Lots of home security providers offer professional installation, but why pay for the extra service if you can do it yourself? Professional installation has advantages, but a growing number of people these days prefer self-installation. As a response, the security market adapted technologies that make home security systems more user-friendly, paving the way for DIY installation.
DIY home security systems are practical. You don’t need to pay an installation fee, which typically ranges from $100 to $200, and you get to install the system on your own time. And even though you’ll do most of the work, you won’t be completely on your own, especially if you go with a top-rated DIY system with a quality tech team and customer service.
Here, we’ll be featuring the best DIY security systems that you should give a try if you’re looking to handle your own home security. These systems provide the best user-experience without sacrificing features and performance. They are also some of the most affordable in the market. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out the best DIY security systems today.
You could say that SimpliSafe was the trailblazer of DIY home security systems. Back in 2006 when a huge majority of security systems required professional installation, SimpliSafe introduced the first renter-friendly system. It was like a rough first draft of what would later become the simple, elegant, and easy-to-use SimpliSafe system that we tested.
Testing the latest SimpliSafe version, it took us less than 30 minutes to set up and install everything. And we didn’t get just a few sensors either. We went all-in and bought a bunch of sensors, cameras, and smoke alarms.
By far, the hardest SimpliSafe product we’ve had to install was the SimpliSafe video doorbell, and it still took us just a few minutes to install. You can read our experience installing the doorbell in our SimpliSafe video doorbell review.
The “easy DIY” aspect of SimpliSafe isn’t concentrated on the installation alone. Even the buying process is completely DIY and incredibly streamlined. We bought our system from SimpliSafe’s website, and even before checking out, we knew exactly what we were getting and how much we were going to pay for it. Plus, there are deals everywhere on the website, so it’s also easy to save.
A basic SimpliSafe starter kit costs approximately $250. You can fully customize this kit by adding components, and the price of each component is visible on the website. Once you’ve placed your order, just wait a few days for the system to arrive. Then, you’ll be ready to unbox and set up your DIY system yourself.
SimpliSafe’s equipment is exactly what you would expect from a wireless, DIY security system. They are lightweight but sturdy, and they offer a lot of thoughtful features. For example, the base station, which comes in the form of a tower-like device, includes battery backup that keeps the system running during power outages.
The design also matches the overall concept of a simple but state-of-the-art security system. The base station, for instance, has a minimalist but futuristic design. It has a subtle blue glow around its base, letting you know that it’s protecting your home. The same goes for all the sensors – they all exhibit simple aesthetics that blend well with any home interior.
In terms of security, SimpliSafe’s equipment has a lot to offer. Security sensors are a given, as they are the ones responsible for detecting possible intrusions. However, we’ve also been able to utilize them to inform us of things that are not call-the-cops-worthy but are still essential for us to know.
For example, when we had people over for a party, we put entry sensors on our bedroom doors. Then, we set up alerts that go to our phones when triggered but aren’t reported to the monitoring center. That way, we’d know if a guest accidentally wanders into our private spaces.
If you’re considering SimpliSafe, we also recommend getting security cameras from the company. It offers four: a basic indoor camera, a smart indoor camera with person detection, a battery-powered outdoor camera, and a hardwired doorbell camera.
SimpliSafe security cameras
SimpliCam (indoor camera)
Smart Alarm (indoor camera)
SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell
All four cameras offer movement detection, can send alerts, and can record if you have a cloud storage plan. One of them, however, stands out: the Smart Alarm indoor camera. This camera uses AI to single-out human-triggered motion alerts, and when a person is detected, it alerts the monitoring center (Fast Protect plan is required). From there, an agent will receive temporary access to the camera’s live stream and two-way talk feature, allowing the agent to deter possible intruders.
Lastly, if you’re a smart home enthusiast, you can easily integrate SimpliSafe with your existing ecosystem, whether that’s Alexa or Google Assistant. SimpliSafe works with both, with voice controls and automations available through their respective smart speakers, displays, and apps.
About SimpliSafe Plans
As part of SimpliSafe’s DIY offering, you can monitor your security system yourself without paying monthly fees. App alerts make that possible, but just keep in mind that you’re the one responsible for calling emergency services if needed. Without SimpliSafe’s monitoring to back you up, responding to alerts is on you.
For most users, we recommend upgrading to a professional monitoring plan, either the Standard plan or the Fast Protect plan. With professional monitoring, SimpliSafe can call the police or emergency services if a break-in or a crisis occurs, ensuring you get the help you need.
Standard Plan: The standard plan is priced at $19.99 per month. It provides text and app alerts along with 24/7 professional monitoring.
Fast Protect Plan: This top-tier SimpliSafe plan provides pro monitoring plus Google Assistant and Alexa integration for home automation at $29.99 per month. We liked that this plan included video verification as well, which would have improved police response times.
At first glance, abode might look very similar to SimpliSafe. It’s a DIY system with wireless components, optional professional monitoring, and an easy set up process.
What sets abode apart is its deeper reach into home automation. It lets you pair home automation products like smart lights, locks, and thermostats that use Z-Wave, Zigbee, and even HomeKit as wireless standards. Of course, that would mean a more complex set up process, but all in all, abode is still a breeze to set up. We highlighted abode’s home automation possibilities in our abode review, so head over there to learn more.
Abode actually offers more smart home integrations than most other security systems. It works with Z-Wave, Zigbee, and even HomeKit. It also integrates well with some third-party brands that don’t use those standards. Best of all, the abode app provides easy controls, so you can manage your home security and smart home systems hassle-free.
All in all, we appreciate these things about abode:
Professional or DIY monitoring
Indoor and outdoor cameras
Home automation with voice commands
Portable (no charge to move)
abode Security Equipment
Abode offers a wide range of security, safety, and automation equipment, but the entire system is anchored by a hub. For that, abode offers three options: the Abode Security Kit, the Smart Security Kit, and the iota All-in-One Kit.
All three kits offer similar functionalities. They come with security sensors for home security. They also connect with smart home products through Z-Wave, Zigbee, Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit. The only exception is the Abode Security Kit, which doesn’t have Z-Wave, Zigbee, and HomeKit integrations.
We went with the iota All-in-One Kit because it’s the most advanced out of the three. The hub, the device that sits at the center of the system, comes with a built-in security camera, cellular chip, siren, and motion sensor.
Smart Security Hub
Abode Security Hub
Iota All-in-One Hub
No built-in camera
No built-in camera
Ethernet or Wi-Fi
Ethernet or Wi-Fi
Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, Z-Wave, Zigbee
Alexa and Google Assistant
Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, Z-Wave, Zigbee
No built-in motion sensor
No built-in motion sensor
Built-in motion sensor
When buying equipment, you can choose starter kits with either the Smart Security Hub, Abode Security Hub or iota All-in-One hub. Prices range from $139 to $379. While the difference is huge, the iota hub offers much more functions and the built-in camera alone makes it worth the higher price tag.
About abode Monitoring Plans
Monitoring abode can also be DIY or professional, with the former being free and the latter being a premium service. One thing we like about abode, though, is that you can upgrade your self-monitoring experience without springing for the more expensive professional monitoring plan.
Upgraded self-monitoring means you get access to cellular backup, which means even if your internet is down, abode can send you alerts over cellular networks. With most brands, this is a feature included in professional monitoring. With abode, you can get it by paying an $8 monthly fee.
Of course, you can go all in and get a professional monitoring plan with a $20 monthly cost. You only pay as you go, and you can update your service anytime through the free app. What’s more, you’re not limited to a monthly or yearly monitoring plan. You can add professional monitoring three days or seven days at a time, a feature we’ve never seen elsewhere.
On-Demand Monitoring: Short-term options include service for three days ($8), one week ($15) or one month ($20).
Annual Plan: Pricing starts at $80 per year, which was under $7 per month.
We saved money by paying for 12 months all at once. In sum, abode was a top choice for DIY home security systems with no contract and the brand offered lots of smart home possibilities.
We often overlook the importance of customer service, but when it comes to DIY security systems, it is critical. You’re doing all the installation work, so when you need help, you should be able to count on your security provider for it.
That’s where Frontpoint excels. It has become known for its incredible customer-centric culture. It offers several channels to access support, including via phone, email, and live chat. Whether you need help in the installation or assistance to dispute a charge on your account, Frontpoint is just one call or chat away.
Of course, none of that matters if the system itself isn’t good, and fortunately, in our experience, Frontpoint has a solid system going. It is completely wireless, durable, and covers everything from security to home automation.
We considered these Frontpoint’s key features:
Best customer service (English & Spanish)
Professional monitoring for 12+ months
Indoor & outdoor security cameras
Frontpoint Security Equipment
We built a custom Frontpoint system from scratch, but if you prefer pre-customized packages, a basic kit costs $129. At that price, you’ll get a hub, a motion sensor, and an entryway sensor. Of course, you’re free to edit your final security system by adding more components like sensors and cameras.
More advanced Frontpoint security systems have devices such as:
Frontpoint is a pioneer of wire-free security systems. Frontpoint systems have been mostly wire-free since the early 2010s. The only exceptions are, of course, the devices that plug into power like the base station and security cameras. Everything else runs on batteries and connects using wireless radios. Even the communication is wireless, as Frontpoint uses cellular signals to generate alerts instead of a landline.
In contrast to SimpliSafe, Frontpoint does not offer any self-monitoring options. Professional monitoring is required, but its first 30 days are risk-free.
After that, though, you’ll pay $49.99 per month to keep the system running. It’s the only professional monitoring option from Frontpoint, but it includes everything you’ll ever need to monitor, access, and control your security system.
Besides professional monitoring, the monitoring subscription includes cloud video storage, home automation, life and home safety monitoring, and a ton of other features. Of course, to get the most out of your monthly fees, it’s recommended to go all-in on Frontpoint equipment. For example, to use that cloud storage, you’ll need Frontpoint cameras. And to take advantage of home automation features, you’ll need smart home devices.
On the bright side, no matter how large of a Frontpoint system you build, you will only ever pay $49.99 per month for monitoring.
A mobile app for remote control
Access to your security camera livestreams
Cloud storage for security camera recordings
Access to home automation features
No matter how large of a Frontpoint system you build, you will only pay $49.99 per month for monitoring.
In summary, Frontpoint was among the best home security companies with DIY setup and required pro monitoring. On top of that, we liked that we could choose to keep things basic or include additional equipment for video surveillance, environmental monitoring, and home automation. The company’s prices were fairly competitive, the equipment was well-liked, and the Frontpoint team provided excellent customer service.
Deep Sentinel is not your typical home security system. It doesn’t use sensors to detect intrusion, but rather, relies on AI-powered security cameras. For better security, Deep Sentinel mixes its equipment with live monitoring, meaning, it has agents on standby to keep watch on your security cameras.
Of course, having strangers monitor your camera can be a cause for concern, especially for your privacy. To fix that, Deep Sentinel has a thorough vetting process for its monitoring agents. On top of that, Deep Sentinel requires that its cameras be placed outdoors – never indoors. That way, they can stop burglars before they get in while also preserving your privacy.
Deep Sentinel was designed to prevent trouble, and its high-end service was incredibly proactive. When a prowler lurked at the foot of our driveway, for instance, a surveillance agent spoke through a camera to scare them away. Deep Sentinel agents also contacted the police on our behalf. We found this comforting, as the company maintains a typical turn-around time of just 30 seconds. When we were home but our nieces and nephews were over playing in our yard, we often took advantage of the Privacy Mode in our mobile app. This unique tool allowed us to watch our live feed but kept it hidden from the company’s professional monitors.
In our opinion, these were the main benefits of Deep Sentinel:
Easy to use
Focused on crime prevention
Artificial intelligence helps predict trouble
24/7 human surveillance of cameras
Cameras had two-way audio
Cameras had sirens
Deep Sentinel Security Equipment
Deep Sentinel cameras are motion-activated, and they detect motion up to 35 feet away. The resolution is 1080 pixels, and night vision is included. Each camera records audio and allows for two-way voice communication with agents.
We were given the choice of including as many as four cameras in a kit, each with a 30-day money-back return policy. In the end, we selected the company’s starter kit.
The Deep Sentinel starter set retails for $399. It includes a hub and three weatherproof security cameras with wall-mount hardware. Yard signs and door/window decals are also included.
For our privacy, all our footage was saved locally (at our home) instead of to the cloud. We found the installation of the system simple as well, as the cameras were battery-powered rather than hardwired.
Deep Sentinel cameras run on rechargeable lithium batteries, which are included in the purchase and typically work for nine months before they need to be recharged. We, however, bought a solar charger and extreme temperature kit for an extra $88, which made it so we didn’t have to charge our battery quite as often. Learn more about the costs behind Deep Sentinel.
About Deep Sentinel Monitoring
Deep Sentinel has one professional monitoring plan, Live Sentinel. The rate for Live Sentinel is $49.99 per month, with a one-year commitment.
To review, Deep Sentinel was among the most unique home security companies in the industry. They only sell outdoor security cameras that cover the perimeter of properties. By balancing artificial intelligence with human intervention, clearly, Deep Sentinel created a security system that worked.
Deep Sentinel security cameras were triggered by motion. With a one-year service agreement, Deep Sentinel had agents monitor triggered cameras. These agents had permission to speak through our cameras.
Testing out Cove in our Cove security system review was an easy and seamless process. The actual set up only took about an hour, and it was something that even the least tech-savvy homeowner or renter could do. And on top of that, we paid no more than $300 for the equipment, which is an incredibly low price for a system like Cove.
First of all, all of our components, detailed below, came pre-programmed, so we simply had to plug in our Touch Panel and stick our sensors on our walls and doors. With over-the-phone support, we tested our system out with a professional, which gave us unmatched peace of mind.
About Cove Equipment
The Cove system we installed included:
Motion and door sensors
YI indoor camera
However, if we wanted to scale our system, we could have added:
Smoke, CO, and flood sensors
Glass break sensors
Cove doesn’t make its own cameras currently, but its simple system of sensors and a Touch Panel made the process of installing and using Cove easy. Plus, we knew that if we moved into a bigger house or simply wanted more security, we could just buy more sensors.
About Cove Plans
Our Cove pricing page gives all of the details about Cove’s plans, but here’s a general overview.
$5/ Month Equipment Reward
24 Hour Battery Backup
24/7 Professional Monitoring
Alexa and Google Home Integration
Hourly Automated System Check
Length of Equipment Warranty
Lifetime Monitoring Rate-Lock Guarantee
Smash and Grab Protection
All of Cove’s plans are monthly, as you can see, so signing up doesn’t require a long-term commitment. That being said, Cove is only a good idea if you want 24/7 professional monitoring. While we could also monitor through the Cove Security iOS and Android app, we couldn’t self-monitor only. In our experience, professional monitoring and cellular backup insured us that we didn’t need to be constantly on our phones, worrying about our home security. Real humans were there to respond to alarms, even if we weren’t.
Having a security system dramatically improves the safety of a home. In fact, adding something as small as a security yard sign can scare criminals away. Of course, professionally installed and monitored security can get pretty pricey. One smart way we like to save money is to choose systems we can install ourselves, also known as a DIY system.
Even when we plan on installing a system on our own, we want to make sure we’re getting a comprehensive home security system. As a result, we look for DIY companies that offer the following devices and services at a minimum :
But saving a few dollars upfront is not the only incentive for choosing a DIY security system.
Here we’ll discuss the benefits of going DIY.
No Contracts: The majority of DIY home security providers don’t require us to sign lengthy contracts, saving us from monthly professional monitoring fees.
Lower monitoring rates: Professional monitoring rates for DIY systems are typically lower than those of systems that require professional installation.
Add devices as needed: It’s easier to integrate new pieces into a DIY security system than with a professionally-run system.
Easier to move: DIY systems are usually less challenging to move to a new location, making them ideal for when we used to rent and move around more.
We know from experience that DIY installation has the potential to be time-consuming and frustrating with more complex systems, such as those that require drilling or wirework. A few brands provide DIY installation aid over the phone or via the Internet, so we recommend anyone without a handy work background may want to choose a company that offers this type of support. However, in the worst-case scenario, it helps to remember that if we’re entirely at a loss for our next step and can’t find any online help forums, live chats, or customer service numbers. We can always call an expert from a third-party service, such as TaskRabbit or HomeAdvisor, to install it for us or at least to help get us back on track.
To best avoid needing any outside help, we recommend selecting a wireless system with a long-lasting battery, peel-and-stick sensors, and cameras with drill-free mounting. Happy DIY-ing!
Frequently Asked Questions
While you think more about DIY home security, we’ll answer the questions we get the most.
The best home security system without a monthly fee is also SimpliSafe. However, if you don’t pay for a plan, you won’t get notifications, remote control or smart home integrations. Basically, it’ll become a local alarm system only.
SimpliSafe is better than Ring, although both are ranked in the top 10 of our list of the best home security systems. It has better iOS and Android apps, easier DIY installation and better customer support.