Best Affordable Home Security Systems of 2024

Author: Marina

Mar. 07, 2024



Tags: Electronic Components & Supplies

  • 1. SimpliSafe - Best Security Equipment

    Editors Rating:

    9.2 /10

    800-544-5942 View Packages

    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Equipment Costs Packages starting at $250 Monitoring Options Professional and DIY Monthly Monitoring Costs $9.99 per month Contract Lengths Month-to-month Installation Options DIY or professional Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home

    SimpliSafe Overview

    Originally designed with apartments in mind — which is why it showed up as No. 1 on my list of the best home security systems for renters list — SimpliSafe is one of the original disrupters of the home security industry. It wanted to decouple security from landlines and hardwires and make it more accessible to everyone.

    >> Compare: SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint

    Since that time almost 20 years ago, SimpliSafe has remained true to that ethos. It offers high-quality, durable, but affordable equipment in modular packages so customers can build out systems that fit their needs — in terms of both security and budget.

    SimpliSafe Monitoring

    One of the most important factors of any home security system is how it will be monitored. If no one is checking in on these sensors and cameras, they’re pretty useless, right? Luckily, SimpliSafe offers the best of both worlds here. It provides totally free self-monitoring options as well as some of the most advanced professional monitoring I’ve encountered. Here’s a breakdown of the options:

    Features Free plan Camera recording only, five cameras Standard plan Fast Protect plan Livestreaming Yes Yes Yes Yes 24/7 professional monitoring No No Yes Yes Cellular connection No No Yes Yes Environmental monitoring No No Yes Yes Remote control Yes Yes Yes Yes Notifications Yes Yes Yes Yes Secret alarms No Yes No Yes Video-verified alarms No No No Yes Unlimited cloud storage None 5 cameras None 10 cameras Smart home integrations No Yes No Yes Monthly price Free $9.99 $19.99 $29.99

    I have a lot more on this in my guide to SimpliSafe’s prices, but I really appreciate that SimpliSafe gives customers a lot of options when it comes to monitoring. Also, since it’s one of the best no-contract security providers, you can always increase or decrease your coverage month-to-month. That can really help when budgets are tight.

    SimpliSafe’s Equipment Costs

    Another benefit of SimpliSafe is how affordable its equipment is. It offers packages you can use as your foundation as well as an a la carte menu of sensors, cameras, and accessories to really cover customers’ needs. Here’s a quick breakdown of the packages:

    Package Number of components Regular price The Haven 14 $519.86 The Knox 13 $479.87 The Beacon 10 $709.90 The Hearth 9 $399.91 The Lighthouse 7 $469.93 The Essentials 6 $279.95 The Foundation 4 $249.96

    One thing to note before we drill down on the prices of individual pieces of equipment: SimpliSafe is almost always offering sales, so don’t be scared off by the numbers you’re seeing in that right-hand column. At the time of this writing, it was offering 50 percent off any new system with the Fast Protect monitoring plan.

    We’ll talk about that plan next, but first, here are the prices of the individual components.

    Component Cost Entry sensor $14.99 Motion sensor $34.99 Glass-break sensor $39.99 Outdoor camera $189.99 Smart Alarm indoor camera $139.99 SimpliCam indoor camera $99.99 Video doorbell $169.99 Water sensor $19.99 Smoke and carbon monoxide detector $59.99 Smoke detector $34.99 Temperature sensor $29.99 Panic button $19.99 Key fob $24.99 Extra-loud siren $59.99

    Definitely affordable in my book, but I do want to highlight that Smart Alarm indoor camera in particular. Simply put, it’s one of the most interesting pieces of security equipment I’ve ever tested. When it’s coupled with a Fast Protect monitoring plan ($29.99 per month), it allows a SimpliSafe security professional to access a live feed of your home if an alarm sounds. They can then relay important information to authorities, like if there’s an intruder in the house or if they see smoke billowing through a doorway to the kitchen.

    >> Learn More: The Best Security Cameras of 2024

    I actually tested this out and was pretty impressed with the results. I purposely set off the alarm in my home — which is excruciatingly loud, by the way — and sure enough, the privacy screen on the lens of the camera snapped open, and the technician started speaking to me through the camera, asking if there was an emergency. I let them know it was a false alarm, and they were able to prevent authorities from being dispatched.

    The Downside

    Every security system is going to have its pros and cons, even great ones like SimpliSafe. For me, that came in the form of the non-negotiable $70 analog keypad you have to purchase with every security system. And that’s on top of the SimpliSafe hub, which is also required for the system to function properly. For the life of me, I can’t understand why SimpliSafe does this, especially when you consider SimpliSafe has one of the best security systems apps in the industry. I really hope this changes in the future.

  • 2. Frontpoint - Best Customer Service

    Editors Rating:

    8.9 /10

    844-933-2405 View Packages How We Review

    Product Specs

    Equipment Costs Starting at $99 Monitoring Options Professional only Monthly Monitoring Costs Starting at $18 Contract Lengths 1-36 months Installation Options DIY Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home

    Frontpoint Overview

    Although it might not have the same name recognition as SimpliSafe, you shouldn’t count Frontpoint out of contention. Last time I tested this system, it really impressed me with its quality, robust protections, and how easy everything was on the wallet.

    >> Learn More: Frontpoint FAQ

    The company also puts an emphasis on how it treats its customers, from its easy-to-use website — which is, surprisingly, a rarity in this industry — to its extremely friendly, knowledgeable customer service. More on that in just a bit. First, let’s talk monitoring.

    Frontpoint Monitoring

    The first thing you need to know about Frontpoint is that monitoring is required with all of its systems, and the second thing to know is that it’s a little expensive. At $49.99 per month, it’s around the same price as ADT’s professional monitoring, which is constantly being awarded as among the best in the industry.

    >> Compare Systems: Vivint vs. ADT Self Setup

    Now that isn’t to say Frontpoint’s monitoring isn’t up to snuff. Here’s where that 50 bucks per month is going:

    • 24/7 professional monitoring
    • Cellular backup
    • Automated system check
    • Unique user codes
    • Crash-and-smash protection
    • Geolocation services
    • Mobile alert and notifications via email and text
    • Remote access and control
    • Sensor history
    • Live video streaming
    • Video and image history
    • Motion-triggered alerts
    • Light control
    • Smart lock control

    This is definitely valuable monitoring here, and I’d argue it’s worth the seemingly high cost. However, I really wish Frontpoint would offer some more affordable options or even a self-monitored option, like SimpliSafe.

    Now let’s take a closer look at the equipment that monitoring plan will be keeping an eye on.

    Frontpoint’s Equipment Costs

    Similar to SimpliSafe, you can start off with one of Frontpoint’s prebuilt packages and add equipment as you see fit. Here’s what you can use as your base:

    Name Equipment Regular price Sale price Ultimate Home Security System
    • Hub
    • Keypad
    • Touch screen
    • Door sensors (5)
    • Glass-break sensor
    • Smart door lock
    • Flood sensor
    • Indoor camera
    • Doorbell camera
    • Yard sign and stickers
    $1,351.83 $419 Premier Home Security System
    • Hub
    • Keypad
    • Touch screen
    • Door sensors (3)
    • Doorbell camera
    • Yard sign and stickers
    $771.90 $169 Starter Home Security System
    • Hub
    • Keypad
    • Door sensor (1)
    • Yard sign and stickers
    $541.91 $79.99

    One thing to point out here: You can pretty much ignore those “regular” prices. I’ve been covering this space for years, and there’s never been a time that I’ve seen Frontpoint actually charge those costs. From what I can tell, Frontpoint is always offering a deal between 50 and 80 percent off these packages, so I don’t feel any sense of urgency to take advantage of a sale.

    And, if you want to add individual pieces of equipment to these packages — or build out your own — here’s the breakdown.

    Component Price Carbon monoxide sensor $65.49 Door or window sensor $19.24 Doorbell camera $109.99 Extra keypad $30.24 Flood sensor $24.74 Garage door tilt sensor $24.74 Glass-break sensor $41.24 Indoor camera $65.99 Keychain remote $17.59 Motion sensor $38.74 Outdoor camera $126.49 Outdoor smart plug $27.49 Premium indoor camera $109.99 Smart door lock $109.99 Touch screen $82.49

    Frontpoint’s costs aside, let’s talk about working with this equipment. Similar to Simplisafe, the DIY setup was extremely easy. Since Frontpoint is one of the best wireless security systems out there, I had my test equipment up in about 30 minutes using the provided command strips to affix everything to my walls.

    I did have a bit of a problem getting everything to connect through the hub, though. For some reason, it just didn’t want to talk to the equipment. I picked up the phone to call customer support but wasn’t really hopeful, given that it was already 9 p.m. Surprisingly, a customer service representative was happy to help me through the issue, and I had everything up and running in no time. I’ve had similar issues with other providers where I’d wait on hold for an eternity or the representative would just shrug and suggest I fill out a ticket online.

    The Downside

    While I highly recommend the Frontpoint system for most folks operating on a budget, that unavoidable $50-per-month monitoring can be a difficult pill to swallow for some. Like I said above, I think it’s worth it when you really drill down into what you’re getting, but if you’re looking for more affordable monitoring, keep reading. Our next pick starts at only $17.99 monthly.

  • 3. Cove - Best Affordable Monitoring

    Editors Rating:

    8.7 /10

    View Packages How We Review

    Product Specs

    Equipment Costs Must customize package Monitoring Options Professional Monthly Monitoring Costs Starting at $17.99 per month Contract Lengths No contract required Installation Options DIY Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home

    Cove Overview

    Want the bottom line up top? Cove is the cheapest security provider on this list. That means you’re going to be able to outfit your home or apartment for less money overall if you go with it.

    >> Learn More: Best Security Systems for Apartments

    Buying a security system isn’t always that simple of a calculus. You don’t always want to go with the cheapest option. If you have to replace a $20 pair of shoes every month, did you really make a better call than buying a $100 pair that will last you all year? Sometimes there are intangibles at play, like quality, durability, and even aesthetics, in the security world.

    Luckily, with Cove, you’re not sacrificing quality for affordability. I’ve tested this system extensively and can tell you that this equipment — although inexpensive — is built to last. I’ve dropped motion sensors, spilled coffee on keypads, and sat on touch screens, and everything keeps on ticking.

    We’ll get more into that in just a bit, but first, let’s talk about Cove’s monitoring.

    Cove Monitoring

    Similar to Frontpoint, there is no option for self-monitoring with Cove. That’s a little unfortunate, but instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s take a look at what you’re going to get with Cove’s subscriptions:

    Feature Cove Basic Cove Plus 24/7 professional monitoring Yes Yes Environmental monitoring Yes Yes Cove InstaText Yes Yes Cove LiveAssist Yes Yes Smash-and-grab protection Yes Yes Cellular backup Yes Yes Hourly automated system check Yes Yes 24-hour battery backup Yes Yes Equipment warranty 1 year Lifetime Smartphone control No Yes Alexa and Google Assistant integrations No Yes Lifetime rate lock guarantee No Yes Monthly cost $17.99 $27.99

    Yup, you read that right. It’s just $17.99 per month for professional monitoring with Cove. To my knowledge, that’s the most affordable in the industry. Before we move on to equipment costs, I want to highlight the smash-and-grab protection offered by its monitoring packages.

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    This essentially prevents intruders from coming in the door, smashing your alarm panel, and rendering your alarm system useless. If it’s damaged, the system automatically treats it as an alarm event. I tested this by coming in the door and immediately taking the batteries out of the keypad, which did indeed set off the alarm. Using the app, I was able to disable the alarm and prevent an awkward conversation with the police. More on that in a bit. Let’s first talk about Cove’s equipment.

    Coves Equipment Prices

    Unlike Frontpoint and SimpliSafe, Cove doesn’t offer any premade packages for its customers — you have to build it out yourself. But this isn’t as difficult as it seems. Here’s a breakdown of all the equipment it offers and current prices.

    Equipment Price Alarm panel and hub $60.00 Door sensor $5.25 Motion detector $10.50 Key remote $8.75 Glass-break sensor $12.25 Window sensor $7.50 Smoke detector $33.25 Flood sensor $12.25 Medical/panic button $7.00 Outdoor camera $79.99 Indoor camera $59.99 Doorbell camera $74.99 Secondary siren $31.50

    As you can see, it’s not an extensive list, but these are the core components of any functional security system. Just start with the alarm panel and hub, and add equipment from there. Cove’s online system-builder tool is really helpful for making sure you get exactly what you need.

    The Downside

    Cove is a great option for folks looking to build a perfectly reasonable security system as cheaply as they can, but one thing I really dislike is that you have to sign up for the premium subscription tier ($27.99 per month) if you want to control the system from your phone. That’s pretty basic functionality in my book, and I don’t like that it charges extra for it.

  • 4. ADT - Best Affordable Traditional System

    Editors Rating:

    9.8 /10

    855-908-4461 View Packages How We Review

    Product Specs

    Equipment Costs Packages starting at $599 Monitoring Options Professional Monthly Monitoring Costs Starting at $49 per month Contract Lengths 36 months and up Installation Options Professional Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home

    ADT Overview

    Up until now, we’ve been talking about DIY systems. That makes sense — nine times out of 10, they’re the most affordable options. But that doesn’t mean more traditional providers should be ignored.

    You might be wondering why ADT is on this list. It’s true that if you just look at ADT’s pricing, “affordable” might not be the first word that comes to mind. But putting this Cadillac of a security system in your home is actually more reasonable than you might think.

    One word: financing.

    Most of the other providers on our list don’t offer this option. That means if you want to outfit a modestly sized home, you’re probably going to be paying somewhere between $300 and $600 out of pocket, and not everyone has that kind of cash on hand. But do you have $109.19? That’s all it takes to get an ADT system installed.

    >> Compare: ADT vs. SimpliSafe

    Keep in mind that this is going to require a long-term contract — at least 36 months — and that contract is pretty ironclad. If you want out, you’re likely going to end up having to pay at least 75 percent of the balance. That said, it offers a generous six-month money-back guarantee if the system doesn’t work out for you. That’s way better than most companies I’ve tested, which offer trial periods of 15 to 30 days.

    Make sense? Good. Let’s take a closer look at what ADT offers, starting with monitoring.

    ADT Monitoring

    ADT does monitoring a little differently than the other three on our list so far. As a more traditional provider, its monitoring costs start at $45.99 per month and go up depending on the size of your system. Now that’s a little expensive, sure, but keep in mind that ADT’s monitoring is some of the best in the industry.

    >> Learn More: DIY vs. Professional Install

    For starters, ADT has nine monitoring facilities around the country, and each one of those facilities has its own redundancies built in. This means that even if the center closest to you gets completely knocked out by, say, a natural disaster, you’re still going to have eight other facilities keeping your system online. They also use some of the most advanced technology in these centers, like SMART — a text-based communications system that can help reduce false alarms.

    ADT’s Equipment Costs

    Again, ADT doesn’t really sell individual pieces of equipment like the other providers on this list. Instead, it offers three packages that can be customized to your individual needs with your ADT sales rep. Here’s a quick breakdown of those systems and their relative costs. Keep in mind that you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

    Feature Secure Home Smart Home Video and Smart Home Digital control panel 1 1 1 Contact sensors 3 3 3 Motion detector 1 1 1 Smart door lock No 1 1 Smart plug No 1 1 Remote arm/disarm No Yes Yes Indoor camera No No 1 Video doorbell No No 1 Remote livestreaming No No Yes Customizable alerts No No Yes Monitoring Starts at $45.99 per month Starts at $49.99 per month Starts at $57.99 per month Equipment cost Starts at $599 Starts at $919 Starts at $1,049

    Also keep in mind that ADT is my No. 1 pick for the best professionally installed security system, so you’re not going to need to grab the toolbox to protect your property.

    Another item worth noting before we move on: ADT does offer a DIY option. It’s a little bare-bones at the moment, but you can read more about that in my guide to ADT Self Setup. If you want to save on an ADT system, that’s a great way to do it.

    The Drawback

    The main drawback of going with ADT is the long-term contract you’re going to have to sign. There’s no month-to-month option here, which makes it a tough sell for people who don’t own their own property or folks who don’t want to be locked into any particular service.

    Keep in mind what I mentioned earlier: ADT does offer a six-month guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the service. That definitely gives you some breathing room.

  • 5. abode - Best for Affordable Smart Home Automation

    Editors Rating:

    8.0 /10

    View Packages How We Review

    Product Specs

    Equipment Costs Packages starting at $140 Monitoring Options Professional and DIY Monthly Monitoring Costs $22.99 per month Contract Lengths Month-to-month Installation Options DIY or professional Smart Platform Integration Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit

    abode Overview

    Last but not least, we have abode. If you’re looking for a more high-tech system without breaking the bank, abode might be the provider for you. It works well with most voice assistants, like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home Kit, and you’ll have the capacity to integrate scores of third-party smart home technologies into your system.

    When I tested abode, I linked up my Google Nest thermostat and my Samsung smart bulbs so I could turn on my lights and my heat in the morning without even having to get out of bed. How’s that for living in the future?

    abode Monitoring

    As you’d imagine, abode’s monitoring plans aren’t going to cost you an arm and a leg. Also, I’m happy to report that you do have the option of self-monitoring this system. You’ll miss out on what I’d consider some pretty key features, but it’s nice to know you can fall back on that if money gets really tight. I have more information in my guide to abode’s pricing, but here’s a quick rundown:

    Feature Basic Standard Pro Smart home integrations Yes Yes Yes Push notifications Yes Yes Yes Email notifications No Yes Yes Customizable notifications No Yes Yes Unlimited users No Yes Yes Days of cloud storage 0 7 30 Timeline access No Yes Yes Home automation options No Yes Yes Cellular backup No No Yes 24/7 professional monitoring No No Yes Access to deals and discounts No No Yes Monthly price $0 $6 $20

    Like I said above, I’m glad that abode offers an option for self-monitoring and that there is a tier of service between basic and top of the line, similar to what SimpliSafe offers. If I were looking to purchase an abode system and I was watching my budget, I’d start with the standard plan for a few months. If I decided it wasn’t enough, then I’d consider upgrading. Note that the Pro plan is the only one that offers professional monitoring.

    >> See Also: Best Smart Home Security Systems

    Now let’s talk about the other major factor in the bottom line: abode’s equipment prices.

    abode Equipment Costs

    Similar to the other DIY systems on this list, abode offers you the choice to select a security package or build your own system. Here’s what the packages look like:

    Security package Number of pieces Price Current sale price Smart Security Hub (build your own) 1 $249.99 $189.99 Abode Security Kit 3 $139.99 $109.99 Smart Security Kit 4 $209.99 $209.99 Iota All-in-One Security Kit 3 $379.99 $259.99 Smart Security Hub 9 $680.00 $339.99 Iota Hub 8 $800 $379.99

    Similar to Frontpoint, abode likes to jack up its “regular” prices but somehow is always running a sale. Also, don’t pay any attention to the timer at the top of its website’s home screen — it’s a gimmick that’s meant to make you feel a sense of urgency. Dubious sales tactics aside, here’s a breakdown of the prices of individual pieces of equipment:

    Component Cost Abode Cam 2 $34.99 Door or window sensor $20.00 Acoustic glass-break sensor $51.99 Vibration glass-break sensor $37.99 Key fob $25.99 Keypad 2.0 $94.99 Mini door or window sensor $27.99 Motion sensor $43.99 Multipurpose sensor $45.99 Panic button $28.99 Recessed door or window sensor $32.99 Siren (indoor) $55.99 Siren (outdoor) $89.99 Slim strip sensor $32.99 Smart home power switch $44.99 Smoke alarm monitor $39.99 Water-leak sensor $54.99

    This list is a little more extensive than Cove’s, but the prices are similar. Keep in mind that any of this equipment can be added to one of the packages listed above, or you have the option to build out your own system.

    The Drawback

    I think the biggest drawback to abode is how difficult it is to navigate its website. It’s really hard to understand your options and piece together the right security system because of it. I wouldn’t usually point this out, but it really degrades the overall customer service.

    >> Compare: abode vs. SimpliSafe

    If you’re looking into an abode system, I’d start with the “Build your System” wizard located in the top toolbar. That will give you the most streamlined buying experience, in my opinion.

Your home is your safe space to come back to at the end of the day. It’s also where you keep your most valuable possessions, but even the safest homes can fall victim to property crimes. In fact, more than one million home burglaries occur per year in the U.S., with 25% of the burglaries occurring in the daytime, when homeowners are out at work.

Investing in one of the best home security systems is one way to deter burglars and increase your home’s safety. The best part is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to protect your home. We’ve rounded up the cheapest home security systems so that you can feel secure in and away from your home without breaking the budget.

How We Selected the Cheapest Home Security Systems

We developed our list of the cheapest home security systems by first identifying competitors that met basic criteria, then reviewing the 22 top companies and 81 most widely available systems from that list and scoring them all based on 59 different attributes. We further pared our list down to the top 5 companies. Our ratings take into consideration factors like customer and app reviews, customer support options, pricing and professional monitoring fees, setup and warranty information, product features, smart compatibility and additional editorial expert scoring. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Why you can trust Forbes Home: The Forbes Home team is committed to bringing you independent, unbiased ratings and information. We use data and expert advice to inform all of our content. Plus, our advisory board of licensed professionals fact-checks and reviews our content for accuracy and relevancy.

Best Affordable Home Security Systems of 2024

Cheapest Home Security Systems Of 2024

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