Best home security systems

Best Home Security Systems
(Image credit: XFinity Home)

When it comes to the best home security system installed by a professional, you have a number of options. These setups, which include motion detectors, door and window sensors, security cameras, and more, take the trouble out of things for homeowners who don't have the time or expertise to set up all the sensors and accessories themselves. 

Another advantage of a professionally installed home security systems is that they come with professional monitoring services, too—for an added fee, of course. That means if someone breaks into your house, or you get a water leak, emergency services can be alerted. 

After researching a number of services, we’ve concluded that Vivint makes the best home security system. Vivint Smart Home offers a lot of features, and customers also raved about the installers and the software that controls the system. However, it’s also one of the most expensive systems. 

Brinks Home Nest Secure was the best home security system for homeowners on a budget, as you’ll spend the least over a two-year period for the base package, and it works with all of Google’s smart home devices. However, it's ending this service in 2023, so we've removed it from this list.

If you'd prefer the do-it-yourself route, here are the best DIY home security systems that we've tested ourselves.

Here are the best home security systems you can buy

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Best home security systems: Vivint Smart Home

Vivint Smart Home (Image credit: Vivint)

1. Vivint Smart Home

The best home security system overall

Specifications

Key Specs: Base package includes 2 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, keypad
Additional options: entry & motion sensors, carbon monoxide, smoke, water & flood sensors, cameras, video doorbell
Smart Home Support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Monitoring Cost: Starting at $19.99 per month

Reasons to buy

+
Very customizable
+
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant
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Lots of accessory options

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive

The Vivint Smart Home system is the best home security system as it's the most sophisticated and customizable systems on offer. It’s also the most expensive. It offers a huge range of features, from the standard motion and entry sensors to indoor and outdoor cameras, plus video doorbell and extensive integration with smart home systems.

Vivint offers three tiers of service, and professional monitoring starts at $19.99 per month — provided you purchase $600 worth of equipment. The starter package includes 24/7 monitoring, intrusion detection, and a control panel. The Premium package adds video security and theft deterrence, while the Premium Plus package also has voice control, stored video, smart home automation, and vehicle protection. 

Vivint has its own security cameras and video doorbells, but uses Kwikset smart locks and Philips Hue smart lights. It's compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Best home security systems: Brinks Home Nest Secure

Brinks Home Nest Secure (Image credit: Brinks Home)

2. Brinks Home Secure

Specifications

Key Specs: Base package includes 2 entry sensors, 2 motion sensors, keypad, 2 key fobs
Additional options: entry & motion sensors, siren, key fobs
Smart Home Support: Nest, Google Assistant
Monitoring Contract: month to month
Monitoring fee: $29.99 per month

Reasons to buy

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Most affordable
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Works with Google Assistant
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No-contract monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't work with Alexa

Like most other systems, Brinks Home Secure is built around a central control panel, through which you can monitor and control everything in your house. It’s also wireless, so you don’t need to run wires from sensor to the keypad. Brinks handles the monitoring and charges $29.99 a month. There is no long-term contract for this: It is all month to month.

Brinks has its own branded video doorbells, security cameras, and smart thermostat, but works with Kwikset smart locks and the Chamberlain myQ smart garage door opener.

Best home security systems: ADT

ADT (Image credit: ADT)

3. ADT

Expensive monitoring, but low up-front cost

Specifications

Key Specs: Package includes: 3 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, siren, keypad, remote
Additional options: entry, motion, water and smoke sensors, cameras
Smart Home Support: : Z-Wave
Monitoring Contract: $28.99 for 3 years

Reasons to buy

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Multiple tiers of service
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Highly rated by customers

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't work with Alexa, Google Assistant

ADT is the 800-pound gorilla in this market, but with good reason: It makes one of the best home security systems, offering several tiers of systems and services. 

The Traditional tier starts at about $129 for installation and $44.99 a month for  monitoring, which includes two entry sensors, one motion sensor, a siren, keypad and remote. 

If you want to integrate smart home features such as smart locks, you’ll need to go up to the Control tier, which costs $47.99 per month. This includes access to the ADT Pulse smartphone app, which is available for iOS (opens in new tab) and Android (opens in new tab). This doesn’t work with smart home voice systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, though. That’s a bit more expensive than some, but it does include the cost of the equipment if you sign up for a three-year contract.

ADT's professional installation process is highly rated by both reviewers and customers. If you go with the higher tiers of service, the company also installs and connects the smart home devices and sets up the apps that control them.

While you are locked into a three-year contract to get the low up-front cost, ADT does offer a limited six-month money-back guarantee if the system doesn’t work for you. If you want to go the do-it-yourself route, ADT provides monitoring services for SimpliSafe’s security system.

Best home security systems: Alarm.com

Alarm.com (Image credit: Alarm.com)

4. Alarm.com

Home security that resells through local companies

Specifications

Key Specs: Base package includes: 3 door sensors, 1 motion sensor, siren, keypad
Additional options: entry, motion, water and smoke sensors, cameras
Smart Home Support: Z-Wave
Monitoring Contract: 5 years
Monthly Monitoring: $45

Reasons to buy

+
Multiple tiers of service
+
Works with other smart home devices

Reasons to avoid

-
Prices vary by location

Alarm.com takes a slightly different approach than the other best home security systems: You don’t buy the system or service directly from the company. Instead, you buy a system through one of its resellers, who typically cover a specific region. Alarm.com makes the hardware and runs the monitoring service, but you don’t deal with them directly. We worked with a local dealer in Massachusetts to get the prices listed above, so your price might differ, based on location. 

Our local reseller offers several levels of service, each of which offers different features, but with a similar up-front cost of about $300. The basic system, as the name suggests, is the lowest level, with three door sensors, one motion sensor, plus the keypad and siren. The monitoring cost is $45 per month with a five-year contract. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can also be added, for an extra cost. The $55 Life Safety package adds in carbon monoxide and smoke sensors.

The Alarm.com system also integrates with smart home devices from other manufacturers, including Arlo home security cameras and the August Smart Lock Pro. These can be installed at the same time as the system or added in later on. That’s a nice change from systems like Vivint Smart Home, which only works with its own components. 

The installation service is provided by the local dealer, so the quality of service that you receive depends on the shop. However, many people prefer working with a local company rather than a large, faceless corporation. 

Best home security systems: Xfinity Home Security

Xfinity Home Security (Image credit: XFinity)

5. Xfinity Home Security

Cable TV, internet, phone, and home security integrated

Specifications

Key Specs: Base package includes 3 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, keypad
Additional options: entry & motion sensors, smoke detector, camera, thermostat
Smart Home Support: Xfinity X1, Z-Wave
Monitoring Contract: 3 years (with financing)
Monitoring Fee: $39.95 per month (2-year contract)

Reasons to buy

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Integrates well with Xfinity systems
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Multiple tiers of service
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Can connect third-party smart home devices

Reasons to avoid

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Poor customer service reputation

Xfinity Home is the best home security system for Comcast Internet and cable TV customers, but it is also available to anyone in its coverage area. The base home system that the company offers includes a decent selection of features, with three entry sensors, one motion sensor and a touch-screen control center for $360.  

For larger houses, there is a $480 option that increases the number of door sensors to five and adds in a wireless camera. There is also an ultimate kit that covers 10 doors and includes two cameras for $600. Xfinity also offers no-interest, 24-month financing for the system cost, so you can spread the cost of either system over time when you sign up for the two-year monitoring contract. Monitoring is provided by COPS Monitoring (opens in new tab).

Additional sensors can also be added at a fairly low cost, like a $70 smoke detector, additional motion detectors for $40 and a $120 camera that can be used indoors or outside. If you have an Xfinity X1 cable TV box, you can control the system from there and watch live video from the camera.

The system can also control a wide range of smart home devices that are compatible with Z-Wave, such as smart locks, garage door openers and others (opens in new tab), but that doesn’t work both ways: You can’t control the Xfinity system from Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices or view the camera video outside of the Xfinity Home app.

Xfinity has a poor reputation for customer support (opens in new tab), and the customer feedback on its home security service doesn’t seem to be any different, with customers complaining of long wait times and a lack of response to email questions (opens in new tab).

The best home security systems: Costs compared

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ServiceUp-front cost/cost per monthCost after two yearsWhat’s included
Vivint SmartHome$600/$39.99$1,559.762 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, keypad
Brinks Home Nest Secure$299/$29.99$1,018.762 entry sensors, 2 motion sensor, keypad, 2 key fobs
ADT$129/$47.99$1,280.762 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, siren, keypad, remote
Alarm.com$299/$45$1,379.003 door sensors, 1 motion sensor, siren, keypad
XFinity Home Security$360/$39.95$1,318.803 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, keypad

How much does professional home security cost?

The price of the best home security systems varies widely, from a minimum of $30 to $50 per month for a basic system with a couple of door sensors and a motion sensor. However, additional sensors and things such as cameras will increase the price, often significantly. Part of the reason for that range is that some companies allow you to spread the cost of the hardware over the term of the contract, so you have little or no up-front cost, but a higher per-month cost.

As most of these systems also require you to sign up for a long-term monitoring contract, the monthly plan isn't a bad option for spreading the cost. However, make sure that you understand what happens if you move or decide you don’t want the system: In that case, some companies will charge a cancellation fee or demand that you pay for the balance of the contract.

Professional home security systems vs. DIY home security systems

All of the systems in this article are installed by professionals, which are good for those who don't have the time, patience, or expertise to install all the requisite sensors and equipment. Since the systems compared here are all installed by the company or another professional installer, all you need to do is open the door to let them in and pay the bill. However, in general, professionally installed systems cost more, and you usually have to also sign up for a monitoring plan.

If you'd rather install a system yourself, and are unsure if you want to sign up for a monitoring plan, check out our picks for the best DIY home security systems

How we picked the best home security systems

To come up with our picks for the best home security systems, we looked at the latest systems companies offered. We also considered professional reviews from a number of sources, such as CNET (opens in new tab), PC Magazine (opens in new tab), Reviewed (opens in new tab) and others, plus the customer reviews and best-seller lists of such sites as Home Depot (opens in new tab), Lowe's (opens in new tab) and others. From there, we narrowed down the list based on the best selection of features, price and reviews, and contacted each to get a quote for installation and services.

Richard Baguley has been working as a technology writer and journalist since 1993. As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, he writes for Cnet, T3, Wired and many other publications.