
The sensors installed in your home connect to Vivint’s mobile app, allowing you to monitor your home and your pets in real-time. For example, you can set emergency and non-emergency alerts so you can distinguish when your pet’s up to their normal mischief or if they’re in real danger.
Monitoring from the professionals at Vivint also helps you reach emergency services quickly if you need them.
Two-way video monitoring
Adjustable weight settings on motion detectors
Inconsistent customer service
We especially like Vivint’s strong video monitoring capabilities.
The Vivint Indoor Camera has all the features you need to keep an eye on your pets while you’re away. The two-way communication can comfort anxious pups or catch cats in the middle of their antics. It has crystal-clear infrared night vision and a wide-angle HD view to watch them from your living room, kitchen, or bedroom at all times. We also like the 20-second playback feature that kicks on when the camera notices activity in the room. And there’s also a one-touch call button for the human members of your family who may need to contact you too.
It is worth mentioning that Vivint costs a pretty penny up front and requires a 60-month contract, but it’s a worthwhile service for many customers who want to protect their human and animal family.
From the tiniest teacup Chihuahuas to the greatest Great Danes, our dogs welcome us home with wagging tails and happy faces.
With a pet-friendly home security system, you can keep an eye on them all day and come to the rescue when they need you most. Even the sharpest border collie can’t call 911, so it’s important to find a system that alerts you to real threats like fires and carbon monoxide leaks.
ADT-authorized provider SafeStreets has an impressive range of equipment for home security, safety, and home automation. But what stands out to us is its adjustable motion detector. Most pet-immune PIR (passive infrared) sensors ignore animals up to a certain weight limit, typically 30 to 45 pounds. The motion sensor from SafeStreets is adjustable, allowing you to customize this range to match the size of your pets.
ADT has been in the home security business for 145 years, so you know you can rely on them to protect your home. That said, we can’t ignore the vague pricing on their website and reports of poor customer service from multiple sources.1
Frontpoint is our favorite DIY system for pet owners. Installing your own security system may seem like a big task, but it’s as easy as a walk in the dog park. Most of Frontpoint’s components use peel-and-stick backing, so all you need to do is place your sensors and program them into the system. This allows you to set up sensors out of reach of your pets. And while Frontpoint’s setup is DIY, it offers professional monitoring, keeping emergency response times fast and your pets safe.
Wide selection of security cams
Highly-rated customer service
Low motion-sensor range
Extra cost for smoke detectors
With Frontpoint, you can have an advanced security system with motion detectors, window and door sensors, and a tough, smash-proof smart hub to connect the whole system. Frontpoint has several packages to choose from, but you’ll need to pay a little more than $375 to get equipment like smoke and heat sensors included.
Frontpoint has a solid selection of indoor and outdoor cameras. Both of the indoor camera options have two-way communication, so you can speak with the two-legged and four-legged members of your family through the app. You can also get a durable outdoor camera and a doorbell camera to keep an eye on the outside of your home.
Another DIY option that made our list, Link Interactive lets you build your system from the ground up. You start by selecting your monitoring package, each reasonably priced between $30 and $41 per month, and you get a selection of home safety, security, and automation equipment to choose from.
Customize your system and monitoring package
Choose from home safety, security, and automation equipment
Contract required if you don't own equipment
You can improve your smart home capabilities with devices like smart light bulbs or outlets to keep your pets comfy while you’re gone. Or you could improve security with sensors if your guard dog’s asleep on the job.
Overall, Link Interactive is a good match for pet owners. It’s easy to set up, has plenty of monitoring options, and is relatively affordable. We do wish it were a little more flexible with contract options. Unless you already own your equipment, expect to be locked into a three-year contract (or 21 years in dog years).
SimpliSafemay not be best in show, but it is a solid pick for a professionally monitored DIY system. There’s no contract or cancellation fees, so it requires much less commitment (and cleanup) than a puppy. Installation is also easy enough to complete in an hour. Simply plug in the smart hub, place the sensors, and connect them together through the app.
Monitoring starts at $14/mo.
No CO detectors
Pets over 30 pounds can trigger motion detectors
SimpliSafe is a great choice for cat owners because of its DIY setup. You know your cat better than anyone else (and even then, they can be unpredictable). Setting up your own security system lets you adjust for your cat’s climbing, chewing, or sleeping habits. Even small cats can trip a motion sensor if they tend to scale cabinets and bookshelves while you’re gone. Installing your own system can help you avoid false alarms and keep your kitties happy.
Each package comes with a range of safety, emergency, and home automation equipment. We were disappointed to see that CO detectors were missing from the lineup and that the motion sensors have a low weight range—bad news for pets over 30 pounds.
Things to consider before you buy
Traditionally, home security systems have been designed with humans in mind, but what about our furry friends? Home security features like live video feed and motion detectors with adjustable sensitivity can make our homes safer for pets and pet owners alike. There aren’t many differences between security systems for pets and their owners, but with the best systems, you can watch your fur babies remotely and react quickly in an emergency to help them.
A majority of the motion sensors we saw can ignore smaller moving objects up to 40 pounds. This allows small dogs and cats to move about your home freely. If you have a larger dog (around 50 pounds and up), consider a system with glass break sensors instead of motion detectors. These devices are finely tuned to sound when they detect loud sounds like shattering glass, so your pups can still play while your home is protected from invasion.
PIR or passive infrared, technology is commonly used in motion detectors. Instead of sensing movement, it looks for changes in heat in the area it’s surveilling. Learn more about pet-immune motion detectors.
It depends on your motion sensor’s weight range. Most sensors will ignore pets up to 45 pounds, but you can find adjustable models from companies like Vivint and ADT. If your dog is over the weight range, you may want to opt for a glass break sensor and automated locks instead. This will keep your doors locked when you need them and notify you if an intruder breaks any windows or glass on your door.
We like to think that any indoor camera with two-way communication can be a suitable pet camera, but we weren’t able to find any systems that work with treat-dispensing cameras.
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy.