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A new, professionally-installed home security system can easily break your budget. Upfront costs alone can top $1,500. These one-time costs include equipment, installation and activation fees. Then, you incur monthly monitoring fees ranging anywhere from $10 to $70 or more per month.
The good news? You have much less expensive options by going the DIY and self-monitored route. We’ll help you understand all of the costs (and savings) you’ll incur with these systems.
You can save a big chunk of change by going with a self-monitored security system. These affordable systems eliminate expensive installation and activation costs and don’t require monthly monitoring fees (with the exception of SimpliSafe, more details below).
A smart 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.
Unfortunately, while SimpliSafe’s equipment costs are competitively priced, the company now requires a monthly monitoring fee to use their app. Since the app is essential for self-monitoring capabilities, we feel this basically takes them out of the running if you’re looking for a self-monitored solution that’s not tied to a recurring fee. We should point out that there’s no contract with the fee, so the silver lining is that you are able to cancel at any time.
Basic packages typically include 4-6 pieces. This is perfect for an apartment or as a starter kit for a smaller house.
|Package||Ring Alarm 5-Piece||iSmartAlarm Preferred Package||SkyLinkNet Alarm Starter Kit C-1||abode Security Kit||SimpliSafe Foundation||SimpliSafe Essentials||Nest Secure Alarm System|
|Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||N/A||View on Amazon||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
|Total Number of Pieces Included||5||6||5||4||4||6||5|
|Price Per Kit||$199||$129.99||$171.99||$249||$229||$259||$399|
|Base Station||1||1||Combination Base & Keypad||1||1||1||Combination Base & Keypad|
|Keypad||1||+$59.99 each||Combination Base & Keypad||+$79 each||1||1||Combination Base & Keypad|
|Key Fob||N/A||2||1||1||+$24.99 each||+$24.99 each||2|
|Motion Sensor||1||1||1||1||1||1||2 Combo Motion/Contact Sensors|
|Entry/Contact Sensor||1||2||1||1||1||3||2 Combo Motion/Contact Sensors|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year||3 years||3 years||2 years|
Mid-size kits are best suited for a smaller house with 1-2 bedrooms.
|Package||Ring Alarm 10-Piece||iSmartAlarm Deluxe Package||SkyLinkNet Alarm Starter Kit C-2||SimpliSafe The Bunker|
|Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|View on Amazon||N/A||View on Amazon||N/A||N/A|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
|Total Number of Pieces Included||10||8||9||9|
|Price Per Kit||$259||$159.95||$263.99||$329|
|Base Station||1||1||1 Combination Base & Keypad||1|
|Keypad||1||+$59.99 each||1 Combination Base & Keypad||1|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year||1 year||3 years|
Large-scale kits are ideal for 3 bedroom or larger homes that have 1-2 stories.
|Package||Ring Alarm 14-Piece||iSmartAlarm Protect Package||SkyLinkNet Alarm Starter Kit C-3||SimpliSafe The Fortress||SimpliSafe The Haven|
|Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|View on Amazon||View on Amazon||N/A||N/A||N/A||View on Amazon|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
|Total Number of Pieces Included||14||15||9||14||14|
|Price Per Kit||$329||$483.93||$597.99||$357||$318.51|
|Base Station||1||1||1 Combination Base & Keypad||1||1|
|Keypad||2||+$59.99 each||1 Combination Base & Keypad||2||1|
|Freeze Sensor||+$30 (Combo Flood & Freeze Sensor)||N/A||N/A||+$29.99||1|
|Water Sensor||+$30 (Combo Flood & Freeze Sensor)||N/A||N/A||+$19.99||1|
|Indoor Wireless Camera||+$179||+$79.99||1||+$99||+$99|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year||1 year||3 years||3 years|
|Indoor Security Camera||$179.99||Out of stock||$69.90||Check on Amazon||$159.00||$168.79|
|Outdoor Security Camera||$199.00||N/A||Check on Amazon||N/A||N/A||$174.90|
|Keypad||$49.99||$59.99||$24.90||Out of stock||Out of stock||N/A|
|Motion Sensor||$29.99||$29.00||Check on Amazon||$39.99||$59.00||$49 (2-in-1 motion & contact sensor)|
|Entry/Contact Sensor||$19.99||$49.99 (2-pack)||$19.99||$14.99||$27.00||$49 (2-in-1 motion & contact sensor)|
|Glassbreak Sensor||N/A||N/A||N/A||$34.99||Out of stock||N/A|
|Flood & Freeze Sensor||$35||N/A||N/A||$33.99||N/A||N/A|
|Extra Siren||$30||$29.99||$69.99||Out of stock||Out of stock||N/A|
|Keyless Door Lock||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$278.95|
If you’re really strapped for cash or don’t need a whole-home security system, you have additional affordable options — stand-alone indoor WiFi security cameras, outdoor cameras and doorbell video cameras:
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 Best WiFi Security Camera Reviews to learn more about these multi-use wireless cameras.
Want to keep an eye on your front porch when you’re not at home or asleep? Or catch those pesky package thieves on video? Doorbell video cameras are a current way to go.
Read our Best Doorbell Camera Reviews, which includes pros and cons, features, pricing and more for the highest rated doorbell video cameras.
Check out this brief video from Consumer Reports about the DIY security system, SimpliSafe.
If you want to compare home security solutions on a larger variety of factors (technologies in use, installation difficulty, expandability, home automation capabilities, and more), be sure to read our comprehensive reviews of the Best Self-Monitored Security Systems.
You should also check out our all-encompassing guide to home security which expands our home security coverage to everything from yard signs to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We also give you some interesting burglary statistics and other ways to keep your home and your loved ones safe.
What features are must-haves for your home security needs?
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