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You Can Find Professional Home Security Monitoring for Under $20 Per Month: Here's How

Big brands like ADT charge massive amounts for home security monitoring. But you can get professional monitoring for far less, including under $20 with the right systems and packages.

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
Tyler Lacoma
5 min read
A security monitor leans against a desk and views a wall of security feed screens over a computer.

Professional monitoring doesn't have to take a huge bite out of your monthly budget.

Erik Isakson/Tetra Images via Getty

Take a look at big home security system contracts and you'll see that professional home monitoring services by a third-party monitoring center are one of the most important add-ons. With this service, the center gets alerts from your sensors or alarms and can check in on your system, then contacts responders like the police or fire department. That offers quick (usually within several minutes) action during an emergency, and you don't have to personally attend to every alert on your phone or worry about false alarms.

The problem is those monitoring services cost money, sometimes a lot of money, and often require lengthy contracts. Home security buyers may look at monitoring plans from brands like ADT or Frontpoint and see they start at $45 or $50 per month and immediately strike the option off the list. That's more than most people's monthly streaming budgets, making pricey contracts like these a deal breaker.

But hold on: You don't need to spend around $50 to get professional monitoring, no matter how much the big systems sell their plans for. For the right set of cameras or DIY home security system, you can pay much, much less without getting stuck in any contract. We've tested other home security services where you can get monitoring for below $30 or even below $20, accessing important emergency services for about what you pay for Netflix. Let's look at your options.

The 3 tiers of professional home monitoring services

To make things simple, let's divide professional home monitoring into three different options, from least to most expensive.

24/7 Emergency assist: This is an option that links your app or a device like a smart speaker directly to local 24/7 emergency responders. However, you have to manually call them yourself. That means you'll get an alert about a possible break-in or other problem, and it will display emergency contact options so you don't have to worry about the details. In some cases, you're connected with an agent who can contact the right authorities for you depending on what you need. These tend to be the most affordable plans.

Professional monitoring from a monitoring center: These are traditional monitoring plans that send a monitoring service alert when alarms sound or sensors are tripped. A security employee at the monitoring center takes a look through your cameras if necessary, and decides to call the authorities or not. These plans often require the purchase of a whole home security system or at least a home hub and a sensor or two.

24/7 live guard monitoring: These are rarer services that promise live guards, which means that guards get notifications of movement (as opposed to only alarms) or similar signs, and spend time monitoring a threat through live camera views. These services are typically reserved for expensive subscriptions like Deep Sentinel security cameras, which cost $100 per month for monitoring.

The 4 best budget plans for professional home monitoring

Looking for purchase options? Let's examine our favorite cheap home security monitoring plans so you can see what's available for lower prices.

Ring Protect Pro -- $20 per month

The wireless Ring Stick-Up Cam Pro sits perched on the corner of a home, keeping an eye on the exterior of the property.

Ring Protect plans offer video storage as well as a higher professional home monitoring meme.


Ring's Protect Pro tier is only $20 per month and adds 24/7 Alarm Professional Monitoring. The Pro plan also adds other features more common in full whole-home security, including cellular backup and expanded local storage options (which require a Ring Alarm hub and microSD card). You can also use Eero Secure software to help set up Wi-Fi and internet protections.

We often recommend Ring's plans for anyone who wants to use cloud video storage on Ring cams, since even the base version of a Protect plan adds cloud storage, person and package recognition (another especially handy feature) and event history, among other choices. Note that you can use a Ring Protect plan for just a single Ring camera, but the professional monitoring feature is intended for a whole Ring Alarm system and may not work without at least a hub and a sensor.

Alexa Emergency Assist -- $8 per month

Illustration of conversation using an Echo speaker on a table to call for help with Alexa.

Alexa Emergency Assist puts you in contact with a real agent that can help with emergencies.


Alexa Emergency Assist, which replaced Alexa Guard Plus, is an interesting combination of 24/7 emergency assist services and professional monitoring -- at a very affordable price. At $8 per month ($6 with Amazon Prime, $59 for a year), you can ask any Alexa device or Alexa app for help, and you'll be put in contact with a live person who can ask what's wrong, then call the appropriate emergency service for you. Your designated emergency contacts are also notified.

This affordable option works especially well if you have an Amazon-brand security camera from Blink or Ring, which can easily pair with Alexa devices like an Echo Show, which can show live views from the camera. This setup is very affordable and versatile and makes a good choice for a budget security system or a separate system to keep watch over elderly relatives, etc.

Arlo Secure Plus -- $18 per month


Arlo's family monitoring plan is a particularly cost-effective option for larger households.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Arlo offers two tiers of professional services. The first is an $18 plan that offers 24/7 emergency response, along with features like cloud video recording, audio detection of alarms, and object detection. But for complete professional monitoring, you can upgrade to the $25 Safe & Secure Pro, which adds both monitoring and a suite of "Safe App" features.

Safe App adds capabilities like family alerts and family safety monitoring, one-tap contact for police or other emergency responders, the ability to record both audio and video in an emergency event and even crash detection while you're in the car (assuming you let the app keep watch on your phone's vitals). That's quite a complete home security package for $25, ideal for those with families who don't mind paying a little more while still saving a lot. Keep in mind you will need a full Arlo home system for monitoring features to work.

SimpliSafe Standard Monitoring - $20 per month

Image of a home security control panel

SimpliSafe's monitoring plans are more reasonable than many whole-home systems.

Getty Images

SimpliSafe's Standard Monitoring plan starts at around $20 per month (about 66 cents a day) and adds 24/7 Emergency Dispatch, which is essentially another version of emergency assist contacts. You also get immediate alarm texts, the ability to arm your SimpliSafe system and other bonuses.

If you are willing to bump the plan up to around $30 per month, you can switch to Fast Protect, a plan that includes 24/7 home monitoring. SimpliSafe calls this Live Guard protection, which means their monitoring personnel have the option to interact with people via your cams and ask what they're doing or ask for safe words in the case of false alarms. You also get unlimited video recording for up to 10 cameras, and a lifetime warranty for the system.

Where should you put security cams for home monitoring services?

The right monitoring plan benefits from cams (and related sensors) placed in strategic spots, but if you're installing a DIY system you may be wondering just where those spots are. Focus on key access points in your home like doorways and entryways, and first-floor windows that are easy to access. If you're placing sensors, make sure your security cam views include the sensors and what happens around them. Outside, security cameras work best near porches and driveways, or over doors in the backyard.

If you badly need security on a budget, we can also show you how to turn an old smartphone into a security cam, although you won't get any professional monitoring options. And on the subject of professionals looking through your cams, you may want to read up on how legal it is to record video or audio in your home.