The best DIY home security systems

Compare the top DIY home security systems to keep you and your family safe.

DIY home security systems overview

What are DIY home security systems?

DIY home security systems let you focus on building a home monitoring system that is right for you. They tend to have highly customizable packages, so you can easily monitor your home. For instance, some packages come with the basics, like a single camera and motion detector. Other packages might have additional features, like smart home devices and security cameras.

DIY home security systems may also come with pre-programmed features. For example, the sensors may already be paired with the main hub. That way, you can easily set up the home monitoring system yourself, often in just minutes.

Top features to look for in DIY home security systems

Factors to consider when shopping for DIY home security systems

Equipment

Carefully consider each home monitoring system, as many companies offer different systems with different equipment included. For example, the most basic systems may have a control panel, two or three sensors and come with signage. Some of the top-priced systems may have 10 or more pieces of equipment.

Professional monitoring vs. self monitoring

Some providers offer professional monitoring for a monthly fee, while some allow you to monitor your security system on your own through apps and push notifications. It’s important to consider whether you’d rather pay a monthly fee to have someone else monitor your home or save the monthly fee by doing it yourself.

Flexibility in building the system

The best DIY home security systems emphasize the flexible nature of building your own security system. For instance, many companies offer multiple types of systems to choose from, each with different types of equipment in the system. Many providers also allow you to customize your security system online so that it fits your needs. Higher-priced systems tend to have more sophisticated equipment to enhance your home monitoring.

Cost

Most DIY home security systems have some type of upfront cost for the equipment itself. From there, you can add professional monitoring with monthly payments. If you’re not able to purchase the equipment upfront, some providers will allow you to finance your security system. However, be aware that you might have to enter into a service agreement with that provider.

Backup options

It’s important to consider how and if DIY home security systems are backed up. That way, in the case of a power outage, your home will still be protected. In most cases, a home monitoring system comes with battery backup, and some providers even supply backup over a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Compare our top DIY home security systems at a glance

Security systemStarting package priceProfessional monitoringStarting pro. monitoring priceInstallation typeMotion detectionSecurity camerasSmart home devicesTrial period
Frontpoint$430.95*$34.99/mo.*DIY30 days
SimpliSafe$229.98*$15/mo.*DIY or Professional60-day money-back guarantee
LifeShield$331.91*$19.99/mo.*DIY or Professional30 days
Wink$199*N/ADIY30 days
abode$199*$8.33/mo.*DIY30 days

Here are our top 5 DIY home security systems

Frontpoint

Frontpoint offers a number of home security packages and professional monitoring for as low as $34.99/mo.* The system comes pre-programmed for an easy DIY installation option. Also, the camera feed is encrypted, so you won’t have to worry about privacy.

Stand-out features include:

  • Customizable packages with a variety of equipment options
  • Advanced technology options with equipment like smart door locks, wireless light controllers, glass break sensors and keyless remotes
  • Professional monitoring available for all packages

Simplisafe

Simplisafe offers inexpensive professional monitoring for all of its security systems. Starting at just $15/mo.*, your home will be monitored around-the-clock. SimpliSafe’s 60-day money-back guarantee is also useful if you’re unsure of whether the provider’s equipment or service is right for you.  You can also get sensors for leaks, floods and fires.

Stand-out features include:

  • Activity alerts
  • Motion sensors detect only humans, not animals
  • Custom build option allows you to build your system by choosing only the equipment that works for your needs

LifeShield

This company is owned by the home security powerhouse ADT. You can select from three security system packages or customize your own. LifeShield offers packages that come with as little as eight or as many as 14 pieces, each providing the essentials for motion detection and more. While there are monthly fees, there are no contracts.

Stand-out features include:

  • System connects with compatible smart home devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Z-ave devices
  • Works with the free LifeShield mobile app to help monitor your system with custom notifications
  • Customizable codes help you know who is going in and out of the home

Wink Security

Wink’s Look Out home security system can be purchased for $199.*  It’s a great option if you just want to purchase no-fuss home security equipment. Wink doesn’t offer professional monitoring as an option, but you can self-monitor your system and get alerts to your phone through the Wink App.

Stand-out features include:

  • Wireless sensors come paired with the hub for easy setup
  • Can connect with and control other smart home devices like Nest, Ring and more
  • Comes with Wink Hub 2, one motion sensor, two door/window sensors, one siren and chime, a power adapter and an ethernet cable

abode Home Security

With abode Home Security, you can either self-monitor your system for free or $3.33/mo.* with cellular backup. abode also offers professional monitoring for $8.33/mo.* You can manage your system through the abode home security web or mobile app. The complete abode home security kit comes with the basic home security features: one gateway, one mini door or window sensor, one remote key fob and one motion sensor.

Stand-out features include:

  • Can get an all-in-one security system package
  • Works through Alexa and Google Home
  • Has cellular and battery backup for power outages

DIY home security systems frequently asked questions

Is professional monitoring worth the monthly fees?

That depends on how busy your life is and how much time you have to devote to monitoring your own system. If you want the peace of mind that someone is watching your home while you’re at work or away, choose a professional monitoring option. If you don’t mind watching your phone for notifications, choose a self-monitored security system.

Do I have to install my own DIY security system?

Just because it’s labeled a DIY security system doesn’t necessarily mean you have to build it yourself. If you don’t want to install your own equipment, look for a company that offers a professional installation option.

Will I get locked into a contract?

Not unless you want one. Many of the best DIY home security systems require no contract for service. You may, however, have to pay a monthly fee if you want professional monitoring. Some providers will allow you to cancel at any time. Be sure to review the terms and conditions before purchasing a home monitoring system.

How do I know if the basic packages will be enough protection?

That depends on your home monitoring goals. If you just want the basics like motion detection, then the lesser expensive systems will probably suit your needs. If you want video surveillance and smart home features, for example, you may need to pay more.   

How are DIY home security systems different from other systems?

DIY home security systems differ from professionally installed systems in that they can be self-installed, provide flexibility with equipment placement in the home and allow you to avoid any installation fees.