Best Home Security Systems

When it comes to home security, SimpliSafe, Vivint, and ADT are our top three picks for value, equipment, and reputation.

Best value
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • bullet
    Price: Professional monitoring starting at $19.99/mo.
  • pro
    Easy setup
  • pro
    Customizable equipment packages
  • con
    Minimal home automation
Best equipment
Vivint
Vivint
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • bullet
    Price: Professional monitoring starting at $29.99/mo.
  • pro
    Smart home focus
  • pro
    Innovative cameras
  • con
    Expensive
Most popular
ADT
ADT
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
  • bullet
    Price: Professional monitoring starting at $28.99/mo.
  • pro
    Long-standing reputation
  • pro
    Extensive customer base
  • con
    Not very innovative
Best for basics
Cove
Cove
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • bullet
    Price: Professional monitoring starting at $17.99/mo.
  • pro
    Easy setup
  • pro
    Touch screen base station
  • con
    Bare bones equipment selection
Best budget buy
Ring
Ring Alarm
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • bullet
    Price: Professional monitoring starting at $20.00/mo.
  • pro
    Extremely affordable
  • pro
    App access with every plan
  • con
    Controversial
Brianne Sandorf
Feb 01, 2024
bullet7 min read

We may earn money when you click our links.

Picking a home security system can be intimidating, but the heavy lifting’s already taken care of for you. We’ve researched, tested, and studied 21 systems to pick our top five based on price, equipment, cameras, home automation, and customer service.

We think super-easy and affordable SimpliSafe is the best value right now. But we also like Vivint’s über smart system, which has the most advanced and innovative equipment on the market. And we can’t exclude the ever-popular ADT, whose years of experience makes it a go-to for so many.

Keep reading to find out more about what we chose and why.

How we chose our top security systems

When looking at security systems, we look at:

  • Price
  • Equipment
  • Cameras
  • Home automation
  • Customer service

We weigh these different factors to determine our star ratings.

Also, while we might get money if you click on some of our links, we research and write our reviews independently. These home security providers aren’t looking over our shoulders, dictating what we write about them.

For a more detailed description of how we choose our systems and why you should trust us, visit our Methodology section.

Best home security systems
Provider
Monitoring price
Self-monitoring option
Installation
Details
SimpliSafe$9.99–$19.99/mo.
bulletYes
DIY
Vivint$29.99–$44.99/mo.
bulletNo
Professional
ADT$28.99–$59.99/mo.
bulletNo
Professional
Cove$17.99–$27.99/mo.
bulletNo
DIY
Ring$3.99–$20.00/mo.
bulletYes
DIY

Data effective 01/17/2023. Offers subject to change.

SimpliSafe: Best value

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
bullet Easy setup
bullet Customizable equipment packages
Professional monitoring starting at
$19.99
/mo

SimpliSafe is our Best Value pick for obvious reasons. It’s nearly effortless to set up and use, it doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg, and you can pick out your own security package without the hassle of a consultation.

Customers we talked to found SimpliSafe to be the, well, simplest way to go for home security. “There weren't any pushy salespeople to deal with. We just shopped online and installed everything ourselves,” says SimpliSafe user Ben Currey, a family man in Murray, Utah. A few years ago, he moved into a new neighborhood that was only partly finished, and a rash of robberies and other crimes accompanied the construction period. Ben and his neighbors all scrambled to protect their homes and families by signing up for home security. SimpliSafe’s straightforward options made it a good match for several families in the neighborhood, including the Curreys.

SimpliSafe also makes its own equipment, unlike the traditional ADT system. Plus, it has awesome commercials—remember Robbert the robber?

But while we love lots of things about SimpliSafe, the automation side of the hardware could use an update. SimpliSafe equipment doesn’t work with most smart home brands, leaving your security system as an island unto itself.

“A downside is that [SimpliSafe] is not the most high-tech system out there—not cutting edge in design or looks,” says Currey. But if you don’t need the most advanced system, you’re bound to be pleased with SimpliSafe.

SimpliSafe monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Monitoring type
Mobile app control
Camera recordings
Details
Self-Monitoring w/Camera Recordings$9.99/mo.Self
bulletYes
bulletYes
Standard Monitoring$19.99/mo.Professional
bulletNo
bulletNo
Fast Protect™$29.99/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletYes

Data effective 01/17/2023. Offers subject to change.

Vivint: Best equipment

4 out of 5 stars
4
bullet Smart home focus
bullet Innovative cameras
Professional monitoring starting at
$29.99
/mo

Industry staple Vivint has the best equipment and smart home connectivity, especially when it comes to super-smart cameras.

Vivint offers all kinds of homegrown security and safety gadgets to supplement your system, including a car tracker. Its app allows you to link multiple smart home products together, and its doorbell and outdoor cameras include a unique feature called Deter that makes loud noises to scare off loiterers and intruders.

With a Vivint security system and cameras, “I can trust to have a babysitter, family, or friends around knowing my kids are safe,” says Tiffany Greene. Greene lives in Herriman, Utah, with her husband plus three kids and one on the way, and she considers Vivint a lifesaver. “Honestly, I don’t think I could have been a working mom the last 12 years without my system,” she says. “I would have been far too nervous to leave my kids with anyone.”

The biggest drawbacks to Vivint are its equipment and monitoring costs and its inability to reform its salespeople. Since its inception, Vivint’s come under fire for its rogue sales agents. If you’re going to sign up, we suggest you reach out to Vivint instead of waiting for its reps to reach out to you. You get a better deal that way.

Vivint monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Monitoring type
Mobile app control
Camera recordings
Details
Smart Security$29.99/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletNo
Smart Home$39.99/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletNo
Smart Home Video$44.99/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletYes

Data effective 01/17/2023. Offers subject to change.

ADT: Most popular

ADT
ADT
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
bullet Long-standing reputation
bullet Extensive customer base
Professional monitoring starting at
$28.99
/mo

The ADT security system has been around since 1874(!), and the system is so longstanding and widespread that it’s worth mentioning just for its reputation. ADT is so well-known that its blue hexagon alone may make a criminal think twice.

“I’ve had only good experiences with ADT. Something they bring to the table is years of experience,” says Ben Michael, an Austin defense attorney who also happens to be an ADT customer.

“SimpliSafe, for example, is a new player on the scene,” Michael says. “ADT has been around a lot longer, and this means that their service and installation teams are generally top-notch. They've seen it all before, they know what doesn't work, and they know when it's definitely time to dispatch emergency services to your residence.”

Unlike SimpliSafe and Vivint, ADT isn’t big on innovation. Instead of putting its own spin on its extremely traditional system, ADT installs standard equipment purchased from third-party manufacturers. Its apparent response to a changing security market is to add a separate DIY system, ADT Self-Setup, instead of adding value to its flagship product.

ADT also requires a contract, something that’s nonexistent or optional for most of the industry. But despite the drawbacks, ADT is still a known factor that’s a solid option for most people.

ADT monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Monitoring type
Mobile app control
Camera recordings
Details
Basic$28.99/mo.Professional
bulletNo
bulletNo
Secure$45.99/mo.Professional
bulletNo
bulletNo
Smart$49.99/mo.Professional
bulletNo
bulletNo
Video$56.99/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletYes
Complete$59.99/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletYes

Data effective 01/17/2023. Offers subject to change.

Cove: Best for basics

4 out of 5 stars
4
bullet Easy setup
bullet Touch screen base station
Professional monitoring starting at
$17.99
/mo

Cove is a great fit if you want a slimmed-down security system without any fancy doodads.

Cove offers essential home security equipment at a reasonable price, and its monitoring won’t break the bank either. Its main standout feature is a home security base with a touch screen—something you don’t usually see in a DIY system. And while the system has little smart home functionality, it sells all the security sensors you need, including smoke and CO detectors.

The main drawback with Cove is that it won't suit many household's needs. Anyone looking for more than the basics should look elsewhere. There’s also no self-monitoring, which is unusual for a DIY system. Still, lots of people love Cove, and you might, too, if you give it a try.

Cove monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Monitoring type
Mobile app control
Camera recordings
Details
Cove Basic$17.99/mo.Professional
bulletNo
bulletNo
Cove Plus$27.99/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletYes

Data effective 01/17/2023. Offers subject to change.

Ring Alarm: Best budget pick

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
bullet Extremely affordable
bullet App access with every plan
Professional monitoring starting at
$20.00
/mo

If you want a security system on a shoestring budget, consider Ring Alarm. This Amazon-owned DIY system has some of the most affordable equipment and monitoring on the market. It also gives you app access with everyone of its lower-priced monitoring plans, so you don’t have to pay more just for that.

Ring also has a vast array of cameras, a legacy from the days when it was a camera-only system. It offers doorbell, outdoor, indoor, and spotlight cameras, to name a few. And it also sells other handy smart home items, like a mailbox sensor or a lighting system for your sidewalk.

Just keep in mind that Ring has had a few bumps over the years. There have been several privacy incidents with its cameras. The brand is also known to partner with local police departments, a decision that could be more popular. You can read more in Here's What You Should Know about Ring Cameras' Security and Privacy Issues.

Despite the issues, we can’t ignore Ring because it’s such a good deal, especially if money is tight.

Ring Alarm monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Monitoring type
Mobile app control
Camera recordings
Details
Basic$3.99/mo.Self
bulletYes
bulletYes
Plus$10.00/mo.Self
bulletYes
bulletYes
Pro$20.00/mo.Professional
bulletYes
bulletYes

Data effective 01/17/2023. Offers subject to change.

Recap: Best home security system for homes and apartments

  • SimpliSafe is easy to set up and use. It’s not great if you like an automated home, but it gives you everything you need at a nice price.
  • Vivint is a super smart system. Though its equipment runs quite pricey, and its monitoring isn’t cheap, you’re definitely getting what you pay for.
  • ADT is the oldest home security company and has a strong brand and reputation. Though it could use a price drop and equipment refresh, it’s still going strong after 150 years.
  • Cove is a solid starter system, though you want something else if you hope to go beyond the basics. Still, if you don’t care about fanciness, Cove could be your match.
  • Ring Alarm is affordable and has a ton of cameras. While its controversial reputation may make you think twice about signing up, those savings can’t be beat.

If none of these systems seems like the right fit, you can also check out our Best Cheap Home Security and Best No-Contract Home Security guides for more recommendations.

What to look for in a home security system

When considering a home security system, you should consider these things:

  • Price
  • Monitoring
  • Equipment
  • Home automation
  • Installation
  • Customer service

Some factors may be more important to you than others. If you want to pay more money because you prioritize professional monitoring or top-notch equipment, that’s a-okay. Just be sure you consider all aspects before making a decision.

Methodology

We heavily research every security system we recommend. Here’s how we do it:

  • Scour consumer review sites like Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau
  • Watch YouTube setup videos
  • Comb through each security system’s website
  • Do extensive hands-on testing when possible

Once we’ve conducted our research, we give each system a star rating. We break our star rating metric into five different categories:

  • Price
  • Equipment
  • Cameras
  • Home automation
  • Customer service

The star rating isn’t the end-all, be-all—sometimes, we recommend a system with a higher rating over another system because we think it’s a better fit for more people. But it gives us a place to start. If a system gets two stars from us, we automatically know we’re not putting it in the top spot in any review.

Here’s a breakdown of our star rating metrics.

Price

“Price” covers the cost of everything: monitoring, equipment, installation fees.

We don’t just look at the sticker price, though. We also consider the value.

For instance, a self-monitoring plan that costs $9.99 a month is typically not as good of a value as a professional monitoring plan that costs $19.99 a month. Yes, you’re paying less with the self-monitoring plan, but you’re also doing much more. The value of your time increases the value of the pro plan.

Equipment

When rating a system, we scrutinize the equipment. Is it unique, or does it come from Honeywell or Alarm.com? (Not to say that equipment isn’t good. It’s just that any company charging an obscene amount for something a bunch of home security providers use gets a raised eyebrow from us.) Does it have innovative features, or is it basic? Is it easy to use, or is it a user-experience nightmare?

We don’t include cameras in this category since they’re such an essential piece of the home security equation. Instead, we weigh them on their own.

Cameras

As far as cameras go, we like to see the three different types: indoor, outdoor, and doorbell. We also want these cameras to have high video quality, motion detection, and two-way audio. If they include additional features, that’s gravy to bump up the rating.

Home automation

For the home automation rating, we look primarily for Alexa and Google Home compatibility. But we also consider Z-Wave, Zigbee, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, and other smart home protocols.

We also look at the security app to determine if you can connect smart home devices directly to your security system.

Customer service

Customer service also plays a role in our star ratings. If the company is hard to get ahold of, the representatives are rude, or the service is impossible to cancel, that lowers the rating.

Installation falls under this purview. The star rating can be affected by the ease of the self-installation or the convenience of the professional installation.

FAQ

More questions on your mind? We might answer them here.

The cost of a home security system varies, but most typically require at least $200 for equipment plus a monthly monitoring fee.

If you self-monitor your security system, the monitoring fee may be just a few dollars (or even free). If you go for professional monitoring, you’ll likely pay between $20 and $60 a month.

Yes, you can get a home security system even if you're renting—that's why DIY systems like SimpliSafe, Cove, and Ring are on the scene.

DIY home security systems use a sticker setup to install equipment without drilling holes in the wall. And if you move, you can pack everything up and reinstall the system at your new place. Super convenient!

Brianne Sandorf
Written by
Brianne Sandorf
Brianne has a degree in English and creative writing from Westminster College and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Before joining Reviews.org, she wrote safety and security content for ASecureLife.com. Her pieces and quotes are published across the web, including on MSN.com, Social Catfish, and Parents.com. Hobbies include wearing a seatbelt, wearing a life jacket, and keeping her arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Contact her at brianne@reviews.org.

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