Advise on moving forward with ST or alternatives for security

I recently purchased Hue lights for most of my lights, Amazon Echo Dot, Ring Video Doorbell and SmartThings Hub v2 and a few sensors. My main objective was home automation but now I am looking into expanding into a sort of DIY security system.

I feel like my options at this point are:

  1. Invest further in SmartThings to add door/window sensors. This will cost me a couple hundred dollars one time to cover all of my windows and doors, but have no monthly fee. Downside is no cellular backup, no professional monitoring and a fairily limited security setup – no keypad to disable system for friends/guests being on of the biggest problems. Upside is no recurring cost.

  2. Invest further in SmartThings with cameras (either Arlo or Ubiquiti) as well as some supplementary sensors for areas that lack camera coverage. This will cost a bit more than option 1, but otherwise have the same upsides and downsides.

  3. Keep SmartThings for home automation but invest in a dedicated security system (Scout, Abode, Blink Seecurity, etc.). I haven’t really looked too closely at any of these, I think it would cost me a bit more than either option 1 or 2 above to get everything setup, and would have some recurring cost (most of them appear to be $10-20/month) but I would get cellular/battery backup and a more robust security system)

Are there other options I’m not thinking of?

Also, if I went with option 1 or 2, I could save some money by getting indoor motion sensors instead of window sensors for all my windows, but I have a dog and am not sure how I could set those up without the dog triggering motion alarms. Are there any tricks/work arounds for ST Motion Sensors and pets?

At this point I never tell anyone that ST is ready for your only security system. Just isnt reliable enough.

As for some of your ideas laid out, I will say what I’ve done.

I have a basic home alarm that actually came with the house. I paid 200 to change it to a different vendor (they had to put in a new board) and use the existing door sensors and glass break. The prior family had a dog so no motion sensors. And many homeowners dont opt for all windows monitored just door sensors and glass break. That then costs me 10 bucks a month for monitoring. Thats primary line of defense.

Over the last year I have bought sensors for all my windows from Iris at about 20 bucks a piece. Also second sensors for the doors. This leaves the alarm totally separate. Then iris and st motion sensors for all rooms at 30ish a piece. All this is for ST automations and ‘backup’ to the home alarm but not setup with scout or any other monitoring. I use this as a view into the house while gone. Also picked up arlo cameras for some basic recording at the front door and the living room.

I would not use ST as my only home alarm. My home insurance also gives me like 10 a month break on the insurance for having a home alarm, so its a wash that way, so check on that. All this so far has cost me ~$2000-2500 over a year to build up ST sensors to monitor the place. But I use them as automation points.

Let ST do its job as home automation, let an alarm do its job as an alarm. The few dollars savings is not worth the headache…if there are any savings at this point. Even if you dropped out all the lights Ive bought I’d suspect I have over $1000 in ST sensors. So a professionally installed alarm is going to be cheaper than that.

If you want an alarm buy an alarm. If you want home automation buy home automation. If you want to tinker…buy ST.

Thats just my opinion and I could be wrong.


I think Kevin pretty much summed it up.

If you decide to use SmartThings as an alarm, please install the Smart Alarm app, which gives you basic functionality (like entry and exit delays) that the official Smart Home Monitor solution is inexplicably lacking.

Of course, you need to prepare yourself for some false alarms and missed alerts. That’s just the name of the game with SmartThings.

1 Like

I just wanted to point out that if you did go with ST as an alarm. You can add a schlage Keypad door lock. Then add the Lock manager in ST. When you set up anyones code in the lock manager for the keypad. There is an option to change routines with keypad. There’s is also an option to disable with a keypad number of your choosing. So this is a keypad workaround.

Very well put! I was in the same boat of “do I stay or do I go” with my alarm company. At the end of the day they have professional monitoring, a simple (yet stable) system and they offer fire monitoring. For the $20 or so a month I spend, the peace of mind is worth it.