Cox Homelife Review 2020

Homelife is worth looking at if you’re already a Cox customer.
cox logo
Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Good for bundling with existing Cox services
Equipment variety
Expensive

We have mixed feelings about Cox’s smart home and security offering. On the one hand, it’s overpriced and not compatible with other systems. On the other, if you’re already a Cox customer, you could potentially save money when you sign up with Homelife.

In this Cox Homelife review, we’ll go more in-depth about why Cox leaves us conflicted.

Cox Homelife plans and pricing overview
CompanyMonitoring price rangeContractHome automation integrationsLearn more
cox logo$29.99–$54.99/mo.Contact for exact quoteNoneView Plans

Data effective 04/22/2020. Offers subject to change.

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Cox bundles
If you’re looking to bundle Homelife with other Cox services, here’s our review of Cox Communications service bundles.

Cox Homelife pricing, contracts, and fees

Homelife has a smart home plan and a security plan.

Cox does something unusual in the home security space. It sells smart home plans, not home security plans, and it offers security as an add-on.

Essentially, you can’t get security in the lower-tier plan. You’ve got to pay for the more expensive Cox Homelife Security monitoring service.

Cox Homelife plans and pricing overview
PlanPriceContract lengthLearn more
Cox Homelife Automation$29.99/mo.Contact for exact quoteView Plans
Cox Homelife Security$54.99/mo.Contact for exact quoteView Plans

Data effective 04/22/2020. Offers subject to change.

You can also add 24-hour continuous video recording with Cox for $14.99 for one camera or $24.99 for two to four cameras. (This subscription allows you to record on a rolling 24-hour loop without missing a thing. The cloud then stores that footage for up to ten days.)

Altogether, that makes Cox quite pricey. You could pay close to $80 a month for the privilege to use your equipment. Still, we have to give Cox points for being transparent about its prices and making them readily available.

Contracts

Something that Cox isn’t transparent about? Contracts.

Based on this service agreement, it looks like you can expect a two-year commitment. Former customers have also mentioned going month-to-month after their original contracts expired. But we can’t guarantee any of that because the website isn’t forthcoming.

We think that, at a minimum, you should receive a contract term length when you add one of Cox’s packages to your shopping cart. That didn’t happen when we looked at purchasing a service.

If you decide to sign with Homelife, we urge you to clarify your contract length and terms with Cox beforehand.

Fees

There’s an activation fee of $49.99 when you get the Cox Homelife Security equipment. Previous and existing customers say there are also installation and cancellation fees. Sadly, we weren’t able to pin down exact numbers. That’s something else to ask Cox about before signing.

Also, if you move within a Cox area, you’ll pay a fee to transfer your equipment. If you move outside of a Cox area, you have to cancel and pay the early termination fee. You’ll also have to return your touchscreen control panel if you’re renting one.

Cox Homelife equipment

Cox Homelife has tons of equipment, but its free packages leave a lot to be desired.

Cox offers a few different equipment packages. The Homelife Automation Starter Equipment and Homelife Security & Automation Starter Equipment packages are free when you sign up with a monitoring plan (minus activation and installation fees).

The Digital Home Starter Kit is 200 buckaroos.

Cox Homelife packages overview
Cox packageCamerasSensorsSmart homeRequired monitoring plan
Homelife Automation Starter Equipment1 HD camera1 door/window sensor1 smart LED light bulbCox Homelife Automation
Homelife Security & Automation Starter Equipment1 HD camera2 door/window sensors
1 indoor motion sensor
NoneCox Homelife Security
Digital Home Starter Kit2 HD cameras2 door/window sensors
1 indoor motion sensor
3 smart LED light bulbsCox Homelife Security

Data effective 04/22/2020. Offers subject to change.

The amount of equipment included in the packages is pretty sparse. We do like that every package comes with a Cox Homelife camera, though.

Additional equipment

Cox has more equipment if you’re willing to open your wallet.

You can buy any of the following:

  • Homelife wireless keypad: $100
  • Additional HD camera: $180
  • Additional door/window sensor: $60
  • Additional indoor motion sensor: $100
  • Glass break sensor: $150
  • Water/flood sensor: $85
  • Monitored smoke-heat detector: $125
  • Monitored carbon monoxide detector: $125
  • Additional smart LED light bulb: $25
  • Smart door lock: $230
  • Smart plug: $60
  • Smart thermostat: $200

Are these prices reasonable? They are not. Most of these items would be much cheaper if you bought them as standalones from your favorite manufacturer. Not even Nest, the prince of product priciness, charges this much for basic sensors.

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Save money
Happily, some of Cox’s items are cheaper when bought in a multi-pack. So if you need more than one sensor, you’ll save a lot.

The Cox website also mentions the Homelife Hub, Homelife Router, and a touchscreen control panel, though how you get them is unclear.

We suspect that they’re unlisted pieces of equipment that come with some or all of the packages. After all, most smart home and security systems require some kind of hub or control panel. The purchase prices remain a mystery, although Cox indicates you can rent the control panel for $4 a month instead of buying it outright.

If you choose to buy from Cox, we suggest nailing these details down with reps so that there’s no confusion.

Cox Homelife smart thermostat

We’re drawn to this sharp-looking, battery-operated thermostat. It can be controlled remotely through an app (a major plus), and we like the unobtrusive design.

Cox smart thermostat

Source: Cox.com

Unfortunately, Cox isn’t very forthright about product details. We don’t know if this is a Cox Homelife original or if it comes from a third party, like Alarm.com.

Cox Homelife cameras

Cox offers just the one camera. It’s a nice-looking device, but we aren’t overly impressed with the lack of variety—especially since you have to pay extra for video monitoring.

Cox camera

Source: Cox.com

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Outdoor camera use
Cox touts this camera as an indoor device. We don’t recommend using it outdoors, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for an outdoor security camera.

Cox Homelife home automation and mobile control

There are no Homelife-compatible devices to speak of.

The equipment doesn’t work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or IFTTT.

We’ve yet to find a voice assistant or protocol that’s compatible with Homelife. By its own admission, the company’s equipment doesn’t work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or IFTTT. It doesn’t appear to work with Samsung SmartThings, Apple Homekit, Z-Wave, or Zigbee either. It honestly looks like Homelife is compatible with just . . . itself.

That’s not a problem if you’re happy with the equipment selection and prices. But if you want to cobble together a smart home using a variety of brands, you’re in for a nasty surprise.

Mobile app

Cox Homelife app

Source: Cox.com

The Homelife app works with iPhones 6 or higher using iOS 11.0 to 13.1. It also works with a variety of Google and Samsung phones using Android 7.0 to 9.0.

According to the Cox website, you have to use the app. A browser isn’t an option.

While the app looks nice and has a decent layout, customers don’t love it. iTunes store reviews state that the Cox Homelife app’s connectivity with the smart home and security equipment is chancy, and user ratings aren’t great.

Cox Homelife installation

Your Homelife system will be professionally installed.

This sucker is 100% professionally installed. You even need Cox’s help to transfer your equipment somewhere else.

Installation fee: We know there is one; we just aren’t sure of the exact amount.

Cox Homelife customer experience

The Cox Homelife customer service is definitely mixed.

People have been happy with Homelife in the past, just . . . not so much recently. There aren’t many positive customer reviews from the last few years on major review sites.

Cox Communications consumers mostly complain about billing and contract issues, especially when it comes to bundles. And we have to be honest; we were less than impressed with many of Cox’s responses through the BBB. They could have been a lot more personalized. One was even borderline rude, putting scare quotes around terms the customer used in their review and using passive-aggressive language like, “We apologize that you feel . . .”

Recap: Is Cox Homelife good?

We cautiously recommend Homelife to existing Cox customers who want to bundle their services.

Cox Homelife could be good if you’re already invested in Cox services. Otherwise, since it costs a lot and isn’t compatible with other smart home and security equipment, we think you could do better.

If you’re looking for a bundle specifically, here are our top service bundle recommendations. Not all of them include home security, though, so you should also check out our best home security systems.

If you’re more interested in the home automation aspect of Cox, check out our guide to setting up your smart home.

FAQ

Is Cox Homelife available in my area?

Cox Homelife offers service in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

You can also get service in DC.

What’s in a Cox bundle?

Cox bundles include internet, TV, phone, and/or home security. You can get these services in multiple different combinations so you can meet your needs and save money.

Of course, Cox isn’t the only provider offering bundles, though it is one of the only companies that includes home security. If you’re not sold on Cox but want something similar, you can try an Xfinity home security bundle. Just beware of Xfinity/Comcast’s customer service.

What internet do I need with Cox Homelife?

Cox says Homelife won’t work as advertised unless you have a high-speed internet connection. That means internet of 25 Mbps or more.¹

If you don’t have a connection with sufficient speed, you’ll need to change providers. (Cox, unsurprisingly, will generally point you to its internet service.)

It’s up to you whether you want to use Wi-Fi or if you want to physically connect to a router with an Ethernet cable. You just need some fast internet.

Can I monitor the home security system on my own using the Homelife app?

Cox offers professional monitoring in a bundle with its equipment, so you can’t self-monitor. If you’re really invested in self-monitoring, this isn’t the system for you. But there are lots of benefits to professional monitoring since you know eyes are always on your system.

Cox has six monitoring centers, so even if there’s a natural disaster or power outage, there’s always someone to watch your home.

Sources

  1. Federal Communications Commission, “2015 Broadband Progress Report
  • Kevin Turnage

    Cox is the worst ever HORRIFIC Customer service if you can call it that

  • Dee Cears

    We have the cox system and it works as a deterrent I guess but I’m not certain it’s worth the money. We had an unfortunate real life test where we left the alarm on accidentally and the housekeeper set it off. We were out of cell service and the monitoring center couldn’t reach us to verify. They reset the alarm after 15 min and that was that. A guard showed up at the house over 2 hours later to “check out the scene”. I’ve never been a criminal but I suspect most home invasions happen more quickly. I know criminals can’t count on nobody answering the phone and this was an anomaly but it’s a serious f aw in their coverage. We are considering switching services to a company that does what it says it does

  • Robert Becton

    Not happy right now…Trying to get this product & their customer service sux…3 times Ive had conversations with reps, depending on who you talk to, you get a different version. Nobody is familiar with equipment , special offers listed or what the other hand is doing. I’ve asked for a consultation before install, 2 assured me not needed…tech shows up, can’t do the job..talk with rep again..consultation set up…between 3 & 5 pm…no show…no phone call..I drove 40 miles each way…called again. .now rep says they don’t do that…seriously about to pull plug on this clown show…if I ran a business like this, there would be no business