It’s time to get serious about home security. With 2020 smart security systems, you get more safety features and control than ever before.
With features like infrared detectors, window sensors, automatic sirens, HD recordings, and connectivity with Google and Alexa, home security systems are becoming more and more advanced. In this review, we compare the best smart home security systems of the year, including what features you can expect and which systems work better for DIY versus professional monitoring.
SimpliSafe is a beautifully crafted home security platform, comprising a vase-shaped base station, integrated siren, and a slew of supporting sensors available to scatter around your home. They’re designed to detect movement in the home, entry from doors and windows, as well as floods and fires. The “simpli” part of the system? It’s quick and easy to install and a cinch to expand, with a comprehensive range of sensors, optional security cameras, and even 24/7 professional monitoring. Arming and disarming the system is easy for the whole family, with a battery-powered keypad and key fob design. Best of all, thanks to a partnership with design gurus IDEO, SimpliSafe is one of the slinkiest security packages around.
Simplisafe continues to get louder, smarter, and more secure, upgrading their hardware and adding new products like the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro and SimpliSafe Smart Lock for your front door, supporting HD video monitoring and two-way chat plus remote locking and personalized PIN codes for convenient access. The two devices strengthen an already compelling smart home security platform. Highly recommended.
Ring Alarm 5-Piece Kit (2nd Generation)
The affordable and likable Ring Alarm doesn’t disappoint on value, features, or performance. This affordable starter kit offers a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and a range extender. Together, that’s the perfect package for guarding access to a small home or apartment, and you can install everything yourself effortlessly with setup provided by the Ring app. It’s also compatible with Alexa voice commands.
You can easily add more sensors to detect movement and window and door entry, or a Ring doorbell or outdoor security cameras for more comprehensive protection. Ring also offers other home security products like an Alarm Flood & Freeze Sensor, Panic Alarm, and a Smoke and CO Listener, while exterior security can be boosted with the company’s range of smart lights. While you will pay a small monthly fee ($10) for professional monitoring, the Ring Alarm kit is ideal for those who want to add professional options to their DIY system. You can also upgrade to an 8- or 14-piece kit for more devices.
If the idea of installing your own home security system leaves you cold, professionally installed options are still available. While Vivint certainly isn’t the cheapest platform around, you can tailor the system to your needs, selecting from a comprehensive range of high-quality security devices that includes thermostats, cameras, doorbells, lighting, sensors, smart locks, and more.
Once you’ve designed the system of your dreams, installation is priced reasonably, and we found the service to be top-notch. While customization options are exhaustive, controlling the system is easy, courtesy of a nifty, wall-mounted touchscreen and smartphone app plus Alexa/Google Assistant support. Vivint also offers a range of professional monitoring services, starting at around $30 to $40 per month.
If your budget runs into the thousands and you’re seeking a premium, white-glove home security experience, Vivint is well worth exploration.
Are you a devoted DIY enthusiast? Are you OK with skipping professional monitoring services for a system that you don’t have to pay for every month? Nest has one of the best solutions on the market for those who are already comfortable with managing their own smart homes.
Nest Secure provides a hub with a motion sensor and a satellite Nest Detect sensor for guarding windows, doors, and other areas. There is also a separate Tag device that lets people or pets pass by the sensors without setting them off. Buy as many sensors as you need, add some Nest cameras, and put together your own system. But keep in mind the initial costs for buying Nest devices can be high.
While the first-generation Abode security starter kit didn’t wow us on quality, we found it to be a solid budget pick, with a versatile assortment of sensors, extensive third-party device support, and simple controls. Abode Iota is the company’s latest starter kit, boasting sleek lines and smart device control.
The current Iota kit includes a large monitoring hub with a built-in HD camera, a 93-decibel siren, and two-way audio communication options, designed to be placed in a central position, facing an entryway. You also get a mini door or window sensor, and a tiny little keypad meant to fit as a fob on your keychain for easy yet secure arming and disarming.
Unlike competitors that focus purely on security, Abode Iota also serves as a smart home controller. Device support is extensive, with Abode’s proprietary SecureRF radio, Zigbee PRO, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi on board for connecting up to 160 devices, while partnerships with Yale, Kwikset, Hue, Ecobee, Philips Hue, and others increase its credibility as a smart home hub. However, Abode has plenty of sensors and accessories you can add from its own brand as well, so take a look at their store if you are interested in buying.
ADT DIY 15-Piece LifeShield
ADT remains one of the most traditional and trusted home security brands on the market and has been dabbling with smart home platforms since the launch of ADT Pulse in 2010. Today, the company is more than happy to give you a quote for a customized, professional-installed option, or help you install a more DIY kit while still offering monitoring.
The LifeShield kits are incredibly complete, and this 15-piece version has everything you need to turn even larger houses into safe and smart homes. That includes a hub, entry keypad, indoor camera, six sensors for windows and doors, two motion sensors (designed to ignore pets), a fire safety sensor, a keychain remote fob, and, naturally, a pack of ADT sensors to stick around the house. You can also customize what kind of mobile alerts you want to get based on detected motion, doors opening, fire alarms, etc.
As you’d expect from ADT, a range of 24/7 professional monitoring plans are available for added protection and peace of mind. It’s unlikely to be the cheapest choice, but ADT’s refreshed smart home security platform looks like a safe bet for those who prefer to spend their money with established operators.
Link is a strong choice for those who want a traditional security system with professional monitoring, locks and detection devices, and packages that take care of the process for you. Link also features monitoring and controlling from an app. To this, Link features some advanced protection, like an electrical setup that keeps the system active if a burglar tries to disable it. Many traditional security brands have tried to update their offerings with smart home tech, and Link is one of the most successful.
Scout has a far more flexible model than many other security brands. You can build your own system, including the components you want and the color and finish you want. Or, you can purchase a kit from somewhere like Amazon. The monitoring is month to month, so there are no long-term contracts, but it’ll cost you an additional $20 per month for professional monitoring. There’s also a $10 self-monitoring plan. The app is easy to use though, and it gives you quick alerts if alarms go off.
Protect America offers customizable plans that allow you to add all kinds of smart gadgets to your system, from door sensors to Amazon Echo devices. It all ships at once, and they install everything for you. Prices vary but tend to be a bit on the low side, and rates are locked in. If the other, more traditional home security brands don’t do much for you, Protect America is worth a look.
Honeywell Smart Home Security System
The Honeywell Smart Home Security System starter kit comes with the camera base station, two access sensors for windows and doors, and a remote-control key fob. The base station includes an HD camera, siren, and Alexa smart speaker. There are also features like facial recognition and motion detection. But there is also support for Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Z-Wave Plus. This is a completely DIY system with no professional monitoring. For those who don’t want to deal with contracts and want to manage their own security, this could be a good pick.
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