We wish we could tell you that choosing a security system for your apartment is as straightforward as choosing a home security system. Unfortunately, it’s not. Choosing an apartment security system isn’t impossible, but there are a couple of extra things to consider besides its features and pricing.
First on the list is installation. You’ll want to pick a security system that doesn’t require drilling or major modifications that could make you lose your security deposit when it’s time to move.
Second is the monitoring contract. If you want a professionally monitored security system, you’ll want to buy from a brand that doesn’t require long-term contracts and that has a flexible moving policy. That way, when it’s time to upgrade or move, you won’t be stuck to a contract that could severely limit your options.
Fortunately, security systems these days have come a long way when it comes to accommodating apartment dwellers’ security needs. There are now DIY security systems with components that you can simply stick to your doors or walls using adhesive tape, as well as monitoring services that allow month-to-month contracts. Plus, since you’ll probably need less equipment to guard an apartment unit, you can set up a system for a lot less than what homeowners pay.
Here we outline five best apartment security system recommendations. We start with SimpliSafe, the original renter-friendly home security company. Also featured are Abode, Ring, Cove, Scout Alarm, and Canary.
SimpliSafe is the original renter-friendly home security company. Years ago it helped redefine a very homeowner-focused industry by introducing affordable wireless and contract-free home security systems.
Many competitors have now emerged, but SimpliSafe remains popular, largely because it stayed true to its original purpose and continued to improve its services. The SimpliSafe system we tested most recently still offered easy DIY installation, low equipment prices, and reliable monitoring, while also providing high-tech features like voice control and basic home automation.
You can start for just under $250, although throughout the year, you’ll spot deals on SimpliSafe’s website that could bring the price down further. One recent example is SimpliSafe’s Black Friday sale, which brought down prices by as much as 60-percent. Even during normal days, though, you’ll find discounts ranging from 20- to 40-percent.
The most basic system is called The Foundation, and it includes a motion sensor and an entry sensor. For small apartments, those pieces of equipment will do, but if you need more, you can always purchase additional equipment a la carte style. SimpliSafe offers over a dozen different pieces of equipment, ranging from security sensors to security cameras.
Monitoring SimpliSafe Equipment
SimpliSafe is unlike traditional security systems because it doesn’t require professional monitoring. If you’re willing to put in the work and monitor the system yourself, you can use SimpliSafe without monthly fees.
We recommend, however, to get professional monitoring so you don’t have to be on your phone checking alerts 24/7. With professional monitoring, SimpliSafe’s monitoring partner will keep an eye on your system for you, and when an alert comes in, they’ll notify you and dispatch emergency services if necessary.
We recommend SimpliSafe monitoring because it’s affordable. The Standard plan costs $17.99 per month, a huge difference compared to other companies that charge $30 to $40 for the same service. The Interactive plan, on the other hand, which includes cloud storage for cameras and home automation costs $27.99 per month; still an affordable price.
Another great thing about SimpliSafe is that it doesn’t require a contract. You’ll pay month-to-month, and you’re free to cancel professional monitoring whenever you don’t need it. There are no penalties for doing so.
SimpliSafe also offers a hassle-free moving policy. You can move the system to a different address without extra fees. All you need to do is pack up the system, install it in your new home, and update your address online or over the phone.
Best Apartment Home Security by SimpliSafe
Each SimpliSafe system uses a SimpliSafe Base Station. This lightweight unit plugs into a wall, has battery backup, and tamper detection and can monitor up to 41 devices. A thumb drive shipped with the base unit makes it easy to connect sensors without downloading any files or apps. Sensors can protect your apartment against criminals, guard against environmental threats, automate your lights, and more.
With SimpliSafe you can custom build or choose from various starter packs, which combine the base station with other equipment. The cheapest set is officially $245 but often sells for less. It’s called The Foundation, and it guards one entryway and one indoor area. Some other sets are The Knox, which has enough motion sensors for large apartments, and The Haven, which adds water damage protection.
You can buy motion sensors and other items separately too. Most equipment monitored by a SimpliSafe Base Station is made by SimpliSafe. This helps keep systems affordable; as a manufacturer, SimpliSafe keeps prices low for pet-friendly motion sensors, glass break sensors, indoor security cameras, and other basic equipment. The list includes:
Carbon monoxide detectors
Entry sensors (door/window)
Freeze sensors for pipes
Glass break sensors
Indoor motion sensors
Water leak sensors
Furthermore you can add select smart home equipment: Nest thermostats for energy savings, and August smart locks for convenience. Speakers by Amazon Echo and Google Home help integrate virtual personal assistants.
You can try a SimpliSafe apartment security system for 60 days. If you decide to return the set, you can get a full refund and SimpliSafe will pay for shipping.
2. abode - Best DIY Apartment Home Security
Z-Wave compatible home security hubs for do-it-yourself protection & home automation
Abode offers the best DIY apartment home security for renters interested in Z-Wave cameras and other Z-Wave gadgets for home automation. You can buy a basic Abode starter set (no cameras) for just $199, but with add-ons, you might spend lots more on equipment compared with SimpliSafe. That said, abode is more advanced than SimpliSafe in terms of smart home security. Abode offers a wider range of equipment selection, too, and even without paying a monthly fee, you’ll be able to access abode’s home automation features.
As with SimpliSafe, with Abode home security you can integrate a virtual personal assistant; remotely control your cameras and other connected equipment via Alexa or Google Assistant.
Monitoring Abode Security Equipment
Abode offers several monitoring options. There’s a free self-monitoring option that relies on your internet connection to send alerts, a paid self-monitoring plan with cellular backup, and a paid professional monitoring plan.
You’ll get a lot of features even with the free option. For example, you’ll gain access to abode’s feature-rich and highly-customizable home automation engine called CUE, which lets you set up schedules, automated scenes, and rule-based automations for any device connected to abode. That includes Z-Wave smart home products like smart thermostats and smart locks, as well as the security system itself.
The biggest downside of the free plan, though, is that it’s internet-reliant. If your internet is down, for example, the system won’t be able to send you alerts to your phone. The siren will still sound, but you won’t be notified if you’re out of your apartment.
For that reason, we recommend at least upgrading to the Basic plan, which is a self-monitored plan with a monthly fee of $8 per month. This unlocks cellular backup, which means if your internet is down, abode will use cellular signals to send alerts to you.
Of course, if you want professional monitoring rather than to self-monitor, the $20 per month Pro plan is the best option. It has all the smart home security features of the Basic plan, but it also includes professional monitoring.
Best Apartment Home Security by Abode
For small apartments the best Abode security system might be the $229 iota tower. It can monitor up to 160 sensors, plus it’s also a sufficient all-in-one unit for studio apartments and other small living spaces. The tower has a motion-triggered 1080p camera and 93-decibel siren, and you’ll get free DIY monitoring with text alerts and cloud video storage. You can interact with iota using the included keyfob, your voice, or a mobile app. It has tamper detection and a six-hour backup battery.
Another option is the $199 Abode Gateway base station. This plug-in unit has tamper detection and a 10-hour backup battery. It lacks an integrated camera, but you can wirelessly connect a camera and up to 160 devices in total. Like the iota tower, this Abode hub works with voice control, a keyfob, or a mobile app.
Various add-ons are sold at the Abode home security website. Some devices with the Abode brand name are:
Occupancy sensors (Sense motion, light and temperature)
Smart home power switches
Abode security hubs are also compatible with Z-Wave sensors by other brands. Some examples of renter-friendly Z-Wave equipment are:
Amazon Echo speakers
Google Home speakers
Nest IQ security cameras (indoor and outdoor)
Smart color-changing LED bulbs by LIFX
Plug-in smart switches by Aeotec
You can try an Abode hub security system with money-back guarantee for 30 days.
3. Ring Alarm Security Kit - Best Alexa Compatible Apartment Security
Renter-friendly home security systems with the best Amazon Alexa integration
Ring Alarm is a top choice for DIY or pro-monitored apartment security with video surveillance. Systems work beautifully with Amazon Alexa speakers, as Ring is developed by Amazon too.
The simplest Ring solution for small apartments is a wire-free doorbell camera. Ring doorbell cameras work hub-free; you can monitor all activity with a mobile app. A more robust option though is using a Ring Alarm hub to monitor a doorbell camera along with other devices such as Ring glass break sensors, window entry sensors, and advanced indoor/outdoor cameras that you can install wire-free. The hub can monitor up to 100 items. Opting for a doorbell camera, you can get started for just $99. Multi-part sets sell for $199 and up.
Z-Wave devices by third parties are compatible too. Combining Alexa and Z-Wave, you can have voice control over your doorbell camera, lights, electrical outlets and more. For instance, “Alexa, answer the front door” can initiate remote interaction with a visitor.
Ring Security Equipment for Apartments
The best apartment security systems are wire-free and easy to install/uninstall without drilling into walls. Some Ring equipment needs hardwiring but you have lots of wireless options: doorbell cameras, outdoor cameras, indoor cameras, and more. Special features on the cameras – such as floodlights, sirens, and two-way speakers – help make Ring a top choice.
Ring’s door camera line comes in many different versions. There are seven all in all, and you can read about them in our Ring doorbell review. Ring also offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor cameras. If you’re interested in those, check out our Ring security camera review. Both the doorbells and security cameras integrate well with the Ring Alarm base station.
Here’s a sampling of Ring’s available equipment:
Floodlight Cam with bright lights, a loud siren, and two-way voice
Stick Up Cam with two-way voice for crime prevention and everyday communication; has a button for calling your mobile phone
Motion Sensor for indoor or outdoor use
Pathlight that illuminates when motion is detected
Most Ring gadgets fall into the categories of cameras, motion sensors, and security lights. You can make an apartment security system even more powerful by adding smart home sensors from third parties. Here are a few examples of third-party Z-Wave equipment that you can install without damaging apartment walls:
First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/CO Detector
General Electric Plug-In Switch Two Outlets
Leviton Decora Smart Plug-In Dimmer
You can try a Ring Alarm system for 30 days with a money-back guarantee.
Monitoring a Ring Alarm System
Depending on your equipment, you’ll enjoy core features with Ring without paying a monthly fee. If you have cameras, for example, you’ll receive alerts on your Ring app, live video feeds, and two-way voice. On the other hand, if you have a Ring Alarm, you’ll be able to control your system with the smartphone app and receive alerts remotely.
There are options to improve the service, though, with paid plans. If you own security cameras, your options are Ring Protect Basic and Ring Protect Plus. These plans give 60 days of cloud storage for your cameras. Basic covers one camera for $3 per month, while Plus covers unlimited cameras for $10.
If you have a security system, the Ring Protect Pro plan represents Ring’s pro monitoring solution. For $20 per month, you’ll enjoy 24/7 professional monitoring, cloud storage for all your cameras, and a few extra perks like exclusive discounts on Ring.com.
What’s great about Ring is that you can easily save by signing up for a year instead of month-to-month. Protect Basic costs $30 per year, Protect Plus costs $100 per year, and Protect Pro costs $200 per year. That’s a savings of up to $40 per year.
4. Cove - Best Google Assistant Compatibility
With the Plus plan, we had Google Assistant arm our security system, ask for its status, and see event history.
With customizable systems, Cove is ideal for an apartment. We could buy as much or as little equipment as we wanted, starting with door and window sensors for just $15 each (but often for less due to discounts). Plus, professional monitoring came with every system, so we knew we were protected even while on vacation. In addition, our monitoring plans were monthly, so if we had to get out of our lease, we could do so without incurring any cancellation fees.
Monitoring Cove Equipment
$5/ Month Equipment Reward
24 Hour Battery Backup
24/7 Professional Monitoring
Alexa and Google Home Integration
Hourly Automated System Check
Lifetime Monitoring Rate-Lock Guarantee
Smash and Grab Protection
Length of Equipment Warranty
Cove makes it simple to choose the right monitoring plan for you. Go with the $17.99 per month Basic plan for just professional monitoring, or the $27.99 per month Plus plan for professional monitoring, cloud video storage, and basic home automation. As a bonus, you’ll get a $5 monthly equipment credit, which you can use to get discounts on additional Cove equipment.
Cove is the only security system on this list that requires professional monitoring. Otherwise, the system simply won’t work. On the plus side, Cove’s monitoring plans are contract-free. That means you can cancel service anytime and even move to a different address without incurring penalties or extra fees.
Best Apartment Home Security by Cove
The core of our Core security system was the Cove touch Alarm Panel, a touchscreen that let us communicate with the professional monitoring center from our apartment. But we also got some other equipment, including one door sensor, a motion sensor, and a key remote. It also came with a yard sign and some window stickers for free, but since we’re on the third floor of an apartment building, we didn’t end up needing these extras. Still, this system was pretty minimal, ideal for our small, one-bedroom apartment. And often, Cove offers a security camera for free, so that’s a great deal to anyone who wants that added security.
5. Scout Alarm - Most Affordable Apartment Security System
Low-priced apartment security systems with Z-Wave radio, virtual assistants, and optional pro monitoring
Scout Alarm began as a crowdfunded company focused on affordable security systems with do-it-yourself installation. Their all-wireless systems can guard apartments of all sizes with DIY or pro monitoring. Like SimpliSafe, Scout partners with C.O.P.S. Monitoring for professional management of alerts. For streamlining everyday life you can integrate Alexa or Google Assistant; use voice to arm the system, control apartment lights, and more.
Each Scout Alarm system is centered around a wireless Scout hub. It has an integrated 105db siren and is equipped to monitor a wide range of Scout sensors and/or Z-Wave devices by other brands.
You can get started for just $229. As with SimpliSafe, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee for the siren(s) to sound.
Scout Apartment Security Equipment
Scout is most popular among people seeking affordable DIY security systems. Although you can add expensive third-party gadgets, you can also install ample equipment for a small apartment for just $229. For any sized apartment you can help keep costs low by using cheap RFID stickers to arm/disarm instead of purchasing pricier remote controls (keypads or keypads). You can buy a bundle or build a customized set.
The Scout hub is a small plug-in box with a 12-hour backup battery. It has a PIN pad, a 105db alarm, and system status light among other features. Here’s a sampling of Scout brand equipment that it can monitor:
Scout Indoor Camera with noise detection for off-screen activity
Video Doorbell with familiar face recognition
Door Panel (Detects entry and has a siren)
Access Sensor for doors, furniture drawers, medicine cabinets, etc.
RFID sticker (Attach to your wallet, etc. and wave to arm/disarm)
Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
Glass Break Sensor
Water Leak Sensor
Scout Alarm equipment has a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
Third-party devices are compatible with the Scout Hub as well. You can integrate Nest Cams, for instance, and centrally control your lamps and other electrical appliances.
New Scout alarms only sound if you have paid service, which is contract-free. DIY monitoring with a Scout mobile app runs $9.99 per month. Professional monitoring of possible breaches costs $19.99 per month without a contract. (Cheaper rates are available too with 12 months of prepaid service.) Pro monitoring is provided by C.O.P.S. Monitoring, America’s largest UL-certified emergency dispatch center.
DIY monitoring: Scout’s Always On plan allows self-monitoring of your security system with text alerts and push notifications. Service costs $9.99 month-to-month and includes streaming video (that is, live video only). You can add cloud storage for $2.99 per camera each month. At $107/year with a bulk discount, plus any video storage cost, Scout monitoring is especially affordable.
Pro monitoring: Always On+ is a professional monitoring plan that also allows DIY monitoring with mobile/SMS and email alerts. It’s relatively affordable at $19.99 month-to-month or $215 when you prepay 12 months. This plan includes cloud storage is included for one surveillance camera, and you can add more cameras at $2.99 each per month.
6. Canary - Easiest to Install Apartment Security
All-in-one or multi-part security systems with DIY or pro monitoring
Canary offers the easiest to install apartment security systems, especially if you have a small living space. Their All-In-One Security Tower with built-in HD surveillance camera, motion detector, and allergen sensor can work by itself; it’s ready to go after you plug it in and connect a mobile app. The Canary tower can also guard your home by monitoring separate Canary surveillance cameras. Optionally you might be happy with a Canary tower two-pack.
A convenient perk of Canary security towers is automatic detection of your arrival/departure; this lets you skip using a PIN to arm your system. A possible downside of Canary at last check, however, is the lack of Z-Wave compatibility.
The plug-and-play Canary tower sells for just $169, and no monthly monitoring fee is required for its 90db siren to work. An optional pro monitoring plan connects you with the emergency services dispatching service Noonlight, which can summon police and firefighters. The Noonlight app can also be your backup buddy on-the-go, as it uses your cellphone signal to determine your location. Tapping a button in the mobile app calls for help.
Canary Apartment Security Equipment
Canary’s All-In-One Security Tower ($169) is meant for placement in the direct line of your apartment’s main entry. It features a wide-angle video camera with night vision, a 90-decibel siren, and an air quality sensor to supplement your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
An occasional free promotion adds a freestanding wireless security camera with facial recognition and an integrated panic button. This Canary Flex security camera also sells separately for $199. It’s weatherproof and can be battery-powered or use a standard apartment power outlet.
Why is it called Flex? A clever accessory called Twist Mount makes it easy to add a Canary Flex camera anywhere. For example, you could twist the camera mount around a baby’s crib railing, a storage rack, or the branch of a plant.
Monitoring a Canary Security System
Like SimpliSafe, without paid service, a Canary apartment security system can sound a siren. Unlike SimpliSafe, Canary will also send alerts to your mobile device for free. With optional paid service you’ll get desktop video monitoring and professional monitoring as well.
Paid pro monitoring is offered at a major discount when you buy Canary security systems online. For example, a Canary Pro tower might sell for $169 on its own… but with a special promotion, you might pay just $178 for the tower and a year of pro monitoring. Optionally you can add paid monitoring month-to-month for $9.99 anytime.
Summoning emergency help requires tapping a button on the Noonlight mobile app. Noonlight can be more effective than calling 911 because the platform uses the GPS signals of your mobile phone to help pinpoint your location.
We’re not done just yet. If you’re looking for a security system for apartments, we’ve got answers to all of your questions.
Security systems for apartments will cost around $100 to $500, depending on the size of your apartment. Most companies these days let you customize packages, so you can only buy the equipment that you need. In addition, if you want professional monitoring, it will range from about $10 to $20 a month.
You can make your apartment secure by installing entry sensors on your doors and windows, motion sensors for main hallways and security cameras around your entrances. You can also sign up for professional monitoring if you want to spread out the responsibility of keeping your apartment secure.