Cove Security System Review
Although it's one of the newer companies on the market, Cove has quickly become a top smart security brand.
Would you trust a security company that’s the age of a toddler? Cove was started in the spring of 2018, and although it’s not as well-known as some other disruptive security companies, it’s slowly but surely becoming a major contender for DIY home security. The company prides itself on its lack of long-term contracts and high-pressure sales people. Rather, picking out our security system was as easy as taking an online quiz, but how was the system itself? In this review, our experts tested out the Cove security system to see whether it was worth the money or not. Let’s get started!
What We Like
- Affordable professional monitoring and cellular backup: Starting at only $15 a month, Cove is on the lower end price-wise when it comes to 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup.
- Alexa and Google Assistant integrations: Cove fits in with smart homes in the Amazon or Google ecosystems.
- Monthly contracts: No need to make any long-term commitments when you sign up with Cove!
What We Don’t Like
- No self-monitoring option: Instead, users will have to pay a monthly fee for professional monitoring.
- Remote control costs at least $25 a month: Only the Cove Plus plan lets users control their systems remotely.
- No Cove-branded cameras: Instead, Cove offers a camera from the smart home company YI.
Did You Know: Cove is not a good option for anyone that doesn’t want monthly fees.
Smart Home Integration with Cove
This being a smart security system, it’s good to see that Cove can be commanded by either Alexa1 or Google Assistant2 under the Cove Plus plan, making it a good choice if you’re already in the Amazon or Google ecosystems. We have both voice assistants, and here’s what we could do with them.
We asked Alexa to arm our security system either in away mode or check its status. Note that we couldn’t disarm the system using Alexa, a typical and secure feature of security systems. We also had fun playing our live footage on our Echo Show devices, although we had to do this manually.
The YI camera also works with Alexa, although it lacks a Google integration. We used Alexa to turn the camera on and off, which was a bit limiting but better than no integration at all.
Google Assistant has a lot more capabilities when it comes to Cove. Not only could we arm the system in away mode or ask for the alarm’s status, but we could also ask for an event history and control connected devices. Again, we enjoyed playing our livestream on our Nest Hubs, because we’ve always seen ourselves on the silver screen.
Overall, we’d recommend Cove for those in the Google ecosystem over Amazon, unless of course, you’re using the YI Indoor camera.
Pro Tip: To use Alexa on your camera, you’ll need to search for the YI skill in addition to the Cove skill.
What’s Installing Cove Like?
Before we even clicked “purchase” on our Cove security system, we gave Cove our address and what components we bought so that they could pre-program our system before delivery. Once we received everything in the mail, we plugged in the Touch Panel and went through a few straightforward setup screens before creating our passcode. Since cellular backup is built into the panel, we didn’t even need to connect to Wi-Fi, speeding the process along nicely.
In our opinion, the sensors were as easy to install as a sticker, with 3M adhesives on the back of each. We tested each component of Cove to make sure it was working properly both on our own and on the phone with the Cove support member, a nice touch. After we set up everything, the testing period actually lasted a full day, as we wanted the most testing possible. All in all, it was easy to install Cove and we feel very confident that we did it correctly, although it certainly doesn’t take a security expert to do. Typically, you can expect to get Cove set up in an hour or less if you are short on time and don’t want to test as much as we did.
Cove Security System Devices
Our Cove security system included a Touch Panel, a door sensor, a motion sensor, a key remote, and the YI Indoor camera. Cove also offers window sensors, glass break sensors, plus environmental monitors like smoke, CO and flood sensors as well as a medical button, which we did not test out.
We thought of the Touch Panel as our mobile command center. Unlike more traditional security companies, Cove’s Touch Panel doesn’t need to be mounted to a wall; rather, we used it as a standalone device, more like a tablet than like a regular keypad. This is where we armed and disarmed the system, adding up to 20 user codes for our friends and family, as well as connected with all the sensors and integrated IoT devices.
Keep in mind, cellular backup, which comes with every system, is actually built into the Touch Panel, meaning that it’ll stay on even during a power outage. Even if it’s smashed, it’ll stay connected to your app as well as the professional monitoring team while sounding a siren. We actually tested this out by tampering with the Touch Panel. Immediately, we were connected with the monitoring team, who we could still speak to through the Panel’s speaker and microphone! All in all, we’re satisfied with the Cove Touch Panel.
The door sensor, as you may have suspected, is a two-part sensor that can tell when a door has been opened or closed. One really cool thing about Cove is that the entire security system comes pre-programmed with the Touch Panel, which made installation a lot easier (but we’ll get to that in a bit). Like all of Cove’s sensors, the Door Sensor is wireless with a long, five-year battery life, so once we stuck it on our door and named it in our app we promptly forgot about it, until we received a notification about activity, of course!
We installed Cove’s motion sensor in our downstairs hallway, as it is high traffic and central. Again, the motion sensor was wireless with a battery life of five years, making it fall into the category of “set it and forget it”. And although we don’t have any pets of our own, pet parents will be happy to hear that furry friends under 45 pounds won’t be detected, which should dramatically reduce the number of false notifications you receive.
With all of the sensors, Cove let us arm certain ones and not others, like if we were watching a movie upstairs but wanted the downstairs sensors on. This made us feel safe whether we were home or not.
Not near your phone or the Touch Panel? We used the key remote to arm and disarm our system from up to 100 yards away from home. Although we didn’t have to click on it, the key remote also has a panic button to connect directly with the police in an emergency. And the best part that we should also mention? That five-year battery life carries on to the key remote as it does the sensors.
Yi 1080p Indoor Camera
While Cove doesn’t make their own security cameras, they do integrate with the YI 1080p Indoor Camera, sold on their website. We already had this camera from reviewing it beforehand, but it was nice to see how it worked with Cove, but first, let’s talk about how effective this camera is in the first place.
Video-wise, the YI Indoor Camera is definitely clear enough for our viewing, with 1080p HD display and the ability to zoom in four times. This was really great for capturing details like what a would-be intruder’s face looked like, although the field of view was a bit narrow for our liking at 112 degrees.
We were also able to see clearly at night due to the camera’s eight infrared LED sensors. Plus, we could use the Cove Touch Panel to speak through the camera’s two-way audio, a great way to communicate between floors of a home without resorting to yelling. Storing our footage was easy; the YI Indoor has a slot for a 32 GB micro-SD card, which we took advantage of, and they also had paid cloud storage options, $14.99 a month for 30 days of cloud storage or $9.99 a month for 15 days. Cameras like the Wyze Cam give you local storage and 14 days of cloud storage on the house, so this was a bit on the pricey side, but nothing outrageous.
Cove Monitoring Plan Overview
|Standard||Premium||1 Month Cost||3 Month Cost||Yearly Cost|
|Maximum number of cameras||5||1||x||x||x|
|When it records||Motion||24/7 continuous||x||x||x|
|7 Days of Cloud Storage||x||x||x||$19.99||$66|
|15 Days of Cloud Storage||x||x||$9.99||x||$99|
|30 Days of Cloud Storage||x||x||$14.99||x||$149|
Now, while we could use both Alexa and Google Assistant to control the rest of our Cove system, the YI camera only worked with Alexa. Another disadvantage was the camera’s artificial intelligence, or lack thereof. Unlike the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, which has person detection and facial recognition resulting in super-specific notifications, the YI Indoor can’t tell the difference between people and other moving objects like pets, cars, and what have you. For us, this meant being notified about irrelevant things, like when a motorized toy car whizzed by. However, for parents, the camera does have cry detection, meaning it could potentially work as a baby monitor. Finally, you should know that the YI Indoor camera is plug-in, not wireless.
The Cove Security App
Think of the Cove Security app as your home away from home. It’s here that we armed and disarmed the security system, received notifications, live-streamed footage, viewed cloud storage, spoke through two-way audio and controlled connected devices whenever we were out of the house (and let’s be honest, sometimes when we were in the house but not near the Touch Panel). We found the app pretty easy to use, free of bugs, and other Cove customers agreed; the app has a 4.3 on the Apple store3 and a 3.8 from the Google Play store4, not too shabby!
Our Video Review of Cove
If you want to see our Cove security system in action, check out our video review, hosted by one of our experts Gabe Turner.
With Cove, you have four basic options5, all of which come with 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup. You can either get Cove Basic or Cove Plus, the latter of which has remote control, smart home integrations, plus a lifetime monitoring rate lock and warranty. But the good news for your wallet, you can choose to pay more upfront and get a lower monthly cost, $15 or $25, or pay less money upfront and have a higher monthly cost, $25 or $35. We went with the Cove Plus plan at $25 a month.
Although $15 is one of the lower prices we’ve seen for monitoring, $35 is a bit more on the average side, but overall, these prices are super affordable. Plus, plans are monthly so we didn’t have to make any long-term commitments, a huge benefit of Cove. To learn more about Cove’s pricing, check out our Cove pricing page.
FYI: To get the lowest monthly fees, pay more of your Cove equipment up-front.
Cove’s Customer Support
We all need help sometimes, and if it’s with your Cove security system, you can check out their online support center or speak to someone via live chat, phone, email, an online form or even snail mail if you prefer. Personally, we had a great experience with Cove’s customer support team. We had a few questions about the professional monitoring options, so being the anti-social millennials that we are, we used the live-chat feature and received prompt, informative answers that spoke to our question directly. We truly felt like my representative was trying to help us, unlike many other companies which sacrifice customer support for an aggressive sales team. Kudos to Cove for training their customer support team to support customers, not to sell.
Summary of Cove
We’d definitely recommend Cove as a security system, mainly for their low monitoring costs, flexible contracts and user-friendly app. Although it’s a relatively new company, Cove made it easy for us to see what was going on at home no matter where we were. And although they may lack the sheer number of components as more established companies (like ADT or Vivint), we were impressed with their current offerings and look forward to seeing what they do in the future.
We’d recommend Cove if you want…
- 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup: Cove requires all of its users to pay a monthly fee which includes professional monitoring and cellular backup, among other features.
- DIY installation: It was easy for our experts to install and test the Cove security system.
Alexa and Google Assistant integrations: Under the Cove Plus plan, users can command their system using their voices alone.
But avoid Cove if you want…
- Self monitoring only: All Cove systems are professionally monitored, so if you’re privacy-minded, it’s not the best security system for you.
- No monthly fees: Users will pay anywhere from $15 to $35 a month with Cove.
- Professional installation: You’ll have to install your Cove security system yourself, although the process is pretty straightforward.
- Does Cove security work with Alexa?
Cove security does work with Alexa. You can have Alexa arm your system or tell you the status of your alarms. However, Alexa is only available if you select the Cove Plus plan, and the same goes for the Google Assistant integration.
- Does Cove have outdoor cameras?
Cove doesn’t have any outdoor cameras. Their only camera is from YI and it’s only intended for indoor use.
- Does Cove security need Wi-Fi?
Cove security systems don’t need WiFi. They all come with cellular backup through the Cove Touch Alarm Panel. All Cove customers must pay monthly for both cellular backup and 24/7 professional monitoring, among other features.
Amazon. (2020). Amazon Cove Skill. amazon.com/Cove/dp/B07M9BQP7P
Google Assistant. (2020). Google Assistant for Cove. assistant.google.com/services/a/uid/00000084e34c7e1c?hl=en_us
Apple store. (2020). Cove Security on the App store. apps.apple.com/us/app/cove-security/id1362174856
Google Play store. (2020). Cove Security on the Google Play store. play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.securenettech.cove6production&hl=en_US
Cove Monitored Security. (2020). Cove Security Professional Monitoring. covesmart.com/monitored-security