Keep your home and your family safe with the best self monitored home security systems of 2020. Our guide can help you shop smarter. If the phrase “home security” makes you think of pricy subscription plans and remote operators relaying your alerts to emergency services, you’re a little behind the curve. The increased connectivity of the modern world and the flexibility and availability of wireless security cameras have made the premise of a self monitored home security system more affordable and more effective than ever before.
We’ve identified 12 of the best self monitored home security systems available in 2020. But the best self monitored home security system is about more than just good equipment. It requires an understanding of what your property needs and a grasp of strong self monitoring strategies. That’s why we’ve created a guide to help you understand the best ways to shop for an install a security system.
- The Best Self Monitored Home Security Systems
- 1. Ring Alarm Home Security System
- 2. Arlo Pro 2 – Wireless Home Security Camera
- 3. Canary Monitoring Security Camera
- 4. Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security
- 5. Nest Secure guard Alarm System
- 6. abode DIY Wireless Home Security System
- 7. Fortress Security Monitoring System
- 8. Samsung SmartThings ADT Smart Alarm
- 9. Scout Alarm Home Security System
- 10. Reolink Argus 2 Security Camera
- 11. iSmartAlarm Home Security
- 12. SimpliSafe Home Security System
- Best Self Monitored Home Security Systems Buyer’s Guide
The Best Self Monitored Home Security Systems
1. Ring Alarm Home Security System
Ring was one of the first home automated security companies to break out big in the age of smart homes, and their ease of use and versatility continues to make them one of the biggest players in the game. $200 gets you a simple five piece system that's easy to install and easy on the eyes, and it works seamlessly in conjunction with Amazon Alexa. If you want a basic home security system that integrates comfortably with the technology that you already use in your everyday life, this is one of the best self install home security systems you'll find. And the modular design means you can customize the system as your needs change.
2. Arlo Pro 2 – Wireless Home Security Camera
Finding a good home alarm system is all about finding the balance between ease of use and customization, and Arlo's monitoring system leans more towards the latter. The cameras are modular in design, and compatibility with IFTTT, Samsung SmartThing, and Arlo Smart allows you to get sophisticated with how they work together. That includes the ability to assign smart zones, control range of movement, and set alerts for detecting people. And your phone's lock screen serves conveniently as your smart home monitoring dashboard. These cameras offer a 300 foot line of sight and work both indoors and outdoors for more comprehensive usage.
3. Canary Monitoring Security Camera
A good self monitoring system can be expensive, and while there's an advantage to buying comprehensive setups, sometimes you just need something simple. The Canary offers just that. This single camera system is available for right around $50, and it's a great choice if you're looking for a baby monitoring, apartment door security, or a way to keep an eye on an elderly parent. It can stream camera footage directly to a video-enabled Alexa device, and it triggers in responsive to ambient light or motion. In the case of an emergency, the app gives you access to one touch emergency calling.
The Blink XT2 was designed as Amazon's Ring killer before they bought the company out, and that means that you can get a great deal on this now defunct remote home monitoring system if you know where to look. Functionally, it's very similar to the Ring in design. It's intended to be mounted over your front door and serve as a way to keep an eye on anyone approaching. A two way speaker allows it to double as an intercom, but if you want to link multiple models together into a more comprehensive security system, you have the option. These self monitored security devices work indoors and outdoors and can be split into distinct zones.
5. Nest Secure guard Alarm System
Nest may be known for their smart thermometers, but they make a variety of different products that are designed to work in close integration with your existing smart home system. Their dedicated home monitoring systems offer everything you need for a little less than $250, and you don't need to be a technical pro to get everything up and running. This is a system that allows you to easily set up an alarm system that works for you. A number of convenient preset modes allow you to set up scheduling and permissions without having to be a veteran tech guru.
6. abode DIY Wireless Home Security System
Adobe's whole policy is about creating affordable DIY security systems that people with no mechanical experience can get up and running quickly, the the Essentials pack is the most fully realized vision of that philosophy yet. Professional monitoring is available but not required, and the whole system can be put together in a matter of minutes. Best of all, all of your monitoring is handled in the cloud. Compatibility with both a proprietary app and web portal allow you to control this self monitoring home security system more easily, and it comes with a powerful siren to ward off potential intruders.
7. Fortress Security Monitoring System
The Fortress self monitoring security system gives you a lot for a little. Despite coming with a ton of different sensors and multiple fobs for activating your system directly, it will only set you back a little over $100. Fobs and key tags allow you to activate or deactivate your security system manually, but these self monitored alarm systems can also coordinate with the proprietary MyFortress app so you can receive alerts and control your monitoring right through your phone. In an especially nice touch, this system comes with an intercom so your family can easily get in touch with you even when you're away.
8. Samsung SmartThings ADT Smart Alarm
Samsung has been steadily developing one of the most expansive and interesting smart home ecosystems with their SmartThings line. If you already have SmartThings products in your home or are interesting in home automation, this ADT WiFi security system kit is a great place to start. But SmartThings can provide you with same home security features even if more expansive automation isn't really your thing. ADT offers some of the best 24/7 monitoring in the business, and the wealth of different protocols that this system uses to connect to your devices means that you'll never have to worry about your security system going dark.
9. Scout Alarm Home Security System
Scout isn't the cheapest alarm monitoring system you'll find, but it's easily one of the most thorough. This system can provide you with all the security you need for homes larger than 2000 square feet, and the ability to buy extra sensors piecemeal allows you to put together the exact self monitored alarm system that you want. The options for setting custom alarms here are dense, and Scout automatically sends notifications for any suspicious behavior directly to your home so you can decide whether or not it warrants a all to the authorities. It offers you a lot of options without requiring any technical knowledge.
10. Reolink Argus 2 Security Camera
Reolink's Argus 2 system may offer fewer components than most of the home alarm monitoring systems on our list, but it offers one thing that very few security systems do: charge itself on solar power. Whether you're looking to go green or simply find a more reliable alternative in the case of a power outage, it's well-equipped to serve your needs. The camera here is exceptional as well. The magnetic mount makes it incredibly easy to install, and it's a very portable security camera. The video delivered comes across in a crystal clear 1080p resolution and even offers a night vision function for safe home security in any situation.
11. iSmartAlarm Home Security
iSmartAlarm is one of the biggest names in the home security business, and this cheap security system is thorough while also being highly adaptable to modular expansion. You get a remote tag, motion sensor, and multiple door and window sensors, but building out a security system from that base is as simple as just buying more standalone components like indoor security cameras from the iSmartAlarm catalog. It's also highly customizable. Monitoring is available through any Android and iPhone device, and it's also compatible with Alexa. But the real advantage here is the diverse variety of things you can accomplish due to the IFTTT compatibility on display.
12. SimpliSafe Home Security System
SimpliSafe offers the total package as far as wireless security systems go. This 9 piece kit offers all of the sensors you need to keep your doors and windows secured as well as a high-quality camera for more hands on surveillance. And while the mobile app offers you easy access to notifications and security logs, this is also a wireless security system with a monitor, so you can control everything without needing to use your phone. Safeguards are in place to make sure that this system continues to work even if your Wi-Fi network or power go out, and it's a system smart enough to avoid the most common false positives.
Best Self Monitored Home Security Systems Buyer’s Guide
DIY security systems can often be installed in a matter of minutes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require planning. It’s just that the planning process is more about reflecting on what you need for your particular situation. We’re here to help you determine that.
Cameras vs. Camera-less Systems
Wireless security systems usually come in one of two flavors. Camera-less systems will employ a combination of a general motion sensor and further motion sensors that can be placed on your important windows and doors. The latter trigger when they recognize someone in range of the portal and often have a special trigger to determine whether it’s open or closed. The general motion sensor is intended to be placed at a critical choke point to register movement in case the door or window sensors fail you.
Camera systems are generally more expensive, but they offer you far more comprehensive monitoring. Motion detectors, particularly those with sirens attached, can be a deterrent for thieves and a great protective measure for when your family is at home. But it can be hard to identify a potential false positive when you’re at work and receive a notification on a sensor-only security system. Most modern cameras offer real time streams that can tell you exactly what’s going on at your house and provide identifying evidence for police.
Finding the Right Size System
Whether you decide on a system that only uses sensors or one that makes use of cameras, your goal isn’t to cover every inch of your house with surveillance. That’s expensive, obtrusive, and unnecessary. Instead, your objective should be to make sure that all of the critical access points in your home are protected.
Thieves almost always access a home through either first story windows, the front door, or the back door. That means that placing door or window sensors on all of your first floor access points is important. If you’re only working with a single camera, you’ll probably want to place it over your front door. This allows for it to functionally double as a video peephole for your front door. Just make sure that they’re weatherproofed if they’re going to be used outdoors.
If you have multiple doors leading into your home and aren’t looking to mount them all with cameras, you should be strategic with your placement, and placing your camera indoors can be a great choice. Consider the location of your valuables and the layout of your home, and try to put yourself in the mind of a criminal.
Many homes will necessitate a thief cross through a given room to have any reasonable access to your important valuables and an upper floor. Placing a camera there can help you maximize your space without littering your property with cameras.
Whatever you do, you’ll want to make use of the full range of the camera. Many cameras rotate to provide a much wider periphery, but even if they don’t, being smart is important. Cameras with a field of vision of 75 degrees or less can focus on a very narrow area, so they should be focused on important chokepoints that thieves can’t simply move around. Make sure they’re placed high and ideally in a discreet position so they can’t be damaged easily by would be burglars.
Considering Your Home Automation System
If you’re interested in home automation, chances are that your security system isn’t going to be the only smart device in your house. It makes more sense to evaluate your existing voice assistant rather than looking at a security system first and then looking at what VAs it’s compatible with. Google Assistant and Alexa are the two most popular options, but the Samsung SmartThings system could be worth a purchase on the quality and breadth of its ecosystem alone.
If you’re really serious about automating every aspect of your life, you should consider a home security setup that supports IFTTT. It requires a little more research and technical knowledge, but IFTTT comes with a number of pre-made applets that allow you to get really complex with your integrations, and those with the willingness to learn can even design their own.
Determining if a Subscription Plan is Right For You
One of the big advantages of a DIY system is that they don’t require the investment in an expensive monthly subscription plan, but subscription services come with their advantages. If you want a professional monitoring system, you’ll always have to cough up a monthly fee. Keep an eye towards companies that offer support from well-established brands like ADT if pro monitoring is important to you.
But professional monitoring isn’t the only perk that comes from subscription plan security systems monitors. Some companies require a subscription for some self monitoring features like video archiving and access to the companion app. If a security system offers a subscription service, be sure to carefully evaluate what comes with each tier so you don’t find yourself having to pay a monthly fee you aren’t comfortable with to get the services you need.
DIY home alarm systems offer a flexible and inexpensive alternative to more traditional security systems, and most of them can be installed with a surprising lack of technical knowledge. We’re sure that regardless of your particular situation, you can find a system that fits your needs on our list.