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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.
- Best Systems Without Contracts & Monthly Fees
- Equipment Price Comparison Table
- Monitoring Features Comparison Table
- Why Didn’t We Include “All-In-One” Systems Like Canary And Novi?
- Do I Have Other Options?
- Is Self-Monitoring For You?
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 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 home automation 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 1 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.
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.
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) –
- Indoor Camera | Floodlight Cam
- Spotlight Cams: Battery | Wired
- Stick Up Cams: Battery | Plug-In | Solar (3 cameras included) | Elite
- Doorbell Cameras:
- Video Doorbell Pro | Peephole Cam | Video Doorbell Elite
- Video Doorbell 3 | Video Doorbell 3 Plus
- We’ve dedicated a separate article to go more in-depth on the Ring doorbells.
- Contact Sensors (2 pack) | Motion Detector | Keypad
- Range Extender | Dome Siren | Panic Button
- Chime | Chime Pro
- Pathlight: Solar | Battery
- Floodlight: Solar | Battery | Wired
- Steplight: Solar | Battery
- Spotlight | A19 Smart LED Bulb | PAR38 Smart LED Bulb
- Smart Lighting Motion Sensor | Bridge | Transformer
- Flood & Freeze Sensor | Smoke & CO Listener
Free Basic Plus Price Free $3/month or $30/year $10/month or $100/year Coverage 1 doorbell or camera All devices at one address Ring & Motion Alerts Live Video On Demand Warranty 1 year 1 year Extended Video Recording Review, Share & Save Videos Professional Monitoring
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 3 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.
|Security System Package Name||Build Your Own||11-Piece System||15-Piece Camera System||Blue Doorbell Camera System|
|Fire Safety Sensors|
|Blue Indoor Camera|
|Blue Doorbell Camera|
|Window Stickers (4 Pack)|
Below is a list of additional equipment offered by Blue By ADT.
- HD Video Doorbell $199.99 | Indoor Smart Camera $59.99 | Blue Outdoor Camera $199.99 | Outdoor Camera $149.99
- Glass Break Sensor $20.99 | Range Extender + Chime $49.99
- Temperature/Flood Sensor $29.99
- Self-Monitoring: Free
- Includes 24 hours of media storage
- Professional Monitoring: First month free, then $19.99/month
- Includes 30 days of media storage
Abode rounds out our top 3 because it offers a variety of equipment as well as professional monitoring options. We’re disappointed that it only has a 6 to 7-hour backup battery, whereas our top 2 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.
- Starter Kit (1 Gateway, 1 mini door/window sensor, 1 keyfob and 1 motion sensor):
- Door/Window Sensor | Mini Door/Window Sensor
- Recessed Door Sensor | Keypad
- Glass Break Sensor | Acoustic Glass Break Sensor
- Indoor Siren | Outdoor Siren W/ Strobe
- Water Leak Sensor | Occupancy Sensor
- Temperature, Humidity, Light Sensor | Smoke Alarm Monitor
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.
- 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
We did not include any devices in the table below that would result in a monthly fee. So video doorbells, cameras and home automation 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||iSmartAlarm||SkylinkNet|
|Base Station||1 Included||1 Included||1 Included (Gateway)||1 Included (CubeOne)||1 Included (Internet Hub)|
|Keypad||1 Included||1 Included|
|Door/Window Sensor||1 Included|
For 2 Pack
|1 Included||2 Included|
For 2 Pack
|Motion Sensor||1 Included||1 Included|
|1 Included||1 Included||1 Included|
|Key Fob||1 Included|
|1 Included ||2 Included||1 Included|
|Range Extender||1 Included||$49.99|
|Flood & Freeze Sensor||$29.99||(Flood Only)||(Flood Only)|
|Smoke & CO Listener||1 Included (Fire Only)|
|Indoor Camera||(iCamera Keep)|
|Outdoor Camera|| (Spotlight Cam) Each Additional|
(Stick Up Cam) Each Additional
(Stick Up Cam Elite) Each Additional
|Mini Door/Window Sensor|
|Recessed Door Sensor|
|Glass Break Sensor||$20.99|
|Acoustic Glass Break Sensor|
|Video Doorbells|| Video Doorbell|
Video Doorbell 2
Video Doorbell Pro
Video Doorbell Elite
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.
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 (home automation 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 are still welcome to consider them as options – combined with other devices they work well for a lot of people.
Finally, companies like Frontpoint are not included because they require a monthly monitoring fee despite not having a contract requirement.
These companies didn’t make our top 3 picks, but they may be the right fit for you.
iSmartAlarm didn’t make our top 3 picks because the company hasn’t updated its equipment in at least 5 years and it isn’t as dependable as others in this article. iSmartAlarm equipment is affordable, but they don’t offer the variety of equipment that Ring and Abode have. However, they still offer a no-contract, no-monthly-fee system.
Below are some packages offered by iSmartAlarm but you can also build your own.
- Preferred (includes 1 CubeOne (the brain of the system with siren built-in), 2 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags)
- Deluxe (includes 1 CubeOne, 4 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags)
- Premium Package (Video Camera Bundle) (includes 1 CubeOne, 1 iCamera Keep, 2 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags)
- iCamera Keep | iCamera Keep Pro | Spot
- Keypad | Motion Detector | Door/Window Sensor (two-pack) |Remote Tag
- Smart Switch
SkylinkNet didn’t make our top 3 because of its inferior performance. The equipment hasn’t been updated in more than 5 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.
- Starter Kit Mini (1 hub, 1 door/window sensors, 1 motion sensor):
- Starter Kit (1 hub, 2 door/window sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 keychain remote):
- Starter Kit Plus (1 hub, 2 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors, 1 keychain remote, 1 camera):
- Window/Door Sensor:
- Motion Sensor:
- Keychain Remote:
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?
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