As a homeowner, you want to keep your property protected from various threats, including theft, break-ins, fires and gas leaks. Purchasing a DIY home security system that you can monitor yourself is the most affordable way to get peace of mind that your home is protected from various dangers, since the system allows you to keep a close watch on your house and its contents.

Our Advisor team researched the top home security companies in the industry to determine which ones offer the best self-monitored home security systems. Beyond monitoring, we scored the companies on factors such as equipment offerings, device usability, company reputation and installation. Keep reading for our top self-monitored home security system picks.

Our Top Picks for Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

Best Overall: SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is one of the best home security providers for homeowners who want to self-monitor their systems. We named it the ‘Best Overall’ home security provider and gave it a score of 96 out of 100 for its equipment offerings, overall usability and affordability.

From all-inclusive equipment packages to an easy DIY installation, SimpliSafe home security systems are a great choice for any homeowner looking to protect their house. However, SimpliSafe might not be the best if you want your home security system to have full smart-home compatibility, since it doesn’t integrate with Z-Wave and Zigbee connections.

Here are some other highlights of SimpliSafe:

  • Doesn’t charge monthly fees for self-monitoring
  • Includes a 60-day, money-back guarantee with all orders
  • Provides an optional professional installation for $79

Get started with your system and save money on monthly monitoring fees by purchasing a security kit from SimpliSafe.

Best Customization: Abode

Abode scored a 93 out of 100 in our review and features impressive customization options for homeowners who want to build their system from an extensive list of equipment. Abode sells multiple sensors, sirens, cameras and alarm system options in addition to smart-home devices, such as power outlets. You can purchase any of the devices separately or build from a pre-set kit.

Although Abode doesn’t offer free self-monitoring like SimpliSafe, its self-monitoring Standard Plan costs only $6 per month and includes unlimited access to the mobile app’s features for video viewing, storage, notifications and one-touch panic alarms.

Here are some other reasons we chose Abode:

  • Has a refurbished equipment store on its website that sells certified-refurbished devices for cheaper than the new versions
  • Provides compatibility with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Offers a DIY-friendly Abode iota Kit, which can be set up within 30 minutes without the help of a technician

Visit Abode’s website to build a customized order for your self-monitored security system.

Best Customization
4.5/5
Abode
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Easiest DIY Installation: Scout

Scoring an 87 out of 100, Scout makes this list for its comprehensive DIY home security systems that are a breeze to install. The devices have a sleek and simple design and most can be attached to walls, doors and windows with adhesives without requiring screws or tools.

To use Scout’s self-monitoring features, you have to purchase the contract-free Always On Plan for $9.99 per month or $107 per year, which includes 4G LTE cellular backup connection, access to the mobile app, email notifications, push notifications to mobile devices and phone call and SMS alerts when devices are triggered.

Here are some other impressive features of Scout:

  • Includes a three-year warranty with all products
  • Offers annual pricing for monitoring plans with 10% savings
  • Compatible with a wide range of smart-home devices, such as Yale smart locks, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Lifx and Philips Hue smart lights

Visit Scout’s website to find the DIY home security equipment that’s best for your home.

Best Camera Options: Canary

Canary scored lower than the other providers in this review with an 84 out of 100, primarily losing points for only offering security camera equipment. However, if you’re primarily interested in cameras for your home security system, this provider might be your best choice. It offers an impressive all-in-one camera that includes 1080p Full HD, night vision, a siren, climate control sensors, motion detectors and 30 days of video storage.

Canary also offers the versatile indoor or outdoor Canary Flex, which comes with various mounting options. While you can self monitor your Canary equipment for free, you’ll lose out on most features unless you sign up for Premium Service for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. This service includes 30 days of video history, two-way talk, live streaming on desktop or mobile devices and a two-year device warranty.

Here are some other benefits of Canary home security systems:

  • Includes motion-activated video clips for free with the Free Access self-monitoring plan
  • Has a 60-day, money-back guarantee with all camera purchases
  • The cameras require minimal installation and can easily connect to your Wi-Fi network

To learn more about the Canary Flex or other Canary camera options, visit Canary’s website.

Compare Specs

SimpliSafe

Abode

Scout

Canary

Requires Contract

Doorbell Camera

Mobile App

Two-Way Audio

Smart-Home Integration

Amazon, Google

Amazon, Google, Z-Wave

Amazon, Google, Z-Wave

Amazon, Google, Z-Wave

Indoor Camera Resolution

720p HD

1080p Full HD

1080p Full HD

1080p Full HD

Included Warranty

3 years

1 year

3 years

1 year

DIY vs. Professional Home Security Systems

Before choosing a self-monitored home security system, understand the difference between DIY and professional monitoring and installation.

With the technological advancements made in the past 15 years, the home security industry has evolved to account for integrations with smart-home devices. This newer technology has also opened the door for equipment that can be set up and maintained by homeowners themselves without the help of technicians or on-site professionals. Additionally, the predominance of Wi-Fi and cellular connection has paved the way for home security systems to no longer need wired, landline connections, which require more installation work.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

With the rise of user-friendly technology and DIY home security systems, getting all of your equipment set up is typically easy and manageable on your own. However, professional technicians can ensure that all equipment is placed in the right location within your home and installed properly.

The companies in this review offer a range of options for either DIY or professional installation, so consider the following when deciding which one is best for you and your home:

  • Scheduling: Hiring a professional to install your system involves setting up an appointment in an allotted time window, so you may have to wait to get your equipment installed based on a technician’s availability. If you don’t want to deal with scheduling issues or waiting for a technician to come to your home, you can order your equipment online from a DIY home security company and set it up on your own.
  • Mounting: Although companies like Scout and SimpliSafe offer equipment with adhesives, some devices may need screws and tools for mounting. If you’re not confident with mounting your devices, consider hiring a professional who will have the proper tools and know-how for mounting your cameras and other devices without any ugly exposed wiring or misplaced holes in the wall.
  • Placement: When mounting your devices, consider what areas of a room you want to monitor. For example, cameras should have the widest angles of coverage when placed in a room and your motion sensors should be able to detect motion in an entire room. Reading the equipment’s instruction manuals can help you determine the best places to put your devices, but a technician can consult you on the most effective spots throughout your house.
  • Cost: The biggest appeal of setting up your home security equipment on your own is avoiding the labor fees associated with a technician’s visit. Installation fees can range from $50 to $200, depending on the company and how many devices you need installed.

Self-Monitoring vs. Professional Monitoring

Wi-Fi connectivity has made it easy for home security systems to communicate with online tools and smartphone apps, making self-monitoring your home security system a viable defense against intruders and other dangerous situations. However, many homeowners choose 24/7 monitoring plans for the extra peace of mind that the authorities or emergency response teams will be contacted the minute something happens.

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a self-monitored home security system over a professionally monitored one:

  • Availability: If you have access to your phone and internet at all times, self-monitoring should be a breeze since you can check phone, email or text alerts in real time. However, if you don’t always have access to your smartphone or don’t want to rely on it to make sure your home security system is effective, consider a professional monitoring service, which can monitor your system’s alerts 24/7.
  • Notifications: Set up the proper notifications on your phone to know what’s happening in your home at all times. The home security providers in this review all offer mobile apps that can communicate with your home security system’s hub through Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. These apps allow you to set up notifications that alert you to any triggered events from an entry sensor, motion detector, smoke detector or alarm system.
  • Cameras: If you’re looking to purchase cameras with your self-monitored home security system, make sure you have a way to view the video footage, whether it’s live-streaming from your smartphone or viewing recorded full-length video from up to 30 days prior from your desktop.
  • Monthly cost: Choosing self-monitoring over professional monitoring can save you substantial money on monthly costs. Professional monitoring can cost up to $50–$60 per month, and many providers charge a nominal fee—typically around $10 per month—for access to self-monitoring technology, such as a mobile app’s video monitoring features, video storage and push notification settings.

Methodology for Rating Home Security Systems

Our Advisor team has spent dozens of hours analyzing home security brands on their products, services and reputation to provide the most comprehensive analysis for our readers. To ensure each company meets the required standards to make our rankings, we have created an in-depth rating system.

Below is a breakdown of the factors we consider when rating companies, along with the weight of each factor. The best companies score highly across these categories.

Factor

Score

Description

Equipment

25

This factor is scored based on the equipment offered by the provider and its overall cost. Top providers offer a range of products, such as outdoor cameras, sensors, video doorbells, control panels, wireless remotes and smart home technology, at affordable prices.

Monitoring

15

Monitoring is an important part of home security for many homeowners. We rated companies on the types of monitoring plans they offer, including professional and self-monitoring options, in addition to their monthly costs.

Company Reputation

15

We scored companies on their customer reputation by looking at their complaint indexes and ratings by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). We also scored them based on their years in business and trial periods, which prove their experience in the industry and their trustworthiness.

Contracts

15

Getting locked into long-term contracts is a top complaint for many home security customers. With this factor, we scored companies based on the length of their contracts. Companies with longer contracts lost points, while companies with shorter contracts or no contracts at all received more points.

Warranty

10

Home security systems that come with a warranty are especially valuable to homeowners, since this ensures the repair or replacement of the equipment after a breakdown or malfunction. We scored companies based on the length of the warranty included in their packages.

Connectivity and Integration

10

The best home security systems can integrate with connection services like Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and Zigbee. They are also compatible with popular home automation systems, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri.

Usability

5

This factor represents each company’s devices’ overall usability. We looked at any technology and software that offers the best experience for customers, such as mobile apps, touch screen hubs or control panels and two-way audio.

Installation

5

Installing a DIY home security system from a top provider should be easy and straightforward. Top brands also offer professional installation as an option for homeowners at a reasonable rate.