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

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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 16 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

17 Home Security Systems Reviewed

Our experts have gone in-depth trying to discern which home security system provider offers not only the best value, but the best customer service, the most cutting edge technology, and the most developed smart home capabilities.

We’ve dedicated a separate article to our winners, the best home security systems. You can jump straight to a company’s review by clicking on “read review” in the table below.

Top 3 And 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
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The Rest Of The Pack

And here are the 11 other home security providers that didn’t make the cut this year, but may offer something unique that match your preferences. Don’t see your company reviewed? Let us know in the comments!

AbodeAT&T Digital Life | Brinks | Cove | Guardian | Kangaroo | Nest Secure  | OomaProtect AmericaProtection 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 one-year equipment warranty, has six to seven hours of battery backup, and lacks two-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
  • Six to seven hours battery backup
  • No two-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 one 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
  • Two-year contract required
  • No Z-Wave or Zigbee compatibility
  • Only one 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 one in-house monitoring station and a two-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 one monitoring station (and not third-party)
  • Three-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 eight-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.

Cove Security Review

Cove Security LogoView on Amazon | Visit Website

A relative newcomer to home security (Cove Security opened for business in 2018), they offer fully customizable DIY security systems. Their equipment lineup is fairly barebones compared to the competition, but their equipment and monitoring fees are competitively priced.

Since Cove is so new to the home security space, it’s hard to get a full picture of what you can expect in regard to their customer service and reputation. But they appear to be gaining some good ground in the highly competitive DIY market.

Cove Security

Pros

Cons

  • Has six monitoring stations
  • 60-day risk-free trial
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation (DIY)
  • No contracts
  • No self-monitoring option
  • Must pay extra for smartphone access
  • Live chat is 9am to 6pm MST, which is less convenient for EST and CST customers
  • No backup if cellular goes down

Coupon

Use this link to have our members-only discount codes applied to Cove Security.

Full Cove Security 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 Cove Security review.

Guardian Security Review

Guardian Protection logoVisit Website

Guardian Security offers a good lineup of wireless security and smart home equipment, and they have overall impressive customer reviews. However, their pricing is higher than many of their competitors, and they require professional installation and long-term monitoring contracts. Guardian is also only available in select cities in eight states in the U.S.

Pros

Cons

    • Has two monitoring stations
    • All equipment is wireless
    • All plans have cellular monitoring
    • Overall good customer service
  • Compatible with Z-Wave and Alexa
  • Three or five-year contract required
  • Requires a technician to visit your home and install
  • Among the most expensive compared to its competitors
  • Hefty early termination fees
  • Limited availability in the U.S.

Coupon

Click here to have our reader discount code automatically applied to Guardian.

Full Guardian Security 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 Guardian Security review.

Kangaroo Review

Kangaroo Home Security Logo

Visit Website

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 a motion and 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 Starter Kit

Pros

Cons

  • Has six 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

Coupon

Kangaroo Security is having a Black Friday sale with 33% Off + Free Shipping on Front Door Security Kits now through 11/26 with the coupon code: RING33. Use this link to take advantage of this offer and redeem the promo code from Kangaroo.

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 three-year contract or a month-to-month option. However, it’s $10 extra per month for the monthly option, so signing the three-year agreement can save you money. Nest Secure wouldn’t be our top pick, though, because it only has one 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 one 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.

Full 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.

Ooma Home Security Review

Ooma logoView Ooma on Amazon

Ooma offers very basic home security equipment — we’re talking a few security and home safety sensors and no video camera options. But the system is an affordable option if all you want are the basics. The company also has super competitive monthly monitoring fees (with a highly-reputable professional monitoring service), or you can opt for self-monitoring.

Ooma Home Security

Pros

Cons

  • Has two monitoring stations
  • Affordable pricing
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Professional monitoring is optional
  • No contracts, month-to-month
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Extremely limited equipment – no cameras or home automation
  • Limited integrations
  • Professional monitoring not available in all states
  • Motion sensors aren’t pet-friendly
  • Customer service is hit or miss

Full Ooma Home Security Review

For in-depth equipment pricing, pros & cons, details on monitoring plans, a deep dive into their app, user reviews, and more, read our dedicated Ooma Home Security review.

Protect America Review

Protect America logo

Visit Website | 877-459-7554

Protect America is one of the few companies that lets you choose between landline, broadband and cellular monitoring. This allows them to offer some of the lowest prices for professional monitoring, earning them a top spot in our comparison. That being said, we recommend choosing cellular since it’s the most secure option.

If you live in a remote area where cell service isn’t reliable, you can still secure your home thanks to their landline and broadband options, a feature that’s not available with most other providers. Protect America offers reliable customer service and has a variety of home security and automation equipment to choose from.

Protect America Equipment

Pros

Cons

  • Has six monitoring stations
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa (but not Google Home)
  • Self-installation
  • 15-day money back guarantee
  • Three-year monitoring contract required
  • You must pay 100% of the contract even if you cancel

Coupon

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

Full Protect America Review

For in-depth equipment pricing, pros & cons, details on monitoring plans, their SMART Connect app, smart home features, user reviews and more, read our dedicated Protect America 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 five monitoring stations
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa (not Google Home)
  • Three-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
  • Two-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 six 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 two-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 LifeBrinksCove SecurityGuardianKangarooNest SecureOomaProtect AmericaProtection 1Scout Alarm
Equipment Starting Cost$199$549.99$199Starting at $0Unavailable$7$399$126.18Free With ContractN/A$229
Pro Monitoring Monthly Starting Cost$20$39.99$39$15 or $25$45.99$10$29$14.99$19.99$34.99$19.99
Contract LengthNone2 Years3 YearsNone or 3 Years3 or 5 YearsNoneNone or 3 YearsNone3 Years3 YearsNone
InstallationDIYProfessionalDIY or ProfessionalDIYProfessionalDIYDIYDIYDIYProfessionalDIY
Installation Fee$0$99.99 1st Hour + $65/Extra Hour$0 or $199$0$99$0$0$0$0$99$0
Money-Back Guarantee30 Days14 Days45 Days60 Days6 Months30 Days30 DaysUnavailable15 DaysN/A60 Days
Warranty1 YearLifetime2 Years1 Year1 Year1 Year2 Years1 YearLifetime90 Days3 Years
Battery Backup6-7 Hours24 Hours8 Hours24 Hours24 HoursN/A12 Hours10 Hours18-24 Hours24 Hours12 Hours
Self-Monitoring OptionCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Third-Party MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Main Form Of MonitoringBroadbandBroadband & CellularBroadbandCellularCellularBroadbandBroadbandBroadbandLandline, Broadband & CellularLandline & CellularBroadband
Backup Form Of MonitoringCellularBroadbandCellularNoneBroadbandNoneCellularNoneNoneCellularCellular
Amazon Alexa CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Google Home CompatibilityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark

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

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.

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