Security systems have protected homes and businesses for decades, but now, they’re smart enough to improve quality of life, too. Smart security systems integrate with Wi-Fi, support voice control through Alexa and Google Assistant, and have remote control with an extensive list of smart home devices.
So what are the benefits of having a smart security system? Picture this: You walk into your home after a long, tiring day at work. You unlock the door and go straight to your keypad to disarm your system. Right after, your door locks automatically, the living room lights turn on, and your thermostat sets itself to your ideal temperature.
Read on to compare the five best smart home security brands for 2022. Together they give a choice of professionally installed and self-installed smart home systems. Some systems require a monthly payment in order to operate. Others allow do-it-yourself monitoring for free.
Security System-Compatible Smart Devices We Tested
Comparison of the Best Smart Home Security Systems
Ring Alarm Security Kit
Compatible voice assistants
Alexa, Google Assistant
Alexa, Google Assistant
Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Alexa, Google Assistant
Alexa, Google Assistant
Compatible third-party IoT devices
Philips Hue, Nest thermostat, etc.
Nest, Philips Hue lightbulbs, ecobee, LIFX, Yale, Kwikset, Z-wave, First Alert, IFTTT, etc.
America’s oldest home security company, always with cutting-edge technologies
Over a century ago, ADT provided real-time security using the latest available technology: the telegraph. Fast forward to now, when we reviewed ADT, it gave us access to the most cutting-edge home security technologies. Voice control? ADT works with Alexa and Google Assistant. Remote access? The ADT Pulse and the newer ADT Control app were some of the best we’ve used. Compatible devices? ADT has apps for smartphones, tablets, even smartwatches.
ADT has strong smart home offerings as well. With the ADT system we had installed, we were provided the option to control lights, locks, thermostats, even garage doors. And when it comes to keeping us safe, ADT installed smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and flood sensors as well.
Seamless integration of all home systems
Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Pro monitoring to send police, firefighters, and paramedics
ADT Smart Home Equipment
New wireless ADT systems use the Pulse iHub. This slim black box by Netgear looks similar to an Internet router, and it uses Z-Wave to connect smart home devices. Here’s a sampling of compatible equipment.
Garage Door Controller – ADT’s mobile apps let you remotely check and adjust the open/closed status of your garage door.
Smart Lights – ADT smart lights and bulbs let you control lights from anywhere you have mobile access. ADT Pulse can also change standard lamps into remote-controlled dimmers.
Smart Locks – Use your smartphone as a house key. Smart locks in ADT security systems let you remotely lock and unlock your doors.
Smart Plugs – ADT smart plugs give you the convenience of controlling appliances remotely.
Smart Thermostat – Smart thermostats can help you stay comfortable and use home energy wisely. You can set up schedules, temperature alerts, and more.
Doorbell Camera – The ADT Video Doorbell lets you talk with visitors even when you’re away, and you’ll be alerted to their presence even if they don’t ring the bell.
In sum, ADT Pulse can be your all-in-one solution for monitoring against crime, getting environmental alerts, and automating your home for energy savings and convenience. In many ways, Vivint and ADT Pulse have similar benefits and policies. It may come down to just making a price comparison. ADT Pulse prices are variable, as systems are customized for each home.
2. Vivint - Best Smart Security with 24/7 Monitoring
Vivint is a longtime leader in smart home security. Everything about Vivint looks and feels smart. From the touchscreen control panel that controls every component to its AI-powered outdoor cameras, Vivint uses nothing but top-notch hardware.
Vivint systems can be customized to be as secure and smart as you want. You can have as little as just a few sensors or splurge on a system complete with smart locks, video doorbells, and smart thermostats. And Vivint will install the system for you to ensure everything is working as intended.
Once installed, Vivint will also monitor your system for a monthly fee starting at $39.99. Professional monitoring helps dispatch police, firefighters, or paramedics in times of emergencies. You will be assisted by a team of operators working at Vivint’s monitoring centers.
Of course, even with professional monitoring, you’ll be in complete control of your system. For that, you’ll use the Vivint mobile app, which connects to the internet and controls the system wherever you may be. You’ll also have the option to use Alexa or Google Assistant to control your system. And if you have smart home devices, you’ll be able to control them as well.
Seamless integration of all home systems
Works with Google Assistant
Supports Z-Wave for endless home automation options
Pro monitoring can send police, firefighters, and paramedics
Vivint Smart Home Control
A Vivint security home system lets you control equipment in three ways:
Home control with the Vivint Smart Hub, a computer with 7” touchscreen. The Smart Hub plugs into a standard outlet and has a 24-hour backup battery. In case of security breaches, it sounds a 100-decibel siren. The hub also has emergency call buttons and supports two-way talk for communicating with emergency operators.
Voice control at home with a Google Home speaker
Mobile control with the Vivint Smart Phone app for iOS and Android
Vivint Smart Home Equipment
Vivint Smart Hubs are Z-Wave compatible to give you endless add-on options. Listed here are some types of smart home devices that work with the Vivint hub. Some are made by Vivint, and others are third-party products.
Doorbell Camera – This clever security device has a camera triggered by motion. The Vivint doorbell camera has night vision and lets you respond through the intercom as if you’re at home.
Ping Camera – This indoor security camera has a motion trigger and gives the option to record continuously. It also has a video talk button for connecting with your mobile phone.
Smart Locks – Vivint smart locks feature keypads with PINs for keyless entry and remote control. PIN use is trackable with the Vivint app.
Garage Door Controller – This gadget can remotely sense and adjust the open/closed status of your garage door.
Element Thermostat – This smart thermostat can adjust the temperature based on when you’re home and away. It’s programmable and responds to voice control.
In sum, Vivint is a top option for all-in-one smart home solutions. With one app you can monitor all home systems; there’s no need to use separate accounts for cameras, smart locks, lights, and so forth. Equipment is professionally installed too, which can save you lots of time if your home is large.
Any drawbacks? Vivint systems only work with a monthly payment for professional monitoring. If you’d prefer a system that works without fees, jump ahead to abode or Ring Alarm.
3. SimpliSafe - Best Google Assistant Compatible Home Security
SimpliSafe graces our best security lists consistently, and the list of best smart home security systems is no exception. Not only did SimpliSafe work with Google Assistant, but it also worked with Alexa, allowing us to arm our system in home or away mode with no hands. Of course, this option required that we buy the more expensive Interactive Plan. However, with 24/7 professional monitoring included as well as 30 days of cloud storage, $27.99 a month didn’t seem too steep, especially considering that some companies charge $60 for the monitoring alone. While we could’ve self-monitored and avoided all monthly fees, we wouldn’t get the push notifications or the smart home integrations without the top-tier Interactive plan, which makes the system truly smart.
Aside from working with two of the most popular voice assistants, SimpliSafe also works with Nest thermostats and August smart locks. This meant that we had our system arm in away mode whenever our doors were locked, meaning we’d left the house. At the same time, we had our thermostats lower down, saving us money on heating and cooling when we were away. Everything was controllable through both iOS and Android apps, both highly-rated on the Apple and Google Play stores, respectively. A relatively new security system, SimpliSafe was smart from the beginning, so we’re expecting more IoT integrations and voice commands in the future. And with a 60-day money-back guarantee, SimpliSafe is smart enough to let us return the system easily, if we had so pleased.
Either DIY or professional installation for $79
Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, August smart locks, and Nest thermostats
24/7 professional monitoring starting at $17.99 a month
Notifications and smart home integrations for $27.99 a month
SimpliSafe Smart Home Control
We could control SimpliSafe not only with Google Assistant, but also with Alexa. Let’s start with Google Assistant and the commands we used successfully:
Hey Google, arm security in home mode.
Hey Google, arm security in away mode.
Alexa had even more commands in addition to the above, including:
Alexa, ask SimpliSafe what’s shaking.
Alexa, ask SimpliSafe for my current status.
Alexa, ask SimpliSafe if I am protected.
Alexa, ask SimpliSafe if my house is secure.
So while both Google Assistant and Alexa let us arm SimpliSafe in either home or away mode, Alexa was even more advanced, with a status-checking function. Still, for those in either ecosystem, SimpliSafe is a great option…that is, if you sign up for the Interactive plan.
Do-it-yourself smart home security with optional pro monitoring Abode is a leading smart home company with contract-free options. Even without paid monitoring, your Abode siren and other security equipment will work! That’s not the case with systems by ADT Pulse and Vivint (above). Abode lets you enjoy the same sorts of features for safety and home automation as companies that require contracts – and they even go beyond ADT and Vivint by supporting Zigbee in addition to Z-Wave, Alexa and Google Assistant.
As an Abode security system owner, you’ll set up the equipment yourself without the need for special skills. The simplest option is an all-in-one plug-in system with optional add-ons. Thus if your home is small, you could accomplish setup within 30 minutes. However, you can add up to 160 sensors to a hub.
The free Abode mobile app lets you remotely control the system, plus it saves security footage short-term. You can add longer-term video storage ($8/month) or pro monitoring with video storage ($20/month) anytime.
Optional pro monitoring
Supports Z-Wave and Zigbee
Alexa and Google personal assistants
Abode Smart Home Equipment
Abode gives two choices for smart home hubs. Whichever you choose, it will work with Z-Wave and Zigbee. First, the iota security tower ($229) can be an all-in-one security solution: It has a wide-angle motion sensor, a high-def video camera with privacy shutter, a siren, two-way audio with VOIP, and other integrated features. It can also monitor up to 160 external sensors. Another option is the Gateway ($199), which has a siren and can monitor the same types of smart home equipment as iota. It can monitor up to 151 devices.
Here are examples of smart home sensors compatible with the base stations:
Smart Speaker – Adding an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker gives you voice control over the smart home system.
Abode Cam – This indoor security camera can be set on a tabletop or attached to a wall with removable adhesive. Highlights are night vision, a motion sensor, two-way voice, and pre-alarm recording. If any part of your security system is tripped, the Cam will be activated.
Smart Home Power Switch – Smart power switches let you remotely control the connected appliances such as lamps, fans, and toaster ovens.
Smart Locks – Abode can support smart locks by Kwikset, Yale, and leading other brands. Enjoy keyless entry and control your locks from anywhere you have mobile access.
Smart Thermostats – Add a Nest thermostat to your Abode system for convenient temperature control and energy savings.
That’s just a small sampling. The Abode security hub can also monitor video doorbells, outdoor security cameras, electronic window blinds, video screens, and other devices.
5. Ring Alarm Security Kit - Best Alexa Compatible Home Security
Smart home systems with DIY installation and optional professional monitoring Ring first earned fame with smart video doorbells, and today they offer complete smart home systems. With Ring Alarm you can own a system with cutting-edge features for security, home automation, and environmental monitoring. Bundles are sold, plus you can build your own kit. Choose from an ever-growing list of Z-Wave devices by Ring, Nest, and other brands.
As an Amazon-owned brand, Ring has been developed to work seamlessly with Amazon Alexa. The voice commands feel natural, and you can ask Alexa to control a wide range of smart system functions. Examples are “Alexa, turn on the family room lights” and “Alexa, show the latest activity from the patio.” Additionally, with Ring you can use Google Home speakers and ask Siri for help.
Monthly payment isn’t required to keep a Ring Alarm system running. For instance, for free you can get text alerts and remotely view live camera footage. However, payment of $2.99 and up per month lets you save footage from Ring doorbells and other security cameras.
For $20 per month you can save video and get professional 24/7 monitoring of alerts as well.
No contract required for monitoring
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri
Ring Alarm Smart Home Equipment
The Ring base station can monitor up to 100 devices. You can choose the elements individually or get a Ring Alarm starter set ($199 and up). Here are some popular add-ons:
Stick Up Cam – This weatherproof camera is easily set up anywhere on your property to guard the vicinity and allow two-way talk. It’s handy for everyday communication with family members as well as communicating with Ring Alarm operators.
Garage Door Tilt Sensor – The EcoLink garage door sensor can indicate whether your garage door is shut. The Ring mobile app lets you remotely open and close the door.
Smart Locks – Schlage smart locks work with Ring to allow keyless entry. You can set PINs and track their use with a mobile app.
Smart Outlets – The Ring app can connect with General Electric smart plugs to automate your household appliances.
Smart Thermostats – Ring works with Nest thermostats for smart energy management and the convenience of setting the temperature by voice.
All in all, Ring is a flexible smart home solution with a straightforward DIY setup and easy control with Alexa. Paid video storage is affordable at just $2.99/month for one camera, and for $100/year you can get pro monitoring for all Ring equipment.
We’ll be frank here: Cove isn’t on the same level as ADT and Vivint when it comes to smart home equipment. In fact, it’s the only security system on this list that doesn’t offer smart locks, smart lights, smart thermostats, and other home automation products. So what is it doing here?
Well, Cove has a pretty solid app that offers smart home security through Routines. We’ll get to that in a minute, but for now, it’s worth noting that Cove is a reliable home alarm system with all the security and safety equipment you’ll need to safeguard your home. Cove packages include entry sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors, smoke and CO alarms, panic buttons, and cameras.
What We Like
24/7 monitoring and cellular backup
RapidSOS monitoring technology
Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
What We Don’t Like
No self-monitoring option
Limited equipment options
Mobile smartphone controls cost $24.99 per month
Cove’s smart home security system hinges on the Cove app, available for Android and iOS devices. Recently, the app added a new feature called Routines, which, if you’re familiar with Frontpoint’s scenes that we discussed in our Frontpoint review, allows users to create tasks that trigger automatically.
For now, Cove’s Routines can only incorporate triggers from sensors. For instance, the app can trigger a certain action when a door or window is opened, as indicated by your entry sensors. It can also use schedules as triggers; for example, you can set your system to arm automatically at 8 o’clock everyday. Soon, though, Cove will add smart home devices to its equipment, and that will open up the possibilities for Routines. By then, you’ll be able to have your lights turn on automatically when a door opens, or your door to lock automatically when you arm your system.
So why did we add Cove here now? Because investing in a Cove system right now will unlock big savings in the future. You see, the Cove Plus plan, which is what we recommend best to Cove buyers, includes a $5 monthly equipment credit. You can save up those credits and use them to purchase additional pieces of equipment in the future. Not to mention, if you start now, you’ll familiarize yourself with the Cove system, and it’ll be easier for you to add smart home devices.
Cove Smart Home Control
For now, though, we’re content with what Cove offers in the smart home department. It has an Alexa and Google Assistant integration that works, allowing for hands-free voice control of the system. Plus, Routines make for a great new addition.
We also like that Cove now has security cameras fully integrated with the system. The indoor camera provides indoor video monitoring, while the battery-operated outdoor camera provides unrestricted outdoor surveillance. There are also two video doorbell options, one that is hardwired and another that is battery-powered. These cameras, which can stream and record directly through the Cove app, make it easier to achieve a smarter, more secure home.
The Questions We Get The Most
Since smart home security is such a new and exciting topic, people have a lot of questions, which means that we have a lot of answering to do.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to home security. The best home security system depends on what you’re looking for. That being said, we’ve found the features of ADT, Cove, Vivint, SimpliSafe, and Frontpoint to be among the best in the industry, so check out those brands if you’re looking for the best security systems.
No, Nest is not better than ADT; rather, ADT is better than Nest, albeit more expensive month-to-month. While Nest has had multiple security and surveillance issues, ADT has been in businesses for over 140 years without incident. ADT also offers professional installation, while Nest is all DIY. However, those that don’t want to commit to a long-term contract should choose a monthly plan from Nest, as all ADT plans require a three-year commitment.
The best home security system with the best value is SimpliSafe. You can avoid paying any monthly fee whatsoever with SimpliSafe, if you’re okay with having a local alarm system only. However, if you want professional monitoring, cellular backup, remote control, notifications and smart platform integrations, the price is only $27.99 a month with no long-term commitment.
We prefer SimpliSafe over Ring Alarm, although both systems are two of the best. Although Ring Alarm is cheaper with a wider selection of cameras and video doorbells, SimpliSafe offers a professional installation option for $79, plus integrations with Nest thermostats and August smart locks. Ring works with the less popular Dome, Ecolink, GE, Leviton and First Alert IoT devices. SimpliSafe also has better iOS and Android apps and a three-year warranty as opposed to one-year with Ring. Similarly, SimpliSafe offers a 60-day money back guarantee with shipping covered, while Ring has a 30-day return policy which does not reimburse for the cost of shipping.