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Best DIY Security Systems | Self-Install Systems with Optional Monitoring

Security systemFrontpoint
Best DIY installation
SimpliSafe
Best for flexibility
Nest Secure
Best for connecting Nest gear
Star rating
Monitoring priceStarting at $34.99/moStarting at $14.99/mo.Starting at $19.00/mo.*
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Security system
Star rating
Monitoring price
Shop now
Frontpoint
Best DIY installation
SimpliSafe
Best for flexibility
Nest Secure
Best for connecting Nest gear
Starting at $34.99/mo Starting at $14.99/mo. Starting at $19.00/mo.*
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Overview

Not ready for a full-fledged security system with long-term contracts? A DIY home security system is a lower-cost compromise that offers protection with more flexibility.

We’ve put together this list of our favorite DIY security systems with DIY installation and different monitoring options to help you find the security you need. These companies make it easy to set up your security system yourself without having to schedule and pay for a professional installer to come to your home. If you choose to add new equipment or move to a new location, it’s easier to pack up your equipment and bring it with you.

Some of these companies also offer more flexible monitoring options, like the option to self-monitor your system or pay for monitoring on a month-to-month basis, eliminating big contracts from the equation.

Here are the best DIY home security systems:

  1. Frontpoint | Best DIY installation
  2. SimpliSafe | Most flexible contracts
  3. Nest Secure | Best for connecting Nest gear
  4. Scout Alarm | Best aesthetics
  5. Abode | Great for self-monitoring
  6. Samsung SmartThings with ADT | Great for smart home enthusiasts
  7. Ring Alarm | Great for affordable monitoring
  8. Cove | Great basic no-contract option

Compare DIY home security systems

Security brand
Frontpoint

SimpliSafe

Nest Secure

Scout Alarm
Lowest pro-monitoring price$34.99/mo.$14.99/mo.$19.00/mo.*$19.99/mo.
Free self-monitoring through app
Video monitoringWith highest-tier plan onlyIndoor camera
Doorbell camera
No**Indoor camera
Starter kit price$528.93$229.00 $399.00 $229.00
Starter kit includes1 hub
3 door/window sensors
2 motion sensors
1 yard sign
5 window decals
1 door sticker
1 base station
1 keypad
1 motion sensor
1 entry sensor
1 Nest Guard base station
2 Nest Detect entry sensors
2 Nest Tags
1 hub
1 door panel
1 motion sensor
2 entry sensors
2 key fobs
1 yard sign
Learn moreShop NowShop NowShop NowShop Now
Security brand
Lowest pro-monitoring price
Free self-monitoring through app
Video monitoring
Starter kit price
Starter kit includes
Learn more

Frontpoint

SimpliSafe

Nest Secure

Scout Alarm
$34.99/mo. $14.99/mo. $19.00/mo.* $19.99/mo.
With highest-tier plan only Indoor camera
Doorbell camera
No** Indoor camera
$528.93 $229.00 $399.00 $229.00
1 hub
3 door/window sensors
2 motion sensors
1 yard sign
5 window decals
1 door sticker
1 base station
1 keypad
1 motion sensor
1 entry sensor
1 Nest Guard base station
2 Nest Detect entry sensors
2 Nest Tags
1 hub
1 door panel
1 motion sensor
2 entry sensors
2 key fobs
1 yard sign
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Data effective 1/4/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*Price with 3-year contract. No-contract price is $29/mo.
**System is compatible with Nest cameras, but pro-monitoring isn’t available for video

Frontpoint | Best DIY system

Frontpoint offers an ultra-simple DIY equipment setup, high-quality professional monitoring, and a reputation for great customer service.

Frontpoint pros and cons

Pros

  • Premium DIY unboxing and setup
  • High-quality customer service
  • Cellular 4G monitoring
  • Z-Wave compatibility
  • Crash & Smash protection

Cons

  • No self-monitoring
  • Expensive monitoring plans
  • No mobile access with cheapest plan

Why we like Frontpoint

Frontpoint puts a lot of effort into simplifying the DIY installation process for its customers. When you buy a Frontpoint system or add new equipment to your existing system, it comes nicely packaged, preprogrammed, and ready to install without the need for complicated tools and hardware.

Frontpoint systems don’t have the same flexible monitoring as companies like SimpliSafe and Scout. You’ll have to sign a three-year contract, but with it comes high-quality professional monitoring and some of the best customer service in the industry. Those are some of the reasons most Frontpoint customers tend to stick around for longer than their initial contract.

>>Learn more: Read the full Frontpoint review.
>>Shop now: Get Frontpoint.

SimpliSafe | Most flexible contracts

SimpliSafe’s self-install security systems are affordable and easy to use. It’s perfect if you want a flexible system that you can scale up or down depending on your budget.

SimpliSafe pros and cons

Pros

  • Affordable starter kit
  • Larger selection of equipment than Nest and Scout
  • Lower monitoring cost than competitors
  • Better video monitoring options than competitors

Cons

  • Minimal smart home integration
  • No free self-monitoring through app

Why we like SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe is one of our favorite DIY security systems because it offers lots of flexibility, a wide selection of inexpensive equipment, and lower-cost monitoring than competitors.

You can always get pro-monitoring if you need it, but it’s not mandatory. That lets you pay for a month of monitoring if you’re going on vacation and switch back to using the equipment without monitoring if your budget gets tight.

Plus, if you do choose pro-monitoring, SimpliSafe has more experience and better video monitoring support than other companies listed here. For example, SimpliSafe is the only company on this list that offers monitoring for a doorbell camera.

>>Learn more: Read the full SimpliSafe review.
>>Shop now: Get SimpliSafe.

Nest Secure | Best for connecting Nest gear

Nest Secure equipment is a bit pricey, but it’s easy to control and monitor on your own with the Nest app. If you need pro-monitoring, you can turn it on when you’d like without signing up for a contract.

Nest Secure pros and cons

Pros

  • Easy control through Nest app
  • Modern equipment design
  • Free self-monitoring through app
  • More smart home syncing options than SimpliSafe or Scout

Cons

  • More expensive starter kit
  • Fewer equipment options than SimpliSafe
  • Doesn’t monitor cameras or Nest Protect
  • Extra cost for monitoring without a contract

Why we like Nest Secure

Nest Secure’s biggest perk is free self-monitoring through the app. Competitors like SimpliSafe and Scout make you pay for a monthly plan before you can monitor equipment with your smartphone. If you want to monitor your own equipment with your phone, Nest Secure is the system for you.

Another benefit of choosing Nest Secure is that you can easily control and monitor your equipment through the same Nest app you might already be using for other Nest devices like the thermostat, smoke alarm, or cameras.

And while Nest’s equipment is pricey, the design is attractive and modern, so it blends in nicely when you set it up in your home.

>>Learn more: Read the full Nest Secure review.
>>Shop now: Get Nest Secure.

Scout Alarm | Best aesthetics

Scout Alarm offers a solid selection of DIY install security equipment. Plus, the system works well with third-party smart home gear.

Scout Alarm pros and cons

Pros

  • Starter kit includes more equipment
  • Attractive equipment design
  • Broad integration with third-party smart home equipment

Cons

  • Fewer equipment options than SimpliSafe
  • Monthly fee required, even without monitoring

Why we like Scout Alarm

Scout Alarm’s minimalist equipment makes other security equipment look drab and outdated. And while aesthetics aren’t the most important part of security, we admire a company for putting extra thought in the appearance of equipment that will be placed all over your home.

Scout also packs more equipment into the starter kit so you won’t have to spend as much money on add-on equipment later.

We’re also fans of Scout’s smart home support. While Scout doesn’t offer much itself, the system is compatible with tons of third-party gear including Nest, LIFX, Philips Hue, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home.

>>Learn more: Read the full Scout Alarm review.
>>Shop now: Get Scout Alarm.

More DIY security systems to consider

If the companies listed above don’t look like the right fit for your home, consider these other DIY home security options.

Abode | Great for self-monitoring

Abode came close to beating out the systems listed above because it lets you monitor through the app for free or pay for a few days of pro-monitoring at a time. However, it didn’t quite make the cut because it has less security experience and customer support than the companies we recommend.  If you’d like to learn more about Abode systems, check out our full Abode security review.

Samsung SmartThings with ADT | Great for smart home enthusiasts

The coolest thing about this security kit is that the main security hub doubles as a smart home hub. That means you can use it with tons of other SmartThings products. The system has a lot in common with Nest Secure, but Samsung loses points because it has a shorter warranty, more expensive starter kit, and higher priced monitoring.  Visit our full review to learn more about security through Samsung SmartThings and ADT.

*Note: There is also a home and life safety monitoring plan for $14.99/mo. But it doesn’t include security monitoring (ex. motion detection or door/window sensors).

Ring Alarm | Great for affordable monitoring

At $10/month, Ring’s pro monitoring is dramatically cheaper than most competitors. Ring has less security experience and offers fewer security features than larger companies like SimpliSafe, but if you need basics on a budget, it’s a great choice. Ring also makes impressive cameras (including the popular doorbell cameras). And although Ring doesn’t provide monitoring for the cameras, you can still check the camera feed in the same app you use to control your security system.
>>Want a ring of security around your home? Read our Ring security reviews.

Cove | Great for renters

Cove is competitive with Frontpoint in its ultra-simple DIY installation, and competitive price-wise with affordable SimpliSafe. You also don’t have to sign onto a contract if you pay for your equipment up front. We recommend Cove to anyone seeking a security system with somewhat simple equipment offerings and reasonable monitoring costs.

Our recommendation

If you value professional monitoring but want easy DIY equipment installation, Frontpoint is your best bet, as long as you’re willing to sign a three-year contract.

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