Is a DIY Security System Better Than a Professionally Installed One?

Written by | Updated May 17, 2019

DIY and professional home security systems are both viable options, and each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. A DIY system typically offers lower costs and more control over system setup, but it also requires a greater investment of time and energy. A professional system makes for easier installation and maintenance, but it may be more expensive and offer fewer choices. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each.

DIY Home Security System


  • Choice and control. With a fully DIY, self-monitored setup, you typically get to choose the components yourself. If you really like the Nest Cam for indoor security but prefer a different brand of outdoor camera, you may be able to work both devices in to your system. You can also make the system as simple or complex as you feel is necessary, and then add, remove, or change components at your own convenience.
  • Cost efficiency. Without installation fees, a DIY system can be more cost-efficient than a professional setup. If you’re on a tight budget, you can go with cheaper components or a smaller system and upgrade later.


  • Effort. You do all the work in a DIY setup. This is the trade-off for the greater control you get. With a DIY approach, you need to do the following:
    • Decide what components you need
    • Choose the specific make and model of each component
    • Install the system yourself
    • Handle any maintenance issues

Professionally Installed Home Security System

  • Pros
  • No installation hassle. You have a lot less to worry about with a professionally installed and monitored system. You don’t need to worry about individually selecting and purchasing each component, and you don’t need to worry about undertaking a potentially complex installation project yourself. The amount of time this can save is huge.
  • No maintenance worries. You also don’t need to worry about system upkeep and maintenance. The company will handle any issues that crop up, from installation problems to warranty claims.
  • Cons
  • Installation costs. Having a professional install your system is convenient, but it usually isn’t cheap. Installations can cost hundreds of dollars in some cases. That said, you can occasionally find promotions that will shave off some of this up-front cost.
  • Less control. You give up some control over the system and installation process by having a professional do it. You may not get to choose the specific components of the system. You might also have to settle for the company’s standard installation process rather than a fully custom DIY setup.

For more information, check out our comprehensive guide on how to choose a security system.

SafeWise’s Best Home Security Systems

The SafeWise team has researched and reviewed security companies from around the nation. Each year we release our annual rankings. Check out our picks below! To read more, including reviews and packages, you can visit our Top Home Security Systems.

Lowest Price
Best Overall
Best Monitoring
Best Service
Best Budget Option
Best No Contract
logo of vivint home security ADT logo logo of frontpoint home security ProtectAmerica logo logo of simplisafe home security
$29.99 $27.99 $34.99 $19.99 $14.99
DIY Professional DIY DIY/Professional DIY
High-end smart home tech
Customizable plans
Month-to-month contracts
Fast response times
Outstanding guarantees
140+ years of experience
Risk-free trial
DIY installation
Great customer service
Lifetime warranty
Locked-in rates
Many package options
Cheap monthly monitoring
Money-back guarantee
No fancy extras
855-374-4999 855-374-4999 855-374-4999 855-374-4999 N/A
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