You might think home security systems are only designed for single-family dwellings. And you might even think that people who rent are out of luck if they want to leverage the newest technologies to protect their families from burglars.
These days, there are plenty of security providers that can protect condos, townhomes, apartments — heck, even tiny houses. Wherever you call home, there are providers with equipment and services designed to protect you.
In this guide, we’re highlighting the best home security solutions for apartments. These are the ones that you can install without any drilling, use without long-term contracts, and set up on your own. Use this information to make an educated decision about which system is right for you and your particular situation.
SimpliSafe shows up on our best lists for a lot of reasons, but the reason it’s our top pick for renters is two-fold: It’s affordability and it’s portable.
Simply put, SimpliSafe is a true DIY security system — it’s super easy to install and you won’t have to make any permanent modifications to your apartment, meaning your landlord is going to be fine with it.
Their basic systems that come with enough equipment to keep an apartment fully covered run for about $250, and right now, these systems are all 40 percent off — they’re even throwing in one of their new free indoor cameras if you sign up for their Fast Protect monitoring service. You can read more about that in our in-depth SimpliSafe review, but if you’re looking for a security system to keep an apartment protected, SimpliSafe gets our recommendation.
Like we said above, SimpliSafe is our top choice for its ease of installation and affordable prices, but there’s more to this security provider.
Let’s start with monitoring. SimpliSafe’s monitoring costs are among the lowest in the home security market, with standard monitoring starting at just $19.99 per month. They also recently released their Fast Protect monitoring service that works in tandem with their new indoor camera. With this crime-fighting duo, emergency response agents can look through your camera when an alarm sounds to confirm the presence of a threat and get authorities on their way with the information they need. The monthly cost for that? $29.99.
You can also completely forego the monitoring service. In that case, you have an additional two options. First, you can sign up for unlimited cloud recording and 30 days of cloud storage. That costs $9.99. Or, pay nothing, and make your system truly self-monitored. Keep in mind that in that case SimpliSafe will only notify you and try to deter burglars using its built-in sirens. Your protection stops there. It won’t call the police; that will be entirely your responsibility. And it won’t allow you to record what happens.
SimpliSafe’s equipment packages are priced between $250 and $700. You can also build a SimpliSafe system from the ground up, one of many reasons we rated SimpliSafe as one of the most affordable security systems available. Learn more in our complete SimpliSafe plan and cost guide. And remember, right now, their security packages are 40 percent off.
If you’re not looking for frills, the SimpliCam, SimpliSafe’s original indoor camera, works well as part of the larger SimpliSafe system and only costs $99. Their outdoor camera, which connects through Wi-Fi and includes unlimited Cloud storage with a monitoring plan, costs $189.99. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of their standalone equipment and prices:
|Wired Indoor Camera||$99.99|
|Smart Alarm Indoor Camera||$139.99|
And don’t let the SimpliSafe’s DIY approach scare you off. Installation couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is plug in the base station, stick your sensors up on the wall — you don’t even need a power drill — and control everything from your smartphone. And if you ever end up deciding to move, the system is super simple to take down, pack up, and bring with you. No renegotiating contracts, and you won’t need techs to come uninstall everything.
|Monitoring Options||Professional Monitoring Available|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa, Google Home, and August Smart Locks|
|Equipment Cost||From $249.96|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||From $9.99|
|Contract Length||Month to Month|
Alder’s high-quality DIY security packages impressed us for many reasons, including great portability and equipment quality – both appealing qualities we look for in apartment security. When we reviewed Alder, the whole thing took only 15 minutes to install. And they are one of the only brands we’ve tested that offers the choice between DIY installation and free professional installation.
Generally, we prefer the DIY option as installation is simple with many systems. However, we know that some people — like those with physical limitations — appreciate professional installation. And it is always great to have options!
Check out Alder’s pros and cons:
If you’re an apartment dweller, Alder offers a lot to like.
First, their equipment is 100 percent wireless. That makes installation extremely easy. All told, it took us about 10 to 20 minutes to get our system up and running. Even better, wireless means you won’t be scuffing the walls with power tools. Hey, you might even get that security deposit back! Best of all, though, we were able to customize our package to our particular needs, so we got everything we needed for apartment living and nothing we didn’t.
In terms of features, Alder provides the latest in technology. Proof of that is the tablet-like control panel that will make you feel like you’re living in the future. The control panel facilitates all controls, plus it helps you monitor your system from your couch. It also puts you in touch with the monitoring center directly during emergencies thanks to its two-way voice feature.
As far as Alder’s system pricing goes, individual equipment costs aren’t so easy to find. It’s a setup that reminds us of Vivint, one of the smartest and most effective security systems we’ve tested. Instead of visiting a brand website and choosing from different packages and plans, we connected to a helpful agent who guided us through all of Alder’s options to find the right fit.
Pro Tip: Right now Alder is running a pretty significant sale. New customers can get up to $850 worth of free equipment, including a free doorbell camera. You’ll need to call them to see if you qualify, though
Once you’re all set up, your apartment is that much safer with the fastest response times in the industry. If there’s a break-in or emergency, Alder can respond as fast as 3.4 seconds! They also offer a couple of camera options — both indoor and outdoor — and a video doorbell camera option as well (third-party devices). Now, if you’re into home automation, rest assured the equipment works with Alexa for voice control, and you can even integrate Z-Wave compatible devices. So there should be plenty of smart home options to keep you busy.
Finally, it’s important to know that Alder operates with down-home values, and they seem to really care about their customers. This shines through in customer-friendly policies like lifetime warranties and free in-home installation. The company is even known to support local high schools and youth sports organizations. Pretty cool!
|Monitoring Options||24/7 professional only|
|Installation||Professional or DIY|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa and Google Home|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||$35|
|Contract Length||36 months|
Frontpoint is another top contender in the DIY home security space that is well suited for renters. They offer high-quality, easy to install equipment — more on that in our Frontpoint review — and their no-nonsense pricing structure won’t have to locked into paying for things you won’t use — more on that in our guide to Frontpoint’s costs. Overall, Frontpoint offers peace of mind and exceptional value.
Frontpoint Security is consistently rated one of the best home security companies in the country. Their costs are competitive and they provide their customers with exceptional customer service. Frontpoint is one of our favorites for several reasons. Its easy, wireless installation makes Frontpoint one of our best DIY security system picks of the year. Even the least tool-savvy person can install this system in less than 30 minutes. And if you need assistance, Frontpoint’s customer service is among the best in the business.
All three of Frontpoint’s equipment packages come with 24/7 monitoring. Frontpoint’s monitoring includes a whole host of features like smart lock control, geo-location services, and full video and image history. Recently, the company also added video analytics. Basically, cameras can tell the difference between people, animals, and cars, and you can customize your alerts based on what they see.
One caveat of Frontpoint is the monitoring cost. While most apartment security systems offer optional monitoring services and affordable monthly fees, Frontpoint requires professional monitoring with a rather hefty fee. It costs $49 per month.
On the bright side, that fee covers everything from home security monitoring to home automation, and it offers plenty of features in between. For example, it enables your security cameras to record in the cloud for backup footage or evidence in case of a break-in.
If you’re looking for a security system a little more advanced than most DIY apartment security systems, and you’re willing to pay the higher monthly fee, Frontpoint is an excellent choice. Plus, if you decide to move out and live in a larger house in the future, Frontpoint has a customer-friendly moving process and your monthly fees won’t increase.
|Monitoring Options||24/7 professional|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa and Google Home|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||$18|
|Contract Length||1-36 months|
Cove home security systems are surprisingly affordable and come with one of the best promises in the business: “If you don’t like it as much as your kids, return it for your money back.” Well, we tried it, and it checks out as a pretty solid option for apartment living and renters. The easy DIY setup and user-friendliness really stood out to us in our in-depth Cove review.
Starting at only $14.99 per month, Cove has come onto the DIY home security scene with something to prove. The costs of a Cove system are among the lowest out there, making it a top pick for affordable home security as well as for solid apartment security. We recently used the system in our home, and we were pleased with how quick and easy it was to get up-and-running. The installation took 10 minutes from start to finish, making it a great choice if you live in an apartment. And since there’s no drilling required, you can take it with you and keep the landlady happy.
Cove also offers two security cameras to help you keep an eye on things. Here’s a breakdown of their offerings, their features, and their prices. What’s more, this equipment is currently on sale.
|Cove Camera||Resolution||Features||Price||Sale Price|
|Eufy Outdoor Camera||2K||
Note, however, that Cove does require a monthly monitoring fee (no self-monitoring option). That said, it’s one of the cheapest monitoring plans we’ve seen, and it’s definitely reliable. We experienced 30 second response times, and the police even showed up when they thought there was trouble brewing. We also got a lot of use out of Cove’s “Custom Actions” feature, allowing us to set smart automations in the mobile app.
|Monitoring Options||24/7 professional and DIY|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa and Google Home|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||$50|
Brinks, another classic security company with a reliable reputation, offers a DIY home security system with high-quality equipment, a 30-day return policy, 24/7 monitoring, and home automation features. Brinks is a contract-only system, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, choosing a Brinks home security package means you’ll get all the equipment you need upfront, but you don’t have to pay it in full. Instead, Brinks lets you pay off your system over time, and after that, all you’re responsible for is Brink’s monitoring costs. The Brinks name is widely known and respected in the home security industry so you can rest assured you are dealing with a company that knows what they are doing and has a long-term history of value and affordability. Here are some of the Brinks pros and cons.
We’re fans of choice, so we like the fact that Brinks offers both a DIY installation and a professional installation option. DIY has the advantage of being free, of course, and if there’s one thing we like better than options it’s free options. Still, professional installation comes with a lifetime warranty, and for $199 that’s not bad, especially for anyone who might be tool-challenged.
There is a contract requirement with Brinks, which is three years with most of their plans. But what makes the Brinks option so attractive is that it works with a wide variety of smart home devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant, etc, whereas most other home security equipment isn’t as flexible. Another thing to keep in mind is that cameras are not included in the basic package. If you want indoor cameras, you will have to subscribe to the upper tier monitoring plan.
Overall, you really can’t go wrong with Brinks, especially now that they have merged with Livewatch and Moni. This gives them an edge over the competition because of their flexibility and versatility when it comes to overall equipment and monitoring options many of which can be used with third-party home automation features. Not to mention their affordable plan options that span a fairly wide budget spectrum so they have something for just about everyone.
For much more insight and considerations on Brinks, visit our full Brinks security system review.
|Monitoring Options||24/7 professional|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa and Google Home|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||$39|
|Contract Length||36 months|
Living in an apartment can sometimes pose challenges when it comes to installing a home security system. So if you are looking for the best apartment security systems for your needs—look no further. Abode home security might be just what you’ve been looking for and it can be easily integrated with a variety of third-party smart home automation features as well. Additionally, there are no contracts to sign, it’s affordable, and they offer a surprising number of add-ons from which you can choose.
Abode was founded in 2014, so they are a relative newcomer to the home security landscape. However, they are quickly becoming one of the top contenders in the industry. In fact, Abode has an 8.3 out of 10 customer rating on Trustpilot based on more than 1756 reviews!
Abode is also a popular option for those who live in an apartment because they don’t require a long-term contract, their equipment is affordable, customizable, and compatible with a variety of third-party devices. All of which offers apartment dwellers the flexibility they need in a security system.
In our full abode analysis, the system allowed for self-monitoring, which meant we could opt out of professional monitoring.
Abode has a seemingly endless number of add-ons to go with its basic equipment packages, including water leak sensors, indoor sirens, signs, decals, and five different kinds of window sensors. The company produces smart products, like smart plugs and light bulbs in a variety of different colors. And, it’s compatible with more smart home products than we have time and space to list, from Kwikset locks to Dome water main shut off valves. It’s no wonder we’ve named abode one of the best no monthly fee systems, as well as one of the best systems for self-monitoring, in this super-competitive industry.
Abode also has on-demand monitoring, and if If that weren’t enough, the Abode equipment is an extremely easy, no tools required, DIY installation that’s portable which is an important feature when you live in an apartment.
What makes Abode stand out most of all when it comes to being one of the best apartment security systems is that it’s wireless. So the equipment can be easily moved from place to place. Every component is attached using an adhesive strip, which is included with your purchase. So all you have to do is remove the adhesive, take down the equipment, and re-install it using a new adhesive strip when you move-in to your new apartment. Additionally, all your devices will remain paired with your system. That means they can be easily connected once you get to your new home.
|Monitoring Options||Professional and DIY|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit|
|Equipment Cost||From $99.00|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||From $8.33|
If you rent your apartment, some of the best brands out there have features tailor-made for renters. Our list of the best security systems for renters is a great resource to help you choose the system that fits your space. Generally, renters tend to prefer equipment they can move around easily, and many of them are on a budget, too. You will first need to contact your landlord and find out what their policy is regarding security systems. In addition, if you are renting, it’s always smart to ask your property manager or landlord if you’re allowed to hardwire a security system (visit our best hardwired security systems for some excellent options) or is wireless the only option? Do they allow you to display security decals or stickers on your windows? It’s best to get all of those answers in writing before choosing a home security system.
If you are the owner of rental property, you might consider developing a set criterion that includes what your renters can and can't do when it comes to installing a security system then have them sign it. This will help reduce your liability should someone install a security camera improperly or in a prohibited area.
Pro Tip: One of the best ways to prevent burglars from breaking into a rental property is to install security lighting. Not only will this protect your renter, it can keep your property from being damaged, too.
Additionally, if you own rental property, buying and installing security cameras could be a good crime deterrent and provide you with video proof of a crime should it occur. A security system will not only help you protect your investment, but it could also help protect your residents to some extent as well. However, with that being said, there are some very specific state and federal laws concerning audio and video recording. And sometimes those laws can even vary from city to city. Therefore, it's imperative you seek legal advice on how to proceed before installing a security system on your rental property. For lots more tips and benefits, take a look at our in-depth security system buyers guide.
Purchasing a security system when you live in an apartment carries a different set of criteria than it would if you owned a single-family dwelling. Therefore, consider taking some time to research the best home security systems for apartments so you can make an educated decision about which one is right for you. Here is a list of features to consider before making any final decisions.
DIY is the apartment-dwellers dream. These security systems are up-and-running in a flash, with practically no tools, and zero wiring or holes to drill. Sure, there are more robust systems on the market, but those require professional install (not to mention a stranger in your apartment). Also, you take it with you when you move. There’s lots to love about apartment security systems.
Home security systems for apartments use Entryway Sensors to secure the perimeter. Especially important for first floor units, you simply mount the magnetic sensors on doors, windows, and other entry points. When the alarm is set, the sensors will sound the alarm when the magnets are separated — which will most likely cause the bad guys to tuck tail and run.
Renters are all about convenient automation. That’s why Remote Control is a top feature for apartment-dwellers. Take total control of your home security system with a keychain fob and a sleek mobile app. The hands-free capabilities are quite impressive. Depending on your system and technology, you can remotely arm and disarm the system, and control a number of other automation features.
Wireless home security systems for apartments are all the rage for a reason. We touched on the ease-of-installation, but there’s more to it. Many landlords don’t even allow hardwired systems, as the drilling and wiring can be quite invasive to their property. With a wireless system, everyone’s happy. You’ll have to think of other more creative ways to annoy your landlord.
Mobile Alerts is fantastic feature that most home security systems for apartments offer. This lets you access, monitor, and control your system from your smartphone or other device. If and when the system senses activity, you’ll be the first to know. The helpful and timely alerts are typically sent via text, email, and even by phone. Secure your apartment, from anywhere, anytime.
Some choose to “self-monitor” their apartment security system. Others choose to bring in the big guns with 24/7 Monitoring. Around-the-clock professional monitoring is available for many (but not all!) DIY wireless systems. While this feature can certainly be helpful, if you self-monitor using mobile alerts, you’ll save some cash. Also, 24/7 monitoring might require a contract.
This feature is especially helpful in 3+ bedroom apartments, to monitor less-trafficked areas. The devices themselves are straightforward: if they sense motion, they sound the alarm, and you receive an alert. To reduce false alarms, some motion detectors can tell apart your pup from a perpetrator. Although not always necessary, motion detectors are a helpful component for a more robust apartment security system.
You never know when you might want to expand your system. Thankfully, many home security systems for apartments allow you to add loads of additional features. Live-stream video cameras, home automation controls, and a host of other options will keep things interesting. And the best part — many of these upgrades are wireless, DIY install. So take it with you when you move.
Caught in a sticky situation? Feel threatened? Need help? Simply press the panic button on your control panel or mobile pendant to summon assistance. This is a great feature for apartment-dwellers, no matter their age. Many of these devices also boast two-way voice so you can communicate directly with the monitoring center without having to find a phone and dial the number.