With the recent technological upgrades to home security systems, there's never been a better time to set yours up. Whether you want to explore some of the established security companies like, or you're thinking bout a DIY alternative such as and , there are tons of excellent (and affordable) options. Selecting a home security system is a serious decision with lots to consider though, and CNET is here to help you find the best setup for your home's needs.
More competition in the home security space makes for more internet-connected gadgets like, and with motion detection. But it also brings new vulnerabilities, including an increased .
It's definitely a lot to take in, and today's home security providers don't always make it easy to comparison shop.
That's where we come in. We've put security systems to the test -- from top-of-the-line monitored systems with professional installation to wallet-friendly DIY alternatives that include a home security camera (or cameras) and smart home devices monitored via smartphone app -- and we'll be updating this article as we go based on hands-on experience.
Keep this page bookmarked and check back as we expand it to include a deep dive into all the best home security system options for 2022.
Comcast Xfinity Home security is a terrific, accessible and affordable service, which is largely why we gave it an 8 out of 10 in our review. It could cost you thousands less than comparable setups from direct competitors like Vivint and ADT, it works with plenty of third-party smart home gadgets and it doesn't require a contract. If you can get around Comcast's pressure to bundle with their other services (you don't have to do it!) and the service's limited home automation capabilities, this home security system will treat you well.
Ring's Alarm Pro system has changed the DIY home security game, wrapping a Wi-Fi 6 Eero router into its base device. Not only do you get reliable security performance, but you'll also get access to all sorts of extra features, including cellular-powered backup Wi-Fi, 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). Considering all the bells and whistles, the Ring Alarm Pro received an impressive score of 9/10 in our review.
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 still competitively priced in a crowded market.
We've tested the SimpliSafe system a number of times and most recently gave it a review score of 8.5 out of 10. If you're just looking for home security -- without all the extra Wi-Fi and smart home integrations of the Ring Alarm Pro -- SimpliSafe's easy-to-install, easy-to-use DIY system is a great option. It offers a comprehensive set of features, including security equipment like security cameras and a very good mix of battery-powered motion detection sensors, all of which performed reliably well in our tests. Starter kits begin at less than $200, or you can build your own custom alarm system with the exact mix of devices you're interested in. The security company's professional monitoring plan starts at $15 a month, but you'll almost certainly want to spring for the $25-a-month monitoring service plan, which adds in things like mobile app controls and smart home security system voice support via Alexa and Google Assistant.
Vivint is a lot more expensive than Comcast Xfinity -- and received a lower review score of 7.7 due in part to the high upfront costs -- but if money is less of a concern than smart home integration, it's worth considering. Vivint gives you a super-polished experience with nice third-party device integrations -- and it doesn't require a contract. With monthly monitoring ranging from $30 to $45 a month, it's comparable month-to-month with Xfinity.
Like SimpliSafe, Wyze allows you to build your a custom security system that meets your home's specific needs. A home monitoring subscription starts at either $10 a month ($100 annually), which also includes the required Wyze Sense Hub for free. From there, you can add motion sensors, cameras, keypads, video doorbells and more. Or you could opt for the Home Security bundle at Amazon, which includes a v3 camera, two door/window sensors, a motion detector, a keypad and the Sense Hub, as well as a six-month monitoring subscription for less than $150. The only real drawback: Wyze doesn't have cellular backup in case of power or internet outages. Perhaps that feature will come with time, but for now, we give the Wyze Home Monitoring system a solid 8.4 out of 10.
What (and how) we tested
Besides the systems above, we've tested many of the top competitors, including, , , , , and . Abode and Abode's all-in-one security camera Iota were both solid contenders that couldn't quite match SimpliSafe's price, but they're worth checking out if you're interested in DIY smart home systems for small spaces or systems that don't require monitoring subscriptions. Ring Alarm is another solid DIY option, but the company's tip us away from recommending it -- especially when a company like Wyze offers such a strong, budget-friendly alternative.
DIY systems Frontpoint, Cove and Kangaroo all had features to recommend them.is reliable and its hardware is reasonably priced, but its $45 monthly monitoring fee is too expensive. , by contrast, is incredibly wallet-friendly but its doorbell camera is terrible, so Wyze keeps its edge in the budget category too. , despite reasonable hardware prices, fell to an overly restrictive subscription model that doesn't allow for self-monitoring or app access without significant monthly fees.
ADT, one of the biggest brands we've tested, was broadly disappointing. It's too expensive, requires a contract and the app is clunky. We've tested, too, though we've removed the system from consideration since the company stopped installing it for new customers.
We have yet to test Brinks Home and ADT Blue, though we hope to include those in our consideration in the coming months.
For each system we test, we install it ourselves (or have the company install it, in the case of professional systems) like any customer would. From there, we spend a week at minimum testing the system, device-by-device and as a whole. Our ranking prioritizes value, but also takes into heavy consideration the quality of hardware, service and general user experience (things like ease of use and number for false alarms are key). For more thorough information on any of the recommended security systems above, please read the full reviews.
Home security system FAQs
Do I have to sign a contract for home security?
Contracts are sometimes required for professional home monitoring or to qualify for free equipment, so service from home security providers like ADT, Vivint and Xfinity may include one. That said, it's usually possible to avoid contracts if you pay upfront -- and other home security companies like Ring, SimpliSafe and Wyze offer DIY home security solutions that never require one.
What's the best home security camera?
Arlo, Nest and Wyze cameras are our top picks for the best home security cameras, but the best one for your home depends on your needs. Be sure to consider price, Wi-Fi connectivity, indoor/outdoor functionality as well as compatibility with other smart home devices and security services when choosing.
How do I set up a home security system?
Some home security systems come with professional installation, so you can rely on the company to install and set up your system. Others, including many DIY systems, may require self-installation and setup. These systems should come with detailed instructions, and they're often easy to set up. In most cases, you can simply place or mount the devices where desired, then connect them to your Wi-Fi and other smart home devices (if compatible) via app.