*Monitoring price shown is for entry-level professional monitoring service. **Nest – Contract is required for $19/mo. monitoring plan with Brinks ***Cove – Warranty is based on the monitoring plan chosen. – Please note that BBB ratings, plans, pricing, and other details can change without our knowledge.
Looking for a home security system? To simplify your research, we’ve compared security alarm providers to identify the top brands and their features. According to our most recent home security survey, “74.3% of respondents said their new home security system or product makes them feel safe.” Safety is a priority, and we’re here to help you find a provider for your needs.
Here at Safety.com, we rank home security providers based on the following factors: value, core technology, expandable packages, installation & set-up, trial period or flexible contracts, and reputation. Here’s a look at how each factor is considered in our ranking process:
We believe that home security should be affordable and provide the essential services that customers need. When we assess home security providers for value, we consider the price they’ll have to pay and the features they’ll get. Providers who are more transparent and offer good value receive a better score and ranking from us.
We look for the essentials in home security systems like intrusion detection, professional monitoring, and modern technologies like home automation and mobile app access when ranking providers on core technology. Providers with these core technologies and more receive a higher score and ranking from us.
Flexibility and customization strengthen a provider’s ability to meet customer needs. We value home security systems that are expandable and offer customization.
Installation & Set-Up
The installation process for a security system should be clear. We also value providers who offer both professional and DIY installation options. These are several aspects that tie in to our scores and rankings.
Trial Period & Flexible Contracts
Customer satisfaction should be a priority. Companies that offer a trial period to give customers time to test out their new security system and flexible contract options receive a higher score and ranking with us.
Brand Recognition & Reputation
We consider a provider’s longevity in the industry, Better Business Bureau grade, customer reviews, wares, and more when determining their score and ranking with us
Keep those pesky burglars away with a SimpliSafe security system. Choose from a range of packages and equipment, and get inexpensive professional monitoring.
★ Recommended Plan We recommend The Barrington if you’re interested in SimpliSafe. This package combines intrusion detection and video surveillance. Equipment starts at $388.93. Professional monitoring starts at $14.99 per month.
Inexpensive professional monitoring
Mobile alerts not available in the basic monitoring plan
No selection of smart home devices
Smart home capabilities not available in 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. SimpliSafe also offers professional installation starting at $79.
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 $183 and must be paid for upfront (or financed through PayPal Credit) and monitoring fees are billed monthly. Long-term contracts not required.
SimpliSafe’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
SimpliSafe is continuing to provide 24/7 alarm response for customers. This includes responding to alarms triggered for break-ins, fire, carbon monoxide, and medical assistance. SimpliSafe is also continuing to provide technical support by phone and ensures that they are following federal safety guidelines. Learn more here
With an all-in-one home security system and lots of smart home compatibility, Abode is an innovator, giving you the ability to choose between self- or professional monitoring.
★ Recommended Plan The Iota All-In-One Security Kit combines motion detection, video surveillance, and two-way audio into a single hub for your home. Equipment starts at $299. Professional monitoring starts at $20 per month.
Flexible monitoring plans
Option for short-term professional monitoring
Access to an all-in-one security system
Professional monitoring only available in highest tiered monitoring plan
Cellular backup not available in basic monitoring plan
Understanding custom home automation features could be difficult for some
In terms of equipment, Abode offers the typical do-it-yourself selection of intrusion protection and alarms, plus a few different indoor camera and home automation options. It doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector or an outdoor camera, which might be dealbreakers for some people. However, the Abode hub supports Z-wave, Zigbee, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can find plenty of compatible third-party devices.
Abode Monitoring Service
Abode offers affordable plans for both self-monitoring and professional monitoring. Self-monitoring through the mobile app is free, which is unusual. Many security providers will charge at least a nominal fee for full access to mobile app monitoring. There’s also a $7/mo. self-monitoring plan that includes cellular backup if the home wifi network goes down. Professional monitoring starts around $8.33/mo., and you can even get on-demand short-term professional monitoring for if you only need it now and then.
Why Abode is the Best for Self-Monitoring
Many people who are looking for DIY home security solutions want systems that they can install and monitor themselves. Because of its range of self- and professionally monitored plans, Abode is our top pick for the diehard DIYer.
Abode Pricing & Value
Abode is a budget-priced option for tech-savvy people who want to set up and monitor their own system. Equipment and/or monitoring are often steeply discounted if you bundle them together. We’ve seen professional monitoring start as low as $8.33/mo. with the purchase of a starter kit.
Access Google smart home technology with a Nest security system. Even better, Brinks will protect your home with Nest for as low as $19 per month.
★ Recommended Plan Keep things simple with the Nest Secure Alarm System. You’ll get two Nest tags for easy arming & disarming and access to Google Assistant features. Equipment starts at $399. Professional monitoring starts at $19 per month.
Reasonably priced DIY option
Contract for professional monitoring is optional
Easy to use
No variety of preset hardware packages you can purchase
The cost of month-to-month professional monitoring is higher than contract option
Nest currently has one home security system you can purchase, and that’s the Nest Secure System. It comes with the essentials you need for basic intrusion detection like a base station and sensors. You’ll also be able to use Google Assistant for voice control and additional Google smart devices with the Nest Secure System. Feel free to add on devices as you see fit for your home.
Nest Monitoring Services
Brinks Home Security provides professional monitoring for the Nest Secure System. Brinks’ monitoring service for Nest starts at $19/mo. Professional monitoring is optional with Nest – you can opt to self-monitor your home instead. If you choose professional monitoring for Nest, you’ll have access to Brinks’ fast response services.
Best Smart Home Integrations
It’s no secret that with Nest you’ll get access to some of the best smart home integrations with Google. If you have a Google smart device such as the Nest Hub, Google Home, and more. For voice control, simply ask Google Assistant to help.
Nest Pricing & Value
Nest’s security system is competitively priced compared to other DIY providers. Retailing for $399, the Nest Secure System gives you access to unique equipment like the Nest Guard Hub, two Nest tags for easy arming/disarming, two Nest Detector sensors, two open/close magnets, a power adapter, and additional items for getting started.
ADT is known for its longevity in the industry and its certified monitoring centers. Choose from one of ADT’s four packages or customize to fit your needs.
★ Recommended Plan ADT’s Video Lite Planis nothing minor — you’ll get motion detection, smart home capabilities, and video surveillance. Equipment starts at $599. Professional monitoring starts at $54.99 per month.
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.
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.
ADT’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
ADT is continuing to provide 24/7 alarm response and is working to resolve residential customer issues by phone as much as they can. If a customer’s issue cannot be resolved over the phone, ADT will send out a technician to help. The company is taking additional steps to ensure their technicians are well and safe by performing wellness checks and making sure each household is healthy before sending help. Learn more here
Brinks Home Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment
Brinks lets you choose between the Google Nest Secure Alarm System or Brinks’ own equipment packages. The Nest system (purchased through Brinks or major retailers like Google and Walmart) integrates with the entire lineup of Nest products and Google Assistant. Brinks equipment options include basic home security or home security with video, and the alarm panel is also a smart home hub compatible with Z-wave and Alexa devices.
Brinks Home Security Monitoring Service
Brinks owns and operates its own US-based monitoring center. Its monitoring service includes a benefit called ASAPer, which simultaneously messages a group of pre-set contacts to determine whether alarm activity is a true emergency or false alarm. Most monitoring center call household members one at a time, which can slow response times.
DIY Installation with Professional Options
Brinks security packages are meant to be self-installed. Optional professional help is available through a Nest Pro or Brinks Customer Care for an additional fee.
Brinks Home Security Pricing & Value
Brinks provides value by offering a choice of pricing agreements. The Nest option starts at $399 for equipment, and customers can choose between $29.99/mo. no-commitment monitoring or $19.99/mo. with a three-year contract. Brinks equipment packages require a 36-month contract. Equipment starts at $199 for the most basic package and monitoring starts at $29/mo.
Brinks’ Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
In addition to providing 24/7 alarm response, Brinks is continuing to provide on-site service for its customers. Brinks technicians will check in with customers to ask about symptoms before an appointment to protect themselves and those they serve. If you or a family member are ill or are experiencing illness symptoms, Brinks asks that you reschedule your appointment. Learn more here
Get trusted professional monitoring and an easy-to-install security system with Blue by ADT. Even better, your first month of monitoring is free.
★ Recommended Plan For front-door protection, we recommend the Blue Doorbell Camera System. You’ll get the essentials and a doorbell camera for your home. Equipment starts at $109.19. Professional monitoring starts at $19.99 per month.
Blue by ADT Security Packages and Smart Home Equipment
Blue by ADT has a collection of cameras that connect to LifeShield security systems wirelessly. Their equipment is easy to install and connect to smart home equipment including voice assistants. Their devices can be controlled used the Blue by ADT mobile app for modern home security.
Blue by ADT Monitoring Services
Blue by ADT offers self-monitoring for free and professional monitoring for $19.99/mo. The first month of professional monitoring is free and comes with one free month of cloud video storage.
Blue by ADT is completely DIY for an easy, free set-up that doesn’t require a professional. Their videos and technical support make it easy to set up your cameras and connect them to your smart home devices for whole-home smart security.
Blue by ADT Pricing & Value
Blue by ADT has cameras and monitoring services – all at an affordable cost. All cameras cost $199 each and the monitoring service is $19.99/mo. on a month-to-month rate for more flexibility.
Blue by ADT’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Blue by ADT is continuing to provide 24/7 monitoring and customer support during normal business hours from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST on Saturdays and Sundays. Learn more here
Winner of the 2020 IoT Breakthrough Award for its outdoor camera, Vivint is a leader in home security with its expansive equipment lineup and features.
★ Recommended Plan Vivint’s Smart Home Service has a ton of features and devices to help you protect your home to include the basics plus home hazard monitoring devices. Equipment starts at $599.99. Professional monitoring starts at $29.99 per month.
Flexible equipment configuration
Flexible payment options
Variety of cutting-edge smart home devices and features
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).
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.
Vivint’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Vivint is still providing 24/7 alarm response and on-site service for customers. Vivint technicians are utilizing best practices for safety when they visit customer homes such as cleaning the areas they touch. Vivint is asking customers who are sick or experiencing symptoms of illness to reschedule their appointment for the health and safety of their technicians. Learn more here
Get a locked monthly monitoring rate and flexible contract options with Link Interactive. Choose between three monthly plans and select the equipment that’s right for your home.
★ Recommended Plan Go gold with Link Interactive for motion detection, home hazard monitoring, and smart home functionality with the Gold Plan. Request a quote for equipment pricing. Professional monitoring starts at $39.99 per month.
Build-your-own equipment packages
1, 2 or 3-year contracts
Family owned and operated
No smart home capabilities in base plan
No professional installation option
Video monitoring only available in highest-tiered plan
Link Interactive Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment
Link Interactive offers a wide variety of panels, sensors, remotes, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, cameras, smart home hubs and smart locks, thermostats and lights – everything you need for intrusion detection, surveillance, environmental monitoring and home automation with the freedom to build your own system from the ground up.
Link Interactive Monitoring Service
Link Interactive’s monitoring service is handled by Avantguard, a wholesale monitoring center that serves over 500,000 subscribers. Avantguard is TMA Five Diamond and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified, both important accreditations. It’s also possible to request a self-monitored plan through Link Interactive, though it might not be available in your area, and there is still a considerable fee ($30.99/mo.) associated with app use.
Why Link Interactive is Best for DIY Custom Packages
Link Interactive’s website provides a comprehensive listing of all product options with specifications. It’s a great tool for configuring the system and learning the role of each device. We recommend you use this tool for research and call Link Interactive to actually make your purchase. At the time of writing, there are service plans, deals and options not listed online.
Link Interactive Pricing & Value
It’s possible to get a very good value with Link Interactive with the right equipment selection and service agreement. Customers purchase equipment up front and sign on to a 1, 2 or 3-year contract. Equipment runs on the expensive side, but Link rewards longer contracts with increasingly substantial discounts on equipment. Monitoring costs $30.99-$44.99 monthly.
Link Interactive’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Link Interactive is monitoring the effects of COVID-19 and will continue to provide alarm response as well as home installations and service. If further restrictions are put into place, Link Interactive technicians will work from home. Learn more here
Nationally recognized for its customer service, Frontpoint is a top contender in home security with a range of packages you can choose from.
★ Recommended Plan For the basics—a hub, sensors, and signage—Frontpoint’s Safe Home Starter plan comes at an affordable price. Equipment starts at $319.95. Professional monitoring starts at $44.99 per month.
Renter-friendly services and equipment
Good customer service
Outdoor camera, doorbell camera only available as add-ons
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.
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.
Frontpoint’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Frontpoint is also continuing to provide 24/7 alarm response and customer service by phone, chat, and email. You can rest assured that a Frontpoint monitoring associate will be available to help. For security system setup, you can visit Frontpoint’s support page to view their user guides and videos for help. Learn more here
Get an emergency text within 2 seconds of your alarm with Cove Security. Cove offers inexpensive monitoring and a $5 monthly reward towards new equipment.
★ Recommended Plan Choose Cove Plus for access to smartphone control, a locked monitoring rate, and Cove’s $5 per month equipment reward. Equipment starts at $290. Professional monitoring starts at $14.99 per month.
Custom packages with low-pressure sales
60-day money-back guarantee
Premium app subscription required for many features
Cove doesn’t offer preset packages you can choose from, but you can easily put together your own security system online. Cove focuses on providing the essentials you need for protecting your home with intrusion detection equipment and an indoor security camera for monitoring your home. Cove’s Touch Alarm Panel boasts two-way communication and Smash & Grab Protection for additional security against intruders.
Cove Security Monitoring Services
You’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring with Cove through either the Cove Basic or Cove Plus plans. Cove provides this service through COPS Monitoring, an organization that has 6 UL-Listed centers. Your home will be monitored over a 100% cellular connection for greater protection against power outages or Wi-Fi internet issues.
Cove Security’s system is designed for DIY installation. The provider claims their system can be installed in as little as 30 minutes. Cove’s equipment is pre-configured so that when it arrives, you’ll simply follow the provided instructions for setup.
Cove Security Pricing & Value
With Cove, you have greater control over the cost of your security system by choosing the devices you need and want online, no up-selling involved. Compared to other DIY providers, Cove’s equipment is less expensive, and you may be able to find the devices on sale during any promotions.
Cove’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Cove is continuing to serve its customers with 24/7 alarm response and newly added 24/7 customer support. Additionally, Cove also understands the financial impact the pandemic is having on customers and has stated that the company will work with them to create a plan for keeping their monitoring service. Learn more here
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.
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
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.
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.
SimpliSafe stands out as our top alarm security provider overall because of their affordable house alarm systems and professional monitoring. SimpliSafe doesn’t hold customers in a contract, but gives them the freedom to decide between DIY and professional installation, as well as self or professional monitoring. SimpliSafe isn’t in the Dark Ages with its technology either — you’ll find a security camera, smart door lock, and video doorbell among the provider’s lineup. With packages starting around $230 and monitoring at $14.99 per month, renters and homeowners alike are more able to make SimpliSafe part of their home.
What should I look for when buying a home security system?
Price – You can expect to pay for equipment and professional monitoring. Additional fees for installation and activation may apply.
Contracts – The average contract length is three years, but there are many home security providers that have no-contract options.
Monitoring Options – Choose between professional or self-monitoring for your system.
Connectivity Options – Choose between a landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring connection.
Equipment – Basics like a control panel or hub and sensors come with every security system. Additional equipment can include cameras, smoke detectors, and smart devices.
Smart Home Integrations – Products like smart lights, locks, and more are generally offered. Integration with Alexa, Google Assistant, and other technologies can be found as well.
Mobile App Access – Get remote access and control by mobile app, allowing you to arm, disarm, and manage smart devices.
Trial Period – Typically, providers give you 30 days to try out your new security system, but the trial period can vary.
What is do-it-yourself home security?
Do-it-yourself home security gives you the option to self-install and or self-monitor your alarm system, cutting out additional fees for installation and or alarm response.
When should I go with professional installation?
Choose professional installation when you’re not confident with properly installing your security system. A professional can ensure everything’s set up so you’re ready to go.
What is professional monitoring and do I need it?
Professional monitoring ensures that an agent is standing by ready to respond to your alarm. Typically, an agent will contact you if your alarm system is triggered and ask if the authorities or emergency services are needed.
How much does professional monitoring cost?
Professional monitoring can cost as low as $14.99 per month to around $60 per month depending on the provider.
Do all home security systems come with a security camera?
No, all home alarm systems do not come with a camera. You’ll usually pay more for a system that includes an indoor, outdoor, or video doorbell camera.
Should I purchase a home security system if I rent an apartment?
Yes, we recommend purchasing a security system even if you rent an apartment for added safety measures. There are a number of do-it-yourself options with affordable prices that you can choose from.
Will I be stuck in a long contract?
Signing a contract will depend on the provider. Most local and traditional providers require a contract for their services.
What makes home security systems smart?
If a home security system comes with a smart device or home automation capabilities, companies may deem that system as “smart.” This is because you’ll be able to set up custom automations or manage smart devices while using your control panel and mobile app.
Will I be able to control my home security system with a mobile app?
Most security alarm systems come with a mobile app, giving you the ability to arm, disarm, manage smart devices, and more by the touch of a finger.
Are permits required for home security systems?
The need for a permit will depend on the provider. Some local areas require permits to help reduce the number of false alarms and unnecessary emergency response.
How to choose the best home security system?
The best alarm system will fit your budget and also include the devices and features you need and want to help protect your home.