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Find the best security system for renters

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
Brinks Home Security™, Blue by ADT, Link Interactive, Cove and Scout
man using digital display home alarm

Whether you rent an apartment or a house, finding the right security system to keep you and your belongings safe is no easy feat. To select our favorite home security companies for renters, we looked for good customer reviews, easy DIY installation and flexible contracts. Below, we compare Link Interactive, Cove, Scout, Brinks and Blue by ADT.

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What are the best home security systems for renters?

We looked for companies that offer DIY installation and smaller systems at reasonable prices to best suit those who rent apartments and single-family homes. We included only systems that are renter-friendly, wireless and portable with reasonable contract terms.

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    Cove

    Our pick for no contract requirements

    cove alarm
    Logo
    Cove highlights
    • Flexible payments
    • Easy installation
    • Limited lifetime warranty on equipment
    • Rate-lock guarantee

    Read reviews

    Cove provides the link between smart alarm systems like Nest and the big-brand security companies. Prices depend on a few factors, including whether you rent a house or an apartment and how many outside doors you have. You can pay as little as $0 upfront with the Economy Plan. Professional monitoring starts at $15 per month.

    According to one review from a self-described early adopter, the product is easy to set up and customize. People seem to like the user-friendly touch-screen interface, loud siren and quick monitoring.

    However, some reviews report that the app is somewhat limited. Cove might not be a good pick for you if AT&T cellular service is spotty in your area. Additional complaints mention shipping delays, likely due to COVID-19.

    The company claims its emergency response times are up to 10 times faster than other monitoring centers, and its average DIY installation time is less than 30 minutes.

    Compare Cove alarm monitoring

    With Cove, you can customize your equipment package with a range of products, including door and window sensors, glass break detectors and indoor cameras. The company offers two monitoring plans: Cove Basic and Cove Plus.

    Cove BasicCove Plus
    Monthly fee*$15$25
    24-hour live monitoring
    Hourly automated system check
    24-hour battery backup
    Lifetime equipment warranty
    Smartphone control
    Lifetime rate-lock guarantee
    *As of publishing date
    Cove Basic$15
    Cove Plus$25

    Blue by ADT

    Our pick for customizable systems

    blue by adt alarm
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    Blue by ADT highlights
    • Free self-monitoring plans
    • Month-to-month contracts

    Read reviews

    Finally, ADT security for renters. As of publishing, Blue by ADT’s monitoring plans cost $19.99 per month. The Secure system is a good starter package for a reasonable price, but you can upgrade to the Complete package plan for an extra $12 per month, which includes Wi-Fi video surveillance with 30 days of storage.

    Blue by ADT offers pet-smart motion detectors, which help eliminate false alarms. Renters can also choose to self-monitor their systems. Luckily, monitoring contracts aren’t required, so you can pay month to month for the services you want.

    Blue by ADT packages are a good pick for renters who want smart home security features and easy DIY installation. The build-your-own security packages offer the most customizable protection options.

    Compare Blue by ADT home security systems

    Each plan includes smash-and-crash protection, fire and carbon monoxide protection, a wireless security tablet and a free mobile app. We like that ADT throws in a month of free monitoring so you can see if you think it’s worth it (starting at $19.99 per month after that).

    Starter SystemStarter Plus SystemBuild Your Own
    Smart home hub
    Door/window sensors24Optional
    Motion sensors2Optional
    CamerasOptional
    Yard signsOptional
    Window stickers44Optional
    Total system cost*$219.99$299.99$179.99+
    *As of publishing date
    Starter System24$219.99
    Starter Plus System424$299.99
    Build Your OwnOptionalOptionalOptionalOptionalOptional$179.99+

    Brinks Home Security

    Our pick for apartments

    brinks home security alarm
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    Brinks Home Security highlights
    • Two-year warranty on equipment
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • Helpful customer service

    Read reviews

    Brinks is an especially good pick for apartment dwellers with cats and small dogs — pets under 40 pounds won’t trigger the motion sensors.

    All Brinks plans use cellular and Wi-Fi to connect the security panel or the monitoring center and the system’s app. 4G LTE cellular backup and battery backup ensure service is uninterrupted.

    The Brinks installation process is similar to Link Interactive’s — the systems are easy to install without tools and come preprogrammed. You can also take the system with you if you move.

    Through the Brinks app, you can see and speak to visitors, get instant alerts and control smart devices with your phone. The components are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Nest Secure and other smart home devices, such as lights, locks and thermostats.

    One potential drawback to Brinks for renters is that the company requires a 36-month monitoring contract. However, it’s easy to take the system with you if you move, and your rate stays the same unless you upgrade equipment or opt in to additional services.

    Compare Brinks Home Security plans

    Pricing for Brinks Home Security plans depends on multiple factors, including your location and selection of optional equipment. Request a free quote to get the most accurate cost estimate.

    Smart Security Essential highlightsSmart Security Complete highlightsSmart Security Ultimate highlights
    Motion and door sensors
    Home automation features
    Indoor camera
    Video doorbell
    Free pro installation
    *As of publishing date
    Smart Security Essential highlights
    Smart Security Complete highlights
    Smart Security Ultimate highlights

    Scout

    Our pick for self-monitoring

    scout alarm
    Logo
    Scout Alarm highlights
    • No contract required
    • Free shipping on orders over $200
    • Free returns for 60 days
    • Three-year equipment warranty

    Read reviews

    Scout is a good pick for renters looking for a self-monitored system with smart home integrations. You can build your own custom system or select from bundled product packages. Available products include motion and glass break sensors, video doorbells, indoor cameras, smart locks and more.

    The Always On self-monitoring plan costs $9.99 per month (or $107 if you pay yearly). It includes the Scout mobile app and sends alerts through email, push notifications, SMS and phone calls. There’s no contract requirement for the self-monitoring plan.

    For professional monitoring services, look for the Always On+ plan. It costs $19.99 per month (or $215 if you pay yearly) and includes everything in the Always On plan plus police and fire dispatch and free cloud storage for cameras or video doorbells.

    Compare Scout alarm packages

    All packs include the Scout Hub, a door panel, two key fobs and a yard sign. The equipment is available in white or black. The Scout Hub is the brain of the system, and each is equipped with 4G cellular, battery backup and a 105-decibel siren.

    Scout Small PackScout Large PackScout Elements PackScout Architect Pack
    Motion sensors1211
    Access remote2544
    Smoke alarm1
    Water sensor1
    Smart lock1
    Glass break sensor1
    Total system cost*$229$319$349$549
    *As of publishing date
    Scout Small Pack12$229
    Scout Large Pack25$319
    Scout Elements Pack1411$349
    Scout Architect Pack1411$549

    What to look for in a security system for renters

    As you compare systems and packages, think about what equipment and features are most important to you. A home security system may include an alarm, motion detectors, cameras, video doorbells and more. Many companies offer professional monitoring. However, you might prefer to self-monitor through an app.

    • DIY installation: If you live in a rental home or apartment, it’s best to buy a wireless home alarm system that you can install yourself without drilling any holes in the walls. The added bonus is that a portable system can easily go with you when you move.
    • Flexible contracts: One of the biggest obstacles renters face is the fear of a long-term contract. Many home security systems offer plans that require contracts with term lengths ranging from one to five years. Signing on for an extended period of time might not be ideal for renters who aren’t sure where they’ll live in the near future. Look for a provider that allows flexible short-term contracts or no-contract plans.
    • Monitoring and equipment options: A home security system may include an alarm, motion detectors, cameras or 24-hour monitoring. If you want access to a professional monitoring center, make sure it’s UL-certified and will dispatch local emergency responders on your behalf.

    Compare our top picks

    Compare our favorite home security systems for renters below. Checking reviews will help you decide if a company is the right fit for you.

    Monthly fees*ContractSelf-monitoring option
    Link Interactive$30.99 to $44.99One to three years
    Cove$15 to $25Month to month
    Blue by ADT$0 to $19.99Month to month
    Brinks Home Security$39Three years
    Scout$9.99 to $19.99Month to month
    *As of publishing date

    Bottom line

    When you’re a renter, it’s not always feasible or convenient to install permanent security equipment. We suggest looking for systems you can install yourself — this way, if you move, you can easily take the system with you. You’ll also be less likely to damage the walls of your living space during the installation process. It’s important to look for a short-term monthly contract or one you can easily cancel so you aren’t obligated to provide home security in a place you no longer live.

    Next, read about our picks for the best DIY home security cameras.

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    Profile picture of Jessica Render
    by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

    As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.