Best DIY Home Security Systems Review

BEST HOME SECURITY

Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm 5-piece kit

  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • Manage remotely with a handy app
  • Includes affordable professional monitoring

BEST SMART HOME

SimpliSafe Security

SimpliSafe Security

  • A reliable 8-piece security system
  • Handy panic button to summon law enforcement
  • Great 3-year warranty

ALSO GREAT

SKYLINK SK-250

SKYLINK SK-250

  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Works with Alexa and Echo
  • Features battery backup in case of power failure

Have you ever had your home broken into? If your answer is no, then you should keep it that way. On the flip side, if you have, then you know how terrifying the entire experience is. Based on this, an effective home security system is a must-have for every household. Furthermore, if you’d rather go down the DIY route, we have some of the best products for you below.

Ring Alarm is a Homeowners Top Pick

Because home security is such an important topic, only the best products were researched and reviewed in this article. The further we dug, the more evident it became that Ring Alarm is the best product to go for. There’s a bunch of reasons why including its innovative app, easy installation, and reliability.

Furthermore, Ring ships anywhere within the USA and comes with a 30-day free trial of Ring Protect. You can equally opt for 24/7 professional monitoring at just $10 per month. That way, the company can call law enforcement on your behalf if there is any suspicion of foul play.

Even more, with a 4.6 out of 5 rating from over 5,000 reviews on Amazon, it is clear that this DIY system is highly regarded. Basically, it places your home security in your hands, as such, you can go about your day secure in the fact that your house is safe.


Reviews: Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2020

  1. Ring Alarm 5-Piece – Best DIY Home Security System
  2. SimpliSafe – Best Smart Home Security
  3. SKYLINK SK-250 – Best Affordable Security System
  4. abode Essentials Starter Kit  – Best Wireless Kit
  5. All-new Ring Alarm 8-piece kit – Best Compact

1. Ring Alarm 5-piece kit

BEST DIY HOME SECURITY

Ring Alarm

As mentioned earlier, the Ring Alarm 5-piece kit is our top choice for homeowners everywhere. That’s basically because it is very easy to install and doesn’t require any professional tools to get started. Apart from that, it offers the option for professional monitoring at just $10 a month, and even better, it doesn’t come with any cancellation fees or long-term contracts.

Most users like that it has a handy app that puts the entire security system in their hands. So, you’ll be alerted when any doors or windows are tampered with, in your home. Also, customization is a viable option, so, you are free to add any additional components to the system.

Furthermore, this home security kit comes with five components including a base station, keypad, and range extender. In addition to all that, the system is compatible with Amazon Alexa which you can use to arm, disarm, and check the status of the Ring alarm system. Top that off with a 3-year warranty, you are assured of longevity and reliability.

ProsCons
  • Easy to install and use
  • Provides professional monitoring option
  • Affordable and budget-friendly
  • Can be operated with Amazon Alexa
  • Gives you total control through its handy app
  • It is pretty noisy
  • Some users didn’t find the set up as simple as advertised
  • The smoke alarm feature only seems to work with an existing smoke alarm

2. SimpliSafe Security

BEST SMART HOME

SimpliSafe Security

The sophistication that comes with the SimpliSafe 8 Piece Wireless Home Security System is one of the main reasons it is on this list. It’s further fitted with some pretty nifty features that make it a dream for any user. For instance, it is unbelievably easy to get started; simply plug in the base station, place the sensors, and start keeping your home safe.

Even more, it’s pretty much on the compact side and is fitted with sensors that are practically invisible. But the fact that you can’t see them doesn’t mean it’s not highly effective when it comes to keeping the intruders at bay. Also, SimpliSafe security is impressively designed to detect the unique heat signature of humans as opposed to pets. So, your alarm won’t be tripped off every time a squirrel or raccoon crosses your doorstep.

Another handy feature you’ll find here is the touch-to-wake keypad which lights up so you can still punch a button or two in low-light situations. Finally, the high-quality cameras capture intruders with stellar clarity and offer crucial evidence for the police to work with.

ProsCons
  • Small and unobtrusive
  • Features pioneering signal burst technology to alert you of intruders
  • Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Very easy to set up
  • Reacts to the unique human heat signature
  • It is a bit pricey
  • The company does not directly handle your monitoring
  • Some people have found their customer service underwhelming

Best Affordable Security System

SKYLINK SK-250

The Skylink SK-250’s ability to work with various virtual assistants including Google Assistant, and Amazon echo is why it is such a great system. However, that is not all it has going for it, there’s a bunch of other handy features thrown in the mix.

Working hand-in-hand with virtual assistants is its innovative app that is equally well constructed and user-friendly. So, not only is it easy to install on its own, but it comes with a step-by-step guide in-app so usage can be as clear as day. In addition, the security cameras can be controlled using the app and since it supports up to 10 cameras, you are privy to a view of virtually every inch of your house.

Even more, you will get real-time notifications if there’s an actual break-in, you can, in turn, alert the authorities accordingly. All of this and more comes at an affordable price mostly owing to the fact that there’s no contract or monthly fee. Thanks to this, you can simultaneously save a lot of money and protect you and yours.

ProsCons
  • No contracts, or monthly fees
  • Supports up to 10 cameras
  • Supports up to 100 sensors
  • Compatible with Alexa and other virtual AIs
  • User-friendly app
  • Some of the sensors need improvement
  • Some users found the customer service subpar
  • The app tends to crash

More DIY Home Security Systems that Are Worth a Look

We found a few more that didn’t quite make the top three but had enough good qualities that we think they’re worth considering as you shop around.

4. abode Essentials Starter Kit – Best Wireless Kit

While it might not have the renowned qualities of the top three systems mentioned, it is still quite noteworthy. As such, the abode Essentials Starter Kit deserves a shout out for some of its impressive features. For one, it is very easy to install and doesn’t require any professional help to get set-up and running.

In addition, the system leverages professional-grade technologies, including battery backup, so you can rest assured that your home will stay secure even in the case of a power outage. More impressive still is the 93db siren which alerts you to intruders and equally scares the perps away. Finally, the abode security system places all your security in your hands and you don’t have to deal with any inconvenient fees or potential privacy breaches that come with professional monitoring.


5. All-New Ring Alarm 8-piece Kit – Also Great

Finally, we have the All-New Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit which much like its sister product is equally very effective when it comes to keeping your home secure. To that effect, it has a truckload of features that include a top-notch app that gives you all the tools you need to keep your home secure.

It also comes fully equipped with a professional monitoring option that goes for a very affordable subscription fee. Furthermore, its compatibility with Amazon Alexa means you can use the virtual assistant to completely control your system. That’s a level of convenience that only a handful of home security systems can offer.

Even more impressive is the fact that it is equipped with a range of different modes including a ‘home’ mode that turns off the interior sensors while remaining on high alert in case there’s any external motion. In contrast, the ‘away’ mode arms all your sensors, and the ‘disarm’ mode turns everything off to enable free movement.


Things to Consider Before You Buy

A competent home security system should protect your home while offering you a high level of value. Based on this, you need to consider a couple of factors before making a purchase. Everything from understanding the different home security systems to figuring out what makes them tick, there’s quite a lot of ground to cover. Below, we’ll look at some of the concepts and the most common questions that arise when you’re planning to get a DIY security system.

Types of Best Home Security Systems

Monitored Security System

As the name implies, this security system solely relies on professional monitoring. So, anytime the sensors pick up unauthorized activity, a call center or hub is contacted. At that point, they are responsible for getting in contact with the necessary law enforcement agencies. It goes without saying that these services come at a price, and most of them even require a monthly subscription. On the bright side, you don’t have to worry when you’re not at home, the authorities will still be alerted. But, the response time may be a bit problematic and in turn the intruder may get away. Even more, when you consider how much the system costs in addition to the monthly fees attached, it could end up drilling a hole in your pocket.

Unmonitored Security System

This particular system is known for its loud alarm which scares off intruders once it’s tripped off.

Even more, the noise is distracting enough to alert your neighbors, who can in turn call the police. An attractive feature here is the absence of monthly subscription fees which makes it a lot more affordable, it equally doesn’t hurt that the installation process is really convenient. They are made up of sensors that you attach to your doors and windows and when they are triggered, it automatically activates the alarm. On the flip side, the noise from the alarm could be considered noise pollution and nobody wants to be that neighbor.

Wired Security System

This security system features a control panel and all the components wired together, feeding into the control panel. Some of the fixtures include cameras, motion detectors, sensors, and so on. The motion detectors and sensors are further attached to doors and windows, then once tripped off, an alarm is raised. In the case that the system is monitored, the call center is notified and, by extension, the cops.

One of its biggest advantages to this setup is how easy it is to use. Additionally, it can be used to keep your kids out of certain areas in the home. On the other hand, due to its makeup, other electrical currents can tamper with it and could lead to a lot of false alarms.

Wireless Security System

Though they are void of wires, they share a lot of similarities with their wired counterparts. But, of course, the absence of wires really sets them apart as well as the fact that there are no extra fees attached. It also has a leg up thanks to how easy it is to install and set it up.

However, there are a few downsides that come with opting for a wireless security system. For one, you’ll have to continuously change the batteries, and though it may not look like much at first, it’ll eventually burn a hole in your pocket. In addition to that, you’ll have to keep an eye on the distance between the sensors, and cameras to ensure efficiency over time.

Do I Really Need a Home Security System?

The short answer is yes. But, it is also essential to know why, so we’ll take a look at some of the benefits that come with owning a security system in your home.

It reduces crime

If criminals know that stepping into a home will alert the police, they are more likely to shift their focus to more vulnerable homes. It’s for that reason, among a range of others that home security systems are so important. Just the mere sight of a home security system is enough to scare the bad guys away. It also goes a long way to prevent any future crimes in the neighborhood.

These systems equally come with the added advantage of protecting homes that don’t have security systems. As implied earlier, thieves are more likely to stay away from entire neighborhoods, even when only a few homes have security systems. For the most part, they can’t tell which house is protected and which one is not. So, they’ll basically stay away from your neighbors as well.

It helps protect the kids

By now, it should be obvious that security systems serve several purposes; a major upside is the fact that you can use them to keep an eye on your kids. For instance, some security systems are triggered when a door or window is opened and this can be used to your advantage. If you don’t want the little one going into certain rooms, you can rig one up there.

Furthermore, you can use the app to have a clear view of what’s going on when you’re not home.

Protects important items

One of the main benefits that come to mind when you think of a home security system is the protection of valuables. What it does is to simply alert neighbors or the police when there’s a potential or actual break-in. This, in turn, keeps all your valuables, both human and material, safe and secure.

You can monitor your home remotely

Most of the security systems we’ve explored in this article come with handy apps that can be used to arm, disarm, and monitor your home remotely. With a set up like this, there’s really nothing that can happen in your house without your knowledge. Even better is the fact that location and proximity is no issue. With the ability to control your cameras from just about anywhere, you have an unfettered view of entry and exit points as well as hotspots, this keeps you in the loop in case there’s an emergency.

Notifies you of fire and gas leaks

While the primary responsibility of a security system is protecting homes from external invasion, it has some other features which have to be bought separately. One of these features is the ability to alert you to fires and gas leaks. So, you can protect your home from not only thieves and burglars, but also tragic fires with the help of a reliable security system.

Professional Monitoring or Self Monitoring

As explained earlier, professional monitoring employs a system in which, for a monthly fee, your service provider will be alerted when a sensor is triggered. In turn, they will inform the police who will then deal with the perp(s). On the other hand, with a self-monitoring system, once a sensor is triggered, an alarm goes off, which alerts people in the surrounding area of suspicious activity. It equally does not require monthly fees or subscriptions, which saves you some money. But which system is the best? The answer is complicated and is most likely dependent on the set of features that work best for you.

As we’ve already covered, self-monitored systems come with a handful of advantages, including the absence of monthly subscription fees and other charges like false alarms. Apart from this, there are some other advantages, including easy installation and configuration. Portability is also a very important factor, and it makes self-monitored systems easier to move from home to home. Nevertheless, it has a couple of disadvantages which you won’t run into if you’re using a monitored system. For instance, with a monitored security system, you have 24 hours of surveillance, as such, you will be alerted when something goes wrong regardless of where you are. This backup system, though more expensive, offers you ample peace of mind.

Meanwhile, monitored systems are great and useful for homes of all sizes, but as you’ve probably guessed, they come with a few disadvantages of their own. One of them is the loss of privacy as some companies actually delegate the task of monitoring your home to third party entities. So, for all you know, there might be strangers, who you have no contractual agreement with, encroaching on your privacy.

It’s incredibly important to weigh the pros and cons of each system before picking one to go with.

DIY Home Security Systems Vs. Professionally Installed

While there are a variety of security systems, there are only two methods you can turn to when it comes to their installation; professional and DIY. It should be obvious that the latter involves doing it on your own, while the former shifts the responsibility to the service providers.

The two methods have their uses and advantages, and you should make your choice only after carefully considering what each system gives you. For instance, professionally installed security systems come with the guarantee of a job well done. Also, maintenance, upgrades, and other necessary work are carried out by the company. Nevertheless, installation usually comes with a fee, and if you factor in monitoring fees, the cost starts to pile and could eventually become a tad too expensive. Even more, most companies tie their clients down using long-term contracts, which is undoubtedly an inconvenience.

On the other hand, DIY home systems are a lot cheaper and easier to install. They are equally portable and easy to move about, making them the ideal choice for renters. The fact that service providers offer self-monitoring options means that there are no long contracts or subscription fees involved. Conversely, DIY systems dump a lot of responsibility on your hands, and if you aren’t tech-savvy or dexterous, you could mess everything up at the installation stage. Also, the equipment needed for installation doesn’t come cheap.

Thankfully, a lot of the companies that provide DIY security systems also support users with installation guides to ease the process. If that’s not enough, you can always look for resources on YouTube to give you the step-by-step visual aid you need.

In conclusion, as long as you know what you want, and considerably weigh your options, you’ll most likely get a service or security system that suits you.

Basic Components of Home Security System

You may be wondering what the essential components that make up a security system are. We’ll look at some of the more common ones below.

Control Panel

This is arguably the most important component of a security system as it can be likened as the brain of the entire setup. Consequently, it receives transmissions from sensors which it sends to the central monitoring station. In order to prevent total shutdown, it usually comes with a backup battery.

Motion Detectors

This is the part of the system that detects movement and triggers the alarm in response. As such, walking into a room can trigger the lights to come on, or opening a door can set off an alarm. Regardless of the way your motion detector is set up, it is an integral part of an effective security system.

Smoke Detectors

While most homes are already equipped with a smoke detector, you can equally get one that works in tandem with your home security system. Even more impressive is the fact that some smoke detectors feature spoken alerts that let you know which room needs your attention.

Heat Sensors

Before any fire, there’s bound to be a lot of heat, thankfully, this can be detected with the help of heat sensors. For the most part, they are triggered once the ambient temperature rises above 15 degrees a minute or above 135 degrees.

Glass Break Detectors

These sensors alert you once they pick up the frequency of shattering glass, so if someone smashes a window to get into your house, it’s going to cause a serious racket. These fixtures are typically located near the most vulnerable windows in the home. Even more, their affordable prices make them handy investments.


Best Home Security Systems FAQs

What are some of the best DIY home security systems?

We have discussed some of the best security systems above, but our top choice remains the Ring alarm 5-piece kit. Basically, it’s packed with a ton of decent features, including the luxury of round the clock, professional monitoring. But if you want to widen the search, equally consider SimpliSafe security, or Skylink, both of which also provide quality protection.

Do I have the skills required to install a home security system?

This depends on the type of system you’re looking at. Altogether, most DIY security systems are easy to install and don’t require any professional help. In the case that you are confused, they also offer instruction manuals and videos which help and ease the installation process.

Do I have the necessary tools to install a home security system?

It is unlikely that you have the necessary tools to install a home security system lying around your house. As such, you may need to visit your local store to purchase the items you need. On the other hand, with a professionally installed system, you don’t need to own anything seeing as your service provider will take responsibility for all the required tools.

Is it necessary to have 24/7 monitoring?

This depends on your preference and budget, as a 24/7 monitoring system costs more and could even end up breaching your privacy. However, it also provides you with peace of mind, so no matter where you are, your home is being watched.

Should I have a wired or wireless system?

Both wired and wireless systems have their advantages, but off the bat, the former is really easy to install. However, their makeup opens them up to interruption from other electrical currents, like lightning, which, in turn, could raise false alarms. When it comes to wireless systems, they are equally easy to use and keep you in the loop when it comes to the activities going on in your home. But, since it uses a battery, it can become quite expensive to maintain, and the distance between sensors and cameras has the tendency to reduce its effectiveness.

Do I need cameras, or will sensors be sufficient?

Law enforcement always prefers home security systems with cameras, as this makes the perp(s) easier to identify. So, even if the police don’t show up on time, they still have a solid lead. The only downer here is the fact that cameras come at an extra cost, while sensors can equally trigger the alarm and alert the call center or your neighbors. At the end of the day, it depends on your preference, but if you can afford cameras, go for it.

Should I get a system with home automation features?

A home automated system connects all major devices and appliances to a common hub in your home. With this setup, you can easily control them using a smart device. Altogether, this addition makes managing your home a lot more convenient, and you even save more energy to boot. On the downside, this is a pricey one to pull off and it’s easily susceptible to technical security threats.

How We Picked the Best Home Security Systems

Price

One of the biggest considerations we encountered when we looked up the best home security systems, is the price. Altogether, a good system should be both effective and affordable. To that end, we made sure that the systems on this list fall within the price range of the average homeowner. All in all, you should be able to keep your house safe without breaking the bank.

Brand

Brand names come with a level of trust that draws old and new customers in. For that reason, we scoured the market for the most trustworthy brands with the track record of delivering quality time and again. Based on that, we have absolute confidence in the systems we considered as they are effective, reliable, and generally offer top-notch customer service.

Customer Reviews

One of the most reliable ways to determine if a product is worth buying is to consider what verified buyers are saying. So, the more positive reviews a product has, the more confidence you can have as a consumer. With that in mind, the products we’ve examined so far all have excellent reviews and have been favorably received by consumers.

Ease of Installation

Since we’re talking about DIY systems, it is necessary to consider the challenges you’ll face when installing it. In the case that it is too difficult to set up, you are likely to make mistakes that could cost you dearly. It is for that reason we ensured that all the products we reviewed are incredibly easy to install and set up.

Convenience

Every system reviewed in this article is not only convenient but quite comfortable to use. For instance, the Ring alarm 5-piece kit comes with a handy mobile app that controls every aspect of the system, including the cameras. You can even arm, disarm the system and equally monitor your home with the help of the app. That said, the other systems on this list are just as convenient and pose little to no challenge to the user.