Smart home security with a decent lineup of home automation features
We’ve had Comcast Xfinity Home on our radar for a long time. And we recently tested their products to see how they stack up against the competition. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty in just a bit. But these home security systems are worth a closer look if you a) want home security + home automation + video, b) like sleek and modern equipment, and c) don’t mind paying higher prices and receiving poor customer service.
Now wait a minute… high prices and poor service? Don’t shoot the messenger. These are just the most common complaints against Comcast Xfinity. But we’re experts here, so we don’t just go with “the word on the street.” Instead, we get ahold of the products and services, and we take an in-depth look for ourselves. So, let’s see if Xfinity’s smart home security systems are worth your time and money. And let’s find out if it’s a good idea to protect your home and family with their services. You may be surprised by our findings.
Xfinity Home isn’t the cheapest home security system, but it’s also not the most expensive. Expect to pay about $15 to $20 per month to lease the equipment.
|Xfinity Home Security Equipment||Price|
|Base Home System||$15 per month or $360 upfront|
|Complete Home System||$20 per month or $480 upfront|
You will also have to pay for an Xfinity Home monitoring plan, which will set you back an additional $40 to $50 per month. However, this service gives you 24-7 professional monitoring and access to home automation and video capabilities. So the steep price isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker.
|Xfinity Monitoring Plans||Price|
|Home Security Plan||$40 per month|
|Home Security Plus Plan||$50 per month|
When the dust settles, Xfinity Home costs anywhere between $55 and $70 per month. This cost is certainly on the expensive side compared to other brands we’ve seen and tested. Don’t worry, we’re going to share our full experience with their systems. But before we do, here’s some background on Comcast Xfinity as a company (and their oh-so-checkered past).
If you didn’t know, Comcast is a major (and we mean major) communications company that was founded way back in 1963.1 Comcast added the Xfinity division in 1981 as a cable, internet, and phone provider. Then, in 2011, Xfinity Home security hit the scene, because why not do everything?2
FYI: Comcast employs over 190,000 people, and the company reported making over $100 billion in revenue in 2019.
Xfinity Home used to be all over the map with system options and bundle packages. But they’ve recently cut their offerings down to two options: Xfinity Base Home and Xfinity Complete Home.5 So all you need to do is choose one of these bundles and select a monitoring plan. That’s it! We found the sign-up process to be pretty fast and easy.
We went all-in with the Xfinity Complete Home package, which we paid $480 for upfront, though financing is available. Then, we chose the top-tier monitoring plan, which we’ll cover in a bit. This kit included the following equipment:
Now, if you want to save some money, the Xfinity Base Home system can secure a small home for $360, and it comes with the following equipment:
Unfortunately, Xfinity Home requires professional installation. Yep, this requirement means you’ll have to check your calendar, schedule an appointment, and have a technician visit your home. Thankfully, our tech arrived within the two-hour window they promised us. The experience wasn’t bad, and it took less than 45 minutes from start to finish. Even with that decent experience, we typically prefer DIY installation or at least having the option for it. If you happen to fall in the DIY camp, Xfinity Home might not be a good fit for you.
Pro Tip: Professional installation can be a pain, so be sure to pick your technician’s brain about your system while he or she is at your home. Also, why not ask for tips and tricks to get the most out of it?
The truth is, it’s been a while since we tested a security system that was hard to use. In fact, there seems to be an arms race in the home security space to see who can create the system that’s easiest to use. It’s why companies like Alder and SimpliSafe are thriving. So, we expected Xfinity Home to be fairly easy as well. And, guess what, it didn’t disappoint.
We were able to control our Xfinity system using the intuitive touchscreen control panel. This device looks and feels like a thousand bucks, and it performs well, too. With a few swipes of the finger, and you can arm and disarm your system, view live video feeds, and even control smart devices. We also used the Xfinity Home app to control the system.6 The app wasn’t anything special, but it did give us remote access from pretty much anywhere. Overall, we found that it was easier to use than the average system, but it was not nearly as easy as the top DIY alternatives out there.
Did You Know? Today, most home security systems offer mobile app controls, and more companies are also adding touchscreen controls to their equipment lineup.
Now, time for the million-dollar question. Considering their checkered past, how did Xfinity score with us in the customer service department? Well, they didn’t do so hot. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, we like to see a number listed for phone support. We had to dig deep in the documentation to find their phone number, which we didn’t like. Then, once we dialed that number, it took a while to get a real human on the line to help us.
So, we tried going the self-service route. Xfinity Home does offer a customer support portal with a collection of useful articles and troubleshooting guides. But let’s be honest, who wants to read these things? There’s also a live chat option that we had decent success with — but again, nothing beats talking to a real human to get the personalized help you need. Compared to brands like Alder, Vivint, and ADT, Xfinity’s customer service fell sort of flat.
But remember, customer service is just one category that we consider. So let’s explore their monitoring options, features, and tech to see how (or if!) they recover.
Both Xfinity Home monitoring plans offer around-the-clock protection with decent response times. We simulated a few break-ins, and we experienced 30 second response times on average. If you’re not familiar, that’s the time it takes for the monitoring center to contact you and dispatch first responders (police, fire, or EMS), if necessary.
Did You Know: Since precious seconds matter in a crisis, you don’t want your service to take much longer than 30 seconds (we call it the 30-second sweet spot). Faster is always better.
FYI: False alarms are not only irritating, but they can also cost you time and money. Some police departments will charge you a false alarm fee, even if it is an accident. After all, they distract police from real emergencies and waste millions of dollars in police officers’ time.7
We didn’t love Xfinity Home for their pricing, contracts, or required professional installation. But we did find that they do offer several helpful features that we think you’ll like, including:
24-7 Professional Monitoring — This feature comes standard with every Xfinity Home system, but it’s also what makes their systems more expensive than the industry average.
Battery and Cellular Backup — If your power goes out, your system will continue to protect your home and family through a battery and cellular backup. Keep in mind though, Xfinity Home uses a broadband monitoring connection, which is not as reliable or as fast as cellular monitoring.
Smartphone Controls — All systems come with the Xfinity Mobile app for remote access and controls. Using the Xfinity Mobile app, you can check in on your home from virtually anywhere in the world. We think the app is relatively well-designed and user-friendly, but it’s nothing to write home about.
Real-Time Notifications — If your camera detects motion, or a breach occurs, an instant notification will be sent straight to your mobile app. In other words, you’ll be the first to know if something’s fishy.
Video Monitoring — Xfinity only offers one HD camera, but you can use it both indoors and outdoors. The premium plan allows you to store up to 7 days of video history using their cloud storage service for up to 4 cameras.
Television Access — Control your security and smart home automation system right through your television. It works by using your TV’s remote or voice control. Current Xfinity X1 subscribers can enjoy this additional feature.
Smart Home Automation — Xfinity sells a few smart devices, including a smart smoke detector, the Zen Thermostat, an indoor or outdoor security camera, and a smart outlet controller. The systems also integrate with third-party automation platforms to give you access to seemingly endless smart features. But you’ll pay for it.
Speaking of home automation, we were capable of accessing loads of smart features by connecting third-party devices to our Xfinity system. Here are a few of the integration partners that Comcast’s Xfinity Home works with:
|Partner||Add-On Equipment Type|
|Chamberlin||Garage Door Opener|
After our extensive deep-dive with Xfinity Home, we have mixed feelings about these systems. On the one hand, we liked their lineup of features and tech — complete with live-streaming video and artificial intelligence. And the devices were well-designed and quite impressive (especially the Xfinity touchscreen control panel).
On the other hand, we did not like their rigid installation policy, lack of camera options, and spotty customer service. But the biggest strike against Xfinity Home was their prices. Sure, the equipment is cheap enough, but they are still expecting you to pay an additional $40 to $50 per month for monitoring. Unfortunately, since there’s no self-monitoring option, there’s no getting around the expensive monthly fees. Anyone would prefer a security system with no monthly fees. Overall, it’s a decent system. But it simply doesn’t meet our high standards when it comes to all-around home protection.
No, their systems require professional installation by a certified technician.
Xfinity Home offers one HD indoor/outdoor camera. We’d like to see a better lineup of options here.
Yes, Xfinity sells a few products of their own, and their systems integrate with third-party platforms so you can customize your smart home ecosystem.
The 24/7 monitoring service has an average response time of 30 seconds. It’s not super-fast, but it’s not slow either.
We found these systems to be a little expensive compared to the competition. Expect to pay between $50 and $70 per month.
Unfortunately, Comcast Xfinity doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to customer service. And we must say, we didn’t love the service we received.
Comcast. (2020). Company Timeline – Comcast Corporation – Xfinity.
Comcast. (2020, April 7). Wikipedia. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
Bode, K. (2018, May 24). America Hates Comcast More Than Ever. Vice.
Comcast: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, April 3). BBB.
Xfinity. (2020). Xfinity Home Security.
Comcast. (2020, April 6). Xfinity Mobile. Google.
Shaenman, P, Horvath, A., & Hatry, H. (2012, November). Opportunities for Police Cost Savings Without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms. Urban Institute.