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Best DIY home security systems to buy in 2021

Want to avoid professional installation fees? You can install these home security systems at home yourself.

Looking for more affordable home security system options? Try installing one yourself. 

DIY home security companies aren't like the ADTs and Vivints of the world. Instead of paying thousands up front 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 dollars. Plus, you can usually sign up for professional monitoring services on an optional basis and cancel at any time -- without incurring security system early termination fees or other hidden charges.

We've tested some of the most popular DIY options on the market and rounded up our picks below of the best DIY home security system options available now. 

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

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 --, but SimpliSafe's impressive array of accessories such as key fob, additional motion sensors, smoke detector, glass break sensor, siren and solid performance make it our top pick overall for a DIY alarm system.

Read our SimpliSafe Home Security System (2018) review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Abode has all of the standard sensors (motion sensor, door sensor, entry sensor, window sensor, etc.) and devices for an easy entry-level security system. It integrates with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT for voice-enabled arming and disarming of the alarm system, as well as other advanced automations. You can add many accessories such as a key fob, security camera, smoke detector to the system a la carte. A professional monitoring plan is available for $20 per month and includes cellular backup. 

This home security system also supports Zigbee and Z-Wave, which means you can connect the system to a wide variety of third-party smart home devices so you can control everything from within the Abode app.

Read our Abode 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 just 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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