Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Ring 5-Piece Alarm Kit at Amazon
"A system that’s easy to install, customize, and monitor."
Runner Up, Best Overall: Arlo Pro 2 at Amazon
"You can even set up activity zones to help avoid false alarms."
Best Landline-Compatible: Wireless Home Security System at Amazon
"Can be set up with a landline and includes multiple arming modes."
Best Budget: Thustar Home Alarm System at Amazon
"It's an unbeatable value for such a comprehensive system."
Best for Families: Secure Alarm System Starter Pack at Walmart
"An incredibly family-friendly system that doesn't rely on a code."
Best Professional: Scout Alarm Home Security System at Amazon
"You can sign up for a monitoring plan that starts at just $10 a month."
Best Expandable: Abode Essentials Starter Kit at Amazon
"There are a variety of add-ons including smoke alarm monitors."
Best Camera System: Camera System with Motion Detection at Amazon
"Each camera has a motion detector that records a short video clip."
01 of 08
Best Overall: Ring 5-Piece Alarm Kit
For a wireless home security system that’s easy to install, customize, and monitor, one of the best options available today is the Ring Alarm Kit. The five-piece version of this DIY security system includes a base station, contact sensor, motion detector, keypad, and range extender, all of which you can control and monitor from your smartphone.
The Ring Alarm system takes just minutes to set up, and you don’t need any tools to do so. You can control the alarm right from the Ring app, and you’ll get mobile alerts if the contact sensor or motion detector goes off. Further, you can set up the system to sound a loud, startling siren if your home is breached or even activate it right from the app. This system can easily be expanded to include more contact sensors or motion detectors, as well as Ring video doorbells or security cameras.
If you want even more comprehensive protection, you can pay for 24/7 professional monitoring, which costs just $10 per month and has no long-term contract or cancellation fees. Reviewers say the whole system is incredibly easy to install and set up, and the various parts work seamlessly to give you peace of mind.
02 of 08
Runner Up, Best Overall: Arlo Pro 2
If you prefer a DIY camera system, you should consider the Arlo Pro 2, which comes with two (or more) wireless indoor/outdoor cameras. With the free Arlo subscription, you can monitor up to five cameras and access their footage for up to seven days.
The Arlo cameras deliver 1080p high-definition video and include advanced motion detection that will trigger a notification on your smartphone. You can even set up activity zones to help avoid false alarms, such as passing cars. The cameras can be plugged in, or you can power them with the rechargeable battery, and they even have two-way audio and a siren that you can control remotely to scare off intruders. Plus, the system works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more, allowing you to control your cameras using voice commands.
03 of 08
Best Landline-Compatible: Fortress Security Store Wireless Home Security Alarm System
Most wireless security systems connect to your smartphone, but if you don’t want to rely on your phone, a product like the Fortress Security Store Wireless Home Security Alarm System, which can be set up with a landline. This security kit comes with the main panel, two motion sensors, five door/window contact sensors, two key tags, a panic button, two remote fobs, and a plug-in siren.
You can monitor the Fortress Alarm System from its associated app, but you can also enable a landline that will allow the panel to call up to six phone numbers in case of an alarm. The system also includes multiple arming modes, such as “Away Alarmed” and “Home Alarmed,” so you won’t accidentally set off the motion detectors when you’re in the house.
04 of 08
Best Budget: Thustar Home Alarm System
Some of the more high-tech DIY security systems can cost several hundred dollars, and if you’re just looking to test some of the technology, you might not want to make that large commitment. Instead, consider the Thustar Home Alarm System, which doesn’t have Wi-Fi capabilities but can send alerts to your phone if you set it up with a SIM card (not included).
This inexpensive wireless alarm system includes a wall panel, two motion detectors, 10 window/door alarms, four remote controls, and a siren. All the pieces communicate with each other over a GSM network, and if you equip the control panel with a GSM SIM card, you can even receive text messages when the alarm goes off. Reviewers say this system can be a bit time-consuming and complicated to set up, but most agree it’s an unbeatable value for such a comprehensive wireless security system.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best for Families: Google Nest Secure Alarm System Starter Pack
If you have a big family, it can be tricky to teach everyone how to use a new security system. However, the Google Nest Security Alarm System is an incredibly family-friendly system, as it includes “Nest Tags” that allow you to arm and disarm the alarm without punching in the code.
This system comes with the Nest Guard, two Nest Detect Sensors, and two Nest Tags, and it can be expanded to include up to 30 devices. There are a number of ways you can arm and disarm the system, including with a passcode, with a Nest tag, or via the Nest app. The tags are great for families in particular, as they save children from having to remember a passcode, and you can sync up to 10 of them with your system. The Nest Detect Sensors are designed to sense motion up to 15 feet away, so you can point them at doors or windows, and if the system isn’t disabled, they’ll trigger the alarm.
Reviewers love that this system is both comprehensive and easy to use. Plus, you can set it up with other Nest devices, such as the brand’s popular indoor and outdoor security cameras.
06 of 08
Best Professional: Scout Alarm Home Security System
Many DIY security systems require you to monitor the alarms yourself, but if you’d prefer to have professional monitoring, be sure to look into the Scout Alarm Home Security System. With this nine-piece DIY kit, you can sign up for a monitoring plan that starts at just $10 a month with no contracts.
With the Scout Alarm System, you get a hub, a door panel and key fobs, five window sensors, and two motion sensors, as well as two window stickers and a yard sign. You can set up the system in minutes—no tools necessary—and it’s easy to sync additional sensors or indoor cameras. You can monitor the system right from your smartphone, or opt into one of the monitoring plans. Plus, the Scout system has integrations with a number of other smart home brands, including Alexa, Nest, Philips Hue, and more.
07 of 08
Best Expandable: Abode Essentials Starter Kit
One of the great things about DIY security systems is that you can add more pieces as needed, and one of the best systems in terms of expandability is the Abode Starter Kit. The base package comes with the main gateway, a door/window sensor, a motion sensor, and a remote key fob, but you can add on a variety of other sensors and alarms to suit your home.
With the Abode system, you can choose to monitor it yourself or opt into a professional monitoring plan. The system has cellular and battery backups in case of power outages, and there are a variety of additional sensors you can add to your system, including everything from security cameras, glass-break sensors, smoke alarm monitors, water leak sensors, and more. Reviewers say this system is extremely high-quality and easy to set up, and many note the app and website interface are beautifully designed and useful.
08 of 08
Best Camera System: Blink Indoor Home Security Camera System with Motion Detection
Security cameras are a key part of any home security system, and one top-rated DIY camera system is from Blink. These compact, wireless cameras can be mounted just about anywhere in your home, and you can monitor their footage straight from your phone, getting alerts if anything is ever amiss.
The Blink Indoor Home Security System includes three cameras and a sync module, as well as mounting kits of each of the battery-powered cameras. You’ll be able to keep an eye on your home with 720p HD video, and each camera has a motion detector that records a short video clip and sends you a notification when triggered. This system has no monthly subscription fee, includes free cloud storage for up to two hours of footage, and is easy to expand to include more cameras if needed.
What to Look for in a Home Security System
Some home security systems add extra peace of mind by offering an additional monitoring service. The upside is that if there is an intruder, the service can intervene quickly and call the police if necessary. On the downside, you can expect to pay an additional monthly fee for monitoring and it often (but not always) means signing a contract for a year or more. Other home security systems skip professional monitoring in favor of features such as smartphone alerts and self-activated sirens.
Smart Home Compatibility
Many of today’s home security systems are built with tech integrations that allow the system to work with popular smart home platforms such as Google Home, Nest, and Amazon Alexa. Taking advantage of smart home compatible security systems can boost your confidence that your home is safe and secure and allow you to automate certain functions of your home’s security protocol.
With a video-enabled security system you will get a live look at your home anytime and from anywhere, or receive real-time alerts when your home security system detects an unusual event. Some cameras will continuously record surveillance footage and upload it to a cloud server, while others save battery life and storage space by only recording motion-triggered events.