Scout Home Security Review

Scout’s DIY system is easy to install, but you have to subscribe to a monitoring plan to benefit from it.
Scout’s DIY system is easy to install, but you have to subscribe to a monitoring plan to benefit from it.
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Easy DIY Installation
Modern minimalist design
Affordable monitoring plans

OVERVIEW

Scout’s DIY approach to home security works well for minimalists. The company offers a basic security setup—but if you want more, you can use third-party tools to get home automation and video.Best of all, it’s fairly inexpensive, and you don’t need tools or hard labor to install it.

Scout works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, Nest products, IFTTT (“If This Then That”), and others so you can automate your home and control everything using your voice or mobile device. The Scout hub has both ZigBee and Z-Wave radios, which are the two main types of home automation technologies, so chances are it will work with most third-party equipment.

PlanPriceContractDetails
$9.99 or $19.99/mo.Not requiredView System

Tech and equipment

What security equipment does Scout have?

  • Control hub
  • Motion sensor
  • Access sensor
  • Water sensor

Scout takes an elegant, wireless approach to home security. If you want a system you control with your phone, tablet, or other smart devices, Scout is a great option.

However, this hip company may be a little too app- and device-based for some users and hasn’t quite caught on to important industry trends. Nor have they really thought long and hard about why traditional functionality has worked in home security for so long..

For example, the hub (the system’s brain) is not a control panel…what? That’s right, you can’t physically arm or disarm the system without the app. We wish Scout at least had a keypad option to give users a little more freedom, but as it is, you have to use the app.

This means you can’t just give a key code to someone like your kids or a babysitter—and we don’t like that If you want someone else to be able to arm and disarm your system, you have to bring them into your Scout system via the mobile app first. The whole idea is a little more complicated than just including a keypad on the hub.

Basic security features

Good news: you won’t have to buy a complete package of sensors like with some companies. Instead, you can add equipment à la carte—great for starting small and building up. You should start with a hub and the most important sensors and move up from there.

Scout offers two monitoring plans and sells only four pieces of security equipment. The equipment has a 100-foot range, but that range can extend with each piece of equipment you add. If you need further coverage, though, just make sure you have a device between the new sensor and the hub.

Scout hub

Think of Scout’s hub like the brain of your system. Scout’s system works wirelessly, but you must plug the hub into a power supply and an ethernet connection.  If your power or internet goes out, you’ll still be covered by a 12-hour backup lithium ion battery and 3G cellular backup.

Scout access sensors

Each $29 sensor has a motion-activated trigger, as well as a temperature sensor. You can place these access sensors on doors, cabinets, drawers, windows, and anything you don’t want opened without you knowing about it. Scout claims sensor batteries should last three years, but some customers have complained that batteries die quicker than expected.

Scout motion detector

Scout’s motion detector has a 20-foot range and 90-degree view, and it’s a bit too sensitive for our liking, since pets can trigger the alarm too easily. Some users have claimed tape on the bottom is a decent workaround, but especially if you have larger pets, we would steer you over to ADT, which has pet-friendly sensors up to 60–80 pounds.

Scout does have an IFTTT (“If This, Then That”) workaround to coordinate with Roomba, so if you were worried about that, you’re covered.

Scout water sensor

Water damage is always costly, especially since many insurance providers require additional coverage for flooding. If you use a Scout device in a high-risk area, like under a leaky sink or in an area with expensive equipment (a computer room or music studio, for instance), Scout will immediately alert you if there’s a problem. This could  save you a ton of money and heartache.

Yard signs and stickers

Yard signs and stickers can be burglar deterrents for your home, since would-be intruders are less likely to break into a home they know has a security system. Pop a few of these around your property to scare off neighborhood punks or criminals looking for an easy robbery. Scout will include signs and stickers in your initial order, but they also sell them separately.

Home Automation and Smart Home Features

One big downside of Scout is you have to pay for subscription access for home automation—yes, even to use the app. This is a major downfall for a DIY home security service. If you don’t pay, you’ll only get the basic siren and web-based self-monitoring—pointless, if you ask us. If it helps, just know that if you do buy the monitoring plan, it works great.

Scout integrates with the following:

  • Google Home
  • Amazon Alexa (Echo and Dot)
  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Nest (Nest Cam, Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect)
  • IFTTT
  • Philips Hue lights
  • LIFX
  • Z-Wave
  • Zigbee

With these options, you can get video surveillance, control your house lights, adjust temperatures, and arm your system with voice activation. For a lot of people, this may be more than you need.

Scout doesn’t have a proprietary HD video cameras, nor does it offer glass-break sensors, freeze detectors, fire/smoke detectors, or CO detectors. If you want that stuff, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Mobile control

Scout primarily works with the Scout Alarm app (you can also use IFTTT integrations).

The app will act as the control panel for your security system. If you’re a fan of controlling things from your mobile device, then this is great, but if you’re not, then Scout isn’t for you.

Scout’s mobile app works for iOS, Android, and web-based browsers. Here, you can set up SMS alerts, email, or in-app notifications any time a sensor goes off.

A history tab in the app shows event tracking, so if you want to pin down an event to help you remember, it’s arranged by date, time, and the sensors involved. Scout’s app has four preset modes (Home, Away, Sleep, and Vacation) and you can make your own presets. This is pretty standard for a security app and works as expected.

You can see all your devices from the app, and you can also edit your members list. When you edit members, you can control which “rights” they have for arming and disarming the system, and during which times (24/7 or scheduled). Once again, if your family is mobile-friendly, then this is a great solution, but we expect that not everyone is. Some people prefer a physical way of disarming and arming the system, one that doesn’t require a Scout Alarm app login.

Home Security Cameras

Scout does not offer proprietary camera equipment. In order to get video surveillance with Scout, you must purchase a monitoring plan and a third-party device (like NestCam, Homeboy, or another Z-Wave or Zigbee compatible camera).

We’d like to see the company offer more video-based solutions like integrated indoor/outdoor HD video surveillance, infrared cameras, or night vision cameras. Or at least guide their users to their recommended compatible cameras.

Customer experience

Scout had some of the quickest responses to our customer support questions, and they seemed more than willing to help customers with ordering issues and exchanges. Scout’s video tutorials, forums, and FAQs were all really useful, too. Some home security companies take forever to answer you, and even then they may just  try to sell you a new or upgraded system. But each time we spoke with Scout, they were clear and well-informed, so the company definitely get points for that.

However, the ordering process left us underwhelmed.

Scout system ordering

A lot of companies hide their equipment prices to avoid sticker shock, but Scout opts for transparency. The webshop includes prices and the features and benefits of each piece of equipment. Props to Scout for the clarity, but it was clear that we couldn’t get what we wanted, at least not yet.

When we first started reviewing Scout in Fall of 2017, we found that the stock on its most important items was extremely limited, and most options were unavailable. The company used to offer three colors too—not just “boring home security white.” We’re disappointed Scout dropped its wood and black finishes, options that used to make it stand out from the crowd.

One strength Scout has, though, is that it offers a 10% discount for a yearly subscription (instead of monthly). It’s also worth noting that Scout has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you discover in the first month that Scout’s not for you, you can send the equipment back for a full refund.

Scout system installation

Easy installation is one of Scout’s best selling points. You won’t have to do any drilling or use any tools. Each piece of gear comes with double-sided adhesive that can stick and restick (for a while), which makes it foolproof to set up and take down.

This method is very convenient for renters and homeowners alike, and it’s reliable enough—we weren’t worried about devices falling off the wall even after slamming the door a few times. Plus, you can always get more tape from the company or a hardware store, if necessary.

The instructions were comprehensive and came in a printed version, but could also be found in the app. It’ll take you about a half-hour to install the whole thing, and Scout provides video tutorials, too. This is pretty standard for DIY home security. One way Scout could do more to compete, though, is by offering a lifetime warranty on its gear—which companies like Protect America and Vivint already offer.

Scout system incident procedure

If your alarm goes off or a sensor is tripped, Scout resolves incidents in one of two ways. The call center can alert the customer, or they could alert the authorities, or both. They do offer 24/7 professional monitoring with emergency response, but you have to pay an extra $20 a month.

On the most basic level, Scout has a simple web-based self-monitored system with a (very) loud alarm siren. However, the downside is that you have to continually check the website just to see if something has been triggered, and you wouldn’t know why it was triggered.

We’re not big fans of this too-basic level of DIY security, especially since Scout doesn’t integrate with fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide detection devices. Most DIY security companies do a good job of allowing users to actually use the system without a subscription (be it video monitoring, or at least free mobile access), but this isn’t the case with Scout. Thumbs down.

Pricing

To use Scout, you need a subscription to its monitoring plan. We don’t recommend using Scout without one  unless you simply want an alarm and to check your system online, since the app will not will unless you pay for a plan, and neither will home automation features.

Always On

  • Price: $9.99/mo. or $107/yr.
  • Email notifications
  • Scout mobile app for iOS and Android devices
  • Push notifications to mobile devices
  • 3G cellular and battery backup
  • SMS alerts
  • No annual contract

Always On +

  • Price: $19.99/mo. or $215/yr.
  • Email notifications
  • Scout mobile app for iOS and Android devices
  • Push notifications to mobile devices
  • 3G cellular and battery backup
  • SMS alerts
  • No annual contract
  • 24/7 professional monitoring service
  • UL-certified monitoring centers
  • Dispatch police on your behalf

Your equipment cost for all the sensors and a Nest cam is $445, and the basic plan (called “Always On”) has a yearly price of $107. That’s with the 10% discount you get for buying a whole year at once. So in total, you’re looking at below $600 for a year’s worth of security including video—not bad at all. That’s cheaper than trying to replace your laptop, for instance, with all your work and personal data on it. Compared to a traditional provider like Frontpoint, which requires a $50 monthly plan for video access in addition to your equipment prices, this is a really good rate.

The only difference between the basic Always On plan and the more expensive Always On Plus (or Always On+) is that with the upgraded plan, you’ll have 24/7 professional monitoring that will also notify the police if an intrusion is detected and you do not respond to their notifications. While this doubles your price, it may be worth it to have backup ready at any time.

Contracts

While Scout doesn’t technically require a contract, you will need a monthly subscription to their monitoring plans in order to really benefit from the system. This includes using the app, mobile notifications, home automation, and calling the police on your behalf.

If you can afford it up front, buy the yearly subscription to save 10%.

ProvidersNo-contract option?Learn more
ScoutYesView Plans
VivintYesView plans
FrontpointNoView plans
ADTNoView plans

Scout review recap

  • No contracts required (but we recommend a subscription)
  • Simple DIY setup
  • For both homeowners and renters
  • For fans of mobile device control, not traditional keypads
  • Mobile app-based arming/disarming and home automation
  • No proprietary cameras
  • Sensors not pet-friendly
  • IFTTT, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Amazon Alexa integration
  • Z-Wave and Zigbee support
  • Reasonably priced

Scout is for people who want the basics in a DIY package: door coverage, motion detection, and window sensors. You won’t have an annual contract, but you will have to get a monthly or yearly subscription for professional monitoring and home automation features. We’ll clarify that this subscription is not considered a contract because you can get out on a monthly basis. And that can be a big win for consumers.

However, it’s hard to recommend Scout for anyone truly serious about home security, especially for those without the aid of smart devices. If users could control the system from a physical device and bring back the wood and black finishes, Scout would improve its service and customer reach dramatically.

FAQs

What’s the difference between Scout Version 1 and 1S?

Anything received after January 1st, 2017 will be Scout Version 1S equipment, and anything prior to that is Scout Version 1. The biggest differences are improved sensor range, louder siren (105 dB) and compatibility for both Z-Wave and Zigbee radios.