Smart home technology can be fun and convenient, but it can also save lives, property, and lifetime memories. These days, powerful security cameras, dependable Wi-Fi networking, and straight-to-consumer home security systems are more reliable, available, and affordable than ever. Coupled with constantly refined smart home devices, now’s a better time than ever to protect your loved ones and belongings from emergencies.
What was once the invasive, difficult process of having technicians evaluate and labor in your home for days, installing a security system is now remarkably easy. Comprehensive, user-friendly smart devices with vast features supported by wide ecosystems have made it that way.
Some smart home security systems come from well-known brands that have been on the market for years. These often come with professional monitoring services to ensure nothing gets past your first line of defense. Others are slightly less comprehensive but deliver peace of mind with long-range motion sensors and Internet-connected notification systems. Depending on your needs and budget, a security system exists for you.
Smart home security systems for peace of mind
Ring Alarm Pro
Ring security devices, particularly the Ring Alarm Pro, are popular due to their compact, affordable, and reliable design. They feature an integrated Eero router, battery backup, professional monitoring, and Edge encryption for video data protection. Advanced features include Alexa Guard Plus and Amazon Echo-based services. However, initial software installation can be cumbersome, and features may lack some user-friendly explanations.
- Wide-ranging feature set
- Cellular data in case of internet outage
- Alexa Guard Plus smart audio monitoring
- Initial setup is a bit clunky
- Subscription required for full features
- Controlled with multiple apps
Ring security devices, especially the Ring Alarm Pro, are incredibly popular for a few good reasons. They’re compact, reasonably priced, and, most importantly, as refined and dependable as smart home electronics can hope to be. In the case of the Alarm Pro system, that’s due partly to an integrated Eero router that ensures practically plug-and-play installation in addition to backup internet access should your home Wi-Fi connection ever go down. There’s also a built-in battery backup in case of a complete power failure.
You can (and, if you want peak protection, should) sign up for Ring’s professional monitoring plan, but you also have the option of local storage. Speaking of storage, Ring now uses a proprietary encryption feature called Edge to secure video data, so you don’t have to worry about bad actors gaining access to live or saved feeds. Ring security also has some interesting advanced features that are nice to have. One is Alexa Guard Plus, an Amazon Echo-based service that listens for sounds like breaking glass and smoke detectors to ensure no alarms go unnoticed.
There are a few drawbacks to the Ring Alarm Pro. If we had to pick a couple, the first-time software installation is somewhat cumbersome since you’ll need to set up three separate apps to configure the entire system. There’s also a bit of a lack of in-depth, user-friendly explanations for some of the more complex features. But these minor issues shouldn’t affect the day-to-use of a great home security system.
Abode Starter Kit
Wide device compatibility
$350 $415 Save
The Abode home security system is compatible with smart devices like Sonos and Bose, and features integrated Zigbee and Z-Wave radios. It offers high-end features like battery backup and a fallback cellular connection. While not perfect, it offers reliable and expandable security for those with a combination of security equipment.
- Extensive wireless protocol support
- Wide-ranging third-party smart device support
- Battery and cellular internet backup
- Doesn’t include a keypad
- Subpar camera performance
- Larger more bulky sensors
One of the most interesting things about the Abode home security system is how well it works with various smart devices from other manufacturers. Not only is it directly compatible with brands like Sonos and Bose, which most security systems aren’t, it even sports integrated Zigbee and Z-Wave radios that enable the use of many specialized devices. So if you already have smart locks, garage door openers, leak sensors, or similar, you can merge control of almost everything underneath the Abode app. Unlike many others, it’s pretty useful even if you don’t initially opt for the subscription plan. And if you’re on the fence about said subscription, there are two tiers to choose from, and you don’t have to commit to a contract.
It also sports some of the most useful high-end features, including battery backup and a fallback cellular connection in case your home internet goes down (although that requires a top-level monitoring plan). So if you already have a good deal of security equipment but want to tie it all together, Abode is a great choice. It’s not perfect, though. Abode’s cameras aren’t anything to write home about, although the best ones offer decent image quality at a price. Also, the sensors are pretty bulky, and the most effective subscription plan isn’t exactly cheap. But anyone willing to invest will likely be happy with the reliability and expandability.
SimpliSafe 9 Piece
$240 $300 Save
SimpliSafe security systems developed just a decade ago, are effective and user-friendly. A 9-piece kit includes four-door and window sensors, motion detectors, a keypad, and a wired camera. Add-ons like dedicated sensors and smart door locks provide added control. Although not the most affordable option, it remains a reliable midrange option with many customizability options.
- Just about the easiest to set up and operate
- Great outdoor camera performance
- A wide range of sensors available
- Minimal smart home integration
- Professional monitoring is a bit pricey
- Add-ons can get expensive
SimpliSafe security systems were at the very forefront of home security solutions just under a decade ago, and the latest versions remain effective and user-friendly despite having far more competition in the past. Its 9-piece kit comprised of four door and window entry sensors, two motion detectors, a keypad, one wired camera, and the hub needed to connect everything. It’s enough for small family homes, and a host of add-ons are also offered. You can, for example, pick up dedicated sensors that constantly check for leaks, breaking glass, or temperature and humidity. You can also integrate the SimpliSafe smart door lock for added control and peace of mind.
Aside from the relative ease of installing and setting the system up, SimpliSafe builds around high-quality components. In particular, the outdoor security camera provides high-resolution recording, two-way talk, and a built-in spotlight and siren, making it a basically all-in-one addition to the front lines of home security.
There are a few negatives to be aware of, though, such as the doorbell’s less-than-stellar field of view and lack of battery power. And while SimpliSafe’s pro monitoring service isn’t absurdly expensive, it’s far from the most affordable. Still, it is a tried-and-true midrange option from a company that’s been around for a while and staked much of its reputation on dependable home security devices.
Wyze Core Kit
Basic starter kit
Wyze home security systems offer a dependable, affordable solution for assembling a security system. The Core Kit includes a hub, keypad, motion sensor, entry sensors, and various Wyze cameras. The professional monitoring service costs $10 monthly, with a year-long subscription saving $20. However, it lacks integration with smart home devices and requires professional monitoring for most functions.
- Low component and monitoring costs
- Straightforward installation and use
- Easy to configure a custom setup
- Not very useful without a subscription
- Doesn’t have the most advanced features
- Limited integrations
Putting together a security system piece by piece ensures that you know exactly what you’re getting and aren’t wasting money on equipment you don’t need. That concept, plus a remarkably low price, is one of the biggest selling points behind Wyze home security systems. The Core Kit we’ve highlighted includes the most basic components: a hub, keypad, motion sensor, and pair of entry sensors. Of course, you’re not limited to just those devices, thanks to the wide variety of Wyze security cameras (indoor and outdoor, wired and wireless) and its selection of climate and leak sensors.
The professional monitoring service costs about $10 per month with no contract required, and you can save $20 on a year-long subscription. The Core Kit comes with three months of free monitoring, making it an even better deal than at first glance. Remember, if you decide to add some Wyze cameras, cloud video storage is still an additional charge.
While the Wyze system is the best basic and affordable choice, it has minor drawbacks. It doesn’t offer much integration with general smart home devices and lacks advanced features such as cellular internet backup. Also, while the professional monitoring service isn’t strictly required to use the hardware, you won’t be able to access most functions without it. But it’s hard to beat Wyze home security if you’re looking for something dependable, affordable, and easy to use.
Ring Alarm (2nd Gen)
Still high competition
The second-generation Ring Alarm offers similar features as the Ring Alarm Pro but is less expensive. It features an integrated Wi-Fi 6 router and 4G modem for power outages, ensuring security until the lights return. The basic Ring Alarm has all the necessary features, including Google Assistant and IFTTT programming compatibility.
- Reasonably priced
- Supports Z-Wave wireless devices
- Highly user-friendly
- Base station siren too quiet
- Lacks major integrations
- No police dispatch
The second-generation Ring Alarm has nearly all the same features as the Ring Alarm Pro, but costs a decent amount less. The only major difference is that the Pro version has an integrated Wi-Fi 6 router and 4G modem, which take over during a power outage, so you don’t lose your security system until the lights come back on.
If you’re not concerned about that specific issue, there’s little reason to opt for the more expensive setup. Otherwise, the basic Ring Alarm has everything most homeowners will need, including recently upgraded compatibility with Google Assistant and IFTTT programming.
Ecobee Home Security Bundle
Specially curated devices
$265 $280 Save
The Ecobee Home Security Bundle has reliable devices that monitor doors, windows, breezeways, and hallways. It lacks a keypad and uses a mobile device to notify the network and smart camera controller of the user’s home. Ecobee’s setup and management procedures make configuring individual parts easier than installing a bulky system.
- Integrated Alexa speaker
- Works perfectly with Ecobee’s great thermostats
- Automatic smoke alarm detection
- No keypad available
- No battery backup options
- Central monitoring can prove difficult
Rather than a cohesive, walled garden of branded security system components, the Ecobee Home Security Bundle comprises several highly reliable devices that keep your doors, windows, breezeways, and hallways monitored at all times. The lack of a keypad is the most noticeable difference between Ecobee’s bundle and a bona fide security system.
Instead, your mobile device lets the network and smart camera controller know you’re home automatically, so you don’t have to run to the panel and enter a code. Plus, while the essentially piecemeal configuration might sound a little more complicated on the surface, Ecobee does such a good job with setup and management procedures that you might even find configuring the parts individually easier than installing a bulky, complicated system all at once.
Keeping you safe and your data private
While we haven’t recommended any of its security systems recently, the recent Eufy unencrypted user data scandal is an important teaching moment for fans of smart home technology. The popular Anker-owned manufacturer may not have done anything outwardly malicious, but the discovery of unencrypted security footage uploaded to its cloud definitely raises considerable concern. So, we’re holding off on giving any Eufy products the thumbs-up until it can offer reliable assurances that there won’t be any more issues.
All that is to say that features alone aren’t the only important part of a smart security system or camera. The manufacturer’s practices are every bit as important. Luckily for consumers, scandals like Eufy’s are relatively few and far between among major players in the smart security field. While other companies have experienced similar issues, it’s usually treated seriously and taken care of quickly, as was the Wyze issue handled early in 2022.
Find the right smart home security system for you
Wading through generic, off-brand security systems is a little disheartening because there are tons. While they’ll save you money upfront, it’s not worth trusting the safety of your home, family, and belongings to something with no brand reputation or responsibility behind it. That’s why you’ll find primarily well-known brands on our short list of the top smart home security systems.
It’s also worth mentioning that the definition of a “smart” home security system varies among users and manufacturers. Some, like the X-Sense HS08, can respond to voice commands to enable, disable or offer minimal control over some components, but that’s as far as they go. Others like the Abode Starter Kit and ADT Blue are great for homes with many smart devices. Many high-end options also come with indoor security cameras as a bundle.
The Ring Alarm Pro is another in that category, thanks partly to the integrated Wi-Fi 6 router and Z-Wave radio. Unsurprisingly, it gets high marks, including the AndroidPolice Editor’s Choice award. Its user-friendly configuration, impressive feature set, unmatched performance, and long-term reliability make it the best choice for people who can afford it and are comfortable being part of Amazon’s ecosystem. But if you’re not very concerned about power outages and already have a robust, well-managed Wi-Fi network, the base model Ring alarm offers the same functionality at a notably lower price.
Wyze is another big name in smart devices that gets a lot of press and for good reason. More so than most competitors, Wyze security products are remarkably affordable (especially considering how well they work) and let you order exactly the components you need — no more and no less. Wyze is a great choice for anybody who’s already taking advantage of the excellent value of its standalone security cameras (just not the first-generation Wyze Cam, which is now discontinued) and wants to take the next step to live professional monitoring. In the case of Wyze, it’s worth noting that you’ll miss out on many features without the ongoing subscription plan, but that’s true of many competitors to some degree.
Finally, there’s one other setup that’s not exactly as smart as the rest, which some users will appreciate. The X-Sense HS08 doesn’t have any significant smart home capabilities worth writing home about; instead, it focuses on motion and entry monitoring at ranges well exceeding one mile. This is especially useful if you want to keep track of the doors and windows on a barn or garage far from your house, a driveway gate, or another latch-locked entryway. It offers little in the way of smarts beyond voice and smartphone app control, but nothing else can compete with its range at a similar price.
Ring Alarm Pro
No. 1 pick
The Ring Alarm Pro is the best smart home security system money can buy, and users will not be disappointed with the range of features and functions available. This compact, affordable, and reliable setup brings peace of mind regarding home security. With battery backup, professional monitoring, and advanced services, the Ring Alarm Pro is an all-around premium system for any home.