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How Much Does a Home Security System Cost?

In this article, we break down the costs of a home security system so that you can select the one that’s right for your home.

An ADT security system on the wall of a home with a vase, plant, and framed decorative print surrounding it. Courtesy ADT

A home security system can give you peace of mind by protecting your home with 24/7 monitoring, sophisticated security cameras, and more. However, it can be difficult to determine just how much a home security system will cost you. Between the cost of equipment, monitoring, installation, and activation, there’s a lot that goes into determining the cost of a home security system.

The This Old House Reviews Team created this in-depth guide to help you better understand the cost of a home security system. We also detail our top recommendations for the best home security systems on the market.

Based on our top recommendations, the average cost of monthly monitoring ranges between $14.99 to $59.99. Upfront equipment costs can reach anywhere from $99 for a basic package to $1,790 for a sophisticated package that features a video doorbell, advanced video surveillance, home automation, and more. Installation fees typically range from $99 to $199.

Important Costs to Consider

There are several home security costs that you should consider to understand the potential cost of your system, including monitoring and equipment costs.

Monitoring costs

You can expect to pay a monthly fee if you want your home to be professionally monitored by trained security experts.

Equipment costs

This is the total amount your home security equipment will cost you. Most providers charge for equipment upfront, but some will let you finance your devices. Some equipment costs are also bundled with your contract. Equipment costs will account for most of your upfront charges. Unfortunately, the price can vary dramatically based on the security package you select.

Installation fees

Getting your home security system professionally installed—instead of doing DIY setup—comes with a cost. Some home security companies will give you the choice between professional installation by a vetted security expert or DIY installation. While DIY installation is free, you won’t benefit from a security technician’s expertise, which can come in handy if you have limited home security knowledge.

Activation fees

Many providers charge a one-time fee once you activate your system, which may be hidden in the fine print. Occasionally, this fee is bundled with the installation fee. These fees can reach as high as $199.

Is Professional Monitoring Worth It?

Professional monitoring comes at a cost, but it also has its perks. If you opt for professional monitoring, security experts watch over your home 24/7. If a sensor is triggered, your professional monitor will contact you first before alerting emergency services. Instead of being responsible for reaching out to the proper emergency services, the monitoring center will do it on your behalf. This can be especially helpful if you miss an alert or notification while you’re away from home.

Equipment Costs in Detail

Security equipment encompasses everything from the base pad to security cameras, motion detectors, and more. Upfront equipment costs can be pricey, ranging from $100 to over $1,000. Luckily, some providers offer regular discounts or even give you the option to lease your equipment instead of purchasing it upfront.

Most providers will offer a range of packages with preset equipment. Some providers will even offer you a discount on extra devices if you want to purchase additional equipment to round out your package. Before you purchase any extra equipment, confirm that the system can support additional devices and be sure that you don’t need to purchase extra storage or camera footage.

Value vs. Costs

While the price of a home security system varies, it’s important to understand the difference between value and cost. Higher-priced systems can have better value, but not always. Here are some features to consider when choosing a home security system.

  • Comprehensiveness: You’ll want a package that includes a wide range of equipment that fits your priorities and needs. It can be good to cover all of your bases from entryway sensors to motion sensors, indoor security cameras to doorbell cameras, and smoke detectors to flood and freeze detectors.
  • Technology: It could be a worthwhile investment to purchase cutting-edge equipment that can give you more bang for your buck. You also want to make sure that your equipment is functional and doesn’t break down frequently.
  • Customer service: It’s best to work with a company that has a sound reputation in case you end up needing customer support or additional help.

Our Top Recommendations for Home Security Systems & Their Costs

Our top three recommendations for security systems are ADT, Vivint, and Alder. Each provider offers sophisticated equipment and professional 24/7 monitoring, along with their own unique perks.

ADT: Best Overall

ADT is our top home security recommendation, offering more than 140 years of industry experience, a six-month money-back guarantee, and the largest network of professional monitoring centers in the country. Below is a look at the cost of their available home security packages.

ADT Pricing

Pricing “The Essentials “Package “ADT Pulse® Remote” Package “ADT Pulse® + Video” Package “ADT Pulse® Home Automation + Video” Package
Pricing “The Essentials “Package “ADT Pulse® Remote” Package “ADT Pulse® + Video” Package “ADT Pulse® Home Automation + Video” Package
Monthly Monitoring Cost $27.99/month $53.99/month $59.99/month Starts at $59.99/month

Vivint: Best for Smartphone Integration

Vivint is highly sophisticated, and its systems can be seamlessly integrated with smartphones as well as third-party smart home devices like the Kwikset smart lock, Nest thermostat, and Philips Hue smart light. The table below shows the cost of both of their available packages.

Vivint Pricing

Pricing “Vivint Smart Hub Starter Kit” Package “Home Security System” Package “Smart Home Control” Package “Video Security” Package “Smart Complete” Package
Pricing “Vivint Smart Hub Starter Kit” Package “Home Security System” Package “Smart Home Control” Package “Video Security” Package “Smart Complete” Package
Equipment Cost $599.00 $709.98 $1,049.95 $1,379.95 $1,789.92
Monthly Monitoring Cost $9.98/month $11.83/month $17.50/month $23.00/month $29.83/month

Alder: Best for Medical Alerts

Alder is a unique home security provider. Instead of providing a range of premade packages, Alder allows customers to select the exact equipment they want and create their own customized package.

Because you can mix and match Alder’s devices, there is no preset package cost. However, you can talk to a customer service representative over the phone to receive guidance on the best package for you. We spoke to Alder and received a quote for an $89 activation fee and a $44.99 monthly monitoring fee for the following equipment:

  • 1 touchscreen panel
  • 1 motion sensor
  • 2 door sensors
  • 1 monitored fire sensor
  • 1 outdoor wireless camera with two-way audio

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a security system worth it?

It depends on your priorities and factors like how often you leave your home unattended. For many households, security systems are worth it because they offer peace of mind that your home is protected.

Is Ring better than ADT?

We believe Ring is a solid choice, offering easy DIY installation and affordable pricing. However, it lacks the industry experience and breadth of equipment that’s offered by ADT.

What is the best home security system without a monthly fee?

If you opt for DIY monitoring, you will not be charged a monthly monitoring fee. We recommend SimpliSafe for a home security system that doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

How much is ADT monthly?

The amount you pay for your ADT home security system depends on the package you choose. You can find a breakdown below of each package below.

  • The Essentials Package: $27.99/month
  • ADT Pulse® Remote Package: $53.99/month
  • ADT Pulse® + Video Package: $59.99/month
  • ADT Pulse® Home Automation + Video Package: Starts at $59.99/month

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.