We have to say, Frontpoint has made some giant leaps in the past year. We’ve tested these DIY home security systems before — but that was back when they required long-term contracts. Thankfully, Frontpoint has switched to month-to-month monitoring, and they’ve added some new gear to their lineup, too. Needless to say, we were excited to jump in and take it for a test drive.
We recently spent over 70 hours using Frontpoint in our home. We took their GE products to the limits,1 and today we’re sharing everything you need to know about these feature-packed systems. We think you’ll be surprised by some of our findings (like the uber-smart geofencing features and not-so-hot service). It’s all here — the good, the bad, and everything in-between.
We had high expectations for Frontpoint’s app experience (both mobile and web app). It was pretty solid in the past, and the buzz in the industry is that it’s only improved. We’ve found that a feature-rich app — like what Vivint and ADT Pulse offer — really adds to the home protection experience. So we were eager to see what Frontpoint had up its sleeve.
Sure, we want to secure our home and family, but we also want neat features and customizations (who doesn’t?). Well, Frontpoint definitely delivered for us here… with a few important caveats that you should know about.
So if you’re on the hunt for a home alarm system with a robust companion app and interface that just feels right, then let’s dig in and take a closer look at Frontpoint Security.
We went with a package that included sensors, a hub, and a keypad. We also purchased a few extra entryway sensors since we live in a 2,800 sq. ft. home with lots of doors and windows to monitor.
When the dust settled, we had invested $450 to get started, which is admittedly more expensive than top DIY competitors like SimpliSafe (SimpliSafe and Ring Alarm both sell entry-level kits for under $200!). But with Frontpoint, you get high-quality GE products, and the features are downright impressive. So we think the higher price is justified.
Here’s what our Frontpoint kit included:
In hindsight, the basic push-button keypad (pictured above) was decent, but we should have sprung for Frontpoint’s 7” touchscreen control panel. You’ll pay an extra $150 for the touchscreen controls, but you’ll also enjoy a much better user experience. We were also kicking ourselves for not adding a keychain remote fob. Like most home security companies, Frontpoint sells these for about $30, and we think they’re great for one-click arming/disarming.
Note that Frontpoint does sell security cameras, but in our experience they’re really not all that great. For instance, their outdoor camera only offers 720p HD resolution, whereas most security cams on the market are putting out 1080p HD quality (or better!). We’ll touch more on this in just a bit.
Did You Know: All Frontpoint equipment comes with a 3-year limited warranty. Note that this is actually one of the better warranties we’ve seen in the industry.
We’ll go out and say it — the setup process wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. There was a mix-up at the factory with our equipment, and the customer service team was slow to respond. But… we have to remember we’re living in Covid times, and service departments are strained pretty much everywhere.2 With that said, we think there’s something to learn from our experience this time around.
First things first, we downloaded the app and jumped right into the step-by-step instructions. We plugged in the Hub and waited a minute for the Frontpoint key logo to glow.
In our opinion, Frontpoint’s modern Hub is one of the best-looking home security devices we’ve seen. It has a sheen opalescent design that’ll look great no matter where you put it. We displayed ours right in our entryway. Yes, it even elicited some “oohs” and “ahhs” from the family. Check it out…
The keypad, on the other hand, was as light as a feather. To be honest, it felt a little delicate, but overall we liked the basic design. It has numbered push-buttons, as well as the usual “Disarm,” “Stay,” and “Away” commands. We found it to be similar to Ring Alarm’s push button keypad. Nothing to write home about.
The door/window sensors were a different story. Frontpoint’s sensors are quite large compared to other home security systems. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we prefer a lower-profile design with a more modern aesthetic.
We’ve had newborn puppies smaller than this! Kidding, but these sensors do look like they were made back in the 90’s. Have a look at the comparison below, with our Frontpoint sensor above our Ring Alarm sensor. Notice the difference?
Needless to say, we think Frontpoint would do well to update their sensors to a smaller design. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker for us, but let’s be honest, looks matter. Moving right along…
We then connected our hub to our WiFi network, which is when the app showed us the “Dual-Path Technology.” This is just a fancy way of saying that our system was powered by LTE cellular and WiFi. So, for instance, if our cellular connection goes down, our WiFi will keep us connected to the monitoring center. It’s worth mentioning that this is the best connection type you can get, and we never once had connectivity issues. So kudos to Frontpoint here.
FYI: Look for the little “progress” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the setup screen. Knowing that we were 75% of the way finished helped us to stay motivated to complete the setup.
But this is where things got a little dicey. We hit a roadblock when it came time to test our sensors. Thankfully, the Frontpoint app noticed our troubles, and it jumped in to save the day (well, sort of).
So we picked up the phone and dialed in. Unfortunately, there were 47 customer calls before ours, and the message said: “Due to high call volumes, we might not call you back until the next day.” We weren’t thrilled about going to sleep with our home unprotected for the night.
So we slept with one eye open, and the next morning we got a hold of tech support. The lady said that our sensors were actually incorrectly numbered from the factory, and she asked us to find a marker to re-label each one (really).
This might surprise you, but we’re actually not docking Frontpoint too many points here. As you’ll recall, we ordered a few extra sensors on top of a base package, so we can see how the mixup happened. Also, trust us when we say there are plenty of redeeming features that we think you’ll like about Frontpoint. As far as we’re concerned, it’s water under the bridge.
Pro Tip: We recommend unplugging the Frontpoint Hub and keeping it nearby as you mount and test each sensor. The Hub announces whether or not each sensor is working, which you may not be able to hear from all the way across your house. And don’t worry, thanks to the 24-hour backup battery, the Hub works just fine while unplugged for a bit.
Now let’s move on to the really fun stuff — like digging into the Frontpoint dashboard and using Frontpoint on a daily basis.
One of the nice things about Frontpoint is that you can keep things simple by only using the arm/disarm functions, or you can go wild exploring all the advanced features it offers. For a DIY system, we have to say that Frontpoint leads the pack in the features & tech department. It’s not as streamlined or intuitive as Vivint and other top-of-the-line systems, but it kept us plenty busy while pushing the limits of its performance.
For instance, when arming our system in the app, we appreciated the different options that popped up. We have a toddler who needs her beauty sleep (or else), so we’re big fans of “Silent Arming.” Note that when we didn’t select silent arming, the Hub would beep for the duration of the 30-second delay, which is annoying to say the least. The good news is that most home security brands now offer a silent arming feature. Trust us, it’s a game-changer.
Another thing we couldn’t help but notice while trying out Frontpoint was the ear-piercing sound of the siren. It’s LOUD. In fact, it might be the loudest alarm we’ve heard. With the Hub in our entryway, we opened our back door (a good 40 ft. away) and the siren nearly boxed our ears!
This is good and bad. It’s good because there’s almost no way an intruder will stick around with the siren blaring like a banshee. But it’s bad because, again, we have a toddler and false alarms happen. So if you have little ones in your home, just keep in mind that Frontpoint is loud enough to really ring the ears of an infant or toddler.
FYI: Frontpoint’s siren is rated at 104.5 dB, which is actually pretty standard. With that said, we have to say that it sounds more like 120 dB. To put that in perspective, a lawn mower is about 90 dB, while the front row of a rock concert is about 120 dB. In our research, we’ve found that sounds above 85 dB can be harmful if you’re not careful.3
We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again that the Hub is quite the head-turner — especially at night. On the first night using it, we noticed that it glows from the top and bottom of the unit. Depending on the mode our system was in, this light either glowed red, yellow, green, or blue.
If you happened to read our hands-on review of SimpliSafe, you’ll recall that the base station light interrupted our nightly viewing of Braveheart (what can we say, it’s a great movie). We found out how to manually turn off SimpliSafe’s light, but wouldn’t it be nice if it were automatic?
Well, Frontpoint has Night Hours! Even though we put our Frontpoint Hub in our entryway — far away from Mel Gibson — it was still nice knowing that it would auto-magically dim at preset hours. This tells us that Frontpoint is thinking about the little things, too.
Now let’s quickly touch on response times. After all, features and tech should come second to protecting your home and family. Well, in the few times we tested Frontpoint’s 24/7 monitoring, we were pleased with the 25 second average response time. That means if someone targets your home, the monitoring center will be on the line in seconds. And they can dispatch police, fire, or EMS if needed. We think 25 seconds is fast, but it’s worth mentioning that most brands offer emergency response of about 30 seconds on average.
FYI: We noticed a squeaking or chirping sound coming from our Hub. It actually sounded like a mouse in the house, which was pretty annoying to hear while eating dinner one night. So we decided to call Frontpoint about it. Turns out, the little mouse squeak occurs whenever the Hub senses a “tampered” device (we accidentally left our Hub unplugged). This is just something to keep in mind.
Overall, our Frontpoint system was responsive and fairly easy to use. We thought the app was nice, but due to the sheer amount of features and customizations, it wasn’t always easy to find what we were looking for.
We’ve researched and tested countless home security systems over the years. And there’s always the little unexpected things that give each product its own “personality,” if you will. Here are the things we found that set Frontpoint apart from other top contenders in the DIY home security space.
Right away we were impressed with Frontpoint’s “Scenes.” The app comes preloaded with a few scene options (Home, Away, Sleep, Wake Up), but you can customize scenes to your heart’s content. For instance, we made a “Night Time Routine” customized to arm our system, force bypass of our bedroom sensor (we sometimes sleep with our upstairs window open when the weather’s nice), and silent arming. All this happens with a push of a button; whereas many other home security systems require each step to be done manually in the app. Frontpoint definitely gets their “Scenes” right.
Then you’ve got instant notifications — another area where Frontpoint delivers. Like other brands, Frontpoint sends its notifications via email, SMS text message, or push notification (if you’re curious, we’re big fans of push notifications). Of course, we were notified any time our alarm triggered. So if we were away to the grocery store, or halfway across the world on vacation, we’d receive an instant mobile alert if someone tried to break in our home.
But Frontpoint takes it a few steps further by offering custom notifications. For instance, we really liked the “Left Open” alert. One morning after taking the garbage to our side yard, our side door was accidentally left open. Thankfully we received a (very) timely notification right before leaving home for the day. So this brought us a little extra peace of mind.
Something else that really caught our attention was Frontpoint’s Geo-Services with Geo-fencing. If you’re not familiar, geo-fencing essentially puts a virtual, wireless “fence” around your home using your smartphone’s GPS.4 Whenever you “leave your fence” — say, to visit your mother across town — your home alarm system can perform a specific command.
Frontpoint puts this technology to great use by sending “Location-based Arming Reminders.” So the moment we’d cross our “fence,” Frontpoint would send us a reminder if our home wasn’t armed. We found this to be extremely helpful, and it fast-became one of our favorite features. Again, we just don’t see Geo-Services offered by other DIY home security companies.
We also set up Siri shortcuts, which allowed us to manage our system using voice control. Now, this isn’t hands-free voice control like you’d get from Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s the next best thing using your smartphone (iOS). We added our “Night Time Routine Scene” as a Siri Shortcut. So each night after dinner we’d say “Siri, run Night Time Routine Scene.” And she armed our system to our exact preferences.
Frontpoint works with Alexa and Google Assistant, too. So if you have Alexa or Google Home devices, you’re in business. Note that Frontpoint is also compatible with Z-Wave smart devices, allowing you to automate smart gizmos like your thermostat, your lighting, your garage door, and more.
We liked that we could pop into the web app throughout the day to check on our home security status, see recent activity, create custom scenes, and even check the weather. The background screensaver photo is always changing to keep things fresh. Other brands offer web apps, but they’re typically basic and uninspiring. So we think you’ll like the Frontpoint app experience (the mobile app isn’t so bad, either!).
This is one of our biggest gripes about Frontpoint. The company used to be rated #1 in customer service,5 but the times they are a-changin’. You might recall that we couldn’t reach customer support when setting up our system. When we finally did get a representative on the phone (the following day), she wasn’t all that friendly, which took us by surprise. This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but it’s something to bear in mind. It is worth mentioning that in the past we’ve received outstanding service from Frontpoint.
This might seem nit-picky, but it’s really not. We found the panic button combinations on the Frontpoint keypad to be pretty confusing. For instance, if our kitchen was on fire and we needed the fire department, we’d press and hold 4 & 6 on the keypad for three full seconds. But if we needed medical help, we’d press and hold 7 & 9. Here’s the thing — there’s almost no way that we would remember these combinations during an emergency (it’s called “panic” for a reason). So we think Frontpoint needs dedicated panic buttons with icons on their keypad, like Ring and some other brands have.
Finally, keep in mind that Frontpoint is pricier than other DIY systems out there. The equipment packages start around $400-$500, and then you’ll be paying $45-$50 per month for 24/7 professional monitoring and video support. Will this break the bank? Probably not, but other affordable brands offer protection starting at $200 for equipment and $10-$20 per month for monitoring. Granted, Frontpoint does offer more features than the average DIY kit. So you must ask yourself, are the extra features really worth the cost?
The company offers a handful of security cameras, but they didn’t really measure up to the quality standards that we’re used to seeing — especially when it came to features and technology. We tested these cameras in the past, and here’s a quick rundown of what to expect.
FYI: Keep in mind that you’ll need to sign up with Frontpoint’s Ultimate Plan if you want camera monitoring and live streaming.
Offered at $99.99, this indoor camera was ultra-simple to set up, and it gave us decent surveillance of one room. With 1080p HD video quality, the resolution was crystal clear for us. It gets the job done, just don’t expect fancy features.
This camera is a step up from Frontpoint’s standard indoor cam, with 1080p HD video quality, built-in Bluetooth speaker, pan & tilt, 180-degree viewing angle, two-way talk, and enhanced zoom capabilities. We recommend this camera for indoor use. That is, if the $199.99 price works in your budget.
This wireless cam offers night vision and a weatherproof design that’s built to last. It’s also pretty easy on the eyes, with a sleek and modern aesthetic. But unfortunately, it doesn’t have two-way talk, which is a favorite feature of ours. Also, the 720p HD video quality leaves something to be desired, especially at the $169.99 price point. All in all, it’s not our favorite cam.
Frontpoint also sells the Slimline Doorbell Camera by SkyBell. We’ve reviewed this doorbell several times in the past, and it’s actually pretty solid. It just might help to fend off porch pirates and package theft, which happens more than you might think. And at $149.99, we think it’s reasonably priced. We’d also recommend looking into Ring’s doorbell cams or the Nest Hello.
|Frontpoint Cameras||Indoor Camera||Premium Indoor Camera||Outdoor Camera||Doorbell Camera|
|Resolution||1080p HD||1080p HD||720p HD||1080p HD|
You can also add Frontpoint Smart Door Locks, Smart Lights, Garage Door Sensor, Panic Pendant, and a lineup of Environmental Sensors like glass break sensors, smoke and CO sensors, as well as flood and freeze sensors. These products mostly range between $50-$75, with the exception of the Yale smart lock offered at $179.99.
Frontpoint’s equipment prices are reasonable when you can catch a sale. Thankfully, the company offers rolling deals throughout the year. See below for the most recent Frontpoint prices. Keep in mind that we went with the Safe Home Everyday system and added a handful of extra sensors for a grand total of about $410.
|Frontpoint Systems||Safe Home Starter||Safe Home Everyday||Safe Home Select||Safe Home Preferred|
|Size of System||7-piece||9-piece||12-piece||14-piece|
|Type of System||Basic Intrusion||Intrusion||Intrusion + Environmental||Intrusion + Environmental + Video|
While it’s not the cheapest monitoring in the industry, we appreciate that Frontpoint’s monitoring plans are straightforward. They only offer two options: the Interactive Plan and Ultimate Plan. Here are the prices for 24/7 professional monitoring and the type of coverage you can expect.
|Frontpoint Monitoring||Interactive Plan||Ultimate Plan|
|Price||$44.95 per month||$49.95 per month|
|Type of Coverage||Intrusion + Environmental Monitoring||Intrusion + Environmental + Video + Home Automation|
|Connection Type||LTE Cellular Monitoring||LTE Cellular Monitoring|
|Mobile App Controls||Yes||Yes|
|Contract Length||No Contract||No Contract|
Thankfully, there aren’t any hidden fees or activation fees. Also, you don’t have to worry about installation fees since it’s DIY setup. Just pay for the equipment upfront (or finance it) and choose your monthly plan. That’s it! When all is said and done, you’ll likely be paying around $50 per month for total home protection. That’s a good deal in our book.
We think Frontpoint offers plenty of “bang for your buck.” We really enjoyed digging into the system and exploring the app experience. The custom “Scenes” feature and location-based reminders (geo-fencing!) really left an impression on us. And we can tell that a lot of thought went into the design of the mobile and web app and integrating the user-friendly features.
We just wish it were a little cheaper. The sale prices are hot right now, but the MSRP on these packages range between $300-$600. For a DIY system, that’s not cheap! But then again, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee on equipment, and you can cancel your monitoring anytime. Ever since Frontpoint did away with their long-term contracts, we’ve come around to really liking their offerings.
Overall, we think Frontpoint is a solid DIY system, especially for folks who like lots of features and tech without spending thousands of dollars to get it.
Frontpoint systems are 100% wireless and are powered by LTE cellular monitoring and Wi-Fi.
No, Frontpoint now offers month-to-month monitoring that you can cancel at any time without penalty.
Yes, Frontpoint offers indoor and outdoor security cameras, as well as a doorbell camera.
Yes, Frontpoint offers remote smartphone controls using their mobile companion app. The company also offers a web app that we really like.
Yes, but the native features are somewhat limited. With that said, Frontpoint works with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free voice control. And the systems are also compatible with Z-Wave devices.
Frontpoint.com. (2013, July 11). GE Security or Honeywell Equipment – Which Is Best for Residential Security Systems?
Smith, T. (2020, June 18). Benchmark Snapshot: Tracking the impacts of COVID-19 on CX. Zendesk.com.
Blahd Jr., W; et. al. (2019, July 28). Harmful Noise Levels. Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan.
Geo-Fence. Wikipedia. (Accessed August 7, 2020).
PRWeb. (2012, January 13). FrontPoint Security Earns Coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award. Cision.