Need to know before reading further
Because wireless home security kits are a relatively new development, there aren't many established companies in this field. There are some great startups and crowdfunding campaigns on the rise, but they either aren't available yet or are struggling to fix some of their quirks. There's great potential for this category and once companies work out their customer service and get their products in top shape competition will be tough. Because companies are still building their reputation we have only chosen two picks for our winners: SimpliSafe and Scout. At this time, these are the only two companies we can firmly stand behind as viable security systems but we will update with a 3rd option once we feel another company has improved.
What are the advantages of a wireless home alarm system kit?
Several factors make wireless alarm system kits more appealing than a conventional wired security system:
- These systems generally offer optional professional monitoring, so there are no monthly fees or contracts. This not only lowers the cost but also gives you the freedom to stop using the system if you don't like it.
- These systems are good for apartments, smaller homes, or rentals because you don't have to drill any holes into the walls. This also makes the system easy to relocate. The sensors are all attached to the walls using adhesives, which you can install yourself (note that many professionally monitored systems are also wireless and installed by the user).
- There is essentially no chance of false alarms with these systems.
What should I know about wireless home security kits?
Because wireless alarm system kits are self-monitored rather than professionally monitored, they are generally less expensive over time than traditional security systems. Self-monitoring also means you are responsible for contacting authorities if there is a suspicious event in your home. Home security systems that offer a central monitoring station are generally less expensive up front, but there is a mandatory monthly fee. The DIY kits in this article have higher up-front costs and no monthly fees. We recommend professionally monitored systems over self-monitored systems because with a self-monitored system, you're more likely to miss an alert.
The majority of DIY wireless security system kits have cameras or door/window sensors that alert you when they detect motion or record video. When you receive the alert it is up to you to decide whether authorities should be contacted. If you have a camera, you should be able to tell whether it's an expected or uninvited guest, which will in turn help you decide whether or not to contact the police.
Do I need a smartphone?
One thing you'll want to know before buying a wireless alarm system is that you'll need a smartphone to self-monitor the system. These systems generally use apps to alert you when a sensor is triggered, so you won't be able to monitor your system without a smartphone.
Are all wireless home security kits self-monitored?
Currently, SimpliSafe and Scout are the only companies in this review to offer a professional monitoring option for an additional fee.