What We Like
One of the best choices for DIY security
No monthly fees or contracts
Seamless integration with other smart home devices
You can choose self-monitoring or professional monitoring
What We Don't Like
Outdoor cameras and a video doorbell are not available
If onerous contracts have kept you from installing home security, then take a look at Abode. The DIY alarm company breaks from the long-standing practice of forcing customers into expensive, multi-year contracts. Instead, Abode creates a simple, streamlined smart home system that you can quickly install on your own. Starting at a few hundred dollars—and with no commitment to a monthly monitoring contract—you can create a flexible and easy-to-use platform for self-monitored security. Abode also serves as an excellent platform for app-controlled lights and locks, as well as any future smart-home products you might add over time.
Design and Installation
Abode is one of the most manageable DIY systems to install. Tools are not required. You install the sensors on doors and windows using strong, double-sided sticky tape. The components arrive pre-paired to one another. An Abode starter kit for about $279 provides the ability to monitor one door or window, and it gives you one indoor motion detector. That’s enough to protect a relatively small house or apartment.
We recommend starting small—although you will probably want at least one or two additional entry sensors, an extra key fob, and a wireless keypad. From there, the sky is the limit because Abode uses the open Z-Wave communications protocol, which provides built-in compatibility to hundreds of devices, including Schlage or Kwikset locks, a Nest thermostat, and Philips Hue remote-control lights.
Abode has three genuinely unique features. The company sells an all-in-one device called The Iota. It serves as a system hub with a built-in HD camera, motion sensor, and two-way voice communication. Putting so much functionality into a single unit makes DIY Installation even faster.
Abode’s other innovation is the ability to avoid paying a monthly fee while maintaining robust, connected features. Even without a contract, you can use the app to monitor activity, create user accounts, and set up smart rules for many other connected smart-home devices. Finally, Abode is the only company we found that allows you to buy professional monitoring for short periods of three or eight days.
How It Works
The easiest way to arm and disarm Abode is through the provided key fob. There’s no secret code to remember. Account settings are managed via the Web. You can use the mobile app or a web dashboard to see a timeline of events, or view clips and snapshots. The free plan provides a three-day timeline, while 14-day and 90-day timelines come respectively with the Connect and Secure plans. Images and clips are held for 10 days.
If an alarm is triggered, and you’re self-monitoring, it will be up to you to call the authorities. If you’re paying for pro monitoring, and there’s a break-in, Abode will send a link to the monitoring center with clips and images of what’s happening in your house. This allows the monitoring center to confirm the situation and inform the police about what’s happening.
Price and Monthly Plans
Abode’s base kit sells for $279. You can buy additional door/window sensors for $32. Abode also offers more elegant $42 door/window sensors that hide away in the frame of a door or window. The Abode Cam, a small shelf top unit, sells for $129.
You can self-monitor with no monthly cost. Or pay $20 a month for Abode’s Secure monitoring plan. It includes 90 days of media storage. You can also pay about $8 a month for a cell backup, 14 days of timeline and media storage, and phone and email support. Abode offers professional monitoring in three-day increments for $8 or seven-day periods for $15.
If you want a robust, full-perimeter of protection, then we recommend choosing a professionally installed home security system. The top providers are Vivint, Xfinity Home, and ADT. However, a low-cost DIY home-security system like Abode can go a long way in providing peace of mind. The quality of Abode’s components and its integration with a wide range of smart-home products puts it ahead of other DIY solutions. However, Ring is a better solution if security cameras are your top priority.
A really great option if you're into DIY security.
Abode is our top choice of DIY alarms because it doesn’t require a monthly plan, and it’s easy to install and configure. We appreciate that it’s an open platform that allows you to add a dazzling number of third-party smart home devices. However, Abode does not sell its own outdoor camera and video doorbell. Third-party cameras can be used, but they don’t fully integrate with the timeline.
- Product Name Abode Home Security
- Product Brand Abode
- Price $279