The Cheapest Security System We Recommend in 2019

Most Flexible Contracts
SimpliSafe
3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
Starting at  
$14.99
/mo.
Best for Affordable Monitoring
Ring
3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
Starting at  
$10.00
/mo.
Best for Self-Monitoring
Abode
3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
Starting at 
$20.00
/mo.
Great No-Contract Option
Cove
3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
Starting at  
$14.99
/mo.
Best for Aesthetics
Scout
3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
Starting at  
$19.99
/mo.

Overview

Just because you want to save money on home security doesn’t mean you have to settle for a middling company with substandard equipment and monitoring.

Below we look at six security companies that help you cut costs without sacrificing quality. They offer either more affordable equipment up front or cheaper monitoring costs than companies like Vivint and Frontpoint.

Best cheap security systems

Still interested in other security systems you don't see in this list? Compare our top security systems by cost.


Compare cheap security systems

Data effective 10/30/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

SimpliSafe review: Most flexible contracts

Most flexible contracts
SimpliSafe
Our rating:
3.7 out of 5.0
3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
Customer service
3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
Price
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Features & equipment
3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
Plans starting at 
$14.99
/mo.

    SimpliSafe pros and cons

    Pros
    • Pro BulletNo-contract monitoring
    • Pro BulletEasy self-installation
    • Pro BulletCustomizable equipment packages
    Cons
    • Con BulletLimited home automation integration
    • Con BulletNo mobile access with cheaper plan

    Why we recommend SimpliSafe

    SimpliSafe offers cheap professional monitoring on a contract-free, month-to-month basis. The lack of contract creates flexibility to turn your monitoring on and off if you’re going out of town for a while or just trying to save money.

    Price

    SimpliSafe’s equipment packages and monitoring services are some of the more inexpensive around. You definitely miss out with the lowest prices, though.

    The cheapest SimpliSafe package has just three pieces of equipment apart from the base station: a keypad, a motion detector, and a window/door sensor. In some homes, that’s barely enough to start. Plus the lower-priced monitoring doesn’t give you access to the mobile app. You won’t be able to check up on your system when you’re out and about.

    We recommend adding some extra equipment to your package (single entry sensors are $14.99 each; motion detectors are $29.99). We also suggest going up a tier for monitoring if possible, for a total of $24.99 a month, so that you can access that sweet, sweet mobile monitoring.

    SimpliSafe Equipment

    Photo source: ASecureLife team

    Equipment

    SimpliSafe home security systems are easy to set up. They come preprogrammed, and most of the equipment comes with sticky tape for easy installation. The security equipment packages are customizable enough that you can find the perfect fit for your home.

    But SimpliSafe systems aren’t the most compatible with smart home tech. They currently work only with Alexa devices, Nest thermostats, and August door locks. If you dream of a full smart home setup, we recommend Scout.

    You can choose between black and white for some pieces if you want your SimpliSafe equipment to match your home decor.

    >>Learn more: Read the full SimpliSafe review.

    >>View SimpliSafe Plans


    Ring review: Best for affordable monitoring

    Best for affordable monitoring
    Ring
    Our rating:
    3.3 out of 5.0
    3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
    Customer service
    2.8 out of 5 stars2.8
    Price
    4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
    Features & equipment
    2.8 out of 5 stars2.8
    Plans starting at 
    $10
    /mo.

      Ring pros and cons

      Pros
      • Pro BulletCheap professional monitoring
      • Pro BulletAffordable equipment
      • Pro BulletRing video doorbell integration
      • Pro BulletBase station that works as alarm
      Cons
      • Con BulletLimited home security equipment

      Why we recommend Ring

      In addition to its array of doorbell cameras, Ring offers a cheap security system, though it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of other security systems. It’s also hard to beat Ring’s extremely reasonable $9.99-per-month monitoring fee.

      Ring’s not our top option because, compared to some of these other brands, it’s fairly immature in terms of security system experience. This means customers might suffer while the execs work out the kinks.

      Price

      Ring’s security packages are nicely priced. On Amazon, a five-piece kit tends to retail at about $200. And the extended kit, which offers multiple types of security sensors alongside more standard equipment, is still cheaper than a basic Nest Secure package.

      Ring’s professional monitoring price is the industry’s lowest. You can pay $9.99 a month or $100.00 a year.

      Equipment

      The Ring Alarm Security Kits don’t come with any cameras or home automation equipment. But the keypad, contact sensors, and motion detectors make for a great base system if you don’t have any other home security system equipment. We’d recommend adding a Ring video doorbell to your system so you can get a set of eyes on the front of your home when you’re not around.

      Ring products are compatible with Alexa and Z-Wave but not much else. This will put a limit on how interconnected your smart home can be.

      Ring bundles
      Our Choice
      You might see Ring systems sold on Amazon in a bundle with an Echo Dot. We found when testing the equipment that Alexa controls Ring flawlessly, so these bundles are a good investment if you want a Ring system.

      >>Learn more: Read the full Ring review.

      >>View Ring Alarm Plans


      Abode review: Best for self-monitoring

      Best for self-monitoring
      Abode
      Our rating:
      3.3 out of 5.0
      3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
      Customer service
      2.8 out of 5 stars2.8
      Price
      3.8 out of 5 stars3.8
      Features & equipment
      2.8 out of 5 stars2.8
      Plans starting at 
      $20
      /mo.

        Abode pros and cons

        Pros
        • Pro BulletNo contracts
        • Pro BulletEasy self-monitoring
        Cons
        • Con BulletNo phone support with free plan
        • Con BulletShorter equipment warranty than competitors

        Why we recommend Abode

        Abode helps you save money with its unique on-demand monitoring pricing. It’s ranked a little lower on the list due to some odd decisions in equipment and features provided at each pricing level.

        Price

        If you want to self-monitor your security system, you can do that for free. But be wary—you won’t have phone support from Abode with free self-monitoring. That’s one thing we find odd about this system.

        If needed, you can get a professional monitoring plan for $20 a month. Abode offers a cheaper plan for $8 a month, but it’s more of a premium version of the free plan without pro monitoring.

        An Abode Gateway starter kit is $199, but it doesn’t come with much. We think that’s strange since Abode makes some great products that could easily be included here. In any case, you’ll probably want to get more equipment for better security.

        Equipment

        Abode has some great products, like smart switches and extra-slim door sensors. But the brand doesn’t sell its best products in the starter kit, so getting your system in shape may require extra spending. For context, a standard door/window sensor costs $29 separately, while a motion sensor is $55. Definitely more expensive than SimpliSafe, but not absurd.

        If you’re thinking of building an Abode abode, it’s a reachable dream. While Abode’s smart home selection is meh, the equipment’s compatible with both Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols.

        >>Learn more: Read the full Abode review.

        >>View Abode Plans


        Cove review: Great no-contract option

        Great no-contract option
        Cove
        Our rating:
        3.7 out of 5.0
        3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
        Customer service
        3.8 out of 5 stars3.8
        Price
        4 out of 5 stars4.0
        Features & equipment
        3.8 out of 5 stars3.8
        Plans starting at 
        $14.99
        /mo.

          Cove pros and cons

          Pros
          • Pro BulletNo-contract monitoring
          • Pro BulletUltra-simple DIY installation
          • Pro BulletEquipment financing for cheaper startup
          Cons
          • Con BulletMinimal automation integration
          • Con BulletNo mobile access with cheaper plan

          Why we recommend Cove

          Cove suits anyone seeking a security system with affordable equipment, cheap monitoring, and somewhat flexible payment options.

          You might notice that Cove and SimpliSafe offer similar services. That’s because both companies value affordable no-contract monitoring with a DIY approach to equipment installation. Cove is ranked lower thanks to its higher price, and we gave SimpliSafe an edge in its equipment offerings because of Cove’s more limited selection.

          Price

          Cove’s low month-to-month monitoring rate comes with the condition that you pay for your equipment up front. You can get around this requirement by putting down nothing up front and paying $10 more per month in monitoring. This option also comes with a 36-month cancellation fee that ranges from $200 to $400, depending on how much of the equipment you’ve paid off.

          Cove Equipment

          Photo source: ASecureLife team

          Equipment

          Like we said, SimpliSafe offers more equipment. It’s especially known for its doorbell camera, which is something Cove doesn’t offer. Cove does sell medical alert devices that integrate with its home security systems.

          Cove’s compatible with Alexa devices and Google Home Assistant (with a Plus Plan). In other words, you’ll be able to control your system with voice commands, but you won’t be able to hook it up directly to other kinds of devices.

          >>Learn more: Read the full Cove review.

          >>View Plans


          Scout review: Best for aesthetics

          Best for aesthetics
          Scout
          Our rating:
          3.5 out of 5.0
          3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
          Customer service
          3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
          Price
          4 out of 5 stars4.0
          Features & equipment
          3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
          Plans starting at 
          $19.99
          /mo.

            Scout pros and cons

            Pros
            • Pro BulletNo-contract monitoring
            • Pro BulletUnique, aesthetic equipment
            • Pro BulletCellular and battery backup to protect from outages
            Cons
            • Con BulletLimited equipment selection
            • Con BulletNo third-party equipment without professional monitoring plan
            • Con BulletNo system control panel

            Why we recommend Scout

            Affordable security systems can still look nice, and Scout’s emphasis on aesthetics makes up in part for its simple equipment offerings.

            Price

            If you’re looking to save money, Scout’s no-contract professional monitoring gives you flexibility to self-monitor your system to cut down on costs here and there. Since Scout has a self-monitored plan for $9.99 per month, you can save $10 per month when you’re home and willing to monitor your own system.

            Equipment

            Scout’s a supermodel of DIY home security systems. The brand’s products have simple, clean lines. Some devices also have a choice between colors: you can pick Midnight (mostly black) or Arctic (mostly white).

            If you decide to build a full Scout system, you may be limited in what you can add. For one thing, Scout doesn’t sell cameras. But it does have a high level of compatibility: Scout’s system works with Nest, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Hue, LIFX, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.

            Scout doesn’t sell cameras, but it does have a high level of compatibility.

            >>Learn more: Read the full Scout review.

            >>View Plans


            Nest Secure review: Best DIY smart security

            Best DIY smart security
            Nest
            Our rating:
            3.5 out of 5.0
            3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
            Customer service
            3.8 out of 5 stars3.8
            Price
            3.3 out of 5 stars3.3
            Features & equipment
            3.8 out of 5 stars3.8
            Plans starting at 
            $19
            /mo.

              Nest Secure pros and cons

              Pros
              • Pro BulletQuality equipment with strong interconnectivity
              • Pro BulletIntelligent equipment that learns to limit false alarms
              • Pro BulletProfessional monitoring through Brinks
              Cons
              • Con BulletNo video monitoring
              • Con BulletExpensive equipment
              • Con BulletLimited security equipment options

              Why we recommend Nest Secure

              We like Nest Secure for its high-quality equipment with an emphasis on interconnectivity. We can’t recommend it in the top five, though, since the quality comes at a (literal) high price.

              Price

              You can save money by self-monitoring your Nest system, or you can pay $19 per month to professionally monitor your system through Brinks. That’s why we recommend Nest on this list: this monitoring price is super reasonable.

              Less reasonable is the up-front cost for Nest Secure equipment. One of the most inexpensive packages has just five pieces of equipment yet still costs $399. That’s cheap compared to some home security systems—ADT values its initial package at $850 (though it doesn’t require up-front equipment purchase). But it’s still a significant investment when you’re on a budget.

              Equipment

              Nest offers a bunch of quality equipment: thermostats, video doorbells, smoke detectors, CO detectors, and more. It also leads the industry in color customization. If you want pink smart home equipment, Nest’s got it.

              If you invest in add-ons like one of Nest’s smart thermostats or smoke/CO detectors, you can control everything from the same app. And, since Nest is a Google acquisition, its products are compatible with Google-grown devices like Google Home. You can build on the Nest system to turn your home into a Google paradise, which isn’t a bad thing, unless you’re a big fan of Amazon or Apple HomeKit.

              >>Learn more: Read the full Nest Secure review.

              >>View Plans


              Other products we considered

              Fortress

              The Fortress Security 14-piece wireless kit generally sells on Amazon for less than $150 and has decent reviews. It takes DIY to even greater heights as it offers no professional monitoring, but it does alert up to six different contacts in an emergency. The system features a 110 dB alarm to scare off intruders.

              We like having the option of professional monitoring, so Fortress is a pass for us. It also appears to have compatibility with Alexa only. To learn more, read our full Fortress Home Security review.

              Wink

              The Wink Lookout Smart Security Starter Kit has distinct rounded equipment and high levels of compatibility with other brands. Like Fortress, Wink doesn’t offer professional monitoring, so you have to stay on your toes with this system. To learn more about the Wink system, read our full Wink hub review.

              (This kit is currently unavailable through Wink, though you can get used systems on Amazon.)


              Cheap security systems FAQs

              What do you mean by “cheap?”

              We recognize that cheap is a subjective term. There are plenty of people who wouldn’t think of a system that costs $100+ as cheap.

              What we mean is that for security systems, these are excellent prices. We haven’t seen any systems that have comparable feature-rich equipment at lower costs.

              Can I get security cameras with a cheap security system?

              Usually not. One way brands make cheap security systems possible is by not offering cameras. It’s hard to find cheap security cameras because they’re often the most expensive piece of equipment a brand offers. Also, they sometimes require a cloud storage plan at an extra cost.

              If you want a security camera, you’ll usually have to upgrade both your plan and your package. Or, if you’re interested in buying one outside of a bundled package, we’ve reviewed the best security cameras for you. You can get IP security cameras, indoor security cameras, outdoor security cameras, security cameras with night vision, security cameras with two-way audio, and more.

              Should I pay for professional monitoring?

              It depends on what you want from your system. It’s hard to go wrong with a professionally monitored system. But if it’s a financial hardship for you or if self-monitoring adequately meets your needs, you can skip the professional service and the costs that go with it.


              Our recommendation

              You don’t have to spend a fortune to find a quality security system that fits your lifestyle and needs. Whether you want to save by self-monitoring or by investing in more affordable equipment, these companies will help you find a cheap security system without losing out on quality.

              • SimpliSafe: Go with SimpliSafe if you want the option for month-to-month monitoring and flexible equipment packages.
              • RingGo with a Ring alarm system if you’re okay with a simple security system with ultra-affordable monitoring.
              • Abode: Go with Abode if you want to monitor your security system for free without a pro monitoring plan.
              • CoveGo with Cove for its cheap no-contract monitoring and its easy DIY approach to equipment.
              • Scout: Go with Scout if you want premium, aesthetic equipment with affordable monitoring.
              • Nest Secure: Go with Nest Secure if you value quality equipment but want to save money on monitoring.

              Contributing author: Brianne Sandorf


              †Google and Google Nest Secure are trademarks of Google LLC.