Apartment Security Systems
Apartment renters have different needs when it comes to home security, but having an alarm system is still essential to protect your family and possessions. Alarms can alert you to problems and can ensure the proper authorities — such as police and fire rescue — are notified when something goes wrong. But, finding the right alarm can be a challenge. To help make the process easier, check out our picks for the top apartment alarm systems.
SimpliSafe was a pioneer in the DIY alarm industry so it comes as no surprise that it’s perfected the art of simple, effective apartment security. SimpliSafe allows you to purchase your own equipment, with packages starting as low as $200.
Monitoring is also affordable, with prices starting at just $15. And, the best part is, you don’t have to sign any contracts and can do the entire installation yourself. Some smart home integration and top-rated apps also make this solution perfect for tech-savvy renters who want hands-on control and the ability to customize their system to meet their needs.
Window alarms. Door alarms. Roof alarms. Fire and water damage protection. Medical emergency alerts. These are just a few of the types of protection SimpliSafe provides to customers. And, 24/7 monitoring ensures alerts aren’t just sent to you when a problem arises — police, fire personnel, or medical personnel will be notified so you can get the help you need.
SimpliSafe is one of the easiest systems to set up in the industry. You don’t need tools, there’s no wires to run, and you don’t need to be especially handy or tech savvy. You can simply plug in your system and be up and running in a matter of minutes. And, if you do need help, SimpliSafe provides support, including professional assistance.
With SimpliSafe, your system can grow with you. You can start with a basic package priced at just $200 and can add additional products including more smoke detectors, additional alarms, added cameras, and more. Equipment is sleek and portable, and systems work in homes of just about any size.
SimpliSafe runs using a built-in cellular connection, so you don’t need to run any wires to use their security system. This is ideal for renters who probably won’t have much luck getting the landlord to give them the OK on drilling holes into the walls.
SimpliSafe doesn’t offer the chance to finance equipment. This means you need to shell out cash up front.
SimpliSafe’s equipment is proprietary. You can’t change to a different monitoring service while continuing to use your SimpliSafe equipment.
The Nerd Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
SimpliSafe has it all: attractive looking equipment that’s easy to set up, excellent reviews from customers, affordable monitoring and a top-rated app. You have the flexibility to customize your system and can even score special sales such as a free camera and 15% off your purchase. Few systems make it possible to get up-and-running in minutes and to get professional monitoring with no contract, but SimpliSafe is one apartment alarm that delivers these features and more.
Frontpoint Security Solutions dates back to 2007 and offers affordable DIY security with a simple setup and customizable equipment. Upfront costs for equipment start at just $99, making it the most affordable of the systems on our list.
While monthly costs for monitoring are a bit above SimpliSafe, customers benefit from the ability to get third party monitoring with no contracts. And, if you opt for a contract, you get a lifetime warranty, which many other DIY systems don’t offer. All of this combines to make Frontpoint a great option for anyone looking for home security for apartments.
Inexpensive equipment starting at just $99 makes Frontpoint very cost-effective, especially as you can DIY the installation. Monitoring is a bit more expensive than some of the companies on our list, but is still very affordable with packages starting at just $34.99 monthly.
It takes just 30 minutes to install a Frontpoint system and you don’t have to run any wires. DIY installation is perfect for apartment owners who may want to take their system with them when they relocate.
You’ll have to commit to three years of monitoring service to score a lifetime warranty.
SimpliSafe, for example, offers monitoring at a lower entry-level price point compared with Frontpoint.
The Nerd Verdict: 4 out of 5 Stars
If you want the most affordable equipment possible and are looking for great customer service, you simply can’t go wrong with Frontpoint. Easy installation, a warranty if you sign a contract and customizable equipment packages make Frontpoint a great choice for those who want a security system they can keep for a while and modify to fit their needs. While not the cheapest option out there, Frontpoint still won’t break anyone’s budget and it provides a great value for the money.
Wink Lookout makes our list because it’s a great option for those looking for a self-monitored system that’s rich in technological features. The Wink Lookout is compatible with a huge array of smart devices and it offers an endless variety of sensors and add-ons so you can keep your entire home safe and secure.
Because all sensors come pre-paired with the Wink Hub, installation is a breeze and DIY setup is incredibly fast and easy. Add-ons are also very inexpensive, so your system can grow with you.
Wink aims to help you build a truly smart home. Your Wink Hub is the centerpiece, which controls not just your security system but is also compatible with smart products from almost any brand you can think of. You can control your lights, appliances, HVAC system, security system, smart home appliances, and more — all with one mobile app.
With Wink, you can add motion sensors, sirens and chimes, door and window sensors, security lights, and more. Packages start at just $199 and add-ons are even more affordable so your system can grow with you.
Unlike the other security systems on this list, you don’t have to pay any monthly fees with the Wink Lookout. You pay the upfront cost of the system and you’re done. This makes it a great option for apartment-dwellers who want to make their home more secure without committing to having another bill each month.
While you’ll receive alerts, there’s no third-party monitoring service to notify police, the fire department, or medical responders of problems.
While Wink’s Android app receives a rating competitive with other security systems on this list, the iOS app receives the lowest rating of any of our top security system picks.
The Nerd Verdict: 4 out of 5 Stars
Self-monitored systems aren’t for everyone, but they’re a good choice for an apartment alarm system if you don’t want a monthly bill to pay. Wink is a top-rated self-monitoring system because of its customizability, because the Wink hub can connect to so many smart home devices, and because you have many options for how your system alerts you to problems. If you don’t mind being more hands-on with taking care of issues that arise in your home, definitely give the Wink Lookout a close look.
Scout dates back to 2013 and was started with simple support from crowd-funders excited about the idea of revolutionizing the home security industry. Scout is unique in its offerings because it’s a completely wireless security system that also uses cell backup for added security.
While equipment packages are a bit pricier than some of the packages offered by competitors on this list, Scout is still a very affordable solution — especially since its entry-level monitoring service is one of the cheapest of our chosen apartment security systems.
Scout offer a self-monitoring plan for just $9.99 monthly and 24/7 professional monitoring for only $19.99 a month. These prices mean monitoring is cheaper than with many other companies.
Scout allows you to build a system that’s right for you. You can select the color of your hub and add additional sensors based on the size of your apartment and the protection you need. Hubs and equipment are sleek and stylish and fit with any decor.
Scout integrates with Nest, Hue, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, Google Assistant, and Lifx. This smart-home integration makes it easy for you to fully customize your home security solutions and control everything using top-rated apps.
You’ll have to pay $9.99, unlike with other self-monitored systems that charge no monthly fees at all.
While other DIY systems on this list make professional installation available for those who need it, Scout is DIY only. So, if you can’t handle installing the system on your own, you’ll need to look to a competitor’s product.
The Nerd Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Price conscious consumers who like the security of cell backup with a wireless system will likely find Scout is a great solution. Easy installation, affordable and attractive products, and integration with many smart home products also make Scout attractive to tech-savvy apartment dwellers who want easy control from an app. A choice of self-monitoring or professional monitoring also provides the ultimate in flexibility, although you do pay a monthly fee for self-monitoring — unlike with the Wink Lookout. Since professional monitoring is affordable, you may prefer this option for the added peace-of-mind.
Nest is best-known for its smart thermostat, but it also offers home security with Nest Secure. A full Nest community makes this product unique as you’ll have access to a wealth of info from other knowledgeable Nest users.
While equipment packages are priced at the higher-end of items on this list, Nest’s experience within the home automation industry ensures ease-of-use and full integration with your smart home system. This it a great solution if you’re looking to achieve maximum control of your home with one simple app.
Your Nest system can be designed for your needs with a wide selection of different sensors, a range extender, smart locks, security cameras, and a key fob. Add on equipment including smoke detectors and CO2 alarms also allows you to protect your home from any hazard.
While not the lowest priced on the list, monitoring costs of $19 to $29 monthly make Nest Secure an extremely affordable option for those who want a third party looking out for them. Monitoring is done through Brinks Home Security, so a trusted company is watching and will respond when a problem arises.
The Nest app makes it quick and easy to arm and disarm your system from anywhere. You also have the option to simply ask your Google Assistant to arm your system for you. This simple, straightforward approach makes Nest Secure easier to use than some of the competing systems on this list.
Nest has received 60 one star ratings in the past year, according to Consumer Affairs. Customers allege poor support, problems with Nest disconnecting from WiFi, and customer service reps that aren’t knowledgeable about Nest products.
Nest equipment packages are priced higher than many competitor packages from other companies on this list.
The Nerd Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
If you already have Nest products, adding Nest Secure is an obvious solution for your apartment security needs. Your Nest Secure system will integrate nicely with other devices that give you control of your home using the intuitive Nest app. If you don’t already have Nest in your home, the customizability and easy installation of Nest Secure may still make this a great choice for you.
Vivint differs from the other items on this list because it’s professionally installed. Those who don’t want a DIY solution will like that professionals get the system up and running for the relatively low price of $99.99. The Vivint system also comes with a 120-day warranty, and customers are allowed to finance the system over time so it becomes more affordable.
Contracts are required only if you don’t buy equipment up front, and you can customize the equipment installed in your apartment so you have ample flexibility to get only the apartment alarm system you need.
Vivint has received 1,642 five star ratings over the past year, according to Consumer Affairs. Customers report satisfaction with security devices, responsive monitoring service, knowledgeable sales people, and an easy-to-use system.
Vivint allows you to build a personalized security system from the ground up so you can customize your system to fit your needs. Additional features can be added as your circumstances change, so your system can easily grow with you.
SkyControl doesn’t just offer control over your home security system. It provides full-service home automation technology that allows you to take charge of everything from your smart thermostat to your smart garage door opener to your alarm system. Not only do you get a sleek control panel for your home, but you can also use the Vivint app on iOS or Android to control your home’s devices.
You must pay $99.99 for a professional to install your system.
Costs are much higher than other systems on our list of top apartment alarms.
The Nerd Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
If you’re not a DIY-er and you want an affordable apartment security system that you can finance over time, Vivint is a top choice. Monitoring is more affordable than many competitor offerings, equipment is portable so can move with you, and a cellular connection ensures monitoring is always available. The option to choose a month-to-month contract also sets Vivint apart from many competitors and helped it to earn its place on our list of the best apartment alarm systems.
Any of our top picks would be a great choice for most apartment dwellers.
Things renters should consider when choosing a home security system
As you compare your options for home security for apartments, there are a few key features to look for. You’ll need to consider:
- What components you want: Do you need security cameras? Are door and window alarms necessary? Would a smart lock help you feel more secure? Different systems offer different components and you want an apartment alarm that provides appropriate protection for your space.
- Is your system professionally monitored or self-monitored? A self-monitored system alerts you or your chosen contacts when things go wrong while a professionally monitored system has a third party that responds if a sensor is triggered. After contacting you, the third party monitor can notify police, fire personnel, or first responders of problems. There’s an added cost, but much stronger protection, with a professionally monitored system.
- Can you take equipment if you move? Wireless systems are usually portable, which is great for renters. But, hardwired systems may not be moveable, which could be a big problem for those who don’t own their apartments and who don’t want to worry about being stuck with a security system they can’t take with them.
- Is the system wired or wireless? Wireless systems are easier to DIY and don’t require making holes in the walls. But, they work only if you have a signal, whereas hard wired systems could connect to your landline and have cell backup so they may be less likely to fail.
- Do you need permission from your landlord? While you may not need permission to install a wireless system, you would definitely need your landlord’s OK before getting a hard-wired system. Installing smart locks or security cameras may also necessitate getting permission from your landlord as well.
By considering all of these key factors, you can find a security system that’s right for you. Be sure to check out the six companies on this list as any of our top picks would be a great choice for most apartment dwellers.
About the Author
Christy Rakoczy has been a full-time writer for more than a decade. She has a law degree from UCLA School of Law and a degree in English, Media & Communications from the University of Rochester. In addition to writing for the web, she has also written textbooks and educational content and has served as a subject matter expert for online course development.