Cox Homelife Security Review

We talked directly to Cox Homelife reps to learn about the latest home security offerings from this cable, phone, and internet provider.
Cox Homelife
Cox Homelife
Cox Homelife
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Monitoring starts at
$40.00
/mo
  • pro
    Professional installation
  • pro
    Starter kit free with credit approval
  • con
    No third-party smart home gear

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

Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
July 25, 2022

Although national home security companies offer larger coverage areas, regional brands like Cox Homelife are ideal for internet customers looking to bundle services into a single monthly bill. Cox Homelife's equipment isn't going to turn any heads, but it's functional and more affordable than other pro-install security companies like Vivint and ADT.

Still, Homelife can be expensive if you aren't already a Cox customer—and its availability in 16 states means there's a good chance you can't take it when you move. Here's how Cox Homelife holds up to the competition.

pro
Pros
pro Starter kit included
pro Cox Homelife app available with every plan
pro Easy-to-understand plans
pro Thorough professional installation
con
Cons
con Poorly rated customer service
con No third-party smart home options

Cox Homelife cost

Plan
Cost
Professional monitoring
Contract length
Cancellation fee
24-hour continuous video recording
Learn more
Icon No  LightNo
Requires Cox
internet plan
N/A Included in plan
Icon Yes  LightYes
2 yearsYes$14.99/mo. to
add to plan

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Month-to-month plan options are available for customers who pay for the starter equipment upfront.

You can choose between a Smart Home + Security plan with professional monitoring and smart home integration or a Smart Home setup without security monitoring.

We typically recommend professional monitoring because there are always eyes on your system. If someone triggers your alarm and you're unavailable to respond, one of Cox Homelife's monitoring center professionals will contact emergency services for you. Cox has five monitoring centers.

But if you're not interested in a professionally monitored security system, Cox gives you the option to self-monitor cameras with the Homelife Smart Home plan. This plan even includes continuous video recording for free—for up to four cameras—something that somehow costs $15 extra per month on the top-tier Smart Home + Security plan.

How Cox Homelife compares

Company
Starting monitoring cost
Starting installation cost
Contract length
Learn more
$1002 years
$49 5 years
Starts at $99

3 years

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

Cox has a lot in common with systems like Vivint and ADT that claim spots in our best home security systems. All three offer professional monitoring and installation, and you get smart home devices with each. Cox and Vivint have comparable pricing, but you'll pay much more for the same through ADT.

With devices like doorbell cameras and compatibility with Alexa, Vivint and ADT also have a fuller range of smart home equipment. Cox Homelife's lack of smart home compatibility ultimately prevents it from competing with Vivint and ADT on equal terms.

Cox Homelife contracts and warranties

Cox Homelife security comes with some fine print and additional costs like an installation fee of $100 (depending on the plan you choose) and unspecified termination fees when you cancel.

This is disappointing because Cox lists specific cancellation fees for its other services but not Homelife. At least you can cancel within 30 days after the installation to get a full refund.

You can avoid cancellation fees and the two-year contract if you purchase your equipment outright. This puts you on the hook for $250+ in equipment costs, so it's not a budget-friendly option.

If you don't have the money to pay for Cox security system equipment up front, you can roll your equipment and monitoring into the monthly payment. Those with qualifying credit who sign a two-year agreement can get a starter kit for no additional up-front costs.

Warranty: Equipment Service Plan

Cox Homelife offers an optional Equipment Service Plan for around $5 a month, which pays for service calls and device replacement after the initial three-month warranty expires. This extended warranty is similar to what you'll find with ADT's Quality Service Plan.

While we think the Equipment Service Plan is a nice upgrade for folks that want extra equipment protection, there's always a chance your equipment will work as intended, so you won't need help after setup. It mostly comes down to your budget and personal preferences.

Cox Homelife equipment and fees

Package
Equipment price
What's included
Learn more
$60HD camera
$250
(Free with
2-year contract)
HD camera,
indoor motion sensor,
entry sensors (2),
window decals (2),
yard sign

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

What’s in the box

  • HD indoor/outdoor camera (1)
  • Door/window sensors (2)
  • Indoor motion sensor (1)
  • Yard sign (1)
  • Window decals (2)
  • Touchscreen control panel (1)

The Cox alarm system offers garden-variety security and home automation equipment. The Homelife Smart Home + Security starter package includes standards like door/window sensors, a motion detector, and a touchscreen control panel rental. The touchscreen remains the property of Cox and must be returned to Cox upon termination of service to avoid additional charges.

Still, we like that the base equipment includes a Cox Homelife camera—something most companies reserve for upgraded equipment packages.

Additional equipment from Cox Homelife

Beyond the starter kit, you can add various devices to your Homelife system to expand its security and smart home capabilities.

  • HD camera: $120
  • Smart door lock: $170
  • Smart LED light bulb: $25
  • Smart plug: $60
  • Smart thermostat: $200
  • Homelife wireless keypad: $100
  • Monitored smoke/heat detector: $125
  • Water/flood sensor: $85
  • Door/window sensor: $60
  • Indoor motion sensor: $100
  • Homelife yard sign: $15
  • Homelife window decals: $3

Except for the HD camera, all of these devices require Homelife's top-tier plan—we couldn't see any of them when we selected the $15 monthly plan in the Cox online portal.

Homelife doesn't appear to offer a glass break sensor, carbon monoxide detector, or garage door contact sensor anymore—all three were available the last time we updated our review. This makes Cox even less viable as a full-featured replacement for home security systems like Frontpoint and SimpliSafe.

Cox Homelife setup and installation

If you buy the Smart Home + Security plan, the Cox Homelife system requires professional installation. We like professional installation because they come with the expertise of a trained technician in your home and personalized consultation on what your home needs for security and automation. The standard install fee starts at $100, about the same as ADT's base installation fee.

But they can add to your costs: installation fees apply and often increase as you add more equipment to your starter kit.

Cox estimates that most installations take "about four hours," but a system with such a small starter kit seems like a generous estimate. Timing depends on how much equipment you purchase and how large your home is.

You can self-install many Cox accessories if you already have a Homelife system, eliminating the need for a technician visit. If you order an HD camera, smart LED light bulb, smart lock, or smart plug, you can add them to your system on your own. For folks with the base plan—Cox Homelife Smart Home—there's no installation fee, and you install the HD camera yourself.

Cox Homelife smart home features and compatibility

It's hard to believe that Cox Homelife's emphasis is home automation because there's not much available beyond a smart thermostat, smart plug, smart lock, and smart LED light bulb.

There's no third-party compatibility with popular smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. This means you can't integrate Cox Homelife into a larger smart home system like most modern home security systems.

Still, at least you have the Cox Homelife app. You use the app to control your Cox smart home devices, change settings, and set automations based on activity. So you can keep the lights on for your pets when you leave, control the smart thermostat at night, or record clips from the camera when a sensor picks up movement.

Cox Homelife customer service and support

We found consistently poor reviews from Cox customers during our research: reports of exaggerated promises, no-show technicians, and equipment confusion. We also found Cox Communications rates around one star and many complaints about its other services through the Better Business Bureau, though the BBB gives Cox an A+ rating.

Cox's online resources collect important Homelife articles, videos, and an extensive FAQ in one place for easy access. You can also contact Cox 24/7 via live chat or call one of the three helplines available for Cox customers—including a dedicated support number for Cox Homelife.

Final word

Cox Homelife is a nice add-on if you already use Cox Communications' internet, cable, or phone services. And it may appeal to you if you're a locally minded shopper in one of its service areas. Still, we recommend looking elsewhere if you want smart home compatibility.

Not ready to decide? Check out our best home security system comparison to see our top picks nationwide.

Cox Homelife FAQ

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 works inside or outside on a patio or under an awning.

The Homelife app is the control center for your Cox Homelife Automation and Security systems. 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—it's a remote control for your home.

Security customers can also control devices from the touchscreen control panel. You'll need to set rules and automations in the app, though.

No, Cox Homelife isn't compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

If you are a Cox Contour TV service customer, you can control Cox Homelife smart devices on your system through the voice remote. Currently, voice control is available for smart lights, plugs, locks, and thermostats. Cox representatives told us that more integrations are on the way.

Cox Homelife doesn't sell a doorbell camera at this time, but you can install an HD security camera near your door to record visitors and watch for deliveries.

Cox is one of the nation's largest ISPs, but Cox Homelife Security is available in only 16 states through Cox-licensed entities:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

Cox outperforms ADT in terms of pricing and contract length, but ADT's equipment and monitoring services make it a better security company overall. Still, we think Cox is an excellent alternative to ADT if you live in an area where it's available.

Cox Homelife's base plan, Smart Home, requires a Cox internet subscription. The top-tier plan, Smart Home + Security, is a stand-alone plan that doesn't require any other Cox services.

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 to understand better what life is like with the Cox home security system. But we didn't stop there. We also talked to the company to get the details on the latest plans and product offerings.

Read our full methodology to learn more about our evaluation process for home security systems and other safety products.

Contributing writers: John Carlsen, Celeste Tholen

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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