Whether you own or rent, a DIY home security system is a smart investment that protects your abode, belongings and family. But figuring out the perfect one for your needs and budget from the large sea of choices available can feel overwhelming.
For instance, some systems have trained professionals surveilling your dwelling 24/7 for a monthly fee. Want to check on Fido when you're not home? Consider a security camera kit with two-way audio. If ease of use is a must, a voice-activated alarm... system may be of interest.
For your greater peace of mind, we dug deep to find the best options based on a broad range of features for safeguarding your castle from professional monitoring to smartphone compatibility. Here are the six best DIY home security systems for every budget.
01 of 07
You shouldn’t have to drain your bank account to safeguard your home. Fortress Security Store has created several wireless and wallet-friendly DIY systems that make protecting your home a cinch. Our favorite is the Fortress S02 that uses a landline or VOIP connection (think Google Voice combined with an OBi box, Vonage or a voice service from a cable TV company) to dial up to six different phone numbers when the alarm is triggered. Since the company doesn’t offer 24/7 professional monitoring,... there are no monthly fees or contracts.
The basic S02 kit comes with the following: The main control panel, five door and window sensors, two motion detectors, an 110-decibel alarm, two key fobs to activate and deactivate the system, one panic alarm, and four alarm company stickers that let potential intruders know a home security system protects your home.
Live in a huge house? You can purchase more sensors. The S02 system can support for up to 99 alarm sensors divvied up between 32 wireless zones.
02 of 07
It takes less than a minute to set up the Nest Cam, a Wi-Fi security camera by the same company that created the first smart thermostat (also called Nest).
To get started, just plug the camera into an electrical outlet and download the Nest app. After it connects to your Wi-Fi, you’ll have free access to crystal clear HD video 24/7. You'll also be able to listen to what’s going on in your abode and talk to anyone within the camera’s range. Want to control your camera using your voice? The... NEST cam works with Amazon Alexa.
To start streaming video automatically when you leave, set the camera on Home/Away Assist. Once you're out the door, the NEST Cam will send an alert to your smart device when motion or sound is detected. The message will include a photo of what triggered the event. You’ll be able to see event pictures for up to 3 hours.
For “smart” alerts you’ll need a NEST Aware subscription. The basic plan, which is the most popular option, costs around $10 per month. It comes with an advanced algorithm that fine-tunes the camera’s detection skills for identifying faces, voices and dog barking. Subscribers will also be able to save up to 240 hours of video for ten days. Need more than one surveillance camera? Consider Nest Cam’s three-camera kit.
03 of 07
If you’re looking for something that’s insanely easy to set up and doesn’t charge a monthly fee for alarm alerts, you can't beat the Canary All-in-One Home Security Device. It’s the only system on our list designed to protect your home as well as your health for no monthly fee.
To keep an eye and ear on things just set up the single device in your main living area. After plugging it into an electrical outlet, you’ll need to connect Canary to your Wi-Fi.
How does it work? Via your home's... internet connection Canary will send you a push notification when motion or sound triggers its HD camera. After viewing the live video of your home from an app on your smart device, you can determine whether to summon the police and to sound the device's 90-decibel siren.
If you’re worried about your home’s air quality, Canary’s built in HomeHealth Technology will monitor it. While the device isn't a replacement for a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, it will tip you off to airborne stuff polluting your indoor air like cooking odors or cigarette smoke.
04 of 07
Thanks to advances in wireless connectivity and camera sensors, interior security cameras are more and more affordable for those with a small budget. Better still, many budget cameras have a small form factor to keep them out of the way from prying, unwanted eyes that may enter into your home. The EZVIZ Mini O combines a quality 720p with two-way talk feature all for a very low price.
The camera is a standalone unit with a wide base that you can place on any flat surface around the home. For the... best results, use this camera in high areas in the living or family room to keep an eye on the home’s common spaces. Using the downloadable app, you can control the camera’s settings from anywhere with a wifi connection. The camera is also IFTTT-compatible, meaning you can use it with other smart devices or program your own commands for advanced automatic functionality.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
SimpliSafe made DIY home security a snap with its wireless and preprogrammed system designed to start working right out of the box without hardwiring. To get started, you’ll need to plug its hub, into an electrical outlet.
While the company offers several different systems, this particular kit includes the following pieces: A base station (hub), keypad, motion detector, keychain remote for easy arming and disarming, video camera and a total of four door and window sensors.
The base station... controls the entire security system. When triggered it signals the alarm to scare away intruders. If you opt for 24/7 professional monitoring for around $15 per month, it will also notify SimpliSafe's command center via a secure cellular connection to dispatch the police and to send you an alert via text and email. No worries if the keypad for setting the alarm gets damaged during a break in because the base station will continue to work.
Another good to know: If you want to watch the security camera from your smartphone, you'll need to opt for SimpliSafe's interactive package. It includes on-the-go mobile control through an app for both apple and android devices and 24/7 professional monitoring for around $25 per month.
06 of 07
Blink is a wireless, Wi-Fi security camera system that requires lithium double A batteries and an internet connection to operate. The company’s three-camera package is one of our favorites because it can cover a lot of square footage, for instance the first floor of a house. Each device comes with easy to install wall-mounting hardware. Need an extra camera? You can amp up your security with an add on for an additional cost.
How does it work? The cameras are equipped with built-in sensors. When... triggered by motion, three things happen immediately. The alarm goes off. An alert is sent to your smartphone. And a short video clip of the alarm event uploads to Blink’s cloud storage for your perusal. The best part, you get all this security goodness for no monthly fee.
But wait, there’s more. You can fully integrate your Blink security cameras with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. Once your cameras are enabled using the Alexa app you’ll be able to control your Blink system using your voice.
07 of 07
Keeping tabs on who is at the door when you are home or not is key to your safety. The latest version of this model lets you see who is ringing your bell from your PC, tablet or phone with its automatic doorbell alerts and motion sensor capabilities that come with a small monthly cost. The camera has a quick release rechargeable battery so no need for electrical installation.
Reviewers love the ease of installation and think the monitoring price is reasonable. This can also be used with Alexa... devices making this a great buy for anyone who has a smart-enabled home.
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