Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2021

Find out which system will work best for you in our comparison of 10 DIY home security systems.
Best overall
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$14.99
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Optional pro monitoring
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Starter kits
Best equipment upgrades
Frontpoint
Frontpoint
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$34.99
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Pro monitoring
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Starter kits
Best for smart homes
Abode
Abode
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$20.00
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Optional pro monitoring
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Starter kit
Best customer experience
Cove
Cove
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$14.99
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Pro monitoring
  • Icon Pros  Light
    No starter kits

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.

Check out this week's best home security deals!
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Info current as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.


Here are the best DIY security systems of 2021


Compare DIY home security systems

Company
Lowest price
Professional monitoring
Mobile app in base plan
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Best overall
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Icon No  LightNo
Amazon, Google
Best equipment upgrades
FrontpointFrontpoint
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Amazon, Google, Z-Wave
Best for smart homes
AbodeAbode
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Icon Yes  LightYes
Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave, Zigbee
Best customer experience
CoveCove
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Amazon, Google
Best budget system
WYZEWyze
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Icon Yes  LightYes
Amazon, Google

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

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

Do-it-yourself home security systems 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.

Equipment
Base kit price
Highest kit price
Build your own
Number of kits
Base kit includes
Learn more
Simplisafe basic security systemSimpliSafe
$489.00
(14 pieces)
Starting at
$184.00
5Base station, keypad,
entry sensor,
motion sensor
Frontpoint EquipmentFrontpoint
$598.41
(14 pieces)
Starting at
$228.74
3Hub, keypad,
entry sensors (2),
motion sensor,
doorbell camera,
home defense kit
abode security kitAbode
$329.00
(3 pieces)
Starting at
$279.00
2Base station, mini entry sensor, motion sensor, key fob, sticker
Cove Equipment DIYCove
A la carteStarting at $249.00A la carte
WYZEWyze
$99.86
(7 pieces)
Starts at $74.981Hub, keypad, entry sensors (2), motion sensor, stickers (2)

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

DIY home security reviews

1. SimpliSafe: Best overall

Best overall
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
Our Rating
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$14.99
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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
Pros
Pro Bullet No contract required
Pro Bullet Affordable professional monitoring
Pro Bullet 5 packages to choose from
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited smart capabilities

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"). SimpliSafe's plans include professional monitoring with RapidSOS  for security issues and environmental threats like fires and gas leaks. Still, only the Interactive plan uses video verification to check for false alarms using security cameras.

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

SimpliSafe also has 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 Wyze. Plus, its 60-day return policy is twice as long as other brands on our list.

SimpliSafe is a cinch to install and has all the equipment you need to protect your family. That said, SimpliSafe lacks smart home options like a thermostat and Z-Wave compatibility. Overall, SimpliSafe's a great find for anyone who wants basic security in their home, big or small.

Get more info from our SimpliSafe review.

Light Bulb
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 no alerts when you're not home.

See our review of self-monitored security systems to learn why Scout is our favorite option for self-monitoring.

2. Frontpoint: Best equipment upgrades

Best equipment upgrades
Frontpoint
Frontpoint
Our Rating
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starts at
$34.99
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Frontpoint DIY security system offers an upgraded experience compared to other options with professional monitoring. We found customer reviews consistently praise 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
Pros
Pro Bullet Great customer service
Pro Bullet Excellent equipment
Pro Bullet Option to start for $0 down
Con Heading
Cons
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. If you pay up front for equipment, you can skip the payment plan.

Frontpoint is a high-end DIY security system with monitoring starting at $34.99 a month with the exclusive SafeWise monitoring deal. The quality of the equipment and customer service make it one of our favorite security systems. As a bonus, Frontpoint includes Allstate Identity Protection with every system to help protect you online.

Frontpoint offers a three-warranty on its equipment, like SimpliSafe. But it differs by offering a full suite of smart devices like a smart thermostat, smart plug, smoke detector, and Z-Wave compatibility.

This system is pricier than other brands on our list, so it's just shy of the top spot. Still, we think Frontpoint is well worth the investment to get excellent customer service and equipment options.

Get the full scoop in our Frontpoint review.

Bell
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. Abode: Best for smart homes

Best for smart homes
Abode
Abode
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$20.00
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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

Abode goes a step further than basic smart home connections with custom automations using its CUE service upgrade. 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.

For $20 a month, Abode's professional monitoring compares well with SimpliSafe and Cove. Or you can self-monitor your Abode system. We think most folks will appreciate Abode's affordable equipment as well.

Overall, we think Abode is an underrated gem of a system. Its smart home prowess is hard to beat and is practically on the same level as some smart home hubs.

Check out our full Abode review to learn more.

Notepad
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. Cove: Best customer experience

Best customer experience
Cove
Cove
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$14.99
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

One of our favorite things about Cove is its strong focus on customer satisfaction. Its great customer reviews reflect some excellent policies, like a no-contract subscription, a 60-day return policy, and a price-lock that keeps your monthly fees from going up.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Great customer reviews
Pro Bullet Lifetime warranty available
Pro Bullet 60-day money-back guarantee
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited smart home compatibility

Cove's monitoring plans (with RapidSOS) start at $14.99 a month for basic service without mobile app controls or security cameras—similar to SimpliSafe's pricing tiers. But Cove's pricier Cove Plus plan ($24.99 a month) ups the ante with a lifetime warranty compared to SimpliSafe's three-year coverage.

When you sign up for this system, you'll customize it with any sensors you want to install. These extras include a glass break detector, flood sensor, outdoor camera, and a medical alert/panic button. While there aren't any preset starter kits like other brands, Cove's quick survey and online shop keep the process simple. Plus, Cove more regularly discounts equipment for new subscribers than most rivals.

Cove's smart home gear lags behind Abode and Frontpoint. The system has some compatibility with Alexa and Google but no Z-Wave support, so you need to buy directly from Cove if you want to expand your system.

Overall, Cove is a solid alternative to SimpliSafe, with competitive prices, security cameras, and equipment to match. Cove's wildly easy to set up in only a few minutes, and you won't need a contract to do it. Check out our full Cove review to learn more.

5. Wyze: Best budget system

Best budget system
WYZE
Wyze
Our Rating
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$4.99
/mo

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Wyze Home Monitoring redefines budget security systems almost as much as its cameras did for budget security cameras. This DIY system has the most affordable monitoring in the industry at just $4.99 a month and even sells equipment for next to nothing. The Wyze Core Starter Kit costs around $70 with a monthly subscription (or $40 with an annual plan).

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Most affordable monitoring
Pro Bullet Cheap security cameras
Pro Bullet Includes cloud storage for one Wyze camera
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No cellular backup
Con Bullet Can't share system app access with household

Wyze offers a huge selection of devices. You can expand your system with extra keypads, entry sensors, motion detectors, climate sensors, and a water leak sensor. Throw Wyze security cameras and smart home devices in the mix, and it's as robust as what Frontpoint, Abode, and Ring offer.

The subscription includes cloud video storage for a single Wyze camera, though you need to pay extra to store video from other cameras. (Or skip the cloud plan in favor of a microSD card.)

Wyze's biggest blindspot is a lack of cellular backup, so it won't work if your internet goes down like other brands on our list (at least there's a battery backup for power outages). While the mobile app is easy to use, you can't share system access with other Wyze users in your home like with Wyze cameras—they need the physical keypad to arm and disarm your system.

Overall, Wyze is the perfect appetizer for anyone wanting to try pro monitoring for the first time without spending too much. Learn more in our full Wyze Home Monitoring review.

More DIY home security brands we considered

6. Blue by ADT

Blue by ADT
Blue by ADT
Our Rating
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$19.99
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

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.

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.

7. Ring

Ring
Ring
Our Rating
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$20.00
/mo

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Ring Alarm starter kits cost $249.99, making it an affordable wireless home security system and a good alternative to SimpliSafe. Ring's most expensive home security kit is a little over $300, when similar kits from Frontpoint and SimpliSafe cost nearly $500.

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.

​​At $20 a month, Ring Alarm includes cloud video storage for all of your Ring security cameras and video doorbells without forcing you to upgrade to a more expensive plan. And if you have a Ring Alarm Pro system, you get 3 GB of backup internet to keep your system connected in an outage..

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.

8. Link Interactive

Link Interactive
Link Interactive
Our Rating
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$30.99
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

9. Kangaroo

Kangaroo security system logo
Kangaroo
Our Rating
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$8.25
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Kangaroo is 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 $8.25 a month (paid annually)—only Wyze's monitoring is cheaper.

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 voice controls. But, overall, it's a budget alternative to Wyze. Read our full Kangaroo review to learn more.

10. Alder

Alder
Our Rating
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.75
Starts at
$39.99
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Alder has a relatively simple setup process: the company programs every sensor and accessory before shipping your system. While Frontpoint does this too, Alder's monitoring service starts at $39.99 a month, which is $5 more.

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.

When you sign up, Alder locks in your monitoring rate 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.

Final word

SimpliSafe is our favorite contract-free DIY home security system. In addition to five equipment plans and simple setup instructions, its professional monitoring is economical. It doesn'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. It would be our favorite system with a DIY install if it weren't much more expensive, especially since it dropped its monitoring contract requirement. It's more costly than other DIY systems on this list, but the excellent equipment and customer service justify the price.

To find out how DIY home alarm systems stand up to professional systems, see our review of the best home security systems.

How to install a DIY home security system

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one! Learn how to protect your home, your loved ones, yourself, and your belongings.


Best DIY home security systems FAQ

Today's DIY systems come with companion apps that guide you through installation, monitoring, and emergencies. Some companies include apps for free, while others have them in more expensive monitoring plans.

Ring Alarm is our pick if you want to monitor a system yourself without recurring costs.

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 without fees:

  • Abode: You get push notifications and smart home integrations for free, but no CUE home automation controls or 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.
  • Ring Alarm: You have full access to the system using the Ring app but no video storage.

We don't recommend self-monitoring on SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Cove, Wyze, 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 convenient for renters.

DIY system moving tips

  • Generally, DIY systems come with peel-and-stick sensors that attach directly to the wall. They are 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.
Bell
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.

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

Pets under 40 pounds generally don't trigger motion detection. 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 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 device 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.

Brand
Return policy
Warranty
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
60 days3 years
FrontpointFrontpoint
30 days3 years
AbodeAbode
30 days1 year
CoveCove
60 days1 year (Basic) Lifetime (Plus)
WYZEWyze
30 days1 year

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

How we reviewed the best DIY security systems

To find the best fit for a range of lifestyles and budgets, we extensively researched 10 DIY systems. We looked at 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 fit what folks want from 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.

Contributing writers: Alina Bradford, Katie McEntire

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimers

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. Safewise.com 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, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks 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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