Best Home Security Systems with No Contract

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A state-of-the-art system and advanced home automation features.

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Best DIY System

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Easy-to-setup. Small, powerful, and stylish. No middlemen. No contracts.


Best Home Automation

The oldest—and possibly the most trusted—home security provider in the U.S.

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Home security systems have evolved over the past decade. They are no longer limited to long-term contracts with companies that install a few surveillance cameras throughout a home. Instead, the best home security systems provide professional monitoring through connections with smart devices. They also work in tandem with the best smart home features.

For example, homeowners can monitor their properties using the home security system’s app even if they are thousands of miles away. Having greater control over home security, without losing the benefits of professional monitoring, is ultimately what homeowners love about these advanced home security systems.

Choice is also important. Most homeowners want to find the best homes at affordable prices, and the same is true for their home alarm systems. The best home security systems with no contract offer professional monitoring at affordable prices. Homeowners and renters can breathe a sigh of relief because they no longer have to lock themselves into tedious long-term contracts with home security companies.

What is a home security system?

The most basic home security systems sound an alarm when an entry-point is breached and offer peace of mind in an age of uncertainty. An array of sensors can be connected to the system’s control panel to detect this breach. Some of the most common sensors include:

  • Motion sensors
  • Glass-break sensors
  • Security cameras
  • Video doorbells
  • Home automation controls
  • Floodlights
  • Key fobs and panic buttons

The best home security systems with professional monitoring will also contact local authorities if the correct password or voice command is not given within a predetermined time frame after a sensor has been triggered.

How do home security systems work?

A home security system works in four stages.

Stage one: A sensor is triggered

A security sensor is placed at all windows and doors that lead into the house. The homeowner inputs the password on the system’s control panel which activates the alarm. One of these entry points is opened and a signal is sent to the control panel.

Stage two: A signal sent to the control panel

Motion sensors and security sensors send signals to the control panel. An alarm sounds. The process ends here if professional monitoring is not included with the security system.

Stage three: The monitoring base station contacts the homeowner

False alarms are common, so the monitoring station will contact the homeowner when an alert is received from the control panel. The homeowner will then either be prompted to input a code or give a voice command. If calls go unanswered, or the wrong prompt is entered, the monitoring station enters the next stage.

Stage four: The monitoring center contacts the authorities

First responders and the police are contacted.

Why do you need a home security system?

A home security system provides five main benefits.

Family protection

The assurance that a home security system will alert the family of danger helps satisfy their basic human need for safety. Families can then protect themselves as best as possible until help arrives. Otherwise, the intruder can use the element of surprise to his or her advantage.

Protection for home and valuables

Often times, posting a sticker that indicates the home is protected by a security system is enough to deter intruders. Those who still try to enter are usually scared away by the sound of the alarm. A home security system wards off intruders and, therefore, protects both the home and its valuables.

The ability to detect potential dangers

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can also be included in a home security system, which will protect your family from both intruders and environmental hazards.

Remote access to a home

A home security system can transform an ordinary home into a smart home, giving homeowners control over more than just the alarm. The home security system’s app can be used to control lights, smart locks, security cameras, entertainment and even HVAC system.

Home insurance discounts

Value Penguin estimates that the average cost of home insurance is $1,083 per year.

Insurance companies tend to offer home insurance discounts for homes with home security systems since they are perceived as less risky than homes without security systems. As such, a homeowner with a home security system can pay less than $1,000 per year for home insurance.

What is the difference between a monitored and self-monitored home security system?

The difference between monitored and self-monitored DIY systems is simple. A self-monitored home security system requires the homeowner to call the authorities should there be a breach. A monitored security system, on the other hand, has a monitoring station that calls the authorities on the homeowner’s behalf. An additional fee is charged for this service.

Home security systems with no contract can either be monitored or self-monitored. A self-monitored system should:

  1. Have the ability to send push or text notifications
  2. Call the homeowner directly if the system is breached
  3. Send a message to additional contacts chosen by the homeowner such as family members and close friends

Self-monitored security systems also tend to have more DIY elements. As such, they are not ideal for homeowners who have neither the patience nor the time to set up and continuously monitor the system.

What are the features of the best home security systems with no contract?

There are six things to consider when evaluating the best home security systems with no contract.

The size of the system

Larger homes need more sensors and smart home features than smaller homes. So naturally, a large home security system will be needed for large homes and a smaller home security system for small homes.

Asset protection devices

Asset protection devices send alerts when assets have been tampered. This is not a make or break feature though unless homeowners have one or more highly valuable assets such as expensive jewelry or paintings.

Comprehensive protection

The best home security systems are more than just burglar alarms. They also offer sensors that can detect environmental hazards such as fires. Some even offer sensors that can detect when appliances are not working properly, thus providing huge cost-savings for homeowners.

Equipment packages to suit any budget

Homeowners should choose the right combination of home security system features that suit their budget. Inflexible home security system packages have one price and limited options. They may also be lacking in features that are important to a homeowners specific goals and needs.

Personal security

Some of the best home security systems offer panic buttons that are ideal for the elderly, as well as people who live alone with no neighbors close by. These panic buttons are ideal for several personal security threats, including medical emergencies. For example, someone who has fallen down the stairs and dislocated her hip would be unable to call for help. If she’s wearing a panic button on her wrist, she can easily press it and get assistance. This is not a must-have feature, but may be an option worthy of consideration.

Smart home features

A home security system can transform an ordinary home into a smart home. There are special add-ons that allow the homeowner to control the home remotely (open/close doors or windows, turn on/off appliances and so on) via a smartphone. Some home security systems can also be integrated with Google Home and Amazon Alexa for voice-command features.

Can home security systems be hacked?

Home security systems have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. The strength of the home security systems internal software infrastructure determines how difficult it is for hackers to break through. A home security system can be hacked in one of three ways.

Signal interception

Wireless signals transmitted by a home security system can be intercepted if these signals are not encrypted. A hacker can use a Software Defined Radio (SDR) to intercept transmissions of an un-encrypted home security system. The hacker then has complete control of the home security system and can take full advantage of this power. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to choose a home security system that emphasizes data encryption.

Software loopholes

Home security system apps are often based on open-source software, which allows third-party software developers to create applications based on the software. The risk of open-source software is that hackers can also exploit its weaknesses for their own gains.

Homeowners should only purchase home security systems that restrict third-party access. They should also ensure that the home security system’s software and firmware are up-to-date. Current updates include patches that fix pre-existing loopholes.

Physical tampering

Some home security systems can be pulled apart easily and hackers will use this to their advantage to turn the system against the homeowner. Homeowners should ensure that the home security system purchased cannot be easily tampered with, and that a signal is sent when any form of tampering is detected. DIY home security systems put homeowners at considerable risk in this regard, which is why professional installation is recommended, if at all possible.

How much do home security systems with no contract cost?

There are usually five types of home security system fees that homeowners should consider:

  1. Activation fee
  2. Installation fee
  3. Equipment fees
  4. Monitoring fees
  5. Miscellaneous fees

Home security systems with no-contract have upfront fees, and the monthly fees of these systems vary depending on the features the homeowner chooses to purchases, especially if professional monitoring is added. Upfront equipment costs can range from $100 to $2000, and may include a monthly equipment fee. Most home security systems allow homeowners to pay some of these costs over 36 months, on average.

What are the best home security systems with no contract?

Here are our 8 top picks for the best home security systems without a contract.



Vivint

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  • Overall Rating: 3.9
  • Features: 4.5
  • Price: 3.5
  • Ease of Use: 4.0
  • Customer Service: 3.5

Vivint offers a total home security package with numerous features that are not offered by other home security systems providers. What’s more, the company’s sleek equipment provides a modern twist on a wireless home security system. Homeowners are encouraged to call Vivint’s award-winning customer support system to create a personalized home security system to suit their unique needs.

While there is a no-contract subscription option, homeowners must pay for equipment upfront and there is a mandatory monthly monitoring fee. Equipment can cost as much as $1800, but can be paid off over a 5 year period using the Monthly Flex Pay plan. There are two professional monitoring options: Smart Security System and Smart Home Service. The Smart Security System costs $29.99 per month and the Smart Home service costs $39.99 per month. Amazon Echo can also be purchased as a part of the Vivint package.


ADT

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  • Overall Rating: 3.8
  • Features: 3.5
  • Price: 3.5
  • Ease of Use: 4.0
  • Customer Service: 4.0

ADT is one of the oldest home security system providers. Home automation is one of ADT’s best features. It helps homeowners reduce energy costs by automating lights and thermostats, which can translate into huge energy savings. Door locks are also automated. Home automation is only available in ADT’s higher tier plans.

One disadvantage of using ADT is that the no-contract option offers no professional monitoring services. Therefore, nothing happens when an alarm is triggered unless someone hears the alarm and calls the police. Unfortunately, packages that offer professional monitoring are tied to a 36-month contract.


Simplisafe

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  • Overall Rating: 4.0
  • Features: 4.0
  • Price: 4.0
  • Ease of Use: 4.5
  • Customer Service: 3.5

Simplisafe offers completely customizable home security systems, along with DIY installation, although homeowners can still hire a professional, if desired. Simplisafe’s equipment can be used with Alexa, Google Assistant, August Locks, Apple Watch and other voice-activated systems. Equipment must be purchased upfront, and fees can range from $99 to $368. There is also an optional monthly monitoring fee that ranges from $15 to $25.

The biggest drawbacks of Simplisafe are that home automation options are limited, there is no outdoor security, and the system is really only ideal for small spaces.


Frontpoint

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  • Overall Rating: 3.6
  • Features: 3.0
  • Price: 3.5
  • Ease of Use: 4.0
  • Customer Service: 4.0

Frontpoint offers a safer, smarter and simpler home security system with no contract. This home security system can be used right out of the box because it is customized, integrated and tested before it is shipped to the homeowner. Homeowners can create a personalized package or choose from six pre-existing packages. Pre-existing packages range from $69 to $832. Homeowners can also request a free consultation for professional monitoring.

The Frontpoint mobile app is also highly effective. It has a feature called Smart Home Rules which allows homeowners to “automate [the] system to follow custom rules based on specific locations, schedules and activities.” Homeowners can also create personalized notifications that give them further control of their home security outside the home.


Cove

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  • Overall Rating: 4.1
  • Features: 3.5
  • Price: 4.0
  • Ease of Use: 4.5
  • Customer Service: 4.4

Cove is one of the newest home security systems on the market, and the company offers a free quiz on its website to help homeowners identify the necessary equipment. Cove also offers a lifetime equipment warranty, and equipment can be paid for over a 36-month period. Monthly monitoring fees range from $14.99 to $24.99.

The process of installing the system is a DIY project with Cove, and the preconfigured equipment is simple to install. Additionally, homeowners will hear the name of the alarm that is triggered instead of an annoying siren. So, for example, if the homeowner names the front door siren “front door,” when this alarm goes off, the system will say “front door” repeatedly. Unfortunately, Cove only provides three indoor security cameras and outdoor cameras are available upon request. Home automation is also minimal, but the system can be synced with Google Home or Alexa.


Nest

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  • Overall Rating: 3.8
  • Features: 3.5
  • Price: 4.0
  • Ease of Use: 4.0
  • Customer Service: 3.5

Nest offers one of the widest selections of home security and smart home devices. The company began with smart thermostats, and has since evolved into a full-fledged home security company. What’s more, some of their devices are also multi-functional. For example, a contact sensor may also be used as a motion detector, depending on where it is installed. Additionally, Nest Secure's smart devices learn the homeowner’s routines, as well as what their family and friends look and sound like, so that an unfamiliar person can be easily detected.

The full suite of home security equipment starts at $399, and there are three subscription tiers that are priced on a per-camera basis. The first tier costs $5 monthly or $50 annually. The second tier costs $10 monthly or $100 annually. The third tier costs $30 monthly or $300 annually. The major difference among these tiers is the amount of video data storage offered.


Scout

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  • Overall Rating: 3.5
  • Features: 3.5
  • Price: 4.0
  • Ease of Use: 3.0
  • Customer Service: 3.5

Scout was founded in 2013 and offers completely customizable wi-fi supported home security systems with cellular backup. Homeowners can create their own system, using the guidance of the website, which helps to ensure that they get exactly what they need. There is a 3-year warranty on most equipment, and two monitoring plans. The self-monitoring plan costs $9.99 per month and includes 4G LTE backup with unlimited notifications. The professional monitoring plan costs $19.99 per month. Camera cloud storage can be added for $2.99 per month per camera.

Unfortunately, there are some inconveniences with the installation process, and some customers have complained about having to put slight grooves in their doorways to successfully install Scout’s door sensors. Additionally, marks may be left on areas where sensors once were, so repainting may be necessary.


Ring

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  • Overall Rating: 4.1
  • Features: 4.0
  • Price: 4.0
  • Ease of Use: 4.5
  • Customer Service: 4.0

Ring started as a smart doorbell company, and was acquired by Amazon in February 2018. There are two subscription plans: Basic and Plus. The Basic plan costs $3 monthly or $30 annually while the Plus plan costs $10 per month or $100 annually. The Plus plan provides active video recording and professional monitoring for all devices.

Homeowners can call customer service between 5am and 10pm to receive guidance on the equipment necessary for their home, and there is a Neighbors app that acts like a virtual neighborhood watch. Real-time updates are provided by both neighbors and law enforcement on crimes occurring in the area.

Two-way-talk is another useful Ring feature. It allows homeowners to talk to anyone who approaches the Ring doorbell camera, even if they are miles away. This feature can help scare away intruders, as well as prevent theft of Amazon packages.