Home Security Systems Cost Comparison

Security System Products
Last Updated: November 18, 2019

Frontpoint just 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.

You’ve got a lot to think about when settling on a home security system—equipment options, monitoring service, industry experience, contract length, etc.—but none of that matters unless you can afford the system.

Compare home security systems and prices

Data effective 11/18/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

How much does a home security system cost?

Home security comes with three main costs: equipment costs, monitoring charges, and installation/activation fees.

These costs vary quite a bit depending on what a company offers. For example, Vivint gives you high-end home automation integration, but you’ll pay more for Vivint’s proprietary equipment. On the other end of the spectrum, SimpliSafe offers fewer features, but its equipment is much more pared down and affordably priced, making SimpliSafe a solid budget choice.

Installation and activation fees

Companies with professional installation charge extra for the service. Professional installation can be worth it if you don’t have time or the skill to install equipment and manage integrations. Your installer can walk you through your system and answer questions while there. Plus, pros will often give you a free security consultation identifying vulnerabilities on your property, like a sliding door that may need additional security.

ADT and Vivint charge the same price to install equipment until you get into the higher-level packages. ADT home security packages with lots of equipment and connective devices cost more to install.

By installing your own equipment, you can often save money and avoid the hassle of inviting a stranger into your home. Plus, installation is usually simple. Many companies send you stickers to install your system, so you don’t need much beyond a screwdriver to pop the back off of some battery chambers.

Frontpoint, SimpliSafe, Cove, and Link Interactive don’t charge activation or installation fees.

Monthly monitoring costs

Monitoring costs often depend on your system’s features, like mobile access, smart home control, or video cameras. But it can also depend on how many pieces of equipment you purchase or the type of alarm monitoring connection you want.

Vivint includes mobile app access with every plan—something few top competitors do. It loads its higher-tier plans with extra features like smart home tech and video monitoring. Those come at a cost: for example, if you opt for video monitoring, you’ll have to pay an extra $5 a month for every additional camera you add to your plan.

SimpliSafe and Ring keep monthly prices down by limiting the features they offer. Both are solid, basic security systems, but we don’t recommend them for smart home integration.

ADT offers the cheapest landline monitoring plan on our list. We recommend landline only if you live in an area without a reliable cellular connection because cellular service is more reliable and less susceptible to tampering. But if you need a landline connection, we highly recommend this ADT monitoring plan.

Compare home security systems equipment prices

Data effective 11/18/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
†ADT does not advertise equipment costs.

Equipment costs

Your equipment costs will vary based on how much equipment you need to secure your home and if you want to control smart devices alongside your alarm.

An apartment with a single entrance would probably be fine with most of the base packages list above, but a large single-family home with three exterior doors and a garage door will need lots more equipment for adequate coverage.

Vivint and Frontpoint offer higher-end equipment that costs more and has more smart home features. Vivint also makes a lot of its own hardware, so you pay for that customization and follow-up care. Link Interactive offers lots of discounts and inclusions when you sign a contract, so the initial costs are manageable.

Budget brands like SimpliSafe and Ring have less-expensive equipment, but you won’t get the same kind of smart home integration or connectivity with other devices.

ADT doesn’t advertise its equipment prices. We think that’s a miss for a brand that built its business on the trustworthiness of its name. It’s tricky to pin down exact prices because ADT’s authorized dealers often have different equipment. Our preferred authorized dealer, Protect Your Home, for example, may have slightly different equipment than another. It’s best to call and get a quote if you want ADT’s unparalleled experience in the industry.


More home security systems to compare

Though not in our top five, these alarm companies are still solid security choices and can meet many people’s needs. You install all of these yourself—no installation or activation fees apply.

Data effective 10/30/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*Cost of equipment is paid over a mandatory three-year contract
‡Doesn’t offer preset equipment packages. “Package” cost calculated using cost of basic equipment listed. Any equipment upgrades or additions would increase actual cost.

Monthly monitoring costs

Protect America and Brinks are the two traditional DIY home security systems with only professional monitoring on this portion of the list. Protect America’s base plan uses a landline connection for monitoring. If you want mobile access or smart home integration, you’ll need to upgrade to Protect America’s broadband or cellular monitoring.

Brinks, like Vivint, gives you mobile access at every price level. Unlike Vivint, Brinks suggests you call to discuss this option. You’ll also get home automation with the lowest price tier—unusual among traditional alarm companies.

Nest and Abode keep professional monitoring optional, and you can monitor your system for free from your phone. Scout charges you to use its mobile app for self-monitoring, or you can add professional monitoring for an extra $10 a month. Without the mobile app or professional monitoring, these are all just loud alarms that don’t do much. And if you want to save clips and tap into advanced camera features on your Nest camera, you’ll need a Nest Aware subscription in addition to any monitoring you get.

Equipment costs

Protect America has low startup costs because it rolls the price of your equipment into your monthly monitoring fee. Brinks also has financing options that let you pay a little more each month to spread your equipment costs over the length of your contract.

Brands like Nest and Abode require you to buy your equipment up front. Nest’s package costs a bit more, but if you want to start building a smart home security system that works seamlessly with cameras and Google Assistant, it is worth the extra money.


Home security cost FAQs

What other security equipment can I buy?

You can buy smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, freeze sensors, flood sensors, glass break sensors, etc., from almost all of the companies we review. You’ll have to pay extra, and the price ranges widely for equipment. But sometimes you can swap something out in a package (like door and window sensors for a glass-break sensor) or use equipment points to get more equipment or upgrade your security system.

We’ve reviewed lots of add-on security equipment. Check out our top recommendations for these devices:

Can I get a discount on homeowners insurance if I get an alarm system?

Many insurance companies will give you a discount if you can prove you’ve installed a home alarm system. Reach out to your insurance agent about specific details.

Is my security system tax deductible?

Unfortunately, unless you’re a business owner, you can’t deduct your home alarm system cost from your taxes. Look to homeowners insurance to lower costs instead.


Our recommendation

All the alarm companies we recommend are right for someone. The best option for you depends on your lifestyle, budget, and security needs. If you can afford to pay a bit more for equipment, we recommend choosing Frontpoint because you get tons of features at a reasonable monthly price.

>>View Frontpoint Plans

>>Read our post about the best home security systems to explore your options.

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