abode vs. Nest Secure Security System Review

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Looking for an incredibly minimalist smart security system? You’ve come to the right review. If you’ve heard of one of these two companies, it’s most likely Nest. Owned by Google, Nest was originally founded in 2010 with the Nest Learning Thermostat. Four years later, Google bought it for a cool three billion dollars, and three years later, their first security system had arrived, namely Nest Secure.

On the other hand, abode is a really interesting company as well. It was founded in 2014 by a former ADT executive who wanted to create systems that put the user in total control, and let me tell you, he definitely succeeded in this regard.

In this review, I’m comparing the abode Essentials Starter Kit with Nest Secure. Who will come out on top? Let’s find out together!

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Nest Secure
  • DIY installation
  • Professional monitoring not required
  • $399 for security system

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abode Essentials Starter Kit
  • DIY or professional installation
  • Professional monitoring optional
  • $391 for Starter Kit plus abode Cam

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Key Similarities of abode vs. Nest Secure

To make sure you’re choosing between two systems that fit your needs, I want to first talk about what abode and Nest Secure have in common.

  • Minimalist systems: Each system only has a few components, but you can add on extras if you’d like.
  • DIY installation: You’ll install both the abode and Nest Secure systems yourself, unless you choose to pay for professional installation for abode through HelloTech.
  • Integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Philips Hue, Yale, LIFX, and more: Both of these systems are known for their plethora of smart platform integrations, allowing for voice commands and home automation.

Key Differences of abode vs. Nest Secure

Now, the differences are what’s going to influence your buying decision the most. Of course, there are tons of differences between abode and Nest Secure, but here are some of the most important:

  • Monitoring costs: abode has more affordable monitoring options if you sign up for a year, $200 compared to a minimum of $228 with Nest.
  • Optional professional monitoring: Only abode offers on-demand professional monitoring, giving the user more flexibility.
  • iPhone app ratings: While the Nest app has a 2.1 rating on the Apple store, the abode app is slightly better at 3.1.

abode vs. Nest Secure System Components

abode Essentials Starter Kit vs. Nest Secure System Components
abode Essentials Starter Kit vs. Nest Secure System Components

The abode Essentials Starter Kit and Nest Secure are both pre-packaged kits that I added indoor cameras to. The abode Starter Kit cost $279, and $391 in total when I added the abode Cam. Nest Secure costs $399 plus around $199 for the camera for a total of $600, so abode is certainly more affordable, but let’s take a closer look at the components.

abode Essentials Starter Kit System Components

abode-camera-review
abode Camera

The abode Essentials Starter Kit includes a Gateway, otherwise known as a base station, a mini door/ window sensor, a motion sensor, as well as a key fob. I added the abode Cam, as no security system is completely without an indoor camera.

Nest Secure System Components

Nest Secure Security System
Nest Secure Security System

Nest Secure includes a Nest Guard, which is a base station, two Nest Detect Sensors, and two Nest Tags (a.k.a key fobs). I also use the Nest Cam Indoor with my system, although I can choose to use the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nest Hello, or any other Nest products with my security system.

Installing abode vs. Nest Secure

While Nest Secure only offers DIY installation, abode offers both DIY and professional, if you don’t mind paying an extra fee.

Installing abode

abode-iota-security-system-review
abode iota SD Slot

Now, I chose to install the Essentials Starter Kit myself, but abode does offer professional installation through HelloTech, which starts at $99. However, I think that professional installation is unnecessary, as the system isn’t at all difficult to install.

First, you install the Gateway. Use the abode app for step-by-step instructions, or the web app if you like that better. After you plug in the Gateway with power and ethernet adapters, you simply peel off the adhesive backings from the sensors and stick them on the walls. Then, install your camera by plugging it into the ethernet adapter and connecting to Wi-Fi. It’s a really simple process from start to finish, so save your $99 for something more fun!

Installing Nest Secure

nest-secure-installation-review
Installing the Nest Guard

Nest Secure is also very easy to set up. The first thing you do is plug in the Nest Guard, lighting up it’s edges. Next, scan the Guard’s QR code into the Nest app, which prompts step-by step-instructions. You’ll test out your motion detectors, create a password, add multiple users, and do the same for the Nest Detect Sensors and Nest Tags. The process took about ten minutes from start to finish.

Top System Installation

I’m going to give the win to Nest as it doesn’t require an ethernet adapter to install, although both systems had easy, DIY installation.

abode vs. Nest Secure Professional Monitoring

Professional Monitoring
Professional Monitoring

Both abode and Nest give you the option to self-monitor your system through it’s respective app, if you want to avoid paying monthly or yearly fees. However, I recommend that you sign up for 24/7 professional monitoring.

Let’s say you’re out of town when one of your motion sensors goes off. Of course, you’ll be notified through the mobile app, but what if you aren’t available to check the scene out through livestream and contact the police if necessary? If you don’t respond to a notification, the monitoring team will check in on your home security, day or night. After verifying an emergency, they can contact emergency services for you, be it the police, or your local hospital or fire department.

Cellular Backup
Cellular Backup

I also recommend that you get cellular backup, which will keep your system on in the event of a power outage.

abode vs. Nest Secure Monitoring Options

abode vs. Nest Monitoring Options
abode vs. Nest Monitoring Options

Cellular backup and professional monitoring will cost you $20 a month or $200 a year with abode, or with Nest, $19 or $29 a month or $228 or $348 a month, depending if you choose to do a monthly or three-year plan. All Nest’s monitoring is outsourced to Brinks Home Security. One important feature that abode has that Nest lacks is on-demand professional monitoring. It only costs $8 for three days or $15 for a week and is a great way to see how you like professional monitoring, or to use it for days you are away.

Altogether, your cheapest option is paying $19 a month for professional monitoring and cellular backup from Nest Secure, if you want both features 24/7. However, it’s not a far crime from abode’s Secure plan, which costs $20 a month and includes cloud storage. With Nest, cloud storage is a separate cost, and the prices are pretty steep.

nest-aware-storage
Nest Aware Storage

abode vs. Nest Secure Contracts

While all of abode’s plans are flexible and month-to-month, Nest offers a monthly plan as well as a discounted three year plan if you’re ready to make that commitment.

abode vs. Nest Secure Moving Policies

Since both systems offer DIY installation, you can pick them up and move them to your new place all by yourself, or pay for professional monitoring for abode if you wish.

Top System for Monitoring

Although Nest Secure has a slightly cheaper option, I’m going to give abode the win for this category due to it’s on-demand professional monitoring. But at the end of the day, both of these systems have affordable and flexible professional monitoring and cellular backup, which I greatly appreciate.

abode vs. Nest Secure Customer Support 

If you need help with your abode or Nest security system, you can contact both companies by phone, email, or check out their online support center. Nest also offers a live chat as well as help over Twitter. To see what other abode and Nest customers had to say about their support, I turned to Amazon and Google.

On Amazon, the abode Essentials Starter Kit has a 4.3 rating, which is really good. When I looked at reviews that mentioned customer support specifically, however, I saw that 2/3 of them were negative, with many people saying that support was near impossible to reach. Of course, abode recently changed it’s customer support policies to give support to everyone across all plans, so I’m hoping this reviews will improve over time.

Nest has a 4.3 rating on Google, but out of the 25 reviews that mentioned customer support, about half of them were negative. In my own experience, the representative had a lot of trouble answering pretty basic questions, but of course, your experience is going to vary depending on who you speak to, so it’s really a toss up.

Top System for Customer Support

Overall, Nest has better customer support than abode, although neither company is really killing it in this category. Now it’s two to one, and it all comes down to the app.

The abode vs. Nest App

abode vs Nest Apps
abode vs Nest Apps

Finally, we have the apps, your mobile command center for home security. Which system has a more user-friendly app? Let’s dive in!

The abode App

The abode App

On the abode app, you’ll livestream footage, receive notifications, and control any connected devices you may have and set up smart platform integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, Nest, Philips Hue lightbulbs, ecobee, LIFX, Yale, Kwikset, Z-wave, First Alert, and IFTTT. The app has ratings of 3.1 on the Apple store and 4.2 on the Google Play store, which is pretty decent. 

The Nest App

nest-app-review
Facial Recognition on the Nest App

The Nest app is where you’ll arm and disarm your system, check event history, receive notifications, livestream footage, and more. While the app has a decent 3.8 star rating on the Google Play store, Apple-users only gave it a 2.1. Many people were angry that you can’t turn off the status light on the Nest cameras, so that’s something to keep in mind. Bryan Meyer, an iPhone user, wrote in a recent one-star review,

“I don’t understand why Alphabet, also known as Google, also known as Nest decided to remove a much desired feature that existed on the originally purchased cameras. The feature I am talking about is the ability to turn off the status light on the front of Nest cameras.”

Top System App

Clearly, abode has the better app across the board.

Recap of abode vs. Nest Secure

If you’ve been paying attention, then you know that the score is two to one in favor of abode. While both have their strengths and weaknesses, overall abode is cheaper and has more flexible options, along with a better app. However, Nest is better when it comes to installation and customer support. Of course, your decision is going to differ based on what you want in a home security system, so let me break it down even further.

Pick abode if you’d like…

  • DIY or professional installation: If you don’t want to install your security system yourself, you can get HelloTech to do it for you, starting at $99.
  • Better app: abode’s app has higher ratings on Androids and iPhones alike.
  • Optional on-demand professional monitoring: Only abode offers professional monitoring for three days or a week.

Pick Nest Secure if you’d like…

  • Superior customer support: Although neither company is known for it’s stellar customer support, Nest is slightly better than abode in this regard.
  • Longer warranty: While abode’s system only comes with a one year warranty, Nest gives you a two year limited warranty.
  • Lower price for professional monitoring: Sure, the difference is only a dollar per month, but that will add up if you use your system for years.

If neither security system seems like the one for you, check out the best security systems of 2019. Or, to learn more about either system, read our full written reviews of abode and Nest Secure.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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