Best Apartment Security Systems For Renters

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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.

Article Overview

What To Consider For Your Apartment Security System

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. 

Comparison Table

 1st: Ring2nd: Nest Secure3rd: SimpliSafeStudio Apartments: CanaryScout Alarm
1st: Ring2nd: Nest Secure3rd: SimpliSafeStudio Apartments: CanaryScout Alarm
System Price$199.00$399Check on Amazon$47.00Out of stock
Power SourceAC/DC Wall Adapter or Rechargeable BatteryAC/DC Wall AdapterAC/DC Wall AdapterAC/DC Wall Adapter or Rechargeable BatteryAC/DC Wall Adapter
Backup SourceNoneBatteryBatteryRechargeable BatteryBattery
Motion-Activated CameraCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Warranty1 year2 years3 year1 year (2 years if you purchase Cloud membership)1 year
Field of View140°130°120°147° wide-angle lens115°
Night VisionCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Siren110 dB85 dB105 dB90+ dB105 dB
Two-Way TalkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Key FobCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Motion DetectorCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Smoke AlarmCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Entry SensorCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Glass Break SensorCheckmark
Range ExtenderCheckmark
Video DoorbellCheckmarkCheckmark
Door LockCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart ThermostatCheckmark
Water SensorCheckmark
Z-Wave, Zigbee, Insteon CompatibilityZ-Wave

Winners: Apartment Alarm Systems

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 Review

Ring Alarm#1

View on Amazon | Visit Website

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.



  • Easy to customize
  • Attractive equipment
  • If your equipment is stolen, Ring will replace it for free
  • iOS and Android app
  • Easy to relocate sensors (within your house or to a new home)
  • Indoor and outdoor cameras available
  • Reports of excellent customer service
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Unable to add emergency contacts
  • No outdoor security cameras
  • No home automation


  • 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

Coupon Code

Ring products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Read Our In-Depth Ring Alarm Review

Nest Secure ReviewNest Secure


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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.



  • Easy to install
  • Stylish design
  • iOS and Android app
  • Many optional home automation products
  • Easy to relocate sensors
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Equipment costs are higher than competitors
  • No BBB accreditation, D- rating
  • Doesn’t integrate with as many devices as competitors


  • 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

Read Our In-Depth Nest Secure Review

SimpliSafe Review


View on Amazon | Visit Website

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.



  • Easy to customize
  • Attractive equipment
  • Security, freeze and flood sensors
  • iOS and Android app
  • Easy to relocate sensors
  • 60-day money back guarantee
  • Sensor options include linked smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Excellent customer service and A+ rating from BBB
  • Add emergency contacts
  • Self-monitoring functionality is tied to a monthly payment plan
  • No outdoor security cameras
  • Equipment costs are higher than competitors
  • In our tests, website and app don’t indicate low battery alert and pre-shipped battery drained quickly


 Build Your OwnThe FoundationThe EssentialsThe OakstoneThe HearthThe BarringtonThe KnoxThe HavenSS3 New Generation - 12pcSS3 New Generation - 10pc
Number of Pieces100 maximum46129813141210
Base Station$114.99111111111
Wireless Keypad$69.99111111111
Keychain Remote$24.99111111
Entry Sensor$14.99138326454
Motion Sensor$29.99111112221
Glass Break Sensor$34.99
Panic Button$19.991111
Smoke Detector$29.99111
CO Detector$49.99
Freeze Sensor$29.991
Water Sensor$19.991
Video Doorbell$169.001

Coupon Code

SimpliSafe products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Read Our In-Depth SimpliSafe Review

Best For Studio Apartments: Canary Review

Canary All In OneView on Amazon | Visit Website

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 Cloud offers access to events from the past 24 hours for free, and you can bookmark up to 5 videos
  • Great customer service, according to online reviews we’ve read
  • Ability to add emergency contacts
  • Air quality, temperature and humidity sensor (Canary All-In-One only)
  • iOS and Android app
  • 60-day money back guarantee
  • Canary Flex can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Can only connect up to 4 devices on the free Canary Cloud membership plan
  • Some video lag
  • Flex and View do not monitor air quality and have no siren
  • No home automation


  • 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

Coupon Code

Canary products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Read Our In-Depth Canary Review

Other Companies To Consider

Scout Alarm

Scout Alarm Review

Scout AlarmView on Amazon | Visit Website

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.



  • Integrates with Amazon Echo, Nest, LIFX, IFTTT and Philips Hue lights
  • iOS and Android app
  • Great customer support
  • Ability to add emergency contacts
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Monthly fees for self-monitoring
  • Batteries only last about 9 months
  • Additional fee for camera cloud storage


  • 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

Coupon Code

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

9 Ways To Burglar Proof My Apartment

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.

  1. Always lock your doors and windows
  2. Close the curtains/blinds, so no one can peek inside
  3. Get a deadbolt installed if your door doesn’t have one
  4. Avoid posting on social media about being out of town (share vacation photos after you’ve returned home)
  5. Use a door jammer or stopper on your doors and windows (like this one on Amazon)
  6. Use outlet timers on lamps to give the illusion that you are home (check out these on Amazon)
  7. Purchase renter’s insurance in case of a break-in
  8. Install outdoor lights (Learn more in our Best Outdoor Security Lights article)
  9. Place your valuables and personal documents in a safe (Learn more in our Best Home Safes article)

6 Apartment Burglary Statistics & Facts

  1. Renters are as likely as homeowners to have their homes broken into
  2. 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
  3. 30% of robberies occur through the access of an unlocked door or window
  4. 34% of burglars enter through the front door
  5. Homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be burglarized
  6. 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?

About The Author:

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.

Kimberly has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering subjects such as home security and automation, identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems and more. 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.

Security is a passion of hers, and she knows it isn’t a one size fits all category. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

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