Best Home Security Systems of 2021

Looking for a home security system? To simplify your research, we’ve compared the year’s best home security systems to identify the top providers and best values. Learn about what each provider has to offer and which features will protect your family, home, and property in 2020 and beyond.
Updated Apr 29, 2021
Written By
Dashia Starr | Home Security Writer
Evaluated over 90 safety products to help you protect what matters most. Check our Methodology

Best Home Security Systems of 2020

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

Frontpoint Security

SimpliSafe Security


Cove Security


Brinks Home Security


Link Interactive


Protect America


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 PackageNot providedVaries based on payment plan chosen$199$199 for basic package with contractBasic equipment included with contractBasic equipment included with contract
Installation
ProfessionalProfessionalDIYDIY with professional optionDIY with professional optionDIYDIYDIY with professional optionDIYDIY
Monitoring options
ProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessional & Self-monitoringProfessionalProfessional & Self-monitoringProfessional & Self-monitoringPro for Brinks and Self-monitoring for Nest Pro & Self-monitoring option availableProfessional
Minimum contract length
36 months42-60 mos. or pay for equipment in full2Monthly subscription - no contract requiredMonthly subscription - no contract required5 yearsNo contract requiredNo contract required36 mos. for Brinks & Monthly for Nest1 year36 months
Alexa & Google Home compatibility
YesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes for Brinks and Google only with NestRequires upgradeRequires upgrade
Other smart home compatibility
Z-waveZ-waveZ-wavenonenonenoneZ-waveZ-wave for BrinksZ-wave with upgradeZ-wave with upgrade
Guarantee
$500 Theft ProtectionnonenonenonePrice Lock Guaranteenone30 daysnonenoneLow Price Guarantee
Warranty
Option to extend limited warranty120-day equipment warranty3-year limited equipment warranty3-year limited equipment warrantyLifetime limited warranty with Service PlanFrom 1 year to lifetime depending on monitoring plan12 months2-year limited equipment warranty3-year limited equipment warrantyLifetime equipment warranty
Extended no-risk return period
6 MonthsN/A30 days60 days30 days60 days30 days (for pro. monitoring)30 days30 days15 days
BBB rating
A+C-A+A+B-AA+A+A+A
Best for
Industry ExperienceSmart HomesCustomer ServiceEasy InstallationBasic SecurityInstant Text AlertsDIY Smart Home SecurityCombination of DIY & Professional OptionsBuilding your own packageBest Landline Monitoring
* Price shown is monthly price for entry-level professional monitoring service.
** 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.

  • 1

    Price

    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.

  • 2

    Contracts

    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.

  • 3

    Monitoring Options

    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.

  • 4

    Connectivity Options

    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.

  • 5

    Equipment

    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.

  • 6

    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.

  • 7

    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.

  • 8

    Trial Period

    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

Pros

  • Greater assurance the system is properly installed
  • Maintenance typically handled by the provider
  • Technician can answer questions you may have

Cons

  • Usually requires signing a contract
  • Usually requires an installation fee
  • Could end up purchasing more equipment than needed

DIY Home Security Systems

Pros

  • Most do not require a contract
  • Monitoring is usually cheaper
  • More accessible for people who rent or move frequently

Cons

  • 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

  • Control panel/hub

    As the brain of your security system, the control panel allows you to arm and disarm your security system, manage smart home devices, and in some cases, speak with a monitoring center specialist via two-way communication. Learn more about the control panels offered by ADT, Vivint, and Brinks.

  • Motion sensor

    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 sensor

    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

    Keep tabs on your property no matter your location with an outdoor security cameras. Most outdoor cameras have weatherproof features, night vision, and some even have deterrence features. Learn more about the outdoor security camera options offered by ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint.

  • Video doorbell camera

    Check your front doorstep without having to leave work with a video doorbell camera. Most video doorbells have built-in two-way communication and night vision. Learn more about the video doorbells offered by Guardian Protection, Vivint, and SimpliSafe.

  • Smart thermostat

    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.

  • Smart lock

    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

    ADT Home Security

    Our rating
    9.7
    Starting at
    $45.99/mo

    Our Take on ADT Home Security

    ADT Home Security is a well-known name in the home security industry. It offers traditional security that requires professional installation and monitoring at a steep price.

    Pros

    • 6-month money-back guarantee
    • $500 theft protection guarantee
    • High-quality equipment

    Cons

    • Must pay for an extended warranty
    • Lengthy contracts
    • More expensive than competitors
    Research ADT

    ADT Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    ADT Control Package

    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.

    Professional Installation

    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.

    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.

    Research ADT
  • Best smart home security

    Vivint Home Security

    Our rating
    9.7
    Starting at
    $29.99/mo

    Our Take on Vivint Home Security

    Vivint is our top choice for smart home security with an extensive line of equipment filled with smart features. The control panel also doubles as a smart hub. The only downside is that Vivint requires a long-term contract if you finance the equipment. Professional monitoring and installation are also required. 

    Pros

    • Smart Hub to connect and control smart home and security devices
    • Extensive smart features for security equipment including package detection and Smart Deter
    • Wide range of security and smart home equipment

    Cons

    • Contract required for service and financed equipment.
    • Professional monitoring and installation required
    • Expensive equipment compared to other providers
    Research Vivint

    Vivint Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    Vivint Security Products
    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.

    Professional Installation

    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).

    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.

    Research Vivint
  • Best pet-friendly home security

    Frontpoint Home Security

    Our rating
    9.4
    Starting at
    $44.99/mo
    1-888-688-5779

    - or -

    View Packages

    Our Take on Frontpoint Home Security

    Frontpoint Security lets you choose both your package and monitoring plan to help build the best home security system for renters and homeowners alike. Monitoring can be costly, but free DIY installation helps lower costs without reducing reliability or protection.

    Pros

    • No lengthy contracts
    • Excellent customer service
    • Variety of equipment to choose from

    Cons

    • Monitoring fees are relatively expensive
    • Short trial period (30 days)
    • No professional installation option
    Research Frontpoint

    Frontpoint Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    Frontpoint Preferred Package

    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.

    DIY Installation

    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.

    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.

    Research Frontpoint
  • Best overall DIY security system

    SimpliSafe Home Security

    Our rating
    9.9
    Starting at
    $14.99/mo

    Our take on SimpliSafe Home Security:

    SimpliSafe Home Security 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.

     

    Pros

    • Inexpensive professional monitoring
    • Wireless equipment
    • Cellular monitoring

    Cons

    • 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
    Research SimpliSafe

    SimpliSafe Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    SimpliSafe Security 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.

    DIY Installation

    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.

    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.

    Research SimpliSafe
  • Best for Basic Security

    Alder Home Security

    Our rating
    6.4
    Starting at
    $39.99/mo

    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.

    Pros

    • Fast, three-second alarm response rate
    • Limited lifetime equipment warranty
    • Easy DIY installation process

    Cons

    • 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.

    DIY Installation

    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.

  • Showing 5 of 10 items

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:

Looking For the Best Home Security System in Your Metro Area?

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














Home Security Writer

Dashia Starr

Dashia researches and writes on all things home automation and security. She focuses on the latest news, products, and providers to share only the best with you.

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