Scout Home Security System review: Scout's security system keeps your safety in check

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The Good Scout makes every accessory and service plan optional so you won't ever end up with superfluous security sensors or charges.

The Bad Buying all of the available devices will cost $445 -- not exactly cheap. Scout doesn't currently support Android devices.

The Bottom Line Scout gives you choices, but its four-product line-up is actually pretty limited in comparison to Samsung's security- and home-automation-minded SmartThings.

7.7 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 8
  • Design 8
  • Performance 8

Editors' note (April 13, 2016): While Scout's earliest customers still receive free access to many of this kit's security features, the team now requires monitoring subscriptions for most remote functionality, beginning at $10 per month.

Scout took its inspiration from DIY and ADT-style home security. After you buy the $129 Wi-Fi and ZigBee hub, the specific devices you pick out are entirely up to you. The options include motion and movement sensors and a camera -- not a lot of choices, but enough for a solid starter kit. It also offers optional cellular backup and live monitoring at an additional cost.

Scout is very similar to other a la carte security systems, like iSmartAlarm , Oplink , Viper Home and SimpliSafe , but it gives you more freedom of choice and is available internationally. All of these competitors are missing at least one key feature, while Scout skillfully blends DIY customizability with options typically reserved for professional firms. On the other hand, Scout only sells four accessories; that's pretty limited when you consider protocol translators like Samsung's SmartThings . Still, it's a very good option if you're in the market for a stand-alone kit.

An overview

The $129 Scout Hub (£82, AU$157) plugs directly into your Wi-Fi router for a steady stream of Internet connectivity. As far as accessories go, Scout sells an RFID-compatible Door Panel for $69 (£44, AU$84). It comes with two RFID key fobs and an additional RFID sticker for arming and disarming your door in person.

There's also a $29, £18, AU$35 Access Sensor. This device can go on another door, a window, a drawer, pretty much anywhere inside your house with an open and close mechanism. It's basically a smaller version of the Door Panel, without any of the RFID capabilities.

The Motion Sensor costs $49, £31 or AU$60. It can detect motion up to 20 feet away and works whether or not the room is well lit. The ethernet-tethered hub has a power cord, but all of Scout's sensor devices run on batteries. Scout also offers a $169, £108, AU$206 HD camera, but that wasn't included in my reviewer's kit.

If you buy one of everything (including the camera), it'll set you back $445, £283 or AU$542. If you want 3G cellular backup you'll have to pay $10, £6 or AU$12 a month. Live monitoring plus 3G cellular backup will set you back $20, £13 or AU$24 a month.

Check out Scout's features compared to other a la carte systems we've reviewed:

Scout Alarm iSmartAlarm Preferred Oplink Security AlarmShield Viper Home SimpliSafe
Upfront Cost Starts at $129, £82, AU$157 $199.99 $199.99 $229.99, AU$245 $229.96 to $539.85
Monthly Fees $0 $0 $9.99 ($19.99 with camera) $0 ($9.99 with camera) $14.99 to $24.99
Live Monitoring Yes ($19.99/month, includes cellular backup) No No No Yes (no extra charge)
Cellular Backup Yes ($9.99/month without live monitoring) No Yes (add $9.99/month) No Yes (no extra charge)
Power Outage Backup Yes No No Yes Yes
Camera Yes (add $169) Yes (add $149.99) Yes (add $100) Yes (add $149.99) No
Zigbee/Z-Wave Compatibility Zigbee only No No Yes No

Of the Scout competitors listed above, only Oplink and SimpliSafe offer cellular backup and only SimpliSafe offers live monitoring. SimpliSafe's cellular backup and live-monitoring features are built in to its required monthly fees, whereas Scout gives you the option to opt in and out as you like.

Taking a closer look

Scout was very easy to set up. You can either follow the instructions directly from the Scout Alarm app or on the website. I used the iOS app and had no problems whatsoever (an Android app is in development).

The entire Scout system operates on a mesh network, so each device communicates with the others and back to the hub. That means that each product acts a "range extender" of sorts. For that reason, Scout suggests starting the installations close to the hub and then working out from there.

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