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Best Home Security Systems for Renters
These renter-friendly home security systems keep your house or apartment safe and require less commitment than your lease.
No contract required
Custom equipment options
Pro monitoring starts at $14.99/mo.
Equipment for $0 down
No contract required
Pro monitoring starts at $44.99/mo.
Best for apartments
Individually priced equipment
Pro monitoring starts at $15/mo.
Researcher & Writer
January 29, 2021
SimpliSafe is our favorite apartment-friendly security system
Of all the renter-friendly home security systems we looked at, SimpliSafe had all the amenities we wanted.
SimpliSafe is low cost, low commitment, and won’t put any holes in your wall. The apartment security system is expandable and easy to take with you when your lease is up too. And with devices like indoor cameras, smart doorbells, and environmental sensors, even your landlord will be on board.
Here are the best security systems for renters
SimpliSafe: Best overall
Frontpoint: High-end pick
Cove: Best for apartments
Ring: Budget pick
Abode: Best home automation
Compare home security for apartments
Best for apartments
Best home automation
Professional monitoring starts at
Lowest equipment price
Info current as of 01/29/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Pay up front or finance?
Is the security system you want a little pricey? No need to resort to a ramen-based budget.
Security companies can finance your equipment for $0 down through in-house or third-party platforms. But you may be subject to higher monitoring fees or a contract.
It’s a worthy deal if you need a home security system for a large rental pronto. But it could leave you with hefty fees if you cancel early.
The best home security system for renters should be affordable, portable, and non-invasive. We looked for DIY home security systems that cost under $50 per month with security features and devices you can take with you. Good news: all the systems on our list meet this criteria.
Monthly monitoring fees and equipment packages were part of the equation too. And for apartment dwellers, we focused on indoor equipment rather than outdoor cameras and video doorbells. (though we still included systems with these devices.)
Check out our methodology page to learn more about how we approached this and all our reviews on home security systems.
Apartment home security reviews
1. SimpliSafe: Best overall
SimpliSafe is a great fit for renters because it’s affordable, low commitment, and flexible. Professional monitoring costs less than a large pizza and won’t tie you down with contracts (you already have a lease to deal with). Its customizable equipment packages let you add and subtract equipment as you move from rental to rental. And its DIY installation makes it easy to set up every time.
No long-term contracts
Low monthly monitoring fee
Subtle, stylish equipment
Custom package options
Limited home automation
No outdoor cameras
SimpliSafe also has a month-to-month, cancel-anytime monitoring policy. Contracts aren’t necessary for this service and you can monitor your system from your phone alongside the pros with the higher tier monitoring plan. SimpliSafe’s two monitoring options cost around $15 or $25 a month.
For many renters, moving day is just part of the circle of life. So you’ll want a security system that works with every new home. SimpliSafe lets you customize your system or swap out devices in equipment packages.
So if you move into a new place with a sliding glass door, you can add a door and window sensor to pair it. Found a cute rental home and want to add a doorbell camera or smart lock? No problem. SimpliSafe can morph to fit your new apartment building, condo, townhouse, or home with simple installation each time.
Read more in our SimpliSafe review about the company’s pricing, equipment, and policies.
2. Frontpoint: High-end pick
Frontpoint combines home security with home automation seamlessly. These goodies make up for its steep price: a free mobile app, solid HD camera options, pre-programmed software, and broad compatibility with tech you already have like Amazon Echo or Google Home.
Smart home devices available
Mobile app in all plans
High monthly monitoring fees
Unlike SimpliSafe, Frontpoint includes its mobile app with the price of monthly monitoring. Your apartment security system will send you alerts if it senses something wrong, and you can check the home security camera feed directly from your phone (anywhere that there’s a cell signal).
Cameras and smart home
Frontpoint’s equipment packages have all the DIY home security hits like motion detectors, door and window sensors, and a smart hub to connect it all together.
The company also has four impressive home security cameras that stream in HD. So you can keep an eye on your pets (and mini fridge) while you’re away. If you have a condo or small rental house, you can opt for the outdoor cam or doorbell camera that is easy to install without professional help.
Frontpoint also integrates with tons of home automation security products:
Amazon Echo integration
Google Home integration
Frontpoint pricing and financing
But all these bells and whistles don’t come cheap. Equipment prices start just above $300 with DIY system monitoring prices beginning at $44.99 per month (or $50 if you want video). You can finance the system for $0, but you’ll need to sign a contract to complete the deal.
Learn more about monitoring plans and equipment in our full Frontpoint review.
3. Cove: Best for apartments
Best for Apartments
Just like apartments, there are no two Cove systems that are exactly alike. Cove’s systems are tailor-made to fit uniquely shaped rentals or small spaces so you can keep an eye on your pets (and stuff) while you’re away.
Monitoring starts at $15/mo.
Flexible payment options
Limited home automation
To create your system, Cove gives you a quick quiz to figure out what devices work best for you. None of the sensors are expensive, but they are priced individually, so it’s best for smaller apartments and studios. Once you get your results, the site gives you the option to add and subtract devices too.
Along with the building blocks of a home security system like a control panel, door sensor, and motion detector, Cove offers hazard detectors for dangers like smoke and carbon monoxide.
You can pay a lump sum up front for all your equipment and get a discounted monthly monitoring rate. Or you can skip the equipment payment and pay a little more for monitoring each month. Either way, you can cancel anytime—free of penalty.
Cove has a good range of alarm system equipment; we just wish they had some better home automation options. Check out our full Cove review to learn more about the security system.
Take the quiz
As a renter myself, I was curious about Cove’s custom quiz to build a system. In lieu of any standard packages, Cove’s website paired me with all this for $413.00:
Cove Touch Alarm Panel
1 Door and window sensor
1 Motion detector
1 Carbon monoxide detector
1 Smoke alarm
1 Security remote
1 Yi indoor camera
Price reflects results from a custom quiz taken on 11/24/2020.
4. Ring: Budget pick
View on Amazon
You won’t need three months’ salary for this ring. Starting under $200 for equipment and $10 per month, Ring Alarm is one of the cheapest home security systems out there. The five-piece alarm kit comes with standard sensors, a base station, and range extender. You can also add sensors for homes with multiple entrances like sliding glass doors or ground floor windows.
Professional monitoring starts at $10/mo.
Battery-powered video doorbells
Controversy with Neighbors App
Ring has a lot of stand-alone equipment to offer too. If you rent a house with a shed, consider adding one of the Ring floodlight cameras to catch activity in the dark. Ring is also known for its suite of video doorbells.
If your apartment or home doesn’t already have a doorbell, don’t sweat it. The Ring Doorbell, Ring Doorbell 3, and Doorbell 3 Plus all have battery-powered video doorbell options that make installation easier and less permanent.
For the most part, Ring is an easy system to use and install. But during our testing, we ran into some confusion with the keypad. And if you’re leaving your Ring Alarm for the next tenant, you’ll need to factory-reset all your devices (we found out the hard way).
We have more about this home security system in our Ring Alarm review. We also feature it as a top pick in our cheap home security review.
Ring Neighbors App controversy
The Ring Neighbors app was designed as a virtual neighborhood-watch tool. It’s a way for everyone in a community to look out for each other.
But it comes with some concerns over partnerships leading to too much police surveillance and magnifying users' implicit bias. And any video you post on the app automatically becomes public information.
Check out our video on YouTube to learn more about Ring, Privacy, and the Police. We also have a Ring FAQ page.
5. Abode: Best home automation
Best home automation
Abode makes home automation more accessible for renters. It works with a handful of third-party smart products like ecobee, Kwikset, Yale, and Z-Wave devices. And in addition to being compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo, Apple Homekit users can work with Abode too.
Strong home automation capabilities
Affordable professional monitoring
Compatible with third-party products
Fee for self-monitoring
Limited app ability
Abode’s CUE program connects with so many devices that we had to write an entirely new article to list them all. If you have other smart products like light bulbs or smart plugs, you can link them to your Abode system.
You can create chain reactions to turn on the lights when the door opens or activate video if the security camera senses activity from the motion detector. Like any smart home system, the possibilities are limited only by the products you have and your creativity.
Abode offers an option for self-monitoring for $6 per month. But we recommend the professional monitoring for $20 per month. The price is half that of top systems like Frontpoint but with the same quick response for emergencies.
Abode has two affordable systems for renters and owners alike. We’re personally fans of the Iota system that has a multi-talented base station. The Iota station comes with a built-in security camera and motion detector, perfect for renters with limited space.
Both the Iota and the Smart Security package come with a contact sensor for your front door or main window (your choice), and you can add sensors with your package at checkout if you need more.
Our full Abode review goes into more details about the system.
More brands we considered
For its price and the equipment you get, Scout is a good choice for small rentals like apartments and condos. The basic plan includes motion sensors, a smart hub, and key fobs.
It misses the mark on home automation features like smart doorbells, but it’s the only system we encountered with RFID stickers to keep track of valuables.
At just over $200, Scout’s equipment package aligns with other apartment security systems like SimpliSafe. But professional monitoring from Scout costs $20/month. Or you can opt for self monitoring at $10.
Our Scout review has more details.
View on Amazon
For those tiny apartments, single-room renters, or dorm-dwellers, Wyze is a great camera-only option. Wyze’s standalone devices can keep snooping roommates out of your stuff or solve the mystery of “who stole the last piece of pizza.” There’s no monthly fee—just $25 for a security camera.
Wyze Sense was previously the company’s system but isn’t available anymore. But we predict that they have some improvements to announce next year. Its site announces professional monitoring coming in 2021.
Thanks to forward-thinking brands like our top pick, SimpliSafe, renters don’t have to put holes in their walls or contracts to have a security system.
We like SimpliSafe’s straightforward pricing, easy installation, and month-to-month monitoring options. Those features make it the ideal home security choice for renters—whether you’re in a small studio or a larger house.
How can I protect my rental on a budget?
Apartment security for renters doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Work with your landlord to install deadbolts or change the locks. And renters insurance can reimburse you if something happens to your property while renting for under $20 per month.
Security systems can be cheap too. Even if you rent a single room and have roommates, standalone equipment from companies like Kangaroo or Wyze can keep your rental safe without the extra fees.
Can I get a discount on my renters insurance for having a security system?
Yes! It depends on your insurance company, but some like Farmer’s and Allstate offer up to 15% off for having security or safety devices in your rental.¹
Do I need to sign a contract for a security system?
While there are systems with contracts, a handful of great systems don’t require any long-term commitment. Alarm systems like SimpliSafe and Cove, for example, let you pay month to month for professional monitoring.
What’s the difference between an apartment security system and a security system for a house?
Because the structures are different, an apartment security system doesn’t need as many outdoor devices like outdoor cameras or lights.
For homes, make sure your ground floor is covered. The main entrance and any windows or doors at street level will need sensors to watch for threats.
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Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy.
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