Abode Home Security Review
Based out of San Francisco, Abode is a fairly new player in the home security game. Founded in 2014 by a former ADT executive, this forward-thinking company provides simple DIY home security at a fair price. While Abode doesn’t have a long track record, it is already making an impression on customers with its many smart home options and flexible monitoring services.
Customers pay annually or month-to-month, but you can even choose to pay for monitoring for smaller increments — as little as three days at a time. Abode definitely gives customers freedom from those lengthy contracts.
Abode plans give customers the flexibility to choose from its basic system with no professional monitoring, all the way up to 24/7 monitoring at a great price. There are only two standard bundles to choose from, and any additional equipment can be purchased a la carte. That means each customer is creating a custom home security plan for their own home and that pricing will vary entirely based on your monitoring choice.
One major sticking point with this company so far is that Abode does not have a stellar reputation for customer service. In fact, it is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has a C- grade, which could mean some unhappy customers with major issues that Abode hasn’t addressed.
Here’s how we graded Abode:
- Hardware: 3.0 out of 5. Customers choose from sleek hardware and get a 1-year warranty. But some Abode reviewers point out the hardware seems a little flimsy and less sturdy than equipment from other home security companies.
- Customer Service: 3.0 out of 5. It is worth noting that our Security Nerd experienced quick and helpful customer service both on the phone and via chat, but Abode reviews have numerous complaints about customer service. With a C- from the Better Business Bureau, this seems to be an area where Abode is currently falling short.
- Pricing: 4 out of 5. The basic equipment comes at a great price, but depending on your home, the upgrades can really start to add up. While it is comparable to other DIY companies, you only get “premium customer service” if you pay for the top tier. “Premium customer service” simply means that your calls and requests get prioritized over customers who do not have the monitoring service.
- The Mobile App: 3.5 out of 5. Because Abode is a newer company, there aren’t a ton of app reviews from customers yet. While the ratings in both app stores are decent, there are multiple reviews citing bugs and usability issues that don’t appear to be addressed by the company in the app store.
- Smart Home Capabilities: 4.5 out of 5: This is where Abode shines. With multiple smart home options and the ability to configure existing smart home equipment into your Abode security system, you won’t be disappointed if automation is a priority for your home.
Abode Fees & Features
Fees and features are based on what type of bundle you choose, if you are paying annually and if you choose to have 24/7 monitoring. Our Security Nerd was also offered a few deals from helpful service representatives, so make sure to ask for coupons and specials. Another perk you’ll get when you purchase a full system from Abode: You can get a huge discount on monitoring plans for the first year.
The basic plan is no extra cost, and means you won’t receive any monitoring. For $8 a month, Abode will give you cellular backup. And at $20 a month, you will have 24/7 monitoring and other features like premium telephone support. You’ll also get unlimited hardware warranty while you’re under an annual plan.
If you choose to pay annually, prices can vary on monitoring based on if you’re a new or existing customer. Make sure to ask a customer service representative about how much you could save on an annual contract. The website notes it’s about 33%. Here are fees and features you can expect with Abode security:
|DIY or Pro
|DIY or Pro
|DIY or Pro
|Smoke and CO Monitoring
|Yes if purchased
|Smart Home Integration
|Unlimited while under annual plan
|iTunes app rating
|Google Play app rating
Abode plans allow customers to purchase equipment and self-monitor, or you can pay more for 24/7 monitoring with no contract required. And if you choose no monitoring, you can also opt at any point to have the company monitor your home for as little as three days (for a cost) if you’ve planned a vacation or need to be away unexpectedly.
Abode is not known for its customer service. While our Security Nerd had a great experience when dealing with the Abode reps (as a not-yet-customer), there are simply too many bad reviews out there to ignore. Existing customers don’t seem thrilled with the customer service they’ve experienced and that is a huge red flag for us.
Equipment available from Abode
Abode offers two basic starter packages. The main difference between the two are the hubs. The Gateway is the more basic hub and it comes with a window sensor, motion sensor, key fob and a company window sticker. The second choice is the iota hub, which is an all-in-one hub that includes sensors and a camera. Each package starts with one of those two bundles, and you add on what you need from there.
You will need to pay up front for your equipment, although Abode partners with a third- party company called Affirm that will help you break up your payments if you can’t make them all at once.
Customers can choose from the company’s smart home equipment, or choose to integrate what they already have including popular options like Nest or Alexa.
Below are the products you choose from when creating your own security system with Abode
- Gateway control panel (Or iota control panel for an extra $30)
- Door/Window sensors
- Motion sensors
- Key fob
- Glass break sensor
- Indoor and outdoor sirens
The Abode Mobile App
The Abode app doesn’t have as many reviews as its competitors and has mediocre scores in both stores. However, it’s important to note that many complaints are dated before the company’s most recent app update, so it remains to be seen how this could change reviews.
- 4.1 rating in the Google store with 360 reviews
- 3.4 rating in the Apple App Store with 88 reviews
This app lets you disarm and arm your system from your smartphone and watch live video to see what’s happening in real time. You can also:
- View live activity and any possible break-ins from app
- Control home automation options from one place
- Custom push notifications
The biggest issue in Abode reviews pertaining to the app include widget bugs and complaints about the app freezing. Reviewers also say that the app drains too much battery.
Abode Smart Home Capabilities
Abode does manufacture its own smart home products, but what really caught our Security Nerd’s interest is the long list of Z-wave compatible devices that you can tap into easily. You’ll also be able to integrate with popular systems like Alexa and Nest. The company uses an enhanced automation engine with its products called CUE, which allows you to create multiple conditional triggers to make your smart home work exactly the way you want it to. Abode offers these products from its own website:
- Occupancy sensor (turns on lights, triggers automations, senses temperature changes)
- Temperature/light sensor
- Smart home power switch
Abode Customer Service
Customers receive phone, email, and chat customer service during the following hours:
Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm PST
Sundays and after hours, customer service is email only which may be a turn-off for some customers.
To test customer service, our Security Nerd called the company to inquire about a potential security system:
- Sales: Our Security Nerd inquired about a new system through Abode both on the telephone and chat services and was helped within a few minutes in both instances. Representatives were helpful and quick to answer questions about home automation, and seemed knowledgeable about pricing. Our SecurityNerd was offered a promotional coupon code on top of the sale offered on the website.
- Design: The customer service representative asked about creating a system from scratch, or starting from a basic starter kit. Our Security Nerd got the impression that Abode is probably used to renters in smaller apartments purchasing the basic kit, and found it refreshing that the representatives were not trying to sell her on extra items that weren’t needed.
- Install: Abode has a simple installation process and gets high marks for simple and quick setup. But this DIY company understands some customers may still want professional installation, so that is offered as well at the time of purchase and is completed by a third party.
- Service: Our SecurityNerd tested both phone and chat features and was helped in a quick and thorough manner. Representatives also offered a great deal on monitoring ($260 savings) for the first year if a starter kit is purchased directly from Abode.
Abode covers the following areas
Abode pricing and packages
Installation is DIY, so you won’t see any installation fees unless you decide to go through the third party company to purchase professional installation. When purchasing a system with Abode here are the costs to consider:
- Equipment Cost: You’ll have to purchase one of the two starter kits no matter what, but they are both relatively cheap. It gets more expensive with every add-on, and if you choose professional installation, you’ll pay extra for installing those add-ons, too. Customers pay for equipment up front, but will receive a hefty discount if they sign a longer contract.
- Monthly Costs: If you choose to self-monitor, you’ll only pay a fee if you want to purchase the $8 a month cellular backup plan. Professional monitoring will cost you $20 a month. However, if you buy one of the starter packs directly from Abode, you’ll receive a hefty discount on your first year of professional monitoring.
- Cancellation fees: You will have to pay a $25 fee to cancel any plans you purchased if you decide to use the company’s 30-day money back guarantee. You’ll also forfeit any unused months if you decide to cancel an annual plan you’ve prepaid for. And if you cancel, you’ll have to pay shipping to get your equipment back to Abode.
Here are the prices for Abode’s equipment. Each system comes with a standard hub, sensors and a key fob included in the starter kit price.
|$ / unit
|Smart security kit
|iota all in one security kit
|Mini door/window sensor
|Recessed door sensor
|Slim strip sensor
|Vibration glass break sensor
|Acoustic glass break sensor
|Wide angle motion camera
|Water leak sensor
|Smoke alarm monitor
|System status indicator
|Smart home power switch
|Yard sign with light
Nerd Rating: 4 / 5
Abode really shines when it comes to flexibility and customization. With a wide array of smart home choices and simple setup, Abode could be a good choice for someone looking for a DIY security system.
Pricing is competitive with other DIY companies, but Abode can turn out to be more expensive than you think if you have multiple add-ons or if you’re dealing with outfitting a larger home.
Abode reviews also show that customer service needs improvement. Because the company is only about 5 years old, we’re curious to see if that improves over the next year or so.
The fact that you can choose a system without a contract, and even pick up monitoring for short periods of time while you’re out on vacation makes this a great option for budget-conscious buyers who want serious flexibility.
If you are still on the hunt for other options, here are a few to consider:
- Scout: This company is also a good fit for the budget-conscious customer, but their customer service scores are much higher than Abode’s.
- Simplisafe: This is another DIY company that provides you with the flexibility to avoid a lengthy contract. Like Abode, you can also choose to self monitor or have professional monitoring at an affordable price.
- Larger national companies like ADT or Vivint: If you just don’t think you can figure out what equipment your home needs over the phone or online, and you’d like a professional to install your system, a larger company might be something to look into.
Abode is a good option for someone who wants to steer clear of lengthy contracts and wants a customizable home security plan with streaming video and an app. While the company is still young and experiencing growing pains when it comes to customer service, Abode does provide a 30-day guarantee so you can always give it a try yourself.
About the Author
Erin is a freelance video producer and writer based out of Florida. She works with major retail companies and digital startups as a brand storyteller. When Erin's not writing, you can catch her scuba diving and spending time with her dog (not at the same time).