Scout Home Security System Review

Our tests show that Scout Alarm's self-monitoring features are hard to beat.
Self-monitoring pick
Scout
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
  • Cellular backup

  • Phone and text alerts

  • Plans start at $9.99/mo.
John Carlsen
Staff Writer, Security & Smart Home
Read More
Published on June 22, 2021

Scout Alarm is arguably the best security system for folks who prefer self-monitoring. This is thanks to a cellular backup that works without requiring a professional monitoring plan, which would be otherwise exclusive to pro monitoring on other systems. Still, there's a $10 monthly fee to maintain the cellular connection. The system doesn't work without a subscription—unlike other self-monitored systems.

Although Scout offers professional monitoring for $20 a month, it's hardly the steal it was a few years ago—before the advent of the $5 and $10 monthly fees from Wyze and Ring, respectively. Overall, we think Scout is a great security system with appealing self-monitoring features.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cellular backup
Pro Bullet Phone and text alerts
Pro Bullet Excellent smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet No contract
Pro Bullet 3-year warranty
Pro Bullet Affordable, attractive equipment
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Requires monthly fee
Con Bullet No free mobile app
Con Bullet Requires Ethernet internet connection
Con Bullet Almost no reputation online

Scout cost

Each Scout security plan comes with some great perks:

  • No contract or cancellation fees
  • 4G LTE cellular backup
  • Scout mobile app access with push notifications
  • SMS and phone call alerts that work on any phone
  • Email notifications
Light Bulb
Annual payment discounts

Scout Alarm offers a 10% discount if you pay for your monitoring plan annually rather than monthly.

Compare Scout monthly costs

Plan
Monthly cost
Annual cost
Cellular backup
Monitoring type
Learn more
Always On
Icon Yes  LightYes
Self
Always On+
Icon Yes  LightYes
Self

Info current as of 06/22/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Is Scout right for you?

Scout is great for no-contract self-monitoring and easy DIY installation. We also like that its professional monitoring costs less than the industry average of $32 a month. Here are some good reasons to choose Scout over other security systems:

  • Cellular backup: Scout's cellular backup is unique compared to other security systems because it doesn't require a professional monitoring plan. This means you have a reliable way to access your system through the Scout app without delegating your security to a monitoring center. (There's also a battery backup to keep your system running for up to 12 hours.)
  • Text and phone call alerts: While Scout sends push notifications on a smartphone, its text message and phone call alerts make it an excellent option for people that don't use smartphones. Text and call alerts also give you a backup in case you don't notice a push notification.
  • Simple arming and disarming: Scout relies solely on key fobs, RFID chips, and mobile access for arming and disarming, so there are no keypad access codes to remember. (Scout also sells a keypad for folks looking to grant temporary access to guests.)
  • Equipment: Scout designs attractive equipment that covers most security needs. The system is compatible with many smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, and Zigbee.
  • Expansion and portability: This is a great system for people planning to move from a smaller home to a larger one since it’s easy to take with you and add on additional sensors as needed.
Notepad
Cellular-only option

If you have spotty internet coverage or simply don’t want to run your security system off your internet, Scout offers a cellular-only option for an additional $15 monthly fee.

How Scout stacks up against self-monitoring competitors

Brand
Equipment kits
Mobile access fee
Cellular backup
Learn more
Top pick
ScoutScout
$9.99/mo.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Budget pick
Wyze Home Monitoring logoWyze
$0.00/mo.
Icon No  LightNo
Smart home pick
AbodeAbode
$0.00/mo. †
Icon Yes  LightWith pro monitoring
Camera pick
RingRing
$0.00/mo.
Icon Yes  LightWith pro monitoring
Simplicity pick
Kangaroo security system logoKangaroo
$0.00/mo.
Icon No  LightNo

Amazon.com list price as of 06/22/2021 at 11:55 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
†Requires paid plan to get notifications and use smart home automation.

Scout contract and warranty

Scout doesn't require you to sign a contract, but keep in mind that you have to sign up for a monthly or yearly plan to use your system at all (including self-monitoring with the mobile app). Although there's no cancellation fee, you have only 60 days to return your Scout equipment (only if you buy from Scout's website) for a full refund. The company may prorate or deny your refund if the equipment isn't in good condition.

All Scout home security equipment comes with a generous three-year warranty, which is better than the one-year coverage offered by most DIY security systems. Only SimpliSafe and Ring's warranties (as long as you pay for Ring Protect Plus monitoring) can match it.

Scout equipment and fees

There are two ways to purchase equipment for your Scout security system: build a system or buy Scout Packs. (We see your wolf logo, Scout, and raise you an owl.) We recommend starting with a Scout Pack and customizing from there—Scout Packs cost 6–10% less than buying the same equipment separately.

Compare Scout packages

Package
Package price
Door Panel, hub, and yard sign
Motion sensor
Access sensor
Key fob
Other equipment
Learn more
Scout Small PackScout Small Pack
Included122No
Scout Large PackScout Large Pack
Included252No
Scout Elements PackScout Elements Pack
Included142Smoke alarm,
water sensor
Scout Small PackScout Architect Pack
Included142Smart lock,
glass break sensor

Info current as of 06/22/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Checklist
Equipment financing with Affirm

Dropping a pile of money on a security system can hit your budget hard. So Scout allows you to purchase your system with Affirm financing to spread out the costs over 3, 6, or 12 months. You may need credit approval to use Affirm—it also charges interest if you don't make your payments on time.

Building your Scout system from scratch

If you choose to skip the Scout Packs (or want more devices for an existing Scout system), you can buy every piece of equipment separately in Scout's online shop. We really appreciate Scout's pricing transparency and how easy it is to buy equipment without a quote over the phone.

Overall, Scout's equipment costs about $51 per device on average—barely beating Abode, SimpliSafe, and Frontpoint. Only Wyze and Kangaroo offer lower equipment prices, but neither has the equipment selection of Scout.

The last time we reviewed Scout, it sold only the devices you can find in the Scout Small Pack. At the time, we lamented over the lack of security cameras and smoke monitoring options. It seems Scout was paying attention since the brand now offers a surprisingly huge selection of equipment:

Scout equipment
Price
Scout Hub
$120.00
Door Panel
$50.00
Access Sensor
$20.00
Motion Sensor
$30.00
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
$47.00
Scout Indoor Camera
$99.00
Scout Video Doorbell
$99.00
Keypad
$50.00
Door Lock
$249.00
Scout equipment
Price
Water Sensor
$30.00
Glass Break Sensor
$50.00
Panic Button
$20.00
Remote Control
$20.00
Siren and Zigbee Repeater
$30.00
Key Fob
$4.99
RFID Sticker
$2.49
Yard Sign
$4.99
Window Sticker
$0.99

Info current as of 06/17/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

What’s in the box

The Scout Small Pack includes the following equipment:

white scout hub

Scout Hub

The Scout Hub acts as the base station to communicate with your system’s sensors and your smartphone. It connects to your home router via an Ethernet cable (no Wi-Fi connection) and hosts the cellular backup. If the power goes out, your Scout Hub can last up to 12 hours on an internal backup battery.

white and black scout door panel

Door Panel

Scout’s Door Panel is essentially a door sensor, but it also acts as a siren and a keyless way to disarm your system. You can use a key fob to arm and disarm your system whenever you go in and out of a door with a Door Panel. It's larger than a typical door sensor (4.3 by 3.5 inches).

white motion sensor with glass globe in middle

Motion Sensor

This infrared motion sensor works day and night—it sends an alert upon spotting movement up to 25 feet away.

white access sensor with black edges

Access Sensor (2)

You can place the Access Sensor on any door or window to receive an alert when it opens.

Key Fob (2)

Tap your Scout key fob on the Door Panel to quickly arm and disarm the system without entering a code.

Notepad
Where are the window sensors?

Scout Alarm's Access Sensors serve the same purpose as any other brand's door and window sensors (also called entry sensors or contact sensors).

Equipment highlights

Attractive equipment

Scout Alarm hit the market after a successful crowdfunding campaign that focused on updating the bland appearance of security systems. It puts as much thought into how good its devices look in your home as it does into improving your security—honestly, we love the distinctive designs. You can even buy the system in two colors: Arctic and Midnight—to better match the aesthetic vision you have for your home.

RFID stickers

Scout's RFID stickers (about $2.50) use the same technology as the key fobs. This means you can tap them on the Door Panel to arm and disarm your system—for half the price. You should consider buying a few to hide in a book or on a decoration near your front door so the pet sitter can enter when you're on vacation.

Keypad

As much as we like the simplicity of the Door Panel, we're glad that Scout now sells a keypad too. The keypad (about $50) offers more flexibility with who can disarm your system since it allows you to create custom codes that work on a schedule. It's also cheaper and more secure than buying key fobs for every guest.

Scout Indoor Camera

The Scout Indoor Camera (about $99) is a fairly standard security camera compared to the likes of Ring and Wyze. But it's a nice addition for Scout users that want everything in one app—though it lacks two-way audio to talk with people near the camera.

You can even get cloud storage for a reasonable $3 monthly fee per camera (the Always On+ professional monitoring plan includes free storage for one camera). Scout's cameras don't work with the cellular backup, but the company may add an option for this later.

Scout Video Doorbell

The Scout Video Doorbell (about $99) has two noteworthy features: interchangeable faceplates and support for both mechanical and digital doorbell chimes. While other doorbell cameras come with interchangeable faceplates, these are usually pricier models like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro (about $250). This makes Scout's three interchangeable faceplates one of the more affordable options on the market for customizing your doorbell's appearance.

When you buy a Scout doorbell, you can choose whether it works with analog (mechanical chimes) or digital doorbells (audio recordings played on a speaker). This is a nice touch of flexibility since neither type of doorbell uses the same wiring setup.

Scout setup and installation

The installation process for Scout isn't much different than other DIY security systems. You start by activating your monitoring plan and connecting your hub to your internet router using an Ethernet cable. From there, you can pair all of your sensors with the hub before installing them where you need them.

Most Scout equipment uses tool-free adhesive strips for mounting—installation takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish on an average-sized system. Only the smart door lock, video doorbell, indoor security camera, and smoke detector require additional steps, hardware, and tools to install. But even these are relatively quick DIY affairs.

Checklist
Guided installation

Scout offers free appointments for guided installation over the phone if you want help setting up your system.

Scout smart home features and compatibility

Scout has a good handle on smart home compatibility since it works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Z-Wave, and Zigbee. This is very competitive with other DIY home security systems, though Abode is a much stronger option for home automation routines and folks wanting Apple HomeKit support. As useful as Scout's compatibility is, it's a shadow of its former self due to Scout discontinuing support for Nest products in 2019.

Light Bulb
Philips Hue and LIFX

Scout also works with two smart lighting brands: Philips Hue and LIFX. These integrations don't seem to give you full control over the smartbulbs from the Scout app, but we like that you can make the light flash red when your siren goes off to help scare away an intruder.

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

There's a huge list of Amazon Alexa voice commands for Scout. We like that you can easily arm and disarm with Alexa. While disarming a security system by voice is sometimes a liability, Scout requires a spoken code whenever you ask Alexa to disarm. This adds an extra layer of security that keeps someone from disarming Scout through an open window.

Beyond setting the system's arming mode, you can also check the system status and find out about the last thing your system detected. You can also use Alexa to trigger a panic alert to call for help during an emergency.

Scout can't do as much with Google Assistant as with Alexa. Still, it's competent enough to arm, disarm, and check on Scout's system status. There aren't any options to learn about recent system events or call for help.

IFTTT

IFTTT is an online service that makes smart devices from different manufacturers work together—it brings a lot of additional functionality to Scout Alarm. With Scout on IFTTT, you can trigger an action or respond to a trigger from another device or service.

A good example is using Scout to adjust your Nest Thermostat to save energy when you arm your system before heading out for the day. Without IFTTT, the two brands couldn't directly communicate to perform this task.

There's a catch with IFTTT—it requires a subscription if you want to create more than three of your own automation routines (IFTTT calls them Applets). While you can use an unlimited number of Applets from other people for free, there's no guarantee that you'll find exactly the thing you're looking for.

Z-Wave and Zigbee

Scout works with Z-Wave and Zigbee, but the compatibility gets super specific.

Although Z-Wave and Zigbee are different smart platforms, they accomplish similar goals through mesh networking and low-power radio frequencies that achieve better battery life than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This makes Z-Wave and Zigbee ideal for smart home sensors and devices that don't require a constant connection to your Scout Hub.

Scout uses Zigbee for its sensors, but the system doesn't work with third-party Zigbee devices based on the Scout knowledge base's information. On the other hand, Z-Wave allows Scout to work with various devices—specifically the First Alert smoke and CO detectors, Yale smart locks, and Kwikset smart locks.

Customer service

Scout's biggest customer service downfall is that it doesn't have enough customers to establish itself positively or negatively in the marketplace. This is despite being on the market, in one form or another, since 2013—longer than DIY home security systems from Abode (2014), Cove (2018), Ring (2018), and Wyze (2019).

To help us rate customer service, we usually factor in grades and reviews from the Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, Google Play, and the Apple App Store—Scout has a minimal presence on these. The lack of Scout security reviews won't help it become popular anytime soon. It’s possible (and disappointing) that users might not feel strongly enough to post a review.

Most Scout Alarm app users are happy with the app, but Android users rate it higher than Apple users. Struggling to get the mobile app to connect to the security system again after an update is a main complaint.

Despite the lack of reputation, we found Scout's website easy to navigate with transparent pricing on every device. Its knowledge base and mobile app offer plenty of helpful articles and tutorials to help you with system setup and troubleshooting. Plus, the products are easy to understand without an engineering degree.

Bell
Optional equipment quote

Although Scout doesn't require a phone quote to buy equipment, we like that you can schedule a call to get help choosing equipment if you don't know where to start.

Final word

Scout is an attractive security system that can cover your home security needs, especially if you prefer to self-monitor your system. It can fill every niche you need in a security system with its cellular backup, growing equipment selection, robust smart home compatibility, and optional professional monitoring.

But if you want a self-monitored security system without paying a monthly fee, Scout isn't the right choice since there's no way to use the system and mobile app without a subscription. If you don't want to pay a monthly fee for self-monitoring for your security system, consider choosing Wyze Home Monitoring instead.

The few reviews of its mobile app also tell a story of intermittent bugs, especially after a software update. Still, we think Scout is a worthwhile investment for folks that want self-monitoring with a cellular backup and alerts that don't require a smartphone. Check our rundown of the best self-monitored security systems to see how Scout compares to its rivals.

How we reviewed

We took a two-pronged approach to our Scout security review: testing and research. We tested the system a few years back and have a good idea of how well it works. Even we would've struggled to make a recommendation had we not already tested Scout due to its lack of online reputation.

But years-old testing isn't enough when there are so many new Scout devices to talk about. So we studied Scout’s website and compared the company's equipment, pricing, and options with similar DIY security providers. We spoke to experienced security experts and contacted Scout Alarm customer service with additional questions. Check out our methodology to learn more about our evaluation process.

Scout Alarm FAQ

Scout is a great option for self-monitoring because it has cellular and battery backups to keep your system online if the internet and power go out. It also sends text and call alerts to any phone (not just smartphones) when something triggers an alarm. These added features come at a price—a $10 monthly subscription fee. Most other self-monitoring options don't require a monthly fee.

Most definitely yes. The Scout Hub is essential to controlling every device in your Scout Alarm system. It also handles cellular communications on both the self- and pro monitoring plans.

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Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Nest Mini, Google Home and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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