abode is a relatively recent addition to the market and is a comprehensive home security system that stands out in several different ways. Unlike other brands that make you pay for 24/7 monitoring on a long-term or month to month basis, abode is unique in its offering of on-demand 3-day, 7-day, or monthly monitoring. This makes it a top pick for homeowners that want the ability to enable monitoring for an occasional vacation, but who are not interested in an ongoing monthly fee.
Outside of that, abode is a pretty straightforward system that perfects the basics and gives you the tools you need to monitor your home on your own. Price-wise, it manages to strike a balance between extensive features and value — coming in at a lower cost than similar competitors like Scout and Frontpoint.
With extreme flexibility and easy expandability, abode is one of our top picks for renters and homeowners alike.
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What is abode?
The abode system gives homeowners a choice between self-monitoring or paying a small monthly fee for 24/7 professional monitoring. Unlike some brands that focus on one or the other, abode is a viable solution with or without a monthly fee — it really just depends on the extent of coverage you’re looking for.
For the most part, abode doesn’t do anything completely revolutionary — it just handles all aspects of the smart security experience in a way that is effective, affordable, and user-friendly. With that said, one of the main draws of abode home security is the ability to buy temporary 24/7 monitoring in 3 or 7-day increments instead of committing to a recurring monthly fee.
As far as the monitoring goes, abode offers three different modes: Standby will alert homeowners when doors and windows are opened, Home disarms the system when you and your family are in the house, and Away will activate every sensor in the house. You also have the ability to tweak these settings in the free abode app to figure out the system that works best for you.
Arming and disarming is handled through the keypad, the mobile app, or through a key-chain remote. This fob has buttons for each system state and allows you to arm, disarm, or put your security in standby with a single button press. abode also has some pretty sophisticated geo-fencing features, so you can program your security system to arm and disarm automatically based on your comings and goings.
Like many other smart security systems, abode offers smart home integration through communication with other connected devices and services — making it a great option for those who have or are looking to build a connected home.
abode — Equipment
abode works well with other smart home and home security devices to enhance the safety of your home, but the brunt of the protection comes from abode’s own devices. All of abode’s devices are wireless and easy to install, and you have the ability to build out your system to perfectly fit your needs. To kick things off, however, you’ll need either a Gateway or the abode iota.
The abode Gateway is the more traditional option, and it serves as a central hub for your security system. With Z-Wave, Zigbee, and WiFi capabilities, the Gateway has the potential to integrate with a huge variety of smart home devices. Communication with your system’s sensors is handled through a proprietary encrypted protocol called adobeRF, and this frequency is also used to send and receive data from the cloud or the monitoring center.
The Gateway will keep your system running even in the absence of power with a 10-hour battery backup, and can communicate in the absence of WiFi using a cellular signal. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be alerted by 95db siren build directly into the hub itself.
One major advantage of the abode system is the gateway’s ability to support up to 150 connected devices and up to six different cameras, which is much more impressive than what many other brands bring to the table.
Your other hub option is the adobe iota. Both the Gateway and iota do a great job of protecting your home, but there are some notable differences that may sway your decision in one way or the other.
Iota is also a gateway, but it’s unique in that it functions as a form of protection on its own. With a built-in camera and motion sensor, your hub can work in tandem with the rest of your sensors to better secure your home. It has the same features as the regular Gateway like 10-hour battery backup, cellular capability, smart home integration, and access to the same paid plan.
The iota’s camera features mimic those offered by the Streaming Camera. Basically, the hub includes 1080p video monitoring with a 152-degree field of view, night vision, two-way audio, and motion detection.
Another advantage of iota is the fact that it isn’t reliable on an ethernet connection, giving you greater flexibility when it comes to placement. There’s still an ethernet port for those who would like to use a hardwired connection, but the iota can function wire-free just using WiFi.
Now that we’ve got the hub out of the way, let’s talk about sensors.
The Gateway is sold in a kit that includes a selection of sensors: 1 mini door/window sensor, 1 motion sensor, and a single key fob. You can expand the system out from there as you please, adding in whatever sensors interest you most and creating the perfect abode security system over time.
One of the most useful sensors are the door and window contacts that can monitor the status of doors, cabinets, windows, and pretty much anything else that opens or closes. There are multiple options for door/window sensors including the compact Mini, recessed sensors that are pretty much invisible when installed, and slim sensors that are also low-profile but that do not require any drilling.
The indoor motion sensor also accounts for a significant portion of the abode’s utility, monitoring a room for movement and sending a notification to your phone if anything is detected. You can also program your sensors to activate other smart devices when triggered, such as turning on all the bulbs when movement is detected to shed light on any intruders.
Rounding out the detection system are the Glass Break and Vibration sensors that can detect when someone is trying to break through your windows, and Acoustic Glass Break sensor that can detect the sound of breaking glass even while a good distance away from the window itself.
Controlling your security system is handled through a wireless keypad, which supports up to 40 unique codes — ensuring your family, friends, and household staff have their own passcode that can be easily granted or revoked as needed. The keypad has a backlit interface and a battery life of 4-6 years and includes three LEDs so you can easily see whether the system is armed, disarmed, or in standby at a glance. You can also control your system using the key fob mentioned above.
The last major part of the abode security system are the cameras. The company sells a motion camera as well as two different streaming cameras to round out their home protection lineup.
The streaming camera provides a live, 1080p video stream with night vision, and can connect to your home network using Ethernet or WiFi. When an alarm triggers, the camera will upload footage to your timeline — even if you don’t have an abode plan. You can also set other events to trigger clip recording, and in the event of an emergency, you’ll have access to footage in an isolated clip with footage before, during, and after the event included. Best of all, you can access your video feed completely free at any time from the abode web, Android, or iOS apps — a rarity among systems that normally charge a high fee for video services.
Overall, abode offers a pretty comprehensive lineup of equipment as is, and the future is looking bright with the release of adobe iota. There are some gaps in sensor coverage when compared to other brands — most notably in environmental protection like smoke, carbon monoxide, flood, and temperature monitoring. However, from a security perspective, abode covers all the bases and does so flawlessly. The high-quality sensors will last 10 years or more, too, so your investment will be money well spent.
abode — Plans
abode offers three different tiers of plans that offer varying levels of features at different price points. These subscriptions are completely optional, as abode will function great as a self-monitored system on its own. However, the Connect and Connect + Secure plans are ready and waiting to provide professional monitoring services, more timeline and media storage, and premium customer support for those who are interested in more comprehensive home protection.
|Basic||Connect||Connect + Secure|
|Price||$0.00||$10/month or $96/year||$30/month or $240/year|
|App Control||iOS, Android, and Web||iOS, Android, and Web||iOS, Android, and Web|
|3G Cellular Backup||No||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||Optional On-Demand (3 Days: $8 / 7 Days: $15)||Optional On-Demand (3 Days: $8 / 7 Days: $15)||Yes|
|Timeline and Media Storage||3 Days||14 Days||90 Days|
|Unlimited User Accounts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|IFTTT, Amazon Echo, Works with Nest, Google Assistant||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|HomeKit||Maybe soon||Maybe soon||Maybe soon|
|Customer Support||Email and Support Site||Phone, Email, and Support Site||Premium Phone, Email, and Support Site|
abode — Smart Home Compatibility
Just like many other smart home security systems, abode offers integration with products beyond their first-party lineup. There are several major brands that abode security compatible products, and you should have little difficulty integrating products from Nest, Philips Hue, ecobee, and LIFX. The system also supports voice control through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and has the potential to work with a whole host of products due to the inclusion of Zigbee and Z-wave technology.
The Nest integration is particularly robust, so we’ll talk a bit about the ways products like the Nest Camera, Nest Protect, and Nest Thermostat can work in tandem with abode to make your home more convenient and keep you and your family protected.
When you link a Nest branded camera to your abode system, you’ll be able to instantly see what triggered an alarm — directly within the abode app. Plus, you can access the live feed at any time and set custom automation actions based on the three security statuses of your system.
Nest Protect actually integrates better with abode than it does with the company’s own Nest Secure. In the event of smoke or carbon monoxide detection, you can receive instant alerts on your phone and contact the authorities with the simple press of a button.
The Nest Thermostat is one of the most impressive climate control systems on the market, and abode can let it know when you’re coming and going for more efficient heating and cooling.
Simply put, the abode app gives you a great deal of flexibility and the ability to control all compatible smart products in one convenient location. The system’s geofencing festive and their enhanced CUE automation engine allow you to create rules for more intelligent operation of your home. Those features combined with powerful conditional triggers from IFTTT basically means that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating a security system that meshes seamlessly with other smart technology.
abode also supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you’ll be able to use your voice to arm your system, control various smart products, and even disarm your security (as long as you can provide the correct PIN, of course.) The team is also working on adding Apple Homekit support, however, there’s now certain ETA as of now.
Overall, abode is one of the more impressive systems when it comes to smart home integration. Better yet, they don’t lock home automation behind a subscription fee like many of their competitors — the initial purchase fee is all you need for complete control of your home security.
Why abode is a Good Choice?
Mobile App – Strangely enough, the majority of smart home security systems actually make you pay for one of their more expensive plans just to access your home security system through the mobile app. abode offers that functionality for free, and you can check the status of your home from iOS, Android, or the web app from wherever you happen to be.
The app is also well designed, and the timeline gives you easy access to a log of activity at a glance. You’ll also have access to the ability to manage notifications, add extra devices, manage users, and more — all in one convenient location and all free of charge.
DIY Installation – Setup is quite easy. Simply plug the base in and use the included double-sided adhesive tape to place your sensors wherever you please. In under an hour, you’ll have your home completely outfitted with monitoring equipment.
Optional 24/7 Professional Monitoring – Most security systems offer some sort of professional monitoring, but abode is in a league of its own with the option for on-demand monitoring services. Going on vacation? Just pay for a 7-day monitoring stint a la carte and skip the ongoing monthly bill.
Why abode is a Bad Choice?
Flimsy Parts – abode is one of the most impressive security systems we’ve reviewed, with excellent monitoring and convenience available at an affordable price. With that said, the actual physical construction of their gateway and sensors leave something to be desired.
The shiny acrylic coating easily picks up fingerprints, smudges, and smears, and the equipment feels a little bit cheap overall. You shouldn’t run into any major issues with durability assuming normal use of the system, but the equipment definitely doesn’t have the same high-end feel as some premium brands like Vivint.
abode — Our Thoughts
abode has one of the best entry level kits, with everything you need to get started at a pretty reasonable price. Plus, with such excellent support for self-monitoring, that’s all you have to pay. Professional monitoring is there as an option, but none of the system’s features will be gated behind a subscription.
Speaking of monitoring, the on-demand monitoring is one of our favorite parts of what abode brings to the table. Skipping out on the subscription and still having easy access to protection for the occasional vacation is a major perk that is pretty much exclusive to abode.
Long story short, we’re big fans. While abode may be a relative newcomer to the industry compared to industry giants like ADT, they’ve still managed to deliver a home security system that sits comfortably at the very top of our list.
If you’re still not sure whether you’d like to make the buy, you may be interested in checking out some similar systems like SimpliSafe and Nest Secure. Check out how abode stacks up against those brands with our abode vs. SimpliSafe and abode vs. Nest Secure comparisons.
Last update on 2020-01-29 at 12:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API