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Home > Home Security > Security Systems > Best Wireless Home Security Kit: Scout vs SimpliSafe vs iSmartAlarm vs Canary

Best Wireless Home Security Kit: Scout vs SimpliSafe vs iSmartAlarm vs Canary

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Why should you choose a wireless home security kit over a more traditional, wired security system? Wireless systems are typically cheaper, easier to install and are easy to relocate. DIY wireless system kits are becoming more popular because they come with all the parts you need for comprehensive security monitoring, but without a monthly monitoring fee. How do you know which one is best? Read more to see what your options are.

Need To Know Before Reading Further

Wireless home security kits are a relatively new development, therefore there aren’t many established companies in this field. There are some great start ups and crowdfunding campaigns on the rise, but they either aren’t available yet or are struggling to fix some of their quirks. There’s great potential for this category and once companies work out their customer service and get their products in top shape competition will be tough. Because companies are still building their reputation we have only chosen two picks for our winners: Scout and SimpliSafe. At this time, these are the only two companies we can firmly stand behind as viable security systems but we will update with a 3rd option once we feel another company has improved.

What are the Advantages of a Wireless Home Alarm System Kit?

There are many items that make wireless alarm system kits more appealing than an “old school” wired security system:

  • These systems generally do not offer professional monitoring, so there are no monthly fees or contracts. This not only lowers the cost, but also gives you the freedom to stop using the system if you don’t like it.
  • These systems are good for apartments, smaller homes or any place you are renting because you don’t have to drill any holes into the walls. This also makes the system easy to relocate. The sensors are all attached to the walls using adhesives, which you can install yourself (note that many professionally monitored systems are also wireless and installed by the user).
  • There are also no false alarms, unless you call in authorities when they aren’t needed.

What should I know about Wireless Home Security Kits?

What makes a wireless alarm system kit appealing is that they are less expensive over time than traditional security systems. This is mainly because these systems are self-monitored and do not offer professional monitoring. This means that you are in charge of contacting authorities if there is a suspicious event in your home. Home security systems that offer a central monitoring station are generally less expensive up front, but there is a mandatory monthly fee. The DIY kits in this article have a higher cost up front and no monthly fees. A Secure Life recommends professionally monitored systems over self-monitored systems because of the difficulty monitoring your system by yourself 24/7 (for example, when you are asleep at night).

The majority of DIY wireless security system kits have cameras or door/window sensors which alert you when motion is detected or video is recorded. When you receive the alert it is up to you to decide whether authorities should be contacted. If you have a camera, you should be able to tell whether it’s the repair man or an uninvited guest, which will in turn help you decide whether or not to contact the police.

Do I Need a Smartphone?

One thing you’ll want to know before buying a wireless alarm system is that you’ll need a smartphone to self-monitor the system. An app is generally used to alert you when there is a sensor triggered so you won’t be able to monitor your system without a smartphone.

Are all Wireless Home Security Kits Self Monitored?

Currently, Scout and SimpliSafe are the only companies in this review to offer a professional monitoring option. However, it is important that you know that this is only available for an additional fee.

Scout Review

#1

Visit WebsiteScout-Alarm-Logo

Scout was launched February 2013 and has already made a big name for itself. We’re fairly impressed with this company since we chose it as our #5 pick for Best Home Alarm System for 2016. They are one of the few wireless home security companies that offer professional monitoring, although it is required. We don’t see this as a con ourselves because we think professional monitoring is a must, however, some of you may prefer not having a monthly fee.

Pros

  • Integrates with Nest, Amazon Echo, LIFX, IFTTT and Philips Hue lights
  • Attractive, modern equipment design
  • Monitoring starts at $9.99/month
  • Ranked #5 in our Home Security System Reviews
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • 3G backup if your Internet or power goes out
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Monitoring is required
  • Fewer equipment options

Price

Scout lets you customize your security system. Below is the equipment you have to choose from.

  • Scout Hub (1 required per system) – $129
  • Door Panel (each comes with 1 RFID sticker and 2 key fobs – $69
  • Access Sensor – $29
  • Motion Sensor – $49
  • Yard Sign – $10
  • Key Fob – $4.99
  • RFID Sticker – $2.49

Scout is also one of the only companies in this article to provide professional monitoring as an option. Please note that monitoring is required with any Scout alarm system purchase.

  • Always On – $9.99/month
  • Cellular Only – $15/month
  • Always On+ – $19.99/month
  • Cellular Only+ – $25/month

SimpliSafe Review

#2

Simplisafe logo

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SimpliSafe is one of the companies that has their system available for purchase now and is performing well. Simplisafe has complete, customizable package options, which we like. SimpliSafe is the other wireless alarm system in this Best Wireless Alarm System Kit article that gives you the option to turn on central monitoring for a monthly fee so you aren’t responsible for responding to your own emergency – even when you are not home, showering or sleeping. With Simply Safe, you get the feeling of what a “typical” home security system is like and it allows you to upgrade over time to a more complete alarm system. Included in their packages are keypads, sensors, detectors and more. SimpliSafe ranks 6th in our Home Security Rankings and is also recommended by financial expert, Dave Ramsey.

Note that without paying for a monthly monitoring package your system acts as a local system. Meaning that if the siren goes off no one is notified. It only makes a loud alarm sound in the hope of deterring the intruder.

Pros

  • 3 year equipment warranty
  • Dedicated cellular communication with a remote monitoring station
  • 60 day money back guarantee
  • Battery backup

Cons

  • No security cameras
  • No home automation features

Price and Features

SimpliSafe offers various packages to help keep your home secure. The packages are listed below. You can also create your own system.

Packages
Price
Base Station
Entry Sensors
Motion Sensors
Wireless Keypad
Keychain Remote
Extra Siren 105dB
Smoke Detector
Water Sensor
CO Detector
Freeze Sensor
Panic Button
Starter
$229.96
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1 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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­
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­
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Home Defense
(economy)
$259.95
$199.99
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1 Included

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3 Included

­

1 Included

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1 Included

­

1 Included

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Classic
$349.92
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1 Included

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3 Included

­

1 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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Master
$449.97
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1 Included

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6 Included

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2 Included

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1 Included

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2 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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Ultimate
$539.85
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1 Included

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4 Included

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2 Included

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1 Included

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2 Included

­

1 Included

­

1 Included

­

1 Included

­

1 Included

­

1 Included

­

1 Included

Is SimpliSafe Safe?

Forbes released an article in February 2016 about a vulnerability in SimpliSafe’s software. However, SimpliSafe has since put this concern to rest, saying the hack being discussed is very unlikely.

Canary Review

 

Visit WebsiteCanary logo

When Canary was put up on Indiegogo, customers were eager for an alternative to the typical home security system. The initial goal was $100,000, but the crowdfunding blew up to almost $2 million in just over a month. Canary has a motion detector that senses movement in the area and begins recording video. You can share access to your Canary with other friends and family. This can be handy in case you are unable to check your phone (i.e. on an airplane, in a meeting, etc.). In the case that you are notified of an event, you have the option to call the police, sound the siren or ignore. The other people you have granted access to also have these options.

Pros

  • 1 year warranty
  • 60 day guarantee
  • Monitors air quality
  • Sync up to 4 Canary devices together
  • Security camera with 1080p HD video
  • 12 hours of free cloud storage

Cons

  • No door/window sensors
  • No battery backup, must be plugged in

Price and Plans

Canary is available in black, silver and white.

  • $199 Canary
  • $379 Canary 2-Pack

Below are the storage plans you have to choose from.

  • 12-Hour (Included): 12 hours of video history, 3 video downloads, 5 video bookmarks
  • 2-Day ($49/year or $4.99/month): 2 days of video history, unlimited video downloads, 25 video bookmarks
  • 7-Day ($99/year or $9.99/month): 7 days of video history, unlimited video downloads, 100 video bookmarks
  • 30-Day ($299/year or $29.99/month): 30 days of video history, unlimited video downloads, unlimited video bookmarks

Tech Specs

  • Height: 6 inches
  • Diameter: 3 inches
  • 1080p HD video
  • Night vision
  • Motion sensor
  • Microphone
  • 90+ db siren
  • Temperature, humidity and air quality sensors
  • 147° (diagonal) field of view

iSmartAlarm Review

iSmartAlarm logo

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I personally own an iSmartAlarm system and overall have had a pleasant experience. The major con I found is that iSmartAlarm’s iCamera KEEP takes snapshots instead of recording video. You must be watching the video live to capture a snapshot of your intruder. The iSmartAlarm system doesn’t take the snapshots itself. This poses a problem in case you are busy at the time your home is invaded resulting in no actual footage of the person. Aside from this, the camera performs well and the footage is clear. One thing they excel at is their customer service. I contacted them via email, support ticket and phone and each time they were quick to respond and helpful.

Pros

  • Offers door/window sensors
  • 1 year warranty
  • Great customer service: email, support ticket, phone
  • One iSmartAlarm employee even exchanged texts with me to help install my iCamera KEEP
  • Spot and iCamera KEEP can be used on their own without a Cube One

Cons

  • Won’t work during a power outage
  • False alarms (possibly from the sun’s movement through the window)
  • Difficult to install the iCamera KEEP
  • Delayed iCamera KEEP notifications
  • App needs some work: loads slowly, errors constantly and at times I am unable to login

Price and Features

Packages
Price
Cube One
Contact Sensors
Motion Sensors**
Remote Tags
iCamera (1st Generation)
Spot Camera
Satellite Siren
iCamera KEEP
SmartSwitch
Preferred
$199
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2 Included

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1 Included

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2 Included

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$129
$69 each
$39.99 Each
$149.99 Each
$39.99 Each
Deluxe
$249.95
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4 Included

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2 Included

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2 Included

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$129
$69 each
$39.99 Each
$149.99 Each
$39.99 Each
Premium
$349
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2 Included

­

1 Included

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2 Included

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1 Included

$129
$69 each
$39.99 Each
$149.99 Each
$39.99 Each
Guard
$299
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4 Included

­

3 Included

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3 Included

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$129
$69 each
$39.99 Each
$149.99 Each
$39.99 Each
Protect
$399
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6 Included

­

5 Included

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3 Included

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$129
$69 each
$39.99 Each
$149.99 Each
$39.99 Each
Shield
$499
­
­

8 Included

­

7 Included

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3 Included

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$129
$69 each
$39.99 Each
$149.99 Each
$39.99 Each

*(Additional $59.99 for 2)

**(Additional $34.99 Each)

Read our full review of iSmartAlarm

Novi Review

Novi security logo

Visit Website

When the Novi is armed, it will send a picture to your smartphone of any potential problems it sees. You can then determine if you need to call the police, ignore the alert, or request another image. If you are unavailable, the base station will send the images to a preset emergency contact that you have designated. The system also learns your behavior, so if you forget to arm or disarm your system you will receive a notification. Novi claims that house cats and other animals will not trip the alarm because the sensor measures the body mass of an object. Novi has the potential to be one of our top 3, but we can’t be sure until the product has more review time.

Pros

  • No monthly monitoring fees
  • Syncs multiple sensors
  • Online chat
  • 1 year limited warranty
  • Doubles as a smoke detector
  • Battery lasts 1 year (no wires or power cords)
  • Cellular connection
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Adjust sensitivity so pets don’t trigger the system
  • Siren in every sensor

Cons

  • No information out there on performance since it’s fairly new

Price

  • 4-in-1 Home Security Kit – $299 (includes base station and sensor)
  • Expansion Pack – $179 (additional sensor)

Tech Specs

  • 170° HD Camera
  • 90 dB siren

Oplink Review

Op Link logo

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Oplink has various packages available for you to purchase, but to take advantage of them you’ll have to upgrade, which results in a monthly fee. This service goes from free all the way up to $29.99/month. Many of Oplink’s competitors offer these features at no monthly fee, so if price is a factor for you, we suggest you look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Live chat
  • Fire sensors

Cons

  • Monthly fee for video
  • Must pay $19.99/month if you want more than 1 emergency contact and SMS alerts sent to them

Price and Features

Packages
Price
OPU
Door/Window Sensors
Motion Sensors
Siren
Remote
USB
IP Camera
Alarm Shield
$149.99
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2 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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2 Included

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Triple Shield
$299.99
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2 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

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2 Included

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1 Included

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2 or 4 Included

Alarm C1S2
$239.99
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2 Included

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1 Included

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1 Included

Monitoring Options

  • Free
    • 1 Owner and 1 Authorized User
    • Unlimited live video streaming
    • Arm/disarm system remotely
    • Push notification to mobile app
    • Email notification to Owner (with optional event snapshot1)
  • $19.99/month
    • All Free Features
    • Add up to 5 Authorized Users and 5 Emergency Contacts
    • Videogram for event history
    • SMS alerts to emergency contacts
    • Voice call option for Authorized Users
    • Up to 8 cameras and/or 24 sensors
  • $29.99/month
    • For systems using more than 8 cameras and/or 24 sensors, or additional users

Piper Review

Piper_Logo-mediumVisit Website
View on Amazon

Piper’s wide camera lens allows you to view an entire room – great for loft apartments or condos. Piper offers security, monitoring and automation for your home. You can set up rules for while you are home, or away on vacation, that Piper follows so you and your emergency contacts are notified of the alert. Piper also integrates with Z-Wave technology to allow for home automation. Z-Wave is a form of wireless communication used for appliances to give you control of your home remotely. It allows you to turn lights and certain appliances on and off, change the thermostat, and more.

Pros

  • Battery backup
  • Two-way audio, so you can say hello to a pet or loved one
  • Home automation
  • Security camera with ability to store up to 1,000 video clips in the cloud
  • Easy to set up
  • Extremely loud siren
  • Connect up to 5 Pipers
  • 1 year warranty
  • No monthly fees

Cons

  • No night vision for the Classic
  • Users report poor video/image quality
  • Unit feels cheap
  • Not the greatest tech support
  • Users struggle with using it over 3G
  • No web app, just iOS and Android
  • Customers are extremely displeased with Piper, just checkout this comment feed

Price

Packages
Price
Equipment Included
Z-Wave Door/Window Ssensors
Z-Wave Smart Switch
Z-Wave Outdoor Smart Switch
Z-Wave Water Sensor
Z-Wave Micro Smart Switch
Z-Wave Range Extender
Z-Wave Smart Dimmer
Z-Wave LED Bulb
Piper Classic
$199
1 Piper
$39.95 each
$44.95 each
$44.95 each
$39.95 each
$4.95 each
$24.95 each
$44.95 each
$29.95 each
Piper NV
$279
1 Piper
$39.95 each
$44.95 each
$44.95 each
$39.95 each
$4.95 each
$24.95 each
$44.95 each
$29.95 each
Piper Pro
$319.99-$389.99
1 Piper + 3 accessories

(listed below)

$39.95 each
$44.95 each
$44.95 each
$39.95 each
$4.95 each
$24.95 each
$44.95 each
$29.95 each
Piper Ultimate
$799.99-$979.99
3 Piper + 5 accessories

(listed below)

$39.95 each
$44.95 each
$44.95 each
$39.95 each
$4.95 each
$24.95 each
$44.95 each
$29.95 each

Tech Specs

  • 1920 x 1080 HD video
  • Speaker and microphone
  • Motion, temperature, humidity and ambient light sensors
  • 105 dB siren
  • 180° fisheye lens that you can pan, tilt and zoom

Read our full review of Piper

Skylink Review

Skylink home security logoVisit Website
View on Amazon

Skylink reached out to us and offered to send a security system for an honest review. I was excited to test out the system and had high hopes after testing out iSmartAlarm. Unfortunately, I had a lot of problems figuring out this system and I found that it was easier for me to have the system off than on. There were two main struggles I had: (1) inserting the battery for the motion sensor and (2) configuring the settings. The instructions suggest to use a coin to open the motion sensor. This did not work for me. I used multiple different forms of currency even (U.S. coin, Thai Baht and Indonesian Rupiah) and it still didn’t work. I was so frustrated with it that I used a butter knife. If you have the same problems as me be extremely careful, but finally, with the help of a butter knife, I got the sensor opened. But then, configuring the settings was a huge hassle, too. The system is automatically set to go off anytime a sensor is triggered, whether the system is set to Home or Disarmed. I’d be home working and suddenly my alarm system was going off. It was very frustrating, but once I figured it out it worked fine. I think this is something they should discuss in their instructions.

Pros

  • Easy to connect the equipment to Wifi
  • Loud siren
  • Works well after you’ve installed it and configured the settings
  • Helpful and nice support team

Cons

  • No batteries are sent with the system
  • Hard to open the motion sensor to insert battery
  • Cheap feeling equipment
  • Must change the settings for each sensor so the alarm isn’t triggered while set to Home or Disarm
  • Outdated looking app and site

Price and Features

Skylink offers many packages to help secure your home. Pricing details are available on their website and via Amazon but below are some of their starting packages.

How does Dropcam Compare?

Why isn’t Dropcam in this article? Good question! Dropcam is not a security system, it is actually just a camera. As you’ve read, all of the other systems in this article include sensors of some type, whereas Dropcam is simply a camera.

Is there another wireless alarm system you’d like reviewed in this article?

Our site's mission is to help consumers make more informed purchase decisions. This website accepts financial compensation from some of the companies mentioned which allows us to provide this free service to our readers. Compensation does not influence the rankings of products. More info on our disclosure page.

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About Kimberly Kurimski
Kimberly has always taken security seriously. Whether it's making sure she locks all the doors or using complex passwords, she tries her best to live a secure life. She has years of experience with testing, reviewing, and writing about security systems. One of her favorite parts of her job is being able to inform consumers of the best security products available.
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  • Lia

    Great feedback! I’ll be sure to relay it onto our team. 🙂

  • lorie roe

    Any chance you’ve reviewed Get Safe?

    • Lia

      Not yet! I’ll be sure to run it past our team. – Lia

  • Tom Stucker

    Use some old Smartphones and download the Alfred app. I bought some on ebay and I have 4 old phones being used as IPCams all around my house. I can turn the flash on, use night vision (not great), and talk to people in the room using the speaker on the old smartphone. I love Alfred. It is a free app, just have to get old phones to act as cameras.

  • Lia

    Hi Donna, have you heard of the Petcube? It’s pretty cool! It let’s you see video and talk to your pets during the day. It’s not a traditional security system, but it might be a good idea to check out. It’s about $149 on Amazon right now: https://goo.gl/E06rCE
    As far as a traditional security system goes (with professional monitoring), I’d recommend looking at SimpliSafe. Their motion sensor does not detect smaller pets and has capabilities to work with bigger pets too: http://simplisafe.com/pet-friendly-alarm-feature

  • Lia

    Hey Jordan – that’s a great question! Mobile integration has come far, however we still recommend monthly monitoring. The reason we do this is because there are a ton of factors that could interfere with mobile integration – for example, your phone could die, you could be in a meeting and have it on silent, or you could lose cell reception. We recommend monthly monitoring so there are more eyes looking out for you!

  • Jordan Hobbs

    Very through, I appreciate the time and energy you took in putting this all together for us… thanks!

    • Lia

      You’re welcome! Glad we could help out Jordan.

  • Chris

    I agree 100%….it is the only reason why I won’t go with Scout…that and I think it is a bit overpriced.

  • Lia

    You’re right, Scout does not offer a security camera which could be considered a con to users. However, it is IFTTT compatible which means it pairs easily with home automation products (like Nest) that do offer cameras (like Nestcam) to add on.

  • Lia

    Scout, iSmart, SmartThings, WeMo and myfox all work with Nest via IFTTT. I’d recommend looking into Scout since our team of experts rated it #5 in 2016 Top Home Security Systems. If you’re looking to add video, you can use Nest cam . This can be done with IFTTT (and Nest/Scout customer service help).

    • Tom

      Thanks Lia. I was thinking of Scout but have seen many complaints about battery life and siren sound. Both defeat the purpose of a low maintenance and effective security system. If not Scout, which of the others would you recommend that have comparability with the Nest family products? Thanks.

      • Lia

        You could always go with a professional install service, like Vivint or ADT. Otherwise, I’d recommend checking out LiveWatch or SimpliSafe. There’s a great list on the Nest website that shows what security systems hook-up with Nest: https://workswith.nest.com/category/security

  • Kyle Lemmon

    Hi Julie,
    I’m not aware of any home automation feature out there that will allow you to change your code from your cell phone. However, there are several alarm systems that let you set up separate access codes. Every alarm system has a “master code” which allows you to make changes to the system settings. But many companies allow you to add additional codes for family members, babysitters, neighbors, etc. These codes are separate from your master code and can be deleted or changed. You do have to be home and using the keypad to do it, though.

    Hopefully this helps. If we hear about a system that allows such a cool feature we will try to get a post up about it.

  • Thanks for the additional thoughts here Steven. We definitely agree that best-case scenario would include a more robust professionally monitored system.

  • Great questions Peter. This is actually one of the main reasons we recommend going with a professionally monitored system like Frontpoint or Scout (Scout might be a good option for you if you’re ok with upfront equipment costs but want to minify long term cost/monthly cost). If that’s not what you’re looking for, I know Nest Cam can be viewed from a computer with an internet connection, so that might be worth looking into. Canary is currently only iOS/Android, but they say they’re developing a web app currently. I’m not seeing a web option for Piper either. Hope this helps!

    • Peter Mueser

      Thanks. That does help.

  • When it comes to video quality, I think it boils down to what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re looking for photo and video evidence you can provide the to the police in the case of a high-value robbery, then I’d recommend spending the extra money on a higher quality image. If you’re more concerned with knowing what’s going on at the location, and alerting authorities at the time of the incident, then 720 is plenty.

  • mike1650

    I think the point should be made that Simplisafe does not depend on your router to be used. That’s big in the fact cutting a cable or telephone wire and an internet alarm is useless. Systems that don’t have a battery back up can be disabled by eliminating the power to them. None of these affect Simplisafe. I just wish they would make the so far fictional camera a reality and hopefully not charge an outrageous amount for it or some optional additional fee.

    • Hi Mike,

      You bring up great points! We really appreciate the insight you’ve added here. And yes, we agree that the camera needs to get here already!

      Thanks,
      Josh

  • Dokfrank

    I just want something simple and I don’t know why it doesn’t exist — I want a cellular system with a battery backup. I want motion detectors and door/window alarms. I want multiple wall mounted panic buttons able to be used by kids, but not so able that they push them for fun. I want 3 buttons on the unit and panic buttons — fire, ambulance and police (a parent button might be good too). I want the cellular unit to call 911 and start playing a pre-recorded message “this is 555 Elm Street in Anytown, Anystate. The fire alarm has been activiated. Please send fire and rescue personnel” Why do I need to call myself or have a service? Does anyone know of such a beast?

    • Rev. Edward Salm, PhD

      That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. There is great info in this article, but needs some updates. Some of the product line-ups have changed. I thought SImpiSafe was the best in this requirement, except that it lacked cameras. I just called them, and they said that is coming VERY soon. They cameras will be compatible with the existing system, so this seals the deal for me!

      • Glad you found the info you needed! We will definitely be updating the article as new items are introduced to the market.

        • Rev. Edward Salm, PhD

          Great, but note that the items you reviewed have also been updated, including addressing some of the issues/cons.

          • Absolutely, we do indeed plan on updating items within the post in addition to adding others very soon. Thanks so much!

      • bld522

        I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for SimpliSafe to release a camera if I were you, Rev. Salm. SimpliSafe has been talking about releasing a camera since 2011 and it’s still not here.

  • David Insel

    Thank you so much for this update. Is there any specific reason that Wink was not reviewed?

    • You’re welcome David! There is no specific reason that Wink was not added to this article. Would you like us to look into adding them in the future?

      • David Insel

        Hey Kimberly, thanks so much for responding so soon. I am very interested in the Wink and smart things technology in regards to home security. However, I just happened upon the Pisector 4g GSM alarm kit that has an app as well. This seems to be the course I may go for now.

  • john

    Canary is the least reliable piece of junk!

  • brainburst

    I find all of these wifi based systems to be a security risk. People will be able to intercept the wifi data. I want a wired version with all the same capabilities.

  • This is why I am just going to build my own.

  • Mark94066

    DropCam is not a security system, but it essentially is the same as Canary, without the air monitoring. Canary (to it’s detriment) does not have battery back up or any option (at this time) for linked sensors. I think if Canary was able to sync with (say 3 to 5) DropCams and/or their own satellite sensors, it would be a coup. Adding battery back up and the option to link 5 or 6 door or motion sensors would be a huge bonus, even if they were optional and sold individually or in small add-on bundles.

    Any of these systems could be tweaked to be ideal as they all have cons at this time. If I had a smaller place, I would probably opt for Canary, but I have too many access points, a vulnerable electrical system (I guess I could run it through a small APS backup) and no ideal central point in my house to make best use of the camera and single location sensor.

    Thanks for all the work on this. I was seeking to compare Canary and SimpliSafe and was not aware of the other options out there.

  • Alex Yang

    Kimberly Kurimski (Author) – nice article thank you very much but I’m calling you out on this statement made at the beginning of the article. “…you can choose SimpliSafe; start with self monitoring and then change to central monitoring …”
    There is no self monitoring option with SimpliSafe, if one opts out of the professional monitoring service of $14.99/month, the security system is then “simpli” a noise maker. “Simpli” put, if a sensor is tripped the included siren will go off (as designed) but that’s ALL that will happen. As a DIY and years of paying $$$$ to ADT and SLOMINs I was looking for an option to have alerts come directly into my Smartphone. Your statement led me (and I truly believe others) to think that the SimpliSafe allowed Self Service monitoring without paying the monthly subscription service. To be fair it still really is the cheapest around and the option of month to month without annual contact is appealing, the statement was definitely exaggerated. Please kindly let your readers know SimpliSafe does not offer true Self monitoring service.
    By your standards, my ADT system (monitoring system disabled by me, (customer service/billing issues) is also a self monitoring system because the local siren will still go off when sensor is tripped, I just wish I could control/monitor it via my iPhone.

    • Hi Alex, thanks for sending me this note. I definitely see where the confusion came from with that statement and I’m sorry for misleading you. I have since taken that part out of the article because although you can self monitor the system it’s not like other self monitoring systems where you can get notified via your smartphone.

      I spoke with a SimpliSafe rep to get an even clearer understanding and this is what I found out: If you choose to opt out of the monthly monitoring service you will not be notified directly of a triggered alarm. The calls/texts/emails that you get with the monitoring service will no longer be sent because they are all sent via the cellular connection from the Base Station. (Without the cellular module in the Base Station activated there is no way for it to communicate with you directly.) You are able to view your most recent alarms using the keychain remote and the Easy Setup Wizard software. The keypad will also let you know when an alarm has triggered.

      • Alex Yang

        Hi Kimberly!

        Thanks for the reply and thanks also for clearing this up! Greatly appreciated it. I loved reading about the other devices and I stumbled onto your article because specifically looking for a no fee solution and was zeroing in on the Canary with the 1080p resolution (in NV as well!!!). As I said extremely helpful!! 😀

        Regarding about the confusion on my end, my original text quickly cut & pasted from TABLET missed the one statement from the original article to really got looking into SimpliSafe.
        Quote “….However, you can self-monitor your Simply Safe system from your mobile device if you choose (and at no added cost)…”
        This is why I started contacting Simplisafe for follow up and was sadly disappointed when monitoring via smartphone was not available without subscription. 🙁
        Like I said fantastic article and looking forward to full reviews from you and your team for all of the other products named! Keep up the good work.
        -Alex

        • Glad we were able to discuss this, Alex. I’ve searched through the rest of our SimpliSafe articles and cleared up any parts I found that may be confusing (including the in-depth SimpliSafe review). I’m glad you brought this to our attention. That way no one else gets confused by SimpliSafe’s offerings!
          Best of luck securing your home!

  • chops10

    I have a Canary and have been trying to use it for about two months (I was an IndieGoGo backer, so I got one of the first batches being sent out). I can tell you that it is the least reliable piece of electronic equipment I’ve ever owned. It falls offline all of the time and needs a hard reboot (manually unplug) in order to get it back online — but then I just go through the same cycle again. I actually feel more uneasy having it than when I had no system at all. The end result is the same anyway, but now I have a pretty looking device that is as valuable as an empty can of soup sitting in my kitchen.

    • Patty Shadden

      I also bought a Canary from my Verizon store. There they said that all I needed was an Internet connection, which I have. I told them that I had ATT’s fastest DSL and was told that was great. After setting up my Canary, it appeared to work just fine for the first 3 days, then went off line. After many calls to Canary and getting many differing opinions, the last person told me that my DSL line, which is Internet, is not fast enough in its upload need. No one went into necessary speed when I purchased it or I would have checked first. ATT’s U verse would work but it is not available in the S.F. Bay Area at this time and they have no idea when it will be. We are part Silicon Valley. Weird. Now, I have to either upgrade the Internet connection through some other source or sell the Canary. What still bothers me the most is how was it able to work so well for the first 3 days if the upload speed with my DSL line is not fast enough? Can someone explain that to me, please?

  • kiva

    Isn’t canary just a camera too? Unless you are including the siren as part of the security feature.

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