Some people think home security systems are expensive. They aren’t wrong. There are security systems that cost upwards of $1,000 or more, and professional monitoring can put you back over $60 per month. That said, a reliable security system doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. You can get high-quality performance for a decent price; you just need to know where to look.
The good news? We did that research for you. We personally tested dozens of security systems to compare their prices, features, customer service, and more. Astonishingly, we came full circle to one fact: The best security systems in the market tend to also offer the most affordable prices.
On this page, we’ll highlight the five most affordable and cost-efficient security systems we’ve tested. These are brands with affordable equipment, monitoring service, and installation but high-quality service and features. Let’s get right to it.
SimpliSafe is affordable all-around. It offers pre-customized security systems for as low as $250 and professional monitoring starting at $20 per month. There are no hidden costs either. Unless you want your system professionally installed, you can DIY the installation process and save over a hundred bucks.
SimpliSafe is also one of the best security systems with no monthly fees. That $20 per month professional monitoring fee is optional. If you’re willing to put in the work and monitor SimpliSafe yourself, you never have to pay a monthly fee. Moreover, a la carte cloud storage plans for SimpliSafe cameras are available starting at $4.99 per month per camera.
What We Like
Affordable security equipment
Free text alerts
Optional monthly contract
What We Don’t Like
No free cloud storage for cameras
How SimpliSafe is the Best DIY System
SimpliSafe started as a home security system for renters, and as such, it had to disrupt the market and diverge from the typical professionally installed alarm systems that dominated the industry at the time. That was back in 2006, and fast-forward to now, SimpliSafe successfully created one of the best DIY home security systems.
In our experience, SimpliSafe offers the best DIY installation because of its wireless equipment. The sensors run on batteries so there is no hardwiring required. As for the base station, it’s plug-and-play. Just plug it into a wall outlet and you’re good to go. All in all, it took us less than 30 minutes to set up and install a comprehensive SimpliSafe system complete with cameras.
SimpliSafe’s DIY aspect doesn’t end in the installation, though. Even monitoring can be DIYed, and that’s another factor that makes SimpliSafe affordable. There are no monthly fees if you monitor the system on your own. You’ll receive email and app alerts and you can live stream security camera footage to check on things.
Note, however, that when used as a self-monitored system, SimpliSafe is quite limited. It won’t call for help on your behalf and the cameras won’t record. Home automation features and cellular backup won’t be available as well.
If you want to make your purchase worth it and enjoy the full capabilities of SimpliSafe, we recommend getting a monitoring plan. SimpliSafe’s pricing ranges from $19.99 to $29.99 per month. By industry standards, those are affordable considering that companies charge as much as $60 per month for similar features.
Take a look at the subscription options to help you decide if self-monitoring (free) is possible or if an affordable SimpliSafe monitoring plan is better suited for you.
Fast Protect plan
$4.99 for one camera, $9.99 for five cameras
Cellular and Wi-Fi
Cellular and Wi-Fi
Remote app control
Camera live streaming
Yes (up to 10 cameras)
About SimpliSafe Equipment
A basic SimpliSafe set costs about $250, but most of the time, you’ll find SimpliSafe deals that slash the price by up to 60-percent. The best place to look for those deals is SimpliSafe’s website itself.
Now, SimpliSafe offers a number of packages, ranging in price from $250 to $700. Take a look:
The most affordable home security system from SimpliSafe includes:
A base station
Two entry sensors
One motion sensor
One SimpliCam (limited time only)
Now, let’s talk about what each piece of equipment does.
Base station: The base station is a small tower with a loud alarm. It plugs into a wall outlet and has a battery backup. A soft blue light indicates that it’s working, and if someone tampers with the system, it will notify the police automatically if you’re on a professional monitoring subscription.
Entry sensors: The entry sensors detect when someone opens the door or window you attached them to, triggering a chime sound. But if you’re out of earshot, they can notify you through texts or app notifications.
Motion sensors: The motion sensors follow the same security protocols as the entry sensors, but instead of opening or closing doors, motion sensors detect movement. They use PIR technology, which can detect people within 30 feet from the sensors.
SimpliCam: The SimpliCam captures video with high-definition footage, and it can even live stream to the SimpliSafe mobile app. Unlike the rest of the system, you can monitor the SimpliCam using the app without paying for any subscription. However, you’ll need to pay a $9.99 monthly fee if you want your cameras to store videos in the cloud.
You can expand the basic set with additional pieces of equipment, like sensors, indoor or outdoor cameras, or a video doorbell. Better still, you can save at least 20-percent if you add a free trial for the Fast Protect monitoring plan upon checkout. The free trial will renew automatically, but if you cancel before the last day, you won’t be charged and the discount is yours to keep.
In sum, SimpliSafe provides affordable home security with savings on equipment, installation, and monitoring.
Frontpoint offers a wider range of equipment options than SimpliSafe, and a starter kit costs just $129 with online discounts. Installation is also free and effortless. Frontpoint is right up there with SimpliSafe in our list of the best DIY security systems.
Frontpoint’s biggest asset, however, is its customer support. Although you won’t be paying a premium price for its service, you’ll likely receive premium treatment from this company. You can reach out anytime via email or phone, and in our experience, Frontpoint gives customers first class service and support.
With Frontpoint, contracts can be flexible as well. Frontpoint monitoring costs $49 per month. You can sign a long-term contract (up to three years) if you decide to finance the equipment, but you can also go with a month-to-month contract if you purchase the system upfront. And remember, a basic system costs just $129.
What We Like
Competitive monthly rates
Great customer service
What We Don’t Like
Not all equipment is proprietary
Why Frontpoint has the Best Customer Service
As we made abundantly clear in our Frontpoint review, it’s a great security system for those looking to self-install their equipment. Part of what made that true is Frontpoint’s stellar customer service driven by the company’s customer-first culture.
While we installed the Frontpoint system ourselves, we weren’t completely on our own. There were plenty of guides and videos on Frontpoint’s website. When we met challenges in the installation procedure, Frontpoint’s customer support was also ready to jump in and guide us step-by-step. The phone line was available around the clock, seven days a week.
It’s also clear that Frontpoint keeps its customers in mind when making company policies. For example, there’s a 30-day risk-free trial on every purchase. If you end up not liking Frontpoint, just return the equipment and cancel your service within 30 days. You’ll receive a full refund. That takes the edge off of buying a Frontpoint system.
The one caveat of Frontpoint is that it requires professional monitoring, and it isn’t cheap at $49 per month. That’s the only option available, so if you’re going for a simple home security system with just intrusion and environmental hazards monitoring, it’s probably not the most practical choice.
That said, Frontpoint is a great option if you want an advanced home security system with high-tech features that won’t hurt the wallet. For $49 per month, you’ll gain access to the best home security features like home automation, video monitoring, cloud video storage, and an intuitive home security app. Plus, you’ll enjoy stellar customer service and support.
About Frontpoint Equipment
Frontpoint equipment is wire-free for easy DIY installation. You can choose a cheap home security bundle or customize a kit. The $129 Frontpoint starter set includes:
One motion sensor
Set of door stickers, window decals, and a yard sign
Sometimes, a free doorbell camera or outdoor camera is included as well. You can also add a wide range of cameras, sensors, and control panels for extra fees. Some examples are:
Keychain remote control
Keypad door locks
Garage door sensor
Glass break sensors
Carbon monoxide detector
Smoke and heat sensors
Water leak sensors
In sum, Frontpoint sells basic and advanced security systems. Starter sets are low-priced; monthly monitoring is competitively priced, and installation is free.
A lot of people seem to think that ADT is an expensive option. Perhaps that’s due in part to its long-standing position as an industry leader, or the fact that it offers top-of-the-line equipment with premium monitoring features.
You can buy equipment online from ADT’s website or give ADT a call to consult with a sales rep. Either way, you’ll get industry-best purchase protection through ADT’s six-month money-back guarantee, which would give you a full refund on installation and monitoring expenses if the system doesn’t work as promised. For comparison, other companies we’ve tested have trial periods between 15 to 60 days.
Here are some ADT quick pricing facts:
ADT professional monitoring rates
$45-$60 per month
24, 36, or 60 months
What We Like
Pro installation within a day
Wire-free or hardwired
Six-month cancellation window
What We Don’t Like
Pricing is case-by-case
Why ADT is Best for Money-Back-Guarantee Home Security
ADT is North America’s best-established home security company. Its generous money-back guarantee shows great confidence in ADT equipment and emergency monitoring. Additionally, ADT security contracts provide $500 in theft insurance.
The money-back-guarantee applies when the system doesn’t work as intended and ADT can’t fix the issue. The refund covers monthly monitoring fees ($29 and up) and any installation fee.
Some ADT customers get free installation. The maximum installation charge is $99 after a rebate.
As for the theft protection guarantee, if your home is burglarized under ADT’s watch, you’ll get up to $500 reimbursement in your insurance deductibles. This just shows ADT’s confidence in its monitoring service and equipment.
About ADT Security Equipment
ADT sells an especially wide selection of equipment. You can guard against intruders, monitor your home’s environment, and automate your home. The final cost will depend on your customized system, but packages are available starting at $480. In our case, our equipment total when we tested ADT totaled to $850, and that came with enough equipment to test almost every ADT component.
An ADT electrician can hardwire the sensors and control panel, or they can install wire-free devices.
ADT designs each system according to the needs of its customers. At a minimum, a set includes:
You can add video monitoring with indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and the ADT doorbell camera. Google Nest Cams are also available, and they integrate smoothly with ADT control panels. Environmental monitoring is an option, and ADT can automate your home as well. Furthermore, ADT supports medical alert bracelets and neck pendants.
As for monitoring, ADT uses landline, cellular, or both. A hybrid system with both landline and cellular gives the best home security, with cellular monitoring acting as backup in case of power or landline outages.
In sum, ADT is an experienced company with cutting-edge features. It’s a great choice for households that want long-term security and automation but are wary of contracts. The company is so confident of its systems that it offers a six-month money-back guarantee if it can’t fix system issuers within the first six months.
FYI: If you want just a basic security system with some video monitoring, ADT’s new DIY security system called ADT Self Setup is an even more affordable option. Professional monitoring starts at just $24.99, and you’ll need to pay only $10 more per month to enjoy cloud recording and advanced security camera features. Check it out in our ADT Self Setup review.
All of Cove’s systems come with one of two plans, Basic or Plus, but both include 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup, which starts at $17.99 a month. This is a very low price, equal to that of SimpliSafe’s monitoring packages. Cove’s Plus plan throws in even more features, like Alexa and Google Assistant integrations plus remote control, for $27.99 a month. Even though it’s $10 more than the Basic plan, we think it’s worth it to be able to arm and disarm our system remotely and control it with our voices.
What We Like
Professional monitoring starts at $17.99 a month
Cellular backup from AT&T LTE
Alexa and Google integrations available
Easy and free DIY installation
What We Don’t Like
No outdoor or Cove-branded cameras
No option to self-monitor
Smart home integrations start at $27.99 per month
Remote control starts at $27.99 per month
Why Cove is the Best Affordable System for Professional Monitoring
We’ve already told you about Cove’s low prices for 24/7 professional monitoring, but those weren’t the only costs that struck our fancy. Cove’s equipment is also affordable, and we even got an indoor camera, completely free. You can learn more about the exact prices on our page on Cove costs, but keep in mind that its most expensive component, the Touch Panel, still comes in at less than $150.
One more thing we like about Cove is the no-pressure sales process. Unlike more traditional security companies that require a walk-through of your home and a face-to-face consultation, you can use Cove’s online test to get recommendations on which security components are best for your home. You can take the recommendation or leave it; either way, you’ll have the freedom to buy exactly what you want.
About Cove Equipment
Equipment-wise, Cove offers the following:
Touch Alarm Panel
Door, motion, window, smoke, heat, freeze, flood, and CO sensors
The free indoor camera was an especially nice touch. And even if you want more cameras, they would have just been $49.50 each, a strikingly low price.
Despite Cove’s already affordable pricing, we still see a lot of deals on Cove’s website. These are usually percentage-off deals, with the lowest being 20-percent off. However, during special holidays and sale events, we see Cove drop its prices by up to 60-percent. If you time your purchase right, you can save a lot with Cove.
Similar to Frontpoint, abode can support home security, environmental sensors, and automation. A big difference is that you can self-monitor abode security systems for free. And with smartphone alerts, remote control, and home automation all included in the self-monitoring plan, you can effectively use abode without ever paying monthly fees. A basic set costs about $200, and that’s all you’ll need to pay if you decide to self-monitor.
What We Like
Professional or DIY monitoring
Supports home automation
Compatible with many brands
What We Don’t Like
Pay for equipment first
How abode is Best for No-Contract Home Security
Abode sells high-quality yet affordable security systems for DIY installation. After buying equipment, you can monitor it yourself or add pro monitoring anytime. Abode’s pricing is as follows:
Type of monitoring
Cloud storage for cameras
Free shipping on all orders
Homeowners insurance discount
If you choose no-contract home security, you can monitor and control the system with a free mobile app. For example, if the system detects motion, it will send alerts to your phone. The app also lets you access security cameras, control lights, and more.
Voice commands are also an option with compatible Google Home and Amazon Alexa equipment.
About Abode Security Equipment
With abode, you can build a customized system or buy a pre-packaged set. The cheapest security set is the Smart Security Kit. For $231.99, it includes:
An entry sensor
A motion sensor
A key fob
Another cheap home security system ($229) is abode’s iota All-In-One Security Kit. This unit combines an HD camera with a motion sensor and two-way voice communication.
Abode starter sets are compatible with various devices such as:
Glass break sensors
Remote-control door locks
Voice commands are an option with Amazon Alexa and Google Home products.
In sum, abode sells a la carte systems and ready-made sets. You can choose security and environmental monitoring only, or add home automation. Equipment can be low-cost, installation is DIY, and paid monitoring is optional.
Tips About Affordable Home Security Systems
Security savings take different forms. How do you get a trustworthy system for a great price?
Cheap Security Installation
Installation can be an easy way to save. Often there’s no need to pay a professional electrician. You can set up a wireless system yourself in an hour or less:
Some cheap security systems are plug-and-play. An example above is Abode’s iota Smart Home Tower.
Typical DIY installation takes about 30-60 minutes to set up without tools. Sensors can attach to surfaces with removable adhesive, yet are tamper-proof too. Favorite options come from SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, and abode.
If you’re set on pro installation, ADT is a top recommendation with a maximum charge of $99. With other companies above, there’s no charge for installation because you do it yourself.
Cheap Security Equipment
Equipment prices from the leading companies start at around $100. For instance, with Frontpoint, you can get a basic set for just $99.
When choosing a home security system, remember to consider whether it’s proprietary or if you can have other companies monitoring it for you. If it’s proprietary, you’ll need to buy new equipment if you switch monitoring companies.
Another tip: Find out whether you’ll own the system after a monitoring contract is fulfilled. Some companies reclaim the equipment.
Save On Security Monitoring
Monitoring for emergencies is the third main area for savings.
When you own security equipment from select brands, you can self-monitor it for free. For example, SimpliSafe systems send text alerts when there are system breaches.
However, generally, the best home security comes with professional monitoring. Professional monitoring ensures that your alarm company will call 911 in case of an apparent threat to you, your loved ones, or your property. This can give you extra peace of mind.
When you get a home security quote, make sure that it fits your situation. Some companies advertise low rates that actually only apply for landline signaling. Cellular signaling is less vulnerable to tampering.
Ask About Insurance Discounts
Home security can help you save on insurance, as well. If you have homeowner insurance or renter insurance, tell the provider about your home security system and flood/fire protection. Many insurance companies give discounts of 10 to 20 percent when you help protect your home.
There are security systems that don’t require a monthly fee. Usually, you’ll monitor the system yourself, relying on text, email, or app alerts as well as built-in sirens. SimpliSafe, abode, and Ring Alarm are great examples.
Security cameras are often offered as add-ons to security systems, and yes, there are affordable security systems that support security cameras. That said, keep in mind that most brands require a higher monthly fee for systems with cameras to accommodate additional features like cloud storage.
An affordable security system usually costs around $200. You may need to pay more depending on the size of your house and the types of devices you’re buying, but for $200, you can get a basic system with motion and entry sensors.
It depends on the brand, but generally speaking, affordable security systems are affordable. SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, ADT, Cove, and abode are all reputable brands with millions of users. They also offer necessary features like professional monitoring and video monitoring, as well as add-ons like home automation.