Alder Home Security Review 2020

Alder has solid equipment, but it’s complicated to buy. And it has some extra fees.
Alder logo
Overall Rating 1.75 out of 5
Flexible billing date
Life safety sensors
Complicated purchasing

Alder is sort of like the newer, trendy home security systems like SimpliSafe. But it’s also sort of like the old, traditional security systems like ADT. Alder has that sweet DIY installation, but you still have to sign a contract and pay an activation fee—both of which feel like relics these days. Plus, you have to call in to buy it.

On the whole, we think there are simpler DIY security systems out there. But if you want a do-it-yourself system with a touchscreen panel and easy mobile control, Alder might be a decent choice for you.

Alder plans and pricing overview
CompanyMonitoring price rangeContractHome automation integrationsLearn more
Alder$39.99–$54.99/mo.36-60 mos.Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans

Data effective 02/27/2020. Offers subject to change.

Alder pricing, contracts, and fees

Alder is a bit pricey for what you get, and it comes with some unexpected fees.

Alder’s pricing isn’t super clear. Unlike companies like SimpliSafe, Nest Secure, and Ring Alarm that list all their prices online so you know what you’re paying up front, Alder doesn’t advertise its prices at all. If you want to know what you’d pay, you’re gonna have to pick up the phone.

Alder monitoring plans and prices
PlanPriceActivation feeLearn more
Lowest price$39.99/mo.$49View Plans
Average price$44.99/mo.$99View Plans
High price$54.99/mo.$149View Plans

Data effective 02/27/2020. Offers subject to change.

We do know from speaking to some Alder reps that monitoring prices start at $39.99 per month and can go at least as high as $54.99 per month.

Alder wraps up its equipment charges with its monitoring pricing, which is nice if you don’t have the cash to pay for all your devices at once. But that method can actually cost you more money over the long run.

For comparison, if you bought a starter kit from SimpliSafe, it would cost you $229 plus a base monthly monitoring cost of $14.99. Let’s say you throw in a $99 indoor camera too. Altogether, you’d pay around $507.88 in your first year with SimpliSafe (not counting taxes, etc.).

That’s still cheaper than what Alder would charge you in the same amount of time for starter equipment and monitoring. With Alder’s $39.99 monthly monitoring cost plus its activation fee of $49, you’d pay $528.88 over the course of that first year.

Alder vs. SimpliSafe price comparison*
CompanyAlderSimpliSafe
Base monitoring cost$39.99/mo.$14.99/mo.
Starter equipment packageIncluded in monitoring cost$229
Single indoor camera costIncluded in basic equipment package$99
Activation fee$49None
Contract length36–60 mos. No contract
Total cost after 12 months$528.88$507.88
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

Data effective 02/27/2020. Offers subject to change.
* This is only an estimate, not an accurate reflection of what your individual costs would be. 

Keep in mind: that’s just the cost for the first 12 months, and it includes the price of SimpliSafe’s starter equipment. After that first year, you don’t have to buy equipment again, so your costs over the course of year would go down to about $179.88 for SimpliSafe.

Alder, on the other hand, requires a contract that locks in that rate, which means you’ll be paying that exact same amount every year for three to five years.

We’re sorry for making you read math, but suffice it to say, a contract-free security system is gonna cost you a lot less over time.

Flexible billing date

One Alder feature we do really like is that it has flexible billing dates. Your agent will work with you to choose a billing date that works with your budget. You can adjust it to be for a time of month when you get paid or for when you tend to have fewer bills due at once.

Alder also prorates your first month of service, so you don’t have to pay the full cost for a system you only had for part of the month.

Contracts

Alder requires a three- or five-year contract. It does not offer a contract-free option. And because Alder combines your equipment costs with your monitoring costs, your costs don’t go down to just monitoring costs after you pay off your equipment, like they would with a company like Vivint or Link Interactive.

Alder contract details
CompanyContract lengthCancellation feeLearn more
Alder36–60 mos.90% of remaining contractView Plans

Data effective 02/27/2020. Offers subject to change.

Your Alder contract will automatically renew at the end of its term. If you want to cancel it, you have to let the company know in writing at least 15 days before your contract ends. You can’t cancel it online or even by calling in. Break out the stamps; you’re gonna be mailing in that letter.

Light Bulb icon
FYI
There are security companies like Vivint that offer contract options if you want to finance your equipment, but once it’s paid off, you’re free and clear of your agreement and can pay your monitoring costs on a month-to-month basis.

Fees

Most DIY security companies we’ve seen don’t charge activation fees, but Alder does. You’ll pay anywhere from $49 to $149 in activation fees with Alder.

We think that’s a little absurd considering Vivint’s fee for professional installation is only $99. You could have a professional set up all your equipment for you for less than you’d pay for activating your Alder system (depending on your specific fee).

The only other fee we’re aware of is Alder’s cancellation fee for if you opt out of your contract early. In that case, you’ll be on the hook for 90% of your remaining contract.

Money icon
Heads up
Alder does have a 30-day money-back offer. If you get your system and don’t like it, you can return it within 30 days (from the day you ordered it) without having to pay that hefty cancellation fee.

Alder equipment

We really like Alder’s basic security equipment. It’s simple to use and easy to install.

Equipment is where Alder really shines. They keep it pretty simple—they don’t have a bunch of fancy smart home bells and whistles. But you do get a seven-inch touchscreen control panel and standard sensors like door sensors, window sensors, motion detectors, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide sensors.

Alder touchscreen control panel

Source: Alder

Alder equipment is easy to set up (it only takes about 20 minutes). There are also a bunch of tutorials and support videos on Alder’s YouTube channel so you can figure out how to set something up yourself without having to get on the phone.

Available Alder security sensors and equipment:

  • Touchscreen control panel
  • Smoke detector
  • Carbon monoxide sensor
  • Medical alert button
  • Door sensors
  • Window sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • Key fob
  • Flood and freeze sensor
  • Glass break sensor
  • Indoor camera
  • Outdoor camera

Keep in mind that the more equipment you add on to your system, the higher your monitoring price will be.

Alder cameras

Alder uses third-party cameras, namely the Yi Indoor Camera and the Yi Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera. You can also get an “Arlo Doorbell System” through Alder, which is the Arlo audio-only doorbell plus an Arlo Pro camera.

Arlo does offer an all-in-one doorbell camera these days, but it doesn’t look like you can get the Arlo Video Doorbell through Alder yet.

Yi Indoor Camera

Source: YI

Both the Yi Indoor Camera and Yi Kami Outdoor Camera that Alder offers give you features like 1080p HD recording, two-way audio, motion detection, and night vision.

The Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera is especially nice because you don’t have to plug it in, which makes it easy to put anywhere outside your house or in your yard.

Alder camera specs
ModelYi Indoor CameraYi Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera
Indoor/outdoorIndoorOutdoor
Resolution1080p1080p
Field of view112º140º
Two-way audioYesYes
Night visionYesYes
Person detectionNoYes
Crying baby detectionYesNo
Motion detectionYesYes
StorageCloud storage and local storageCloud storage
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

Data effective 02/27/2020. Offers subject to change.

The Yi Indoor Camera isn’t our top pick for an indoor security camera. But the Kami Wire-Free Camera has some pretty impressive features for an affordable outdoor security camera.

Alder home automation and mobile control

Alder doesn’t really support home automation, but it does work with Alexa and Google.

Alder doesn’t have many smart home features. Or any at all, really. It doesn’t work with Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Thread. It doesn’t integrate with popular smart home devices, like Philips Hue lights or Schlage smart door locks.

Luckily, Alder does integrate with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. So you can control the system with your voice through your favorite smart speaker. (As long as your favorite smart speaker is one of those two options.)

Mobile app

Alder does have a mobile app, and you get access to the app and mobile control with every plan. That’s great, considering some security companies make you pay for a certain plan to get mobile app access.

That said, the Alder app does not get great reviews on either the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. It gets a whopping 2.9 stars in the App Store1 and about the same rating on Google Play.2

Alder customer experience

Alder doesn’t have a great reputation for customer support, but it’s improving.

Alder’s had some struggles with customer support, especially with its door-to-door sales reps.3 It’s made some improvements in the past few years, including introducing a “Verify Rep” feature on its website that lets you make sure the salesperson standing on your doorstep really does work for Alder.

Alder’s Trustpilot score is pretty mid-range at 3.5 stars,4 and its Better Business Bureau grade could use a little love.5 On the whole, we’d say Alder’s customer support is a work in progress, but it’s better than it’s been before.

Recap: Is Alder good?

Alder has compelling equipment, but on the whole, it’s not our favorite DIY security system.

Aside from its equipment, Alder’s not our top pick. It’s a bit pricey for what you get. Plus, it has a confusing buying process, and a spotty customer service record. We think there are better DIY security systems out there, especially if you’d prefer one without a contract.

That said, if all you want is a basic security system that will help you protect your house (including protection against things like floods and fires), then Alder’s equipment is a solid choice. We love the touchscreen panel, the easy installation, and all the tutorials Alder has on YouTube.

Pricing: Alder’s pricing is confusing and hidden. You have to call in to even get an idea of what you can expect to pay, and you’re locked in for the same rate for the length of your contract. (You can’t pay off your equipment and lower your bills.)

Equipment: Alder’s equipment is easy to operate and simple to set up. If you just need basic security sensors and some decent indoor and outdoor cameras, Alder has what you need.

Home automation: Alder doesn’t have many smart home features, but it does work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Aside from that, don’t expect Alder to take your house to a Jetsons-level future.

Customer experience: Alder has a mixed record with customer service, especially with its door-to-door salespeople. It’s gotten better in recent years, though, and things seem to be on an upswing.

Not sure if Alder is right for you?

If you’re not so sure about Alder, check out some of these other reviews for home security systems:

Sources

  1. Apple App Store, “Alder Security
  2. Google Play, “Alder Security
  3. Better Business Bureau, “BBB Advises Consumers to Be Cautious When Dealing with Door-to-Door Security Company Salespeople
  4. Trustpilot, “Alder
  5. Better Business Bureau, “Alder