Pros / This system is easy to upgrade and expand with more sensors and smart home devices.
Cons / Setup is difficult compared to other systems we tested.
Verdict / Iris by Lowe's is more than DIY home security – it's also a great starting point for the smart home. You don't get many devices with the starter kit, but there are several components you can buy separately that work with the hub.
Iris by Lowe's is a DIY home security system that lets you choose the components you want to use in your home for both security and home automation. You have to purchase the Iris Smart Hub separately from the Security Pack, and the starter kit includes only two contact sensors for doors or windows, a motion detector, and a keypad. All of these devices work with the hub, as do more than 70 other devices, including smart locks, lights, plugs, thermostats and more.
It is best to keep the keypad near your front entrance for two reasons: You can quickly arm and disarm the system and the alarm is on the keypad. When we tested sound projection, the alarm only registered at 60 decibels, which isn't very loud – it's about as loud as normal conversation at just 3 feet away. Keeping the keypad near a door or window helps amplify the siren.
Although it seems convenient that you can complete the DIY security system setup through your smartphone, we found it to be more complicated than other systems we tested, such as Scout Alarm and SimpliSafe. Iris by Lowe's mobile app doesn't include detailed instructions, which are vital when you install home security systems by yourself.
You can set the system to trigger an alarm after one or two devices detect movement or a door or window opens. If you choose two instances, an alarm only activates if two sensors detect activity in your home. Once an alarm goes off, the system contacts you three different ways: by phone with an automated message, email and mobile notification.
As it is now, self-monitoring is free, but you can subscribe to a premium self-monitoring plan for $9.99 a month that lets you add up to six more people to receive notifications when an alarm triggers; it also lets you view activity history for up to 14 days as opposed to only 24 hours with the basic plan.
Iris also has a professional monitoring plan, which costs $14.95 a month, to help you secure your home when you're unable to self-monitor it. As long as you buy an Iris 4G modem first, this plan also includes cellular backup for your system, which Iris also offers without a plan for $7.99 a month. Iris’s professional monitoring is the most affordable plan of its type among the systems we tested, though SimpliSafe costs nearly as much at $14.99 a month.
Although we haven’t tested it yet, Iris now sells a second DIY home security starter kit, the Iris Pro Monitoring Kit, which includes the Iris Smart Hub, a contact sensor, a motion detector and a key fob for about $150, though it lacks the keypad and extra contact sensor of the Security Pack. For comparison, the Iris Smart Hub and the Security Pack that we tested cost around $170. In either case, Iris is the best value among DIY home security systems, which normally cost over $200.
If you want to add third-party smart home devices to your Iris system, it works with popular products, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, as well as equipment from Nest and ZigBee and Z-Wave sensors. Iris by Lowe's has the industry-standard one-year warranty on its products. The company offers support via social media and email as well as over the phone.
Iris by Lowe's starter kit and Smart Hub give you the bare basics of home security, but you can add on several devices to make your home more secure and automate it. Setup is more complicated than with other systems, though, and you may need to contact support for help.
- User Experience
- Installation Process