LiveWatch Home Security System Review

Posted on: September 27, 2015 by in RSSMasher
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LiveWatch security systems may look dated, but they contain high-tech home automation technology backed with a lifetime warranty.

Overall Star Rating (4 out of 5)

Best Money-Back Guarantee

  • Low startup cost
  • DIY installation
  • Full customization
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Home automation options

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LiveWatch at a Glance

image of the LiveWatch App on an iphone

If you want an alarm system you can install yourself, but you don’t want to fly solo when it comes to monitoring, then LiveWatch is a great choice. It’s not the prettiest system around, but it has all the features you need to secure your home, plus a 365-day money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty.

A paramedic who was frustrated by slow emergency response times created LiveWatch in 2002 as a way to bring affordable home security to families. The LiveWatch Plug&Protect system is designed to be easy to install and simple to use, and LiveWatch prides itself on keeping up with evolving technology by creating systems that can also be used as hubs for home automation.

LiveWatch Prices and Packages

Basic Mobile Pro Total Home Total Home + Video
Monthly Fee $19.95 $34.95 $39.95 $49.95
System Starting Price $149 $49 $49 $49
System Includes
  • XTi-5 or IQ Gen 2 control panel
  • 2 door sensors
  • Motion sensor
  • Keychain remote
  • Yard signs and stickers
  • XTi-5 or IQ Gen 2 control panel
  • 2 door sensors
  • Motion sensor
  • Keychain remote
  • Yard signs and stickers
  • XTi-5 or IQ Gen 2 control panel
  • 2 door sensors
  • Motion sensor
  • Keychain remote
  • Yard signs and stickers
  • XTi-5 or IQ Gen 2 control panel
  • 2 door sensors
  • Motion sensor
  • Keychain remote
  • Indoor wireless night-vision camera
  • Yard signs and stickers
Remote Arm and Disarm No Yes Yes Yes
Crash&Smash Protection No Yes Yes Yes
LiveVoice Assist No Yes Yes Yes
Smartphone Control No No Yes Yes
Home Automation No No Yes Yes
Real-Time Alerts No No Yes Yes
Smart Image Capture No No Yes No
Live/Smart Video Streaming No No No Yes
Security Camera No No No Yes

How LiveWatch Security Stacks Up

Price and Contract (2.5 out of 5 stars)

LiveWatch has good variety when it comes to plans and pricing, with basic plans and systems starting at a lower rate than many competitors. The company guarantees its products and offers deep discounts on security systems when you sign a monitoring contract.

We Like

  • Lifetime Warranty
    Many customers report having to ask for the lifetime warranty, but we were offered it up front as an upgrade when we chatted with LiveWatch customer service online. If they don’t offer it to you, be sure to ask.
  • 1-Year Guarantee
    Return your alarm system within 365 days for a full refund.
  • No Termination Fees
    You can cancel your contract at any time without having to pay a fee. Just remember: if you cancel within twelve months, you have to return your system.

We Don’t Like

  • Expensive Monitoring
    The most basic package is $19.95 per month, but to get any home automation options you have to move up to the next plan, which costs 75% more at $34.95.
  • Activation Fee
    Expect to pay $19.95 for an activation fee along with your first monthly payment.

Tech and Equipment (4 out of 5 stars)

LiveWatch offers two different control panels, each with different features and capacities. Both are touchscreen and contain the system’s brain, siren, and keypad.

We Like

  • DIY installation
    Before your system arrives, LiveWatch labels, preprograms, and syncs every device for easy installation.
  • Cellular Technology
    The system is not dependent on Wi-Fi, making it more reliable if your internet connection gets interrupted.
  • LiveVoice Assist
    A two-way voice feature on the control panel allows you to talk to the monitoring center in case of alarm or emergency.
  • Cloud-Based Video Storage
    All video footage is stored in the cloud, eliminating the hassle of a DVR.
  • Crash and Smash Protection
    If an intruder tries to destroy the control panel, an immediate alarm is sent to the monitoring station.

We Don’t Like

  • Dated Appearance
    The equipment is not as sleek as some of its competitors, which might be a turnoff for some customers.
  • 4-Camera Limit
    You can’t add more than four security cameras, making this system less than ideal for those who want wider video coverage.

Home Automation (3 out of 5 stars)

It’s clear that home automation is a priority for LiveWatch, as all the devices have Z-Wave technology, giving you a wide range of options to create a smart home based around your LiveWatch system.

We Like

  • Full Customization
    LiveWatch has a wide variety of add-on home automation products like glass-break sensors, flood sensors, freeze sensors, garage door tilt sensors, and smart thermostats.
  • Z-Wave Hub
    The Plug&Protect panel can act as a hub supporting up to 119 Z-Wave devices. Z-Wave technology is in a wide variety of brands and products, giving you a large selection of options to create a smart home that works with your LiveWatch system.
  • Remote Arm and Disarm
    Remote arming and disarming through your smartphone is available with all but the Basic Plan.
  • Works with Amazon Alexa
    While at home, you can arm and disarm your system or check system status using only your voice.

We Don’t Like

  • Not Compatible with Nest or Ecobee
    LiveWatch systems do not work with Nest or Ecobee products.
  • Limited Smartphone Control
    If you cancel your monitoring plan, you’ll lose the ability to monitor your system with your smartphone as well.

Customer Service (3.5 out of 5 stars)

With a Better Business Bureau rating of A+ and four stars, it’s safe to say that customers are happy with LiveWatch’s service.

We Like

  • Support with Setup
    After you install your system, you’ll have an activation appointment with a LiveWatch service rep who will talk you through activating your system and answer any questions you may have.
  • ASAPer
    ASAPer (As Soon As Possible emergency response) is available with all plans and alerts your contacts all at once via text message, email, or phone when your system has an alarm.

We Don’t Like

  • Confusing Website
    The website says that alarm systems start at $99, but they’re actually $49. Also, the basic package is hidden at the bottom of the page, separate from other plan options.
  • Gimmicky Discounts
    When you check out on the LiveWatch website, you’ll notice the total is much higher than expected, but you’ll also see two automatic “discounts” of over $500, bringing the total back down to the price advertised.

LiveWatch FAQs

What are the biggest differences between LiveWatch and SimpliSafe? They seem very similar.
While both companies offer DIY home security, SimpliSafe does not offer the variety of home automation options that LiveWatch does, nor do they include video coverage with their security systems.

Does LiveWatch include fire and carbon monoxide monitoring services?
Yes. As long as you purchase the fire and carbon monoxide detectors through LiveWatch, they can be professionally monitored through your LiveWatch security system. 

LiveWatch Equipment

  • Simon XTi-5 control panel
    The XTi-5 control panel has a 140-decibel siren, a 5″ color LCD touchscreen display, and easy-to-use icons for simple system arming and disarming. It can support up to forty Z-Wave devices.
  • IQ Gen 2 control panel
    The IQ Gen 2 has a 7″ screen and an 85-decibel siren, and it can support up to 119 Z-Wave devices. It can automatically disarm when your phone gets into range, and its built-in fixed focus, front-facing camera can be activated with certain plans.
  • Door and Window Sensors
    Sensors have a five- to seven-year battery life and can alert you whenever a door or window is opened.
  • Wireless Motion Sensor
    This infrared sensor can tell the difference between people and pets and alert your system if it detects movement.
  • Keychain Remote
    Use the keychain remote to arm and disarm your system without having to touch the control panel.
  • Wireless Indoor Security Camera
    Get photos or video delivered directly to your phone when the security camera detects motion.
  • IQ Smoke Detector
    Monitor your home for fire even when your system isn’t armed.

The Bottom Line

Livewatch is a great choice for those who want customizable, DIY installation but also want the tech support and monitoring provided by traditional home security. No cancellation fees and a one-year money-back guarantee make LiveWatch one of the most flexible services around. The system looks a bit clunky, but its Z-Wave technology makes it a great jumping-off point for home automation.


  • Customer satisfaction
  • Comprehensive home automation
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Tech support


  • Clunky equipment
  • Confusing pricing
  • Hidden activation fee

How We Evaluated LiveWatch Alarm System

For our LiveWatch home security review, we thoroughly researched the LiveWatch product offerings on the website, studied customers’ positive and negative reviews, listened to what security experts had to say about the product, and contacted LiveWatch’s customer service department with additional questions about the system. To learn more about how we reviewed LiveWatch, check out our methodology.