Frontpoint Home Security Review

The install-it-yourself home security system surprised us with its simplicity and sophistication.

The install-it-yourself home security system surprised us with its simplicity and sophistication.
Overall Rating4 out of 5
DIY install and setup
Risk-free trial (30 days)
Long-term contract

OVERVIEW

There’s plenty to like about the Frontpoint security system—you can install it yourself, it’s easy to use, and its customer service is better than we expected. It’s not a perfect system, though. You’ll have to sign a one- or three-year contract. and the monthly monitoring feels just a touch pricey, especially if you want video monitoring.

FrontpointMonthly priceContractLearn more
$34.99–49.99/mo.1 or 3 yrs.View plans

To find out all there is to Frontpoint’s home security system, we ordered it ourselves and tried it out.

Frontpoint security system

Frontpoint’s biggest selling point is the technology it uses to monitor the home. Its system is cellular, which means it doesn’t rely on a landline or Wi-Fi for connectivity. We haven’t come across too many home security systems that rely solely on cellular technology, which is wireless and can’t be cut, so this feature definitely impressed us. Of course, if you set up a video camera, you’ll still need an internet connection to watch your feed, but otherwise the system is all cellular all the time.

We admit that we can sometimes get a little too geeky about the latest technology, and Frontpoint does have some items that pique our interest—like the video doorbell and water sensor—but there’s a lot to pick from, so we decided to just list them all.

What security equipment does Frontpoint have?

  • Standard control panel
  • Wireless control panel
  • Door and window sensor
  • Garage door sensor
  • Glass break sensor
  • Motion sensor
  • Smoke and heat sensor
  • Carbon monoxide sensor
  • Water flood sensor
  • Recessed door sensor
  • Keychain remote
  • Panic pendant
  • Light sensor
  • Smart lock
  • Wireless indoor camera
  • Wireless outdoor camera
  • Video doorbell

Because Frontpoint is all about DIY and customization, you can pick and choose what equipment you want. We didn’t get every single device for the system we tested, but we’ll cover the most popular (and essential) equipment.

The control panel

The control panel is basically the home base of your security system. If you prefer using the Frontpoint app on your smartphone, you might not pay attention to the control panel as much, but the control panel is the quickest way to check the status of your system and set the alarm.

The touchscreen control panel from Frontpoint is much sleeker than its standard control panel, but if you’re already using the smartphone app, we think the touchscreen control panel is more of a luxury than a necessity. Still, it’s pretty cool—it takes a picture every time someone disarms the system, and you can check alarm pictures (triggered by motion sensors) and video feeds (indoor or outdoor cameras) directly from the panel.

Frontpoint’s standard control panel

Q: What’s in Frontpoint’s touchscreen control panel?

  • Camera (takes a picture when the system is disarmed)
  • Arm/Disarm button
  • Weather status and forecast
  • Camera menu (view alarm pictures)
  • Status menu (system status, alarm and sensor history, etc.)
  • Home control menu (for home automation devices)
  • Apps menu (access to other system applications)
  • Emergency button

When testing the system setup process, we decided to try out the standard control panel. We’re happy to report it worked just as it should and that it even managed to surprise us—we enjoyed having basic weather updates, even on its simple display. Besides, if we want a fancy interface that we want to show off to friends, we can always pull out our smartphone and show off the Frontpoint app.

Window and door monitors

The window and door monitors were surprisingly small. In fact, we had to remove old sensors from ADT to install Frontpoint’s, and Frontpoint’s were easily half the size (the more discreet the better).

Besides being smaller, the monitors were easy to install (peel and stick), and worked right away.

Home automation with Frontpoint

Mobile control

The Frontpoint app does what you’d expect from a home security app. You can arm the system remotely (as long as you’re connected to the internet) and receive alerts. You can also make changes to your system settings and check in on your video if you’re away from home or if you just want to make sure your spouse is in the other room so you can sneak some more chocolate out of the kitchen. (Disclaimer: we would never do that, really.)

The Frontpoint app also includes some geo-smart features, which means it disarms the system if your phone is nearby. This makes the most sense if you’re pulling into your garage, if you’re coming in through the front door and your hands are full of groceries, or if your toddler fell asleep in the car and you have to carry them inside.

Home security cameras

Video doorbell camera

The Wi-Fi doorbell on our front door.

Frontpoint’s video doorbell is what we looked forward to trying the most. The actual camera is a Skybell HD camera, and it can replace almost any hardwired doorbell. Frontpoint’s video doorbell works day or night (night vision is cool!), and we love not having to answer the door for anyone but expected guests.

The video doorbell includes two-way audio, so you can speak to whomever knocks without putting your life or Netflix on pause—you can even turn away solicitors without leaving the dinner table.

We also like the security it provides against would-be package thieves who try to snatch our Amazon shipments.

The image on Frontpoint’s video doorbell is crisp and clear, and it works as it should with the smartphone app. The biggest thing you’ll worry about is making sure you have a strong Wi-Fi signal outside your door. You can always test this by standing in front of your door and using the web browser on your phone to run an internet speed test, but make sure you’re on your home’s Wi-Fi network and not on your cellular provider’s network.

Indoor and outdoor cameras

Frontpoint’s wireless indoor camera records full HD (720p) day or night, and the camera itself doesn’t look too shabby either. The camera connects to Wi-Fi and starts recording when it senses movement. You can set up your camera and system so you get text or email notifications anytime you get a recording, but we’re not sure if pets, like your komodo dragon, are going to trigger your system. (We’ll have to test it out.)

The Frontpoint wireless outdoor camera is nearly identical to the indoor camera in terms of features but not looks.

The camera also sports two-way audio, so if Gertrude (the same komodo dragon) gets into the jar of peanut M&M’s you left on the counter, you can try and tell her not to do so.

If you’re curious, there’s no additional fee for the video monitoring, but it’s available only in the Ultimate Monitoring plan ($49.99 a month), so in a way you are still paying more for it.

The Frontpoint wireless outdoor camera is nearly identical to the indoor camera in terms of features but not looks. The biggest difference in the outdoor cameras is that it’s truly meant for the outdoors—it’s weatherproof and operates in temperatures below freezing.

Customer experience

Frontpoint was helpful and didn’t push any extra equipment on us.

We’ve called plenty of companies for our reviews, so we’re no strangers to bad customer service or high-pressure sales. But lucky for us, calling Frontpoint was a surprisingly positive experience. The first time we called Frontpoint, we spent almost an hour with a representative, and they didn’t get impatient as we bombarded them with questions. Plus, when we did call to order a home security system, the representative we spoke with didn’t try to rush or upsell us.

Little pin Little pin

TIP

TIP

If you call to order a home security system from Frontpoint, expect plenty of questions and give yourself at least an hour.

When we bought a home security system from Frontpoint, it took about 30 minutes to wrap up the order over the phone. We did ask a handful of questions, but most of the time was spent talking with the representative to make sure we had the right system setup for the home.

They asked plenty of questions, like if there was a “trigger event” that made us want a security system, or what concerns we had about home security. They also asked detailed questions about the layout of our home and the entry points. Of course, every home is unique, so it makes sense that the Frontpoint phone call felt more like a consultation than a sales call, and we don’t expect your experience will be any different from ours.

The installation

We put Frontpoint’s DIY system to the test, and it turned out it beat our expectations for ease of installation—well, at least for everything but the video doorbell.

When we opened our Frontpoint box, the instructions and packaging were clear and intuitive (see photo). We followed the steps and opened up the online instructions using a Google Nexus tablet (sorry, Apple fans!). We had our monitors set up and the control panel up and running in no time.

The only challenge we had was with the Skybell video doorbell. The video installation on Frontpoint’s website was for an older model, and we were a little bummed that we had to hunt for an installation video. We’re also a little embarrassed to admit a video doorbell stumped us for a bit.

Once the Frontpoint system was completely set up, using it was simple. In fact, we put away the instructions and just played around with the control panel and smartphone app. You could even say we felt pretty pleased with ourselves for installing a home security system without a professional.  

We should mention that the home where we installed the system required only a few window and door monitors and a video doorbell. If you have a huge home, doing a DIY security system might take more time and be more of a challenge. For our three-bedroom, two-bath home, we were done with installation in about an hour.

The system monitoring

Light Bulb icon Light Bulb icon

A tip from Frontpoint.com

A tip from Frontpoint.com

“Interactive Monitoring keeps you informed about things that open and close, even if the system is disarmed. For example, get an email whenever a gun cabinet or medicine cabinet is opened. Or, how about a text message whenever a babysitter enters the master bedroom?”2

If an alarm is triggered, you have 30–60 seconds to disarm the system before the siren turns on. This gives you time to disable the alarm if you’re returning home, accidentally tripped the alarm, etc. If a burglar were to enter the home and destroy the control panel before the siren turns on, Frontpoint’s monitoring service would still receive an alert.

Frontpoint calls this its Crash and Smash Protection, which is included in every monitoring plan. Basically, the system sends out a cellular signal the moment the alarm is tripped, and if there is no response from the system that all is clear, Frontpoint will notify you and the authorities.

You can always arm or disarm the system remotely using the app, which is a huge plus if you need to let your friend borrow your golf clubs when you’re out of town or if your in-laws drop by for a surprise visit (well—maybe leave it on in that case).

Frontpoint pricing

Part 1 of 2: the equipment cost

There are two parts to paying for a Frontpoint system. The first part is the upfront payment for the equipment. Though we completed our order by calling a representative—which we highly recommend so you can ask questions—you can find the exact price of Frontpoint equipment online.

Because picking equipment is à la carte, the sky’s the limit. If you find the security options overwhelming, we say stick with the Frontpoint representative’s recommendations. However, that’s assuming you speak to someone as helpful as the person we spoke to.

Part 2 of 2: the monitoring cost

The true cost of a home security system comes through in the monthly monitoring price. Frontpoint has three plans with really cool features as listed below.

Frontpoint monitoring plans

  • Protection monitoring: $34.99 a month
    • Burglary and intrusion
    • Fire
    • Environmental conditions
    • Life safety
  • Interactive monitoring: $44.99 a month
    • Burglary and intrusion
    • Fire
    • Environmental conditions
    • Life safety
    • Instant email and text alerts
    • Remote access
    • Alarm history repository
    • Home automation light control
  • Ultimate monitoring: $49.99 a month
    • Burglary and intrusion
    • Fire
    • Environmental conditions
    • Life safety
    • Instant email and text alerts
    • Remote access
    • Alarm history repository
    • Live and recorded video surveillance
    • Home automation light control
    • Home automation climate control (thermostats)
    • Home automation access control (door locks)

Each plan requires a one- or three-year commitment.

The contracts

ProvidersNo-contract option?Details
vivint smarthome logoYesView plans
NoView Plans
NoView plans

We covered this earlier, but we think it’s worth mentioning again—you can choose between a one- or three-year contract with Frontpoint. That’s it. If you’re looking for no-contract service, you can check out our other home security system reviews. We’ve also compared Frontpoint with other top providers like Protect America and Livewatch if you want to see how the two services stack up when directly compared to one another.

Recap

  • DIY install and setup
  • Risk-free trial (30 days)
  • Long-term contract

Our Frontpoint experience was positive overall, but it’s not a perfect system. The monthly monitoring feels just a tad more expensive than it should be, especially when compared to other providers. And we’re not jazzed that the only way to get video monitoring is with the Ultimate Monitoring plan ($49.99 a month).

However, Frontpoint’s home security system got us excited about DIY security, and we were not expecting that. The Frontpoint system is so easy to use, we could almost say it’s fun (almost). If you fancy yourself DIY kind of person and are looking to make your home secure, Frontpoint is right up your alley. Honestly, we’re skeptical you’ll find better customer service and support for home security anywhere else.

Sources

1.    Frontpoint, “Checkout
2.    Frontpoint, “Frontpoint Experience

  • HobbsAndCalvin

    This is best review I’ve ever read. EVER.