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Best Home Security Systems for Renters in 2023

You can own your home security while renting without needing to drill into the walls or door frames.

Home security systems are great protection options for homeowners, but they may not be possible to install for those who are currently renting a home or apartment. Landlord restrictions may prohibit a professionally installed system and some DIY systems with more invasive installations. If you don't want to drill into walls, fiddle with doorbell wiring or pay to install a permanent system in an apartment you're renting, there are plenty of home security systems for you.

To put together our list of the best home security systems for renters, we tested every major security system on the market, from professionally installed systems to DIY ones. In general, the professional systems don't make much sense for renters because they tend to rely on permanent fixtures and sometimes come with contracts that last longer than a lease. The better picks for home security systems in a rental property are going to be cheaper DIY products. Here are the best systems for the job.

Read more: 7 Home Security Tips for Apartment Dwellers

Wyze

Installation

DIY installation

Contract Required

No

Voice Assistant

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Additional Fees

24/7 professional monitoring fee, cloud storage fee

Service Bundles

N/A

Wyze's home security system is ridiculously cheap -- even after the price bumps many of its products saw in early 2021. The company's home monitoring system costs $100 and comes with two door/window sensors, a motion detector, a keypad and a base station with a built-in siren -- plenty of devices for an apartment. 

In short, Wyze's is a solid system with a really appealing price tag -- and it's cheaply and easily scalable for a variety of apartment or home sizes (adding a camera, for instance, will set you back as little as $30). The big drawback? It doesn't have cellular backup, which means if the power or internet go down, you lose the professional monitoring and remote alerts. The system will still work locally, though, so if someone breaks in while the power is down, the siren is still going to sound.

Read our Wyze Home Monitoring review.

 

You're receiving price alerts for Wyze Home Monitoring
Chris Monroe/CNET

Installation

DIY installation

Contract Required

No

Voice Assistant

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Additional Fees

24/7 professional monitoring fee, recording fees

Service Bundles

N/A

Ring has a ton of baggage, but its five-piece home security system is a solid midrange DIY security option for renters. It comes with a door/window sensor, a motion sensor, a keypad, a range extender and a base station. While it's not as good as its Ring Alarm Pro system, many renters don't need a new router -- let alone a mesh Wi-Fi system.

What I like most about this Ring Alarm for renters, though, is that it works with the Ring Peephole Cam, which is one of the only video doorbells that works with those peepholes you often find in apartment buildings. Like Wyze, Ring unfortunately doesn't have cell backup.

Read our Ring Alarm review.

 

You're receiving price alerts for Ring Alarm Security Kit 2020
Chris Monroe/CNET

Installation

DIY installation

Contract Required

No

Voice Assistant

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Additional Fees

24/7 professional monitoring fee, storage fee

Service Bundles

N/A

SimpliSafe is our favorite DIY home security system for renters for several reasons: it's reliable, well-priced and has no significant weaknesses (that's right, you have cell backup here, unlike the two systems above). That said, SimpliSafe does have one shortcoming for renters in particular: its video doorbell is wired-only. For many renters without doorbell wiring (or without permission to fiddle with it), that takes the video doorbell off the table.

If you're not worried about the video doorbell, though, SimpliSafe offers fantastic packages at prices that, while slightly higher than the systems above, beat out direct competitors like Abode. Packages start at $245, but you can regularly find them on sale on the SimpliSafe website for significantly less -- at the time of writing, for instance, the base package only costs $196.

Read our SimpliSafe review.

 

Security systems for renters compared


Wyze Home Monitoring Ring Alarm (5-piece) SimpliSafe (8-piece)
Price $100 $150 $230
24/7 professional monitoring fees $10 $20 $18
System hardware 2 door/window sensors, 1 motion detector, 1 keypad, 1 base station with built-in siren 1 door/window sensor, 1 motion sensor, 1 keypad, 1 range extender, 1 base station 1 base station, 1 keypad, 4 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 panic button
Setup DIY installation DIY installation DIY installation
Extra features 24/7 professional monitoring, remote alerts, false alarm prevention, no long-term contracts, Alexa and smart home integration Mobile notifications and remote alerts, integrates with Alexa and other Ring products Cell backup, 24/7 professional monitoring service, customizable system, Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, 24-hour battery
Review score 8.4 7.5 8.5

How we test home security systems

For each system we test, we install it ourselves just as you would at home, or we have an installer come set it up in the case of professional systems like ADT and Comcast Xfinity. Once it's installed, we spend at least a week testing the system and all the device-by-device features. Our ranking puts a priority on value, but also takes into strong consideration the quality of hardware, service and general user experience -- including how easy it was to set up and the frequency of false alarms. For more robust information on any of the recommended security systems above, please read the full reviews.

If you want to read more about our review process, check out our in-depth article on how we test home security systems and services.

Home security for renters FAQs

Can you install a security system in a rental?

You can add a home security system to your rented apartment or home, but a DIY, noninvasive system (one that does not require drilling into walls or doors, or rewiring a doorbell, for example) will often be your best bet. What's more, professionally installed security services may come with a contract that extends past the length of your lease, further complicating your next move.

Before purchasing a system or signing up for a service, check your lease agreement to make sure any major changes, like the installation of a home security system, are allowed in your apartment or home.

Should I put a security camera in my apartment?

An exterior camera, unless reserved to private spaces like your back patio, is generally not recommended for apartments because it will routinely capture footage of people in public spaces. Additionally, many lease agreements do not allow for the exterior installation of devices such as cameras or satellite dishes.

On the other hand, there are many reasons why you may want to add a security camera or two inside. Smart home cameras are great ways to monitor kids from another room or pets when you're out of the house. As for security, a camera may capture images or video of intruders and send you an alert. Furthermore, the presence of a security camera is often enough to deter a potential burglar, so consider placing a camera somewhere it can be easily seen by others.

How can I secure my apartment?

Installing a home security system that monitors entryways and the interior of your apartment is one of the best ways to secure your dwelling, but there are other measures you can take. It's a good idea to keep any valuables out of sight, especially from windows (where someone may see them from the outside).

The buddy system can be a free but invaluable way to enhance your apartment's security: Make friends with your neighbors, communicate suspicious activity and ask them to keep an eye on your property while you keep an eye on theirs.

You may also want to consider renter's insurance to minimize losses in the event of a burglary or other security breach. To learn more about home security for apartments, check out these home security tips for apartments.

 CNET's bests for home security: