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Compare Security Systems without Contract
Ring Home Security
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Basic motion detection
Smart home devices
Home environmental monitoring devices
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Find your Home Security Match
Answer a few questions to find out which system we recommend for you.
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 is our top home security pick because it offers reliable home security equipment at a cheaper price than most competitors. Even though smart home equipment isn’t offered, you’ll have the flexibility to create the system you want within your budget thanks to SimpliSafe’s customizable plans. But keep in mind that you’ll need to pay for equipment upfront because financing isn’t available.
★ Recommended package: The Haven plan offers the best value among SimpliSafe’s offerings. It gives you intrusion and environmental monitoring equipment for less than $500. The package includes security essentials, a smoke detector, a temperature sensor and more. You can add cameras and SimpliSafe’s Video Doorbell Pro for the full SimpliSafe security experience.
- Equipment and monitoring plans are cheaper than competitors
- Optional professional monitoring and installation
- Customizable packages and easy add-ons
- Upfront costs are more expensive than competitors
- No smart home equipment available
- Must upgrade to plan for remote and smart home control
- Best for Instant Text Alerts
Cove SecurityOur rating9.3Starting at$14.99/mo
Our take on Cove Security:
Cove has one of the easiest security setups. It’s newer compared to other industry providers, but two features set them apart. Cove InstaText sends a text message if an alarm is triggered. And if there’s an emergency, LiveAssist uses two-way audio to speak with a professional monitoring agent using the control panel. You’ll need to build your own package, but it’s one of the ways Cove keeps security affordable.
★ Recommended plan: Cove currently doesn’t offer any plans, but its website helps you select the equipment you need depending on whether you need security for a home, apartment or business. Then, Cove will share its best recommendations and you can adjust the equipment selection based on your security needs.
- InstaText and LiveAssist for emergency assistance
- Three-factor communication if an alarm is triggered
- 60-day risk-free trial
- No smart home equipment or compatibility available
- Professional monitoring required
- No professional installation option
- Best Smart Integrations
NestOur rating8.8Starting at$19.00/mo
Our Take on Nest
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, 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 SecurityBBB ratingCStarting at$6/mo
Our take on Abode Home Security:
Simply put, Abode gives you plenty of features in your security equipment. Abode offers DIY smart security solutions that are easy to install and control. We love that each device gives you more than expected. For example, 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 affordable and 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 $503. 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.
- 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 1 year
- Requires paid plan for service and most features
- No professional installation option
- Best for Video Doorbells
Ring Home SecurityOur rating9.3Starting at$10/mo
Our take on Ring Home Security:
You may know Ring best for its wide variety of standalone doorbell cameras. But we love Ring for offering standalone equipment and whole-home security systems without requiring a contract. Like SimpliSafe, you choose DIY monitoring and installation or leave it to the pros. But if you want video recording or professional monitoring, you’ll need to upgrade to one of Ring’s Protect Plans.
★ Recommended package: We recommend the 14-Piece Kit to give you the Video Doorbell 3, Spotlight Battery camera and enough security essentials to fit a single-family home. It’s $760, but you’ll have all the top Ring features, video surveillance and a range extender for the best wifi connection for your devices.
- Standalone equipment and whole-home systems available
- DIY and professional 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.