Best DIY Home Security Systems for 2020
Keeping your home secured with a security system doesn’t necessarily require professional installation or monthly fees. Looking for the best DIY home security system is also not nearly as difficult as you think. Check out the best do-it-yourself home security systems we’ve tried and proven to provide easy and affordable ways to keep an eye on your home.
SimpliSafe Home Security System
Our choice for the best DIY home security system that offers ease of installation and use while keeping your home safe not just from intruders but also environmental threats, such as fires and floods. SimpliSafe is a seamless do-it-yourself smart security system that succeeds quite well when it comes to simplicity and flexibility, allowing remote monitoring even without a monthly plan.
Available in five packages, there’s certainly one that suits well to your needs and budget. The high-end package includes 14 hardware components, and the least expensive is perfect for small homes. You can expand your kit with few add-ons or make your own package by purchasing each part.
SimpliSafe monitoring plan comes for as low as $14.00 per month, wherein SimpliSafe will contact you if a sensor is triggered or police will be dispatched to check you if you don’t provide a safe word that you designated during setup. For $10 more per month, you’ll get the Interactive plan that adds SMS and email alerts, the use of the Online Dashboard, and the app to arm and disarm the system. Monitoring works just fine without a Wi-Fi network.
No contracts or commitments as you can start and stop service or even change plans at any time. SimpliSafe can be used as a local alarm if you don’t want to pay the monthly fees.
- Affordable hardware and monthly monitoring fees
- Easy installation and use
- No contract required
- Cellular connectivity
- Optional Wi-Fi connectivity
- Only up to 4 cameras will work with the system
- Doesn’t support two-way audio
“Easy to Install. I have installed professional wireless alarm system and for those you need a engineering degree to understand. The Simplisafe is as simple as it needs to be to install for any average non technical homeowner. There are textual and voice prompts that help guide you though the simple procedures.”
Abode Home Security System
The best DIY home security system that features advanced automation, including integrations with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Nest for voice-enabled arming and disarming. Accessories are available for additional security features. Professional monitoring includes cellular backup for $30 per month. Since it supports Zigbee and Z-Wave, you can connect to various third-party devices to control everything from within the Abode app.
The Abode Starter Kit is the best home security system with smart home support. The upfront cost may be expensive, but Abode offers more smart-home integrations. You can add more devices later for more comprehensive security features, including flood detectors, temperature sensors, cameras, or Abode approved Z-Wave and ZigBee devices.
The Abode offers free self-monitored, three-day timeline storage of recorded events and other activity. If you need professional monitoring while you are on vacation or other quick trips, you can opt for three-day or seven-day temporary professional monitoring. Cellular backup only is available for 3G cellular backup and 14-day timeline storage. Also available is the monthly monitoring and cellular backup.
- Free three-day timeline storage
- Temporary professional monitoring for your quick trips
- 3G cellular backup available
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and Nest
- Easy setup
- Expensive upfront cost
- Expensive optional equipment
“After having my soul crushed by a different company, I have to say I am completely relieved by the quality of the Abode Starter Kit. I feel 100% confident about my purchase, every piece of this system feels like heavy, built to last hardware.”
Ooma Home Security System
The Ooma’s home security system is the best DIY home security system when it comes to accessing emergency services through its user-friendly mobile app. Simple to set up, inexpensive, and easy to use are among the qualities that stand out on this security system. Ooma’s accessories are relatively inexpensive, including loud siren, motion sensors, and smoke detectors. Right as you open the box, you’ll find a sticker on the Telo hub itself guiding you to register for a phone number through the Ooma Telo app for iOS or Android.
The Ooma Security system does alert you when there’s movement in your house and when doors are opened or closed. The integration with the Nest Protect smoke detector is the feature we find the most useful for security. If the device detects smoke or some other condition, it’ll call you and provide you option to call emergency services.
The company offers professional monitoring, but the service is not yet available to the District of Columbia, Montana, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Alabama, Maryland, Tennessee, Arizona, Virginia, Florida, and Texas. No need to pay a monthly subscription in accessing Ooma’s key features. However, if you want to access premium services like the remote 911 calling, remote phone call notifications, and mode switching based on your phone’s location, you have to sign up for a monthly subscription.
- Remote access to emergency services
- Affordable kit and accessories
- No app needed for notifications
- Door /window sensors
- Easy DIY setup
- No security cameras
- Some features require a monthly subscription
“This is a very simple system to set up. It has a good app to operate the system when not at home (or even at home). We have 3 large dogs (our original security system) and the motion sensor very rarely trips when they are moving around. It can be set to switch modes automatically when the last phone set for Geo-fencing leaves and when the first one returns.”
Blue by ADT DIY Home Security System
It’s easy to install that it doesn’t require a professional to set up your cameras and connect them to your smart home equipment. What we love the most is the option to choose between free of charge self-monitoring and affordable professional monitoring. The indoor camera also functions as a fire and carbon monoxide detector. Blue by ADT is the best DIY home security system when it comes to next-level features, such as facial recognition and custom motion zones. Monitoring service on a month-to-month rate offers more flexibility without needing a contract. Blue by ADT also features native integration with Amazon Alexa, in addition to IFTTT compatibility.
- Free self-monitoring option
- No contract for professional monitoring
- Easy to install
- Facial recognition
- Camera’s motion detection adjusts based on the proximity, not on the severity of the motion
- Bulky design
“If you are looking for a simple effective security system that can be either monitored or self-monitored, you can’t get much better. I chose to self-monitor and have been very pleased with the alerts and notifications.”
Frontpoint DIY Security System
It is the best DIY home security system mainly because of three things: easy setup, effective equipment, and helpful customer support. You have the option not to pay anything upfront to get Frontpoint DIY security system in your home. Frontpoint’s package can be customized to suit your needs, or you may opt to build a custom system entirely from scratch.
The system plays well with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing smooth integration with home automation devices, such as door locks, light bulbs, and wireless light controllers. It’s also compatible with Z-Wave devices, such as sirens, light modules, and thermostats.
Installation does not require professionals. Simply follow the instructions in the Frontpoint app, and you’re all set up in a few minutes. If, for some reason, you need assistance, Frontpoint’s customer service is ready to help. The company’s support teams consistently get high ratings from thousands of customers.
- Easy setup and high-rating customer service
- Financing plan option available
- No monitoring contract
- Connects smoothly with the app for remote access
- Google and Amazon integrations
- No self-monitoring option
- Pricey monthly plans
“I have been a frontpoint system customer for over 4 years and love the system. I am a DIY kinda guy and enjoyed being able to set up the alarm the way I wanted it. Frontpoint is easy to set up and you have total control of how many and where you put the sensors.”
Nest DIY Home Security System
Setting up the devices of the Nest DIY Home Security System and connecting them to the app are pretty straightforward. A responsive system and easy arming and disarming make the Nest security system worth buying. More so if you own or plan to purchase Nest-branded accessories, such as thermostats, locks, smoke detectors for complete integration of Google/Nest smart home. Nest Security System is our choice for the best Google-powered DIY home security system.
The Nest home security system is not the cheapest in the market, but it performs well, and the app is easy to navigate. It comes with advanced features like Quiet Open, Pathlight, and the ability to use other Nest devices with the system and in the same app. The Nest Secure is perfect for people who use or planning to use other Nest-brand smart home products.
- Easy to setup
- Easy to arm and disarm
- Sensors are working great
- Locks the user into Google’s smart home platform
“I’ve been a long time customer of Nest Products (even when they used be DropCam) so I’m pretty well versed in how good and easy to operate their products are – but I was still blown away by this new Nest Secure Alarm system. Straight out of the box, one of the nicest things is the way it slots into the Nest Ecosystem and apps. If like me you’re already using Nest Cameras, Nest Protect and Nest Thermostats then its pretty seamless to setup and operate the alarm.”
Ring Alarm Security Kit
Same with the other best DIY home security systems on our list, the Ring Alarm Security Kit’s installation is quick and easy. Self-monitoring and professional monitoring services are both available. The Ring Alarm Security Kit can be installed in as fast as 20 minutes, and you can monitor using a mobile device or desktop system. Professional monitoring is very affordable, which also includes cloud storage for any Ring camera you may own.
The system worked well in our tests but has limited support for third party devices. The Alarm system doesn’t interact with any Ring devices, and you can’t pair it with just any Z-Wave or Zigbee device unless it’s part of the Ring network.
The circuitry of the base supports multiple wireless protocols, including LTE cellular, Bluetooth 4.1, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Z-Wave contact sensors for windows and doors are bulkier than the sensors that come with competing brands.
- Easy to install
- Affordable professional monitoring
- Supports multiple wireless platforms
- Loud siren
- Bulky contact sensors
- Doesn’t supports HomeKit or IFTTT
“I’ve had the ring system for six months now. I paid for the years subscription to their monitoring service. I’ve had one activation, by me, to test and see what the monitoring center does. I live in a city that does not respond to unverified burglar alarm activations. I was contacted within minutes of my alarm going off. Overall, I’m happy with this service, especially at this price point.”
Cove DIY Home Security System
Cove Security is a new company that’s making its way into the increasingly popular DIY home security market. It doesn’t offer preset packages at the moment, but you can quickly put together your own Cove security system.
The company is focusing on offering the essentials for protecting your home with intrusion detection equipment and an indoor security camera for home monitoring. Cove’s Touch Alarm Panel features two-way communication and Smash & Grab Protection for added security against intruders.
Cove Security’s system is designed for quick and easy DIY installation. You can choose the devices you need at a lesser cost when compared to competing brands on our list. You’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring with both basic and plus plans. Your home will be monitored entirely over a cellular connection for extra Protection against Wi-Fi internet issues or power outages.
- Quick and easy DIY installation
- Inexpensive devices
- 100% cellular connection
- Freedom to customize your home security system
- Relatively new company
- Subscription required
“This is my first security alarm ever and it was a breeze to set up. and I know it works. Once after I set it for the night my wife later wanted to open up a window to hear the rain and the alarm went off. I darted over to the touchpad and disarmed it right away in less than 10 seconds I swear, but I got a text and phone call seconds later where the support center asked for the safe word and then they discontinued the alarm from their end. It was nice to know that if something were to happen, heaven forbid, that the authorities would have my details and signal right away. Cove has my thumbs up.”
Link Interactive DIY Home Security System
Link Interactive offers DIY setup with professional, cellular monitoring. Set the system easily on your own and save money for the installation fees without sacrificing safety and response times from emergency professionals. After signing up for a plan, you can choose whatever equipment you want for your home security system. Home automation and video monitoring are available in a more expensive plan. You’ll get the freedom to choose whether to improve the smart capabilities of your home or enhance your home defense against intruders.
Link Interactive is the best DIY home security system if you’re looking for cellular monitoring, two-way voice, alerts for fire and intrusion, and crash & smash alarms. Link Interactive offers complete cellular monitoring for each plan. No need for an internet connection to catch intruders. The two-way voice feature allows professionals at the monitoring station to reach whoever in your home directly through the hub to check on you or your family in case of intrusion, fire, or window breaks.
Phone support for installation, ordering, contract, and billing help is only available from Monday to Saturday during office hours. If you need phone support during off-hours, you need to schedule a time online to talk with a technician. Or you can leave a message to the 24/7 on-call customer service and wait for someone to call you back.
Link Interactive has a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 3-year warranty on all its equipment, but if you decide to cancel after the 30 days and still has a balance on your equipment fees, you need to pay 75% of that remaining balance.
- Easy DIY installation
- Full cellular monitoring for every plan
- Customizable equipment packages
- Two-way voice feature
- Limited phone support
- Steep cancellation fees
“I liked to have a home security system. I was going through the internet and I found Link Interactive. The reps had been great, and the system was already installed. I got the camera and the recording, and everything is great. I love my Link system, and I don’t have any complaint. Since having it at home, we’ve been feeling a lot safer. I’m satisfied with Link Interactive and I’ll recommend them.”
Honeywell Smart Home Security System
Honeywell’s DIY Smart Home Security System’s central hub is called the Camera Base Station, which is equipped with a 1080p definition live streaming and 145-degree viewing angle. The security kit comes with FREE 24-hour cloud storage, which will change to 3 days in the future update. You get more storage when you subscribe. It is not the best DIY home security system for someone who plans to subscribe to professional monitoring as it’s not available on this system.
The high definition camera offers a handful of amazing features, including built-in Amazon Alexa capabilities, face recognition, and an option that plays a sound to make it appear like someone is home while you’re out. The system supports IFTTT applets and compatible with third-party Z-Wave devices but doesn’t offer professional monitoring options.
- Easy to install
- Free and paid cloud storage
- Built-in Alexa voice service
- Supports IFTTT applets
- No professional monitoring
- Touted facial recognition is basically non-functional
“I bought the Honeywell Smart Home Security Starter Kit along with the external weatherproof motion detector (RCHSOMV1 Smart Home Security Outdoor Motion Viewer, sells for about $99). I have both units installed at my apartment: the base station camera is located on a table indoors that’s pointed at the entrance door and the external motion detector is mounted outside to detect & record motion on the walkway approach to my apartment door. The two of them work very well together, were easy to install & setup, and I am very satisfied with them.”
How We Chose the Best DIY Home Security System
– Quality. We rate the quality of each DIY home security system based on their security essentials, smart home add-ons, security add-ons, ease of use and setup, motion detection, video and audio, and their monitoring options.
– Reviews. We tested all products on our list ourselves and then asked consumers about their experience of setting up and using the products. It’s interesting to know what the general consensus is on a system or common issues that users encountered. We further asked independent experts who don’t sell the systems that we profile on our list of the best do-it-yourself home security system. To fact-check, we also interviewed the home security companies.
– Brand. We give high credit to popular brands that have an excellent reputation in developing DIY home security systems over the years.
Features That Are Important in a DIY Home Security System
- Equipment. We prefer companies that have a wide range of devices so that we can build kits customized to our homes.
- Installation. DIY installation should not also save you money but also the time in doing so, typically doesn’t require any special tools or drilling.
- Monitoring. Most systems have two options for monitoring. You may opt for self-monitoring and skip the subscription fees or for professional monitoring and spend a buck for convenience of having a team of professional people doing the monitoring for you 24/7 and responding to any alarm going off.
- Smart home integrations. We like home security systems that allow for voice commands and home automation, whether it’s our voice assistants Alexa and Google Assistant or other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart thermostats, smart locks, or smart lights.
- Cost. With DIY installation, you don’t have to spend a single dollar on setting up your system. What you need to look for are the equipment cost and the monthly cost. You can spend anywhere from $20 to more than $1000 on your home security system. You may choose a package and add on more components down the line if needed or start from scratch and customized your devices. Some systems don’t come attached with any monthly fees, but some offer or even require paid subscriptions for 24/7 professional monitoring.
- Connectivity. A smart home security system requires a connection between all of the components, its hub or base station, and its mobile application. Typically, the connection comes in the form of Wi-Fi, but some products on our list also offer cellular backup in case of power interruptions. For connected devices, some connect over Z-Wave or ZigBee protocols. We prefer systems with cellular backup.
- Mobile Application. We like a mobile application of a security system that allows us to easily live-stream footage, get notified whenever alarms go off and control our system remotely. Preferably, the app should have a high rating on either the Google Play or Apple store.
- Motion detectors. These motion detectors are infrared devices that alarm and send alerts when they sense movement.
- Company policies. We look for companies with free trial periods, flexible return policies, and flexible cancelation policies.
- Company background. We do take consideration of the length of the company in business and what other customers thought of their systems on Google and Amazon.
Question / Answer
Do I Need an Alarm Permit When Installing a DIY Security System in My Home?
Installing a security system in your home doesn’t require a permit. Still, you need one to activate and use your system even for a self-monitoring system because the police might need to get involved if someone reports a loud alarm going off in your home.
Can I Still Install and Run a DIY Alarm System If I’m a Renter?
Well, it depends on your landlord. Some landlords might have restrictions due to privacy issues.
Will Installing an Alarm System Decrease My Homeowners Insurance?
In most cases, yes! Most insurance companies offer up to 20% discount on their homeowner’s insurance policy.
Is a DIY Home Security System Tax Deductible?
No, regardless of whether it’s a DIY system or not. If you run a home business, you should talk to your accountant if it’s possible to deduct part of the system’s cost as a business expense.
Are DIY Better Than Professionally Installed Home Security Systems?
It depends on your particular situation. It’s better to look at your budget and requirements.
What Are the Different Types of DIY Home Security Systems?
Some DIY home security systems are proprietary and will only work with their brand’s equipment. Others can be integrated with third-party security equipment, such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, and other Wi-Fi technologies.
Are DIY Home Security Systems Pet Friendly?
Some DIY home security systems are more sensitive than others. If you have a pet, choose a system that offers pet immune sensors to help prevent false alarms.
Will a DIY Home Security System Help Me Keep an Eye on My Pets When I’m Away?
Yes, if you choose a DIY home security system that comes with a camera and live-streaming.
In Case of Power Interruptions, Will My DIY Home Security System Still Work?
Yes, if you choose a DIY home security system that communicates via a cellular connection. Others also have a battery backup option that allows the alarm to function after the power goes out.
Will My DIY Home Security System Still Work If My Internet Goes Out?
It depends. Your system won’t work if it uses the internet or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Fortunately, many DIY home security systems with a Wi-Fi connection use a cellular signal as a backup, which will allow your system to work even if your internet goes down.
Can DIY Home Security Systems Be Remotely Controlled?
Yes, it can by using a mobile device and the brand’s associated app.
How Are DIY Security Camera Videos Stored?
Security camera video recording storage options are two types. You can store recordings locally or in the cloud. The local option is free as recordings are stored in the device itself or externally to a hard drive. The cloud storage option is offered free by some companies, but typically, you can store more recordings for additional payment.