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Abode Home Security review

Abode is one of the best DIY home security alarm systems you can buy

Abode Home Security Review
(Image: © Abode )

Our Verdict

With excellent smart home integration, including Apple HomeKit for one package, Abode is more than just a basic alarm system. It’s well priced and performs well thanks to great app, but the short warranty is something to look out for.

For

  • Huge range of devices
  • Neat smart home integration
  • Simple to use

Against

  • Short warranty
  • Expensive to cancel on the yearly plan

If you’re looking for a DIY system with plenty of hardware and monitoring options, Abode is one of the best home security systems. A DIY system with a choice of packages that even includes a system that’s compatible with Apple HomeKit, Abode is designed to be scalable to meet your security needs. At its most basic, it can act as a standalone security system that you monitor yourself, but opt for one of the monitoring packages and you can get professional monitoring, too.

Third-party integration with other smart home devices from the likes of Amazon, Philips Hue and more, makes Abode more than just a standard security system. The only real downside to this system is the relatively short one-year warranty.

Packages: How much does Abode Home Security cost?

As is typical for this kind of product, the cost of Abode is split in two. First, there are the hardware options to give you the basic alarm; then you can layer on top a monitoring package if you want to go further. Here, we’ve split the system into its components so that you can work out which options are right for you. 

Abode Home Security review: Packages

  • Iota All-In-One Security Kit: Equipment starts at $299
  • Smart Security Kit: Equipment starts at $229

The hardware packages can be run above without any additional cost, but if you want to unlock some of the more advanced features up to professional monitoring, you need to add in one of the above Monitoring Packages.

Abode Starter Kit

Abode has a range of starter kits and additional hardware to choose from.  (Image credit: Abode)

Abode Home Security review: Iota All-In-One Security Kit

Designed as an all-in-one solution, the Iota All-In-One Security Kit consists of a base station that provides the 93dB siren and has an integrated security camera. The idea is that you put this base station in the area that you need to cover.

For extra protection, this kit ships with a Mini Door/Window Sensor, which can trigger the alarm if a window or door is opened. You also get a Key Fob for arming and disarming your alarm system without having to reach for the app.

The Basic package ($299) gets you the hardware only, but you can also buy the Connect package ($339), which gives you one year of cell backup as well, and Secure ($399), which gets you cell backup and 24/7 monitoring.

Abode Home Security review: Smart Security Kit

The cheaper Smart Security Kit is more along the lines of a traditional DIY alarm system. With this standard kit, you get a Gateway, which doubles as the 105dB alarm, a Mini Door/Window Sensor, a Motion Sensor and a Keyfob.

Again, there are a few choices when buying this kit. You can buy the Basic package to get the kit only for $229; the Connect package with a year of cellular backup costs $269; the Secure package with cellular backup and 24/7 monitoring costs $329.

Abode Home Security review: Additional hardware

Product Specs

Free cancellation: 30-days
Security monitoring: Professional 24/7
Smartphone control: Yes
System price (starts at): $229
Monthly costs (start at): $0
Wired or wireless: Wireless
Video cameras: Yes (optional)
Installation fees (start at): DIY

Abode has a huge range of additional sensors and equipment to add to any of its security kits. If you need more entry sensors, the Mini Door/Window Sensor costs $37, although you can buy the larger and cheaper Door/Window Sensor for $32. And, if you don’t like sensors on display, there’s the option of the Recessed Door/Window Sensor, which installs inside the frame, for $42, or the Slim Strip Sensor, which fits between the gap of a door or window and its frame, and costs $42.

As many burglars will try and smash a window to get in, there’s a Vibration Glass Break Sensor, which detects shock or breakages of pains ($50) or the Acoustic Glass Break sensor, which listens for the sound of glass breaking ($59).

There’s a choice of motion sensor, too, with the standard model ($55) and the Wide Angle Motion Camera, which has an integrated low-resolution camera (640x480) that takes three photos when triggered so that you can see what’s going on. The low resolution might put you off, but don’t let that bother you: you’ll be able to clearly see from the images if an alarm was triggered by accident or if someone is in your home.

If you want better-quality recordings, there’s the Abode Cam, which captures 1080p footage and can be made to start recording automatically when an alarm is triggered.

Abode Cam

To see what’s going on in your home, you can get the Abode Cam.  (Image credit: Abode)

If that’s not enough, there’s a huge range of other options, including a Keypad for arming and disarming ($89), additional Keyfobs ($30), a Panic Button ($35), Outdoor Siren ($99) and Indoor Siren ($59). If you want environmental protection, there’s a Water leak Sensor ($59) and a Smoke Alarm Monitor ($55), which listens for your existing alarms. 

The upshot is that Abode has one of the best ranges of sensors of any smart alarm system. 

Abode Home Security review: Plans

Basic Plan

If you want to use your kit and self-monitor, the Basic plan is the standard one. It includes app control and gives you three-days of timeline and media storage for any cameras that you have. If you’re just after the absolute minimum and don’t want to spend any more, then this is for you.

Connect Plan

With the Connect Plan, you get cellular backup at a monthly cost of $8 ($80 if you pay yearly). You still have to self-monitor the system, but at least it means that you’ll continue to get alerts even if your main broadband connection goes down. This plan extends media storage to 14 days. 

Secure Plan

Costing $20 a month ($200 if you pay yearly), the Secure plan gives you professional monitoring on top of cellular backup, including police dispatch in the event that your alarm is triggered. This is the plan to go for if you want the best peace of mind. 

Storage is expanded to include 90 days of footage. You also get some nice additions, including an unlimited warranty on hardware if you pay yearly, premium telephone support and free US ground shipping.

Abode Panic Button

The Panic Button lets you call for help if you think there’s a disturbance in your home.  (Image credit: Abode)

Abode Home Security review: Warranty and Cancellation

All hardware is bought outright, which means it’s yours. There’s a 30-day window after purchase for you to return equipment. You only get a standard one-year warranty with Abode. That is a bit mean compared to the competition, which tends to be at least two years. However, if you’re on the yearly Secure Plan, you get the unlimited warranty on your kit, which adds that extra peace of mind.

If you’re on the monthly plans, you can cancel at any time without having to pay any extra. That can make Abode a handy choice for those at home most of the time but just want the occasional extra coverage.

If you pay annually, you can’t cancel and get a pro-rata refund on the months that you haven’t used. However, you can temporarily suspend your coverage, moving down to the Basic Plan, and then upping to a paid-for Plan to use up your remaining months.

Abode Home Security review: App 

The Abode App is available to all users, not just those on higher monitoring plans, as with SimpliSafe. It’s a simple and intuitive app to use, letting you view your cameras and footage, and control your alarm.

Although the mobile app has several ways for you to protect and monitor your home, some settings must be set or changed through the website. Notifications are customizable, so you can rename sensors to "bedroom window" or "front door," which makes it easy for you to know what's going on in at your home at a glance. You can set your home to vacation mode and set up on-demand professional monitoring if you leave for a three-day weekend ($8) or a week-long vacation ($15) and want abode to watch your home. This was one of the easiest DIY home security systems we used and reviewed.

Abode App

The simple app is easy to use for controlling your alarm system.  (Image credit: Abode)

How does Abode alert you when an alarm is raised?

If you have the Basic or Connect Plans, an alarm will trigger any sirens that you have in your home, with the aim of attracting attention or scaring away burglars. Notifications are also sent directly to your phone, giving you the chance to work out whether you should call the police or just turn off the alarm.

If you have the Secure Plan, the professional monitoring service will call you and your name contacts to verify what happened with the alarm. This gives you a chance to cancel the alarm if it’s a false alert. If it’s a real break-in or you don’t answer the phone, the monitoring center will dispatch police to your home address.

Abode: What the users say

To find out how good Abode is, we turned to trusted online platforms to see what users have to say about the service. The results are mostly positive, with TrustPilot giving Abode a 4.3 rating. Users that like the system talk about the quality of Abode and how easy it is to use and set up. There’s a lot of talk about the third party integrations, too.

Those that didn’t like the system mostly complained about customer support and some faulty hardware, although these complaints are in the minority.

When we originally reviewed the Abode Smart Security Kit, we said that there are many reasons we consider abode one of the best DIY home security systems available, including how easy it is to use – from setting up options to using the mobile app to the preprogrammed key fob. It also has a loud alarm, customizable notifications and lots of home automation choices. However, its limited customer support (you only get telephone support on the highest-level plan) prevents it from being the very best.

Abode Home Security review: Other things to consider 

There’s also the Abode Cue system built-in, which lets you automate your compatible smart home devices, such as turning on a light after sunset or triggering outside lights to come on when motion is detected. Supported devices include those from Nest, Amazon, Philips Hue, Google Home, Yale, ecobee and more. Additionally, you can use Z-Wave and ZigBee devices along with abode's DIY home security system, which can automate your home to a degree.

For devices not directly supported, there’s IFTTT control, which opens up automation to thousands of other products.

If you buy the Iota package, Abode is also HomeKit compatible, so you can control your alarm through the Apple Home app. That’s quite neat, particularly as the main competition doesn’t have such an option. If you buy Abode’s HomeKit compatible sensors, such as the Motion Sensors and entry sensors, you can use HomeKit’s powerful Automations to control what happens, say turning on a light when an entry sensor is triggered or turning on all lights when the alarm is triggered.

Abode Iota

With the Iota system you get complete HomeKit compatibility, which is neat for iOS and Apple users.  (Image credit: Abode)

Google Assistant support is there, too, so you can arm your system with your voice, although you can’t currently disarm. The Alexa Skill allows arming and, via a voice PIN, disarming. 

Should you try Abode Home Security?

Abode is one of the best DIY systems you can buy. Out-of-the-box, it’s ready to go, giving you self-monitoring and app control - something that the rival SimpliSafe doesn’t give you. You can then layer on support plans to get cellular backup or, at the top, professional monitoring. 

It’s the integration with smart home devices that really makes Abode stand out, with options for automating your home and even integrating into Apple HomeKit. Consider the huge range of accessories that you can buy and Abode is one of the best-featured alarm systems.

The competition is tough, though. The Ring Alarm is slightly more basic but it has cheaper professional monitoring and the better range of security cameras. If you own a Ring doorbell or camera, then that system is probably the better choice for you.