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Do you need help finding the best home security system but are overwhelmed with your options? Our team has 50+ 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 best for your family.
- Best Home Security Systems
- Comparison Table & Terminology
- Winners By Category
- Other Companies Reviewed
- Self-Monitored Security Systems
- What If I Have Pets?
Before we jump into our company reviews, we suggest you familiarize yourself with our review criteria:
- Customer Service
- Ease Of Use
List Of Companies Reviewed
Here’s a listing of the companies we’ve covered to date: Frontpoint (1st), Protect America (2nd), SimpliSafe (3rd), Link Interactive (Most Customizable), ADT (Best Pro Install), Vivint (Best Automation), AT&T Digital Life, Brinks, Nest Secure, and Ring Alarm. On our overflow page: Abode, LifeShield, Protection One, Scout Alarm. Don’t see yours?
To learn more about some of the features we include in our reviews and why they’re important, jump to our terminology section. And now without further ado, our winners for this year:
Frontpoint wins this year for overall best home security system. It’s one of the few home security companies that offers 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 difficult communication signal to break.
Frontpoint’s equipment design is modern, and there are many security and home automation options to choose from. Their app makes it easy to control the system while away from home (learn what else it can do in our Frontpoint review), and their pricing is in line with competitors.
Potentially most important, however, is that the majority of Frontpoint’s customers rave about their customer service. This is important because if a sensor fails or you have a question, you want to know the customer support team will answer quickly and is knowledgable in your concern. If you want a dependable system, stellar customer service and reasonable prices, Frontpoint is hard to beat.
* Your monthly monitoring rate is locked in for the life of your agreement.
The package prices below are with a 3-year contract. You can also purchase additional sensors for an extra fee, which you’ll see listed next to the device. There is also a Build Your Own option.
|Package Name||Safe Home Starter||Safe Home Everyday||Safe Home Plus||Safe Home Select||Safe Home Preferred||Safe Home Elite|
|Hub + Keypad ($299.98)||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Door/Window Sensor ($32.99 each)||2||3||3||4||5||6|
|Motion Sensor ($64.99 each)||1||2||2||2||2|
|Glass Break Sensor ($74.99 each)||2||1||1||2|
|Smoke & Heat Sensor ($64.99 each)||1||1||1|
|Indoor Camera ($99.99 each)||1||1|
|Premium Indoor Camera ($199.99 each)|
|Outdoor Camera ($199.99 each)||1|
|Doorbell Camera ($189.99 each)||1|
|Yard Sign ($3.99 each)||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Window Decals - set of 5 ($3.99 each)||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Door Stickers ($3.99 each)||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Garage Door Tilt Sensor ($44.99 each)|
|CO Sensor ($89.99 each)|
|Flood Sensor ($44.99 each)|
|Smart Light Bulb ($9.99 each)|
|Wireless Light Control ($49.99 each)|
|Garage Door Controller ($69.99 each)|
|Smart Door Lock ($179.99 each)|
|Panic Pendant ($39.99 each)|
|Keychain Remote ($31.99 each)|
|Extra Keypad ($49.99 each)|
If you are interested in integrating a thermostat with your system, any Z-wave thermostat will work, including the Nest Thermostat.
Did You Know…
Z-Wave is a wireless communication protocol used for home automation equipment. Companies that support Z-Wave are able to expand their product lines to support many third-party devices, giving you access to more equipment options.
|Price Per Month||$34.99||$44.99||$49.99|
|Wireless & Cellular|
|Unique User Codes|
|Crash & Smash Protection|
|Remote Access & Control|
|Live Video Streaming|
|Video & Image History|
|Motion Triggered Alerts|
|Night Vision Enabled|
|Smart Lock Control|
If you opt for security cameras only, there is a Self Monitoring Plan for $14.99 per month. It includes:
- Unlimited cameras and locations
- Unlimited storage duration for up to 1,000 video clips
- Video monitoring detection
- Option to receive customized mobile notifications
- Two-way audio
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Frontpoint.
Installation & Set Up
Frontpoint makes every step of the installation process easy. You get your equipment in a timely fashion, and it’s a breeze to set up. If you run into any hiccups, there are videos (like the one below), FAQs on the website and a helpful customer support team to help you get the system up and running.
Protect America is one of the few companies that lets you choose between landline, broadband and cellular monitoring. This allows them to offer some of the lowest prices for professional monitoring, earning them a top spot in our review. That being said, we recommend choosing cellular since it is the most secure option.
If you live in a remote area where cell service isn’t reliable, you can still secure your home thanks to its landline and broadband options, a feature that is not available with most other providers. This is why it’s also our pick for best landline system. Protect America offers reliable customer service and has a variety of home security and automation equipment to choose from.
Protect America has no installation fees, and you get up to $1,400 of wireless equipment free. Below are the monitoring packages and equipment included with each package.
Note: If you want a security camera with Protect America, you must upgrade to broadband or cellular monitoring.
|Landline Monitoring Price/Month||$19.99||$37.99||$42.99|
|Broadband Monitoring Price/Month||$41.99||$49.99||$54.99|
|Cellular Monitoring Price/Month||$41.99||$49.99||$54.99|
|Glass Break Sensor|
|Garage Door Sensor|
|Recessed Door/Window Sensor|
|Ion Plunger Recessed Door/Window Sensor|
|Medical Alert Pendant|
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Protect America.
SimpliSafe stands out with no long-term contract requirement. You can go month-to-month with your professional monitoring, and if you decide to stop service, there are no contract restrictions or early termination fees.
The equipment does cost more upfront, and the app is pretty bare bones, but if being locked into a multi-year contract is a deal breaker, this could be a good option for you. In addition to ranking third overall this year, SimpliSafe is also our pick for best no-contract option.
|Build Your Own||The Foundation||The Essentials||The Oakstone||The Hearth||The Barrington||The Knox||The Haven||SS3 New Generation - 12pc||SS3 New Generation - 10pc|
|Number of Pieces||100 maximum||4||6||12||9||8||13||14||12||10|
|Glass Break Sensor||$34.99|
You can purchase a SimpliSafe security system without adding on a monitoring plan; however, despite being marketed by many websites as a system that you can self-monitor, in our experience the system is almost useless without monitoring. Why? Because you won’t be able to monitor it remotely (via their app) or be notified if a sensor is triggered unless you pay a monthly monitoring fee – which in our opinion defeats the whole purpose of having a modern security system. The local alarm siren will still sound without monitoring however if that’s all you’re looking for.
|Price Per Month||$14.99||$24.99|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring|
|Unlimited Camera Recording|
SimpliSafe products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.
If there are any terms that you don’t understand, we have a terminology section below the table.
|1st: Frontpoint||2nd: Protect America||3rd: SimpliSafe||Most Customizable: Link Interactive||Professional Installation: ADT||Best Home Automation: Vivint||AT&T Digital Life||Brinks||Nest Secure||Ring Alarm|
|Equipment Starting Cost||$69||$0||$229||Customizable||$0||$599.99||$549.99||$399||$399||$199|
|Pro Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost||$34.99||$21.19||$14.99||$30.99||$27.99||$10||$39.99||$29||$19||$10|
|Contract Length||1-3 Years||3 Years||None||1-3 Years||3 Years||3.5-5 Years||2 Years||3 Years||None or 3 Years||None|
|Installation||DIY||DIY||DIY||DIY||Professional||Professional||Professional||DIY or Professional||DIY||DIY|
|Installation Fee||$0||$0||$0||$0||$99-$199||$49-$199||$99.99 1st Hour + $65/Extra Hour||$0 or $199||$0||$0|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 Days||15 Days||60 Days||30 Days||6 Months||None||14 Days||45 Days||30 Days||30 Days|
|Warranty||Lifetime||Lifetime||3 Years||3 Years||Lifetime (Must Pay Additional $)||120 Days||Lifetime||2 Years||2 Years||1 Year|
|Battery Backup||24 Hours||18-24 Hours||24 Hours||8 or 24 Hours||24 Hours||4 Hours||24 Hours||8 Hours||12 Hours||24 Hours|
|Self Monitoring Option||(Cameras Only)|
|Third Party Monitoring|
|Main Form Of Monitoring||Cellular||Landline, Broadband & Cellular||Cellular||Cellular||Landline & Cellular||Cellular||Broadband & Cellular||Broadband||Broadband||Broadband|
|Backup Form Of Monitoring||Broadband||None||Broadband||Broadband||Cellular||Broadband||Broadband||Cellular||Cellular||Cellular|
|Amazon Alexa Compatibility|
|Google Home Compatibility|
- Equipment Starting Cost – The cost of your system’s equipment can vary based on the devices you select, but these are the base prices for each company. They can go up from there.
- Pro Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost – This is the lowest monthly fee you should expect to be charged for professional monitoring. The monthly fee can increase depending on the type of monitoring (landline, broadband or cellular) you want and the devices in your system (i.e., cameras and home automation equipment typically result in higher monthly fees).
- Contract Length – This is the standard length of the contract you’ll be required to sign to maintain monitoring for your system.
- Installation – Many companies offer do it yourself (DIY) type installation, which is fairly simple since most sensors attach with peel and stick (similar to a sticker). Some companies still offer professional installation, if you’d prefer that. If you’re worried about purchasing a DIY security system, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions in our DIY frequently asked questions article. We can help you put your cameras, control panel, sensors and other equipment in the perfect spots in our home security installation guide.
- Installation Fee – DIY installation typically means there is no installation fee. But, if you opt for a company with professional installation, you’ll commonly be charged for it.
- Money-Back Guarantee – The time you have to return the system for a full refund without being locked into a contract. Be sure to read how each company defines its money-back guarantee before signing a contract.
- Warranty – This is the amount of time your equipment will be covered for any defects. Each company has exclusions in its warranty — make sure to read carefully so you understand what is and isn’t covered.
- Battery Backup – This is the amount of time the control panel will operate on battery power during a power outage. Power outages are popular times for burglars to break into homes, so the longer the battery backup time, the better.
- Self Monitoring Option – If you’d prefer to monitor your system yourself and avoid a professional monitoring fee, you can select one of these companies. Keep in mind, a self-monitored system means if an alarm goes off, you are responsible for contacting the appropriate authorities. So, if you are someone who is often away from or mutes your phone (including air travel), this may not be a great fit for you.
- Third Party Monitoring – We recommend companies that use a third party for their monitoring needs because it’s extremely difficult for a company to specialize and excel in both security equipment and 24/7 monitoring.
- Cellular Monitoring – Cellular monitoring is more secure than landline and broadband (internet) because there is no risk of any wires being cut.
Learn more about central monitoring stations and the types of monitoring, so you know what to consider before making a purchase.
Link Interactive is very similar to Frontpoint, but has a shorter equipment warranty, has a less esteemed customer service team, the installation process is a little more intensive and its battery backup is shorter for one of its control panels.
However, its monitoring is less expensive, so it may be worth considering. Link Interactive has no starter plans and everything is à la carte style, so its plans are completely customizable and you only pay for what you need.
|Equipment||Prices||Life Safety||Prices||Camera||Prices||Home Automation||Prices||Add-Ons||Prices|
|2Gig Go!Control Panel||Included||Smoke Heat Detector||$66||V722W Exterior Camera||$199||Alarm.com Smart Thermostat||$118||Z-Wave Range Extender||$26|
|IQ Panel 2|
3 Door/Window Sensors
1 Motion Detector
|$200||CO Detector||$80||V522IR Interior Camera||$129||Z-Wave Thermostat||$85||Extra Door/Window Magnet||$1|
|Door/Window Sensor||$22-$24||Disaster Sensor||$67||SkyBell Doorbell Camera||$175||Remote Temperature Sensor||$23||RE524X Translator/Repeater||$90|
|Extended Range Door/Window Sensor||$29||IQ Flood Sensor||$40||Slim Skybell||$175||KWK-888-VB||$135||Hardwire 16F||$120|
|Recessed Door Sensor||$34||Panic Button||$29||SVR122-1TB||$284||KWK-888-SN||$135||2Gig Repeater||$57|
|Glass Break Detector||$69||FireFighter Module||$55||SVR122-500GB||$267||Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt||$204|
|Key Fob||$24-$26||Smoke/Heat/Freeze Sensor||$66||V622 Wireless Interior Camera||$285||LiftMaster Extra Door Sensor||$67|
|Siren||$43-$64||Wireless Heat Detector||$64||Digital Doorbell Chime Adapter||$15||Z-Wave Light Bulb||$18|
|Tilt Sensor||$40||Smoke Detector Sensor||$37||Lamp Module||$42|
|IQ Panel 2 Remote||$207||Water Leak Detector||$48||IQ Doorbell||$32|
|Motion Sensor||$50||LifeMaster Garage Door Bundle||$73|
|Smart Motion Sensor (Starter)||$112-$122||LiftMaster MyQ Control Panel||$31|
|Smart Motion (Sensor Only)||$97|
|Plunger-Type Wireless Door Sensor||$37|
|Outside Wireless Door/Gate Sensor||$61|
|Price Per Month||$30.99||$39.99||$44.99|
|Smoke, Fire, CO Detectors|
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Link Interactive.
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 as a result.
On the plus side, it’s available nationwide, is professionally installed by a local authorized dealer, has a detailed app to control your system 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.
Equipment options and monthly prices can vary depending on the ADT reseller you choose. The equipment and pricing we have listed below are from an authorized reseller we recommend. If you’re interested in ADT, use this link to get a custom quote for your home.
|Basic Security||Basic Security w/ Equipment Service Protection||Basic Security + Wireless Connect||ADT Pulse Monitoring + Video||ADT Pulse Monitoring + Smart Home Connect|
|Price Per Month||$27.99||$36.99||$48.99||$58.99||$59.99|
|Door/Window & Motion Sensors Capable|
|Wireless Keychain Remote|
|Equipment Service Protection|
|Safety Detection Device Capable|
|Remote Control w/ Cell Phone|
|Indoor Camera Capable|
|Smart Home Capable|
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from ADT.
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 4-hour battery backup, which is minimal compared to other companies.
|SkyControl Starter Kit||Home Security System||Smart Home Control||Video Security||Smart Complete|
|Price Per Month (Total)||$10.00 ($599.99)||$11.83 ($709.98)||$17.50 ($1,049.95)||$23.00 ($1,379.95)||$29.83 ($1,789.92)|
|Recessed Door Sensor|
|Glass Break Sensor|
|Garage Door Controller/Sensor|
|Smart Door Lock|
After you’ve chosen all of your equipment, you can then choose your monitoring plan.
|Smart Security||Smart Home||Smart Home Video|
|Price Per Month||$29.99||$39.99||$44.99|
|$49-$199 Installation Fee|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring|
|Entry, Smoke & CO Detection|
|Medical Pendant Support|
|Smart Home Integration|
|Live Video Feed|
|14 Days Storage Of 30-Second Clips For Up To 2 Cameras|
If you have more than 2 security cameras, you’ll have to pay an additional $5 per month for the camera monitoring (3 cameras = +$5/month, 4 cameras = +$10/month, etc.).
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Vivint.
We only cover the top 10 home security providers on this page. However, we have an overflow page where we’ve reviewed many other well-known companies, including Abode, LifeShield, Protection One, Scout Alarm and more.
AT&T Digital Life isn’t available everywhere in the U.S., so be sure to check the availability in your area before you set your heart on this system. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with many of the standard smart home devices and technologies, making this system a poor choice for home automation lovers.
It only has 1 monitoring station (and the monitoring is performed in-house), so it’s not as well equipped as its competitors. In fact, you could be left to fend for yourself if that single monitoring station experiences a power outage.
AT&T Digital Life also has higher prices and requires monthly add-on fees for items that are included for other competitors. You may be able to get a slightly better price by bundling it with other services but, overall, they aren’t among our top picks.
Home Security Packages
AT&T Digital Life offers 3 security packages, shown in the table below.
|Smart Security||Smart Security & Automation||Premium Security & Automation|
|Glass Break Sensor|
|Keyless Door Lock||1||1|
|Indoor Smart Plugs||2|
|Temperature & Water Sensors||2|
Home Automation Packages
You must purchase a security package above to manage home automation equipment. Below are 4 add-on options for home automation.
Additional $199.99 Each
|Touchscreen Door Lock|
Additional $179.99 Each
|N/A||Choose 1 of 3 Options Listed||N/A||N/A|
|Pushbutton Door Lock|
Additional $179.99 Each
|N/A||Choose 1 of 3 Options Listed||N/A||N/A|
|Garage Door Controller|
Additional $0.99 Each
|N/A||Choose 1 of 3 Options Listed||N/A||N/A|
Additional $89.99 Each
Additional $39.99 Each
|In-Wall Smart Light Control|
|Light Dimmer Control|
|Smart Outlet Control|
|Temperature & Water Sensors|
Additional $49.99 each
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from AT&T Digital Life.
Brinks is one of the few security companies to offer connectivity with both Z-wave and Zigbee devices (wireless communication protocols), enhancing your home automation possibilities.
Unfortunately, it only has 1 in-house monitoring station and only a 2-year equipment warranty (most competitors offer a lifetime warranty). You can get home security systems from competitors at a similar cost with better monitoring and warranties.
|Nest Secure*||Home Complete||Home Complete With Video|
|Monitoring Price Per Month||$29||$29||$39|
|Nest Guard (Base Station)|
|Nest Detect (Door/Window & Motion Sensor)|
$49 each additional
$29 each additional
$78 each additional
|Nest Tag (Key Fob)|
$25 each additional
$199 each additional
|SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell|
$199 each additional
|Contract||None||3 Years||3 Years|
Below is add-on equipment for your Brinks security system. The equipment isn’t Brinks-specific, but it works with their system.
Please note that there is more equipment that integrates with Brinks, but it is not sold directly from the Brinks website.
|GE Z-Wave Plug-In Module||$59|
|GE Z-Wave In-Wall Dimmer||$59|
|GE Z-Wave Outdoor Module||$59|
|GE Z-Wave Wall Receptacle||$59|
|IQ Smoke Detector||$79|
|IQ Garage Door Tilt Sensor||$39|
|IQ CO Detector||$79|
|IQ Flood Detector||$49|
|Glass Break Detector||$79|
|GE Water/Flood Sensor||$49|
|GE Bi-Directional Keypad||$112|
|GE Touchscreen Keypad||$160|
*FireFighter monitors the existing UL smoke detectors within your home and contacts the central monitoring station if it detects an alarm sound from a connected smoke detector.
Most consumers install their Brinks security system themselves, but you can purchase professional installation for $199.
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Brinks Home Security.
Nest has a 3-year contract or a month-to-month option. However, it’s $10 extra per month for the monthly option, so signing the 3-year agreement can save you money. Nest Secure wouldn’t be our top pick though because it only has 1 monitoring station, which is operated by Brinks. You can also self-monitor with Nest Secure.
- $399 for:
- 1 Nest Guard (Base Station)
- 2 Nest Detect (Door/Window Sensor and Motion Sensor)
- 2 Nest Tag (Key Fob)
Purchase additional equipment:
- Nest Detect – $49
- Nest Tag – $25
- Nest Connect (Range Extender) – $69
- Nest Thermostat – $232.00
- Nest Temperature Sensor – $99.00
- Nest Cam (Indoor Camera) – $167.88
- Nest Outdoor Camera – $198.00
- Nest Protect (Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm) – $114.50
- Nest Hello (Doorbell Camera) – $229
Brinks Home Security provides Nest’s monitoring. Brinks is best-known for its armored trucks that securely transport large amounts of cash. In 2010, it merged with Tyco, the parent company of ADT, and began offering home security. Brinks monitoring is broadband with cellular backup.
- 1st month: free
- 3-year agreement: $19/month
- Month-to-month: $29/month
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Nest Secure.
Ring Alarm uses the same company as Frontpoint for its monitoring (Rapid Response) and it is offered at a very affordable price. It has Z-wave and Zigbee connectivity but only a 1-year equipment warranty. Ring was close to making our top picks, but its system and app have limited functionality because it offers fewer equipment options than competitors.
Ring Alarm Security System – $199.00
- 1 base station
- 1 keypad
- 1 contact sensor
- 1 motion detector
- 1 range extender
- Contact Sensors (2 pack): $39.99
- Motion Detector: $29.99
- Range Extender: $24.99
- Keypad – $49.99
- Flood & Freeze Sensor – $34.99
- Smoke & CO Listener – $34.99
- Dome Siren – $36.97
- Indoor Camera: $59.99
- Spotlight Cam:
- Stick Up Cam:
- Stick Up Cam Elite: $199.99
- Floodlight Cam – $249.00
- Doorbells, which you can learn more about here
|Price||Free||$3/month or $30/year||$10/month or $100/year|
|Coverage||1 doorbell or camera||All devices at one address|
|Ring & Motion Alerts|
|Live Video On Demand|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year||Extended|
|Review, Share & Save Videos|
Ring products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.
Read our comparison of the best self-monitored home security systems if you are set on monitoring your system yourself. You can save on cost, but we recommend professional monitoring for reliability and peace of mind.
If you’re looking for a company review you didn’t find on this page, perhaps you’ll find it in our overflow reviews.
If you have pets and you’re worried that either they’ll create false alarms, or you want to make sure they’re protected from fire and CO dangers, read our article on the best pet-friendly home security systems for the scoop on the companies that have equipment and sensors geared to support our four-pawed friends.
Which company stands out for you?
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.