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Review Abode Iota: perfect security for small houses

Review Abode Iota: perfect security for small houses

Review Abode Iota: perfect security for small houses

David Priest / CNET

Houses come in all shapes and sizes, and by 2021, there will also be home security systems. If you are especially worried about the porch pirates, you can install only one video ringtone. Instead, if you want a fully secured home, complete with surveillance cameras and motion sensors, a professionally installed and monitored system it might be more your pace.

Somewhere in the middle is Abode Iota, a $ 330 system that comes with a central hub device, a door / window sensor, a motion sensor and a key. The hub comes with a built-in camera, Zigbee and Z-Wave receivers and a siren. After installing Iota, you can add dozens of sensors, cameras and other devices to the system by purchasing them a la carte from the Abode website.

Iota’s all-in-one approach to home security makes the most sense for residents of apartments or small houses – and for that Apple HomeKit compatibility will probably excite Apple enthusiasts. Its prices, especially if you hope to expand the system to cover more space and a slightly light-free application, tarnish an otherwise impressive system. In short, it will not be suitable for everyone, but it is still an excellent option to consider.


  • Solid performance
  • Wide integrations

I do not like

  • Expensive devices
  • Strange application

A smooth start

One of the best parts of using Abode Iota is its configuration. I usually set aside an entire morning to set up several devices, such as those coming in the Iota kit – and I’m a fairly experienced installer of smart home technology. Iota was a total breeze to install. It took a total of six minutes for the whole system to work, due to the fact that everything in the box is already associated.

If you purchase several devices, you will need to connect each of them to the hub, but the boot kit is fortunately easy to boot.

Once the kit is installed (which essentially requires connecting the camera to a wall outlet and router), you can switch it to Wi-Fi – which involved a hook that I’ll describe later – and place it wherever you want in the house.


Abode Iota comes with a handful of devices, such as this wallet, which can arm and disarm the security system.

David Priest / CNET

One for the money

Before we talk about performance, I want to talk about Abode pricing – which is the first thing many potential buyers are going to look at.

Home Iota and SimpliSafe are two of the most popular DIY security systems on the market, along with Ring the alarm. Iota costs $ 330, and for the same price at SimpliSafe, you can get a starter kit with motion sensor, door / window sensor, keyboard, deck, and interior camera. Apart from the keyboard, this is almost exactly the same configuration at the same price.

The ring is slightly cheaper than both systems: for $ 320, you can get a motion sensor, door / window sensor, keyboard, video ringtone, attic, range extension and interior camera.

It takes a few hundred dollars to start any of these DIY home security systems, but they all land at about the same starting price, Ring Ring undercutting SimpliSafe and Abode for $ 10, and a video sound (worth $ 60).

So Abode is doing everything right here. If you like the system, $ 60 or $ 70 may not make a huge difference. But the starter kit is not the only price you need to consider. The appeal of DIY home security is that you can extend it to suit your specific needs. Many of us have more than one door and window, after all.


Abode’s Iota lands at exactly the same price as the SimpliSafe’s comparable kit.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Here Abode Iota becomes a little more expensive. Almost every one of its standalone devices is more expensive than its corollary at other companies. Abode’s basic motion sensor, for example, costs $ 55, compared to the $ 30 SimpliSafe and Ring sensors. If you look down the list of products, almost all of them have similar price differences. That means an extra $ 200 to expand your home security system will go much further at SimpliSafe and Ring than at Abode – and that’s a real problem for customers with more space to cover.

A notable exception to this pattern is Abode’s Cam 2, an indoor / outdoor security room that is open for pre-order and will be priced at $ 35. Although we haven’t had a chance to review the camera yet, it’s nice to see the company moving towards more affordable hardware, especially to match the Wyze price for the latest camera.

Abode’s professional monitoring plan is also expensive. While SimpliSafe charges about $ 183 a year for professional monitoring, and Ring charges $ 100 a year, Abode charges $ 241 a year.

On the other hand, Abode charges only $ 73 per year for a self-monitoring plan (which includes video storage, person alerts, and more), while SimpliSafe costs $ 120 per year for a comparable plan. Meanwhile, the Ring costs $ 30 a year. The only problem with self-monitoring – and this is true for all three systems I’ve mentioned – is that it doesn’t support cell backup. If your power goes out, so does your system’s ability to communicate with your phone.

It all comes down to this: if you plan to self-monitor your apartment or smaller house, Abode could be a solid deal for you. But you plan to cover a larger space with Iota and its compatible devices – or if you want a professional monitoring – Abode competitors could be more economical options.


Abode door / window sensors are standard and work well.

David Priest / CNET

Two for the show

Price is not everything, and when it comes to securing your home, it may not be the first thing. So how does Abode Iota work?

As I mentioned, setup is easy, and the Abode app is quite accessible. In it, you can access live streams of your rooms, check your devices, arm your system, and create smart home automation (including using geofencing).

I had a few minor issues with the app, most of which I could figure out without much trouble. An annoying finding, for example, was that the button to switch my Iota to Wi-Fi (from being connected to my router) simply did not appear on Chrome when I was using the online platform Abode. After googling, I found that the button was still Thereand I could click on it – it just wasn’t visible (i.e. I needed to know which blank section of the screen to click for a setup action that almost everyone will perform).

Such problems were few, but they were enough to make the application experience feel less than ideal.


Abode is one of the few DIY home security platforms that works well with Apple HomeKit and Siri.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Despite these upsets, Abode’s integrations are truly impressive. Iota works well with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri from Apple. Again, the integration settings are a little strange: Apple, for example, allows you to scan a QR code, but you need to generate the code in the Abode app, rather than on the device itself. Instead of a quick scan, you need to copy an eight-digit number and re-enter it in the Home application.

Especially with this issue, you’ll still get a HomeKit-compatible DIY security system – something you won’t get from SimpliSafe without a third-party bridge, and you won’t get from Ring at all.

Final thoughts

Abode Iota is a solid DIY security system, and if you want to secure a small house or apartment, it could be perfect for you. The other big call is the Apple HomeKit integration, which sets it apart from much of the direct competition.

That being said, Iota is still not perfect. Extending the system is more expensive than with SimpliSafe or Ring Alarm, and the professional monitoring subscription is the most expensive in the lot. Its application can also be a bit strange. In addition, Abode still does not require multifactor authentication to connect to its applications, which should be more of an industry norm by now.

If the professionals outweigh the disadvantages, it will largely depend on your exact needs – but I can say that it is worth considering Abode. I just won’t recommend it to everyone.