Home Security Systems Reviews For 2020: Nest Secure vs Abode vs Scout Alarm vs AT&T Digital Life & More

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

Home security app (caption: Home Security Systems Reviews)Do you need help finding a 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 14 professionally monitored security companies. Our strict review protocol ensures our research is unbiased. We take into account customer service, equipment, technology, ease of use, and value to come up with a score for each company.

We listen to our you, our reader for feedback and value any personal experience you have to share. We add new companies to review as they establish a market presence.

Article Overview

Top 3 Home Security Systems & Category Winners

Frontpoint logo smallProtect America logoSimpliSafe logoLink Interactive logoRing alarm logoADT Authorized Dealer logo
Ranking1st2nd3rdMost CustomizableLow Cost, No ContractProfessional InstallSmart Home
Total Score4.704.354.154.104.003.302.75
Customer Service & Reputation4.84.34.54.34.02.01.0
Equipment4.84.33.83.53.34.34.0
Technology4.84.03.54.04.33.53.0
Value4.54.54.54.54.03.02.0
Ease Of Use4.84.84.54.34.53.83.8
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review
Read
Review

14 Home Security Systems Reviewed

Burglar prying door open with crowbar (caption: Guide to The Best Home Security Systems)Read more about our top 3 picks, as well as our 4 category winners, in our best home security systems article. Every security system provider offers something different, so our top picks may not be for you. And in this world of smart security, there’s always a new entrant on the horizon trying to leverage the latest technologies to get your business.

That’s why our experts regularly update this article to cover the home security company you’re most interested in hearing about. In addition to our top 3 and category winners, we bring you reviews of 7 more providers here, for a total of 14.

AbodeAT&T Digital Life | Brinks | Kangaroo | Nest Secure  | Protection 1 | Scout Alarm

Abode Review

Abode logo

View on Amazon | Visit Website

Abode has a fair number of equipment options, but its app is pretty basic. It only offers a 1-year equipment warranty, has 6-7 hours of battery backup, and lacks 2-way voice. However, if you’re looking for a self-monitoring option with basic equipment, Abode is a solid choice.

Abode Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • 30-day returns
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation
  • No contracts
  • Little customer feedback online
  • Limited customer support
  • Complaints of camera footage being low resolution
  • No outdoor security cameras
  • 6-7 hours battery backup
  • No 2-way voice

Coupon

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

Full Abode 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 Abode review.

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’s 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, it’s not among our top picks.

AT&T Digital Life Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from AT&T Digital Life.

Full AT&T Digital Life 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 AT&T Digital Life review.

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, enhancing your home automation possibilities.

Unfortunately, it only has 1 in-house monitoring station and 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

Pros

Cons

  • 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)

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Brinks Home Security.

Full Brinks 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 Brinks review.

Kangaroo Review

Kangaroo Home Security Logo

View on Amazon

Kangaroo is unique since it doesn’t require or offer a hub. You can purchase one device and begin monitoring through the app immediately. For example, you can buy 1 motion + entry sensor to monitor your dorm room, office, or other space and know when someone is entering the area.

Additionally, you can use Kangaroo to monitor an entire home or business. Simply purchase the motion or entry sensors you want for the whole area, install it, and be ready to go. There is no hub or control panel to sync it up with.

Kangaroo Indoor Camera

Pros

Cons

  • Has 6 monitoring stations
  • Hub free
  • Excellent option for monitoring a single room
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation
  • No long-term contract
  • Broadband (WiFi) monitoring with no cellular backup
  • Not the safest option for a whole home security system
  • Newer so there’s little customer feedback
  • Few equipment options
  • No BBB page

Full Kangaroo 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 Kangaroo review.

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 operated by Brinks. You can also self-monitor with Nest Secure.

Nest Secure product on table

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Coupon

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

Nest Secure 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 Nest Secure review.

Protection 1 Review

Protection One logo

Visit Website

Protection 1 (aka Protection One) has outdated looking equipment compared to other home security companies, which may lead you to question its functionality as well. The equipment warranty length is only 90 days, and you have to upgrade plans to get basic features that others offer in their base packages. Protection 1 isn’t quite up to par with what we expect from a home security company.Protection One Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has 5 monitoring stations
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa (not Google Home)
  • 3-year monitoring contract required
  • Live chat doesn’t let you talk back and forth with a person; instead, it sends an email
  • Has one of the worst warranty lengths we’ve seen (only 90 days)
  • Wireless doorbell doesn’t have a camera
  • 2-way voice isn’t available with the basic plan
  • Equipment is not modern looking
  • Requires professional installation
  • Canceling early may result in paying the remaining contract term
  • No money-back guarantee

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Protection 1.

Full Protection 1 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 Protection 1 review.

Scout Alarm Review

Scout Alarm

View on Amazon | Visit Website

Most of Scout Alarm’s equipment has a contemporary design, and you can even choose the color. But the sensors are rather bulky. It doesn’t offer an extensive list of equipment options, and the technology isn’t as advanced as its competitors.

Scout Alarm

Pros

Cons

  • Has 6 monitoring stations
  • 60-day returns
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation
  • No contracts
  • Door panel sensors are large and conspicuous
  • Self-monitoring functionality is tied to a monthly payment plan
  • No outdoor security cameras
  • Only 12-hour battery backup (competitors average 24 hours)
  • The hub doesn’t have 2-way voice

Coupon

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

Full Scout Alarm 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 Scout Alarm review.

Comparison Table

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

 AbodeAT&T Digital LifeBrinksKangarooNest SecureProtection 1Scout Alarm
Equipment Starting Cost$199$549.99$199$7$399N/A$229
Pro Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost$20$39.99$39$10$29$34.99$19.99
Contract LengthNone2 Years3 YearsNoneNone or 3 Years3 YearsNone
InstallationDIYProfessionalDIY or ProfessionalDIYDIYProfessionalDIY
Installation Fee$0$99.99 1st Hour + $65/Extra Hour$0 or $199$0$0$99$0
Money-Back Guarantee30 Days14 Days45 Days30 Days30 DaysN/A60 Days
Warranty1 YearLifetime2 Years1 Year2 Years90 Days3 Years
Battery Backup6-7 Hours24 Hours8 HoursN/A12 Hours24 Hours12 Hours
Self-Monitoring OptionCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Third-Party MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Main Form Of MonitoringBroadbandBroadband & CellularBroadbandBroadbandBroadbandLandline & CellularBroadband
Backup Form Of MonitoringCellularBroadbandCellularNoneCellularCellularCellular
Amazon Alexa CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Google Home CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark

Review Criteria

How do we arrive at the rankings above? Our researchers consider 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.

Can’t Decide?

1st
Frontpoint logo small
2nd
ProtectAmerica logo small
3rd
SimpliSafe logo small
Most Customizable
Low Cost, No Contract
Ring logo small
Professional Installation
ADT Authorized Dealer logo
Smart Home

That’s a lot of companies, and a lot of features, to digest. We get it, this decision can be difficult not only from a technical standpoint but also from a financial one. It pays to take your time and make the right choice the first time, especially if you’re getting locked into a multi-year contract or have a wired installation with holes drilled in your walls.

Don’t fret – we’re here to help. If there’s anything you’re still confused about, please don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments.

For your convenience, we’ve also posted our top 3 and category winners again. Read more about them in our best home security systems article. Every security system provider offers something different, so our top picks may not be for you. And in this world of smart security, there’s always a new entrant on the horizon trying to leverage the latest technologies to get your business.

That’s why our experts regularly update this article to cover the home security company you’re most interested in hearing about.

And we have a comprehensive home security 101 guide that fills you in on all the basics, the terminology, which sensors do what, help installing your system, and even video tutorials where we take you through home security apps and what they can do.

Which home security provider 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
Newest
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve Geiger
March 31, 2020 11:48 am

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

(Admin)
Alex Schenker
April 1, 2020 1:03 pm
Reply to  Steve Geiger

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.

Nellie F
November 21, 2019 11:48 am

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?

(Admin)
Alex Schenker
November 27, 2019 12:36 pm
Reply to  Nellie F

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
October 15, 2019 11:54 am

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?

G Stuff
August 15, 2019 7:23 am

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.

(Admin)
Alex Schenker
July 21, 2020 1:28 pm
Reply to  G Stuff

You can read our Frontpoint vs Ring review. Our researchers have also pitted Frontpoint against other top providers in a head-to-head showdown, including ADT, Protect America, and SimpliSafe. Visit our Frontpoint review to see them all.

(Admin)
Alex Schenker
August 15, 2019 11:49 am
Reply to  G Stuff

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.