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Abode Security Review

DIY Security System

Abode security system

Abode Security System

The Abode Alarm system is a flexible DIY security system that allows you to build a custom system to match your needs. You can opt for a free plan, a $6/mo self-monitored plan, a $20/mo professionally-monitored plan, or an on-demand package that provides professional monitoring on an “as needed” basis. Based on our tests, we found this system quick to setup, easy to use, and lets you only pay for what you need.Check Price

Pros

  • Offers a lot of add-on accessories if you want / need them
  • Affordable plan for the Abode Standard subscription
  • On-demand professional monitoring; only pay when you need it
  • CUE feature within app allows for increased security system integration with your other smart home devices

Cons

  • Some plans rely exclusively on internet connection (cellular backup available with Pro subscription)
  • Backup battery only lasts between 5-8 hours, depending on usage

Scoring

DIY System with Flexible Monitoring Plans
  • Design - 97%
    97%
  • Performance - 97%
    97%
  • Quality - 94%
    94%
  • Usability - 95%
    95%
  • Value - 95%
    95%
96%

Summary

The Abode security system offers flexible packages, add-on accessories, and good options for monitoring (self-monitored, professionally-monitored, or on-demand monitoring). The setup only took us 15 minutes and the parts came pre-configured so it was quick and easy to get going. I also really liked all of the optional accessories—a good selection of sensors, cameras, and other specialty detectors. During our tests, we found Abode simple and effective to use.

Pricing & Packages

Abode security systems are a little simpler than other brands we’re tested. They offer 2 security system sets pre-packaged or you can build your own system.

Here is a quick summary of the two security system kits that Abode offers.

  • The Ioda is designed to be a starter kit with more basic devices.
  • The Smart Security system represents Abode’s top-of-the-line collection.

Each system is available in three variations with different numbers of devices— Essentials, Elite, and Plus.

Check out the comparison below:

Ioda All-in-One

Abode Ioda all-in-one security kit

Includes:

  • 1 gateway hub (all-in-1)
  • 0 motion sensor
  • 1 mini door / window sensor
  • 1 key fob
Check Price

Smart Security

Abode Smart Security kit

Includes:

  • 1 gateway hub (gen 2)
  • 1 motion sensor
  • 1 mini door / window sensor
  • 1 key fob
Check Price

Within these two class of systems, there are upgraded versions for the Elite or Plus collection. Here’s the breakdown of what you would get with each system.

Ioda Kit Plus:

  • All-In-One Gateway
  • 3 Mini Door/Window Sensors
  • 1 Keypad 2.0
  • 1 Key Fob

Smart Security Kit Plus:

  • Gen 2 Gateway
  • 3 Mini Door/Window Sensors
  • 1 Keypad 2.0
  • 1 Key Fob
  • 1 Motion Sensor
  • 1 Sticker

Ioda Kit Elite:

  • All-In-One Gateway
  • 4 Mini Door/Window Sensors
  • 1 Keypad 2.0
  • 1 Key Fob
  • 1 Motion Sensor

Smart Security Kit Elite:

  • Gen 2 Gateway
  • 4 Mini Door/Window Sensors
  • 1 Keypad 2.0
  • 1 Key Fob
  • 2 Motion Sensors
  • 1 Sticker

Monitoring Pricing

Abode Standard

$6 / mo

Abode Plus

$20 / mo

Abode Free vs. Standard vs. Pro

 Abode FreeAbode StandardAbode Pro
Price Starting AtFree$6/month$20/month
ConnectionEthernetEthernetEthernet; cellular backup
Mobile AppYesYesYes
Email NotificationsYesYesYes
Push Notifications to Mobile DeviceYesYesYes
Live FeedYesYesYes
Smart IntegrationsYesYesYes
Camera Cloud StorageNone7-day storage30-day storage
AutomationsNoYesYes
Activity TimelineNoYesYes
24/7 Professional MonitoringNoOn-DemandYes
Trial30-day30-day30-day
Warranty1-Year1-Year1-Year

The costs listed above are standard monthly costs for each option, but you can also opt to do an annual plan.

For the Abode Standard, it would be $60/year and the Pro Plan is $200/year. Once you’re locked in, Abode also ensures that the rate will never increase so that’s a benefit as well.

Equipment

The Abode security system includes a variety of different devices and tools depending on which package you opt for.

Abode security system

Here’s a rundown of exactly what each device does:

#1. Gateway

The Gateway is the central hub of communication and the base station for the Abode system. If you opt for the Ioda system, you’ll receive the “all-in-one gateway” and if you go for the Smart Security system, you’ll receive the “Gen 2 Gateway“.

NOTE: Our system included the Gen 2 gateway so the basis of our review is on that particular device.

Abode security system - Gen 2 Gateway
Abode security system – Gen 2 Gateway

With both gateways, the connection is via Ethernet (not wireless) and also has a limited battery backup (5-8 hours depending on usage). With a paid subscription to the Pro plan, you will also receive cellular backup.

Abode security gateway setup
Abode security gateway setup

How does it look?

The Gateway hub is pretty sleek and fairly compact. Since it needs Ethernet, you’ll probably need to have it near your router so that may be something to consider when you’re thinking about placement and install.

Abode security gateway input / outputs
Abode security gateway input / outputs

Setting Up the Gateway

  • Quick and easy setup. Plug it in and turn it on. As you set up the app, it automatically sets itself up and gets any updates it may need.
  • Comes pre-configured. Our gateway was already pre-configured with all of the devices included in our kit, a small, but really nice extra. This saved setup time and made the install process that much easier.
  • Delay to exit. When you arm the system gives you 60 seconds to leave the house before it goes active.
  • Loud siren. Honestly, it’s quite loud and would certainly do the job of deterring any suspicious activity if it went off unexpectedly.
  • No verbal notification. The gateway doesn’t offer any verbal notifications. Like “System armed” or “door open”, etc. It just beeps…which I guess isn’t that big of a deal, but I will say I have become accustomed to the verbal commands from other systems, which I tend to prefer.

#2. Door / Window Sensor

The door / window sensor works similarly to other contact sensors we’ve tested.

It is a 2-piece assembly where one part installs on a permanent part of the door or window (like the frame or trim) and the other part installs on a moveable part (like the window panel or physical door).

Back view of the Abode security door / window sensor
Back view of the Abode security door / window sensor

On the back, there is a velcro adhesive that makes for a quick and flexible installation.

Abode 2-part door / window sensor
Abode 2-part door / window sensor

Install Notes:

During our install, I did note that it needs to be a little closer to the contact sensor that other systems we’ve tested thus far.

Fortunately, the door / window sensor comes with a velcro strip on the back, so I was able to move it a little bit closer, while still being able to clear the door itself.

The Abode door / window sensor installed on our door
The Abode door / window sensor installed on our door

This may just be something conditional with our particular site conditions, but it feels worth pointing out.

#3. Key Fob

The Key Fob for Abode has a compact size and easy to use interface. Like most other fobs, it allows you to remotely arm or disarm your system without having to enter a numerical code.

This fob does use an icon system, as opposed to word labels.

  • Dot = away
  • Dot within circle = home
  • X = disarm
  • Plus = optional panic button
Abode security key fob

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the icons. It seems like they should have just labeled the buttons with words.

That said, it’s small, fits on a key chain, and does the job.

FOB button close up
FOB button close up

From our tests, this fob worked well at both close and long-range. I tested it up to 50 feet away outside the building and it still had no problems connecting.

#4. Motion Sensor

The Motion Sensor for Abode feels pretty standard compared to similar sensors from other companies.

It is easy to install and works silently in the background, which makes it an attractive addition to your system.

Abode security - motion sensor
Abode security – motion sensor

Other Items

In addition to the items listed above, there is a pretty wide selection of other devices and accessories available to expand the capabilities of the Abode system.

Abode devices setup
Abode devices setup

Here is a quick list of some of their most popular items:

Door & Window Sensor

Motion Sensor

Cameras

Other Accessories

Abode devices setup

Installation & Setup

Setup and install of the Abode system was simple and actually quicker than most systems that we’ve tested thus far.

Abode security system setup

Compared to traditional security systems, DIY systems like Abode can offer cost savings and user-friendly features that are not typically available in the classic home security setup.

DIY Systems

  • Contract-free
  • Flexible packages
  • Wireless or battery-powered
  • Easy to take the system with you if you move
  • Inexpensive cost per month

Traditional Systems

  • Lengthy contracts
  • Costly start-up fees
  • Require professional installation
  • May have penalties if you move or cancel the contract before the term is up
  • Tends to lack transparency

NOTE: These are generalities and may not be true for every system.

Getting Started with Abode

Abode has one of the faster installations that we’ve done to date—only 5 minutes to unbox and 15 minutes to set up.

Unboxing Time

5 mins

Setup Time

15 mins

The increased setup speed is due to 2 main factors.

  1. We got one of the smaller system sizes so there were fewer devices.
  2. The devices were already pre-configured to the Gateway base station.

As a result, all I needed to do was set up the base and then the 3 devices were already on the portal. Aside from the physical task of setting them up, I didn’t need to do anything to connect them to the Gateway digitally.

Installing the Devices

As is standard, both the motion sensor and door / window sensors came with double-sided tape / velcro mounts. However, the double-sided tape was not pre-installed. I had to install it myself.

Even so, it really wasn’t hard at all. Just remove the backing and stick it on there.

Adhesive back on the Abode security devices
Adhesive back on the Abode security devices

The larger side of the door / entry sensor included 3M double-sided velcro, which is a really nice extra…most notably because it allows you to bring the sensor a little closer or further away after install.

Abode 3M velcro mount
Abode 3M velcro mount

This actually ended up being critical for us, as the normal distance I install these sensors was too far with the Abode. So having the velcro install allowed me to pull it off and move it another quarter-inch closer to the other contact sensor.

The Process

For the setup all I really needed to do was:

  • Install the base station
  • Download the app
  • Enter the install code from the box
  • Setup my account

That’s it. From that point forward, everything else pre-configured itself. The whole process was incredibly easy.

Features

So we’ve touched on the packages, subscription plans, and physical devices. Now let’s talk features.

#1. Accessibility

With Abode security, there are a number of different ways that you can access the system.

  1. All subscription plans offer smartphone integration or voice control (when paired with a device like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.)
  2. You can also use an in-hand key fob for quick controls.
  3. Lastly, there are access controls that can be seen on the Gateway itself.
Amazon Alexa Echo Plus review

#2. Smart Integrations

The Abode setup integrates with quite a few other apps / hardware. This includes:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Apple HomeKit
  • Bose
  • Ecobee
  • Google Assistant
  • IFTTT
  • Kwikset
  • LIFX
  • Philips HUE
  • Schlage
  • Sonos
  • ZWave

Smart integration allows you to control the system with other devices outside of the Abode collection or even via voice control. You can also connect other devices with the Abode and sync them up to work together (ie: smart lights, speakers, etc.)

Yeelight in default mode
Yeelight in its default light mode (no color correction on image)

What is CUE?

Another important aspect of Abode’s automation technology is a system called CUE, an integrated part of the Abode Pro paid subscription.

CUE is a complete home automation platform that connects to and controls your smart home devices. It allows you to set up actions that make your home more accessible and easier to stay in control.

Abode CUE settings
Abode CUE settings

Here is a quick list of the some of the things you can do with CUE:

  • Create automations from mobile
  • Sunrise & sunset rules
  • Multiple trigger support
  • Conditions
  • Enhanced geo-location interface
  • Ability to fine-tune triggers and actions (i.e. longer than)
  • Blackout periods to prevent automations from executing
  • Simple rule creation wizard

This system can quickly become a partner to your already connected devices and I found it easy to set up and work with.

#3 On-Demand

One feature that is pretty unique to Abode is the option for on-demand professional monitoring.

This is incredibly handy and helps to keep the costs down.

You can regularly subscribe for the self-monitored subscription, but what happens when you go on vacation?

Abode offers 3 or 7 days of 24/7 coverage with no commitments or costly contracts. When you return and don’t need the protection, simply turn it off.

Professional monitoring is designed to help protect from:

  • Break-Ins and Burglary
  • Fire
  • Water Damage

#4 The Modes

The Abode security system has a few preset modes it can operate in. The modes include:

Home

  • Disarms interior motion sensors
  • Arms door / window sensors

Standby

  • Disarms interior motion sensors and door / window sensors
  • Arms smoke or water sensors active

Away

  • Arms all sensors and cameras

Monitoring

The Abode security system has three monitoring plans available.

  • Self-Monitoring: available with the Abode Standard plan
  • On-Demand: allows 3 or 7-day professional monitoring without permanently upgrading your subscription
  • Professional Monitoring: available with the Abode Pro plan

You can also use Abode without a paid subscription, but the features are more limited.

Without a paid plan, you could still have the option of controlling and self-monitoring, viewing live video, smart integrations, and getting push notifications. But you would give up the timeline feature, cannot store captured video content, or execute automations.

Setup instructions for the Abode security system

As we covered above, here is a quick side-by-side of the pricing structure:

Abode Standard

$6 / mo

Abode Pro

$20 / mo

The App

The Abode app feels pretty solid—even the free version is well featured, similar to Ring’s Alarm app in many ways (read our Ring Alarm review here).

Settings on the Abode security system app
Settings on the Abode security system app
Aboe Security app menu
Aboe Security app menu

Using the app, you can:

  • Arm / disarm the system.
  • View timeline (paid subscription)
  • View, add, and edit devices
  • Customize device settings
  • Setup Cues (paid subscription) – these let you automatically arm and disarm your system using geofence (basically as you leave / come home). In addition, there are other custom settings you can use.
  • View alarm history
  • Customize notifications
  • Integrate with other apps / hardware (Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Bose, Ecobee, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Sonos)
Abode app notifications
Abode app notifications

Customer Service

Moving right along, let’s review customer service. Any good customer service program is evaluated on two different levels:

  • Part 1 is support when making the initial purchase.
  • Part 2 is support when / if things go wrong after install.

Good customer service and communication are critical in both of these instances so for the sake of our review, we look at both and see how well each company meets the mark.

#1. Making the Initial Purchase

On the Abode website, it is pretty clear what the options are. There are organized packages and sets that state exactly what you’re getting.

RELATED: Compare Abode security systems here.

It’s also easy to see the list of other accessories or devices that Abode offers.

Abode security devices
Abode security devices

There is also an online chat to help answer any questions. I will admit, I used the chat and their answers seemed a little confusing and contradicted some of the stats listed on their site.

I’m not sure if I was just chatting with a new employee or if I was unclear in my question, but it wasn’t quite as easy as some other customer service platforms.

In addition to the online chat, they also offer:

  • 1-year warranty
  • 30-day free returns
  • Price match program

#2. When Things Go Wrong

So once you select a system and click buy, what next? A good customer service program will support customers from the initial purchase, through setup, and troubleshooting when needed.

So how does Abode rank?

Honestly, it’s pretty good. They offer device support for all devices and make it easy to ask a question that they may not have covered.

Abode security system troubleshooting

Abobe offers the following features for customers who already purchased a system:

  • Online chat
  • Video tutorials
  • Device support articles
  • Ability to “Submit a Request”
  • Phone number to call for support
  • Email address to message for support

The Bottom Line

So considering everything we’ve gone over, is the Abode a good security system?

I would say yes it is. The Abode is quick and easy to set up and their application is simple.

Whether you’re looking for a small, self-monitored setup or a larger complex system with the bells and whistles and professional monitoring, Abode likely has the right options for you.

The Abode security system is a good option for users who want:

  • On-Demand professional monitoring: This is a unique feature that we don’t see often, but the ability to opt for professional monitoring only when you need it can be an attractive feature for people who generally like to self-monitor, but sometimes want more when they travel or other special circumstances. Opt-in for 3 days or 7 days, as needed, and don’t pay for the time you don’t need.
  • Flexible devices: Abode offers a mix of detectors, sensors, cameras, sirens, and other specialty devices. While their pre-set packages seem small at first, the larger collection of accessories they offer can really take your security to the next level.
  • Home automation program: While it’s not uncommon for DIY security system to have options for home automation, the Abode CUE system is extremely user-friendly and offers automation options in the smartphone or web-based app. Setting up automations can help your security system be smarter and automatically change security settings based on certain conditions (ie: time of day, your location, etc).

Click here to check the price for the Abode Ioda starter pack.

Or click here to check the price for the Abode Smart Security Essentials pack.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have pay for a monthly subscription?

No. You can opt for the plan-less option, which gives you the option of controlling and self-monitoring, viewing live video, smart integrations, and getting push notifications. It does not have a timeline, cannot store captured video content, or execute automations.

What if you don’t like it?

The Abode security system comes with a 30-day trial period. If you decide that you don’t like it, you can simply send it back. Abode also has a 1-year warranty.

Does Abode offer professional monitoring?

Yes. Professional monitoring is included with the Abode Pro plan. The standard plan relies on self-monitoring. You can also enroll in On-Demand professional monitoring, as needed.

Can you buy more sensors after you’ve already made the initial purchase?

Yes. You can purchase additional devices and accessories any time after placing the initial order.

Does Abode offer security cameras?

Yes. There are currently two Abode cameras—the Abode cam (indoor) or the Outdoor Smart cam (outdoor).

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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