Rob Gabriele

Our Recommendations for Systems with Home Automation

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“Alexa, tell Frontpoint to turn on the lights.” If you’re anything like us, you expect your home security system to do more than protect your home. Thankfully, all of the top alarm companies that we have reviewed offer at least some smart home features, while others are packed to the gills with intelligent tech. So… where does Frontpoint land on the home automation spectrum? Does it offer voice controls using Amazon Alexa. How about integrations with popular protocols like Z-Wave?

Frontpoint Equipment

Frontpoint Equipment

Well, we recently got our hands on Frontpoint and signed up with their ‘Ultimate’ plan. We wanted to see how the system performed, the types of integrations it offers, and whether or not it would automate everyday tasks to make our lives a little easier. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with our findings… with a few caveats you should know about. So let’s dig in to Frontpoint automation to find out if it’s the right system for you.

Did You Know: Frontpoint works with Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Z-Wave devices for smart home automation.

Frontpoint Smart Devices

We appreciate that Frontpoint sells a few smart devices of their own, like the Frontpoint-branded Yale Smart Door Lock ($149.99), a Wireless Light Control ($49.99), and a Z-Wave light bulb ($24.99). Not bad, especially considering that many DIY security companies don’t have a single smart home product listed on their sites.

Now, Frontpoint’s smart gadgets will certainly get you started, but what if you want to really transform your house into a highly-connected home? You’re going to need more than a dinky little lightbulb. So we did the research (and tested it ourselves!) to learn about the best Frontpoint integrations. Let’s have a look to see what’s in the lineup.

Snapshot of Frontpoint Smart Home Integrations

Frontpoint Automations Frontpoint Interactive Frontpoint Ultimate
Siri Compatible No Yes
Works With Alexa No Yes
Works With Google Home No Yes
Z-Wave Compatible No Yes
Apple HomeKit No No
SmartThings No No

Siri Shortcuts

If you read our full review of Frontpoint, you’ll recall that we set up a Siri shortcut. As long as you have an iOS device, you can do this right away, and it won’t cost you a dime (it’s the poor man’s voice control). We customized a shortcut called “Night Time Routine Scene,” and at night we asked Siri to run the scene for us. And just like that, our sensors were armed, our cameras were activated, and our front door auto-magically locked.

Frontpoint - Outdoor Camera

Frontpoint – Outdoor Camera

It’s not exactly hands-free, but we think it’s a nice little integration that we don’t see often. We’ve found that the Apple HomeKit and Siri integration go hand-in-hand, for obvious reasons. For instance, Abode is one brand that works with Apple HomeKit and Siri. Funny enough, Frontpoint has yet to add HomeKit to their menu, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Plays Well with Google Home

Voice controls anyone? Now here’s a home automation that we’re seeing offered by more and more home security companies. In fact, 8 brands on our top 10 list now work with Google Home. We didn’t test it ourselves (we’re hitched on the Alexa bandwagon), but we’ve heard good things. It only takes a couple minutes to connect Google Assistant in the Frontpoint app, and then it’ll work with all Google smart products. We think you’ll like hands-free voice control, especially if you’re prone to misplace your control panel, or lose your smartphone in the couch cushions. Just don’t lose your voice!

Works with Alexa, Too

Other than Z-Wave, this is our favorite Frontpoint integration. Of course, it’s not exactly groundbreaking technology, as 9 of our top 10 home security systems now offer Alexa compatibility. But guess what… it never gets old to us! We set up the Frontpoint skill in our Alexa app, and we barked all manner of commands throughout our home — like “Alexa, tell Frontpoint to set the bedroom lights to 30%.” Wink wink. You know, for when it’s time to read in bed at night.

If you’re an Amazon Alexa user, we’d recommend investing in an Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) smart display screen, especially if you have security cameras set up. This way, you’ll be able to stream your live video footage onto the smart display, which is just about the neatest thing. But again, Frontpoint isn’t the only DIY home security brand to cozy up with Alexa.

Pro Tip: If you have Apple TV or Roku, you can stream your security camera video on the big screen. And why not survey your property from the comfort of your couch? Stranger Things can wait.

Frontpoint: The Z-Wave of the Future?

If this is your first time hearing about Z-Wave, you’re in for a treat. Technically speaking, Alexa and Google Home aren’t really “smart home automations.” Not like Z-Wave anyway. Using Z-Wave and compatible devices, you’ll be able to use your smartphone to power devices on and off from virtually anywhere. But that’s just the tip of the ol’ iceberg.

Where Z-Wave really comes in handy is setting up custom rules and automations. Using the Frontpoint app, you’ll be able to program your smart thermostat to turn on when your system is disarmed, set your smart lights to turn on at sunset, and set other custom scenes. You can even set a “Vacation Scene” that’ll turn on and off your lights throughout the night so that burglars don’t get any dastardly ideas. Come to think of it, this reminds us of that one scene in Home Alone.

Frontpoint - Smart Light

Frontpoint – Smart Light

There are lots of other Z-Wave home appliances that work with Frontpoint. Here’s a sampler to give you an idea of the possibilities.

Z-Wave Smart Devices for Home Automation:

  • Controller
  • Thermostat
  • Smart Lock
  • Doorbell Camera
  • Garage Door Controller
  • Entry and Motion Sensors
  • Outlet Control
  • Switches and Dimmers
  • Smoke Detector
  • Flood Sensor
  • Fan Control

Note that the Frontpoint Hub supports upwards of 230+ Z-Wave smart products. In other words, Frontpoint is a safe bet if you’re looking to build out a smart home ecosystem over time. You won’t be hitting a ceiling, that’s for sure. With that said, if you’re an aspiring smart home aficionado, we’d really recommend checking out Vivint. While Vivint is pricier than Frontpoint and other DIY kits, they stand head and shoulders above the competition in the smart home department. Plus you’ll get free professional installation.

Frontpoint - Keypad

Frontpoint – Keypad

Frontpoint and Apple HomeKit

Apple HomeKit is another voice assistant, similar to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. But unfortunately, Frontpoint doesn’t work with Apple HomeKit just yet. We’ve heard it through the grapevine that Frontpoint is working behind-the-scenes on expanding its connectivity to Apple products, but it’s yet to be seen! So if you’re an Apple fan, we recommend checking out SimpliSafe’s DIY kits. SimpliSafe gives you Apple connectivity in spades.

What About SmartThings & IFTTT?

For all of Frontpoint’s giant leaps toward offering helpful home automations, they fall short when it comes to SmartThings and IFTTT integrations. Now, we can’t be too upset, as most affordable DIY systems don’t offer these integrations either. But then again, Frontpoint’s equipment and monitoring pushes the limits of “affordability.” Their systems and monitoring plans are pricier than other options in the DIY category, so we’d expect to get IFTTT connectivity. Nevertheless, this is a small gripe we have with Frontpoint.

If you’re not familiar, IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That.” It’s a web-based platform that’s capable of connecting and triggering automations across all sorts of different apps and devices. In our research, we found that this lack of connectivity has been a sore spot for Frontpoint users since 2016 (what can we say, people want their IFTTT).

We personally don’t think it’s a huge deal, especially since Frontpoint works with Z-Wave. But we suppose IFTTT would take Frontpoint to the next level. As it stands, Frontpoint doesn’t play well with either SmartThings or IFTTT. If you’re specifically looking for the IFTTT integration, we suggest checking out Abode or Ring Alarm.

FYI: We’ve heard of people attempting to override Frontpoint’s sensors and other devices so that they work with SmartThings. Not a good idea! Since Frontpoint uses a proprietary frequency in their devices, it’s no-can-do… it just won’t work. As far as we know, there’s no way to reprogram, override, bypass, or otherwise finagle Frontpoint to work with SmartThings or IFTTT. Instead, we recommend good old-fashioned patience, as Frontpoint is likely working on rolling out these features in the near future.

It’s worth mentioning that Frontpoint recently switched from requiring long-term contracts to offering month-to-month service. The way we see it, folks are less likely to complain about features when they can cancel at any time. On the other hand, lock someone in a 3-year binding contract, and you better believe they’ll hold the fire to your behind when it comes to rolling out new features and technology. And honestly, we can’t blame them. At any rate, Frontpoint’s new no-contract monitoring plans are a win-win in our book. Kudos to Frontpoint here.

Frontpoint Packaging

Frontpoint Packaging

Interactive Won’t Cut It, You Gotta Go Ultimate

Speaking of monitoring plans, you’ll have to sign up with Frontpoint’s Ultimate Plan to access the home automations mentioned above. At $49.95 per month, we think it’s pretty reasonable for what you get. Compared to the Interactive Plan, the Ultimate Plan is only $5 extra per month, and it comes with 24/7 intrusion monitoring, environmental monitoring, video support, and smart home automation. Frontpoint also has a modern mobile app and web app that we got a lot of mileage out of. If you can swing the $50 per month, it’s money well spent.

Frontpoint Monitoring Interactive Plan Ultimate Plan
Price $44.95 per month $49.95 per month
Type of Coverage Intrusion + Environmental Monitoring Intrusion + Environmental + Video + Home Automation
Connection Type LTE Cellular Monitoring LTE Cellular Monitoring
Mobile App Controls Yes Yes
Installation Type DIY DIY
Contract Length No Contract No Contract

Final Words on Frontpoint Automation

We must say, Frontpoint is on-point when it comes to smart home automation. Their wireless home security systems seamlessly connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Home for hands-free voice control. And you’ll also appreciate the Z-Wave compatibility, which is one of the best third-party platforms for creating custom scenes and automations. In other words, if you want to use Frontpoint as the base for automating your home, you’re in good company.

Of course, it’s not a perfect system. We do wish they offered better security cameras, with AI features like facial recognition (Frontpoint is smart, but it could be smarter). And we’d really like to see IFTTT integration in the near future. Otherwise, we think Frontpoint is a safe bet for home protection and for adding a dash of convenience with smart automations. If you can swing the somewhat pricey monitoring fee, you won’t be disappointed.