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Best DIY home security systems of 2021

Install these home security systems at home yourself -- no professional fees necessary.

DIY home security companies aren't like the ADTs and Vivints of the world. Instead of paying thousands upfront or over the course of a multiyear contract to have dozens of devices installed by professionals, you can set up your own system for a few hundred bucks. Plus, you can usually sign up for professional security system monitoring services on an optional basis and cancel at any time -- without incurring early termination fees or other hidden charges.

We've tested some of the most popular DIY options available and rounded up our picks below of the best DIY home security system options, including our most recent addition: the Ring Alarm Pro.

Want to find out if DIY is right for you? Read our DIY versus professionally installed home security systems comparison here.

The best DIY home security systems

Hobie Crase/CNET

The Ring Alarm Pro system has shaken the DIY home security market, wrapping a Wi-Fi 6 Eero router into its base device. That means you get all the basic security you'd expect from, say, SimpliSafe or Abode, but you'll also get access to all sorts of extra features, including cellular-powered backup Wi-Fi in case of power outages, network security monitoring, local processing and storage for all of your Ring devices and integration with Alexa's Guard Plus service (provided you have an Echo speaker or display).

Ring still has a troubling history when it comes to its privacy practices and policies, but the Ring Alarm Pro is undeniably one of the smartest DIY home security systems I've ever tested, and it's surprisingly well priced in a crowded market. The base system with four entry sensors, one motion detector, one Z-Wave extender and a keypad costs $300, and you can add other devices a la carte for reasonable prices.

Read our review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

SimpliSafe was one of the first DIY home security system options to hit the market and is a reasonable alternative to ADT and other professional alarm company firms. That's due in large part to this home security system's affordable cost and wide variety of accessories. You can regularly find its starter kit for around $200.

You still have to pay at least a $15 monthly fee to access any remote security features -- something that's typically offered for free with other security company systems. That said, SimpliSafe's impressive array of accessories such as key fob, additional motion sensors, smoke detector, glass break sensor, siren and solid performance for the price make it our favorite DIY home security system -- as long as basic security is all you're after.

Read our SimpliSafe Home Security System (2018) review.

 

David Priest/CNET

Wyze Home Monitoring is a standout due to its affordable cost. The base kit includes two door/window sensors, a motion detector, a keypad and a base station with a built-in siren -- and all that costs $80 (a slight increase from the original $50 price tag). Add $5 per month for professional monitoring. Or just sign up for a year of professional monitoring ($60) and get the starter kit half-off. From there, you can add cameras for around $30, sensors for under $10 and a slew of other gadgets for ridiculously cheap prices. The only real drawback: Wyze doesn't have cellular backup in case of power or internet outages.

What else did we test?

The above systems weren't the only DIY options we tested. We've also tried out Abode Iota, Frontpoint, Kangaroo and Ring Alarm -- and we hope to test Cove Security later this year. Iota was a great security system, but it wasn't able to match Simplisafe's prices. Frontpoint, meanwhile, offers great hardware at competitive prices, but its monthly $45 monitoring fees are  too much.

Budget-friendly options Kangaroo and Ring Alarm couldn't quite knock out Wyze. Kangaroo nearly matches Wyze's price, but its hardware -- especially its janky doorbell cam -- leaves something to be desired. Meanwhile, Ring Alarm, though a great deal all around, is part of a company with a troubling history when it comes to police partnerships. While Ring Alarm is neck-and-neck with Wyze, Wyze comes out on top simply because it's not carrying all the baggage that Ring is.

Still have questions? Check out this comprehensive guide to all things home security.

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