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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.
- What To Consider In A Security System
- What Are The Best Security Systems For Renters?
- Comparison Table
- Other Companies To Consider
- 9 Ways To Burglar Proof My Apartment
- Burglary Stats
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 sensors on every window.
There are also instances where you could purchase one sensor instead of a handful. For example, if you have 3 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 home’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.
No Drilling Required
If you’re renting, 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.” You don’t need to be concerned about sensors falling off walls — the supplied stickies are, for most companies, industrial grade and made to hold heavy paintings.
We chose the best security systems for apartment based on system prices, monitoring costs, available equipment, warranty length, third-party compatibility options and more. If you are renting, but not in an apartment, check out our reviews of home security systems for renters.
SimpliSafe is simple to customize to fit your apartment or rental home. 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 when you move.
The sensors’ lithium batteries 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 is our #1 pick because it has a reasonable monthly monitoring fee, a decent selection of equipment options, a 3-year warranty and uses cellular monitoring. It also has 6 monitoring stations through COPS, which should give you extra peace of mind knowing that if one monitoring station goes down, several other stations can answer your distress call.
Did You Know?
We consider cellular monitoring the most secure form of monitoring because it’s the most difficult communication signal to break.
|Build Your Own||The Foundation||The Essentials||The Hearth||The Knox||The Haven|
|Number of Pieces||100 maximum||4||6||9||13||14|
|Glass Break Sensor||$34.99|
|Video Doorbell Pro||$169.00|
Ring offers a decent equipment lineup, and professional monthly monitoring starts at only $10 per month. This is extremely low compared to competitors, which is why it easily took this award.
To get started, you can purchase the Ring Alarm 5-piece kit for, 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.
We like that Ring has 2 monitoring stations through Rapid Response. It uses broadband as its primary form of monitoring, which we don’t consider as secure as cellular. However, Ring is an affordable option for those of you who want basic security equipment with a low monitoring fee.
Ring Alarm Security System –
- 1 base station
- 1 keypad
- 1 contact sensor
- 1 motion detector
- 1 range extender
- Contact Sensors (2 pack):
- Motion Detector:
- Range Extender:
- Keypad –
- Flood & Freeze Sensor –
- Smoke & CO Listener –
- Dome Siren –
- Indoor Camera:
- Spotlight Cam:
- Battery –
- Wired –
- Stick Up Cam:
- Battery –
- Plug-In –
- Solar (3 cameras included) –
- Stick Up Cam Elite:
- Floodlight Cam –
- Doorbells, which you can learn more about here
Free Basic Plus 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 Video Recording Review, Share & Save Videos Professional Monitoring
Frontpoint is an easy pick for best customer service. If you run into an issue with your security system, Frontpoint is your best option with speaking to a friendly and knowledgable person to get your issue resolved.
The base station has 24-hour battery backup to protect you if your power is out. The contact and motion sensors have about a 5-year battery life. Frontpoint uses the same company as Ring for its monitoring needs (Rapid Response).
We love that Frontpoint uses cellular monitoring for all of its plans, has a 3-year warranty and has the most extensive list of equipment options in this article. If you want great customer service, dependable professional monitoring and more equipment options (e.g., key fobs, smart thermostat, smart door lock, etc.), then Frontpoint is an excellent choice.
Below are the packages Frontpoint offers. 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, which is à la carte style. Add up the total of your selected equipment and that’s your equipment fee.
|Package Name||Safe Home Starter||Safe Home Everyday||Safe Home Select||Safe Home Preferred|
|Control Panel Hub ($249.98)||1||1||1||1|
|Door/Window Sensor ($19.99)||2||3||4||5|
|Motion Sensor ($29.99)||1||2||2||2|
|Glass Break Sensor ($44.99)||1||1|
|Smoke & Heat Sensor ($44.99)||1||1|
|Indoor Camera ($99.99)||1|
|Yard Sign ($3.99)||1||1||1||1|
|Window Decals 3-Pack ($3.99)||1||1||1||1|
|Door Stickers ($3.99)||1||1||1||1|
- Premium Indoor Camera $199.99 | Outdoor Camera $169.99 | Doorbell Camera $149.99
- We have dedicated a separate article to go more in-depth on the Frontpoint cameras.
- Touchscreen $119.99 | Keychain Remote $24.99 | Digital Doorbell Adapter $10.99
- Garage Door Tilt Sensor $24.99 | Garage Door Controller $74.99 | Recessed Door Sensor $39.99
- Smart Light Bulb $24.99 | Wireless Light Control $49.99 | Smart Door Lock $149.99
- Smart Thermostat $199.99 is coming soon (meanwhile, any Z-Wave thermostat will also work, including the Nest Thermostat)
- CO Sensor $69.99 | Flood Sensor $24.99 | Panic Pendant $19.99
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.
Interactive Ultimate Price Per Month $44.99 $49.99 Wireless & Cellular Unique User Codes Crash & Smash Protection Geo-location Services Mobile Alerts Remote Access & Control Sensor History Live Video Streaming Video & Image History Motion Triggered Alerts Night Vision Enabled Light Control Smart Lock Control
If you have a studio apartment, Canary may be your best option. Canary is an all-in-one device that includes a motion-activated camera. 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 sends 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 All-In-One also monitors temperature and air quality, which is something no other system in this article does.
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:
- Canary All-In-One (2 pack):
- Canary View:
- Canary Flex:
- 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
Best Overall: SimpliSafe Cheapest Professional Monitoring: Ring Best Customer Service: Frontpoint Studio Apartments: Canary Nest Secure Scout Alarm System Price Starts at $229.96 Starts at $255.96 $399 Self-Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost N/A Free N/A Free Free $9.99 Pro Monthly Monitoring Starting Cost $14.99 $10 $44.99 N/A $19 $19.99 Indoor Cameras Outdoor Cameras Key Fob Motion Detector Smoke Alarm Entry Sensor Glass Break Sensor Range Extender Video Doorbell Door Lock Smart Thermostat Water Sensor Warranty 3 year 1 year 3 years 1 year 2 years 1 year Z-wave or Zigbee Compatibility Z-wave Z-wave Amazon Alexa or Google Home Compatibility Best Overall: SimpliSafe Cheapest Professional Monitoring: Ring Best Customer Service: Frontpoint Studio Apartments: Canary Nest Secure Scout Alarm
Although these companies didn’t make our top picks, they may be an excellent option for your home.
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.
Unlike other security systems in this article, Nest has a 3-year contract option, which would save you $10 per month for monitoring. You may see this as a pro or con, depending on how long you plan to live in your current residence.
- $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:
- Nest Detect – $49.99
- Nest Tag – $25.00
- Nest Connect (Range Extender) – $69.00
- Nest Thermostat –
- Nest Temperature Sensor –
- Nest Cam (Indoor Camera) –
- Nest Outdoor Camera –
- Nest Protect (Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm) – $119.99
- Nest Hello (Doorbell Camera) – $229.99
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
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, similar to SimpliSafe. Some 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.
- Scout Small Pack (8 Pieces) – $229
- Scout Large Pack (12 Pieces) – $319
- Scout Elements Pack (12 Pieces) – $349
- Scout Hub (1 required) – $120
- Door Panel (each comes with 1 RFID sticker and 2 key fobs) – $50
- Access Sensor – $20
- Motion Sensor – $30
- Indoor Camera – $99
- Smoke & CO Detector – $50
- Glass Break Sensor – $50
- Water Sensor – $30
- Door Lock – $229
- Key Fob – $4.99
- Video Doorbell – $99
- View all packages and products
- Always On – $9.99/month self-monitoring
- Always On+ – $19.99/month professional monitoring
Installing a security system inside your apartment is just the beginning of burglar proofing. To help keep your valuables safe, consider 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 renters 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)
Did you know homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be burglarized? However, only 17% of homes have home security systems. That means it’s time for you to get a security system installed in your home and cover all access points to your home, not just the front door. You can read more crime statistics here.
Do you have any other tips for renters?
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