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Renting an apartment or house doesn’t mean you have to skimp on security. While a professionally installed home security system doesn’t make sense for renters, you have many affordable and portable DIY options.
These security systems are painless to install and require minimal to no structural changes to your rental. Another plus — you can take your new security system with you when you move.
DIY systems are also easy to expand as your needs or budget change. So, if you only have a modest amount of money to put toward a security system, you can get the base model and then add more sensors down the road.
- How Many Sensors Do I Need?
- Comparison Table Of All Companies
- What Are The Best Security Systems For Renters?
- Other Companies To Consider
- 8 Ways To Burglar Proof My Apartment
- Apartment Security Stats & Facts
Think about the areas that you want monitored. Do you have two entrances? How many windows do you have? Are you on the first floor? These are all things you’ll want to consider so you know what type of equipment you’ll need.
For instance, if you live on the fifth floor, you may choose to forego window sensors (sensors that go on doors or windows are also called contact sensors) since the windows are less accessible. Additionally, if you have a studio apartment, a couple of motion sensors may do the job instead of installing window sensors on every window.
There are also instances where you could purchase one sensor instead of a handful. For example, if you have three windows in your living room, you could buy one motion sensor instead of placing a contact sensor on each window. This can cut down on the expense of your security system.
Think about your apartment’s layout and make a list of what equipment you want and how many of each sensor. As always, if you need help deciding what to look for, drop us a comment, and we can help you come up with a list of needs.
|1st: Ring||2nd: Nest Secure||3rd: SimpliSafe||Studio Apartments: Canary||Scout Alarm|
|1st: Ring||2nd: Nest Secure||3rd: SimpliSafe||Studio Apartments: Canary||Scout Alarm|
|System Price||$199.00||$399||Check on Amazon||$47.00||Out of stock|
|Power Source||AC/DC Wall Adapter or Rechargeable Battery||AC/DC Wall Adapter||AC/DC Wall Adapter||AC/DC Wall Adapter or Rechargeable Battery||AC/DC Wall Adapter|
|Backup Source||None||Battery||Battery||Rechargeable Battery||Battery|
|Warranty||1 year||2 years||3 year||1 year (2 years if you purchase Cloud membership)||1 year|
|Field of View||140°||130°||120°||147° wide-angle lens||115°|
|Siren||110 dB||85 dB||105 dB||90+ dB||105 dB|
|Glass Break Sensor|
|Z-Wave, Zigbee, Insteon Compatibility||Z-Wave|
If you’re renting an apartment, you may want to avoid drilling holes in the walls. None of the security systems in this article require any drilling. All the sensors are “peel and stick,” so if you know how to work a sticker, you’ll be able to install one of these systems in your home. And don’t be concerned about sensors falling off walls, at least not for many years – the supplied stickies are, for most companies, industrial grade and made to hold heavy paintings.
Ring is our top choice to protect your apartment from intruders. To get started, you can purchase the Ring Alarm 5-piece kit for $199.00, then add on any additional contact and motion sensors you need. The equipment is reasonably priced and has a 1-year warranty.
The base station has 24-hour battery backup to protect you if your power is out. The contact and motion sensors have about a 3-year battery life. This system is also Z-Wave compatible, so you can connect it to other gadgets up to 250-feet away from the base station (the range extender adds an extra 250-feet).
Although it doesn’t offer home automation or outdoor security cameras, we consider Ring to be the best for renters. It has what most renters want in a security system: reasonable prices, attractive equipment, contact sensors and motion detectors. It is fairly new to the market (released July 2018), but Ring has a history of providing quality products and service, which is why it’s our #1 pick.
- Ring Alarm – $199.00
- Protect Basic (optional cloud recording) – $30/year or $3/month, per camera
- Includes 60 days of cloud storage
- Ability to share videos and save events
If you opt out of a cloud recording plan, you still get instant alerts, can stream video and audio, can watch live view and have lifetime theft protection.
The following are optional add-ons:
- Contact Sensor (2 pack) – $39.99
- Motion Detector – $29.99
- Keypad – $49.99
- Range Extender – $24.99
- Flood & Freeze Sensor – coming soon
- Smoke & CO Listener – coming soon
- Dome Siren – $37.97
Ring products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.
Nest is known for its cameras and smart thermostat. It now offers a bare-bones security system. If all you’re looking for is a base station, key fob, motion sensors and contact sensors, Nest has it for you. The equipment is modern looking and comes with a 2-year warranty.
It’s important to know that Nest’s contact sensors double as motion sensors, which can be overlooked easily since it’s not as clear on the website as we’d like it to be. Nest Guard (base station) has a motion sensor built into it as well.
- Nest Secure (1 base station, 2 contact sensors, 2 key fobs) – $399
- Nest Detect (Contact/Motion Sensor) – $49
- Nest Tag (Key Fob) – $25
- Nest Connect (Range Extender) – $69
SimpliSafe is simple to customize to fit your apartment. It has preset packages for you to choose from, or you can build your own. You can move the equipment around easily and take it with you should you decide to move.
The lithium batteries in the sensors last up to 5 years, and the base station has a 24-hour battery backup in case the power goes out. Your system can support up to 100 sensors, but you probably won’t need that many.
SimpliSafe didn’t take the #1 spot because it’s slightly more expensive than Ring, but if you’re looking for a dependable system, SimpliSafe is an excellent choice. It also has additional equipment if you’re looking for a more comprehensive security system, including key fobs, glass break sensors, freeze sensors, flood sensors, panic buttons and more.
|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|
SimpliSafe products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.
If you have a studio apartment, Canary may be your best option. Canary is an all-in-one device that includes a camera that’s motion activated. It monitors air quality, temperature and humidity to give you stats on your living space. It has a wide 147° field of view to capture any unwanted visitors.
Unlike our top picks, Canary is different from a typical security system. It lacks motion or contact sensors. Instead, the device monitors for motion, and if detected, it begins recording and sending you a notification. No peeling and sticking of sensors for this one. Just plug it in, set up the app, and you’re all set.
Canary has a 1-year warranty, 1080p HD quality video and night vision. It also has outdoor options in case you have a patio or outside entrance you want monitored.
- Canary All-In-One: $47.00
- Canary All-In-One (2 pack): $99.00
- Canary View: $49.00
- Canary Flex: $129.98
- Free shipping
- Canary Cloud
- Free Access: 1-day storage of 10-second video previews for up to 4 devices
- Membership: 30-day storage of full-length videos for $9.99/month or $99/year for unlimited devices
Canary products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.
Scout has a comprehensive lineup of equipment ranging from the basics — like motion sensors — all the way to more unique options — like water sensors. You can build your own system, so you aren’t stuck paying for any equipment you don’t plan on using. The equipment has a simple, sleek look to it and is available in black or white.
The downside is that Scout charges $9.99 per month for you to monitor your own system. Competitors let you do this free of charge. Additionally, if you opt for a camera, you’ll pay an extra $2.99 per month per camera for cloud storage. Scout is a good option if you don’t mind the additional fees associated with it.
- 1 Hub, 1 Door Panel with Key Fobs, 5 Window Sensors, 2 Motion Sensors, 2 Window Stickers and a Yard Sign – Out of stock
- Always On (self-monitoring) – $9.99/month or $107/year
- Scout Hub (1 required) – $129.00
- Door Panel (each comes with 1 RFID sticker and 2 key fobs) – $69.00
- Access Sensor – $29.00
- Motion Sensor – $49.00
- Indoor Camera – $99.00
- Smoke CO Detector – $69.00
- Glass Break Sensor – $59.00
- Door Lock – $229.00
- Water Sensor – $39.00
- Yard Sign – $4.99
- Key Fob – $4.99
- RFID Sticker – $2.49
- Window Sticker – $0.99
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Scout Alarm.
Installing a security system inside your apartment is just the beginning of burglar proofing it. To help keep your valuables safe, consider doing the following.
- Always lock your doors and windows
- Close the curtains/blinds, so no one can peek inside
- Get a deadbolt installed if your door doesn’t have one
- Avoid posting on social media about being out of town (share vacation photos after you’ve returned home)
- Use a door jammer or stopper on your doors and windows (like this one on Amazon)
- Use outlet timers on lamps to give the illusion that you are home (check out these on Amazon)
- Purchase renter’s insurance in case of a break-in
- Install outdoor lights (Learn more in our Best Outdoor Security Lights article)
- Place your valuables and personal documents in a safe (Learn more in our Best Home Safes article)
- Renters are as likely as homeowners to have their homes broken into
- Ground level apartments are more likely to be targeted than upper-level apartments, but that doesn’t mean upper apartment residents are safe from burglary
- 30% of robberies occur through the access of an unlocked door or window
- 34% of burglars enter through the front door
- Homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be burglarized
- Apartment locks aren’t always changed, giving previous tenants access to your belongings
Read More Crime Statistics In Our Dedicated Article. No one is safe from having their home burglarized; that’s why you must do everything you can to secure your belongings. Your best chance of catching a criminal is to have a security system in place.
If you’re still unsure on which system to choose, take a look at at our Cheapest Home Security Systems article and our DIY Home Security Systems Comparison. Both of them cover similar systems and may help sway your decision one way.
Do you have any other tips for renters?
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