Best Home Security Systems of 2021

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

    Vivint

    Read full review
    4.25 out of 5 overall
    Professional installation
    Optional contract
  • Best Value

    SimpliSafe

    Read full review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    DIY installation
    No contract
  • Most Popular

    ADT

    Read full review
    4.25 out of 5 overall
    DIY installation
    No contract
  • Best Customer Service

    Frontpoint

    Read full review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    DIY installation
    No contract
  • Best Monitoring

    Brinks

    Read full review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    DIY installation
    3-year contract

You have a lot of different home security systems to choose from, but our Editor’s Choice 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
ProviderMonitoring priceBase priceInstallation typeDetails
Vivint Logo$29.99–$44.99/mo.$599.00ProfessionalView Plans
SimpliSafe logo$14.99–24.99/mo.$229.00DIYView Plans
$36.99–$62.99/mo.Equipment bundled with monitoringProfessionalView Plans
Frontpoint logo$49.99/mo.$435.95DIYView Plans
Brinks logo$39/mo.$199.00DIYView Plans
Cove logo$14.99–$24.99/mo.$294.00DIYView Plans
Abode logo$6–$20/mo.$229.00DIYView Plans
Ring logo$3–$10/mo.$199.00DIYView on Amazon
Scout Alarm logo$9.99–$19.99/mo.$229.00DIYView Plans
Link Interactive logo$30.99–$44.99/moEquipment is à la carteDIYView Plans

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 4/16/21 13:21 PST) Full Disclaimer

Save some money on your new home security system with these deals

Data effective as of 4/16/21. Offers subject to change

SimpliSafe logo
  • 20% off any new system
  • Free indoor camera

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 integrations that work with your other devices

The most important question to ask with any home security 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?

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.

Want to read more?

Vivint: Editor’s choice

Vivint Editor's Pick award badge
  • Integrated smart home technology
  • Feature-packed security cameras
  • No contract requirement
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. That is with the caveat that you’re also a homeowner, and you don’t mind paying for professional installation. Renters, look away, this one’s not your best option.

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. Where 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 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.

Vivint Smart Hub mounted on a white wall near a glass door
Vivint monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceSmart home supportDetails
Smart Security$29.99/mo.NoView Plans
Smart Home$39.99/mo.YesView Plans
Smart Home Video$44.99/mo.YesView Plans

SimpliSafe: Best value

Deals

Get a deal on a SimpliSafe system

SimpliSafe is currently running a deal for 20% off a new system, plus a free indoor camera. Check out the sale.
SimpliSafe Best Value award badge
  • Affordable equipment and monitoring
  • Online ordering
  • Easy installation
Pro monitoring from $14.99/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 yourself without draining your savings in the process.

Why we chose SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is perfect if you want a well-known brand that will protect your house but for way less money than you’d pay for the ADT’s 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.

Simplisafe hub and sensors
SimpliSafe monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlDetails
Standard$14.99/mo. NoView Plans
Interactive$24.99/mo.YesView Plans

ADT: Most popular

  • Well-known name
  • Lots of smart home integrations
  • Professional installation
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’s one of the most popular alarm systems in Canada.)

If what you want is 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, ADT uses professional installation so you don’t have to do the work yourself.

Why we chose ADT

Aside from its famous name, ADT also 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.

ADT touchscreen control panel and sensors
ADT monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceConnection typeDetails
Essentials $27.99/mo. LandlineView Plans
Complete Monitoring Bundle$36.99/mo.LandlineView Plans
Premium Bundle II + Cellguard$44.99/mo.CellularView Plans
ADT Command Tier I Remote Access$52.99/mo.CellularView Plans
ADT Command Tier II Video Security$58.99/mo.CellularView Plans
ADT Command Tier III Video Security + Home Automation$62.99/mo.CellularView Plans

Frontpoint: Best customer service

Deals

Packages as low as $99 + a free doorbell camera with order

Looking to save on your new home security system?

Frontpoint is currently offering packages as low as $99, plus a free doorbell camera with your order, and 20% off additional products. No contract required.

Sounds too good to resist? View the offer details now.

Frontpoint logo
  • Responsive customer service
  • Frequent equipment discounts
  • Easy installation
Pro monitoring for $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.

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 security equipment in a group
Frontpoint monitoring plan
PlanMonitoring priceSmart home supportSecurity camera supportDetails
Ultimate$49.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Brinks (previously LiveWatch and MONI): Best monitoring

Brinks logo
  • Smart monitoring alerts
  • 30-day return window
  • Smart home support
Pro monitoring from $39.00/mo.

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

Why we chose Brinks

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 most monitoring centers will try to call you before they get the cops involved when your alarm system goes off.

Brinks takes that a step farther, though, and can contact you through text message, phone, or email, depending on which one 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 can also notify other people on your contact list in case you don’t pick up.

Brinks equipment package
Brinks monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceSmart home supportDetails
Smart Security$39.00/mo.YesView Plans

Cove: Best for basics

Cove logo
  • Affordable monitoring
  • Low equipment prices
  • Touchscreen control panel
Pro monitoring from $14.99/mo.

Cove is like a slightly fancier version of SimpliSafe. Both systems cost exactly 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 still recommend SimpliSafe overall 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’s equipment doesn’t just look good, it’s also super easy to set up, and it’s backed by good customer support.

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 security panel on entry table
Cove monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlDetails
Cove Basic$14.99/mo. NoView Plans
Cove Plus$24.99/mo. YesView Plans

Abode: Best for smart homes

Abode logo
  • Flexible monitoring service
  • Excellent smart home support
  • Free self-monitoring
Pro monitoring from $20/mo.

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

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 hub and sensors
Abode monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceProfessional monitoringDetails
BasicFreeNoView Plans
Standard$6/mo.NoView Plans
Pro$20/mo.YesView Plans

Ring Alarm: Best budget buy

Ring logo
  • Super affordable pricing
  • Good smart home support
  • Cheap professional monitoring
Pro monitoring from $10/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.

Why we chose Ring Alarm

Equipment’s not the only thing that Ring Alarm sells on the cheap; it’s also 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. That’s pretty much the lowest price possible.

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.

Ring Alarm control pad and sensors staged in a group
Ring Alarm monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceProfessional monitoringDetails
Basic$3/mo. NoView on Amazon
Plus$10/mo. YesView on Amazon

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 2/26/21 13:21 PST)

Scout Alarm: Best RFID option

Scout Alarm logo
  • RFID system control
  • Top-notch smart home support
  • Affordable cameras
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.

It stands for Radio Frequency Identification, and, 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

Scout’s door panel is a unique feature, 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 is super affordable, including its cameras. Scout’s doorbell camera costs only $99, which is cheap for a doorbell cam that still records in crisp 1080p HD.

Scout hub, door panel, and sensors
Scout Alarm monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceProfessional monitoringDetails
Always On$9.99/mo.NoView Plans
Always On+$19.99/mo.YesView Plans

Link Interactive: Most flexible

Link Interactive logo
  • Excellent customer service
  • Wide range of equipment
  • Multiple contract options
Pro monitoring from $30.99/mo.

Link Interactive is the king of choices. You can choose a contract or no contract, and if you do 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, plus 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 touchscreen control panel
Link Interactive monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceSecurity camera supportDetails
Standard$30.99/mo.NoView Plans
Gold$39.99/mo.NoView Plans
Elite$44.99/mo.YesView Plans

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.
  • 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.
  • Frontpoint gets an A+ for its excellent customer experience. Its system is pretty good too—but with pricey monitoring plans.
  • Brinks 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. If you want a security system that will be easy on your wallet, this is the one for you.
  • Scout Alarm is the only option on our list that offers RFID tags for arming and disarming your system. If you prefer to go 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 cost being a secondary factor to value.

FAQ

How much does a home security system cost?

There are two parts to your home security system costs: equipment and monitoring.

Equipment includes things like your door and window sensors, motion sensors, control panel, etc. The cost totally 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 over the course of your contract. Contract-free systems like Scout and Abode don’t always offer financing, but it’s becoming more common.

Should I choose a DIY or professionally installed security system?

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. 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.

Light Bulb icon
Just so you know
Brinks used to be three separate security systems: MONI, LiveWatch, and Brinks. All these systems merged together in 2018 to make a single system under the Brinks brand name.

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

The best home security systems have professional monitoring. We know it’s an extra expense every month, 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.

How much equipment do I need?

This totally depends on your house. If you have 15 doors and a million windows, then you’ll need more sensors and equipment than someone who lives 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).

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 to set up a home security system

If you choose a professionally installed system, then just sit back and let the experts get to work. If you choose a DIY system, then 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?

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 goes 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?

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?

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

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  • Cindy Whitehair

    I am curious as to what years FBI data you were using. West Valley City Utah has a population of 129,000+ as of the 2010 census, Provo has a population of 115,000+ (again as of 2010 census) and West Jordan Utah has a population of 103,000+. Those three cities all have populations over 100,000 (your stated thresh hold) and yet you say that Salt Lake City is the “only” city in Utah to meet that thresh hold. PS – no I do not live in SLC.

  • Charlie Webber

    Had ADT, technically still have. Just a heads up anyone considering ADT, they make you sign a 3 year agreement. At no point do they tell you that you are signing a 3 year agreement. It would seem important to mention. If you sign a 3 year contract and want to move at any point during that contract in 3 years and install ADT in the place, the 3 years resets. The contracts are address based. If you want to get out of the contract you have to pay 75% of the contract. So I still have 21 months of a contract I had no idea I was in, to get out I have to pay $783. Really frustrating. Again the sales people, or at least mine, do not mention the 3 year commitment. I called their customer service team and they acknowledged that the sales people do not have to mention it, it’s on you to read the fine print. I’m paying the lump sum, because apparently they auto renew you at some point unless you nail the timing. There are reports of having to send in a written not by mail. ADT is a nightmare, way too expensive, and not great.
    Ended up switching to Ring. Just as good and way cheaper.

  • http://www.hellonerds.ca NerdyPage

    Thanks for sharing this with us.I love new technologies, especially in the field of security, as it is important in the life of every person and its good to see the wide range of home security systems from various different brands.

  • Mario Green

    After reading the comments on this page I went to Armorax’s site to see what they offered; they’ve partnered with another security company and their starter package I believe starts at $0 down. The panel and sensors are Qolsys, so that’s good. Monitoring is priced well too, so all in all a great deal.

  • Erich Dubose

    Didn’t know what Armorax’s system was before, but good thing I came here to the comments section. I placed an order for their Link Interactive alarm yesterday, 36 month contract with the 0 down option. Like others have mentioned, Armorax is now pushing a Link system. I got the Qolsys 7 inch touchscreen, and the Interactive monitoring plan. It includes the app and it costs way less than other systems I’ve been seeing online.

  • Kelsey Negron

    I ended up getting my system through Armorax as well after reading some of the comments here. It’s a Link system with the Qolsys control panel. Really like the pricing though. Paid $99 down and $30sh something per month.

  • Erich Dubose

    I ended up getting my system through Armorax as well after reading some of the comments here. It’s a Link system with the Qolsys control panel. Really like the pricing though. Paid $99 down and $30sh something per month.