Home security systems have gotten smarter and easier to deploy. You no longer have to call a professional installer to help you protect your home. You don’t even have to deal with wires.
What’s more, today’s best smart home security systems can operate other devices. Two of the best home security systems you should consider are Abode and Scout Alarm.
Bottom Line Up Front: If you want to cut right to the chase, I much prefer the Abode system available here because it is BOTH more cost effective AND has more integrations and optionality built-in.
Of course, for my full take, continue reading…
First Up: Abode
Abode makes DIY home security systems that you can install by yourself. You do not need to have professionals install it for you because there are no wires involved. You do not have to drill holes into your walls or ceilings either.
You just set it up, figure out where to place each component, and then connect them all together. You get professional-grade security and even some degree of home automation.
Abode not only keeps your home safe, but it also operates your smart bulbs, lights, locks, garage door opener, and several other smart devices.
Abode has a companion mobile app that shows you what’s going on. You can also use any Web browser for this purpose. Abode will notify you of any security event it encounters.
For example, if nobody is home and one of your windows gets opened, you will instantly get an alert detailing the date and time it happened.
One of the things that make Abode very simple to deploy and use is the fact that it is modular. You have the Abode Gateway, which functions as the brains of the operation.
The Gateway will connect to your cameras, sensors, and other devices. It is responsible for transmitting the videos that the system records to the cloud, as well as for sending the relevant data to the monitoring center.
You can easily add more sensors if you need them, and ignore the sensors that you don’t need. For instance, if your house has a lot of windows, you can add more entry sensors to your system. And if you live in a tropical climate, then you can forego on the freeze sensors.
The Abode Gateway has a 93-decibel siren that can easily scare off any potential intruder. Meanwhile, you can set the system to play an alert or a chime that would sound when windows and doors are opened.
Battery and cellular backups
Your Abode system also has a battery backup and an optional cellular backup that would allow it to continue protecting your home even if the power and the Internet go out. For instance, if a burglar cuts your power and phone lines, the Abode will still be able to send you alerts.
The battery backup will give you an additional 10 hours or more of operation after a power outage, while the cellular backup will kick in if your Wi-Fi goes out.
Abode has ready integrations with some of the best home automation platforms and can work with the best connected devices available. For instance, Abode works with Nest products and allows you to use the Nest Camera to check on things at home while you are away.
You can use the Nest Protect to detect smoke and fire and still get alerted via the Abode app. You can also pair it with the Nest Learning Thermostat then use the thermostat’s home and away mode to automatically arm or disarm your security system.
Additionally, Abode can also work with Zigbee and Z-wave devices, IFTTT recipes, and Amazon Alexa speakers. This means that not only can you control other smart devices using your Abode sensors, you can also control your security system using voice commands.
Professional monitoring is optional
You can choose to have professional monitoring, which adds another layer of protection for you and your home. Abode will be able to send sensor data and possible security events to a professional monitoring service, and they will be able to call you to make sure that things are okay.
If they’re not, the monitoring service will then send emergency response personnel or the police to your home.
The Abode system supports security cameras, allowing you to see what’s going on first in order to decide whether you should be calling the police or not.
Abode supports geofencing, which uses your phone’s GPS data to determine whether you are home or not. Once the Abode system senses that you are away, it can automatically arm itself. It can also disarm itself when it senses that you are home.
Next Up: Scout Alarm
Scout Alarm is also a modular and DIY home security system. It has the Scout Hub, which functions the same way as the Abode Gateway. The Scout Hub is where you connect everything wirelessly, allowing you to forget all about wiring and drilling holes.
With Scout, you would need to pay for a monitoring plan. The good news is that you can opt for the $9.99 per month Always On plan. This plan will give you cellular backup, battery backup, e-mail and push notifications.
If you need professional monitoring, then you should pay $19.99 a month for the Always On+ plan.No products found.
Varied alert sounds and action
One useful Scout Alarm feature is that it allows you to assign different alert sounds depending on which sensor was triggered. On top of that, you can also customize the actions taken when a particular alarm is triggered.
Using modes, your Scout Alarm will behave differently depending on the situation. For example, in Away mode, you can set the siren to go off when the door sensors are tripped. When in Home mode, you can change that action to simply sending you an e-mail alert.
So if your teenage son sneaked out while everybody was asleep, you will still know about it without having to stay away or waking everybody else up in the middle of the night.
Scout Alarm also allows you to assign different people to help you respond to an alarm when you are not available to do something about it.
Scout Alarm works with IFTTT recipes, thus letting you to do more with your security system. You can use IFTTT to set up geofences, have it send e-mail alerts, or even post a status on your Facebook or Twitter account.
Scout Alarm also works with Nest devices and Zigbee products. Furthermore, it works with Samsung SmartThings, wherein you can monitor various SmartThings devices together with your security system.No products found.
Comparing Scout Alarm and Abode
Abode offers a starter kit that allows you to get the system up and running. You can build on this starter kit by adding the sensors that you need and want. The starter kit sells for $300 and comes with the gateway, an indoor camera, two window sensors, two door sensors, and a remote keyfob.
|Door and Window Sensors||2||2|
|Indoor camera||1||Not offered|
|Remote key fob||1||Not offered|
|Wireless keypad||0||Not offered|
|Mobile app access||Free||Paid|
Scout Alarm does not offer any starter kit on its website. Instead, you are encouraged to just customize your system the way you want to.
If you add the same sensors you find on the Abode starter kit, you would see that the Scout Alarm would cost you $236 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), which is cheaper than the Abode starter kit.
This price, however, does not include an indoor camera and a remote key fob. It does include a motion sensor that Abode does not have in its starter kit. Without the motion sensor, the Scout Alarm will cost you $187 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
Speaking of price, here’s how much the different sensors and accessories available for both the Scout Alarm and Abode cost:
|Glass Break and Vibration Sensor||$36||—|
|Door / Window Sensors||check here||$29|
|Acoustic Glass Break Sensor||$59||—|
|Mini Door Sensor||$30||—|
|Recessed Door Sensor||$40||—|
|Slim Strip Sensor||$35||—|
|Indoor Motion Sensor||$54||$49|
|Indoor Streaming Wi-Fi Camera||$149||—|
|Motion Sensor w/ Wide Angle Camera||$115||—|
|Remote Key Fob||$27||—|
|System Status Indicator||$36||—|
|Home Automation Power Outlet & ZigBee Extender||$49||—|
|Indoor Add-On Siren||$59||—|
|Temperature, Humidity, & Light Sensor||$49||—|
|Water Leak Sensor||$39||$39|
|Stickers||Pack of 3: $5||$1|
Abode wins with the sheer number of different sensors that it offers. This means it can help you protect your home in a more holistic way.
Unlike Scout Alarm, which offers only three kinds of sensors (motion, access, and water leak), Abode helps you get the sensors you need and protects you both from unauthorized access and environmental threats.
For the sensors and accessories that Scout Alarm does offer, the prices are either at par or lower than those offered by Abode.
Comparing monitoring plans
One of the biggest differences between Scout Alarm and Abode is the free monitoring option. While you can use Abode without having to pay a monthly fee, Scout requires you to subscribe to a monitoring plan.
The free plan is a godsend for those who want to save up on their monthly costs and just monitor their alarm system on their own.
Abode can function as a local alarm, and you can access it remotely using the Web or its mobile apps. What’s more, with the free basic plan, you can get three days’ worth of media storage and all the user accounts you need. You can also get help with your Abode system via e-mail.
|24/7 professional monitoring||$19.99||$30.00|
|Mobile app access||$9.99||FREE|
|SMS/E-mail alerts||$9.99||FREE (via IFTTT)|
Abode charges $10 per month for its Connect Plan, which allows you to get cellular backup, 14 days of storage, and phone and e-mail support. You also get access to the mobile and Web apps.
Meanwhile, Scout Alarm charges roughly the same for its Always On plan, which gives you access to the Web dashboard and mobile app, cellular backup, call and text notifications, e-mail notifications and push notifications.
Abode’s Connect and Secure Plan costs $30 per month. It gives you professional monitoring, 90 days of media and timeline storage, and access to its premium phone support hotline. You also get cellular backup.
Scouts’ Always On+ plan costs $20 a month and includes everything you get from the Always On plan and professional monitoring.
While Scout does not offer a free option, it does have a cheaper monthly fee. If you only want professional monitoring, then you should get Scout Alarm and save $10 per month while still having agents keep a watch on your house.
However, Abode and Scout Alarm offer cellular backup at the same price: $10. And here is where Abode shines: it gives users free media storage, free alerts and notifications, and free mobile app access.
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Bottom Line: Overall, if you are looking to save money, while also having a more comprehensive home security system, then there is no doubt that you should only consider going with the Abode system here.