Best Vacation Home Security Systems

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Oct 28, 2020

Do vacation homes even exist when we’re not vacationing in them? The answer is, unfortunately, yes, and if you own a vacation home, then you know the struggles that come with keeping it safe and secure year-round. In fact, maintaining your vacation home is far from a vacation, but security systems can help you prevent and detect home burglaries. Well, here at Security.org, security systems are the name of the game, and we’ve selected the systems best-suited for guarding your vacation home. With mobile applications and professional monitoring, you can be home even from thousands of miles away.

Our Top Picks

Best Vacation Security System with Professional Installation

Vivint

Editor's Rating
9.4
/10
Vivint’s partnership with Airbnb,1 initially announced in 2017, means that Airbnb hosts can give their guests keyless access to their homes through unique entry PINs and welcome guests with Vivint’s doorbell camera. Not to mention, Vivint’s sensors keep guests (and the home itself) safe, whether the property is vacant or not.

Best Vacation Security System for Customer Support

Frontpoint

Editor's Rating
8.9
/10
Staying on top of your vacation home from far away is easy with Frontpoint’s apps for iOS and Android, rated at 4.5 and 4.1, respectively. And since 24/7 professional monitoring is included on every plan, the home will always be protected, even if you’re not on the app itself.

Selecting a security home for a vacation home specifically required us to focus on features like 24/7 professional monitoring versus self-monitoring, professional versus DIY installation, and the usability of apps for mobile devices. We also looked for systems like Vivint, that integrate with home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, making property management a breeze.

Another factor that hugely impacted our ratings was smart home integrations beyond voice assistant integration with Alexa and Google Assistant. We preferred systems that worked with connected devices from other Internet of Things (IoT) brands so that users could control their vacation home’s security system along with its temperature, lighting, locks, and more. When it comes to smart home technology, convenience is king, especially in a place that’s supposed to bring you joy and relaxation.

Comparison of the Best Home Security Systems

System
Vivint
Frontpoint
Protect America
Nest Secure
Ring Alarm
Ranking2nd3rd4th5th
Ratings 8.9/108.2/108.1/107.7/10
ReviewFrontpoint ReviewProtect America ReviewNest Secure ReviewRing Alarm Review
InstallationDIYDIY with phone supportDIYDIY
Smart Platform INtegrationsAlexa, Google AssistantAlexa, August Smart Lock Pro, Kwikset deadbolts, Yale Z-Wave locks, Linear garage door controller, Z-Wave lights and outlets, GoControl Z-Wave thermostatsLIFX, Hue, Kasa, Yale, Google Assistant, AlexaAlexa, Google Assistant, Dome, Ecolink, First Alert, GE, Leviton, etc.
MonitoringProfessional onlyProfessional onlySelf or professionalSelf or professional
ContractsMonthlyThree yearsMonthly or three-yearMonthly or yearly
Android App Rating4.13.54.23.5
iOS App Rating4.54.24.74.2
Read ReviewFrontpoint ReviewProtect America ReviewNest Secure ReviewRing Alarm Review

Detailed List of the Best Vacation Home Security Systems

  • 1. Vivint— Best Vacation Security System with Professional Installation

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

    We trust Vivint to guard our home, and if we had a vacation home, we’d trust it to guard that, too. Especially because of their partnership with Airbnb, it’s easy to let guests in, adjust the Nest Thermostat remotely when there’s a heatwave, or even turn the Hue lights on “away” mode so it seems like you’re home, all from the Vivint Smart Home app. As long as you’re okay with Vivint’s pricing, which certainly isn’t the cheapest home security on the market, it’s our number one recommendation for guarding your vacation home.

    What We Liked
    • Airbnb partnership
    • Professional installation
    • Integrations with Hue lighting and Nest thermostats
    • 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Expensive monthly fees
    • Pricey equipment
    • No self-monitoring option
    • Installation and moving fees

    Vivint and the Smart Home

    Have you ever left your vacation home and, an hour after driving away, realized you’ve left the lights on? Maybe you forgot to turn off the air conditioner and you won’t be back for months. With Vivint, both of those scenarios are a-okay, so long as your smart lighting is Hue and your thermostat is from Nest. You’ll be able to go into the Vivint Smart Home app and make adjustments from anywhere with Internet, along with getting notified if your security sensors go on. It’s a property management system and a security system all in one!

    Vivint Doorbell Camera
    Vivint Doorbell Camera

    Impressive Doorbell Camera

    It may fly under the radar compared to the Ring Video Doorbells, but Vivint actually has one of the most impressive doorbell cameras on the market, although it will cost you a pretty penny at $249.99. You can learn more about it in detail in our Vivint Doorbell Camera review, but to summarize, the best things about it are its three to five-year battery life, meaning you won’t have to worry about it losing power when you’re not around, its two-way audio, so you can greet visitors even if you’re away, and its person detection, meaning you’ll only get notified when it detects a person. Basically, if someone is at the door of your vacation home, you, along with the professional monitoring team, will be able to handle it ASAP.

    Monthly Contracts

    As long as you pay for your Vivint equipment upfront as we did, Vivint won’t make you sign up for a long-term contract. Rather, everything is month-to-month, which is good in case you decide to sell your vacation home or rent it to someone else long-term. However, if you financed your loan, the contract length will equal the time of the loan, better for vacation homeowners on a budget.

  • 2. Frontpoint— Best Vacation Security System for Customer Support

    Editor's Rating
    8.9
    /10
    844-933-2405 View Packages

    Frontpoint is perhaps best known for its excellent customer support; even though you may not be in your vacation home, you’ll be able to reach them via phone, email, or an online form. We recommend calling them up directly for a quick response. Their representatives are knowledgeable and helped us navigate the app, even thousands of miles away from our vacation home. Good customer service is hard to come by, so anyone with multiple homes and little time will appreciate Frontpoint for their support alone.

    What We Liked
    • Alexa and Google Assistant integrations
    • Awesome customer support
    • Easy, DIY installation
    • 24/7 professional monitoring
    What We Didn’t Like
    • High professional monitoring fees
    • No option to self-monitor
    • No professional installation option
    • No direct integrations with other IoT brands

    DIY Installation

    It’s no secret that owning multiple homes can get expensive, what with two mortgages, two of every appliance, and two yards to keep trim, so the last thing you want to spend more money on is professional installation for your security system. That’s why we appreciate Frontpoint’s DIY installation, which, for most of its components, was as easy as peel-and-stick. Even if you sell your vacation home and move into a new one, you’ll be able to move your system free of charge, and Frontpoint will even send you more double-sided adhesive! Extra points for convenience.

    Frontpoint Indoor Camera
    Frontpoint Indoor Camera

    30 Day Returns

    We don’t think you’ll want to return your Frontpoint system if you get it, but if you do for whatever reason, you’ll be able to get a full refund (including shipping!) within 30 days of receiving the system. Frontpoint is a bit pricey, so this policy takes out the financial risk, so long as you remember the dates in your calendar.

    24/7 Professional Monitoring

    All Frontpoint systems include 24/7 professional monitoring. For those that haven’t pored over our home security system buyers guide, 24/7 professional monitoring means that there’s a team of people at a monitoring center who can respond if any of our alarms go off. Especially for people with vacation homes in different time zones, or anyone with a job, this service is essential for keeping your home secure, and contacting emergency services when the time calls for it. In our opinion, it’s worth it for the peace of mind alone.

  • 3. Protect America— Best Vacation Security System with Free Professional Monitoring

    Editor's Rating
    8.2
    /10
    855-932-3125 View Packages

    Not to brag, but we’ve tested out dozens of security systems, and to date, Protect America is the only one we know of with free professional monitoring. That’s an amazing offer, but there is one small caveat: while cellular backup is usually included with professional monitoring for free, with Protect America, it has a cost, plus three-year, binding contracts. But if you’re ready to commit to Protect America for at least a few years, then read on.

    What We Liked
    • DIY installation with help over the phone
    • Works with Alexa
    • Free professional monitoring
    • Landline or cellular backup
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Three-year contracts only
    • Unimpressive indoor camera
    • Expensive monthly subscriptions
    • No professional installation

    Smart Lights, Lights, Thermostats and More

    Maybe you need to let a plumber into your vacation home when you’re on the other side of the country, or maybe you are getting a new chandelier delivered and want it delivered to the garage to avoid package theft. If you have an August Smart Lock Pro or a Linear garage door controller, you can let the plumber and the delivery guy in through your Protect America app. The system also integrates with smart locks from Kwikset and Yale, Z-Wave smart lighting and outlets as well as Z-Wave thermostats from GoControl, making keeping your home safe and not wasting energy easier than ever.

    Protect America Base Hub
    Protect America Base Hub

    Negotiable Fees

    Just to reiterate, while Protect America technically doesn’t charge for professional monitoring, they do charge for cellular backup, also a requirement for all systems. However, these prices can range from around $20 to $60 a month depending on your equipment and services, and negotiation is encouraged. So whether you have a small, beachside apartment or a sprawling country mansion, you’ll be able to create a customized system from Protect America, with prices to match.

    Alexa Integration

    Aside from working with a slew of smart home devices, Protect America also works with Alexa, making it a great choice for vacation homes already deeply entrenched in the Amazon ecosystem. Using your voice alone, you can have Alexa lock or unlock the door, arm or disarm and system and check its status, armed or disarmed. That’ll come in handy when you enter your empty vacation home, arms full of groceries to feed your entire extended family!

  • 4. Nest Secure— Best Vacation Security System for Google Home

    Editor's Rating
    8.1
    /10

    Nest Secure is Google Nest’s take on smart home security, and boy is it advanced. With cameras like the Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Outdoor as well as the Nest Hello video doorbell, Nest Learning Thermostat, and Nest Thermostat E, Nest produces the highest-quality smart home devices on the market, perfect for guarding and controlling your vacation home remotely.

    What We Liked
    • High-quality equipment
    • Professional or self-monitoring
    • Simple DIY installation
    • Wide array of IoT devices
    What We Didn’t Like
    • High equipment prices
    • No professional installation option
    • Professional monitoring is outsourced
    • Not the lowest professional monitoring costs

    Top-Notch Security Cameras

    Nest’s latest cameras, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor and the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor are top of their class in terms of video quality, night vision, two-way audio, and artificial intelligence. You’ll be able to monitor your vacation home in full 1080p HD with 4K sensors for added clarity, plus clear, black and white vision at night through 16 infrared LED sensors. The cameras’ two-way audio will let you speak to whoever’s in your vacation home, be it a family member, that plumber from before, or a plant sitter, from the Nest app. You’ll get alerted only when the camera detects a person, and the outdoor camera even has a feature called SuperSight, meaning it will automatically zoom in on a person. If you get a Nest Aware subscription, you can even name people that your camera has seen more than once to make your notifications more specific. Ever wanted to know if your plant sitter is really coming on time every week? You can get notified at the exact moment she steps on your lawn, name and all!

    Nest Aware

    As we said, we monitored our Nest Secure system and cameras through the Nest app, which was completely free, although we paid a bit extra for cloud storage and facial recognition, along with some other features through Nest Aware.

    No PlanNest AwareNest Aware Plus
    Activity zonesX
    Days of 24/7 continuous recording0010
    Days of cloud storage03060
    Facial recognitionX
    Free Nest MiniXWith the annual planWith the annual plan
    Make and share clipsX
    Monthly Cost$0$6$12
    Annual Cost$0$60$120
    Annual Savingsn/a$12$24

    While Nest’s prices used to be expensive, they’ve lowered them so we could get away with paying $6 a month for 30 days of cloud storage, or $60 for a year’s worth, saving us $12. Another advantage of the annual plan? You could get a free Nest Mini, Nest’s $40 smart speaker! We use this to talk to Google Assistant all the time, which brings us to our next point…

    FYI: You’ll need a smart speaker or smart display to speak to either Alexa or Google Assistant in the first place.

    Nest Secure Equipment
    Nest Secure Equipment

    Smart Home Integrations

    Of course, since Google owns Nest, Nest Secure and the Nest cameras work with Google Assistant, and the capabilities were vast. Using our voices alone, we could show our cameras footage on our Nest Hubs, turn cameras on, turn lights on, dim lights, lock doors, arm our security system, and change the thermostat. If you already have Philips Hue smart lightings, a Nest x Yale smart lock or a Nest thermostat, getting Nest Secure and Nest cameras is a natural next step. But if you’re in the Amazon ecosystem, you can use Alexa to control your Nest products as well.

  • 5. Ring Alarm— Best Vacation Security System for Alexa

    Editor's Rating
    7.7
    /10

    Our fifth and final best security system for vacation homes is Ring Alarm, a product of gigantic tech company Amazon, which owns Ring. Ring Alarm is one of the most affordable and easy security systems on the market, with 24/7 professional monitoring available for only $10 a month or $100 a year, the lowest we’ve seen. Of course, self-monitoring is free, which isn’t always the case (looking at you, SimpliSafe), so if you want to avoid more bills, you can get away with just paying for your Ring equipment.

    What We Liked
    • $10 a month professional monitoring option
    • Free self-monitoring through Ring— Always Home app
    • Many IoT integrations
    • DIY installation
    What We Didn’t Like
    • History of breaches and hackings
    • No professional installation
    • Connectivity issues
    • Not the highest-quality cameras on the market

    Ring Protect

    As we said, you don’t have to pay a dime for Ring to receive motion notifications, check in on your camera’s live footage, or control your devices remotely. But for vacation homeowners that want more security, there’s the Ring Protect Plus plan, which includes 24/7 professional monitoring for all of the Ring devices at your home, plus a few extras.

    Free PlanProtect BasicProtect Plus
    Cellular Backupxx
    What’s Covered?xOne Ring cameraAll Ring devices at one home
    Discounts at Ring.comxx10% off Ring Products
    Days of Cloud Storagex6060
    Person Detectionx
    Professional Monitoring for Ring Alarmxx
    Review, Share, and Save Ring Videosx
    Length of Warranty1 Year1 YearExtended
    Monthly Cost$0$3$10
    Annual Cost$0$30$100

    Considering the fact that more traditional companies like ADT can charge up to $60 a month for professional monitoring, Ring Alarm comes in at a fraction of the cost, so you can spend your money making other improvements to your vacation home.

    Ring Alarm Security System (2nd Gen)
    Ring Alarm Security System (2nd Gen)

    Compatible IoT Devices

    Ring works with a ton of IoT devices,2 so much so that we don’t have space to list them all here. However, from sirens to smoke alarms, from smart plugs to light dimmers from top companies like Dome, EcoLink, First Alert and GE, there are a ton of products that we could control through the Ring— Always Home app. Another advantage was that we could create triggers, like having our Dome Siren go off anytime one of our Ring motion sensors was activated. This ensured that, if we got robbed, the whole neighborhood would know about it, whether or not we were around to respond to the notification.

    Proven To Decrease Burglaries

    Without anyone home in your vacation house, it can be hard to prevent burglaries, but Ring’s video doorbells have been proven to do just that. In 2015, the LAPD partnered with Ring to install video doorbells in 500 homes in L.A. By the second half of the year, there was a 55 percent decrease in burglaries compared to homes without the devices installed.3 Sometimes, all an intruder needs to pick another home is a voice answering the door, implying someone is home (even if you haven’t been there in months).

    Note: Want to only get notified when your Ring video doorbell detects a person? Go with the Ring Video Doorbell Elite or the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, both of which have person detection with Ring Protect plans.

Methodology

Just how did we select the best security systems for vacation homes specifically? Of course, we looked at the factors we judge security systems by in general, with emphasis on a few key areas:

  • Smart platform integrations: In many ways, your vacation home can run itself with automated lights, thermostats, and plugs in addition to smart security systems and cameras. We looked for systems that worked not only with Alexa and Google Assistant, but also with other IoT devices that can be controlled remotely.
  • Monitoring: We also prioritized systems that offered 24/7 professional monitoring, and ideally self-monitoring as well.
  • Highly-rated apps: Since you probably won’t be at your vacation home most of the time, it’s important that you can check in on it with a user-friendly app, be it for iOS or Android.
  • Installation: Easy installation is important, whether it’s done by a professional or good old DIY.

Of course, we never forget about price, looking for low storage, equipment and monitoring costs. Between your multiple homes and your travel, money can be tight, but you don’t have to spend a ton to invest in some awesome smart home security systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Citations
  1. Vivint Newsroom. (2017). Vivint Smart Home Partners with Airbnb to Simplify Hosting.
    vivint.com/company/newsroom/press/Vivint-Smart-Home-Partners-with-Airbnb-to-Simplify-Hosting

  2. Ring. (2020). Works With Ring – Compatible Devices.
    support.ring.com/hc/en-us/articles/360026250452-Works-With-Ring-Compatible-Devices

  3. ABC7. (2016). LAPD pilot program uses smartphone app to reduce burglaries.
    abc7.com/technology-smartphone-ring-doorbell/1262052/