How Much Does A Home Security System Cost? Affordable Options

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Desk with money, finances and home block (caption: How Much Does A Home Security System Cost?)A dependable security system doesn’t have to cost you over a thousand dollars in equipment, installation and monitoring fees. There are many more affordable options today.

You can choose between DIY and professional installation as well as professional or self-monitored systems to find the right security system for your budget. We’ll help you understand all of the costs (and savings) you’ll incur with these systems.

Article Overview

Costs Associated With Security Systems

Before we compare some popular home security systems against one another, we’d like to explain some of the costs that you’ll see mentioned.

Equipment

Most companies charge for a starter package, but there are a couple (like Protect America and ADT) that don’t charge for the equipment up to a certain limit. Many security companies also offer build-your-own packages à la carte style, so you’re only paying for the devices you want and know you’ll use.

DIY vs Professional Installation

The majority of home security systems have DIY installation, which can save you hundreds of dollars in installation fees. However, some companies (like ADT, Vivint and AT&T Digital Life) still require professional installation.

Illustration of hand disarming alarm (caption: Guide To Central Monitoring Stations)Professional installation can get pricey (typically several hundred dollars), while DIY costs only your time.

Professional vs Self-Monitoring

We compare professional (a central monitoring station monitors your system for you) vs self-monitoring (you and/or a network of designated contacts is responsible for monitoring your own system). You’ll find more explanation of each item below the table.

 Professional MonitoringSelf-Monitoring
Typically Less ExpensiveCheckmark
(But May Include Cloud Storage Fees For Video)
Considered SaferCheckmark
Professionals Monitor Your System 24/7Checkmark
Responsible For Contacting AuthoritiesMonitoring StationYou
Alerts For: Power Outages, Natural Gas Leaks, CO & Smoke, FloodingCheckmarkCheckmark
Easier To Move System To New HomeOnly Frontpoint and RingCheckmark
  • Typically less expensive – professional monitoring is virtually always more expensive than self-monitoring, because you are paying a monthly fee to have a central monitoring station monitor your system for you.
  • Considered safer – professionally monitored systems are considered safer because a monitoring station can automatically have authorities (police, fire, or ambulance) respond if the system detects an alert (intrusion, smoke, carbon monoxide, panic button, etc.). With a self-monitored system, it’s up to you or your network of designated contacts to alert the authorities when there’s an incident. This could be difficult to impossible if you are asleep or traveling.
  • Easier to move system to new home – self-monitored systems are typically DIY installation via wireless sensors (vs hardwired into your home by a professional installer), which means it’s usually easier to detach and move the sensors to your new home. This is especially useful for renters, as with self-monitored systems you’re not locked into a long-term contract (in the next section you’ll see this is also true for some pro-monitored companies).

Contract Terms

Another element you’ll want to consider is the contract length. If a company requires a 3-year contract, that means you’ll be expected to pay for the installation, equipment and monitoring that’s needed for all 3 years (depending on the company’s cancellation policy). This is when going with a company that doesn’t have long-term contracts can really be beneficial because you aren’t locked in.

Which Home Security Companies Are Contract Free?

Frontpoint, SimpliSafe, Ring Alarm and Nest Secure all have no-contract options.

Security System Price & Feature Comparisons

Burglar prying door open with crowbar (caption: Guide to The Best Home Security Systems)A good way to get the best bang for your buck is to purchase a starter kit or a bundled package. The beauty of these systems is that you can continually add equipment as your needs and budget grow.

We’ve put together a few tables to help you compare costs. The packages below are listed in order of our rankings in our home security system reviews.

Additionally, there are other companies like Link Interactive that offer build-your-own plans, which may be the most cost-effective option for you. Some companies only offer 1 starter kit (e.g., Nest Secure).

Basic Starter Kits

Basic packages typically include 4-6 pieces. This is perfect for an apartment or as a starter kit for you to build upon as your budget allows.

Company & Package NameFrontpoint Safe Home StarterProtect America CopperSimpliSafe The EssentialsADT Basic SecurityVivint SkyControl Starter KitBrinks Home CompleteRing Alarm 5-PieceNest Secure Alarm System
Price Per Kit$255.96Included$259.00Included$599.99$499.00$139.00$399.99

InstallationDIYDIYDIYProfessional $99Professional $49DIYDIYDIY
Professional or Self-MonitoringProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalBothBoth
ContractNone3 YearsNone3 Years3.5-5 Years3 YearsNoneNone or 3 Years
Monthly Monitoring Fee$44.99$19.99 Landline
$41.99 Broadband or Cellular
$14.99
$24.99 with App Access
$27.99$29.99$29$10Free Self-Monitoring
$29 No Contract
$19 3-Year Contract
Form of MonitoringCellularLandline, Broadband & CellularCellularLandlineCellularBroadbandBroadbandBroadband
Total Number of Pieces Included55666555
Base Station1Combination Base & Keypad1
1Combination Base & KeypadCombination Base & Keypad1
Combination Base & Keypad
Keypad1Combination Base & Keypad1
1Combination Base & KeypadCombination Base & Keypad1
Combination Base & Keypad
Key Fob12
Motion Sensor11111112 Combo Motion/Door/Window Sensors
Door/Window Sensor23324312 Combo Motion/Door/Window Sensors
Range Extender1
Warranty3 YearsLifetime3 YearsLifetime120 Days2 Years1 Year2 Years

Mid-Size Packages

Mid-size kits are best suited for a medium-sized home. These packages include 7-11 pieces of equipment.

Company & Package NameFrontpoint Safe Home SelectProtect America SilverSimpliSafe The HearthADTVivint Video SecurityAT&T Digital Life Smart SecurityBrinks Home Complete With VideoRing Alarm 10-Piece
Price Per Kit$383.92Included$374.00Included$1,379.95$549.99$599.00$179.00
InstallationDIYDIYDIYProfessional $199Professional $199ProfessionalDIYDIY
Professional or Self MonitoringProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalBoth
ContractNone3 YearsNone3 Years3.5-5 Years2 Years3 YearsNone
Monthly Monitoring Fee$44.99$19.99 Landline
$41.99 Broadband or Cellular
$14.99
$24.99 with App Access
$27.99$44.99$39.99$39$10
Form of MonitoringCellularLandline, Broadband & CellularCellularLandlineCellularBroadbandBroadbandBroadband
Total Number of Pieces Included101191099710
Base Station1Combination Base & Keypad1
1Combination Base & KeypadCombination Base & KeypadCombination Base & Keypad1
Keypad1Combination Base & Keypad1
1Combination Base & KeypadCombination Base & KeypadCombination Base & Keypad1
Key Fob11
Motion Sensor21121112
Door/Window Sensor49324635
Range Extender1
Smoke Detector111
Glass Break Sensor11
Siren111
Indoor Camera11
Outdoor Camera1
Video Doorbell11
Warranty3 YearsLifetime3 yearsLifetime120 DaysLifetime1 year

Home Automation Packages

If you’re a high-tech junkie, you’ll likely want to sync smart home devices (like lights, thermostat, door locks, smoke detectors, etc.) to your security system. This integration is usually only available with high-tier plans that range from $40 to $60 or more per month.

Company & Package NameFrontpoint Safe Home PreferredSimpliSafe The KeepVivint Smart CompleteAT&T Digital Life Smart Security & Automation
Price Per Kit$479.90$443.00$1,789.92$549.99
InstallationDIYDIYProfessional $199Professional $99.99
Professional or Self-MonitoringProfessionalProfessionalProfessionalProfessional
ContractNoneNone3.5-5 Years2 Years
Monthly Monitoring Fee$49.99$24.99$44.99$54.99
Form of MonitoringCellularCellularCellularBroadband
Total Number of Pieces Included12111214
Base Station11Combination Base & KeypadCombination Base & Keypad
Keypad11Combination Base & KeypadCombination Base & Keypad
Key Fob1
Motion Sensor2211
Door/Window Sensor5549
Glass Break Sensor1
Smoke Detector1
Siren1
Garage Door Controller/Sensor1
Smart Door Lock11
Smart Thermostat1
Doorbell Camera1
Indoor Camera111
Outdoor Camera11
Warranty3 Years3 Years120 DaysLifetime

Add-On Pricing Comparisons

Below are the prices for equipment from each company. Some companies do not openly share equipment prices, so we were unable to include them in the table.

 FrontpointSimpliSafeLink InteractiveVivintAT&T DIgital LifeBrinksNest SecureRing Alarm
Indoor Camera$99.99$99.99$129$199.99$249.99$199$199$60
Outdoor Camera$167.50$199$299.99$199.99$299$199$100
Video Doorbell$149.99$169$175$249.99$199$229$199
Keypad$49.99$69.99$41$69.99$112$50
Key Fob$19.99$24.99$24-$26$34.99$29$25
Motion Sensor$29.99$29.99$50$69.99$19.99$78$49$30
Door/Window Sensor$19.99$14.99$22-$24$34.99$9.99-$19.99$29$49$20
Glass Break Sensor$44.99$34.99$69$69.99$29.99$79
Freeze Sensor$29.99$66$69.99$49$39$35
Water/Flood Sensor$24.99$19.99$48$69.99$49$35
Siren$59.99$43-$64$49.99$30
Range Extender$26$69$25
Panic Button$19.99$19.99$29$34.99$35
Smoke & CO Listener$35
Smoke Detector$44.99$29.99$66$69.99$39.99$79$119.99
CO Detector$69.99$49.99$80$69.99$39.99$79$119.99
Smart Door Lock$149.99$99.00$204$179.99$279.99
Smart Thermostat$199.99$118$169.99$89.99$169.99

Other Home Security Options

If you’re really strapped for cash or don’t need a whole-home security system, you have additional affordable options.

Indoor & Outdoor Security Cameras

Man setting up an Arlo security camera outside (Caption: Best WiFi Security Camera)Indoor and outdoor WiFi security cameras have live-streaming capabilities, so you can keep an eye on your home from your computer or smartphone. Many also have two-way audio, motion-detected recording and other features to enhance your home’s safety.

Read our WiFi security camera reviews to learn more about these multi-use wireless cameras.

Doorbell Cameras

Want to keep an eye on your front porch when you’re not at home? Or catch those pesky porch pirates on video? Doorbell video cameras are a popular way to go.

Read our doorbell camera reviews, which includes pros and cons, features, pricing and more.

What’s The Best Home Security System?

If you want to compare home security solutions on a larger variety of factors including customer service and reputation, equipment, technology, value and ease of use, be sure to read our comprehensive reviews of the best self-monitored security systems in addition to our best home security systems article, which covers professionally monitored options.

What features are must-haves for your home security needs?

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance.

Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions.

Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

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.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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