Best Home Security Systems with Monitoring

Our security experts installed dozens of top security systems with professional monitoring in their own homes to find out which one is the best.

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ADT Image
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
With 150 years of experience and 12 redundant monitoring centers, you can’t get more reliable professional monitoring than ADT.
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Vivint Image
SecureScore™: 9.1/10
Vivint continues to push the industry forward with its new text-based alert system, which brought its response time down to 10 seconds.
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SimpliSafe Image
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
For a DIY-focused company, SimpliSafe’s Fast Protect monitoring gives you surprisingly good protection with live guard support that allows agents to deter criminals in the act.
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  • ADT Product Image
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    With 150 years of experience and 12 redundant monitoring centers, you can’t get more reliable professional monitoring than ADT.
    View Packages
  • Vivint Product Image
    SecureScore™: 9.1/10
    Vivint continues to push the industry forward with its new text-based alert system, which brought its response time down to 10 seconds.
    View Packages
  • SimpliSafe Product Image
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    For a DIY-focused company, SimpliSafe’s Fast Protect monitoring gives you surprisingly good protection with live guard support that allows agents to deter criminals in the act.
    View Packages
  • Frontpoint Product Image
    SecureScore™: 8.7/10
    For a DIY-focused company, SimpliSafe’s Fast Protect monitoring gives you surprisingly good protection with live guard support that allows agents to deter criminals in the act.
    View Packages

Keeping tabs on your own home security system is quite a task. Let’s face it: Most of us just don’t have time during the day to check on every single alert our system gets. That’s not to say there aren’t good self-monitored home security systems, but they definitely need more attention.

All the best home security systems offer professional monitoring to some extent. They’re not all the same though. That’s why we put each of them to the test. We installed each security system in our own home, paid for professional monitoring, and assessed how well each system performed.

Comparison of the Best Home Security Systems With Monitoring

System ADT Vivint SimpliSafe Frontpoint
Ranking 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Rating 9.2/10 9.1/10 9.2/10 8.7/10
Contract length 36 months, or monthly with self-setup Starting at 42 months Monthly Monthly or 36 months
Installation type DIY or professional Professional DIY or professional DIY
Professional monitoring cost Starting at $24.99 per month Starting at $39.99 per month Starting at $19.99 per month Starting at $49 per month
Equipment cost Packages starting at $194.98 Packages starting at $449 Packages starting at $249.96 Packages starting at $79
Review ADT review Vivint review SimpliSafe review Frontpoint review

Summary of the Best Home Security Systems With Monitoring

All Equipment in the Vivint Home Security System

All Equipment in the Vivint Home Security System

Our Methodology

We’re big fans of professionally monitored home security systems. The peace of mind they provide typically is worth the cost of entry, but that’s only true with reputable systems. That’s why we wanted to develop this list — to give you an idea of the best professionally monitored systems available. Our process started online, where we researched the top security system providers. Once we got our list together, we ordered a different system for each month.

After ordering our security system, we either installed it ourselves or scheduled an installation appointment with the pros. We opted for a DIY install when we could. Once it was up and running, we stuck with each system for at least a few weeks. That let us see how living with each system works. It also gave us a chance to put the systems’ monitoring to the test in real-world situations. We then ranked each system based on a few key criteria, such as the equipment quality, response times, and installation process.

  • 1 ADT - Best Overall 24/7 Monitoring

    ADT Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    Is ADT Right for You?

    When it comes to professional monitoring, it’s tough to beat ADT. Sure, Vivint has more advanced equipment and SimpliSafe’s Fast Protect plan lets its agents talk to any intruders through the two-way audio in your cameras, but when you want professional monitoring you can always count on, ADT wins hands down with its 12 award-winning monitoring centers.

    Arming my ADT System

    Arming my ADT System

    • Intuitive and easy-to-use app
    • 24/7 professional monitoring with 12 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

    ADT Equipment

    The two things ADT has down pat are the equipment and the monitoring. All of ADT’s equipment is made by either GE or Google Nest, two of the biggest brands in the industry. Google Nest makes all the cameras, and GE makes everything else. Since the cameras are made by Google, it makes sense that ADT is one of the best security systems for Google Home.

    FYI: You can buy Google Nest cameras as stand-alone products, but you can’t get them as stand-alone products from ADT. You’ll need to buy them directly from Google Nest. We cover how much each one costs in our guide to the pricing of Nest Home Security Cameras.

    When we put ADT to the test, we really liked the high-quality feel of its equipment. Some of the more budget brands feel a little flimsy, and their durability isn’t really what it should be. Not so with ADT.

    Your system may differ depending on your security needs, but here’s what our test consisted of:

    • 1 ADT touch-screen control panel
    • 4 ADT entry sensors
    • 3 ADT motion sensors
    • 3 ADT glass-break sensors
    • 2 Google Nest outdoor cameras

    That’s the equipment we tested together. We also tested the Google Nest video doorbell separately. As for the price of our ADT system, we paid $1,200. Keep in mind, though, that your ADT system will come with a long-term contract.

    ADT Monitoring

    It’s really hard to beat ADT’s 12 redundant monitoring centers. Reliability is the most important factor in a company’s monitoring, which is why ADT sits at the top of our list of the best professionally monitored home security systems.

    It looks like ADT’s monitoring keeps getting better too. The company used to have custom pricing for monitoring that depended on the system you bought. Those prices started at $45.99. We’re glad to say goodbye to those days with ADT’s two new monitoring plans — one for systems with only sensors and one for systems with cameras. Below is an overview of ADT’s latest monitoring plans.

    Essential Essential + Video
    24/7 professional monitoring Yes Yes
    Cellular backup Yes Yes
    Video verification No Yes
    30-day cloud storage for video clips No Yes
    Price $24.99 per month $34.99 per month

    ADT Installation

    Back in the day, ADT offered only professionally installed equipment. It made sense back then, since a lot of its equipment needed hardwired connections for power and connectivity. That isn’t true today, though, which we’re glad to see ADT taking advantage of.

    >> Learn More: How to Install a Home Security System

    That’s exactly why ADT released ADT Self-Setup. Now you have the option of either professional installation or DIY installation. We recommend going with DIY installation if you have time. When we tested ADT Self-Setup, we found out that the equipment costs way less even though it’s exactly the same. That’s not to say ADT’s professional installation is bad though. It’s really good, actually, but it may not be worth the price for everyone with how easy the system is to install.

    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 Response Times

    Vivint Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.1
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    Is Vivint Right for You?

    When you want the security system with the best monitoring, Vivint has two main things going for it. First, its equipment pushes home security technology forward. Between the smart deter feature in the outdoor camera that shows criminals you’re watching and the advanced automation capabilities of the Vivint app, there’s no arguing that Vivint is cutting-edge. Second, Vivint uses text alerts for monitoring that arrive in 10 seconds instead of the standard 30 seconds it takes for calls.

    Vivint Smart Hub and Ping Indoor Camera

    Vivint Smart Hub and Ping Indoor Camera

    • 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

    Vivint Equipment

    By far our favorite part of Vivint’s equipment is its cameras. There are only three Vivint home security cameras to choose from, which may sound a bit limiting, but wow, are those three cameras good. They all have 4K image sensors with 1080p full-HD resolution. That 4K image sensor made our videos crystal clear in low-light settings. You know in the early mornings when the sun just starts to come up and you can barely see anything in your doorbell camera? Well, that didn’t happen with Vivint.

    >> Read About: Vivint Doorbell Camera Review, Cost, and Pricing in 2024

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the outdoor camera’s smart deter feature. Using people-detection technology, the camera recognizes if someone is lurking around your property and then turns on its LED light and sounds an 85 dB siren. Let us tell you, that thing is loud for how small the camera is. We could hear it in our house when ours went off.

    Vivint Monitoring

    What makes Vivint’s monitoring stand out is the text-based alerts, which go out lightning fast. During our tests, we received alerts we could respond to 10 seconds after an alarm triggered. That’s about 20 seconds faster than even the best phone call–based alert times. It may not seem like a lot, but when someone is trying to break into your home, that 20 seconds would feel like an eternity. The system even put Vivint on our list of the security systems with the fastest response times.

    Vivint has one of the fastest response times in the industry, so you’d think the monitoring would cost a fortune. Well, it doesn’t. There’s only one plan to choose from, with additional charges based on the equipment you buy. Below is an overview of Vivint’s monitoring options and costs.

    Feature Cost
    24/7 monitoring of sensors $39.99 per month
    Cellular backup $1.48 per month
    Video support $5 per month per camera
    Car Guard for first device $9.99 per month
    Car Guard for second device $4.99 per month

    Vivint Installation

    We just got through saying how installing security systems is a piece of cake. Well, not so much with Vivint. That’s why the Vivint install process means letting Vivint’s in-house technicians install your system for you. Every Vivint system requires professional installation.

    When we got our system installed, we were a bit annoying to our technician because we followed them around everywhere asking questions. That’s why we can say we wouldn’t have wanted to install the system ourselves. That outdoor camera we were praising earlier, for example, requires wiring inside your home that it uses to get a better Wi-Fi signal. We wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to do that without someone walking us through every step.

    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 Active Monitoring

    SimpliSafe Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    Is SimpliSafe Right for You?

    If Vivint and ADT seem a bit pricey or require too much of a commitment, SimpliSafe takes the exact opposite approach. There aren’t any long-term contracts unless you use third-party financing, and both the equipment and monitoring prices are significantly lower. A lower cost, however, isn’t the only thing SimpliSafe has. It also recently upgraded its monitoring services to include live guard protection, which basically means its agents can communicate with you — or an intruder — through your indoor security cameras when one of your alarms goes off.

    SimpliSafe equipment

    SimpliSafe equipment

    • 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 Equipment

    Even though none of SimpliSafe’s equipment stood out as being best-in-class, every piece of equipment met our expectations. The entryway sensor was a bit bulky, but it wasn’t as big as the Frontpoint one we tested. And yes, the keypad is analog. We tend to like the touch-screen control panels of Vivint and ADT better. That’s more personal preference than anything though. We go over more differences in our ADT vs. SimpliSafe and Vivint vs. SimpliSafe comparisons.

    Otherwise, all of SimpliSafe’s equipment hits the mark. While testing the SimpliSafe outdoor camera, we really liked the motion-activated spotlight. It lit up our yard nicely so we could see clearly what was going on. It gave us color night vision, too, which was a nice bonus.

    SimpliSafe Monitoring

    One of the best parts about SimpliSafe’s monitoring is that it’s not mandatory. When we wanted to save a bit of money for Christmas gifts, we turned off our professional monitoring for two months and started monitoring it ourselves. We opted for the Self-Monitoring plan so we didn’t lose our smart-platform integrations, and we wanted cloud storage. After the Christmas craziness, we switched back to the Fast Protect plan.

    Below is an overview of SimpliSafe’s plans.

    Self-Monitoring Professional Monitoring Fast Protect
    Cellular backup Yes No Yes
    30-day cloud storage for video Yes No Yes
    Smart-platform integrations Yes No Yes
    24/7 professional monitoring No Yes Yes
    Live guard support No No Yes
    Video verification No No Yes
    Price $9.99 per month $19.99 per month $29.99 per month

    The $19.99 Professional Monitoring plan is just a run-of-the-mill monitoring service you can get from almost any home security company. That’s why we opt for SimpliSafe’s interactive monitoring plan called Fast Protect. It uses SimpliSafe’s new live guard capabilities, which means when an alarm goes off, the company’s agents can take control of your cameras and talk through the two-way audio. They’ll scare off any potential burglar by telling them police are on the way. We were a bit concerned for our privacy since we bought indoor cameras with our system, but SimpliSafe’s privacy shutters helped quiet our fears.

    SimpliSafe Installation

    SimpliSafe made a name for itself on DIY installation, and it tops our list of the best DIY home security systems. Installing the system couldn’t have been easier, with command strips for every component. All in all it took about 30 minutes to get our system up and running. Even the equipment’s design is simple, making the installation as a whole approachable for anyone.

    In some ways, SimpliSafe’s installation process felt a bit too easy. We were a little concerned that the command strips would wear out over time. We can always replace them, but the component might break from the fall. We’d suggest replacing the command strips every so often — like as often as you clean your gutters. Of course, you can also opt for SimpliSafe’s professional installation and they’ll use the included mounting hardware for the heavier components.

    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 Frontpoint - Best Customizations

    Frontpoint Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.7
    Customer Service
    Features & Technology
    Ease Of Use

    Is Frontpoint Right for You?

    What really sets Frontpoint apart is its huge range of equipment options. It lets you build your system for the specific needs of your home’s security. Seriously. It has seven different kinds of sensors!

    Frontpoint also makes its monitoring reliable, but in a different way than ADT’s monitoring centers. It uses cellular as the primary communication network instead of Wi-Fi, which makes it a great choice for rural customers.

    Frontpoint equipment

    Frontpoint equipment

    • 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

    Frontpoint Equipment

    Frontpoint has it all when it comes to equipment options. We could easily go crazy and rack up a hefty bill building out our Frontpoint security system, but we restrained ourselves to keep the cost of our Frontpoint security system low. Our wallets thanked us. Even if we did go a little crazy, though, our system still wouldn’t cost anywhere near that of an ADT or Vivint system.

    We were a bit disappointed with the resolution of the outdoor camera we tested. It has only 720p HD, which made it impossible to read license plates as cars drove past our house. The newest version has 1080p HD, though, which provides much clearer images. All the sensors are a great benefit too. We got a garage sensor with our system, something that was missing from our SimpliSafe equipment options. That’s why Frontpoint shows up on our list of the best security systems for homes with garages.

    Frontpoint Monitoring

    We had all the options in the world when it came to picking out our equipment, but Frontpoint’s security plans and pricing are a bit different, with only one option for monitoring. All systems come with a flat-rate $49.99-per-month monitoring plan — and it’s required. It’s actually pretty reliable monitoring though. Frontpoint’s contracts used to last one to three years, but the company now lets you go with a month-to-month plan if you prefer.

    Since the whole system uses cellular as its main form of communication, Frontpoint doesn’t experience the lag you’ll get with other systems when the internet goes out. That switch from Wi-Fi to cellular takes a bit for other systems. If an intruder cut our internet cables, that would take down the monitoring for a bit — but not with Frontpoint.

    Frontpoint Installation

    SimpliSafe may have set the standard for installation, but Frontpoint met it. Installing our Frontpoint system felt almost identical to installing our SimpliSafe system. It used the same command strips for setting each piece of equipment in place. We’re a little disappointed Frontpoint doesn’t give you the option of professional installation though. For all the differences between SimpliSafe and Frontpoint, check out our Frontpoint vs. SimpliSafe comparison guide.

    FYI: Even if a home security company doesn’t offer professional installation, you can still get the system professionally installed. All you need to do is look up a local home security consultant, and they’ll be able to help you get your system installed by a third-party installer.

    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

Is Professional Monitoring Worth It?

The simple answer: Yes. Professional monitoring is definitely worth it, as long as it’s done by a company you can trust. You may think professional monitoring is almost the same thing as getting push notifications from your security system, but it’s a whole lot more.

With professional monitoring, you get a team of experts standing by, ready to help you in an emergency. That means they can call the authorities for you. In dangerous situations, they can guide you to safety. Whether that’s finding a hiding place during a break-in or guiding you out of your house during a fire, professional monitoring can literally save your life.

How Does Security System Monitoring Work?

Security system monitoring is actually a pretty straightforward thing. Basically when an alarm triggers, the monitoring center gets an alert to respond to. They then contact you to see if everything is OK. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what security system monitoring looks like:

  1. An alarm gets triggered.
  2. The monitoring center receives an alert.
  3. An agent texts or calls you depending on the security system you have.
  4. You respond to the alert.
  5. If you need assistance, your agent contacts your local emergency services.
  6. Your agent stays in contact with you to ensure you are safe until emergency services arrive.

>> Read More: A Complete Guide to Home Security Systems in 2024

If you have SimpliSafe’s Fast Protect monitoring, your agent can also use your cameras to see what’s happening and talk to the intruder.

What Is the Difference Between Good and Bad Professional Monitoring?

Even though we like to assess security systems on the whole, there are a few things that can make a provider’s professional monitoring good or bad.

Good professional monitoring always has built-in redundancies, whether it’s ADT’s 12 redundant monitoring centers or Frontpoint’s use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

The system’s response time also plays a big role in the quality of the professional monitoring. We always look for response times of 30 seconds. That’s what we consider to be the industry standard. Vivint takes it up a notch with response times of 10 seconds with its text-based alarms.

The cost of a security system’s professional monitoring is a big factor too. At the low end, you can get good quality professional monitoring for about $20 per month. You shouldn’t pay much more than $50 per month unless it’s for a premium system like Vivint.

Final Thoughts

We think professional monitoring is always a good idea, but that doesn’t mean every security provider’s professional monitoring is good. It’s usually one of the criteria we use to compare home security systems, because every system’s monitoring is so much different.

ADT gave us all the reliability we could want with its 12 redundant monitoring centers. Vivint’s text-based alerts had the fastest response times. SimpliSafe’s live guard agents could scare away intruders. Frontpoint’s cellular-first connection keeps your system in touch with the company’s monitoring centers at all times. All four get the basics down. From there, it’s just a matter of preference.

Features of Monitored Home Security Systems

Below are common features and benefits of securing your home with a monitored home security system.

Redundant Monitoring

Redundant monitoring is essential when it comes to monitored home protection. Several backup systems serve as a fail-safe in the event one system goes down. That may include secondary signals, multiple monitoring centers, and the like. Let’s face it: Natural disasters, power outages, and other unforeseeable events happen. Get the backup protection you need with redundant monitoring.

Wireless or Hardwired

The vast majority of monitored home security systems offer both wireless and hardwired connections. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. There’s a wireless revolution happening, though, as more people are choosing the easy setup and reliability that wireless offers. Hardwired systems are still an option, although they require drilling into walls, splicing circuitry, and other invasive installation methods.

Arm/Disarm Security

The best monitored security systems can be armed and disarmed locally and remotely. Most systems offer a mobile app that allows you to arm and disarm your security from anywhere in the world. When the system is armed, a security breach will alert the monitoring center day or night. That allows emergency dispatchers to keep a hawk-eye on your home 24/7.

Specialized Alert Zones

Here’s another tech-forward feature offered by many professionally monitored home security systems. Specialized alert zones give you greater control over certain areas of your home. If you keep valuable items such as art, jewelry, or firearms in one room, for example, you can simply set up a specialized alert zone with cameras, motion detectors, and the works. Rest assured you’ll be alerted at the first sign of activity.

Entryway Sensors

Entryway sensors serve as your first line of home defense. The magnetic sensors secure entryways including doors, windows, and garages. When the magnets separate, the alarm sounds, you receive a real-time alert, and the monitoring center is immediately notified. The feature is critical to any monitored home security system. Thankfully, every system comes with an assortment of entryway sensors.

Glass Break Sensors

A monitored home security system with glass-break sensors is the full package. Place the sound-sensitive devices near windows and rest assured the distinct frequency of breaking glass will be detected. When triggered, the alarm sounds, you receive an alert, and emergency dispatchers are on the line to offer help. They’re typically sold as an add-on, but the sensors are fast becoming a must-have component.

Motion Detectors

Maximize your home protection with motion detectors, which come standard with professionally monitored security systems. The infrared detectors are mounted indoors — specifically in large rooms, entryways, and hallways — and keep a constant watch for motion. When triggered, the alarm will sound and both you and the monitoring center are alerted. The best motion detectors can even discern between people and pets.

Control Panel

From manual push buttons to super-modern digital touch-screen technology — such is the evolution of the control panel. The top monitored home security systems offer sleek touch screens with impressive capabilities. Arm and disarm the alarm, view live video, and take total control of your system with the control panel. Many monitored systems even offer two-way voice to speak with emergency personnel directly through the panel.

Cellular Monitoring

If you’re in the market for a wireless home security system with professional monitoring, you’ll love cellular monitoring. It doesn’t require a landline, and yet it still offers reliable, around-the-clock home protection. Powered by cell towers, much like a cell phone, cellular monitored systems are unfazed by wire snippers (no wires to snip!), power outages, and other local hazards.

FAQs About Home Security Systems With Monitoring

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

As a home security expert and Managing Editor for, 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.