The best DIY home security systems

January 16, 2020

They say that home is where the heart is, but it's also where you, your family, and all of your possessions are. That's why it's a great idea to invest in a security system to protect it all! But if you've ever looked into professional home security services, you know that it can be expensive. Between installation, equipment, and monthly fees it can sometimes feel like you're being robbed just so you can protect yourself from being robbed. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it easy to protect your home without breaking the bank. Check out our guide to DIY home security systems and lock down your home for less!

Senior couple using the best DIY home security system.

Top DIY home security kits

Any search online will bring up a plethora of different home security devices and systems. While many of them offer similar options and protection, there are several that have risen to the top.

SimpliSafe

The SimpliSafe security system has consistently received high praise for its reliability and affordability. They offer a starter package for $229, which includes an entry sensor (for a door or window), a motion sensor, a keypad, and the control hub. This is perfect for covering a small dwelling, but if you need to expand and monitor more doors, rooms, and windows, you can individually purchase additional sensors.

Here are some of SimpliSafe's key features:

  • Professional monitoring available at $14.99/month with no contracts
  • Works as a local siren/alarm without professional monitoring
  • Battery backup for power outages
  • Cellular backup for internet outages
  • Complete system monitoring and control with the smartphone app
  • Integrates with most smart home systems, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Can be expanded to include doorbells, door locks, smoke detectors, water leak detectors, and glass break detectors
  • Easy setup that doesn't require tools or drilling

Abode

Abode receives its high marks due to its variety of monitoring options, customization options, and value-laden starter bundle. At $219, the "Iota" starter kit includes:

  • A hub with built-in siren
  • 2 door or window sensors
  • A key fob for arming and disarming
  • Motion detector and security camera
  • Battery-powered backup

For monitoring your home, Abode offers three options:

  • Self-monitoring through their Android or iOS app for free
  • Self-monitoring with cellular backup for $3.33 per month
  • Professional monitoring with cellular backup for $8.33 per month

And of course, you can always expand the capabilities of your system by buying extra pieces a la cart, like smoke detectors, cameras, water leak detectors, glass break sensors, additional cameras, and entry sensors.

Ring security system

Ring has come a long way from its appearance on the television show Shark Tank. Since then, it's expanded its security offerings substantially. They offer three starter packages tailored for different home sizes and security needs:

  • $199 for a 5-piece kit, which includes the base station, 1 keypad, 1 range extender, 1 window or door sensor, and 1 motion detector
  • $259 for a 10-piece kit, which includes the base station, 1 keypad, 1 range extender, 5 window or door sensors and 2 motion detectors
  • $329 for a 14-piece kit, which includes the base station, 2 keypads, 8 window or door sensors and 2 motion detectors

They offer two levels of subscription monitoring, but all kits include:

  • Self-monitoring through the Ring mobile app
  • Motion-activated mobile notifications
  • Video monitoring and two-way audio
  • 24-hour battery backup

For $3 per month, the Basic plan adds:

  • 60-day video history
  • Video sharing and saving
  • Snapshot capture

For $10 per month, the Plus plan adds:

  • 24/7 live monitoring
  • Cellular backup

Samsung SmartThings ADT Home Security

Samsung's line of SmartThings products is quite extensive. They make lights, doorbells, thermostats, door locks, and more that are all capable of smart home integration. While their security system is on the pricier end of the spectrum, it is the best of the best at what it does.

At $550, the starter kit includes:

  • 7 inch ADT Security Hub panel
  • 2 sets of door or window sensors
  • Motion detector
  • Built-in siren
  • Battery and cellular backup
  • Dual-encryption wireless technology

The hub is the main controller for the security system, but it also can function as a hub for all of the other SmartThings products. They also offer a $200 expansion kit, which has:

For this security system, Samsung partnered with ADT to offer three subscription packages:

  • Home Security - intrusion monitoring for $24.99/month
  • Home and Life Safety - smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and water leak monitoring for $14.99/month
  • Total Security Bundle - includes both Home Security and Home and Life Safety monitoring for 34.99/month.

Without these services, the system still works, but will only send alerts to your smartphone via the SmartThings app.

Securing your home security system

The power of many of these systems lay in their wireless integration and installation. Without messy cables and chords, you can place sensors exactly where they need to be and connect them to other smart home systems in your house. However, as with any device in the Internet of Things (IoT) world, this benefit can also be an Achilles heel. Most of the high-end security systems, including the ones listed above, come standard with encrypted connections. This ensures that hackers can't exploit your security system to gain entry into your home network and wreak havoc.

But just because your devices have encryption doesn't mean you're free and clear. Most of these systems have apps with user accounts that allow you to remotely monitor and control them. If you have a weak password, you could be opening your entire network to a cyber attack.

Before you complete your home security installation, make sure to update any and all device software and get the latest version of the associated apps. When setting up an account, follow best practices for creating strong, unique passwords.

by Geoff Ullrich

About the Author

Geoff Ullrich is a writer and Content Marketing Specialist at Germania Insurance.