Professional vs. DIY Home Security: Which Is Better for You?

Jalesa Campbell
Updated Dec 15, 2020
3 min read
We’ve put together a brief guide to help you determine whether a professionally installed security system or a DIY security system is better for you.

Still not sure? Use our recommendation tool!

Which is Better For You? Professional Installation or DIY Installation

As you’ve been researching home security systems, you’ve probably come across these two options for installation: professional or DIY (do-it-yourself). If you’re like some, you’re probably not sure what a DIY home security system is – or how the two are different. To clarify, DIY (do-it-yourself) home security systems are those in which you can set up your equipment on your own. Professionally installed security systems are set up by technicians.

If you’re still on the fence, here are some questions that can also help to guide your reasoning:

  • Would you feel comfortable installing your own security system?
  • Would you mind paying an installation fee?
  • Do you want to be able to easily relocate your security system if you move?
  • Are you fine with taking time off (if necessary) to have your security system installed?
  • Do you want to be able to self-monitor your security system, or would you prefer professional monitoring?


  • Greater assurance the system is properly installed
  • Maintenance typically handled by the provider
  • Technician can answer questions you may have


  • Usually requires signing a contract
  • Usually requires an installation fee
  • Could end up purchasing more equipment than needed

One of the biggest perks of professional installation is greater assurance that your security system will be properly installed. This will not only save you time in the long run, but could also help you save money by avoiding improper installation and potentially dealing with a break-in. Additionally, any system maintenance can typically be handled by the provider if your system is covered under warranty, and a technician can answer your questions.

On the negative side of things (depending on what you like), if you go with professional installation, in most cases you’ll have to pay a fee. The cost of professional installation could start as low as $79 and varies from there depending on the provider you choose and any promotions that may be available. Providers that offer professional installation usually require a contract as well. Many providers like ADT, Protect America, Guardian Protection, and others require a contract for their services.

With professional installation you’ll have to set aside time for your appointment. We’d recommend professional installation if you don’t mind paying the additional fee and if you don’t feel comfortable setting up the system yourself. It’s better to not take any chances if you don’t have to and make sure that your system is properly installed.

*Vivint requires a contract if you choose to finance your home security equipment. You can learn more with our Vivint overview.

Why ADT Security Is Our Pick for Professional Installation

With ADT’s longevity in the industry and excellent guarantees, we recommend the provider if you’re looking for a professionally installed security system. An ADT professional will come out to your home and assess your needs to determine the proper equipment for your home, no matter the size. He or she will also ensure your system is working properly so you won’t have to be concerned with troubleshooting. ADT installation typically costs $99 but could be more depending on the equipment you purchase.

DIY Installation Pros and Cons


  • Most do not require a contract
  • Monitoring is usually cheaper
  • Better for people who rent or move frequently


  • May have to pay for equipment upfront
  • Could improperly install the system
  • May be responsible for repairs

One of the biggest benefits you’ll find with DIY installation is the ability to avoid entering into a contract with DIY providers. Most DIY providers do not require customers to enter in a contract, and some even allow customers to monitor their own security systems, avoiding a monthly monitoring fee.

Additionally, with a DIY security system, you can usually find less expensive professional monitoring rates and greater accessibility for those who rent or move more frequently. With a DIY system, you could pay as little as $8.33/mo. for professional monitoring

With DIY installation, you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable setting up your system. In many cases, providers have support pages that you can reference for tutorials or help documentation. Some providers even offer professional installation as an option for a fee. Providers like SimpliSafe, Protect America, and Alder Security have this option with their services.

Why SimpliSafe Is Our Pick for DIY Installation

With SimpliSafe’s inexpensive professional monitoring, no contract payment design, and easy setup, we’ve chosen the provider as our pick for DIY installation. SimpliSafe offers a lot of perks for customers, especially for those who may be on a budget or are renting. There is no installation fee with SimpliSafe, and the provider makes it easy to get assistance with their Help Center. If you decide that installing your security system isn’t a route that you’d like to go but would still like to choose SimpliSafe as your provider, you can have a professional install your system for you for $79.00.

Still Not Sure? Check Out Our Helpful Home Security Guides

Want to learn about more providers that offer professional installation or DIY installation? Here are some additional resources you can review to help you make the best decision for your home and protection needs:

Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

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

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