Best Home Security Systems In 2020: ADT vs SimpliSafe vs Ring vs Vivint vs Frontpoint & More

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Burglar breaking into house tracking on smart phone app (caption: What’s The Best Home Security System In 2020)Do you need help finding the best home security system but are overwhelmed with your options? Our team of experts has over 65 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 & Category Winners

Frontpoint logo smallLink Interactive logoSimpliSafe logoRing logoADT LogoVivint Logo
Ranking1st2nd3rdLow Cost, No ContractProfessional InstallSmart Home
Total Score4.704.184.154.003.302.75
Customer Service & Reputation4.84.34.54.02.01.0
Equipment4.83.83.83.34.34.0
Technology4.84.03.54.33.53.0
Value4.54.54.54.03.02.0
Ease Of Use4.84.34.54.53.83.8
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review

How do we arrive at the rankings above? Our researchers take into account the following review criteria: customer service, equipment, technology, ease of use and value. A weighted average score is then calculated to arrive at a total score our experts use to rank the companies relative to one another. For a full explanation of our review criteria and how we calculate the final score, we invite you to visit our home security systems guide.

Winner: Frontpoint

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 appealing and we fill fits well into many home design styles. From an equipment perspective, there are many security and smart home options from which to choose. Their app is comprehensive and makes it easy to control the system while away from home, 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 true for new customers, as well as existing customers. We called in as a new customer and found the sales experience to be more informative than pushy, which was refreshing. There was no urgency to close the sale, so we had time to sit back and consider our options before committing.

From an existing customer perspective, we found the technical support experience to be top notch as well. Wait times were generally short, and the few calls we made to get troubleshooting assistance were answered professionally and in a way that made us feel like we could make the changes ourselves the next time. I should point out that since COVID-19, wait times have gotten longer, but there is a callback option and in our experience calls were returned within the next hour or two.

As of this year, Frontpoint no longer requires a contract. This is a big change as professionally monitored companies will typically lock you into one to three-year contracts in an effort to recover equipment expenses. In the past, no-contract systems tended to be pretty bare-bones, but with Frontpoint’s extensive equipment line-up you can now get a full-fledged home security system without the worry of having to pay off a large balance if you decide to cancel early.

Our Experience

Alex S., Safe Smart Living, has protected his family’s home with Frontpoint for over a decade. Here is their experience:

We were unwittingly drawn into home security when our neighbor’s house got broken into. At the time, not many DIY solutions existed, and the customer service experience in the industry was akin to going to a used car dealership.

Frontpoint was literally a breath of fresh air because we felt no sales pressure. We called in probably half a dozen times with questions and they answered them with no strings attached. That was the beginning of a harmonious relationship. Their customer service has always been there for us, and they’ve done multiple equipment replacements at no additional cost to us.

Their monitoring fees may not be the least expensive, but in our experience a long-term relationship with Frontpoint more than makes up for it. Not to mention, they have some of the more cutting-edge technologies on the market.

Frontpoint equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has two 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 (you pay month-to-month with no cancellation fee)
  • Higher monitoring fees

Coupon

Packages starting at $99 + Free Doorbell Camera + 20% off additional add-on products. No Frontpoint promo code needed. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

Full Frontpoint Review

For in-depth equipment pricing, details on monitoring plans, a video on installation, a deep dive into the website portal, a tutorial on how to use the app, user reviews and more, read our dedicated Frontpoint review.

Runner-Up: Link Interactive

Link Interactive Logo with Ranking Badge

Visit Website | 877-826-5443

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

However, its monthly monitoring cost is less expensive than Frontpoint, which puts it right in the running behind our leader. Another advantage that Link Interactive has going for it is its customizability. There are no equipment bundles (everything is à la carte), so you can build your own system and only pay for the equipment you need.
Link Interactive equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has two monitoring stations
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation
  • One, two, or three-year monitoring contract required
  • Customers report some installation hiccups
  • You must pay 100% of the contract even if you cancel

Coupon

Use this link to have available readers-only discount codes applied to Link Interactive.

Full Link Interactive Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a deep dive into their app, user reviews, geofencing capabilities and more, read our dedicated Link Interactive review.

Third Place: SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe 3rd place badge

Visit Website | 888-910-1458

SimpliSafe stands out as another option for those who want to avoid a long-term contract (Frontpoint and Ring Alarm are the only other companies in this article to offer a similar feature). You can pay month-to-month for 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 (“simple” if you will, pun intended) when compared to a company like Frontpoint, and the equipment lineup isn’t as extensive. But their monthly monitoring price is very affordable, and they do offer environmental sensors (smoke, carbon monoxide, water, freeze, and leak detection). Their long awaited camera (the SimpliCam) is finally available as well, and according to them you will receive priority police dispatch with video-verified events.

Our Experience

Michelle S., Safe Smart Living, has the SimpliSafe security system. Below are her thoughts on it.

This is installed in our vacation home, so we’re not in it year-round. Because of this, SimpliSafe offers us a lot of peace of mind for potential criminal acts but also with environmental alerts from flood and temperature sensors. When temperatures drop too low, we need to make sure that our heat is working to prevent frozen/burst pipes.

SimpliSafe equipment

Pros

Cons

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

Coupon

Use this link to have our reader discount code applied to your SimpliSafe order.

Full SimpliSafe Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a deep dive into their app, user reviews, side-by-side comparisons to competitors and more, read our dedicated SimpliSafe review.

Comparison Table

If there are any terms that you don’t understand, we have a terminology section in our home security systems guide.

 1st: Frontpoint2nd: Link Interactive3rd: SimpliSafeLow Cost, No Contract: Ring AlarmProfessional Installation: ADTSmart Home: Vivint
Equipment Starting Cost$99Customizable$229$179Free With Contract$599.99
Pro Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost$44.99$30.99$14.99$10$36.99$29.99
Contract LengthNone1-3 YearsNoneNone3 Years3.5-5 Years
InstallationDIYDIYDIYDIYProfessionalProfessional
Installation Fee$0$0$0$0$99-$199$49-$199
Money-Back Guarantee30 Days30 Days60 Days30 Days6 MonthsNone
Warranty3 Years3 Years3 Years1 YearLifetime (Must Pay Additional $)120 Days
Battery Backup24 Hours8 or 24 Hours24 Hours24 Hours24 Hours4 Hours
Self Monitoring OptionCheckmarkCheckmark
Third Party MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Main Form Of MonitoringCellularCellularCellularBroadbandLandline & CellularCellular
Backup Form Of MonitoringBroadbandBroadbandBroadbandCellularCellularBroadband
Amazon Alexa CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Google Home CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark

Our Category Winners

Low Cost, No Contract: Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm Winner 2020

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 one-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. However, its low equipment fees, affordable monthly monitoring plan and lack of contract make it our best pick for our low cost, no contract category.

Our Experience

Safe Smart Living purchased a Ring Alarm system for Kimberly A., the author of this article, to test out, so we could share firsthand experience with you. Her system includes: a base station, keypad, motion sensor, six door/window sensors, range extender, smoke/CO listener and a Ring Video Doorbell 2. Here’s her experience:

I’ve been thrilled with the performance of my Ring Alarm security system. It’s easy to operate via the keypad or through the app. I’ve had zero false alarms, and the equipment has functioned properly for me.

The value of this system is incomparable. You can’t find a security system with this quality of equipment and professional monitoring at such an affordable price. It’s a great solution for those who want a security system for their primary home or vacation home.

Ring Alarm Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has two 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
  • Option to add emergency contacts
  • Limited equipment reduces system’s capabilities

Coupon

Ring products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Full Ring Alarm Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a firsthand installation video by Kimberly, user reviews, side-by-side comparisons to competitors and more, read our dedicated Ring Alarm review.

Professional Installation: ADT

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 solid app 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.

Wondering how difficult it is to install your own system? Our experts answer the top 9 DIY home security questions.

 

ADT Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has ten monitoring stations
  • Six-month guarantee
  • Can be professionally installed in your home within one to two days after ordering, in most cases
  • Includes basic equipment at no additional cost
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Three-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

Coupon

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

Full ADT Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, a deep dive into ADT Connect, user reviews, side-by-side comparisons to competitors and more, read our dedicated ADT review.

Smart Home: Vivint

Vivint Alarm Winner 2020

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

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

Pros

Cons

  • Has two monitoring stations
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Excellent smart home 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
  • Three-and-a-half to five-year contracts if you finance equipment
  • If you want cameras, you must purchase the highest monitoring plan
  • Expensive
  • Four-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

Coupon

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

Full Vivint Review

For in-depth equipment and plan pricing, pros & cons, key features, coverage of their extensive smart home capabilities, side-by-side comparisons to competitors and more, read our dedicated Vivint review.

Home Security Systems Reviews By Provider

Home security app (caption: Home Security Systems Reviews)Don’t see the brand you’re looking for in this review? This article is dedicated to the top 3 and category winners, but our experts have reviewed over a dozen other providers, including Abode, AT&T Digital Life, Brinks, Cove, Guardian, Kangaroo, Nest Secure, Protect America, Protection 1, and Scout Alarm. Head on over to our home security systems reviews for the scoop on these, including a comparison table, detailed pricing and reader discounts, pros and cons, and real user feedback for each company.

Still don’t see your provider listed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll make sure we get them covered.

What’s The Bottom Line?

1st
Frontpoint logo small
2nd Link Interactive Logo
3rd
SimpliSafe logo small
Low Cost, No Contract
Ring logo small
Professional Installation
ADT Logo
Smart Home
Vivint Logo

When shopping for a home security system, there are several factors to consider. It’s important to find a company that fits your lifestyle and home layout. It’s easier than ever to install your own system, but that doesn’t mean picking a company is as simple.

If smart home features or customization is a priority, then we shared our favorites for those categories above. If you prefer reliability, you’ll need a monitoring plan you can trust. Frontpoint comes out on top for that reason with its commitment to offering cellular, worry-free security. If you want a customizable system where you can add equipment à la carte and design your own system, our runner-up Link Interactive might be a good fit. And if you’re looking for a low-commitment plan with affordable monthly monitoring, SimpliSafe may be your best bet.

If there’s home security lingo or concepts you’re still murky on, check out our experts’ comprehensive home security systems guide for the lowdown on how security systems work, explanations behind the different types of monitoring, and more.

Which security system are you leaning towards?

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been 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. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

In 2018, she had her first child, which 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.

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.

Subscribe
Notify of
9 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sam H
September 6, 2020 2:02 pm

I’d love to see a head-by-head comparison of ADT and Vivint. I’ve seen several VS comparisons on your site (for example I found your ADT vs Frontpoint one particularly helpful), but given my penchant for smart home and pro install, I’m now between these two.

(Admin)
Alex Schenker
September 6, 2020 2:24 pm
Reply to  Sam H

Hi Sam,

I’ve passed your feedback onto our research team. We will be conducting head-to-head comparisons based on reader demand, thanks for your input!

Stevenator 333
February 11, 2020 6:43 pm

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!

(Admin)
Alex Schenker
February 12, 2020 9:41 pm
Reply to  Stevenator 333

Hi Steven,

Our review of Kangaroo home security is now live.

Kathryn
November 29, 2019 4:26 pm

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.

(Admin)
Sadie Cornelius
December 2, 2019 11:49 am
Reply to  Kathryn

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

Frankie G
August 27, 2019 3:34 pm

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.

Derryl G
August 14, 2019 11:40 am

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.

(Admin)
Alex Schenker
August 14, 2019 4:47 pm
Reply to  Derryl G

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.