The Best Home Security Systems for Renters (2020) 


ADT security system in a home
Courtesy ADT

The best home security systems for renters feature sophisticated, wireless equipment, mobile app integration, and more. 

Home security systems don’t exist just to protect homeowners. People who rent apartments can benefit greatly from a home security system, giving them peace of mind when they’re asleep or away from home.

There are several hallmarks of a good home security system: comprehensive packages, sophisticated but user-friendly equipment, and more. But renters have some unique concerns—can the equipment be easily transported if they need to move? Are there long-term contract requirements?

The This Old House Reviews team has evaluated the top home security systems and rounded up the best options for renters. Our recommendations share many positive characteristics, and each offers its own individual benefits. Read on to find out why we chose our top picks.

The 5 Best Home Security Systems for Renters

The highest-rated home security systems for renters include:

1. ADT: Best Overall

ADT is our top recommended system, earning the rank Best Overall. With more than 140 years of experience and the largest network of professional monitoring centers in the country, ADT has a proven track record in the industry. The company offers a six-month money-back guarantee and serves millions of customers nationwide.

ADT’s wireless security system, available through Blue by ADT, is a great choice for renters because you can take it with you if you move. It includes straightforward DIY installation that won’t involve drilling any holes in your walls or damaging your living space. You can either build your own package from scratch or choose from the Starter System or Starter Plus System.

Another benefit of ADT is the Mover’s Savings Package. If you have had an ADT system for six or more months, you can transport your security system to your new place and also get 25 percent off of additional sensors.

ADT Pros & Cons

Weigh the pros and cons of ADT below.

The packages range in price from $159.99 to $279.99.

ADT Equipment

Blue by ADT’s most basic package, The Starter System, includes:

  • Smart home hub with integrated keypad
  • Two door/window sensors
  • Mobile app
  • Yard sign
  • Four window stickers

There are many add-ons available, including indoor cameras, wireless outdoor cameras, doorbell cameras, and flood sensors.

2. SimpliSafe: Best for Easy Installation

SimpliSafe, a leading, low-cost home security provider, was actually inspired by college students concerned about their Boston apartments being broken into. The system is low-commitment, with no contract requirement, and affordable.

SimpliSafe is our top choice for Easy Installation—ideal for renters, with straightforward peel-and-stick adhesive equipment. Its systems’ battery life is 10 years, meaning you won’t have to worry about it running out of charge.

You can also integrate third-party smart devices like smartphones, Apple Watch, and Amazon Alexa with the higher-tier plans. SimpliSafe offers five different home security packages with increasing levels of comprehensiveness and cost.

SimpliSafe Pros & Cons

Weigh the pros and cons of SimpliSafe below.

Its four packages range in price from $229 for the most basic to $489 for the most comprehensive package. The Standard Monitoring Plan is $14.99 per month, and the Interactive Monitoring Plan is $24.99 per month.

SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe offers a wide range of easy-to-use equipment. Its starter kit, The Foundation Package, includes the following:

  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • Entry sensor
  • Motion sensor

The SimpliCam is an indoor video camera with a 120-degree field of vision, night vision, and an audio system that allows you to communicate through the camera. For a monthly fee, you can stream video or store it in the cloud.

Add-on equipment includes a panic button for added security, an additional 105-decibel siren, a glass break sensor, temperature sensor, and a smart lock.

3. Frontpoint: Best for Smartphone Integration

Frontpoint is a solid choice for renters, with simple DIY installation and no contract requirement. The provider offers a wide range of customizable smartphone notifications that keep customers in the loop when they’re away from home. The equipment is wireless, making it very portable.

The durable security system features crash and smash protection that guarantees that the control panel will still function even if it is damaged or destroyed. Unlike many of its competitors, Frontpoint holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau—a very high rating for the industry.

Frontpoint Pros & Cons

Weigh the pros and cons of Frontpoint below.

Frontpoint offers four home security packages that vary in price, from $99.00 for the most basic package to $479.90 for the most expensive option.

Frontpoint Equipment

The most basic Frontpoint package is called the Safe Home Starter Package. It includes the following basic equipment:

  • Hub
  • Keypad
  • Two door/window sensors
  • Motion sensor

The Frontpoint Smart Hub is the core of the system, synced to a wireless keypad for arming and disarming. If a sensor is tripped, the hub will alert emergency services. The hub uses both cellular and Wi-Fi, meaning that there is always a connection.

4. Abode: Best for Customization

Abode is a highly customizable home security system built around versatility. You can connect up to 160 different devices to the system for personalized protection. The straightforward DIY monitoring plan is user-friendly, making it an ideal choice for customers who don’t want to pay for professional monitoring. There are also no required contracts.

Abode has seamless integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The provider offers two different types of central gateways, depending on your budget and needs. The Gen 2 Gateway is a straightforward option, while the Iota All-in-One Gateway features built-in streaming and motion detection.

Abode Pros & Cons

Weigh the pros and cons of Abode below.

Abode offers four home security systems: two with the Gen 2 Gateway and two featuring the Iota All-in-One Gateway. The least expensive package is $342, while the most comprehensive is $445.

Abode Equipment

Abode’s most streamlined package is the Smart Security Middle Package, which contains the following essentials:

  • Keypad
  • Key fob
  • Sticker
  • One motion sensor
  • Two door/window sensors

All of Abode’s systems feature smart home integration. Only the plans with the Iota All-in-One Gateway are Wi-Fi-enabled. Additional equipment includes vibration glass sensors, acoustic glass break sensors, a wide angle motion camera, a water leak sensor, and more.

5. Alder: Best for Medical Alerts

Alder approaches home security with a different format than many of its competitors. Unlike the majority of home security providers, Alder does not premade packages with specified equipment. Instead, the company lets customers personalize their packages by picking and choosing the exact equipment they want.

Alder’s customer service is top-notch, with an average response time of 3.4 seconds—one of the fastest average response times in the industry. The provider’s security panel is simple and customer-friendly.

Alder Pros & Cons

Weigh the pros and cons of Alder below.

Alder doesn’t offer preset packages. Instead, you can select the exact devices you want to customize your unique package.

Prices vary widely due to the customizable nature, but you can expect an activation fee of $89 and a monthly monitoring charge of $44.99 for a kit with one touchscreen panel, two doors sensors, one motion sensor, one monitored fire sensor, and one outdoor wireless camera with two-way audio.

Alder Equipment

Alder offers a broad range of equipment options for you to choose from to create your custom package. Here are the main types:

  • Touchscreen panel
  • Indoor security camera
  • Outdoor security camera
  • Motion sensor
  • Door/window sensor
  • Smart smoke detector
  • Medical Alert Pendant
  • Flood and freeze detectors
  • Doorbell camera

The Alder touchscreen panel uses a cellular connection, meaning that it will remain functional even if your internet cuts out. The security cameras are sophisticated with a wide angle lens capable of monitoring a large area with a single camera, night vision, and in the case of the indoor security camera, two-way talk.

Our Conclusion

After evaluating many different home security companies, we found that ADT, SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Abode, and Alder are the best home security systems for renters. Apartment-friendly features include portable equipment, short-term or no contract requirements, and DIY installation.

To help you find the best fit for your home, we always recommend reaching out to multiple providers to get a range of quotes. You can use the tool below to learn more about the home security systems and receive quotes.

Features to Consider for Renters

Renters have several factors to consider when determining the best home security system for their needs. Learn more about the top considerations below.

Contract or contract-free

Some of the best home security systems have long-term contract requirements—three years, in some cases. Renters in general prefer contract-free or short-term contracts for their home security system to give them flexibility if they move.

DIY installation

Doing DIY installation instead of professional installation makes sense for renters. You don’t have to pay a high fee for installation in a residence you don’t own. Systems with DIY installation are typically easy to transport, which is ideal if you plan to move. Many systems offer a peel-and-stick application so you don’t have to drill any holes in your wall or otherwise risk your security deposit.

Portability

Renters should make sure that their home security system provider will allow them to transport their equipment and set it up in a new residence so they aren’t tied down to one location.

Amount of equipment

If you live in a small apartment, you might not have room for a lot of home security equipment. It’s a good idea to invest in a system with minimal but effective, technologically advanced equipment if you are a renter.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for home security providers is on a 100-point scale based on 10 factors:

  • Number of systems (5)
  • Special features (10)
  • Installation options (5)
  • Connectivity and smart home automation (15)
  • Pricing (15)
  • Contract period (5)
  • Warranty (15)
  • Trial period (15)
  • Usability (5)
  • Trustworthiness (10)

Our Reviews Team reviewed 32 companies and spent 744 hours researching and testing out products to help us compare home security systems on key factors such as package options, cost, reliability, and ease of use. Read more on our methodology here.

More on Home Security Systems

Frequently Asked Questions

Are security systems allowed in apartments?

You are able to install security systems in apartments, but you need to be careful that you choose a system that allows DIY installation. Not all complexes will allow you to drill holes in your walls or otherwise modify your unit.

Can I get ADT if I rent?

Yes, you can get Blue by ADT, ideal for renters with easy DIY installation and sophisticated, wireless equipment that’s easy to transport.

What is better, SimpliSafe or Ring?

We believe Ring is a solid choice, with easy installation and affordable pricing. However, SimpliSafe is one of our top recommendations.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *