Scout Alarm Professional Monitoring: Low Cost, Limited Functionality

Our Rating 4.0

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Scout Alarm came into existence in February 2013, when one of the Scout founders set out to buy a home security system for his new home, only to find the process too complex. More importantly, he realized that many home security systems are a bit dated: in other words, they don’t keep up with modern needs. One quick Kickstarter campaign later, and Scout was born. We’ve taken the time to examine Scout’s offerings comprehensively to tell you why it’s an option worth considering.

How Scout works

Most home security systems have standard equipment packages, even if you can customize them. In contrast, Scout doesn’t have any equipment packages on its website, though it’s always worth checking if you can find equipment sets on their Amazon page. You won’t be able to choose the finish of your kit, but you will get extra savings.

If you purchase individual equipment directly through Scout’s page, you’re greeted with an aesthetically pleasing page and a large button that says “Build your ideal system.” Scout allows buyers to select not only the components they want, but the color and finish of those components. It’s the security system interior designers have always dreamed of.

scout productsThe standard equipment for a security system includes these items:

  • Scout Hub ($129)
  • Door panels ($69)
  • Access sensors ($29)
  • Motion sensors ($49)

Sounds like pretty standard fare, right? While the sensors may be similar to those other companies offer, the system itself is not. Every Scout security system requires one hub, whether you’re securing a small studio or a mansion. Most homes will also need at least one door panel sensor, two access sensors, one motion sensor. This brings the total cost for the equipment to $305. This price seems slightly high compared to major players in the industry (Frontpoint’s equipment averages around the $300, mark while Link Interactive’s lowest package is $99), but the low cost of monitoring can result in long-term savings.

The various sensors are all connected through the hub. When a sensor is triggered, it sends an alert to the hub, which will then carry out a set of pre-programmed actions and alert you via your smartphone or computer. The hub contains a 106 dB siren, about the same volume as a car horn.

Installation and setup

Scout may be one of the easiest home security systems to install that we’ve ever seen. Every system will have, at minimum, one hub and one sensor. Installation doesn’t require tools of any sort, and there’s no need to drill holes into your walls. This makes the Scout a great system for rental properties where you want to cause as little damage as possible. The different components are peel-and-stick; only the door sensor may cause difficulty due to its two-part placement where the door meets the frame. The hub has a 100-foot range, so you should place it somewhere near the center of the home.

Scout comes with a 54-page installation guide with step-by-step instructions and easy-to-follow graphics. You will need to register the device before installation, however; this can be done via your smartphone or the computer. If you encounter difficulty, Scout’s knowledge base includes detailed tutorial videos that demonstrate how to install the various components.

Mobile app

scout mobile appScout’s mobile app is available on Apple’s App Store and via Google Play. The app is your mobile control center for your system; it allows you to set specific commands via IFTTT (if this, then that) integration, arm and disarm the system, and receive alerts when an alarm is triggered. The system will notify you about exactly which alarm was triggered, allowing you to decide whether it is a false alarm or if the police should be contacted.

The app is rated 3.8 of 5 in the Google Play store, but it hasn’t been reviewed enough to garner a rating in the App Store. Despite the high score, a number of recent reviews mention functionality issues after the recent update. The problem occurs when the app arms the system; if an update occurs after arming, the app is no longer automatically synced. The app must be resynced before it will work with the system again—understandably a problem if the alarm is triggered in the wee hours of the morning and you have no way of shutting it off. Scout is constantly working to add more functionality to its system, however; it’s likely customers will see an update to fix this problem soon.

On the bright side, the app displays all of the information pertinent to your system in one place and grants total control over the system. Users can grant temporary access to their home with the touch of a button, and the integration with home automation systems like ZigBee open Scout to a world of possibilities.

Pricing and packages

Scout offers two monitoring packages: Always On and Always On+. Of the two, we highly recommend Always On+. Though it is more expensive ($9.99 compared to $19.99, but far more affordable than even the cheapest Frontpoint monitoring option at $34.99), it is the only one of the two that includes professional, off-site monitoring. All other features offered with the two plans are the same. Professional monitoring is the primary benefit of owning a security system: with it, you don’t rely solely on the sirens and alarms to scare off intruders. The monitoring station automatically contacts authorities if it detects a break-in.

Note: If you purchase monitoring for an entire year up front, you can save 10% off the total cost.

Package NameAlways OnAlways On+
Visit Website
Monthly Price$9.99$19.99
Annual Price$107$215
Text Notifications
Push notifications
Mobile App
3G Cellular Back Up
No Annual Contract
24/7 Monitoring
Package Name Always On
Visit Website
Monthly Price
$9.99
Annual Price
$107
Text Notifications
Push notifications
Mobile App
3G Cellular Back Up
No Annual Contract
24/7 Monitoring
Package Name Always On+
Visit Website
Monthly Price
$19.99
Annual Price
$215
Text Notifications
Push notifications
Mobile App
3G Cellular Back Up
No Annual Contract
24/7 Monitoring

What makes Scout unique

scout hubWhile Scout lacks the power to compete with much larger systems (no glass break sensors, no security cameras, no Crash & Smash protection), its integration with various systems makes it easy to expand and opens the door for a huge number of possibilities with home automation. In addition, the color scheme (Arctic White, Midnight Black, and Walnut) makes it one of the best-looking home security systems on the market. The mix-and-match aspect of the components also makes it a great choice for smaller homes and apartments.

Scout is more affordable than the companies we most often recommend (Frontpoint, Link Interactive, etc.) with a $19.99 per month monitoring cost, but the lack of more advanced security sensors poses certain threats. For example, Scout doesn’t offer glass break sensors; while it isn’t likely an intruder could move through your home without setting off the motion detectors, a thief could break a window and grab any valuables within arm’s reach without triggering the alarm.

Scout’s monitoring centers are UL-certified and capable of dispatching police, but the battery life of the sensors poses a threat. Though the hub may have a wired connection to an outlet, the sensors rely on batteries. If one dies without your knowledge, that area of your home is unguarded.

Scout and Home Automation

Scout is a smart system. It includes Zigbee, which is a radio frequency frequently used in home automation. But instead of building their own line of sensors and smart gadgets, Scout has made some pretty big friends.

For one, Scout has its own IFTTT channel. Through IFTTT you can connect to all sorts of other applications and smart devices. You can setup phone call alerts, email alerts, geofencing, and connect to other popular smart home devices. (Here is a list of some of the smart devices that work with IFTTT.) In theory, you can have IFTTT flash red lights if someone tries to break into your house or you can ask IFTTT to turn on lights if motion is detected. There are literally hundreds of options, but this wasn’t enough for Scout. They’ve also joined the Works with Nest program.

With access to your Nest products on Scout’s platform, you get a streamlined way to customize your suite of smart devices and protect your home in the way you see fit. By controlling your Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat from your Scout account, your connected devices will live in one place, communicate their learnings to each other, and increase the intelligence of the overall system. The end result is that Nest and Scout make your life simpler. Combined, we have a better understanding of your habits and your home to offer you a more efficient experience.

Scout has also partnered with Amazon Echo, giving users voice control of their alarm system. Impressively, Scout was the first home security company to partner with Echo. The technology is a game-changer. Instead of using your smartphone to arm or disarm your alarm, you can ask Alexa (Echo’s persona) to do it. If there’s an emergency, this partnership can be a life-saver; you don’t need to run to your phone to sound the alarm.

scout cameraIn addition to light, lock, and energy automation, Scout offers video surveillance. Their HD camera is pre-selling for $169.00. It offers night vision, two-way audio, cloud storage, and privacy control. Unfortunately, the camera has been “pre-selling” for a ridiculously long time. In fact, it may be better to connect a non-Scout branded camera through IFTTT if you are looking to add a connected camera.

The final friendship is with SmartThings. You can monitor your SmartThings devices using Scout’s professional alarm monitoring.

Most of these features are controlled through Scout’s mobile app which is highly rated on both Google Play and iTunes, though not all. SmartThings integration can be controlled using the SmartThings app, Echo and IFTTT both offer their own apps as well.

What others are saying about Scout

Scout differs from traditional home security systems, and as a result there are a number of mixed feelings about the company. While some customers love the ease of installation, others find the built-in siren too weak. Some customers enjoy the low prices and affordability, while others have less-than-pleasant things to say about customer service.

Positive reviews

This seems like an amazing product. I like it thus far. The built-in siren is weak, but external sirens can be hooked up by the clever among us using the IFTTT interface, which I love. The monitoring program is reasonably affordable if you chose to use it, and setup is insanely easy. The app integrates seamlessly and is well designed. The product also looks great. Grab a few extra sensors for things like your garage. If you’re the “maker” type, the possibilities for integrating this with your own “internet of things” with arduino, ethernet and IFTTT are literally endless. Andy B. — December 27, 2015 (Amazon)

I did a ton of research before I bought this system and so far I’m thrilled with my decision. I’ve had normal (ADT) systems in the past but hardly ever used them because it was such a hassle to arm and disarm them. (And forget about trying to program custom modes!) In our new home I wanted something that didn’t stick out like a sore thumb and didn’t cost me $40 a month. Bingo! I looked at a bunch of other systems (e.g. Iris from Lowes, Canary, etc.) but nothing else had the combination of good looks, low monthly coast, and a wireless 3G connection that works even when your internet or power goes down. The app is really well designed. And it was a breeze to setup. No wires! Just went around sticking the sensors to my doors and windows and I was up and running in about 45 minutes. Highly recommended! Dave S. — December 11, 2014 (Amazon)

Negative reviews

Great concept, unfortunately, I had issues installing the system. A couple of the items were not pairing with the hub, and I CALLED MORE THAN 5 TIMES to the company, and no one answer. I also left several voice mails, and they never returned my called. They really need to work on that. HOW CAN YOU TRUST AN ALARM COMPANY IF THEY DO NOT EVEN ANSWER THE PHONE, OR RETURN YOUR CALLS. G. Ramirez — March 5, 2016 (Amazon)

So far not impressed, especially with sensors and battery life. The house lost power for a day, and then came back and the hub reconnected fine, but sensors never reconnected! So either the batteries died or they fail to reconnect on their own. No warning of low battery. Jeff – March 26, 2016 (Amazon)

Choosing Scout

Scout has done well so far. With more than $500,000 in units sold already, the company has seen great initial success by catering to a market that’s often overlooked: rental properties and smaller homes. However, Scout’s lack of advanced functionality will be detrimental unless the company addresses it quickly.

Multiple home security companies have begun to blend home automation into their systems, and for good reason. More and more consumers today demand the ability to customize their home as they please. While ZigBee, Amazon Echo, and IFTTT integration are a step in the right direction for Scout, improving its hardware and offering a larger variety of sensors seem like the obvious steps toward increasing its market share.

That said, Scout is a solid choice for someone in a non-permanent home. The aesthetics fit well with most any theme, and the ease of installation make it perfect for dormitories or rental apartments.