A do-it-yourself home security system is a great option for those who don’t want to hardwire a system into their home. It allows for easy removal without any damage. DIY alarm systems are also great for tech-savvy individuals who want the freedom and flexibility to custom-build a monitoring system.
With so many DIY home security systems available, it can be challenging to determine which one is right for your home. Keep reading for tips to help you select the best home security system for your specific needs.
Top 6 DIY Home Security Systems
- SimpliSafe: Best for Easy Installation
- Blue by ADT: Best for No Contract
- Abode: Best for Customization
- Alder: Best for Medical Alerts
- Cove Security: Best for DIY Value
- Ooma: Best for Self-Monitoring
DIY Home Security Factors to Consider
There are many perks and drawbacks to installing your own DIY home monitoring system. Additionally, there are a handful of specific factors you need to consider before making the leap. Many systems have a money-back guarantee which may ease some fears before installing yourself.
Before buying a DIY home security system, consider the following factors:
- Price: The cost of a DIY security system will depend on the equipment and system you purchase. There’s typically a reduced monthly fee for monitoring without a contract, cutting out cancellation fees. Additionally, you won’t have to pay an installation fee.
- Installation: Because you’ll have to install a DIY home security system yourself, it’s important to feel secure in the installation. Most home security providers have peel-and-stick equipment that’s easy to wirelessly configure. Some companies can set you up with an external professional installer for a fee.
- Equipment: Many DIY starter kits come with basic equipment such as a control panel, motion sensors, door and window sensors, and signage. Some additional equipment may include window break detectors, smoke and water detectors, a DIY home security camera, and optional smart home devices.
- Monitoring Type: When selecting a DIY security system, you can choose if you want to self-monitor or pay for professional monitoring. Professional monitoring typically comes with monthly feea, while self-monitoring is usually free, minus any app costs.
- Smart Home Integration: If you already have smart home accessories, a DIY system may be a good fit with your existing set-up. If not, it may be a good opportunity to automate some tasks in your home.
SimpliSafe Home Security
SimpliSafe offers a variety of DIY home security packages and gives users the option to customize their own system. Monitored 24/7 by professionals, SimpliSafe offers a 60-day risk-free trial and no contract.
Pros and Cons of SimpliSafe Home Security
Customers can choose between a build-your-own plan or five prepared packages. Package costs range between $183–$391 for installation, plus the cost of interactive monitoring. Additionally, customers can purchase add-ons, such as a smart lock for $99 or Video Doorbell Pro for $169.
Here’s an overview of SimpliSafe packages below:
SimpliSafe Package Comparison
|Feature||"The Foundation" Package||"The Essentials" Package||"The Hearth" Package||"The Knox" Package||"The Haven" Package|
|Best For||Small homes and apartments||People who want basic motion sensors||Smoke detection||Large homes with four or more bedrooms||Comprehensive home protection|
|Professional Installation Fee||$79||$79||$79||$79||$79|
|Entry Sensor||✔ 1 included||✔ 3 included||✔ 3 included||✔ 6 included||✔ 4 included|
|Motion Sensor||✔ 1 included||✔ 1 included||✔ 1 included||✔ 2 included||✔ 2 included|
Some of these packages, like The Haven, include interactive monitoring with video verification, police dispatch, and 24/7 alerts.
SimpliSafe home security systems also offer the following benefits:
- 24/7 professional monitoring against intruders, fire, water damage, and carbon monoxide
- Live professional alerts
- No contract and a 60-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Easy DIY setup or the option to hire a certified professional to install the system
- Visual verification option allowing you to monitor and watch your home at any time
- Power cellular backup that allows a cellular connection to work if your Wi-Fi goes out
- Built-in battery backup in case of a power outage
- Mobile app that is easy to use and allows you to control your system from anywhere and provides alerts when activity is detected
We recommend SimpliSafe’s The Essentials Package. This is an excellent system for anyone looking for a motion detection security system or those just getting started with home security. Due to SimpliSafe not requiring any drilling and its simple design, we found it best for easy installation.
Check out how the company compares to other top home security companies in detail with these brand comparisons:
- SimpliSafe vs. ADT
- Ring vs. SimpliSafe
- SimpliSafe vs. Vivint
- Frontpoint vs. SimpliSafe
- SimpliSafe vs. Nest
- Abode vs. SimpliSafe
Learn more about SimpliSafe’s specific package details and pricing here.
To Learn More: SimpliSafe Home Security Review
Blue by ADT
Blue by ADT offers a basic DIY home security system. After installing the system on your own, you can choose to either self-monitor or use ADT’s 24/7 professional monitoring services for $19.99 per month. You’ll avoid any long-term contracts with Blue by ADT, in contrast to ADT’s main service. Best of all, Blue by ADT helps customize your system to fit your specific security needs.
Customers can choose between three package options with Blue by ADT. Its Build-Your-Own-System package starts at $179.99 and includes a hub and integrated keypad, as well as access to the mobile app. The more advanced Starter System costs $219.99 and the top-of-the-line Starter Plus System costs $299.99.
These packages include:
- Hub & integrated keypad
- Door & window sensors
- Motion sensors
- Access to the mobile app
- A yard sign
- Window stickers
You are able to purchase additional equipment for each of these packages at an extra cost. Equipment can include surveillance cameras, such as outdoor security cameras, indoor cameras, and a video doorbell.
Cloud storage starts at $2.99 per month for 60-day storage or $12.99 for an unlimited number of cameras at one location.
We recommend you look into Blue by ADT’s Build-Your-Own-System package, to customize your system to fit your home’s security needs with no contract required.
Abode Home Security
Abode is an entry-level security system that we believe is the best for customization. The system is easy to install and integrates with existing Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Nest for voice-enabled arming and disarming. Abode systems also integrate smart-home devices and platforms, such as HomeKit, Z-Wave, Wave Zigbee, Hue, and Google Assistant.
Pros and Cons of Abode Home Security
Abode offers mobile and web access with no monthly fees. This allows customers to virtually monitor and control smart devices in their homes. Additionally, Abode offers optional professional monitoring and cellular backup. It has a no-contract system with the option to cancel at any time without any hidden fees.
Check out Abode’s DIY package offerings here:
Abode Package Comparison
|Feature||"Smart Security Middle" Package||"Iota Kit Middle" Package||"Smart Security Kit Elite" Package||"Iota Kit Elite" Package|
|Motion Sensor||✔ 1 included||-||✔ 2 included||✔ 1 included|
|Door/Window Sensors||✔ 3 included||✔ 3 included||✔ 4 included||✔ 4 included|
|Smart Device Integration||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Built-in Motion Detector||-||✔||-||✔|
|Type of Gateway||Gen 2||iota||Gen 2||iota|
Abode offers two wireless home security systems and allows customers to build their own security packages. Iota All-In-One and Smart Security Kits connect over Wi-Fi to devices like door sensors, motion detectors, cameras, and more. Both systems come with a 93-decibel siren and you can purchase professional installation if needed.
- The Iota All-In-One Security Kit package includes one mini-door/window sensor and one key fob. The package price starts at $329. The standard, self-monitoring plan costs 20 cents per day. The professional monitoring plan with cellular backup costs 66 cents per day.
- The Smart Security Kit package includes one motion sensor, one mini door/window sensor, and one key fob. The price of this package starts at $229. Monitoring costs are the same as the Iota security package.
You can purchase additional products through Abode, including cameras, sensors, smoke and water detectors, and other smart-home devices. Abode helps you with the foundation of your system, to which you can add any additional equipment you find important. That is why we found Abode Home Security to be the best for customization.
We suggest customers start with Abode’s Smart Security Kit. This is a great starter package for anyone who wants a simple, easy-to-use security system. Abode’s affordable self-monitoring plan also gives you access to Abode’s user-friendly mobile app to control your system.
Learn more about Abode’s specific package details and pricing here.
View on Amazon:
Learn more: Abode Home Security Review
Alder Home Security
Alder is known for its professional monitoring with 24/7 monitoring centers. It watches for intrusions, fire, carbon monoxide leaks, floods, and even medical emergencies. It offers both professional and do-it-yourself security system installation with its home security systems, but offers only professional monitoring. Monthly fees for Alder Professional monitoring starts at $35.
Pros and Cons of Alder Home Security
Alder builds its security system on wireless equipment and doesn’t have many options for smart-home integration. Amazon Alexa, Echo, Wi-Fi, and Z-wave technology are currently the only smart-home devices with which Alder technology can integrate with.
If you choose an Alder DIY installation, you’ll receive a pre-programmed system with installation instructions that is ready to activate as soon as you receive it. You simply have to position your devices and call to have them activated.
It’s important to note that the sensors need to be screwed into the wall. If you don’t feel comfortable with installation, you can hire an Alder technician to help you for an additional fee.
Some equipment you can expect from Alder includes:
- Motion sensors
- Door/window sensors
- Glass break sensors
- Smoke/heat detectors
- Flood/freeze sensors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
The system is primarily focused on sensor use for detection. The company does offer security cameras such as the YI Kami for outdoor use, as well as the YI Indoor Camera. You can also integrate third-party security cameras into the system. We also found Alder’s emphasis on medical emergencies on its website a great feature for those concerned about medical alerts.
Interested in Alder home security? View specific package details and pricing here or call 844-431-0264.
Learn more: Alder Home Security Review
Cove Security is our choice for best DIY value because it offers custom security packages and doesn’t offer preset home security plans. Cove also provides locked monitoring rates, a lifetime warranty, and a $5 credit each month that can be used for future equipment purchases.
Because there are no preexisting packages, equipment costs vary, and Cove monitoring ranges between $15 and $25 per month. Each Cove customer receives access to self-monitoring and professional monitoring plans, as well as access to Cove InstaText. This is a mobile app that uses a three-step communication process to fight against false alarms but maintain fast response times.
Cove offers the following equipment:
- The Cove Touch Alarm Panel
- Door sensors
- Motion sensors
- A key remote
- Window sensor
- Glass break detectors
- Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
- Flood sensors
- Medial buttons
- YI Indoor Camera
Interested in learning more about Cove’s packages and pricing? Learn more here.
View on Amazon: Cove Home Security System
Learn more: Cove Home Security Review
Ooma Home Security
This simple do-it-yourself home security system monitors your home and allows access to emergency services through its app. Ooma doesn’t support home automation, doesn’t provide security cameras, and doesn’t integrate with third-party devices. However, Ooma does have an option to add on professional monitoring for a monthly fee. Professional monitoring is not available in every state.
An Ooma Home Security kit starts at $180 and professional monitoring can be added on for $14.99 per month.
Here’s what’s included in an Ooma security package:
- Telo VoIP hub
- Motion sensor
- Door/window sensor
- Water sensor
- Smart security app
Ooma is a great choice for anyone looking for a bare-bones security system with excellent mobile app integration and features like custom modes for day and night cycles. You also receive remote 911 calling capability, which means you can dial a local 911 operator from anywhere in the world. Another great feature is its negative alerts option. This means you can tell if something doesn’t happen based on your sensors, such as your child not making it home at a certain time.
We recommend looking into Ooma’s product-only Secure Plan, as it is one of the cheapest options for self-monitoring on the market. Monthly fees for the Secure Plan are just $5.99.
Learn more: Ooma Home Security Review
Compare the Top DIY Home Security Systems
Learn more about the top security systems we reviewed to start protecting your home today.
Top DIY Home Security Companies
|View packages||View packages||View packages||View packages|
|Set-up time||Less than one hour||Less than one hour||One hour|
|Tools required||None—most elements are peel-and-stick||None—most elements are peel-and-stick||Screwdriver—sensors use screws for installation|
|Contract length||None||None||3–5 years|
Pros and Cons of DIY Home Security Systems
Home security systems have a variety of advantages and disadvantages. With DIY home security, individuals can self-monitor their system or opt for professional monitoring for a low monthly fee if their provider allows. DIY systems also provide users with the flexibility to link up with existing smart home devices to further automate your home.
DIY Home Security Vs. Professional Home Security
There are some notable differences between DIY Home Security and Professional Home Security that you may want to consider before deciding which approach is right for you. The main differences between these two approaches are:
With professional installation, a technician certified by the security provider comes to your home to install the system for you. This can ease any concerns about proper installation, manual labor and making sure each component is set up in the best possible location. However, professional installation usually comes at an additional cost and may even require an activation fee.
DIY installation means that you install the home security system yourself. Often, a company will pre-program the system so that you simply need to put the equipment into place and call to activate it. DIY installations tend to be easy to execute, and they are an effective measure to help you avoid any additional fees for installation and activation.
Most home security DIYers opt for self-monitoring. With self-monitoring, you typically get access to a security company’s mobile app and are responsible for paying attention to and reporting any alerts from the security system. If your system is triggered by an emergency, you will be responsible for notifying police, fire department, or other proper authorities. Self-monitoring tends to be significantly cheaper than professional monitoring options.
Companies that offer professional monitoring usually have monitoring centers to provide around-the-clock assistance for alarms. An operator at the monitoring center will first attempt to contact you to confirm whether or not an emergency is occurring. If you are unavailable or in distress, the monitoring center will dispatch emergency services to your home.
One benefit of professional monitoring is that it allows you to focus on other important matters during an emergency, like your family’s safety. Companies often reserve additional features—such as increased cloud storage and live-video feeds—for professional monitoring plans. However, professional monitoring tends to be significantly more expensive than self-monitoring.
How to Install a DIY Home Security System
Once you’ve purchased your DIY system, here are some general tips and steps for setup and installation:
- Select a place to set up your control panel or keypad if one comes with your security system. Select a location near a door that’s easy to access when arming and disarming the system. Some panels can be secured with an adhesive, while others need to be nailed or screwed into place.
- Install motion detectors and door/window sensors throughout your home. Most of these will be adhered to the wall without screws or nails. Install any glass break sensors, as well as any disaster monitors like smoke or water detectors.
- If you’re installing DIY home security systems with cameras, select a location that provides the best view of your home.
- Sync smart home devices with your new security system to improve convenience and home automation, especially if the system can connect to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and other devices through Wi-Fi or Z-Wave.
- Post any signage included with your kit by doors and windows leading into your home.
How DIY Home Security Works
A DIY home security system usually comes with a control panel that connects to sensors and your mobile device. The control panel will activate the detectors when you aren’t home.
You can choose self-monitoring or pay for professional monitoring. A self-monitoring system sends text and email notifications when detectors go off. If you choose professional monitoring, someone will notify you and the authorities if a detector or sensor goes off.
Cost of DIY Home Security Systems
A DIY home security system is typically less expensive than a traditional security system. You don’t have to factor in the cost of professional installation which saves you money. Additionally, if you choose to self-monitor, you avoid monthly monitoring fees.
If you choose self-monitoring, DIY systems can range between $10 and $50 per month. Depending on your system, the upfront cost can range between $100 and $1000.
A DIY home security system is a great option for many reasons.
- It’s an ideal solution for anyone who knows they’ll be moving soon.
- It’s perfect for those who want to customize their own system.
- It gives you the freedom of not being held down by a contract.
- Our Top Pick, SimpliSafe, is easy to install, allows customers to make monthly payments with no contract, and holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at email@example.com.