Cove is an affordable, customizable, and easy-to-install security system that doesn’t require a contract. However, its limited collection of equipment will likely disappoint those looking for a system with robust home automation.
We reviewed the Cove Home Security system by researching the brand and its competitors and also conducting extensive hands-on testing. Our testing process involved installing the system, including control panel, sensors, detectors, and camera, in a real-world environment then subjecting it to a week’s worth of use. We also assessed Cove's customer support in troubleshooting two issues we encountered with the system. In addition to hands-on testing, we also researched and compared Cove’s equipment, monitoring options, and pricing with competing home security systems such as SimpliSafe, ADT, Vivint, and Ring.
When you purchase a Cove home security system, you’ll begin with the control panel and then build around it with a selection of equipment that includes window and door sensors, an indoor camera and an outdoor camera, two different kinds of doorbell cameras, a motion detector, and a glass break detector. There’s also a flood sensor and a smoke/carbon monoxide detector along with some less common equipment, including a security remote keyfob and a panic medical button.
While we appreciated the ability to customize our system from the ground up, we wished Cove offered distinct packages to choose from. While customers were once able to purchase packages both from retailers and Cove’s own website, it no longer offers bundles or packages at all.
Most of Cove’s equipment is white labeled, meaning that many other home security companies may be using the same device in their offerings. But it does offer two proprietary doorbell cameras, Kami and Skybell, which we found to be a step up from what you find with most budget-priced systems. The sensors and detectors feel sturdy, and we were impressed with the indoor camera, which produces 1080p HD video and comes equipped with a 110-degree wide-angle lens, night vision, and two-way communication.
What we really liked the most about Cove’s equipment—opposed to other budget-priced security systems—is its beautiful seven-inch touchscreen control panel. The panel, which looks similar to those you'd find on pricier professionally installed systems offered by ADT, Vivint, and the like is a clear upgrade over the screenless keypads that DIY services such as Ring and SimpliSafe offer.
While we liked the quality of Cove’s equipment, we were disappointed in its lack of home automation offerings. If you subscribe to the Cove Plus plan, you can sync voice commands through various smart speakers, such as Google Assistant and Alexa. But otherwise, smart home compatibility is limited compared to some competitors, particularly regarding climate controls and smart locks. Unfortunately, Cove doesn’t offer any smart devices in its own product lineup, and if you subscribe to Cove Basic, you won’t be able to connect your smart home devices.
Cove compatibility with voice assistants
Cove compatibility with climate control systems
Cove compatibility with lighting control systems
Cove compatibility with smart door locks
|Smart door lock||Compatible?|
While Cove may lack the broad selection of equipment offered by other home security companies, we found its low prices and frequent sales make it one of the most affordable home security systems on the market.
When you build your own system, be prepared not to see transparent pricing from the get-go. Before you can see individual pricing, you’ll pick and choose the devices you want before seeing an itemized breakdown.
But once you do, you’ll find that Cove’s equipment prices are among the most affordable out there. Window and door sensors cost around $15 apiece, environmental detectors are around $50, and its outdoor camera goes for about $200. The most expensive piece of Cove equipment is its seven-inch touchscreen control panel, which retails for just under $250.
But, since Cove frequently discounts these prices by as much as 60%, it’s possible to build an entire Cove system, complete with a security camera, for around $300—which is one of the better deals for such a quality home security system, in our opinion.
Since Cove requires its customers to subscribe to one of its monitoring plans, it’s important to take these costs into account when pricing Cove against other systems. Cove Basic monitoring costs $17.99 per month, while Cove Plus is $27.99 per month. This pricing puts the premium Cove plan between pricier monitoring plans that run about $45 per month and budget-priced plans that cost about $20 a month.
Similar to other DIY security systems, Cove designs its equipment to be easy to install. Customers will receive their chosen equipment with all devices already connected to the control panel—meaning there won’t (for the most part) require a tedious pairing process for you.
The exception to this is pairing Cove’s cameras, but we found we were easily able to pair ours by scanning the camera’s QR with a mobile device. All the components are peel-and-stick, so no tools are required for installation beyond perhaps a stepstool.
We also found Cove’s system is simple to operate as we tested its controls. Customers have three ways to disarm and arm the system—the touchscreen control panel, keyfob, or Cove smartphone app, all of which support single-touch disarming and arming.
If you subscribe to Cove Plus, you can also add voice control by pairing the Cove system with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa; but a knock is that it doesn't work with Apple HomeKit.
Despite Cove’s user-friendly installation, you may run into issues. For example, after we powered up our Cove touchscreen, its built-in SIM card, which uses an AT&T cell signal, failed to find a Cove monitoring center. After several attempts, a notification appeared on the screen instructing us to call technical support. While inconvenient, Cove’s customer support team helped us resolve the issue easily.
Cove’s control panel displays the security system’s status using a large font and easy-to-understand language. Common messages included “I’m ready to arm” or “Hang on, your Door 2 is open.” In addition to text, the panel also provides audio messages.
We found the Cove app to be just as intuitive with a large button in the center of the display for one-touch arming and disarming and two smaller buttons for checking the status of sensors and accessing live or recorded video footage.
We also like how simple Cove makes it to create routines. Through the app, you can set the system to send you push alerts if a certain sensor is left open, an alarm is triggered, or the system is armed or disarmed. You can also create a schedule to automatically arm and disarm the system at specific times on specific days of the week.
We found installing Cove to be a simple process that even novice DIYers could handle. We also liked the system's intuitive control panel and app interface that simplifies arming and disarming the system and monitoring video footage. Cove even manages to take the guesswork out of more advanced processes, such as programming schedules and creating routines.
Cove uses three channels of communication to reach you in the event an alarm is triggered. The monitoring service will first attempt to contact you by speaking directly through the control panel. If that effort fails, Cove will send a text message to your smartphone, asking you if you’d like to dispatch emergency services or dismiss the alarm. Finally, if Cove can’t make contact via the panel or by text, its monitoring service will reach out by phone before dispatching emergency services.
While Cove offers two affordable monitoring tiers—Basic and Plus–we were disappointed to discover that, unlike competitors SimpliSafe and Ring, Cove does not offer a self-monitoring option.
Basic, which costs $17.99 per month, provides professional monitoring via live chat on the control panel, text, and phone as well as features that include Smash and Grab protection (the panel will alert the monitoring center in the event an intruder attempts to smash the panel or rip it off the wall), cellular backup, and a 24-hour battery backup.
While Basic’s price is quite low compared to most other security systems, it doesn’t give you the ability to control the system with a smartphone or access video footage remotely. You also won’t be able to use Alexa or Google Assistant to control the system.
If you want these features, you’ll need to upgrade to Plus, which costs $27.99 per month. We liked the fact that Cove includes some value adds to its premium monitoring service, including a lifetime equipment warranty, seven days of cloud storage for video footage, and a $5 per month reward that you can use toward additional equipment.
Cove offers customer service via a help center on its website, by phone, and by 24/7 chat. The online help center includes an easy-to-navigate library of frequently asked questions and troubleshooting literature aimed at helping customers solve issues on their own.
We were able to test Cove’s tech support when we ran into trouble with our installation. The customer service agent was knowledgeable and friendly. They patiently walked us through the fix for our technical problem and made sure we were up and running before letting us go.
Following the call, Cove asked us to complete a brief survey, a good sign that it is committed to making its customer service experience a good one.
In reviewing data privacy for Cove, we were happy to discover the company has had no data breaches, which is not something that applies to all home security companies.
That said, Cove does log a fair amount of user data, including IP addresses, browser data, device types, and country location, which means customer data could be compromised in the event of a data breach.
We also liked the fact that Cove has a policy that prevents its monitoring service from accessing any video feed or saved video clips, a key security measure given the highly publicized internal breaches at other home security companies (2).