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Ring Home Security
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Contract vs. No-Contract Security Systems
Here are some key differences between contract and no contract security systems with these Pros and Cons:
Contract Security Systems
- Some systems are professionally installed
- Most systems come with professional monitoring
- Often costs less upfront
- In-person tutorial and customer service during installation
- You may have to pay an installation fee
- Moving may be more difficult
- Cancelation fees during your contract may be expensive
- Long-term financial commitment
No-Contract Security Systems
- Most systems can be self-installed
- Can often choose between self-monitoring or professional monitoring
- Month-to-month service costs without a contract
- Upgrade services or add equipment any time without hefty fees
- You may improperly install the security system
- Self-monitoring doesn’t provide the added security as professional monitoring
- The equipment may only work with your current provider
- Must pay for all equipment upfront, which can be expensive
Best No Contract Alarm Systems
- Best overall DIY security system
SimpliSafe Home SecurityOur rating9.9Starting 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.
- 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
- Best for instant text alerts
Cove SecurityOur rating9.3Starting at$14.99/mo
Our take on Cove Security:
Although Cove Security launched just a couple of years ago, it offers some unique perks, such as the ability to avoid a contract by paying for equipment upfront. Another major selling point is Cove’s ease of installation.
- Best smart integrations
NestOur rating8.8Starting at$19.99/mo
Our Take on Nest
Keep things simple with the Nest Secure Alarm System. You’ll get two Nest tags for easy arming and disarming with access to Google Assistant features. Equipment starts at $399, though Google has discontinued selling these units, so it may be hard to get your hands on this system. 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 the contract option
- Could lose one of the arming/disarming tags
- Google no longer sells the Nest Secure Alarm System
- Best for self-monitoring
Abode SecurityOur rating9.2Starting at$6/mo
Our take on Abode Home Security:
Abode offers plenty of features in your security equipment. It offers DIY smart security that gives you more than expected. Abode’s Iota Security hub has a built-in siren, HD camera, two-way audio, and can connect up to 160 smart devices. You’ll have to set up the system yourself, and Abode requires service, but it’s worth every penny.
★Recommended package: The Iota All-in-One Security Kit Elite is our favorite pick. We love the built-in hub features. Plus, you’ll still get the security essentials for $292. If you’re looking for an option with more cameras, we recommend the Smart Security Kit Complete for a solution that has two Abode Cam 2 cameras. This provider also offers price match. If you already have a quote from a different provider, make sure to send it to them to see if there’s an opportunity to save extra money.
- Works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit
- Smart hub with built-in security with smart home features
- Camera that doubles as an indoor, outdoor, and doorbell camera
- Warranty only lasts one year
- Requires paid plan for service and most features
- Best for video doorbells
Ring Home SecurityOur rating9.3Starting at$10.00/mo
Our take on Ring Home Security:
Ring is a popular DIY camera choice, especially for those that aren’t looking for whole-home security quite yet. Its security systems and cameras can give you affordable security, monitoring, and surveillance without a contract.
- Standalone equipment and whole-home systems available
- Professional and DIY installation and monitoring available
- A wide range of comparatively cheap equipment
- Paid Protect Plan required for video storage and smart features
- Only works with Amazon Alexa
- Cellular backup only available with a Ring Protect Plan
8 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a No-Contract 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.
Home security systems with no contract 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.
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 no-contract 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 with no contract 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.
Many no-contract security systems often require self-installation. DIY systems are easy to install with tutorial videos and technical support. You’ll save money and time on professional installation that’s costly and could be time-consuming with a scheduled appointment block. And, if you install your system yourself, you’ll be able to easily remove and reinstall it if you move. Some DIY security providers offer professional installation at an additional cost, but it’s not required.
Power Backup Source
If there’s a power outage you’ll want to make sure that your home security system is still running to keep your home safe. Before you buy equipment, be sure you know the power source and if there’s a backup. Most DIY security equipment is battery-powered or plugs into a wall outlet, and often includes a rechargeable backup battery.
Camera Footage Access
When your DIY security cameras record footage, you’ll need to keep in mind how you’ll access clips. Some providers offer additional services including secure cloud storage with a month-to-month plan. With cloud storage, you’ll be able to see live and recorded camera footage anywhere using your camera’s mobile app. Other cameras offer local storage to keep all clips on the camera’s SD memory card – which requires extra work to upload and playback clips. Most families prefer cloud storage for secure storage and easy access to footage.
Frequently Asked Questions About No-Contract Security Systems
While some providers may offer home security systems that don’t require a contract, it’s important to be aware of other factors. One factor you’ll want to keep in mind is that the security system may have to be self-installed, meaning that you’ll have to set it up yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable with installing the system on your own, see if the provider offers optional professional installation. Also check in on upfront costs, trial periods, warranties, and additional features before making your decision.
Most contracts or service agreements you’ll find with providers are 36-month agreements.
Not necessarily. One of the perks of a DIY installed (or self-installed) security system is that you’ll be able to avoid any installation fees. If you don’t feel confident about installing your own security system, it would be better to check for optional professional installation or choose a professionally installed security system.
This will depend on the provider, but most no-contract home security systems come with professional monitoring. If the provider has DIY security systems, in most cases, the monitoring will be on the inexpensive end compared to professionally installed security systems. This is a perk and can allow customers to save money in the long-term.
Most no-contract home security providers offer at least one security camera.