Best Cellular Home Security Systems in 2024

For home security systems using a cellular network, our top choice is ADT for its competitive packages and innovative features.

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ADT Image
ADT
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
ADT delivers big with cellular security systems. You no longer need a landline to protect your home and family with the industry’s most established brand. Best of all — packages are competitively priced and offer loads of great features.
877-959-7762
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Vivint Image
Vivint
SecureScore™: 9.1/10
Vivint is best known for its well-designed equipment and easy-to-integrate home automation. Even its most basic equipment package includes professional installation, the Vivint app, and plenty of sensors.
855-934-0535
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SimpliSafe Image
SimpliSafe
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
No Wi-Fi? No problem. SimpliSafe home security offers one of the most reliable cellular networks in the industry. A robust partnership with Verizon and T-Mobile ensures that your SimpliSafe system is always active and ready.
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  • ADT Product Image
    ADT
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    ADT delivers big with cellular security systems. You no longer need a landline to protect your home and family with the industry’s most established brand. Best of all — packages are competitively priced and offer loads of great features.
    View Packages
  • Vivint Product Image
    Vivint
    SecureScore™: 9.1/10
    Vivint is best known for its well-designed equipment and easy-to-integrate home automation. Even its most basic equipment package includes professional installation, the Vivint app, and plenty of sensors.
    View Packages
  • SimpliSafe Product Image
    SimpliSafe
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    No Wi-Fi? No problem. SimpliSafe home security offers one of the most reliable cellular networks in the industry. A robust partnership with Verizon and T-Mobile ensures that your SimpliSafe system is always active and ready.
    View Packages
  • Cove Security Product Image
    Cove Security
    SecureScore™: 8.8/10
    Effortless DIY home security that balances features and design. Cove also comes equipped with its own RapidSOS technology over cellular connections, which gives emergency services a more accurate picture of your situation faster.
    View Packages
  • Frontpoint Product Image
    Frontpoint
    SecureScore™: 8.7/10
    Cellular monitoring is the gold standard for home security systems, and Frontpoint delivers in this category. Their smart home security systems connect to the monitoring center using a cellular signal so that you can rest easy knowing you’re secure.
    View Packages
  • Alder Product Image
    Alder
    SecureScore™: 8.8/10
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The home security system market is growing by leaps and bounds, not only in terms of sales, but also in terms of technology. Today’s systems are levels more effective than systems sold just 10 years ago. One of the biggest improvements is the addition of cellular connectivity.

Wi-Fi systems are convenient — especially if you buy one of the best wireless home security systems — but you can never be sure when your signal may go out. Good hardwired systems are reliable, but it’s still possible to take them out of commission by cutting a home’s power. Cellular systems, on the other hand, offer the best of both worlds. You don’t have to worry about complicated wires running among all your security components, but you can rest assured that you’re protected in virtually any eventuality because cellular networks almost never go down.

Because it’s still relatively new technology, however, not all home security systems offer it. We know which ones do though. Even better, we know which ones offer the most security and convenience for the money. Want the inside scoop? Keep reading.

Best Cellular Home Security Systems

SimpliSafe Equipment

  • 1 ADT - Best Professionally Monitored System

    ADT Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    8.6
    Value
    8.7
    Equipment
    9.5
    Features & Technology
    9.6
    Ease Of Use
    9.6
    SecureScore™
    9.2

    Overview

    We like ADT well enough to put it at the top of our list of the best home security systems, so the fact that all systems include cellular backup made putting it at the top of this list a no-brainer. The downside is that you’re locked into a three-year ADT contract, but that’s not a huge sacrifice for the quality return you get.

    • Intuitive and easy-to-use app
    • 24/7 professional monitoring with nine monitoring centers
    • Cellular backup
    • SMART Monitoring technology for faster response times
    • 150 years of experience
    • Offers Google Nest Cams
    • Now offers DIY components via ADT Self Setup

    • Requires a contract; 36 months minimum
    • Installation fee costs $99 minimum
    • Limited touch-screen control panel features
    • Equipment costs more than the DIY competition

    Installation

    Since starting in the home security industry 150 years ago, one thing has stayed the same with ADT: All systems are professionally installed. You pay a fee, but you get premium service with techs who know what they’re doing. They not only handle any hardware issues, but they can also help you decide on the best place to put equipment and talk you through the technical side of things, like how to automate your ADT system. Recently, though, ADT has also rolled out some great DIY-installed systems, which can save you money if that’s a priority.

    Monitoring

    ADT can feel a little restrictive to some homeowners, in part because there’s no choice to self-monitor. We always recommend investing in professional monitoring, and ADT has one of the best monitored systems in the industry, with six separate monitoring centers throughout the country. If you prefer to control your system or you’re looking to save a little money on monthly fees, you may want to look elsewhere.

    One other thing about ADT is that you don’t get much choice over your monitoring plan. The company offers only two plans: one for systems that use cameras and the other for systems that use only sensors. It recently lowered its prices for monitoring by a lot, though, cutting fees nearly in half. Below is an overview of ADT’s current monitoring plans.

    Features ADT Essential Monitoring ADT Essential + Video Monitoring
    24/7 professional monitoring Yes Yes
    Remote access to smart devices No Yes
    Livestreamed video No Yes
    Cloud backup for video clips No Yes
    Cellular backup No Yes
    Price $24.99 per month $34.99 per month

    Price

    You can save big money on an ADT system with the new DIY-installed systems. It’s not just that you don’t pay for installation; the systems themselves are cheaper. ADT’s lowest-priced systems now cost around $200, but they can still go well over $1,000 if you want multiple cameras. The company also just cut prices on its monitoring plans. You can now get monitoring for as low as $25 a month. You’ll need to bump up to the $35 Video plan if you want cellular backup and smart-home integration, but that’s still a great deal.

    Our Experience Testing ADT

    Testing the ADT Control Panel

    Testing the ADT Control Panel

    As you’ll discover if you read our full ADT review, there’s no one we trust more to protect our home than ADT. There’s a reason the company has been in business for nearly 150 years. Yeah, we know, just because a company has been around a long time doesn’t mean it’s a great company. ADT is though. It continues to innovate, create great system components, and offer outstanding professional monitoring.

    For example, we had a small kitchen fire while we were testing the system. Nothing too serious — just a microwave dinner that got left in the microwave for a little too long. Like, 10 minutes too long. It could have been worse, though, if ADT had not notified us. Monitors got a signal from our fire alarm, verified it through our ADT camera, and then sent us an alert. Because we were home, we were able to take care of the whole thing with a well-placed shot from our fire extinguisher. The local fire department was ADT’s next call if we had not picked up.

    Did You Know? ADT recently partnered with Google to make its security components smarter. As a result, ADT now offers Google Nest Cams for all of its video monitoring packages. Check out our review of the Google Nest Cam and our review of the Google Nest Doorbell for more details on the cameras.

    With 150 years in the business, it’s perhaps not surprising that ADT is a fairly traditional system. It still requires customers to sign a three-year contract, for instance. ADT salespeople like to create custom systems and charge custom prices as well. Until recently, it required customers to purchase professional installation. The company is modernizing, though, while still maintaining some of the nice aspects of tradition, like friendly customer-service agents.

    Equipment cost Packages starting at $194.98
    Monitoring options Professional
    Monitoring cost Starting at $24.99 per month
    Contract length Starting at 36 months
    Installation options Professional or DIY
    Smart platform integration Alexa and Google Home
  • 2 Vivint - Best Technology

    Vivint Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.1
    Customer Service
    8.9
    Value
    8.4
    Equipment
    9.3
    Features & Technology
    9.5
    Ease Of Use
    9.2
    SecureScore™
    9.1

    Overview

    It’s no surprise that Vivint would offer a great cellular connection with its home security systems. After all, the company offers the most technologically sophisticated system out there. The question is: How much are you willing to pay for one of those systems? Vivint is definitely advanced, but it charges a pretty penny.

    >> Learn More: Vivint Review

    • Wireless equipment
    • Advanced home automation and customizations
    • 7-inch touch-screen smart home hub
    • AI-powered outdoor, indoor and doorbell cameras
    • Professional installation service
    • Cellular monitoring with two monitoring facilities

    • Equipment can be pricey
    • Requires a contract up to 60 months
    • Short three-day cancellation window
    • Lack of pricing transparency on its website

    Installation

    Vivint continues to require professional installation on all of its systems. The systems are pretty technologically advanced, and the company wants to make sure they’re set up correctly. Plus, there’s a rumor that you can sometimes get Vivint installation for free if you’re willing to do a bit of haggling. We recognize it’s a downer for customers who prefer to make their own decisions about where to place their cameras.

    Monitoring

    Like ADT, Vivint offers only full-service monitoring. Unlike ADT — and most other home security systems — Vivint’s monitoring is 100 percent cellular. As we say over and over on this page, cellular is by far the most reliable form of communication for home security, and it means your components will all talk with one another and with Vivint’s monitoring center even if you lose your Wi-Fi signal.

    >> Compare: ADT vs. Vivint

    Price

    Vivint is pricey and it can be fussy. Let’s start with the pricey bit. Systems start at around $800, while monitoring ranges from $30 to $60 a month. Now about the fussy: You can’t just order your system online. You can’t even find prices online. You have to deal with a customer-service rep for everything. But we’re here to give you the inside scoop. Here’s what Vivint’s prices were when we last bought a system earlier this year.

    Component Price
    Smart drive (storage) $250
    Car guard $200
    Smoke detector $100
    Carbon monoxide detector $100
    Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide monitor $100
    Smart lock $180
    Garage door controller $100
    Smart thermostat $170
    Lamp module $50
    Doorbell Camera Pro $250
    Outdoor Camera Pro $400
    Ping Indoor Camera $200
    Indoor Camera Pro $200
    Spotlight Pro $250
    Water sensor $50
    Flood, freeze, and heat sensor $50
    Smart sensor $50
    Panic pendant $50
    Key fob $50
    Tilt sensor $50

    If you decide to move, Vivint has to come out and relocate you — and it’s not free. You get a lot for your money with Vivint, but you don’t get it for cheap.

    Our Experience Testing Vivint

    Vivint Smart Home Equipment

    Vivint Smart Home Equipment

    No question about it: You’re going to be impressed with your Vivint system. We certainly were. It’s high-tech equipment with artificial intelligence that can tell the difference between people, pets, and other moving objects along with trip-wires that let you create a virtual perimeter around your property. It also has responsive, professional monitoring. And, of course, it’s a fully cellular system.

    We were most impressed, though, with Vivint’s smart features. Vivint integrates smoothly with both Alexa and Google Home, which meant we were able to turn our system on as we were leaving every morning using a simple voice command. Even better, our thermostat reset at the same time. That’s because Vivint works with both Zigbee and Z-Wave technology, so it connects easily with around 10,000 smart products (and counting).

    FYI: If you’ve already outfitted your home with Alexa or Google Home products, make sure you get a security system that works with your smart platform of choice. We make it easy to find a compatible system with our lists of the best home security systems that work with Alexa and the best home security systems for Google Home.

    We’re lucky though. We can install home security systems without worrying about the cost since our bosses are the ones footing the bill. If you’re on a fixed budget, you have to think long and hard about installing a Vivint system. It’s absolutely worth the money, both in terms of safety and convenience. This is the Rolls-Royce of home security systems. Not everyone can afford a Rolls-Royce though.

    Monitoring Options Professional only
    Installation Professional
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $599.99
    Monthly Monitoring Cost From $39
    Contract Length 48 to 60 months
  • 3 SimpliSafe - Best Cellular Backup

    SimpliSafe Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    9.0
    Value
    9.4
    Equipment
    9.0
    Features & Technology
    9.2
    Ease Of Use
    9.2
    SecureScore™
    9.2

    Overview

    We love SimpliSafe because it offers the best of all possible worlds. Equipment is solid and dependable, and you can get SimpliSafe’s professional monitoring with some useful, innovative features. Installation is DIY, though, and if you’re so inclined, you always have the option to DIY your monitoring too. Read more about all those options in our SimpliSafe review.

    • Offers no-monthly-fee self-monitoring
    • Stylish wireless equipment
    • Allows DIY setup but offers professional installation
    • Equipment packages start at $250
    • Live Guard Protection feature for the Smart Alarm indoor camera

    • Missing a few types of equipment, like garage door sensors
    • Offers only a battery-powered option for outdoor video security
    • Monitoring price increased twice in the past three years
    • No touch screen keypad

    Installation

    SimpliSafe is the first system on this list that doesn’t offer professional installation. That’s OK. SimpliSafe’s DIY installation is super easy, and you save a few bucks by doing it yourself. Everything is peel-and-stick, and the app provides step-by-step instructions. The whole thing took us around 30 minutes, and that included the time it took to decide where to place the SimpliSafe cameras we tested.

    Monitoring

    The nice thing about SimpliSafe is that you get monitoring options. That’s not true with a lot of home security companies. DIY monitor if you want, or go all in with professional monitoring. There’s even a free plan that provides real-time alerts and access to livestreamed video. If you go the totally free route, though, you won’t get all that nice cellular backup coverage. Below is an overview of SimpliSafe’s plans.

    Features Free Plan Self-Monitoring With Camera Recordings Fast Protect Professional Monitoring
    24/7 professional monitoring with video verification No No Yes
    Flooding and extreme temperature alerts No No Yes
    Cellular backup No Yes Yes
    30-day cloud storage No Yes Yes
    Live video view Standard definition High definition High definition
    Text alerts No No Yes
    Mobile control of system No Yes Yes
    Basic notifications Yes Yes Yes
    Price Free $9.99 per month $29.99 per month

    Price

    You don’t have to worry about professional installation with SimpliSafe, so there’s no cost there. Monitoring varies, of course. You can self-monitor for free. At the other end of the spectrum, you can purchase a month of 24/7 professional monitoring for $30. That’s a bit more than Ring, but well below Frontpoint. SimpliSafe equipment packages can get a bit pricey if you’re paying retail rates, but SimpliSafe is always running some sale or another.

    >> Compare: SimpliSafe vs. Ring Comparison

    Our Experience Testing

    SimpliSafe equipment

    SimpliSafe equipment

    We thought we’d try testing SimpliSafe’s DIY monitoring. Put another way, we decided not to sign up for professional monitoring. DIY worked well in a lot of ways. Few companies make it as easy as SimpliSafe does. The moment a monitor detects activity, the system sends you a mobile alert. You can then pull up live SimpliSafe camera feeds and see what’s happening. Or, for just a few dollars a month, you can add video recording that lets you pull up past events.

    What we didn’t account for was our own laziness. Lots of people are cut out to keep an eye on their home security. Some of them probably do a better job than most monitoring centers. That’s not us though. We don’t like getting interrupted when we’re watching a movie or, you know, sleeping. When we got an alert at 2 a.m., we just couldn’t be bothered to wake up enough to check it. Good news: It was the neighbors’ dog, who had decided to knock over our bins and get himself a late-night snack.

    SimpliSafe’s monitoring comes with so many useful features that it was kind of silly to go the DIY route in the first place. You get cellular backup and SimpliSafe’s smart platform integration. SimpliSafe even trains its monitoring agents to talk with home invaders if necessary and use image verification to get emergency personnel on the scene quickly. All that costs $30 a month, but you don’t have to worry about being woken up by hungry dogs.

    >> Head-to-Head: SimpliSafe vs. Vivint

    Equipment cost Packages starting at $249.96
    Monitoring options Professional or DIY
    Monitoring cost From $19.99
    Contract length Monthly
    Installation options Professional or DIY
    Smart platform integration Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Watch
  • 4 Cove Security - Best Notification System

    Cove Security Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.8
    Customer Service
    8.9
    Value
    8.8
    Equipment
    9.2
    Features & Technology
    8.6
    Ease Of Use
    8.4
    SecureScore™
    8.8

    Overview

    Cove is an industry disruptor, for sure. It offers low-cost equipment and professional monitoring plans for as little as $17.99 a month. It’s the easiest system we’ve ever installed, and all systems are 100 percent cellular. No wonder, then, that in just six years, the company has already become one of the most popular brands on the market.

    • Monitoring starts at $17.99 per month
    • Simple but functional mobile app and touchscreen controller
    • 85 dB siren built into each Cove Hub and touch-screen keypad
    • Equipment packages start at $150
    • Frequently offers deals and discounts

    • No self-monitoring option
    • Limited home automation and integrations
    • Doesn’t offer equipment financing
    • More limited equipment options than other brands

    Installation

    There are a lot of great DIY-installed systems. We often sing SimpliSafe’s praises because of how easy it is to install its home security system and connect system components. Cove takes that to a whole other level.

    Once Cove knew what equipment we were purchasing and where we were planning to put it, the company preprogrammed everything so we didn’t have to connect anything when it arrived. We peeled some backing stickers, stuck up the equipment, and we were done. Installing SimpliSafe is a 30-minute process. That’s pretty good. Installing Cove is a 10-minute process. We’re not sure you can get faster than that.

    Monitoring

    Cove is clearly intended as a competitor to SimpliSafe, with similar equipment and similar pricing. And like SimpliSafe, you get a choice of professional monitoring packages: Cove Basic or Cove Plus. One important difference from SimpliSafe: Even the Basic plan includes cellular connectivity. One key downside with Cove, though, is that you don’t have the option to self-monitor the way you do with SimpliSafe. We encourage homeowners to invest in professional monitoring, but it’s always nice to have choices.

    Pro Tip: Want a warranty with your Cove equipment? Go with Cove’s premium monitoring plan. As long as you keep the plan going, you get a lifetime warranty on all your Cove equipment.

    Price

    Cove is careful to keep its prices just slightly lower than its competitors, including SimpliSafe and Ring. Entry sensors, for example, are just $15 — $5 less than what you’d pay for a Ring sensor. Likewise, Cove’s Basic monitoring package is $3 per month cheaper than Ring’s, and its Plus plan is $3 cheaper per month than SimpliSafe’s top plan. And, again, even Cove’s cheaper plan includes cellular.

    Our Experience Testing Cove

    Cove equipment

    Cove equipment

    Given how affordable Cove equipment is, we were expecting boxes full of clunky components. We were pleasantly surprised, though, by Cove’s sleek design. The touch-screen panel made it seem like we had a much more expensive system installed, and Cove’s motion sensors are the smallest we’ve come across. Good-looking equipment meant we didn’t have to try to hide sensors and cameras. It all fits in nicely with our minimalist, modern decor.

    We went with the cheaper of Cove’s two monitoring plans, and we were once again impressed at how much we got for our money. The cheaper plan doesn’t include smart platform integration, but it includes cellular connectivity and full environmental monitoring. That came in handy when we had a problem with our hot-water heater that caused a minor carbon monoxide leak.

    Cove isn’t perfect by any means. You don’t get the self-monitoring options you get with SimpliSafe, and you don’t get quite the service you get with ADT and Vivint. If you’re looking for an affordable, professionally monitored, fully cellular system, though, it’s hard to pass on Cove.

    >> Dive Deeper: Cove Review

    Monitoring Options Professional or DIY
    Installation DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $87
    Monthly Monitoring Cost From $17.99
    Contract Length 1 month
  • 5 Frontpoint - Easiest Installation

    Frontpoint Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.7
    Customer Service
    9.1
    Value
    8.8
    Equipment
    8.3
    Features & Technology
    8.9
    Ease Of Use
    8.6
    SecureScore™
    8.7

    Overview

    Frontpoint is a lot like ADT and Vivint: a full-service home security company that includes everything from professional installation to top-tier professional monitoring with every system. The difference is, Frontpoint equipment is less expensive, making it a popular Vivint alternative with homeowners on a budget. Find out more by visiting our Frontpoint review.

    • High-quality wireless equipment
    • DIY installation with professional install option
    • Fully cellular communication
    • Customizable automations
    • Outstanding app

    • Expensive monitoring
    • No touch-screen control panel included in basic packages
    • Outsourced monitoring
    • Limited keypad functionality; more app reliant

    Installation

    Our Frontpoint installation was pretty straightforward. Frontpoint didn’t preprogram our equipment the way Cove did, but it offered clear, easy-to-follow instructions on its app. We had one problem with a sensor that had been mislabeled at the warehouse, and we found ourselves stuck behind over 40 other callers when we called to find out what to do. As long as you don’t run into technical issues requiring customer service, you should be up and running in around 30 minutes.

    Monitoring

    Frontpoint is another system offering a full cellular connection, and that’s available no matter what equipment package you select. The reason the company can do that? It offers only one plan, and there’s no option to self-monitor. Lack of choice is always a bit of a downer, and Frontpoint overcharges a bit for monitoring. Still, we knew the cellular connection would protect us in virtually any situation.

    Price

    Frontpoint’s monitoring price is a bit steep: $50 per month makes the system the most expensive on this list. It doesn’t matter whether you have 20 sensors and 15 cameras or just a hub and a touchpad — you pay the same rate. That seems a little unfair. The company redeems itself somewhat with its equipment prices. You’ll pay a bit more for a package than you will with Cove or SimpliSafe — over $540 for a basic system — but a bit less than you’d pay for ADT and a lot less than you’d pay for Vivint. Check out our Frontpoint vs. SimpliSafe comparison for more details on how the two DIY systems stack up against each other.

    FYI: Frontpoint almost always has a sale going on. Although its prices seem higher than SimpliSafe, you often can get a deal that lets you pay less than what you would with SimpliSafe. Right now, for instance, you can get Frontpoint’s Starter system for just $79.

    Our Experience Testing Frontpoint

    Frontpoint equipment

    Frontpoint equipment

    Frontpoint is another company that offers cellular connections among all of its equipment. The connection to outside our home was cellular as well. We won’t tell you the name of our Wi-Fi provider, but we will tell you our coverage can be spotty at best. A gentle breeze wafts through the neighborhood, and it goes out. We never had to worry about our security though. Frontpoint worked like a charm — rain, shine, snow, or gentle breeze.

    Since every Frontpoint system offers home automation through full integrations with Alexa and Google Home, we were able to connect lots more smart devices to our system. Our home knew, for example, to turn on the lights and TV the moment we unlocked our front door. We like to get comfortable as fast as we possibly can.

    We think Frontpoint could offer customers a bit more choice. Once upon a time, the company had three separate monitoring plans. Now there’s just one Frontpoint contract. There’s no option to self-monitor, and only three equipment packages. If you’re looking to install a larger system, though, Frontpoint can actually be cheaper than some other full-service companies like ADT and Vivint.

    Equipment cost Packages starting at $79
    Monitoring options Professional
    Monitoring cost Starting at $49 per month
    Contract lengths Monthly or 36 months
    Installation options DIY
    Smart platform integrations Google Home, Alexa, and Siri
  • 6 Alder - Best Response Times

    Alder Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.8
    Customer Service
    8.9
    Value
    9.1
    Equipment
    8.6
    Features & Technology
    8.7
    Ease Of Use
    8.9
    SecureScore™
    8.8

    Overview

    As we noted in our Alder review, Alder offers a more affordable version of high-tech, feature-rich home security systems. That includes full cellular connectivity among all components, environmental monitoring, smartphone controls, and Z-Wave compatibility.

    • Stylish touch-screen control panel
    • 4 G LTE cellular monitoring
    • Smartphone controls
    • Silent exit feature
    • Fast response (20 to 45 seconds)

    • Pricey monitoring plans
    • Lacks pricing transparency
    • Limited home automation
    • Buggy mobile app
    • No online buying option

    Installation

    Alder is a DIY-installed system that is relatively easy to get up and running. We were a little disappointed to find that the mobile app didn’t provide us with instructions — turns out that was a sign of things to come — but the touch screen had instructions ready to go. That made the install a bit inconvenient since we had to keep going back and forth between our equipment and the touch-screen control panel, but we didn’t encounter any major technical issues and had our system up in around 35 minutes.

    Pro Tip: Even though most security companies don’t prioritize it, you don’t need to settle for a security system with a bad mobile app. Take a look through our roundup of the best home security systems with mobile apps for apps that are intuitive and useful.

    Monitoring

    Alder likes to point to a 2017 test that found its average response times to be 3.4 seconds. That would be remarkable if it were true. Our testing experience was closer to 30 seconds. That’s still a smidge better than the industry average, but not nearly as impressive. We liked that we had a choice of monitoring plans, and that choice was based on the type of equipment we purchased. Plus, all monitoring plans include cellular.

    Price

    The three Alder monitoring plans — Basic, Standard, and Premium — cost $40, $45, and $55, respectively, which is a little steep. You also have to sign a contract for as long as 60 months in some cases. You don’t, however, have to purchase any equipment up front. The package cost is included in the total monitoring price, so you pay over time. If you’re looking for streamlined pricing, it doesn’t get much simpler.

    Our Experience Testing Alder

    Alder Security Equipment

    Alder Security Equipment

    We were reasonably impressed with Alder’s technology. Z-Wave connectivity meant we were able to connect lots of smart-home products to our security system. In addition to cellular connectivity, the system hub includes a backup battery. That meant we didn’t have to worry about our security when we lost power during a heavy snowstorm. Our Alder components still worked and still communicated with the outside world.

    Our favorite piece of Alder equipment was definitely the touch-screen panel. It’s the heart of the system, and it’s packed full of features. When someone rattled our doorknob one evening, a monitoring professional contacted us through the panel and helped us handle the situation. Unfortunately, the mobile app isn’t quite as responsive. It manages to be both light on features and difficult to use. We don’t always want to be tied to the touch screen, so we’d prefer more functionality in the app.

    Ultimately, though, Alder provides a system with the high-tech equipment of Vivint at a much more affordable price. If you’re looking to outfit your smart home with a security system or purchase a security system you can build a smart home around, Alder offers a good, solid alternative to Vivint that won’t break the bank.

    >> The Bottom Line: Alder vs. Vivint

    Equipment cost Packages starting at $360
    Monitoring options Professional
    Monitoring cost Starting at $35 per month
    Contract length 36 months
    Installation options Professional or DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home

How We Choose the Best Cellular Home Security Systems

We get asked all the time how we make our decisions about our best-of lists. It’s a reasonable question: You want to know whether you can trust us to offer advice on home security equipment.

You can.

But just in case you need a little more evidence, let us tell you about our process. We spend all day, every day, studying home security systems. We keep up with changes in the industry. We test and test and test dozens of systems. We make lists of everything from how long camera batteries last to how far away from a system’s hub you can place entry sensors. Then we go out and buy new security systems to compare them across a wide range of factors.

The most important aspects we considered for this list are below.

  • Equipment options: Obviously, we want a choice of equipment that goes beyond the common components of a security system and we want equipment that’s going to be sturdy and long-lasting. Convenience features such as smart-home integration are nice, but our first concern is whether we can rely on our system to protect us. Same thing with design: We rank attractive equipment higher than boxy systems, but only if they do the job they’re supposed to.
  • Monitoring: We always recommend professionally monitored systems. Always. You can’t be available 24/7 to respond to an alert the way a monitoring team can. We understand, though, that some of you prefer the control of self-monitoring, as well as the price, so we like systems that at least offer self-monitoring as an option.
  • Value: We like to save money just like everyone else, but it’s not always about the bottom line. We’ll certainly draw your attention to a low-cost system if it offers top-notch security and plenty of convenient features. Expensive systems don’t bother us if you get what you’re paying for.

Finally, our chief interest in putting together this list was whether a system offered cellular connectivity among components. Fully cellular systems offer the most reliability, but we included systems that offer cellular as a backup to Wi-Fi as well. What we didn’t include were systems that offer cellular, but don’t protect as well as they should. High-tech bells and whistles aren’t worth much if they’re not keeping you safe.

The Advantages of Cellular Systems

Cellular home security monitoring is the most popular form of monitoring available, and for good reason. The benefits of cellular home security monitoring aren’t just a lot of advertising fluff.

As a wireless system, cellular home security is incredibly convenient. Installation is a snap. You don’t have to worry about unsightly wires, and you don’t have to worry about equipment placement. It’s also incredibly easy to reposition components if you change your mind about your setup and to add new components as your security needs evolve. As an added bonus, it’s impossible for potential home invaders to snip the wires and take out your security.

Unlike Wi-Fi, which is also wireless, cellular systems don’t go down if you lose your Wi-Fi connection. Cellular is more stable, which means you’re protected in almost any event.

Finally, cellular networks don’t need to be serviced the way landline networks do. Most problems can be solved with the push of a button from a monitoring or customer-service center.

Of course, cellular isn’t available everywhere. Some rural homeowners may need a hardwired system. For most users, though, cellular is the most logical choice for reliable home security.

Summary

Cellular-based home security systems provide a lot of advantages over traditional landline and Wi-Fi systems. They are incredibly convenient, but they’re also incredibly reliable.

If you’re looking to take advantage of the technology, you have options. You can go with a company that offers full cellular, for instance, or one that uses cellular backup. You can go with systems that let you self-monitor or choose systems that include full 24/7 professional monitoring. You can choose systems that work well with Alexa and Google Home, as well as systems that let you connect to thousands of other smart home devices. And, of course, there’s a wide range of prices.

It’s enough to make your head spin, especially if you’re still thinking through the advantages and disadvantages of cellular. Hopefully, at this point, you have a clear sense of whether cellular is right for you and which systems are most suited to your needs.

FAQs

  • Is ADT a cellular or wireless security system?

    ADT offers service through either Wi-Fi or landlines, but both Wi-Fi and landline-based services come with cellular backup. That means the system switches to cellular so it can still get a signal out if either of those methods of communication go down.

  • What are the downsides of Vivint?

    The primary downside of a Vivint home security system is the cost. Vivint systems are among the most technologically advanced on the market. Cameras make use of AI to distinguish among people, animals, and other moving objects. Systems are fully integrated with Google Home and Alexa, and they work through Z-Wave technology so they can connect to thousands of smart-home devices. Monitoring makes use of networks that are 100 percent cellular for greater reliability. Vivint systems, however, start at around $800 and can cost in the thousands.

  • Are there any fully cellular home security systems?

    Yes, there are a number of home security systems that are fully cellular, including Vivint, Cove, Frontpoint, and Alder.

  • What is a cellular alarm system?

    Cellular home security systems make use of cellular networks for communication among components and to communicate with the outside world. Many home security systems use Wi-Fi as a communication method. A few use landlines. Cellular systems either use cellular networks exclusively or offer cellular as a backup network in case Wi-Fi or landline networks go down.

  • Are cellular home security systems wireless?

    Yes, cellular home security systems are wireless. Just as with Wi-Fi–based systems, cellular-based systems communicate via a wireless network. That network is simply cellular rather than Wi-Fi.

Rob Gabriele
Written By
Rob Gabriele
Managing Editor & Home Security Expert

As a home security expert and Managing Editor for SafeHome.org, Rob Gabriele has written and edited over 1,000 articles related to home security. His expertise is in smart home protection with thousands of hours of testing and research under his belt. Formerly a reporter and producer for the USAToday network, Rob has been a writer and editor for over 10 years. He holds a Master’s of Science with an emphasis on writing from the University of Montana, and he currently lives in Indianapolis, IN.