Best Unmonitored Home Security Systems

Avoid monthly fees and monitor your home security through its mobile application with these top systems.

By
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Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on May 8, 2020

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Best Unmonitored System

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Home security equipment can be monitored or unmonitored. Monitored means that a paid service helps watch your back: They get alerts from your alarm system and can call 911. On the other hand, with unmonitored home security, nobody is paid to provide backup. That’s why the best unmonitored home security systems have mobile apps for keeping an eye on your property when you leave. Mobile apps can send alerts, and some let you monitor home video surveillance for free.

Best Self Monitored Home Security Systems

To help you stay safe with total DIY reliance, here we outline five of the best unmonitored home security systems that you can install without tools. The providers are:

  • SimpliSafe – Best DIY Installation of Multi-Part Set
  • Abode – Best No-Contract Home Security Systems
  • Ring Alarm – Best Unmonitored Home Security with Alexa
  • Nest Secure – Best Unmonitored Home Security with Google Home
  • Canary – Best All-In-One Unmonitored Home Security

Along with DIY monitoring, the best alarm systems support these optional features:

  • Paid monitoring – Add short-term pro monitoring or a yearly plan anytime.
  • Environmental monitoring – Add smoke detectors, water leak sensors, and similar safety gadgets to your alarm system. Get text alerts in case of trouble.
  • Home automation – Use your alarm system to control lights, locks, thermostats, home entertainment, and more. Below we highlight the best unmonitored home security systems that allow home automation and work with Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands.

Best DIY Security Installation – SimpliSafe

Easiest DIY installation of a system with entry sensor, motion sensor, indoor camera & more

SimpliSafe makes very easy-to-use DIY home security systems. Equipment prices are low ($229 for a starter set) and you can keep an alarm system working without a monthly fee. Owners have the option of adding low-cost professional monitoring anytime.

Some key points about SimpliSafe: 

  • Low-priced equipment
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Low-priced optional monitoring
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Offers a doorbell camera and indoor camera
  • Google Assistant for limited home automation

SimpliSafe sensors can be triggered by human motion at doors, windows, and inside. They are pet-friendly to help avoid false alarms.

Going unmonitored is a big reason to choose SimpliSafe. However, you won’t have access to the mobile app unless you pay $14.99/month for their cheapest pro monitoring plan. This means that an unmonitored SimpliSafe system is best for someone who’s satisfied with a loud alarm (105 decibels) as their alert system.

All SimpliSafe equipment is sold with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

SimpliSafe Security Equipment

Equipment is low-priced because there’s no middleman markup; SimpliSafe builds the essential equipment and some extras themselves. The cheapest starter kit includes these five devices and a yard sign:

  • Base station
  • Wireless keypad
  • Keychain remote
  • Entry sensor
  • Motion sensor

Online promotions sometimes add a SimpliCam or other equipment to the deal for free.

Building upon a starter set, you can add the following SimpliSafe equipment: 

  • Entry sensor, $15
  • Motion sensor, $30
  • Indoor camera, $99
  • Carbon monoxide detector, $50
  • Smoke detector, $30
  • Freeze sensor, $30
  • Water leak sensor, $20
  • Extra siren, $60
  • Extra keychain remote, $25

Third-party devices can also wirelessly connect to a SimpliSafe base station. One example is August Smart Locks, which are door locks you can control by voice with Google Assistant, or remotely with the SimpliSafe mobile app. As of 2020, the other third-party compatible features are smart thermostats and lights.

SimpliSafe Unmonitored vs Monitored

With unmonitored home security by SimpliSafe (no paid plan), you’ll rely on a 105-decibel siren and a wall keypad with chime alerts. With the cheapest paid plan, $14.99 month-to-month, you’ll get text alerts plus professional monitoring. This plan doesn’t give access to all features of the SimpliSafe mobile app or home automation.

With the top-tier plan at $24.99 month-to-month, you’ll get text alerts, remote control of your system with the mobile app, and limited home automation as described above.

Best No Contract Home Security – Abode

Widest selection of home automation options with contract-free home security

Abode is a top choice for unmonitored home security with endless possibilities. They make a simple all-in-one anti-burglary unit ($229), but many customers opt for custom Abode security systems with home automation and environmental monitoring. Either way, Google Assistant is at your service!

The free Abode mobile app lets you remotely monitor and control the system yourself, plus it lets you add pro backup on-demand: You can add professional monitoring for a long weekend, a week, or longer. Promotional prices are under $7/month when you choose a 12-month agreement.

Compared with SimpliSafe, Abode security has the advantage of connecting any appliance with a smart plug. Their Z-Wave compatible security systems can automate lights, thermostats, window coverings, your home theater, and much more. Also, an Abode security system can guard outside your home with weatherproof surveillance cameras.

Some key points about Abode security are: 

  • Low-priced options
  • DIY setup
  • Professional or DIY monitoring
  • Z-Wave compatible for home automation
  • Supports voice commands
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Indoor & outdoor video surveillance

Abode Security Equipment

The all-in-one abode iota security system retails for $229. This “plug and play” unit has the following features:

  • HD camera with night vision
  • Motion sensor
  • Siren
  • Emergency communication chips
  • Google Assistant and other apps

The iota system is especially easy to install. More exciting though is Abode’s Basic System, an unmonitored home security kit on sale for $159. It includes a Gateway base station with siren, keyfob, entry sensor, and indoor motion sensor. From there, go with infinite possibilities! Examples of add-ons are:

  • Amazon Echo speakers
  • Google Home speakers
  • Smart lights by Hue
  • Smart locks by Yale
  • Smart plugs by Aeotech
  • Water leak sensors by Aeotech 

Abode security equipment is sold with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The same guarantee comes with many of the compatible third-party devices.

Abode Security – Monitored vs. Unmonitored

Unmonitored home security with Abode has the same mobile app features of paid service. Examples are entry alerts, streaming video access, and remote control over cameras.

Paid plans add cellular backup and/or professional monitoring. Prices for each plan are low. With an instant 50 percent discount, Abode DIY monitoring with cellular backup is just $3.30/month. Their Secure Plan, which includes professional monitoring, is just $8.30/month at half off.

Best DIY Home Security with Alexa – Ring Alarm

Excellent Amazon Alexa integration plus app-based control of cutting-edge cameras

Ring home security systems are made by Amazon. Amazon also invented the Alexa virtual assistant, so Ring has an edge in the running for best home security with Alexa. You can use Alexa voice commands to arm your security system, adjust lights, set the TV volume, play games, and much more.

Amazon’s Ring is also a great choice if you’re focused on DIY video surveillance. They have a wide range of doorbell video cameras, indoor cameras, and outdoor cameras. These devices have cutting-edge features such as night vision and two-way voice. Besides that, Ring has the industry’s best remote camera controls. For instance, just speak to see your backyard camera’s video stream on your phone or TV: “Alexa, show me activity from the backyard.” You can also control camera behavior with the Ring mobile app.

Some key points about Ring home security are:

  • DIY setup
  • Professional or DIY monitoring
  • Supports home automation for security
  • Supports Alexa voice commands
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Advanced indoor & outdoor cameras

You can run an unmonitored Ring alarm system for free. Optionally you can get the Ring Protect Plus plan with pro monitoring, cellular backup, and video storage at just $10/month or $100/year.

Basic equipment (a starter set without cameras) is priced competitively at just $199. Countless Z-Wave products from third parties are compatible, and Ring backs its sales with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Ring Security Equipment

Starter sets at the Ring website are sized for different homes. The larger the set, the more sensors it has for entryways and indoor motion detection. The smallest kit ($199) has five basic components: a base station, keypad, entry sensor, motion detector, and range extender. Also, Ring sometimes includes smart lights for free. “Alexa, turn on the porch light.”

The Ring camera selection is impressive. Ring video doorbells can be hardwired or installed wire-free, and Ring security cameras (indoor and outdoor) can be installed without tools. Some popular products are:

  • Video Doorbell 2 – Monitor your home from anywhere! This $199 video doorbell can send alerts to your phone or PC, and a wide-angle view shows the scene in crisp 1080HD resolution. Other features are infrared night vision, two-way voice, and adjustable motion detection.
  • Floodlight Cam – Ring cameras can help discourage crime and stop criminals in action. This bestseller has a motion sensor, LED lights, two-way voice, and a siren. One floodlight camera sells for $249. Ring gives discounts on multiples.
  • Stick Up Cam – This handy weatherproof camera can be installed to run three ways: hardwired, wire-free with battery power, or wire-free with solar power. It has two-way talk and night vision. One camera sells for $179, and Ring gives discounts with packs of two, three, or four cameras.

Finally, a Ring base kit can also monitor Z-Wave products. Their webpage “Works With Ring” shows a garage door motion sensor, smart locks, light switches and dimmers, and smart outlets.

Ring Monitored vs Unmonitored

You can use Ring without a monthly fee. The mobile app will alert you if someone presses the doorbell camera button or if motion is detected. You’ll also have access to live video and two-way audio with each camera.

To save video and share clips with law enforcement, you’ll need a paid plan. These are called Ring Protect Basic and Plus. The top-tier plan includes professional monitoring for just $100/year.

Best DIY Security with Google Home – Nest Secure

The leading DIY alarm system compatible with Google Assistant voice commands

“OK Google, arm my system!” For unmonitored home security, Nest Secure offers the best Google Home integration. That’s no surprise since Nest is also a Google brand. With Nest Secure you’ll have the convenience of just speaking to control your cameras, door locks, thermostats, and other devices. You can also control a Nest system with a key fob, a mobile app, or a numeric keypad.

Key features of Nest Secure:

  • Easy to use
  • DIY setup
  • Professional or DIY monitoring
  • Z-Wave compatible for home automation
  • Best Google Home integration
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Indoor & outdoor video cameras

Optional paid monitoring can be arranged with Brinks for $29 month-to-month. Brinks meets the industry’s fastest average time for emergency dispatching, under 30 seconds.

Nest Secure Equipment

The heart of a Nest Secure system is the $399 Nest Guard. Ultra-convenient, it lets you control security hands-free: Arm your system with a voice command, and disarm by just waving a keycard. Built into this base station are:

  • High-decibel alarm
  • Motion sensor
  • Camera with 90-degree viewing angle
  • Keypad
  • Tamper detection
  • Google Assistant app

Also included with the starter set are two keycards and two magnetic entryway sensors.

Self-monitoring your cameras (but not other equipment) with Nest Secure requires a $29 monthly plan. Then, to view security video clips, you can use the Nest app or stream video to your laptop, Chromecast, or another screen.

For extra security and convenience, countless Z-Wave devices can connect with Nest Secure. Examples are Nest thermostats, Google Home outdoor cameras, Philips Hue smart lights, and smart plugs. The option to use smart plugs with Nest Secure lets you be especially creative and well-organized. No more worrying about whether someone unplugged your flat-iron; you can control the power from anywhere with Nest Secure.

Nest Secure Monitored vs Unmonitored

Nest Secure has several options for self-monitoring and professional monitoring. If you already are using a Nest app for a thermostat, smoke alarm, or other Nest device, then you can keep using the same app by connecting Nest Guard. Otherwise, you should install the Nest Secure mobile app. It lets you monitor all features except video for free.

Professional monitoring costs $29 per month with no subscription required. Along with award-winning Brinks service, a paid plan lets you stream video. It also activates the mobile app’s emergency group chat function. This can connect an emergency operator with the homeowner, neighbors, relatives, and others in case of a security breach. Learn more at nest.com.

Best All-in-One DIY Security System – Canary

For smaller homes, the best plug-and-play security system that works unmonitored

Canary features an all-in-one unit to guard small living spaces. This sleek desktop tower is generally best for apartments, as it’s meant to guard one doorway only. Setup is easy; basically you plug in the tower and connect the free mobile app.

An HD video camera is built into the tower. Also, a high-end freestanding camera is sometimes included with starter sets. Without paid service, you can remotely access live video or saved clips anytime.

The Canary All-in-One tower is affordable at just $169 if you go unmonitored. It’s just $49 if you choose a long-term professional monitoring agreement (two years). You can also opt for month-to-month service at $9.99.

Main points about Canary home security: 

  • Low-priced equipment
  • Easy to use
  • DIY or pro monitoring
  • Indoor video surveillance
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Limited environmental monitoring is provided by the unit’s air quality sensor. The manufacturer notes that it isn’t a replacement for a traditional smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector; it’s more like a reminder to open windows when the area gets dusty. As of 2020, the Canary tower doesn’t yet support Z-Wave for home automation.

Canary Security Equipment

The All-In-One Security Tower includes:

  • Motion sensor
  • 1080p video camera with night vision
  • Air quality sensor
  • High-decibel alarm

Sometimes Canary includes, free of charge, their wireless security camera to pair with the tower. Its cutting-edge features include: 

  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Two-way audio
  • Artificial intelligence to recognize friends

Canary’s wireless camera also has a panic button. It can sound an alarm and, if monitored, call an emergency dispatcher.

Canary Monitored vs Unmonitored

An unmonitored Canary system has a functional 90-decibel alarm. Also, it can send alerts to your mobile device.

With paid monitoring at $9.99/month, you’ll get professional backup from Noonlight emergency dispatchers. This premium service also adds the ability to see camera footage on your desktop computer.

Paid monitoring activates an in-app panic button too. If you press the button, emergency personnel will be dispatched unless you cancel with a four-digit PIN.