Home burglaries and crime are on the rise, and home security couldn’t be more important. Home burglaries have huge monetary costs averaging $2,692 of stolen property, let alone the emotional cost of having someone break into your home. The good news is home security today doesn’t need to require tons of sophisticated equipment, wires running through your walls and thousands of dollars in installation costs by a professional. Quite the contrary – you can install a DIY home security system and have your home completely protected, often for under $300.
The Importance of Home Security
There are over two million home burglaries in the United States every year, and only 40% of residents have installed any home security system. Yet, over 60% of burglars say they avoid homes with home security systems or cameras. Not only does it increase the safety of you, your family and your property, but there are additional cost benefits to having a DIY home security system installed, like discounts on your homeowner’s insurance. All of that is a long-winded way of saying — even simple pieces of home security equipment like a video doorbell or an outdoor security camera make a huge difference in improving the safety of your home.
At a Glance: Top DIY Security Systems
1. Best Overall: Ring Alarm Pro (8 Piece) – $239.99 at Amazon
2. Runner-Up: SimpliSafe Piece Wireless Home Security System (8 Piece) – $229.9 at Amazon
3. Best For Smart Homes: Adobe Iota – $279.99 at Amazon
4. Best Budget: Wyze Home Security Core Kit – $99.98 at Amazon
Comparing DIY Home Security Systems
If you’ve checked out any of our smart home reviews, especially ones on home security cameras, you’ll notice most of the brand names for DIY home security systems. Ring and SimpliSafe are significant players, but you should also be aware of some additional DIY home security makers, which you’ll discover below.
1. Ring Alarm Pro (8 Piece)
We appreciate Ring’s backup internet and power capabilities. That’s right, if your power or internet goes down, it doesn’t mean your home security system goes down too. Of course, the system runs great when the power and internet are functioning. You get notifications on your phone anytime a sensor is tripped when the system is armed, which you can do on the included keypad or through the app when you leave. A convenient geofencing option will alert you to arm your system when you leave your place or are getting close to arriving home to disarm your system.
You can opt for Ring Protect Pro for $20/month, which includes 24/7 professional monitoring and 3GB of backup internet and cloud storage. Our SPY tech editor felt this DIY home system was a truly ridiculous amount of home security for just $300, and why it earns our top spot in this category.
- Contact sensors (4x)
- Motion detector
- Range extender
- Many additional accessories
- Backup battery and internet service
- 24/7 monitoring available
- Price is 3x compared to Wyze system
SimpliSafe 8 Piece Wireless Home Security System
The SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System is a great DIY kit for several reasons. We’ll start with enough contact sensors for multiple entrances and windows and compatibility with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. A unique feature is the panic button which will automatically trigger the alarm and dispatch police. It can also be used as a silent alarm to help catch intruders in the act without scaring them away. Of course, the option for police dispatch is only available if you pay for either the standard or interactive monitoring, which is anywhere from $18 to $28 a month and includes 24/7 monitoring. Also, if the power goes out, you’ll still be protected thanks to 24 hours of battery and internet backup.
- Base station
- Contact sensors (4x)
- Panic button
- Motion sensor
- Panic button can be used as a silent alarm
- Sensors for multiple doors and windows
- Compatible with Amazon and Google
- Monitoring is expensive
- Panic button dispatch can only be used with monitoring subscription
What sets the Abode Iota apart is its smart home compatibility and custom automation. Both are great for those who prefer a more hands-off approach and want the system to run without much personal interaction. For example, the DIY home security system can connect to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Zigbee and Z-Wave. And you can set up automation to have the system arm itself during specific times of the day (like when you go golfing every Thursday night or when you head to the office on Monday, Wednesday and Friday). You can even set up an automation to have the system arm itself whenever you leave the house.
If you have a bigger home with multiple entrances or accessible windows, you should opt for a bigger system, but this one is compact, smart and great for those who like the hands-off approach.
- Central hub
- Contact sensor
- Easy installation
- Many automation options
- Compatible with multiple smart home AI
- Not a good system for bigger houses
- You’ll have to pay for monitoring for custom automation
Wyze Home Security Core Kit
This is the most affordable way to get an entire DIY home security system; you get everything you need for under $100. That’s a third of the cost compared to Ring. The system is compatible with Wyze Cams, and you can buy additional leak and climate sensors for damage control beyond home security. The system is straightforward to install and doesn’t require any drilling. The monitoring is also more affordable than other systems at $9.99 a month. The subscription includes cloud storage on any cameras you add. One area where the system is lacking is backup internet, which others like Ring and SimpliSafe provide.
The Wyze app is also landlocked to one user — the primary person can’t share access with others, which is a bit frustrating. But for $100 for the entire system, we think those are only minor inconveniences.
- Motion sensor
- Entry sensor (2x)
- Many additional accessories available
- Cheap monitoring services
- Can’t share app controls with other members of the house
- No backup internet
How much do DIY home security systems cost?
The most expensive DIY home security system we included is $279.99 with the least expensive being $99.98. It is also less expensive going with a pre-built kit as opposed to buying separate components.
What equipment is included in a DIY home security system?
This will vary from kit to kit, but many include a base station, keypad, motion sensor(s) and a contact sensor.
Can you expand your home security system?
You can easily add additional components to your DIY home security system. For instance, Ring and SimpleSafe offer additional accessories such as flood sensors, smoke and Co2 sensors as well as extra window sensors.
Do you need to have a subscription for your home security system?
Not necessarily, but if you want your home professionally monitored, then yes. Without professional monitoring, if an intruder were to break-in and you weren’t home, you may not be alerted or help may not be sent to your home without your interaction. The price will vary depending on the type of system and type of monitoring plan you choose. For more information, here’s our list of the best security cameras that don’t require a subscription.
What is the monthly cost for a home security system?
Once you purchase the equipment, there are no monthly costs unless you pay for home monitoring, which costs anywhere from $10 to about $50 a month depending on the plan you choose.
Do DIY home security systems have smart home compatibility?
Yes, most should be able to connect either to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and sometimes both. We list each system’s smart home compatibility above.
How do I set up my home security system?
Of course, you’ll want the motion sensors on main areas and entrances, and a keypad that is quickly accessible, most likely by main entrances. Our SPY tech editor wrote a helpful guide on six creative ways to use motion sensors around your home for things like making sure the youngins’ aren’t breaking into your liquor cabinet and keeping your pets hydrated while you’re out.
This content was originally published here.