The Best Security Systems With Home Automation of 2024

Home automation features packaged with your home security system can take your home’s comfort and safety to the next level. Here are our favorite systems for those who are looking for a smart, safe home.

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ADT Image
ADT
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
ADT has fully embraced home automation. In fact, they sell more smart products than any other security company, including lights, doorbell cameras, security cams — you get the idea. With an ADT system, you’ll be able to control everything from their smart panel, the ADT app, or Alexa.
877-959-7762
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Vivint Image
Vivint
SecureScore™: 9.1/10
If you’re looking for high-tech security and home automation, Vivint offers some of the best in the industry. With their well-designed equipment, you can transform your home into a smart tech fortress controlled by the Vivint app, Google Home, or Alexa.
855-934-0535
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Frontpoint Image
Frontpoint
SecureScore™: 8.7/10
Another contender for best home automations is the DIY-friendly Frontpoint. With their smart locks, thermostats, cameras, and lighting systems, you can increase your home’s security while making your daily routines a little easier.
855-506-1016
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  • ADT Product Image
    ADT
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    ADT has fully embraced home automation. In fact, they sell more smart products than any other security company, including lights, doorbell cameras, security cams — you get the idea. With an ADT system, you’ll be able to control everything from their smart panel, the ADT app, or Alexa.
    View Packages
  • Vivint Product Image
    Vivint
    SecureScore™: 9.1/10
    If you’re looking for high-tech security and home automation, Vivint offers some of the best in the industry. With their well-designed equipment, you can transform your home into a smart tech fortress controlled by the Vivint app, Google Home, or Alexa.
    View Packages
  • Frontpoint Product Image
    Frontpoint
    SecureScore™: 8.7/10
    Another contender for best home automations is the DIY-friendly Frontpoint. With their smart locks, thermostats, cameras, and lighting systems, you can increase your home’s security while making your daily routines a little easier.
    View Packages
  • abode Product Image
    abode
    SecureScore™: 8.0/10
    View Packages

I’m willing to bet this isn’t your first time hearing the words “home automation.” It has become quite a buzzword in recent years, being thrown around as sort of a marketing ploy to garner attention. But if you look past all the hype about it, you’ll see that it actually makes a lot of sense to mesh home automation features with home security systems.

To give you an example, my Yale smart lock is programmed to lock automatically when I arm my top-rated home security system. It’s simple and it works like magic. Locking my front door has become one less thing to worry about before going to bed or leaving for work.

Interesting features like that are possible with a home automation security system. But take note: A lot of brands advertise home automation, but not all of them can deliver. So which systems actually offer what they’re advertising and which are bunk? Don’t worry. I’ve done the research and testing, so I have the answers for you.

Below you’re going to find four home automation security systems that really hit the mark in terms of automation features, equipment, and cost. Choose your security system and start enjoying a smarter, safer home.

Top 4 Home Automation Security Systems in 2024

Vivint Smart Hub and Ping Indoor Camera

  • ADT - Best Smartphone App
  • Vivint - Best Custom Features
  • Frontpoint - Best System With Geofencing
  • abode - Best DIY Automation Platform

Overview: The Top Home Automation Security Systems Compared

Features ADT Vivint Frontpoint abode
SecureScore™ 9.2 9.1 8.7 8.0
Touch screen control panel Yes Yes No (touch screen keypad optional) No
App automation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Works with Alexa or Google Assistant Yes Yes Yes Yes
Works with HomeKit No No No Yes
Smart locks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smart lights Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smart thermostats Yes Yes Yes Yes
Read our review ADT review Vivint review Frontpoint review abode review
  • 1 ADT - Best Smartphone App

    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

    We all know ADT. It has been around for a really long time, but don’t take that as a sign that it takes an old-school approach. I mean, yes, some of the things it does can be considered traditional, like requiring professional installation and monitoring. But ADT kept those traditions alive to uphold its high level of service. That’s why it’s the best professionally installed security system in our rankings. As far as features and technology go, ADT is still ahead of the curve, especially when you look at the app.

    I recently took an ADT system home to test. I wasn’t impressed by the touch screen control panel. It was nothing to write home about. But the app? The app took the spotlight. It let me control my security system and other devices I connected to it, including my smart lock, a number of smart bulbs, and even my Nest Thermostat. The ADT app is as refined as you would expect from one of the best security systems with a mobile app.

    • 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
    • No DIY installation
    • Installation fee costs $99 minimum
    • Limited touch-screen control panel features
    • Equipment costs more than the DIY competition

    Automation Features

    Home automation has been a standard feature for ADT systems since ADT Pulse, a system I tested years ago. But now, I can say that the current ADT system is leaps and bounds better than the old one. (I just wish the ADT technician removed my old ADT Pulse equipment before installing my new ADT system.)

    The app improved the most. With my current ADT system, I can now set up smart automations that autonomously trigger actions based on my input. It locks my front door when I arm ADT, it sets my thermostat to 80 degrees when I go out, and it arms my motion and entry sensors at exactly 10 p.m. every night.

    My one gripe with ADT is that it wouldn’t let me control my smart home devices from the touch screen keypad like I’m able to with my Vivint system. It seems like a wasted opportunity. Instead, I have to use the app or web dashboard whenever I want to make changes. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I thought you should know.

    Did You Know? ADT has numerous apps on app stores. For the current professionally installed ADT security systems (aka ADT Control or ADT Pro Install), use the ADT Control app. It has 4.7 stars on Google Play and 4.8 stars on the Apple App Store.

    Equipment

    I’ve been dabbling with home automation since 2014, so I’ve built a sizable collection of smart home products. But if you’re new to all this, you’ll appreciate that ADT offers most of what you need to get started. In addition to ADT security cameras, security sensors, and smoke alarms, you can add these smart home devices from ADT to your security system:

    • Google Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max
    • Nest Mini
    • Google Nest Thermostat or Nest Learning Thermostat
    • Smart Lock
    • Smart Light Bulb

    That’s a start. I was able to create the automation I discussed above with just those pieces. And if you want to expand your smart home, you can actually integrate third-party devices into your ADT system. Even garage door controllers work. My advice, if you have existing smart home equipment, is to ask your ADT consultant and technician. They should be able to tell you if an integration is possible.

    Cost

    A smart security system like ADT surely costs a lot, no? Well, compared to simple security systems like SimpliSafe, ADT’s smart security systems are pricier. But relative to other smart systems like Vivint (my No. 2 pick), ADT is one of the more affordable security options.

    You can learn more in my in-depth discussion of the ADT’s pricing, but just to summarize, a basic package (no smart home equipment) costs as little as $375. From there, you can add smart home devices. For example:

    Nest Mini $49
    Nest Hub $139
    Nest Hub Max $269
    Nest Thermostat $223

    You also don’t have to pay for everything upfront. ADT has flexible financing options for up to 60 months, although you’ll need to sign a monitoring contract. Also, keep in mind that ADT requires professional installation (starting at $99) and a monitoring fee (starting at $24.99 per month).

    Pro Tip: We’re always on the lookout for home security deals. You can check out ADT’s current deals and discounts here. Also, keep an eye out for ADT Black Friday deals (November).

    Monitoring Options Professional only
    Installation Professional or DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $499.99
    Monthly Monitoring Cost From $24.99
    Contract Length Three years
  • 2 Vivint - Best Custom Features

    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

    Vivint takes a technological approach in everything it does. That shows in its last few innovations, such as high-tech security cameras powered by AI that can detect and actively deter intruders. Vivint’s security cameras show that the company wants to streamline the user experience using cutting-edge technology.

    Vivint develops almost every piece of equipment it offers. For example, it has its own smart thermostat called the Element Thermostat, unlike ADT, which offers equipment and cameras from Google Nest. That’s a double-edged sword in my opinion. Because the equipment is made by Vivint, you can be sure that it integrates well with the security system. However, that also means no other brand can service the equipment. Should you cancel your Vivint account in the future, the equipment is as good as paperweight.

    FYI: Vivint requires a monitoring contract for customers buying equipment via financing. Vivint contracts can be up to five years long, depending on your financing plan. Be sure to read the contract thoroughly because Vivint has only a three-day cancellation window.

    • 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

    Automation Features

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Vivint offers the best automation features out of all the systems I tested.

    Let’s start with integrations. Vivint integrates with just about any platform, from devices that use the Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols to the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant systems. The only other system I’ve tested that works with as many platforms is abode. You’ll meet in a minute; it’s No. 4 on this list.

    If you can integrate something into your Vivint system, there’s a good chance you’d be able to make it a part of your custom automations too. For example, I had my Vivint integrate my Zigbee color-changing smart bulbs. The Zigbee bulbs appeared on my Vivint Smart Hub and app as home automation equipment. As a result, I was able to automate them. Now, my living room lights turn on when my front door opens after sunset, and all my Zigbee lights turn off automatically at sunrise. They are also programmed to turn red during alarm events.

    Pro Tip: Some automations can help improve your home security, from speakers that blast loud sounds to lights that turn on when security sensors are tripped. You can also make your home appear occupied while you’re away using smart appliances. That’s one way to prevent home invasions and burglaries.

    Equipment

    Vivint’s equipment is nothing short of top-notch. It’s designed for the purpose of streamlining the user experience. One example is the Vivint Smart Hub. As I mentioned earlier, ADT’s touch screen control panel can’t control smart home devices; the Vivint Smart Hub can. It can even display live security camera footage. And during alarm events, Vivint’s monitoring center agents can talk to you through the hub itself.

    Vivint also offers plenty of options both for security and automation. My Vivint system includes security sensors, an outdoor camera, a smart lock, and the Vivint Doorbell Camera I reviewed separately. It also provides options for:

    • Smart thermostat (Vivint Element Thermostat)
    • Smart locks
    • Garage door controllers
    • Smart lights

    As I alluded to earlier, I was also able to integrate smart home equipment I already owned through the Works with Vivint portion of the app. I paired my Zigbee lights, a couple of Z-Wave smart plugs, and even my Nest Thermostat.

    Cost

    You might have noticed that I’m comparing and contrasting Vivint and ADT a lot. That’s because they almost tied for the top spot of this page, if not for Vivint’s premium cost. I’m calling Vivint’s pricing “premium” because while it costs more than most smart security systems — ADT included — I strongly believe I got my money’s worth.

    In terms of numbers, here’s how much I paid:

    Equipment $1,200+
    Monitoring $49 per month
    Installation $99

    Take note that Vivint’s installation fee isn’t fixed. It scales with the number and types of items being installed, but Vivint sometimes offers free installation packages as well.

    All in all, Vivint is a good buy if it’s within your budget.

    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 Frontpoint - Best System With Geofencing

    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

    Frontpoint gained a reputation in the 2010s for its excellent customer support and innovative features. I witnessed those myself when I first tested Frontpoint in 2014 — already 100 percent wireless and using cellular technology for communication. It’s made my annual list of the best cellular security systems ever since.

    Frontpoint is a DIY system, unlike ADT and Vivint. I set up my Frontpoint system myself. It took me less than an hour, and it didn’t cost me anything. That’s why I recommend it for buyers on a budget. But don’t think that Frontpoint isn’t up on the same level as my other top picks just because it’s affordable. As you’ll see below, it has a unique home automation feature called geofencing.

    • 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

    Automation Features

    I’d say that Frontpoint is about as customizable as Vivint. The Frontpoint app allows for the creation of schedules and automation rules. The Frontpoint Hub can also connect with Z-Wave, Alexa, and Google Assistant, but not Zigbee. Those Zigbee bulbs I connected to Vivint? They didn’t work with Frontpoint. Fortunately, I had a few Z-Wave smart plugs lying around, so I was able to test out Frontpoint’s third-party integrations. It worked as expected. My Frontpoint app discovered the Z-Wave plugs, and I was able to control them remotely (turn on and off).

    I was also able to integrate third-party devices and the Frontpoint system itself into Frontpoint automation rules. I was particularly fascinated by the geofencing feature. After I set up a virtual fence around my house on the Frontpoint app, the hub could use my iPhone’s location service to automate my devices. Here’s what I had set up:

    When I leave my geofenced radius, my:

    • Front door locks
    • Frontpoint system engages Away mode
    • Smart thermostat sets to 80 degrees

    When I enter my geofenced radius, my:

    • Front door unlocks
    • Frontpoint system disarms
    • Smart thermostat sets to 72 degrees
    • Hallway and living room smart lights from Frontpoint turn on

    In addition to making my smart home easier to manage, geofencing made my home safer with those custom automations.

    Equipment

    I have a lot to say about Frontpoint’s equipment. First off, I think the equipment is high quality. It comes from reputable suppliers, including GE, Alarm.com, and Yale. Frontpoint secures homes using different types of intrusion sensors, and it also has a number of security cameras for video security. I also like that the indoor and outdoor cameras can record 24/7, not only motion event clips.

    On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of the Frontpoint Hub. It’s great for security because it has battery backup, Crash and Smash detection, and wireless cellular connectivity. That said, it’s not my ideal hub for a smart home system. For starters, it doesn’t have a screen. It also doesn’t have a built-in keypad. You’d need a separate keypad to control Frontpoint; the one included is analog. There’s no way to control smart home devices using that. It’s a good thing that the Frontpoint app is intuitive. It was my main point of control for my Frontpoint automation, besides the web dashboard, which is best accessed on a computer.

    Pro Tip: When installing a Frontpoint system, I recommend keeping the hub hidden in a central location. The hub doesn’t do much besides connect to your devices, so it doesn’t have to be super accessible. Besides, hiding the hub can prevent an intruder from smashing it. Learn more about how to install a security system.

    Cost

    Being a DIY system, Frontpoint can save you at least a hundred bucks right off the bat. That’s because DIY systems don’t have an installation fee.

    Moreover, Frontpoint’s equipment is on the more affordable side. You can start off with a $129 package that includes a hub, an analog keypad, and three door/window sensors, and then expand that with add-on components. It obviously doesn’t come with smart home devices, but you can easily add those individually.

    If you’re gunning for a smart home system, I recommend the Ultimate package for $419. That’s a huge jump from the $129 Frontpoint Starter package, but it includes a smart lock, an indoor camera, and a doorbell camera. It also comes with Frontpoint’s touch screen keypad, which, while not as good as the Vivint Smart Hub, offers limited control of smart home devices. I think it’s a sweeter deal than the other Frontpoint packages.

    Frontpoint equipment Starter ($129) Premier ($169) Ultimate ($419)
    Hub and keypad Yes Yes Yes
    Touch screen keypad No Yes Yes
    Security sensors 3 door sensors 3 door sensors 5 door sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 glass break sensor
    Security cameras 1 indoor camera 1 doorbell camera 1 doorbell camera, 1 indoor camera
    Smart home devices None None 1 smart lock

    The best bit is that no matter how big of a Frontpoint system you build, you’ll pay the same $49.99 monthly fee. That’s a downside if you’re looking for a simple security system, but an advantage if you’re looking to build a smart home around Frontpoint.

    Monitoring Options Professional only
    Installation DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $219.99
    Monthly Monitoring Cost $50
    Contract Length 1-36 months
  • 4 abode - Best DIY Automation Platform

    abode Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.0
    Customer Service
    7.3
    Value
    8.3
    Equipment
    8.2
    Features & Technology
    8.3
    Ease Of Use
    8.0
    SecureScore™
    8.0

    Our next contender is abode, a new-ish brand known for its smart home capabilities. This system is completely DIY. Unlike Frontpoint, you don’t need to pay a monthly fee to use it. You can self-monitor with abode and still enjoy smart home control and feature-rich home security. That’s why it’s one of the best self-monitored security systems.

    That said, I do recommend getting a monitoring subscription to unlock CUE, abode’s proprietary automation platform. But don’t worry; it won’t cost you more than $30 per month like our first three picks. abode plans start at only $6.99 per month, and you can choose to pay yearly to bring the cost down further.

    • No contracts required
    • Works with Zigbee and Z-Wave
    • Works with Apple HomeKit
    • CUE home automation platform
    • Self-monitoring option
    • Professional monitoring for $24.99 per month

    • Setup could be more intuitive
    • Limited equipment in starter kits
    • No touch-screen panels; heavily app-reliant
    • Customer service could be improved

    Automation Features

    The CUE home automation engine was the highlight of my abode experience. If you’ve ever heard of security systems that integrate with IFTTT, abode works kind of like that. You can set up automated actions by defining triggers and conditions. And what sets abode apart is the sheer number of triggers, actions, and conditions available.

    To give you an example, I wanted to make my living room abode Cam 2 record a short clip every time my front door opens, but only during the day for privacy reasons. To do that, I created an automation rule that looked something like this: “When my front door sensor detects “door opened” (trigger), capture a video clip from the Living Room Camera (action), if it’s between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays (optional condition).” And believe it or not, abode executed that automation rule every time.

    FYI: You can access the CUE home automation engine on a computer via the abode web dashboard or a mobile device via the abode app. In my experience, the web dashboard is more user-friendly for creating automation rules.

    Equipment

    abode offers a wide variety of security and automation equipment. Some might even say it offers too much; there are three options for hubs alone. That made my buying process a little more complicated, but having three hubs isn’t such a bad thing. Those three hubs are cross-compatible. They will work with any abode equipment. So what sets them apart? Mainly their third-party integrations.

    Compatible platforms abode Security Hub Smart Security Hub Iota All-in-One Hub
    Alexa and Google Home Yes Yes Yes
    Wi-Fi connectivity Yes No (Ethernet only) Yes
    Z-Wave and Zigbee No Yes Yes
    HomeKit No Yes Yes
    IFTTT Yes Yes Yes
    Sonos, Bose, ecobee, Philips Hue, LIFX, etc. Yes Yes Yes

    As you can see, the Iota hub offers more third-party integrations than the other two hubs. It was a no-brainer for me. On top of integrations, the Iota hub also comes with a built-in security camera and motion sensor. It really is an all-in-one hub for abode systems. That’s one of the things that makes the cost of an abode security system worth it.

    I should point out that abode’s hubs don’t come with a touch screen controller. There’s an analog keypad and a key fob, but those are exclusively for arming and disarming the security system. And, unlike Frontpoint, abode doesn’t offer any touch screen controllers at all. I had to rely on the abode smartphone and web apps. If you’re looking for a security system that’s a bit easier to figure out and you need security cameras only, consider Arlo. Check out our comparison of Arlo and abode to see how the two stack up.

    Cost

    I’ve talked about abode’s CUE automation engine and equipment, but to really enjoy abode’s smart home security, you’ll need a monitoring plan. abode offers two subscriptions, and fortunately, both have access to CUE.

    The first option is the $6.99-per-month Standard plan. It’s a premium self-monitoring plan that will give you access to CUE, security camera recordings, customizable push notifications, a 10-day history of events, and premium customer support. Pretty good, right? What’s missing, though, is professional monitoring. abode won’t check your system for alerts, so it will be up to you to report any security incidents to the police.

    The second option includes professional monitoring and all the features in the Standard plan. The catch is that it costs more than three times as much: $24.99 per month. It’s still affordable compared to Frontpoint and Vivint. It also enables cellular backup, giving abode the ability to alert you even when your Wi-Fi is down.

    Pro Tip: If you want to save, buy a subscription one year at a time. The Standard plan costs $69.99 for one year, saving you $14. The Pro plan costs $229.99 for one year, saving you almost $70. You can also time abode’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to save on equipment.

    Monitoring Options Professional and DIY
    Installation DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit
    Equipment Cost From $139.99
    Monthly Monitoring Cost From $5.83
    Contract Length Month-to-month

How Does Home Automation Work?

The latest reports show that as many as 70 million households in the U.S. are actively using smart home devices.1 That doesn’t mean that all of them are using home automation. There’s a slight difference between the two.

Smart home devices are products capable of home automation. They are usually IoT (Internet of Things) products, which means they are connected to the internet in some way. And because of that, you can control them and potentially link them to another smart home device. For example, I have Zigbee smart bulbs that I can turn on and off with my phone because their main hub is connected to the internet.

In contrast, home automation means putting those devices to work by making them act autonomously based on events, schedules, or certain conditions; for example, by making my Zigbee smart lights turn on automatically at sunset or when my Vivint door sensors are triggered.

It’s easy to buy smart home devices; automating them is the real challenge. But if you do it right, you’ll reap many benefits.

Note: Home automation has some pitfalls. From hacking to intrusion of privacy, see the five scariest smart home dangers and how to avoid them.

General Benefits of Home Automation

The biggest benefits of an automated home are convenience, efficiency, and comfort. I mean, leaving your heating or cooling on all day isn’t good for the environment or your bank account. But if you can have your smart thermostat start setting your home to your ideal temperature 30 minutes before you come home, you’ll arrive at a comfortable home without wasting energy or money.

There are some safety benefits too. For example, a number of smart thermostat (including my Nest Thermostat and the Vivint Element Thermostat) can communicate with smoke detectors. That way, they can shut off air vents in case of fire to prevent it from spreading.2

When it comes to efficiency, a lot of home automation systems will let you control multiple devices with one command. You can do that either with a voice command given to Alexa or Google Assistant, the press of a button on the control panel, or a “scene” on the app.

Pro Tip: Alexa is currently the most capable voice assistant when it comes to home automation. If you’re looking for a smart security system you can control with your voice, check out this list of the best Alexa-compatible security systems. Many of them work with Google Home too!

Security Benefits of Home Automation

Beyond those general benefits of home automation, there are also unique security benefits to incorporating smart home devices into a security system. Here are some examples, most of which I’ve tried in my own home:

  • Lights triggered by security sensors can scare away burglars and intruders.
  • Similarly, lights triggered by smoke and gas leak detectors can help you get out more easily during emergencies, especially at night.
  • Smart locks that lock automatically at a certain time means your doors are always locked before you go to bed.
  • Lights, appliances, and speakers you can program to turn on randomly can give the illusion that someone’s home even when you’re away.
  • Cameras that automatically record based on security sensor triggers can help you monitor the comings and goings in your home.

Smart Home Equipment That Work With Security Systems

As explained earlier, having smart home equipment is your gateway to home automation. But there are different types of smart home equipment, even smart coffee makers and smart window blinds. Not all of them can work with security systems. Here are some devices you can expect to be compatible with the top home automation security systems.

Smart Locks

Smart locks integrate into your automated system to allow for keyless entry and are one of the most important parts of an automated system. They are easy to install, and they allow you to control and monitor who accesses your home. You can even link some smart locks with your doorbell camera. And if you haven’t added smart locks yet, check out our list of the best smart locks of the year to help make your choice and see if they work with the top doorbell cameras on the market.

Smart locks range in price from $100 to $300. Some look like standard locks, and others include keypads, fingerprint scanners, or RFID readers.

Hint: All of my top-pick home automation systems offer smart locks and video doorbells.

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting comes in the form of smart bulbs, smart switches, and even smart plugs that control a conventional lamp. Smart bulbs are my favorite. Some smart bulbs are dimmable and/or can change colors. That way, you can program them to change to a certain color in response to different events. I have bulbs that turn red during emergencies to more quickly get my and my family’s attention.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats let you control your home's temperature whether you're across the world or across the room. Many smart thermostats include proximity sensors and machine learning to customize your home's temperature by learning your preferences. You can also schedule most smart thermostats.

Smart Speakers and Displays

Smart speakers and displays are the newest additions to home automation systems. They allow you to control your home using only the sound of your voice. They can set timers, lock and unlock windows and doors, play music, and answer questions. Smart displays can even stream anything from YouTube and Netflix videos to live security camera footage.

Currently, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are the top voice assistants for smart homes.

Amazon Alexa smart speakers and displays:

  • Amazon Echo Show (comes in 5-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, and 15-inch models)
  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo Dot
  • Amazon Echo Pop
  • Echo Sub
  • Echo Link

Google Assistant smart speakers and displays:

  • Nest Hub Max
  • Nest Hub
  • Nest Home
  • Nest Audio

Bottom Line

There’s no one way to approach home automation. Each of my top-pick home automation security systems offers something a little different, from user-friendly apps to unique features like geofencing. So, when choosing a home automation system, start by listing what you’re looking for. Do you want a system you can control with your voice? Do you want custom features? Do you want a DIY system or one set up by professionals?

Ultimately, security is the top priority, even for the best home automation security systems. See my security system buying guide for tips on how to choose an effective security solution for your home, and then come back here to compare home automation features. The information below should help you do that.

Control Panel

The best home automation security systems come stacked with a sleek control panel or at least a hub. Consider those your motherboard or command center, where you interface with and take control of your smart home and security commands. Control panels are typically wall mounted and have touch screen controls, whereas hubs are usually router-like and come with a remote keypad and an app.

Remote Access

Is it even home automation if it doesn’t have remote access? We say no. Remote access is a key feature that allows you to, well, remotely access your home automation security system. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, or computer and the system’s companion app. Through the app, you can arm and disarm your system, dim the lights, set the temperature, close your garage, let the dog walker in, and more.

Voice Control

It sounds like science-fiction, but it’s a real-life smart home automation feature that makes your life a whole lot easier. Use your voice to control the lights, thermostat, front door and garage door, and other smart appliances. You can even control a group of smart devices in one go. Just say “good night” to your smart speaker to dim your lights, lock your doors, and arm your security system.

Remote Control Door Locks

Some home automation features stand out as especially helpful. Remote control door locks are one of them. This option lets you grant entry access to anyone, no matter where you are. Whether it’s the pet sitter, the cleaners, a contractor — or, gasp, the in-laws! — you can remotely lock and unlock your door using a nifty mobile app.

Garage Door Control

Whether you like it hot, cold, or somewhere in-between, heat/AC automation is ideal for those who care about climate control. This home automation feature puts your thermostat on your smartphone. That’s right. You can remotely dial in the perfect temperature so your home is ready when you return. And as a bonus, you’ll save on energy costs while at work or on vacation.

Heat/AC Automation

Whether you like it hot, cold, or somewhere in-between — Heat/AC is ideal for those who care about climate control. This home automation feature puts your thermostat on your smartphone. That’s right, you can remotely dial in the perfect temps so your home is ready when you return. And as a bonus, you’ll save on energy costs while at work or on vacation.

Home Appliances Control

Home automation doesn’t stop at heat/AC and home security. You can outfit your home with a variety of smart, automated home appliances and devices. We’re talking music players, coffee makers, heated towel racks, and the list goes on. Look for a home security system that supports third-party home automation platforms. You’ll be glad you did.

Automated Lights

Adjust a room full of lights to fit the mood, from the convenience of your smartphone. That’s the power of home automation. Smart lights let you automate your lighting for specific occasions and vibes, if you catch our drift. Or use it for family-friendly purposes like signaling bedtime for the kiddos. Get creative with your lighting and save on electricity while you’re at it.

Citations
SafeHome.org only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Oberlo. (2024). US SMART HOME STATISTICS.
    https://www.oberlo.com/statistics/smart-home-statistics

  2. 7Nox. (2022, Feb 3). 3 Ways Your HVAC System Impacts Fire Protection.
    https://7nox.com/3-ways-your-hvac-system-impacts-fire-protection/

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.