Best Wireless Home Security Systems of 2020
Cut your costs, not your walls! Wireless home security is installed without reworking a home’s wiring. Instead of using the wires in your walls, a wireless system sends signals with radio chips, cellular chips and other wireless technologies. The best wireless home security is more effective than hardwired security. One obvious benefit: Criminals can’t snip wires to stop alerts!
Some other benefits of wireless home security are text alerts and mobile apps, compatibility with virtual personal assistants (Alexa and Google), and the ability to update your system anytime. Even if a professional installs the original equipment, you can personally add gadgets that further enhance safety, save energy and automate your home. No drilling/cutting is needed to install wireless cameras, glass break sensors, remote-controlled thermostats, smart outlets and more.
Below we review the best wireless home security systems with do-it-yourself or professional setup. The providers are Abode, ADT, Frontpoint, SimpliSafe and Vivint.
Best Wireless Home Security Systems of 2020
- Best Wireless Security with DIY Install – Frontpoint
- Best Wireless Security with Home Automation – Vivint
- Best App with Wireless Home Security – ADT
- Best Unmonitored Wireless Home Security – SimpliSafe
- Best Wireless Home Security with No Contract – Abode
Comparing Wireless Home Security Systems
As you compare wireless home security companies, here are five main factors to consider:
- Installation – Who will set up the equipment? Companies like Abode, SimpliSafe and Frontpoint sell equipment for DIY setup. You can receive equipment in the mail, and setup typically takes a few minutes to an hour. On the other hand, ADT and Vivint have pro installation; they send someone to your home. Sometimes there is an installation charge.
- Paid Professional Monitoring – Does the security company require paid monitoring (a connection to emergency operators)? Some home security systems won’t function at all without paid monitoring. Others have functional sirens and entry chimes, and they might be capable of sending free text alerts… but if you’re on an airplane or otherwise unreachable, will anyone call 911? Professional monitoring works as backup to your security system’s siren; someone calls for help on your behalf. This service can be as cheap as $100/year, though many companies charge upwards of $35/month for premium service. Home security companies such as ADT and Frontpoint require a year or more of paid pro monitoring. Companies like Abode and SimpliSafe are contract-free with optional short-term and long-term plans.
- Equipment Cost – With some companies, like SimpliSafe, you pay for all the equipment upfront. You can start for about $200 or less for essential equipment, and paid monitoring isn’t required. With other companies, like ADT, you pay a small amount upfront. The system is valued at more than $200 though, and further payment is built into a monthly monitoring bill. Essentially you lease to own a wireless security system.
- Mobile Control – The best wireless home security systems have free mobile apps. These let you watch video clips, pan your cameras, talk with visitors, adjust lights, check your locks and more. A mobile app can also send you alerts about system activity.
- Home Automation – To different degrees, each company below has security systems that can control lamps, thermostats, TVs and other devices besides typical security sensors. Also to different degrees, all five companies are compatible with virtual personal assistants. Enjoy the convenience of just speaking to control your home! Arm your security system, set the lights for movie night, search Netflix and more.
Read on to compare our five favorites in wireless home security.
Best Wireless Security with DIY Install – Frontpoint
Combines do-it-yourself installation with professional monitoring of alerts
Frontpoint is a top choice for wireless home security with DIY installation followed by pro monitoring. It’s a best recommendation in terms of high-quality equipment, straightforward contracts and great customer service. Compatible with Google Home and Alexa too, a Frontpoint system can be an all-in-one solution to guard against intruders, monitor for environmental threats, and automate your home. You can choose a package or build a customized system.
Overall Frontpoint security is a great option for shoppers seeking long-term monitoring. Their minimum term for pro monitoring is one year, and the best Frontpoint deal comes with a 36-month agreement. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee at the start of each contract.
- DIY installation
- Great customer service
- Mobile app
- Environment sensors
- Indoor & outdoor video
- Home automation
- Amazon Alexa & Google Home
About Frontpoint Equipment
Brand-new Frontpoint security systems use the Frontpoint Smart Hub. Wireless and just 6” wide, the Smart Hub is a convenient control center for your home’s wireless devices: motion sensors, security cameras, smoke alarms, smart TVs and so forth. It’s compatible with third-party Z-Wave devices, and it features the home alarm industry’s best data encryption software for 2019. The Smart Hub has tamper detection too; it will notify Frontpoint if someone tries to disable the system.
New Frontpoint customers get enhanced security backup, as the Smart Hub can reach operators via a 4G cellular chip and Wi-Fi. If your primary network goes down, the system will automatically change its connection.
Frontpoint ships a wireless keypad with each Smart Hub, and you can add more keypads for convenience. A keypad lets you arm/disarm with a PIN of four to six digits. You can also arm Frontpoint with a mobile app, a keyfob or by voice.
As for sensors, Frontpoint sells equipment ranging from peel-and-stick entry sensors to wireless night vision cameras. Here are a few best sellers:
- Doorbell Camera: Frontpoint’s doorbell camera fits most door frames. It has a wide-angle lens, night vision and a motion sensor to detect visitors/lurkers. A microphone and speaker are embedded for two-way voice communication. No hardwiring is needed and DIY installation is easy. Unlike some others, the Frontpoint doorbell camera functions even in extreme cold and heat; its range is from -44° to 122° F.
- Smart Door Lock: Leave your keys behind! Frontpoint smart locks let you assign PINs for convenient keyless entry. You can use a mobile app to monitor entries for up to 50 users.
- Glass Break Sensor: These acoustic sensors detect the unique sounds of breaking glass. If a glass break sensor is triggered, Frontpoint is notified immediately.
For low maintenance, Frontpoint equipment is powered by long-lasting batteries. For instance, batteries in their pet-friendly motion sensors will serve for about seven years.
As mentioned above, the Frontpoint Smart Hub is compatible with third-party equipment too. It works with Z-Wave devices such as Amazon Echo speakers, August door locks and Philips smart lights.
About Frontpoint Monitoring
All Frontpoint customers get long-term monitoring contracts starting around $35/month. Along with 24/7 professional monitoring, subscribers get mobile access to their systems. For a customized quote see FrontpointSecurity.com.
Best Wireless Home Security with Home Automation – Vivint
Cutting-edge home automation with voice commands & optional artificial intelligence; pro monitoring available without a long-term contract
Vivint is a leading provider of professionally installed & monitored wireless home security systems. It’s a favorite for security with home automation, as a Vivint control panel can go beyond basic commands. With artificial intelligence (AI) it can “learn” to help your life run more smoothly! Vivint lets you set the sensitivity of AI so it can make decisions with different degrees of your involvement. The company reports that customers typically reduce energy bills by about 10 to 15 percent with help from artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence also helps make Vivint a top choice for video surveillance. In particular, their Outdoor Camera Pro takes a proactive stance: It has lurker detection to help prevent criminal attacks.
Vivint security systems work with month-to-month and long-term agreements.
- Professional installation
- Home automation with AI
- Mobile control
- Environmental monitoring
- Indoor & outdoor cameras
- Amazon Alexa & Google Home
About Vivint Equipment
Vivint’s new control panel is the Smart Hub. With its color touchscreen, the hub looks like a small tablet computer. Some built-in features are:
- Panic buttons to alert police, paramedics and firefighters
- Microphone and speaker
- Streaming video from security cameras
- Weather alerts
- Duress code (a PIN that signals emergency)
The hub communicates with entry sensors and the other parts of your security system. It’s “smart” because it can monitor wireless devices with ZigBee and Z-Wave technologies, such as:
- Vivint security cameras
- Vivint garage door sensors
- Google Echo speakers
- August door locks
- Philips smart lights
- Nest thermostats
Here’s a look at Vivint security cameras for indoor and outdoor surveillance.
- Ping Camera – This desktop camera is useful for home security and staying in touch with family members. For instance, your child can call your mobile phone by pressing a button on the camera. Vivint’s Ping camera is also triggered by motion. When triggered, it records 20-second clips. Videos are saved to the cloud for two weeks. This wireless unit has a wide-angle lens and infrared night vision.
- Doorbell Camera – Vivint’s doorbell camera with night vision lets you see who’s at your door anytime. It’s triggered by motion and sends alerts to your mobile phone as needed. For instance, “A visitor approached your door” will be sent with video. Video is recorded with a 180-degree lens, and a sound system lets you talk with visitors.
- Outdoor Camera – This weatherproof camera delivers smooth security video with a combination of hard wiring and WiFi. It’s motion-activated and has a speaker system, letting you send voice warnings through your phone. The lens covers 140 degrees and lets you zoom in on the action. Like the Ping camera, the Vivint Outdoor Camera records 20-second clips.
Additional Vivint control panels and add-ons are shown at smarthome.Vivint.com.
About Vivint Monitoring
A paid monitoring plan is required for a Vivint security system to work. Not long ago, Vivint only offered long-term contracts. Today customers have the option of long-term or month-to-month service. Prices start at $29.99/month and are higher if you include video security.
Best App with Wireless Home Security – ADT
Professionally-installed wireless home security systems with a well-designed mobile app
ADT is North America’s longest-running home security company. They professionally install and monitor wireless, hardwired and hybrid alarm systems. This review focuses on ADT wireless home security, called ADT Pulse.
Along with pro monitoring ADT Pulse lets you keep an eye on your home with a mobile app. The ADT Pulse app has a five-star average in the App Store, where more than 500,000 users have assigned ratings. It’s also available for Android. Along with sending alerts, an ADT app lets you program your home and is compatible with virtual personal assistants. You can use basic Alexa/Google commands and create automated scenes.
- Same-day professional installation
- Universal equipment
- Mobile app
- Environmental sensors
- Indoor & outdoor cameras
- Home automation
- Medical alert pendants
- Google and Alexa app
Same-day installation is generally available if you order before 2 p.m.
About ADT Pulse Equipment
ADT Pulse can be managed with a touchscreen control panel. Essentially a tablet computer, the panel has various apps for managing home security, automating your home and connecting with the Internet. The home screen shows these icons/functions:
- Emergency buttons (police, fire and paramedics)
- Night Mode
- Alarm Clock
- Photos (Requires a Flickr account)
- Daily Word (Vocabulary app)
The connected sensors will vary depending on your home’s layout. For instance, some homes need more door/window sensors than others to guard the periphery. Some need additional indoor motion detectors. An ADT technician helps determine what you’ll need for home protection. A typical set is valued at $850.
Following pro installation, you can personally expand the system anytime. The ADT Pulse mobile app makes it easy to add Z-Wave devices such as extra cameras, smart plugs and so forth. As of 2019 ADT Pulse does not support ZigBee.
Medical alert pendants can connect with ADT operators too. With premium monthly service an ADT medical pendant will work anywhere on AT&T’s 4G cell network. ADT medical monitoring prices start at $29.99 month-to-month without ADT wireless home security.
About ADT Monitoring
ADT Pulse customers sign contracts for 36 months of service. Monthly payments let you buy the equipment over time, plus they include professional monitoring.
Prices vary depending on what equipment is installed. A $500 anti-theft policy is included with each contract.
Best Unmonitored Wireless Home Security – SimpliSafe
A favorite low-cost option for wireless home security without a monitoring contract
SimpliSafe is a longtime favorite brand for fully DIY home security. Owners can add professional monitoring, but many people choose SimpliSafe especially to avoid monthly fees. Other perks are low-cost equipment and easy setup.
This popular company got underway more than a decade ago. Recently SimpliSafe has upgraded its equipment to compete with higher-tech newcomers. A new SimpliSafe system can guard against intruders, send environmental alerts and automate your home with voice commands.
SimpliSafe home automation is relatively limited compared with other companies in this review. It lets you arm your security system and control smart door locks, lights and thermostats.
- Low prices
- Simple to install
- No contract required
- Text alerts ($14.99/month)
- Mobile control of system ($24.99/month)
- Indoor cameras
- Basic home automation
About SimpliSafe Equipment
With SimpliSafe security systems, a pear-shaped base station is the master of alerts. It can monitor up to 41 wireless sensors. Main features of the SimpliSafe Base Station are:
- 85-decibel alarm
- Status light
- Tamper protection
- Battery backup
You can purchase the base station separately ($34.99) or bundled with motion sensors, remote control keyfobs, SimpliCam security cameras and other equipment. A couple examples:
- SimpliCam – New SimpliSafe customers sometimes receive a free SimpliCam with built-in motion detector. It also sells for $99. You can set this wireless camera anywhere for free 24/7 motion alerts… and you can activate its privacy shutter when you’d rather not record. With a paid plan you can access each video clip for up to 30 days.
- Motion Sensor – This powerful motion sensor reaches out 30 feet and has a 90-degree range; it provides maximum coverage when set in a corner. It’s pet-friendly for animals up to 50 pounds. You can set it to Home or Away mode. This unit sells for just $29.
About SimpliSafe Monitoring
The SimpliSafe base station can be useful even without a paid monitoring plan. In case of a security breach, the siren will sound. Also, alerts will be sent to any wireless keypads you’ve installed around the home.
However, using the SimpliSafe mobile app requires a paid monitoring plan. You can add service month-by-month or annually.
- A $14.99/month plan gives you a 24/7 connection to emergency operators, plus it sends alerts to your mobile device.
- The $24.99/month plan brings the extra benefit of letting you remotely control your security system with the mobile app or voice commands.
Best Wireless Home Security with No Contract – Abode
Do-it-yourself home security systems that are compatible with Amazon and Google personal assistants; optional paid monitoring
Abode builds modern home security systems with DIY setup and no contracts required. It’s one of the best choices for home security with a modern slant. Special appeal is its compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home personal assistant apps.
Compared with SimpliSafe, Abode can also be a very low-cost DIY home security solution… but Abode appeals most to people who want custom-designed wireless home security with a wide selection of features.
- DIY setup
- No contract required
- Supports home automation
- Environmental monitoring
- Indoor/outdoor video
- Compatible with many brands
- Alexa and Google personal assistants
About Abode Equipment
Abode has two main styles of wireless home security systems: all-in-one and customized.
- The simplest Abode system is an all-in-one unit called iota. It has a siren, a motion-sensitive camera, Amazon Alexa, a Google Home connection and more.
- For a multi-piece wireless security system, the Abode Gateway can be the hub. It can monitor up to 150 devices, and it’s compatible with Z-wave and ZigBee technologies. This might be the best way to build your own best wireless security system.
Customers have the freedom to choose from many brands for add-ons. Abode makes lots of gadgets too. Here are a few examples:
- Abode Cam – This plug-in camera captures video with a 152-degree range. Two-way voice is included, letting you interact through your mobile app. This feature not only lets you holler at intruders, but also lets loved ones check in. The sale price is $129.
- Water Leak Sensor – Save money with an early warning system! The Abode water leak sensor sends alerts to your phone and email when trouble is detected. This device also sounds a siren when water is present. Very low maintenance, it’s equipped with a 10-year battery.
- Smart Home Power Switch – An Abode smart power switch brings endless potential for home automation. It lets you monitor and control any connected device via your smart home app. Some possibilities: a lamp; automated window blinds; a coffee pot; a crock pot; and your kid’s video game system.
About Abode Monitoring
Abode wireless home security can work without paid monitoring:
- Going unmonitored, your siren will be active and you can get “chirp” entry alerts.
- You can add paid monitoring anytime via the Abode security mobile app. Terms range from three days ($8) to one year ($180). Paid plans give you 24/7 professional monitoring along with cloud storage for security camera footage.