Keeping your home safe and secure is a top priority of many homeowners. Thanks to advances in smart home technology and home automation security products, you can now monitor your home’s cameras, security solutions and more, no matter where you are in the world. Best part is, you can install most of this automated home security technology yourself, so you don’t need to shell out thousands to a security installation company or contractor.


Factors to consider before buying


Top 5 DIY Home Security Systems

Best for Creating a Smart Home

LifeShield

LifeShield

BBB Rating: A+


Starting at: $19.99/mo

Our take on LifeShield

LifeShield provides home security solutions for the DIY-er and individual who prefers professional installation. The company offers three home security packages; each package is equipped with the basics like the LifeShield base, an entry keypad, door and window sensors and more.

LifeShield is also a great option for customers who want to monitor their own homes. With self-monitoring, customers can keep tabs on activity in their homes at an affordable price and create their very own smart homes. Customers can also add 24/7 professional monitoring for as little as $19.99/mo. for the Shield Your Pad Package. Monthly monitoring costs increase with higher packages which include additional sensors, environmental detectors and more. Customers can also build out their own security system and pick out the equipment desired for their home.

Best Value for 24/7 Monitoring

Ring

Ring

BBB Rating: A+


Starting at: $10.00/mo

Our take on Ring

Ring offers complete security systems, video doorbells, cameras and more for your home’s protection.The base security system comes with 5 pieces: a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender. This alarm security kit has a retail price of $199.00.

Ring offers 24/7 professional monitoring for $10/mo. with the Protect Plus Plan and even the option for a discounted annual price of $100/yr. With this plan, you’ll also have access to motion alerts, live video, an extended warranty and a 10% discount off future Ring purchases. With Ring, you can also level up by integrating Amazon Alexa to control your system and other smart products like Ring’s Stick Up Cam and smart lights.

Best Customizable Feature Options

Frontpoint

Frontpoint

BBB Rating: A+


Starting at: $34.99/mo

Our take on Frontpoint

Frontpoint Security is a newer home security company, founded in 2007. Frontpoint is well-known for its modern equipment and home automation systems, as well as high-quality customer support.

All Frontpoint packages are customizable and include 24/7 professional monitoring with dispatchers ready to take action if needed. Monthly monitoring from Frontpoint starts at $34.99/mo. for the lowest tier plan and increases with more features. Frontpoint’s available features include home automation, live video streaming, sensor history and more. Frontpoint emphasizes their DIY installation options, which allow wireless setup and don’t require drilling holes in walls.

Best Technology Options

SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe

BBB Rating: A+


Starting at: $15.00/mo

Our take on SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is known for its dedication to helping homeowners take control of their security. With award-winning home security solutions, SimpliSafe offers a number of packages that you can choose from based on your needs.

With SimpliSafe, you’ll purchase and own your equipment. Security packages range from around $229.00 for the basic, Foundation Package to around $489.00 for the more inclusive, Haven Package. The basic package features a base station, keypad, entry sensor, and motion sensor while the highest tiered package adds on a key fob, panic button, environmental sensors, and more. SimpliSafe’s DIY alarm systems also feature the option of adding 24/7 professional monitoring.

Best for Video Recording

Arlo

Arlo

BBB Rating: B

Our take on Arlo

Arlo’s aim is to help us protect the individuals and places that we love since we can’t be in multiple places at once. Arlo makes this easy through its home security solutions. The company has three home security packages. The package prices start at 179.99.

Arlo’s security system is self-monitored and does not come with professional monitoring options. You can, however, purchase an Arlo subscription plan that will allow you to view your video recordings so you can stay on top of your security. With Arlo, you’ll also receive motion alerts whenever activity is detected.


Pros and Cons of DIY Security Systems

Pros of a DIY Home Security System

  • No installation fee
  • Many systems do not require contracts
  • Easy installation without the use of tools
  • Install equipment wherever you choose
  • Purchase only the equipment that you need and want
  • Easy to transport if you move to a new home

Cons of a DIY Home Security System

  • May perform an improper install
  • Upfront costs can be higher
  • Purchasing add-ons can get expensive
  • May have limited technical support
  • Could be responsible for system repairs
  • May not offer professional monitoring

Features to look for in a DIY home security system

When searching for the best DIY home security system, there are a number of features you’ll want to look for, specifically differences in professional monitoring plans and available home automation devices. Most systems will provide your basic home security equipment, such as a control panel, motion sensors and signage. Below are some additional features you’ll want to consider as you see if a DIY security system works best for your home.

Mobile app access

Want to be able to access your security system while you’re away? Look for a security system that features mobile app access. Once you have your security system set up and have downloaded the app on your smartphone, you can easily arm and disarm your system while you’re away. If the kids arrive home before you get there, you can remotely disarm your alarm system to let them in and arm it again once they’re safely inside.

Environmental monitoring

Some DIY security system providers offer environmental monitoring as a feature in their packages or plans. Having a smoke detector in your home can alert you in the event of dangerous conditions, and a carbon monoxide detector can alert you of dangerous levels of CO in your home to help keep your family safe. Additional environmental monitoring devices like flood and freeze sensors can help you protect your valuables from damage.

Home automation

Want to create the smart home you’ve been dreaming of? Some DIY security system providers offer smart devices and or integration features. You can purchase a package that comes with smart home devices or add on devices of your choice. Look for smart lights, smart locks, smart thermostats, garage openers and more to help you automate simple tasks.


DIY Home Security FAQs

What is a DIY system?

A DIY security system gives you the freedom to customize your security options. You can create a system that is as simple or complex as you desire by adding on to the base products that you need. Another perk of DIY alarm systems is that you can own the equipment, and if you ever have to move, you can take the equipment with you. With  DIY home security systems you do not have to pay for installation since you’ll be setting it up on your own. Some companies even offer customer service and have online help centers to get you started.

How much does a DIY home security system cost?

The cost of a DIY home security system will vary depending on the company, its products and services. One of the perks of DIY security systems is that you can purchase and own the equipment. Since you can install the equipment yourself, you can also avoid any installation fees. The equipment could range from as little as $150 to over $1,000 depending on the products included in a package. Typically, you’ll also have the option to purchase professional monitoring.

Does DIY home security have professional monitoring?

Most DIY home security providers offer monthly professional monitoring. The cost of professional monitoring may range from as little as $10/mo. to as much as $50/mo. When your system is professionally monitoring, this means that a professional from your monitoring company is ready to respond to any alerts he or she receives. If suspicious activity triggers your alarm, a professional will attempt to contact you and even alert emergency responders who will be dispatched to your home. Depending on the plan you choose, you can opt for monitoring through cellular, broadband, or landline connection.

What equipment is included?

Most DIY home security packages come with a basic set of equipment. Typically, each package will include a control panel, motion sensors, and door/window detectors. Additional equipment such as indoor/outdoor cameras, key fobs, smart home devices and others can be purchased at an additional cost.

Is the equipment easy to install? 

Most DIY security system equipment is easy to install. You’ll find that you can set up the equipment with adhesive backing and won’t have to gather tools to assemble equipment. Some systems come ready to install and activate right out of the box, so these systems are usually much easier to install and move than professionally monitored systems.

What is home automation?

Home automation involves placing certain tasks on autopilot for your convenience. Some providers boast smart security systems that come with home automation integration with the help of voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more. Some DIY home security systems function with compatible smart devices, such as smart locks, smart thermostats, smart lights, garage door controls and more that can further customize your system. You may also be able to control these devices by mobile app.

Do I want remote access to my security system from my smartphone?

If you want to be able to access and control your security system while you’re away from home, look for providers that offer remote access. With mobile access, you’re typically able to manage your security system by mobile app. You’ll be able to arm or disarm your system. For some providers, you could also adjust your temperature, turn on/off your lights, open the garage and more.

Is a DIY security system right for me?

If you’re looking to save a little more money in the long-term, don’t wish to sign a contract for service and want more freedom of placement for your equipment, then choosing a DIY alarm system is best. You won’t have to pay an installation fee, you’ll have ownership of your equipment and you can place your equipment where you’d like. Another factor to consider is if you plan on moving in the future. If you’re thinking of moving, then choosing a DIY security system is the better option. With a simple setup process, this type of system will be easy to transport to your new home.