Observer Content Studio is a unit of Observer’s branded content department. Observer’s editorial staff is not involved in the creation of this content. Observer and/or sponsor may collect a portion of sales if you purchase products through these links.
The best home security systems are designed to keep your home, family, and property safe from intruders. Although almost every home security company offers door and window sensors, the best alarm systems have smart features such as voice control, remote access via mobile app, video cameras, and more.
However, with so many home security options to choose from, picking the right system for your family’s needs is no easy task. We’re here to assist you with an in-depth guide to the top home security options for 2021.
We’ve reviewed 13 of the best home security systems of 2021 and rated them on a variety of factors including features, monitoring, installation, price, and value.
Without further ado, here are our top home security picks for 2021.
Top 5 Best Home Security Systems of 2021
- Vivint: Best for smart home automation
- ADT: Best for professional installation
- Frontpoint Security: Best for DIY installation
- SimpliSafe: Best for customizable packages
- Cove Security: Best for easy installation
#1 Vivint: Best for Smart Home Automation
Vivint is our top choice for the best home security system of 2021. Vivint has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for DIY home security systems or fully-automated ones, you can find a Vivint plan that fits your needs. The company might not be the cheapest option, but the value more than justifies the cost.
Since launching the Vivint Doorbell Camera in 2014, Vivint has made a name for itself with comprehensive home automation. Today, few competitors can match its suite of automated features. It keeps your family safe against common risks like smoke, carbon monoxide, and burglary.
Vivint has three packages, starting with Smart Security Monitoring. The package supports outdoor use and first-time security system owners. Like all the plans from Vivint, it requires professional installation.
Smart Home Monitoring serves as a step up, with additional features, such as window and door sensors and smart monitoring. It’s a go-to choice for anyone in search of smart home automation. Finally, Smart Home Video Monitoring delivers the most advanced video surveillance options from Vivint, with a combination of indoor and outdoor home security cameras.
All Vivint products come with a five-year contract, though you can select a month-to-month account, too. If you want the month-to-month option, you’ll need to purchase the equipment upfront, which makes the investment more expensive at the start. Vivint also provides a 120-day warranty on all products and services.
Vivint home security systems win over customers with their ease of use and robust automation. The high-end equipment allows people to easily monitor and protect their homes from anywhere. Users can also upgrade to more advanced features at any time, including 1080p indoor and outdoor cameras, 4k image sensors, and infrared night vision lens.
- Professionally Installed
- Smart Home Automation Features
- Works Seamlessly With Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
WaterLeaks, Smoke, and Carbon Monoxide
- 24/7 Professional Monitoring
Click Here to Learn More About Vivint
#2 ADT: Top Alarm System for Professional Installation
ADT ranks as one of the biggest names in home security. The company touts itself as “America’s #1 Choice for Home Security Monitoring,” thanks to its dynamic lineup of monitoring and security services. While ADT has also been around for 145 years, it remains on the cutting edge of industry innovation.
First-time security systems owners can take advantage of the Secure Package, an affordable baseline model with professional installation. It has easy-to-use features, such as door and window sensors and a motion sensor. ADT also allows you to customize the package so that the smart home devices match your home protection preferences.
The Smart Package upgrades the home automation, adding motion detectors and a touch security panel. You’ll also receive 24/7 alarm monitoring from ADT in case someone or something trips a sensor while you’re away from home. The Complete Package serves as a more versatile version of the Secure Package, with customizable alerts and smart locks for your doors and windows.
Each of these professional monitoring packages provides complimentary installation for pre-qualified customers. An ADT representative will install the security cameras and motion sensors and address any questions you might have about operating them. ADT also has an extensive online library of resources for troubleshooting and system manuals.
ADT consistently releases some of the best home security systems. Its attention to detail manifests itself from the smart home features to self-monitoring services. You can even connect your ADT security system with Google Home Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
ADT home security systems stand as a high watermark for the home security industry. The devices are effective, reliable, and readily customizable, letting you get security products tailored to your needs. They also come with a six-month money-back guarantee from ADT if the system does not live up to your expectations.
- The Nation’s Most Trued Home Security Brand
- Professionally Installed
- Flexible Home Security Packages
- Control Smart Devices Directly From Mobile App
- 24/7 Professional Monitoring
Click Here to Learn More About ADT
#3 Frontpoint: Best DIY Security System
Frontpoint is our choice for the best DIY home security system. Frontpoint Security provides a simple and straightforward way to protect your home. It offers a range of self-installed home security systems along with reliable customer support. Best of all, Frontpoint gives customers a lengthy trial period, so they can test the alarm security kit before buying.
Frontpoint security systems cater to the DIY enthusiast. They combine professional monitoring with quick and easy setups. Even if you’re not the most technologically inclined person, you can have Frontpoint security products operational in 15 minutes.
This DIY system uses adhesive strips to attach the cameras and sensors where you need them most. The intuitive design means you can leave your heavy tools in the workshop. You’ll also save money since you won’t need professional installation.
Customers can select from five security systems, ranging from the Safe Home Starter for entry-level users to the Safe Home Preferred for complete home protection. Each package comes with a base station, a keypad and at least two door and window sensors. Some of the more advanced Frontpoint models have indoor cameras, doorbell cameras, and smoke detectors.
Frontpoint also offers Crash & Smash, a feature you won’t find at competitors like Vivint or ADT. The tool alerts homeowners if a thief tries to disarm their alarm. The protective tool allows your Frontpoint security system to continue working, even if the intruder causes damage to the control panel.
Frontpoint has people covered for timely and smart security. The DIY installation, knowledgeable customer service team, and versatile products make it simple to upgrade your house in no time. It’s why Frontpoint has earned a place among the upper echelon of home security providers.
- All Security Equipment Comes With A 3-Year Warranty
- Free Doorbell Camera
- Easy Setup and Installation
- Voice Activated System Compatible With Alexa, Siri, and Google Home
- Customize Your Own Home Security Equipment
Click Here to Learn More About Frontpoint Security
#4 SimpliSafe: High Quality DIY Wireless Security System
The best smart home security systems deliver peace of mind without breaking the bank. One of the leaders in this space is SimpliSafe, a company that has made a name for itself with competitively priced plans and no contracts. The 24/7 professional monitoring service even allows you to sync your devices with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant.
The SimpliSafe Home Security System puts your home’s protection first. The security company prioritizes affordable systems that you can set up within an hour. The investment also comes with around-the-clock professional monitoring so that you can have an extra set of eyes on your property.
The SimpliSafe Home Security System has come a long way from its original iteration. The first home alarm system didn’t have a security camera or third-party support. Today, SimpliSafe products deserve consideration among the best home security systems.
SimpliSafe has five packages designed for everything from small homes and condos to mansions and multi-bedroom houses. Regardless of which security system you choose, you’ll have DIY installation and easy-to-use features. If you want to save money, you can purchase a refurbished system from SimpliSafe for 25% off.
The Foundation, SimpliSafe’s entry-level system, comes with a base unit, a keypad, one entry sensor, and one motion sensor. More advanced products, like The Essentials and The Hearth, have additional entry sensors and smoke detection capabilities. If you opt for The Haven, the most comprehensive option, the features include:
- A key fob
- 105-decibel sirens
- A panic button
- A temperature sensor
Protecting your home doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Thanks to the smart home devices from SimpliSafe, you can start self-monitoring your home for $0 per month. While you’ll have to take care of the installation yourself, SimpliSafe delivers unbeatable value and flexibility.
- Top-Ranked DIY Home Security System
- Packages Include Automatic Door Locks, Video Doorbells, and a Motion Detector
- Positive Home Security Reviews Around the Web
- No Contracts or Early Termination Fees
Click Here to Learn More About SimpliSafe
#5 Cove Security: Best Reviews
Cove is an up-and-coming home security company that started in 2017. The Utah-based organization has started to gain national attention for its best-in-class security systems. If you want a home network that only takes a few minutes to install, Cove deserves your consideration.
Cove has some of the lowest prices in the industry due to its DIY installation. All people have to do is attach 3M-backed adhesives to the products before placing them in the proper spot. Allowing customers to put in the security devices themselves circumvents the need for professional installation, which can cost several hundred dollars.
What makes Cove unique is its a-la-carte approach to DIY home security. You can pick and choose products that fit your needs and budget. Here are some devices you can add to your Cove alarm security kit:
- A motion sensor
- A window sensor
- A security camera
- A panic button
- A control panel
- A carbon monoxide and smoke detector
Whatever you choose, you can have peace of mind knowing that they come with 24/7 professional monitoring, a feature most young security companies don’t offer. You can sign up for one month of Cove if you pay for the equipment up front. Otherwise, the smart security defaults to a three-year contract.
Cove also has handy tools that you won’t find in competing home security system reviews. For instance, it has Cove Plus, a texting service for emergencies. The text-based communication enables Cove to have faster response times than other DIY home security systems. It even works with smart home devices, like Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
While Cove charges sizable monthly fees, the benefits of its home security system outweigh the cons. It has reliable plans with professional monitoring and DIY installation. Best of all, the security company offers a 60-day free trial with a 100% money-back guarantee.
- Safe & Effective DIY Home Security
- Faster Emergency Dispatch and Fewer False Alarms
- Six In-House 24/7 Monitoring Stations
- Door, Window, Motion, and Glass Break Detectors
- Environmental Sensors For Smoke,
Water, and Carbon Monoxide Detection
Click Here to Learn More About Cove
How We Ranked the Top Home Alarm Systems
A burglar alarm is not the same as a home security system. We listed products that provide comprehensive benefits as opposed to situational ones. Not only do the smart home tools on this list alert you in case of a break-in, but they can also detect smoke, carbon monoxide, and flooding.
Size matters when it comes to your home security system. It should cover your entire property while offering customizability to match your monitoring preferences. Our selections include enough cameras, sensors, and alarms so that you can feel safe at all times.
No one wants to fuss around with their security system. We choose products with intuitive interfaces and streamlined functionality to take the hassle out of setting up and using your alarm system. Even if you’ve never used a security system before, you’ll have no problem navigating these approachable options.
We included home alarm systems with professional and self-monitoring. If you want an affordable system that lets you stay in control, we recommend self-monitoring from SimpliSafe or ADT. If you’d prefer a 24/7 professional monitoring team looking out for you, consider Link Interactive and Abode.
We understand that price can make or break a home security system. Our list features a range of products from free self-monitoring and DIY installations to high-end, smart devices. While the price fluctuates varies from product to product, each option delivers outstanding value for the money.
The customer experience matters. We used consumer feedback across various platforms, including the Better Business Bureau, to gauge the quality of the products and services. All of the companies on our list have above average ratings and generally positive customer reviews.
Tips for Choosing the Best Home Security Companies
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Be sure that you have a security system that will protect your family no matter what. All five of our options — Vivint, ADT, Frontpoint, SimpliSafe, and Cove — have flexible security features that put power in your hands.
Take SimpliSafe, for instance. It has five packages that cover everything from condos and apartments to mansions. Each package comes with powerful devices that give your property the proper amount of protection.
You don’t need to own property to invest in a security system. In fact, SimpliSafe’s founders launched the company in 2006 after university students in Boston experienced a rash of break-ins. The inexpensive tool provides customizable monitoring, allowing you to keep an eye on your home at all times.
Frontpoint shines as another go-to option for renters. You can install and uninstall the DIY system whenever you move without the need for heavy-duty tools. As a bonus, it’s two to three times cheaper than top brands in the industry.
For Pet Owners
Companies like Vivint and ADT can teach your old house new tricks. They take a pet-friendly approach to home security, telling your pets to sit and stay. For example, the Vivint Indoor Camera offers live stream capabilities and motion detection, so you know where Fido and Felix are at all times.
ADT works exceptionally well for dog-owners due to its passive infrared (PIR) sensors. The tools have customizable settings that allow you to track your dog wherever he roams. ADT also provides 24/7 professional monitoring and a six-month money-back guarantee.
For the Elderly
Seniors who live at home should have a sense of solace. A home security system can help ease any anxiety they have about potential intruders. If you’re looking for a home security system for a senior in your life, make sure it includes professional monitoring.
Professional monitoring allows you to have eyes on your property 24/7. Companies like ADT offer high-quality equipment and $500 theft protection guarantees. ADT also stands out for its reasonable monitoring fees.
If you like to travel a lot, you should have a security system that supports your lifestyle. We recommend products with home automation features that do the work for you while you’re gone. Companies like Vivint integrate with smart home applications like Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Vivint has remote access and cellular monitoring services that let you check in from anywhere in the world. Additionally, you can leverage real-time notifications that go straight to your email or smartphone. You also don’t have to worry about paying a bundle for monitoring fees when you use Vivint.
Types of Home Security Equipment
Control Panel / Hub
Think of the control panel or base station as a central computer. It communicates with the other components in the security network and sounds the alarm when someone trips a motion sensor or breaks a window. The base station usually has a touchpad for hassle-free programming and requires a passcode to arm and disarm the system.
Motion sensors guard specific spaces in your home. They create invisible zones that silently trigger an alarm if someone passes through them. Most people install motion sensors in large rooms that contain high-priced items or rooms that don’t get as much foot traffic.
Door and Window Sensors
Door and window sensors work like motion sensors but contain two parts instead of one. Installers place the two components adjacent to one another, whether that’s on a door frame or window sill. Anytime someone breaks the plan between these two parts, it triggers an alarm.
Indoor Security Cameras
Most people install indoor security cameras to watch over their pets or children. They can also come in handy in case of a break-in. These discreet recorders send a live stream to your base station, recording evidence of the robbery or burglary as it takes place.
Outdoor Security Cameras
Barns, garages, and workshop areas can all benefit from a security camera. The recorder offers remote monitoring, as long as you have a Wi-Fi or landline connection. They reinforce your home’s security system in hard to reach places.
Video Doorbell Cameras
Knock knock. Who’s there? Thanks to video doorbell cameras, you’ll never have to wonder again. These small mobile applications let you see whoever is at your door, even during nighttime. Top-end cameras come with 1920p HD video quality, infrared night vision, and two-way audio.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Good Home Security System
Many home security companies use multi-year contracts to lock-in customers for the long haul. Expect a three-year contract if you use a provider like Cove. Note that some places require even longer commitments for their monitoring services.
A few places have challenged the traditional contract model, giving customers the power to subscribe month-to-month. This approach gives users more flexibility in matching smart security services with their needs and budget. Abode stands out for its “no-contract home security” slogan.
If you have a home security system, there’s a good chance it uses a wireless connection. The devices sync over Wi-Fi to send data through apps and connect the security hardware. It also makes life easier when all your systems, including Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant, can play nice together.
If you want to understand a home security system’s connectivity, look for the phrase “wireless” or “hard-wired.” Hard-wired products require landlines to connect with the monitoring service, while wireless systems use Wi-Fi. Note that some smart home devices use a hybrid approach.
How much you pay for home security will depend on whether you choose self-monitoring or professional monitoring. Self-monitoring allows you to set up a security camera and watch the video feed. It’s cheaper than professional monitoring, with companies like SimpliSafe charging $0 for the service.
Professional monitoring syncs you with a monitoring center. These hubs work for you and relay the alarm in case someone trips a door sensor or sets off a smoke detector. If you opt for professional monitoring, choose a hub within 250 miles of your home to ensure a timely response.
Having a security system at home is one thing. However, you can bolster your peace of mind with a mobile app for monitoring on the go. Many of the companies on our list, including SimpliSafe, Abode, Ring Alarm, ADT, and Frontpoint, have mobile apps for Android and iPhone users.
Mobile apps serve as an extension of your existing monitoring. You can arm or disarm your home security system and receive push notifications for specified events. Some apps even allow you to watch live or recorded feeds of your home.
Smart Home Integrations
A smart home is a better home. Tools such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant give you control over your domain. Some of the best security systems integrate with these smart home features, allowing you to stay on top of things.
Take SimpliSafe, for example. You can sync this home security system with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant to turn the lights on or off remotely. You can also set the assistance to “Home” or “Away” mode with a voice command.
Security Equipment Options
The best home security system is the one that fits your needs. The equipment should deliver robust monitoring that enables you to sleep well at night. Most systems have a baseline equipment level that includes entry sensors – professional or self-monitoring – and alarms.
You can also select from a dozen or so additional devices to make your home security system more secure. For example, motion sensors activate whenever they detect someone moving around your home. Some companies offer smoke detectors and panic buttons in case of emergencies.
Is your home security company confident in its products? One way to find out is by looking for a guarantee in its terms and conditions. Organizations that stand by their craftsmanship and service typically offer a trial period.
A risk-free trial allows customers to see how well the home security system works for them. The last thing you want is to purchase a motion sensor or smoke detector only to find out that it doesn’t work. Many of the companies on our list have 30-to-60-days money-back guarantees.
DIY Home Security vs. Professional Installation
DIY home security lets you create your system one piece at a time. This approach gives you complete control over when to buy components and where to install them. It’s also easier to move DIY systems between houses, and they don’t come with professional monitoring fees. However, you may have trouble maintaining the equipment since there’s no built-in support system for fixing malfunctions or glitches.
Professional installation provides high-quality and reliable monitoring and maintenance. Technicians install and integrate each part of the network in your home, so you don’t have to worry about things being out of place. You should consider professional installation if you’re willing to pay a higher upfront cost.
Does a Home Security System Save You Money on Homeowners Insurance?
Yes, insurance providers provide homeowners with up to 20% off on their insurance policy when they install a security system. According to Nationwide, homes without any security are three times more likely to experience a burglary. The extra layer of protection creates a more hospitable environment for your family and your wallet.
But why do insurance providers give a discount on home insurance premiums? The reason is because they don’t want to pay you if you wish to make a claim. If they paid every claim, insurance companies wouldn’t be profitable.
Home alarm systems reduce the chance of homeowners filing claims. The fewer claims that customers file, the more money it saves the insurance company. They can then pass these savings back to their customers.
How Much Do Smart Security Systems Cost?
Every home security system has two primary costs: equipment and monitoring. If you purchase all of the equipment up front, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $250. Some organizations let you defer the initial payment in exchange for a monthly charge for the equipment as cell phone carriers do with new phones. In this case, equipment costs $10 to $35 per month.
The average monitoring costs $15 to $35 per month, depending on your service provider. Some companies allow you to pay nothing if you want to take on all self-monitoring responsibility. Whatever services you select for your home alarm system, make sure to factor in both expenses to your purchase.
What’s the Difference Between Professional Monitoring and Self-Monitored Systems?
Professional monitoring involves having personnel in a center observing your home 24/7. These watchful eyes can contact the authorities without tipping off intruders, a feature that provides peace of mind when you’re not home. Professional monitoring also comes with installation assistance in case a component malfunctions.
Self-monitored systems put the control in your hands. You’re responsible for installing the equipment and sounding the alarms in case of an emergency. These systems serve as a cost-effective alternative to professional monitoring and come with a base station, sensors, and optional cameras.
Does Your Security System Need Home Automation Features?
Smart features offer a helping hand to your DIY security system. While they’re not essential, they make life easier. A small camera in the doorbell can help you recognize people before opening the door, while smart lights allow you to adjust the brightness in your home remotely.
All homeowners should consider using automated features to simplify their day-to-day lives, especially if they travel a lot. Connecting your home alarm to Amazon Alex or Google Home Assistant allows you to control things, even if you’re in a different city or state. For example, The Abode Smart Security Kit lets you connect up to 160 devices and receive customized push notifications via text and email.
What Equipment Does a Home Alarm System Include?
Every home alarm system is different. While some options offer rudimentary protection at your home’s entry points, others come with 15 pieces to cover every inch of your property. Here are some of the most common features you’ll find in a home alarm system:
- Control panel
- Wireless or hard-wired surveillance cameras
- Interior and exterior motion sensors
- Door and window sensors
- High-decibel alarms
- Window stickers and yard signs
We’ve already touched on the importance of most of these items. One of the things we haven’t mentioned thus far is signage. Yard signs and window stickers with SimpliSafe or Abode’s name can actively deter intruders from entering your property unlawfully.
These displays go on your front window and on your lawn. They warn potential robbers and burglars that your home has a professional security system in place. Hence, it’s not in their best interest to tamper with your property.
How Much Do Home Security Systems Charge For Monitoring?
The average home security monitoring system costs $15 to $35 per month. The price depends on whether or not you purchase the equipment up front. Some companies provide a discount if you buy the equipment initially, which serves as a figurative down payment.
While every home security provider charges for professional monitoring, you can sidestep the costs all together with self-monitoring. This option requires you to watch over your home and contact authorities in case of a break-in or emergency. A self-monitoring system works for anyone who wants complete control of their property or to upgrade their home protection while on a budget.
Can You Install an Alarm System in an Apartment?
Yes, you can install an alarm system in your apartment. In fact, some apartment managers recommend it. That’s because apartments are more vulnerable to theft than homeowners.
There are a few reasons why more burglaries happen in apartments than homes. First, apartments are smaller, making it easier for a thief to get in and out quickly. Second, robbers can familiarize themselves with a person’s schedule and spot potential weaknesses in the apartment. Many people go to work during the day, leaving their apartments unattended for a long time.
An alarm system serves as a proactive way to deter theft. Just make sure that the systems fit within the terms and conditions of your lease. If you rent your apartment through a Homeowners Association, check with the community guidelines before installation.
Additional DIY Security Systems to Consider
Ring Alarm has become a go-to source for affordable DIY installation and low-maintenance security devices. The security company got its start with the Ring Video Doorbell but has since expanded into alarm systems and home monitoring services. The smart home technology provides reliable protection at consistently low rates.
Ring has three plans, each with nationwide availability and month-to-month contracts. The Ring Alarm Security kit (five pieces) works best for condos and apartments. It features a motion sensor and contact sensors in addition to the base station, keypad, and range extender.
You can also select from Ring Alarm Security Kits with ten or 14 pieces. These options have additional home security devices that amplify signal range and enhance window protection. Even if you purchase 1the 14-piece set, you can install all the components in fewer than 30 minutes.
Ring is one of the youngest companies on this list. You may experience some technical glitches here and there, but the equipment still provides exceptional value. Ring kits also come with the Neighbors app so that you can stay up-to-date with crimes and safety alerts in your area.
The best home security systems meet your specific needs instead of being one-size-fits-all. Abode takes an affordable approach to home security with its free 24/7 professional monitoring services. Customers can get started with an Abode Basic, Standard, or Pro plan anywhere in the United States or Canada. (Note that the Pro plan is not available in Quebec.)
Each Abode home security system comes with a core set of features, including live fees and push notifications. If you select a paid option, you will receive self-monitoring through email and mobile alerts or on-demand professional monitoring. Abode is the only home security company that offers on-demand professional monitoring.
You can try out an Abode home security system for 30 days, risk-free. Additionally, you can switch from a paid plan to the free Basic one at any time. However, switches come with $35 termination fees.
The major problem with Abode is its lack of innovation. While it has security cameras, glass-break sensors, and outdoor sirens, the company doesn’t have the forward-thinking mindset of ADT or SimpliSafe. Of course, it’s hard to argue when the Abode’s prices are so low.
Link Interactive offers homeowners a straightforward way to upgrade their home security. The systems come with DIY installation, saving people money on installation fees. Link Interactive also has a wide range of home automation features, including integrations with Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Link Interactive has three monitoring options: Standard, Gold, and Elite. Each package comes with 24/7 professional monitoring, the life safety feature, and a 30-day, money-back guarantee. Elite, the most expensive package, has additional home automation and HD video monitoring tools.
If you have any questions or concerns, the Link Interactive customer team can assist you. They’re available, via phone and email, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST on Saturday. You can also use the “support” tab on the website to fill out the contact form.
While Link Interactive offers a fantastic selection of monitoring tools, that versatility doesn’t extend to contracts. Three-year contracts are standard, providing little wiggle room to negotiate. If you want to have a one- or two-year contract, you’ll need to talk with the sales team directly, and even then, you may have to agree to contingencies.