Pros / This system adds arming and disarming widgets to your phone's home screen.
Cons / You are required to pay a minimum $9.99 monthly fee to use this system.
Verdict / Scout Alarm integrates well with two of the biggest names in smart home: Amazon Echo and Nest. You can make your home more secure and your life easier with this DIY home security system, but you'll have to pay a monthly fee.
Scout Alarm goes above and beyond standard features compared to other DIY home security systems. The wireless home security system starter kit includes more equipment than others, and you can add unlimited users who can access your system and receive notifications when events occur. Scout includes all of the most important features of any home security plan, such as connection and battery backups and easy installation.
Using Scout Alarm is an intuitive experience. The mobile app makes securing and monitoring your home easy – you can arm, disarm or set a different mode with just a tap on your smartphone. You can easily customize the actions and alerts from Scout. In the same way that smart home services work, you can set up Scout to react to certain situations a specific way. For example, you can instruct Scout to email you if the front door opens, or to sound the alarm if you aren't expecting anyone to enter your house that day.
The number of users that can have access to your system is unlimited. So if you have a neighbor checking in on your plants or pet sitting, you can give them access so they can arm and disarm as needed. The great thing about Scout is that if someone forgets to arm your home after leaving, you can do so remotely.
The options you have with this DIY security system are plentiful. You can receive push notifications or email alerts, or you can even have your phone ring when an alarm is triggered. The company specifies that the siren is 106 decibels, which is loud enough to require you to shout to be understood over the sound. However, in our testing we measured the sound of the alarm at various distances, and we found that it is at 80 decibels at 3 feet, or the equivalent of a food processor. At 20 feet, the decibels dropped to 60, which is as loud as a normal conversation. It's not as loud as abode and Nest Secure, but you'll be able to hear it and it won't drown out other sounds.
Scout Alarm uses an Ethernet cable to connect to your router, which is common among DIY security systems. One of the benefits of this home security system is that it includes a battery backup and an internet backup so that your home is always protected, regardless of power outages.
You have to pay a monthly fee to use Scout Alarm at all – there is no free option – but the lowest price, $9.99 a month for the Always On plan, includes the cellular backup in the fee. If you want professional monitoring services with your system, the fee goes up to $19.99 a month for the Always On+ plan, which is typical of most DIY systems with professional monitoring options. If you want cloud storage for Scout’s security camera, this costs $2.99 a month per camera, though the Always On+ plan includes free storage for the first camera. None of Scout’s subscriptions require a contract.
One of the reasons the Scout Alarm scored so high in our installation tests is because the mobile app walks you through a thorough tutorial to help you set everything up. You're likely to only do this once, so detailed instructions are important. We were able to finish the set up in about 10 minutes, which is standard for all of the systems we tested.
The Scout hub plugs into your router and then connects with all of the components you choose in your starter kit. The kit we tested included two door and window sensors, a motion detector, two key fobs, signs, a door panel and RFID tags. The sign is meant for your yard, and the company includes everything you need to set up the sign, such as a stand and screws. Our starter kit also had an RFID sticker, which you can attach to the bottom of an item in your home as a way to hide a secret key to arm and disarm your alarm.
No keypad is necessary to disarm your home's security alarm because the door panel and the key fobs work together to make it quick and easy to enter or exit your home. And if you don't arm it as you leave, you can do it remotely through the mobile app. In fact, this is the only system we tested that automatically installed arming and disarming widgets on our phone's home screen, which means you don't even have to launch the app to arm or disarm the system.
Scout Alarm works with a couple of smart home platforms. If you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can use voice commands to find out what's going on in your home – all you have to do is ask Alexa or Google Assistant to find out if a door was left open or to arm your home as you leave. Nest products also work with Scout, so you can monitor the temperature in your home and have it all work in conjunction with Scout's home security and automation system. If that weren't enough, you can also use IFTTT to automate Scout in other ways with other smart products.
If you want more door and window sensors, motion sensors, RFID stickers or key fobs, those are available through Scout’s website. You can also get indoor security cameras, smoke detectors, glass break sensors, door locks and water sensors when you customize your system on the company’s website, which is an improvement over the limited device selection when we originally tested this system.
Although Scout Alarm doesn't have the longest warranty, the one year of protection is what you can expect of most DIY home security systems. You can contact the company's customer and tech support by phone or email, but no live chat is available. Scout's support staff is available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST every day of the week.
In spite of the monthly plan fee requirement, Scout Alarm is the best overall option for a DIY home security system. It's easy to use and includes several smart home options. The RFID stickers make your home even more secure from within. The siren on the hub isn't as loud as other systems we tested, but the alerts and notifications to your mobile device are quick and detailed so you can decide whether to call authorities or not.
- User Experience
- Installation Process