Here Are the Best DIY Home Security Systems
- SimpliSafe Home Security — Best for Easy Installation
- Blue by ADT Home Security — Best for Flexible Monitoring
- Cove Home Security — Best for Instant Text Alerts
- Frontpoint Home Security — Best for Customer Service
- Alder Home Security — Best for Basic Security
- Link Interactive Home Security — Best Build Your Own Package
- Ring Home Security — Best for Video Doorbells
- Nest Home Security — Best Smart Integrations
- Abode Home Security — Best for Self Monitoring
Compare DIY Home Security Systems
Blue by ADT
Brinks Home Security
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The Best DIY Home Security Systems
Simplisafe: Best for Overall DIY
- Best Overall DIY Security System
SimpliSafe Home SecurityOur rating9.9Starting at$14.99/mo
Our take on SimpliSafe Home Security:
SimpliSafe is our top pick for inexpensive monitoring, durable equipment and reliable services that simplify home security. You’ll have all the right devices and features to give you peace of mind — even when the unexpected happens.
★ Recommended package: Barrington
- Inexpensive professional monitoring
- Wireless equipment
- Cellular monitoring
- Mobile alerts not available in the basic monitoring plan
- No selection of smart home devices
- Smart home capabilities not available in the basic monitoring plan
SimpliSafe Security Packages & Cameras
SimpliSafe equipment is attractive, modern and easy to install, and it adds new products all the time. SimpliSafe systems work with Alexa and Google Assistant, so it supports voice commands through Amazon Echo and Google Home devices (sold separately). SimpliSafe also offers an indoor camera and video doorbell if you’re interesting in monitoring areas of your home.
SimpliSafe’s Monitoring Service
SimpliSafe’s monitoring services offers two tiers of 24/7 monitoring plans (one with expanded app functionality, one without) with a Visual Verification option for customers with cameras. Visual Verification lets monitoring personnel review surveillance footage if an alarm is triggered, which SimpliSafe says speeds response time and reduces false alarms. These services are performed by COPS Monitoring, a company with 41+ years of experience serving over 3 million customers. There’s also an option to self-monitor using the mobile app, but some functionality is limited if you don’t subscribe to a monitoring plan.
Why SimpliSafe is Best for DIY Installation
According to SimpliSafe, installation requires no tools and usually takes less than 30 minutes. The ease of self-installation makes SimpliSafe a go-to choice for renters, homeowners and frequent movers alike.
SimpliSafe Pricing & Value
With SimpliSafe, equipment is paid for upfront (or financed through PayPal Credit) and packages start at $229. Long-term monitoring contracts are not required and month-to-month subscriptions range from $14.99-$24.99/mo. Overall, SimpliSafe is a popular system that offers great value with lots of flexibility.
SimpliSafe’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
SimpliSafe is continuing to provide 24/7 alarm response for customers. This includes responding to alarms triggered for break-ins, fire, carbon monoxide, and medical emergencies. SimpliSafe is also continuing to provide technical support by phone and ensures that they are following federal safety guidelines. Learn more here.
Blue by ADT: Best for Flexible Monitoring
- Best for Flexible Monitoring
Blue by ADTOur rating9Starting at$19.99/mo
Our take on Blue by ADT:
Get trusted professional monitoring and an easy-to-install security system with Blue by ADT. Even better, your first month of monitoring is free. As a Blue by ADT customer, you have the option to choose a no-contract plan. By doing this, you can purchase the equipment and skip the professional monitoring. You can always go back and add professional monitoring to your system if you decide you need it later down the line.
★Recommended package: Blue Doorbell Camera System
- Smart home compatibility
- 7-Day Practice Period
- 24/7 professional monitoring available
- No contract option
- Free self-monitoring
- Limited Blue by ADT equipment
- Cloud storage costs extra
- No smart home add-ons
Blue by ADT Security Packages & Cameras
Blue by ADT equipment is easy to install and connect to your favorite smart home equipment including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Their devices support voice control and remote control using the Blue by ADT mobile app for modern home security. Blue by ADT has a collection of cameras that connect to LifeShield security systems wirelessly.
Blue by ADT’s Monitoring Service
Blue by ADT gives you the option to choose between self-monitoring free of charge and professional monitoring for only $19.99/mo. Their professional monitoring plan comes with emergency alerts, 30 days of cloud video storage and the first month free.
Why Blue by ADT is Best for DIY Smart Home Security
Blue by ADT is completely DIY for an easy, free set-up that doesn’t require a professional. Their videos and technical support make it easy to set up your cameras and wirelessly connect them to your smart home equipment. What we love most is that their indoor camera doubles as fire and carbon monoxide detection to cover your family’s safety and security. Their equipment is filled with next-level features including custom motion zones and facial recognition making them the best provider for DIY smart home security.
Blue by ADT Pricing & Value
Blue by ADT has affordable cameras and monitoring services. All cameras cost $199 each and the monitoring service is $19.99/mo. on a month-to-month rate for more flexibility without requiring a contract.
Blue by ADT’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Blue by ADT is continuing to provide 24/7 monitoring and customer support during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST on Saturdays and Sundays. Learn more here.
Cove: Best for Instant Text Alerts
- Best for Instant Text Alerts
Cove SecurityOur rating9.3Starting at$14.99/mo
Our take on Cove Security:
Although Cove Security launched just a couple of years ago, it offers some unique perks, such as the ability to avoid a contract by paying for equipment upfront altogether. Another major selling point is Cove’s ease of installation.
★ Recommended plan: Build your own
- Affordable monitoring and equipment
- Installation takes about half an hour
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Limited equipment selection
- Does not connect to Z-Wave equipment
- Smartphone app only available with the most expensive monitoring package
Cove Security Packages & Equipment
Cove doesn’t offer preset packages you can choose from, but you can easily put together your own security system online. Cove focuses on providing the essentials you need for protecting your home with intrusion detection equipment and an indoor security camera for monitoring your home. Cove’s Touch Alarm Panel boasts two-way communication and Smash & Grab Protection for additional security against intruders. As far as video surveillance, Cove is limited providing only an indoor camera, but you’ll still be able to monitor your home by video if you choose.
Cove Security Monitoring Services
You’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring with Cove through either the Cove Basic or Cove Plus plans. Cove provides this service through COPS Monitoring, an organization that has 6 UL-Listed centers. Your home will be monitored over a 100% cellular connection for greater protection against power outages or Wi-Fi internet issues.
Cove Security’s system is designed for DIY installation. The provider claims their system can be installed in as little as 30 minutes. Cove’s equipment is pre-configured so that when it arrives, you’ll simply follow the provided instructions for setup.
Why Cove is Best for Instant Text Alerts
With Cove’s InstaText program, you get immediate notifications anytime an alarm is triggered. The text will give you the option to cancel the alarm, request a call from Cove or have help sent to your home. You’ll get a text within 30 seconds of a problem, while other providers may take upwards of five minutes to reach out.
Cove Security Pricing & Value
With Cove, you have greater control over the cost of your security system by choosing the devices you need and want online, no up-selling involved. Compared to other DIY providers, Cove’s equipment is less expensive, and you may be able to find the devices on sale during any promotions.
Cove’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Cove is continuing to serve its customers with 24/7 alarm response and newly added 24/7 customer support. Additionally, Cove also understands the financial impact the pandemic is having on customers and has stated that the company will work with them to create a plan for keeping their monitoring service. Learn more here.
Frontpoint: Best for Customer Service
- Best Pet-Friendly Home Security
Our Take on Frontpoint Home Security
Frontpoint lets you choose both your package and monitoring plan to help build the perfect home security system for renters and homeowners alike. Monitoring can be costly, but free DIY installation helps lower costs without reducing reliability or protection.
★ Recommended Plan
Our recommended Frontpoint plan is the Safe Home Starter equipment package combined with the Ultimate monitoring plan, which will give you access to a smartphone app for monitoring your security devices.
- No lengthy contracts
- Excellent customer service
- Variety of equipment to choose from
- Monitoring fees are relatively expensive
- Short (30 days) trial period
- No professional installation option
Frontpoint Security Packages & Cameras
Frontpoint Monitoring Services
Frontpoint customers are served by Rapid Response Monitoring, a multi-award winning monitoring center with two central stations. Rapid Response is UL-certified and approved by the New York Fire Department (NYFD), one of the strictest certifications in this field.
Why Frontpoint is Best for Customer Service
Frontpoint customers give the provider high ratings for service, especially throughout the product selection and DIY installation process. The company also maintains a high Better Business Bureau rating, and its mobile app has strong reviews in the Apple Store and Google Play. Plus, the provider recently shifted from an outdated long-term contract model to a more user-friendly monthly plan.
Frontpoint Pricing & Value
Frontpoint equipment pricing is on the low end, but its monitoring services start at a higher price point than many of its competitors. However, Frontpoint offers all customers benefits that are often only available through higher-tier plans, such as complete mobile app access and “Crash & Smash” protection. Frontpoint pricing represents a good value overall and it’s even better with a seasonal discount. There’s also a 30-day no-risk trial period.
Frontpoint’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Frontpoint is also continuing to provide 24/7 alarm response and customer service by phone, chat, and email. You can rest assured that a Frontpoint monitoring associate will be available to help. For security system setup, you can visit Frontpoint’s support page to view their user guides and videos for help. Learn more here.
Alder: Best for Basic Security
- Best for Basic Security
Our take on Alder Security
Named the 10th fastest-growing company in Utah by Fast 50 and Utah 100, Alder Security’s aim is to provide simple, customized home security solutions. While Alder doesn’t have a selection of pre-made packages you can choose from, it works with customers to build out security systems that are best for their homes. With Alder, you’ll find essential intrusion detection and environmental monitoring equipment. The price of professional monitoring will vary based on the equipment you choose. Alder Security offers additional perks, like free installation services if you ever need assistance and a lifetime warranty to cover your equipment.
- Fast, three-second alarm response rate
- Limited lifetime equipment warranty
- Easy DIY installation process
- No equipment pricing provided online
- No monitoring pricing provided online
- No smart home devices
Alder Security Packages & Cameras
Alder doesn’t offer any preset home security packages you can choose from. The provider instead will work with you to help you choose the right devices to protect your home. Some will find this aspect about Alder frustrating as they may be upsold on equipment that they may not need. Some customers may also want the ease of choosing a preset package versus working with a specialist.
With Alder Security, you will find typical equipment such as a touchscreen control panel, motion sensors, door/window sensors, a key fob, smoke detector, flood & freeze sensor, and signage. Alder also offers security cameras. You can choose from the Arlo Pro Indoor/Outdoor camera or the YI Indoor Camera.
Alder Security Monitoring Services
Alder offers professional monitoring via a cellular network connection. The price will depend on the equipment you purchase. The provider doesn’t advertise monitoring pricing online, but by working with a specialist, you can find out how much you’ll need to pay for monthly monitoring.
Alder Security systems are designed for self-installation. The provider claims that installation is an easy process–all you’ll need to do is follow the instructions for setup and you can have your system ready in as little as 10 minutes. Installation doesn’t require any tools on your part as most devices can be adhered in the appropriate locations.
Why Alder is Best for Basic Security
Alder provides a simple but effective security system to its customers. There aren’t many frills when it comes to equipment or service. But if all you want is the basics, then Alder is a good choice. The company doesn’t offer any preset packages — you simply pick and choose what you need.
Alder Security Pricing & Value
Alder doesn’t advertise pricing for its security systems online, and since each customer’s individual system may vary, the price may vary as well. We’re not able to compare Alder to other providers regarding price, but Alder does offer the essentials and more for protecting your home, and we believe that contributes to the provider’s overall value.
*Alder Security has not made a public statement about its operations in response to COVID-19.
Link Interactive: Best Build Your Own Package
Ring: Best for Video Doorbells
- Best for Video Doorbells
Ring Home SecurityOur rating9.3Starting at$10/mo
Our take on Ring Home Security:
Ring is a popular DIY camera choice, especially for those that aren’t looking for whole-home security quite yet. Its security systems and cameras can give you affordable security, monitoring and surveillance without a contract.
Recommended package: 14-Piece Security Alarm Kit
- Inexpensive equipment and professional monitoring
- Easy to install
- A range of security camera devices for outdoor surveillance
- Video recording not available without a Ring Protect Plan
- Higher-tiered packages cover more area but don’t add any features
- Cellular backup not available without a Ring Protect Plan
Ring Security Packages & Cameras
Ring (owned by Amazon since 2018) is first and foremost a smart home technology company. It played a huge role in turning video doorbells and wireless security cameras into the everyday items they are now. Beyond cameras, Ring sells smart lighting and a customizable Alarm Security Kit with optional professional monitoring.
Ring Monitoring Services
With Ring, professional monitoring is available through the Ring Protect Plus subscription. At $10 per month or $100 per year, it’s the most affordable option we’ve seen. Monitoring services are performed by a third party monitoring service with an 30-second average response time. Ring users also can take advantage of the Neighborhood mobile app, a community social network for sharing news, security footage and safety info.
Why Ring is Best for Video Doorbells
Ring’s video doorbells help set the standard for the industry. They’re competitively priced with a well-rounded set of specs and features. Whether you want to buy a security system and add on a video doorbell, or to build a safer, smarter home one device at a time, Ring is a solid option.
Ring Pricing & Value
Ring products are generally affordable. Its video doorbells start at $99 and the 5-piece security kit starts at $199. Plus, Amazon regularly posts Ring discounts, especially around the holidays. Monitoring is a bargain compared to traditional home security companies, but remember that Ring’s first focus is smart home products, not security service.
Ring’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Ring is taking additional precautions to protect its employees at this time by allowing them to work remotely. Phone support is still available for English speakers between 3 a.m. and 11 p.m. PDT seven days a week. Email support, however, is no longer available for English speakers. The company has listed their online Help Center as a resource for assistance. Learn more here.
Nest: Best Smart Integrations
- Best Smart Integrations
NestOur rating8.8Starting at$19.00/mo
Our Take on Nest
Access Google smart home technology with a Nest security system. Even better, Brinks will protect your home with Nest for as low as $19 per month.
★ Recommended Plan
Keep things simple with the Nest Secure Alarm System. You’ll get two Nest tags for easy arming & disarming and access to Google Assistant features. Equipment starts at $399, though Google has discontinued selling these units, so it may be hard to get your hands on this system. Professional monitoring starts at $19 per month.
- Reasonably priced DIY option
- Contract for professional monitoring is optional
- Easy to use
- No variety of preset hardware packages you can purchase
- The cost of month-to-month professional monitoring is higher than the contract option
- Could lose one of the arming/disarming tags
- Google no longer sells the Nest Secure Alarm System
Nest Packages & Cameras
Nest currently has one home security system you can purchase, and that’s the Nest Secure System. It comes with the essentials you need for basic intrusion detection like a base station and sensors. You’ll also be able to use Google Assistant for voice control in addition to a variety of Google smart devices and Nest cameras. Feel free to add on devices as you see fit for your home.
Nest Monitoring Services
Brinks Home Security provides professional monitoring for the Nest Secure System. Brinks’ monitoring service for Nest starts at $19/mo. Professional monitoring is optional with Nest – you can opt to self-monitor your home instead. If you choose professional monitoring for Nest, you’ll have access to Brinks’ fast response services.
Best Smart Home Integrations
It’s no secret that with Nest you’ll get access to some of the best smart home integrations with Google. If you have a Google smart device such as the Nest Hub, Google Home, and more. For voice control, simply ask Google Assistant to help.
Why Nest is Best for Smart Home Integrations
It’s no secret that with Nest you’ll get access to some of the best smart home integrations with Google. If you have a Google smart device, you can connect it to the Nest Hub, Google Home, and more. For voice control, simply ask Google Assistant to help.
Nest Pricing & Value
Nest’s security system is competively priced compared to other DIY providers. Retailing for $399, the Nest Secure System gives you access to unique equipment like the Nest Guard Hub, two Nest tags for easy arming/disarming, two Nest Detector sensors, two open/close magnets, a power adapter, and additional items for getting started.
*Google Nest has not made a public statement about its operations in response to COVID-19.
Abode: Best for Self-Monitoring
- Best for Self-Monitoring
Abode SecurityBBB ratingCStarting at$6/mo
Our take on Abode Home Security:
Abode lets you create your home security package based on your equipment and monitoring needs. Choose between DIY and professional monitoring for your DIY equipment to give you the best home security at an affordable price.
★Recommended package: The Iota All-In-One Security Kit
- Flexible monitoring plans
- Option for short-term professional monitoring
- Access to an all-in-one security system
- Professional monitoring only available in the highest tiered monitoring plan
- Cellular backup not available in the basic monitoring plan
- Understanding custom home automation features could be difficult for some
Abode Security Packages & Cameras
In terms of equipment, Abode offers the typical do-it-yourself selection of intrusion protection and alarms, plus a few different indoor camera and home automation options. It doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector or an outdoor camera, which might be dealbreakers for some people. However, the Abode hub supports Z-wave, Zigbee, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can find plenty of compatible third-party devices.
Abode Monitoring Service
Abode offers affordable plans for both self-monitoring and professional monitoring. Self-monitoring through the mobile app is free, which is unusual. Many security providers will charge at least a nominal fee for full access to mobile app monitoring. There’s also a $7/mo. self-monitoring plan that includes cellular backup if the home wifi network goes down. Professional monitoring starts around $16.66/mo., and you can even get on-demand short-term professional monitoring for if you only need it now and then.
Why Abode is the Best for Self-Monitoring
Many people who are looking for DIY home security solutions want systems that they can install and monitor themselves. Because of its range of self- and professionally monitored plans, Abode is our top pick for the diehard DIYer.
Abode Pricing & Value
Abode is a budget-priced optionfor tech-savvy people who want to set up and monitor their own system. Equipment and/or monitoring are often steeply discounted if you bundle them together. We’ve seen professional monitoring start as low as $8.33/mo. with the purchase of a starter kit.
*Abode has not made a public statement about its operations in response to COVID-19.
How Do We Rank the Best Home Security Systems?
At Safety.com, we continually refine our lists in order to provide up-to-date, well-researched insights. When ranking home security providers, we consider value, availability, brand reputation, trustworthy reviews, popularity, warranty and other reliability indicators. Learn more about our reviews and rankings methodology.
Pros and Cons of DIY Home Security Systems
Pros of DIY Home Security Systems
- No installation fee
- Can avoid contracts
- Easier to transport
Cons of DIY Home Security Systems
- Can have upfront equipment costs
- Potential for improper installation
- Potential for privacy risks
DIY Home Security Facts
Safety.com conducted a survey to find out more about home security ownership and the motivation behind these purchases. Here’s a few tidbits about the DIY home security industry:
- 29.1% of Americans own a DIY home security product, such as a video doorbell, self-monitored system, or a smart lock.
- 8.1% of Americans own a full self-monitored home security system.
- 12% of our survey respondents aged 18-34 mentioned owning a self-monitored system (vs. 7% aged 35+).
- 74.3% of survey respondents said their new security system or product makes them feel safe.
What Are Common Home Security System Equipment and Features?
As one of the sentinels in your home, the motion sensor captures unusual activity, and your system lets you know. Some providers have motion sensors that are designed to be pet-friendly, avoiding pets under 80 pounds to help prevent false alarms. Learn more about motion sensors here in our post.
Door/window sensors are sentinels for your entry points. Most have a discreet profile so they’re not easily seen, but once an entry point is breached, your control panel sounds an alarm to let the intruder know they’ve been caught. Learn more about the door/window sensors offered by Frontpoint, Protect America, and SimpliSafe.
Indoor security camera
If you want to be able to monitor the interior of your home, communicate with family members, and check in on pets, then choosing an indoor security camera is a great option. Most indoor cameras feature HD video, come with night vision, and have two-way communication. Learn more about indoor security camera options offered by SimpliSafe, Vivint, and Abode.
Outdoor security camera
With a smart thermostat, you can potentially improve your home’s energy efficiency. Most smart thermostats allow you to program them, creating a schedule for when your home’s heating and cooling system turns on. Some will also automatically adjust themselves based on certain conditions. Learn more about the smart thermostats offered by Vivint, Frontpoint, and ADT.
Go keyless with a smart lock, designed so you can easily lock or unlock your door via app. Some smart locks have a keycode feature, allowing you to set unique PINs for family members and or professionals who may need to access your home. Learn more about the smart locks offered by Guardian Protection, Protect America, and Scout.
How to Install a DIY Security System
Be sure to read any guides or manuals included with your security system on DIY installation. Here are some general steps for setup:
Step 1 – Find an appropriate location and set up your control panel and keypad (if one comes with your security system). You may be able to adhere your control panel to a wall, or it may require nails for setting in place.
Step 2 – Place your motion detectors and door/window sensors appropriately throughout your home. These devices may be adhered to surfaces as well.
Step 3 – Place any signage like stickers in windows and a yard sign out front.
Step 4 – If you have any smart home devices, you’ll need to follow the specific instructions for setup to ensure that they function properly with your security system.
Step 5 – If you have any security cameras, follow the instructions required for setup to ensure proper function.
How Much Do DIY Home Security Systems Cost?
DIY home security systems are typically less expensive than traditional systems because you can cut out the cost of professional installation and potentially monitoring as well.
- Monitoring: $10 to $50 per month.
- Upfront cost of home security equipment: $100 to $250
- Monthly equipment renting costs: $10 to $35 per month
The actual equipment cost will depend on the DIY security provider you choose. Installation, monitoring, and equipment costs are all important factors to consider when finding the best security system for your home.
DIY security during the Coronavirus pandemic
Shopping for new video doorbells or other security equipment? DIY may be the best way to go during the pandemic. Here’s why:
Compare DIY Home Security Providers
DIY Home Security System FAQs
A DIY security system is one that you can install on your own. A professional installation technician won’t come out and install it for you. One of the perks of a DIY system is that you won’t have to pay an installation fee.
Would you feel comfortable with assembling, troubleshooting and possibly repairing a security system on your own? If not, then a DIY security system might not be the best solution for you. If, however, you perceive that you’ll have no problem with installation, troubleshooting and repairs, then this type of system may be suitable for you. It’s also important to consider your budget when considering a DIY system as well.
With most DIY security systems, you can. Most providers highlight that their systems are easy to install, and usually that’s through adhesive mounting or setting on a level surface. So, in most cases, you should be able to disassemble your system and take it with you. Be sure to check the provider’s website for additional details on moving.
Yes, most DIY security system providers have mobile apps that will allow you to remotely arm and disarm your security system. In some cases, this feature is not available in the basic package or monitoring plan and may require purchasing a more expensive package or monitoring plan.
Yes, most DIY security system providers offer smart home devices that either come with packages or as standalone products. You may have to pay more for packages that come with smart home devices and capabilities.
DIY installation is one of the primary features of DIY alarm systems. Installing your own security system saves you the money usually associated with professional installation. However, if you’d feel more comfortable having someone install the system for you, you can hire a professional for a fee.
Depending on the company you choose, you’ll have the option of either self-monitoring or professional monitoring for your alarm system. If you have professional monitoring, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee. Some companies allow you to choose between professional and self-monitoring.
Anytime you have professional monitoring with your security system, you can expect to pay a monthly fee. If you’d prefer to skip the monthly fee, Nest allows you to opt for self-monitoring without a fee.
One of the downsides of wireless security systems is that, unlike wired systems, they’re susceptible to hacking. There are a few safety measures you can take to avoid this. Create a safe password for both your alarm system and your wifi network. Make sure encryption is enabled on all of your devices.
DIY security systems can range in price, depending on how many cameras, monitors, sensors, and other pieces your home requires. Expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $400 for the upfront equipment costs and a minimum of $10 per month for professional monitoring services.
Yes, most DIY systems allow you to take your system with you if you move. Some systems that require contracts allow you to leave the system and the remaining contract with the new homeowners if both parties would prefer that option.
If your home security system breaks or malfunctions, perform essential checks to ensure that the battery is charged, the power supply is working, and the wiring is in good shape and not frayed. If problems persist, contact the device manufacturer for additional support.
Many DIY security systems are connected to your home wifi network, which can result in potential vulnerabilities. Make sure that you have a secure password for your wifi network and your alarm system. If the option is available, enable encryption on your devices.