Security Systems

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

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Home alarm system components on white background
Having a home security system can offer peace of mind and help you know what’s happening at your home while you’re away. But is there a way to avoid the high monthly fees? Let’s find out.

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.

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.

Winner: Ring Alarm Review

Ring Alarm

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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 comparison.

Personal Experience

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.

Victoria Z.
ProsCons
  • 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

Pricing

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

 FreeBasicPlus
PriceFree$3/month or $30/year$10/month or $100/year
Coverage One doorbell or cameraAll devices at one address
Ring & Motion AlertsGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Live Video On DemandGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
WarrantyOne yearOne yearExtended
Video Recording Green checkmarkGreen checkmark
Review, Share & Save Videos Green checkmarkGreen checkmark
Professional Monitoring  Green checkmark

Read Our In-Depth Review Of Ring Alarm

Runner-Up: Blue By ADT Review

Blue by ADT equipment

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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.

ProsCons
  • 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

Pricing

Security System Package NameBuild Your Own11-Piece System15-Piece Camera SystemBlue Doorbell Camera System
Price$109.19$199.15$295.12$349.99
BaseGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Entry Keypad
$35.99
Green checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Door/Window Sensors
$8.99
 462
Motion Sensors
$29.99
 121
Fire Safety Sensors
$20.99
 11 
Keychain Remotes
$14.99
 11 
Blue Indoor Camera
$199.99
  1 
Blue Doorbell Camera
$199.99
   1
Window Stickers (4 Pack)
$1.20
1111

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

3rd Place: Abode Review

Abode Equipment

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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.

ProsCons
  • 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

Pricing

  • Starter Kit (1 Gateway, 1 mini door/window sensor, 1 keyfob and 1 motion sensor): $239.00

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

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 Alarm2nd: Blue By ADT3rd: AbodeSkylinkNet
Package Price Check Amazon for availability $199.15 $239.00 $114.99
Base Station1 Included1 Included1 Included (Gateway)1 Included (Internet Hub)
Keypad1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
1 Included Check Amazon for availability
Door/Window Sensor1 Included
Check Amazon for availability For 2 Pack
4 Included
$8.99
1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
2 Included
Motion Sensor1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
1 Included
$29.99
1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
1 Included
$22.61
Key Fob 1 Included
$14.99
1 Included
$24.99
1 Included
Range Extender1 Included
Check Amazon for availability
$49.99  
Flood & Freeze Sensor $34.99 $29.99 $49.99 (Flood Only) Check Amazon for availability (Flood Only)
Smoke & CO Listener $34.99 1 Included (Fire Only)
$20.99
$39.99 (Smoke Only) 
Indoor Siren $36.55   $59.99  
Outdoor Siren   $79.99  
Indoor Camera Check Amazon for availability    $68.80
Outdoor Camera Check Amazon for availability (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   $24.99  
Recessed Door Sensor   $34.99  
Glass Break Sensor $20.99 $34.99  
Acoustic Glass Break Sensor   $49.99  
Occupancy Sensor   Check Amazon for availability  
Video Doorbells Check Amazon for availability Video Doorbell
Check Amazon for availability Video Doorbell 2
$249.99 Video Doorbell Pro
$349.99 Video Doorbell Elite
$129.99 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 Alarm2nd: Blue By ADT3rd: AbodeSkylinkNet
Motion-Activated NotificationsGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Real-Time Video With Live ViewGreen checkmark   
Two-Way TalkGreen checkmark   
Lifetime Theft ProtectionGreen checkmark   
Media Storage 24 Hours3 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.

What About SkylinkNet?

SkylinkNet didn’t make our top three picks, and you’ll see why by reading our review of them below.

SkylinkNet Review

Skylink 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.

ProsCons
  • 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): Check Amazon for availability
  • Starter Kit (1 hub, 2 door/window sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 keychain remote): $114.99
  • Starter Kit Plus (1 hub, 2 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors, 1 keychain remote, 1 camera): $179.99
  • Window/Door Sensor:
  • Motion Sensor:  $22.61
  • Keychain Remote: 

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.

Kimberly Alt

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.

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