iSmartAlarm Security System

  • No monthly fees required
  • Self-monitoring only
  • Works with Alexa and IFTTT
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Note: Google no longer makes or sells Nest Secure.

Even the most affordable self-monitored security systems sometimes charge a monthly fee for extra features like cloud storage and cellular backup, but what if there’s a security system you can use without ever paying monthly fees and still enjoy its full features? That’s the idea that sparked the creation of the company iSmartAlarm in 2012. Fast forward to now, and the company remains completely free from subscription-based features.

Although the subscription-free pricing model works in favor of us, the consumers, we can’t help but wonder how iSmartAlarm manages to stay afloat without charging monthly fees as other security companies do. So today, we’ll take a closer look at what the company offers—from security features to integrations—to determine if it has what it takes to make homes safer despite not having monthly subscriptions. Let’s get right to it!

What We Liked About iSmartAlarm

iSmartAlarm Components
iSmartAlarm Components

Being the curious tech enthusiasts that we are, we bought an iSmartAlarm Premier Home Security Package to see how it works. It was a hassle-free purchase. We didn’t have to go through credit checks or sign a contract. We simply ordered the package online and iSmartAlarm delivered it to us ready to work. You can read our detailed hands-on experience in our iSmartAlarm security system review.

There were things we immediately liked about the system and iSmartAlarm in general, like the fact that there were no monthly subscriptions needed to access the system’s full set of features. Here are a few other things we liked:

  • Quick and easy DIY installation: Our iSmartAlarm system was up and running in less than 45 minutes. That was quick, considering that the system included several sensors and one security camera.
  • Free cloud storage: iSmartAlarm cameras support both local and cloud storage. We provided the micro-SD card for local storage, but our iSmartAlarm worked out of the box thanks to its free cloud storage.
  • Alexa and IFTTT integrations: Our iSmartAlarm system fit right in with our Amazon Alexa ecosystem. It also worked with IFTTT, allowing us to create Applets to integrate iSmartAlarm with other smart home products we own.
  • Mobile app control: Our mobile phones are always with us, which is why we loved the fact that we can control iSmartAlarm anytime and anywhere using the iSmartAlarm application.
  • Affordable equipment: Aside from having no monthly fees, the iSmartAlarm hardware itself was affordable. The Premier Home Security Package cost us $150. Considering that it included a security camera, that price is hard to beat.

How Much Does The Hardware Cost?

iSmartAlarm users usually start off with an equipment package or bundle. We purchased ours from the company’s official Amazon store, but you may also buy from iSmartAlarm’s website or from other retailers. It’s also worth noting that iSmartAlarm doesn’t offer financing options. Customers are required to pay for the system upfront, which we think is fair considering that there are no monthly fees. We’ve listed below the prices and the included components of the most popular iSmartAlarm packages.

Equipment Package Cotsts for iSmartAlarm

PackageComponentsPrice
Shield Package1 CubeOne
7 Motion Sensors
8 Contact Sensors
3 Remote Tags
$306.95
Protect Package1 CubeOne
5 Motion Sensors
6 Contact Sensors
3 Remote Tags
$241.96
Guard Package1 CubeOne
3 Motion Sensors
4 Contact Sensors
3 Remote Tags
$176.98
Smart Home Video Bundle1 CubeOne
1 Motion Sensor
3 Contact Sensors
1 Spot Indoor Camera
1 Remote Tag
$150.00
Deluxe Home Security Package1 CubeOne
1 Motion Sensor
4 Contact Sensors
1 Remote Tag
$109.99
Plus Package1 CubeOne
1 Motion Sensor
3 Contact Sensors
1 Remote Tag
$100.00
Preferred Package1 CubeOne
1 Motion Sensor
2 Contact Sensors
2 Remote Tags
$99.50

Buying Tip: We’ve noticed that some packages are only available on Amazon, while others are exclusively offered on the company’s website. Prices also vary. Our advice is to shop around to find the package best suited for your home.

The packages are, of course, just a starting point. You can purchase additional devices, sensors, and cameras if needed.

DevicePrice
iCamera KEEP Pro$199.99
iCamera KEEP$149.99
Spot + Indoor Camera$99.99
Spot Indoor Camera$79.99
Contact Sensors (Pack of two)$30.00
Keypad$30.00
Motion Sensor$17.50
Remote Tag$12.50

We liked that iSmartAlarm was expandable. We rested easy knowing that we could purchase additional sensors if needed. However, it’s also worth noting that the equipment choice is limited. The company does not offer even some of the basic security devices like glass break sensors. They also do not sell smoke alarms, CO detectors, or flood sensors, which are common add-ons. So for those looking for environmental monitoring, iSmartAlarm can’t help you out much.

Did You Know: iSmartAlarm cameras work well with the security system, but you can also use them as standalone devices. All features, including cloud and local recording, will still work whether you have an iSmartAlarm system or not.

How Does Monitoring With iSmartAlarm Work?

Given that iSmartAlarm doesn’t charge monthly fees, it’s lack of professional monitoring is understandable. So how does iSmartAlarm protect homes? Well, iSmartAlarm is a self-monitored system. It’s not linked to a central monitoring station, so in the event of a security breach, it was up to us to take action.

Our iSmartAlarm system sent us automated text and voice messages to our phone as well as push notifications to our iSmartAlarm app to notify us if any of our sensors went off. Those alerts were free. In addition, the system sounded its built-in siren to notify anyone who might be home at the time. The siren was loud and could certainly spook an intruder as well.

In An Emergency: With a self-monitored system, it is your task to call for help. Calling 911 is often the most efficient way to get the cops to your house, but we also recommend saving your local police department’s contact information on your phone. If you’re on vacation in another state, for example, it’s better to contact the local law enforcement directly as 911 routes the calls made to them based on the caller’s current location.

Integrations With Other Smart Home Products

iSmartAlarm Camera
iSmartAlarm Camera

iSmartAlarm, like many of the best security systems on the market today, works with third-party smart home brands, specifically, Alexa and IFTTT. In our years of experience testing home security systems, we’ve come to know that not all integrations are the same, so we tested both the Alexa and IFTTT integrations to see how they worked with iSmartAlarm specifically.

Alexa

iSmartAlarm’s integration with Alexa was made possible by the iSmartAlarm Alexa Skill. We simply logged into our Alexa account and added the iSmartAlarm Skill. We were asked to link our security system by logging into our iSmartAlarm account. Immediately, we were able to arm our security system with voice commands.

Disarming our iSmartAlarm using Alexa was a different story. We had to enable the feature by going to the menu of our iSmartAlarm app, then Integrations, and then Amazon Alexa. From there, we set a four-digit PIN. Whenever we disarmed the system with our voice, we had to say the PIN as well. This added security measure prevented outsiders from disarming the system.

Here are a few voice commands we’ve tested:

  • “Alexa, tell iSmartAlarm to arm my system.”
  • “Alexa, tell iSmartAlarm to disarm my system.”
  • “Alexa, tell iSmartAlarm to set my system to home mode.”

IFTTT

The IFTTT integration opened up more possibilities for us. IFTTT is an internet service that powers Applets, which are automation recipes created by setting a trigger that sets off an action. We used Applets to automate some of iSmartAlarm’s features. For instance, we used an Applet that triggered our system to arm whenever we set our Nest Learning Thermostat to Away so that the temperature could drop when we were out of the house, saving us money on heating costs. We were also able to use iSmartAlarm as the trigger, which prompted our Philips Hue lights to turn on whenever the alarm went off.

To enable the IFTTT integration, we downloaded the IFTTT app on our smartphone and searched for Applets we could use with the products we owned. Then, we simply followed the app’s instructions on how to activate the Applets that we liked. Easy as pie!

How iSmartAlarm Compares to Competitors

iSmartAlarm Branding
iSmartAlarm Branding

Before we end this article, we want to make it clear that iSmartAlarm is not the only self-monitored security system that we could use without paying monthly fees. What makes iSmartAlarm special is the number of features they offer for free. We especially liked that the system sends multiple alerts through text, voice calls, push notifications, and local sirens. To give you an idea as to why that’s exceptional, we listed below the types of alerts you will receive for free from other popular self-monitored systems — SimpliSafe, Ring Alarm, abode, and Nest Secure—if ever a break-in occurs.

  • SimpliSafe: The siren will sound, but that’s all. If you’re not home, you won’t find out about the break-in immediately unless you pay $24.99 a month with the Interactive Plan.
  • Ring Alarm: You’ll get an email alert and notification via the Ring App. Local sirens will also sound. Without text and call alerts, though, your phone has to maintain a constant connection to the internet for the alerts to get through.
  • abode: Like Ring Alarm, you will get an email and push notification.
  • Nest Secure: You’ll receive email and push alerts in addition to voice prompts coming from the system’s hub.

When it comes to equipment prices, iSmartAlarm is also more affordable than all four brands mentioned above. However, although iSmartAlarm is cheaper, it’s seriously lacking some features that we think are necessary, such as cellular backup for when the internet is down, optional professional monitoring for times that enhanced security is needed, and expanded cloud storage. Other self-monitored systems offer those optional improvements for a small fee, which we think is better than not having any options at all.

iSmartAlarm’s Overall Value

iSmartAlarm was one of the most affordable security systems we’ve ever tested. However, all of us at Security.org look more than just the price when stacking the value of security systems. So we asked ourselves, “Can we trust iSmartAlarm to protect our home?”.

Although we appreciated iSmartAlarm’s free cloud storage, multiple notifications, and multi-user access, there were things missing from the system that we find hard to live without. It has no power and cellular backup, no professional monitoring options, and no additional cloud storage space. It has also been a while since iSmartAlarm released new products. At least for now, we think iSmartAlarm is not for us. However, that shouldn’t stop you from using iSmartAlarm. If you like what you see right now and don’t mind the lack of professional monitoring and cellular backup, iSmartAlarm makes for a solid and affordable security system.