Best Home Security Systems Without Subscription

We researched the best home security systems without a subscription to see if they can match professional monitoring systems. Find out why Arlo is our top pick if you want a security system without a subscription.
Best no-fee option
Arlo Home Security System Starter Bundle
Arlo
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Cellular backup
  • pro
    All-in-One Sensor
Best month-to-month monitoring
SimpliSafe
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Cellular backup
  • pro
    Smart lock
Best for Apple HomeKit
Abode security starter kit
Abode
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Cellular backup
  • pro
    Multiple hub options
Best for Alexa
Ring Alarm
Ring
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • pro
    Cellular backup
  • pro
    Huge range of cameras

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

It seems like everything comes with a monthly fee these days, and home security is no different. But it's possible to get high-quality, reliable home security without a subscription. Because we know that money is tight—and security is important—we found the best home security systems without a subscription. You should be able to protect your home without it costing you money every month.

If you're looking for a reliable home security system without a professional monitoring subscription, Arlo is your best bet. Both Arlo's cameras and its all-in-one smart sensor can perform most functions with no monthly fees. You're not required to pay for an Arlo Smart Plan subscription in order to use the system.

Learn how we evaluated and why these are the best no-monthly-fee home security systems.

bullet
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 extra backup wins every time. The best DIY security systems overcome self-monitoring's biggest vulnerabilities: dead smartphones and inattentive users.



Compare home security systems without a subscription

Brand
Best for
Base kit price
Average device cost
Base kit includes
Cellular backup
Learn more
Best no monthly fee security $128.74Hub, sensors (2)
bulletWith pro monitoring and add-on
Best month-to-month monitoring $54.17Hub, keypad, motion sensor, entry sensor
bulletWith pro monitoring
Best for Apple HomeKit $58.50Hub, key fob,
entry sensor,
window sticker
bulletWith pro monitoring
Best for Alexa $128.16Hub, keypad,
entry sensor,
motion sensor,
range extender
bulletWith pro monitoring
Best security cameras$69.16Hub, keypad, motion sensor, entry sensors (2)
bulletNo cellular backup

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

Can I add professional monitoring to my home security system?

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

  • Arlo Safe & Secure Pro: $24.99/mo.
  • SimpliSafe Standard: $17.99/mo.
  • Abode Pro: $21.99/mo.
  • Ring Protect Pro: $20.00/mo.
  • Eufy Plus: $9.99/mo.

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 home security cameras or smart home gear (though you may need to pay separately for cloud video storage on security cameras).

Best no monthly fee home security systems reviews

1. Arlo: Best no monthly fee home security system

Best no-fee option
Arlo Home Security System Starter Bundle
Arlo
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting at
$199.99

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

As the newest entry on our list, Arlo stands apart from other self-monitored systems and is the best way to go if you don't want a monthly subscription. First and foremost, the Arlo All-in-One Sensor offers an affordable way to add various sensors to your home in a compact package. It detects motion, light, temperature, water leaks, and multiple types of doors opening—and it can hear when your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm goes off.

pro
Pros
pro All-in-One Sensor detects up to 8 trigger types
pro Easy installation and setup
pro Outstanding security camera selection
pro Best overall function without a subscription
con
Cons
con Battery backup requires an $80 add-on
con Weak smart home compatibility
con Cameras work best with subscription

While Arlo doesn't sell as many camera types as Ring, its 2K and 4K models easily win in video quality. Ring tops out at a standard 1080p—as do most brands on this list. During testing, we loved Arlo's simple setup process, though some features are tough to track down in the app.

Arlo's sensors and cameras work to varying degrees without a paid Arlo plan. For example, you can use most of the All-in-One Sensor's features, except for smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detection. Anyone wanting this functionality must pay for professional monitoring—Arlo's priciest plan. Fortunately, Arlo cameras can detect the same alarms on the cheaper, camera-centric plans.

bullet
Arlo Safe & Secure Pro

For $24.99 a month (or $240 a year), you can add professional monitoring to your Arlo system with Arlo Safe & Secure Pro. It includes smoke and CO monitoring for the All-in-One Sensor, cloud video storage, cellular backup, and Arlo Safe personal security app access.

As for Arlo's cameras, you can view live video and receive basic motion notifications. However, they aren't as useful without the video storage, smart motion detection, and interactive notifications you get with a paid plan. Although Arlo offers a local video recording option, prepare to pay extra for the required Arlo Smart Hub and a USB drive. Paying for Arlo Secure (about $13 a month) is generally worthwhile if you have three or more cameras.

The Arlo security system lacks the smart home compatibility of Arlo cameras, so you can't use it with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa yet. There's also no battery or cellular backup unless you buy an $80 accessory—and cellular backup requires a pro monitoring plan. Overall, Arlo is an excellent system for self-monitoring, but the equipment costs can balloon if you need a lot of cameras. Check out our Arlo Security System review for more info.

2. SimpliSafe: Best security system for month-to-month monitoring

Best for month-to-month monitoring
SimpliSafe
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting at
$244.96

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

Yes, you can self-monitor SimpliSafe for free. SimpliSafe without a subscription lets you remotely arm and disarm the system through the app and view live camera feeds, but you typically have to sign up for the first month of professional monitoring to start. If you want to record video footage but stick to self-monitoring, you can do that for around $10 a month for up to five cameras.

pro
Pros
pro Easy setup
pro Affordable equipment
pro Stylish design
con
Cons
con Limited smart home compatibility
con Quiet base station siren
con So-so cameras

Although its cellular backup isn't free and there's no way to quickly dial 911 through the app, we think SimpliSafe deserves a spot on our list for folks who may want to switch to professional monitoring in the future.

If that's the case, you'll already have the equipment for one of the best pro monitoring packages in the industry. At around $30 a month, SimpliSafe's Fast Protect™ plan includes quick dispatch technology, video alarm verification, and a new live guard feature.

Because SimpliSafe's a no-contract system, you can turn on monitoring if you need it and cancel it when you're ready to go back to self-monitoring. Its on-demand subscription is perfect for extra security that you don't need all year, like while on vacation.

Read our full SimpliSafe review.

3. Abode: Best home security system for Apple HomeKit

bullet
Big News: Abode has a NEW DIY home security kit!

Unlock Affordable Security: Is Abode's new budget-friendly kit your perfect diy home guardian? Dive into our review to find out!

Best for Apple HomeKit
Abode security starter kit
Abode
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting at
$279.00

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

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 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
Pros
pro Advanced smart home compatibility
pro Custom home automation settings
pro Multiple hub options
con
Cons
con Limited features without subscription
con Pricier equipment
con 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 with no additional features beyond an integrated siren. On the other hand, Abode Iota 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 can automate how your devices work together. Unfortunately, it locks this feature behind the Abode Standard plan ($7 a month)—free app users can't record videos, schedule tasks, or receive notifications without a fee. You still have manual control over every device, but remote control is less beneficial than automation.

bullet
Abode Pro

Abode Pro brings professional monitoring to your system for $22 a month ($220 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. Abode's hubs and sensors cost more than similar devices from competitors. Also, its mobile app ratings on Android and iOS are relatively 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 its self-monitoring and smart device compatibility. We hope that Abode can fix the hit-or-miss mobile app experience (and drop or lower the automation plan costs) to unleash the potential of this DIY system. Visit our Abode review to learn more about this smart home powerhouse.

4. Ring Alarm: Best security system for Alexa

Best for Alexa
Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starting at
$199.99

Amazon.com list price as of post date. 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. Much like Arlo, Ring cameras aren't as affordable as ones from Wyze and Abode, but there's a model for almost every need and price.

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

Since the cameras lack local storage, they work best with a subscription, which adds a monthly fee. If you have more than three cameras, getting Ring Protect Plus, which stores video for unlimited cameras, is worth it.​​ 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 support Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, or Zigbee—and it doesn't support as many Z-Wave devices. But if you're a dyed-in-the-wool Alexa user, Ring is the easy choice. (Amazon owns Ring.)

Unfortunately, Ring no longer provides a fully functional mobile app to non-subscribers. You must subscribe to Ring Protect Basic or higher if you want full access to smart home integrations, alarm history, and alarm notifications.

bullet
Ring Protect Pro

Ring Protect Pro adds professional monitoring to your Ring Alarm system for $20 a month (or $200 a year). It 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 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 to see how this system stands out beyond self-monitoring.

Video: Learn more about Ring's home security systems

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bullet
Retrofit Alarm Kit

One of the most unique things about Ring is the Retrofit Alarm Kit (about $320). 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. Eufy: Best self-monitoring home security system

Best security cameras
Eufy Security
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starting at
$159.99

Eufy has the makings of a solid security system without a subscription. It stores security camera footage locally without a plan and offers plenty of cameras. The latest base station, the HomeBase 3, offers built-in security camera smart detection to help you spot people, vehicles, and animals—there's even facial recognition.

You can sign up for optional professional monitoring through Eufy's Protection Plan Plus for around $10 monthly. Still, Eufy falls short on sensor selection, and there's no battery or cellular backup to keep your system running when the power goes out. Learn more in our Eufy home security review.

pro
Pros
pro Impressive security cameras
pro Local video storage
pro Package, person, car, and animal smart detection
con
Cons
con No cellular backup
con Limited device integration
con Few sensors in starting package

Eufy offers a lot without a subscription, but it does have some limitations. We like that Eufy works with Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa, but other than that, it's limited when it comes to smart security integration. 

The Eufy security system offers only the basics when it comes to security devices: entry sensors, a motion sensor, and a water leak sensor. There's currently no direct integration with glass break sensors, life safety devices like smoke and CO alarms, or smart home gadgets like smart lights and locks. 

Where Eufy stands out is its vast array of local-storage security  cameras. It gives you the freedom to store and review video footage without paying for a monthly cloud subscription. Overall, Eufy is an exciting newcomer to the home security game. With what we've seen from its cameras, we have high hopes for how the Eufy security kit will evolve. For now, it's a great, low-risk, entry-level security option with no essential functions behind a paywall.

Additional no fee home security systems we considered

6. Kangaroo

Best budget
Kangaroo Front Door Security Kit
Kangaroo
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starting at
$179.00

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

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 a Kangaroo system without a pricey starter kit. But, even with this flexibility, you'll appreciate Kangaroo's starter kits, which bundle devices together in a cheaper package.

pro
Pros
pro Standalone Wi-Fi sensors
pro Combined motion and entry sensors
pro Cheap doorbell camera
pro Most affordable subscription option
con
Cons
con Limited equipment options
con No real smart home features
con 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 $40) 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 Arlo. Because it comes with a chime, you might even consider using it indoors outside a private dorm room or techie teen's bedroom.

bullet
Kangaroo Complete Protect

You can add professional monitoring with the Kangaroo Complete Protect 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 theft, fire, smoke, and water-related damage.

Although Kangaroo doesn't have a wide selection of other equipment, this makes everything simple to configure for your needs. There 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 it a weaker budget option. Learn more about this security company's unique approach in our full Kangaroo review.

Video: Learn more about Kangaroo's home security

Play Video

Final word: Best no subscription home security system

Arlo wins our recommendation for best no monthly fee home security. 

If you want self-monitoring without a subscription, any of our other top five picks will work, though we're partial to Arlo's All-in-One Sensor and Abode's lower plan prices. Check out our DIY home security system review if you want a no-contract option for professional monitoring.

Home security system without subscription FAQ

Arlo is one of the best no monthly fee security systems for the money. Its flexible All-in-One Sensor can watch for various threats and hazards for a competitive price. 

You can monitor your own security system as long as it supports self-monitoring. Self-monitoring usually requires access to an app, which some companies hide behind a pay wall.

While all 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 alarm 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 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.
    • You can call from your cell phone if you're still in the same city.
    • If you're out of town on vacation, have a neighbor call for you.

As long as you don't need to return ADT equipment upon ending your contract. If you 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 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.

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.

Most security systems work without a smartphone, even monitoring-centric systems like Vivint. But you won't get alerts when you're away from home.

If you don't want to pay for 24/7 professional monitoring, the best way to self-monitor a security system is with a mobile app, which will work best with a smartphone. Otherwise, the best you can do is get a base station with a siren. That way, at least it may scare off an intruder and alert neighbors who may call for help.

How we reviewed the best no monthly fee security systems

Arlo Home Security System testing

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise

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 determining our rankings. We also researched each brand's current offerings to reconfirm our conclusions.

All 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 pro monitoring to affect our rankings. Visit our methodology to learn more about how we test and review products.

Find home security and safety resources in your area

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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 a decade 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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