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Article updated on May 15, 2024 at 7:41 AM PDT

Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2024

You don't need a professionally monitored system to keep your home safe. Assemble your own DIY home security system with our top picks.

Our Experts

Written by 
Tyler Lacoma,
Macy Meyer
David Anders
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Tyler Lacoma Editor / Home Security
For more than 10 years Tyler has used his experience in smart home tech to craft how-to guides, explainers, and recommendations for technology of all kinds. From using his home in beautiful Bend, OR as a testing zone for the latest security products to digging into the nuts and bolts of the best data privacy guidelines, Tyler has experience in all aspects of protecting your home and belongings. With a BA in Writing from George Fox and certification in Technical Writing from Oregon State University, he's ready to get you the details you need to make the best decisions for your home. On off hours, you can find Tyler exploring the Cascade trails, finding the latest brew in town with some friends, or trying a new recipe in the kitchen!
Expertise Smart home | Smart security | Home tech | Energy savings | A/V
Macy Meyer Editor I
Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn't writing, she's volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.
Expertise Macy covers a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, smart home tech, fitness, nutrition, travel, lifestyle and more. Credentials
  • Macy has been working for CNET for coming on 2 years. Prior to CNET, Macy received a North Carolina College Media Association award in sports writing.
David Anders Senior Writer
David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products. Prior to joining CNET, David built his industry expertise writing for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. In his 5 plus years covering broadband, David's work has been referenced by a variety of sources including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. David is from and currently resides in the Charlotte area with his wife, son and two cats.
Expertise Broadband providers | Home internet | Security Cameras
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What to consider

Equipment and installation

More robust systems can be pricey and harder to setup.

Smart home compatibility

If you plan to use Google Assistant or Alexa, be sure to buy a compatible system.

Costs, upfront and ongoing

Security system costs often include monthly fees.

Our Picks

$250 at Amazon
amazon-ring-q4-23-holiday-gg-images-0002-alarm
Best overall DIY home security system
Ring Alarm Kit (2nd-gen)
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$300 at Amazon
a Ring Alarm Pro base station next to a fruit bowl
Best DIY home security system with router
Ring Alarm Pro
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$256 at SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe home security
Best basic DIY home security system
SimpliSafe Home Security
View details
50% off + Wireless Indoor Camera
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$200 at Best Buy
arlo-home-security-system-finger-on-button
Best apartment-friendly DIY home security system
Arlo Home Security
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$160 at Abode
Abode devices like the hub, motion detector, and key fob stand on white shelves against a white background.
Best DIY home security system for existing smart homes
Abode Smart Security Kit
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What is the best overall DIY home security system?

Home security systems can be very helpful in protecting your home, but they can be overwhelming to shop. Some systems are complicated to install and can be very expensive. You don't need professionally installed systems to keep your home safe. In the past seven years, we've spent hundreds of hours testing the best DIY home security systems, ranging from Ring to SimpliSafe and more. Our top pick is the eight-piece, second-generation Ring Alarm Kit -- it is reliable, affordable and expandable to your needs.

If you live in an apartment, don't worry; we've got DIY home security systems for apartments, too. We also have options for people who already have a lot of smart home tech, along with tips on what to look for when you shop. If you want to start a little smaller, check out our lists of the best indoor security cameras and outdoor security cameras, as well as our rundown on the cheapest home cameras. See below to learn more about the best DIY home security systems for you.

A quick note about DIY: In this context, DIY means that you pick out products yourself and install them yourself, handling both the physical hardware and setup via the app. Although these DIY systems are often wireless and may use quick installation options like adhesive, that’s not guaranteed for every system, although it’s true of many of our picks below. You won’t have to arrange for a professional to visit your home or give you a quote to take advantage of these systems, and they won’t lock you into any contract. Subscriptions, although they add some important features, aren’t required here.

Best DIY home security systems of 2024

$250 at Amazon

Best overall DIY home security system

Ring Alarm Kit (2nd-gen)

This eight-piece Ring Alarm system offers an excellent kit for smaller homes at a reasonable price, with a reliable platform that can easily connect to any Amazon Echo or Alexa devices you may have (if you choose a subscription). The kit includes a base station, a keypad for arming/disarming, four contact sensors for guarding various entry points, a motion detector and a range extender if your Wi-Fi network doesn’t quite reach the outskirts of your home where you’d like to place sensors.

Ring’s app offers a simple setup process that first-timers shouldn’t have much difficulty with. If you’d like to add other devices over time, Ring products like a Ring video doorbell or a Ring security camera will happily work with your app and may connect to the hub as well. Other smart home products may not be as compatible -- parent company Amazon prefers to keep Ring within its own ecosystem of products, so integrations with platforms like Google Assistant aren’t possible.

Finally, the Ring Protect plan offers a few extras at its lowest tier, but things get much more interesting at the $20 per month Pro plan, which adds home monitoring that can be a valuable add-on for those who want professional responses during emergencies.

Editors' choice
$300 at Amazon

Best DIY home security system with router

Ring Alarm Pro

The Ring Alarm Pro is similar to our top Ring Alarm pick but with a few key differences. It’s more expensive, and the primary reason is its included Eero Wi-Fi 6 router. For some people, that’s great: Wi-Fi 6 is the latest router standard that many people still haven’t upgraded to, and you don’t have to worry about choosing a new router separately. For others who have a preferred router brand or already have a Wi-Fi 6 router, the Pro package presents a problem, because some features won’t work without this particular router.

Otherwise, the Pro system includes a keypad, four contact sensors and a motion sensor as well as an alarm range extender (although the kit doesn’t include alarm sensors so you’ll need to buy these separately). Again, it’s a great package for Alexa users and those who are interested in adding more Ring or Amazon products down the road.

Editors' choice
$256 at SimpliSafe

Best basic DIY home security system

SimpliSafe Home Security

50% off + Wireless Indoor Camera

SimpliSafe was one of the first DIY home security systems 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. SimpliSafe makes a variety of different starter kits that usually start at around $250, and you can often get them for less through discounts. 

SimpliSafe's impressive array of accessories such as indoor and outdoor security cameras, key fob, additional motion sensors, smoke detectors, glass break sensors, siren and solid performance for the price makes it an easy choice. A subscription plan is necessary to get all features, and those start at around $10 per month for self-monitoring.

$200 at Best Buy

Best apartment-friendly DIY home security system

Arlo Home Security

Arlo, the maker of one of our favorite outdoor security cameras, introduced its home security system in 2022 and it immediately stood out for its All-in-One sensors. While most home security sensors serve a single purpose such as motion or sound detection, the Arlo All-in-One sensors are capable of eight different detection functions. The sensors can detect motion and sounds such as smoke or CO alarms, plus changes in ambient light or temperature. That's great if you have a small place like an apartment, dorm or bedroom and want quick sensor placement that can do a little of everything, anywhere.

If you want to go bigger, it's easy to customize the system by adding Arlo cams or doorbells that will also work with the hub. You don't need an Arlo Secure plan for basic features, but if you branch out we suggest it to get extras like video storage.

$160 at Abode

Best DIY home security system for existing smart homes

Abode Smart Security Kit

The Abode Smart Security kit is slightly smaller than our other picks, providing a hub, one mini door/window sensor, a motion sensor and a key fob. However, you can easily purchase separate sensor packs to expand it, and even its slimmed-down kit offers serious advantages. Notably, it’s one of the few DIY systems that works well with Apple’s Home app and Siri. That’s only the beginning of Abode’s smart home integration, which also supports numerous products from Sonos, Bose, Yale, Schlage, Philips Hue, Ecobee and many more. That makes it the perfect fit for someone who already has a family of (random) smart devices to link up.

Abode’s standard subscription plan includes video storage and enables much of that smart home integration, so we highly suggest considering it. The much more expensive Pro plan gives you professional home monitoring but not many other notable additions.

DIY home security systems compared

Best DIY home security systemsRing Alarm (2nd-gen)Ring Alarm ProSimpliSafe (8-piece set)Arlo Home SecurityAbode Smart
System price $200$300$256$200$260
Monitoring price $20/month$20/month$20/month$25/month$25/month
Starter equipment Door/window sensors, motion detectors, a keypad, a siren and optional professional monitoring subscriptionsEero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router, door/window sensors, motion detectors, a keypad, a siren and optional professional monitoring subscriptions1 base station, 1 keypad, 1 motion sensor, 3 entry sensors1 keypad control panel, 2 All-in-One sensors1 base station, two mini door/window sensors, 1 glass break sensor, 1 motion sensor, 1 key fob
Contract required? NoNoNoNoNo
Extra features Cellular-powered backup Wi-Fi, network security monitoring, local processing, storage for all of your Ring devicesCellular-powered backup Wi-Fi, network security monitoring, local processing, storage for all of your Ring devicesCustomizable system, built-in Wi-Fi and cellular, integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant24/7 emergency response, smart interactive notifications, cellular and battery backup, integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant24/7 emergency response, smart detect notifications, cellular and battery backup, integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri, broad smart home compatibility
Review score N/A98.5N/A7.9

Factors to consider when choosing a DIY home security system

When selecting a home security system, the first decision to consider is usually whether you want a DIY or a pro system. Since you're here, you've probably already decided to go the DIY route, so here are some more parameters to consider when shopping around for home security systems.

Equipment and installation

Do you just need to keep watch over your entryways? A good video doorbell for your front door and an outdoor camera covering the back may be all you need; easy to install and monitor yourself. If you want to keep closer tabs on your home inside and out with 24/7 monitoring and quick access to emergency response services, you'll want a more robust system. Most DIY (and professional brands too) offer home security bundles with most, if not all, of the equipment you'd need to get started and the ability to add single devices as needed.

Smart home compatibility

Most home security devices are compatible with Alexa and Google Home smart hubs, but if you prefer Apple HomeKit or another smart home ecosystem, you may have to do a bit more shopping and comparing to find a system compatible with your existing smart home devices. Don't fret over compatibility too much, as Matter will make it easier to connect previously incompatible devices.

Costs, upfront and ongoing

We listed "cost" last here for a reason. A complete home security system will likely cost you at least a couple of hundred bucks, so be prepared for that. There's the potential to spend lots more on equipment, or a lot less; you can find cameras for under $30.

Find your budget range and compare systems in that range across brands. For a home security kit, most starter bundles fall in the same range. If you're comfortable with self-monitoring, DIY systems may not come with any ongoing costs. Monthly subscriptions (without a contract) for cloud storage, enhanced features and possibly even professional monitoring are typically an option with DIY systems, often for lower monthly fees than professional services.

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How we test home security systems

Hands-on testing is core to our evaluations of any home security products. In short, when it comes to home security systems, we pay special attention to the user experience, the promised features, reliability and overall value, along with a few other elements. We do the testing in a real home environment over at least a full week. If you want to read more about our review process, check out our in-depth article on how we test home security systems and services.

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Other DIY home security systems we tested

The above systems weren't the only DIY options we explored. Here are other competitive security systems we took a look at, and why they didn't quite make our list.

Cove: Cove’s standard lineup is fine, but its generic quality struggled to compete with our picks. If you can’t really find what you’re looking for on our list, stop by Cove to check how its kits fit.

Lorex: Lorex is an excellent home security option for those who prefer sticking with local storage. It is a bit expensive compared to other DIY systems and may require working with its somewhat clunky recorder.

Frontpoint: Frontpoint has a strong array of kits, but like ADT, its massive home monitoring fees (starting at $50) are too difficult to recommend.

Kangaroo: Kangaroo has budget-friendly systems but struggles with design quality. If you want to save as much money as possible, you may want to give it a try.

Wyze: Wyze offers a great starter home kit, but its current security flaws keep it off our list for now.

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DIY home security system FAQs

How do I choose the best DIY home security system?

There are a few considerations to take into account when choosing the right DIY home security system. 

Obviously, cost -- both upfront for equipment and potential ongoing subscription fees for monitoring or storage -- is one of the main factors when choosing a home security setup. A starter system may only begin at $100, especially if you find it on sale. Others can set you back $200 to $300 or more, and the price could inflate even higher with each sensor, camera or alarm you add. Adding another layer of complication to the equation: Many of these systems see significant discounts throughout the year.

Speaking of adding devices, be sure to factor in the number of areas, such as doors and windows, you'll want to place a camera or sensor when choosing a DIY security kit. Some DIY security systems may come with a base and one or two sensors while others, like the Ring Alarm Pro, come with four sensors, a motion sensor and a range extender. 

Higher-priced DIY security systems are likely to come with more devices, plus lots of useful features and compatibility with other smart home devices, which is something else you'll want to consider when choosing a DIY home security system. Review our factors guide above to learn more.

Finally, you'll want to consider local versus subscription storage and monitoring options. A DIY Ring system, for example, could offer several monitoring and data storage options for an added monthly cost that isn't available with other devices. On the other hand, if you'd rather monitor your home security system and handle data storage yourself, many devices allow you to do so at no extra cost.

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Is it better to have professional home security service over a DIY version?

A DIY home security system certainly has its advantages, like lower pricing and simple self-installation, but professional security has its perks. While DIY systems are typically easy to install and set up, you won't have to worry about any of that when a professional system is installed by an experienced technician. 

Professional systems are generally more expensive than DIY but may come with lower upfront costs. It's possible to get free or discounted equipment and free installation with a professional system but keep in mind that you may also have to sign a one- or two-year contract.

Signing a contract is unfortunate, but the level of monitoring, support and warranties may be worth it. While DIY systems often come with warranties, monitoring options and technical support on their own, professional services are likely going to deliver a more hassle-free experience if you're willing to pay for it. 

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How much do DIY home security systems cost?

A DIY security system can cost $60 to $400 or more depending on the brand and model you buy and where you purchase it. For a higher cost example, SimpliSafe's 10-piece DIY home security system lists for $388 on its website. Those prices can go much higher if you opt for all the bells and whistles the service offers.

Like with any addition or upgrade to your home, you'll want to evaluate the costs, and what you get for the money when choosing a DIY security system for your home. It's easy for the cost of a DIY system to add up, but keep in mind that choosing a cheaper system that doesn't meet your needs may not be worth your while either.

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