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12 Best Home Security Systems for Apartment Dwellers

Some security systems require drilling and wiring that apartments, condos, and co-ops don't allow. Here are some good options for apartments.

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The keys to the apartment with the chip lie on the table against the background of a small wooden house. Concept - the purchase of real estate, housing, home.d_odin/Shutterstock

Why you need a home security system

Apartment dwellers sometimes wonder if they need a security system. On the one hand, the close proximity of fellow residents can provide a level of protection. While it’s great to have close neighbors looking out for one another, apartments are also be vulnerable to break-ins, thefts, and vandalism, so a home alarm system can be added precaution. Some security systems can let you see who even goes near your apartment (delivery people, for example) and as a bonus, let you keep an eye on your pets from a distance.

Apartment residents have different needs and concerns than homeowners when shopping for home security systems. Officer James Banta, Home Security & Safety Expert at, says the first thing you need to consider is whether your apartment building has rules related to installing a security system or drilling through walls. He recommends checking with the apartment management office or condo/townhouse board before you buy anything to find out if there are any rules related to this sort of thing. “You don’t want to lose your security deposit because you drilled through walls when you aren’t allowed to,” he explains. Once you have that information, you can get to work finding the best home security system for your apartment. Scroll on for some of the best choices on the market. And look out for the signs that a burglar is targeting your home.

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SimpliSafe 8-Piece Wireless Home Security System


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David Frangioni, founder of Audio One, says that the concerns are different for those living in a residence inside a larger building, as opposed to those living in a standalone home. “In an apartment, the concern is more about when the person is not home and when the neighbors are all out at work, since criminals want to strike when the apartment building is most vacated,” he explains.

This SimpliSafe system is perfect for apartment needs. A contract isn’t required, but optional 24/7 professional monitoring is available. And the system is portable and easy to install—you don’t even need tools to set it up. It’s also very effective, and you can summon help immediately with the panic button (which has a silent option). Plus, the 24-hour battery keeps you protected even if your power goes out. Leaving all your electronics plugged in is one of the things you should never do during a power outage.

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Google Nest Secure Alarm System Starter Pack


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The name Google is synonymous with integrated tech that works as part of a cohesive network, and the Nest security system supports that approach. Designed to work seamlessly with other Nest and Google Home products you may already have, this security system is easy to install. It’s also simple to monitor and control through your method of choice, including using the Nest app, entering a pass code, or using voice controls.

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Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Security Camera System with Siren


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This Arlo Pro wireless setup is perfect for apartment dwellers who can’t (or don’t want to) drill holes or install wiring. Cloud storage is included, so you also don’t need to worry about how to save video footage you might want to view later. And a big buying FYI: Purchasing a system from a retailer as opposed to a security company that must install it gives you more flexibility, as you can rearrange the setup and take it with you if you move. “If you shelled out the cash for the equipment, you don’t want to lose it and have to pay again for a new system at your new place,” Banta says. Don’t miss these other safety tips that could save your home from a break-in.

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Samsung SmartThings ADT Wireless Home Security Starter Kit with DIY Smart Alarm System Hub


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Two reliable brands you know and trust have teamed up to give you the perfect blend of cutting-edge technology and trusted security monitoring. This easy-to-install system includes door and window sensors, as well as a motion detector. Tech disruptions or conflicts won’t be an issue, as this system integrates smoothly into your existing tech setup, working with a variety of connected devices including Honeywell, Google Home, Ring, and other brands. And you’ll no longer have to worry about missing anything important—you’ll get instant alerts via text or email. You can also add on an ADT monitoring account, without being locked into a contract.

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HD Video Doorbell Camera System from LifeShield


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When you don’t know how extensive of a security system you’ll need, try out the basics and see if it’s sufficient. That’s where kits like this that can be added onto are valuable. This LifeShield set lets you easily expand and add components down the road as needed—especially helpful for those who are new to the home security game. And, again, you can add ADT monitoring, without being locked into a contract. Bonus: It has a built-in fire and carbon monoxide alarm.


Scout Alarm Smart DIY Wireless Home Security System


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“Look at companies that offer short or no-contract options,” says Banta. “If you are renting, especially, you don’t want to get tied into a long contract in case you decide to move.” No-contract professional monitoring for this Scout system is available for around $20 per month. The five-piece kit is specifically designed for apartments under 2,000-square-feet, and it’s portable and easy to move or rearrange. Don’t miss these 14 things home security experts never do in their own homes.

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Nest Indoor Security 3-Pack Camera with 2 Wi-Fi Smart Plugs


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If you’re the type of person who wants to see what’s happening inside your apartment at any time, day or night, you can with the 24/7 live streaming that this Nest system offers. All the lights are off inside your apartment? Not a problem. The camera has the type of cool night vision you see in the movies. Two-way communication also allows you to talk to someone in the apartment from another location. That’s a nice option when you’re working late and want to say goodnight to the kids. Find out the sneaky ways FBI agents protect their own homes.

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Ring Peephole Cam


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Replace your existing peephole with this smart video doorbell system in just a few minutes, without any drilling or wiring. The folks at Ring say this product was designed specifically with apartment dwellers in mind. Two-way talk lets you answer the door without opening it, or you can communicate with visitors from any location. And remember that since Ring devices are Amazon products, they all work with Alexa. Here are 11 things you didn’t know Alexa could do.

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Ring Indoor Cam


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Another option from Ring is this indoor camera that’s tiny enough to fit anywhere in your apartment. You can talk to people—or pets—in your home from wherever you may be. Add more Ring cams and connect them all via the Ring app. For $3 a month, you can record videos and review up to 60 days of archived footage. You can even share the videos with others, which is great for sharing funny pet videos. If you’re still looking for a pet, these are the best dogs for apartment living.


Blink Indoor Home Security Camera System


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Peace of mind can be affordable, as this budget-friendly system proves. This Blink system doesn’t involve any wires, so it’s quick and simple to install and can be moved easily. Saving your videos is simple and won’t cost you extra, as free cloud storage is included. And you can use the voice controls or Blink app to control the system from anywhere.

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ANNKE Wi-Fi IP Smart Home Security Camera


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This ANNKE system is an inexpensive starter option. As your needs or your budget grows, you can add more cameras to expand the coverage area. It’s compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and other smart home devices may already use. Scan the scene at your apartment by using pan or tilt controls via the app to maneuver the camera. If you spot activity, the tracking feature allows you to follow any moving object. Discover the 15 best smart home devices that are worth every penny.

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Tend Insights Lynx Indoor 2


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Lack of lighting won’t leave you in the dark from a security standpoint, as this Tend system has night vision that lets you see clearly even in minimal light. Facial recognition (available in certain states) lets the system recognize familiar faces and can allow you to get alerts when designated people are spotted. A face recognition security camera is just one of the 61 Amazon products you’ll definitely use every day.

Bobbi Dempsey
Bobbi Dempsey is a freelance writer, editor and content specialist whose credits include NY Times, Forbes, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping and many others. She has written both consumer-facing and B2B content for numerous companies in the technology, healthcare, education, and personal finance industries.