Cox Homelife Review

Professional home security systems from a trusted communications company

7.5 / 10Our rating methodology (aka SecureScoreTM is a combination of our research, product testing, customer sentiment and several other factors.
See 3 Systems We Like Better
Travis Goodreau https://www.safehome.org/security-advisors/travis-goodreau/
7.5 SecureScore™
How We Review
How We Review
Customer Service
7.0
Value
6.0
Equipment
9.0
Features & Technology
9.0
Ease Of Use
6.5
SecureScore™
7.5

Cox Homelife is one of the wild card home security brands that we’ve been following over the years. By “wild card,” we mean that maybe, just maybe, they have great products that people just haven’t heard about yet. On the other hand, maybe it’s an inferior system, and the lack of “buzz” is just a reflection of that reality. We figured it could go either way. So, we got ahold of Cox Homelife and put it through our rigorous testing process. We wanted to learn about the costs and fees, features and technology, and all the good (or not so good) stuff in-between.

A few things stood out to us right away. First, it was very easy — almost too easy — to get started. They only offer one security package, so you won’t get confused by too many options. Also, if you go with the standard package, they throw in the equipment for free. This inclusion means you won’t have to pay steep upfront costs (which is huge). That said, we also found a bunch of hidden fees — nothing crazy, but they do add up. A couple of other things we didn’t love was the two-year contract and that Cox Homelife isn’t available in every state.

So, is it worth it? Do these home security and smart home automation systems offer something for you and your family? Well, we did all the research so that you don’t have to. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

PROS
  • Well-Established Company
  • Straightforward Plan Choices
  • Free Standard Equipment
  • Smart Home Automation
  • Indoor or Outdoor Security Camera
  • Comprehensive Customer Support
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • Discounts for Bundling

CONS
  • Not Available in Every State
  • Hidden Fees Can Add Up
  • Two-Year Contract Required
  • Touchscreen Panel Costs Extra
  • Professional Installation Required

About Cox Homelife

We did some digging, and we found that Cox Communications is the multi-billion-dollar telecom company behind the Homelife brand.1 Sure, that might be obvious. But perhaps not so obvious is that it all started back in 2010, when the company rolled out their home automation service as an experiment in Tucson, Arizona. It was a success, as they went on to expand into other markets (18 to be exact!) with home automation and security.2

Keep in Mind: Cox isn’t licensed to serve every state with their Homelife offerings. They mainly operate in coastal areas with a few mid-western states in the mix.


Overall, we’re actually pretty leery of mega conglomerates like Cox Communications and Comcast, at least when it comes to their home security offerings. We’ve found that big businesses like these are often in it for the money. So, there’s not a whole lot of innovation, the customer service is substandard (especially with Comcast Xfinity), and you sort of get the sense that you’re just another number or sale at the ol’ cash register. But you’re so much more than that! Of course, everyone’s experience is different, but these are all things you should keep in mind.

How Much Does It Cost?

Before we get too much into the nitty-gritty, you’re probably curious about the cost of Cox Homelife. Thankfully, they don’t require $250-$500 upfront, like many companies out there. But you will have to front the installation and activation fees, which cost about $100 in total. Also, your mileage may vary depending on how many gizmos and gadgets you want.

The Free Starter Kit includes:

  • 2 Door or Window Sensors
  • 1 Motion Sensor
  • 1 HD Camera

The $200 Digital Home Starter Kit includes:

  • 2 Door or Window Sensors
  • 1 Motion Sensor
  • 2 HD Cameras
  • 3 Smart LED Light Bulbs

FYI: It’s rare to see a security camera included in a free starter kit. So, we like that Cox Homelife offers an HD camera with every package.

Then, you’ll choose a monthly plan, which is also pretty straightforward. After all, they only offer two plans: Cox Homelife Automation and Cox Homelife Security. One gives you home automation for $24.99 per month while the other provides security and home automation for $54.99 per month. Here’s a roundup of the features and costs (keep in mind that we chose the security option):

Cox Homelife Plans

OptionsCox Homelife AutomationCox Homelife Security
Smart lighting controls
Live video feed
Door and window alert
24-7 professional monitoringX
Motion sensingX
Backup systemX
Price$29.99 per month$54.99 per month

We’ve tested a whole lot of home security systems (over 100 to date!), so we can say that Cox’s monthly monitoring fees are a touch pricey. But the cost itself shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, as there are plenty of companies that charge $55-$65 per month or more. All right, so now that we chose our equipment package and monthly monitoring plan, we’re sittin’ pretty at $55 per month, with an upfront investment of $100. So that’s it, right? No more costs? Well… not so fast.

If you want video monitoring, you’ll have to fork out an additional $14.99 per month for one camera or $24.99 per month for up to four cameras. Finally, if you’re worried about your equipment breaking or failing, you can get the Cox Homelife Equipment Service Plan for $4.99 per month. As you can see, at first glance Cox Homelife seems cheap compared to top brands like Vivint or ADT. But looks can be deceiving. Once we added up all the extra costs and hidden fees, we found that Cox Homelife is actually quite pricey. So, let’s see how it performed when it came to protecting our home and automating our life.

Pro Tip: You have to subscribe to the Homelife Equipment Service Plan within 90 days of your purchase; otherwise, you’ll have to pay $99 for a “preventative maintenance inspection” to get it at a later date.

Our Experience with Cox Homelife

Getting Started

As mentioned, we actually found it pretty simple getting started. They only have a couple of options, so checkout was fast and easy. Remember, you’ll have to sign a two-year contract before scheduling your installation date and time. Bear in mind that contracts are standard with security systems that include “free” (technically leased) equipment. Another thing to consider is your location, as Cox doesn’t serve most states. We won’t list them all here, as we’ve found that the regional availability is constantly changing.

Also, we recommend reading the fine print. We found several hidden fees that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. For instance, if you happen to live in Las Vegas, you’ll pay an additional $4 per month for “verified response.”3 We won’t get into what this means, just know that it costs $4 per month or $48 over the year. And you could’ve used that $48 to buy one drink on The Strip. You win some, and you lose some.

Installation

Here’s another thing we didn’t love about Cox Homelife. Now, don’t get us wrong, we do think professional installation has its benefits. But we don’t like that it’s a hard-and-fast requirement. We live in America after all, the land of “roll up your sleeves and do-it-yourself!” That’s why we naturally gravitate to DIY systems like SimpliSafe. The good news is that our Cox technician was friendly and professional, and he even gave us a walkthrough of our new system once it was up and running. Also, compared to the industry-standard cost for a professional install, which is about $100, Cox Homelife is pretty cheap at $50.

How It Performed for Us

This juncture is where the rubber meets the road. Once our system was installed, we put it through several break-in scenarios. All in all, it performed well, and we experienced average response times of about 40 seconds. Note that 40 seconds is on the upper end of what’s acceptable, but it did squeak by to meet our standards.

The equipment was well made, and the door and window sensors were responsive. In fact, they were slightly sensitive compared to most systems we’ve tried. Another thing we thought was odd is that the Homelife Hub (the base station), didn’t have a push-button keypad or touchscreen controls. It’s just, well… a hunk of plastic. If you want the touchscreen control panel, you’ll have to purchase it separately.
Cox Homelife Smart Security Touchscreen Control PanelThankfully, we were able to control our system using the Cox Homelife mobile app.4 The app wasn’t anything special, but it allowed us to arm and disarm our system remotely, as well as tap into the live feed of our HD camera. We think you’ll like the indoor/outdoor camera and live-video feature. We’re still a little surprised that it’s included in the free standard package. Also, we were able to control home automation features — like smart lighting and other devices — using our smartphone, which is always nice. That said, Cox Homelife doesn’t work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which is disappointing.

Cox Homelife Mobile App

One last thing to note is that Cox Homelife is a Wi-Fi-based security system. That is, it uses your existing Wi-Fi to function, send signals, etc. And there is a battery backup option that keeps you connected to the monitoring center if a power outage occurs. Of course, we always prefer cellular monitoring systems (like those offered by Frontpoint Security), as they’re typically faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi monitoring. On the other hand, we’ve found Wi-Fi connections to be superior to landline connections. So, it’s all relative. Overall, we didn’t experience problems with our system staying “live” and connecting to emergency personnel.

FYI: Cox Homelife offers 24-7 professional monitoring from a UL-listed TMA Five Diamond Certified monitoring center, which is the gold standard for professional monitoring.

How It Performed for Us

Cox Homelife gets mixed reviews when it comes to customer service. The parent company, Cox Communications, holds an A+ BBB As you’ll see, they’ve been around for a long time. But in our experience with Cox Homelife, we weren’t exactly blown away by their customer service. While they do offer an extensive self-service portal — with troubleshooting guides, how-to articles, the works — they actually gave us the run-around when trying to call in for support. We were rerouted a few times before finally reaching someone in the Homelife division. So, this shortcoming is something to keep in mind. A company as big as Cox is bound to be a little slow and clumsy in the customer service department.

Did You Know: You can also find answers to your questions via live chat, Facebook, Twitter, and user forums. Cox Homelife provides several avenues for online support.

Best Features of Cox Homelife

24-7 Professional Monitoring — With 24-7 professional monitoring, your system is always connected to the monitoring center so that agents can dispatch 911 if necessary.

Smartphone Controls — You can take your home security system on the go with remote access and controls using the Cox Homelife mobile app. It’s a well-designed app with solid functionality, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Cox Homelife Smartphone Features

Instant Alerts — You’ll get instant activity alerts sent straight to your smartphone. This feature allows you to keep tabs on your home security status from anywhere in the world.

Home Automation — You can automate and set rules for smart home features like lighting, door locks, thermostats, and more. Note that Cox Homelife does not work with Alexa or Google Assistant, two popular platforms for voice control.

Cox Homelife HD Camera

HD Camera — You can view video, snap pictures, and set custom recording rules for events like, say, your back door opening. And you can access and view your cameras using the Cox Homelife app. The camera can function either indoors or outdoors. But we recommend it for indoor use only.

Touchscreen Controls — This device allows you to control your system with a swipe of a finger. You can arm and disarm your system, view live-feed video, and more. However, the touchscreen control panel is sold separately.

Cox Homelife Continuous Video Recording

Continuous Video Recording — Get continuous video recording (CVR) and other video monitoring features like 10-day video history. These plans do cost extra, starting at $14.99 per month for one camera (great service, but it’s not cheap!).

Wireless Systems — You won’t have to drill into walls or fuss with wires, as Cox Homelife systems are wireless and installed by professionals.

Environmental Monitoring — Monitor for smoke, fire, CO, and freeze/flood. Environmental monitoring devices integrate seamlessly into Cox Homelife systems. But remember, these devices are sold separately.

Equipment Options and Upgrades

We have to say, Cox Homelife offers a decent lineup of equipment options. You will likely have to purchase at least one or two additional door and window sensors, as their packages only include two of these devices. So, if you want to secure all of your entry-points (which you do!), be ready to shell out $50+ from the get-go. Other than entry and motion sensors, you can also purchase different environmental monitoring devices and various smart features. Here’s the full menu of Cox Homelife equipment options:

Cox Homelife Equipment

DeviceCategoryCompatible With
Door/Window SensorSecurity MonitoringStandard + Security Plan
Motion SensorSecurity MonitoringSecurity Plan
HD CameraSecurity MonitoringStandard + Security Plan
Smart Door LockSecurity MonitoringStandard + Security Plan
Glass Break SensorSecurity MonitoringSecurity Plan
Wireless KeypadSecurity MonitoringSecurity Plan
Homelife HubHubAutomation Plan
Touchscreen Control PanelHubSecurity Plan
CO DetectorEnvironmental SafetySecurity Plan
Smoke & Heat DetectorEnvironmental SafetySecurity Plan
Water & Flood SensorEnvironmental SafetySecurity Plan
Smart PlugHome AutomationStandard + Security Plan
Smart ThermostatHome AutomationStandard + Security Plan
Smart LED Light BulbHome AutomationStandard + Security Plan

Unfortunately, Cox Homelife isn’t exactly transparent about their equipment prices (or their fees!). But you can expect to pay average to slightly higher-than-average prices for add-ons and upgrades. Also, you should note that certain products only work with certain plans. You wouldn’t want to purchase a box full of environmental sensors only to find out they don’t work with your plan!

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the equipment is by no means high quality. It’ll do the trick, but don’t expect it to last a lifetime. We thought the quality was OK at best — but the devices don’t hold a flame to the likes of ADT or Vivint equipment.

Final Words and Recommendations

Cox Homelife, in a word, is “passable.” It didn’t necessarily fail us when measured against our standards, but it certainly didn’t impress us in any one category either. The few things we liked about it — like the straightforward options, free equipment, and home automation features — are actually pretty standard across the industry.

And then there are the not-so-nice things about Cox Homelife. These drawbacks include long-term contracts, hidden fees, and limited availability. Overall, we give this system a hard pass for most people. That said, certain folks might find it a great fit for their situations. For instance, if you’re already a Cox customer, then you can likely bundle in home security at a discounted rate. But, all in all, there are probably better options for home protection that you should consider.

Cox Homelife FAQs

Are the systems DIY?

No, Cox Homelife requires professional installation. Thankfully, it only costs $50.

Do they offer 24/7 monitoring

Yes, 24/7 monitoring is included in the security plan, which costs $54.99 per month.

Is the customer service any good?

Cox Homelife offers lots of helpful online support in their customer portal, but don’t expect stellar service over-the-phone.

Are there contracts involved?

Yes, Cox Homelife requires a 2-year contract on all systems. However, this is fairly standard for the industry.

Is it available in my state?

Chances are, Cox Homelife is not available in your state (it’s currently only available in 18 states and Washington DC). Scroll to the bottom of the Cox Homelife website to see the full list of licensed states.

Citations
SafeHome 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. Cox Communications. (April 24, 2020). Wikipedia. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cox_Communications

  2. Cox Homelife. (2020). Home Security System.
    https://www.cox.com/residential/homelife.html

  3. Cox Communications. (2020, April). Las Vegas April 2020 Product and Pricing Guide.
    https://www.cox.com/content/dam/cox/residential/flex/documents/rate-cards/las-vegas-product-and-pricing-guide-0420.pdf

  4. Cox Communications, Inc. (2020, February 20). Cox Homelife.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cox.homesecurity&hl=en

  5. Cox Communications: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, April 21). BBB.
    https://www.bbb.org/us/az/phoenix/profile/cable-tv/cox-communications-inc-1126-3655

Reviewed By
Travis Goodreau
Safety and Security Advisor
Travis is a retired Burglary Detective, having tallied 5,000+ burglary and theft cases throughout his career. He also served as an Arson Investigator, where he cracked the case of a serial arsonist, and made the arrest and prosecuted the would-be bomber of ABC-7 Studio in LA. We couldn’t be happier to have him as a Safety and Security Advisor. Learn more about Travis here
Written By
Rob Gabriele
Managing Editor
Rob is a professional writer and editor living in the Reno/Tahoe area. He has expertise in all things home security and smart home automation. Over the past decade, Rob has worked as a Producer at a USAToday network newspaper in New York, and he’s written for 100+ clients across dozens of industries. Rob holds a BA in Mass Communication and a Masters of Science with an emphasis on Writing. When he’s not “demystifying” the latest home security tech, you’ll find Rob spending time with his family, enjoying the great outdoors, or serving at his local church. Learn more about Rob here

Not sure which system is right for you?

Take this quick and easy quiz to find out!

Start the Quiz