How We Reviewed Frontpoint Security
8 months of testing
3 plans tiers compared
1 top-rated company
Frontpoint Home Security Review
Self-installed home security works best when you can rely on strong customer support from the provider, and get a generous trial period to test out all your equipment. Frontpoint answers on both points: a highly rated customer experience and a 30-day trial period. Attentive representatives are on call to walk you through installing and using your security system. Don’t like the functionality or don’t need all the devices you purchased? Send what you don’t need back during your first month for a full refund. When we tested home security systems, Frontpoint’s ease and convenience led us to name it one of the best DIY home security systems. We had our own system up and running in 15 minutes.
Frontpoint’s 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.” Frontpoint centers its service on simplicity and support.
Is it true?
In a word, yes. In our review of the best home security systems, we tested all the big names in home security in our own houses for eight months. From the attentive first sales call to the 15-minute guided DIY installation, Frontpoint’s service made choosing and setting up a system breezy. Whenever we got stuck on a step in the setup process, we could get help from Frontpoint via multiple channels: helpline, 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 really do make Frontpoint a simple, supportive iteration of home security.
✔ Easy DIY install
✔ Customer service
✔ Crash & Smash protection
✔ Frontpoint app
✔ Upfront pricing
✘ Average to high monthly rates
✘ Expensive home automation
Once you’ve decided on the Frontpoint package that best matches your home security needs (or build out your own — start with the Frontpoint keypad + hub, then select device add-ons a la carte), choose from three plan tiers. Ranging from $35 to $50 per month, the Protection Plan, Interactive Plan, and Ultimate Plan all provide professional monitoring. Interactive and Ultimate throw in mobile alerts, remote access and control, and sensor history.
Easy DIY install
With Frontpoint, DIY installation is easy. Adhesive strips and wireless functionality let you leave the tools in the garage — just follow the instructions to pick proper locations for all devices, then peel and press. With DIY installation, you sidestep the extra fee for having a technician come out, and you can get your system up and running without having to wait for an appointment window.
The entire DIY process is simple, but if at any point you get stuck, the Frontpoint app is there to help. The app notices if you’ve stalled on a step and offers up a service line you can call. Alternatively, Frontpoint has impressive online resources dedicated troubleshooting. Whether you’re a visual learner or like to follow written steps, Frontpoint has a resource for you, including video guides and digital manuals on nearly every piece of equipment and step of the installation process.
We had an outstanding customer experience with Frontpoint. 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, with no pressure to hurry up and buy. When we set up our system, Frontpoint’s customer service was attentive, dedicated to helping us complete installation before getting off the phone.
Crash & Smash Protection
Frontpoint’s higher-tier plans, Interactive and Ultimate, come with a feature called Crash & Smash — something 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 yourself if the control panel is destroyed.
If you’d like to remotely control your system and receive notifications on your phone, you’ll have to shell out for a higher-tier plan. It takes 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 integrated 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 offers only professional monitoring (there’s no self-monitoring option) plus extra mobile capabilities organized into three packages: the Protection plan for $35 per month, the Interactive for $45 per month, and the Ultimate for $50 per month. Each tier offers a growing number of features like mobile alerts, home automation integration, and video storage.
Pricing partially depends on which contract you choose: the 36-month contract offers higher savings than the 12-month contract. Either way, Frontpoint gives you 30 days to return the system if it's not for you — perfect for those still debating their home security purchase.
Average to high monthly rates
The home security industry has long been associated with exorbitant monthly rates, north of $40 per month. DIY disruptors like SimpliSafe are rethinking the pricing, while others like abode are rethinking the necessity of professional monitoring. Ditching the pros for installation and monitoring lead to serious savings on monthly bills. While Frontpoint, like SimpliSafe, is a young home security company interested in doing business differently, it requires professional monitoring and charges the same monthly rates as traditional companies like ADT — $35-$50 per month.
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.
Frontpoint vs. ADT
If you don’t know it by name, you probably recognize the blue 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.
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.
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. That said, BBB records a number of recent complaints levied by consumers. Many such complaints arise from consumers not recognizing that they signed a contract until it was too late. Understanding the terms and conditions of any service is vital — but so are ethical customer relations. While Vivint scores high with J.D. Power, customers have raised concerns.
Still, Vivint’s customer service reputation rivals that of Frontpoint. Frontpoint is, however, more 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. SimpliSafe
Frontpoint and SimpliSafe lend themselves to comparison — they came on the scene just one year apart (2007 and 2006, respectively); they are both DIY systems that still prioritize professional monitoring; and they allow you to build your own security system with smart home integrations. But SimpliSafe breaks the mold when it comes to pricing. For $25 per month, SimpliSafe equips you with professional monitoring, mobile alerts, and total remote control of your system. You’d have to pay Frontpoint $45 per month to access those same features.