Alder is a competent security system with minimal upfront cost. The equipment is generally easy to use, but initial setup and DIY installation can be a headache, and you may be subject to lengthy contracts.
We reviewed the Alder home security system by using it in our home for seven days, so we could let you know the best and worst features of this system. We installed the equipment, spent time speaking to customer service, and also researched competitors such as SimpliSafe and Cove to see how Alder stacks up.
If you want to customize your home security system with a wide array of equipment, Alder likely has what you’re looking for. It offers a number of fully customizable systems, and its equipment is proprietary, meaning it manufactures its own devices—as opposed to the industry-common practice of white-labeling products. The products we received were modern and sleek, especially the touchscreen panel, and the indoor camera was small and unobtrusive. Despite Alder’s high emphasis on customization though, there is an overall lack of transparency on its website regarding both what equipment it offers, and how much it costs.
One inconvenient aspect of Alder is that you can’t view a comprehensive list of equipment options on its website, and it doesn’t carry pre-set bundles. To find out about equipment offerings, you must call a customer service/sales representative. When looking at the website, Alder lists only four products: an indoor camera, an outdoor camera, a doorbell camera, and the security panel. Prices are not included. However, a number of additional products are available. There is no upfront cost for equipment; rather, the cost of equipment is built into the contract—which we were told can vary anywhere from 12 months to 5 years.
When you call Alder to set up a system, a customer service representative will discuss your security needs with you and suggest what products are needed. You’ll be able to customize your system to the number of doors and windows you want to arm, as well as other needs—like whether you want to purchase a smoke alarm or a motion detector. Products can also be swapped out, which was a nice touch. For example, we easily swapped a doorbell camera for an indoor camera.
Alder equipment is proprietary, which can be helpful when troubleshooting potential issues with customer service. All of its equipment is controlled by the Alder app and the seven-inch touchscreen panel.
The touchscreen panel was one of the highlights of the Alder system. As large as a tablet, it’s the brain of the system. It connects to the monitoring station via cellular data, so your system won’t be impacted by an internet outage. The panel also has a 24-hour battery backup in case of a power outage. When ours was unplugged, it actually operated for over 30 hours.
It has two large, easy-to-see buttons on the right side. One is the home button. This button takes you to a screen that says “Arm Stay” and “Arm Away,” making arming the system extremely easy. When disarming the system, a large keypad appears on the screen for you to enter your four-digit code.
You can find settings on the home screen, too. Under settings, you can check the alarm history, view the status of all of your sensors, change the amount of time in the exit delay, etc. You can also adjust the volume for all sensors and test your alarm siren. Through settings, you can customize your system to all of your preferences.
The other button on the Alder panel is an emergency call button. The call button allows you to call the central monitoring station directly in case of an emergency. This is a nice feature, especially if you sleep with the panel nearby on the nightstand.
Alder systems are compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, so you can also use voice commands to operate your system. Unfortunately, its third-party integration beyond those voice controls is limited, so you won’t be able to connect your system with popular smart home devices like thermostats or light bulbs.
Overall, we felt like the equipment we received was good quality, had some very nice features, and was functional for our security needs. However, we felt that some people in the market for a security system would like to be able to view equipment and prices listed on the website in order to compare the Alder system with others, such as SimpliSafe.
Alder compatibility with voice assistants
Alder compatibility with climate control systems
Alder compatibility with lighting control systems
Alder compatibility with smart door locks
|Smart door lock||Compatible?|
Assigning a value score to Alder is tricky. There are no prices or packages listed on its website. Similarly, the customer service representative doesn’t give a breakdown of the cost of each individual item.
The good news is the only upfront cost is a $50 activation fee plus the first month’s monitoring cost. The monthly cost of your system depends on the equipment you choose and the length of your contract.* Each item is calculated into the monthly price. Adding an item such as a doorbell camera might increase monthly costs by $5 per month.
For the system we tried, consisting of 14 components, the cost of equipment and professional monitoring were both rolled into our 12-month contract of $49.99/mo. That would net an overall cost of $649.88 for all equipment and monitoring in the first year. Many customers will appreciate the low upfront cost and reasonable monthly fee.
Alder’s pricing falls in the middle of the crowded home security market. There are certainly brands less costly, but there are much more expensive systems as well. A similarly equipped Cove system, including a seven-inch touchscreen, costs around $300 if you catch it on one of its frequent sales. The upfront cost of a Cove system and the monthly monitoring fee add up to roughly the same amount as an Alder system over the course of a year.
The bad news is that Alder locks you into a contract and has a shorter and less inclusive money-back guarantee than most of its competitors. The return window is 30 days from the day you place your order, and there is a $50 restocking fee, so you won’t really receive a full refund. Before purchasing an Alder system and signing a 12-month or longer contract, we advise you to be certain that it’s the best system for your needs.
It’s important to note that Alder’s contract terms are unclear. While the sales representative who worked with us mentioned a 16-month contract, the contract we signed was actually only 12 months. Furthermore, a different representative we spoke with mistakenly told us we were on a month-to-month contract as opposed to a three- or five-year agreement. At no point were we given the option for month-to-month service or told how Alder determines the lengths of individual contracts.
We encountered problems with purchasing and setting up our Alder system, but once we were past a few hurdles, the system worked well. The only way to purchase a system is by calling customer service. The number on its home page, 1-844-913-6964, was not in operation. We also received a text message guiding us to call a different number. Both numbers rang twice and then disconnected us. After digging around on Alder’s knowledge base, we found a third number (1-844-442-5337) that finally connected us to customer service. Having to search for a working phone number might be enough to deter many customers.
Once we were connected, the sales process was relatively painless. Our customer service representative went over our security needs and answered our questions clearly. We had a moment of confusion when our representative initially offered us a 16-month contract, but the contract submitted for our signature was actually for 12 months.
One of the first steps when you receive your security system is to download the Alder app. The default login information is listed as username: your nine-digit phone number and password: your ZIP code. However, in the U.S., a phone number is 10 digits. No combination of our phone number and ZIP code worked, so we had to call customer service to find out our login information. The wait time was about 15 minutes on this call, but we were able to finally get logged into the app. The login was actually not our phone number; it was our name, and we were able to set our own password.
Alder has both professional installation and DIY installation available. We opted for DIY. Our DIY installation ran into a major roadblock quickly—the SIM card in our touchscreen panel was not activated. Normally, the customer can just plug the panel into an outlet, and it immediately connects to the monitoring center using a cellular signal. In our case, we had to call customer service and then take the following steps, which wound up being a 40-minute process:
After our issues were resolved, we were able to install and activate our other equipment. We found the touchscreen panel intuitive and easy to operate. Settings were easily customizable, and the indoor camera was easy to install and connect to the app. The user manual provided excellent instructions for motion, door, and window sensor placement.
We liked the key fobs that came with the unit as a quick way to arm the system when in a hurry to get out the door. The key remote must be within 300 feet of the panel to work. However, the key fob can also be used to disarm the system without the use of the four-digit code, and we can see potential security issues with that functionality. If a person were to lose their keys, a burglar would be able to disarm the system with just the key fob. It should be noted, though, that many home security companies offer key fobs with one-push functionality.
The Alder app was easy to navigate. The home screen has a large button on the screen to let you know if your system is armed or disarmed. A simple tap will arm the system. From the app, you can also check the status of all of your sensors and view the live feed from your indoor camera.
Alder offers only one level of monitoring: 24/7 professional monitoring‚ with no self-monitoring option. When an alarm is activated, an Alder monitoring rep will call you immediately to verify the alarm. If you’ve accidentally set off the alarm, you simply give the monitoring center your verbal password, and police will not be dispatched. If the monitoring center is unable to reach you, emergency personnel will be dispatched to your home.
In addition to your master passcode, Alder also allows users to set up a hostage passcode. If you were to be in a hostage situation and forced to disarm your system, you can enter this passcode, and a silent hostage emergency signal will be sent to the central monitoring station, which will contact the police. This is a nice touch that adds to an overall solid professional monitoring service.
You can contact Alder customer service through a phone call, via text, or by email. We made three phone calls to customer service during our seven-day test run. Each time, there was a wait of 5-15 minutes, but each time, the customer service representative was able to troubleshoot and resolve the issue we encountered. The best way to contact customer service was through a phone call. We tried texting, but we didn’t even receive a response.
You may also receive incorrect or misleading information when you speak to Alder. When we called to cancel our system within the 30-day trial window, we were told some confusing information. The representative assisting us mistakenly said we were in a month-to-month contract as opposed to a three- or five-year contract. None of that was true, and we referred to our signed contract to confirm our locked-in terms of 12 months. It was only then that the representative proceeded with canceling our service.
Alder has not been involved in any recent security breaches and employs industry-standard measures to protect its customers’ data. Alder’s security policy is available here. Within industry norms, Alder collects, uses, stores, and sometimes shares the following information:
Alder gives you the option to request that the use of your sensitive personal information be limited by completing this Consumer Privacy Rights Request Form. You can check the box for “do not sell/share my personal information” or “limit use of my personal information.” Another route is to call customer service at 844-280-2929 to ask any questions you may have.