Best No-Contract Home Security Systems

Most Flexible Contracts
SimpliSafe
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Starting at  
$14.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Affordable equipment
Pro Bullet Customizable equipment packages
Most Affordable Monitoring
Ring
4.2 out of 5 stars4.2
Starting at  
$9.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Inexpensive professional monitoring
Pro Bullet Easy installation and monitoring
Great No-Contract Option
Cove
3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
Starting at  
$14.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet No-contract monitoring
Pro Bullet Strong customer service
Best DIY Smart Security
Google Nest Secure
3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
Starting at  
$19.00
/mo.
Pro Bullet Quality equipment
Pro Bullet Painless setup
Best Aesthetics
Scout
3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
Starting at  
$19.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Unobtrusive, modern-looking equipment
Pro Bullet Cellular and backup battery to protect from outages

We get it—contracts can be intimidating. In the home security industry, 36-month terms are pretty common, and with that, most companies require you to pay back the majority of your contract when you cancel early.

If you don’t want to get tied down to a company for three years or more, plenty of viable no-contract security systems offer more freedom and flexibility. We’re going to break down a few of our favorite contract-free security systems to give you a better sense of which system might be best for your needs.

Best security systems without a contract

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Compare contract-free security


SimpliSafe: Most flexible contracts

SimpliSafe is affordable and easy to set up, and it gives you an array of equipment options. We like the 60-day money-back guarantee and the month-to-month professional monitoring option.

Most flexible contracts
SimpliSafe
Our rating:
3.7 out of 5.0
3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
Customer service
3 out of 5 stars3.0
Price
4 out of 5 stars4.0
Features & equipment
3 out of 5 stars3.0
Plans starting at 
$14.99
/mo.

    SimpliSafe pros and cons

    Pros
    • Pro BulletEasy setup
    • Pro BulletOptional short-term professional monitoring
    • Pro BulletAffordable equipment
    • Pro BulletCustomizable equipment packages
    • Pro Bullet3-year warranty
    Cons
    • Con BulletLimited home automation integration
    • Con BulletNo mobile access with cheaper plan

    Why we recommend SimpliSafe

    SimpliSafe is one of the most affordable security systems on our list, but we like its systems most for their flexibility.

    Price

    SimpliSafe offers no-contract monitoring that you can turn on and off with no penalties, giving you a lot of flexibility in your monthly payments. You can’t self-monitor with SimpliSafe, but you can go back and forth between its $14.99 and $24.99 monthly professional monitoring service plans.

    What does SimpliSafe's professional monitoring service include? With SimpliSafe professional monitoring, both you and the authorities (as needed) will be alerted when your alarm system picks up on an intrusion, fire, or flood. You can also add five secondary contacts. That’s not a bad deal for $14.99 a month.

    The $24.99 service has extra features, like setting your alarm to Secret Alert status, which keeps an intruder from knowing they’ve set off the system.

    The equipment cost is reasonable for a wireless, easy-install system. For context, some four-piece SimpliSafe packages cost as much as a single piece of Nest equipment.

    SimpliSafe Equipment

    Photo source: ASecureLife team

    Equipment

    SimpliSafe sells a wide range of base packages that you can further customize to include cameras, smoke and CO detectors, and other equipment to make your alarm system more comprehensive. The preset packages are tailored for houses, apartments, and businesses.

    The SimpliSafe camera is called the SimpliCam. Currently, it’s available only as an indoor camera.

    SimpliSafe’s home automation integration is limited. The system may not be compatible with other smart home devices you own. Also, you can’t access your system remotely with the $14.99 plan. You’ll have to pay more for that perk at the $24.99-per-month option.

    ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you want an affordable home security system with an array of different equipment and package options, go with SimpliSafe.

    >>Learn more: Read our SimpliSafe review.


    Ring: Most affordable professional monitoring

    Ring is a simple do-it-yourself home security system with a professional monitoring cost of $9.99, lower than any competitor’s.

    Most affordable professional monitoring
    Ring
    Our rating:
    3.3 out of 5.0
    3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
    Customer service
    2 out of 5 stars2.0
    Price
    4 out of 5 stars4.0
    Features & equipment
    3 out of 5 stars3.0
    Plans starting at 
    $9.99
    /mo.

      Ring pros and cons

      Pros
      • Pro BulletInexpensive professional monitoring
      • Pro BulletEasy installation and monitoring
      • Pro Bullet1-year warranty
      Cons
      • Con BulletNo compatibility with other popular brands

      Why we recommend Ring

      Just because you’re looking for a home security system without a contract doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from professional monitoring.

      Price

      A Ring five-piece kit (base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender) currently runs about $200 on Amazon. That puts the price of the equipment more on SimpliSafe’s level: less expensive than Nest, but more expensive than Cove. Like Scout, though, Ring’s bigger packs favor multiples of the same items over new ones.

      Contact sensors
      Definition
      “Contact sensor” is Ring’s name for window or door sensors. Currently, Ring makes only one size of contact sensor, which is on the large side.

      The monitoring price is out of this world: $9.99 a month or $100 a year for professional monitoring. This is the biggest benefit to choosing Ring.

      Equipment

      Ring sells most of the same equipment as its competitors. It’s especially known for its video doorbell. The big omission is that the brand doesn’t have key fobs.

      Also, Ring definitely needs to amp up the compatibility. The company is owned by Amazon, so Ring products work with Alexa, but not with any Google equipment. They also work with Z-Wave.

      ASecureLife recommendation: If you want a cheaply monitored home security system, go with Ring.

      >>Learn more: Read our Ring review.

      Cove review: Great no-contract option

      Cove is an easy-install alarm system with solid equipment but limited mobile access and smart home features.

      Great no-contract option
      Cove
      Our rating:
      3.7 out of 5.0
      3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
      Customer service
      3 out of 5 stars3.0
      Price
      4 out of 5 stars4.0
      Features & equipment
      3 out of 5 stars3.0
      Plans starting at 
      $14.99
      /mo.
        ASecureLife Deal
        40% OFF Cove + FREE indoor camera this holiday season!

        Get more than half off Cove's DIY home security system + a FREE indoor security camera this holiday season! 

        *Terms and conditions apply. See offer.

        Cove pros and cons

        Pros
        • Pro BulletNo-contract monitoring
        • Pro BulletEasy DIY installation
        • Pro BulletStrong customer service
        • Pro BulletLifetime warranty with some plans
        Cons
        • Con BulletMinimal automation integration
        • Con BulletNo mobile access with cheaper plan

        Why we recommend Cove

        Cove is one of our favorite no-contract monitoring options when you pay for your equipment up front. It also has a super-easy DIY installation for users who don’t want to bring in an electrician.

        Price

        You can get Cove with no down payment, but you’ll be subject to pricier monitoring and a 36-month cancellation policy that works a lot like a contract. If you’re able to pay for your system up front, Cove’s $14.99-per-month monitoring blows a lot of the competition out of the water.

        That said, we recommend opting for the $24.99 per month plan so you can control your security system from your smartphone instead of depending on the control panel to arm, disarm, and adjust your alarm.

        Cove’s equipment is pretty affordable. Every package comes with the Cove Touch Panel. From there, you can add more equipment like indoor cameras ($59 each), motion detectors ($30 each), and key fobs ($25 each).

        Cove Equipment

        Photo source: ASecureLife team

        Equipment

        Cover offers all the standard equipment you'd expect to get from a home security system. The brand also has medical alert equipment that integrates right into the alarm system. That makes Cove a great buy for anyone with medical concerns.

        Cove’s cons are similar to SimpliSafe’s. You may not be able to integrate with other devices, and you’ll need to pay more for mobile access to your system.

        ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you want competitive, no-contract monitoring with quality DIY security equipment, try Cove.

        >>Learn more: Read our Cove review.


        Google Nest Secure: Best DIY smart security

        Nest Secure’s equipment is high quality, and its systems are compatible with a lot of different home automation equipment so you can build out an interconnected smart home.

        Best DIY smart security
        Google Nest Secure
        Our rating:
        3.5 out of 5.0
        3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
        Customer service
        3 out of 5 stars3.0
        Price
        3 out of 5 stars3.0
        Features & equipment
        3 out of 5 stars3.0
        Plans starting at 
        $19
        /mo.

          Nest Secure pros and cons

          Pros
          • Pro BulletQuality equipment
          • Pro BulletPainless setup
          • Pro BulletComprehensive smart home interconnectivity
          • Pro BulletProfessional monitoring available through Brinks
          • Pro Bullet2-year warranty
          Cons
          • Con BulletExpensive packages
          • Con BulletLimited security equipment

          Why we recommend Nest Secure

          Nest Secure is a great no-contract home security option if you already own Nest equipment or you want to invest in a DIY system that supports smart home integration.

          Price

          Nest equipment is high quality, but you’ll have to pay more for it up front. You’re looking at upward of $100 and sometimes $200 for each piece of equipment.

          If you want monitoring, Nest Secure systems can be professionally monitored by Brinks, though you’ll pay a bit more per month for the contract-free option.

          Nest’s basic monitoring costs are higher than most competitors’. Those costs do include mobile access, something competitors don’t offer with basic plans. But still, it’s not exactly a budget option.

          Equipment

          Lots of devices are compatible with Nest equipment, something that makes Nest Secure stand out among other brands.

          Google Nest Compatibility
          Our Choice

          In August 2019, Google began phasing out the Works with Nest program. Devices already compatible with Nest should continue to work as expected as long as the user doesn't migrate their Nest account to a Google account.

          Users that migrate to a Google account should focus on what works with Google Assistant instead.

          Nest offers color customization for some of its equipment. You can get pinks, aquas, and copper instead of plain black and white. If you’re into coordinating your smart home devices with your decor, you’ll appreciate these fun options.

          ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you want to invest in an ecosystem of home security and smart home equipment, go with Nest Secure.

          >>Learn more: Read our Nest Secure review.


          Scout: Best aesthetics

          Scout is a solid do-it-yourself home security system with sleek, modern equipment. While its equipment selection is limited, Scout alarm systems are easy to set up and self-monitor.

          Best aesthetics
          Scout
          Our rating:
          3.5 out of 5.0
          3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
          Customer service
          3 out of 5 stars3.0
          Price
          4 out of 5 stars4.0
          Features & equipment
          3 out of 5 stars3.0
          Plans starting at 
          $19.99
          /mo.

            Scout pros and cons

            Pros
            • Pro BulletUnobtrusive, modern-looking equipment
            • Pro BulletCellular and backup battery protect from outages
            • Pro BulletEasy self-monitoring
            • Pro BulletThree-year warranty
            Cons
            • Con BulletLimited equipment selection
            • Con BulletNo third-party equipment without plan

            Why we recommend Scout

            Scout is a great choice for those wanting a simple DIY security system with high-quality, aesthetic equipment. (Seriously—these are some of the prettiest security system devices on the market. Definitely a yes for the discerning eye.)

            Price

            Scout offers an affordable no-contract monitoring plan which also gives access to third-party equipment. That’s a big perk since Scout’s proprietary equipment selection is a bit limited. Scout also has a $9.99 self-monitoring plan if you want to cut costs. With a self-monitoring plan, though, you’re responsible for calling the authorities—Scout’s monitoring center can’t help you out in an emergency.

            Scout’s equipment packs range from $229 to $549. For what you get, that’s not terrible. Although you can get packages with more equipment, you mostly get repeats of items already found in the smaller packages rather than added, higher-tech items.

            Equipment

            As we mentioned, Scout’s array of equipment isn’t as good compared to other brands. You can get indoor security cameras, window sensors, glass break sensors, flood sensors, motion sensors, and smoke detectors through Scout, but there are no branded key fobs, range extenders, video doorbells, outdoor security cameras, or medical buttons available.

            But like Nest Secure, Scout’s alarm system works with multiple third-party smart home devices. It’s compatible with Nest, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Hue, LIFX, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.

            Like Nest, Scout offers color options. Two of them, to be exact: white with black accents or black with white accents. Not as fun as Nest’s colors, but it’s nice to have a choice.

            ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you want a relatively simple DIY home security system with clean, modern aesthetics, opt for Scout.

            >>Learn more: Read our Scout review.


            How we chose

            We reviewed each no-contract security system brand’s equipment, price, and customer service to determine how well it would meet user needs. We also compared brand features to determine the value of each system.


            Other brands we considered

            Abode

            A notable no-contract brand we didn’t include in this review is Abode. Abode was barely edged off the list by Ring.

            Abode lets you self-monitor your security system for free, which is nice if you don’t have the cash to pay for professional monitoring every month. That said, Abode also offers optional professional monitoring for $20 a month without a contract. We like that you can choose the monitoring plan that works best for you.

            But we’re not huge fans of the Abode starter kits. They come with a gateway (base station), a motion detector, a key fob, and a mini door sensor. A keypad, camera, or full-sized door sensor isn’t included, to say nothing of the many other products Abode offers. For a starter kit, that’s not a great start.


            FAQ

            Have a question? We may have an answer.

            Will a no-contract security system work for you?

            No-contract home security systems are ideal for renters, job-hoppers, and anyone who’s not sure they want to commit to the first system they try. They’re not limited to just those categories, though. Even if you’re living in your family’s ancestral home of 300 years with no plans to leave anytime soon, you can still use any of these security systems.

            The biggest potential downfall to a no-contract system is that you’re unlikely to get a rate lock. Some contracts stipulate that your signing price will never change. So if you’re in financial straits or just don’t like surprise rate changes, that’s something to consider.

            What should you do if your system breaks or malfunctions?

            Another drawback of no-contract systems is that you don’t have as close a relationship with the security systems provider. If something breaks, you may not know where to turn.

            Our recommended no-contract security systems all come with warranties of some type. The exact nature of the warranty will vary between brands, but you’ll have coverage through all of them.


            Our recommendation

            Whether you want to self-monitor your security system or opt for professional monitoring on a month-to-month basis, these options will give you flexibility without locking you into a contract of three-plus years.

            Choosing between these security systems comes down to each company’s pros and cons and what you value most. Once you’ve figured out what’s best for you, you can buy your new system and get started.

            To summarize, here are the brands we recommend:

            • SimpliSafe: Affordable home security system with an array of different equipment and package options
            • Ring: Inexpensive, professionally monitored home security system
            • Cove: Competitive no-contract monitoring with quality DIY security equipment
            • Nest Secure: Ecosystem home security and smart home equipment
            • Scout: Relatively simple DIY home security system with clean, modern aesthetics
            †Google and Google Nest Secure are trademarks of Google LLC.