If you live in an apartment and want to install a security system, you might find yourself wondering about the best home security systems for apartments in general. You might think installing a security system in a rental limits your options. And while that might be somewhat true, the security industry is evolving every day and there are a wide variety of home security systems for apartments that are every bit as good, if not better, than their wired counterparts.
So let’s take a look at security options for apartments then you can use this information to make an educated decision about which apartment security system is right for you and your particular situation.
Frontpoint is a top contender when it comes to providing a high-quality DIY home security system that lends itself well to apartment living. Frontpoint gives you more for your money than any other security company and tops it off with the best 24/7 customer service in the industry. Here are some of the Frontpoint Home Security pros and cons.
- Wireless Security System
- DIY Installation
- No Installation Fee
- Crash and Smash Protection (tamperproof control panel)
- Exceptional Customer Service
- Home Automation Features Available (with select packages)
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- 100% Cellular Monitoring
- Compatible With Z-Wave (with select packages)
- Security Alerts
- Optional Indoor Cameras With Night Vision
- Environmental Disaster Protection (with select packages)
- Interactive Security System
- Long-Term Contract
- $199 Activation Fee
- No Landline or Broadband Options
- A Credit Check Is Required
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. The Frontpoint Security system is a very easy wireless DIY installation that even the least tool-savvy person can perform in about 30 minutes.
There are three monitoring plans and they all include a smoke and heat sensor. And for an additional charge, a flood sensor can be installed. These features are always important, but are especially important when you live in an apartment because you live in such close proximity to others. Which means even though you might be a responsible renter, it doesn’t mean everyone else is. So these features are just another layer of protection for you, your family, your pets, and your belongings.
The Frontpoint contracts are either one or three-year agreements; however, if you want the package pricing, you have to sign a three-year contract. However, you can use all the Frontpoint equipment via an app on your mobile device.
Frontpoint is considered one of the best security companies for apartments because of their high-quality, easy, wireless DIY installation, exceptional customer service, and affordable options.
If you want quality, convenience, and a top-notch security company, Frontpoint might be just what you’ve been looking for.
SimpliSafe is one of the top providers of self-monitored DIY security systems for apartments. They don’t have long-term contracts or any monthly costs and their equipment is very easy to use, which is great if you’re a beginner or just like to keep things simple. In addition, their equipment is high quality and the overall design is extremely durable and versatile. Here are some of the SimpliSafe pros and cons.
- Easy DIY Installation
- Wireless Equipment (works with or without monitoring)
- Low Monthly Rates
- 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- Three-Year Equipment Warranty
- No Long-Term Contracts
- Award-Winning Cellular Monitoring
- Self-Monitoring Option
- Customizable Systems
- Cellular Alerts
- Environmental Disaster Protection
- Indoor Video Available
- No Home Automation Option
- Up-Front Equipment Expense
- No Smartphone Controls With Self-Monitoring Option
- Proprietary Equipment
SimpliSafe is a great option if you don’t want to sign a contract and it costs less than other security systems. It’s also very easy to install and the system will work whether or not you choose to add a monitoring plan. The SimpliSafe system communicates by linking to your internet connection. It’s also portable and will send you activity alerts regardless of where you put it. Additionally, even though this is a self-monitored security system, SimpliSafe does have a monitoring option if you so choose for a minimal monthly fee.
The SimpliSafe equipment packages range from about $229 to $499 and are under warranty for three years. Their indoor video cameras have a motion sensor and night vision and they also offer environmental protection for smoke, carbon monoxide, and water leak detection, which is especially important when you live in an apartment due to the close proximity in which everyone resides.
Most people also find the SimpliSafe system very easy to use and for the installation, you simply plug-in the base station, place the sensors around your apartment, then adjust the settings. In addition, the SimpliSafe system also comes with a battery backup if you ever lose power. And the best part is when you move from an apartment into a house, you can take the entire system with you.
Brinks, Livewatch, and Moni have recently merged to provide you the best in DIY home security and professional monitoring services. In addition, the Brinks system is very affordable because the equipment is included with most of the contracts for free so there is no upfront payment required. 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.
- Equipment Included Free (with most contracts)
- 24/7 Monitoring
- Smartphone Controls
- Home Automation Features
- 30-Day Return Policy
- Equipment and Installation Options Better Than Most
- DIY or Professional Installation
- Remote Control
- Wireless and Cellular Monitoring
- Nest Secure Option Available
- Mobile Alerts
- Crash and Smash Protection
- Environmental Sensors Available
- Works With a Wide Variety of Smart Home Devices
- Hacker Protection Feature (encrypts sensor signals)
- Live Streaming Video (with select plans)
- Cloud Video Storage (with select plans)
- Live Voice Assist (with select plans)
- Three Year Contract With Most Monitoring Plans
- Stringent Cancellation Policy
- There’s a Charge for the Professional Installation Option
Brinks has partnered with Nest; therefore, you have access to more plan options and they start at $19 per month with the available Nest Secure plans offering the lower monthly fees. Brinks offers both a DIY installation and a professional installation option that comes with a lifetime equipment warranty, but if you choose the professional installation option be prepared to pay the installation fee of $199.
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, and have partnered with Nest. 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.
4. Nest Secure
If you like gadgets and home automation features, you are going to love Nest, especially if you already have the makings of a Nest ecosystem already in place! Nest Secure is not the cheapest option on the market ($399 for the basic setup), but it is certainly a great DIY home security system that allows for plenty of room to grow. Another great thing is that Nest Secure does not require a monitoring plan to work. The system has the capability of being self-monitored if you so choose. And, as you would expect, the self-monitoring option won’t cost you as much either. Here are some of the Nest Secure pros and cons.
- Easy to Use Equipment and Mobile App
- Seamless Integration With Other Home Automation Options
- Self-Monitoring and Professional Monitoring Options
- Plenty of Features and Functionality
- Multiple Arming and Disarming Options
- Nest Cam Integration (video)
- Easy Installation
- More Expensive Than Other Starter Kits
- Expensive Monitoring Unless You Opt for a Long-Term Plan
- Cellular Backup Option Has a $10 Per Month Cost
- Nest Aware (cloud video recording and storage) Is Also An Extra Cost But Is Included in the $10 Per Month Cellular Backup Option
- Slow Alert Notifications (which are only available via email)
Nest Secure is very easy to use, everything from the install, to the equipment, to the mobile app. In fact, that is one of the things people like the most about it. In addition, Nest offers some of the best customer service in the industry as well. There are some things for you to be aware of though when it comes to buying a Nest system. Nest is owned by Google so that might make your system vulnerable to data mining. Additionally, Nest does offer add-on subscriptions such as purchasing a cellular battery backup and/or Nest Aware, both of which can be a bit on the expensive side, especially if you don’t already have some of the Nest equipment already in place. But, with that being said, their home automation features are enviable and very easy to add-on to.
If you are looking for affordability, then Scout might be just what you’ve been looking for because their plans start at $9.99 per month for their self-monitoring option and only $19.99 per month if you want professional monitoring. In addition, Scout is very well designed and has some of the highest quality equipment on the market. However, they don’t offer any type of advanced equipment such as cameras, etc. So you will have to consider that if video cameras are important to you. Another great thing about Scout is that you can select your own equipment and they don’t require you to sign a contract either. Here are some of the Scout pros and cons.
- No Long-Term Contracts
- Easily Integrates with Nest and Amazon Echo
- Phone Widgets for Arming and Disarming Your System
- Cosmetically Appealing Design
- No Installation Fee
- No Activation Fee
- Lower Monthly Monitoring Rates Than Competitors
- Easy DIY Wireless Installation
- Ability To Add Unlimited Users
- Custom Alerts
- Wi-Fi Communication With 3G Cellular Backup
- Plenty of Configurability Options
- Mobile App for Access, Monitoring, and Control
- Compatible With Environmental Sensors
- 60-Day Return Policy
- Requires You Pay a Monthly Fee For It To Work
- Free Self-Monitoring Option No Longer Available
- Only Comes With a One Year Equipment Warranty
- Scout Charges for Extra Window Stickers and Yard Signs
- No Professional Installation Available
Scout is a relative newcomer to the security industry; however, their business model has taken off and they are doing very well. One thing to keep in mind though is that you have to pay for their equipment upfront and they only offer a one year warranty on that equipment, which is shorter in length than most others in the industry. But again, their equipment is also less expensive than others in the industry as well.
Home Security Systems for Apartments
If you are a renter, you might need to spend a little more time researching the best home security systems for apartments so you end up with one that suits your particular situation. You will first need to contact your landlord and find out what their policy is regarding security systems. Do they allow you to install a wired security system, or do they only allow a wireless system? Can you apply alarm company window stickers to your windows? And any other do’s and/or don’ts they might have. Then whatever you have been told by your landlord, it’s best to get that permission and their specific policies in writing, just in case they forget what they told you or if they happen to sell the property to someone else.
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.
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.
Features of Apartment Home Security Systems
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.
Most security systems suitable for apartments are DIY wireless installations. And most landlords, in general, will only allow wireless installations so they don't end up with holes all over the place. A DIY installation is one you buy, setup and install yourself without the assistance of a professional.
Entryway sensors are designed to work on windows and doors. These sensors are installed on the window and door frames and can detect if any given window or door is opened or closed, at which time will trigger the sensor and alert you as to the activity.
A security system with remote controls uses keychain fobs, your mobile device, and other similar equipment to communicate with your security system to disarm it once you are within a certain range. This is a convenient hands-free method of entry and protects against being locked out because you've forgotten your code.
As we mentioned above, most landlords only allow wireless security systems to be installed on their property. This will prevent a resident from drilling holes in walls, ceilings, and other areas. It will also prevent the possibility of improperly installed wires from creating a fire hazard, or worse. A wireless security system is one that the equipment is portable and not permanently installed using wires, but rather by adhering the equipment to doors, windows, and other designated areas.
Most DIY wireless security systems for apartments include the capability of setting up custom mobile alerts and notifications to make you aware of any activity that has or is occurring at any given time. A mobile alert is most commonly received via text, email, or by phone. Additionally, a mobile app is generally provided for accessing, monitoring, and controlling your security system.
A security system that offers 24/7 monitoring is generally one that enlists a monitoring center to monitor your alarm system for suspicious activity and will contact you, the proper authorities, a friend, neighbor, and/or family member if suspicious activity is detected. In addition, there is usually an accompanying monthly fee associated and a contract requirement with this type of service.
Motion detectors work differently than entryway sensors. A motion detector detects motion rather than the act of opening or closing a window or door. Some motion detectors can be programed to detect only certain types of motion, which in some cases will ignore the movement of your pets, and, in other cases, a motion detector, if advanced enough, could have the capability of using facial recognition and/or vehicle recognition so it doesn't send alerts when your family or your vehicles are the ones in question.
An expandable security system for apartments is typically one that starts with a base package and can be added on to as the need arises. For example, you might start with a panel, a few window and door sensors, and later add one or more video cameras and a home automation system, etc. Additionally, some expandable security systems work with other third-party home security and home automation equipment that you have or plan to buy making those systems even more attractive than their counterparts that only work with same brand equipment.
Panic Buttons & Pendants
Panic buttons and pendants are most commonly thought of as medical alert devices. However, these types of equipment are becoming more and more mainstream as a security device for people of all ages while they are out and about. In addition, many alarm control panels also have a panic button feature you can press should you ever feel threatened. Most of these panic buttons, pendants, and alarm panels have a two-way voice feature you can use to communicate with a monitoring center when pressed.