Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2021

Find out which system will work best for you in our comparison of DIY home security systems.
Best overall
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Icon Pros  Light
    No contract necessary
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Affordable professional monitoring
Best whole-property security
4.3 out of 5 stars
  • Icon Pros  Light
    $0 down equipment options
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Great customer service
Best no-contract system
Blue by ADT
Blue by ADT
4 out of 5 stars
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Affordable price points
  • Icon Pros  Light
    No contracts
Best for smart homes
Abode Home Security Logo
4 out of 5 stars
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Low monitoring fees
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Custom automations

Security systems don’t have to come with a hefty installation fee—you can easily install DIY alarms on your own, like our top pick, SimpliSafe. It catches our attention with affordable monitoring and equipment, and the long warranty and 60-day return policy are worth sticking around for. Its smart home compatibility could be better, but it's a great choice for most folks.

Read on to learn more about SimpliSafe and how it compares to the "pricey but worth it" Frontpoint and other monitored security systems with DIY installation.

This week's top DIY home security deals

  • SimpliSafe is offering 40% off with the purchase of a new system. 
  • Abode is offering 10% off accessories with a starter kit purchase. Use the code SUNSET10 at the checkout. 
  • New Link Interactive customers qualify for up to $250 off a new system.
  • Kangaroo is having a warehouse clearance sale. list price and other deals effective as of 09/13/2021 at 11:00 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Compare DIY home security systems

Lowest price
Professional monitoring
Mobile app in base plan
Smart home compatibility
Learn more
Best overall
simplisafe logoSimpliSafe
Simplisafe basic security system
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Icon No  LightNo
Whole-property security
Frontpoint logoFrontpoint
Frontpoint Equipment
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best no-contract system
blue by adt logoBlue by ADT
Blue by ADT Starter Plus System
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best for smart homes
Abode Home Security LogoAbode
abode security kit
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best budget system
ring logoRing
Ring Alarm
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Icon Yes  LightYes

* list price as of 09/13/2021 at 9:00 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

What equipment can I expect in my DIY system starter kit?

Do-it-yourself home security systems each offer various starter kits—with prices going up as you buy more equipment. Most DIY brands allow you to build your own alarm system or add items to existing kits. Here's a glance at the kits available from our top picks.

Base kit price
Highest kit price
Build your own
Number of kits
Base kit includes
Learn more
SimpliSafe Simplisafe basic security system$229.00
(4 pieces)
(14 pieces)
Starting at
5Base station,
Entry sensor,
Motion sensor
Frontpoint Frontpoint Equipment$294.30
(8 pieces)
(16 pieces)
Starting at
4Hub and keypad,
Door/window sensors (2),
Motion sensor,
Doorbell camera,
Home Defense Kit
Blue by ADT Blue by ADT Starter Plus System$179.99
(5 pieces)
(9 pieces)
Starting at
3Hub with built-in keypad,
Door/window sensors (2),
Yard sign,
Window stickers
Abode abode security kit$301.97
(5 pieces)
(7 pieces)
Starting at
3Gateway (base station),
Mini door/window sensor,
Motion sensor,
Key fob,
Ring Ring Alarm$249.99*
(8 pieces)
(10 pieces)
Buy extra devices separate from kit6Base station,
Contact sensor,
Motion detector,
Range extender

* list price as of 09/13/2021 at 9:00 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

DIY home security reviews

1. SimpliSafe: Best overall

Best overall

Long contracts can be scary; SimpliSafe’s month-to-month plans aren’t. SimpliSafe is a great system if you’re curious about a new system but don’t want a long-term relationship right out of the gate. It's a reader favorite, and we agree wholeheartedly.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet No contract required
Pro Bullet Affordable professional monitoring
Pro Bullet 6 packages to choose from
Con Heading
Con Bullet Limited smart capabilities
Con Bullet No outdoor camera available

The monthly monitoring prices range from $14.99 to $24.99—way less than many people’s coffee budget (especially if you live "the Venti life"). Both of SimpliSafe’s plans include professional monitoring for environmental threats like fires and gas leaks, but only the Interactive plan tackles invasion and security issues.

SimpliSafe also has some generous equipment policies. We like that it includes a three-year warranty on its equipment rather than the thin one-year coverage from brands like Abode and Blue by ADT. It also has a 60-day return policy that's twice as long as other brands on our list (not that we'd want to return it).

The Interactive plan also gives you mobile app access to your system so you can keep an eye on it from your phone. While we usually recommend starting with a cheaper plan, SimpliSafe's Interactive plan is worth the upgrade since mobile app controls make it easier to control than using the keypad alone.

SimpliSafe has all the equipment you need to protect your family, plus it’s a cinch to install. That said, SimpliSafe is missing features like Z-Wave compatibility and an outdoor camera. Still, it’s a great find for anyone who wants basic security in their home, big or small.

Get more info from our SimpliSafe review.

Can I monitor SimpliSafe myself?

Yes, but there's a catch. You can monitor your SimpliSafe system yourself but only using local hardware like the keypad, sensors, and siren in the base station. There's no remote access without a monitoring subscription and you won't get alerts when you're not home.

Ring Alarm is our favorite option for self-monitoring. Check out our FAQ to learn more.

2. Frontpoint: Best whole-property security

Best high-end system

The Frontpoint DIY security system offers an upgraded experience compared to other DIY systems with professional monitoring. We found customer reviews consistently praising the easy setup, helpful customer support, and effective equipment. Features like 24/7 monitoring, automated system checks, indoor and outdoor security cameras, and unique user codes come standard for all the equipment plans.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Great customer service
Pro Bullet Excellent equipment
Pro Bullet Option to start for $0 down
Con Heading
Con Bullet Pricey monitoring

For about $10 a month with consumer financing and a short payment plan (6, 12, or 36 months), you can start with your own alarm system that includes a smart hub and keypad, two door and window sensors, one motion sensor, a yard sign, and window decals. If you pay up front for equipment, you can skip the payment plan.

Frontpoint is a high-end DIY security system with the highest monthly monitoring rates on our list at $49.99 a month. The quality of the equipment and customer service make it one of our favorite security systems overall, but it ranks lower here, mostly due to its high price.

Even though Frontpoint is pricier than other systems on this list, we think it’s well worth the investment to get excellent customer service and equipment options.

Get the full scoop in our Frontpoint review.

Visitor access

Do dog walkers, babysitters, house cleaners, and other folks need access to your home when you’re not there? Consider a system with a key fob or personal code they can use to enter. Another option is a DIY system with a video doorbell and a smart lock to buzz in visitors when you aren’t home.

3. Blue by ADT: Best no-contract system

Best no-contract system

Before Blue by ADT, ADT monitoring required a three-year contract and had some of the industry's highest prices. This system skips the contract in favor of a competitive plan that costs $19.99 a month. Plus, its starter kits are surprisingly affordable, cheaper than similar offerings from SimpliSafe and Frontpoint.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Trusted name
Pro Bullet Affordable price point
Pro Bullet No contracts
Con Heading
Con Bullet Pricey smart camera add-ons
Con Bullet No online chat option
Con Bullet Glitchy mobile app

It even has a great selection of equipment, including three different security cameras—all costing around $200 each. We think the price is pretty steep for these cameras, especially compared to Ring. The cloud video storage with the monitoring subscription is small—and you pay extra for more storage.

Blue by ADT is new to the market, so it sometimes feels incomplete. The mobile app is a little glitchy, but we expect this to improve through software updates. It's also disappointing that the company lacks a live chat support option, which is often a fast lane to help with your system compared to phone and email.

Overall, Blue by ADT is a welcome DIY option from such a well-known brand as ADT. It shows that even an older company can learn new tricks to help its customers better.

Learn more in our full Blue by ADT review.

Notification preferences

Your schedule affects how you receive and respond to notifications. If you’re away often, professional monitoring may be best because the alarm monitoring center alerts authorities if you’re unavailable when an alarm triggers.

4. Abode: Best for smart homes

Best for smart homes

Abode is the best DIY smart home security system. Not only is it compatible with heavy-hitters like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but it also connects to devices running Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, and Zigbee. No other DIY system on our list even comes close.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Strong smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet Custom automations
Pro Bullet Optional self-monitoring
Con Heading
Con Bullet No custom automation on free plan

While smart home connections are certainly useful, Abode goes a step further by allowing you to create custom automations using its CUE service. These are easy to set up (unless you use the mobile app) so your system can run automatically based on time of day, your location, and when sensors detect something. One automation worth trying is having Abode arm itself when you leave the house.

When we tested Abode, we didn't like how the CUE automations and some settings weren't very accessible through the Abode app, but the company stepped up and fixed this in a recent app update. The CUE automations do have a drawback; they aren't free for customers without a paid subscription.

For $20 a month, Abode's professional monitoring compares well with SimpliSafe and Blue by ADT. Or you can self-monitor your Abode system without signing up for the professional service. We think most folks will appreciate Abode's affordable equipment as well.

Check out our full Abode review to learn more.

5. Ring: Best budget system

Best budget system

Amazon-owned Ring Alarm is our budget pick for two reasons: cheap starter kits and affordable professional monitoring with cloud video storage. And while you can get professional monitoring without a contract, you can also monitor it yourself.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Wildly affordable equipment and monitoring
Pro Bullet Compatibility with Ring doorbells and cameras
Pro Bullet Cellular backup with Ring Protect Plus plan
Con Heading
Con Bullet Limited alert configuration

At $10 a month, Ring Alarm has the lowest professional monitoring price among self-install home security systems. Not only that, but it includes cloud video storage for all of your Ring security cameras and video doorbells without forcing you to upgrade to a more expensive plan.

Ring has several equipment packages to choose from and a whole fleet of outdoor cameras and lights to keep your home and backyard illuminated and safe. It also has more smart doorbell options than other DIY alarm systems on our list.

Ring starter kits cost $249.99, making it an affordable options and a good alternative to SimpliSafe. We especially like that its most expensive home security kit is a little over $300 when similar kits from Frontpoint and SimpliSafe cost nearly $500.

Because Ring is an Amazon company, it has excellent integration with Amazon Alexa smart speakers and fits nicely into an Alexa-centric smart home. Overall, we like Ring because it’s an easy alarm system with some neat add-ons.

Read our full Ring Alarm review.

More brands we considered


Alder has a relatively simple setup process: the company programs every sensor and accessory before shipping your system. While this is what Frontpoint does, Alder’s monitoring service starts at $39.99 a month, which is $10 cheaper.

We also like that Alder includes mobile app controls and video monitoring with all of its plans instead of making it a premium feature. It's a sweet deal compared to professionally installed systems like Vivint and ADT.

Alder locks in your monitoring rate when you sign up, so the price doesn’t go up unexpectedly. That’s good, because Alder also requires one of the longest contracts we’ve seen for home security—a five-year term. Read our full Alder review.


Kangaroo is another DIY security system newcomer. It's particularly notable for its rock-bottom prices—all of its equipment costs less than $80, with most devices costing $30 or less. It even offers professional monitoring for $10 a month—the same as Ring.

Aside from low prices, the company has a unique approach to how its equipment works. All of its devices connect directly to Wi-Fi, and you don't need to install the company's keypad unless you want a siren and more convenience outside the mobile app.

While we like Kangaroo (especially for apartments), it doesn't offer much smart home compatibility aside from Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls. But overall, it's a great alternative to Ring Alarm. Read our full Kangaroo review to learn more.

Link Interactive

Whether you want bare bones or bells and whistles, Link Interactive has truly customizable DIY home security systems. You can pick your equipment, choose your contract length, and add video monitoring.

Installing a security system by yourself might sound intimidating, but Link Interactive makes it as easy as peeling off a sticker or grabbing a screwdriver. This security company has a lot of equipment to choose from too, including indoor and outdoor cameras, though they're available only through the priciest plan.

And, while there are limited smart home capabilities on the Standard plan ($31 a month), you can still purchase smart locks to secure your home. Learn more in our full Link Interactive review.

Final word

Our top pick, SimpliSafe, is our favorite contract-free DIY home security system. In addition to six equipment plans and simple setup instructions, you can choose to monitor the system yourself or opt for professional monitoring. It won’t lock you into a contract, and there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee if you decide the service isn’t for you.

Frontpoint isn't far behind SimpliSafe. If it wasn't almost twice the price, it would be our favorite system with a DIY install, especially since it dropped its monitoring contract requirement. It’s more expensive than other DIY systems on this list, but the excellent equipment and customer service justify the price.

We ultimately think that full-service systems like Vivint are better for most people since an expert has your back. But it's hard to ignore the sense of accomplishment—and lower prices—you find in DIY security systems.

Overall, considering factors like your family’s schedule, any regular visitors, and your security goals can help you choose a security system that suits your family’s lifestyle. To find out how DIY home alarm systems stand up to ones with professional installation, see our review of the best home security systems.

Best DIY Home Security Systems FAQ

Today’s DIY systems are customizable and come with companion apps that guide you through installation, monitoring, and emergencies.

Ring Alarm is our pick if you want to monitor a system yourself.

If you’re looking to do it all yourself, some DIY systems offer self-monitoring services. This skips the monthly fees, but you’ll have to watch your alarms and call emergency responders if needed. 

Here are the best systems on our list for self monitoring:

  • Ring Alarm: You have full access to the system using the Ring app but no video storage.
  • Blue by ADT: You have full access to the system using the Blue by ADT app and one day of cloud video storage without a plan. Blue doesn't offer as much equipment as Ring.
  • Abode: You get push notifications and smart home integrations for free, but no CUE home automation controls or video storage.

We don't recommend self-monitoring on SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Link Interactive, Kangaroo, or Alder.

Most DIY systems are easy to set up and can move with you, making them great for renters. All the companies above let you take your equipment with you. The simple assembly makes for easy disassembly when you pack up to move out, which is especially convenient for renters.

DIY system moving tips

  • Generally, DIY systems like SimpliSafe and Frontpoint come with peel-and-stick sensors that attach directly to the wall. This is usually easy to remove, and you can replace the adhesive in your new place.
  • At most, you’ll need a screwdriver to pop open battery cases or remove equipment from the wall.
  • Some devices, like video doorbells, light switches, and thermostats, require light electrical work.
  • Keeping your previous equipment makes it easier to swap them back out when you move.
Check for a contract before you move

Always verify that your DIY house alarm system doesn't have a contract (our top five picks don't require contracts) since it might renew for a new term if you move.

The size of your house determines how many contact sensors you’ll need. At minimum, you should have a sensor at each main point of entry—exterior doors and easily accessible windows. This may mean only one if you live in an apartment or several if you have a larger house with multiple exit points.

Pets under 40 pounds don’t trigger most motion sensors. For dogs over 40 pounds, you can replace the motion sensor with a glass break sensor or security camera. Just note that not all companies monitor security cameras for you (usually called video verification).

Learn more over on our list of pet-friendly security systems.

Not usually, but systems compatible with Z-Wave technology allow you to customize your home with third-party products like smart light bulbs and outlets.

Z-Wave uses radio signals to connect your smart home devices to a smart hub, which controls everything from one place. You can find Z-Wave products from a variety of manufacturers.

Other products use Zigbee technology that creates a connected mesh network throughout your home. The more Zigbee products you have, the stronger your network becomes.

When paired with the right security system, both Z-Wave and Zigbee devices can make your home smarter and safer.

Hacking is a risk every user takes when using any internet-connected wireless system.

The good news is you can minimize the risk with proper internet security. Secure your system from online threats with these tips:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts.
  • Opt for extra security measures like two-factor authentication.
  • Add shared users instead of sharing login credentials.
  • Change your home Wi-Fi password frequently.
  • Stay up-to-date on hacks and breaches.

Most DIY wireless home security systems come with at least a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you have problems with your system within that first month, you can return it for free. Each home security company has a unique policy and warranty, so it’s best to read the fine print before purchasing.

Return policy
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe60 days3 years
FrontpointFrontpoint30 days3 years
Blue by ADTBlue by ADT30 days1 year
AbodeAbode30 days1 year
RingRing30 daysLifetime*

Info current as of 09/13/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Ring Alarm offers an extended warranty to Ring Protect Plus subscribers (professional monitoring). Customers without this service plan can expect a one-year equipment warranty.

Contributing writers: Alina Bradford, Katie McEntire

How we reviewed the best DIY security systems

To find the best fit for a range of lifestyles and budgets, we extensively researched key features, home security policies, installation, customer reviews, instruction manuals, and all the fine print. We also did hands-on testing in real homes and even mystery-shopped to get the most authentic experience.

We wanted our rankings to accurately fit what folks want out of self-install home security systems. So we surveyed our readers directly. Ultimately, it all comes down to that sweet, sweet moolah—with over two-thirds of respondents saying that saving money is their primary motivation.

Learn more about the methodology we use for each of our reviews.

Related articles


Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. utilizes paid Amazon links.
Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google and Google Nest Secure are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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