The Best Cheap Home Security Systems

Compare the best cheap DIY home security systems to protect your family. Safewise reviews affordable home security options you can install on your own.
Written by | Updated December 13, 2019
Cheapest Monitoring
Ring Alarm
  • Monitoring for $10/mo.
  • Compatibility with Ring cameras
  • Monitoring for $10/mo.
  • Compatibility with Ring cameras
Cheapest Equipment
Wyze Sense
  • Equipment for under $50
  • Free mobile app access and control
  • Equipment for under $50
  • Free mobile app access and control
Best for Small Spaces
Abode
  • Self-monitoring for $8/mo.
  • All-in-one security device option
  • Self-monitoring for $8/mo.
  • All-in-one security device option
Best Landline Option
Protect America
  • Plans starting at $19.99/mo.
  • Monitoring with every package
  • Plans starting at $19.99/mo.
  • Monitoring with every package
Most Well-Known
SimpliSafe
  • 5 equipment packages under $500
  • Month-to-month monitoring
  • 5 equipment packages under $500
  • Month-to-month monitoring
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Last Updated: 2 months ago
Several Ring users have reported breaches in their accounts that allowed a stranger to use the two-way communication to intimidate them. Ring said in a statement to SafeWise that the breaches can be avoided with best security practices for internet-connected devices: use strong, unique passwords, reset passwords regularly, add authorized users instead of sharing credentials, and use two-factor authentication. We still recommend Ring products but encourage users to take these precautions.

The Bottom Line on Cheap Home Security

Protecting your home and loved ones shouldn’t require a loan or a second mortgage.

Whether you own your home, live in a rental, or simply want to stick to a budget, we’ve found the best home security systems that don’t break the bank.

Every system on our list offers security equipment for under $500, affordable monthly monitoring, and DIY installation. Plus, you won’t pay extra for activation or installation fees.

Compare the Best Cheap Home Security Systems

Cheapest Monthly Fee
Starting Equipment Package Price
Mobile App Included in Lowest Monthly Price
Cheapest Monitoring Cheapest Equipment Best for Small Spaces Best Landline Option Most Well-Known
$10/mo. N/A $20/mo. $19.99/mo. $14.99
$199.00 $109.00* $199.00 $0.00** $229.00

Yes

Yes

Yes
X
No
X
No
Visit Ring View on Amazon Visit Abode View Packages Visit SimpliSafe

Data effective 11/22/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*Amazon.com List Price as of 11/22/19 11:40 a.m. MST. (Full disclaimer)
**$0 down required monitoring contract

The Best Cheap Home Security System Reviews

Ring Alarm: Cheapest Monitoring

Image of Ring Alarm 14-piece security kit

Ring Alarm 14-Piece Kit

Ring has branched out from the video doorbell camera that first made it a household name. Ring Alarm brings the same smart tech to help you protect more than your front doorstep.

Ring Alarm Pros

  • No contracts
  • Monthly monitoring for $10 (or $100 for a year up front)
  • Equipment starting at $199
  • Compatibility with Ring doorbells, cameras, and lights
  • Free Neighbors app

Ring Alarm Cons

  • Additional cost to add security cameras

Our Favorite Way to Do Ring Alarm on the Cheap

No matter how you design your Ring Alarm home security system, you’re bound to save compared to high-end security brands like ADT and Vivint.

Because we know all the ins and outs of Ring Alarm, we recommend the 10-piece security kit as the best way to maximize Ring’s affordable home security options. Unless you only have one door and one window, you’ll need more than the lone contact sensor that comes in Ring’s five-piece kit.

Equipment
Monitoring Plan
Add-on(s)
Product Price What's Included
Ring Alarm 10-Piece $259 Base station
Keypad
Range extender
5 contact sensors
2 motion detectors
Protect Plus $10/mo. or $100/yr. 24/7 professional monitoring
Video monitoring
Ring Video Doorbell $99.99 Battery power
Motion detection
Two-way talk
Night vision

Data effective 11/22/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Total Ring Alarm cost for first year: $458.99 (plus any taxes—shipping is free!)

That’s just $1.25 a day (or about $38 a month) for all of your Ring Alarm equipment, a Ring Video Doorbell, and a whole year of professional monitoring.

Things That Cost More Than Ring Alarm

  • A daily Tall plain coffee from Starbucks: $1.60/day
  • A full tank of gas: $39
  • Sling Orange + Blue subscription: $40/month
  • Average monthly internet subscription: $70/month
  • Loss from a burglary: $2,799¹

Why We Recommend Ring Alarm

Ring is the best overall value for a straightforward home security system with professional monitoring.

And it doesn’t cost that much more to trick out your system with doorbell cameras, floodlights, and outdoor security cameras. Plus you can add extras like flood and freeze sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide monitors, and panic buttons.

We also like that Ring Alarm is focused on smart home integration as well as home security. There are at least 11 different smart home brands that work with Ring, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Ecolink, Yale, Schlage, and GE.

See everything that Ring has to offer in our full Ring Alarm review.

Wyze Sense: Cheapest Equipment

wyze sense kit

Wyze Sense Starter Kit

We first noticed Wyze because its super-cheap indoor security camera reminded us of Disney’s WALL-E. But once we tried it out, it quickly became a staff (and family and friends) fave.

Now Wyze has expanded beyond security cameras with the most budget-friendly sensors (and free app) that let you know who’s coming and going at your home.

Wyze Sense Pros

  • Starter kit for under $50
  • No monthly subscription
  • Free mobile app
  • 14 days of video storage
  • AI person detection

Wyze Sense Cons

  • No professional monitoring
  • No smart home compatibility

Our Favorite Way to Do Wyze Sense on the Cheap

Bottom line—Wyze is the absolute cheapest way to add some security measures to your home.

That said, there are some limitations. There’s no option for 24/7 professional monitoring with Wyze cameras or Wyze Sense motion detectors and contact sensors. And the company doesn’t offer a siren to sound the alarm if something suspicious goes down.

Here’s a look at our dream Wyze setup, using the security products currently available from the brand.

Equipment
Self-Monitoring
Add-on(s)
Product Price What's Included
Wyze Cam (V2)
Wyze Sense Starter Kit
$47.96 Wyze Cam (V2)
Wyze sensor bridge
1 motion sensor
2 contact sensors
Wyze mobile app Free 24/7 professional monitoring
Video monitoring
Additional door and window sensors $5.99/ea. Extra entry coverage

*Amazon.com List Price as of 11/22/19 11:40 a.m. MST. (Full disclaimer)

Total Wyze Sense cost for first year: $47.96 (plus any taxes—shipping is free from Amazon!)

That’s ridiculously cheap—you’re getting an indoor security camera plus one motion detector and two door and window sensors for under $50. That’s about four bucks a month. ‘Nuff said.

Things That Cost More Than Wyze Sense

  • Six months of Netflix’s basic subscription: $9/month
  • A new video game: $60
  • One month of internet: $70/month (on average)
  • A single-day lift ticket to ski in the US: $94
  • Getting your stuff stolen: $2,799¹

Why We Recommend Wyze

As our stalwart in-home reviewer pointed out—Wyze sensors are around $5 a sensor, which is about 75% cheaper than other DIY home security sensors on the market.

That means just about anyone can add some security to their home. But there are a lot of limitations if you’re looking for full-on home security. The biggest drawback is that Wyze isn’t compatible with most other smart home gadgets.

It uses a proprietary connection method that doesn’t work with Z-Wave or Zigbee like most other home automation devices. Plus, there’s no pro monitoring option and no siren.

We still think Wyze is a solid home security solution, though. You get full access to the mobile app, which includes customizable alerts and 14 days of free video storage. If you add a microSD card to the mix, you’ve got as many storage and playback options as you want—all without any extra monthly fees.

Learn all about Wyze Sense in our full review.

Abode: Best for Small Spaces

Abode Essentials Starter Kit

Abode Smart Security Kit

If you thought home security was only for sprawling Malibu mansions, then we’ve got some good news. Abode delivers powerful full-service home security that’s perfect for smaller spaces like apartments, condos, and dorms.

Abode Pros

  • Professional or self-monitoring options
  • Small, inobtrusive equipment
  • Free mobile app
  • Discounts when you bundle equipment and monitoring plan

Abode Cons

  • Clunky mobile app
  • Limited equipment options

Our Favorite Way to Do Abode on the Cheap

You can pick from Abode’s Smart Security Kit that features a hub, a motion detector, and contact sensors, or go with the Abode’s Iota smart security camera.

Because both come with options to add professional monitoring, we recommend the Iota. We prefer home security that includes video surveillance, and the Abode Iota makes it easy and affordable.

Here’s our recommendation to make the most out of Abode’s security options.

Equipment
Monitoring Plan
Product Price What's Included
Abode Iota All-In-One Security Kit $229.00 Abode Iota
1 mini door/window sensor
1 key fob
Basic Free Abode app access
3 days video storage

Data effective 11/22/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Total Abode cost for first year: $229.00 (plus any taxes—shipping is free!)

That’s just $0.63 a day (or about $19 a month) for the Abode Iota All-in-One security camera, an extra contact sensor, and a remote key fob. That also includes free mobile access and three days of video storage.

Things That Cost More Than Abode

  • A basic Sling Blue or Orange subscription: $25/month
  • Lunch: $20/week
  • Movie tickets for a family of four: $37.04 ($9.26/ticket)
  • Happy hour: $40/month
  • Recovering from a burglary: $2,799 in 2018¹

Why We Recommend Abode

Abode kind of sneaked into our hearts this year. It offers the best of both worlds—simple, all-in-one security from a single device or more advanced protection with traditional sensors and motion detectors.

You can add on professional monitoring with all of Abode’s security equipment, which adds an extra $20 per month. But if you want to monitor things yourself, Abode is one of the cheapest deals out there.

For people who live in small spaces or shared living situation with roommates, Abode offers discreet security. The Abode Iota can be moved from room to room, and this one device can take in a whole room with its wide-angle lens.

Get the full story in our complete Abode review.

Protect America: Best Landline Option

Protect America equipment

Protect America Equipment

Protect America is the only traditional home security company to make our list for the best cheap home security. You get all the perks of full-service monitoring protection with affordable options like a landline connection that cuts monthly fees in half.

Protect America Pros

  • Landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring available
  • Home security access for rural locations
  • Experienced professional monitoring services
  • Strong customer-first policies
  • Price-lock guarantee

Protect America Cons

  • Long-term contract required
  • No mobile app access with landline plan

Our Favorite Way to Do Protect America on the Cheap

With Protect America you get the protection of 24/7 professional monitoring in every package. And you don’t have to pay any money up front for your equipment.

Here’s our recommendation for the best deal from Protect America.

Equipment
Monitoring Plan
Product Price What's Included
Copper Package $0 down Control panel
1 motion detector
3 window and door sensors
Landline $19.99/mo. Abode app access
3 days video storage

Data effective 11/22/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Total Protect America cost for first year: $239.88 (plus any taxes—and there is a three-year contract required)

That’s just $0.66 a day (or about $20 a month) for standard home security equipment and the reassurance of professional monitoring.

Things That Cost More Than Protect America

  • A single concert ticket: $91.86
  • Your monthly water bill: $40/month
  • A monthly round trip Lyft or Uber ride: $26/month
  • A weekly Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks: $21.80/month
  • A break-in: $2,799 lost on average in 2018¹

Why We Recommend Protect America

If you want the reassurance of a more traditional home security company, but don’t want to spend a small fortune, Protect America is a solid choice. You don’t have to pay for your equipment up front, and you can still enjoy the convenience of DIY installation.

But the company requires a standard, 36-month contract, and the cheapest plan ($19.99 a month) is only available with a landline.

Even so, we think Protect America’s lifetime warranty on equipment and price-lock guarantee make this company a safe bet to protect your home—even if it requires a commitment.

Find out all the details in our full Protect America review.

SimpliSafe: Most Well-Known

photo of simplisafe system on a wooden table

SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe is the darling of affordable, DIY home security. This company delivers sleek, simple security solutions with no contracts and a 60-day, money-back guarantee.

SimpliSafe Pros

  • 5 equipment packages under $500
  • No contracts
  • Easy setup
  • Monitoring for as little as $15/mo.
  • 60-day, money-back guarantee

SimpliSafe Cons

  • Higher up-front cost
  • No mobile app access without subscription

Our Favorite Way to Do SimpliSafe on the Cheap

SimpliSafe made in-the-box home security a mainstream thing thanks to its stand against high-pressure sales. But that means you’re on your own to pick the right security package for your home.

Because there are so many options to choose from, we picked out our favorite SimpliSafe setup as an example to get you started.

Equipment
Monitoring Plan
Add-on(s)
Product Price What's Included
The Hearth $374 Base station
Keypad
1 motion sensor
3 entry sensors
1 siren
1 smoke detector
Standard $14.99/mo. 24/7 professional monitoring
Environmental monitoring
SimpliCam Security Camera $99.00/mo. Free live HD video
Motion alerts
Human recognition
30 days of storage

Data effective 11/22/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Total SimpliSafe cost for first year: $652.88 (plus any taxes—shipping is free!)

NOTE: We added in the cost of the SimpliCam, even though there’s a special right now that gives you one for free. That brings the first-year total down to $553.88. Be sure to look for deals like this, as SimpliSafe offers a free camera pretty regularly.

That’s just $1.79 a day (or about $54 a month) for an upgraded SimpliSafe package that adds key security features like environmental safety (smoke detector), an extra 105 dB siren, and a security cam that gives you eyes (and voice) on scene from anywhere.

Things That Cost More Than SimpliSafe

  • Your cell phone: $80/month
  • A month of pet care and supplies: $93 for cats and $140 for dogs
  • Car insurance: $75/month on average
  • Haircuts and personal care products: $60/month
  • Getting burgled in 2018: $2,799 per incident¹

Why We Recommend SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is our most expensive cheap home security option, but it’s still a screaming deal. You can modify your SimpliSafe package to match the specific needs of your home and your lifestyle.

We like that all the details and features are in your hands with SimpliSafe—so you don’t end up pressured to pay more than you need to.

You can go from the most basic home security setup to a more comprehensive system that includes multiple sirens, environmental monitors, smart home integration, and security cameras.

Best of all, there are no contracts involved, so you can add or eliminate professional monitoring at-will.

Learn about all the possibilities in our complete SimpliSafe review.

Things to Consider When Shopping for Affordable Home Security

Is cheaper home security like SimpliSafe as good as ADT?

The simple answer is yes. When it comes to the basics of home security, you get solid equipment and reliable professional monitoring from both types of security companies.

But you get fewer options with less expensive DIY home security systems. High-end security systems from companies like ADT and Vivint come with luxury perks like a free in-home safety assessment and professional installation.

If smart home security is what you’re after, we recommend looking into Vivint or ADT before jumping on the cheaper, DIY bandwagon. But if your main goal is keeping criminals out of your house and protecting your property, you don’t need to spend a bundle.

What’s the best home security system without a monthly fee?

Most of our cheap home security recommendations don’t require a monthly fee. That means you have the option to monitor your security system on your own, through a mobile app.

If you’re self-monitoring your system it means you won’t have any extra monthly costs, but you won’t have the protection of 24/7 monitoring either. If something happens, it will be up to you to call the police or an ambulance.

When it comes to keeping tabs on your home security by yourself, we recommend a system that comes with full mobile access included. Without a mobile app, your home security system becomes little more than a siren that warns you when it’s already too late to stop the intrusion.

Because of the importance of the mobile app, we like Wyze for 100% self-monitoring. You get full control through the mobile app, and you don’t have any monthly fees to pay.

What are the most important things to include in my cheap home security system?

It’s easy to get caught up in all the home security options and smart home devices out there. Here’s the bare minimum you need to keep your home and loved ones safe.

  • A central hub or control panel that ties all of your equipment together
  • A siren
  • A motion detector near the main entrance of your home
  • Contact sensors on all ground-level doors and windows

That equipment is the bare-bones to any home security system. It will let you and your neighbors know if someone accesses your home and will (hopefully) scare away any intruders.

But for just a little bit more money you can give your home security a huge boost with video surveillance, remote control, and ‘round-the-clock protection. Before committing to a system, see if any of these extras can fit in your budget.

  • An outdoor security camera or doorbell camera
  • A mobile app with alerts, video feed, and remote arm/disarm function
  • 24/7 professional monitoring from a trained monitoring center

How We Picked the Best Cheap Home Security Systems

To find the best cheap security systems, we focused on the things that matter most to your budget. We looked for affordable monthly monitoring, reasonably-priced equipment, and contract terms. We also valued home security companies that included a lot (like full mobile access) at an entry-level price point.

We used all of our hours of testing, research, and customer interviews to narrow it down, and then let the math lead us the rest of the way. Learn more about how we evaluate products and services on our methodology page.

Sources:

1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, 2018 Crime in the United States, “Burglary

Disclaimer

Amazon.com list price as of 11/22/19 11:40 a.m. MST. 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.

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. ou can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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