Self-monitored security systems are ideal for homeowners who are looking to take full control of their home security. Without the commitment of a professionally monitored system, customers have the freedom to use and monitor their system in a way that best suits their home security needs. Self-monitored systems are also a great option for those looking to save money, as they typically don’t require a long-term contract or month-to-month expenses.

With so many professional and DIY security systems offering self-monitoring options, choosing the right one can be difficult. Read on to see the best self-monitored systems to find the best home security system for you.

Top 7 Self-Monitored Security Systems

SimpliSafe Home Security

Pros & Cons

✔ Includes a 60-day free trial, which is longer than some competitors
✔ Has an impressive reputation with existing customers on third-party review sites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot
✔ Provides easy do-it-yourself installation with adhesive strips on most devices

✘ Offers limited smart home integration capabilities compared to many competitors
✘ Has limited features on the mobile app compared to other companies

Packages & Equipment

SimpliSafe offers five equipment packages to choose from depending on the level of protection you need, your home’s size, and your budget. You can also customize your SimpliSafe home security system on the company’s website.

SimpliSafe’s extensive list of devices includes a base station, a wireless keypad, entry sensors, motion sensors, a new outdoor camera (recently released), an indoor camera, a video doorbell, glass break sensors, a panic button, a smoke detector, and more.

When purchasing your system, you will have to sign up for a monitoring plan that comes with a 30-day free trial, but you can cancel or change it at any time. The self-monitoring plan costs $0.33 per day and includes unlimited camera recordings, live streaming, and alerts through your mobile phone.

Customer Service

SimpliSafe provides an online chat for live customer support without requiring you to pick up the phone. Plus, it features detailed resources and troubleshooting help on its website. If you’re looking to speak with a representative on the phone about your issue or question, you can call the company at 888-910-1215 any day between 8:00 a.m. and midnight, EST.

Learn more: SimpliSafe Home Security Review

Abode Home Security

Pros & Cons

✔ Compatible with third-party security devices
✔ Doesn’t charge for self-monitoring
✔ Offers customers the ability to build their own system

✘ Cellular back-up is only available with a professional monitoring plan
✘ Offers limited video camera options

Packages & Equipment

Abode offers four security packages and a build-your-own system package. The packages are referred to as iota All-In-One and Smart Security. Both come stocked with a 93db siren, keyfob, and door and window sensors that send notifications directly to the Abode mobile app.

Abode offers optional add-ons, including a glass break sensor, wide angle motion camera, and panic button. Note: All optional devices you purchase are integrated directly with your Abode app, so you can monitor each item remotely.

Abode offers two self-monitoring options:

  • Standard Plan ($6 per month): For $6/month, customers can self-monitor their system, receive premium customer service, and get access to Abode CUE. Abode CUE is a premium home automation platform that allows you to control your smart home devices through a system of automated scenarios. For example, you can tell Abode CUE to turn your floodlight on only at night and when it detects motion.
  • Basic Plan (Free): Basic Plan customers don’t get access to Abode CUE. However, this free plan does allow you to self-monitor your system through your phone or web app. Your Abode system is compatible with any Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Wi-Fi third party device.

Customer Service

Abode customers receive phone and online messenger customer service 24 hours a day on the weekdays, and from 5 am until 7 pm PST on weekends. Along with their accessible customer service, Abode offers free returns within 30 days of initial purchase and a one-year warranty on most hardware.

Learn more: Abode Home Security Review

Blue by ADT

Pros & Cons

✔ Offers 3 pre-packaged systems and the option to build your own system
✔ 1-year warranty on purchased equipment
✔ Offers a doorbell, indoor, and outdoor camera

✘ Doesn’t provide 24/7 customer support
✘ Charges for 60-day video storage, regardless of monitoring plan

Packages & Equipment

Blue by ADT offers three packages and a to build your own security system option. Packages include the 11-Piece System, 15-Piece Camera System, or Blue Doorbell Camera System. All packages come with a base station, entry keypad, door and window sensorsmotion sensors, and a yard sign. The packages are all controlled and monitored directly from the ADT app.

ADT offers 30 days of free professional monitoring with each system. After the trial expires, you can continue to self-monitor your system. If you have additional, pre-existing third-party devices, you can integrate them with your new system through Z-Wave, IFTTT, and Wi-Fi capabilities.

With self-monitoring, you can arm and disarm your system, receive custom alerts, and create unique access codes in the app. You can also do this with the help of voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Customer Service

Though Blue by ADT doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service through the phone, they do support their customers 24/7 through their user-focused Support Center. The Support Center allows customers to manage their account, read about supported devices, and troubleshoot system issues. Blue also provides additional support via their web and app portals.

Scout Home Security

Pros & Cons

✔ 60-day free returns + 3-year warranty on equipment
✔ Provides 4G LTE cellular and battery backup
✔ Customers receive SMS and phone call alerts

✘ Charges $2.99 per month for camera cloud storage
✘ Self-monitoring plan isn’t free

Packages & Equipment

Scout offers four security packages plus the option to customize your own system. It has some of the most comprehensive pre-packaged home security packages. The Scout packages include the Scout Small, Scout Large, Scout Elements, and Scout Architect Pack. Each package offers home security essentials like a central hub, door panel, motion sensor, access sensor, and key fob.

If you choose to customize your own system, Scout requires you to select a Scout central hub before picking your choice of devices. You can purchase a variety of items when building your own security system. A few items include a door panel, motion sensor, indoor camera, video doorbell, keypad, glass break sensor, or a door lock.

Scout doesn’t provide a free self-monitoring option. It charges $9.99 per month for self-monitoring. There are no annual contracts with the company and customers receive 4G cellular backup in case of an internet outage.

With self-monitoring, you’ll be able to monitor and control your system directly from the Scout mobile app while receiving email and text alerts. With IFTTT and voice assistant compatibility, you can integrate devices from over 175 smart home companies and control your system hands-free with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Customer Service

This company offers phone customer service from 9 am until 6 pm CST, seven days a week. In addition to phone customer service, you can find information in the online Scout Knowledge Base. Scout’s knowledge base contains user manuals and troubleshooting help guides.

Scout provides customers with generous return and warranty guarantees, offering 60-day free returns and a three-year warranty on hardware. Additionally, Scout adds free shipping on orders of $200 or more.

Learn more: Scout Home Security Review

Ring Home Security

Pros & Cons

✔ Allows third-party integration
✔ Has an easy-to-install system
✔ Two-way talk and real-time video included with free self-monitoring plan

✘ Video saving and sharing aren’t free
✘ Limited number of devices in starter kit

Packages & Equipment

Ring offers three home security packages. The packages include a 5-Piece Security Kit, 10-Piece Security Kit, and 14-Piece Security Kit. Ring also allows customers to customize their own kit, selecting from over 20 devices.

Ring offers two self-monitoring plans:

  • Free Monitoring Plan: The Free Plan equips customers with motion-activated notifications, real-time video surveillance, two-way audio, and a lifetime theft protection. While self-monitoring with this plan, you can control your system directly from the Ring mobile app.
  • Basic Monitoring Plan: The Basic Plan costs $3/month and includes everything in the Free Plan. It also includes 60 extra days of video history, video saving/sharing, and photo snapshots. The Basic Plan is tailored to customers who purchase video camera equipment for their Ring security system.

Both self-monitoring plans allow you to control Ring devices and third-party equipment directly from the Ring application or with the help of a voice assistant.

Customer Service

Ring provides customer service through online chat and phone support. Additionally, Ring customers can get help through the mobile app. The app allows users to contact support, request spare parts, and look through frequently asked questions. Ring offers a 30-day return policy on its products in addition to a one-year limited warranty.

Learn more: Ring Home Security Review

Vivint Home Security

Pros & Cons

✔ Supports third-party integration
✔ Offers five security packages
✔ Provides over 10 additional security devices available for purchase

✘ Must buy equipment upfront to refuse monthly professional monitoring
✘ High upfront equipment cost and lengthy financing plan

Packages & Equipment

Vivint offers five security packages that include various equipment like control panels, entry sensors, and motion detectors. To supplement your security system, Vivint offers more advanced equipment like smart locks and doorbell cameras.

You can purchase optional add-ons including door/window sensors, glass break sensors, motion sensors, smart smoke detectors, flood/temperature sensors, carbon monoxide detectors, and more.

You’ll be able to self-monitor your system with no monthly contract or cost if you purchase the security equipment outright. You can arm your system, create custom alerts, and see live video using Vivint’s mobile app.

In addition to the mobile app, you’ll be able to control your system using the included Vivint SkyControl panel or a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Customer Service

Your Vivint equipment comes with a 120-day warranty that begins after installation. During that 120-day period, all repairs are free. For quick questions, Vivint is available online through their support chat or through the phone at 1-800-216-5232.

Learn more: Vivint Home Security Review

Xfinity Home

Pros & Cons

✔ Offers bundling discounts to customers of Xfinity’s internet or TV services
✔ Has compatibility with various smart lights, smart locks, smart thermostats, and more
✔ Doesn’t trigger motion detectors for pets up to 85 pounds

✘ Has higher starting prices than many other providers in this review
✘ Requires professional installation

Packages & Equipment

Xfinity offers three standard home security packages for homeowners. The Base Home System includes a touch screen, three door and window sensors, and a motion detector. The Complete Home System includes the touch screen controller, five entry sensors, a motion sensor, a wireless keypad, and an HD indoor or outdoor camera.

The most comprehensive of the three packages is the Ultimate Home System, which comes with everything in the Complete Home System plus five more entry sensors and an extra HD camera.

You can also add devices to any of those packages, such as an additional camera, a video doorbell, a smoke detector, additional sensors, a keypad, a smart thermostat, and an outlet controller.

You can monitor your system with 24/7 video recording, real-time notifications, and live video streaming from your smartphone with the Self Protection monitoring plan, which costs $10 per month. If you decide to upgrade to professional monitoring, that’ll cost you $30 per month.

Customer Service

In addition to a 30-day money-back guarantee, Xfinity equipment comes with a 12-month limited warranty, so you can call customer service for replacements or repairs to your security system devices during that period. To reach Xfinity, you can use the live chat on the company’s website.

Learn more: Xfinity Home Security Review

How to Buy a Self-Monitored Home Security System

Before purchasing a self-monitored home security system, consider the following factors:

  • DIY vs. professional installation: When choosing your self-monitored home security system, consider your installation options and their associated costs. Most self-monitored systems can be self-installed, utilizing wireless devices and adhesive strips to simplify the installation process. Other systems require professional installation and may have a fee attached to the labor.
  • Special features: Special features include devices that aren’t traditionally included in home security bundles. These are items that go beyond motion detection or base stations, like glass break detectors or an outdoor camera with night vision capabilities.
  • Affordability: Before purchasing a system, look into how much the system costs and how much you’ll be paying monthly for the system. Additionally, research the company’s warranty and return policy so you know what’s covered and what equipment you’ll be able to return.

Pros & Cons of a Self-Monitored Home Security System

Low to no monthly costIt’s the homeowner’s responsibility to contact the proper authorities
No need for a commitment to a long-term contractMost systems don’t provide cellular backup
Most systems are easy to install

Should I Get a Self-Monitored Home Security System?

If you’re looking for a home security system but you don’t want to fork out high monthly fees for professional monitoring, a self-monitored system may be your best bet. Although some companies still charge a subscription for camera footage access and use of the smartphone app, it’s typically only around $10 per month.

With the constantly improving tech innovations of each company’s smartphone apps, you can monitor your home from your phone wherever you are.

However, those who may not always be near internet or cellular access might need a professionally monitored home security system, so that the call center can notify the authorities while you’re away without requiring a signal.

Fortunately, most companies allow you to change your month-to-month plans whenever you like. If you start with a self-monitoring plan for your new home security system and decide you want professional help monitoring your home 24/7 and don’t mind paying the extra monthly rates, you can change your plan accordingly.

Our Conclusion

Self-monitored security systems give you full control over your home security. Whether you want to cover a few doors or the whole house, self-monitored systems allow you to incorporate a variety of devices.

To help you determine which self-monitored alarm system is right for you, compare the offerings from top providers below.

Side-by-Side Company Comparison

ProviderAbodeBlue by ADTScoutRingVivintSimpliSafeXfinity
Self-monitoring price per monthFreeFree$9.99FreeFree$9.90$10
Price of most basic starter kit$199.00$199.15$229.00$199.99$599.99$229$360
Number of items in most basic starter kit41185645
DIY or professional installationDIY or professionalDIY or professionalDIYDIY or professionalProfessionalDIYProfessional
BBB ratingA+A+N/AA+D+A+A

Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our home security recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. Our research includes analyzing product specifications, reviewing service and plan information, speaking with customer service representatives, and analyzing customer reviews. We then score the provider against our review standards for system options, special features, installation options, connectivity and smart-home automation features, pricing, contract terms, warranty, usability, availability of a trial period, and trustworthiness to arrive at a final score out of 100.

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