Best No Monthly Fee Home Security System: DIY, Pro, Smartphone, Camera System, Wireless, And More

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1st
Ring alarm logo
2nd
Blue by ADT logo small
3rd
Abode Security logo
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If you want a home security system that truly has no contracts or monthly fees, your options are limited to a DIY system with self-monitoring. This means the home security company won’t install the system and won’t monitor it for you (professional monitoring always has a monthly fee).

So of all the DIY home security solutions on the market, which ones have no monthly fees? Many DIY self-monitored companies find ways to introduce monthly fees, whether it’s to use the app, access cloud storage, or to monitor the system yourself. But which ones really provide full home security functionality without a contract or monthly fee?

To be included in this article, we require that the system has the typical components of a home security system (e.g., door/window sensors, motion sensors, etc.) and isn’t an all-in-one solution (a camera with motion detection). Our reasoning here.

Article Overview

Top 3 Home Security Systems With No Monthly Fees Or Contracts

These home security systems have no contracts and zero monthly fees at their base level. So if you want a security system with door/window sensors, motion sensors, and a control panel, these are your options. There are no monthly smartphone app fees, monitoring fees, or cloud storage fees.

If you upgrade your system to include cameras or more cloud storage, you may have a monthly fee. This depends on the company you choose. But sticking with the basic setups will keep your monthly fee at $0.

Ring Alarm Review

Ring Alarm#1

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Ring Alarm is our #1 recommendation for a no-contract, no-monthly-fee home security system. It offers a variety of equipment, all at a reasonable cost, including multiple camera and video doorbell options.

Its self-monitoring plan includes live-streaming video options, something that Blue By ADT (our #2 pick) requires professional monitoring for. We wish it offered media storage in its Free Plan, but that’s something you’d need to pay a monthly fee for. Another plus with Ring is that you can integrate it with other security and smart home equipment via Z-Wave and Zigbee.

However, if you decide that you want video recording options, it’s only $3 per month (or $30 per year) for one doorbell or camera with their Basic monitoring plan. And if you want to upgrade to professional monitoring, it’s super affordable at only $10 per month (or $100 per year) for all devices at one address with the Plus monitoring plan. This is the most affordable professional monitoring plan we’ve reviewed in our best home security system article.

Personal Experience

Victoria Z. chose Ring Alarm to help keep her family safe. She has the security system, doorbell and outdoor cameras to help her self-monitor her home. This is her experience with Ring.

Being in our first home, I love the peace of mind Ring gives me. We travel a lot, and being able to check in on our house while we’re away is great. If we accidentally forget to lock our front door, we can hop on the app and arm our house, so if someone does walk in, we will be notified. And with having a little baby, it’s nice to know we’ve got that extra layer of protection between the sensors on our doors and windows and the cameras if we hear any strange noises outside.

Pros

Cons

  • Attractive equipment design
  • If your equipment is stolen, Ring will replace it for free
  • Professional monitoring is optional
  • No contracts
  • Self-installation
  • 30-day returns
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Option to add emergency contacts
  • Has two monitoring stations (applicable only if you upgrade to pro monitoring)
  • Limited equipment reduces system’s capabilities

Price

Ring recently came out with a 2nd generation of security equipment. Below is the pricing for it.

  • Ring Alarm Security System (includes 1 base station, 1 keypad, 2 contact sensors, 1 motion detector and 1 range extender) – $249.99

Additional Equipment

Cameras:

Home Security:

Home Automation:

Life Safety:

Monitoring

Free Basic Plus
Price Free $3/month or $30/year $10/month or $100/year
Coverage One doorbell or camera All devices at one address
Ring & Motion Alerts Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Live Video On Demand Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Warranty One year One year Extended
Video Recording Checkmark Checkmark
Review, Share & Save Videos Checkmark Checkmark
Professional Monitoring Checkmark

Coupon Code

Ring products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Read Our In-Depth Review Of Ring Alarm

Blue By ADT Review

Blue by ADT equipment#2

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ADT acquired LifeShield in 2019 and relaunched it as Blue by ADT, its DIY home security system. With it being so new to the home security space, it’s crazy that it made our top three picks. But this really isn’t the most competitive space since we’re looking for no contracts and absolutely no monthly fees. There just aren’t many companies to choose from.

However, we are impressed with Blue by ADT’s equipment lineup and equipment fees. Although the Blue cameras are fairly expensive at $200 each, we like that Blue by ADT offers an affordable professional monitoring package, if you choose to upgrade your monitoring at any time. It’s also Z-Wave compatible, which allows you to integrate more equipment to the system if you want.

Pros

Cons

  • 30-day trial period
  • Professional monitoring is optional
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Option to add emergency contacts
  • Has three monitoring stations (applicable only if you upgrade to pro monitoring)
  • Cellular monitoring available only as a backup
  • Customer service reputation is spotty
  • New acquisition has caused some turbulence for existing customers
  • Expensive cameras

Price

Security System Package Name Build Your Own 11-Piece System 15-Piece Camera System Blue Doorbell Camera System
Price $109.19 $199.15 $295.12 $349.99
Base Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Entry Keypad
$35.99
Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Door/Window Sensors
$8.99
4 6 2
Motion Sensors
$29.99
1 2 1
Fire Safety Sensors
$20.99
1 1
Keychain Remotes
$14.99
1 1
Blue Indoor Camera
$199.99
1
Blue Doorbell Camera
$199.99
1
Window Stickers (4 Pack)
$1.20
1 1 1 1

Additional Equipment

Below is a list of additional equipment offered by Blue By ADT.

Cameras:

  • HD Video Doorbell $199.99 | Indoor Smart Camera $59.99 | Blue Outdoor Camera $199.99 | Outdoor Camera $149.99

Home Security:

  • Glass Break Sensor $20.99 | Range Extender + Chime $49.99

Life Safety:

  • Temperature/Flood Sensor $29.99

Monitoring

  • Self-Monitoring: Free
    • Includes 24 hours of media storage
  • Professional Monitoring: First month free, then $19.99/month
    • Includes 30 days of media storage

Coupon Code

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Blue by ADT.

Abode Review

Abode Equipment#3

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Abode rounds out our top three because it offers a variety of equipment as well as professional monitoring options. We’re disappointed that it only has a six to seven-hour backup battery, whereas our top two picks both have 24 hours.

However, if you want a decked-out home with tons of different sensors, Abode may be your best bet. We’ve listed a sampling of them in the price section below to give you an idea of what you can get with an Abode system. You can also integrate any additional equipment via Z-Wave and Zigbee.

Pros

Cons

  • 30-day returns
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Self-installation
  • No contracts
  • Little customer feedback online
  • Limited customer support
  • Complaints of camera footage being low resolution
  • No outdoor security cameras
  • Six to seven hours battery backup
  • No two-way voice

Price

  • Starter Kit (1 Gateway, 1 mini door/window sensor, 1 keyfob and 1 motion sensor): $259.99

Additional Equipment

Home Security:

Life Safety:

Abode offers more equipment on its website that you can view. We suggest checking Amazon prices before purchasing on the website because they are often lower than MSRP pricing.

Monitoring Plans

  • Planless: Free self-monitoring, view live video, get push notifications
  • Standard: $6/month or $60/year for self-monitoring and home automation
  • Pro: $20/month or $200/year for professional monitoring, cellular backup, and more

Coupon

Use this link and code OLYMPIC15 for 15% off accessories with kit purchase.

Read Our In-Depth Review Of Abode

Equipment Price Comparison Table

We did not include any devices in the table below that would result in a monthly fee. So video doorbells, cameras, and smart home equipment aren’t included for companies that require a monthly fee associated with that type of equipment. We have a more comprehensive table in our self-monitored comparison that includes companies and equipment with monthly fees.

Note that the “package price” includes bundled equipment at a discount. Those are listed as “included” in the table. We’ve also listed individual prices in case you wish to add to or piece together your own system.

1st: Ring Alarm 2nd: Blue By ADT 3rd: Abode SkylinkNet
Package Price Check Amazon for availability $199.15 $259.99 $129.99
Base Station 1 Included 1 Included 1 Included (Gateway) 1 Included (Internet Hub)
Keypad 1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
1 Included Check Amazon for availability $24.99
Door/Window Sensor 1 Included
Check Amazon for availability For 2 Pack
4 Included
$8.99
1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
2 Included
$21.57
Motion Sensor 1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
1 Included
$29.99
1 Included
$55.99
1 Included
$22.61
Key Fob 1 Included
$14.99
1 Included
$35.99
1 Included
$19.79
Range Extender 1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
$49.99
Flood & Freeze Sensor $34.99 $29.99 Check Amazon for availability (Flood Only) $19.99 (Flood Only)
Smoke & CO Listener $34.99 1 Included (Fire Only)
$20.99
$49.99 (Smoke Only)
Indoor Siren Check Amazon for availability $69.99
Outdoor Siren $106.99
Indoor Camera $59.99 $101.88
Outdoor Camera $199.99 (Spotlight Cam) Each Additional
$99.99 (Stick Up Cam) Each Additional
$199.99 (Stick Up Cam Elite) Each Additional
Check Amazon for availability (Floodlight Cam)
Smart Switch
Mini Door/Window Sensor $33.99
Recessed Door Sensor $37.99
Glass Break Sensor $20.99 Check Amazon for availability
Acoustic Glass Break Sensor $64.99
Occupancy Sensor $58.99
Video Doorbells $99.99 Video Doorbell
Check Amazon for availability Video Doorbell 2
$249.99 Video Doorbell Pro
$349.99 Video Doorbell Elite
Check Amazon for availability Peephole Cam

Illustration of hand disarming alarm (caption: Guide To Central Monitoring Stations)Monitoring Features Comparison Table

This table compares the monitoring features you get on no monthly fee/no contract plans.

Note that all monitoring for these self-monitored security systems is via broadband (aka WiFi). Some companies offer cellular monitoring, but it comes with a monthly fee, so we didn’t include those options below. Learn more about the types of monitoring, so you know what to consider before making a purchase.

1st: Ring Alarm 2nd: Blue By ADT 3rd: Abode SkylinkNet
Motion-Activated Notifications Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Real-Time Video With Live View Checkmark
Two-Way Talk Checkmark
Lifetime Theft Protection Checkmark
Media Storage 24 Hours 3 Days

Why Didn’t We Include “All-In-One” Solutions Like Canary And Novi?

The all-in-one solutions (like Canary and Novi) can be limiting due to the fact that they are contained in a single unit, and thereby restrict your ability to expand (for larger homes and multiple areas) and extend (smart home options such as light switches, thermostat, etc.) your system when you need to.

And while it’s possible to purchase multiple all-in-one devices to cover larger areas, you are exposing those areas of your home to video monitoring. You may want to consider the vulnerabilities of security cameras before making this decision. It’s for these reasons we have omitted them from this comparison, but you’re still welcome to consider them as options — combined with other devices they work well for a lot of people.

Additionally, companies that offer a self-monitoring option but require a monthly fee did not make the cut (e.g., SimpliSafeScout Alarm, and Nest Secure).

Finally, companies like Frontpoint aren’t included because they require a monthly monitoring fee despite not having a contract requirement.

Other Providers To Consider

These companies didn’t make our top three picks, but they may be the right fit for you.

iSmartAlarm | SkylinkNet

iSmartAlarm Review

The iSmartAlarm system and service have been discontinued. Limited stock of their products may still be available on Amazon. Here is what they used to offer.

iSmartAlarm Logo

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Even when they were still available, iSmartAlarm didn’t make our top three picks because the company hadn’t updated their equipment in years and it isn’t as dependable as others in this article. iSmartAlarm equipment was affordable, but they didn’t offer the variety of equipment that Ring and Abode have. However, they still had a no-contract, no-monthly-fee system.

Pros

Cons

  • 30-day returns
  • Option to add emergency contacts
  • Delayed notifications
  • No backup source
  • No outdoor security cameras
  • Complaints from users of false alarms
  • No professional monitoring upgrade option

Price

Below are some packages previously offered by iSmartAlarm, or you could build your own.

  • Preferred  Check Amazon for availability (includes 1 CubeOne (the brain of the system with siren built-in), 2 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags)
  • Deluxe  $98.00 (includes 1 CubeOne, 4 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags)
  • Premium Package (Video Camera Bundle)  Check Amazon for availability (includes 1 CubeOne, 1 iCamera Keep, 2 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags)

Additional Equipment

Cameras:

Home Security:

Home Automation:

Coupon Code

iSmartAlarm products are generally discounted from MSRP on Amazon.

Read Our In-Depth Review Of iSmartAlarm

SkylinkNet Review

SkylinkNet logo

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SkylinkNet didn’t make our top three because of its inferior performance. The equipment hasn’t been updated in more than five years, and it has a very cheap feel to it. It’s not a user-friendly system either. However, it is very affordable if you want to give it a try. If you end up liking it, you can use IFTTT for further integrations.

Pros

Cons

  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT
  • Option to add emergency contacts
  • Equipment feels cheap
  • Instructions lack detail
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Cameras have outdated features (720p vs 1080p, etc.)
  • Outdated app and website
  • Shorter return period at 14 days
  • No professional monitoring upgrade option

Price

  • Starter Kit Mini (1 hub, 1 door/window sensors, 1 motion sensor): $89.99
  • Starter Kit (1 hub, 2 door/window sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 keychain remote): $129.99
  • Starter Kit Plus (1 hub, 2 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors, 1 keychain remote, 1 camera): $149.99
  • Window/Door Sensor: $21.57
  • Motion Sensor:  $22.61
  • Keychain Remote:  $19.79

Read Our In-Depth Review Of SkylinkNet

Is Self-Monitoring For You?

If you aren’t comfortable moving forward with any of the options in this article, you may want to consider spending a little extra and choosing a company that offers professional monitoring. We’ve reviewed the best professionally monitored security systems and chosen winners based on customer service, equipment, technology, ease of use, and value.

What system are you considering for your no-contract, no-monthly-fee home security needs?

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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