Piper Reviews: Home Security with No Monthly Fees or Contracts

Piper Review

You may have heard  of Piper in the conversation of self monitoring and DIY home security solutions. Well, there’s good reason. Piper has a few things going for it right off the bat: it’s simple to use, it has no monthly fees, and it requires no contracts. Piper is also a pretty nifty gadget that looks like it was designed to appear in a futuristic sci-fi movie, which doesn’t hurt either. But is Piper your best choice for home security, home automation, and video monitoring? We take a deep dive with Piper in this review and we break down pricing and various bundle options so you can see how it stacks up against the rest of the DIY home security competition.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No monthly fees or contracts
  • Some home automation features included
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • 180-degree panoramic camera for viewing an entire room at once
  • Partnership with Life360 helps remind you when to arm Piper
  • Robust and feature-rich

Cons

  • No professional monitoring
  • Some customer complaints about image quality
  • F rating with the BBB
  • Night vision only available on Piper nv
  • Doesn’t integrate with many third-party brands
  • No accessories included in base purchase

What Is Piper?

Piper is a DIY home security system made by Icontrol Networks. The device comes with a powerful deterrent siren of 105 dB, a motion detector, a sound detector, a microphone with two-way audio, a camera for video monitoring, and Z-Wave home automation technology.

Piper works a bit differently than most home security providers. In Piper’s case, you pay a one-time fee to purchase the device itself, or a bundle that includes the device and some accessories—but that’s the only expense. Icontrol is only selling you hardware as a single purchase, leaving it up to you how you’ll use it.

While additional features like home automation and two-way communication are nice, the primary purpose of Piper is home security. If Piper is armed and a loud noise or unexpected motion occurs in front of the device while it’s in security mode, you’ll be notified through your preferred combination of the following options:

  • Push message
  • Text
  • Email
  • Phone call

This is all pretty standard stuff with home security, but there’s a major caveat with Piper: unlike many home security systems that feature professional monitoring, Piper doesn’t offer monitoring, so you have to take on that duty yourself. Piper’s camera can transmit live footage and record video, but it’s still up to you to keep track and respond appropriately if you see something suspicious.

Using Piper

To use Piper, download the Piper app to your iOS or Android device, plug your Piper into a power outlet, and run the setup to connect to Wi-Fi. You can either mount Piper on the wall or set it up with the included stand—and it comes with three AA backup batteries in case the power ever goes out. From there, it’s fairly intuitive to use both the hardware and the software.

Once Piper is up and running, you can customize the security modes you want or take advantage of three included options: home, away, and vacation. These govern how Piper responds when certain conditions occur.

Since Piper is designed for DIY monitoring, it’s good that Icontrol made the camera and its controls so robust. You have the flexibility to remotely control the 1080p HD fisheye lens camera using built-in pan, tilt, and zoom features with the flick of a finger on your smartphone or tablet. The app also reports on the status and change in motion, humidity, light, sound, and temperature throughout the day, which you can view at any time.

Smart Arming with Life360

One of the standout features of Piper is its recently-added “smart arming” ability. In partnership with a tracking app called Life360, included in the price, Piper has the ability to detect when everyone in your family has left the house. If Piper is unarmed at the time, you’ll get a notification through your Piper app to arm the camera.

That way, you can feel secure that even if the last person at home neglects to arm Piper before heading out, you’ll be able to take care of it anytime and from anywhere.

Piper Classic vs. Piper nv

The Piper device is available in the original classic or its newer Piper nv version, which is outfitted with night vision and higher tech specs. IControl also gives you a purely aesthetic choice between the colors of Raven Black” and Polar White for your Piper.

Here’s the breakdown of key features for each version.

 

FeaturesPiper classicPiper nv
Price$173.98$276.49
Purchase
Image ResolutionHDEnhanced HD
Camera Quality2 Megapixels3.4 Megapixels
WirelessSeries 300 Z-Wave ControllerSeries 500 Z-Wave Controller
180 Degree View
Night Vision
Features Piper classic
Price
$173.98
Purchase
Image Resolution
HD
Camera Quality
2 Megapixels
Wireless
Series 300 Z-Wave Controller
180 Degree View
Night Vision
Features Piper nv
Price
$276.49
Purchase
Image Resolution
Enhanced HD
Camera Quality
3.4 Megapixels
Wireless
Series 500 Z-Wave Controller
180 Degree View
Night Vision

You can purchase the Piper on its own, but it’s designed to work with accessories that greatly extend its security capabilities—especially if you’re trying to protect a larger home with many rooms, as opposed to a small apartment with just one or two rooms.

Purchase the Piper Classic for $173.98 on Amazon here.

Purchase the new Piper NV for $276.49 on Amazon here.

Both versions are also available in black for an added cost.

Piper Bundles

Piper is a powerful and versatile home security system in its own right, but it can coordinate with a number of useful accessories. If you want any accessories, you’ll get a better deal on them by opting for one of two available bundles: Piper Pro and Piper Ultimate.

Piper Pro Bundle

The Piper Pro bundle comes with either the Piper classic or the Piper nv.

  • With Piper Classic: $319.99
  • With Piper NV: $389.99

In addition to the Piper device, the Piper Pro bundle includes three accessories of your choice. We list out the available accessories later in this section.

Piper Ultimate Bundle

The Piper Ultimate bundle is designed for people with a lot of space to protect, plus a penchant for DIY home security. Like the Piper Pro, you can either choose the Piper classic or the Piper nv in your Piper Ultimate bundle, with a price tag of $799.99 or $979.99, respectively. However, this one comes with three Pipers and five accessories, so you’ll definitely get a lot of bang for your buck.

 

Purchase a Pre-Made Piper Bundle on Amazon

 Includes one door/window sensor, smart switch, and their video monitoring system.
 

Piper Accessories

The idea of a bundle doesn’t mean much if you don’t know what sort of accessories are included. Here are the eight accessories you can choose from for your Piper:

  • Z-Wave door/window sensor
  • Z-Wave smart switch
  • Outdoor smart switch
  • Z-Wave water sensor
  • Z-Wave micro smart switch
  • Z-Wave range extender
  • Z-Wave smart dimmer
  • Z-Wave LED bulb

You can purchase them in any combination. For example, in the Piper Pro bundle, you could choose three LED bulbs, or you could opt for three different accessories, such as one smart switch, one water sensor, and one smart dimmer. These accessories are designed in conjunction with the Piper’s home automation capabilities, and they work well.

However, if home automation is your major aim, prepare to be disappointed with Piper. You should view its home automation capabilities as a bonus, not as a defining feature of the device. While Icontrol promises many more Z-Wave devices will be supported in the future, it’s fairly limited right now—and there are much more comprehensive and versatile options out there for home automation, such as the Vivint Sky smart home system. This could change as IControl adds more features and supported devices, but it’s something to be aware of for the time being.

Does Piper Get the Job Done?

So, what’s the verdict? Is it worth owning a Piper?

For the most part, yes! You can get a single Piper classic device for only $200, and that buys you a home alarm, video monitoring, two-way audio, controllable camera, and hub for home automation. The primary downside is that you’re buying yourself the job of monitoring the home, rather than getting professionals to do it for you.

If you specifically want a home security system without the contracts and added monthly fees for professional monitoring, then Piper is definitely worth the investment. You can monitor your home yourself and put Piper in any room for full visual control. We’ve also tested others brands and you can read our comparison of Piper and other home security solutions in our full review. We’ve found that Piper is perfect for those wanting simple DIY monitoring, but Scout and SmartThings offer benefits for buyers wanting more in home automation or the professional monitoring for the extra cost. Those reasons aside though, Piper is a top choice for self monitoring.

Still, you’d be hard-pressed to get many comparable home security systems for such an affordable price, and that’s before you consider the setup/installation fees, monthly fees, contracts, and termination fees that come with those monitoring plans. If you’re in the market for a truly DIY home monitoring system that’s free from monthly fees and contracts, Piper is a fantastic bargain that’s worth the small upfront investment.