Like any home improvement, a home security system can be a job for the pros or a weekend warrior. And home security companies are making installation easier than ever to tackle on your own. Most DIY home security systems use stickers to install basic equipment, but things like security cameras or video doorbells require some basic skills with a drill.
Are you up to the task? You might choose a DIY home security system installation over a professional one if you:
Want to save some money
Are aware of your home’s security vulnerabilities
Want a system installed on your time frame
Are comfortable DIYing
Live in a hard-to-reach area
Want to move your system
Plan to add to your system over time
1. You Want to Save Some Money
It costs to have an installer do the work for you. If you install your home security system with your own two hands, you could save between $100 and $300. That’s extra room in your budget to buy a smart lock, invest in an outdoor camera, or reward your hard work with a spa day. What you do with the savings is up to you.
2. You’re Aware of Your Home’s Security Vulnerabilities
When a home security installer comes to your home, they’ll point out vulnerabilities on your property like that overgrown juniper bush providing cover to a potential break-in at your side door. But if you live in a third-floor apartment with one entrance or are confident you can identify potential weaknesses and fortify them on your own, a DIY system makes sense for you.
3. You Want a System Installed on Your Time Frame
We get it: waiting for an installer can be frustrating and eat into productive parts of your day. If you’ve had enough waiting around for people, you can take matters into your own hands with a DIY installed security system. You’ll have to wait for the security company to send you equipment, but you can install it within minutes of its arrival.
4. You’re Comfortable DIYing
Handy with a hammer? Proficient with power tools? You’re already overqualified to install a basic home security system. Companies like Frontpointmake it so you can install home security systems with little more than a screwdriver. Frontpoint’s systems mostly use stickers to hang basic equipment like sensors, and everything is connected wirelessly so you don’t have to run cables through your home.
For more complicated installations that require hardwiring or heavy-duty mounting—think thermostats or security cameras—you’ll need some basic electrical know-how and drill experience. If that sounds above your skill level, you can always call in a pro for a few of the more difficult tasks and do the rest yourself.
If you live somewhere that service providers have a difficult time reaching, DIY installation could be your best option (as long as you have a reliable cellular connection). In those hard-to-reach locales, it can be tricky to find a time that’s convenient for you and the installer, and you’ll likely end up taking time off of work to meet them.
With DIY systems, you pick a convenient time for you to determine equipment placement, connect devices, and peel a few stickers.
6. You Want to Move Your System
Renter? Looking to relocate? If you’re sure you want a security system but not sure you want to stay put, DIY home security systems are as easy to remove as they are to install. Since you put everything up with stickers, you just remove them, use a little Goo Gone, and pack up your equipment when it’s time to go.
To reinstall, contact your home security provider and request a moving kit. Frontpoint, for example, will provide a free moving kit customized to your system so you can set it up in your new home as soon as you arrive. You don’t have to be without home security for a minute.
7. You Plan to Add to Your System Over Time
Whether you’re on a budget or just testing the home security waters, you might want to start with a basic equipment package and build from there. With DIY installation, it’s easy to add equipment as you purchase it. Instead of having a pro come install every new sensor or camera you add to your home security system, you can take a few minutes to do it yourself.
What’s the difference between professional home security and DIY home security?
In home security, there are two areas that you can choose to bring in the pros or do it yourself: installation and monitoring.
Professional vs. DIY Installation
When you have a system professionally installed, the security company sends out an installer to look at your property’s needs, recommend equipment, evaluate placement, install equipment, and walk you through the system. This is a great service if you’re new to home security or aren’t sure of how to set up a system.
Since many professionally installed packages are custom designed to fit your home and property, you might not know how much they’ll cost until you get a quote. And they can cost between $99 and $299 to install depending on complexity.
A DIY installation costs you nothing. You select the equipment or equipment package you want, it gets shipped to you, and you install it with the included stickers or a few tools for devices like smart locks or video doorbells. If you have questions, you can call customer service or look at the company’s website to get answers.
Professional vs. DIY Monitoring
Professional monitoring connects your home security system with a central monitoring station where professionals watch your system for triggers, verify emergencies, and dispatch emergency personnel. We recommend professional monitoring because you can’t always be there to watch over your system. Whether you’re in a movie, the mountains, or a board room, sometimes you can’t respond to a notification.
DIY monitoring puts complete control of your system into your hands. You’ll be solely responsible to watch for triggered alarms, verify alarms, and dispatch emergency responders. Alarm systems with DIY monitoring are often inexpensive, and they’re better than nothing, but not our first choice.
What tools do I need to install a DIY home security system?
Most DIY home security systems don’t require heavy-duty tools to install since they adhere to surfaces with stickers. You’ll want a flathead screwdriver to pop off the backs of equipment to add batteries, but that’s about it.
For more involved equipment like door locks, video doorbells, thermostats, or outdoor cameras, you’ll need a little more help. Most brands we recommend have lots of tutorials and helpful customer service to walk you through those installations.
The SafeWise Team is here to help you keep your home and family safe. Whether you’re looking to pick a security system or identify and remove common risks in your home, we’re here to help you find the best products and well-researched answers. At SafeWise we combine our years of experience in home safety and security with user reviews and feedback to help take the guesswork out of living safe. Learn more