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 Arlo Pro 3 system is the best you can buy because of its great features 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 Overall: 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 track, 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.
- Completely wireless
- Three-month trial of the Arlo Smart plan is included
- Local backup via USB or microSD
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Batteries need charging periodically
- Requires a standalone hub
Arlo Pro 3 Security System
- From $431 at Amazon From $439 at Best Buy
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.
Best Value: Ring Alarm
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.
- Alexa integration
- Easy setup
- No garage door tilt sensors or hinge sensors
- Door sensors can be finicky
Ring Alarm home Security
- From $200 at Amazon From $118 at Walmart
A Ring system is easy to install and completely wireless. You’ll love the Alexa integration as well as the great price.
From the Pros: LifeShield
LifeShield is 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. And it’s easy to install; just ask our resident non-handyman, Jeramy Johnson, 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 with LifeShield 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.
- Built by pros
- Smoke and CO2 alerts
- Cellular backup
- Pet-friendly motion sensors
- No free monitoring or cloud storage
- Alexa integration could be deeper with better routines and Alexa Guard support
- Door sensors don’t work well with wide trim
From the Pros
- $200 at Amazon
LifeShield from ADT is completely wireless with pet-friendly sensors. Works with Alexa, and has cellular backup.
User Favorites: SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe has been named the best home security product by many online publications, and users really 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.
- Expandable to 100 components
- Easy setup
- LOUD sirens
- Phone notifications require a monthly fee
- No garage tilt sensor compatibility
- From $194 at Amazon
Simple and effecftive
SimpliSafe offers full protection without the wires or the 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 Wifi Classic 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.
- Easy setup
- Two-way communication
- Smartphone app isn’t great
- Lacking in options for home vs. away modes
- From $130 at Amazon
Basics done right
Fortress is a great basic security system that forgoes many of the bells and whistles (and bugs) we see from others.
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 Arlo Pro 3 System for its accessibility and how it is so easy to set up.
Set up is simple — just connect the base station to your home network and place the completely wireless cameras where they can monitor your home and family. The HD cameras can be set with a very specific monitoring zone, so there’s no need for traditional two-piece door or window sensors. When motion is detected, the loud siren will alert you and the neighbors, and you’ll have video evidence if you need it thanks to Arlo’s Smart cloud storage plans or local storage on your own media.
We understand that the Arlo Pro 3 is a little pricey, but we think the value is there because it works so well and offers just the right features.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nations’ Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. You’ll find him across the Mobile Nations network, and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he’s not writing about Amazon products and services, he’s defending his relationship with his side-chick Alexa to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.