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Best No-Contract Security Systems For 2019

Contracts have become an industry standard in home security, but does that mean you have no other options but to tie yourself for two, three, or maybe even five years to a monitoring service? Fortunately, no; there are many alarm companies out there that offer no-contract monitoring. In fact, they are everywhere.

However, when shopping for a no-contract security system, there are a few characteristics you should look for. Let’s dive into how to find the best contract-free security system to protect you and your family.

What To Look For In A No-Contract System

A good no-contract security system offers professional monitoring and does more than work as a local alarm or a self-monitored system. All of the companies we recommended below fit the bill.

It's a bonus if the security system can be self-monitored should you decide to cancel the service. Otherwise, if a company doesn't let you use your security system that you bought without their monitoring service, how different are they really from companies that require a contract?

It's an even better bonus if the alarm company lets you freely switch between professional monitoring with a monthly fee and self-monitoring without a fee or with a lower rate. There are times when self-monitoring is more practical and there are also times when professional monitoring is necessary. Being able to switch between the two without any penalty is a great feature.

Simplisafe Special Promotion

Simplisafe is currently running one of the best promotions we've seen. Check their website for full details.

SimpliSafe: Simply Home Security With No Contracts

SimpliSafe is security system manufacturer that also provides professional monitoring services. They have recently upgraded their products to SimpliSafe 3 and they continue to add more products and features.

SimpliSafe is our top pick for no-contract security systems because it checks all the right boxes. First, SimpliSafe offers professional monitoring for as low as $14.99 per month or $24.99 per month if you want features like smartphone access. SimpliSafe's monitoring service is fulfilled by COPS Monitoring, a third-party alarm monitoring company. They have central stations in several locations to maintain redundancy, and they have well-trained operators specially equipped to provide emergency assistance and police, fire, and medical emergency dispatch.

The professional monitoring service is not required. You can buy a SimpliSafe security system and use it as a local alarm and then add professional monitoring only when you think it's necessary. As a local alarm, the system won't send alerts to you or the central monitoring station, but will sound a siren if an intrusion is detected. They also allow users to freely opt in and out of the monitoring service. If you need professional monitoring this month but won't need it next month, simply give them a call before the end of the current month to cancel the service. If you ever need professional monitoring in the future, you have the freedom to request services again.

SimpliSafe FAQ

  • How much will it cost me to get a SimpliSafe system setup?

    Companies that offer no-contract security systems often require their customers to pay for their security systems upfront. The same is true for SimpliSafe. On their website, you can build your own system or choose a pre-built package. Packages are sold for as low as $230, but those with more inclusions are priced $300 upwards.

  • What does SimpliSafe's professional monitoring service include?

    SimpliSafe offers two monitoring plans: Standard ($14.99/month) and Interactive ($24.99/month). Both plans include 24/7 professional monitoring with police and fire department dispatch, but the Interactive plan includes so much more. It offers smartphone app access and alerts, video alarm verification (if you own SimpliSafe cameras), unlimited cloud recording, and smart home integrations with Alexa, Google Assistant, and more.

  • Is it hard to cancel the service?

    Not at all. All you need to do is give SimpliSafe a call to inform them that you want to cancel the service. You don't even have to provide a reason; they will cancel your subscription as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can send a cancellation notice via mail to SimpliSafe's corporate address. They will inform you via email once they receive the notice.

  • Can I still use the security system even without a service?

    Absolutely! Without a monitoring subscription, SimpliSafe functions as a local alarm. You'll lose most of the important features, but the system will still be capable of detecting intrusion and notifying you with the use of the base station's built-in siren.

  • If I move, will they charge me?

    No. Part of SimpliSafe's contract-free approach is that they let you move without any penalties. However, if you're on a professionally monitored plan, you must inform SimpliSafe of your new address.

  • Where can I find out more about SimpliSafe?

    We've taken a close, hard look at SimpliSafe home security systems and we shared our honest thoughts on their product in our comprehensive SimpliSafe review. Looking for more insight into the company itself? Head over to our in-depth provider overview for more info.

Nest Secure With Brinks Monitoring

Nest Secure is another strong option. It's a security system made by Nest, the Google-owned, smart home giant that created the Nest Learning Thermostats and Nest Cams. By itself, Nest Secure is a self-monitored security system with no contracts and no subscriptions, but if you want professional monitoring, they've partnered by Brinks to provide monitoring services.

Brinks' Nest Secure monitoring rate starts at $19 a month, but this plan actually requires a three-year contract. The no-contract option offered by Brinks will cost you $29 a month. Feature-wise, the two plans are the same. It's just that Brinks rewards their customers who are willing to commit long-term with a lower monthly rate.

Nonetheless, Nest Secure is a solid option. If you cancel your professional monitoring service, you can still use Nest Secure as a self-monitored system. In fact, it's better than SimpliSafe because even if you stop paying for services, you'll still have access to smartphone control and other premium self-monitoring features.

Nest Secure w/ Brinks Monitoring FAQ

  • How much will it cost me to set up a system?

    Nest sells equipment packages for as low as $399, but Brinks sells the same equipment package for only $299. That said, we recommend purchasing from Brinks because of the discount and because they offer a free yard sign and window decals.

  • What does the professional monitoring plan include?

    Brinks' professional monitoring plans for Nest Secure includes 24/7 professional monitoring and nothing more. However, Nest Secure has built-in features that remain active if you sign up for monitoring, such as smartphone access and push alerts.

  • Is it hard to cancel the service?

    Should you need to opt out of Brinks professional monitoring service, all you have to do is call Brinks' customer support.

  • Will my Nest Secure continue to function without a professional monitoring service?

    Yes. Nest Secure is designed for self-monitoring, so all the features will still be available even without a subscription.

  • Where can I find out more about Nest Secure and Brinks?

    We've discussed the Nest Secure and Brinks integration at length in this review. You may also visit Nest's website for more information about the system.

abode: Our Top-Pick Self-Monitored System

abode is our #1 pick for self-monitored security systems, and it's also a strong no-contract security system option. abode's offers three subscription plans — Secure, Connect, and Basic — all of which are contract-free.

For $20 a month, Secure offers professional monitoring and activates the system's cellular chip for backup communication. The cellular backup is a vital feature because it allows the system to communicate alerts to the monitoring and the user in case of an internet failure.

Connect is a subscription service, but it doesn't really offer professional monitoring. For $8 a month, it activates the cellular chip to enable cellular so your security system can send alerts to you even during internet failures.

Basic is the default setting. It's free and it includes all self-monitoring features minus cellular backup. If you don't subscribe to Secure or Connect, your system will remain on the Basic plan and still function as a reliable security system. You may also get professional monitoring one month at a time and then revert back to the Basic plan anytime you want.

abode FAQ

  • How much will it cost me to set up an abode system?

    As with the other companies, you will need to purchase the equipment upfront first. abode sells packages starting at $189, but additional devices are needed to create a complete home security system. Add-on products are sold individually.

  • What do the subscription plans include?

    The Connect plan includes cellular backup, while the Secure plan includes cellular backup and professional monitoring.

  • Is it hard to cancel the service?

    Not at all. You can cancel the service using the abode smartphone app or by calling abode's customer support line.

  • Will the system continue to function without a subscription?

    Yes. With the free Basic plan, you'll get access to all self-monitoring features except cellular backup.

  • Where can I find out more about abode?

    abode is our highest-rated self-monitored system provider and you can read our abode in-depth review here.

No-Contract Alarm Companies With A More Traditional Approach

SimpliSafe, Nest Secure, and abode are all hybrid alarm systems, which means they can function as a self-monitored and professionally monitored security system. Most hybrid systems are contract-free, so it's really no big surprise to see SimpliSafe, Nest Secure, and abode top this list. However, there are also alarm companies with a more traditional approach that offer no-contract monitoring. Vivint is our top pick.

Vivint is One of our Top Picks for 2019

Available Nationwide · Month-to-Month Contracts · Equipment Financing

Vivint

Vivint is a company that sells, installs, and monitors security systems. They are known for offering innovative security systems with features such as a touchscreen control panel, live two-way voice assistance during emergencies, and highly customizable smart home solution.

Vivint actually offers two contract options. Customers can choose to avail equipment financing with 0% APR or buy their systems upfront. If they choose financing, they will have to sign a 4 or 5-year contract. If they pay in full upfront, they get a month-to-month contract with no long-term obligations.

A month-to-month contract is similar to a no-contract monitoring. As long as you're paying the monthly fee, you have access to the monitoring features. If you decide it's no longer working for you, simply call up Vivint and tell them you want to cancel. However, there are downsides. Once you terminate the monitoring service, your security system will no longer function. In addition, you can't just reactivate the service. You will have to go through the sales process again and you will likely have to pay an activation fee.

Vivint FAQ

  • How much will it cost me to set up a Vivint security system?

    The would depend on how large the system is. Vivint let their customers build their security systems. A simple system with just a few sensors could cost $200 to $300, but larger systems with more features could reach $1,000. For more on Vivint’s pricing structure and how to snag the best deals, take a look at our overview of Vivint’s costs, deals and special promos.

  • What do the monitoring plans include?

    Vivint offers several monitoring plans, but in general they include professional monitoring, smartphone access, smart home features, and video monitoring.

  • Is it hard to cancel the service?

    Not at all. Vivint made it easy to cancel the service for customers with month-to-month contracts. Only a call with Vivint is needed.

  • Will the system continue to function without a subscription?

    The system will lose all its functionality if you cancel the service.

  • Where can I find out more about Vivint?

    You may visit our Vivint in-depth home security review for more information about Vivint's products. For more on the company itself, head over to our provider overview.

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