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Best Home Security Systems for Apartment Renters
Compare best security systems for apartments
Lowest monitoring price
Starter kit price
Smart home compatibility
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Data effective 12/13/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Frontpoint may be pricier, but it’s perfect for renters because of incredibly easy-to-install equipment—no wires or tools needed. And if you ever need help, Frontpoint’s customer service team consistently delivers. Reps aren’t available 24/7, though, so make sure you contact them between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. (ET) on weekdays or between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. (ET) on weekends.
Final take: If you want a traditional security system with excellent customer service that you can effortlessly take with you whenever you move, Frontpoint fits the bill.
What sets Frontpoint apart?
Great value for the price
Frontpoint plans start at $44.99 per month, which is a bit steep, but you get high-quality equipment, professional monitoring, and tons of customer support. Luckily, you can request a free moving kit to make relocating your system completely painless.
It’s easy to move with Frontpoint
It’s easy to take your Frontpoint system to a new home if you move. Just let Frontpoint customer service know that you’ll be uninstalling and reinstalling your system at a new address.
It has smart equipment and features
Frontpoint offers smart locks, lightbulbs, and garage door openers—items you don’t see a lot of security brands selling.
SimpliSafe—Best for flexibility
Renting can be unpredictable at times. SimpliSafe offers easy DIY installation, affordable equipment, and professional monitoring that you can turn on or off each month. It’s perfect for temporary or long-term housing situations.
The biggest drawback is the mobile app. SimpliSafe’s $17.99 plan may give you a free trial for mobile access, but after it runs out, you won’t be able to monitor your system from your phone. You have to upgrade your payment by $10.00 for something that really should be a free, primary feature.
It’s important for you to take all necessary precautions to avoid unintentionally sharing your security information. Be sure to do things like use unique passwords, enable two-factor authentication, add authorized users instead of sharing credentials, and regularly change passwords.
One more thing. If you already have existing smart equipment, SimpliSafe may not be the best option. The equipment doesn’t always integrate with smart devices from other manufacturers. You can connect it with a Nest Thermostat, an August smart door lock, an Amazon Alexa device, or a Google Home. That’s it.
Final take: SimpliSafe’s flexible monitoring, easy-to-install equipment, and super affordable pricing make it one of the best choices for renters.
What sets SimpliSafe apart?
It has a low monthly price
SimpliSafe’s plans cost less per month than many competitors, and there are no extra activation fees.
The equipment comes in well-priced packages or can be selected individually to create a customized kit. Premade packages tend to range from $200 to $400.
You can customize equipment
The equipment’s easy to set up (just peel, stick, and go), though smart home integration is limited.
For some items, you can choose between obsidian and cloud (aka black and white). This is fun from an interior design point of view. Overall, the equipment is rather fashion-forward for the home security systems industry.
Ring’s easy to set up and even easier to monitor. You can pay as little as $100 for a year of monitoring for this system.
Final take: Ring’s easy to set up and use. And the monitoring price is unparalleled, so it’s perfect if you’re on a budget.
What sets Ring apart?
What sets Ring apart?
When it comes to DIY home security systems, Ring has the most affordable monitoring by far. Ring’s packages run in the same price range as Abode, though Ring’s starter kit equipment selection makes more sense than Abode’s. You’ll get the base station, a keypad, a motion detector, a contact sensor, and a range extender.
The professional monitoring price is the lowest in the industry. For $10.00 a month (or $100 a year), Ring will professionally monitor your system. If that’s not in your budget, you can self-monitor for free. Ring’s app provides mobile access and sends push notifications and emails straight to your phone to make self-monitoring easy.
Contact sensor is Ring’s term for door and window sensors.
It has unique features
Ring’s equipment is unique to the brand. It looks nice, works well, and is super easy to set up with no prior experience. The app is also fairly intuitive, although the system is easier to control through Amazon’s Alexa. (Since Ring is owned by Amazon, its Google Home compatibility is zilch. You’ll have to go to Nest for that.)
Ring used to sell just video doorbells, and its foray into a full security system suite is still pretty new. That may be one reason the devices don’t have enough compatibility to integrate into a standard smart home.
Abode—Best self-monitoring option
Abode is compatible with both Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, making it a top choice for a smart apartment. Abode also has professional monitoring—which is especially great because it's free through the mobile app.
If only Abode had 24/7 customer support over the phone, but the no-contract flexibility is a great option for renters.
Final take: If home automation is your focus, Abode gives you tons of integration options, plus no-contract monitoring and inexpensive equipment choices. With Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, Abode is a shoo-in for renters who want to integrate their security system into their smart apartment setup.
What sets Abode apart?
Great value for the price
You can spend as little as $199 on a basic system. And if you choose to self-monitor, you’re one and done. Not a bad price for the peace of mind a security system brings.
Even the most independent user may want professional monitoring at some point, so it's great that Abode has a plan available for $20 a month without a contract. If nothing else, you can use it when you go out of town, because spending your vacation monitoring a home security system kind of defeats the purpose of a vacation.
Self-monitoring means the user watches the system. If a breach happens, you must contact the authorities on your own. Professional monitoring means that a company keeps an eye on the system from a central station. The company calls the authorities in the event of an intruder or other security issue.
Wide selection of features
Abode has a great selection of equipment, all at competitive prices. However, you’re going to have to get more than a starter kit for a comprehensive security system. The starter kit doesn’t even come with a keypad.
Cove—Best customer service
Cove has no-contract monitoring, making it ideal for renters who aren’t sure how long they’ll stay put. And its equipment selection is flexible—you can customize your own starter kit to fit your budget and square footage.
Final take: Cove might be for you if you’re not a fan of contracts and love customization.
What sets Cove apart?
Its customizable starter kit
Cove lets you choose the equipment for your starter kit. The prices are as follows:*
Door/window sensors: $15
Flood sensors: $20
Panic/medical buttons: $20
Security key fob: $25
Motion detectors: $30
Smoke/heat/freeze detectors: $30
Glass break detectors: $35
Carbon monoxide detectors: $50
YI indoor cameras: $59
*Each starter kit comes with a Cove Touch Panel, which adds $184 to your bill. In most cases, you should go for a kit with a minimum of the following: a door sensor, a window sensor, a motion detector, and a key fob. That comes to $269.00.
Cove is one of the only security brands we’ve seen that offers separate models for door and window sensors. Most make one sensor that can be installed on either a door or a window. Most easy-install alarm systems require up-front equipment purchase. But with Cove, you also have the option of making monthly payments to soften the financial blow of paying for it all at once.
Feature recommendations to fit your needs
If you’re not sure what devices you need, Cove has a quiz you can take. At the end of the quiz, the brand gives you a recommendation to fit your security needs. All equipment comes pre-programmed for a simple setup.
Cove integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, but not much else at this point, so it’s not great for home automation.
Renter home security system FAQs
Will a security system get me a discount on my renter’s insurance?
It might! Just chat with your insurance provider during the decision-making process. They might have a deal with some brands or have specific requirements for a discount.
What should I consider for my apartment security system?
Affordability: Take into account both the up-front costs of equipment and the monthly fees.
Flexibility: Look for flexible contracts or even monitoring without a contract to simplify your situation when you move.
Installation: DIY systems (no installation fees!) with easy installation are your friends. Relocating the equipment will be effortless when you leave your rental.
Wireless equipment: Chances are good that your property manager won’t appreciate drilled holes in the walls, so find a wireless security system that connects to your Wi-Fi network.
Expandability: Your next home may require a different setup, so you want a system that can expand to fit your space. Look for customizable equipment packages.
Home automation: Does your security system jive with the smart home products you have (or want to have)? Find a system that will streamline, not complicate, your home control.
Should I get a professionally monitored system or a self-monitored system?
It's generally a good idea to have a professionally monitored security system for the added protection of having someone watching over your home all the time. If there’s ever an emergency and your phone is off or you don’t see the notification, the results could be disastrous.
But if you’re worried about false alarms, self-monitoring is the way to go. It’s also the best option if you plan to use your system in less traditional ways. For example, maybe you want to scare your roommates out of your room but don’t want to call the police on them
What if I have to move out of my rental?
One big deterrent to installing apartment alarm systems is that renters like you may not know how long they’ll be living in their current place. The rent may go up. The landlord may evict you in favor of renting to their niece. You may get a better job in another state, or you might move back in with your parents to save money.
Can I just bring my own wireless system to my new apartment?
That’s a big reason most of the systems we’ve recommended have no contracts. And all of them are wireless systems that don’t have to be drilled into walls. You can easily pack them up and bring them with you.
How many motion sensors do I need for my apartment?
If your rental is a small apartment, your comprehensive security system will likely require fewer components. A motion sensor or two will probably do the trick, but ultimately it will depend on your apartment’s square footage and layout and your security concerns.
Regardless of the size of your space, it's a good idea to always put a door or window sensor at each point of entry. These magnetized motion sensors specifically track whether your doors and windows are open.
The perfect apartment security system is going to depend on your situation, but you have lots of options. Consider how much flexibility you need for when you move into your new apartment, how often you’ll be relocating, how much you can afford, and how important smart home integrations are.
Frontpoint: This is your best value with options for high-quality customer service and support.
SimpliSafe: Flexible monitoring, low costs, and easy installation--what more can you ask for?
Ring: If you need to save money and have an excellent DIY setup, Ring can help.
Abode: When home automation is a top concern, and you don't want to pay for professional monitoring, this is a safe bet.
Cove: Customizable kits; no contracts required, and awesome customer service.