How Much Does A Home Security System Cost?
When evaluating home security companies to help protect your home, you’ll want to know upfront how much you’re paying without any surprises. Check out some of the common home security cost factors and figures to budget for.
How much are home security systems?
The cost of home security systems depends on the equipment, plan, installation and more. Most of these costs include home security equipment such as security cameras, video doorbells and sensors. Your monthly home security cost can also include 24/7 professional monitoring services, security camera footage cloud storage and the ability to control your home security system using your security provider’s mobile app. You’ll be able to easily manage your smart lights, thermostat and other home security gadgets. Today, the best home security systems can range from $15.99/mo., or up to $54.99/mo. for a plan with additional features and equipment.
Adding up common home security costs
There are a few fees to expect when adding up your home security cost. You’ll want to factor in installation, activation, equipment and any added services such as professional monitoring. Each cost will vary based on your security provider.
Some home security systems require a technician to professionally install your home’s security equipment. After you schedule the installation appointment, you won’t have to worry about spending time wiring or drilling to install your home security system. However, professional installation can cost over $200 but may be discounted depending on the security provider or equipment purchased.
You’ll also want to factor in any activation fees to turn your equipment on. Activation fees are often included with installation and can range from a one-time fee up to $100. Before buying a home security system, ask about any activation fees, when it should be paid (on your next bill or before installation) and if the activation fee covers all equipment.
Add up the cost of all the security equipment you’ll need to help protect your home. This often includes any security cameras, sensors and control panels. Depending on your home security system choice, you’ll pay a monthly fee to rent the equipment for a time frame – at least a year. But with DIY home security systems, you’ll most likely purchase all equipment upfront. Most equipment for basic packages ranges from $15 to $30/mo.
If you’d like your security provider to watch over your home 24/7, there’s an additional monthly fee. If a sensor is triggered, the monitoring center will contact you to alert you of any suspicious activity. Professional monitoring can start at $14.99/mo. for DIY home security systems and $28.99/mo. for professionally installed systems. Keep in mind, professional monitoring often requires a contract, but some month-to-month plans are becoming more popular.
Monitored vs. unmonitored home security systems
Monitored home security systems come with professional monitoring services to watch over your home 24/7 to alert you and emergency responders if a sensor is triggered to help protect your valuables from burglaries, fire and smoke detection. The lowest basic ADT plan includes professional monitoring costs $28.99/mo. It all depends on your home’s security needs.
But bear in mind that if danger is detected, professional monitoring services will contact you first if a sensor is triggered. After the security provider has reached out to you and any emergency contacts they’ll contact the police on your behalf. So, the lag time between the triggered sensor and emergency responders getting to your home could be lengthy.
On the other hand, unmonitored home security systems will automatically notify you directly when a sensor is triggered. Once you’re notified, you’ll have to determine whether or not it’s a false alarm or if you should call emergency services. DIY home security systems are less expensive because most features and equipment are purchased upfront – such as SimpliSafe’s professional monitoring package is as low as $14.99/mo.
Wired vs. wireless home security systems
Wired home security systems tend to cost more due to installation and monitoring. They rely on radio frequency to receive signals of triggered sensors. Most wired home security systems include a control panel or hub and motion sensors to help protect your home. Some providers also offer security cameras and other security equipment. Wired home security systems often require professional installation to connect to your home’s electric and phone system making them more reliable in areas with low cellular signals. But there are a few factors to consider with wired home security systems.
- Wired systems often require a contract to lease the security equipment and any additional professional monitoring services.
- When you’re ready to move, you’ll want to consider the cost of a technician uninstalling and reinstalling your equipment.
- Unless your home security system has a backup power option, your system may not work in the event of a power outage.
Wireless home security systems work using iInternet or cellular signals to send alerts when sensors are triggered. Most DIY security equipment is purchased upfront instead of leasing. They’re ideal for renters because they typically don’t require professional wiring or drilling. DIY wireless equipment is easy to install using one screw, removable adhesive or plugging into a standard wall outlet to eliminate the cost of professional installation. When it’s time to move, you’ll be able to pack up the security equipment and reinstall at your new home. All of your wireless equipment connects to a control panel or hub and can easily be controlled using your smartphone or web portal. The best part is if there’s a power outage, most wireless equipment includes a backup battery to work. Monthly plans are often less expensive than wired home security systems, but there are drawbacks to consider.
- Depending on your wireless home security system’s range, you’ll be limited to how many sensors and pieces of equipment can be added from the base station used to help protect your home.
- If your backup battery isn’t charged enough, your system won’t work during a cellular outage.
- Your home’s data and security information pose a higher cybersecurity risk when your data is uncovered by hackers.
Adding additional home security equipment
Once you’ve set up your home security system, you may need to add extra security cameras or sensors to monitor blind spots that may be out of range. Some home security companies sell additional equipment at a discounted rate if you’ve purchased their home security system. If not, adding additional equipment can be fairly inexpensive. Adding an extra indoor security camera can cost upwards of $100 or an extra door sensor can cost around $30. Before buying more equipment, make sure you know how many home security devices each control panel or hub can accommodate at once. Also, if you’re installing add-on equipment, ask about any additional fees such as extra cloud storage for security camera footage. If you’re not buying the security gadget upfront, ask about the leasing price and any additional terms.
Extra home security system costs to consider
With so many new features, you’ll want to determine which features are ‘nice to have’ or a necessity for your home security system. Here are the top features to factor into your home security cost.
Smart home automation
Some home security companies offer plans to connect home automation equipment such as smart locks and smart lights. You’ll be able to create routines to automatically turn lights on or turn your home’s smart thermostat temperature down when you leave for work. Home security companies normally offer smart home automation capabilities at an additional cost.
24/7 live camera footage
Home security companies offer continuous video recording (CVR) to record and store all of your security camera’s footage so you never miss a moment. Normally, security cameras only record motion-triggered activity – which is only a few minutes. Most home security companies offer CVR plans in increments of 7, 10, 14 and 30 days.
Cloud video storage
If you’d like to keep your security camera video coverage stored safely away from hackers, you’ll want to consider cloud storage options available. Most security providers encrypt all data and footage using encryption. Some home security companies charge $5 to $30 a month depending on how much video storage space you’ll need.
If you’d like to control your home security system using your smartphone, you’ll typically pay extra to disarm your security system on the go and receive motion-detected mobile notifications when sensors are triggered in your home. For remote control, you’ll most likely need an upgraded plan, but downloading the mobile app is free.
Understanding home security contracts
Hidden home security costs and fees are often found in the fine print of your contract. Read the contract and ask the security provider to explain anything you don’t understand. Think about early cancellation fees, reinstallation fees from moving or overlooked equipment leasing terms. Make sure you understand monthly fees included in the contract and any upfront home security costs to be paid upon activation. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when reviewing your home security system contract.
- Understand all cancellation, equipment and service fees before signing the contract. Don’t sign the contract until you understand how much you’re paying and when. Know whether or not the rates are locked in or subject to change after a given time period.
- Evaluate contract terms and conditions for one year versus multiple years if you don’t plan on moving. A multi-year contract may be more cost-effective in the long term with better rates and security equipment offers.
- Ask about month-to-month plan options to give you more flexibility without signing a contract for a year or more. This is especially helpful for renters that want a home security system but plan to move when the lease is up.
- Just in case you need to end your contract early, understand all termination terms and fees to cancel your security service. Some home security companies can charge hundreds of dollars to break your contract early.
The best home security systems
Our take on ADT
ADT Security is one of the oldest and most experienced home security companies, with over 140 years of experience. This vast experience sets them apart in the home security industry.
ADT is known for its high-quality customer service, affordable package prices and advanced equipment. All ADT packages include 24/7 professional monitoring with professionals ready to alert authorities if an alarm is triggered at your home. Monthly monitoring costs from ADT start at $28.99/mo.* and increase with higher packages. ADT’s available features include mobile control via the ADT Pulse® mobile app, email and text alerts, home automation capability, live and stored clips from indoor and outdoor video cameras and more.
Read more about ADT packages, pricing and features.
What we like
- 140 years of experience
- 6-Month Money Back Guarantee
- $500 Theft Protection Guarantee
What we don’t like
- Contract required
- No option for self-installation
- Can be more expensive than competitors
Best Smart Home Equipment
Our take on Vivint
Founded in Utah in the 1990s, Vivint Smart Home Security is known for its unique security equipment. The company creates a lot of its own smart devices, and even has its own smart thermostat. Vivint’s monitoring system is 100% wireless and much of this top-tier equipment is offered even in basic packages.
Vivint has many available features, including burglary detector, home automation, cameras, professional monitoring and professional installation.
Read more about Vivint packages, pricing and features.
What we like
- Innovative devices
- Package customization
- Wireless system
What we don’t like
- No DIY installation option
- Shorter trial period
- Difficult cancellation process
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 plans require DIY installation (professional installation is not available) 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.
Read more about Frontpoint packages, pricing and features.
What we like
- Cellular monitoring
- DIY installation
- 30-day risk-free trial
What we don’t like
- Contract required
- No broadband or landline plans
- More expensive than some competitors
Our take on SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe was founded over a decade ago and recently updated its equipment to a smaller and more modern look with double the range. Installation is always do-it-yourself and equipment can be customized to your home and needs.
SimpliSafe monitoring ranges from $14.99 per month to $24.99 per month. The Standard plan includes 24/7 monitoring, cellular connection and environmental monitoring. The Interactive plan adds mobile control with alerts on your phone, unlimited camera recording, smart home integrations and more.
Read more about SimpliSafe packages, pricing and features.
What we like
- No contracts
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- DIY installation
What we don’t like
- Customers must purchase equipment upfront
- No option for professional installation
- Hard to choose between many package options
Factors to consider before buying a home security system
Overtime, your home security system may need repairing or replacing for a few reasons. It could be an installation issue, false alarms or faulty sensors. You’ll want to ask about how repairs work and if there’s any associated cost just in case.
Depending on your home security system plan, technical support can be limited. If you’re leasing the security equipment, your security provider may replace equipment. Others are able to troubleshoot over the phone or may require a technician. Some customer support is available 24/7, while others have limited hours and support contact information.
Ask about warranties in case your security system doesn’t meet your needs. Most home security system warranties range from 30 days up to a year. Look for warranties with a money-back guarantee to ensure you’re refunded as much money as possible without any hidden terms.
Questions to ask home security companies
To help narrow down your home security system options, we’ve included a few questions to ask security providers so you can better understand costs.
- Do you require a contract for your home security system? If so – what contract length options are available?
- Do you offer any additional warranties or included repair support plans?
- How much is professional installation for your home security system?
- Will I have to lease your security equipment or pay upfront?
- Do you offer any security camera cloud storage plans? What’s included in the cost?
- Are there any early termination fees?