The Best Security Systems Without Contracts

We rank the top four security systems that don't require you to sign up for a specific length of time or on a dotted line.

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SimpliSafe Image
SimpliSafe
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
There’s a reason why SimpliSafe is one of our favorite security system providers — mainly because they’re one of the most flexible companies out there. With no complicated contracts to sign, you’re never locked into anything. And with their high-quality, easy-to-use equipment, you’ll have your home protected in no time.
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Cove Security Image
Cove Security
SecureScore™: 8.8/10
Cove may be new to the home security game, but it has already proven itself as a flexible and reliable home security option. With easy DIY installation that rivals SimpliSafe and affordable prices, it’s a strong no-contract option for homeowners and renters on a budget.
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Ring Alarm Image
Ring Alarm
SecureScore™: 8.2/10
With plenty of security cameras and video doorbells, Ring Alarm is a great choice for extensive video security. The security system isn’t shabby, either. It’s fully wireless and it works incredibly well with Amazon’s Alexa voice A.I.
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  • SimpliSafe Product Image
    SimpliSafe
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    There’s a reason why SimpliSafe is one of our favorite security system providers — mainly because they’re one of the most flexible companies out there. With no complicated contracts to sign, you’re never locked into anything. And with their high-quality, easy-to-use equipment, you’ll have your home protected in no time.
    View Packages
  • Cove Security Product Image
    Cove Security
    SecureScore™: 8.8/10
    Cove may be new to the home security game, but it has already proven itself as a flexible and reliable home security option. With easy DIY installation that rivals SimpliSafe and affordable prices, it’s a strong no-contract option for homeowners and renters on a budget.
    View Packages
  • Ring Alarm Product Image
    Ring Alarm
    SecureScore™: 8.2/10
    With plenty of security cameras and video doorbells, Ring Alarm is a great choice for extensive video security. The security system isn’t shabby, either. It’s fully wireless and it works incredibly well with Amazon’s Alexa voice A.I.
    View on Amazon
  • abode Product Image
    abode
    SecureScore™: 8.0/10
    For a great balance for those who want some high-tech features without the hassle of a professional install or signing a bunch of paperwork, abode’s a great choice. We put abode through about 75 hours of hands-on testing and were impressed by its capabilities.
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Let me start by saying that having to sign a monitoring contract isn’t all that bad. Contracts keep equipment prices low. They also sometimes guarantee you’ll pay the same monthly fee for the years to come. That said, contracts are also a pain to get out of, which is why a contract-free security system is often the best choice for renters, retirees on a fixed income, and military families.

If you’re looking for a security system that won’t require you to sign a monitoring agreement, I might be able to help. I test security systems for a living. Based on my most recent round of tests, I’ve concluded that SimpliSafe, Cove, Ring Alarm, and abode are the best options for those who don’t want to make a commitment. They all have a few things in common; they offer DIY home security equipment, they offer professional monitoring services, and, of course, they are contract-free.

Read on to find out which is the best option for your home.

Ranking No-Contract Security Systems

Frontpoint Door Sensor

What to Expect From No-Contract Security Systems

SimpliSafe Cove Ring Alarm abode
SecureScore™ 9.2 8.8 8.2 8.0
Best feature Professional monitoring service Equipment and monitoring price Security cameras Home automation
Equipment package cost Starts at $250 Starts at $150 Starts at $199.99 Starts at $139.99
Equipment financing Yes, via Affirm No Yes, via Affirm Yes, via Bread
Monthly monitoring fee Starts at $19.99 Starts at $17.99 Starts at $20 $24.99
Self-monitoring option Yes No Yes Yes
Security cameras Yes Yes Yes Yes (limited options)
Home automation Integrations, but limited automation Yes, but limited integrations Yes, but limited integrations Yes
Read our review SimpliSafe review Cove review Ring Alarm Review abode Review

The Top No-Contract Security Systems Explained

  • 1 SimpliSafe - Best Overall No-Contract System

    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

    Back in 2006, Chad and Eleanor Laurans saw the need for a security system that caters to renters. That led to the creation of SimpliSafe. It started as a security system with DIY installation and DIY monitoring, but over time, SimpliSafe evolved to offer professional monitoring as well.

    I’ve been testing SimpliSafe security systems since 2015, and I can confirm that it’s more than just a system for renters now. It has evolved to the point where it’s capable of even going toe-to-toe with ADT’s packages in terms of features. Meanwhile, SimpliSafe still maintains its renter-friendly qualities, including its no-contract approach.

    Before I talk about SimpliSafe in detail, here’s a quick overview of its pros and cons.

    • 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

    SimpliSafe’s Best Feature

    SimpliSafe is currently a close second to ADT in my annual list of the top security systems despite how different they are. That’s why I test both systems at least once per year. Over the past couple of years, SimpliSafe made great strides in its professional monitoring service. It’s one of the things I gave SimpliSafe credit for in my last ADT vs. SimpliSafe comparison.

    One of the new features that thrills me the most is Live Guard Protection. It gives SimpliSafe’s emergency personnel live video and two-way audio access to the Smart Alarm camera in times of emergency. This allows agents to talk directly to intruders to inform them they’re on camera and that the police are on the way. That’s so much better than a good old siren.

    Just note that Live Guard Protection, along with SimpliSafe’s other top-notch professional monitoring features, requires a subscription to the Fast Protect plan ($29.99 per month). SimpliSafe subscriptions don’t require a contract, which means you can cancel or downgrade anytime, but you must keep paying the fee to enjoy the features. Here’s a breakdown of the plans:

    Features and cost Self-monitoring Standard monitoring Fast Protect Monitoring
    Monthly cost $0 $19.99 $29.99
    Professional monitoring No Yes Yes
    Live Guard Protection No No Yes
    Video verification No No Yes
    Alexa and Google Home integrations No No Yes
    Cellular backup No Yes Yes
    App access Yes Yes Yes
    Push notifications and text alerts Yes Yes Yes
    Cloud recording for security cameras +$4.99 per camera or $9.99 for 5 cameras +$4.99 per camera or $9.99 for 5 cameras Yes (up to 10 cameras)
    10% off additional purchases No No Yes

    How SimpliSafe Contract-Free Monitoring Works

    One downside I’ve noticed from no-contract systems is that most of them require users to pay for the equipment upfront. The problem with that is that home security equipment can cost hundreds of dollars. The cheapest SimpliSafe package costs around $250, and that includes only two sensors plus the base station and keypad. The package I bought cost me nearly $400.

    Fortunately, SimpliSafe offers financing options despite being a no-contract system. You can pay in full right off the bat and be on your merry way, but you can also have Affirm finance your purchase. Just note that by doing the latter, you’ll enter a contract with Affirm. The contract can be up to 12 months depending on your repayment plan.

    Another piece of good news is that however you choose to pay for your equipment, SimpliSafe will never require you to sign a monitoring contract. I opted for a three-month financing plan but was able to cancel my Fast Protect subscription two months in, after I finished testing SimpliSafe. There were no extra fees or penalties.

    How SimpliSafe Protects Homes

    So, how was the SimpliSafe system I tested? In a word, great. I did the installation myself, and after I set it up, I immediately activated my 30-day Fast Protect free trial. I was just surprised it costs $29.99 per month now. Fast Protect used to cost only $27.99 per month when I tested SimpliSafe last year, and that’s after it increased from $24.99 the year before. So there’s that; SimpliSafe increased its monitoring rates twice in a span of three years. But still, SimpliSafe is cheaper than the cost of a Frontpoint system — also a DIY option — but Frontpoint requires a contract. That’s not the only difference. I go in-depth on the differences between these two systems in my Frontpoint vs. SimpliSafe comparison.

    I also want to point out that SimpliSafe didn’t just increase its prices; it also added new features and equipment options, which I loved. There’s the Live Guard Protection I mentioned earlier, the Smart Alarm wireless indoor camera, and text alerts. Unlike before, where I had to wait more or less 30 seconds for the monitoring center to alert me via a phone call, text alerts now arrive within 10 to 15 seconds of a sensor being triggered. SimpliSafe now has one of the fastest response times thanks to that.

    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
  • 2 Cove Security - Best Value for Money

    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

    Cove is fairly new to the scene. The company started in 2017, but the system itself didn’t launch until 2018. Having more than six years of experience under its belt, Cove has proven that it’s not a fly-by-night company. In fact, recent improvements to the system show that it’s evolving to become one of the top options.

    When I first tested Cove, it had a handy but bulky touch-screen control panel. Now, it offers a two-device setup: a hub you can tuck away out of sight and a sleek-looking touchscreen tablet. That’s similar to the Frontpoint system I tested, only Cove’s controller is touch-screen. The keypad included in the base Frontpoint package is analog. That’s just one example of Cove’s recent upgrades. It also started integrating with eufy cameras (see my eufy security camera review) and making the mobile app accessible to all users.

    • 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

    Cove’s Best Feature

    Cove stands out as the most affordable option for no-contract home security. It doesn’t offer equipment financing options like SimpliSafe does, but Cove’s pricing is also generally lower. That and its frequent deals and discounts make it one of the most affordable security systems.

    If you remember, my SimpliSafe system cost me nearly $400 — $372 to be exact. With the same pieces of equipment, I got my Cove package for only $125 thanks to an ongoing 70 percent off deal and a free security camera offer at the time. That’s a $250 difference. Huge!

    Even Cove’s monitoring is more affordable than SimpliSafe’s. It starts at $17.99 per month. The most expensive plan costs $27.99. That said, Cove offers fewer features than SimpliSafe. That’s one thing to consider; Cove is more affordable, but it doesn’t offer more premium features like SimpliSafe’s Live Guard Protection.

    How Cove Contract-Free Monitoring Works

    Another thing to consider is that unlike SimpliSafe, Cove doesn’t work as a self-monitored alarm. That means you’ll need to maintain a monitoring subscription to use Cove. But since you’re not locked into a contract, you can cancel anytime without penalties. Self-monitoring has pros and cons, but it’s certainly a nice option to have. Here’s an overview of the two plans you can choose between with Cove:

    Features and cost Cove Basic Cove Plus
    Monthly cost $17.99 $27.99
    24/7 professional monitoring Yes Yes
    Text notifications Yes Yes
    Battery backup Yes Yes
    Equipment warranty 1 year Lifetime
    Video verification No Yes

    And then there’s the upfront equipment fee. The Cove system I purchased includes a motion sensor, door sensor, extra siren, and indoor camera. It’s a pretty simple package, but if you’re planning to build out a comprehensive security system, it could cost you several hundred dollars. Without a financing option, that will come straight out of your pocket.

    Those things aside, the fact that Cove doesn’t require contracts makes it a flexible option. You can even take the system with you in case you have to move. The system is entirely wireless except for a few pieces that need to be plugged in.

    How Cove Protects Homes

    Cove may be a simple security system — or at least simpler than options like the sophisticated Vivint system I tested — but it’s fully capable of protecting homes. I like that it has sirens, a lot of them. Cove has a built-in 85 dB siren in the main hub and in each touch-screen keypad. By the way, you can place up to four touch-screen keypads around the house. I also bought an auxiliary siren for only $36. That’s a lot of sirens.

    Cove’s main feature is professional monitoring. I appreciated receiving alerts three ways: via text and app notifications sent within 20 seconds of the alarm being triggered and via a phone call within 30 to 45 seconds. And Cove proved to be reliable too. I connected the system to my home internet, but it has cellular backup for when the internet connection is out.

    The one thing missing from Cove is home automation. The app has a section for automations, but since Cove doesn’t work with third-party smart home devices besides Alexa and Google Assistant, I didn’t really find much use for the app’s automation controls. If you prefer a security system with home automation, skip on over to abode below.

    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
  • 3 Ring Alarm - Best Selection of Security Cameras

    Ring Alarm Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.2
    Customer Service
    8.0
    Value
    8.3
    Equipment
    8.4
    Features & Technology
    8.2
    Ease Of Use
    7.9
    SecureScore™
    8.2

    Ring Alarm comes from Ring, and in case you didn’t know, Ring is currently one of the top security camera options in the market. Ring is also our favorite doorbell camera brand, making Ring Alarm one of the best security systems with video doorbells.

    Let’s focus on Ring Alarm for a minute. Ring first launched the security system in 2018 and then added a Pro version in 2021. Both versions work pretty much the same way, but Ring Alarm Pro includes a built-in Wi-Fi router.

    As for the system itself, there weren’t a lot of components for me to test. There were alarm sensors like door/window sensors and motion sensors, as well as add-on sensors like water and freeze sensors. However, there were no real smoke alarms and gas leak detectors. Instead, Ring offers listening devices to listen for your existing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

    • Plenty of security and doorbell cameras to choose from
    • Affordable professional monitoring ($20 per month or $200 per year)
    • 30-minute DIY installation
    • Seven-day practice mode for new professional monitoring subscription
    • Loud built-in siren

    • Limited sensor options
    • Has had privacy and security breaches (which have been resolved)
    • Cameras need a subscription to record
    • Slower professional monitoring response times

    Ring Alarm’s Best Feature

    On its own, Ring Alarm lacks that wow factor I like to see from modern DIY security systems, but fortunately, Ring Alarm isn’t on its own. It’s a part of a larger Ring ecosystem that includes a bunch of security cameras and video doorbells. I tested Ring Alarm with those security cameras and the overall cohesiveness of the entire system impressed me.

    Here’s an example: While at work, I received an app notification from Ring notifying me that my front door opened. I was horrified, so I quickly opened up the Ring app to see if my Ring Indoor Cam caught anything. It did; my friends used my hidden spare key to “break in” and set up a surprise birthday party for me. The notification ruined the surprise, but at least I got to see how easy it is to monitor a Ring Alarm system with Ring cameras. By the time the monitoring center called about a minute after I received the alert, I was able to explain what happened.

    How Ring No-Contract Monitoring Works

    Ring Alarm works a little bit like SimpliSafe in that it can function as either a professionally monitored or a self-monitored system. It’s actually more affordable. For Ring’s contract-free professional monitoring, I paid only $20 per month. That already included cloud video recording for any number of Ring cameras, cellular backup, and video verification. That’s why it’s my top pick for those who need extensive video security. But I know some of you don’t want professional monitoring, so here’s an overview of all the subscription plans that Ring offers:

    Features and cost Ring Protect Basic Ring Protect Plus Ring Protect Pro
    Monthly cost $4.99 $10 $20
    Video history For one camera Unlimited cameras Unlimited cameras
    Basic notifications Yes Yes Yes
    Enhanced notifications No Yes Yes
    24/7 professional monitoring No No Yes
    Cellular backup No No Yes

    Now, this is completely optional, but you can sign up for a one-year subscription. The monthly subscription for Ring Protect Pro costs $240 total over the course of a year. If you sign up for one whole year, you’ll pay only $200 upfront. What’s great about this — besides the discount — is if you cancel midway through the subscription, you’ll get a prorated refund. For example, if you use the service for five months and then cancel, you’ll receive a refund for the remaining seven months. That’s one of the better refund policies I’ve seen for annual subscriptions. Most brands, like Arlo, don’t give prorated refunds. But Arlo does have a few advantages over Ring that I cover in my Arlo vs. Ring comparison.

    How Ring Protects Homes

    There’s a lot to consider before choosing Ring. Equipment-wise, you won’t get as many sensor options as with brands like SimpliSafe and Cove. Ring Alarm is minimalist compared to those. But if you look at the bigger picture — that is, include the Ring security cameras and doorbells in the equation — you’ll see a well-rounded system.

    Ring Alarm and Ring’s cameras complement each other well. While picking out my Ring system, I noticed that Ring doesn’t offer many indoor video security options. It has the Ring Indoor Cam and the Ring Stick Up Cam that works indoors and outdoors, but that’s it. Ring’s cameras focus more on the outdoors. Meanwhile, Ring Alarm focuses on indoor security. The only outdoor equipment it offers is the outdoor contact (entry) sensor designed for gates and sheds.

    >> Read More: Door Alarm Sensors: What They Are and How They’re Used

    The cameras and the security system fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. Ring Alarm takes care of indoor security while the Ring cameras take care of perimeter security.

    Monitoring Options 24/7 professional and DIY
    Installation DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $179.99
    Monthly Monitoring Cost $20
    Contract Length 1-12 months
  • 4 abode - Top Innovative Hub

    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

    abode is the second-oldest no-contract security system on this list. It was founded in 2014 by Christopher Carney, who is a former ADT executive. He and his co-founders thought it would be best to go the opposite way of ADT. Instead of requiring professional installation and a monitoring contract, abode offers DIY installation and optional professional monitoring. And since the monitoring is optional, it’s also contract-free.

    Another thing about abode is that it offers multiple security systems. It’s kind of like Ring Alarm, where there’s a base model and a Pro version, but abode offers three versions. I personally went with the highest version, the iota All-in-One, because the hub includes a built-in motion sensor and indoor camera. I recommend you do the same, especially if you go with abode for its best feature: home automation.

    • Home automation powered by abode’s CUE engine
    • Multiple hubs to choose from
    • Integrates well with third-party smart home products
    • Innovative iota All-in-One hub comes equipped with a camera and motion sensor

    • Only one security camera offered
    • Setup could be more intuitive
    • No touch-screen panels; app reliant
    • Limited equipment in starter kits

    abode’s Best Feature

    abode frequents my best security systems lists because of its impressive home automation features. It rivals Vivint and is a good Vivint alternative if you’re looking for a customizable system you can use to automate your home.

    In my experience, abode’s home automation features are a breeze to set up thanks to CUE, the automation engine built into the abode smartphone and web app. It allowed me to customize automation rules, set schedules, and create easy-to-activate scenes. And since abode works with so many third-party products — even my existing Nest Thermostat — I was able to really customize my home.

    On this list, abode is the only one that offers real home automation. SimpliSafe and Ring Alarm work with Alexa and Google Assistant but don’t offer their own automation platform. Cove has an in-app automation feature, but since it doesn’t really work with third-party products, it has limited use. With abode, both integrations and automations are possible. And even though Ring is owned by Amazon, I still liked abode’s integration better when I directly compared Ring and abode.

    How abode’s Contract-Free Monitoring Works

    abode’s monitoring worked pretty much like SimpliSafe’s. Keep in mind that integrations will work even if you don’t have a monitoring plan. Integrated smart home products will be controllable through the abode app. However, abode’s home automation platform, CUE, works only when you have a monitoring plan. That’s one of the big differences I talk about in my SimpliSafe vs. abode comparison.

    The good news is you don’t have to go with professional monitoring. abode offers a premium self-monitoring option for $6.99 per month. That, too, includes CUE plus a few premium features like access to camera recordings, a 10-day timeline of history logs, an in-app panic alarm, and premium customer support. I personally switched to this plan when I worked from home for a month, but the rest of the time, I went with the Pro Plan ($24.99 per month) with professional monitoring.

    Here’s the breakdown of those plans and their features:

    Features and cost Pro Plan
    (Professional Monitoring)
    Standard Plan
    (Premium Self-Monitoring)
    Monthly price $24.99 $6.99
    Annual price $229.99 (save $70) $69.99 (save $14)
    Professional monitoring Yes No
    Cellular backup Yes No
    CUE home automation Yes Yes
    Premium customer support Yes Yes
    Live and recorded videos Yes Yes
    10-day timeline of events Yes Yes
    Smart Detect in security cameras Yes Yes
    Access to exclusive deals Yes No

    How abode Protects Homes

    Home automation aside, abode has pretty big holes to fill when it comes to protecting homes. For starters, it offers only one security camera. It’s an indoor/outdoor camera, but still, it would have been better if it had a camera built specifically for indoor use and a different one built for outdoor use. All the other options on this list provide at least three choices for security cameras. Second, abode doesn’t offer that many sensors. It makes up for that by being able to connect with third-party devices, but direct sensor pairing is still the best, in my humble opinion.

    On the bright side, abode proved to be a reliable system. App alerts came in quickly, about five to 10 seconds after a sensor is triggered. There’s also cellular backup too, but only if you’re on the Pro Plan. Otherwise, you’d need to make sure your network is in tip-top shape to avoid missed alerts.

    Overall, I give abode a thumbs up. It works best for people looking for a security system with strong home automation, but it works well as a plain security system too.

    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

Is a No-Contract Security System Really the Best Choice?

It’s not that we don’t trust contract-free systems to provide reliable protection. As we all saw, there are pretty good no-contract security options out there. They provide home protection just as well as security systems that require a contract.

But before you hammer down the nail, let’s discuss the pros and cons of a monitoring contract — why it might be a better choice for some and why some might want to avoid it. I discussed those in greater detail in my guide to home security contracts, so check that out if you have the time. Here’s the bottom line:

Pros of Monitoring Contracts

  • Offsets equipment cost: Some contract-free options provide equipment financing up to 12 months, but security systems with contracts offer financing up to 60 months. That means lower upfront cost and monthly equipment repayment for you.
  • Equipment on lease: Even better, some companies will let you lease rather than buy the equipment. That’s an even more practical solution because it often costs less to lease equipment in the short run.
  • Warranty: Most of the time, your equipment will receive continuous warranty for repairs and replacement as long as you’re still under contract. Some contract-free options such as Cove provide lifetime equipment warranty for as long as you’re subscribed to a monitoring plan, but not all of them do.
  • Guarantees: Speaking of warranty, contracted security brands will often throw in a guarantee or two if you sign a contract. ADT has a six-month money-back guarantee and theft protection guarantee, for example. You don’t usually get the same from no-contract brands.

Cons of Monitoring Contracts

  • Can make moving difficult: A monitoring agreement can make it difficult for you to change addresses. In most cases, you will have to renew your contract for another two or three years (or worse, five years) to take your system with you in the move.
  • Requires a credit check: Usually, you will have to go through a credit check before buying equipment or signing a contract. There are security systems for folks with a lower-than-ideal credit score, most of which are contract-free.
  • Early-termination fee: One of the biggest catches of signing a contract is that once you sign the dotted line, you’d be on the hook for the rest of the contract term. If you try to cancel before the contract expires, you will be charged a hefty penalty. Some companies are more lenient, allowing military families and seniors to cancel for free due to extenuating circumstances, but such companies are rare. (Hint: See Vivint’s contract terms.)

 

Comparing No-Contract Security Systems

As you can see, contracts are for some people, but for others, it’s a must-avoid. It’s all up to you. Either way, there are good options available to you.

If you’re leaning more toward a no-contract option, it’s imperative that you know what factors to compare, especially the cost-related factors. Buying a security system is a sizable expense, so you have to make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew.

  • Equipment and installation cost: Contract-free security systems are also DIY, but some offer optional professional installation.The price usually ranges from $100 to $150. On top of that, you’re likely going to have to pay for the equipment upfront, which can range anywhere from $200 to $500 for a basic system.
  • Availability of financing: As I discussed earlier, very few no-contract options offer financing. Those that do have very short repayment terms, usually up to a year. You should look for a brand that offers payment options that suit your budget.
  • Refund policy: Your biggest expense when buying a no-contract system is the equipment fee, but it doesn’t always work out. If you’re planning to buy your equipment right out the gate, make sure there’s a refund policy so you can return your order and get your money back in case you change your mind.
  • Warranty: You should also check the warranty terms. Will you get free replacement or repairs in case something goes wrong with the equipment? For how long is the system under warranty? Does the company handle the repairs, or must you go to an accredited service center?
  • Self-monitoring option: This is very important. If you go with a contract-free solution, it’s likely because you want some flexibility. You want to be able to cancel anytime. But what happens when you cancel your monitoring? Will you be able to use the system as a self-monitored alarm, or will it turn into a very expensive paperweight?

Features of the Best No-Contract Home Security Systems

Cost-related factors aside, you should also consider the features of the no-contract security system.

Wireless Equipment

We get it. Hardwired systems require drilling, wiring, and splicing circuitry. This is too much commitment for most people. That’s why the best no-contract, month-to-month home security systems are 100 percent wireless units. Many systems with wireless equipment can be set up in mere minutes, with no tools and no fuss. Go with wireless; you won’t be sorry.

DIY Setup

Another attractive feature with no-contract security systems is easy DIY setup. The best companies preprogram the equipment before it arrives at your door. This means plug-and-play setup without having to troubleshoot the system on your own. Phew! Do-it-yourself setup is now easier than ever. You’ll be up and running with home protection in no time at all.

Cellular Monitoring

No-contract home security and cellular monitoring go hand-in-hand. Wireless systems use cellular monitoring, as opposed to landline or Wi-Fi hookup, to connect to emergency operators at the monitoring station. Cellular monitoring is powered by cell towers, and it’s typically more reliable and secure than other options. Just be sure you live in an area with a cellular signal, and you’re as good as gold.

Remote Access

Remote access is another popular feature. It’s the 21st century after all, and people demand immediate mobile access to everything. Why should home security be any different? Remote access allows you to open your companion app anytime, anywhere, to monitor and control your month-to-month home security system. With remote access, home protection is always close at hand.

Entryway Sensors

Secure the perimeter with entryway sensors. This feature comes standard with every no-contract security system. Simply mount these magnetic sensors to door frames and windows. When a security breach occurs, the magnets separate, the alarm sounds, and alerts are sent. These easy-install sensors can typically be put into place with removable adhesive.

Motion Detectors

Shore up your defense with motion detectors. This feature also comes with most no-contract home security systems. Leveraging infrared motion sensors, the devices pick up movement inside your home. Upon detection, the motion detectors trigger the alarm and alerts. While these detectors are useful anywhere in the home, they become especially helpful in monitoring rooms with high-value items like art and jewelry.

Special Features

Who doesn’t love special features? Most no-contract security systems come with a control panel, entryway sensors, a base station, and a motion detector. These are special in their own right. But users can add-on neat features like glass-break sensors, panic buttons, smart smoke alarms, and key ring remote controls. Go on, upgrade your home security system to your heart’s content.

Special Alert Zones

Keep a hawk-eye on certain areas of your home with special alert zones. This feature comes with the best no-contract, month-to-month security plans. Keep your kids away from the liquor cabinet, thieves away from your gun locker, and a close eye on Mona Lisa in the foyer. Special alert zones offer increased security where it matters most.

Ownership

Another key feature to look for is outright ownership of the security equipment. Many no-contract systems give immediate ownership to the user. Of course, the units often still function just fine if and when the month-to-month monitoring plan is canceled. The best part about owning your system is that the equipment can move with you wherever you go.

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.