What Is a Smart Home Security System?

Quick answer

There are three common types of smart home security systems:

  1. Security systems that include their own home automation equipment
  2. Security systems that are compatible with third-party smart home equipment
  3. DIY security systems that you build on your own with individual smart home devices

Get the details

Smart home security systems

Looking for a smart home security system? You’ve got three types to choose from—a system with its own smart home devices, a system that works with third-party products, and a system you cobble together yourself with individual products.

The first two options are usually available with professional monitoring, which is essential if you aren’t around to respond to an alarm in an emergency. If you put your own system together with separate products, you won’t usually have the advantage of professional monitoring.

Pro Tip
You can’t always respond to an emergency on your own. If you choose professional monitoring, someone else will watch over your home even when you can’t.

Monitored smart home security systems


Frontpoint is a good option if you want a system that works with third-party home automation devices. Because Frontpoint security systems are compatible with Z-Wave technology, you can pair a Frontpoint security system with lots of smart home devices, including your favorite smart lights, door locks, and thermostats.

Best Value
Our rating:
4.5 out of 5.0
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5


    Vivint offers one of the best smart home security systems if you want to get all your equipment through one provider; plus, Vivint offers some of the newest, sleekest equipment in the industry. You can get a doorbell camera, thermostat, indoor camera, and garage door controller all through Vivint. Plus, Vivint security systems are still compatible with third-party devices so you can add smart Kwikset door locks to your system.

    Best High-End System
    Our rating:
    4.2 out of 5.0
    4.2 out of 5 stars4.2

      DIY smart home security systems

      If you don’t have the budget for monthly monitoring, consider putting together your own smart home security system with individual products. You won’t get the benefit of professional monitoring, but you can still keep an eye on your home and control devices while you’re away and save a bit of money each month.

      What should you include in your smart home security system?

      • Smart door locks
      • Smart lights
      • Garage door controllers
      • Smart smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms
      • Outdoor security cameras
      • Indoor motion sensor cameras
      • Video doorbell
      • Smart thermostat

      Our favorite smart home security products

      Best smart door lock: August Smart Lock Pro

      Best smart door lock
      August Smart Lock Pro

        You can control this smart lock remotely or unlock it with your standard keys, making it easy to be sure your door is always locked when it should be.

        Amazon.com price as of 10/18/19 11:25 a.m. MST

        Best video doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell Pro

        Best video doorbell
        Ring Video Doorbell Pro

          Use this doorbell camera to prevent package theft and communicate with visitors even when you aren’t home. We particularly like Ring’s customizable motion zones that let you tailor the motion sensors to your space.

          Data effective 09/03/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

          Best garage door controller: Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener

          Best garage door controller
          Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener

            Use your smartphone to open or close your garage remotely and get alerts when other people open the garage.

            Amazon.com price as of 10/18/19 11:25 a.m. MST

            Best outdoor security camera: Nest Cam Outdoor

            Best outdoor security camera
            Nest Cam Outdoor

              This is one of our favorite outdoor security cameras because it integrates with other home automation products, offers two-way audio, and is easy to install.

              Amazon.com price as of 10/18/19 11:25 a.m. MST

              Best indoor security camera: Nest Cam indoor

              Best indoor security camera
              Nest Cam IQ Indoor

                This stylish indoor camera can be installed almost anywhere inside your home. Use it to monitor entrances or to keep an eye on parts of the house that could be dangerous for small kids.

                Data effective 09/03/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

                Best smart lights: Philips Hue

                Best smart lights
                Philips Hue

                  Smart lights are fun and convenient, but they can also also improve your home security. We’re fans of the Philips Hue lights because you get lots of fun features, but you can also discourage break-ins by controlling your lights remotely to make it look like someone is home while you’re gone.

                  Amazon.com price as of 10/18/19 11:25 a.m. MST

                  Best smoke detector and CO alarm: Nest Protect

                  Best smoke detector and CO alarm
                  Nest Protect

                    You need a smoke detector, and you need a CO alarm. Why not get both in one? Plus, Nest Protect won’t just blare an alarm, it will actually tell you where the problem is located.

                    Amazon.com price as of 10/18/19 11:25 a.m. MST