The Best Security Systems With Apps
What do you do if your alarm goes off and you’re not around to hear it?
Think back to your parents’ home security system. It probably consisted of a keypad by the door, plus a front-door sensor and window sensors for the ground floor.
These days, security systems are much more advanced, connected to the internet and mobile apps. These features allow us to know if our alarms went off, even if we’re not home. Well, after living with dozens of security systems over months and months, we’ve come up with the best security systems with apps. After all, if you’re not home to hear it, does an alarm system really matter?
The Best Security System Apps Stats
|Average app rating||4.37/5|
|Average iOS rating||4.62/5|
|Average Android rating||4.12/5|
|Number of systems||5|
Security systems weren’t always connected to the internet. Rather, local alarm systems only rang out alarms in the homes, so to contact the police, you’d have to be there already.
In contrast, security systems with apps can alert the user of a home invasion via push notifications. Users can then check in on their livestreams to see what’s happening at home. If it’s a false alarm, they can turn off the alarm systems remotely, all without bothering the police.
With professionally monitored security systems with apps, you’ll have double the protection. So, without further ado, we bring you the best security systems with mobile applications.
Comparison of the Best Security Systems With Apps
Ring Alarm Security Kit
|Professional monitoring required?||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|DIY or professional installation||Professional||DIY or professional||Professional||DIY or professional||DIY|
|Smart home integrations||Alexa, Kwikset, Z-Wave, LiftMaster||Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest thermostats, August smart locks||Philips Hue, Alexa, Nest thermostats, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant, Dome, Ecolink, First Alert, GE, Leviton, etc.||Alexa, Google Assistant, Yale smart locks|
|Read Review||ADT Review||SimpliSafe Review||Vivint Review||Ring Alarm Security Kit Review||Frontpoint Review|
Detailed List of the Best Security Systems With Apps
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, right? Wrong. Even though ADT is the oldest security company in the U.S., with more than 140 years in business, the company has upgraded its systems to use mobile applications, specifically the ADT Pulse app for traditional systems or the Blue by ADT app for Blue by ADT security systems. You can learn more about the latter in our Blue by ADT review, but here, we’re focusing on ADT’s flagship systems, which all come with 24/7 professional monitoring.
What We Like
- Professional installation
- Professional monitoring
- Great iOS and Android apps
- Compatibility with Alexa
What We Don’t Like
- No option for self-monitoring only
- No Google Assistant integration
- Three-year contracts
The ADT Pulse App
If we weren’t around to control our ADT security system via its keypad, we used the ADT Pulse app to:
- Arm and disarm our system
- Control our integrated Kwikset smart lock and our LiftMaster
- View live footage
- Receive notifications if any of our window sensors, door sensors, or glass-break sensors went off
When we tested out the app on our iPhone and Android phones, we found it easy to use and free of bugs. Although ours, like all ADT systems, had mandatory 24/7 professional monitoring, it was still nice to be able to self-monitor and see what was going on at home, especially while we were on vacation.
In the smart home security world, there’s an ongoing battle of DIY vs. professional home security installation. While we normally prefer DIY home security systems as a means of saving money, many people prefer professionally installed home security. If that’s the case for you, ADT is a great option, as it includes professional installation with all systems. A technician will come to your house, set up the physical components, and connect them all to the ADT Pulse app for easy remote control and push notifications.
2. SimpliSafe – Best Security System for iPhones
SimpliSafe is a home security company known for giving its customers many options. You can choose self-monitoring, professional monitoring, or both; DIY or professional installation; and Google Assistant, Alexa, or both voice assistants. You can also choose from customizable SimpliSafe packages or create your own custom system. We tested an old Summerfort system and eventually added on the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, but don’t take our word for it — read our SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro review to learn more.
What We Like
- Professional monitoring optional
- DIY or professional installation
- Affordable monitoring and storage
- Smart home integrations with Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, and August
What We Don’t Like
- No push notifications with the Standard Plan
- No smart home integrations with the Standard Plan
- Limited camera and doorbell options
What we could do on the SimpliSafe app depended on which plan we chose. To test out all of SimpliSafe’s features, we went with the top-tier Interactive Plan, but even without paying monthly fees for our home security system, we could still livestream footage, which gave us peace of mind.
Features Self-monitoring without recorded video Self-monitoring with camera recordings Standard Interactive 24/7 professional monitoring No No Yes Yes Maximum number of cameras with unlimited recording N/A 5 No 10 Cellular backup No No Yes Yes Environmental monitoring No No Yes Yes Livestreaming Yes Yes Yes Yes Notifications No Yes No Yes Remote control Yes No No Yes Secret alarms No No No Yes Smart home integrations Yes No No Yes Video-verified alarms No Yes No Yes Monthly price $0 $4.99 $14.99 $24.99
In our opinion, if you want professional monitoring, it makes more sense to go with the Interactive Plan over the Standard.
Why? Because the Standard Plan lacks both notifications and smart home integrations, meaning you can’t connect SimpliSafe to your Nest thermostats and August smart locks in the app. We’re all about home automation, so we went into our SimpliSafe app and set our smart locks to lock the doors whenever we armed our system. Even if we forgot to lock the door, it happened automatically, thanks to the SimpliSafe app.
Easy DIY Installation
Although SimpliSafe let us choose between DIY and professional installation for $79, we took the DIY route to save a little money. SimpliSafe was very easy to install, as most of the components (like the keypad, entry sensors, motion sensors, and glass-break sensors) were wireless.
The only thing we had to plug in was the base station, and the app guided us through the rest of the setup process step by step. It told us to stick our keypad on the wall, name our devices based on their locations, and then test them to make sure they were working correctly. With help from the app, we finished installing SimpliSafe in less than an hour, believe it or not.
One of the biggest advantages of home security systems with apps is the ability to check on your cameras’ live feeds, and Vivint has a small but mighty selection of security cameras and video doorbells. Perhaps the most advanced option is the outdoor camera, which you can read more about in our Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro review. With 4K sensors, our footage was crystal clear, and the 140-degree field of view didn’t hurt either.
The best part? The camera has person detection, so we only got alerts whenever it detected a person in the activity zones we created in the app. The person detection meant fewer and more important notifications, and less time tending to false alarms on our smartphones.
What We Like
- Monthly contracting if you pay upfront
- High-quality cameras and video doorbells
- Self-monitoring option
- Integrations with Philips Hue, Nest, Google Assistant, and Alexa
What We Don’t Like
- Paid professional installation only
- Expensive equipment and monthly fees
- $129 moving fee
- Inconsistent quality of customer support
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro
Do home security cameras deter crime? Many would argue that no, security cameras only capture crime after it happens. However, with the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, that’s definitely not the case.
This camera has a red LED ring that turned on if someone was in our front yard for too long. It also has a built-in 85-decibel siren to send intruders loud warnings. Immediately, we got thumbnail images of the intruders sent straight to our phones; from there, we could use the camera’s speaker to yell at them ourselves. So, if you’re still wondering if security cameras deter crime, with Vivint, the answer is a resounding yes.
Vivint Home Automation
Vivint isn’t just a home security company; it’s also a smart home company known for its home automation. Vivint home automation includes integrations with not only Alexa and Google Assistant, but also Philips Hue smart lighting and Nest thermostats.
Although smart lighting may seem like just a cool party trick, it’s actually a great crime deterrent. We had our Philips Hue outdoor lights turn on whenever our Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro detected a person, literally shining a light on crime. You can bet that most people, upon being in the spotlight, decided to go loiter on someone else’s lawn.
TIP: If you’re an Airbnb host, Vivint allows you to let guests in remotely, greet them when they arrive, and keep energy costs down.1 Learn more about the best security systems for Airbnbs and vacation homes.
4. Ring Alarm – Best Smart Security System With App
Unlike the companies that hide remote control, smart platform integrations, and notifications behind paid subscriptions, Ring gave us those features free of charge. On top of the Ring — Always Home app, which we used to monitor our home security system and set up smart home integrations, we got access to the Neighbors app, which notified us of crime in our neighborhood.
We live in Brooklyn, where package theft is a pervasive problem, so it was helpful to know who had packages stolen and on what streets. People even posted videos of the thieves in action, putting faces to this petty theft. If you want to stay on top of not only your home’s security, but the security and safety of your entire neighborhood, Ring Alarm is the security system for you.
What We Like
- Monthly professional monitoring option
- Affordable equipment, monitoring, and storage fees
- DIY or professional installation
- Livestreaming, notifications, and remote control for free
What We Don’t Like
- The company has a history of hackings.
- The Android app isn’t the best.
- Most cameras and video doorbells lack person detection.
The Neighbors App
Most security system apps only cover your home, but with the Neighbors app, you’ll have access to the most recent videos of crimes in your area. We like to know of the most recent package thefts, lost pets, and crimes in our Brooklyn neighborhood (of which there are many), and the Neighbors app showed us a map of the most recent events.
For example, when there was a small fire at a nearby smoothie shop, we knew to avoid that area, lest we fire up our asthma (no pun intended). Another time, after a string of package thefts on our street, we decided to turn to Amazon Locker instead of having packages delivered to our house. You know what they say: It takes a village.
Variety of Equipment
Out of all the security systems we’ve tested, Ring Alarm has one of the largest varieties of equipment available, from Ring cameras to Ring video doorbells. Not only do these devices vary in terms of power, with both wireless and wired options, but there’s also a huge price range, making Ring Alarm an affordable security system with cheap cameras.
The least expensive camera is the Ring Indoor Cam, which retails for just $60, as you can see on our Ring camera pricing page. Meanwhile, the least expensive video doorbell is the original Ring Video Doorbell, currently priced at $99.99. Between its outdoor cameras and indoor cameras, as well as wireless cameras and hardwired home security, there’s no lack of options with Ring Alarm.
If you’re in the market for 24/7 professional monitoring, you may want to consider Frontpoint, one of the most trusted home security systems around. The company doesn’t make things too complicated when it comes to Frontpoint subscriptions; there’s only one plan available, which costs $49.99 per month and includes livestreaming, video and image history, motion-triggered alerts, remote control, sensor history, and mobile alerts. It’s self-monitoring and professional monitoring combined, the best of both worlds.
What We Like
- DIY installation
- Integration with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Monthly contracts
- Cellular backup
What We Don’t Like
- Professional monitoring required
- Poor iOS app
- $49.99 per month required
Not sure where to start when it comes to buying a home security system? Frontpoint offers three packages: The Safehouse, The Bunker, and The Fortress. Of course, you can add on more equipment as you see fit, but these security systems are perfect for everything from apartments to large homes.
Component The Safehouse The Bunker The Fortress Door decal 1 1 1 Entry sensor 2 3 6 Hub and keypad 1 1 1 Indoor camera 0 1 1 Motion sensor 1 1 2 Smoke and heat sensor 0 1 1 Video doorbell 1 1 1 Window decal 3 3 3 Yard sign 1 1 1 Upfront cost $326.96 $475.44 $598.41 Monthly cost over 3 years if you finance through Bread $9.08 $13.21 $16.62
We built our own Frontpoint package from scratch, adding a hub, radio, keychain remote, keypad, video doorbell, smart lock, indoor camera, and entry, motion, and glass-break sensors. If you’re new to home security, though, your best bet is to pick from the preset packages.
Alexa and Google Assistant Integrations
When we’re home after a long day at work, we like to exert as little energy as possible, barely moving off the couch unless it’s to tend to our bodily functions. That’s why we’re such big fans of voice commands. Fortunately for us, Frontpoint works with the two major voice assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant. Here’s how we controlled our system with each voice assistant.
We asked Alexa to:
- Arm and disarm our security system
- Adjust our thermostat
- Unlock our smart lock
- Control our smart lights
- Have the camera record
- Have the camera pan
Through the Alarm.com action, we asked the Google Assistant to:
- Arm our security system
- Control our lighting
- Change our thermostat
- Control our smart locks
Interested in a security system that works with your voice assistant? Read our reviews of the best Alexa security systems, the best Google Assistant security systems, or the best Apple security systems for Siri or iPhone users.
Did You Know: People use voice assistants on their phones the most, at 33 percent. Only 3 percent use voice assistants on their laptops,2 making mobile apps for security systems especially important.
Just how did we come up with this list of the best security systems with apps? We test each and every one of our security systems for six months, and for this article, we focused on how well the apps worked. Of course, we also checked out customer reviews in the Google Play Store for Androids and in the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads, looking for ratings around four stars and above. We looked for apps that provide timely notifications, without any bugs or vulnerabilities to weigh us down.
Of course, the apps weren’t the only things we took into account. We also considered factors such as these:
- Equipment: We like companies that offer a wide variety of cameras, video doorbells, sensors, panic buttons, keypads, keychain remotes, and more. Of course, the equipment should be high-quality, particularly the cameras and video doorbells, so we looked for features like 1080p HD video, infrared night vision, and two-way audio. On a related note, if you want a security system for your garage, look for sensors made specifically for a garage door. If you need environmental monitoring, look for a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector as well.
- Installation: Although we like to install security systems ourselves, we also appreciate companies that give customers the option of professional installation. If the system is DIY, we prefer wireless components, as they’re much easier to install.
- Smart home integrations: If you have already set up your smart home, look for a security system that works with your other smart home devices and voice assistants so you don’t have to use different assistants for different devices. The more streamlined your smart home is, the better.
- Monitoring: Although we appreciate the lack of monthly fees with self-monitored security systems, we like to have professionally monitored home security systems as an option as well. With 24/7 professional monitoring, your system will be connected to a monitoring center at all times. If an alarm goes off and you miss the app notification for whatever reason, the monitoring team can call the police for you, handling the crime in your absence.
- Contracts: If you need to cancel your security contract, you’ll want a no-contract home security system, meaning you pay for monitoring or storage on a monthly basis. Some older companies, like ADT, still only offer long-term contracts, which could be fine if you want to lock in a rate. But most people prefer month-to-month home security contracts for the flexibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which home security system has the best app?
ADT is the home security system with the best app, named ADT Pulse. Currently, the app has a 4.6 Android and a 4.8 iOS rating. In our experience, the app made it easy to control our ADT system remotely, view live footage, receive notifications when our sensors went off, and more.
What is the best wireless security system to buy?
The best wireless security systems to buy are SimpliSafe, Cove, Vivint, ADT, Frontpoint, and abode.
What is the best home security system with no monthly fee?
The best home security systems with no monthly fees are SimpliSafe, abode, Ring Alarm, and Arlo.
What is the best DIY home security system?
The best DIY home security systems are SimpliSafe, Cove, abode, Frontpoint, and Deep Sentinel.
Vivint. (2017). Vivint Smart Home Partners with Airbnb to Simplify Hosting.
Statista. (2021). Voice assistant usage in the United States as of 2021, by device.