Best Cellular Security Systems

Cellular backup keeps your home security system on even if the power goes out; here are our favorite systems with cellular backup available.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Aug 11, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Aug 11, 2021
Vivint Base Hub
Our Top Picks

Best Cellular System Overall

SimpliSafe

Editor's Rating
9.8
/10
SimpliSafe Home Security System
Editor's Rating
9.8
/10
SimpliSafe's cellular backup meant that we stayed connected with the monitoring center at all times.

Best Pro Install

ADT

Editor's Rating
9.6
/10
ADT Home Security Equipment
Editor's Rating
9.6
/10
When we signed up for a three-year contract with ADT, we knew we'd always be protected by professionals, even if the power went out.

Why choose cellular home security? The best cellular security systems are more dependable than landline-based systems. Instead of wires, they use cellular signals to alert emergency operators and your mobile phone. Compared with landline alarm systems, cellular security systems are less vulnerable to criminal tampering and inclement weather.

Read on for five best security systems with cellular connectivity and professional monitoring available month-to-month or with long-term service.

Cellular security systems Professional monitoring contract maximum lengths
SimpliSafe 1 month
ADT Up to 36 months
Vivint Up to 60 months
Frontpoint 1 month

Best Cellular Security Systems

  • SimpliSafe - Best Cellular Security Overall
  • ADT - Best Professional Install Cellular Security
  • Vivint - Best Home Automation and Cellular Security
  • Frontpoint - Best DIY Install Cellular Security

Check out ADT and Vivint if you’d like a company technician to install your security system. See SimpliSafe and Frontpoint for systems that you can easily set up yourself, no tools required.

Detailed List of the Best Cellular Security Systems

  • 1. SimpliSafe - Best Cellular Security Overall

    Editor's Rating
    9.8
    /10
    SimpliSafe Home Security System

    SimpliSafe is a longtime leader in wire-free home security systems. They sell high-quality equipment at low prices, and no payment is needed to keep a SimpliSafe alarm system running. However, it’s only with paid monitoring that SimpliSafe uses cellular signals and can send mobile alerts; without a monthly payment, your SimpliSafe system will communicate over home Wi-Fi and won’t connect with smartphones.

    Emergency backup from SimpliSafe is highly regarded, and their emergency response team is Central Monitoring Station of the Year. They dispatch police, firefighters, and paramedics. This cellular security service is flexible and affordable, starting at just $14.99 month-to-month. For $24.99/month you’ll also get remote control over your home with voice commands and a smartphone app.

    These security systems are designed for simple do-it-yourself installation. No tools are required unless you install the SimpliSafe video doorbell, which calls for a Phillips. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to set up a basic cellular security system with entry sensors, indoor motion sensors, freestanding camera, and wire-free keypad.

    SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
    SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro

    Cellular Coverage, Prices, and DIY Installation

    Along with an award-winning monitoring center, what makes SimpliSafe the best cellular security brand overall? An expansive cellular network, low prices, and easy DIY installation make SimpliSafe a great value for millions of households.

    • Expansive Cellular Network – The cellular chips in SimpliSafe security systems can communicate over networks used by Verizon and T-Mobile. This helps make cellular home security available across virtually all the USA. Before buying a SimpliSafe set, you can call the company and verify that cellular security service can be activated at your address.
    • Low Prices – SimpliSafe prices are relatively low. That’s true of the equipment and optional cellular monitoring. For equipment, customers get factory-direct deals and can also buy refurbished security systems with long warranties included. The cheapest SimpliSafe starter kit has a $229 MSRP.

    A system’s siren will work for free, provided that your Wi-Fi network is running. For $14.99 month-to-month you can activate cellular signaling and have professional 24/7 monitoring of alerts. This Standard Plan also lets you receive security alerts with a mobile app, though it doesn’t give your smartphone control over the system. For example, you can receive a smoke alarm alert but won’t be able to remotely disable the siren.

    SimpliSafe’s top-tier $24.99 Interactive Plan for pro monitoring lets you remotely control the alarm system with your phone. It also lets you use voice commands to control the components. Voice commands are with Amazon Alexa. A sample command is “Alexa, set alarm to HOME.”

    The Interactive Plan supports limited home automation; you can use SimpliSafe to monitor and control Philips Hue lights, August smart locks, and Nest thermostats. Amazon Alexa can be integrated with these devices as well. For example, “Alexa, lock all doors.”

    • Simple DIY Installation – As you’d expect from the name, SimpliSafe is simple to install yourself. Each system arrives with a thumb drive that guides you through tool-free setup. Most equipment is freestanding or can attach to flat surfaces with removable adhesive strips. For instance, you don’t need to plug-in or hardwire SimpliSafe motion sensors; their batteries can last for up to seven years.

    Overall, SimpliSafe is the best cellular security choice for budget-conscious shoppers. The brand offers a wide range of equipment to help keep your home safe from intruders and environmental threats, and the Interactive Plan can help automate your house or apartment. Cellular monitoring is offered without a long-term payment commitment, and monthly rates are low at just $14.99 and $24.99. You can get even lower prices with a one-year deal.

    SimpliCam
    SimpliCam

    Any drawbacks? SimpliSafe isn’t the top choice for outdoor video surveillance, as they have just a video doorbell for outdoor security. Also, the base station may seem limiting to some shoppers. It can monitor up to 41 sensors, which might not be enough for a large home. The SimpliSafe base station supports home automation but doesn’t have a Z-Wave chip, which would allow for the integration of countless third-party components. Again, SimpliSafe is limited to smart locks, smart lights, and smart thermostats as of late 2019.

    What We Like
    • Affordable equipment
    • Simple DIY installation
    • Affordable monitoring for police/fire/medical emergencies
    • Intrusion protection, environmental safety, and home automation
    • Monitoring not required
    • No credit check
    • Works with Amazon Alexa
    What We Don’t Like
    • No weatherproof cameras
    • No continuous video recording (Only motion-triggered)
    • Does not support Z-Wave

    SimpliSafe customers tend to be very satisfied. Customers get a 60-day money-back guarantee, and equipment is under warranty for up to three years.

  • 2. ADT - Best Professional Install Cellular Security

    Editor's Rating
    9.6
    /10
    ADT Home Security Equipment
    855-908-4461 View Packages

    ADT is America’s longest-established home security company. Their digital division, ADT Pulse, professionally installs cellular systems. They provide the best professionally installed cellular security service on-demand; if you call before 2 p.m. you could get installation the same day. ADT Pulse is also the best professional install security company in terms of buyer protection: You can live with the system for 30 days before a cancellation penalty would apply.

    Each ADT customer gets a customized security system. A technician can install basic security sensors, indoor/outdoor surveillance cameras, environmental sensors, and home automation devices such as smart lights, keypad locks, garage door sensors, and smart thermostats. Following pro installation, you can add more sensors yourself without advanced DIY skills. The ADT Pulse hub is Z-Wave compatible to give endless add-on possibilities, and the ADT mobile app helps make setup easy.

    Best Smart Home Security Systems
    ADT Samsung SmartThings Starter Kit

    Remote control options with ADT Pulse include a smartphone app, a desktop app, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. For instance, you can use the voice command, “Alexa, dim the living room lamps.”

    Compared with SimpliSafe, ADT Pulse gives you access to lots more equipment without upfront payment. However, ADT customers sign 36-month contracts for professional 24/7 monitoring, which also helps pay off the equipment over time.

    Prices vary depending on the installed equipment and your region of the US. When your contract is up, you can choose to have the equipment monitored by an ADT competitor; the equipment isn’t proprietary.

    What We Like
    • Same-day professional installation
    • Pro monitoring to send police, firefighters, and paramedics
    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • Intrusion protection, environmental safety, and home automation
    • Hub supports Z-Wave devices
    What We Don’t Like
    • 720p camera resolution (Crisp, but higher resolution is available)
    • Continuous video recording not included (Motion-triggered only)
    • Prices not advertised

    Overall, ADT Pulse is a leading option if you’d like professional installation and monitoring, but also the freedom to add Z-Wave devices yourself. The ADT Pulse trial period is 30 days.

  • 3. Vivint - Best Home Automation and Cellular Security

    Editor's Rating
    9.4
    /10
    Vivint Equipment
    844-922-0575 View Packages

    Vivint competes with ADT Pulse for customers seeking professionally installed cellular security systems. While ADT has some advantages, Vivint is the better choice if you want continuous video recording; ADT cameras will only save motion-triggered clips. Vivint is also the best choice for home automation that enhances security, lowers energy consumption, and streamlines your day. The company is a leader in smart home planning and installation.

    You can add security cameras for indoor and outdoor surveillance. By default, the Vivint video doorbell will store 30-second clips triggered by motion, each with a snapshot summary. Other Vivint cameras will store images and 90-second clips by default. Optionally you can set any Vivint camera to record continuously. Footage has cloud storage for up to 45 days.

    Vivint Doorbell Camera

    Along with a cell chip, a Vivint home security hub has a Z-Wave radio chip. This lets you incorporate an endless variety of smart home devices by third parties. Examples are smart outlets, smart dimmers, and remote-controlled window coverings.

    Vivint security plans are relatively affordable considering their high-quality features. Prices are currently unadvertised at the Vivint site. However, in our experience, the cheapest plan costs just $29.99 per month. For $39.99/month you’ll get remote control over your home with Google Assistant and your smartphone.

    Any downsides? Many Vivint customers have only three days to reconsider their purchase, whereas other companies have 30-day refund periods. Another possible drawback with Vivint is proprietary equipment. The Vivint hub can monitor equipment from other brands, but only Vivint can monitor its own brand of cameras and other installed equipment.

    What We Like
    • Pro installation
    • Pro monitoring to send police, firefighters, and paramedics
    • Intrusion protection, environmental safety, and home automation
    • Works with Google Assistant
    • Supports Z-Wave
    What We Don’t Like
    • Proprietary equipment
    • No free trial

    All in all, Vivint is the best choice for cellular home security with virtually unlimited home automation. You’ll need to pay each month for service though; unlike the SimpliSafe siren, a Vivint siren won’t sound unless connected to emergency dispatchers. Energy savings and a Vivint-related discount on homeowner’s insurance might help offset the monthly cost.

  • 4. Frontpoint - Best DIY Install Cellular Security

    Editor's Rating
    8.9
    /10
    Frontpoint Home Security System
    844-933-2405 View Packages

    Frontpoint is the best choice for people seeking expert cellular security monitoring but do-it-yourself installation. Systems can be monitored by Frontpoint’s partner, Rapid Response Monitoring Services, with month-to-month or annual agreements. Among Rapid Response’s accolades are accreditation from the Department of Defense and the New York City Fire Department.

    Installing a 100% cellular security system is easy; like SimpliSafe, Frontpoint provides equipment that you can set up without tools. Also, Frontpoint lets you move your cellular security system to a new address for no charge. Each cellular security system with a Frontpoint Smart Hub can automatically move to Wi-Fi if cellular towers are unavailable.

    Pricing for Frontpoint cellular security systems starts at $69 for equipment, plus $34.99 to $49.99 for monthly monitoring. The best Frontpoint plans ($44.99 and $49.99 per month) include Crash and Smash protection, which lets the system alert dispatchers even if a criminal attempts to destroy security equipment. Moving from the basic Protection Plan to a $44.99 or $49.99 plan also adds options for video monitoring, smartphone remote control, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa.

    Frontpoint finds that customers save up to 20 percent on home energy bills when a smart thermostat is included, so this helps offset the home security expense.

    Why choose Frontpoint over SimpliSafe? One advantage is outdoor video surveillance; Frontpoint has weatherproof security cameras. Another advantage is Frontpoint’s Z-Wave radio chip. With Z-Wave and the Frontpoint app, you can easily integrate gadgets from third parties. Adding a component takes about 10 minutes.

    Frontpoint Premium Indoor Camera
    Frontpoint Premium Indoor Camera

    Why choose Frontpoint vs ADT? Frontpoint publishes all its prices, and you can choose a month-to-month service instead of signing a contract. Since you’ll purchase Frontpoint equipment outright, you won’t need a credit check either.

    What We Like
    • Upfront pricing
    • DIY installation
    • Pro monitoring to send police, firefighters, and paramedics
    • Intrusion protection, environmental safety, and home automation
    • Cellular with Wi-Fi backup
    • Weatherproof security cameras
    • Alexa & Google Assistant
    • Supports Z-Wave
    • Great customer service
    What We Don’t Like
    • Cheaper systems are available
    • Frontpoint equipment is under warranty for up to three years. Systems carry a 30-day money-back guarantee.

FAQ

  • What are the best cellular security systems?

    The best cellular security systems are SimpliSafe, ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint. SimpliSafe is the best cellular system overall, thanks to its DIY installation, contract-free professional monitoring, and affordable rates.

    • SimpliSafe: Best cellular security system overall
    • ADT: Best professionally installed cellular security system
    • Vivint: Best cellular security system with home automation
    • Frontpoint: Best DIY installed cellular security system
  • How much do cellular security systems cost?

    Cellular security systems cost upwards of $200 from our top picks, SimpliSafe, ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint. In most cases, you can have your security system financed by the alarm company’s financing partner, which will divide the cost into 36 to 60 monthly installments. Aside from the equipment, there’s a monthly charge for professional monitoring service. The service costs $40 to $60 per month from most alarm companies, but our top pick overall, SimpliSafe, offers the service for as low as $14.99 per month.

  • Do you need a landline or internet connection to use cellular security systems?

    You don’t need a landline or internet connection to use cellular security systems. They use built-in cellular chips to communicate alerts to monitoring centers. However, there are security systems that use two or more communication methods. In such cases, you can connect the security system to your landline or internet and it will use its cellular chip as backup.

  • Can you use cellular security systems without a monthly fee?

    You can use cellular security systems without a monthly fee if the alarm company allows self-monitoring for free. With a self-monitored system, the user is responsible for resolving alerts, including calling the police if necessary. However, to make the most of the cellular feature, we recommend getting professional monitoring. Cellular systems communicate with monitoring centers through a cellular chip, which will continue to work even without a landline or internet connection.