With features like infrared detectors, window sensors, automatic sirens, HD recordings, and connectivity with Google and Alexa, you have never been so safe. In this review, we compare the best smart home security systems of the year, what features you can expect, and which ones work better for DIY or professional monitoring.
SimpliSafe is a beautifully crafted home security platform, comprising a vase-shaped base station, integrated siren, and a slew of supporting sensors available to scatter around your home. They’re designed to detect movement in the home, entry from doors and windows, as well as floods and fires. The “simpli” part of the system? It’s quick and easy to install and a cinch to expand, with a comprehensive range of sensors, optional security cameras, and even 24/7 professional monitoring. Arming and disarming the system is easy for the whole family, with a battery-powered keypad and key fob design. Best of all, thanks to a partnership with design gurus IDEO, SimpliSafe is one of the slinkiest security packages around.
Simplisafe continues to get louder, smarter, and more secure, upgrading their hardware and adding new products like the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro and SimpliSafe Smart Lock for your front door, supporting HD video monitoring and two-way chat plus remote locking and personalized PIN codes for convenient access. The two devices strengthen an already compelling smart home security platform. Highly recommended.
Ring Alarm Security Kit
The affordable and likable Ring Alarm doesn’t disappoint on value, features, or performance. The eight-piece kit is one of the cheapest around, but is packed with features. It comprises a base station, keypad, two motion detectors, three sensors, and a range extender — a solid selection of devices to get you up and running. You can sometimes even get a free Echo Dot with the kit, for hands-free voice control. You can easily add more sensors to detect movement and window and door entry, or a Ring doorbell or outdoor security cameras for more comprehensive protection. Ring also offers other home security products like an Alarm Flood & Freeze Sensor, Panic Alarm, and a Smoke and CO Listener, while exterior security can be boosted with the company’s new range of smart lights. While you will pay a small monthly fee ($10) for professional monitoring, the Ring Alarm Security Kit is the perfect choice for value hunters.
If the idea of installing your own home security system leaves you cold, professionally installed options are still available. While Vivint certainly isn’t the cheapest platform around, you can tailor the system to your needs, selecting from a comprehensive range of high-quality security devices that includes thermostats, cameras, doorbells, lighting, sensors, smart locks, and more.
Once you’ve designed the system of your dreams, installation is priced reasonably, and we found the service to be top-notch. While customization options are exhaustive, controlling the system is easy, courtesy of a nifty, wall-mounted touchscreen and smartphone app plus Alexa/Google Assistant support. Vivint also offers a range of professional monitoring services, starting at around $30 to $40 per month.
If your budget runs into the thousands and you’re seeking a premium, white-glove home security experience, Vivint is well worth exploration.
Are you a devoted DIY enthusiast? Are you OK with skipping professional monitoring services for a system that you don’t have to pay for every month? Nest has one of the best solutions on the market for those who are already comfortable with managing their own smart homes.
Nest Secure provides a hub with a motion sensor and a satellite Nest Detect sensor for guarding windows, doors, and other areas. There is also a separate Tag device that lets people or pets pass by the sensors without setting them off. Buy as many sensors as you need, add some Nest cameras, and put together your own system. But keep in mind the initial costs for buying Nest devices can be high.
While the first-generation Abode security starter kit didn’t wow us on quality, we found it to be a solid budget pick, with a versatile assortment of sensors, extensive third-party device support, and simple controls. Abode Iota is the company’s latest starter kit, boasting sleek lines and smart device control. This time around, the boxy base station has been replaced by an altogether groovier design, packing a 1080p security camera, motion sensor, and 93-decibel siren. A mini door/window sensor and key fob controller are included in the kit, with a plethora of additional sensors and cameras available to build out your system.
Unlike competitors that focus purely on security, Abode Iota also serves as a smart home controller. Device support is extensive, with Abode’s proprietary SecureRF radio, Zigbee PRO, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi onboard for connecting up to 160 devices, while partnerships with Yale, Kwikset, Hue, Ecobee, Philips Hue, and others increase its credibility as a smart home hub.
While it lacks the premium polish of systems like Nest Secure, at just $229, Abode Iota is a capable, versatile and good-value choice for securing your smart home.
ADT remains one of the most traditional and trusted home security brands on the market and has been dabbling with smart home platforms since the launch of ADT Pulse in 2010. While the company’s collaboration with Samsung SmartThings was somewhat of a disappointment, the company’s new ADT Command platform has loftier ambitions.
Like Abode Iota, ADT Command is designed to manage your entire smart home, including its security. A 7-inch wireless touchscreen panel sits at the heart of the platform, supporting 250 third-party smart home devices like thermostats, lights, and doors as well as ADT’s own home security hardware. There’s support for remote device control from ADT’s new mobile app, home automation scenes and geofenced actions, triggering lights and unlocking your front door, for example, as you approach your home.
As you’d expect from ADT, a range of 24/7 professional monitoring plans are available for added protection and peace of mind. It’s unlikely to be the cheapest choice, but ADT’s refreshed smart home security platform looks like a safe bet for those that prefer to spend their money with established operators.
Link is a strong choice for those who want a traditional security system with professional monitoring, locks and detection devices, and packages that take care of the process for you. Link also features monitoring and controlling from an app. To this, Link features some advanced protection, like an electrical setup that keeps the system active if a burglar tries to disable it. Many traditional security brands have tried to update their offerings with smart home tech, and Link is one of the most successful.
Scout has a far more flexible model than many other security brands. You can build your own system, including the components you want and the color and finish you want. Or, you can purchase a kit from somewhere like Amazon. The monitoring is month to month, so there are no long-term contracts, but it’ll cost you an additional $20 per month for professional monitoring. There’s also a $10 self-monitoring plan. The app is easy to use though, and it gives you quick alerts if alarms go off.
Protect America offers customizable plans that allow you to add all kinds of smart gadgets to your system, from door sensors to Amazon Echo devices. It all ships at once, and they install everything for you. Prices vary but tend to be a bit on the low side, and rates are locked in. If the other, more traditional home security brands don’t do much for you, Protect America is worth a look.
Honeywell Smart Home Security System
The Honeywell Smart Home Security System starter kit comes with the camera base station, two access sensors for windows and doors, and a remote-control key fob. The base station includes an HD camera, siren, and Alexa smart speaker. There are also features like facial recognition and motion detection. But there is also support for Google Assistant, IFTTT and Z-Wave Plus. This is a completely DIY system with no professional monitoring. For those who don’t want to deal with contracts and want to manage their own security, this could be a good pick.