Best Home Security Systems of 2020

We’ve rounded up all the best security systems on the market so you can find the right one for you (and your house and your family).
Recent Updates: 2 months ago

Multiple security companies in this review have released statements about their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Vivint is still open for business. Its technicians must complete wellness checks daily and follow enhanced hygiene procedures. Read Vivint's statement here.

ADT is also still open for business and has been declared essential in states with shelter-in-place orders, which means it can still operate. Its technicians complete daily wellness checks. Read ADT's statement here.

Link Interactive's technicians are still available but will work with customers over the phone in places with quarantine orders in place. Read Link Interactive's statement here.

SimpliSafe is still open and shipping security systems. View the SimpliSafe system here.

This situation changes daily and we will keep you updated as things evolve.

When your parents bought a home security system, they had, like, two options. Maybe three if they were lucky. You, on the other hand, have approximately one zillion home security systems to choose from, so how do you pick the best one?

Good news: we’ve done all the hard work for you and rounded up all the best home security options on the market. Whether you want to turn your house into a robot home of the future or you just want people to stop stealing your Amazon packages, we’ll help you choose the right alarm system.

Compare top-rated home security systems
ProviderMonitoring priceInstallation typeSmart speaker integrationsDetails
Vivint Smart Home$29.99–$44.99/mo.ProfessionalAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
SimpliSafe$14.99–24.99/mo.DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
ADT$36.99–$62.99/mo.ProfessionalAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Frontpoint$44.99–$49.99/mo.DIYAmazon AlexaView Plans
Google Nest Secure$0–$29/mo.*DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Link Interactive$30.99–$44.99/mo.DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Abode$0–$20/mo.*DIYAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, SonosView Plans
Scout Alarm$9.99–$19.99/mo.DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Ring Alarm$0–$10/mo.*DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Brinks$39/mo.DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans
Cove$14.99–$24.99/mo.DIYAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantView Plans

Data effective 2/1/2020. Offers subject to change.
* Self-monitoring is free, but professional monitoring costs extra.

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Vivint Smart Home: Best professionally installed

Vivint has full smart home support and some really cool cameras. What’s not to like?

Vivint Smart Home equipment in a line

Source: Vivint

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.

Pros

  • Professional installation
  • Tons of smart home devices
  • Easy mobile control

Cons

  • Aggressive door-to-door sales (call instead)
  • Expensive equipment
Vivint Smart Home plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile app accessSecurity camera supportLearn more
Smart Security$29.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
Smart Home$39.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
Smart Home + Video$44.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 1/24/20. Offers subject to change.

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.

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Pro tip
You know that door-to-door salesperson that comes around trying to sell you on a Vivint system? Yeah, you should call in instead. Vivint’s had some complaints in the past about its door-to-door sales processes. (But it still has a high customer service score.)1

What we don’t like

We don’t love the price. Vivint’s monthly monitoring service plans aren’t too expensive, but its equipment costs a pretty penny. Get ready to shell out several hundred dollars for just your starter kit.

The good news is, if you don’t want to pay for it all up front, you don’t have to. You can finance your equipment over time—you’ll just have to sign a 48- or 60-month contract to do so.

SimpliSafe: Best DIY installation

SimpliSafe started the DIY revolution, and it’s still king of the do-it-yourself home security game.

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FYI: SimpliSafe still shipping during COVID-19
SimpliSafe is still open for business during the COVID-19 crisis. And by “open for business,” we mean shipping systems to your house where you can set everything up yourself. Not a bad idea if you don’t want to compromise social distancing by letting an installation tech come to visit.

Plus, SimpliSafe doesn’t have contracts, so you can cancel anytime you want without having to pay an arm and a leg in fees.

View Plans

Simplisafe hub and sensors

Source: SimpliSafe

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.

Pros

  • Affordable equipment and monitoring
  • Online ordering
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Few smart home integrations
SimpliSafe plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile app controlSecurity camera support*Learn more
Standard$14.99/mo.NoN/AView Plans
Interactive$24.99/mo.YesN/AView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.
* SimpliSafe cameras work as standalone devices.

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.

What we don’t like

SimpliSafe is not great at smart home support. It works with Amazon Alexa, and it offers its own smart door lock, but you can’t go installing many third-party devices with your SimpliSafe system. It doesn’t work with Z-Wave or IFTTT, and we don’t expect it to add extra functionality anytime soon.

If you want smart home stuff like outlets and lights, we recommend going with something like Abode instead.

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Insider tip
If you want to keep it DIY but add more home automation, Abode, Ring Alarm, or Nest Secure will work better for you.

ADT: Most popular

You know the name for a reason: ADT is the most popular security system on the market.

ADT touchscreen control panel and sensors

Source: ADT Security

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. Say hello to 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.

Pros

  • Well-known name
  • Lots of smart home integrations
  • Professional installation

Cons

  • Hidden pricing
ADT security plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile app controlSecurity camera supportLearn more
Complete Monitoring Bundle$36.99/mo.NoNoView Plans
Premium Bundle II + Cellguard$44.99/mo.NoNoView Plans
ADT Command Tier I Remote Access$52.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
ADT Command Tier II Video Security$58.99/mo.YesYesView Plans
ADT Command Tier III Video Security + Home Automation$62.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.

Why we chose ADT

Aside from the 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.

What we don’t like

ADT might be well known, but it’s also expensive and confusing. ADT doesn’t list its monitoring and equipment prices online, so you have to call in before you have any idea how much a system might cost. And even then, the cost will change if you add new items on installation day.

You’ll also pay more for pro installation through ADT than you would through Vivint, especially for cameras. And to be honest, we’re not terribly impressed by ADT’s cameras in the first place. What you’re paying for is mostly that big name in blue.

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Want the ADT name but with better cameras?
ADT Blue is a camera-heavy, DIY version of the ADT system, and we like its cameras much better than the “traditional” ADT versions.

Frontpoint: Best customer service

Frontpoint has an easy DIY setup backed by the friendliest customer service in the biz.

Frontpoint security equipment in a group

Source: Frontpoint

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.

Pros

  • Responsive customer service
  • Frequent equipment discounts
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Pricey monitoring plans
Frontpoint security plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile app controlSecurity camera supportLearn more
Interactive$44.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
Ultimate$49.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.

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, say, 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.

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 free shipping and a free doorbell camera with your order. No contract required.

Sounds too good to resist? View the offer now.

What we don’t like

Frontpoint’s monitoring prices are a little high compared to other systems out there. We like that Frontpoint doesn’t have a contract, and its equipment pricing is super reasonable, so it’s not a total splurge. But you will pay more for Frontpoint monitoring than you would for the likes of Vivint or Brinks.

Google Nest Secure

Google Nest comes with smart tech features and good-looking equipment that will make your neighbors jealous.

Google Nest Secure equipment

Source: Google Nest

You might know Google Nest best for its cameras. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and Nest Cam IQ Indoor are two of our favorite security cameras. (They come with innovative features like facial recognition as well as standard stuff like two-way audio and night vision. And the Google Nest Secure security system fits right in. It works with your cameras, and your Google Nest Protect (if you have one), so you can officially hand Google the keys to your entire life.

Pros

  • Innovative equipment
  • DIY installation
  • Free self-monitoring

Cons

  • Pricey equipment
Google Nest Secure plans and pricing
Plans
PriceMobile app controlSecurity camera support*Details
Self-monitored$0/mo.YesN/AView Plans
Brinks professional monitoring (with 3-year. contract)$19/mo.YesN/AView Plans
Brinks professional monitoring (month-to-month)$29/mo.YesN/AView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.
* Google Nest cameras function as standalone devices.

Why we chose Google Nest Secure

We’re suckers for cool tech—and Google Nest excels at cool tech. Its cameras were among the first to go beyond features like motion detectors and night vision to include new AI technology like familiar facial recognition, as well as 4K image sensors.

The Nest Secure alarm system completes the circle. Its entry sensors also function as motion sensors and come with thoughtful features like Quiet Open (which lets you open a single door without setting off the whole alarm) and Pathlight (where a night light turns on when you walk by).

We also love that the Nest Guard hub combines a keypad with an NFC chip reader so you can disarm your system with a code, your phone, or a swipe of a key tag.

What we don’t like

Google Nest is not known for being cheap. The Nest Secure system will set you back around $400 for a starter kit. That’s actually not too bad if you intend to monitor the system yourself (which is free). If not, then professional monitoring is also a bit pricey for this kind of system. And you have to sign a contract with Brinks to get the lowest price.

Link Interactive: Most flexible

Link Interactive has multiple options for everything, from contracts to window sensors.

Link-Interactive-touchscreen-control-panel

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.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Wide range of equipment
  • Multiple contract options

Cons

  • Lesser-known brand name
Link Interactive plans and pricing
Plans
PriceMobile app controlSecurity camera supportDetails
Standard$30.99/mo.NoNoView Plans
Gold$39.99/mo.YesNoView Plans
Elite$44.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.

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.

What we don’t like

Link Interactive might have a lot of equipment, but it’s not always the most attractive stuff out there. Plus, Link Interactive’s not as well-known of a brand name as, say, ADT. So if you want a yard sign with some clout to scare off potential burglars, this one might not be as appealing to you.

Abode: Best for smart homes

Do you love home automation as much as we do? Then Abode will step your smart home up a notch.

Abode hub and sensors

Source: Abode

Deals

Abode Spring Savings deal

Abode’s distribution center is still open and shipping systems. You can currently get 50% off a new system and free shipping on orders over $25 in the continental US.

View Deal

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.

Pros

  • Flexible monitoring service
  • Excellent smart home support
  • Free self-monitoring

Cons

  • So-so camera selection
Abode security plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile controlSecurity camera support**Learn more
Basic*$0YesN/AView Plans
Standard*$6/mo. OR $60/yr.YesN/AView Plans
Pro$20/mo. OR $180/yr.YesN/AView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.
* Self-monitored only. No professional monitoring.
** Abode’s camera does not require a plan subscription.

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.

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Want professional monitoring, but only sometimes?
Abode is the only security provider we’ve seen that offers temporary professional monitoring.

Normally, you either have professional monitoring all the time or you don’t have it at all. But Abode lets you sign on for professional monitoring for short stints (3 or 7 days). Next time you go on vacation, you can let someone else keep an eye on your system.

What we don’t like

Abode doesn’t have many super awesome cameras—especially outdoor cameras. And while it recently released an indoor/outdoor camera that can be hardwired into your doorbell, it doesn’t make a dedicated doorbell camera. As in one that also functions like a regular doorbell. It’s a bit weird, we know.

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Heads up
Abode does not include a control panel or keypad in its starter equipment pack. (It sells them à la carte.) You can use the system without one, but it’s easier if you just buy one as an add-on.

Read more about Abode

Scout Alarm: Best RFID option

Scout Alarm ditches the keypad to give you RFID control over your security system.

Scout hub, door panel, and sensors

Source: Scout Alarm

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 (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.

Pros

  • RFID system control
  • Excellent smart home support
  • Affordable cameras

Cons

  • Extra cost for self-monitoring
Scout Alarm plans and prices
PlansPriceMobile app controlSecurity camera supportDetails
Always On$9.99/mo.YesYesView Plans
Always On+$19.99/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.

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.

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For the record
You can get a keypad through Scout. It’s just sold separately from the standard equipment packs. You’ll have to get it as an add-on item.

What we don’t like

While Scout’s generally easy on the wallet, it does have one big failing: it charges extra for self-monitoring. Systems like Nest Secure, Abode, and Ring Alarm will all let you self-monitor your system for free. But Scout makes you pay a $10 monthly subscription fee. Wamp wamp.

Ring Alarm: Best budget buy

Ring Alarm is super affordable and has good smart home support. But don’t expect super stylish equipment.

Ring alarm keypad and hub and sensors

Source: Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm is still a pretty new security system. It 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.

Pros

  • Super affordable pricing
  • Good smart home support
  • Cheap professional monitoring

Cons

  • Security concerns with cameras
Ring Alarm plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile app controlSecurity camera support*Details
Self-monitored$0/mo.YesN/AView Plans
Professionally monitored$10/mo.YesN/AView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.
* Ring cameras function as standalone devices.

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 quite literally the lowest price we’ve ever seen.

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.

What we don’t like

If you’ve heard of Ring at all, then you’ve probably heard about the Ring Video Doorbell camera. That, plus Ring’s other cameras, have historically been some of our favorite models. But there have been some security concerns with Ring cameras recently4,5 that might make you less eager to set them up in your house.

We still think the Ring Alarm is a great option for a cheap home security system with smart home support. But maybe skip the cameras for now.

Brinks (previously LiveWatch and MONI): Best monitoring

Brinks has pretty standard equipment, but we love its smart monitoring alerts.

brinks-control-panel-and-sensors-plus-security-camera

These days, it seems like Brinks is best known for being the professional in the professional monitoring behind the Google Nest Secure system. You can still get a regular Brinks system from Brinks, though, and it comes with some pretty neat monitoring alerts.

Pros

  • Smart monitoring alerts
  • 30-day return window
  • Smart home support

Cons

  • Contract required
Brinks Home Security plans and pricing
PlansPriceMobile app controlSecurity camera supportDetails
Smart Security$39/mo.YesYesView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.

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.

What we don’t like

Brinks has pretty standard equipment (the same kind you get from Link Interactive, among others), and it also requires a pretty standard three-year contract. We’d rather see Brinks ditch the contract, or at least offer the option to go contract-free if you buy your equipment up front. (That’s something Vivint and Link Interactive both offer.)

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

Cove: Best for basics

Cove has the same pricing as SimpliSafe but for upgraded equipment.

Source: Cove

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 better cameras. But Cove is a nice alternative for people who want something affordable yet sleek.

Pros

  • Affordable monitoring
  • Low equipment prices
  • Touchscreen control panel

Cons

  • Minimal smart home support
Cove security plans and prices
PlanPriceMobile app controlSecurity camera supportLearn more
Cove Basic$14.99/mo.NoneN/AView Plans
Cove Plus$24.99/mo.NoneN/AView Plans

Data effective 1/24/2020. Offers subject to change.
* Cove’s camera functions as a standalone device.

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.

What we don’t like

Cove has basically no smart home support. It doesn’t work with Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Thread, and it doesn’t offer any smart home devices of its own, either. The system does work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but that’s about it.

Read more about Cove

Recap: Which home security system is the best?

There are tons of home security systems out there, which is great news if you want to find one that suits your exact needs. When it comes right down to it, the best home security system is the one that works best for your house, your family, and your peace of mind.

  1. Vivint Smart Home: Best professionally installed—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.
  2. SimpliSafe: Best DIY installation—SimpliSafe is the poster child for easy-to-order, super affordable security systems. Plus, installation is a cinch.
  3. ADT: Most popular—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.
  4. Frontpoint: Best customer service—Frontpoint gets an A+ for its excellent customer experience. Its system is pretty good too—but with pricey monitoring plans.
  5. Google Nest Secure: Best self-monitored—Google Nest has equipment to impress even the most serious technophiles. Plus, you can self-monitor this system for free.
  6. Link Interactive: Most flexible—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.
  7. Abode: Best for smart homes—Abode gives you unique equipment features plus flexible professional monitoring. Quite the powerhouse combo.
  8. Scout Alarm: Best RFID option—Scout 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.
  9. Ring Alarm: Best budget buy—Ring 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.
  10. Brinks: Best monitoring—Brinks uses multiple channels to contact you in the event of an alarm, so you won’t miss the memo.
  11. Cove: Best for the basics—Cove is a lot like SimpliSafe as far as pricing goes, but its equipment is a little fancier overall. But Cove only has one camera option and it’s not the best.

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.

Home Security FAQs

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.

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Just so you know
In-home consultations are sales opportunities for security companies. These consultations can be super helpful, but they can also sell you on a bunch of equipment you didn’t think you needed (and probably still don’t).

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! 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.

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.)

Cities with the Most and Least Property Crime in 2019

When it comes to home security, you’re paying for something you hopefully won’t need—but you never know. Your home security can protect you from losing something you can’t replace. And where you live might influence some of your home security system decisions.

We ran numbers provided by the FBI to find the US cities with the most and least property crime. Hopefully, this helps paint a picture of where you stand when it comes to potential property problems.

Map of safest and most dangerous cities for property crime.

The FBI defines property crime as burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. We excluded motor vehicle–related crime to focus on finding the safest and most dangerous cities to own a home, rental, vacation house, or investment property.

Safest cities for property crime

  1. Gettysburg, PA
  2. Midland, MI
  3. The Villages, FL
  4. State College, PA
  5. Wausau-Weston, WI
  6. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
  7. Wheeling, WV-OH
  8. Logan, UT-ID
  9. Glens Falls, NY
  10. Appleton, WI

Most dangerous cities for property crime

  1. Lake Charles, LA
  2. Monroe, LA
  3. Anchorage, AK
  4. Alexandria, LA
  5. Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA
  6. Fairbanks, AK
  7. Hot Springs, AR
  8. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
  9. Hammond, LA
  10. Wichita, KS

You might be wondering where places like the mean streets of Chicago end up on a list like this, but the truth is, it ranks lower for property crime than you might think. Even if you include motor vehicle crime, Chicago falls below many of the cities on our list.

Also, it’s worth noting that the FBI lists some major metros as being both underreported and over-reported without clarifying what that means or providing data.

Interesting takeaways

  • You’re more likely to take a loss in Louisiana, which features four of the worst places to live for property crime. The best-ranked Louisiana city, Houma-Thibodaux, still sits low at 290 of 374 ranked metros.
  • Wisconsin cracked our top 10 safest cities from property crime twice. The worst-ranked Wisconsin metro still comes close to the middle at 171 out of 374 ranked metros.
  • Cities with large populations of college students rank several times on the top 10 safest list (i.e., Logan, UT; Gettysburg, PA; Midland, MI; and State College, PA). A good education never hurt anyone, so we’re glad to see it translate to property safety.

Did your city make our list? Does that affect how you feel about property crime around you? Let us know if you’re thinking about adding a security system, video camera, or anything else to your home to help you stay safe.

Sources

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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.