When we first reviewed FrontPoint’s Safe Home security system back in 2017, we were impressed with its easy installation procedure, responsive sensors, and nice selection of components, but not with its contract requirements and pricing. Since then, FrontPoint has updated its hub and added some new package options, and it still offers a wealth of security and home automation components. You’ll pay more for monitoring than you will with DIY systems from LifeShield and SimpliSafe, but you no longer have to commit to a contract.
Plans and Pricing
Up until recently you had to commit to a one- or three-year monitoring plan when you purchased a FrontPoint system, but that is no longer the case. You can self-monitor if you prefer, but you’ll have to sign up for a monthly plan to use the mobile app and to take advantage of smart features such as voice control and home automation control.
The Interactive Plan goes for $44.99 per month and gives you access to the mobile app, wireless and cellular connectivity, 24/7 professional monitoring, alerts, and notifications by email and text messaging, geo-location services, and crash and smash protection. If you have a system with cameras, you’ll have to subscribe to the $49.99 monthly Ultimate Plan, which gives you everything from the Interactive Plan as well as live and recorded video streaming, cloud storage for up to 1,000 clips, motion-triggered alerts, and smart lighting and smart lock control. By way of comparison, SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan goes for $24.99 per month, and LifeShield charges $19.99 per month for its Pro monitoring plan.
You can build your own FrontPoint system or choose a preconfigured package. The $99 Safe Home Everyday package is the least expensive of the bunch. It contains a hub and keypad, three door/window sensors, two motion sensors, a yard sign, and various door and window stickers. The Safe Home Plus goes for $319.94 and comes with a hub and keypad, three door/window sensors, two glass break sensors, and the signs and stickers. The $383.92 Safe Home Select package contains the hub and keypad, four door/windows sensors, two motion sensors, a glass break sensor, a smoke and heat sensors, and the signs and stickers. FrontPoint’s most expensive package, the $479.90 Safe Home Preferred, comes with the hub and keypad, five door/window sensors, two motion sensors, a glass break sensor, a smoke and heat sensor, an indoor camera, and the yard sign and stickers.
The system that we reviewed has a full retail price of $1,184.82, but is actually $827.86 when calculated with an automatic 20% discount and a free doorbell. It comes with the hub and keypad, six door/window sensors, two motion sensors, two glass-break sensors, one smoke/heat sensor, one indoor camera, one outdoor camera, and the free video doorbell.
FrontPoint’s individual components are competitively priced. For example, door and window sensors go for $14.99 each, the same as SimpliSafe. The FrontPoint glass break sensor is $33.74, and additional motion sensors will set you back $22.49 each. SimpliSafe charges $34.99 for its glass break sensor and $29.99 for its motion sensor.
Design and Sensors
The earlier version of the FrontPoint system used a touch-screen panel as its main hub, but this version uses a sleek desktop hub and keypad combination, although you can purchase a touch-screen panel for $95.99. The glossy white hub has a curved top and measures 2.2 by 5.9 by 5.9 inches (HWD). It has an LED indicator on the top that is green when the system is disarmed, red when it is in Arm Away mode, yellow when it is in Arm Stay mode, and blue when there is an issue. The back panel holds a LAN port for wired connectivity, a power port, and a reset button, and there’s a speaker on the base for voice prompts that tell you the status of the system.
Inside are cellular, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and RF radios, a very loud siren, and a 24-hour backup battery. In addition to home security components, the hub can control numerous home automation devices, including locks, thermostats, lights, and garage door controllers.
The keypad is also glossy white and slightly curved. It measures 5.3 by 2.9 by 1.0 inches and has a 15-button keypad with 0-9 numbers, * and # panic buttons, and Disarm, Stay, and Away arming buttons. It is powered by two AA batteries and has a trouble LED that glows blue when there is a system issue, and a low-battery LED that glows yellow when the batteries need to be replaced.
All of the sensors in the Safe Home Elite package come pre-paired to the hub and use double-sided tape for easy installation. The door/window sensors are relatively thin (1.8 by 0.7 by 0.3 inches) and are powered by a CR1632 battery rated to last up to six years. The motion sensor runs on a single CR123A battery and is 4.5 by 2.5 by 2.0 inches. It has a range of 44 feet with a 90-degree field of view. The glass break sensor measures 3.1 by 4.2 by 1.7 inches, runs on two CR123A batteries, and can detect the sound of broken glass up to 20 feet away. The smoke and heat sensor is round and measures 5.6 by 2.3 inches. It is powered by two 3V batteries that are sealed and not replaceable, but are rated to last up to 10 years.
Frontpoint offers two indoor cameras (standard and premium), an outdoor camera, and a video doorbell camera. The puck-shaped indoor camera stands 2.0 inches high, 2.7 inches wide, and 3.6 inches in depth. It has a 1080p resolution, a 113-degree field of view, 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, two-way audio, and motion detection. The Premium indoor camera has a 1080p resolution and a 180-degree filed of view and functions as a Bluetooth speaker. The outdoor camera is an IP65 weather-resistant camera that captures video at 1080p and has a 117-degree field of view and 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi. The doorbell is actually a slim SkyBell doorbell that measures 4.8 by 1.4 by 1.1 inches (HWD). It has a 720p resolution and a 180-degree field of view and contains a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio, a speaker and microphone for two-way audio, and a motion sensor.
Web and Mobile Apps
The FrontPoint mobile app (for Android and iOS) and web portal are powered by Alarm.com. They both let you arm and disarm the system, view camera and doorbell video (live and recorded), run scenes, enable notifications, and configure alarm set reminders. The mobile app opens to a home screen that displays the name of your home and a selection of scenes that will put the system into an armed or disarmed state with the touch of a button. You can also run scenes using Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands, but the system lacks support for IFTTT applets.
The home screen also has tabs for all installed cameras and doorbells. Simply tap the camera tab to view a live stream with buttons to initiate full-screen viewing and two-way audio. At the very bottom of the home screen is a weather widget.
You can add users and manage notifications in the mobile app, but the web portal offers additional settings that let you schedule when you’ll receive notifications for specific sensors, create automations that will have certain events trigger recordings, and view a history of all activities.
Installing the FrontPoint Safe Home Elite system was easy in testing, but plan on spending between one to two hours from start to finish. I received an email from FrontPoint with a Get Started button that initiated the process. I entered my phone number and followed the on-screen instructions to unpack the hub and place it in a central point in my home.
Next, I unpacked the keypad and placed it in a location where I could get to it easily when entering and exiting my home. I confirmed my address and contact numbers and entered a password for the web portal, at which point the hub glowed green and displayed a green key icon. I hit Next and the hub was connected within a few seconds. I entered a new Master Code (used to arm and disarm the system) and was given the option to add user codes now or later. Next, I configured the hub to use my home Wi-Fi as a backup to cellular, and after a few more seconds it was connected.
It was then time to install the sensors, so I followed the instructions to unpack the door/window sensors. Since they are already paired at the factory, all I had to do was name each one, test them, and install them using the included double-sided tape.
Next, I installed the motion sensors, which was just as easy as the door/windows sensors. The heat/smoke detector came next, then the glass break sensors, and as with the other sensors, all I had to do was name them and install them using the double-sided tape. Once I completed the sensor installation, the system was activated.
To install the indoor camera, I plugged it in and connected to it using my phone’s Wi-Fi settings. I entered http://fpsetup in my phone’s browser, selected my Wi-Fi SSID, entered my Wi-Fi password, and the camera was connected within seconds. I logged into the FrontPoint web portal, clicked Video and Add Device, and selected the indoor camera. I named it, gave it a quick firmware update, and the camera was added to my system. The procedure for setting up the outdoor camera was the same.
To install the video doorbell, I shut down the breaker that supplies power to my doorbell wiring, removed my old doorbell, and wired up the SkyBell doorbell. Once power was restored I opened the app, tapped Doorbell Camera in the menu, and tapped Add Doorbell Camera. I confirmed that the doorbell button was flashing green and red, gave the doorbell a name, and connected to it using my phone’s Wi-Fi settings. I returned to the app, selected my home Wi-Fi SSID, entered my password, and after a 45-second wait, the doorbell was connected.
It took around an hour and a half to install all of the components, after which I watched a quick tutorial video, downloaded the mobile app, logged in, and was finished.
The FrontPoint system performed well in testing. All of the sensors responded instantly when triggered, and push and email notifications were received immediately. The internal siren is very loud and reacted instantly when a sensor was triggered while in Away mode. The indoor camera provided relatively sharp video with good color and clear night vision, but there was some slight barrel distortion around the edges. The outdoor camera also delivered sharp daytime and nighttime video, though it too showed minor signs of barreling. Live and recorded video from the doorbell was crisp, and the doorbell’s motion sensor worked perfectly. Visitor notifications arrived quickly when the doorbell was pressed and when the camera detected motion.
The system always followed my automations to have a camera record whenever a sensor was triggered or when there was an alarm event, and the motion sensors never failed to respond to movement. I appreciate the Arming Reminder feature, which always sent a push notification when the system was unarmed at a specific time of day. Alexa voice commands also worked as advertised. I had no trouble arming and disarming the system or running scenes using my voice.
With the FrontPoint Safe Home security system, you get everything you need to protect your house from intrusions and smoke and fire events, and you get a couple of cameras that let you monitor activity on the inside and outside of your home. It’s completely customizable and expandable, and like any good DIY system, it’s easy to install, responsive, and can be monitored remotely using your phone and a mobile app or from a desktop PC using the web portal.
FrontPoint no longer requires a monitoring contract, but if you want to take full advantage of the mobile app, mobile alerts, video storage, and home automation capabilities you’ll have to subscribe to a monthly plan, and they don’t come cheap. If FrontPoint’s monthly costs are prohibitive, a DIY system from LifeShield or SimpliSafe (both Editors’ Choice winners) would be a better choice. They both offer full-time and no-contract month-to-month monitoring options, and their components and monitoring plans are reasonably priced.
FrontPoint Safe Home Specs
|Upfront Costs||Start at $99|
|Monthly Fees||Start at $44.99|
|Professional Installation Required||No|
|Monitoring Contract Required||No|
|Power Outage Backup||Yes|
|Voice Assistant Compatibility||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant|