Best Home Security Systems of 2020
- ADT Home Security - Best Industry Experience
- Vivint Smart Home - Best Smart Home Security System
- Frontpoint Home Security - Best Customer Service
- SimpliSafe Security - Best Easy Installation System
- Blue by ADT - Best DIY Smart Home Security System
- Alder Security - Best Basic Security System
- Cove Security - Best Instant Text Alerts
- Brinks Home Security - Best Combination of DIY & Professional
- Link Interactive - Best Build Your Own Package
- Protect America - Best Entry-Level Pricing
What Is the Best Home Security System?
The landscape of home security is changing, and finding the best home security system for your needs might include mobile app access, video surveillance with deterrence features, automatic locking, and more. Today, many well-recognized home security providers offer smart home functionality and equipment to help you double-down on protecting your home and family.
When looking for the best security system, you’ll need to determine whether or not you want a professional to install it for you or if you want to install it on your own. Self-installed security systems are better if you’re on a budget. You’ll also need to decide if you want professionals to monitor your home for you, or if you want to monitor it yourself. Self-installation is recommended if you’re looking for more cost-effective options.
Additional factors you’ll need to consider include cost, contracts, monitoring connection, equipment, smart home integrations, mobile app access, and trial period.
We’ve made the research process easier for you as we share our top recommendations, their features, and things you need to keep in mind as you look for the best provider that fits your needs.
How Do We Rank the Best Home Security Systems?
At Safety.com, we continually refine our lists in order to provide up-to-date, well-researched insights. When ranking home security providers, we consider value, availability, brand reputation, trustworthy reviews, popularity, warranty and other reliability indicators. Learn more about our reviews and rankings methodology.
Compare the Best Home Security Systems for 2020
Blue by ADT
Brinks Home Security
Monitoring starting price
|$45.99/mo.*||$29.99/mo.*||$44.99/mo.*||$14.99/mo. *||Not provided||$14.99/mo.*||$19.99/mo.*||$29.99/mo.*||$30.99/mo.*||$19.99/mo.**|
Equipment starting price
|$99 for the Traditional Package||$599.99 worth of equipment required||$255.96 for the Safe Home Starter package||$259.95 for The Essentials Package||Not provided||Varies based on payment plan chosen||$199||$199 for basic package with contract||Basic equipment included with contract||Basic equipment included with contract|
|Professional||Professional||DIY||DIY with professional option||DIY with professional option||DIY||DIY||DIY with professional option||DIY||DIY|
|Professional||Professional||Professional||Professional & Self-monitoring||Professional||Professional & Self-monitoring||Professional & Self-monitoring||Pro for Brinks and Self-monitoring for Nest||Pro & Self-monitoring option available||Professional|
Minimum contract length
|36 months||42-60 mos. or pay for equipment in full2||Monthly subscription - no contract required||Monthly subscription - no contract required||5 years||No contract required||No contract required||36 mos. for Brinks & Monthly for Nest||1 year||36 months|
Alexa & Google Home compatibility
|Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes for Brinks and Google only with Nest||Requires upgrade||Requires upgrade|
Other smart home compatibility
|Z-wave||Z-wave||Z-wave||none||none||none||Z-wave||Z-wave for Brinks||Z-wave with upgrade||Z-wave with upgrade|
|$500 Theft Protection||none||none||none||Price Lock Guarantee||none||30 days||none||none||Low Price Guarantee|
|Option to extend limited warranty||120-day equipment warranty||3-year limited equipment warranty||3-year limited equipment warranty||Lifetime limited warranty with Service Plan||From 1 year to lifetime depending on monitoring plan||12 months||2-year limited equipment warranty||3-year limited equipment warranty||Lifetime equipment warranty|
Extended no-risk return period
|6 Months||N/A||30 days||60 days||30 days||60 days||30 days (for pro. monitoring)||30 days||30 days||15 days|
|Industry Experience||Smart Homes||Customer Service||Easy Installation||Basic Security||Instant Text Alerts||DIY Smart Home Security||Combination of DIY & Professional Options||Building your own package||Best Landline Monitoring|
** Month-to-month monitoring plans are available if equipment is paid for in full upfront.
*** Price shown is monthly price for landline monitoring service.
- Please note that BBB ratings, plans, pricing, and other details can change without our knowledge.
What Should I Look for When Buying a Home Security System?
Here are 8 things you should consider before purchasing a home security system.
Price is the top consideration for most shoppers. You can typically expect to pay two separate costs: the price of your equipment and monthly professional monitoring. Additional costs could include installation and or activation fees depending on the provider. Both of these costs tend to increase with security systems that feature security cameras, smart home devices, and home environmental monitoring devices.
Some home security providers require a service contract. The average contract length is 36 months (three years). The plus side of contracted systems is that they often come with perks like professional installation and discounted equipment. However, they’re not very mover-friendly and may come with early termination fees. If you need to avoid a long-term commitment, choose a provider with month-to-month plans.
Home security systems may be professionally monitored or self-monitored. Professional monitoring means that a team of trained professionals is on call for alarm response 24/7. If an alarm is triggered in your home, the monitoring agent will asses the situation (usually by calling you) and dispatch emergency services if necessary. Self-monitoring can save money, but you’re responsible for monitoring your own system, either through smartphone notifications, activity alerts, or security camera footage.
Most providers offer a landline, Internet, or cellular connection for the security system and its components. A home security system with a cellular connection is more secure than one with just a landline or home Internet connection since the system remains linked to the provider’s monitoring center over cell tower signals. This is an advantage in the event of power outages. A landline connection, although less secure, is usually the least expensive option.
Do you want just the basics for intrusion detection, or additional protection through devices like security cameras, smoke detectors, and smart home automation tools? With most providers, you can select a package and customize it to fit your needs. Some providers may require you to pay for all of the equipment upfront or allow you to finance it over a contract.
Smart Home Integrations
Most of the top home security companies offer some form of smart home compatibility. You’ll find security providers that offer smart home devices, and those who mainly offer integration, meaning that the security system will work well with devices from different manufacturers. Security systems that support home automation tend to be more expensive than simpler ones, so don’t feel compelled to purchase a security system with features you won’t use.
Mobile App Access
Today’s home security systems let you arm and disarm your system without laying a finger on a keypad or control panel. Thanks to mobile apps, you can view live video with security cameras, check notifications, and even create custom actions for your security system and smart home devices. Be aware, however, that many providers require a more expensive monitoring plan to access all app features.
No-risk trial periods should give you enough time to meaningfully test out your new security system. Most home security providers offer a trial period of 30 days, but it’s much shorter in some cases. You’ll need to be knowledgeable of what to expect in the event you’re unsatisfied with your system.
DIY or Professional Home Security?
Professional home security refers to packages that are professionally installed and professionally monitored. DIY stands for do-it-yourself. DIY home security refers to systems that are self-installed by the owner. These may be professionally monitored or self-monitored.
Professionally-Installed Home Security Systems
- Greater assurance the system is properly installed
- Maintenance typically handled by the provider
- Technician can answer questions you may have
- Usually requires signing a contract
- Usually requires an installation fee
- Could end up purchasing more equipment than needed
DIY Home Security Systems
- Most do not require a contract
- Monitoring is usually cheaper
- More accessible for people who rent or move frequently
- May have to pay for equipment upfront
- Could improperly install the system
- May be responsible for repairs
How Much Does a Home Security System Cost?
The cost of your home security system can vary based on the price of equipment, alarm monitoring, installation and more. Security system equipment is a large portion of what you pay for, with products including security cameras, motion sensors and additional smart security options.
- Home security equipment typically costs about $200 in upfront costs or $25/month in fees.
- Professional alarm monitoring should also factor into your security costs, with most monitoring services ranging from $15 to $35/month. Having a monitored home security system allows you to have greater piece of mind knowing that your security company is watching over your home 24/7.
You will also need to choose which installation option you prefer for your alarm system: professional or DIY. Professional installation can cost over $200, but the benefit is you ensure your home security equipment is properly functioning in your home. While home security systems are a big investment, there is a great payoff in feeling safe and secure in your own home.
Common Home Security Equipment and Features
As one of the sentinels in your home, the motion sensor captures unusual activity, and your system lets you know. Some providers have motion sensors that are designed to be pet-friendly, avoiding pets under 80 pounds to help prevent false alarms. Learn more about motion sensors here in our post.
Door/window sensors are sentinels for your entry points. Most have a discreet profile so they’re not easily seen, but once an entry point is breached, your control panel sounds an alarm to let the intruder know they’ve been caught. Learn more about the door/window sensors offered by Frontpoint, Protect America, and SimpliSafe.
Indoor security camera
If you want to be able to monitor the interior of your home, communicate with family members, and check in on pets, then choosing an indoor security camera is a great option. Most indoor cameras feature HD video, come with night vision, and have two-way communication. Learn more about indoor security camera options offered by SimpliSafe, Vivint, and Abode.
Outdoor security camera
With a smart thermostat, you can potentially improve your home’s energy efficiency. Most smart thermostats allow you to program them, creating a schedule for when your home’s heating and cooling system turns on. Some will also automatically adjust themselves based on certain conditions. Learn more about the smart thermostats offered by Vivint, Frontpoint, and ADT.
Go keyless with a smart lock, designed so you can easily lock or unlock your door via app. Some smart locks have a keycode feature, allowing you to set unique PINs for family members and or professionals who may need to access your home. Learn more about the smart locks offered by Guardian Protection, Protect America, and Scout.
The Best Home Security Systems: Full-Details
- Best Home Security for Industry Experience
Our Take on ADT Home Security
ADT’s a well-recognized name in the home security industry. It offers traditional security that requires professional installation and monitoring at a steep price.
★ Recommended Plan
- 6-month money-back guarantee
- $500 theft protection guarantee
- High-quality equipment
- Must pay for an extended warranty
- Lengthy contracts
- More expensive than competitors
ADT Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment
ADT offers one of the largest sets of equipment options on the market. Higher-tier packages include smartphone apps, smart home integration, camera options and more. We appreciate how ADT’s Command panel (available in the Control package and higher) doubles as a Z-wave smart home hub, so you can configure compatible devices from other manufacturers.
ADT Monitoring Services
ADT does not outsource its monitoring, like many smaller security providers do. It has six monitoring centers with 7,000 trained operators. These centers are certified by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and The Monitoring Association (TMA). They’re also fully redundant, meaning that connectivity has plenty of checks, balances and back-up options so you can count on 24/7 service and quick response time.
ADT security systems require professional installation. This can save you a headache, since it ensures everything is set up correctly and includes one-on-one instruction. If you plan on moving in the near future, know that ADT offers a discounted Mover’s Package to qualified existing customers.Research ADT
ADT Pricing & Value
To determine the price of your ADT system and service, add the costs of equipment, monitoring service and applicable taxes and fees. Note that ADT requires a long-term contract. Installation and early termination fees apply. You may also qualify for ADT specials and promotions.
- Best Smart Home Security
Our Take on Vivint Home Security
Vivint has an extensive line of smart security equipment that you can expand over time. The downside is that you’ll have a long-term contract if you finance your equipment.
★ Recommended Plan
Vivint’s Smart Home Service is our recommended plan because it unlocks a larger selection of smart home devices, as well as video monitoring.
- Month-to-month contract option if equipment is purchased upfront
- Backup battery included with the Sky Control panel
- Extensive equipment features, including Vivint Car Guard
- Long contract if equipment is financed
- Installation can take 3-4 hours
- Short (120-day) equipment warranty and service guarantee (unless you purchase Premium)
Vivint Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment
Vivint doesn’t limit your starting point to pre-selected equipment packages. Instead, build your own system from an extensive equipment lineup, which includes intrusion protection, environmental monitoring, security cameras and smart home devices. Vivint’s alarm panel doubles as a smart home hub, so it’s compatible with home automation devices from other manufacturers as well.
Vivint Monitoring Services
Vivint performs its monitoring in-house at its UL- and TMA Five Diamond-certified monitoring center. You can be confident that the responding agent will be a trained professional experienced with Vivint systems. Vivint offers two levels of monitoring service, and with Vivint cameras, you can also opt into video monitoring to allow agents to visually investigate alarms.
Vivint requires professional installation. This service is a major benefit when dealing with new-to-you technology, but it is an additional expense (usually around $50).Research Vivint
Vivint Pricing & Value
Vivint systems can be expensive– a minimum of $599.99 worth of equipment is required to start service. Monitoring is also a necessity and it starts at at $29.99/mo. Financing is available for equipment, and service contracts match the length of financing terms. If equipment is paid for up front, there’s no long-term service contract required. If you’re serious about Vivint, call about current deals and promotions.
- Best Pet-Friendly Home Security
Our Take on Frontpoint Home Security
Frontpoint lets you choose both your package and monitoring plan to help build the perfect home security system for renters and homeowners alike. Monitoring can be costly, but free DIY installation helps lower costs without reducing reliability or protection.
★ Recommended Plan
Our recommended Frontpoint plan is the Safe Home Starter equipment package combined with the Ultimate monitoring plan, which will give you access to a smartphone app for monitoring your security devices.
- No lengthy contracts
- Excellent customer service
- Variety of equipment to choose from
- Monitoring fees are relatively expensive
- Short (30 days) trial period
- No professional installation option
Frontpoint Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment
Frontpoint Security doesn’t offer the largest spectrum of equipment on the market, but its product lineup still includes everything you need for modern smart home security, including activity detection, cameras and mobile app access. Choose a starter package or build your own system from scratch. The Frontpoint alarm panel also serves as a Z-wave smart home hub, but its ability to integrate with some top smart home brands (like Google Nest) is limited.
Frontpoint Monitoring Services
Frontpoint outsources its monitoring to Rapid Response Monitoring, a multi-award winning monitoring center with two central stations. Rapid Response is UL-certified and approved by the New York Fire Department (NYFD), which is one of the strictest certifications in this field.
All of Frontpoint’s equipment is intended for simple do-it-yourself (DIY) installation. This saves money on installation fees, avoids the hassle of appointment scheduling, and makes it easier to take the system with you if you move. On the other hand, it’s up to you to make sure the system is set up correctly.Research Frontpoint
Frontpoint Pricing & Value
Frontpoint equipment pricing is on the low end, but its monitoring services start at a slightly higher price point than the entry-level services of its competitors. However, Frontpoint offers all customers benefits that are often only available through higher-tier plans at other providers, such as complete mobile app access and “Crash & Smash” protection. Overall, Frontpoint pricing represents a good value as long as DIY installation works for you (and it’s even better if you can score a seasonal discount). There’s also a 30-day no-risk trial period.
- Best Overall DIY Security System
SimpliSafe Home SecurityOur rating9.9Starting at$14.99/mo
Our take on SimpliSafe Home Security:
SimpliSafe is our top pick for inexpensive monitoring, durable equipment and reliable services that simplify home security. You’ll have all the right devices and features to give you peace of mind — even when the unexpected happens.
★ Recommended package: Barrington
- Inexpensive professional monitoring
- Wireless equipment
- Cellular monitoring
- Mobile alerts not available in the basic monitoring plan
- No selection of smart home devices
- Smart home capabilities not available in the basic monitoring plan
SimpliSafe Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment
SimpliSafe equipment is attractive, modern and easy to install, and it launches new products all the time. SimpliSafe systems work with Alexa and Google Assistant, so it supports voice commands through Amazon Echo and Google Home devices (sold separately). Note that the system doesn’t include a Z-wave or Zigbee smart home hub.
SimpliSafe Monitoring Services
SimpliSafe’s monitoring services are handled by COPS Monitoring, a proven leader with 41+ years of experience serving over 3 million customers. It offers two tiers of 24/7 monitoring plans (one with expanded app functionality, one without) with a Visual Verification option for customers with cameras. Visual Verification lets monitoring personnel review surveillance footage if an alarm is triggered, which SimpliSafe says speeds response time and reduces false alarms.
Customers must set up their own equipment, but according to SimpliSafe, it usually takes less than 30 minutes. The ease of self-installation makes SimpliSafe a go-to choice for renters, homeowners and frequent movers alike.Research SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe Pricing & Value
SimpliSafe pricing is very competitive. The main question is whether or not the DIY model and pricing structure work for you. With SimpliSafe, equipment packages start at $229 and must be paid for upfront (or financed through PayPal Credit) and monitoring fees are billed monthly. Long-term contracts not required.
- Best for Basic Security
Our take on Alder Security
Named the 10th fastest-growing company in Utah by Fast 50 and Utah 100, Alder Security’s aim is to provide simple, customized home security solutions. While Alder doesn’t have a selection of pre-made packages you can choose from, it works with customers to build out security systems that are best for their homes. With Alder, you’ll find essential intrusion detection and environmental monitoring equipment. The price of professional monitoring will vary based on the equipment you choose. Alder Security offers additional perks, like free installation services if you ever need assistance and a lifetime warranty to cover your equipment.
- Fast, three-second alarm response rate
- Limited lifetime equipment warranty
- Easy DIY installation process
- No equipment pricing provided online
- No monitoring pricing provided online
- No smart home devices
Alder Security Packages & Equipment
Alder doesn’t offer any preset home security packages you can choose from. The provider instead will work with you to help you choose the right devices to protect your home. Some will find this aspect about Alder frustrating as they may be upsold on equipment that they may not need. Some customers may also want the ease of choosing a preset package versus working with a specialist.
With Alder Security, you will find typical equipment such as a touchscreen control panel, motion sensors, door/window sensors, a key fob, smoke detector, flood & freeze sensor, and signage. Alder also offers security cameras. You can choose from the Arlo Pro Indoor/Outdoor camera or the YI Indoor Camera.
Alder Security Monitoring Services
Alder offers professional monitoring via a cellular network connection. The price will depend on the equipment you purchase. The provider doesn’t advertise monitoring pricing online, but by working with a specialist, you can find out how much you’ll need to pay for monthly monitoring.
Alder Security systems are designed for self-installation. The provider claims that installation is an easy process–all you’ll need to do is follow the instructions for setup and you can have your system ready in as little as 10 minutes. Installation doesn’t require any tools on your part as most devices can be adhered in the appropriate locations.
Alder Security Pricing & Value
Alder doesn’t advertise pricing for its security systems online, and since each customer’s individual system may vary, the price may vary as well. We’re not able to compare Alder to other providers regarding price, but Alder does offer the essentials and more for protecting your home, and we believe that contributes to the provider’s overall value.
Which home security system is best for me?
Everyone has different needs and living situations that need to be taken into consideration before choosing a home security system. Here are some recommendations we’ve put together based on different customer needs:
- If you’re looking for affordable home security systems – We recommend SimpliSafe, Protect America, Abode, and Scout Alarm. These affordable home security providers have lower upfront costs for equipment packages. Abode currently offers the cheapest professional monitoring of the four.
- If you rent an apartment or townhome – For renters, we recommend SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Abode, and Scout Alarm. The best home security systems for renters have wireless security systems that you can set up yourself to avoid any installation fees.
- If you want a security system for your vacation home – Some of the best home security systems for vacation homes are ADT, Vivint, and Guardian Protection. Each of these providers will have a professional install your system for you, and you can opt for cellular monitoring, which is the most reliable monitoring connection.
- If you want a security system for your small business – For small business owners, we recommend ADT, Vivint, SimpliSafe, and Abode. With each of these providers, you’ll have access to video surveillance, smart devices, and remote management by mobile app for convenient control.
Looking For the Best Home Security System in Your Metro Area?
We share some of the top home security system providers for the following cities and provide a deeper dive into crime statistics and equipment to consider:
Explore Additional Home Security System Resources
Home Security Stats
Safety.com conducted a home security survey to find out more about security system ownership and the motivation behind security alarm purchases. Here’s a few insights about home security systems:
- Just 38% of Americans own a home security product.
- Of respondents who don’t own a home security product, 33% choose not to because they can’t afford it.
- 50% of respondents who own security products wanted to add extra security to their home.
- Home security product ownership is most popular amongst 18-34 year olds, with 41% of this demographic owning a security product or system.
- Video doorbells are the most popular security product owned (18.2%) with a professionally monitored home security system (16.2%) as 2nd most popular.
- 74.3% of survey respondents said their new home security system or product makes them feel safe.
Home Security Frequently Asked Questions
The cost of a home security system varies by provider. Some providers allow you to pick from preset equipment packages while others work with you to build a customized security system. Some security systems don’t require any equipment payment upfront, while others may cost up to $1,300.00 to get started. Providers differ in their payment structures, so it’s important to understand how you’ll be expected to pay for your system.
The equipment that you’ll generally find with a home security system includes a control panel or hub, a keypad, motion sensors, door/window sensors, and signage. You can usually expand your security system with additional equipment like security cameras, smart home devices, and home environmental monitoring devices like smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.
When your home is professionally monitored, it means that monitoring specialists are standing by ready to dispatch emergency services in the event an alarm is triggered. Professional monitoring generally carries a monthly cost on top of your equipment cost. We recommend having your home professionally monitored because of the extra layer of security that’s in place should you be away from home when something happens. Without professional monitoring, you’ll be responsible for monitoring your own home, usually with a mobile app and activity notifications.
When a provider allows customers to monitor their own homes, this is called “self-monitoring.” Customers can monitor their homes with the help of motion detectors, sensors, and security cameras. In this case, the provider usually has a mobile app that customers can use to get alerts on their phones. In most cases, customers can also check the app to view live footage from security cameras.
The price of professional monitoring varies from provider to provider. Typically, DIY providers (those who offer home security systems that can be self-installed) have cheaper professional monitoring prices. As a range of what you could expect, professional monitoring could cost as low as $8.00/mo. and as much as $55.00/mo.
This also depends on the provider, but you can anticipate signing a contract with providers who require professional installation of their systems. The average length of a home security contract is 36 months or 3 years. On the higher end, some contracts could span up to 60 months or 5 years. If you want to avoid having to sign a contract, we would recommend considering a DIY home security system instead.
No, not all providers offer security cameras in their equipment packages. In some cases, you may have to purchase any security cameras separately. Generally, if you want to have a security camera for your home, you’ll end up paying for a more expensive package.
In most cases, yes. Many providers offer smart home devices and or integration features that you can purchase as part of a security system package or as a standalone product. Most home security providers do offer common smart security tools such as smart thermostats, smart lights, and smart locks.
You should check with your leasing department or landlord to make sure it’s okay to install a home security system in your apartment. There may be rules in place prohibiting you from installing a security system in your unit. If you are able to purchase a home security system for your apartment, we would recommend choosing a DIY security system. These systems are typically wireless and don’t require long-term contracts.
In most cases, yes. Many providers have a mobile app that you can install for remotely managing your home security system, checking cameras, and checking notifications. Some providers may require you to purchase a more expensive monitoring plan in order to access all features.
Yes, some security systems have motion sensors that are designed to avoid detecting pets up to a certain weight. Many providers have sensors that are built to avoid pets under 80 pounds. One of the benefits of these types of sensors is that they can prevent false alarms.
Often, local municipalities require home security alarm permits. These permits are said to help reduce the number of false alarms so that emergency services aren’t unnecessarily taxed. In some cities, the police are not required to respond to unpermitted alarms. There may also be false alarm fees in your city that are higher if the system isn’t properly permitted.