The Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2021

Want a home security system that you can set up on your own, but don’t know where to start your search? Compare these top DIY home security system providers.
Updated Jul 21, 2021
Written By
Jalesa Campbell | Safety and Security Reporter
Evaluated over 90 safety products to help you protect what matters most. Check our Methodology

Bottom Line: SimpliSafe Is the Best DIY Home Security System

DIY home security systems help customers avoid installation fees by giving them the freedom to self-install their security systems. Installation is generally easy and less complex than with traditionally wired security systems. Another big advantage that the best DIY security systems offer is the flexibility of equipment placement. Top DIY providers offer wireless equipment, making it easy to set up the control panel or hub, sensors, and smart home devices where you’d like.

Several DYI home security services providers also offer the benefit of no required contracts. This aspect of DYI home security services provides much relief for renters, frequent movers, and people on a budget. Traditional providers often require contracts for their services. Professional and self-monitoring are also options — putting you in control of your money and security. We’ve found that SimpliSafe is the best overall for homeowners and renters with its inexpensive monitoring and equipment. We dive into the details of these national DIY home security brands and how they can help you protect your home.

Here Are the Best DIY Home Security Systems

Compare DIY Home Security Systems

SimpliSafe Security


Cove Security


Frontpoint Security

Link Interactive


Ring Systems


Brinks Home Security


Abode Security


Starting price for monitoring
$14.99/mo.$19.99/mo.$14.99/mo.$49.99/mo.$39.99/mo.$30.99/mo.$10/mo.$39.99/mo.$20/mo.
Professional installation option
YesNoNoNoNoNoYesYesYes
Self-monitoring option
YesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoYes
Professional monitoring option
YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Contract length
No contract requiredNo contract required No contract requiredNo contract required3-5 years1-3 yearsNo contract required3 yearsNo contract required
Guarantees / Refunds
60 days30 days60 days30 days30 days30 days30 days30 days30 days
 

The Best DIY Home Security Systems

Simplisafe: Best for Overall DIY

  • Best overall DIY security system

    SimpliSafe Home Security

    Our rating
    9.9
    Starting at
    $14.99/mo

    Our take on SimpliSafe Home Security:

    SimpliSafe Home Security 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.

     

    Pros

    • Inexpensive professional monitoring
    • Wireless equipment
    • Cellular monitoring

    Cons

    • 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
    Research SimpliSafe

    SimpliSafe Security Packages & Cameras

    SimpliSafe equipment is attractive, modern and easy to install, and the company 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 interested 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 43+ 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. The company has a very straightforward guide for installation and a highly rated customer support team to help you if needed. 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 and packages start at $229. Long-term monitoring contracts are not required and month-to-month subscriptions range from $15 to $25 per month. 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 ADT

    Our rating
    9
    Starting 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.

     

     

     

    Pros

    • Standalone and whole-home security solutions
    • Optional professional monitoring by ADT’s award-winning specialists
    • Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

    Cons

    • No professional installation option
    • No smart home equipment offered
    • Cloud storage costs extra
    Research Blue by ADT

    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 wireless cameras that are easy to set up.

    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 $20 per month. The professional monitoring plan comes with the usual alerts, cellular backup, and the ADT team will alert you and the authorities in case of an emergency. Cloud storage for more than 24 hours can be added for an extra fee.

    Blue by ADT’s Equipment and Features

    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 $20 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 Security

    Our rating
    9.3
    Starting 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. Another major selling point is Cove’s ease of installation.

    Pros

    • Affordable monitoring and equipment
    • Installation takes about half an hour
    • 60-day money-back guarantee

    Cons

    • Limited equipment selection
    • Doesn't connect toZ-Wave equipment

    • Smartphone app only available with the most expensive monitoring package
    Research Cove Security

    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 security cameras for monitoring your home. Cove’s Touch Alarm Panel boasts two-way communication and Smash & Grab Protection for additional security against intruders.

    Cove Security Monitoring Services

    You’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring with Cove through either the Cove Basic or Cove Plus plans. Your home will be monitored over a 100% cellular connection for greater protection against power outages or Wi-Fi internet issues.

    DIY Installation

    Cove Security’s system is designed for DIY installation. The provider claims their system can be installed in as little as 27 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

    Frontpoint Home Security

    Our rating
    9.4
    Starting at
    $44.99/mo
    1-888-688-5779

    - or -

    View Packages

    Our Take on Frontpoint Home Security

    Frontpoint Security lets you choose both your package and monitoring plan to help build the best home security system for renters and homeowners alike. Monitoring can be costly, but free DIY installation helps lower costs without reducing reliability or protection.

    Pros

    • No lengthy contracts
    • Excellent customer service
    • Variety of equipment to choose from

    Cons

    • Monitoring fees are relatively expensive
    • Short trial period (30 days)
    • No professional installation option
    Research Frontpoint

    Frontpoint Security Packages & Cameras

    The Frontpoint security product lineup includes everything you need for smart home security, including activity detection, cameras and mobile app access. Choose a starter package or build your own system from scratch. The Frontpoint alarm panel also serves as a smart home hub that integrates with Amazon Alexa and works with over 2oo smart home devices.

    Frontpoint Monitoring Services

    Frontpoint customers give the provider high ratings for service, especially throughout the product selection and DIY installation process. The company also maintains high Trustpilot and JD Power ratings, and its mobile app has strong reviews in the Apple Store and Google Play. Plus, Frontpoint has a convenient monthly plan that’s better than the lengthy contracts other home security providers favor.

    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

    Alder Home Security

    Our rating
    6.4
    Starting at
    $39.99/mo

    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.

    Pros

    • Fast, three-second alarm response rate
    • Limited lifetime equipment warranty
    • Easy DIY installation process

    Cons

    • 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 YI indoor and outdoor security cameras.

    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.

    DIY Installation

    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.

    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.

Ring: Best for Video Doorbells

  • Best for video doorbells

    Ring Home Security

    Our rating
    9.3
    Starting at
    $10.00/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.

    Pros

    • Standalone equipment and whole-home systems available
    • Professional and DIY installation and monitoring available
    • A wide range of comparatively cheap equipment

    Cons

    • Paid Protect Plan required for video storage and smart features
    • Only works with Amazon Alexa
    • Cellular backup only available with a Ring Protect Plan
    Research Ring

    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 a 30-second average response time.

    Why Ring is Best for Video Doorbells

    Ring products are generally affordable. Its video doorbells start at $60 and the 5-piece security kit starts at $200. 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 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. PT 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.

Abode: Best for Self-Monitoring

  • Best for self-monitoring

    Abode Security

    Our rating
    9.2
    Starting at
    $6/mo

    Our take on Abode Home Security:

    Abode offers plenty of features in your security equipment. It offers DIY smart security that gives you more than expected. Abode’s Iota Security hub has a built-in siren, HD camera, two-way audio, and can connect up to 160 smart devices. You’ll have to set up the system yourself, and Abode requires service, but it’s worth every penny.

     

    Recommended package: The Iota All-in-One Security Kit Elite is our favorite pick. We love the built-in hub features. Plus, you’ll still get the security essentials for $292. If you’re looking for an option with more cameras, we recommend the Smart Security Kit Complete for a solution that has two Abode Cam 2 cameras. This provider also offers price match. If you already have a quote from a different provider, make sure to send it to them to see if there’s an opportunity to save extra money. 

    Pros

    • Works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit
    • Smart hub with built-in security with smart home features
    • Camera that doubles as an indoor, outdoor, and doorbell camera

    Cons

    • Warranty only lasts one year
    • Requires paid plan for service and most features
    Research Abode

    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, which might be a dealbreaker 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. self-monitoring plan that includes video storage for seven days. Professional monitoring starts around $20 per month, 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 option for 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.

    *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

diy home security mobile app

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 should I consider before buying a DIY home security system?

  • Price

    Most DIY providers will either require you to pay for your security system upfront or over a period of time. In most cases, however, you won’t have to worry about a contract.

  • DIY Installation

    Owning a DIY security system usually means you’ll be responsible for installation. The bright side of this is that many providers have peel-and-stick equipment, making the setup lighter for you. For some providers, you can choose professional installation for a fee.

  • Equipment

    The basic equipment you’ll find across all home security providers include a control panel, motion sensors, door/window sensors, and signage. Additional devices may come at an additional cost and can include smoke detectors, smart devices, and security cameras.

  • Monitoring Type

    Depending on the company, you may be able to choose between professional monitoring and self-monitoring. You’ll have to pay a monthly fee for professional monitoring. Usually, self-monitoring is technically free, but you may still need to pay for app use or special features.

  • Trial Period

    Find a provider that offers an appropriate trial period to allow time for you to test out of your equipment. You’ll typically find 30-day trial periods, but some DIY providers give you 60 days to make sure your system is right for you.

  • Home Automation & Cameras

    If you’re looking to automate tasks in your home, look for smart home devices like smart lights, locks, thermostats, garage door controllers, and more. Adding security cameras like indoor, outdoor, or a video doorbell will provide you with video surveillance of your home.

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: $200 to $350 
  • 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

Already have a few providers in mind but not sure which one is best? Let us help with our head-to-head provider comparisons. Here are our most popular provider comparisons:

DIY Home Security System FAQs














Sources:


Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.

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