Security Systems

Best Cheap DIY Home Security Systems: With Cameras, Wireless, Self-Monitored, And More

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You’re looking for some extra peace of mind but don’t want to throw all your hard-earned money toward a security company. Which self-monitored home security provider is the most affordable?

There are many companies to consider, but with the rapid changes in technology, the value you get can differ vastly. In general, if you’re comfortable with monitoring your own system, you’ll save significantly over a professionally monitored system (one that uses human staffed stations to monitor your system and dispatch authorities on your behalf). However, we do feel a self-monitored system isn’t as secure as a professionally monitored system, but understand professionally monitored isn’t for everyone.

We’ve made it easy for you to make the best choice by ranking the top 6 self-monitored home alarm systems by cost. Keep in mind that the cheapest are seldom the best performing systems, so be sure to read our review of the best self-monitored home security systems for a better value and performance perspective.

Article Overview

What Is Self-Monitored?

Canary alarm on counterWhen you’re monitoring your security system, you’re in charge of contacting the authorities if an alarm is triggered. For example, you get a notification that motion was detected in your living room, so you open up your security system app to view the live video feed. You see that your cat knocked over a lamp. In this instance, you don’t need to contact the authorities.

Had you instead seen a stranger tearing your home apart, you would want to dial 911 immediately. Self-monitored home security is great because it means no monthly monitoring fees, but you need to be aware that you (or a network of contacts you designate) are in charge of getting help.

What Is “No Contract” Home Security?

You won’t be bound to one security company for years nor have a cancellation fee. We get locked into contracts for our cell phones, satellite TV, and other everyday items so often that it’s nice to have the option to choose when you want service for something and discontinue it without hassles if it’s not working out for you. None of the security systems reviewed in this article have contracts.

Additional Fees

The only potential fee you’ll need to worry about paying after you purchase your equipment, and depending on the system you choose, is cloud storage for video recordings. This fee pays for space on the cloud where your video camera footage and the activity noted by your sensors are saved.

SimpliSafe is the exception here, which we discuss further below.

The 5 Cheapest Self-Monitored Home Alarm Systems Are…

We chose the winners based on the price of the core system. You’ll note that each of these providers varies somewhat in their core functionality and optional features. Bottom line each one can be used to secure your home at an affordable cost.

Please note that there is much more to a security system than price. If you want to know which security system we recommend based on other factors like performance, customer service, and more, read our best DIY home security systems article.

1st: SkylinkNet 2nd: Canary 3rd: Ring 4th: Abode 5th: SimpliSafe
System Price Check Amazon for availability $90.00 $199.99 $239.00 Starts at $229.96
Motion Detector $22.61 N/A $29.99 Check Amazon for availability $29.99
Entry Sensor N/A $39.99 (two pack) Check Amazon for availability $14.99
Video Doorbell N/A N/A N/A N/A
Free Cloud Storage N/A Checkmark
12 hours of video history
Instant alerts, stream video and audio, live view
3 days of media storage
30 days of storage
Cloud Storage Fee None $9.99/month for 30 days video history $3/month for 60 days video history $10/month for cellular backup and 14 days of media storage None

SkylinkNet Review

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SkylinkNet is more of a traditional security system with multiple components. Start with one of Skylink’s base packages and add-on more sensors from there. You can expand your system to cover multiple areas of your home for a relatively low price.

Although SkylinkNet technically has the lowest price point, this is not the best choice if you are looking for full protection. They are ranked at the top only because they are the cheapest – not the best.


Read Our In-Depth SkylinkNet Review

Canary Review

Canary All In One#2
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Canary is an all in one system featuring a camera, motion detection, and air quality, temperature, and humidity monitoring. You can connect up to four Canary devices to monitor your home. Canary Flex is also available as an outside solution if you’d like to monitor your home’s exterior. Canary View is also available if you don’t need the home monitoring elements and just want the security aspect.

Although Canary is among the least expensive, it cannot monitor as much space as a typical security system that has door/window sensors, motion detectors, etc. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your home, but this would not be our first choice, despite the appealing price tag.

Check out the video below to see how an all-in-one system works.


Coupon Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth Canary Review

Ring Alarm Review

Ring Alarm#3
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Ring offers a more traditional style security system that includes motion detectors, keypads, contact sensors, and more. Ring is well-known for its video doorbell, which can be integrated with this system. It also has indoor and outdoor security cameras, so you can protect every inch of your property.


Coupon Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth Ring Alarm Review

Abode Review

Abode Essentials#4

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Abode has a traditional home security system and can connect home automation devices like thermostats, lights, locks, and more from 3rd party companies like Nest, Philips Hue, and Amazon Echo. Abode has a modern look to its equipment, but it’s relatively new, so it’s hard to say how it performs.


Read Our In-Depth Abode Review

SimpliSafe Review


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SimpliSafe’s equipment lineup includes motion sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, entry sensors, freeze and flood sensors, cameras, and more. Your system can have up to 100 sensors. You can add elements to it whenever you’d like to help spread the cost over time.

SimpliSafe charges a monthly fee to self monitor your system using the app. Unfortunately, SimpliSafe is more expensive than others in this article, but it is a reliable DIY security system.


Below is a sampling of SimpliSafe’s packages. But, visit SimpliSafe’s website to see all packages available.

Build Your Own The Foundation The Essentials The Hearth The Knox The Haven
Price Varies $229 $259 $374 $449 $489
Number of Pieces 100 maximum 4 6 9 13 14
Base Station $114.99 1 1 1 1 1
Wireless Keypad $69.99 1 1 1 1 1
Entry Sensor $14.99 1 3 3 6 4
Motion Sensor $29.99 1 1 1 2 2
Keychain Remote $24.99 1 1 1
Smoke Detector $29.99 1 1 1
Siren $59.99 1 1 1
Panic Button $19.99 1
Freeze Sensor $29.99 1
Water Sensor $19.99 1
SimpliCam $99.00
Glass Break Sensor $34.99
CO Detector $49.99
Video Doorbell Pro $169.00
Smart Lock $99.00

Coupon Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth SimpliSafe Review

Top 9 DIY Home Security Questions Answered

There are hundreds of home security solutions on the market today. Many of these home security companies are unreliable or too expensive for your budget, so how do you know which one to pick?

You can learn more about DIY security systems, what’s involved with self-installation, how difficult is it, etc. as well as questions you should ask yourself before purchasing in our article where we answer 9 burning DIY security system questions. We welcome your own questions, as well!

Which security system are you leaning towards purchasing?

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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