The Best Self-Monitored Security Systems with No Monthly Fees

Home security systems are an important option for keeping your home and family safe, but they can be a pretty big investment between the equipment, setup and monthly monitoring fees. Luckily, there is a way to make those costs a little less hefty by cutting out the cost of professional monitoring. That’s right -- monitoring your own security system is simple, and there are plenty of good DIY security systems out there that will make securing and watching your home a snap.

The Best Self-Monitored Security Systems With No Monthly Fees

Main Features to Look for When Buying a Self-Monitored Security System


If you’re planning to monitor your own alarm system to avoid monthly fees, chances are good you’re also going to be installing it yourself, which means that you need to look for a security system that’s easy enough to install without help from the professionals. In general that means it should be wireless, easily integrated and have an app that’s easy to install on your phone or computer to make the set-up process a breeze.

Sensor options

Security systems aren’t any good if they don’t offer the options you need for your home. Whether that’s an indoor/outdoor camera or sensors to keep pipes from bursting in the winter, you should make sure that the company you choose offers the types of sensors you want for your home.

Up-front cost

The up-front cost of DIY security systems can be pretty hefty; it’s important to look for a system that has the options you want but can also afford. If the system you’re looking at offers the basics at an affordable price but the add-ons are outrageous, it’s not going to do much good anyway. So make sure you’re looking at systems that will be in your budget once all the bells and whistles have been added on.

Factors to Should Consider Before Buying a Self-Monitored Security System

  • Ease of monitoring – If you’re going to monitor your own security system, you need to make sure it’s easy to do. That may mean finding a system that offers well-designed app to check on your home or a good quality HD cameras to stream images from the exterior or interior of your home. If the monitoring system is difficult to use, it won’t do you much good. So make sure whatever system you decide to purchase has an easy method for monitoring your home.   
  • Smart home integration –  A lot of the DIY security systems allow you the option of turning your home into a smart home. Forget to turn off the lights or close the garage? No problem. Your system will let you know, and it can turn off or shut what you need it to with the push of a button on the app. If bringing your home into this century with high tech tools is important to you, make sure you know what smart home options each security system offers.  
  • Reliability – Let’s face it — some technology is fussy. If the Internet constantly goes down in your area, you’ll want to make sure the system you choose has a way to continue monitoring your home without it. Check into how reliable your system is in case of power outages or Internet issues, and make sure your system will be armed and ready to alert no matter what. 

Best Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

Best for Easy Installation

SimpliSafe Home Security

  • BBB rating
  • Starting price
Our take on SimpliSafe Home Security

SimpliSafe could be considered a disrupter in the home security industry, because it was among the first to provide forward-thinking customer benefits like self-installation, self-monitoring, video verification and month-to-month pricing. Its generous 60-day risk-free trial helps ensure long-term customer satisfaction.

What we like

  • Inexpensive professional monitoring
  • Wireless equipment
  • Cellular monitoring

What we don’t like

  • Mobile alerts not available in the basic monitoring plan
  • No selection of smart home devices
  • Smart home capabilities not available in basic monitoring plan
Best for Self-Monitoring

Abode Security

  • BBB rating
  • Starting price
Our take on Abode Home Security

Abode is a budget-friendly option for tech-savvy individuals who are comfortable setting up and monitoring their own security systems. Its ample smart home integrations provide a good foundation for uniting all of your home automation devices.

What we like

  • 30-day return policy
  • Option for short-term professional monitoring
  • Two self-monitoring plans

What we don’t like

  • Professional monitoring only available in highest tiered monitoring plan
  • Cellular backup not available in basic monitoring plan
  • Understanding custom home automation features could be difficult for some
Best Smart Integrations


  • BBB rating
  • Starting price
Our take

The Google Nest Secure alarm system is priced at $399 and includes basic equipment like Nest Guard, Nest Detect, a Nest Tag and the Nest App. The Nest Guard is an all-in-one alarm, keypad, motion sensor, and digital assistant. You can arm and disarm the alarm system at the tap of your Nest Tag on top of the Nest Guard. Nest Detect is an additional sensor made for doors and windows while the Nest app is your on-hand control center.

What we like

  • Reasonably priced DIY option
  • Contract for professional monitoring is optional
  • Easy to use

What we don’t like

  • No variety of preset hardware packages you can purchase
  • The cost of month-to-month professional monitoring is higher than contract option
  • Could lose one of the arming/disarming tags

FAQs About DIY Self-Monitored Security Systems

How much does a DIY alarm system cost?

Well, that depends on a ton of factors, including what type of monitoring you want for your home. If you’re looking for a system that has mainly sirens and alerts, you can find them for around $100 or so. If you’d like a system that can integrate into a smart home and offers camera security, you’ll be looking at $200 or $300 for the equipment alone.

Will installing a security system help cut down on my homeowners insurance?

It can — you’ll need to talk to your homeowners insurance agent, but in most cases, having a security system will earn you a discount on your insurance policy.

Can I use a DIY security system to make sure my house doesn’t flood?

You can — there are a number of DIY systems that offer sensors to make sure your pipes don’t burst or your home doesn’t flood. If this type of monitoring is important to you, make sure you’re choosing a system that allows you to integrate this type of sensor.

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Researched by the

Safety Team

The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.