Regional home services provider Cox Communications specializes in internet and cable, but now you can add home security to the list. Cox Homelife is a home security and automation service that includes devices like smartbulbs, 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.
Starter kit included
Cox Homelife app available with every plan
Thorough professional installation
Poorly rated customer service
Limited third-party smart home options
Cox Homelife pricing
Cox Homelife security comes with some fine print and additional costs like an installation fee of $50–100 (depending on whether or not you bundle Cox home service installations) and potential cancellation fees.
We were pleased to see the company lower its prices and do away with activation fees recently. And you can avoid cancellation fees and the two-year contract if you purchase your equipment outright.
If you don’t have the money on hand to pay for equipment up front, you can roll your equipment and monitoring into one monthly payment. Those with qualifying credit and who sign a two-year agreement can get a starter kit for no additional up-front costs.
Data as of 4/28/2021. 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 up front.
You can choose between a home security plan with professional monitoring and smart home integration or a smart home setup without security monitoring.
We typically recommend professional monitoring because it means 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.
But if you’re not interested in a professionally monitored security system, Cox gives you the option to self-monitor cameras, motion detectors, and door and window sensors with the Homelife Automation plan. You can add smart devices like light bulbs, plugs, or locks to it, but continuous video recording will cost you extra.
Cox tech and equipment
What’s in the box
The Cox Homelife Security starter kit includes
Touchscreen control panel*
HD indoor/outdoor camera
2 door/window sensors
1 motion detector
2 window decals
Cox offers garden-variety security and home automation equipment. The Homelife security starter package includes standards like door/window sensors, motion detector, and touchscreen control panel rental.*
But Cox includes a camera with its base equipment—something most companies reserve for upgraded equipment packages.
Cox sells additional cameras, detectors, life safety equipment like smoke sensors, or smart devices à la carte.
*Starter package included with qualifying credit and a two-year rental agreement.
Touchscreen remains property of Cox and must be returned to Cox upon termination of service to avoid additional charges.
Additional equipment from Cox Homelife
Glass break detector
Garage door contact sensor
Carbon monoxide detector
Smart door lock
Cox Homelife automation
Cox Homelife’s emphasis is home automation. The suite includes a smart thermostat, smart plug, smart lock, and smart LED light bulb.
From the Cox Homelife app, you can control your 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.
What’s in the automation starter kit*
1 HD indoor/outdoor camera
1 door/window sensor
*Included at no additional charge with qualifying credit.
Cox professional installation
Homelife needs to be installed by a professional. We often 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.
But they can add to your costs: installation fees apply and increase if you add more equipment than what’s included in your starter kit. Cox does offer an option to bundle its home services installations for a slight discount.
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.
We found a few accessories from Cox that can be self-installed. 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.
Cox Homelife customer service
In our research, we found consistently poor reviews from Cox customers. Homelife earned just over two stars from Consumer Affairs. We found reports of exaggerated promises, no-show technicians, and equipment confusion.
We also found Cox Communications had around one star and 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.
All three are professionally monitored and installed brands and you get smart home compatibility with each. Cox and Vivint smart home and security are competitively priced, 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 equipment and options.
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.
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.
The Homelife app is the control center for your Cox Homelife Automation and Security systems. 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.
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 at this time.
If you are a Cox Contour TV service customer, you do have the option to control smart devices on your Cox Homelife 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 is one of the nation’s largest ISPs, but Cox Homelife Security is available in only 16 states through Cox-licensed entities.
Cox Homelife is available in these states:
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. 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.
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.