Best Home Security Systems for Renters
Data as of 10/07/2021
Ring recently increased its monitoring and equipment prices. We have the full scoop below.
Of all the renter-friendly home security systems we looked at, SimpliSafe had all the amenities we wanted.
SimpliSafe is an affordable system that won’t put any holes in your wall or trap you in a long-term contract. This apartment security system is expandable and easy to take with you when your lease is up too. And with devices like indoor cameras, a smart doorbell, and environmental sensors, even your landlord will be on board.
Here are the best security systems for renters
- : Best overall
- : Whole-property security
- : Best home automation
- : Best for apartments
- : Budget pick
Professional monitoring starting at
Lowest equipment price
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†Amazon.com prices as of 10/07/2021, 7:00 a.m. MST. See full disclaimer.
Like renters, security systems have to move around sometimes—all of our picks are free of contracts and can move with you whenever your lease is up next. Each DIY home security system costs under $50 per month, and many have flexible up-front equipment purchasing options so they can fit your budget.
Is the security system you want 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 loop into 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.
Home security features you'll need while renting
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Apartment home security reviews
1. SimpliSafe: Best renter-friendly security system
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.
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.
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.
Unlike SimpliSafe, Frontpoint includes its mobile app, smart home compatibility, and video monitoring with the monthly price. 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).
Standout Frontpoint equipment: four HD cameras
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 smart home compatibility
Frontpoint also integrates with tons of home automation security products:
- Smart bulbs
- Smart plugs
- Smart locks
- Amazon Echo
- Google Home
- Z-Wave devices
Frontpoint pricing and financing
We teamed up with Frontpoint to offer readers an exclusive monitoring deal! The Interactive Monitoring plan gives you mobile control and professional monitoring of your system for $34.99 a month. The video streaming and smart home monitoring plan costs $49.99 per month.
Equipment prices start at $99. You can finance the system for about $10 a month, but you’ll need to sign a contract to complete the deal.
Learn more about monitoring plans and equipment in our full Frontpoint review.
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.
Abode smart home options
Abode’s CUE program connects with so many smart home 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.
Monitoring your Abode system
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 security equipment
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.
4. Cove: Best security system 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.
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're 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 sensor, Cove offers hazard detectors for dangers like smoke and carbon monoxide.
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 $217.00:
- Cove Touch Alarm Panel
- 2 door sensors
- 3 window sensors
- 1 motion detector
- 1 smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector
- 1 key remote
- 1 indoor camera
Price reflects results from a custom quiz taken on 6/7/2021.
Paying for Cove home security
If you live in an apartment or townhome with a unit number, you're not eligible for Cove's "economy payment" plan, which allows you to use $415 worth of equipment for free with a 36-month contract.
Instead, you'll need to pay for the equipment up front. On the plus side, you won't be locked into a long-term contract and can cancel at any time without penalty.
Get the full scoop
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.
Cove is currently offering up to $475 in equipment and six months of professional monitoring (you pick the plan) for just $150 to certain populations:
- Active duty military
- Military families
- 911 dispatchers
- RN, LPN, NP
- Teachers (including college professors)
Visit the Cove website to verify your credentials and access this promotion.
5. Ring: Budget pick
Ring, our long-standing budget choice for renters, recently announced new products and a new plan structure. Professional monitoring doubled in price and now costs $20 per month.
We're reviewing our lineup of the best home security systems for renters to take this into account and to evaluate some industry newcomers.
For now, our top pick SimpliSafe also clinches the "best for budgets" category, with pro monitoring available at an affordable $14.99 per month.
You won’t need three months’ salary for this ring. Starting under $200 for equipment and $20 per month, Ring Alarm is one of the cheapest home security systems out there.
Ring equipment options
The 5 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.
Ring has a lot of standalone 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.
Ring optional pro monitoring
At $20 a month or $200 a year, Ring’s no-contract professional monitoring is one of the most affordable monitoring options out there. But if it’s hard to swing a monthly expense, you can switch monitoring on and off as needed.
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.)
More brands we considered
For its price and the equipment you get, Scout is a good choice for an apartment renter. 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.
*Amazon.com price as of 10/07/2021 at 7:00 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
For those tiny apartments, single-room renters, or dorm-dwellers, Wyze is a great option. Wyze’s standalone cameras can keep snooping roommates out of your stuff or solve the mystery of “who stole the last piece of pizza.”
You don't have to pay for monitoring if you just want a Wyze camera.
Final word: SimpliSafe is for renters of all types
SimpliSafe checks all the boxes for us by offering quality home security basics without high-stakes commitment. Whatever type of rental you’re in, there’s an equipment package for your home.
Not sold on SimpliSafe? Our other picks are also contract-free:
- Frontpoint makes high-end equipment and smart home integration accessible for renters who don’t want to leave a permanent mark.
- Cove’s custom systems mean you buy only what you need for your home.
- Ring is inexpensive and has tons of camera options to keep an eye on things while you’re away.
- Abode marries smart home and DIY home security for nearly unlimited scenarios.
We decided the best security system for renters should be affordable, easy to move, and non-invasive. We looked for DIY home security systems that cost under $50 per month with portable alarm systems you can easily take with you if you move.
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).
With these criteria in mind, we evaluated our list of the best home security systems and selected the most renter-friendly of the bunch.
Check out our methodology page to learn more about how we approached this and all our reviews on home security systems.
Apartment security for renters doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Work with your landlord to install deadbolts, new locks, or alarms for apartment doors. And renters insurance can reimburse you if something happens to your property while renting for under $20 per month.
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.
We like SimpliSafe's The Foundation package or Ring Alarm's 5-piece kit for apartments with a single entry point; Frontpoint's The Safehouse package for two entry points; and Abode's Iota kit for open floor plans. If you're looking for the best apartment security system that's customizable and affordable, choose Cove.
You cannot get a traditional ADT system if you rent. Only homeowners qualify for that system, mainly because the equipment is hardwired and the contracts last a long time.
ADT offers alternative DIY home security for renters through Blue by ADT. You get the same quality service from industry powerhouse ADT but with a renter-friendly wireless home security system.
Here are some ideas for purchasing and placing apartment security devices:
- A motion-sensing camera that monitors a balcony or outdoor entrance
- A glass-break sensor placed in a central location
- Entry sensors on all ground-level or balcony-accessible doors and windows
SafeWise survey: Renters reveal their safety and security fears
When it comes to safety and security, what issues are renters most likely to encounter? What are their biggest concerns?
We surveyed 1,000 Americans who are currently leasing their home and found that today’s renters are even worse off than we thought. From nonfunctional locks to unresolved maintenance requests, it’s no wonder that nearly one in three respondents said they’ve considered moving out purely due to safety or security issues.
Safety and security provisions
While most landlords aren’t necessarily required to provide or maintain features such as security cameras or outdoor lighting, our survey results show a clear correlation: the safer a renter feels, the more likely they are to stay. So we were curious: what are landlords most likely to provide?
Most renters are provided with at least one of the safety or security enhancements above. But there’s certainly room for improvement. More than 1 in 10 renters are provided with none of these protections, and less than 16% are provided with four or more.
Tenants’ safety and security risks
According to our survey, 52% of renters think someone could “easily” or “somewhat easily” break into their home. Though their reasons may vary, the following stats contribute to this concern:
- 18% of renters have at least one door that doesn’t lock properly.
- More than 20% have at least one window that doesn’t lock properly.
- Nearly 30% of tenants say there have been break-ins in their home or building.
- 35% weren’t required to do a background check before moving in.
Over 30% of renters have considered moving out of their current home due to safety or security issues. When we took a closer look at the responses of these survey participants, the correlation was clear.
These renters are provided fewer safety enhancements and have more outstanding security issues compared to the rest of our survey respondents. Furthermore, 36% of them have unresolved maintenance requests, and 66% say their landlord is aware of the safety and/or security issues in their home.
Landlords and property management
The property manager or landlord clearly plays a key role in residents’ overall feeling of safety and security, both directly and indirectly. A good landlord or property manager will make the effort to ensure you feel safe and secure in your home. However, lease agreements often include statements relieving the owner of any liability when it comes to security.
These survey results shed light on the role property management plays in tenants’ overall feeling of safety in their home:
- 36% of renters have submitted safety- or security-related maintenance requests in the past year that have yet to be resolved.
- 3 in 10 tenants have had maintenance workers or staff enter their home without a mask since the pandemic began.
- Over 30% say they don’t know how many people currently have access to enter their home.
- A third of renters say that a landlord or property management staff member has made them feel unsafe.
With all of this in mind, it was especially surprising to learn that more than one in four Americans who lease their home admit to not being fully aware of their rights. Tenant rights may vary depending on your lease agreement and location, but a good place to start is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website.
As a renter, your safety and security is ultimately up to you. Despite the conditions you may live in, there are steps you can take to reduce your risks.
Changing the locks and getting a home security system are great first steps. Many of the devices we mention throughout the page above are not only affordable but can be easily set up on your own and moved from place to place—making them perfect for people who plan to move in the future.
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