Cox specializes in internet and cable, but now you can add home security to the list. Cox Homelife is a home automation service through Cox Communications that includes devices like LED lightbulbs, smart locks, and door/window sensors. Homelife can be expensive if you aren’t already a Cox customer. But for those who know and love Cox, Homelife is a smart way to save some money on your current utilities while adding an extra layer of security to your home.
Cox Homelife comes with a lot of fine print and hidden costs. In addition to your initial sign-up fee, you can expect an activation fee, an installation fee, and potential cancellation fees, to name a few.
We found four hidden fees in the plan details for the Home Automation with Monitoring package alone (five if you live in Las Vegas). Plus, rates change from state to state and throughout the year, so it’s hard to say for sure what security costs through Cox.
Cox Tech and Equipment
Cox offers garden-variety security and home automation equipment. Packages include standards like an HD camera, door/window sensors, motion detectors, and touch screen control panels. Cox Homelife is more focused on home automation, so you’ll find a range of smart devices available, but safety equipment like smoke alarms or glass break detectors cost extra.
The self-monitored Cox Home Automation package costs $30 per month for equipment and includes an HD video camera, smart LED bulb, and one door/window sensor. It’s nice to have a small amount of equipment if you’re in charge of watching your system, but we’ve found better deals that include professional monitoring from other home security systems.
The Home Automation with Monitoring package costs $54.99 per month for an HD camera, two door/window sensors, and a motion sensor. If you want to drop an extra $200, you can get additional cameras, sensors, and lightbulbs. You’ll have to pick this package if you prefer to have professional monitoring, and it’s the only way to get smoke, CO, glass break, or flood alarms added to your home through Cox.
Cox Smart Home Automation
Cox Homelife’s emphasis is home automation. The suite includes a touch screen control panel, smart thermostat, smart outlet, smart lock, and smart LED lightbulb.
From the Cox Homelife portal or app, you can control all the smart devices in your home. You can even take a tourbefore you buy to see how the system works. From the Cox Homelife portal, you can control your smart home devices, change settings, and set automations based on activity. So you can do things like keep the lights on for your pets when you leave, control the thermostat at night, and record clips from the camera when a sensor picks up movement.
Cox Professional Installation
Like cable, internet, and phone services, Homelife needs to be installed by a Cox professional. We like professional installations because you get the expertise of a trained technician in your home as well as a personalized consultation on what your home needs for security and automation.
Cox estimates that most installations take “about four hours,” but that seems like a generous estimate for a system with such a small starter kit. Timing all depends on how much equipment you purchase and how large your home is. Just be aware that installation fees apply and you may face an activation fee depending on where you live and what plan you purchase.
We found a few accessories from Cox that can be self-installed. If you order an HD camera, smart LED lightbulb, smart lock, or smart plug, you can add them to your system without professional installation. But the initial Homelife installation will have to be done by a professional.
Cox Homelife Customer Service
In our research, we found consistently poor reviews from Cox customers. Homelife earned two stars from Consumer Affairs. We found reports of exaggerated promises, no-show technicians, and equipment confusion. We also found Cox Communications had many complaints about its other services through the Better Business Bureau, though the BBB itself gives Cox an A rating.
If you do need help with your Homelife system, there are plenty of online resources available. Homelife articles, videos, and an extensive FAQ are at your fingertips whenever you have questions about your system. If you need to contact Cox directly, you can chat with a live agent or call one of the three helplines available for Cox customers.
Data effective 02/06/20. Offers and availability subject to change.
Cox has a lot in common with systems like Vivint and ADT that claim spots in our best home security systems, but we still find it lacking in several departments. While all three are professionally monitored and installed brands, you’ll end up paying much more every month with Cox Homelife.
And with devices like doorbell cameras and compatibility with Alexa, Vivint and ADT also have a fuller range of equipment and options. Cox Homelife keeps a lot of equipment info under wraps—we weren’t able to find specs and technical information about the company’s equipment. Overall we found that Cox charges more for less gear than you’d get with our top recommended security systems.
Cox Homelife FAQs
What types of security cameras does Cox Homelife have?
Cox Homelife has only one type of camera, but it is flexible and easy to set up. This HD camera is Wi-Fi enabled and can be set up inside or in a protected area outside like a patio or under an awning.
What is the Cox Homelife portal?
The Homelife portal is the control center for your Cox system. From here, you can set rules, schedules, and automations for your system to follow. You can also monitor video, lock doors with smart locks, turn on smart LED bulbs, and more. Basically, it’s a remote control for your home.
Is Cox Homelife compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Home?
No, Cox Homelife isn’t compatible with Amazon Echo or the Google Home at this time.
Is Cox Homelife available in my state?
Cox is one of the nation’s largest ISPs, but it’s available in only 18 states and Washington D.C.
Cox Homelife is available in these states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Kansas, and Virginia.
While Cox won’t make our list of best home security systems for 2020, Homelife is a nice add-on if you already use this company’s internet, cable, or phone services. But as for home security, you can find other services with more affordable equipment and professional monitoring available in more states than Cox Homelife. Check out our Best Home Security Systems to see our top picks available nationwide.
How We Reviewed Cox Homelife
Cox Homelife isn’t available in our state, so we weren’t able to get the full experience. Instead of testing, we sifted through pages of customer reviews, watched instructional videos, and read all the fine print we could find to get a better idea of what life is like with Cox Homelife. If you’ve used Cox Homelife, please comment below and tell us about your experience with this system. Read our full methodology to learn more about our evaluation process for home security systems and other safety products.
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. Learn more