There’s no better feeling than knowing you have a place you can call ‘home’ where you know you can stay warm, comfortable, and safe. But let’s face it: Choosing a suitable home security system isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world. It can require hours of research, talking to dealers, and lots of considerations.
It becomes even harder if you live in an apartment. Beyond normal factors like price, equipment quality, and features, there are other things to consider like installation and contracts. It’s not really ideal to get security equipment anchored on your apartment walls when there’s a possibility you’ll up and move anytime soon. In the same sense, having a long-term monitoring contract can limit your moving options.
Fortunately, advancements in home security technology now make it possible for apartment renters to get the peace of mind they deserve. There are DIY security systems with pieces that simply stick to doors and walls using tape, as well as contract-free monitoring solutions that you can pay month-to-month or cancel anytime without penalties.
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.
FYI: Security monitoring contracts aren’t exactly bad, but when coupled with shady sales tactics and lackluster service, they become huge red flags. Here are the worst security systems you must avoid.
SimpliSafe makes apartment security work with its surprisingly easy DIY setup, flexible monitoring options, and affordable pricing. The $250 ‘The Foundation’ package we started with was a great jumping off point for someone looking for an affordable apartment security system. It included a motion sensor and an entryway sensor – just what a one-bedroom apartment typically needs.
In comparison, ADT, another excellent system but more geared towards homeowners, charges over $500 for a basic setup. While we think ADT’s prices are justified given the quality of its products and services, SimpliSafe makes a better case for itself to renters because of its affordable prices alone.
And then there’s SimpliSafe deals. It offers discounts almost all year, with normal markdowns in the 20-percent range but can go up to as much as 60-percent during holidays and special sales like Black Friday.
Despite SimpliSafe’s price, though, it offers advanced features we normally only see from systems designed for homeowners. Since 2006, it has released three generations of its security system and the latest one offers smartphone controls, video monitoring, and home automation.
Monitoring SimpliSafe Equipment
SimpliSafe stands out because it doesn’t require professional monitoring. If you’re willing to put in the work and monitor SimpliSafe yourself, you can use SimpliSafe without monthly fees. However, we highly recommend getting professional monitoring for three reasons.
First, having professional monitoring means you don’t have to constantly check alerts on your phone. With SimpliSafe keeping an eye on your system, they’ll notify you and dispatch emergency services only if needed.
Second, the monitoring service is affordable. Starting at only $19.99 per month for the Standard plan, SimpliSafe is one of the most affordable monitoring services available.
If you want cloud storage, home automation, and video verification, though, you’ll pay $29.99 monthly for the Fast Protect plan, which is still a long shot from what other companies charge. For example, the Frontpoint security system we reviewed recently charged $49.99 per month – there’s no cheaper option and monitoring is required for all systems.
Lastly, you won’t have to sign a contract. All SimpliSafe monitoring plans are charged month-to-month, and if you want to skip a month or stop the service altogether, there won’t be any cancellation fees to pay. Plus, your security system is yours to keep and more importantly, it will still work as a self-monitored alarm.
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.
You can build your security system around the base station, but you can also choose from various starter packs that combine the base station with a predetermined set of equipment. The Foundation, as mentioned earlier, costs $250, but may cost even less with discounts.
In our opinion, the $250 package is best for small apartments, but if you need more coverage, other packages are available like The Knox, which has enough motion sensors for large apartments, or 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
If you’re into home automation, you can also integrate SimpliSafe with smart thermostats from Google Nest and smart locks from August. You can also add voice control through either Alexa or Google Assistant. However, these features require the Fast Protect monitoring plan, which costs $29.99 per month.
If you do decide to try out SimpliSafe, keep in mind that there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee. You can return and refund your purchase if it doesn’t pan out for you.
2. abode - Best DIY Apartment Home Security
Z-Wave compatible home security hubs for do-it-yourself protection & home automation
Abode’s strong focus on home automation makes it a great choice for DIYers who want to add a little pizzazz to their apartments. Although it’s not much harder to set up than SimpliSafe, an abode system opens you up to Z-Wave and Zigbee integrations. Z-Wave and Zigbee are wireless standards that make cross-brand integrations possible; for example, if you have smart lights running on Z-Wave, you can pair them with abode and control them using the abode app.
You can buy a basic abode starter set (no cameras) for just $199, which is cheaper than SimpliSafe, but you have lots more equipment options. You can run up quite a bill if you add on smart home equipment, but keep in mind, you can use automation to further secure your home. If you’re invested in home automation, abode is a solid choice.
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
While abode does have a free, self-monitoring option, we highly recommend upgrading to a paid self-monitoring or professional monitoring plan. With the free option, you’d receive alerts, be able to control your system with your smartphone, and livestream cameras. The downside is you won’t be able to use abode’s highly-touted home automation engine – often the main reason why customers choose abode.
With the upgraded Standard self-monitoring plan, you’d gain access to CUE, abode’s automation engine, and be able to schedule and automate your Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. For example, you’d be able to set up a rule that turns off all your lights when you leave the home or lock your doors when you arm the security system. It would also upgrade your abode cameras to be able to detect and distinguish people from pets and vehicles.
The best option, however, is the professional monitoring plan called Pro. With this, abode would monitor your security system for you and you’d gain access to special discounts for future purchases. Our favorite though is the cellular backup feature. Both the free and Standard plans are internet-reliant. You’d only receive alerts if your internet is working. With the Pro plan, even if your internet is down, you would still receive alerts because the system can communicate over cellular signals.
Here’s a quick comparison between abode Basic and Pro.
$8 per month
$20 per month
Access to CUE
Access to CUE
No cellular backup
No homeowners insurance certificate
Access to homeowners insurance certificate
And here’s where it gets interesting. Aside from its monthly subscriptions, abode offers on-demand professional monitoring, either three days or seven days. That’s a first in the industry. With prorated prices, the on-demand monitoring options allow you to add professional monitoring only when you need it, like when you’re going on a vacation over the weekend or traveling abroad for a week. This flexibility further enhances abode’s potential as an apartment security system.
Best Apartment Home Security by Abode
For small apartments, abode has an interesting security system built around the abode iota tower. The $229 device is multi-purpose. It serves as the hub of the system, capable of connecting up to 160 sensors, including Z-Wave devices. In addition, it has a built-in 1080p HD security camera, a siren, a motion sensor, and a temperature and ambient light sensor. It also has tamper detection and a six-hour battery backup.
The iota device uses those integrated features to improve home security and home automation. For example, the built-in camera functions just like any other indoor camera with motion detection, and the temperature and ambient light sensors can act as triggers for CUE home automations.
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
Although not all Ring products are wire-free, it offers a wide selection of equipment that is easy to install (and uninstall if needed) without drilling or wiring. Ring offers battery-operated video doorbells, as well as wireless security sensors for Ring Alarm and wireless security cameras.
What’s great about Ring is that everything works harmoniously with the Ring app. The video doorbells can stream and playback recorded videos via the app. As for Ring Alarm, you can use the app to arm and disarm your system, receive alerts, and modify your settings.
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.
Ring Protect Basic
Ring Protect Plus
Ring Protect Pro
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 equipment and professional monitoring, Cove is an ideal security system for those who want professional monitoring but easy DIY setup. It’s also a great fit for users of Google Nest’s smart assistant, Google Assistant.
Cove is affordable. You can buy as much or as little equipment as you want, starting with door and window sensors that cost just $15 each. And even though professional monitoring is required, the subscriptions start at just $17.99 per month and there are no long-term contracts, which means you cancel or move anytime.
Frequent deals make Cove’s pricing even sweeter. Recently, we caught wind of a 65-percent off deal, dropping the price of a basic system down to about $100. That’s as good as you’ll get in terms of wireless security systems. Better still, the deals apply also to individual components, so if you’re trying to build a unique security kit for your apartment, you’ll be able to get everything for less; just look out for those Cove special offers.
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.