Best DIY Home Security Systems

DIY installation means more money in your pocket, and these days, most security systems let you set them up yourself.

Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jun 18, 2020

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Below are the five best DIY home security companies based on our testing. Each company sells systems with do-it-yourself installation. Some let you follow up with 100 percent DIY monitoring. Others make professional monitoring part of the deal for at least 12 months.

Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2020

  • SimpliSafe – Best DIY Home Security
  • Frontpoint – Best Customer Service
  • Abode – Best No Contract DIY System
  • Deep Sentinel – Best Monitoring
  • Brinks – Easiest Installation

SimpliSafe – Best DIY Home Security

SimpliSafe is a longtime leader in DIY home security. The company formed especially to serve traditional college students and other renters; portable security was rare at the time. Today SimpliSafe is popular with homeowners too. Paid monitoring is optional.

This brand found success thanks to 1) easy installation and 2) low prices. For a while, it was limited to rather “simple” technology… but today SimpliSafe can support advanced features such as indoor video cameras and Google Assistant.

SimpliSafe manufactures home security hubs and other equipment to help keep the sale price of a system low. A basic starter set costs about $200. Some main points with SimpliSafe:

  • DIY installation
  • Mobile app
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Indoor video cameras
  • Home automation with Google Assistant
  • Pro monitoring not required
  • Low prices
  • Easy to install and use
  • Portable (Renter-friendly)

SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe uses a small tower as the system hub. It plugs into any standard outlet and has a battery backup. This hub communicates with wireless sensors placed around your home, and a soft glowing light lets you know it’s on guard. If a sensor is tripped, the hub’s siren can sound.

Silent alerts are also an option. For instance, get texted if somebody opens your mailbox, peeks into your medicine cabinet, or enters your backyard shed.

Video surveillance is available with the SimpliCam. This indoor-only camera has night vision and motion detection. It can record constantly or just when triggered by an action. At last check, the camera was included for free with SimpliSafe’s cheapest sets.

New SimpliSafe hubs are compatible with third-party smart home equipment and Google Assistant, letting you use voice commands to control the alarm system, locks, lights, and thermostat. However, SimpliSafe is relatively limited in terms of which smart home devices can connect.

Equipment is sold with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

About SimpliSafe Plans

Pro monitoring is optional with SimpliSafe. You can add service a month at a time. The best deal with 10 percent off comes with an annual service agreement.

  1. Standard Plan: The standard plan costs just $14.99 per month. It provides text alerts along with 24/7 professional monitoring.
  2. Interactive Plan: This top-tier SimpliSafe plan provides pro monitoring plus Google Assistant for home automation at $24.99/month. It also lets you control your security system via a mobile app. With the cheaper Standard Plan, you get alerts but not remote control.

Can you use SimpliSafe without a paid plan? Yes! However, you’ll need to rely on the siren and local keypad for alerts. Free SimpliSafe service doesn’t include a mobile app for alerts or checking video.

Frontpoint – Best Customer Service

Frontpoint is known for providing the best customer service with self-installed security systems. Generally, you can set up a Frontpoint system in 30 minutes. Customers get live installation help if needed, and then each account includes at least 12 months of professional monitoring.

We appreciate how their sales agents are low-pressure; they focus mainly on helping you figure out the best home security solution… and less on taking your money!

Frontpoint has an Angie’s List Super Service Award and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Their systems’ effectiveness inspires home insurance companies to offer 15 to 20 percent insurance discounts to Frontpoint subscribers.

Key Frontpoint features:

  • Best customer service (English & Spanish)
  • Competitive prices
  • DIY installation
  • Mobile app
  • Professional monitoring for 12+ months
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Indoor & outdoor security cameras
  • Home automation
  • Panic pendant

Frontpoint Security Equipment

With Frontpoint, you can build a custom system or install a pre-packaged bundle. The cheapest Frontpoint kit costs about $100 and features a color touchscreen. Basically the system guards against intrusion with entryway sensors, an indoor motion detector, and a siren.

More advanced Frontpoint security systems have devices such as:

  • Glass break sensors
  • Smoke detectors and other environmental sensors
  • Indoor & outdoor security cameras
  • Smart lights, thermostats and door locks

About Frontpoint Plans

Frontpoint security equipment is wire-free for quick DIY installation. After placing sensors around your home, you’ll activate the system with one of three Frontpoint monitoring plans. The lowest prices come with a three-year agreement. You can also choose 12 months.

  1. Protection Plan: This is Frontpoint’s $34.99/month home security starter set. It protects against intruders and environmental threats. The equipment cost is about $100 total, and the set features a full-color touchscreen control panel.
  2. Interactive Plan: This mid-level plan costs $44.99/month. It builds upon the starter set with a camera, a glass break sensor, and basic home automation. For example, the security system can control home lighting. The equipment cost is $149.
  3. Ultimate Plan: Frontpoint’s top-tier plan supports the most home automation; you can connect centrally-controlled lights, thermostats, door locks, and more. Additionally, this plan provides an extra level of surveillance with night-vision security cameras. The equipment costs $449 and monthly monitoring is $49.99.

Any Frontpoint home security plan can support in-home medical alert monitoring too. For this service, just add a $40 Frontpoint panic pendant. This wearable alert system works within 100 feet of the security system hub. With Frontpoint the first 30 days are risk-free, so there’s ample time to ensure you’re pleased.

In summary, Frontpoint is among the best home security companies with DIY setup and required pro monitoring. You can keep things basic or include video surveillance, environmental monitoring, and home automation. Prices are competitive, the equipment is well-liked, and the Frontpoint team provides great customer service.

Abode – Best No Contract DIY System

Abode sells some of the best DIY home security systems with no contract required. In many ways, the company is similar to SimpliSafe, but they support more features for free or pay. Thus Abode is a top choice for people seeking protection with the option of advanced home automation.

Text alerts are free, plus for no charge, you can control the security system through your phone.

The Abode mobile app also makes it easy to add professional monitoring on-demand. Paid monitoring can be for just three days or longer-term.

Key points about Abode home security are:  

  • DIY setup
  • Professional or DIY monitoring
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Indoor & outdoor cameras
  • Home automation with voice commands
  • Portable (no charge to move)

Abode Security Equipment

Customers can choose an all-in-one home security tower or build customized sets with various wireless devices. Add-ons can support environmental monitoring and home automation with Google Assistant.

The simplest Abode security systems cost about $200. One option is the plug-and-play iota tower. Its main features are a motion sensor, camera, and siren. Another $200 option is called the “Basic” kit. Only basic security sensors are included for the price, but the system is compatible with countless 4G and Z-Wave Plus devices. DIY installation takes about 30 minutes.

All Abode equipment is sold with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The Abode website makes it easy to see compatible devices and build the perfect set for your living space.

About Abode Monitoring Plans

Free text alerts are part of each Abode security system. Building upon the free feature, professional monitoring is optional. Add service anytime through the system’s mobile app.

  1. On-Demand Monitoring: Short-term options are service for three days ($8), one week ($15) or one month ($20).
  2. Annual Plan: You can save money by paying for 12 months all at once. Pricing starts at $80/year, which is under $7/month.

In sum, Abode is a top choice for DIY home security systems with no contract and lots of smart home possibilities. All customers get free use of the Abode mobile app. The app sends alerts, lets you control the system, and makes it easy to order on-demand professional monitoring.

Deep Sentinel – Best Monitoring

Deep Sentinel offers a rare combination of artificial intelligence and remote camera surveillance to guard your home. Their high-end service is especially proactive; Deep Sentinel is designed to prevent trouble! If a prowler lurks at the foot of your driveway, for instance, a surveillance agent can choose to speak through a camera. Deep Sentinel agents can also reach police with a typical turn-around time of just 30 seconds.

To help maintain your privacy, Deep Sentinel does not put cameras inside your home. You set the cameras to cover your property perimeter. Also, a mobile app lets you set cameras to Privacy Mode anytime.

Main benefits of $49.99 monthly service are:

  • Easy to use
  • Focused on crime prevention
  • Artificial intelligence helps predict trouble
  • 24/7 human surveillance of cameras
  • Cameras have two-way audio
  • Cameras have sirens

Deep Sentinel Security Equipment

Deep Sentinel cameras are motion-activated. They detect motion up to 35 away. Resolution is 1080 pixels and night vision is included. Each camera can record audio and allows two-way voice communication with agents. For your privacy, footage is saved locally (at your home) instead of to the cloud.

The Deep Sentinel starter set retails for $399. It includes a hub and three weatherproof security cameras with wall-mount hardware. Cameras run on rechargeable lithium batteries, included, and typically work for nine months before recharging is needed. Also included are yard signs and door/window decals.

You can include up to four cameras. Kits are sold with a 30-day return policy.

About Deep Sentinel Monitoring

Deep Sentinel has one professional monitoring plan, Live Sentinel. The rate is $49.99/month. A one-year commitment is required.

To review, Deep Sentinel is among the most unique home security companies in the industry. They sell outdoor security cameras that you can set to cover the perimeter of your property. For easy installation, these are battery-powered rather than hardwired.

Deep Sentinel security cameras are triggered by motion. With a one-year service agreement, Deep Sentinel has agents monitor triggered cameras. Agents can speak through the cameras and call emergency responders.

Brinks – Easiest Installation

Brinks, once known for hardwired security, has become a leader in wireless home protection. Their systems are among the easiest to install yourself, plus they work with Z-Wave devices and Google Assistant to enhance security, automate your home theater, reduce energy consumption, and more. A free and well-designed Brinks mobile app makes it easy to expand your system.

Customers can opt for month-to-month professional monitoring plans, yearly service, or just DIY monitoring. Professional alert monitoring from Brinks is award-winning in terms of fast response time. The company also holds a recent JD Powers award for best customer satisfaction.

Main points with Brinks security:

  • Easy DIY security installation
  • Pro or DIY monitoring
  • Environmental sensors
  • Indoor/outdoor video security
  • Advanced home automation with voice
  • Great online support

Brinks Security Equipment

With Brinks, two main kinds of security systems are available: Google Nest Secure and Brinks Home Complete. Google Nest Secure is equipped with Google Assistant and Brinks Home Complete is compatible with Google Assistant to help manage basic security and cameras, heating, lights, and other home functions:

  • With Google Nest Secure you pay for the equipment up-front. You can pair it with fully DIY monitoring or month-to-month pro monitoring from Brinks.
  • With Brinks Home Complete you also pay for equipment up-front. A touchscreen control panel and sensors are provided with a 36-month monitoring contract.

Google Nest Secure features relatively new technology: the Nest Secure home base. Called Nest Guard, it’s easy to use without the need for buttons: Just wave your security key to disarm. Some other features of Nest Guard are a high-decibel siren, a motion sensor, tamper protection, and Google Assistant. With voice commands, you can request to see security video or Internet content on a specific screen in your home such as your laptop or Chromecast TV.

Brinks Home Complete features a color touchscreen control panel and can monitor up to 119 cameras and other sensors. Similar to Nest Guard, equipment options include a high-resolution camera, door sensors, window sensors, and motion sensors. If you connect video cameras to the system, you can monitor footage on the touchscreen as well as remotely via the app.

About Brinks Monitoring Plans

As mentioned above, Brinks is award-winning for its efficient emergency dispatching. You can choose from three professional monitoring plans. The choice depends partly on whether video cameras are part of your system.

First, the no-contract option is available with Nest Guard. You can choose a $29/month service or a long-term plan too.

Next, with the Brink Home systems, paid monitoring plans are called Home Complete and Home Complete with Video. Each is for 36 months.

  1. Home Complete: For $29/month you’ll get 24/7 alert monitoring and smartphone control of your system (excluding cameras).
  2. Home Complete with Video: For $39/month you’ll get the above services plus alert monitoring for indoor and outdoor cameras.

In summary, Brinks strives to meet a wide range of preferences in DIY home security. With Nest Guard, you can choose DIY monitoring, month-to-month service, or a long-term contract. With Brinks Home Complete, you’ll get a popular touchscreen control panel and 36 months of professional monitoring. Brinks is among the best DIY home security companies for easy installation, high customer satisfaction, and fast response time with optional professional monitoring.

Why DIY?

Do-it-yourself (DIY) home security can dramatically improve your safety. In fact, just the yard signs from the best DIY home security sets can scare criminals away! Burglars know that a basic home security system includes:

  • A tamper-proof hub or control panel
  • Entry sensors for doors & windows
  • Indoor motion detection
  • A loud siren
  • A mobile app to let you monitor alerts
  • Optional 24/7 professional monitoring

For another layer of protection, security cameras are included in many starter sets too. A Frontpoint security control panel, for instance, can snap pictures when tampering is detected. Cameras can also be freestanding (no tools needed for installation) or built into wireless motion detectors.

What happens if a sensor is triggered?

  • A tripped sensor can set off a siren and send you a text alert.
  • If you pay a monitoring company, they will be alerted too; typically a cellular chip in your security system will send a notice. Operators monitor alerts 24/7 and can contact emergency responders.