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The best smart home security systems you can buy

Many homeowners are moving to a more hands-on security setup because excellent products that are easy to set up are readily available. Just mount it, plug it in, and your home is good to go. We think the Ring Alarm Home Security System is the best you can buy because of its great features, amazing Amazon Alexa integration, and easy setup, but there are plenty of others that might fit your needs. Here are some smart home systems that can get you started.

Best for Alexa: Ring Alarm Home Security (2nd Gen)

This five-piece Ring Alarm security system comes with a base station, contact sensor, motion detector, keypad, and range extender. You can control it all from one central location — your phone. If you have an Alexa-enabled device, that's even better. You'll be able to do it solely through your voice and check your system through any Alexa device.

The tight integration with Alexa is because Amazon owns the brand, but the Ring app for your phone also works well for those who aren't all-in on the Amazon ecosystem.

Ring also comes with both free and paid cloud storage options as well as a payment plan for the entire system through Amazon. Note that while this is a five-piece starter kit, there are other pre-set options and custom kits available to best suit the needs of your home.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Alexa integration
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • No garage door tilt sensors or hinge sensors
  • Door sensors can be finicky

Best for Alexa

Ring Alarm Home Security (2nd Gen)

Easy setup

A Ring system is easy to install and completely wireless. You'll love the Alexa integration as well as the great price.

Best for Google Assistant: Nest Secure Alarm System

If you are all-in on the Google Assistant, Nest, and the Google Home device ecosystem, there probably isn't a better option for you than the Nest Secure Alarm System.

The starter pack comes with two Nest Detect sensors, which can be used on windows or doors to alert you when they have been opened or closed, or they can be placed on a wall or surface and function as motion detectors. They even have a small path light built-in to help you find your way in the dark.

One of the coolest features of this system is the Nest Tag. These tags are fobs that you can tap on or near the base station to disarm the system without needing an app or having to know the code. It's great for family, school-age children, or visitors.

If you wish to add professional security monitoring, you can do so through Brinks Home Security, but that, of course, will be an additional expense to consider. While you can set your system to arm with the Google Assistant, you can't disarm it by voice. This is ostensibly a security measure so that others can't turn off your alarm without your knowledge or permission.

Pros:

  • Google Assistant integration
  • Nest Tags
  • Multipurpose sensors with built-in path lighting

Cons:

  • Remote monitoring service is an additional fee
  • Expensive for what you get
  • Can't disarm the system with Google Assistant

Best for Google Assistant

Nest Secure Alarm System

Novel features

Nest Tags and Nest Detect sensors make set this system apart, and Google Assistant integration might tip it over the edge.

Best for Multi-Assistant Households: The Arlo Pro 3 Security System

Completely weatherproof and with zero wires involved, the Arlo Pro 3 provides two-way audio, a three-month Arlo Smart trial plan, HD video, color night vision, 160-degree field of view, and a loud siren that won't hesitate to let you know something is amiss.

Besides these consumer-friendly features, Arlo provides plenty for the prosumer, too. Features like local recording storage through USB or microSD, tight integration with all the major smart home brands, and voice control through Alexa and Google Assistant make it our pick for overall best when it comes to a security system you can install yourself.

Nothing is without its drawbacks, though, and with Arlo, the biggest is the price. In addition to the price of the hardware, you'll likely want to pony up the cash for Arlo's Smart service plan that includes live streaming, push notifications, auto-zoom and tracking, and two-way audio. You will find systems that sell for less, but they don't offer the ease of use and features that come with this one.

Pros:

  • Completely wireless
  • Three-month trial of Arlo Smart plan included
  • Local backup via USB or microSD
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Cons:

  • Price
  • Batteries need charging periodically
  • Requires a standalone hub

Best for Multi-Assistant Households

Arlo Pro 3 Security System


The perfect starter kit

Completely weatherproof and zero wires involved, the Arlo Pro 3 has the right mix of features to make it the best you can buy.

From the Pros: Blue by ADT

Blue by ADT (formerly LifeShield) is a DIY home security system from ADT — a company that's been doing home security for a long time and has it all figured out.

The 11-piece system has everything you need, including a fire safety sensor that detects when your existing smoke or CO2 sensors are triggered. There's also a smartphone app and smart home compatibility built-in as well as optional monitoring from ADT and cellular backup. Plus it's easy to install; just ask our resident non-handyman, Jeramy Johnson (a.k.a. me), about that! There are other kit sizes and options available to suit your space, so if 11 pieces are too many, or too few, Lifeshield has you covered.

The biggest drawback of this system is that there's no free monitoring or cloud storage package offered, though service through ADT is affordable and customizable. Recently, the company was fully folded-into ADT and promises new products and updates to existing services in the months ahead.

Pros:

  • Built by pros
  • Smoke and CO2 alerts
  • Cellular backup
  • Pet-friendly motion sensors

Cons:

  • No free monitoring or cloud storage
  • Alexa integration could be deeper
  • Door sensors don't work well with wide trim

From the Pros

Blue by ADT

Pro DIY

Blue by ADT is completely wireless with pet-friendly sensors. Works with Alexa, and has cellular backup.

Super Simple: SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe has been named the best home security product by many online publications, and users like the assortment of sensors and easy setup that SimpliSafe offers.

This eight-piece kit comes with four window/door sensors, a panic button, programmable keypad, central hub, and a motion sensor, so it's ready for the simple and wireless installation in your home. You're also able to add up to 100 components, including HD cameras, additional keypads, or panic buttons without any reprogramming.

One major drawback is that you'll need to sign up for the company's "Interactive Service" for things like smartphone notifications, but the system will work without any paid monitoring solution.

Pros:

  • Expandable to 100 components
  • Easy setup
  • LOUD sirens

Cons:

  • Phone notifications require a monthly fee
  • No garage tilt sensor compatibility

Super Simple

SimpliSafe

Simple and effecftive

SimpliSafe offers full protection without the wires or high prices. Users love it, with good reason!

Classic Security: Fortress

Home security needs to do one thing well — notify you or law enforcement when someone is poking around your place without permission. That's exactly what Fortress Security does, without any frills or extras.

The Delux Glass Kit includes everything to get set up with a programmable keypad, key fobs, sensors and remotes, and a loud siren that works as a local deterrent. At the same time, the app notifies you, and the system calls up to six phone numbers when it's activated.

There's also Amazon Alexa support baked in so you can use any Alexa device to help control your security system, and the keypad can act as a two-way intercom you call using any phone.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Easy setup
  • Two-way communication

Cons:

  • The smartphone app isn't great
  • Lacking in options for home vs. away modes

Classic Security

Fortress

Basics done right

Fortress is a great basic security system that forgoes many of the bells and whistles (and bugs) we see from others.

Bottom line

These are the very best smart home security systems we've found this year. All of them have a variety of features, such as motion detection, smart alerts, and the like, but our personal favorite? Well, that has to be the Ring Alarm Home Security System.

Set up is simple, and the integration with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, as well as Amazon's Echo and Fire devices, is top-notch. It also works well through the Android and iOS apps, and new features are being added regularly, including new data privacy features. Perhaps the biggest selling point for me is that it is half the price of the similarly-equipped Nest Secure Alarm System!

Whichever setup you chose from this list though, you're going to be coming away with a simple, easy to use, and scalable solution. Now stay safe out there!


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