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Best DIY Home Security Systems With No Monthly Fee

Joshua Hilsberg
July 31, 2020

The vast majority of people who want to make their homes safer do not want to overpay. On the other hand, there are still some home-owners who do not mind additional fees if it means absolute security. In reality, many of us think twice before paying a hefty sum of money for a product that provides safety. Our team decided to put together a list of home security systems that do not force users to pay additional fees.

Best for Budget Monitoring

#1 Abode

Total Score 9.7/10


  • Starter & custom kits
  • Portable
  • Attractive pricing

Best for Customer Support

#2 SimpliSafe

Total Score 9.6/10


  • Durable devices
  • Battery backup
  • Easy to move service

Best for No-Contract Security

#3 Nest

Total Score 9.4/10


  • Two-year warranty
  • Automation
  • Built-in siren

When evaluating a certain product, it is crucial to focus on several key aspects to measure. It allows users to make more objective observations to write in our reviews. All the products below were evaluated using the following criteria:


Functional Features

0-10

how many features they have and which of them are useful



Usability

0-10

how well a support team works and how quickly they respond


Affordability

0-10

how financially reasonable a product is (are there money-back or trials?)



Customers’ Support

0-10

how easy a product is to use and install


Customers’ Score

0-10

which BBB score it received from BBB.org and Trustpilot

TOP 5 Best DIY Home Security Systems: Our Picks

While the market is oversaturated with offerings from both newly-appeared companies and well-renowned corporations, we focused only on those that passed our requirements for the quality of features and services and do not force the customer to spend money on additional fees. Some companies did not make it on our list. For example, we did not include Samsung’s and Google’s solutions or products from Reolink which are generally considered quite good.


After certain consideration, we accepted Abode, Arlo, Simplisafe, Nest, and Ring on our list. These brands are great for regular users without any technical background; the products provide an excellent level of safety and surveillance while staying on the cheaper side of the price spectrum.

1. Abode: Cheap, Reliable, and Functional

Total Score 9.7/10

Features

9.0/10



Equipment

10.0/10



Price

9.0/10



Ease of Use

10.0/10



Trust Score

10.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Budget Monitoring

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

7 Days

It is critically important for some users to have a system that works well while not costing too much. Abode is certainly not the cheapest option out there, yet the number of really good features packed in their starter kit stands strong against similar options on the market in terms of pricing. The prices are competitive. The basic package costs somewhat close to $200, depending on the vendor you are purchasing from. The station of this security system can be integrated with a variety of Abode’s and third-party gadgets. For example, you can hook it up with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, Google Assistant, or any other similar smart system.

If the idea of paying for professional monitoring (a monthly fee of $10) does not appeal to you, sign out at any moment. On the other hand, if you are interested in temporary services, the contract is always a way to go. The only negative aspect of this product is the general quality of their equipment, since it may seem a bit outdated and comes with irregular glitches and software issues. All in all, it is a very good choice for those who want to save money without compromising safety and integration options.

Pros:

  • reasonable pricing
  • integration with a variety of smart systems
  • optional professional monitoring
  • multiple cameras come with the starter kit
  • portability

Cons:

  • unable to work offline
  • short trial period
  • the average quality of gadgets 

2. Simplisafe: Fair Price For Good Service

Total Score 9.7/10

Features

9.0/10



Equipment

9.0/10



Price

8.0/10



Ease of Use

9.0/10



Trust Score

7.5/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Customer Support

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

60 Days

Simplisafe is right in the middle of the spectrum of choices in terms of prices on the market. You can get their starter kit for $229 if you want to save money and get the basic functions or dish out $499 for the full pack. Customers who would like to have professional monitoring as part of the deal may choose a plan (the monthly fee ranges between $14.99 and $24.99, based on the selection of features).

Note their least expensive kit that contains a wireless control pad that can be mounted on the wall, a base station that has an elegant shape and will look good on the table, door or window sensor, motion detection gadget, and a key-chain fob. If you want to further expand the number of gadgets and features, it is all on-demand. This home security system is certainly one of the most flexible on the market in terms of customization.

A 1080p camera with an in-built motion detector will cost you an additional $99. It is a great gadget to have if you want to keep a cautious eye on your household. The wireless control pad is somewhat clunky, but you can also control the system with your smartphone.

Pros:

  • a backup battery included
  • gadgets are robust and neatly looking
  • the security system is fully portable
  • a lifetime warranty included
  • cameras are quality and easy-to-use

Cons:

  • no outdoor cameras
  • no automation options
  • can turn quite expensive once you start customizing

3. Nest: Google’s Ode To Security

Total Score 9.4/10

Features

10.0/10



Equipment

9.5/10



Price

9.0/10



Ease of Use

9.0/10



Trust Score

10.0/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for No-Contract Security

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

It is no wonder that a huge corporation focused on creating innovative technology can make something very useful. While software products of Google keep disappointing customers with the quality, Nest became a staple of the home security systems market. If you are looking for a reliable product that will change your life and make everything safer, this product is exactly what you need. No monthly fees or hidden payments — just a very smart security system.

The starter kit comes with a two-year warranty, a bunch of cool gadgets, including cameras for indoor and outdoor use. If you want additional gadgets, you can always purchase their video doorbell or thermostat controller, or any of dozens of gadgets offered by Google and third-party companies. The system can be connected to Google Assistant and several other smart home systems. The price is on the spicier side of the price spectrum. The base bundle will cost you $399, which is quite a lot. However, it already includes cameras, the hub, and other gadgets.

The system is quite easy to use, takes no time to install, and provides an excellent level of quality. On the other hand, the selection of third-party systems that can work with Nest is somewhat limited.

Pros:

  • automation options are great
  • a powerful and loud siren
  • flexible plans for different wallets
  • full-house protection
  • a two-year warranty
  • everything is wireless

Cons:

  • you have to purchase cameras separately
  • the list of integration options is limited
  • the price can be biting

4. Arlo: When Money Is A Top Priority

Total Score 9.4/10

Features

9.0/10



Equipment

9.5/10



Price

8.5/10



Ease of Use

10.0/10



Trust Score

9.5/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Outdoor Cameras

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

90 Days

The particular home security system offers exactly what you need to keep your household safe, without a burden of a thousand of sophisticated gadgets. There are several cameras that you can choose from and a very cheap professional monitoring option that comes at $2.99 per month. If you want something more financially sound and technologically less complex, this product will leave you impressed. The only big problem reviewed by the users is that the system lacks motion detection and cannot connect to Z-Wave or IFTTT

The price of the kit can increase quickly once you purchase additional items. Use their base kits and pay less than $3 for their monthly services and your wallet will not hurt. The company also expands in terms of climate and environmental protection, which also a good point for some customers.

Pros:

  • constant recording
  • a variety of optional gadgets
  • cloud storage is very cheap
  • the monitoring service comes at less than $3
  • there is a trial period

Cons:

  • the integration options are somewhat limited
  • some cameras do not record sound
  • creating your plan can be costly

5. Ring Alarm: The Cheapest Yet Reliable

Total Score 9.1/10

Features

9.0/10



Equipment

9.0/10



Price

10.0/10



Ease of Use

8.0/10



Trust Score

9.5/10




BBB Rating A+


  • Best for Inexpensive Devices

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 Days

Ring Alarm, as the name of the brand suggests, is well-known for its doorbell cameras. The basic kit comes with a slick control hub, touchscreen control panel, intelligent lighting-control module, and other stellar features that you may find quite useful inside your household. There are various automation options as well as integration opportunities for those who want to use Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. Professional monitoring costs less than $10. All in all, a financially sound purchase for those who want to have a stylish and reliable home security system at a reasonable price.

Ring Protect can be purchased as a standalone DIY home security system that you can use alone without paying monthly fees that turn into a large sum over several years. If you want to avoid the shenanigans, you should think about one-time payment strategy. The product is priced moderately yet offers a wide array of features and does not compromise security.

Pros:

  • integration options with smart houses
  • cheap optional professional monitoring
  • intelligent lighting-control modules
  • doorbells with a live-streaming video feed
  • a unique smartphone app connecting you to other ring alarm owners

Cons:

  • occasional software-level errors
  • challenging installation process

Comparing Best No Monthly Fee Safety Systems

INFO

Overall Score

Functional Features

Usability

Affordability

Customers’ Score

Basic Price

Trial Period

1. Abode

9.8

10

10

10

9.0

$179

7 days

2. SimpliSafe

9.8

10

10

9

10

$229

60 days

3. Nest

9.5

9.5

10

9.5

9.5

$399

30 days

4. Arlo

9.5

9.5

10

9

10

$139

90 days

5. Ring Alarm

9.2

10

10

9

8

$199

30 days

Why Should You Choose A DIY Home Security System Without Monthly Fees?

While the financial benefits of having such a security system seem apparent, there are several important factors that many people overlook. For example, most such systems are portable, so you can take them with you when you move to another place. There are also no hard credit inquiries which can be a downturn for some people. If you are still not convinced, here are some more reasons for you to consider.

Mind your budget

For the vast majority of people who want to purchase a reliable home security system, budgetary concerns are among the TOP 5 priorities. While professional monitoring can be quite useful and provide immediate assistance, many people do not need constant surveillance and would rather just install a security system that provides some basic alarming and remote surveillance when needed. Overpaying is not something a regular customer would like to do. In such cases, DIY home security systems with no monthly payments are a great choice.

Portability and flexibility

These systems are often quite convenient. Some people dislike being attached to a single place. In many scenarios, people have to move the city to find a better job or just for the change of air. The world as a whole has become much more mobile. Having a security system that can go with you wherever you need is a great idea that will most certainly fit your lifestyle.

Credit score is irrelevant

For many people in the US and Canada, the problem with credit score is quite apparent. The financial crisis is still ongoing, and the end of it is nowhere near. What it means is that we need products that will not be a financial burden and allow less fortunate families to still have access to such important things as safety. Even if your credit score is low, you can still manage to get one of these systems.

Features of the Best DIY Home Security Systems without a Monthly Fee

While these products are usually less complex and sophisticated, compared to security systems that come with professional monitoring and monthly payments, they are still quite good and offer flexibility to owners. There are several key aspects of such systems that should be considered.

Cheap prices

Affordability is a common priority. Regardless of your income, financial responsibility is a skill to be developed. A high-quality product that suits your requirements while not affecting your wallet greatly is exactly what these security systems offer.

One-time payments

The contemporary world is all about monthly fees, subscriptions, and other recurrent payments that make budgeting quite complicated and hard. If you do not want to burden yourself with such minute problems, you definitely will benefit from purchasing a home security system without recurrent fees. Pay once and enjoy the product for the rest of its life.

The foundation is solid

While having sophisticated features and immediate response from professionals is great, the main reason why people need home security systems is to be notified in case of intrusion and keep tabs on their houses while away. Basic security kits usually cover such issues handily. Entry sensors, connection to your favorite smart systems such as Amazon Echo, cameras with night-vision, and other gadgets — all of it can be in the kit and allow for thorough surveillance without forcing you to pay monthly.

The control hub is what you need

The only thing that you need when installing a new DIY home security system is a functional control hub that acts as the heart of the system. Such hubs are usually equipped with the necessary functionality to perform a variety of processes like automation and connection to other devices and home security protocols such as IFTTT or Z-wave. If you have it, you can organize a security grid in any way you like while enjoying the convenience of a single control unit placed on a table in the middle of the living room.

Movement sensors

Motion detectors are a must for any home safety package, even the most basic one. But just detecting movements is not enough. Most manufacturers complement such devices with night vision, a wide field of view, pet recognition, and other advanced features.

Customizable packages

The opportunity to extend the kit to adjust it to current needs is a huge advantage. Many providers allow adding new equipment to existing systems as customers’ families or homes extend.

Unassisted installation

The perfect safety system is the one that can be installed and set up in a minimal time-frame and with no involvement of professional assistance. First of all, that allows saving money on installation fees. Besides, that approach helps to save time as well, as a homeowner does not have to wait for a tech specialist to come and to do the job.

Receiving notifications to the mobile phone

Today, mobile control is one of the key demands on the market of security services. Most customers expect that they will be able to easily check and control the operation of all the safety equipment with a smartphone 24/7, which allows users to feel safe and avoid stress.

How to Make the Right Choice

When selecting the right home security system for your household, you need to take into consideration various aspects. Below are several significant factors that you should contemplate before making a decision.

Which features you need

The market is crammed with offers of the best DIY home security system to suit all. Your enjoyment and satisfaction with the purchase will be largely dictated by how the selected product suits your personal needs. Every security system on our list offers customization and flexibility to its user, allowing us to make a conscious choice. If you need the convenience and contemporary design of the system, look at wireless gadgets and products with unique smartphone apps. If you need better surveillance and emergency services, make sure to choose companies offering high-grade cams and pro monitoring.

The simplicity of installation

All DIY home security systems can be installed without professional help. However, some are easier than others. Take a closer look at the installation process and ask the customer to support how hard it is to do everything by yourself.

Get advice from other users

Skim through the users` reviews and try to find products that have received approval from experienced users who already tried the product. If a security system has many pleasant reviews from satisfied customers, chances are you will like it as well.

The level of customer support

We highly recommend you to check the quality of support before you make a purchase. It is quite easy to test it yourself. Just make a call to their customer support service and have a nice chat with the worker. If specialists can answer your questions, and your inquiries do not take hours to receive a response, you can be confident that the customer support is there to help you out in case of troubles.

The price of a DIY home security system

It is very important to consider pricing. While many products on the market offer an overwhelming number of features and gadgets for a seemingly fair price, think about options you need in a product like this. Also, do not forget that some cheaper options are just as effective as more expensive ones. In many cases, the only difference is the shape of gadgets. Nearly all these systems offer video monitoring and can be hooked up to home security protocols and systems like Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo, etc.

FAQs

What is the best DIY home security system without monthly fees?

It is hard to answer this question definitively since many products in the market are quite good. We consider all products from the list above to be the leading choice and offer stellar user experience as well as an exceptional level of safety for their users. However, every customer is different. What works for one may not work for another.

Which no-fee home security system is the cheapest?

The cheapest option on our list is Arlo, with the price being less than $140. However, the basic kit may not be sufficient for some users. Abode is also quite cheap with the starting price of $179. Most starter kits cost around $200. Everything below this number is considered cheap. Since you are purchasing a no-fee product, it is a good idea to get something reliable and flexible. Aim at $200 to make sure that you get a good set of options.

Can no-monthly-fee security systems save and store video recordings?

Yes, but not all of them. Start by checking the products from the top list above ― most of them are equipped with media storage.

Can I order pro monitoring on top of the starter kit?

While judging no-fee security systems is the whole aim of this article, we cannot ignore the fact that many people would like to expand their security plans with a pro-monitoring feature. Such features usually cost above $10 per month.

Is there a big difference between systems with monthly fees and without them?

The difference certainly exists. However, it very often comes down to whether you pay for professional monitoring or not. In a vast majority of cases, pro-monitoring is an excessive function that provides extra security but not something vital. You can check the situation in your household from time to time just to be calm. For many, it is enough.

What is the price of no monthly fee DIY safety systems?

Naturally, that depends on the particular product and the features provided. As a rule, the price of a basic bundle starts from about $200. The price of a full kit can reach up to $1000 and more. To find the optimal product, start with determining your personal security needs, then examine and compare offers from the manufacturers that appeal to you the most.

Can I take advantage of a home-owners insurance discount if I opt for a no-fee safety system?

In most cases, yes. You can receive a discount on the insurance, regardless of the system, package, or plan chosen. Even if you prefer to monitor your home without involving professionals, you can receive a discount that reaches up to 20%.

The Main Takeaway

You may think that lower prices mean compromising safety. However, it is far from the truth. You can get a very nice security system with useful gadgets. Use the system to set up motion detectors, door and window sensors, outdoor and indoor cameras. You will have complete control over the situation in your household. If you want to be safer still and have a professional to call emergency services in case of unwanted incidents, you can always get a pro-monitoring option at extra pay.


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.