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Best DIY Home Security System Without Monitoring

SystemiSmartAlarmCanaryArlo
Brand logoiSmart Alarm LogoCanary LogoArlo Logo Small
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System
Brand logo
Learn more
iSmartAlarm Canary Arlo
iSmart Alarm Logo Canary Logo Arlo Logo Small
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We get it. Sometimes there just isn’t room in the budget for one more monthly payment, so a professionally monitored security system isn’t an option. Professional monitoring is ideal, but you can still protect your home and family with a self-monitored security system.

If you don’t have the budget for professional monitoring, we think you should still be able to check on your home remotely. All the systems we recommend below give you free mobile access and control so you can talk to your pets when you miss them at work, make sure your kids get home from school okay, or call for help if a smoke alarm goes off.

Compare home security without monitoring

iSmartAlarmCanaryArlo
Door/window sensors
Smart switch
Indoor cameras
Outdoor cameras
Doorbell camera
Plan needed for add-on features
Price for add-on planN/A$9.99/mo.$9.99 to $14.99/mo.
Find itView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Door/window sensors
Smart switch
Indoor cameras
Outdoor cameras
Doorbell camera
Plan needed for add-on features
Price for add-on plan
Find it
iSmartAlarm Canary Arlo
N/A $9.99/mo. $9.99 to $14.99/mo.
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

Data current as of 12/19/2018. Pricing and packages are subject to change. 

Self-monitored security systems without professional monitoring

Below you’ll find our top picks for home security without any professional monitoring options.

The biggest reason to choose one of these systems is the cost because once you pay for your equipment, you’re done. No worrying about the long-term cost of monthly monitoring fees. A system without professional monitoring is less secure than a monitored system, but you’ll save tons of money. Plus, any security equipment is superior to no system at all.

Some of these systems have add-on plans for features like extra storage, but none of them have mandatory monthly fees.

iSmartAlarm

Pros

  • Large equipment selection
  • Inexpensive equipment
  • No monthly fee for add-on features

Cons

  • No outdoor camera
  • Less attractive design than competitors
  • Hub required

Why we recommend iSmartAlarm

We like iSmartAlarm because you can get lots of inexpensive security equipment and check all of it remotely from your phone. iSmartAlarm offers more equipment than the other companies on this list, including door and window sensors, cameras, and smart switches. That said, the equipment is a bit clunky looking, so if aesthetics are important to you, you might want a different system.

iSmartAlarm is also a nice option if you don’t want to pay monthly fees for extra features like storage or two-way audio—Canary and Arlo charge extra for features you might want.

Canary

Pros

  • Modern equipment design
  • Easy setup with multiple mounting options
  • Single camera that can also monitor air quality and temperature
  • No hub needed

Cons

  • No entry sensors
  • Some features reserved for paid plans

Why we recommend Canary

Canary doesn’t offer nearly as much equipment as iSmartAlarm, but the equipment you can get is attractive, effective, and easy to set up. Canary offers feature-packed indoor and outdoor cameras that include two-way audio and work without a hub. The indoor camera can even monitor air quality and temperature.

Arlo

Pros

  • Seven days of camera-feed storage without plan
  • Indoor/outdoor camera options
  • Doorbell camera available

Cons

  • No entry sensors
  • Some features reserved for paid plans
  • Base station required for some cameras

Why we recommend Arlo

Arlo’s system is mostly camera based, but it has lots of great cameras to choose from, depending on your needs. The cameras are easy to install and easy to monitor remotely. And cameras have a simple, sleek design that will look nice without drawing attention.

Plus, some of the cameras work inside and outside, so you can purchase a set of Arlo cameras and put them wherever you need them most. And while Arlo is mostly focused on cameras, you can also get a security light or baby monitor for extra protection if you need it.

Self-monitored systems with optional professional monitoring

The companies below let you monitor your system on your own or add professional monitoring without a contract. These are great options if you can’t normally afford monitoring but want to turn it on temporarily, like when you go out of town.

Nest Secure

Why we recommend Nest Secure

Nest Secure is a perfect system for someone who already has a bunch of Nest products. Your security equipment will integrate smoothly with other Nest devices, so you can control and monitor everything from the temperature to the front door with one app. And since there’s no contract, you can add professional monitoring when you need it and opt out of it when you don’t.

Abode

Why we recommend Abode

Abode offers some of the best smart home compatibility in the business. Abode systems are compatible with both Z-Wave and Zigbee products, so you have more choices when syncing third-party products with your system. (Most competitors offer only Z-Wave compatibility.)

Abode also gives you the option to turn on monitoring for just a few days at a time, which makes it super affordable if you want professional monitoring during a short vacation or work trip.

Ring

Why we recommend Ring Alarm

Ring offers inexpensive equipment and cheap professional monitoring if you ever decide you need it. Plus, the security system works smoothly with Ring’s other fantastic products, including the doorbell and security cameras.

Our recommendation

We always recommend choosing a system that can be professionally monitored because that means someone is watching over your home even if you aren’t there to hear an alarm or if your phone is on silent.

Take a look at the best home security systems with professional monitoring.

If you’re set on getting a system without monitoring, we suggest iSmartAlarm because it’s inexpensive, has lots of equipment choices, and lets you monitor everything from an app.

Our recommendation

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