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Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2020

Joshua Hilsberg
August 1, 2020

If there is one thing you should never compromise, it is the safety of your loved ones. As the old saying goes, a man’s home is his fortress. Without a doubt, we live in a prosperous world and often can rely on the government or neighbors for safety. However, there are still many dangers that you should avoid at all costs. Purchasing and installing a strong security system for your smart home should be one of your top priorities.

When it comes to home security, the market has a ton of options to offer. Making a solid choice while browsing through all of them is a tough task. We decided to put together a comprehensive list of DIY home security systems that you will most likely appreciate. Our choices are easy-to-install, earned trust from customers, and wallet-friendly.

Best for Custom Packages

#1 Frontpoint Security

Total Score 9.7/10


  • No activation fee
  • Client support
  • Affordability

Best for No-Contract Surveillance

#2 Abode

Total Score 9.6/10


  • Home automation
  • Free basic monitoring
  • No contracts

Best for Families

#3 SimpliSafe

Total Score 9.4/10


  • Easy DIY setup
  • Free shipping and returns
  • No need for contracts

How Do We Choose The Best Security Systems?

The importance of understanding your criteria is quite important when putting together a list of options that are both practical and financially sound. In our case, we focused on several key aspects of each product:


Functional Features

0-10

features of the home security system



Usability

0-10

the availability of a trial period or a money-back guarantee


Affordability

0-10

trustworthiness (based on expert feedback from BBB.org and Trustpilot)



Customers’ Support

0-10

the quality of tech support


Customers’ Score

0-10

convenience and the ease of use

While preparing to create this massive review, our specialists checked out multiple products and compared them to one another, trying to select the finest security systems that will improve the safety of your home. We also tested some of the individual parts of each system: remote cameras, motion sensors, speakers, interface panels.

Top 10 Best DIY Home Security Systems: Companies That Made It

We reviewed and found several reliable products from well-renowned brands, including Google Nest, Abode Security, SimpliSafe, and others. We made sure that brand value did not affect our judgment in terms of rating the quality of products and tried to make the review with integrity and customer interests in mind. However, some of the finest solutions you can find on the security systems market were produced by hugely famous corporations

1. Frontpoint: The Simplest Yet The Finest

Total Score 9.7/10

Features

9.5/10



Equipment

10.0/10



Price

9.5/10



Ease of Use

10.0/10



Trust Score

10.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Custom Packages

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

You can easily install this security system without any professional help. The features of this product offer an incredible level of safety, which is one of the most important things about any home security system. The gadgets are of high quality and perform well without any problems. The installation process, as promised by the manufacturer, is about 30 minutes. We tested it. It can take slightly more time, especially for someone without any experience in dealing with mounting complex gadgets. However, it is still one of the easiest security systems to install.

While technology is certainly a state of the art, the greatest aspect of this product is stellar customer support. Many DIY systems are quite sophisticated and require at least some assistance to ensure that you are doing everything correctly. The Frontpoint’s customer support is available 24/7 and answers very quickly.

The incomplete list of features that you can choose from includes window and door sensors, doorbell, various control panels, and much more. All devices are durable and not easy to break. Cameras can send the video to any remote device that you connect to the system, which is a very good feature for any security system that has cameras.

Pros:

  • incredibly responsive customer support
  • acellular alerts feature
  • additional automation options
  • the package includes several cameras
  • increased protection against potential intruders
  • equipped with environmental protection
  • has a remote control feature

Cons:

  • no hardware connections
  • the contract is way too long

2. Abode Security: A Smarter Home

Total Score 9.6/10

Features

10.0/10



Equipment

9.5/10



Price

9.5/10



Ease of Use

10.0/10



Trust Score

10.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for No-Contract Surveillance

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

One of the biggest pros of this particular security system is its affordability. While other security expansions for smart homes usually come at a very high price, this DIY home security system costs $10 per month with a nice 30-day guarantee offer for those who are still looking for options. The security system is quite easy to install. You will not need to call a handyman to mount all the components on the walls. There are additional automation features, like the one that allows your home to react to various environmental hazards.

 The simplicity of the system is certainly another important point of attraction. The components are plug-and-play; they do not require any tinkering and work perfectly well right after the installation. The price of the starter kit is $229, which is right in the middle of the price range for modern home security solutions. There are two sensors for doors and windows, a key-chain fob, and a  camera triggered by a smart motion detector.

Pros:

  • no professional help required
  • compatible with third-party components
  • can be added to many smart home systems
  • remote video streaming and monitoring
  • various options for customization and automation

Cons:

  • 1-year warranty maybe not enough for some
  • the price of the extended warranty is not justified
  • cameras are not the best on the market

3. Simplisafe: What Works, Works

Total Score 9.4/10

Features

8.5/10



Equipment

9.0/10



Price

9.0/10



Ease of Use

9.5/10



Trust Score

10.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Families

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

60 Days

Flexibility is something that you want to have when choosing a security system for your home. Some products come in set packages regardless of whether you need everything included in the package. However, Simplisafe is different. You can choose which products to purchase with their general plan and add or remove gadgets, according to your preferences. All devices look stylish and interesting, making a good addition to the interior of a modern house.

 The customer support system is one of the negative aspects of the product. Their customer support technicians may take their time to answer. The fact aside, this home security system from Simplisafe is quite reliable and offers a wide range of customization options. While all the packages lack cameras, the system does its job well. It will notify you about any incidents or accidents via an SMS alert or an e-mail alert. The 24-hour backup battery will ensure that your home is protected even during a blackout.

Pros:

  • shipping and returns are free of charge
  • you don’t sign any contracts
  • five flexible packages of products
  • different methods of monitoring
  • you can install components without any help
  • cellular and Wi-Fi communication

Cons:

  • the system package lacks cameras
  • automation was not on the mind of manufacturers
  • smartphone control is limited

4. Brinks Home Security: Not Fancy Yet Effective

Total Score 9.3/10

Features

10.0/10



Equipment

9.0/10



Price

10.0/10



Ease of Use

9.0/10



Trust Score

8.5/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Professional monitoring

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

While many companies out there are trying to impress their customers with a variety of gadgets and incredibly technological innovations, some manufacturers are more interested in making a simple yet reliable solution without any whistles and bells. If it sounds like something up your alley, check out the product from Brinks. It is not the fanciest security system on the market, though, but it works great.

The manufacturer has been around since 1983, creating great products for the home security industry. Nowadays, their innovative product is a state-of-the-art smart security system that has the fastest monitoring response in the industry (less than 30 seconds). The prices are also more than democratic and ensure that many people can afford it. The finest customer support, quick responses, outstanding gadgets, and reliable communication is packed in a product that will cost you from $29 to $39, depending on the list of features and gadgets that you choose.

This security system is a well-rounded solution that integrates with industry-leading gadgets from other renowned manufacturers. This approach is something that we can respect. You do not have to reinvent the wheel to make a sustainable product.

Pros:

  • the wireless touchscreen is convenient
  • compatible with smart home solutions
  • there are more safety-related products from the brand
  • LiveVoice and Smartphone control

Cons:

  • using cloud tech and streaming is expensive
  • the doorbell is included in the top-tier plan
  • the contract is way too long

5. Canary: Tiny And Reliable

Total Score 9.2/10

Features

9.0/10



Equipment

10.0/10



Price

9.0/10



Ease of Use

8.0/10



Trust Score

9.5/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Renters

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

60 Days

A very simple self-monitored portable DIY home security system that works like a charm for those who do not need to install a massive security network. The system can be used to take care of your pets, to provide safety to dorm rooms and rented apartments, as well as some other smaller areas that may need surveillance. One of the most important advantages of this particular security system is its intriguing and inviting price: only $10 for a nice product that will not take much space and offers a variety of useful features to its owner.

Canary is focused on smart compact security cameras and ease of use. The system has an emergency button. If you ever find yourself or your home in a complicated situation, you can call for help with a single tap. All three devices included in the plan offer a wide-angle view of the monitored area with a 1080p resolution — more than enough to see everything in great detail. In terms of quality, it is also up there with the most expensive offerings on the market. If you are looking for a cheap yet reliable security system that you can install without any professional assistance, do not hesitate to purchase the Canary.

Pros:

  • the easiest setup
  • one-button security calls
  • facial and voice authorization
  • very compact and portable
  • no contracts

Cons:

  • this DIY home security system does not include additional sensors
  • incompatible with smart home products

6. Link Interactive: Even The Installation Is Remote

Total Score 9.5/10

Features

9.0/10



Equipment

9.5/10



Price

10.0/10



Ease of Use

9.0/10



Trust Score

10.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Simplicity

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

Well, it is not a remote installation but remote assistance from the company. The product may seem slightly more complex in terms of installation. However, you can use their website and check for very detailed instructions. It is truly a DIY home security system that can be used quite easily without any hassles. In terms of automation, there are great options and compatibility with most smart home products. The package also includes various emergency gadgets.

 The price is normal. It is not something that will impress you with generosity, but it is also not something that will drill a hole in your budget. The customization options make this system appealing to technically savvy people, who would like to add a sensor here and there. The security system from Link supports up to 43 different sensors. You can opt for video streaming features and remote controls of the components included in your safety grid.

Pros:

  • easy to install and use
  • additional automation options
  • several cameras (in- and outdoor) included
  • will warn about environmental hazards
  • has a remote control feature

Cons:

  • costly gadgets and expansions
  • the contract is long
  • the warranty options are limited

7. Scout Alarm: The Friendliest Of Them All

Total Score 9.2/10

Features

9.0/10



Equipment

10.0/10



Price

8.0/10



Ease of Use

9.5/10



Trust Score

9.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Custom Packages

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

NO

While technological aspects of any security system are things that usually convince people to purchase them, there are important factors to consider. A very sophisticated security system with multiple gadgets and an outstanding touchscreen will not be useful if you cannot use it to its fullest potential or cannot receive assistance easily. Customer support is something vital for the success of a home security system, especially when it comes to the best DIY security systems.

Scout Alarm is famous for its incredibly responsive and polite customer support that will help you out with any issue related to the product. With the basic plan fee being $10 per month, it is a miracle that you can have such reliable support from the tech team. The system can act as an expansion for Google Nest and Echo smart home solutions. If you do not know what to choose after reading about dozens of options, this is a reliable choice, and it will work wonderfully for any household.

Pros:

  • competitive and justified pricing
  • short-term contracts
  • easy the installation process
  • you can hook-up your smartphone to the system
  • wireless gadgets
  • fully compatible with Nest and Echo

Cons:

  • upfront payments
  • limited range of gadgets

8. Nest Secure: Make Your Smart Home Smarter

Total Score 9.2/10

Features

10.0/10



Equipment

10.0/10



Price

8.0/10



Ease of Use

9.0/10



Trust Score

9.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Smart Houses

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

With an A+ BBB rating and a huge corporation behind its back, this home security system is certainly of the industry leaders. The product has been marketed as a security expansion for Google smart home products. Customers are offered various ways to purchase the service: you can either opt for pro monitoring and pay on a schedule or purchase the alarm kit with all the whistles and bells included for a one-time payment.

 All gadgets look fashionable, which is to be expected from a company that takes pride in creating convenient yet contemporary looking products for its customers. The hardware is also easy-to-use and readily integrated into your home security system without any issues. There are tons of tiny additions that you can purchase, and sensors work well. Many people enjoy using Google’s Nest, so you will not find many negative reviews. If a brand`s name is something valuable to you, do not hesitate to learn more about this particular system that has so many great things about it.

Pros:

  • neat design of gadgets
  • multifunctional sensors
  • remote control app
  • no contract
  • integrated with Google Assistant
  • you can get pro monitoring from Brinks

Cons:

  • slow customer support
  • large upfront payment
  • slow system response

9. Ring Alarm: An All-Arounder

Total Score 9.0/10

Features

10.0/10



Equipment

9.0/10



Price

8.0/10



Ease of Use

9.5/10



Trust Score

8.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Budget

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

If you are looking for something that you can entrust your home with at a reasonable price, Ring Alarm is the home security system. While the basic kit lacks cameras, that you have to purchase separately, the ease of use and a variety of features make this system value for the money. Users of the system have all the necessary options to start remote monitoring without any hassles.

 The gadgets from the company are uniform and look the same, which is quite good for people who do not like to infuse their interiors with a chaotic selection of weirdly shaped cameras. There are three plans to choose from (different in options and prices). You can always choose something that will work for your particular situation. Ring Alarm also has a specialized application for your smartphone. It is called Neighborhood Feed and will connect you to other users of the system nearby your house, which is great in cases when you are out of town but need someone to check up on your house.

Pros:

  • cheaper than competitors
  • great for any size of the territory
  • compatible with any products from Ring
  • wide customization options
  • wide selection of cameras
  • a unique smartphone app

Cons:

  • the basic kits lack cameras
  • limited starting plan
  • need pro-assistant for a proper setup

10. Honeywell: Advanced And Popular

Total Score 8.8/10

Features

10.0/10



Equipment

8.0/10



Price

8.0/10



Ease of Use

9.0/10



Trust Score

9.5/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Intruder Detection

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

6 month

Honeywell is one of the most popular home security systems out there, offering a wide variety of features and serving millions of customers across the globe. While their customer support may seem a little lackluster and the basic list of features unimpressive, the system is still quite good and works well when you are fear potential intrusions. Honeywell reportedly provides services to over 150 million households worldwide and makes the lives of people smarter.

The starting price for the Honeywell kit is rather high. You will have to pay $450 for the kit with gadgets, which is quite a lot even for wealthy people. The system is fully compatible with Alexa. Cameras that come with the security system kit are robust and capture a 1080p definition picture, which is great to see the video in full detail. One of the greatest features of the security system is its compatibility with smart home protocols, such as IFTTT, Zigbee, or Z-Wave, and offers some options for home automation.

 The list can be expanded with passive infrared sensors, more cameras, and other gadgets, which makes it a versatile solution.

Pros:

  • compatible with most home security protocols
  • works well with Alexa and other gadgets
  • a trustworthy company
  • versatility in prices and options
  • intruder protection with a loud siren

Cons:

  • the most expensive product in our list
  • there are only pro monitoring options
  • need for pro-assistance

The Best DIY Home Security Systems: Honorable Mentions

Some products that are also currently available in the market did not make it on the list due to various reasons. However, we decided to mention them. While we strongly believe that the selections above are great for any household depending on its security requirements, we also think that you as a customer should have a wider choice and more products to consider. Here are some of the products that may also draw your attention:

Ooma Smart Security

The starter pack of this particular system comes at a $14.99 monthly fee and has two motion sensors included. The total price of the kit itself is $119.95 on Amazon. It is an affordable solution that works well for people who want to save money and still enjoy a wide array of security features, such as remote control. As an additional feature, you can pay an extra $5.99 a month for automatic emergency calls. All in all, a great choice, yet slightly more expensive than some of the products that we have on our main list.

Samsung SmartThings ADT

This product comes from a well-renowned manufacturer with time-tested reliability and trustworthiness. The monthly fee is up to $29.99, and the upfront payment for the kit is $215. The price is quite high, yet the quality of devices is exceptional. The system is fully compatible with other products from the SmartThings lineup.

Wyze Sense

This kit is one of the cheapest ones. The price of the starter pack is less than $36, which is great for people who are looking for extremely cheap options for their security requirements. It will work well for renters who would like to increase their safety just a tiny bit and for people who just need an option to take a look at what is happening at home while they are away.

The Best DIY Home Security Systems: Pro And Self-Monitoring

There is an obvious difference between professional and self-monitoring. The former is a great idea for people who prioritize their safety and want their houses to be well-monitored 24/7. The latter is a better option for people who want to save money and would like to keep everything under control on their own. Both security systems types prove reliable in certain situations. Read on to learn the difference.

Pro-monitoring

The experts react to various alarms as quickly as possible and take care of your house 24/7. They can also call an ambulance or a police squad in case of an emergency. Your house will be under constant surveillance, which is great when you are often absent. On the other hand, this option is always the more expensive one. Having someone looking over your head at what is happening with your property can be annoying for those who value confidentiality.

Pros:

  • 24/7 constant surveillance
  • quick notifications and reliability
  • gadgets are usually equipped with backup batteries
  • professional installation
  • usually quite a good customer support

Cons:

  • even false alarms are paid for
  • quite expensive: high monthly fees
  • customization options are limited

Self-monitoring

Any DIY security system should be intuitive and less sophisticated while doing its job well enough to make up for the price. When you do not employ a company to do the surveillance for you, it is cheaper, and for many is a more financially sound choice. Products for such home security systems are plug-and-play and can be easily integrated with home security protocols, such as IFTTT, Zigbee, or Z-Wave. Another important advantage of such an approach is general simplicity.

Pros:

  • less expensive in general
  • the installation is free of charge (you do it yourself)
  • portable gadgets and mobile apps
  • usually compatible with smart home products

Cons:

  • additional features and gadgets can be costly
  • no automatic contact with authorities
  • expensive upfront payments

Choosing The Best DIY Home Security Systems: Features To Consider

Regardless of your main requirements for a home security system, some features should be accounted for when you make a choice. A security-oriented product should definitely have good sensors, smart control, and remote control options. Below are some of the most important aspects to consider when you are choosing the best option for your home security.

Core functionality

First and foremost, you want to manage the system easily.  There are various interface types that you can choose from. However, you should be looking for something easy-to-use, intuitive, and equipped with a panic button. Livevoice assistance is also a good addition to the control options of the system. The more methods of interacting with the system you have, the better.

Motion detection

While there are various ways that a security system can monitor your house and what happens around it, motion detection is certainly something quite important. It will prompt other gadgets and components to react more vigilantly. The best devices out there can tell the difference between people and animals to reduce the number of false alarms.

Sensors for doors and windows

The simplest of sensors. They are usually based on magnets installed on window and door frames. The separation of two magnets triggers the system. Such an approach is elegant, simple, and does not create any unnecessary difficulties for users. In many cases, it is one of the most valuable qualities.

Glass breaking sensors

Intrusions can be detected more easily with such detectors. If a glass in your house breaks, something bad has definitely happened. Burglars entering your home or children accidentally throwing a baseball — both incidents should be addressed.

Remote control gadgets

While you can easily set up control from your smart devices or a remote computer, there are additional options, like remote pendants and buttons, that can immediately trigger an alarm or contact authorities. Some of them are quite handy and can be hanged on your key-chain.

Smart controls

The tinier the remote, the better. When you can control all security features without carrying around a bulky remote or standing next to a big screen, it is more convenient and gives you more freedom. Smaller control devices will make a difference for active users who do not spend all the time indoors.

Phone controls

Smartphones have overtaken our lives. It is hard to imagine your day without first checking your smartphone for messages and chat in a social network. It is such an integral part of our lives that we want everything, from payments to security system controls, to be attached to our smart device. That is why many modern systems allow you to control all features using a smartphone app.

Compatibility with home security protocols

DIY home security systems should be easily compatible with some of the standard home security solutions. For example, protocols such as IFTTT, Zigbee, or Z-wave are quite common nowadays. Google’s Nest or Echo are the two products that are widely used in North America. A modern security system that wants to stay relevant has to be compatible with such widely used solutions and offer various perks when integrated with them.

Choosing the Best DIY Home Security System: What to Look for

Now you know which aspects of a security system should be taken a look at when preparing to evaluate options that are presented to you on the market. However, each system has some particularities that you need to look into as well. We will talk about such in the section below.

The purpose of a home security system

Your household is not a single unit and does not consist of a single large room with columns (although some people might like this idea). You must make an informed decision based on which parts and rooms of your household require surveillance and additional protection. Identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities are key.

Key fobs

Having a key fob is useful for a home-owner whose house is very often visited by friends and relatives. Remote control or separate key for authorized visitors (cleaners, pet care workers, or friends) will make your life easier without compromising security.

Is a company reputable?

When choosing a brand for your home security needs, you definitely should take a very cautious approach and read as many reviews (especially from users) about the company. A good, reliable brand will build trust with its customers, admit its mistakes, and strive to be better which will not be missed by the community.

The intricacies of customer support

While it is quite important to have functional gadgets that look stylish and neat, you also have to think about customer support. If you do not receive assistance in critical moments or cannot contact someone to help you out with installation or more sophisticated features, you will not be utilizing the full potential of the security system.

The price of the product

The most important factor that people consider when making a choice is the price of the product. There are various options available in terms of how much and when you pay. Make sure that the payment plan that you opted for fits your budgetary needs and will not add to problems in the foreseeable future.

FAQs

There are many aspects of modern home security systems that people do not know much about. The technology evolves at an incredible pace, with many things being outside of our grasp. Understanding at least some of the very basic principles of the technology behind such systems is quite important. Below are some of the questions that some of our readers frequently ask.

What is the best home security system?

There is no definitive answer to this question. We can endlessly compare various brands to each other. However, the answer very often comes down to the individual needs of a customer. A huge house with many rooms and a spacious backyard will not be sufficiently monitored by a product like Canary, which is designed for smaller areas and with portability in mind. On the contrary, purchasing dozens of sensors and cameras for an apartment in New York is a bit excessive. We think that some of the finest products out there are those that fit your budget, correspond with your requirements, and can be integrated with smart home solutions so widely used across the globe nowadays.

What about renters? Can they get a DIY home security system?

Yes, and they should. DIY home security kits are usually quite simple and do not require any drilling. You simply place gadgets in places where you need them. In fact, some renters may need to install sensors and cameras because they are not sure whether they can fully trust their landlords. Renters can opt for the cheapest options such as Canary or Abode and save money while maintaining a good level of safety.

Do you need an Alarm Permit for a DIY home security system?

Alarm permits are usually required for households that will use loud sirens or otherwise disturb the peace of your community. If you need an emergency response in some scenarios, you may also want to get an alarm permit. In other cases, you can just install your devices and conduct remote surveillance of your household without breaking any laws.

Does having an alarm system affect insurance?

In fact, yes. The insurance plan can be reduced by up to 20% if you have an alarm system. Criminals target such households less frequently, which makes it less risky for an insurance company. If you want to make insurance fees smaller, get an alarm permit, install a security system with an alarm, and enjoy your discounts.

How does a remote control for home security systems work?

Modern people like to do things on the go, and even data is stored somewhere on a remote server. We just do not enjoy sitting in one place anymore. We like to move and feel free to do so. Remote control for your home security system is something that grants you that freedom to just move around without worrying about your household and its safety. How does a remote control feature work? One of the most advanced modern solutions is to have a unique smartphone app that allows users to access video streams from their cameras and control other components of the safety grid. You can also carry around a small device that acts as a remote. It is often connected to your home security system, using cellular communication.

Can you trust a wireless home security system?

Such safety technologies are quite new and have not been around for half a century. However, some of the companies that offer their solutions have been in the security industry for more than several decades. If their experts assure that such solutions are effective, you can trust them.

The Main Takeaway

Various companies in the market offer their state-of-the-art home security solutions. We are living in the era of the IoT (the internet of things) where all devices are intimately interconnected, creating a web of information that we find ourselves in. If you do not want to lag behind the times, you do want to follow some of the technological trends.

Modern home security systems can be integrated with smart home solutions and can be controlled via your smartphone. You can make home security a controllable part of your daily routine and ensure that your loved ones are always protected.

Choosing the right product can be quite tricky. However, using our tips and advice, you can definitely make an informed choice and select a reliable home security product that will significantly reduce the risk of your household being robbed or your calm life intruded by some unwelcome guest.


About the author 

Joshua Hilsberg

Joshua Hilsberg is at the forefront of our editorial team. Being a sensitive and thoughtful leader, Joshua has learned management and planning while working in the management team of one of the leading security providers in the country. Joshua is the chief strategist of Espysecurity, responsible for building the overall content strategy of the platform.