Best Home Security Systems of 2022

We examined all of the top home security systems on the market to find the best home security system options for every kind of household, and Vivint is our Editor's Choice

Top Pick
Vivint
Vivint Smart Home
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$29.99
/mo
  • pro
    Professional installation
  • pro
    Optional contract
  • con
    Expensive
Best Value
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$17.99
/mo
  • pro
    DIY installation
  • pro
    No contract
  • con
    Minimal home automation
  • Fire Emoji
Best Customer Service
Frontpoint
Frontpoint
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$49.99
/mo
Most Popular
ADT
ADT
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starting from
$27.99
/mo
  • pro
    Longstanding reputation
  • pro
    Wide range of equipment
  • con
    Expensive
Best Monitoring
Brinks home updated logo
Brinks
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$39.99
/mo
  • pro
    DIY installation
  • pro
    Smart monitoring alerts
  • con
    3-year contract
Brianne Sandorf
Staff Writer, Home Security & Smart Home
Read More
September 30, 2022
21 min read

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our disclosure policies to learn more.

You have a lot of different home security systems to choose from, but our top pick is the premium-grade, smart home-ready Vivint system. It’s pricey, but you get what you pay for. And you don’t have to install anything yourself.

For something cheaper and simpler but still reliable, we recommend the DIY security system, SimpliSafe. It’s our choice for Best Value.



Compare the best home security systems
Provider
Monitoring price
Base equipment price
Installation type
Details
Vivint$29.99–$44.99/mo.

$599.00

Professional
SimpliSafe$17.99–$27.99/mo.

$244.96

DIY
Frontpoint$49.99/mo. $402.96 DIY
ADT$27.99–$62.99/mo. Equipment bundled with monitoring Professional
Brinks$39.99–$49.99/mo. $199.00 Both
Cove$17.99–$27.99/mo. $299.00 DIY
Abode$6.99–$21.99/mo. $279.00 DIY
Ring$3.99–$20.00/mo. $199.99DIY
Scout$9.99–$19.99/mo. $229.00

DIY

link Interactive$30.99–$47.99/mo Equipment is à la carteDIY

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 09/09/2022 10:00 MST) Full Disclaimer

Home security system deals

  • SimpliSafe, our Best Value pick, is having a sale for 40% off equipment plus 5% off the Interactive Monitoring plan from 09/26 to 10/04. Check out the sale.
  • ADT SafeStreets is offering an ADT Monitored Smart Security System for as low as $1 per day, plus a $100 prepaid Visa gift card. This deal has multiple restrictions. Check out the details.
  • Frontpoint is offering packages starting at $99 with a 40% off discount sitewide until September 6th. Check out the sale.

Data effective as of 08/12/2022. Offers subject to change.

SimpliSafe sale
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$17.99
/mo
40% off equipment plus 5% off the Interactive Monitoring plan from 09/26 to 10/04!
Data effective 02/01/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

What to look for in a home security system

The best home security systems are easy to use, give you a range of smart home features and integrations, and don’t require a contract.

Features to look for in top-rated security system:

  • A good balance of cost to features
  • Professional monitoring option
  • No contract required (or flexible contract timelines)
  • The right installation for your needs (DIY or professional)
  • Smart home integration(s) that work with your other devices
Play Video

Cost

The most important question to ask with any home alarm system you’re considering is if it’s worth your money.

Some alarm companies require long contracts, have outdated equipment, and don’t work with smart home devices. You don’t have to settle for mediocrity when there are a zillion different systems on the market with better technology at a better price.

You get to choose the features that work for your home and family, like professional installation or DIY? Professional monitoring or self-monitoring? Multiple security cameras or none at all? The basics (base station, motion detector, window sensor) or the latest and greatest security innovations?

But no matter which features you go for, at the end of the day, you should feel like what you get out of the system is worth your hard-earned cash.

Professional monitoring

We recommend picking a system that offers professional monitoring, just in case you need it. While self-monitoring sounds doable in theory, most folks find they can’t be on alert 24/7 and would rather leave it to the professionals. So even if you plan to self-monitor, it’s good to choose a system with a professional option available.

We’re especially fond of home security companies that let you opt in to short-term monitoring for vacations, like Abode.

No contract

Home security contracts are (almost) a thing of the past; they’re now the minority instead of the majority. We generally suggest going with a company with no contract unless you’re pretty darn positive you can commit long term. Canceling home security contracts can be painful, and you typically have to pay a hefty fee.

Installation

If you prefer to save money by DIYing your home, look for systems you can set up yourself. If the idea of figuring out installation makes you feel faint, look for systems with professional installation.

Some DIY systems offer professional installation for an extra fee.

Smart home integration

If you’re all about that smart home life or think you might get into smart homes in the future, know that not every system works with every piece of smart home equipment. Check your security system’s compatibility before you buy.

If smart home stuff doesn’t interest you, you might be okay to skip this step.

Want to read more?

Vivint: Editor’s choice

4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Professional installation
pro Optional contract
pro Featured-packed security cameras
con Expensive
Pro monitoring from
$29.99
/mo

If you want a beautifully designed security system that works even better than it looks, then Vivint is for you—if you’re also a homeowner and don’t mind paying for professional installation. Renters, look away. This one’s not your best option.

Vivint sky control panel side view

Source: Reviews.org

Why we chose Vivint

Everything Vivint does, it does well. Where other alarm companies offer a hodgepodge of third-party equipment, Vivint designs its own stuff. 

Some options, like ADT, have good equipment but so-so cameras. Vivint’s cameras have some of the best features on the market, including video analytics and 4K image sensors (as well as more standard fare like motion detectors, two-way audio, and night vision).

Vivint home security also has professional installation, so you don’t have to break a sweat setting up your system. And it has full smart home support, so you can automate everything from your door locks to your bedside lamp.

If you want a security system that will protect your home and also make your neighbors say, “Wow, where’d you get that?” then Vivint’s got what you need.

To learn more, read How Much Does Vivint Cost?.

Vivint monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Smart home support
Details
Smart Security
$29.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Smart Home
$39.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Smart Home Video
$44.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

Vivint equipment and cameras

The ol’ Vivint razzle-dazzle comes from the impressive equipment. Vivint not only makes most of its own stuff—it provides an advanced in-app smart home platform through Z-Wave technology. Everything connects to create an ultra-smart experience.

You can see some of Vivint’s best work in its cameras: the Vivint Indoor Camera, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, and the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro. These cameras have some wicked smart theft-deterrent features, like anti-loitering and anti-package theft alarms. We talk more about them in our Vivint Cameras Review.

SimpliSafe: Best value

Get a deal on a SimpliSafe system
Deals

40% off equipment plus 5% off the Interactive Monitoring plan from 09/26 to 10/04! Check out the sale.

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro DIY installation
pro No contract
pro 40% off
con Minimal home automation
Pro monitoring from
$17.99
/mo

SimpliSafe changed the way home security companies do things. It lets you order online instead of getting on the phone, it doesn’t do contracts, and it’s super affordable. We love that SimpliSafe makes it easy to set up a basic security system without draining your savings.

Source: Reviews.org

Why we chose SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is perfect if you want a well-known brand that will protect your house for way less money than you’d pay for the ADTs of the world. Most people know the name “SimpliSafe” by now (potential burglars included), and it makes it cheap and easy to set up an alarm system in your house.

Plus, SimpliSafe is no slouch on the equipment front. You can find everything from window sensors to leak detectors to carbon monoxide sensors.

To learn more, read How Much Does SimpliSafe Cost? and SimpliSafe Cameras Review.

SimpliSafe monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Professional monitoring
Details
Self-monitoring
$9.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Standard
$17.99
/mo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Interactive
$27.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

SimpliSafe equipment and cameras

Like a Vivint system, the SimpliSafe home security system comes with its own unique equipment. SimpliSafe is the OG DIY system, so everything is super easy to set up yourself.

While SimpliSafe isn’t great at home automation and smart home stuff, its cameras are effective and affordable, and it has a few special pieces like its very own in-house smart lock.

Frontpoint: Best customer service

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro No contract
pro Responsive customer service
pro 40% off
con Expensive monitoring
Pro monitoring from
$49.99
/mo

Frontpoint’s system works for just about everyone: big house or small house, renter or homeowner, technophile or aspiring Luddite. We like Frontpoint’s simple, secure equipment and its smart home features (especially the Yale smart door lock). Just expect to pay a bit more for the monitoring service.

Side of Frontpoint indoor camera

Source: Reviews.org

Why we chose Frontpoint

Frontpoint is friendly. Its customers routinely leave glowing reviews,2,3 and our own experience with Frontpoint’s reps has always been that they’re helpful and easy to talk to.

If you’ve ever tried to call in to something like your internet service provider and had a horrible customer experience (*cough* Comcast *cough*), then you know how important it is to have good support when something goes awry. And Frontpoint is like the Tom Hanks of home security companies—just so nice, you know?

If you’re having trouble installing your doorbell camera or telling your door sensor from your flood sensor, Frontpoint has a bunch of support resources on its website. And you can even contact its reps through social media platforms (like Twitter) if that’s your jam.

Frontpoint monitoring plan
Plan
Monitoring price
Smart home support
Security camera support
Details
Ultimate
$49.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

Frontpoint equipment and cameras

Frontpoint home security equipment is an eclectic mix of unique and generic pieces. You can get some neat stuff you can’t find anywhere else, but you also might find yourself with the same items you get with an ADT home security system or another big brand. Just something to keep in mind before you pay big bucks for things you can get anywhere.

Frontpoint has added a handy-dandy outdoor smart plug to its lineup.

Frontpoint has several different cameras (we count four). Two of them, the premium indoor and outdoor cameras, are suspiciously similar to Vivint cameras. But hey, Vivint cameras are some of the best around, so we’ll take that as a good sign for Frontpoint’s camera vision.

ADT: Most popular

ADT
ADT
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
pro Longstanding reputation
pro Wide range of equipment
pro Professional installation
con Expensive
Pro monitoring from
$27.99
/mo

Everyone knows ADT. It’s been in business for over a century, and it’s available all across the US. (And a few other countries as well. For any Canadians out there, it used to be one of the most popular alarm systems in Canada. It's since become TELUS SmartHome Security.)

If you want the system with the most clout, then ADT delivers. Potential burglars will see the yard sign and skip your house faster than you can say “break-in.” Not to mention that ADT uses professional installation so you don’t have to do the work yourself.

ADT also offers a DIY system with lower costs, self-monitoring and no contracts. Check out our Blue by ADT review to learn more. 

Back of ADT Pulse camera

Source: Reviews.org

Why we chose ADT

Aside from its famous name, ADT has a wide range of security equipment to protect your home. And the system requires professional installation, so you don’t have to worry about sticking sensors on your doors backward or something.

ADT also works with Z-Wave and supports a bunch of different smart home devices as well as some indoor and outdoor cameras. But you have to subscribe to the right monitoring plan to get support for stuff like that.

Check out How Much Is ADT? to learn more.

ADT monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Connection type
Details
Essentials
$27.99
/mo
Icon No  DarkNo
Landline
Complete Monitoring Bundle
$36.99
/mo
Icon No  DarkNo
Landline
Premium Bundle II + Cellguard
$44.99
/mo
Icon No  DarkNo
Cellular
ADT Command Tier I Remote Access
$52.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Cellular
ADT Command Tier II Video Security
$58.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Cellular
ADT Command Tier III Video Security + Home Automation
$62.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Cellular

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

ADT Command used to be known as ADT Pulse.

ADT equipment and cameras

ADT home security equipment isn’t the most original; it uses the same equipment as other big-name brands and small, local companies. When you pay for ADT, you’re really paying for the name value, not the latest and greatest pieces.

ADT doesn't have the best cameras for a massive, well-known home security company, but they get the job done. The main draw with ADT cameras is the 24/7 video monitoring that comes with the Tier III package. That means someone will watch your cameras for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Brinks Home: Best monitoring

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro DIY installation
pro Smart monitoring alerts
pro 30-day return window
con 3-year contract
Pro monitoring from
$39.00
/mo

Brinks Home smart home security equipment comes with some pretty neat monitoring alerts.

Info Box
What is Brinks Home?

Brinks Home combines a few older systems that home security buffs might remember: MONI, LiveWatch, and Protect America. Basically, the Brinks Home folks collect home security systems like infinity stones.

Why we chose Brinks Home

False alarms can be a huge pain in the you-know-what. If you have enough false alarms that make their way to police dispatch, you might even have to pay a fine. That’s why when your alarm system goes off, most monitoring centers will try to call you before they get the cops involved.

Brinks Home security takes that a step farther, though. Its reps can contact you through text message, phone, or email, depending on which you prefer. If, like us, you avoid answering your phone as much as possible, then text messages might be a better way to reach you.

Brinks Home can also notify other people on your contact list in case you don’t pick up.

Brinks Home monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Smart home support
Details
Smart Security Essential
$39.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Smart Security Complete
$44.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Smart Security Ultimate
$49.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

Brinks Home equipment and cameras

Brinks Home isn’t known for its innovative equipment, and it’s not the smartest system out there, but it allows you to connect up to 119 smart devices to your system. That’s way more than most homes ever need.

The Brinks Home alarm system also offers both DIY and professional installation. You get to choose what works for you.

And while its cameras don’t make us jump for joy, Brinks Home has three okay-ish options. The best one is a SkyBell doorbell camera that Frontpoint also sells.

Cove: Best for basics

4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Affordable monitoring
pro Low equipment prices
pro Touchscreen control panel
con Limited equipment
Pro monitoring from
$17.99
/mo

Cove is like a slightly fancier version of SimpliSafe. Both systems cost the same, but if you like the look of a touchscreen control panel, then Cove will give your style a bit of a boost.

We recommend SimpliSafe over Cove because it has a wider range of equipment and offers a doorbell camera. But Cove is a nice alternative for people who want something affordable yet sleek.

Why we chose Cove

Cove has a full range of support articles and videos in case you get stuck while you’re setting things up, but we doubt you’ll need them.

Cove’s equipment doesn’t just look good. It's also super easy to set up and backed by good customer support.

Cove monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Smart home support
Details
Cove Basic
$17.99
/mo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Cove Plus
$27.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

Cove equipment and cameras

Right now, Cove offers about a dozen pieces of equipment, and four of them are cameras. While the equipment covers most home safety needs, like motion detection and water leak detection, the amount pales in comparison to most companies’ range.

The four cameras include an indoor camera, an outdoor camera, a Kami doorbell camera, and the good old Skybell doorbell.

Abode: Best for smart homes

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Flexible monitoring service
pro Excellent smart home support
pro Free self-monitoring
con No doorbell camera
Pro monitoring from
$21.99
/mo

Abode is a DIYer’s dream. It has a bunch of smart home integrations that let you add third-party devices, and it doesn’t charge you extra to self-monitor the system. Plus, Abode offers temporary professional monitoring when you’re out of town and can’t keep an eye on your system.

Front of Abode starter kit

Source: Reviews.org

Why we chose Abode

Abode is all about smart home stuff. At least, it’s all about third-party smart home stuff. Abode doesn’t make many of its own smart home devices. It would rather let you add your own.

That’s not to say Abode doesn’t make some unique things. For example, we love the Abode Iota, which combines your alarm system’s hub with a night vision indoor security camera. But as far as smart home stuff goes, Abode is a choose-your-own adventure game.

Abode is the only system on our list that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and even Sonos. Plus, it supports both Z-Wave and Zigbee as well as IFTTT. That’s what we call smart home centric.

Abode monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Smart home support
Professional monitoring
Details
Basic Free
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo

Standard

$6.99/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Pro $21.99/mo.
Icon Yes  Dark

Yes

Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

Abode equipment and cameras

While Abode doesn’t make a lot of smart home items, it does offer quite a few exciting security devices, like multiple sirens and a panic button.

For a long time, Abode didn’t have any cameras, but now it has a single indoor-outdoor camera that retails for just $50 yet includes package, person, and pet detection. And according to the home security company, more cameras are on the way.

Eventually, we hope to see a full camera suite so Abode users don’t miss out on video protection.

Ring Alarm: Best budget buy

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Super affordable pricing
pro Good smart home support
pro Cheap professional monitoring
con Privacy concerns
Pro monitoring from
$20.00
/mo

The Ring Alarm security system came out just two years ago, and it’s been making waves ever since for its radically affordable pricing plus smart home support. If you want the ultimate affordable alarm system, then you’ll pay less for a Ring starter kit than you did for those new AirPod Pros you just lost.

Various Ring doorbell covers and doorbell

Source: Reviews.org

Why we chose Ring Alarm

Equipment’s not the only thing that Ring Alarm sells on the cheap; just look at the professional monitoring. Normally, we’d expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $60+ per month for professional monitoring. Ring Alarm gives it to you for a cool $10 per month with Ring Protect Plus. That’s pretty much the lowest price possible.

You can also self-monitor your system for free (although you won’t get all the features you’d get with a paid plan).

We also love that Ring still has decent smart home support. Some other cheap security systems, like SimpliSafe and Cove, don’t work so well with smart home devices like lights and locks. Ring Alarm supports Z-Wave so you can integrate your smart outlets with your overall security system.

The only thing we don’t like about Ring is the privacy concerns that have caused some users to turn to other systems.

Ring Alarm monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Professional monitoring
Details
Basic
$3.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Plus
$10.00
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Pro
$20.00
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 09/09/2022 10:00 MST)

Ring Alarm equipment and cameras

Ring is one of the most popular DIY systems, and it’s super easy to install. And everything it sells is made by Ring, so you’ll never have a problem with integration.

Ring has a decent home security selection, but its true power is in the cameras you can add to your Ring Alarm security kit. Seriously—there are so. Many. Cameras. Whether you’re looking for a doorbell camera, floodlight camera, or something else, Ring’s got you covered.

Scout Alarm: Best RFID option

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro RFID system control
pro Top-notch smart home support
pro Affordable cameras
con No outdoor camera
Pro monitoring from
$19.99
/mo

Scout has something we haven’t seen from any other security company: an RFID door panel. Never heard of RFID? You’re not alone.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. For this purpose, it basically means you can use little stickers or tags (with RFID functionality) to arm and disarm your security system instead of the traditional keypad.

If you hate digging for your phone or punching in a code every time you walk in or out the door, then Scout might be a good fit for you.

Why we chose Scout Alarm

Scout's door panel is unique, but that's not all Scout has going for it.  Scout also has good support for that smart home you’re working on. It’s one of only two systems on our list that supports both Z-Wave and Zigbee smart home protocols. (The other one is Abode.)

You’ll also save some money with Scout. Its equipment, including cameras, is super affordable. Scout’s doorbell camera costs only $99, which is cheap for a doorbell cam that still records in crisp 1080p HD.

Scout Alarm monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Professional monitoring
Details
Always On
$9.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Always On+
$19.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

Scout Alarm equipment and cameras

Scout’s no Abode, but it’s the next best thing—it works with every major smart home player except Apple HomeKit. So if you dig the smart home scene, Scout’s a good friend to have.

Scout is also one of the few security companies with beautiful equipment. Whether you go with black-on-white or white-on-black, your security system will be downright stunning. If you have a signature aesthetic of elegance, you’ll want Scout equipment.

How about them cameras? Scout hasn’t broken in to the outdoor camera world yet, but it offers perfectly functional indoor and doorbell cameras.

Link Interactive: Most flexible

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Excellent customer service
pro Wide range of equipment
pro Multiple contract options
con Expensive monitoring
Pro monitoring from
$30.99
/mo

Link Interactive is the king of choices. You can choose a contract or no contract—and if you opt for a contract, then you can choose the length. Link Interactive also has more diverse equipment options than any other company we’ve seen, and it’s pretty affordable to boot.

If you need some super-specific sensor you can’t find anywhere else, then Link probably has it.

Why we chose Link Interactive

Link Interactive has flexible contract and equipment options, reasonable pricing, and super friendly customer service. It gives you a ton of different ways to protect your home with a bunch of smart home integrations so you can smartify your family’s lives.

If you need specific devices, like an outdoor sensor for a pool cover or a stovetop sensor so you can stop wondering if you’ve left the burner on, then Link Interactive has what you need. And if you buy some random Z-Wave smart home device on Amazon, Link’s customer service reps will even tell you how to install it.

Link Interactive monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Mobile app control
Security camera support
Details
Standard
$30.99
/mo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Gold
$39.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo

Elite

$44.99
/mo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective as of 09/09/2022. Offers subject to change.

Link Interactive equipment and cameras

Link Interactive doesn’t offer equipment packages, so you can pick and choose what you need. It offers some cool options we don’t see often, like garage tilt sensors or outdoor door and window sensors.

You can also get a whopping six different cameras with Link Interactive. Two of them are identical to Frontpoint cameras, and none are Link Interactive-specific—which means that if you love these cameras, you might be able to move them to another system later down the road.

Recap: What are the best home security systems?

  • Vivint is like the BMW of home security systems. It’s professionally installed, it will look good in your house, and it supports a ton of smart home devices.
  • SimpliSafe is the poster child for easy-to-order, super affordable security systems. Plus, installation is a cinch.
  • Frontpoint gets an A+ for its excellent customer experience. Its system is pretty good too—but with pricey monitoring plans.
  • ADT is super expensive for what you get, especially if you go for ADT Command. But, like Vivint, ADT comes professionally installed, and its monitoring centers are super reliable.
  • Brinks Home uses multiple channels to contact you in the event of an alarm so you won’t miss the memo.
  • Cove is a lot like SimpliSafe as far as pricing goes, but its equipment is a little fancier overall. But Cove’s camera options aren’t the best.
  • Abode gives you unique equipment features plus flexible professional monitoring. Quite the powerhouse combo.
  • Ring Alarm has the most affordable equipment and monitoring around. This is the one for you if you want a security system that will be easy on your wallet.
  • Scout Alarm is the only option on our list that offers RFID tags for arming and disarming your system. If you prefer the keypad-less route, Scout’s a good pick.
  • Link Interactive has a huge array of devices available. (And we mean huge.) If you want a super customizable system, this one’s for you.

Want to compare security systems you can install yourself? Check out our Best DIY Security Systems review. And let us know about your alarm system of choice in the comments.

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Methodology

We research, test, and compare home security systems based on these five categories:

  1. Price
  2. Equipment
  3. Smart home integrations
  4. Security cameras
  5. Customer experience

To decide which home security system is the best, we looked for innovative technology, a wide range of smart home integrations, reliable security sensors, and professional monitoring. We looked for more than just basic contact sensors and a control panel; we wanted the full smart home plus security experience with value trumping cost.

We’ve performed hands-on testing with several of these systems (Vivint, SimpliSafe, ADT, Abode, and Ring), and we’re testing new systems all the time to gain new insights.

Home security systems FAQ

How much does an alarm system cost?

An alarm system typically costs at least a few hundred dollars, and monitoring can cost anywhere from a few dollars a month to close to a hundred.

There are two parts to your home security system costs: equipment and monitoring. With both parts, a home security system can average anywhere between $50–$1600.

Equipment includes things like your door and window sensors, motion sensors, control panel, etc. The cost depends on which provider you choose, but expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a basic package—$200 would be considered cheap for a starter pack of home security equipment. That said, it can run cheaper if you go with a company that runs a lot of deals on equipment (like Frontpoint).

If you can’t afford to pay for all of your equipment up front, that’s okay. Most alarm companies offer some kind of financing option where you can pay for your equipment throughout your contract. Contract-free systems like Scout and Abode don’t always offer financing, but it’s becoming more common.

For more in-depth information about the functions and cost of some alarm company equipment, check out our motion sensor guide, motion sensor light guide, and video doorbell guide.

Should I choose a DIY or professionally installed security system?

You can pick either. There are benefits to both!

Choose DIY when you don’t want to pay an installation fee (which usually runs around $100, sometimes more). Also, consider DIY when you want to spend less money on equipment. DIY systems tend to cost less than professionally installed ones.

Choose professionally installed when you want to know for sure everything will be done right the first time around. DIY installation requires you to do everything yourself, and not everyone’s okay with that. If technology isn’t your favorite thing, it might be easier for you to just let the professionals handle it.

Professional installations also come with an in-home consultation where the technician will help you assess which parts of your home could be potential targets.

Should I choose a self-monitored or professionally monitored security system?

We suggest professional monitoring if you can afford it.

The best home security systems have professional monitoring. We know it’s an extra monthly expense, but we almost always recommend it.

Who knows when your alarm system will go off and you won’t be paying attention to your phone. These things happen fast, so it’s better and easier to have someone watching your system 24/7—whether for a real burglar or just false alarms.

That said, some people just don’t want that monthly professional monitoring bill. If you really want to self-monitor, great. But if you’re just worried about the cost, we recommend looking into low-cost professional monitoring plans like SimpliSafe’s or Scout Alarm’s.

Also, if you self-monitor, ensure your system has battery and cellular backup. You don’t want it to lose power or communication while you’re sleeping or have your phone off. With only your eyes on the system, you’ll be vulnerable.

How much equipment do I need?

This totally depends on your house. If you have 15 doors and a million windows, you’ll need more sensors and equipment than someone living in a studio apartment.

It also depends on how secure you want your house to be. You don’t have to cover every conceivable entrance to still be protected. And sometimes, motion sensors can do the job of several entry sensors.

When you think about how much equipment you’ll need, you should also think about which home automation devices you want and which disaster-prevention devices you’ll need (like smoke alarms, CO sensors, and flood sensors).

You’ll also want to look at cameras. Not every security system comes with a home security camera, so if your favorite security system doesn’t have one, you’ll also want to look for separate wireless security cameras that might connect to your system, like a Wyze Cam.

The best home security systems let you order your equipment à la carte, so you can choose exactly what you need and skip what you don’t.

What are disaster home security devices?

Disaster security devices include things like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) sensors, and flood sensors. Basically, anything that warns you if your house is in danger of an environmental issue, like fire or water damage.

Most security companies sell disaster home security devices, and smart versions of these devices can alert you on your phone when there’s something going on.

How do I set up a home security system?

That depends on the system you buy!

If you choose a professionally installed system, just sit back and let the experts work.  If you choose a DIY home security system, your equipment will arrive in a box along with instructions on how to set everything up.

DIY systems are usually easy to install. If you run into any questions, security companies offer support over the phone. Their representatives can help you put the system together.

How do I use a video doorbell?

Each video doorbell has a different interface depending on the manufacturer, so there’s no catch-all solution.

Video doorbells are awesome! With doorbell cameras, like Ring video doorbells, you can see and talk to whoever’s on your porch without opening the door. Heck, you can do it even when you’re not home. Video doorbells help deter package thieves and let you see who’s coming and going.

As for how to use one, they work the same as most other security cameras and hook into your existing doorbell setup. Sometimes you don’t even have to hardwire them, depending on which model you choose.

Once it’s installed, you’ll get alerts whenever the camera’s motion sensors go off, and you can see who’s at your door and talk to them through the camera mic.

Check out our Smart Video Doorbell Buyers Guide for more info.

Should I get a security camera package?

We love security cameras, but not everyone needs them.

A security camera can be a nice extra burglar deterrent, but most people don’t really need them if they already have a security system.

If you don’t want to spring for an entire security camera package, then consider just getting a doorbell camera. Indoor cameras can also come in handy for keeping an eye on your kids and pets.

How do I build a smart home?

You start with a few smart home devices and build from the bottom up. Most of the best home security works with smart home equipment, so a security system is a great addition to your smart home.

Smart homes are totally customizable, and you can build one however you want. But the standard feature is some kind of hub that all your other devices connect to. (With home security systems, it’s usually the control panel.)

Once you have your hub, you can add whatever you want, including smart locks, smart lights, smart wall outlets, and smart garage door openers. Most hubs also link with voice control units, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, then that’s even better.

Just make sure whatever devices you want to add to your system integrate with the stuff you already have. For example, if your hub supports only Z-Wave, you’ll have to stick to Z-Wave devices. (And even then, it’s a good idea to check that they’re compatible.)

For more ideas about how to build up your smart home, check out our smart lock, smart thermostat, outdoor camera, and smoke detector reviews.

2021 National Property Crime Report

If you’re on the fence about getting a home security system, you may want to check out the property crime in your area. Nationally, there are 2,110 property crimes for every 100,000 people.1

We dug into the national and state stats surrounding property crime—specifically larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. We ranked each state based on its overall property crime rate to find the places where your stuff is less likely to get swiped.

2021 Property Crime by State Map
Property Crime Rates by State Bar Chart

Property Crime in the US

The US property crime rate is 2,110 per 100,000 people. Fortunately, property crime declined by 4.5% year over year.2

National property crime rates
Property crime per 100k
Burglary per 100k
Larceny theft per 100k
Motor vehicle theft per 100k
2,1103411,550220

Nationwide, larceny is the most common property crime, occurring four-and-a-half times more often than burglary, and seven times more often than motor vehicle theft. Larceny includes common forms of stealing like package theft, pickpocketing, or theft by force and fraud.

But not every state experiences property crimes at the same rates. Do you live in a state where property crime is higher or lower than the national averages?

States with the most property crime
State and ranking
Property crime per 100k
Burglary per 100k
Larceny theft per 100k
Motor vehicle theft per 100k

1. District of Columbia

4,3672613,775331

2. Louisiana

3,1625792,352231

3. New Mexico

3,1136971,989427

4. South Carolina

2,9405332,116291

5. Alaska

2,9114872,066358

6. Arkansas

2,8596002,013246

7. Oklahoma

2,8456721,836338

8. Hawaii

2,8413772,093371

9. Oregon

2,7313492,022360

10. Washington

2,6834541,908321
  • The nation’s capital’s property crime rate more than doubles the national average. The District of Columbia also has the highest larceny-theft rate.
  • The Bayou state has the biggest property crime problem out of any official state with 3,162 crimes for every 100k people.
  • Keep all your doors locked in New Mexico, which is the worst in the nation for both burglary and motor vehicle theft.
States with the least property crime
State and ranking
Property crime per 100k
Burglary per 100k
Larceny theft per 100k
Motor vehicle theft per 100k

51. Massachusetts

1,18017991289

50. New Hampshire

1,2091261,01766

49. Idaho

1,22022091288

48. Maine

1,2461751,01754

47. New Jersey

1,3361851,035116

46. New York

1,3731421,16665

45. Pennsylvania

1,4031821,12497

44. Vermont

1,4242041,17248

43. Connecticut

1,4271811,079167

42. Wisconsin

1,4722181,12717
  • In general, most of the states with the lowest property crime rates are in New England and the East.
  • The Bay State might be the best place to keep track of your stuff worry-free: Massachusetts has the lowest overall property crime rate and also the lowest larceny rate in the nation (tied with Idaho).
  • Burglars are less of a threat in New Hampshire, where only 126 per 100k burglaries are reported.
  • Do you feel comfortable leaving your car unlocked and unmonitored? Vermonters might; they have the lowest motor vehicle theft in the nation—only 48 per 100k.
  • Idaho improved the most out of any state. The Gem State shines with a 16.6% decline in property crimes year over year.

Property crime is reportedly in decline year over year, but there are always a number of factors that contribute to crime to be wary of. Fortunately, installing a home security system may help prevent property crime or provide evidence when somebody tries to mess with your stuff.

We’ll continue to report on property crime and analyze upcoming reports from the FBI to see what changes occur.

Where does your state stand compared to the rest of the nation? Find out in our full property crime by state report.

Methodology

Using the FBI’s most recent crime reports, we compared all 50 states and Washington, DC.

We analyzed the rates of larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft in every state on a per 100,000 person basis.

  • Larceny is the unlawful taking of property from the possession of another.
  • Burglary involves the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft.
  • Motor vehicle theft involves any self-propelled vehicle that runs on land surfaces and not on rails, like cars, trucks, RVs, etc.

We then compared those rates to the year prior to determine whether property crime had increased or decreased year over year.

Sources

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon.com. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time. 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.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.
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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