How We Reviewed Frontpoint Security
8 months of testing
3 plans compared
1 top-rated company
If you’re new to home security or are on the fence about hosting a system in your home, Frontpoint has you covered. Not only does it offer a generous 30-day trial to test out the product, but it also boasts highly-rated customer service to help you out every step of the way. This is important, given that Frontpoint operates solely through DIY installation. While this may pose an issue for less tech-savvy buyers, attentive representatives are on call to help walk you through building and using your security system. We had our own system up and running in 15 minutes. It was enough for us to name Frontpoint as a top pick in our review of the best DIY home security systems.
Unfortunately, home automation features aren’t available until Frontpoint’s highest-tiered plan, Ultimate. In addition, Frontpoint only sells a few smart products; the rest you’ll have to purchase through a third party seller. Because of this, anyone aspiring to build smart home security may want to consider a more tech-focused company like Vivint.
Frontpoint centers its service around making things simple and offering the support you need to set up your system. Its mission statement: “We believe home security should make you feel great. That's why everything we do revolves around enhancing your sense of security and happiness. In other words, we got you.”
Is it true?
In our experience, yes.
In our review of the best home security systems, we tested the systems in our own homes for eight months. From the attentive first sales call to the 15-minute guided DIY install, we found Frontpoint to be a breeze. When we stumbled on a step, Frontpoint had several options to assist: a helpline, an extensive online FAQ, and video tutorials.
Even while shopping around, Frontpoint makes things simple with clear and accessible pricing. ADT and Vivint, by comparison, don’t readily offer specific equipment or monitoring prices. Instead, you have to call a representative to get the details to budget your system.
Once you’ve installed the system, Frontpoint gives you a lengthy 30-day trial period to evaluate how the system fits into your life. All of these conveniences make Frontpoint’s customer service really feel like it's “got you.”
Those new to home security
People looking to build a smart home
|Price||$35 to $50|
|Contract Length||12 months
|Trial Period||30 days|
|In business since||2007|
Easy DIY install
Unlike its competitors, Frontpoint operates with DIY installation, which means no extra fees and no inconvenient install appointment windows. DIY installation can be a daunting task for those less inclined to tech or handiwork. However, the instructions are clear, and the mobile app walks you through the whole process.
If at any point you get stuck, the app will notice that you’ve stalled on a step and offer up a service line you can call. Alternatively, Frontpoint has vast online resources for troubleshooting yourself. Whether you’re a visual learner or like to follow written steps, Frontpoint provides video guides and digital manuals on nearly every equipment piece and install step.
While the company wasn’t reviewed by J.D. Power, it does have an A+ from the Better Business Bureau, and 84% of the 187 customer reviews are positive. It’s easy to see why: When we were setting up our system, Frontpoint’s customer service was attentive and dedicated. During our initial phone call, the rep asked us detailed questions about the layout of each room in our home, safety concerns, and our experience with home security. The rep answered every question we had and was completely understanding when we ended the call without a sale, stating we needed more time to shop around.
Crash & Smash Protection
Frontpoint’s Interactive and Ultimate plans come with a feature called Crash & Smash, which you won’t find with ADT. If a burglar tries to disable your alarm by smashing (or unplugging) your control panel, the system will continue to work while alerting the monitoring center. With this system in place, you don’t have to worry about installing your control panel in a place an intruder can’t intuitively spot or contacting the alarm company if your control panel is destroyed.
If you’d like to remotely control your system and receive notifications on your phone, you need at least the Interactive plan to unlock the Frontpoint app. With the app, you can arm or disarm your system and receive alerts for events you select. Upgrading to the Ultimate plan allows you to also control your smart tech.
This kind of functionality isn’t rare for security brands, but Frontpoint’s interface is notably easy to use. It features big, color-coded buttons that are clearly labeled, and its menu bar is simple to navigate. Vivint’s app, in contrast, has more customizable rules and alerts, but it gets complicated — you could spend a lot of time customizing it or trying to reset those options if you receive too many notifications.
Unlike the competition, Frontpoint clearly states package options, the features of those packages, and monthly prices. You don’t have to hunt for equipment pricing and add-on options, either. Frontpoint is a professional home monitoring system and there are three packages to choose from — the Protection plan for $35, the Interactive for $45, and the Ultimate for $50. Each tier unlocks more features like mobile alerts, home automation, and video storage.
Pricing partially depends on which contract you choose, with the 36-month contract offering higher savings than the 12-month contract. Either way, Frontpoint gives you 30 days to return the system if it's not for you — a huge step up from Vivint’s three-day window, and perfect for those who are still debating their home security purchase.
A Breakdown of Frontpoint’s Plans
Frontpoint’s Equipment Plans
Before you choose your monitoring plan, you’ll have to pick between two equipment packages. The Pro includes a couple basics to get you started, and the Pro Plus beefs up sensors and adds on remote access.
You can also add individual pieces to customize either package, based on what your home would need. If neither package feels like the right fit (for example, many people opt for video cameras over motion sensors), you can call a Frontpoint rep to build a more customized equipment bundle.
|Glass Break Sensors|
|Remote Access App|
Lack of smart equipment
If you’re looking to build in a smart thermostat, doorbell camera, or controlled garage door, you’ll have to purchase third-party Z-Wave products and integrate them independently. Z-Wave is the wireless language that smart products use to communicate with each other. It’s the most universal and widely used protocol by companies like Philips and Nest Secure.
The only equipment available through Frontpoint is a smart lock and light bulbs. Anything else will have to be purchased separately and integrated yourself. Other providers, like ADT and Vivint, offer a wider range of equipment to build out your system directly through the company.
Expensive home automation
While its basic security plans are cheaper than those of ADT and Vivint, home automation capabilities are only available with the $50 tier, the Ultimate Plan. That’s $10 more than Vivint’s most basic plan, which has no smart tech limitations. You can’t integrate third-party smart equipment without the Ultimate plan, either. If your sole priority is home automation, Vivint is better equipped and more affordable for that technology.
|App Store Rating||3.1/5||4.7/5||4.4/5|
|Contract Length||12 months
|J.D. Power Score||N/A||3/5||5/5|
|In Business Since||2007||1890||1999|
|Warranty||3 years||90 days||120 days or Lifetime|
|Trial Period||30 days||30 days||3 days|
Frontpoint vs. Vivint
Vivint outshines the competition when it comes to home automation and smart tech. If you want to add video surveillance, smart thermostats, and lights, Vivint is the most affordable for outfitting a smart home. Its basic monitoring plan grants access all home automation features, while both ADT and Frontpoint require you to upgrade to the highest tier for those options. Vivint also ranked highest in J.D. Power’s 2017 Home Security Satisfaction Study, earning a five out of five for its ease of use, problem resolution, and clarity of information.
And while its customer service rivals that of Frontpoint, it isn’t as forgiving toward newcomers. You have only three days after installation to try out the system, a stark contrast to Frontpoint’s 30-day trial. If you aren’t set on signing Vivint’s hefty five-year contract, Frontpoint offers more flexibility.
Frontpoint vs. ADT
If you don’t know it by name, you probably recognize the blue octagonal logo. ADT has been around since 1890, and that kind of legacy doesn’t come without an effective product. The company has remained relevant, offering trending smart tech like smart locks and thermostats, plus the ability to integrate your own Z-Wave technology. The ADT Pulse app, which allows you to control home automation and monitor your smart system, also speaks to ADT’s ease of use. The app has a 4.7 out of five on the iOS app store, a notable improvement over Frontpoint’s 3.1 out of five.
However, ADT has a high number of complaints on the Better Business Bureau’s website and an overall poor customer service reputation. Customers cite billing issues and faulty equipment as sources of grief. You also can’t order online as you can with Frontpoint, forcing you to give ADT a call for a quote on your service. ADT may have the edge on proven reliability, but Frontpoint could be the better choice if customer service is a big priority.
How much does Frontpoint security cost?
Frontpoint has three monitoring plans. The Protection Plan is $35 per month, the Interactive $45 per month, and the Ultimate $50 per month. Each tier unlocks new and more advanced control features like the mobile app, home automation, and video history. Equipment packages start at $200, but you can customize something simpler with a phone call to a Frontpoint rep. Adding on entry sensors costs about $30, and video cameras reach $100.
Will Frontpoint still work if the power goes out?
Yes. Frontpoint’s control panel has a 24-hour battery backup to keep the system running when the power goes out. If you have a monitoring plan that includes mobile alerts (the Interactive or Ultimate), you’ll receive notifications when the power goes out and comes back on.
Does Frontpoint require a contract?
Yes, Frontpoint does require a contract for their security systems. The contract length is at least 12- months, but you can opt for a 36-month contract for a slightly lower price. The longer contract also gives you Frontpoint’s Limited Lifetime Warranty (rather than a 3-year warranty). With either option, when your contract is up you can renew or continue your service on a month-to-month basis.
Can I cancel my Frontpoint contract?
You can cancel for free within the first 30-days of service, for a money-back guarantee. After those 30-days you’ll still be able to cancel but will have to pay out 80% of the remaining contract. That’s a steep fee for terminating, but its 30-day trial is far more generous than other providers (Vivint only allows 3-days).
Can I take my Frontpoint with me when I move?
Taking your Frontpoint system with you when you move is simple. Just let Frontpoint know when your system will be offline, then reinstall the system in your new home. Frontpoint will even send you new adhesive tape for your sensors. Once your system is set up in your new home, call Frontpoint again to turn the monitoring back on. The whole process is completely free.