The Best DIY Home Security Systems Of 2020

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 do-it-yourself (DIY) home security system providers.

Best for Easy Installation

Best features

  • Inexpensive professional monitoring
  • Wireless equipment
  • Cellular monitoring

Best Entry-Level Pricing

Best features

  • 25+ years of industry experience
  • Low prices on entry-level systems
  • No upfront equipment costs

Best for Instant Text Alerts

Best features

  • Custom packages with low-pressure sales
  • Easy cancellation
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

DIY Home Security

DIY home security systems are more popular than ever, allowing you to have more flexibility with equipment placement, as well as avoid installation fees and lengthy contracts. With most DIY home security systems, you’ll find the same equipment as provided with professionally installed systems like a control panel, motion sensors, door/window sensors, security cameras, home environmental monitoring devices, and smart home devices. So, is DIY home security right for you? We feel that DIY home security is often better for renters, frequent movers, and individuals looking for a budget-buy. We share some of the best DIY home security system providers below and their features to help you make a more informed decision for your safety.

The 9 Best DIY Home Security Systems

Best Home Automation Products 1

Compare Top DIY Home Security Systems

SimpliSafe Security

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Cove Security

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Link Interactive

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Ring Systems

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Abode Security

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Starting price for monitoring $14.99/mo. $19.99/mo. $14.99/mo. $44.99/mo. Not provided $30.99/mo. $10/mo. $24.98/mo. $8.33/mo.
Professional installation option Yes Yes No No Yes No No Yes Yes
Self-monitoring option Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Professional monitoring option Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Contract length No contract required 36 months No contract required No contract required 5 years 1-3 years No contract required No contract required No contract required
Guarantees / Refunds 60 days 15 days 60 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days 30 days
BBB rating A+ A A A+ B- A+ C A+ C

DIY Home Security Factors to Consider

There are several factors to consider when shopping for your DIY home security system:

  • Household budget

  • Cellular monitoring connection

  • Security cameras

  • Professional monitoring option

  • Mobile app control

  • Smart home features

DIY Home Security System Features

When shopping for a DIY home security system there are many features to choose including smart home connectivity for automated routines and remote access via mobile app. Keep in mind that feature capabilities may vary or cost extra depending on the home security provider. Here are the top DIY home security features to consider:

Sensors

Most DIY home security systems will come with sensors to detect activity in your home. These are essential devices to look for when purchasing a DIY security system. Depending on the home security system you choose, motion sensors can send alerts to your phones or a monitoring center.

Security cameras

Security cameras are also a common element of DIY home security systems. Most providers offer at least one type of camera so customers can monitor their homes. Security cameras add a layer of surveillance that will enhance your home protection.

Smart home devices

Most DIY home security providers offer smart home devices that can be purchased separately or part of a package. You’ll have the option to purchase a DIY home security package that includes smart home devices or add on devices of your choice.

The Best DIY Home Security Systems

  1. Best for Easy Installation

    SimpliSafe Security

    Our rating 8.4

    Starting at $14.99/mo

    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

    SimpliSafe Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    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’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.

  2. Best Entry-Level Pricing

    Protect America

    Our rating 7.2

    Starting at $19.99/mo

    Our take on Protect America Home Security

    Protect America stands out for its low starting prices, over 25 years of award-winning service and monitoring plans that are based on connectivity type. If you’re looking for a capable no-frills home security system you can install yourself, Protect America might have the best priced option.

    What we like

    • Price-match guarantee
    • Smart home devices and features
    • Mobile app access & control

    What we don’t like

    • Contract required
    • Must upgrade to get video surveillance, smart features and smoke detection
    • Cellular monitoring is the most expensive plan

    Protect America Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    Protect America’s equipment and plans center around simple and affordable home security systems, with upgradeable capabilities that include smart home automation, video service and smoke and fire monitoring. It doesn’t offer the same variety of smart home devices as some other top providers, but it does offer fundamentals like app control, smart lighting and locks

    Protect America Monitoring Services

    Protect America subcontracts its monitoring services to COPS Monitoring, an award-winning, UL-certified company with six nationwide monitoring stations and a 16.2-second average priority alarm response time. It also offers different monitoring plans based on the desired connectivity – landline, broadband or cellular.

    DIY Installation

    Protect America does not offer professional installation. Customers must set up their own equipment (no tools required, according to the provider) with the help of the online Quick Install Guide, or request help by phone through the customer service line

    Protect America Pricing & Value

    In our opinion, Protect America’s biggest downside is its three-year minimum contract. But there’s a plus side: Once you enter the contract, Protect America provides the essential home security equipment for free without additional upfront costs. You’re only responsible for the monthly monitoring fee and any optional upgrades. There’s also a price match guarantee.

  3. Best for Instant Text Alerts

    Cove Security

    Starting at $14.99/mo

    Our take on Cove Security

    You’ll find the basics you need for intrusion detection with Cove Security. Cove stands out with locked monitoring rates, a lifetime warranty, and a $5 credit each month that can be used towards any future equipment purchases. While Cove does not offer any preset home security packages, you can easily build your own online. With Cove, you also get access to features like Cove InstaText™ for fast notifications on activity in your home and voice control when you choose a Cove monitoring plan. Cove monitoring ranges from $15/mo. – $25/mo.

    What we like

    • Custom packages with low-pressure sales
    • Easy cancellation
    • 60-day money-back guarantee

    What we don’t like

    • Premium app subscription required for many features
    • Relatively new company
    • Lack of smart home integration and camera options

    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.

    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.

    DIY Installation

    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.

    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.

  4. Best for Customer Service

    Frontpoint Security

    Our rating 7.2

    Starting at $44.99/mo

    Our take on Frontpoint Home Security

    Frontpoint offers a competitive range of security equipment and monitoring services with the freedom of do-it-yourself installation and month-to-month contracts. We also appreciate their straightforward pricing and solid customer service reputation.

    What we like

    • Month-to-month contract
    • Renter-friendly services and equipment
    • Good customer service

    What we don’t like

    • Outdoor camera, doorbell camera only available as add-ons
    • Limited home automation devices available
    • High monitoring starting price

    Frontpoint Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    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 Z-wave smart home hub.

    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.

  5. 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. Alder does not have a selection of pre-made packages you can choose from, but 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. As some additional perks you’ll find with Alder Security, installation services are free if you ever need assistance, and your equipment is covered by a lifetime warranty.

    What we like

    • Fast, 3-second alarm response rate
    • Limited lifetime equipment warranty
    • Easy DIY installation process

    What we don’t like

    • No equipment pricing provided online
    • No monitoring pricing provided online
    • No smart home devices

    Alder Security Packages & Equipment

    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.

    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.

    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. 

  6. Best for Video Doorbells

    Ring Home Security

    Starting at $3/mo

    Our take on Ring Home Security

    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.

    What we like

    • Inexpensive equipment and professional monitoring
    • Easy to install
    • A range of security camera devices

    What we don’t like

    • 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 & Smart Home Equipment

    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.

  7. Best Wireless Equipment

    LifeShield

    Starting at $19.99/mo

    Our take on LifeShield Security

    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.

    What we like

    • No contract
    • Mobile App included in all packages
    • Customizable packages

    What we don’t like

    • Poor customer service
    • No smart home equipment
    • No professional monitoring

    LifeShield Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    LifeShield offers three different wireless equipment bundles plus the option to build your own. Pick between a full spectrum of intrusion protection, activity detection and environmental monitoring devices. Lifeshield doesn’t offer extensive options for smart home products, but the Lifeshield Operating Unit (the hub for the system) doubles as a Z-wave smart home hub. It also works with Alexa. There are many compatible products available from top brands.

    LifeShield Monitoring Services

    LifeShield has three in-house monitoring centers. Monitoring service includes intrusion, fire and flood response. All systems have smash and crash protection, meaning that the monitoring center will be alerted if the keypad is tampered with. Packages with video surveillance require a higher-tier monitoring subscription for $24.99/mo.

    Best for Basic Wireless Equipment

    While many providers offer a mix of security basics and fun-to-use smart devices, LifeShield focuses on sensors that can detect motion, glass breaks, temperature, flood and smoke, as well as the hubs that tie them all together. This straightforward equipment lineup should appeal to a budget-minded person whose main priority is protection.

    LifeShield Pricing & Value

    LifeShield is slightly more expensive than some other DIY home security options, but many people feel it is worth it because of the scope of equipment available and the reassurance of being backed by ADT. It also frequently advertises monitoring promotions, so keep your eye out  for seasonal discounts.

  8. Best for Self-Monitoring

    Abode Security

    Starting at $8.33/mo

    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

    Abode Security Packages & Smart Home Equipment

    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 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. We’ve seen professional monitoring start as low as $8.33/mo. with the purchase of a starter kit.

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Showing 9 of 9 providers

Pros and Cons of DIY Home Security Systems

Pros of DIY Home Security Systems

  • No installation fee – With DIY home security systems, you’ll be able to set up your security equipment yourself without hefty fees and scheduling with a professional technician. Most DIY security equipment is pre-configured to simply plug-in or stick up using adhesive. Providers also offer ‘how-to’ videos and tech support to assist with set up.

  • Contract-free – Most DIY home security providers offer month-to-month options for video storage and professional monitoring. But since DIY equipment is purchased upfront, most DIY home security providers don’t require a lengthy contract for leasing equipment. You’ll also have the flexibility to change your monthly plan for storage and monitoring and cancel anytime.

  • Security equipment savings – DIY home security systems allow you to only buy the equipment you want. Some security providers give the flexibility to choose your own equipment to buy what’s needed. And remember, with DIY home security solutions you can always buy more cameras or sensors later.

  • Easy re-installation – If you need to reposition sensors or cameras, it’s easy. Security equipment is often installed with one screw, adhesive or plugged into a standard wall outlet to work properly. And if you move into a new home, simply pack up the equipment and reinstall it without professional technicians and fees.

Cons of DIY Home Security Systems

  • Professional monitoring – Many DIY home security providers don’t offer professional monitoring to watch over your home at all times. If sensors are triggered, you’ll receive instant notifications, but emergency responders won’t be aware of any potential danger until you notify them.

  • Expensive upfront costs – Most DIY home security providers require you to buy equipment upfront without a contract, which can be pricey depending on your home’s security equipment needs. You’ll also want to factor in potential equipment activation fees to get started.

  • Privacy and hacking risks – Your DIY home security system will most likely connect to your home’s router or Wi-Fi to monitor your home and send mobile alerts, but this also makes it easier for hackers to steal information if you’re not careful. Be mindful of encryption and any authentication steps to protect camera footage and information.

  • System repairs – With DIY home security systems, if a sensor is damaged or installed incorrectly you may be responsible for the repairs or replacements. If the equipment is faulty, your security provider may replace it on their behalf.

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.

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. With self-monitoring options, your home security costs can range from $10 to $50 per month. Additionally, the upfront cost of home security equipment typically ranges from $100 to $250 and monthly equipment renting costs are around $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 Home Security System FAQs

A couple using a laptop

What is a DIY security system?

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.

Is a DIY home security system right for me?

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.

Can I take my DIY security system with me if I move?

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.

Do most DIY security system providers have mobile apps for control?

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.

Do most DIY security system providers offer smart home devices?

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.


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Written by

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa develops content in the home security space and contributes to Safety's social media efforts.