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DIY home security with no contracts and lots of custom features
Back in the day Frontpoint wasn’t really a contender in the home security space. They offered bare-bones equipment, required prolonged contracts, and had very limited options when it came to home automation.
That was then, though. This is now.
The Frontpoint of today looks nothing like it did in the past, with loads of high-tech, high-quality equipment and affordable options that will satisfy most homeowners. Are they the right system for you? It’s tough to say, but by the end of this review, I think you’re going to have a pretty good idea.
I recently took Frontpoint’s latest security system to the limits, testing the system for well over 100 hours. While it’s not a perfect system, you’ll be surprised by how well this brand measures up against bigger companies like ADT and Vivint. Today, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Frontpoint, including its AI functionality that adapts to your schedule and its built-in voice controls that sync with Alexa, Siri, and Google Home. It’s all here — the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Check out more recommendations from the SafeHome team:
I’d heard a lot about Frontpoint’s come-up, so I was really excited to get my hands on a system of my own. I’ve analyzed dozens of home security systems over the years, and hundreds of pieces of equipment, so I was ready to take a critical eye to this new-and-improved Frontpoint System. Was it everything it was cracked up to be?
I was ready to find out. My family lives in a 2,800-square-foot home with lots of doors and windows to monitor, so I went with a package that included sensors, a hub, and a keypad.
When the dust settled, the total investment was $450 to get started, which is admittedly more expensive than top DIY competitors like SimpliSafe. (SimpliSafe and Ring Alarm both sell entry-level kits for under $200!) But with Frontpoint, you get high-quality GE products, and the features are downright impressive. So the higher price is justified.
Frontpoint also offers a much wider range of equipment than other DIY competitors. The basics like motion and entryway sensors come in every system, but there are also quite a few optional bells and whistles that allow you to really dial things in for your specific needs. From garage door tilt sensors to glass break monitors, Frontpoint has everything you need to protect your family and prevent burglars.
Here’s what our Frontpoint kit included:
One mistake I made was not springing for Frontpoint’s 7-inch touch-screen control panel. While it was plenty functional, I didn’t really like the screenless interface and analog feel of the keypad. It would have added another $119.99 to my bill, but it would have been worth it. A keychain remote fob would have been useful, too, for an extra $25.
Note that Frontpoint does sell security cameras, and they recently launched a 1080p HD outdoor camera with night vision and a three-year warranty. We’ll touch more on that in just a bit. But if you want tips on camera tech, check out our buying guide for home security cameras.
Did You Know? All Frontpoint equipment comes with a three-year limited warranty. This is actually one of the better warranties we’ve seen in the industry.
To begin with, I downloaded the app and was able to jump right into the easy, step-by-step instructions. You plug in the hub, then wait less than a minute for the Frontpoint key logo to glow.
Frontpont’s Hub might be one of the best looking home security devices I’ve encountered. It has a sleek, opalescent look that you won’t feel like you need to hide under a desk or behind the houseplants. I stuck mine right in the entryway, and it even drew some “oohs” and “ahhs” from the family. Check it out…
The hub doesn’t necessarily have to be on display, though, and that’s one key advantage of the Frontpoint Hub over your typical control panels. Since the keypad is separate, you can tuck the hub away and out of sight if you want. As long as it gets good Wi-Fi and cellular reception and all of your sensors are within range, it can do its job. All the controls you’ll need are in the app and keypad.
That is also a security feature, if you think about it. The hub is the main point of control and communication, so hiding it away means burglars won’t easily find it and destroy it. And if by any chance someone tampers with it, the hub has Crash and Smash protection that will alert the monitoring center. That’s one of the hub’s best crime-stopping features.
The keypad was as light as a feather. To be honest, it felt a little delicate, but it gets the job done. It has numbered push-buttons, as well as the usual “Disarm,” “Stay,” and “Away” commands. This is similar to the push-button keypad on the Ring Alarm system. Nothing to write home about.
The door/window sensors were a different story. I didn’t love the large, bulky design with a very old-school aesthetic. Was it a deal-breaker? No, it was not, but it sure looked odd on our minimalist doors and windows.
If someone were to break in, I guess I could just huck the sensor at them. Kidding, but these sensors do look like they were made back in the ‘90s. Have a look at the picture below, with the Frontpoint sensor above the Ring Alarm sensor. Notice the difference? (For more differences and similarities between the two systems, read our Frontpoint vs. Ring comparison.)
Needless to say, Frontpoint would do well to update their sensors to a smaller design. It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but let’s be honest, looks matter. Moving right along …
I then connected the hub to my Wi-Fi network, which is when the app touts its “dual-path technology.” This is just a fancy way of saying that the system is powered by LTE cellular and Wi-Fi.
LTE cellular is the primary connection. Because it doesn’t rely on landline cables or the availability of an internet connection, LTE cellular is as reliable as it gets. It keeps your home protected from break-ins even if burglars cut your landline or internet, and even through power outages.
In the odd chance that cellular signal becomes unavailable (this happens rarely, by the way), the Wi-Fi connection kicks in as back-up.
FYI: Look for the little “progress” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the setup screen. Knowing that you’re 75% of the way finished with setup will help you stay motivated to complete the job.
But this is where things got a little dicey. I hit a roadblock when it came time to test the sensors. Thankfully, the Frontpoint app noticed my troubles, and it jumped in to save the day. (Well, sort of.)
A tech call was in order, but unfortunately, there were 47 customer calls before mine, and the message said: “Due to high call volumes, we might not call you back until the next day.” It’s somewhat unnerving going to sleep in an unprotected home.
So I slept with one eye open, and the next morning tech support got in touch. The lady said that the sensors were actually incorrectly numbered from the factory, and she explained that a marker was needed to re-label each one (really).
This might surprise you, but Frontpoint doesn’t lose too many points here. You’ll recall that I ordered a few extra sensors on top of a base package, and mix-ups happen. Also, there are plenty of redeeming features that you’ll like about Frontpoint.
Pro Tip: Unplug the Frontpoint hub and keep it nearby as you mount and test each sensor. The hub announces whether or not each sensor is working, which you may not be able to hear from all the way across your house. And don’t worry, thanks to the 24-hour backup battery, the hub works just fine while unplugged for a bit.
Now let’s move on to the really fun stuff — like digging into the Frontpoint dashboard and using the system on a daily basis.
One of the nice things about Frontpoint is that you can keep things simple, using only the arm/disarm functions, or you can go wild exploring all the system’s advanced features. Frontpoint is among the top DIY home security systems, and it leads the pack in the features and tech department. It’s not as streamlined or intuitive as Vivint and the other top professionally installed security systems, but it kept me plenty busy pushing the limits of its performance.
For instance, Frontpoint offers lots of options when arming the system in the app. I have a toddler who needs her beauty sleep (or else), so I’m a big fan of “Silent Arming.” Note that when silent arming wasn’t enabled, the hub would beep for the duration of the 30-second delay, which is annoying to say the least. The good news is that most home security brands now offer a silent arming feature. It’s a game changer.
Frontpoint also boasts an ear-piercing siren. And it’s LOUD. In fact, it might be the loudest alarm on the market. At one point I opened the back door (a good 40 feet away from the hub/siren) and the siren nearly boxed my ears!
This is good and bad. It’s good because there’s almost no way an intruder will stick around with the siren blaring like a banshee. But it’s bad because, again, some folks have kids, and false alarms happen. So if you have little ones in your home, just keep in mind that Frontpoint is loud enough to really ring the ears of an infant or toddler.
FYI: Frontpoint’s siren is rated at 104.5 dB, which is actually pretty standard. But it sounds more like 120 dB. To put that in perspective, a lawn mower is about 90 dB, while the front row of a rock concert is about 120 dB. According to research, sounds above 85 dB can be harmful if you’re not careful.1
It’s worth mentioning again that the hub is quite the head-turner — especially at night. On the first night using it, I noticed that it glows from the top and bottom of the unit. Depending on the mode the system was in, this glow was red, yellow, green, or blue.
If you happened to read our hands-on review of SimpliSafe, you’ll recall that the base station light interrupted an evening viewing of “Braveheart.” (Hey, it’s a great movie.) I figured out how to manually turn off SimpliSafe’s light, but wouldn’t it be nice if that light could be turned off automatically?
Well, Frontpoint has Night Hours! Even though the Frontpoint hub sat in our entryway — far away from Mel Gibson — it was still nice knowing that it would auto-magically dim at preset hours. This shows you that Frontpoint is thinking about the little things, too.
One of the most important elements of any home security system is the monitoring center’s response time. Frontpoint doesn’t disappoint here. In testing Frontpoint’s 24/7 monitoring, the average response time clocked in at an impressive 25 seconds. That means if a burglar targets your home, the monitoring center will be on the line in seconds. And they can dispatch police, fire, or EMS if needed. Now, a 25-second response time is fast, but it’s worth mentioning that most brands offer emergency response of about 30-40 seconds on average.
That being said, I didn’t like the entry delay one bit. The entry delay is the amount of time you have to deactivate the alarm after entering your home when it’s armed to Away mode, which is set to 30 seconds by default. While it prevents you from triggering false alarms, it also gives burglars time to rummage through your belongings; and 30 seconds is plenty. And unfortunately, you can’t set the entry delay to less than 30 seconds. You can only increase it to up to three minutes.
Thankfully, entry delay only works on Away mode. If the Frontpoint system is armed on Home mode — for example, at night — alerts are instantaneous.
FYI: I noticed a squeaking or chirping sound coming from our hub. It actually sounded like a mouse in the house, which was pretty annoying to hear while eating dinner one night. So I decided to call Frontpoint about it. Turns out, the little mouse squeak occurs whenever the hub senses a “tampered” device. (I’d accidentally left our hub unplugged.) This is just something to keep in mind.
Overall, the Frontpoint system was responsive and fairly easy to use. The app is also nice, but due to the sheer number of features and customizations, it may not be easy to find what you’re looking for at first.
In my experience, there are always the little unexpected things that give each product its own “personality,” if you will. Here are the things that set Frontpoint apart from other top contenders in the DIY home security space.
Right away you’ll be impressed with Frontpoint’s “Scenes.” The app comes preloaded with a few scene options (Home, Away, Sleep, Wake Up), but you can customize scenes to your heart’s content. For instance, I made a “Nighttime Routine” customized to arm the system, force a bypass of the bedroom sensor (we sometimes sleep with our upstairs window open when the weather’s nice), and silent arming. All of this happens with a push of a button, or you can schedule the scenes to trigger automatically, whereas many other home security systems require each step to be done manually in the app. Frontpoint definitely gets their “Scenes” right.
Then you’ve got instant notifications — another area where Frontpoint delivers. Like other brands, Frontpoint sends its notifications via email, SMS text message, or push notification. Of course, you’ll be notified any time your alarm is triggered. So if you’re at the grocery store, or halfway across the world on vacation, you’ll receive an instant mobile alert if someone tries to break into your home.
But Frontpoint takes it a few steps further by offering custom notifications. For instance, I really liked the “Left Open” alert. One morning after taking the garbage to the side yard, our side door was accidentally left open. Thankfully a (very) timely notification came through right before leaving home for the day. So this brought a little extra peace of mind.
We recommend maximizing the use of the “Left Open” notifications by placing entry sensors in every first-floor window and door, as well as second-floor windows that can be accessible from outside. It’s a nice, thoughtful feature that can help protect your home and family from opportunistic crooks and thieves.
Frontpoint also has geoservices with geofencing. If you’re not familiar, geofencing essentially puts a virtual, wireless “fence” around your home using your smartphone’s GPS. Whenever you “leave your fence” — say, to visit your mother across town — your home alarm system can perform a specific command.
So the moment you cross your “fence,” Frontpoint sends a reminder if your home isn’t armed. Geo-fencing can even perform system tasks automatically. We had it set up to turn off our smart lights when we leave the geo-fenced area, and to turn them on when we re-enter the area. Again, you generally don’t see geoservices offered by other DIY home security companies.
Frontpoint also has Siri shortcuts, which allows you to manage your system using voice control. Now, this isn’t hands-free voice control like you’d get from Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s the next best thing using your smartphone (iOS). I added our “Nighttime Routine Scene” as a Siri shortcut. So each night after dinner I’d say “Siri, run Nighttime Routine Scene.” And she would arm our system to our exact preferences.
Frontpoint home automation includes integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control. So if you have Alexa or Google Home devices, you’re in business.
Pro Tip: As great of a security system as Frontpoint is, it can’t protect you from every household threat. If you live in an older home, you might consider reading our guide to household asbestos. It can be a literal silent killer.
Additionally, Frontpoint works with Z-Wave smart devices, which takes its home automation capabilities to the next level. Using routines and scenes, you can create automations to enhance your home security. For instance, you can make Z-Wave smart locks engage automatically as part of your own Nighttime Routine to keep criminals out. You can also set smart lights to turn on based on triggers, appliances to turn on or off at set intervals, and so on, all of which can prove useful as crime deterrents.
Another neat thing about Frontpoint is that you can pop into the web app throughout the day to check on your home security status, see recent activity, create custom scenes, and even check the weather. The background screensaver photo is always changing to keep things fresh. Other brands offer web apps, but they’re typically basic and uninspiring. So you’ll probably like the Frontpoint app experience. (The mobile app isn’t so bad, either!)
This is one of my biggest gripes about Frontpoint. The company used to be rated #1 in customer , but the times they are a-changin’. You’ll recall that I couldn’t reach customer support when setting up Frontpoint. When I finally did get a representative on the phone (the following day), she wasn’t all that friendly. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but it’s something to bear in mind. It is worth mentioning that Frontpoint has offered outstanding service in the past.
This might sound nitpicky, but it’s really not. The panic button combinations on the Frontpoint keypad are pretty confusing. For instance, if your kitchen is on fire and you need the fire department, you’d press and hold numbers 4 and 6 on the keypad for three full seconds. But if you needed medical help, you’d press and hold 7 and 9. Here’s the thing — good luck remembering these combinations during an emergency. (It’s called “panic” for a reason.) So Frontpoint really needs dedicated panic buttons with icons on their keypad, like Ring and some other brands have.
Finally, even though Frontpoint’s equipment packages are affordable, you’ll be paying $49.99 per month in monitoring fees. The monthly fee is justifiable, given that it covers everything from 24/7 professional monitoring to home automation and security camera storage. It even includes identity protection to help you keep an eye on your financial accounts and monitor dark web data breaches. However, the lack of other plan options may hurt the wallet of those looking for just basic intrusion monitoring.
With other security systems, like SimpliSafe for example, you can get professional monitoring and app access for less than $20 per month. You’ll only have to shell out more money if you want home automation features and cloud storage. But with Frontpoint, there’s only one option, and it’s not cheap.
The company offers a handful of security cameras. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect.
FYI: If you’re interested in video capabilities, check out our guide to the best home security systems with cameras.
Offered at $99.99, this indoor camera was ultra-simple to set up, and it offered decent surveillance of one room. With 1080p HD video quality, the resolution was crystal clear. It gets the job done; just don’t expect fancy features.
This camera is a step up from Frontpoint’s standard indoor cam, with 1080p HD video quality, built-in bluetooth speaker, pan & tilt, 180-degree viewing angle, two-way talk, and enhanced zoom capabilities. I recommend this camera for indoor use. That is, if the $199.99 price works in your budget.
This wireless cam offers night vision and a weatherproof design that’s built to last. It’s also pretty easy on the eyes, with a sleek and modern aesthetic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have two-way talk, which is an important feature to have. Also, the 720p HD video quality leaves something to be desired, especially at the $169.99 price point. All in all, it’s not the best outdoor camera on the market.
Frontpoint sells the Slimline doorbell camera by SkyBell. I’ve reviewed the SkyBell video doorbell several times in the past, and it’s actually pretty solid. It might help to fend off porch pirates and package theft, which happens more often than you might think. And at $149.99, it’s reasonably priced. For other options, check out our Ring video doorbell review and our analysis of Nest Hello video doorbell.
Frontpoint Camera Options
|Indoor Camera||Premium Indoor Camera||Outdoor Camera||Doorbell Camera|
|Resolution||1080p HD||1080p HD||720p HD||1080p HD|
There’s a lot of add-on equipment for your Frontpoint system, too, like smart door locks, smart lights, garage door sensors, a panic pendant, and a lineup of environmental sensors to detect glass-breaking, smoke, carbon monoxide, and leaks/floods. These products typically range in price from about $25-$50, with the exception of the Yale smart lock, which is $149.99.
|Communication method||Cellular signals|
|Installation type||DIY (optional pro installation)|
|Monitoring type||Professional monitoring (required)|
|Average response time||25 seconds|
|Sensor options||Motion, entry, smoke and CO, flood, etc.|
|Control panel||Hub with wireless keypad|
|Security cameras||Indoor, outdoor, video doorbell|
|Coverage (home size)||2,000+ square feet|
|Companion app||iOS and Android|
|Device warranty||3 years|
|Monitoring contract||No contract|
|Monitoring cost||$49.99 per month|
|Equipment cost||Starting at $129|
|Equipment financing||Available (up to 36 months)|
Frontpoint’s equipment prices are reasonable when you can catch a sale. Thankfully, they offer rolling deals throughout the year. I went with the Safe Home Everyday system (which is no longer available, but was replaced by new package configurations) and then added a handful of extra sensors for a grand total of about $410. That’s not bad for a 2,800 sq. ft. home.
Here’s a look at Frontpoint’s newest equipment packages and pricing. Take note that they have another sale going on, which gives you up to 70 percent off the price of your equipment package, plus discounts on add-on equipment. This computes to a $403 starter package that is discounted to $129. Yes, it’s a little gimmicky, but you wind up with a pretty decent price. And they’re throwing in a free indoor camera as well! (For a limited time, of course.)
If you’re not feeling great about any of these packages, you can also create your own bundle by starting with the Frontpoint hub and keypad ($99) and adding on sensors and other goodies. You’ll automatically get a yard sign and door/window decals thrown in. It doesn’t look like they include a free indoor camera if you go this route, though, but check with a Frontpoint representative just to be sure.
Frontpoint Equipment Packages and Pricing
|The Starter Pack||The Home Shield||The Family Lookout|
|*Size of System||4-Piece||9-Piece||9-Piece|
|Type of System||Intrusion||Intrusion + Environmental + Video||Intrusion + Video|
|Hub & Keypad||1||1||1|
|Door & Window Sensors||1||3||3|
|**Free Indoor Camera||0||1||1|
|Smoke & Heat Sensors||0||1||0|
|Outdoor Camera or Video Doorbell||0||0||0|
|Total Retail Price||$402.96||$678.94||$790.91|
* Each system also includes one yard sign, one door decal and three window decals not included in system size calculation.
** Available for a limited time.
We’ve touched on this earlier, but just to reiterate, you’ll be paying $49.99 for monitoring, which gives you 24/7 professional monitoring plus support for video and environmental monitoring and home automation.
Frontpoint Monitoring: The Ultimate Plan
|Price||$49.99 per month|
|Type of Coverage||Intrusion + Environmental + Video + Home Automation|
|Connection Type||LTE Cellular Monitoring|
|Mobile App Controls||Yes|
|Contract Length||No Contract|
Thankfully, there aren’t any hidden costs or activation fees. Also, you don’t have to worry about installation fees since it’s DIY setup. Just pay for the equipment up front (or finance it), sign up for monitoring, and that’s it. When all is said and done, you’ll likely be paying around $60-$65 per month (including equipment fees if you finance your system) for total home protection. While it’s not the cheapest monitoring available, it’s a pretty good deal for what you get.
Frontpoint definitely offers plenty of bang for your buck. I really enjoyed digging into the system and exploring the app experience. The custom “Scenes” feature and location-based reminders (geofencing!) really left an impression. Also, a lot of thought went into the design of the mobile and web app, and it shows.
I just wish Frontpoint were a little cheaper. The sale prices are hot right now, but the MSRP on their newest packages ranges between $400-$800. For a DIY system, that’s not cheap! But then again, there is a 30-day, money-back guarantee on equipment, and you can cancel your monitoring any time. Ever since Frontpoint eliminated their long-term contracts, I’ve really liked their offerings.
Overall, you’ll find Frontpoint to be a solid DIY system, especially if you like lots of features and tech without spending thousands of dollars to get it.
Our team of security experts has spent years perfecting a methodology for objectively testing security systems. This process starts with extensive research on security systems that meet our high security standards, particularly those that seem to offer high-quality equipment and reliable monitoring.
Next, we buy the systems ourselves and install them in our homes. There, we spend at least a week familiarizing ourselves with each feature and simulating break-in scenarios that show us how each system reacts to different security threats. We also take detailed notes of strengths and weaknesses we discover along the way.
We also rigorously test each piece of equipment, particularly the core components like control panels, motion and entry sensors, and security cameras. The entire process takes time; it’s not unusual for us to spend a month or more on each system to be completely thorough. At that point, we feel confident to give our recommendations to readers like you.
Frontpoint systems are 100 percent wireless and are powered by LTE cellular monitoring and Wi-Fi.
No, Frontpoint now offers month-to-month monitoring that you can cancel at any time without penalty.
Yes, Frontpoint offers indoor and outdoor security cameras, as well as a doorbell camera.
Yes, Frontpoint offers remote smartphone controls using their mobile companion app. The company also offers a web app that I really like.
Yes, but the native features are somewhat limited. With that said, Frontpoint works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free voice control. And Frontpoint systems are also compatible with Z-Wave devices.
Blahd Jr., W; et. al. (2019, July 28). Harmful Noise Levels. Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan.