Best Home Security Systems In 2021: ADT vs SimpliSafe vs Ring vs Vivint vs Frontpoint vs Link Interactive

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Burglar breaking into house tracking on smart phone app (caption: What’s The Best Home Security System In 2020)Do you need help finding the best home security system but are overwhelmed with your options? Our team of experts has over 70 years of combined experience researching, testing, and using home security systems. We’ve reviewed the top professionally monitored security companies to help you choose the most reliable system at the best price.

Article Overview

Top Three Home Security Systems & Category Winners

Frontpoint logo small Link Interactive logo SimpliSafe logo Ring logo ADT Logo Vivint Logo
Ranking 1st 2nd 3rd Low Cost, No Contract Professional Install Smart Home
Total Score 4.70 4.18 4.15 4.00 3.30 2.75
Customer Service & Reputation 4.8 4.3 4.5 4.0 2.0 1.0
Equipment 4.8 3.8 3.8 3.3 4.3 4.0
Technology 4.8 4.0 3.5 4.3 3.5 3.0
Value 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.0 3.0 2.0
Ease Of Use 4.8 4.3 4.5 4.5 3.8 3.8
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How do we arrive at the rankings above? Our researchers consider the following review criteria: customer service, equipment, technology, ease of use, and value. A weighted average score is then calculated to arrive at a total score our experts use to rank the companies relative to one another. For a full explanation of our review criteria and how we calculate the final score, we invite you to visit our home security systems guide.

Winner: Frontpoint

Frontpoint logo and ranking 2021

Visit Website | 833-654-0225

Frontpoint wins this year for the overall best home security system. It’s one of the few home security companies that offer cellular monitoring for every single one of its monitoring packages.

Did You Know…

We consider cellular monitoring to be the most secure form of monitoring because it’s the most challenging communication signal to break.

Frontpoint’s equipment design is appealing and fits nicely into many home design styles. From an equipment perspective, there are many security and smart home options from which to choose. Their app is comprehensive and makes it easy to control the system while away from home, and their pricing is in line with competitors.

However, potentially most important is that the majority of Frontpoint’s customers rave about their customer service. This is true for new customers, as well as existing customers. We called in as a new customer and found the sales experience more informative than pushy, which was refreshing. There was no urgency to close the sale, so we had time to sit back and consider our options before committing.

From an existing customer perspective, we found the technical support experience to be top-notch as well. Wait times were generally short, and the few calls we made to get troubleshooting assistance were answered professionally and in a way that made us feel like we could make the changes ourselves the next time. I should point out that since COVID-19, wait times have gotten longer, but there is a callback option, and in our experience calls, were returned within the next hour or two.

Frontpoint no longer requires a contract. This is a significant change as professionally monitored companies will typically lock you into one to three-year contracts to recover equipment expenses. In the past, no-contract systems tended to be pretty bare-bones, but with Frontpoint’s extensive equipment lineup, you can now get a full-fledged home security system without the worry of having to pay off a large balance if you decide to cancel early.

Our Experience

Alex S., Security Systems Reviews, has protected his family’s home with Frontpoint for over a decade. Here is his experience:

We were unwittingly drawn into home security when our neighbor’s house got broken into. At the time, not many DIY solutions existed, and the customer service experience in the industry was akin to going to a used car dealership.

Frontpoint was literally a breath of fresh air because we felt no sales pressure. We called in probably half a dozen times with questions, and they answered them with no strings attached. That was the beginning of a harmonious relationship. Their customer service has always been there for us, and they’ve done multiple equipment replacements at no additional cost to us.

Their monitoring fees may not be the least expensive, but in our experience, a long-term relationship with Frontpoint more than makes up for it. Not to mention, they have some of the more cutting-edge technologies on the market.

Frontpoint equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has 2 monitoring stations
  • 30-day risk-free trial
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Known for its superior customer service
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation
  • No long-term contract (you pay month-to-month with no cancellation fee)
  • Higher monitoring fees

Coupon

Frontpoint packages start at $99 + Free Doorbell Camera ($149.99 value). No Frontpoint promo code needed. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

Full Frontpoint Review

For in-depth equipment pricing, details on monitoring plans, a video on installation, a deep dive into the website portal, a tutorial on how to use the app, user reviews, and more, read our dedicated Frontpoint review.

Runner-Up: Link Interactive

Link Interactive logo and ranking 2021

Visit Website | 877-826-5443

Link Interactive has a three-year equipment warranty, a great customer service team, and its battery backup is shorter (only eight hours) for one of its control panels.

However, its monthly monitoring cost is less expensive than Frontpoint, which puts it right in the running behind our leader. Another advantage that Link Interactive has going for it is its customizability. There are no equipment bundles (everything is à la carte), so you can build your own system and only pay for the equipment you need.

We also like that Link Interactive has many camera options. So you can keep an eye on your property, family, and pets all through the app.
Link Interactive equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has 2 monitoring stations
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation
  • 1, 2, or 3-year monitoring contract required
  • Customers report some installation hiccups
  • You must pay 75% of the contract even if you cancel

Coupon

Link Interactive is having a sale. Get $100 off any system + a free indoor camera. No promo code needed. Use this link to take advantage of this offer.

Full Link Interactive Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a deep dive into their app, user reviews, geofencing capabilities, and more, read our dedicated Link Interactive review.

Third Place: SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe logo and 2021 ranking

Visit Website | 888-910-1458

SimpliSafe stands out as another option for those who want to avoid a long-term contract (Frontpoint and Ring Alarm are the only other companies in this article to offer a similar feature). You can pay month-to-month for professional monitoring, and if you decide to stop service, there are no contract restrictions or early termination fees.

However, the website, overall functionality, and especially the app are fairly bare-bones (“simple” if you will, pun intended) when compared to a company like Frontpoint, and the equipment lineup isn’t as extensive. Their long-awaited camera (the SimpliCam) is finally available as well, and according to them, you will receive priority police dispatch with video-verified events.

But their monthly monitoring price is very affordable, and they offer environmental sensors (smoke, carbon monoxide (CO), water, freeze, and leak detection) to protect you from invisible threats. Keep in mind that there are other threats to your home besides an intruder. Installing environmental sensors can save you thousands of dollars in home repairs, and these types of sensors are becoming more available by many home security companies.

Our Experience

Michelle S., Security Systems Reviews, has the SimpliSafe security system. Below are her thoughts on it.

This is installed in our vacation home, so we’re not in it year-round. Thus, SimpliSafe offers us a lot of peace of mind for potential criminal acts and environmental alerts from flood and temperature sensors. When temperatures drop too low, we need to ensure that our heat is working to prevent frozen/burst pipes.

SimpliSafe equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has 6 monitoring stations
  • Excellent customer service
  • Self-installation
  • No contracts
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Self-monitoring functionality is tied to a monthly payment plan
  • Equipment costs are higher than competitors
  • Website and app don’t indicate low battery alert
  • No outdoor security cameras

Coupon

Use this link to get the best possible SimpliSafe pricing we can offer our readers.

Full SimpliSafe Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a deep dive into their app, user reviews, side-by-side comparisons to competitors, and more, read our dedicated SimpliSafe review.

Comparison Table

If there are any terms that you don’t understand, we have a terminology section in our home security systems guide.

1st: Frontpoint 2nd: Link Interactive 3rd: SimpliSafe Low Cost, No Contract: Ring Alarm Professional Installation: ADT Smart Home: Vivint
Equipment Starting Cost $99 Customizable $229 $179 Free With Contract $599.99
Pro Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost $44.99 $30.99 $14.99 $10 $36.99 $29.99
Contract Length None 1-3 Years None None 3 Years 3.5-5 Years
Installation DIY DIY DIY DIY Professional Professional
Installation Fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $99-$199 $49-$199
Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days 30 Days 60 Days 30 Days 6 Months None
Warranty 3 Years 3 Years 3 Years 1 Year Lifetime (Must Pay Additional $) 120 Days
Battery Backup 24 Hours 8 or 24 Hours 24 Hours 24 Hours 24 Hours 4 Hours
Self Monitoring Option Checkmark Checkmark
Third Party Monitoring Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Main Form Of Monitoring Cellular Cellular Cellular Broadband Landline & Cellular Cellular
Backup Form Of Monitoring Broadband Broadband Broadband Cellular Cellular Broadband
Amazon Alexa Compatibility Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Google Home Compatibility Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark

Our Category Winners

Low Cost, No Contract: Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm Winner 2020

View on Amazon | Visit Website

Ring Alarm uses the same company as Frontpoint for its monitoring (Rapid Response), and it’s offered at a very affordable price. It has Z-Wave and Zigbee connectivity but only a one-year equipment warranty.

Ring is the only company in this comparison to offer solar-powered equipment (available for outdoor cameras and yard signs). We love that Ring is leading the charge on this and hope to see more companies providing solar-powered home security equipment in the future.

Ring was close to making our top picks, but its system and app have limited functionality because it offers fewer equipment options than competitors. However, its low equipment fees, affordable monthly monitoring plan, and lack of contract make it our best pick for our low cost, no contract category.

Our Experience

Security Systems Reviews purchased a Ring Alarm system for Kimberly A., the author of this article, to test out, so we could share firsthand experience with you. Her system includes a base station, keypad, motion sensor, six door/window sensors, range extender, smoke/CO listener, and a Ring Video Doorbell 2. Here’s her experience:

I’ve been thrilled with the performance of my Ring Alarm security system. It’s easy to operate via the keypad or through the app. I’ve had zero false alarms, and the equipment has functioned properly for me.

The value of this system is incomparable. You can’t find a security system with this quality of equipment and professional monitoring at such an affordable price. It’s an excellent solution for those who want a security system for their primary home or vacation home.

Ring Alarm Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has 2 monitoring stations
  • Attractive equipment design
  • If your equipment is stolen, Ring will replace it for free
  • Professional monitoring is optional
  • No contracts
  • Self-installation
  • 30-day returns
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Option to add emergency contacts
  • Limited equipment reduces system’s capabilities

Coupon

Ring products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Full Ring Alarm Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a firsthand installation video by Kimberly, user reviews, side-by-side comparisons to competitors, and more, read our dedicated Ring Alarm review.

Professional Installation: ADT

Professional Installation: ADT

Visit Website | 833-276-1428

ADT is the name that comes to many people’s minds when they think about home security. It’s one of the oldest and most well-known companies in the arena. But because of the professional installation, it’s more expensive than much of the competition. In addition, customer service varies by location, and ADT has a long list of customer complaints.

On the plus side, it’s available nationwide, is professionally installed by a local authorized dealer, has a solid app, and allows many equipment options. If you want a big-name company that will install the system for you, ADT fits the bill. But you can get cellular monitoring with similar equipment for a lower price from other providers by installing yourself.

Authorized Dealer vs DIY Installation

Professionally installed systems, like those provided by ADT, tend to be outsourced to local authorized dealers. This means your installation and customer service experience may vary greatly depending on whom your local ADT provider is.

Wondering how difficult it is to install your own system? Our experts answer the top DIY home security questions.

ADT Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has 10 monitoring stations
  • 6-month guarantee
  • Can be professionally installed in your home within 1 to 2 days after ordering, in most cases
  • Includes basic equipment at no additional cost
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • 3-year monitoring contract required
  • Requires a technician to visit your home and install
  • Cameras have 720p resolution, not 1080p
  • Many customer service complaints about ADT including extra charges on bills, incomplete installations, high-pressure sales tactics, and more
  • Among the most expensive compared to its competitors
  • May charge 75% of the remaining contract if you cancel early

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from ADT.

Full ADT Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a deep dive into ADT Connect, user reviews, side-by-side comparisons to competitors, and more, read our dedicated ADT review.

Smart Home: Vivint

Vivint Alarm Winner 2020

Visit Website | 833-277-6361

Vivint is another company that offers cellular monitoring for all of its plans. But it comes with a high price and a lengthy contract. Also, its control panel only has a four-hour battery backup, which is minimal compared to other companies.

Vivint wins the best smart home award because its app allows users to control its extensive smart home equipment lineup, and it’s very user-friendly.
Vivint Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has 2 monitoring stations
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Excellent smart home options
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • If you pay for the equipment upfront, a month-to-month monitoring plan is available
  • Requires professional installation
  • 3.5 to 5-year contracts if you finance equipment
  • If you want cameras, you must purchase the highest monitoring plan
  • Expensive
  • 4-hour battery backup
  • Has one of the shortest equipment warranties we’ve seen (only 120 days)
  • Must provide written notice 30 days before your desired cancellation date, and you’re responsible for paying the remaining balance in full

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Vivint.

Full Vivint Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, coverage of their extensive smart home capabilities, side-by-side comparisons to competitors, and more, read our dedicated Vivint review.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s questions we frequently get asked by our readers regarding home security systems. Don’t see yours? Ask us in the comments.

What’s The Best Home Security Camera System?

We’ve got a whole section of our site dedicated to home security cameras. Home surveillance systems have come a long way. They started with a licensed installer coming to your home with bulky equipment and endless strings of cords. High monthly bills and lousy image quality followed. Today, we have access to DIY solutions that you can install yourself and monitor from your phone.

What’s The Best DIY Home Security System?

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you’re in luck. The majority of home security systems today are DIY. But, that doesn’t mean they’re all as easy to install, set up, and use as their marketing might suggest. Our experts answer 8 burning questions on DIY home security systems to give you a better idea of what to expect.

What’s The Best Wireless Home Security System?

All the systems we review are wireless unless specified otherwise. Wired systems are a dying breed, but if you’d like to see what’s still available, check out our article on wired home security systems, which also addresses the pros and cons of a wired setup and gives provider recommendations.

What’s The Best Self-Monitored Home Security System?

There are two types of home security systems prevalent on today’s market: those with professional monitoring (by a central monitoring station) and those that are self-monitored (by you and your network of contacts). The former typically includes a monthly fee ($20-$70) to cover the cost of the monitoring station, while with the latter you generally only pay for the equipment.

With many providers you’ll still have access to cutting-edge smart technology that you can control from your smartphone. With these DIY (do it yourself) security systems, you and your network of contacts are in charge of when the authorities are called to your home. Our experts dive in and bring you our top picks for self-monitored home security systems.

Home Security Systems Reviews By Provider

Home security app (caption: Home Security Systems Reviews)Don’t see the brand you’re looking for in this review? This article is dedicated to the top three and category winners, but our experts have reviewed many other providers, including Abode, AT&T Digital Life, Brinks, Cove, Guardian, Kangaroo, Nest Secure, Protect America, Protection 1, and Scout Alarm. Head on over to our home security systems reviews for the scoop on these, including a comparison table, detailed pricing and reader discounts, pros and cons, and real user feedback for each company.

Still don’t see your provider listed? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll make sure we get them covered.

What’s The Bottom Line?

1st
Frontpoint logo small
2nd Link Interactive Logo
3rd
SimpliSafe logo small
Low Cost, No Contract
Ring logo small
Professional Installation
ADT Logo
Smart Home
Vivint Logo

When shopping for a home security system, there are several factors to consider. It’s important to find a company that fits your lifestyle and home layout. It’s easier than ever to install your own system, but that doesn’t mean picking a company is as simple.

If smart home features or customization is a priority, we shared our favorites for those categories. If you prefer reliability, you’ll need a monitoring plan you can trust. Frontpoint comes out on top for that reason with its commitment to offering cellular, worry-free security. If you want a customizable system where you can add equipment à la carte and design your own system, our runner-up Link Interactive might be a good fit. And if you’re looking for a low-commitment plan with affordable monthly monitoring, SimpliSafe may be your best bet.

If there’s home security lingo or concepts you’re still murky on, check out our experts’ comprehensive home security systems guide for the lowdown on how security systems work, explanations behind the different monitoring types, and more.

Which security system are you leaning towards?

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.