Best Apartment Security Systems for Renters: Flexible and Affordable

Best Value
Frontpoint
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
Starting at  
$44.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Easy installation and relocation
Pro Bullet Excellent 24/7 customer service
Con Bullet Higher monthly price
Most Flexible
SimpliSafe
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Starting at  
$14.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Easy setup
Pro Bullet Customizable equipment
Con Bullet Limited home automation support
Best DIY
Ring
4.2 out of 5 stars4.2
Starting at  
$10.00
/mo.
Pro Bullet Inexpensive pro-monitoring
Pro Bullet Self-monitoring option
Con Bullet Recent security issues
Best Self-Monitored Option
Abode
3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
Starting at 
$20.00
/mo.
Pro Bullet Inexpensive equipment
Pro Bullet Free self-monitoring with the app
Con Bullet Limited tech support hours
Best Customer Service
Cove
3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
Starting at  
$14.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Ultra-simple DIY installation
Pro Bullet Equipment financing
Con Bullet No mobile access with cheaper plan
Frontpoint recently announced some big changes, like ditching contracts, switching up monitoring plans, and lowering equipment prices. For the most part, we dig the changes, but we wish the monitoring wasn’t so pricey now.

Overview
Renters want to keep their homes and possessions safe as much as anyone else does. If you’re renting and your landlord or property manager doesn’t provide a security system, guess what? You can still add one.

There’s been an upswing in home security systems designed for temporary installation. We’ve looked at the top ones and come up with a list of brands that can be easily used by renters like you.

Security systems in rentals
How To
Before installing a home security system on rented property, make sure it’s within the terms of your rental agreement. If you share space, consider letting your neighbors know they may hear your alarm going off—especially if one of those neighbors is your landlord. Finally, check with your local police station to find out if you need a permit to install an alarm.

Best apartment security system brands

These brands also work well in non-apartment rental properties, like houses or duplexes.

Compare best security systems for apartments

Data effective 12/13/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Best value: Frontpoint

For renters, Frontpoint’s excellent customer service, straightforward installation, easy relocation, and customizable equipment outweigh the price and make it the best value for renters. 

Frontpoint
Our rating:
4.5 out of 5.0
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
Price
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
Customer service
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Features & equipment
4.8 out of 5 stars4.8
Plans starting at 
$44.99
/mo.

    Frontpoint pros and cons

    Pros
    • Pro BulletExcellent 24/7 customer service
    • Pro BulletEasy installation and relocation
    • Pro BulletQuality equipment
    • Pro BulletHome automation support
    • Pro BulletNo contract
    Cons
    • Con BulletHigher monthly price
    • Con BulletLimited tech support hours

    Why we recommend Frontpoint

    Frontpoint may be pricier, but it’s perfect for renters because of incredibly easy-to-install equipment—no wires or tools needed. And if you ever need help, Frontpoint’s customer service team consistently delivers. Reps aren’t available 24/7, though, so make sure you contact them between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. (ET) on weekdays or between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. (ET) on weekends.

    Price

    Frontpoint plans start at $44.99 per month, which is a bit steep, but you get high-quality equipment, professional monitoring, and tons of support anytime. Luckily, you can request a free moving kit to make relocating your system completely painless.

    Moving with Frontpoint
    Take Note

    It’s easy to take your Frontpoint system to a new home if you move. Just let Frontpoint customer service know that you’ll be uninstalling and reinstalling your system at a new address.

    Equipment and features

    Frontpoint offers smart locks, lightbulbs, and garage door openers⁠—items we don’t see a lot of security brands selling.

    ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you want a traditional security system with excellent customer service that you can effortlessly take with you whenever you move, Frontpoint fits the bill.

    >>Learn more: Read full Frontpoint review

    >>View Frontpoint Plans

    Best for flexibility: SimpliSafe

    SimpliSafe offers easy DIY installation, affordable equipment, and professional monitoring that you can turn on or off each month. It’s perfect for temporary or long-term housing situations.

    Simplisafe
    Our rating:
    4.3 out of 5.0
    4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
    Customer service
    4.8 out of 5 stars4.8
    Price
    4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
    Features & equipment
    3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
    Starting from 
    $14.99
    /mo.

      SimpliSafe pros and cons

      Pros
      • Pro BulletNo long-term contracts
      • Pro BulletMonth-to-month professional monitoring
      • Pro BulletCustomizable equipment
      • Pro BulletEasy setup
      Cons
      • Con BulletLimited home automation support
      • Con BulletNo mobile access with cheaper plan

      Why we recommend SimpliSafe

      Renting can be unpredictable at times. SimpliSafe offers month-to-month professional monitoring and no long-term contracts—perfect for short leases or lots of moves.

      Price

      SimpliSafe’s plans cost less per month than many competitors, and there are no extra activation fees.

      The equipment comes in well-priced packages or can be selected individually to create a customized kit. Premade packages tend to range from $200 to $400.

      Equipment and features

      The equipment’s easy to set up (just peel, stick, and go), though smart home integration is limited.

      For some items, you can choose between obsidian and cloud (aka black and white). This is fun from an interior design point of view. Overall, the equipment is rather fashion-forward for the home security systems industry.

      The biggest drawback is the mobile app. SimpliSafe’s $14.99 plan may give you a free trial for mobile access, but after it runs out, you won’t be able to monitor your system from your phone. You have to upgrade your payment by $10.00 for something that really should be a free, primary feature. (Brands that position themselves as DIY generally try to keep the prices down, so charging more for a basic function is unusual in this space.) But even with the cost increase, you’ll still be paying less per month than you would with Frontpoint.

      One more thing. If you already have existing smart equipment, SimpliSafe may not be the best option. The equipment doesn’t always integrate with smart devices from other manufacturers. You can connect it with a Nest Thermostat, an August smart door lock, an Amazon Alexa device, or a Google Home. That’s it.

      ASecureLife’s recommendation: SimpliSafe’s flexible monitoring, easy-to-install equipment, and super affordable pricing make it one of the best choices for renters.

      >>Learn more: Read full SimpliSafe review.

      >>View SimpliSafe Plans

      Best DIY: Ring

      Ring’s easy to set up and even easier to monitor. You can pay as little as $100 for a year of monitoring for this system.

      Lightbulb
      Avoiding security breaches

      Ring has been in the news lately due to breaches where strangers can view camera feeds and talk over the speaker. In a statement shared with us, Ring said that these are due to consumers not taking proper precautions.

      We continue to recommend Ring products for now, but echo Ring’s security precautions recommendations: use unique passwords, enable two-factor authentication, add authorized users instead of sharing credentials, and regularly change passwords.

      Ring
      Our rating:
      4.2 out of 5.0
      4.2 out of 5 stars4.2
      Customer service
      3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
      Price
      5 out of 5 stars5.0
      Features & equipment
      4 out of 5 stars4.0
      Starting from 
      $9.99
      /mo.

        Ring pros and cons

        Pros
        • Pro BulletInexpensive professional monitoring
        • Pro BulletSelf-monitoring option
        • Pro BulletBoth Z-Wave and Alexa compatibility
        • Pro BulletEasy installation and monitoring
        Cons
        • Con BulletLimited smart home integration

        Why we recommend Ring

        When it comes to DIY home security systems, Ring has the most affordable monitoring by far.

        Price

        Ring’s packages run in the same price range as Abode, though Ring’s starter kit equipment selection makes more sense than Abode’s. You’ll get the base station, a keypad, a motion detector, a contact sensor, and a range extender.

        Contact sensors
        Our Choice
        Contact sensor is Ring’s term for door and window sensors.
        The professional monitoring price is the lowest in the industry. For $9.99 a month (or $100 a year), Ring will professionally monitor your system. If that’s not in your budget, you can self-monitor for free. Ring’s app provides mobile access and sends push notifications and emails straight to your phone to make self-monitoring easy.
        Equipment and features

        Ring’s equipment is unique to the brand. It looks nice and worked well when we tested it. During the testing process, it was super easy to set up with no prior experience. The app is also fairly intuitive, although we found the system easier to control through Amazon’s Alexa. (Since Ring is owned by Amazon, its Google Home compatibility is zilch. You’ll have to go to Nest for that.)

        Ring used to sell just video doorbells, and its foray into a full security system suite is still pretty new. That may be one reason the devices don’t have enough compatibility to integrate into a standard smart home.

        ASecureLife’s recommendation: Ring’s easy to set up and use. And the monitoring price is unparalleled, so it’s perfect if you’re on a budget.

        >>Learn more: Read our Ring review.

        >>View Ring Plans

        Best self-monitored option: Abode

        With Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, Abode is a shoo-in for renters who want to integrate their security system into their smart apartment setup.

        Abode
        Our rating:
        3.7 out of 5.0
        3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
        Customer service
        3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
        Price
        4 out of 5 stars4.0
        Features & equipment
        3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
        Plans starting at 
        $20.00
        /mo.

          Abode pros and cons

          Pros
          • Pro BulletNo contracts
          • Pro BulletBoth Z-Wave and Zigbee compatibility
          • Pro BulletInexpensive equipment
          • Pro BulletFree self-monitoring with the app
          Cons
          • Con BulletLimited tech support hours

          Why we recommend Abode

          Abode is compatible with both Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, making it our top choice for a smart apartment. We also love that Abode has professional monitoring—and we especially love that self-monitoring through the mobile app is free.

          We wish Abode had 24/7 customer support over the phone, but the no-contract flexibility is a great option for renters.

          Price

          You can spend as little as $199 on a Basic system. And if you choose to self-monitor, you’re one and done. Not a bad price for the peace of mind a security system brings.

          Self-monitoring vs. professional monitoring
          Our Choice
          Self-monitoring means the user watches the system. If a breach happens, you must contact the authorities on your own. Professional monitoring means that a company keeps an eye on the system from a central station. The company calls the authorities in the event of an intruder or other security issue.

          Even the most independent user may want professional monitoring at some point, so we like that Abode has a plan available for $20 a month without a contract. If nothing else, you can use it when you go out of town, because spending your vacation monitoring a home security system kind of defeats the purpose of a vacation.

          Equipment and features

          Abode has a great selection of equipment, all at competitive prices. However, you’re going to have to get more than a starter kit for a comprehensive security system. The starter kit doesn’t even come with a keypad.

          ASecureLife’s recommendation: If home automation is your focus, Abode gives you tons of integration options, plus no-contract monitoring and inexpensive equipment choices.

          >>Learn more: Read full Abode review

          >>View Abode Plans

          Best customer service: Cove

          Cove has no-contract monitoring and is flexible in its equipment options. 

          Cove
          Our rating:
          3.3 out of 5.0
          3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
          Customer service
          4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
          Price
          3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
          Features & equipment
          2 out of 5 stars2.0
          Starting from 
          $14.99
          /mo.

            Cove pros and cons

            Pros
            • Pro BulletNo-contract monitoring
            • Pro BulletUltra-simple DIY installation
            • Pro BulletEquipment financing for cheaper startup
            Cons
            • Con BulletMinimal automation integration
            • Con BulletNo mobile access with cheaper plan

            Why we recommend Cove

            Cove has no-contract monitoring, making it ideal for renters who aren’t sure how long they’ll stay put. And its equipment selection is flexible—you can customize your own starter kit to fit your budget and square footage.

            Price

            Cove lets you choose the equipment for your starter kit. The prices are as follows:*

            • Door sensors: $15
            • Window sensors: $15
            • Flood sensors: $20
            • Panic/medical buttons: $20
            • Security key fob: $25
            • Motion detectors: $30
            • Smoke/heat/freeze detectors: $30
            • Glass break detectors: $35
            • Carbon monoxide detectors: $50
            • YI indoor cameras: $59

            *Each starter kit comes with a Cove Touch Panel, which adds $184 to your bill. In most cases, we recommend getting a kit with a minimum of the following: a door sensor, a window sensor, a motion detector, and a key fob. That comes to $269.00.

            Cove sensors
            Our Experience
            Cove is one of the only security brands we’ve seen that offers separate models for door and window sensors. Most make one sensor that can be installed on either a door or a window.
            Most easy-install alarm systems require up-front equipment purchase. But with Cove, you also have the option of making monthly payments to soften the financial blow of paying for it all at once.
            Equipment and features

            If you’re not sure what devices you need, Cove has a quiz you can take. At the end of the quiz, the brand gives you a recommendation to fit your security needs.

            All equipment comes preprogrammed for a simple setup.
            Cove integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, but not much else at this point, so it’s not great for home automation.

            ASecureLife’s recommendation: Cove might be for you if you’re not a fan of contracts and love customization.

            >>Learn more: Read our full Cove review.

            >>View Cove Plans

            Other brands we considered

            Link Interactive

            Link Interactive offers shorter contract lengths (12-, 24-, or 36-months) for professional monitoring, one of our favorite features for renters. Plus, all the equipment packages are customizable with no activation or installation fees. Some customers complain that the DIY installation is tricky, and Link’s equipment is on the spendier side, especially for those living in rentals for budget reasons. Still, there’s lots to love about Link Interactive.
            Link Interactive Logo

            >>Learn more: Get all the details in our Link Interactive review.

            >>View Link Interactive plans.

            Brinks

            Brinks checks a lot of apartment alarm systems boxes: easy installation, wireless equipment, and smart home technology. Plus, if you have a Nest Secure system, you can opt to have Brinks professionally monitor it for you. The biggest drawback is the required 36-month contract, but if you’re ready to commit, Brinks gives you a great value for the money.

            Brinks logo

            >>Learn more: Check out our full review for Brinks Home Security.

            >>View Brinks plans.


            Renter home security system FAQs

            Will a security system get me a discount on my renters insurance?

            It might! Just chat with your insurance provider during the decision-making process. They might have a deal with some brands or have specific requirements for a discount.

            What should I consider for my apartment security system?

            • Affordability: Take into account both the up-front costs of equipment and the monthly fees.
            • Flexibility: Look for flexible contracts or even monitoring without a contract to simplify your situation when you move.
            • Installation: DIY systems (no installation fees!) with easy installation are your friends. Relocating the equipment will be effortless when you leave your rental.
            • Wireless equipment: Chances are good that your property manager won’t appreciate drilled holes in the walls, so find a wireless security system that connects to your Wi-Fi network.
            • Expandability: Your next home may require a different setup, so you want a system that can expand to fit your space. Look for customizable equipment packages.
            • Home automation: Does your security system jive with the smart home products you have (or want to have)? Find a system that will streamline, not complicate, your home control.

            Should I get a professionally monitored system or a self-monitored system?

            We generally prefer a professionally monitored security system for the added protection of having someone watching over your home all the time. If there’s ever an emergency and your phone is off or you don’t see the notification, the results could be disastrous.

            But if you’re worried about false alarms, self-monitoring is the way to go. It’s also the best option if you plan to use your system in less traditional ways. For example, maybe you want to scare your roommates out of your room but don’t want to call the police on them.

            What if I have to move out of my rental?

            One big deterrent to installing apartment alarm systems is that renters like you may not know how long they’ll be living in their current place. The rent may go up. The landlord may evict you in favor of renting to their niece. You may get a better job in another state, or you might move back in with your parents to save money.

            You can easily pack a wireless system up and bring it with you.

            That’s a big reason most of the systems we’ve recommended have no contracts. And all of them are wireless systems that don’t have to be drilled into walls. You can easily pack them up and bring them with you.

            How many motion sensors do I need for my apartment?

            If your rental is a small apartment, your comprehensive security system will likely require fewer components. A motion sensor or two will probably do the trick, but ultimately it will depend on your apartment’s square footage and layout and your security concerns.

            Regardless of the size of your space, we recommend always putting a door or window sensor at each point of entry. These magnetized motion sensors specifically track whether your doors and windows are open.


            Our recommendation

            The perfect apartment security system is going to depend on your situation, but you have lots of options. Consider how much flexibility you need, how often you’ll be relocating, how much you can afford, and how important smart home integrations are.

            • Frontpoint: This is your best value with options for high-quality customer service and support.
            • SimpliSafe: For flexible monitoring, low costs, and easy installation, this is our top choice.
            • Ring: If you need to save money and have an excellent DIY setup, Ring can help.
            • Abode: When home automation is a top concern, and you don't want to pay for professional monitoring, this is a safe bet.
            • Cove: Customizable kits; no contracts required, and awesome customer service.
            Contributing author: Kate Herrick