Best Apartment Security Systems – ppc

Best Apartment Security Systems
The best apartment security system is one that can move with you—no strings attached. We tested, mystery shopped, and grilled security brand reps to find the best apartment security systems for renters.

Best overall

SimpliSafe

4.25

Professional monitoring starts at$19.99/mo.

Month-to-month monitoring
Efficient dispatch tech.
Live video feed
Save 40%View Packages

Most experienced brand

ADT Self Setup

4

Professional monitoring starts at$24.99/mo.

Self-monitoring option
120+ years of experience
Google Nest productsView Packages

Data as of post date.

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

We crowned SimpliSafe the best home security for apartments and renters after testing every wireless, no-contract system on the market. We prioritized features that serve people who are renting and may move, affordability, and equipment that won’t mess up the walls (or wires) of your apartment. But it was a really close race, so we’ll explain why you might want to consider other options for your apartment security system instead. 
In short, SimpliSafe’s got the most affordable equipment and there are no hoops to jump through if you want to cancel your monthly subscription. But ADT Self Setup’s is a good idea if you want the best professional monitoring in the business.

Here are the best security systems for apartmentsSimpliSafe: Best optional subscriptionADT Self Setup: Most experienced brandAbode: Best for smaller apartmentsCove: Best customer rating

Also in this article:

More brands to consider or avoidFrequently asked questionsSafeWise survey: What do renters worry about?

Compare the best security for an apartment or rental property
BrandBest forProfessional monitoring starting atLowest equipment priceFinancing availableSelf-monitoring optionLearn moreSimpliSafeBest optional subscription
$19.99/mo.$229.00

Yes

YesView PackagesADT Self SetupMost experienced brand$24.99/mo.$194.98
No
YesView PackagesAbodeBest small apartment security
$21.99/mo.$231.99

Yes

YesView PackagesCoveBest customer experience$17.99/mo.$229.00

Yes

NoView PackagesData as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Full ADT disclaimer.

Do I need a security system for my apartment?
Yes. Home security is a good idea for apartments because renters are nearly twice as likely as homeowners to experience a burglary.1 But security systems have traditionally catered to homeowners with credit checks, long-term contracts, hardwired equipment, and even “you must be a homeowner” clauses. 
Fortunately, that baloney is now the exception rather than the rule.
Like renters, security systems have to move around sometimes—all of our apartment security picks are wireless, free of contracts, and can move with you whenever your lease is up. Each DIY security system costs under $50 per month, and many have flexible up-front equipment purchasing options so they can fit your budget while protecting your personal property.

Video: Best security systems for apartments and renters
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Apartment security system reviews

1. SimpliSafe: Best overall

Best for optional subscription

SimpliSafe

4.25

Starts at$19.99/mo

Mobile app with all plans
Indoor, outdoor, & doorbell cameras
Alexa & Google Assistant compatibility

View Packages

There’s one thing you can’t do with Cove: monitor the system yourself free of charge. If an optional subscription is important to you, try SimpliSafe. This DIY security giant recently (finally) improved their self-monitoring plan, meaning after your first month of professional monitoring, you can switch to self-monitoring if you choose. This makes it a great fit for renters who want to avoid a monthly payment.

Pros

No long-term contracts

Low monthly monitoring fee

Subtle, stylish equipment

Custom package options

Cons

Limited home automation

What you can do with the SimpliSafe Unmonitored plan

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

Whereas SimpliSafe’s free Unmonitored plan used to be nothing more than a local siren, it now includes some app functionality. You can arm or disarm the system, control the SimpliSafe Smart Lock, view a seven-day event history, and get push notifications when there’s an alarm, camera notification, or system error—all without paying a dime.
Of course, you miss out on some nice-to-have things like emergency dispatch, cellular backup, and video recording by choosing the unmonitored security plan. But at least you don’t have to sacrifice your the security of your home when you go into penny-pinching mode to make rent. Plus, it’s easy to cancel SimpliSafe and restart its $18 or $28 professional monitoring plans if your budget changes.

SimpliSafe also gives you a moving package

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

SimpliSafe sends its customers a free moving package with extra adhesives, wall stickers, and boxes made to fit each door and window sensor and accessory. Call SimpliSafe’s customer service line to request a moving package.
SimpliSafe also makes it easy to leave the entire system—or just a few components—behind for the next tenant. While we appreciate this flexibility, there’s not much in it for you—no discount for swapping out equipment, for example. 

SimpliSafe is easy to install, but not the easiest

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

We’ll be brief here because we go into way more detail in our SimpliSafe installation guide: it’s easy to set up SimpliSafe, but not quite as easy as Cove. Cove pairs each accessory with the smart hub before shipping. 
Otherwise, you can expect the standard peel-and-stick DIY installation process with SimpliSafe. But, if you’re over the DIY of it all, you can opt for pro installa tion from SimpliSafe—starting at $99.99

SimpliSafe might be too simple
SimpliSafe gives you a basic security system and nothing more. Don’t expect many cool smart home gadgets or third-party compatibility. Who says renters don’t want smart homes too? When it comes to smart home integration, we wish SimpliSafe’s offerings were more robust.

Read more about our SimpliSafe testing experience
We’ve tested SimpliSafe over and over in multiple staff members’ homes. Get a summary of our opinions—good and bad—in our full SimpliSafe review. Or check out our SimpliSafe FAQ page and our head-to-head Cove vs. SimpliSafe review.

2. ADT Self Setup: Most experienced security brand

Best professional monitoring

ADT Self Setup

4

Starts at$24.99/mo

No contract
Self-monitoring option
Reliability of ADT
Many equipment and camera options
Glitchy mobile app
Bulky equipment

View Packages Read Review

ADT Self Setup combines a no-contract system with ADT’s industry-leading monitoring services. It’s a great choice if you wish you could get ADT but have been blocked by their homeowner-only policy. Plus, you get that professional monitoring for an incredible price: $24.99/mo. or about a third of what it can cost to monitor a full-blown ADT system.
ADT Self Setup’s product line isn’t super fancy, but it includes everything you need for a basic security system. ADT Self Setup’s equipment costs more than competitors like Wyze and Ring, so the main reason to get it is for that sweet ADT monitoring deal. 
Read more in our ADT Self Setup review or ADT vs. ADT Self Setup match-up.
Image credit: ADT Self Setup
Standout feature: Big system under $300
ADT Self Setup carries an enormous 15-piece system for just under $300. It includes an indoor camera and a gaggle of door and window sensors and motion detectors. It’s hard to beat this price for what you get.

Learn more about our ADT Self Setup testing experience

ADT Self Setup Equipment and Compatibility
ADT Self Setup Outdoor Wireless Camera Review
YouTube: How does ADT’s DIY Security Brand Stack Up?

3. Abode: Best for smaller apartments

Best for small apartments and studios

Abode

4

Starts at$21.99/mo

Mobile app with free plan
Indoor & outdoor cameras
Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, Z-Wave, Zigbee, & proprietary smart home compatibility

View Packages

For apartment renters short on space, Abode sells a unique system called the Iota All-in-One Security Kit. We’ve tested the Iota—which houses a base unit, siren, speaker, motion sensor, and camera in a single tower—multiple times over the years, and we’re always impressed by how much it can do from a single tabletop vantage point. No fuss, no muss—and certainly no screw holes or chipped paint.

Pros

Strong home automation capabilities

Affordable professional monitoring

Compatible with third-party products

Free self-monitoring option

Cons

Limited app ability

So-so camera quality

Abode (probably) works with your landlord’s equipment

Image: Celeste Tholen, SafeWise

Some security brands (looking at you, SimpliSafe and Cove) don’t let their equipment mix and mingle with other brands. Abode has no such qualms. For renters, this means you might be able to integrate the Abode system with equipment provided by your landlord—devices including a smart door lock on your front door, or smoke alarm in your bedroom. 

Just check out our Abode compatibility guide before you buy—it integrates with a lot of devices, but still doesn’t work with everything.

Abode’s flexible no-contract monitoring saves you money

Image: Cathy Habas, SafeWise

We know renting isn’t cheap, so it’s nice to save money whenever possible—including with professional monitoring. Abode is the only security company that lets you pay for professional monitoring a few days at a time. 
Going on an “unplugged” vacation? Turn on monitoring for about 66 cents per day. Working from home all week? Self-monitor for free. 

Add third-party camera brands for outdoor surveillance
When we say Abode’s best for apartment security, we’re not only talking about the size and layout of your rental, but also the fact that you probably only need indoor security. Abode’s outdoor camera—the Cam 2—didn’t work well for any of us when we passed it around for testing. 
But the good news is that Abode connects to some excellent third-party cameras like Arlo and Blink. If you want to use Abode for a rental home with outdoor surveillance needs, save yourself a headache and skip the Cam 2. Everything else works great.

Learn more about our Abode testing experience
Get the full scoop on what it’s like to set up and use this system in our full Abode review, or read our Abode FAQs.

4. Cove Security: Best customer experience

Best customer experience

Cove

4

Starts at$17.99/mo

Mobile app with upgrade
Indoor and outdoor cameras
Alexa & Google Assistant compatibility

View Packages

Founded around 2018, Cove is an industry newcomer focusing on customer satisfaction. Every time we chatted with Cove customer service during our system tests, we experienced short wait times and friendly service. When we met with Cove in October ’21, they told us about their unique “do it with me” installation option and a neat $5/month upgrade credit that rolls over each month, which is perfect for renters needing different equipment after a move. 

Pros

DIY installation

60-day free trial

Flexible payment options

Cons

Limited home automation

Cove’s security equipment is incredibly affordable . . .
You can head straight to the online shop or take a custom quiz to let Cove pair you with the equipment you need based on the number of doors and windows in your rental (among other factors). Here’s what the quiz suggested for us:

Image: SafeWise

Cove Touch Alarm Panel
2 door sensors
3 window sensors
1 motion detector
1 smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector
1 key remote
1 Cove indoor camera

We did some extra mystery shopping and math to put these prices into context: Cove sells the most affordable equipment in the industry. You’d spend an extra $100 to $300 to get the same equipment from other top security brands. 

. . . but its monitoring price is average

Image: SafeWise

Here’s one of the most important things to know about Cove: their $18/month monitoring plan isn’t as attractive as it seems. Cove pulls the same trick that SimpliSafe finally corrected: its app is restricted to the $28/month Cove Plus plan.
So, for about $18 per month, the Cove Basic plan gets you professional alarm monitoring and little else—no camera recordings and no smartphone control. 

Some renters ineligible for Cove’s payment plan
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. 

No drills required for Cove

Image: SafeWise

All Cove equipment is peel-and-stick, so you don’t have to risk your security deposit by drilling any holes in the walls. It comes pre-named and pre-paired for one of the fastest installations in the industry. See for yourself in our Cove installation demo.

Read more about our Cove Security testing experience
We learned a lot about Cove by testing this system hands-on—and in a rental to boot.  Find out what we like and dislike about this security brand in our full Cove review, or check out our Cove FAQs.

3 Security brands renters should avoid
Here’s why some familiar names didn’t make it onto our list of top apartment security and systems for renters.

Vivint Smart Security
Vivint told us they don’t typically install a security system in an apartment unit. They’re willing to work with you if you rent a single-family home as long as your landlord approves all the drilling and hardwiring. Other downsides to using Vivint in a rental include high equipment fees, long-term contracts, and a four-day trial period.

ADT
ADT ‘s original security system (different than ADT Self Setup) maintains a strict “homeowners only” policy—probably because they require credit checks, long-term contracts, and hardwired installation.
You’ll be redirected to their DIY option ADT Self Setup as soon as you mention renting. 

Brinks Security
Technically, renters can get a Brinks Security system, but there are plenty of reasons to steer clear:

You have to sign a 36-month contract.
You owe 100% of the remaining balance if you need to cancel.
You need to pass a credit check.
Its monthly fees start at around $40, which is higher than the industry average of $32 per month.
Brinks equipment is usually more expensive than the industry average.

Final word: SimpliSafe is the best apartment security system
SimpliSafe offers streamlined equipment that’s affordable and easy to move. Best of all, you won’t be tied into a contract—and SimpliSafe makes it easy to cancel monthly monitoring if you don’t need it.
Not sold on SimpliSafe? Our other picks are also contract-free:

Cove’s custom systems mean you buy only what you need for your home, and their customer service is second to none.
ADT Self Setup has the best professional monitoring you can find, with 100+ years of experience in the industry and ADT’s trusted brand name.

Apartment and renter security systems FAQs

Expand All

How can I protect my rental property on a budget?

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. 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.

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. Abode even lets you pay for pro monitoring for three or seven days at a time.

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 entry sensors, motion sensors, or glass break detector.

What is a good security system for an apartment?

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.

What are some of the best apartment security devices?

Here are some ideas for purchasing and placing apartment security devices:A motion-sensing camera that monitors a balcony or outdoor entranceA glass-break sensor placed in a central locationEntry sensors on all ground-level or balcony-accessible doors and windows

How we chose the best apartment security systems
To rank the best home security for apartments and renters, we focused on these criteria:

No contracts (and, by default, no cancellation fees or credit checks)
DIY installation (the easier the better)
No “homeowners only” policies

From that list of must-haves, we narrowed down the contenders by looking at these features:

Mover-friendly policies and packages
Self-monitoring option
Value for the money
Equipment price
Equipment variety
Financing option

We also considered the most common renting scenarios—home rental, apartment rental, studio rental—and made sure we could recommend a brand for each one.
Finally, we factored in our team’s experience testing each of the security systems that made it to our final “best for renters” list. This hands-on knowledge confirmed whether a system is truly easy to install and take down—and whether the equipment and monitoring service is worth paying for in the first place. 
Check out our methodology page to learn more about how we approached apartment security systems and all our reviews.

Related articles on SafeWise

The Apartment Security Guide for Renters
5 Best Door Locks for Apartments and Renters
Best Peephole Cameras
I Rent an Apartment. Should I Still Consider a Security System?
7 Safety Questions to Ask Your Landlord Before Moving In
Is Your Landlord Trespassing? Learn Your Rights as a Renter

Sources

US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Household Burglary, 1994–2011.” Accessed December 9, 2022.
Randy Travis, FOX 5 Atlanta, “We Asked 99 Burglars 20 Questions–Their Answers Could Make You Safer,” February 2018. Accessed December 9, 2022.
Eufy, “Compatibility Between eufySecurity Devices.” Accessed December 9, 2022.

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