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Best Home Security Systems for Renters: Flexibility, Portability, Affordability

Renting usually comes with restrictions or limitations. Maybe you aren’t allowed to drill holes in the wall, or maybe you know you’ll only be in your current place for six months. But even with those limitations, you still need security that protects you and your property. Below you’ll find the best security systems for renters, whether you need lots of flexibility, dependable customer support, or home automation equipment you can take with you wherever you go.

Our recommendationBest for flexibilityBest for customer supportBest for home automation
Security company
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView Plans
Contract length optionsMonth-to-month36 monthsNo contract if equipment is purchased up front

42–60 months without equipment purchase
InstallationDIYDIYProfessional
Home automation
Our recommendation
Security company
Learn more
Contract length options
Installation
Home automation
Best for flexibility Best for customer support Best for home automation
View Plans View Plans View Plans
Month-to-month 36 months No contract if equipment is purchased up front

42–60 months without equipment purchase
DIY DIY Professional

Simplisafe | Best for renters who need flexibility

Pros

  • 100% wireless equipment for easy moving
  • No drilling or hardwiring required
  • Professional monitoring option
  • No contract required
  • Customizable equipment options
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • No home automation options
  • No smartphone control without professional monitoring

We love SimpliSafe for its flexibility and mobility. The system is 100% wireless, so you don’t have to worry about drilling holes or connecting wires in your rental home, and you can easily take the system with you when you move. And because SimpliSafe lets you purchase individual products or sets of equipment, it’s easy to customize your setup to your needs—even if they change often.

SimpliSafe also lets you choose between monitoring your equipment yourself or paying for professional monitoring—monitoring plans start at $14.99 per month. You’re not required to sign a contract, which means you can cancel at any time or switch back to professional monitoring temporarily (like if you’re going out of town).

Is SimpliSafe right for you?

No one tops SimpliSafe when it comes to flexibility, so if you need to turn monitoring on and off or change your setup quickly and easily, SimpliSafe is our top recommendation.

Who should consider an alternative?

While SimpliSafe offers impressive flexibility, you don’t get much when it comes to home automation. If you’re interested in a security system that offers lots of home automation equipment, we suggest looking at Vivint.

Read more in our full SimpliSafe review.

Frontpoint | Best for renters who want quality customer support

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • 100% wireless equipment
  • High-quality equipment
  • Mobile access
  • Home automation integration
  • Transparent pricing and policies

Cons

  • Standard three-year contract
  • No professional installation option
  • Activation fee

Frontpoint is one of the best security providers in the industry, especially if you’re looking for top-notch customer service and equipment. Although it doesn’t have as much flexibility as SimpliSafe regarding contracts and equipment, it is 100% wireless and installation is simple.

Frontpoint uses high-quality Alarm.com equipment, which integrates with other home automation devices, and its customer service is unbeatable.

Frontpoint is also transparent about pricing, which we love, but be aware that because it’s a traditional home security company, it comes with activation fees and three-year contracts.

Is Frontpoint right for you?

Looking for a company that will make you feel safe and supported whether you have a small question or a serious crisis? On top of providing excellent security service, Frontpoint leads the pack when it comes to customer support. Choose Frontpoint if you want reliable security with unrivaled support.

Who should consider an alternative?

Frontpoint’s service is fantastic, but if you’re not in the position to commit to a three-year monitoring contract, you’re probably better off with a company like SimpliSafe.

Read our full Frontpoint review.

Vivint | Best for renters who want home automation

Pros

  • No-contract options available
  • Stylish and modern equipment design
  • Wireless equipment
  • Mobile access and control
  • Lifetime equipment warranty

Cons

  • Expensive monitoring service
  • Long contracts (if you sign up for them)

Vivint isn’t quite as flexible as SimpliSafe, but it does offer a no-contract option—something extremely rare in the home security industry. If you’re willing to purchase your equipment up front, you can get Vivint monitoring without a multiyear contract. Plus, since Vivint’s system is wireless, equipment is easy to move, and you don’t have to drill holes in your wall that will threaten your security deposit.

We also appreciate Vivint’s focus on home automation because smart home devices turn a system that would be helpful only in an emergency into a system that makes your life a little easier every single day, whether you want to reduce your energy consumption or turn your lights off without getting off the couch.

Is Vivint right for you?

Vivint is perfect if you’re looking for serious security without a contract or high-end home automation equipment with seamless security system integration.

Who should consider an alternative?

On a tight budget? Vivint might not be your best bet. If you’re looking for an inexpensive monitoring plan, we suggest SimpliSafe or Link Interactive.

Check out the full Vivint review here.

More companies to consider

Link Interactive

Pros

  • 12-month contract option
  • Inexpensive professional monitoring
  • 100% wireless and cellular equipment
  • Fully customized equipment options
  • Z-Wave technology for home automation

Cons

  • No professional installation option
  • No self-monitoring option

Although Link Interactive does not have the same no-contract flexibility of SimpliSafe, it does offer a 12-month contract, which is significantly shorter than many other monitored companies, so it’s a solid option for those who don’t plan to stay long in one place. You can also customize each package so you pay only for the equipment that you actually need. Additionally, all the devices are 100% wireless, making them easy to move.

Link’s system is also compatible with Z-Wave home automation devices, many of which are available through the Link Interactive website. Overall, Link Interactive is an excellent option for renters who don’t plan to stay put and who want full control over the equipment they pay for.

Check out our full Link Interactive review for more.

Nest Secure

Pros

  • High-quality, reliable equipment
  • Month-to-month monitoring option
  • Wireless design for easy installation and portability
  • Home automation integration
  • Easy-to-use system with unique features

Cons

  • Higher monthly fee without contract
  • Required subscription for video feed recording

Nest products have long been top-of-the-line in terms of performance and quality. Nest Secure is no exception, with plenty of unique features designed to make the system easy to use and live with. For instance, Nest’s sensors have built-in motion sensor lights that turn on only when it is dark—very handy for midnight snack runs or bathroom breaks.

Nest Secure’s system is professionally monitored by Brinks. You can choose between a three-year-contract and a flexible, month-to-month plan. If you add a Nest camera to your system (either indoor or outdoor), you will also need a Nest Aware subscription to get video feed recording.

Nest Secure isn’t just for security—it’s also one of our top picks for home automation systems, so if you want to put together a smart home, Nest is a great place to start. Additionally, Nest integrates with quite a few other home automation platforms, including Google Home and IFTTT. Overall, we always come away impressed with Nest products, and the Nest Secure alarm system is a high-quality, reliable setup no matter where you live.

Read more in our full Nest Secure review.

Scout

Pros

  • No contracts
  • No equipment packages—you pay only for what you need
  • 100% wireless equipment and cellular monitoring
  • Low cost for professional monitoring
  • Integrations with several home automation platforms

Cons

  • Limited equipment options
  • No Z-Wave integration
  • Limited 1-year equipment warranty

Scout does not have any set equipment packages, and other than the Scout Hub (which is required for each system), you choose all your own equipment without paying for anything unnecessary—so you can spend less and get only what works for your space.

Everything Scout makes is wireless, so both installation and system relocation are simple. Adding to Scout’s flexibility is that it doesn’t require contracts, so you can start and stop monitoring services whenever you need to. On top of that, the monthly monitoring fees are low, especially compared to some of the big names in home security.

Scout is compatible with several home automation platforms, including Amazon Alexa, Nest, and Philips Hue lights, and it has an IFTTT channel. However, it does not integrate with Z-Wave products, so keep that in mind if you have a smart home or plan to build one. Scout offers a limited number and range of devices, so you may not find everything you’re looking for. But for a fully customizable home security system with professional monitoring, Scout is one of your best options.

Read our full Scout review to see more.

Armorax

Pros

  • Pay-as-you-go option with no contract
  • Both DIY and professional monitoring
  • High-quality equipment
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Z-Wave support
  • Home automation integration

Cons

  • Variable monthly rates with the pay-as-you-go-option
  • Mobile access limited to higher-cost tiers
  • High up-front equipment costs

Armorax offers both DIY monitoring and professional monitoring with three tiers of service. One drawback to Armorax’s DIY option is that it doesn’t include mobile access at every level, so self-monitoring through the app costs more than the basic tier.

As far as contracts go, you have the option to pay for monitoring on a month-by-month basis without signing an extended contract—a great option for temporary housing. However, keep in mind that if you choose the pay-as-you-go plan, you have to cover the full cost of equipment up front.

If you’re comfortable going the contract route, choose between a one-, two-, or three-year contract and receive a discount on equipment.

Armorax has top-of-the-line, 100% cellular equipment that installs quickly and easily, and you have some flexibility in choosing which equipment to get. It supports Z-Wave devices and can integrate with home automation devices like smart locks, thermostats, and doorbell cameras. While there are drawbacks, Armorax is an attractive, flexible option for renters.

Read more in our Armorax review.

Other options: When professional monitoring isn’t for you

We know that your home security options may be limited while renting, but we have recommendations for everything you might need. If you can’t afford a full security system, consider getting at least a security camera for your home. Another great, low-cost option is a doorbell camera for security at the main entrance to your home. And if you want to explore all your options, be sure to check out our home security package finder.

While we always recommend using a professional monitoring service, we know that it isn’t always an option. If you’re set on using a self-monitored system, here are a few to consider.

Canary is an all-in-one home security device that you monitor and control from your smartphone. This one device acts as a siren, motion detector, camera, video recorder (with up to 12 hours of stored footage), and even an air quality monitor. It does have to be plugged into an outlet to work but requires no wiring beyond that.

You can use a single Canary device or pair it with up to four other Canary products, including an outdoor camera, to create a more extensive DIY home security system. Because it is all DIY, there are no contracts but you have the option of paying for upgraded storage plans for the video feed.

Because Canary doesn’t offer any sensors or a backup battery, it’s not our first choice for home security, but the high quality of the video feed makes the Canary a great way to keep an eye on your home when you’re not there.

Read our full Canary review.

iSmartAlarm is a great option for renters because there are no monthly fees and no contracts, everything is 100% wireless, and the equipment is easy to install and take with you. However, monitoring is up to you as well. You can purchase the equipment (hub, sensors, cameras, etc.) piece-by-piece or in equipment packages.

One perk with the iSmartAlarm system is the iCameraKEEP camera, with night vision and the ability to pan and tilt the angle from the app. However, it doesn’t store the video feed, so you can’t review it later. Overall, iSmartAlarm has some great features and is a more complete DIY security system than some other options.

Read more in our iSmartAlarm review.

Iris by Lowe’s walks the line between home security and home automation. It is relatively inexpensive, and you purchase only the equipment you want, which is great for keeping costs down. While there is a free access plan, most of the features you’d want, such as access for multiple people and a 14-day activity log, come with the paid plan.

The Iris hub is compatible with both Z-Wave and Zigbee technology, so if you have home automation devices that use both, you’ll be covered. Overall, your options are basic and don’t provide comprehensive security, though paying the monthly fee to upgrade your plan will help.

Check out or Iris review for more.

You can take it with you

Although a home security system may feel like a permanent feature, there are many systems that you can take with you when you move. Several companies also offer flexibility in monitoring, monthly costs, and equipment packages. Don’t let renting stop you from getting the protection you want for your home.

Do you rent your home? What are your thoughts about installing a security system? Share your comments with us below.

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About Kate Herrick

Kate Herrick
Kate is a seasoned writer who is enthusiastic about helping families stay safe. She is an expert on researching and writing about child safety, personal safety, and online security in the home, as well as home automation products that make life a little better.

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