Best Self-Monitored Home Security System

We researched the best security systems for self-monitoring to see if they can match professional monitoring.
Top pick
Scout
Scout
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Cellular backup
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Phone and text alerts
Budget pick
Wyze Home Monitoring logo
Wyze
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No cellular backup
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Affordable gear
Smart home pick
Abode
Abode
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Cellular backup
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Multiple hub options
Camera pick
Ring
Ring
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Cellular backup
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Huge range of cameras
Simplicity pick
Kangaroo security system logo
Kangaroo
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No cellular backup
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Wi-Fi sensors

If you're looking for a reliable self-monitored security system, Scout is an easy choice thanks to a cellular backup that's independent of professional monitoring. Yes, it does require a monthly fee to use. But the cellular backup and ability to receive alerts via phone calls and text messages make a difference compared to systems that use only a mobile app and standard internet connection.

Scout is an excellent compromise between app-based self-monitoring and full professional monitoring services. Check out our comparison to learn what we evaluated and why Scout is the best self-monitored home security system. Plus, see which competitors don't require monthly fees.

Checklist
Should I have my security system monitored?

SafeWise recommends choosing professional monitoring because it acts with or without you during an emergency. Self-monitoring is cheaper, but professional monitoring's independence wins every time. The best DIY security systems overcome self-monitoring's biggest vulnerabilities: dead smartphones and inattentive users.



Compare self-monitored security systems

Top pick Budget pick Smart home pick Camera pick Simplicity pick
Brand
ScoutScout
Wyze Home Monitoring logoWyze
AbodeAbode
RingRing
Kangaroo security system logoKangaroo
Equipment kits
Mobile access fee$9.99/mo.$0.00/mo.$0.00/mo. †$0.00/mo.$0.00/mo.
Cellular backup
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightWith pro monitoring
Icon Yes  LightWith pro monitoring
Icon No  LightNo
Learn more

Amazon.com list price as of 06/14/2021 at 2:13 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.
†Requires paid plan to get notifications and use smart home automation.

Optional pro monitoring

Every system in our review provides optional professional monitoring in case you change your mind about monitoring your system on your own. Here are the professional monitoring prices for each brand:

  • Scout Always On+: $19.99/mo.
  • Wyze Home Monitoring: $4.99/mo.
  • Abode Pro: $20.00/mo.
  • Ring Protect Plus: $10.00/mo.
  • Kangaroo Complete: $8.25/mo. (billed annually)

And the best part is that none of these brands offer more than one pro monitoring plan. You don't need to worry about paying extra to use security cameras or smart home gear (though you may need to pay separately for cloud video storage on security cameras).

Compare self-monitored security equipment

Equipment
Scout Small PackScout
Wyze Core Starter KitWyze
Abode security starter kitAbode
Ring AlarmRing
Kangaroo 5-piece systemKangaroo
Base kit price
Average device costIcon Tooltip  Dark$51.53$33.68$53.18$110.58$32.39
Build your own
Starting at
$120.00
Starting at
$79.98
Starting at
$249.00
Starting at
$199.99
Starting at
$14.99
Base kit includesHub, Door Panel,
motion sensor,
entry sensor (2),
key fob (2)
Hub, keypad,
motion sensor,
entry sensor (2)
Hub, key fob,
motion sensor,
entry sensor
Hub, keypad,
entry sensor,
motion sensor,
range extender
Siren + Keypad,
Motion + Entry (2), key fob (2)
Learn more

Amazon.com list price as of 06/14/2021 at 2:13 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Self-monitored home security system reviews

1. Scout: Top pick

Top pick
Scout Small Pack
Scout
Starting at
$229.00

Bear with us a moment, Scout is our top pick because the benefits of its compulsory paid plan make it unbeatable for self-monitoring. It's the only self-monitored security system that includes a cellular backup without paying for professional monitoring. So you should seriously consider Scout if you value reliable connectivity without delegating your security to others (like calling the police).

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cellular backup
Pro Bullet Phone and text alerts
Pro Bullet Excellent smart home compatibility
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Requires monthly fee
Con Bullet No free mobile app
Con Bullet Requires Ethernet internet connection

At first glance, Scout's monthly fee for even using the app and system seems ridiculous. But when you realize that comes with a cellular backup that works when the internet goes down (and a battery backup for power outages), you have a security system that's always ready to tell you what's happening at home.

You also get alerts outside the mobile app via email, phone calls, and text messages. One of the best things about calls and texts is that they work on any cell phone—making Scout perfect for folks without a smartphone.

We're also big fans of Scout's smart home compatibility, which works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Philips Hue smart lights, LIFX smart lights, select Z-Wave devices, and Zigbee devices. We'd say Scout's smart home integration is better than Ring's but less comprehensive than Abode's.

Light Bulb
Scout Always On+

You can enhance your system with Scout Always On+, which adds professional monitoring for $19.99 a month. It also comes with free cloud storage for a single Scout security camera.

The final drawback for self-monitoring with Scout is that it doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi. Instead, it requires running an Ethernet cable (included) to your router to connect to the internet. It's not difficult, but we realize some folks might not have an Ethernet port to spare.

Scout's attractive equipment sells for reasonable prices comparable to Abode and Ring. But it is a bit more expensive than budget brands like Wyze and Kangaroo. Although Scout sells a wide selection of sensors, and cameras, its selection isn't as broad as offerings from Ring and Abode.

Overall, Scout masters the art of self-monitoring your home security system by providing a cellular backup and alerts that work on any phone. But paying a monthly fee might be too high a hurdle for some folks. (Luckily, we have Wyze.) Head over to our Scout review to learn more.

2. Wyze Home Monitoring: Budget pick

Budget pick

Our fixation on Wyze started with some of the best cheap security cameras on the market, but we're all-in with Wyze Home Monitoring. This is a nimble security system thanks to rock-bottom equipment and monitoring prices. None of the core equipment—keypad, motion detector, and entry sensor—costs more than $30. Like the add-on entry sensor three-pack bringing the cost per device under $10.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Most affordable sensors
Pro Bullet 10-hour battery backup
Pro Bullet Cheap security cameras
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Can't share app access with household
Con Bullet No cellular backup
Con Bullet Weak smart home support

Plus, Wyze now sells add-on devices separate from the starter kit, making it easier to expand over time. The required hub for this system is also affordable, but you need to buy the Core Starter Kit (about $80) to get it. We like that the hub comes with a built-in siren and battery backup to keep the system running during a power outage. But it's not as useful as systems with cellular backups like Scout, Abode, and Ring.

Wyze's low pricing extends to most of the devices it sells, including a comprehensive line of Wyze security cameras, which all cost $60 or less. Each camera has free (but tiny) cloud storage and most of the security cameras have local storage so you can skip out on paying for cloud storage for a no-fee experience. If you pay for the monitoring plan, you get free Wyze Cam Plus cloud storage for one security camera.

Notepad
Wyze Home Monitoring

At $4.99 a month, Wyze Home Monitoring is one of few plans where paying for professional monitoring is affordable for almost anyone. To put it into perspective, you can buy a Wyze Core Starter Kit and two years of monitoring (about $160 total) for less than the cheapest kits from Scout, Ring and Abode (about $200–$250 each). This leaves enough to buy extra entry equipment or pad your savings account.

There's a small hitch in buying a Wyze security system for self-monitoring—you need to pay for at least a month of professional monitoring since the starter kit doesn't ship without it. But you can cancel anytime after setting up your system to avoid a monthly charge. The Wyze app also doesn't support multiple users, so you need to share logins with others who want to control the system away from a keypad.

Although Wyze sells a lot of smart home devices you can use in the Wyze app, not all of them integrate with Wyze Home Monitoring for home automation. The system itself still doesn't offer much support for third-party smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Still, Wyze is a great bargain for self- and professional monitoring. Read our Wyze Home Monitoring review to learn more.

Learn more about Wyze's cheap monitoring plans

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Thumbs Up
Save on the Core Starter Kit

Wyze sold the Core Starter Kit for about $60 at launch but recently raised the price to around $80. But it's still cheaper than the competition. You can save even more if you choose the annual monitoring plan at checkout ($60 a year), which cuts the price to $40 (50% off).

3. Abode: Smart home pick

Smart home pick
Abode security starter kit
Abode
Starting at
$249.00

Abode always makes the cut when we compare security systems—its smart home prowess and flexible monitoring options are hard to ignore. It’s the only security system that works with Apple HomeKit, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. Those first two are important because other security systems don't have them.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Advanced smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet Custom home automation settings
Pro Bullet Multiple hub options
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited features without subscription
Con Bullet Pricier equipment
Con Bullet Below-average mobile app ratings

We like that Abode gives you two hubs to choose from: Gateway and Iota. The Gateway is a traditional smart hub, but it doesn't have any additional features beyond an integrated siren. Abode Iota, on the other hand, is an all-in-one security system with a smart hub, siren, security camera, and motion sensor. It watches your home without extra sensors, though we recommend getting some to improve its abilities.

As you might expect from a system with this level of smart home compatibility, Abode also allows you to automate how your devices work together. Unfortunately, it locks this feature behind the Abode Standard plan ($6 a month) so free app users can't schedule tasks or receive notifications. You still have manual control over every device, but remote control is a lesser benefit compared to automation.

Checklist
Abode Pro

Abode Pro brings professional monitoring to your system for $20 a month ($200 a year) and adds a slew of features on top of the Abode Standard plan. This includes cellular backup and perks for Abode's online shop.

Despite costing less than Vivint, Frontpoint, and ADT—Abode is one of the pricier self-monitored security systems on our list. Its hubs and sensors cost more than similar devices from competitors. Also, its mobile app ratings on Android and iOS are quite low. Although the app works well enough, critical reviews (and our testing confirms this) complain about buggy geofencing, paid automation, and instability affecting the user experience.

Overall, we really like Abode for self-monitoring and smart device compatibility. But we hope that Abode can fix the hit-or-miss mobile app experience (and maybe drop or lower the automation plan costs) to really unleash the potential of this DIY system. Visit our Abode review to learn more about this smart home powerhouse.

4. Ring Alarm: Camera pick

Camera pick
Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm
Starting at
$199.99

Amazon.com list price as of 06/10/2021 at 2:13 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

As a security system, Ring Alarm is nearly on par with Abode in terms of smart home functionality. But Ring really resonates when it comes to camera selection—a delicious buffet of video doorbells and security cameras. Ring cameras aren't as affordable as ones from Wyze and Abode, but there's a model for almost every need under the sun—with most costing reasonable prices of $100 or less.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Huge range of cameras
Pro Bullet Good smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet Can use existing wired sensors in your home
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Cameras work best with subscription
Con Bullet Limited Z-Wave compatibility
Con Bullet Few sensors in starting package

Since the cameras don't have local storage, they work best with a subscription, which adds a monthly fee. If you have more than three cameras, it's worth it to get Ring Protect Plus, which stores video for unlimited cameras. This plan also has professional monitoring, but you don't need to activate it on your Ring Alarm system. Ring Protect Plus also adds a lifetime warranty on your devices—need we say more?

The biggest smart home differences between Ring Alarm and Abode are that Ring doesn't have Apple HomeKit support or Zigbee support, it doesn't support as many Z-Wave devices, and its Google Assistant is less robust. But if you're a dyed-in-the-wool Alexa user, Ring is the easy choice. (Amazon owns Ring.) We're also fans of Ring providing a fully functional mobile app to non-subscribers.

Bell
Ring Protect Plus

Ring Protect Plus adds professional monitoring to your Ring Alarm system for $10 a month (or $100 a year). It also includes cellular backup, lifetime warranty coverage, enhanced notifications,  cloud video storage for unlimited cameras, and a discount at Ring's online shop.

Ring Alarm has a strong selection of sensors and other equipment. Its starter kit selection is gigantic—with many combinations of sensors, cameras, and Amazon Echos. Unless you have a studio apartment, we recommend skipping the cheapest starter package (5-Piece) since it comes with only a single motion sensor and entry sensor.

Overall, Ring Alarm is the best self-monitored home security system with cameras, wired sensors, and Amazon Alexa smart devices. Between the system and cameras, it's one of the most expensive options in our top five, but it's probably worth the higher costs for most folks. Check out our full Ring Alarm review if you want to see how this system stands out beyond self-monitoring.

Learn more about Ring's security system

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Notepad
Retrofit Alarm Kit

One of the most unique things about Ring is the Retrofit Alarm Kit (about $150). This works with wired alarm sensors you might find in some older homes (assuming they're still functional). It still requires the base station that comes in Ring Alarm's starter kits but could save money if you already have the infrastructure.

5. Kangaroo: Simplicity pick

Simplicity pick
Kangaroo 5-piece system
Kangaroo
Starting at
$99.00

Every Kangaroo device is a standalone product that connects to your Wi-Fi network. This is a vastly different strategy from the other systems on our list, which all require a hub or base station to work. This means you can build out a Kangaroo system without a pricey starter kit. But, even with this flexibility, we think you'll appreciate Kangaroo's starter kits, which bundle devices together in a cheaper package.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Standalone Wi-Fi sensors
Pro Bullet Combined motion and entry sensors
Pro Bullet Cheap doorbell camera
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited equipment options
Con Bullet No real smart home features
Con Bullet No cellular backup

Two Kangaroo products stand out compared to the competition: Motion + Entry Sensor and Doorbell Camera + Chime. The best thing about the Motion + Entry Sensor (about $30) is that it combines a motion detector and a contact sensor. This makes sense for smaller apartments where the main living area is next to the front door—you can watch the door and room at the same time.

The Doorbell Camera + Chime (about $25) is similarly awesome—mostly because it's the cheapest video doorbell you can buy. Kangaroo provides cheap cloud storage for this camera (about $2 a month), which makes it an ultra-budget alternative to Ring and Wyze. Because it comes with a chime, you might even consider using it indoors outside a private doom room or techie teen's bedroom.

Light Bulb
Kangaroo Complete Plan

You can add professional monitoring with the Kangaroo Complete Plan. It costs $99 a year ($8.25 a month) and adds video storage, security camera features, smart home integration, text and phone notifications, and Kangaroo Coverage. Kangaroo Coverage reimburses you for damage related to theft, fire, smoke, and water.

Although Kangaroo doesn't have a wide selection of other equipment, this has the byproduct of making everything simple to configure for your needs. There also isn't much smart home support if you don't pay for professional monitoring (around $99 a year);Kangaroo locks Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility for non-subscribers. And you won't find cellular backup—no matter how much you pay.

Overall, we like Kangaroo's affordable, standalone equipment for apartment dwellers and folks who want a simpler self-home-monitoring system. But Kangaroo’s limitations ultimately make Wyze a better budget option. Learn more about this security company's unique approach in our full Kangaroo review.

Learn more about Kangaroo's home security

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More brands we considered

Ooma

Ooma came close to making our top five because it has a nifty feature: Remote 911. It allows you to call your local 911 dispatchers from the Ooma app. This is useful when you're on vacation and need to call help to your home—something other self-monitored systems lack—though it requires a monthly fee to work. You wouldn't need to call a friend or neighbor to check on an alarm like with other systems.

It's fortunate that Ooma has Remote 911 because there are no security cameras for this system. We also struggled with the small equipment selection and optional monitoring that's available in just 42 states. Still, this unique little system could work well for some folks. Learn more in our complete Ooma review.

Blue by ADT

Blue by ADT is a solid option for self-monitoring, but it doesn't offer as many device options as Abode and Ring. Another big drawback is that this brand's security cameras are the most expensive on this list—costing around $200 each.

Still, the starter kits and sensors have reasonable prices, and it's hard to beat ADT's experience with professional monitoring. Overall, this security system is a better deal with professional monitoring than without it. Learn more in our in-depth Blue by ADT review.

SimpliSafe

Although we recommend SimpliSafe as one of the best DIY home security systems, it's not a great option for self-monitoring. Unlike other DIY security systems that offer self-monitoring, SimpliSafe doesn't include mobile app access without a professional monitoring plan.

This means that you rely entirely on local devices to watch over your home. While this is fine when you're close enough to hear the SimpliSafe base station's siren go off, you have no remote notifications when you leave the house. Read our full SimpliSafe review to find out why our readers love this system.

Final word

Scout wins our recommendation for self-monitored security systems because no other brand offers cellular backup without professional monitoring. We also like that you get phone and text message alerts alongside more traditional email and push notifications. Unfortunately, Scout charges a monthly fee to even access your system, which misses the point of self-monitoring to avoid fees.

If you want self-monitoring without a monthly fee, any of the other options in our top five picks will work, though we're partial to Wyze Home Monitoring's low prices. If you want a no-contract option for professional monitoring, check out our DIY home security system review.

How we reviewed

We've done hands-on testing with every brand in this review—though it's been a few years with some of them. Those experiences were a good starting point for putting this comparison together and ultimately determine our rankings. We also researched each brand's current offerings to reconfirm our conclusions.

All of the brands we chose allow DIY installation and self-monitoring while offering optional professional monitoring. But unlike our other home security comparisons, we used a laser focus on self-monitoring and didn't allow professional monitoring to affect our rankings. Visit our methodology to learn more about how we test and review products.

FAQ

You can monitor your own security system as long as it supports self-monitoring. While all of the systems we feature in this review work for self-monitoring, brands like Vivint, Frontpoint, ADT, and Cove do not support self-monitoring. Instead, they require a subscription to a professional monitoring service.

Once you have a system that works with self-monitoring, the process is simple:

  1. Arm your self-monitored system.
    • Use away mode to track all of your sensors when leaving the house (motion sensors, entry sensors, glass break sensors, indoor cameras, and outdoor cameras).
    • Use home mode (or sleep mode) when going to bed, which tracks only activity at the perimeter of your home (yard, windows, and doors—depending on your equipment). It ignores activity inside your home so you don't set off the siren for a midnight snack.
  2. If something happens, the system's app sends you a notification or sounds a siren.
  3. Verify that it isn't a false alarm using a security camera—it doesn't need to integrate with the system. Any Wi-Fi security camera will work. Look for anything out of the ordinary: broken windows, an open front door, or maybe an unfamiliar car in the driveway.
    • We don't recommend going home to verify an alarm in person (unless you're in the house already)—it could be dangerous. You can call a trusted neighbor for verification (without entering your home), but a security camera is much safer.
    • Don't call the police without verifying your alarm. You may be on the hook for false-alarm fines.
    • Smoke (not from cooking) and carbon monoxide alarms may require an immediate response without verification. This is especially important if you have family or pets in the house.
  4. After you verify the alarm, you can call the police. Just remember that 911 calls route through the closest dispatcher to your location.
    • If you're still in the same city, you can call from your cell phone.
    • If you're out of town on vacation, have a neighbor call for you.

Assuming you want to spend as little money as possible, Wyze Home Monitoring is the best security system for the money. Its equipment is ultra affordable and meets these essential requirements: keypad, motion sensor, and entry sensor. It doesn't have cellular backup, but that would require a fee anyway.

If you can stomach a monthly fee, Wyze's professional monitoring is also the best value—it costs only $4.99 a month compared to other cheap security systems ($10–$20 a month).

As long as you don't need to return ADT equipment upon ending your contract. If you choose to convert a home security system to self-monitoring, the experience will be very different. You'll lose access to the mobile app (if your plan supports it) and 24/7 emergency response. (Using Vivint equipment without monitoring is a similar experience.)

Practically all security systems will work without professional monitoring, but you have only local control through a keypad or control panel. This works fine when you're home, but it's only a fraction of the functionality of a self-monitored system with an app.

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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