Founded in Spring 2018, Cove is the latest home security company on the block. They pride themselves on their low-cost professional monitoring, their lack of long-term contracts, and their affordable prices. Unlike many security companies, Cove doesn’t force you to talk to high-pressure salesmen. Instead, you can order your system right through their website- they even have a quiz that determines what system is right for you! I’m loving Cove’s website and sales process, and their 4.9 star rating on Google is definitely intriguing. That’s how I ended up with a security system from Cove so I could see for myself how the main panel, sensors, and key remote work.
In this review, I’ll discuss what I got in the Cove security system, as well as how well it works and how easy it was to set up. Next, I’ll cover your professional monitoring options, how customer support works and finally, the Cove mobile app. Let’s jump in!
With flexible monthly contracting and options to pay a little each month, Cove offers an incredibly affordable DIY system.
What’s in the Cove System?
The Cove security system that I bought includes a Cove Touch Alarm Panel, a door sensor, a motion sensor, and a key remote. Next, I’ll talk about some of Cove’s offerings that I didn’t purchase, like the window sensor, glass break detector, smoke detector, flood sensor, CO detector, and medical button.
Unfortunately, Cove does not have any security cameras of its own, although they claim that they’re working on it. I noticed during their holiday sale, however, that you can get a discount off your equipment plus a free YI camera. I already had the YI camera they offered, so I’m going to write about it as well.
Let’s talk about each item and what it does.
Cove Touch Alarm Panel
The Cove Touch Alarm Panel is a tablet that controls your entire security system. I like that it’s wireless and doesn’t mount to a wall- this is a trend in newer security systems, and I think it’s a step up. From the alarm panel, you can arm and disarm your security system and monitor environmental factors like smoke and carbon monoxide. If you have multiple people you’d like to be able to arm and disarm your security system, you can add up to 20 user codes. Keep in mind that other users won’t be able to change any other settings, which is great if you’re a control freak like me.
All of the sensors connect through the alarm panel, which has integrated cellular radio. I love that cellular backup comes built in to the system because it means that your security system will stay on even if your power goes out. Plus, the panel is self-diagnosing, and regularly tests to ensure that its communicating with all of the sensors. It will even tell you when battery life is low in any of your system’s components!
Finally, the panel comes with two-way audio so you’ll be able to communicate with the professional monitoring team, plus crash and smash detection and a built-in siren. If a burglar tries to harm the panel in anyway, you’ll be alerted and the siren will sound. With so many capabilities built into one panel, I feel pretty good about the Cove system so far.
The door sensor comes preprogrammed with the Cove Touch Alarm Panel, meaning the two are already connected. It can tell when a door is opened or closed. The sensor is wireless and has a battery of at least five years, so you don’t have to worry about changing it every few months. Plus, it tests itself every 60 minutes to make sure it’s still connecting with the panel correctly, which makes your life a whole lot easier. In the panel, you can customize the name of your sensor so you’ll receive even more specific notifications (like that your kitchen door has been opened). The door sensor works with all door styles and is easy to install- but we’ll get to that later.
Every security system needs a motion sensor! Cove recommends you put them in high traffic, central areas. For larger homes, you may want to have multiple motion sensors. Like the door sensor, the motion sensor has a battery life of at least five years, tests itself every 60 minutes, and has a customizable name in your alarm panel. Worried your dog is going to trigger the motion sensor every 30 seconds? This sensor doesn’t detect pets under 45 pounds, so you won’t receive unnecessary notifications. Additionally, Cove allows you to arm some but not all of your sensors, so you can walk around at night without setting off your alarm system.
Too lazy to find your Cove Touch Alarm Panel? Simply use the key remote, which allows you to arm and disarm your system with just one touch. You can have multiple key remotes for different people- just put it on your key chain with the rest of your keys, or in a spot that burglars won’t immediately discover. The key remote works from up to 100 yards from your home, so you can disarm your system as you’re walking toward your house or arm it from a ways away. The remote also comes equipped with a panic button that connects with local authorities, a useful feature if you are ever in an emergency situation where talking would compromise your safety. The remote has a battery life of over five years, like the motion and door sensors.
YI 1080p Indoor Camera
Although Cove doesn’t make any security cameras of their own, their system integrates with the YI 1080p indoor camera. Let’s go over the basics.
As you can see, the YI camera is pretty modern and minimalist. It’s super thin and weights only about four ounces. You can tilt the base forwards and backwards, and can even detach the lens from the base, if you want.
Now, let’s talk about what the YI camera can actually do. Does it pass Security Baron’s Necessary Features test?
Let’s find out.
Given it’s name, it’s obvious that this YI camera has 1080p HD video display, the industry standard. The camera also allows for four times digital zoom, which can be helpful if you do need to identify an intruder. The only thing I’m a little disappointed with is the YI’s field of view- it’s a bit narrow at 112 degrees. I prefer the viewing angle to be around 130 degrees at least. However, as you can see this camera shoots clear, vibrant video and that’s the most important thing. Full marks for video.
Like the Cove Touch Alarm Panel, the YI camera has two-way audio, which means that you’ll be able to communicate with whoever’s in the room through your Cove app. Full marks for audio!
I love infrared night vision because of its stealth. Unlike a bright white light, infrared sensors don’t show themselves, so you’ll be able to record in secret. With eight infrared LED sensors, the YI definitely provides excellent night vision. Full marks!
Whenever I’m picking out a security camera, I always make sure to look out for cloud and local storage. Lucky for me, the YI indoor camera has a slot for a 32 G micro-SD card as well as seven days of cloud storage on the house. This is a pretty good deal, although you’ll need to buy the SD card separately. If you’re looking for more cloud storage, you can pay $9.99 a month to receive 14 days or $14.99 to receive a month of cloud storage for up to five cameras.
Smart Platform Integration
Given the camera’s excellent qualities so far, I’m a little disappointed that it doesn’t integrate with any smart home platforms. If you were looking to verbally commend your camera using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, the YI is definitely not the camera for you.
In the same vein, the YI indoor camera doesn’t have any artificial intelligence capabilities, so it can’t give you specific notifications like that a person walked in your living room or that your kids are home. Instead, you’ll only be notified of movement, so you’ll have to check your live stream to see what’s really going on.
Despite its lack of smart platform integrations and artificial intelligence, I still think the YI camera is a solid choice, especially if you get it with Cove’s deal. To learn more, read our full review of the YI 1080p Indoor Camera.
For your ground floor windows or any windows that are easily accessible, there’s the window sensors. They can tell when a window has been opened or closed, although they should not be used for windows that roll-out with a crank (you’ll use glass break detectors for these, which I discuss next). They can, however, be used on sliding glass doors. The window sensors also come pre-programmed with the control panel, have a five year battery life, and test themselves every hour. Of course, you’ll be able to add custom names to your window sensors leading to more specific notifications. If you want, you can set up the sensor to chime or announce every time the window is opened or closed (although this just seems annoying to me).
Glass Break Detector
The glass break detectors are perfect for sliding glass doors, along with any crank-down window. They can detect when glass breaks within a radius of 15 feet and should be used in an area with a lot of windows. One detector can cover more than one window, which is great for your bank account. This detector comes equipped with tamper protection and dual shatter recognition technology, meaning that you’ll be alerted if someone tries to mess with it. Of course, like the other sensors, the glass break detector has a battery life of over five years, comes pre-programmed for easy setup, and can be named in your Cove Touch Alarm Panel. My only criticism is that the glass break detector, unlike the motion and door sensors, looks bulky and old-school. It’s not the sleekest glass break detector I’ve ever seen, to put it lightly.
Cove’s smoke detector catches fires before they take over. You should put the it outside of your bedrooms or in a family room. Cove doesn’t recommend you put the smoke detector in a cooking area, as you may get some false alarms. And you guessed it- the smoke detector has a battery life of over five years, self-tests every hour, and can be custom-named in the alarm panel.
The advantage of having a smart smoke detector is that it connects with your professional monitoring team as well as your mobile app, ensuring that a fire emergency will be covered even if you’re not home.
Cove’s flood sensor will let you know if you have a leak before it turns into an indoor swimming pool. Put the flood sensor under water heaters, refrigerators, sinks, or anyone with running water. It can even detect freezes which occur before potential leaks. The sensor tests itself every hour to make sure it works correctly, so you’ll know about a leak the instant that it happens. The battery has a shorter life than the other sensors, but still pretty long at about three to five years.
Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, colorless, and potentially deadly in high enough concentrations. Cove’s carbon monoxide detector should be placed near bedrooms or even in your utility room to sense CO from your fuel burning equipment. The detector has a battery life of over five years, test itself every hour, comes pre-programmed with the alarm panel, and can be named for more specific notifications.
If your CO detector goes off, you can press its hush button to silence the alarm for five minutes, while the security panel will continue to sound. In this event, everyone should leave the house immediately, including pets.
Last but not least is the medical button, a way to instantly contact emergency services. The button can be worn for easy access, making it great for the elderly or anyone with limited mobility. You can even wear it in the shower, as the button is waterproof. If you prefer, you can keep the button near your bed so you can access it at night. As long as its 100 yards away from the Cove Touch Alarm Panel, it’ll continue to work.
The button comes pre-programmed with your alarm panel, and you can set it to contact medical services, the fire department, or the police. Please note that the medical button doesn’t have automatic fall detection– you’ll have to manually push the button to contact medical services. The button has a five year battery life and an LED light for notifications.
Your installation process begins right when you buy your Cove security system. Right away, you’ll give Cove the information necessary to pre-program your system, namely your address and what components you are getting. Once you get your system, the first thing you’ll set up is the alarm panel. Just take it out, plug it in, and go through a few setup screens. Then, you’ll make your passcode. You don’t even have to connect the alarm panel to Wi-Fi, making this process even quicker.
From there, you set up the motion and entry sensors. Both have our favorite 3M adhesive, although you can also place the motion sensor on a flat surface. You’ll test every system component both alone and on a phone call with a Cove support member. After everything is setup, your system enters a testing period to ensure everything is working. This period can last anywhere from two hours to a full day— it’s totally your call. All in all, it was really easy to install the Cove security system and I feel totally confident that I did it right.
With flexible monthly contracting and options to pay a little each month, Cove offers an incredibly affordable DIY system.
Professional Monitoring with Cove
Professional monitoring is included with any Cove security system, which I’m surprised about. Most newer security companies let you choose whether or not you want to self-monitor. However, I do recommend that you have 24/7 professional monitoring with any security system, so this is alright by me. Still, if you’re looking to self-monitor, you might want to check out the Nest Secure security system.
How monitoring works
24/7 professional monitoring outsources your home’s security to a team of professionals. Say one of your motion sensors goes off when your system is armed. Not only will you receive a notification via your mobile device or tablet, but the professional monitoring team will also be alerted. From there, they can handle the situation for you, whether that means contacting the police, the fire department, or any other emergency services. Professional monitoring is a necessity because you’re not always going to be available to handle your home’s safety, whether it’s an intrusion or an environmental issue. Professional monitoring gives you another layer of protection to go along with your physical security system.
Cove’s professional monitoring center is TMA Five Diamond Certified and UL-listed. Plus, they are hot-redundant with two locations, meaning that if one location loses connection, the other will immediately take over.
Cove has two plans: the Basic Plan and the Value Plan. As you can see, both include 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular data which ensures that your system will stay on during a power outage.
I’m a little disappointed that you must get the Value Plan to be able to remotely control your system or receive mobile alerts. Both of these features are key elements of any smart security system, so I think it’s a bit ridiculous that you have to pay minimum $25 a month on top of what you’re already paying for equipment to be able to monitor your system. Now let’s talk about Cove InstaText and Cove LiveAssist.
If you love to text, you’re in luck- your professional monitoring team can text you during emergencies, making a response time 10 times faster than with other providers. You can even have the monitoring team text a group so you can all stay updated!
Let’s talk through a scenario. Say a motion sensor in your living room goes off. Cove will immediately text you asking if you want them to send help, call you, or do nothing. From there, you can text back your answer, and receive help within 30 seconds. Not too shabby!
Another way to communicate with your professional monitoring team is through Cove LiveAssist, which utilize your alarm panel’s two-way audio. If you’re home, Cove team members can immediately speak to you through the panel, creating a much faster response than if they had to call your phone.
Cove does not have any long-term contracts. Everything is month-to-month, and if you cancel before paying the full cost of your equipment, you’ll simply have to complete the payment and won’t receive any additional fees.
Cove has an interesting payment structure. You can either choose to “Pay Now” or “Pay Later or Never”. Let me explain.
If you choose to “Pay Now,” you’ll pay for all of your equipment up front. From there, the Basic Plan would cost $15 a month, while the Value Plan would cost $25 a month. Here, Cove incentivizes you to pay for your equipment up front by giving you a $10 a month discount.
If you choose to “Pay Later or Never,” Cove will cover your first $500 worth of equipment. If you have the equipment for over three years, you never have to pay for it. However, if you cancel your plan before three years, you’ll need to pay it out. The Basic Plan costs $25 a month under this pay structure, while the Value Plan costs $35 a month.
Ultimately, it’s your decision whether you want to pay all upfront costs or not, but the good news is that Cove has a 60-day money back guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your system within the first two months, you can return it for a full refund. Given the flexibility here, I’d recommend doing the “Pay Now” plan. Your monthly costs will be less, and if you don’t like your system, you can get back all the money you paid for the equipment. Keep in mind that if you move, you can easily take your system with you- you’ll just need to alert Cove of your address change.
Cove Customer Support
Now that we’ve covered professional monitoring, let’s talk customer support.
How Cove’s Customer Support Works
If you need help with your Cove security system, you can check out the online support center, which has a large section of FAQ’s and helpful articles. If you prefer to speak to someone directly, you can do so through live chat, phone, email, an online form, or even snail mail.
Personally, I had a great experience with Cove’s customer support team. I had a few questions about the professional monitoring options, so being the anti-social millennial that I am, I used the live-chat feature. I received prompt, informative answers that spoke to my question directly. I truly felt like my representative was trying to help me, unlike many other companies which sacrifice customer support for an aggressive sales team. Kudos to Cove for training their customer support team to support customers, not to sell.
Unfortunately, Cove is such a new company that they don’t have a page on the Better Business Bureau. However, they do have a 4.9 star rating on Google, combining reviews from Google customers and TRUSTPILOT. From 129 reviews, 96% were five stars. Clearly, this is an amazing rating. Almost all of the reviews that I was able to see praised the customer support team.
“This company’s customer service is up there with Apple’s in my opinion. Never ever have I had a better customer experience than I have with this company. They’re always friendly and so helpful!”
read a five star review. That’s exactly what I like to hear!
The Cove App
The Cove app is your mobile command center of your security system. Let’s see what you can do with it, and what customers think.
From the Cove app, you can arm and disarm your system, livestream footage, receive notifications, and control your connected devices (depending on which monitoring plan you choose, of course).
I’m hoping that customers love the Cove app as much as they love their customer support. To find out, I checked reviews from the Apple and Google Play stores.
The Cove app received a 4.3 out of five star rating from the Apple store. While this isn’t the highest rating I’ve seen from a security app, it’s definitely one of the better ones. Most of the reviews were five stars, and one person summed up the app’s abilities nicely,
“Sometimes, at night I don’t want to get out of bed to arm the alarm and I do it from the app. For a lazy guy like me, this app is perfect,”
a man wrote in a five star review.
Unfortunately, the app didn’t fare as well on the Google Store. It has a 3.8 rating from only five users. Since this sample size is so small, we can’t put too much weight on it.
Recap of the Cove Security System
So, is the Cove security system right for you? Let’s recap.
The system’s best features include its:
- Month-to-month contracts
- Option to pay later or never
- Great customer support
- Mobile app with decent ratings
- 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup included with either subscription plan
- 60 day money back guarantee
- Pre-programmed system
- InstaText and LiveAssist
However, there are a few things that may scare a customer, like:
- Mobile notifications and remote control of system not included
- No option to self-monitor
- No smart platform integrations as of now
- No Cove-branded security cameras
Do you still have questions about the Cove security system? Write them below, or leave us a comment- we’d love to hear from you.
To learn about other fantastic options, read the best home security systems of 2019.