Abode is a do-it-yourself alarm system that also serves as a home automation hub for Z-Wave and ZigBee devices, Nest cameras, and Amazon Echo. You can sign up for professional monitoring but you don’t have to sign a long term contract. You can even pay for short-term monitoring when you go on vacation. Cellular backup is also a paid option, either included in the top-tier monitoring plan or paid separately. Obviously this is a a good idea if you’re concerned about Internet connectivity.

Whether you purchase an Abode system on their site (www.goabode.com) or from Amazon, you’ll purchase the starter pack. This pack includes the gateway or “hub”, a motion detector with a wide-angle camera, a key fob, and two door / window sensors. For a small home or apartment this is likely all you’ll need. Then just plug the gateway into power and connect the wired Ethernet port to your router. The instructions are straight-forward but they have great customer support if you need help. You’ll want to download the app on your phone as that’s the way you’ll operate your system most of the time.

Abode sells numerous add-on devices but you can purchase and use a variety of Z-Wave and ZigBee devices from other vendors as well. We recommend purchasing an additional motion detector, glass-break sensor and a combination of standard window / door sensors as well as internal window / door sensors (see the full list of Abode compatible products). If you want some serious home automation upgrades, consider the Nest Indoor Camera and GE Link Smart LED Light Bulb.