X

Best Home Security Systems of 2024

You're options for home security in 2024 are overwhelming. We've tested all the top systems to help make it simple. Here are the best systems for home protection including the best DIY system, the best budget buy and more.

Updated Feb. 14, 2024 5:45 a.m. PT

screenshot-2024-01-19-at-9-12-19am.png
Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Written by  Tyler Lacoma Ry Crist
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
screenshot-2024-01-19-at-9-12-19am.png
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
Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET
16171819202122232425+
Years of Experience
14151617181920212223
Hands-on Product Reviewers
6,0007,0008,0009,00010,00011,00012,00013,00014,00015,000
Sq. Feet of Lab Space

CNET’s expert staff reviews and rates dozens of new products and services each month, building on more than a quarter century of expertise. Read how we test products and services.

See at Xfinity
xfinity-home-app
Best professional home security system
Comcast Xfinity Home
View details
View details
See at Vivint
vivint-2021-3
Best professional home security system to use with smart home hubs
Vivint Smart Home
View details
View details
See at SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe home security system: sensors, keypad, and home hub
Best basic DIY home security system
SimpliSafe
View details
View details
$380 at Amazon
The 8-piece Ring security system with devices shown against a blue background.
Best DIY home security system
Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit (2nd-gen)
View details
View details
See at Abode
Abode devices like the hub, motion detector, and key fob stand on white shelves against a white background.
Best budget home security system
Abode Wireless Smart Security Kit
View details
View details

What is the best overall home security system?

If you prefer to bypass the piecemeal approach to home security and buy a full set of sensors, cams and even video doorbells, whole home security systems come in various packages to suit your needs. Comcast Xfinity Home is currently our top-rated, professionally installed home security system due to its affordable service, no-contract options and compatibility with dozens of third-party smart home gadgets, from smart locks to smart thermostats. For folks looking to spend less and who are happy setting up a system themselves, DIY is the clear choice. From our hours of testing, the best DIY home security system is the Ring Alarm Pro (2nd-gen) starter kit. This affordable system features reliable security performance but also extra bells and whistles and easy ways to expand the system if you plan on building it out.

Whether you go the DIY home security route or opt for a professionally installed setup, choosing the right security system can be complex. Security systems are a maze of different specs and raise compatibility questions, and research is difficult when so many details in the fine print. That's where we come in. With more than 100 hours of testing the latest smart home systems and much more reviewing compatible security products, we're ready to compare brands like Ring, SimpliSafe and Wyze as well as professional monitoring services from ADT, Vivint and others. This guide is intended to provide you with the best options for home security systems along with advice on how to pick the right bundle.

If you're curious about expanding your security system in the future or investigating alternatives, find our recommendations for popular smart home security gadgets like indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells and smart locks.

Best home security systems of 2024

Editors' choice
Show less
See at Xfinity

Best professional home security system

Comcast Xfinity Home

Comcast Xfinity Home is a terrific, accessible and affordable service, which is 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, works with plenty of third-party smart home gadgets and doesn't require a contract.

Xfinity's base home system currently starts at $360, including a touchscreen hub, three access point sensors for doors and windows and a motion sensor for key points inside a home. You can also add other devices like an Xfinity camera, thermostat or smoke detector -- but we suggest making use of the strong third-party support instead. Xfinity's system can work with August, Yale, Lifx, Ecobee, Philips Hue and other smart home brands, so you have plenty of options. Subscription packages are divided into self-monitoring and professional monitoring tiers, with the $10 per month self monitoring giving you Wi-Fi, third-party support, and app control. That makes it a requirement to use this system, so we suggest planning for at least the lower tier.

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.

Show expert take Show less
See at Vivint

Best professional home security system to use with smart home hubs

Vivint Smart Home

Vivint gives you a super-polished experience with third-party device integrations -- and it doesn't require a contract. The starter package includes only a touchscreen and a couple of sensors, but Vivint works well with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa and can integrate devices from brands like Google Nest, Amazon Echo and plenty more. That's great news if you'd like to add a compatible smart garage door, video doorbell or security camera system, but on your terms and timing. And if third-party device integration is important to you, you should also check out our Abode pick below.

With monthly monitoring ranging from $30 to $45 a month, it's comparable month to month with Xfinity and includes valuable extras like video storage too. Unfortunately, these are some of the highest subscription costs on our list. It's becoming less and less common for security brands to charge so much for professional monitoring (as you'll see below), but for these systems, if you want the pros to keep an eye on your home, you'll have to pay for it.

Show expert take Show less
Editors' choice
See at SimpliSafe

Best basic DIY home security system

SimpliSafe

We've tested the SimpliSafe system several times and most recently gave it a review score of 8.5 out of 10. If you're 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 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 $250, or you can build a custom alarm system with the exact mix of devices you need. The security company's professional monitoring plan starts at $18 a month, but you'll almost certainly want to spring for the $28-per-month monitoring service plan, which adds in things like mobile app controls and smart home security system voice support via Alexa and Google Assistant.

Show expert take Show less
$380 at Amazon

Best DIY home security system

Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit (2nd-gen)

Ring offers some excellent home security packages for users who want to take everything into their hands, from picking out add-ons to choosing just the right spot on the wall. This eight-piece starter kit provides four important sensors, a base station plus a keypad, a motion detector and a range extender for those worried about Wi-Fi. We also like the Pro version of this package, but the second-gen kit is a bit newer and doesn’t force you to use the built-in router -- we prefer picking out our own routers, thank you.

Amazon’s Ring device’s include excellent Alexa support, and DIYers will like the largely intuitive management app (if you’ve set up any smart devices before, these app controls will come easily to you). In addition to direct controls and sensor notifications, users can also switch between home and away modes on the fly. And if you decide to expand, almost any Ring product will be compatible including their security cameras and video doorbells, so it’s easy to level up.

Two final important notes about choosing Ring: First, in 2024, Ring officially changed its policy on allowing police to directly request user footage of video. Now they listen to such requests only in case of a life-or-death emergency, similar to Google and other brands but a noted improvement from their previous stance.

Second, while Ring is very DIY-friendly, professional monitoring does require the brand's top-tier subscription for $20 per month. That’s lower than some of our other picks but still pricier than a cloud storage plan would be.

Show expert take Show less
See at Abode

Best budget home security system

Abode Wireless Smart Security Kit

Thanks to Abode’s frequent deals, you can find home starter kits for as low as $100, one of the cheapest options on the market. We suggest going up a step and picking the still-affordable $160 smart security kit, which adds a motion sensor to the package and expands smart home compatibility to Apple Home/Siri as well as Alexa and Google Assistant. We know it’s not easy to find a home security system that works with the Apple Home app, especially at a low price, so Apple fans may be especially pleased.

The tidy package is easy to manage once you’ve found a place for Abode’s block hub, and DIYers will appreciate the no-tools installation design (which also makes this a great pick for renters). Even with its big discounts, Abode’s system still has important features like battery backups. Abode also has impressive third-party compatibility, supporting integrations with Nest, Yale, Philips Hue, Amazon Echos, Ecobee and more. If you already have smart devices, there’s a good chance they’ll be supported -- check out the full list here.

If you’re looking for professional monitoring, Abode does offer it with its Pro plan, which also includes cellular backup. But it will cost $25 per month, which isn’t exactly friendly for dealhunters.

Show expert take Show less

Home security systems compared

Best home security systems: Comcast XfinityVivint Smart HomeSimpliSafe (8-piece set)Ring Alarm Pro System (2nd-gen)Abode Home Security System
System price $360$500$240$250$160
Monthly monitoring price $30$30-$45$18-$28$20$25
Starter equipment Touchscreen controller, three door-window sensors, pet-friendly motion sensor, battery and cellular system backup, Xfinity Home Security yard signHub, two door window sensors, a motion detector, a flood sensorBase station, keypad, motion sensor, four entry sensors, one panic buttonEero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router, door-window sensors, motion detectors, a keypad, a siren and optional professional monitoring subscriptionsSmart security hub, mini door/window sense, motion sensor, key fob
Contract required? NoNoNoNoNo
Setup Professional installationProfessional installationDIY installationDIY installationDIY installation
Extra features Integration with a large and growing list of third-party devices, flexible pricingCustomizable system, integration with many third-party devices, integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Z-Wave devicesCustomizable system, built-in Wi-Fi and cellular, integration with Amazon Alexa and Google AssistantCellular-powered backup Wi-Fi, network security monitoring, local processing, storage for all of your Ring devices and integration with Alexa's Guard Plus serviceCustomizable system, cellular backup, integration devices from Sonos, Nest and more, integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri
Review score 87.78.598.3

Factors to consider when choosing a home security system

When choosing a home security system for your home, you may be tempted to start with deciding between a DIY setup or one that is professionally installed and monitored. However, when you consider the equipment, installation, monitoring options and other features you want, you'll probably reach a DIY-versus-pro system decision along the way. Here's 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. However, 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. DIY and professional brands 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.

simplisafe 7 piece home security system

SimpliSafe home security systems can be easily tailored to your needs. Just simply add or subtract hardware and equipment as you please. 

CNET

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, however, as Matter will make it easier to connect previously noncompatible devices (although it hasn't quite come for security cameras yet).

Keep in mind all that equipment will need to be installed. While there isn't much to installing a security camera or even a wired video doorbell, whole-home systems can be a bit more demanding to install and set up. Some are DIY-friendly and use adhesive to position devices without leaving permanent marks, but not all systems do this. If you'd rather leave that to an expert and have them walk you through how to use the system, a professional home security service may be the way to go.

Monitoring, alerts and emergency features

arlo home security app

Arlo's app is simple and intuitive to use.

Karen Freeman/CNET

Virtually all home security systems allow for self-monitoring, likely via an app on your phone. They'll also send you push notifications when there's an event, such as when a package is delivered to your doorstep. 

Consider whether you want to be in charge of all the monitoring or if you'd like some support. A professional system will come with 24/7 monitoring, but you may be able to add professional monitoring to your DIY system for a fee, depending on the brand you choose.

More advanced features, such as facial recognition, broken glass detection and communication with emergency services may not be available from all manufacturers and devices. Consider the level of monitoring you want, and who you want to do it, along with the emergency response options, when choosing a home security system.

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, of course, or a lot less -- maybe a $35 security camera will satisfy your security needs. Also keep in mind that the size of the system greatly affects the cost. Starter systems like many we listed here typically cost between $150 and $300, and allow you to add other compatible devices over time. Larger systems with 10 devices or more will cost at least several hundred dollars and can go up to $1,000 or more, depending on the tech that's included.

That said, ongoing costs can carry a bit more weight when choosing the best security system. Expect ongoing monthly fees from a professional service and possibly a contract to lock you into those fees for a year or two (although we favored picks without a required contract). While not ideal, signing a contract may come with free equipment or installation and lower upfront costs.

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.

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 the best 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 the course of at least a full week. This includes testing sensors at common access points, seeing how systems arm and disarm, and finding out how voice controls and smart device integration work with the app. Along the way, we keep a careful eye on durability and design quality so we avoid recommending any shoddy products.

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.

The Ring Alarm Pro

The Ring Alarm Pro offers a slew of excellent features -- and we tested everyone of them. 

Hobie Crase/CNET

Other home security systems we've tested

Besides the systems above, we've tested many of the top competitors, including Abode IotaFrontpoint, Kangaroo, Cove and ADT. DIY systems Frontpoint, Cove and Kangaroo all had features to recommend them. Frontpoint's system is reliable, and its hardware is reasonably priced, but its $45 monthly monitoring fee is too expensive. Kangaroo, by contrast, is incredibly wallet-friendly, but its doorbell camera is terrible, so Wyze keeps its edge in the budget category too. Cove Home Security, 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 AT&T Digital Life too, though we've removed the system from consideration since the company stopped installing it for new customers.

As for Wyze, we appreciate its excellent budget home security offerings, but we're holding off on recommending it at this time. Wyze has been struggling with frequent security vulnerabilities in recent years, a problem it doesn't seem to have under control at this time. If we see signs that Wyze is making strides in privacy and security, we'll consider its newest systems for our list too.

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 system for your home?

Arlo and Nest 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 and 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 are 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 an app.

What's the difference between a wired and wireless alarm system?

In a home security context, there are two ways to look at "wired" versus "wireless." The first is power -- home security systems require electricity to operate. In that context, a wired system would be one with devices that plug into power and rely on your home's electricity. A fair number of current-gen systems use wireless, battery-powered sensors and battery backups for the base stations that will keep the setup running if the power ever goes out. You can think of those systems as "wireless" as far as electricity is concerned.

There's a second way to look at wired versus wireless. It concerns connectivity. Every home security system needs to be able to notify you when there's a problem and alert the authorities when there's an emergency. It used to be that systems would notify you with the sound of the alarm and contact authorities via a wired connection to your phone line. Now, most current-gen systems can also notify users of issues with a push alert on their phones. Some will use an internet connection to contact professionals during an emergency.

Even then, we'd still consider the system "wired" if you can stop it from operating by cutting your home's internet signal. That's why many systems include built-in cellular connectivity as a backup. Even if the Wi-Fi goes out (or if a tech-savvy intruder disables it), a system like that will still be able to notify you and the authorities of an emergency by way of that cellular connection. Systems like those are "wireless" in the connectivity sense -- and if they double down with a battery backup as well, then they're as wireless as home security gets.

Can I choose an all-in-one home security device instead of a whole system?

Some security systems offer all-in-one devices that are meant to place in a central location where they can watch everything, although we hesitate to recommend them compared to a whole security system. First, security cameras have come a long way (including two-way audio, motion/audio detection, and smart alerts), so even advanced standalone devices like the Canary Pro offer little that a new security cam doesn’t have. You may as well get a home security camera that’s compatible with your current system and have the benefits of both.

Second, all-in-one devices have motion detectors but they’re very poor at monitoring access points like doors or windows, which is where home security systems really shine. However, we will give a nod to Arlo’s interesting all-in-one sensor that detects a whole assortment of household ills, which could save you some money if you're using an Arlo system.