Best Home Security System 2020: Frontpoint vs SimpliSafe vs Ring vs Nest vs Vivint vs ADT vs Brinks & More

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Do you need help finding the best home security system but are overwhelmed with your options? Our team of experts has over 55 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 3 Home Security Systems

Frontpoint logo smallProtect America logoSimpliSafe logo
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Total Score4.704.354.15
Customer Service & Reputation4.84.34.5
Ease Of Use4.84.84.5
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

Peace Of Mind In An Uncertain Time

COVID-19 virus cell under electron microscope (caption: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guide To The Pandemic)We’ve been hearing from a lot of readers about coronavirus and their concerns as to how it might affect home security. Everything from apocalyptic fears of people breaking down doors to get the last of your food to concerns about central monitoring station operators and whether or not they’re equipped to sustain operations in light of the new CDC social distancing requirement for businesses.

Home security systems are more important now than ever because businesses want to keep an eye on their establishments while they’re closed. Additionally, the capability to contact first responders directly from the app in case of an emergency is very appealing to consumers.

Find out everything you need to know in our comprehensive COVID-19 preparation guide. And of course, if you have questions regarding coronavirus and home security, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.

Top 14 Home Security Systems: Individual Company Reviews

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 (Professional Installation), Vivint (Best Home Automation), AT&T Digital Life, Brinks, Nest Secure and Ring Alarm. And on our overflow page: Abode, Protection One and 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:

Winner: Frontpoint Review

Frontpoint logo and winner badge

Visit Website | 833-654-0225

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 from which to choose. Their app is comprehensive and makes it easy to control the system while away from home (learn what else it can do in our Frontpoint app review), and their equipment 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.

A big update to Frontpoint is that it no longer requires a long-term contract. This is huge for the home security industry. Other no-contract systems can be pretty bare-bones, but Frontpoint has a substantial list of equipment, dependable monitoring and excellent customer service, which sets it apart from the competition. Frontpoint is a well-rounded home security company with extensive cutting edge equipment options, which make it hard to beat.
Frontpoint equipment



  • 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
  • Higher monitoring fees


Below are the packages Frontpoint offers. You can also purchase additional sensors and cameras for an extra fee, which you’ll see listed next to the device. There is also a Build Your Own option, which is à la carte style. Add up the total of your selected equipment and that’s your equipment fee.

Package NameSafe Home StarterSafe Home EverydaySafe Home SelectSafe Home Preferred
Control Panel Hub ($249.98)1111
Keypad ($54.99)1111
Door/Window Sensor ($19.99)2345
Motion Sensor ($29.99)1222
Glass Break Sensor ($44.99)11
Smoke & Heat Sensor ($44.99)11
Indoor Camera ($99.99)1
Yard Sign ($3.99)1111
Window Decals 3-Pack ($3.99)1111
Door Stickers ($3.99)1111
Touchscreen ($119.99)
Premium Indoor Camera ($199.99)
Outdoor Camera ($169.99)
Doorbell Camera ($149.99)
Digital Doorbell Adapter ($10.99)
Garage Door Tilt Sensor ($24.99)
CO Sensor ($69.99)
Flood Sensor ($24.99)
Smart Light Bulb ($24.99)
Wireless Light Control ($49.99)
Garage Door Controller ($74.99)
Smart Door Lock ($149.99)
Panic Pendant ($19.99)
Keychain Remote ($24.99)
Recessed Door Sensor ($39.99)
Smart Thermostat ($199.99) COMING SOON

If you are interested in integrating a thermostat with your system, any Z-wave thermostat will work, including the Nest Thermostat. Frontpoint is also coming out with a smart thermostat, but there is no release date currently.

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.

Monitoring Plans

Price Per Month$44.99$49.99
Wireless & CellularCheckmarkCheckmark
Unique User CodesCheckmarkCheckmark
Crash & Smash ProtectionCheckmarkCheckmark
Geo-location ServicesCheckmarkCheckmark
Mobile AlertsCheckmarkCheckmark
Remote Access & ControlCheckmarkCheckmark
Sensor HistoryCheckmarkCheckmark
Live Video StreamingCheckmark
Video & Image HistoryCheckmark
Motion Triggered AlertsCheckmark
Night Vision EnabledCheckmark
Light ControlCheckmark
Smart Lock ControlCheckmark


Click here 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.

Read Our Full Review Of Frontpoint

Runner Up: Protect America Review

Protect America 2nd place badge

Visit Website | 877-459-7554

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’s 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 equipment



  • Has 6 monitoring stations
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa (but not Google Home)
  • Self-installation
  • 15-day money back guarantee
  • 3-year monitoring contract required
  • You must pay 100% of the contract even if you cancel


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
Control PanelCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Door/Window Sensors ($39.99)3914
Motion Detectors ($99.00)111
Yard Signs ($12.00)111
Door/Window Sticker ($2.25)444
Keychain Remote ($49.00)
Glass Break Sensor ($99.00)
Garage Door Sensor
Recessed Door/Window Sensor
Ion Plunger Recessed Door/Window Sensor
Smoke Detector
CO Detector
Firefighter Sensor
Water/Freeze Sensor
Medical Alert Pendant
Indoor Camera ($99.00)
Outdoor Camera
Doorbell Camera ($179.00)


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

Read Our Full Review Of Protect America

Third Place: SimpliSafe Review

SimpliSafe 3rd place badge

Visit Website | 888-910-1458

SimpliSafe stands out as being another option for those who want to avoid a long-term contract (Frontpoint is the only other company in this article to offer a similar feature). 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.

However, the website, overall functionality and especially the app are fairly bare-bones when compared to a company like Frontpoint, and the equipment lineup isn’t as extensive. But if being locked into a multi-year contract is a deal-breaker, this could be a good option for you if you’re looking for simplicity. In addition to ranking third overall this year, SimpliSafe is also our pick for best low cost, no-contract option.
SimpliSafe equipment



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


Below is a sampling of SimpliSafe’s packages. Visit SimpliSafe’s website to see all packages available. SimpliSafe also has a Build Your Own option, which you can learn more about here.

 Build Your OwnThe FoundationThe EssentialsThe HearthThe KnoxThe Haven
Number of Pieces100 maximum4691314
Base Station$114.9911111
Wireless Keypad$69.9911111
Entry Sensor$14.9913364
Motion Sensor$29.9911122
Keychain Remote$24.99111
Smoke Detector$29.99111
Panic Button$19.991
Freeze Sensor$29.991
Water Sensor$19.991
Glass Break Sensor$34.99
CO Detector$49.99
Video Doorbell Pro$169.00
Smart Lock$99.00

Monitoring Plans

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 MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmark
Cellular ConnectionCheckmarkCheckmark
Environmental MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmark
Mobile AppCheckmark
Unlimited Camera RecordingCheckmark
Home AutomationCheckmark


SimpliSafe is having a 2020 Memorial Day Sale offering 15% off + a free camera with the purchase of any new system. Use this link to take advantage and get the best deal available from SimpliSafe.

Read Our Full Review Of SimpliSafe

Comparison Table

If there are any terms that you don’t understand, we have a terminology section below the table.

 1st: Frontpoint2nd: Protect America3rd: SimpliSafeMost Customizable: Link InteractiveProfessional Installation: ADTBest Home Automation: VivintAT&T Digital LifeBrinksNest SecureRing Alarm
Equipment Starting Cost$99Free With Contract$229CustomizableFree With Contract$599.99$549.99$199$399$179
Pro Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost$44.99$19.99$14.99$30.99$36.99$29.99$39.99$39$29$10
Contract LengthNone3 YearsNone1-3 Years3 Years3.5-5 Years2 Years3 YearsNone or 3 YearsNone
InstallationDIYDIYDIYDIYProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalDIY or ProfessionalDIYDIY
Installation Fee$0$0$0$0$99-$199$49-$199$99.99 1st Hour + $65/Extra Hour$0 or $199$0$0
Money-Back Guarantee30 Days15 Days60 Days30 Days6 MonthsNone14 Days45 Days30 Days30 Days
Warranty3 YearsLifetime3 Years3 YearsLifetime (Must Pay Additional $)120 DaysLifetime2 Years2 Years1 Year
Battery Backup24 Hours18-24 Hours24 Hours8 or 24 Hours24 Hours4 Hours24 Hours8 Hours12 Hours24 Hours
Self Monitoring OptionCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Third Party MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Main Form Of MonitoringCellularLandline, Broadband & CellularCellularCellularLandline & CellularCellularBroadband & CellularBroadbandBroadbandBroadband
Backup Form Of MonitoringBroadbandNoneBroadbandBroadbandCellularBroadbandBroadbandCellularCellularCellular
Amazon Alexa CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Google Home CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark


  • 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.
  • Professional 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). Check out our detailed home security system cost guide.
  • 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.

How Do Home Security Systems Work?

Cartoon of a burglar about to break into a home (caption: Home Security 101: Getting Started)To learn the ins and outs of home security systems, components and terminology, including descriptions of each component (door/window sensor, motion sensor, smoke detector, glass break sensor, night vision camera, just to name a few), visit our comprehensive home security 101 guide. You’ll also learn about smart home gadgets, automation and protocols like Z-Wave and Zigbee that will not only give you the know-how to sound like the ultimate geek at your cocktail party but will allow you to expand your system and live like a Jetson.

Our Category Winners

Most Customizable: Link Interactive Review

Most Customizable badge: Link Interactive

Visit Website | 877-826-5443

Link Interactive has a 3-year equipment warranty, less esteemed customer service team than Frontpoint and its battery backup is shorter (only 8 hours) for one of its control panels.

However, its monitoring is less expensive than Frontpoint, 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.
Link Interactive equipment



  • 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 100% of the contract even if you cancel


Home Security EquipmentHome Security Equipment PriceLife Safety EquipmentLife Safety Equipment PriceHome Automation EquipmentHome Automation Equipment PriceCamera EquipmentCamera Equipment Price
IQ Panel 2$331Smoke/Heat/Freeze Detector$ Smart Thermostat$ Outdoor CameraNot Listed
2GIG Go!Control Panel (Secondary Touchpad)$138 or $251CO Detector$80Kwikset Touchpad Deadbolt$ Indoor Camera$140
IQ Panel 2 Plus Remote$207Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt$204Premium Indoor Camera$280
Door/Window Sensor
$22LifeMaster Garage Door Controller$114SkyBell Doorbell Camera$167
Motion Sensor$50Smart LED Light Bulb$22SkyBell Slim Doorbell Camera$177
Glass Break Sensor$69Lamp Module$42Onsite Video Recorder-1TB$325
Image Sensor$112
Outside Wireless Door/Gate Sensor$61
Panic Button$29
Tilt Sensor$29

Monitoring Plans

Price Per Month$30.99$39.99$44.99
Smoke, Fire, CO DetectorsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Home AutomationCheckmarkCheckmark
Video MonitoringCheckmark


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

Read Our Full Review Of Link Interactive

Professional Installation: ADT Review

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 as a result.

On the plus side, it’s available nationwide, is professionally installed by a local authorized dealer, has a detailed Pulse 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.


ADT Equipment



  • Has 10 monitoring stations
  • 6-month guarantee
  • Can be professionally installed in your home within 1-2 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 for 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


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.

And if you’d like to learn more about ADT’s camera options you can do so in their respective articles: indoor cameras, outdoor cameras and doorbell cameras.

 Complete MonitoringPremium MonitoringRemote Monitoring with CommandVideo Monitoring with CommandVideo and Home Automation with Command
Price Per Month$36.99$44.99$52.99
Professional Installation$99$99$99$99$199
Free Security SystemCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Control PanelCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Door/Window & Motion Sensors CapableCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Wireless Keychain RemoteCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Pet Sensitive Motion DetectorCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Remote Control w/ Cell PhoneCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Remote Arm/DisarmCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Email & Text AlertsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Real-Time VideoCheckmarkCheckmark
Lighting ControlCheckmark
Thermostat Control (added cost)Checkmark
Garage Door Control (added cost)Checkmark

ADT also offers a DIY option called Blue by ADT. It has a separate equipment lineup and pricing details, which you can learn more about in our Blue by ADT review.


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

Read Our Full Review Of ADT

Best Home Automation: Vivint Review

Best Home Automation badge: Vivint

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 4-hour battery backup, which is minimal compared to other companies.

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



  • Has 2 monitoring stations
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Excellent home automation 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
  • 3.5-5 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 prior to your desired cancellation date, and you’re responsible for paying the remaining balance in full


 SkyControl Starter KitHome Security SystemSmart Home ControlVideo SecuritySmart 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)
SkyControl Panel
$399.99 each
Door/Window Sensors
$34.99 each
Motion Detector
$69.99 each
Smoke Detector
$69.99 each
Garage Door Controller/Sensor
$99.99 each
Smart Door Lock
$159.99 each
Element Thermostat
$169.99 each
Doorbell Camera
$249.99 each
Ping Camera
$199.99 each
Outdoor Camera
$299.99 each
Recessed Door Sensor
$34.99 each
Tilt Sensor
$34.99 each
Glass Break Sensor
$69.99 each
CO Detector
$69.99 each
Temperature/Flood Sensor
$69.99 each
Key Fob
$34.99 each
Panic Pendant
$34.99 each
Smart Drive
$249.99 each

Monitoring Plans

After you’ve chosen all of your equipment, you can then choose your monitoring plan.

 Smart SecuritySmart HomeSmart Home Video
Price Per Month$29.99$39.99$44.99
$49-$199 Installation FeeCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
24/7 Professional MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Entry, Smoke & CO DetectionCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Medical Pendant SupportCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart Home IntegrationCheckmarkCheckmark
Live Video FeedCheckmark
14 Days Storage Of 30-Second Clips For Up To 2 CamerasCheckmark

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.

Read Our Full Review Of Vivint

Review Criteria

How do we arrive at the scores in the table above? We take into account the following review criteria:

Customer Service | Equipment | Technology | Ease Of Use | Value

Customer Service

We conduct anonymous phone calls and test out customer service quality at the point of purchase. We try and find out:

  • Friendliness – When you’re trying to find out about a new system, are the sales representatives pushy or hands-off, giving you the space you need to make an informed decision?
  • Informed – Are they able to answer all your pre-purchase questions and concerns? We also call in to tech support in post-purchase scenarios on systems we physically test at different locations to see how good they are at troubleshooting existing customer issues.
  • Accessible – Can you get to them off-hours, on weekends and through what contact points (e.g., phone, chat, email, etc.) and how responsive are they?

We also take into consideration any type of guarantees a company may offer (e.g., money-back guarantee, free trial, return period, price match, etc.) as well as the cancellation policy details and how easy it is to cancel with the customer support team.


First, we begin with the company’s equipment lineup. Does the company offer the basics that most consumers expect in a home security system? What about home automation options, so you can control your system through the app?

We get our hands on all the equipment we can and conduct extensive testing in real-life environments. Does the carbon monoxide (CO) sensor actually sense CO? Does the smart thermostat respond remotely, and how long does it take to actually warm up your house? We run as many test cases as we can think of and report back on the reliability and effectiveness of your home security equipment.

Having a thorough equipment lineup and it being dependable is great, but sometimes equipment malfunctions and warranty needs to be put into use. How long is the company’s equipment warranty, and how does it compare to its competitors? We also take into account user feedback to determine our Equipment score.


We look carefully at the technology each company offers and how cutting edge it is. We analyze the types of monitoring available, wireless communication protocol compatibility (e.g., Z-Wave or Zigbee), battery backup, app features, smart speaker compatibility and more, to arrive at our Technology score.

Ease Of Use

How difficult is it to install the system? Does it require a professional to come to your house or is it DIY? Is it easy to relocate if you move homes, rent a house or live in an apartment? We test actual systems and install them ourselves to see how easy the process is.

We also take into account user feedback. Once your system is up and running, how easy is it to operate? How user-friendly is the app? These are all important considerations we take into account in our Ease Of Use score.


We may have just tested the system from the company with the best customer service, the latest technology and the easiest to use equipment and app. But are you getting what you’re paying for? And is it in line with the competition? We consider contract length, installation and equipment fees, number of monitoring stations, monitoring company and more to arrive at an overall Value.

Other Home Security System Reviews

AT&T Digital Life | Brinks | Nest SecureRing Alarm

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, Protection One, Scout Alarm and more.

AT&T Digital Life Review

AT&T Digital Life logo

Visit Website

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.

AT&T Digital Life Equipment



  • Conversion Kit available to reuse existing wired door and window sensors in your home
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa (but not Google Home)
  • 14-day money back guarantee
  • Only available in select locations
  • Smoke sensors not available for apartments, townhomes & duplexes
  • Active Doorbell doesn’t include a camera
  • Website has limited information compared to competitors
  • Up to $99 restock fee on returns made within 14 days
  • 2-year contract required
  • No Z-Wave or Zigbee compatibility
  • Only 1 monitoring station
  • Requires professional installation
  • Early termination fee is up to $640 and an additional $50 applies for incremental automation packages


Home Security Packages

AT&T Digital Life offers 3 security packages, shown in the table below.

 Smart SecuritySmart Security & AutomationPremium Security & Automation
Contact Sensors
Window Sensors
Motion Sensors
Indoor Siren
Outdoor Camera11
Keyless Door Lock11
Glass Break Sensor
CO Sensor
Smart Thermostat1
Indoor Smart Plugs2
Temperature & Water Sensors2
Active Doorbell
Conversion Kit
Smoke Sensor

Home Automation Packages

You must purchase a security package above to manage home automation equipment. Below are 4 add-on options for home automation.

Monthly Cost$9.99$4.99$4.99$4.99
One-Time Fee$199.99$0.99$199.99$99.99
Outdoor Camera
Additional $199.99 Each
Indoor Camera
$249.99 Each
Touchscreen Door Lock
Additional $179.99 Each
N/AChoose 1 of 3 Options ListedN/AN/A
Pushbutton Door Lock
Additional $179.99 Each
N/AChoose 1 of 3 Options ListedN/AN/A
Garage Door Controller
Additional $0.99 Each
N/AChoose 1 of 3 Options ListedN/AN/A
Additional $89.99 Each
Smart Plugs
Additional $39.99 Each
In-Wall Smart Light Control
$159.99 Each
Light Dimmer Control
$179.99 Each
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.

Read Our Full Review Of AT&T Digital Life

Brinks Home Security Review

Brinks Home Security logo

Visit Website | 833-327-4657

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.

Brinks Home Security equipment



  • 30-day risk-free trial
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation (professional available for $199)
  • Z-wave and Zigbee connectivity (most competitors only connect to one)
  • Only 1 monitoring station (and not third-party)
  • 3-year contract required
  • Self-installation cannot be done independently (requires a technician to walk you through the process over the phone)
  • You must pay 100% of the contract amount, even if you cancel
  • Only has 8-hour battery backup (standard is 24 hours)


 Smart Security EssentialSmart Security CompleteSmart Security UltimateNest Secure*
Equipment Price$199$349$1,099$399
Monitoring Price Per Month$39$39$39$29
Touchscreen PanelCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Door/Window Sensors
Motion Sensors
Indoor Camera
Outdoor Camera
SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell
Nest Guard (Base Station)Checkmark
Nest Detect (Door/Window & Motion Sensor)
Nest Tag (Key Fob)
Contract3 Years3 Years3 YearsNone
Professional InstallationCheckmark

Add-On Equipment

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$79
GE Z-Wave In-Wall Dimmer$59
Smart Switch$79
GE Z-Wave Outdoor Module$59
GE Z-Wave Wall Receptacle$59
IQ Garage Door Tilt Sensor$39
IQ CO Detector$79
IQ Flood Detector$49
IQ Smoke Detector$89
Glass Break Detector$79
Keychain Remote$29
GE Water/Flood Sensor$49
Freeze Sensor$49
GE Bi-Directional Keypad$112
GE Touchscreen Keypad$160
Cellular Communicator$200

*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.

Read Our Full Review Of Brinks

Nest Secure Review

Nest logo

View at Best Buy | 855-224-6378

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.

Nest Secure product on table



  • Stylish design
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Professional monitoring is optional
  • Self-installation
  • No-contract option available
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • More expensive than competitors
  • Not compatible with as many devices as competitors
  • Only 1 monitoring station (run by Brinks)
  • You must pay 100% of the contract, even if you cancel


  • $399.99 for:
    • 1 Nest Guard (Base Station)
    • 2 Nest Detect (Door/Window Sensor and Motion Sensor)
    • 2 Nest Tag (Key Fob)

Purchase additional equipment:

Monitoring Plans

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.

Read Our Full Review Of Nest Secure

Ring Alarm Review

Ring logo

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 1-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 offering 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.

Personal Experience

Erika J., of Greensboro, NC, has the Ring Doorbell 2, Ring Spotlight Cam, sensors throughout her house and a siren. Below are her thoughts on the system.

Ring Security System has changed the way I feel when I leave my home now. Since getting broken into, I’m very nervous to leave my home unattended for long periods of time. With Ring, I feel secure knowing that when I leave I can still keep an eye on what’s going on at my home. It even allows me to talk to delivery men if they’re dropping off something that needs my attention.

Ring Alarm Equipment



  • 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
  • Cellular monitoring only available as a backup
  • Limited equipment reduces system’s capabilities


Ring Alarm Security System – $179.00 includes:

  • 1 base station
  • 1 keypad
  • 1 contact sensor
  • 1 motion detector
  • 1 range extender

Optional Add-Ons

Monitoring Plans

PriceFree$3/month or $30/year$10/month or $100/year
Coverage1 doorbell or cameraAll devices at one address
Ring & Motion AlertsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Live Video On DemandCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Warranty1 year1 yearExtended
Video RecordingCheckmarkCheckmark
Review, Share & Save VideosCheckmarkCheckmark
Professional MonitoringCheckmark


Ring products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Read Our Full Review Of Ring Alarm

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s our responses to questions we get asked frequently from our readers. Got your own? Ask us in the comments.

Do I need a home security system if I’m home all the time?

Even if you work from home, are retired or spend the majority of your time at your home, we still recommend having a security system. Being home doesn’t make you immune from having your home broken into.

Did you know most home burglaries occur between the hours of 10am and 3pm?2 However, an intruder can break into your home at any time day or night. Having a home security system in place can help get authorities to your home sooner to keep you safer and your home more protected.

Can purchasing a home security system give me a discount on my homeowner’s insurance?

In many cases, yes. It depends on the security company you choose, whether you opt for professional or self-monitoring and what insurance provider you use. We encourage you to contact your homeowner’s insurance carrier and ask about potential discounts you could take advantage of with your home security system.

What does a home security system do besides monitor my home’s activity?

A home security system can also help you save money on your energy bill. And some home automation equipment can cut costs on your energy consumption. Smart lights, smart thermostats, smart plugs and more can be controlled via app so not only can you control lights and appliances (such as your HVAC system) while you’re away, you can put them on schedules to save energy.

Do I Want A Self-Monitored Security System Instead?

Read our comparison of the best self-monitored home security systems if you’d rather monitor your system yourself (vs. using a professional central monitoring station). You can save on cost, but we recommend professional monitoring for reliability and peace of mind.

Will My Pets Set Off My Alarm?

If you have pets and you’re worried either that they’ll create false alarms, or you want to make sure they’re protected from fire, flood and carbon monoxide dangers, read our article on the best pet-friendly home security systems for the scoop on companies that have equipment and sensors geared to support our four-pawed friends.

Which home alarm company stands out for you?

Sources: [1] FBI, [2] Credit Donkey

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert, and has been researching and 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.

In 2018, she had her first child, and that 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.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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.

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Steve Geiger

How about a review of Cove? Even higher rated customer service than Front Point 4.9 vs 4.6 on TrustedPilot.

Alex Schenker (Admin)

You got it thanks Steve. I’ve queued Cove Security for analysis and testing by our researchers. Our review process is very involved and goes through at least half a dozen people, so look for coverage on them to go live about 3-4 months from now.


With COVID-19 hitting the US hard right now, should I be concerned about the protection my house is under? Are monitoring stations still being fully staffed with the recommendations the CDC, White House, WHO, etc. are giving in regards to the coronavirus? People are being completely crazy right now and it feels quite apocalyptic right now. I’m worried people will begin ransacking homes for basic necessities. If this happens, will the monitoring station be ready to send help?

Stevenator 333

Have you guys heard of Kangaroo? I’ve heard you can get pro monitoring for only $99/year ($8.25/month), that’s insanely inexpensive when you think that companies like Frontpoint, Vivint, etc. are around $40-50/month. Sure my local security providers go as low as $15-20/month, but you get what you pay for. Kangaroo looks like a high end company with a ridiculously low monitoring price.

I’m hesitant to go for it because you guys seem to have virtually every company I can think of covered except them. Curious to hear your thoughts, thanks!

Alex Schenker (Admin)

Hi Steven,

Yes Kangaroo is on our radar. They have exploded onto the scene with quite an attractive offering. Our researchers are currently deep diving into their products, services, and company history and we’ll be publishing a review and adding them to this comparison as soon as we feel comfortable with our research. Thanks for your patience!

Suzanne G

Are any home security promotions extending past Cyber Monday? I missed the deadline. Our neighbor’s house got broken into while we were gone and we’ve been so distressed we completely missed the holiday shopping period.

Alex Schenker (Admin)

Hi Suzanne, most of our links automatically incorporate the promotions. I would find a company you like and see if the promo is still active. If there’s a specific one you have a question about, I can look up the details for you.


Thanks so much for the excellent reviews on your site. I chose Frontpoint and thanks to the information on your site about their Black Friday pricing I was able to get an excellent deal, including the BlackFriday 25 percent off, the free camera (because I mentioned the ad), plus $100 as a first time inquirer. So, about $560 of equipment for $191. And they also have a lifetime warranty on all of the equipment.

Sadie Cornelius (Admin)

Kathryn, so glad to hear you were able to find such a deal from us and appreciate you sharing your experience!

Nellie F

To follow up on Jessie’s question below, when are you guys publishing your 2020 home security reviews? I just read your review and am leaning towards trying Frontpoint since it’s no contract now, but I thought I’d wait and see when your new rankings come out. Actually are there going to be any Thanksgiving or Black Friday promos I could be taking advantage of?

Alex Schenker (Admin)

Hi Nellie,

Our updated home security reviews typically come out at the beginning of the year, so Q1 2020. That being said, we update this article throughout the year as we learn of significant change to company offerings, industry technologies, or major issues that have arisen as a result of user experiences.

As for holiday promotions, yes there are some, and they are currently active here and on our individual reviews. Just look for the coupon section, below pricing, within each company’s review.

Jessie J

I’m a little bit confused by how up to date home security reviews are. For instance, you say you are comparing the best home security companies in 2019, but I’m also seeing some review sites already publish 2020 reviews. I have a feeling though that they’re not necessarily covering new products, they’re just making it look like their review is newer. Any advice on what to look for as far as how current coverage is?

Jason F

I’m interested in a system that supports dual path – in other words, one that uses both the internet and a cellular signal for monitoring. That way if one goes down (for example if an intruder blocks the cell signal with a jammer) my system will still be online. I’m supposing that all the ones that have “cellular monitoring” are in fact dual path, but I’m not sure. Any chance you can confirm this?

Frankie G

I would have to agree with you guys that Frontpoint provides the best customer service. I remember coming out of the old home alarm days where everything was pro/dealer installed. The DIY thing didn’t exist when I lived in my previous home. Upon moving I tried calling several companies and the sales push was so aggressive I kept hanging up. Once I got through to Frontpoint their friendliness and lack of pressure was so surprising that at the end of the call I was like, “em, are you going to sell me a system?” Amazing that companies aren’t getting the memo that in the 21st “digital” century the power lies with the consumer.

Finn G

Can someone explain further why you would ever want to self-monitor? Am I correct that without professional monitoring, you are basically SOL if there’s a break-in anytime you’re 1) asleep, 2) not at home, 3) don’t have cell reception. For those of you that are self-monitoring, how do you overcome these 3 obstacles?

G Stuff

I see that you guys occasionally do company-to-company comparisons. I know Ring didn’t make your cut, but I’d love to see a showdown between Frontpoint vs Ring. They’ve got a promotion running right now that I’d like to take advantage of, and based on your review it seems like the cons are fairly minimal no? I’m seeing 8 pros and only 2 cons.

Alex Schenker (Admin)

Hi G, thanks for your interest in a comparison of Ring Alarm and Frontpoint Security. We occasionally will do a “head-to-head” comparison for companies that are in high demand. We’ve started by applying this to our top ranked companies, but we’ll put Ring vs Frontpoint in the queue.

As to your question about pros/cons, it’s not so much the quantity of cons that’s important, but what they mean. In this case, Ring’s cons of “Cannot add emergency contacts” and “Limited equipment reduces system’s capabilities” are fairly major. One of the main rankings factors we take into account is how comprehensive is a company’s equipment offering, and in this category Ring came up short.

We monitor these companies all year round, with quarterly audits and annual reviews, so if anything changes you’ll be the first to know.

Derryl G

Great reviews here, very in-depth and you compare pricing on a level I haven’t seen in other reviews. It just really irks me that the top companies (Frontpoint, SimpliSafe, etc.) don’t offer self-monitoring. I’m a tech geek and have my own system for monitoring setup that I trust more than a monitoring company. I could go into details but basically if there’s an event a network of contacts automatically gets notified, and a robot dialer automatically fires off a 911 phone call. Then I have a sound system and lights that start blaring and telling the intruder they’re going to get smoked by satellite lasers.

Alex Schenker (Admin)

Hi Derryl, thanks for your question. SimpliSafe does have a “no monitoring” option, but as we point out in a SimpliSafe “con” above, and in our dedicated SimpliSafe review, we don’t consider this a viable “self-monitoring” option since you won’t be able to monitor it yourself or be notified if a sensor is triggered unless you pay a monthly monitoring fee. About all you get in terms of self-monitoring is the local alarm siren sounding.

You may also want to look into the legality of having a robot call 911.