Best Renter and Apartment Security Systems 2021

We found the best alarm systems for apartments so you can protect your property and still get your security deposit back.
  • Best Value

    SimpliSafe

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    4.5 out of 5 overall
    No contract
    No self-monitoring
  • Editor’s Choice

    Abode

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    4.5 out of 5 overall
    No contract
    Self-monitoring option
  • Best Customer Service

    Frontpoint

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    4 out of 5 overall
    No contract
    No self-monitoring
  • Best RFID Option

    Scout

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    3.5 out of 5 overall
    No contract
    Self-monitoring option
  • Best for Basics

    Cove

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    4 out of 5 overall
    No contract
    No self-monitoring

Our preferred security system for apartments and renters is the old DIY standby, SimpliSafe Home Security. SimpliSafe is affordable, contract-free, and easy to install. Plus, people will recognize the name on your yard sign.

Compare best security systems for apartments and renters
ProviderMonitoring priceSelf-monitoring optionDetails
SimpliSafe logo$14.99–$24.99/mo.NoView Plans
Abode logo$0.00–$20.00/moYesView Plans
Frontpoint logo$44.99–$49.99/mo.NoView Plans
Scout logo$9.99–19.99/mo.YesView Plans
Cove logo$14.99–$24.99/mo.YesView Plans

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

SimpliSafe logo
  • 40% off any new system

Data effective as of 6/10/21. Offers subject to change

What to look for in an apartment security system

The best alarm systems for renters have DIY installation, easy portability, and no contracts.

Security system features that work best for renters:

  • DIY installation
  • Minimal equipment
  • À-la-carte buying options
  • Contract-free monitoring (or short contracts)
  • Portable security cameras

Most landlords would rather their tenants didn’t drill holes in the wall or install complex security systems you have to take down later. Especially if you tend to move from one place to another fairly frequently (say, every two years or so), then you don’t want to be tied down by an apartment alarm system of all things.

This can be a problem considering many security providers have 3- or 5-year contracts and professional installation, which makes it more difficult to move the equipment from place to place.

If you’re into home automation, you might also want your home security system to support Z-Wave or Zigbee integrations so you can add in things like light controls.

Want to read more?

SimpliSafe: Best value

SimpliSafe logo
  • Offers affordable equipment & monitoring
  • Works w/ August smart locks
  • Integrates w/ Google and Alexa
Pro monitoring from $14.99/mo.

SimpliSafe was one of the first companies to offer no-contract DIY security. You can choose whether to pay month to month for professional system monitoring or rely on the system’s loud siren to scare off intruders.

We ranked SimpliSafe best overall for renters precisely because, like the name says, it’s simple. It’s super affordable, it’s easy to install, and it does its job. We like that SimpliSafe has transparent pricing and offers a full range of equipment so you can choose which components you want and leave the ones you don’t.

What we don’t love is that you must subscribe to SimpliSafe’s top monitoring plan if you want to control the system from your phone. Providers like Abode give you mobile app access with or without a monitoring plan.

SimpliSafe monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlDetails
Standard$14.99/mo. NoView Plans
Interactive$24.99/mo.YesView Plans
Info Box icon
Want to learn more about SimpliSafe's security cameras?
Check out our full SimpliSafe Cameras Review.

SimpliSafe equipment

SimpliSafe has a good range of basic security sensors, including door and window sensors and motion detectors. It even has a few smart home devices, including a smart lock and a doorbell camera.

If you want a more diverse range of smart home devices, then we recommend going with Abode or even Frontpoint. But if your primary concern is to protect your house from potential intruders and environmental disasters, like fires and floods, then SimpliSafe probably has what you need.

SimpliSafe security equipment: 

  • Door/window sensor
  • Motion detector
  • Water sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Smoke alarm
  • 105 dB siren
  • Panic button
  • Glass break sensor
  • Keypad
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Key fob/keychain remote
  • Smart lock
  • SimpliCam indoor camera
  • Video Doorbell Pro

Abode: Editor’s choice

Abode logo
  • Extensive smart home integrations
  • Sonos and Bose integrations
  • Free self-monitoring
Pro monitoring from $20.00/mo.

Abode is a sleek addition to the security industry. The system is the product of a Kickstarter fundraiser and was officially released in 2015. The idea was to make a DIY-installation, high-tech security system with no monthly contracts or long commitments.

We’d say Abode definitely delivers on the tech front. It keeps its system fairly simple, but you still get smart devices. Abode’s motion detectors also take photos, and its indoor cameras don’t scream “security camera,” so you can set them on a bookshelf and still keep things classy.

SimpliSafe offers a wider array of equipment than Abode—and for less money—but Abode is a few steps ahead in the tech game.

Our only real complaints about Abode are that its equipment starter pack doesn’t come with a keypad, and its monthly price for professional monitoring is high for this kind of system.

Abode monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMonitoring typeDetails
Basic$0.00/mo.SelfView Plans
Standard$6.00/mo.SelfView Plans
Pro$20.00/mo.ProfessionalView Plans

Abode equipment

Abode has a decent array of security sensors, although fewer than you’d find from a company like Frontpoint. Abode’s specialty is smart home integrations, so the biggest benefit of Abode is that you can pair it with a ton of other devices on the market, including other security sensors if you want something Abode doesn’t offer.

Abode security equipment: 

  • Door/window sensor (mini, recessed, and strip versions)
  • Glass break detector (acoustic and vibration versions)
  • Motion detector (built-in camera option)
  • Multi sensor (detects temperature, motion, humidity, and light)
  • Smoke alarm listener
  • Leak sensor
  • System status indicator
  • Panic button
  • Keypad
  • Key fob
  • Indoor siren
  • Outdoor siren
  • Outdoor Smart Cam
  • Abode Cam 2

Frontpoint: Best customer service

Frontpoint logo
  • Excellent customer service
  • Extensive smart home integrations
  • Wide range of equipment
Pro monitoring from $44.99/mo.

Frontpoint is like a hybrid between traditional security companies like ADT and less like some of the up-and-comers on our list, such as Cove. Its monitoring prices are high but its equipment is affordable, and you don’t have to sign a contract.

We love the no-contract option, but we included Frontpoint on our renter’s list because the company has excellent customer service, which makes it easier to relocate your service if you move.

You also install the system yourself—just peel and stick—so you don’t have to wait around for professional installers to put in or take out your system. Plus, no holes in your wall.

Info Box icon
Did you know?
Most security providers have relocation options and packages. They just tend to be more expensive and more complicated than the easy DIY systems we prefer for renters.
Frontpoint monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceSecurity camera supportDetails
Interactive$44.99/mo.NoView Plans
Ultimate$49.99/mo.YesView Plans

Frontpoint equipment

Frontpoint has a bunch of different security sensors on offer, as well as a decent range of smart home devices. Because Frontpoint integrates with connection types like Z-Wave, you can also add in third-party security equipment if Frontpoint doesn’t have something you want.

Frontpoint security equipment: 

  • Door/window sensor
  • Motion sensor
  • Glass break sensor
  • Garage door tilt sensor
  • Smoke and heat sensor
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Flood sensor
  • Keypad
  • Touchscreen control panel
  • Doorbell camera
  • Indoor camera
  • Outdoor camera
  • Premium indoor camera
  • Smart door lock
  • Smart thermostat
  • Wireless light control
  • Smart light bulb
  • Key fob
  • Panic button/medical pendant

Scout: Best RFID option

Scout logo
  • Self-monitoring option
  • RFID tag and mobile app control
  • Google and Alexa integrations
Pro monitoring from $9.99

We can’t deny it: Scout has style. Its equipment is nice to look at, and both online ordering and DIY installation are super easy.

One of our favorite Scout standouts is the RFID tag. An RFID tag is a little key fob that allows you to arm and disarm your system using radio-frequency identification. Scout’s system works a little differently from what we usually see, and sometimes, the traditional systems are more user-friendly.

That said, Scout offers the cheapest professional monitoring on our list (aside from SimpliSafe). The system also comes with both Zigbee and Z-Wave compatibility, so if you want to go full smart home (or smart apartment), you don’t have to be restricted to one or the other connection type.

Scout monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMonitoring typeDetails
Always On$9.99/mo.SelfView Plans
Always On+$19.99/mo.ProfessionalView Plans

Scout equipment

Scout has pretty basic equipment. You won’t find anything fancy or unusual, but you can cover the basics with things like entry sensors and a smoke alarm. Scout also has a good range of smart home integrations, so you can add in compatible third-party devices if you need to.

Scout security equipment: 

  • Door panel
  • Keypad
  • Motion sensor
  • Entry sensor
  • Water sensor
  • Glass break sensor
  • Panic button
  • Remote control
  • Siren and Zigbee repeater
  • Key fob
  • First Alert smoke and carbon monoxide detector
  • Scout indoor camera
  • Scout video doorbell
  • Yale smart lock
  • RFID sticker

Cove: Best for basics

Cove logo
  • Offers affordable monitoring and equipment
  • Uses RapidSOS Emergency Response platform
  • Works with Google and Alexa
Pro monitoring from $14.99

Cove is a pretty new DIY security company, but its equipment makes it seem like it’s been around for years. If you’re looking at pricing, then Cove is on par with SimpliSafe, but Cove’s equipment has more functionality.

What we love most about Cove for renters is that there aren’t any sneaky fees or extra costs for moving or switching your service. And since you don’t have to sign any contracts, you can cancel it if you ever need to.

Cove monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlDetails
Cove Basic$14.99/mo.NoView Plans
Cove Plus$24.99/mo. YesView Plans

Cove equipment

Cove has a decent range of security equipment, including the basics like motion sensors and glass break detectors. You won’t find much smart home stuff here, and Cove’s limited smart home integrations mean you can’t add on additional equipment. But if you need basic security sensors, Cove can help you protect your house.

Cove security equipment: 

  • Control panel
  • Door/window sensor
  • Motion detector
  • Key fob
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detector
  • Glass break detector
  • Medical button
  • Flood sensor
  • Indoor camera
  • Outdoor camera

Recap: Best security systems for apartments and renters

  • SimpliSafe gives you a full range of inexpensive equipment, but you have to pay for the top-tier monitoring plan to get mobile app access and control.
  • Abode offers innovative equipment, but if you want a physical keypad, you have to order it separately.
  • Frontpoint has good customer support and excellent equipment discounts, but its monthly monitoring prices are pretty high.
  • Scout has stylish basic equipment with a unique experience, but sometimes a regular keypad is easier. (And if you want one, you have to order it separately.)
  • Cove gives you affordable equipment and monitoring, and its Cove Plus monitoring plan lets you build credit to upgrade your equipment over time—without charging extra.

Still not sure which is the best security system for you? Check out our Best Home Security Systems review to compare more options.

Methodology

We compare and rank home security systems based on five key factors:

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

To decide which home security systems are best for apartments and renters, we also looked for systems that don’t charge high prices for their professional monitoring services or security equipment. We prioritized security systems that don’t require a contract and don’t charge any hidden fees.

FAQ

What’s the best home security system for an apartment?

We think the best home security system for an apartment is SimpliSafe. But what really matters is to know what makes a good security system for renters. Look for DIY installation, minimal equipment, and no-contract or DIY monitoring.

Can I have an alarm system in my apartment?

Yes, you can use an alarm system in your apartment. At least, as long as your property manager approves. Many DIY security systems cater to renters and apartment-living. Just keep it minimal, contract-free, and easy to move.

Can you get ADT if you rent?

Traditional ADT systems may be difficult to install in a rental property because they require professional installation, which can be invasive and may not sit well with your property manager. That said, Blue by ADT—ADT’s newly released DIY system—could work.

What is SimpliSafe’s Interactive monitoring?

SimpliSafe’s Interactive plan is the top-tier of it’s professionally monitoring subscription plans. The Interactive plan costs $24.99 per month (as opposed to the Standard plan’s $14.99 per month price tag), but you get a lot of extra functionality for those 10 extra dollars.

You’ll need the Interactive monitoring plan if you want to control your SimpliSafe system from your phone, set up custom alerts, integrate your system with Amazon Alexa, etc. Basically, all of SimpliSafe’s smartest features are part of the Interactive plan.