The ability to automate and remotely control door locks, lights, thermostats, and other smart home products — also known as home automation — used to be a luxury. Now, it’s commonplace. It has even gotten to the point that home automation has become integral to home security.
Security systems that offer home automation are what we like to call smart security systems, and they deliver more than just convenience. By automating smart home devices, they can elevate our home security to the next level. If paired with a smart lock, for example, a security system can lock your door and arm your home security automatically every night. Isn’t that just smart?
That said, not all security systems that advertise smart home features are equal. In this guide, we’ll take you through the best smart home security systems we’ve tested and why they are the best.
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.
Compared to security systems today, ADT is a relic that has been around for over a century. But that doesn’t mean it’s behind when it comes to technology. In fact, one of the reasons that ADT managed to last this long is its penchant for quickly adopting new technology.
When we reviewed ADT, it gave us access to the most cutting edge home security features. It gave us voice control through Alexa and Google Assistant, an app for remote smartphone access, and dozens of options to smarten up our home.
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
Wireless ADT systems under the ADT Control brand use a touchscreen control panel. The slim, wall-mounted device uses Z-Wave to connect to sensors and smart home devices wirelessly, and then gives you complete control over everything connected to it.
Here’s a sample platter of ADT equipment compatible with the ADT Pulse and ADT Control systems.
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, the ADT Control systems are flexible. They can protect you from intruders, monitor your home for environmental hazards, control smart security equipment like smart locks and garage door controllers, and improve your quality of life by automating your home security.
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 offers countless customizations. The system is a professionally installed system, but even once the system is installed, you can create automation schedules and rules to improve your smart home experience. You can also integrate a number of devices such as sensors, smart locks, video doorbells, and smart cameras.
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.
Even with professional monitoring, you’ll be in the driver seat in terms of controlling your system. Vivint gives you several control options, all of which are optimized and streamlined for ease of use. You’ll have the Vivint mobile app for remote control, the intuitively designed tablet control panel that comes with the system, and voice control options through Alexa and Google Assistant.
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 Nest or Alexa smart speaker or display. Not all controls are supported with this method, but you can at the very least arm your security system, turn connected smart devices on and off, and check the status of sensors.
Remote mobile control with the Vivint smartphone app, which comes in handy when you’re out and about. Through the app, you’ll receive system notifications and be able to control almost any aspect of the security system. Essentially, it offers the same controls as the Vivint Smart Hub.
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. Soon, it will be replaced by the Vivint Indoor Camera Pro, which offers a lot of the same features but with a sleeker look, better video quality, and a local video storage option.
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.
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro – We saved the best for last. The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is an AI-powered smart camera that can detect lurkers and intruders even before they get close to your house. It also acts as a deterrent with its red LED ring light and voice prompts.
In sum, Vivint is a top-of-the-line option for smart home security. The hardware and software both have a premium feel to them, and everything is tied seamlessly into the touchscreen control panel and Vivint app. Plus, with professional installation, you can rest easy knowing that everything is set up the way it should be.
Any drawbacks? Well, premium features come with a premium price tag. Besides higher than average equipment prices, you’ll need an on-going subscription to Vivint monitoring to use the Vivint system, and monitoring contracts can be as long as five years. Also, when the contract ends and you don’t renew, it will be hard to find another company that monitors Vivint equipment. Vivint makes its own equipment, so everything is proprietary.
3. SimpliSafe - Best Google Assistant Compatible Home Security
SimpliSafe is an affordable smart home security option, and although it’s not as impressive as ADT and Vivint in terms of home automation features, it’s the best security system for smart homes with Google Assistant at the center.
There’s just one downside: Although you can technically use SimpliSafe without monthly fees, you’ll need a subscription to the Interactive plan to use smart home features at all.
The Interactive plan costs $27.99 per month, but considering that most smart home security systems require professional monitoring too, and that they charge upwards of $40 per month for the same features the Interactive plan offers, SimpliSafe is still a more budget-friendly option.
Aside from working with Google Assistant, SimpliSafe also works with Nest thermostats, another smart product from Google. We paired our Nest Learning Thermostat with the system, and we were able to control it using the SimpliSafe app.
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
Voice control is the highlight of SimpliSafe’s smart home security offer. When we tested SimpliSafe, we controlled it using our smart speakers and displays powered by Alexa and/or Google Assistant.
Just to give you an idea on what you can do, here are some of the voice commands we used successfully, starting with Google Assistant:
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.
A quick note here: Alexa offered us more control options for SimpliSafe. That was expected, simply because Alexa is inherently more advanced in terms of home security integrations than Google Assistant. Still, out of all the smart security systems we tested, SimpliSafe paired impressively with Google Assistant. The pairing process was seamless, and it simply stood out in the way it worked with the Google smart AI.
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 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.
The first option and the one we recommend is the iota security tower. This hub comes equipped with a 1080p HD security camera, a wide-angle motion sensor, a siren, and two-way audio. It offers all that while also functioning as a smart home security hub that connects and controls abode security systems.
The second option, which came out before the iota tower, is the Gateway. It functions as a hub, but it doesn’t offer all those extra features that the iota does. That said, it can monitor and control up to 151 abode and compatible devices from third parties.
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
Ring is best known for its top-notch video doorbells, but it also sells smart security systems in the form of the Ring Alarm and Ring Alarm Pro. Both are Z-Wave systems with cutting-edge features and technology.
One of Ring Alarm’s biggest draw is its unique partnership with Alexa, perhaps the most popular smart home voice assistant rivaled only by Google Assistant. Amazon owns both Alexa and Ring, and as such, the Ring Alarm is positioned as the best smart home security system compatible with Alexa.
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 $3 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.
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 $3 per month for one camera, and for $200 per year (or $20 per month) you can get pro monitoring for the Ring Alarm and cloud storage for all your Ring cameras.
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.