Best Cheap Home Security Systems 2021

Want to protect your property on the cheap? These affordable home security systems are for you!
  • Best Value
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    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Easy setup
    Affordable equipment
  • Editor's Choice
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    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Innovative equipment
    Free self-monitoring
  • Best Budget Buy
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    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Affordable equipment
    Low-priced monitoring
  • Best RFID Option
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    3.5 out of 5 overall
    Total smart home support
    Available financing
  • Best for Basics
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    4 out of 5 overall
    High-end equipment
    Good customer support

Looking for the best cheap home security system? Home security’s a must-have for your home. But the sticker shock on some of the higher-priced options makes us choke on our Top Ramen.

That’s why we came up with this top-five roundup of some of the most affordable security systems on the market. You don’t have to sign your life away on a contract just to protect your family—or, if you’re us, that killer TV you got on Black Friday.

Compare best cheap security systems
ProviderMonitoring priceSelf-monitoring optionSee details

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Abode$20.00/mo. OR $200.00/yr.

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Ring Alarm$10.00/mo. OR $10.00/yr.

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Scout$19.99/mo. OR $215.00/yr.

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Data effective 06/17/2021. Offers subject to change.

Save some money on your new home security system with these deals

SimpliSafe logo
  • 30% off any new system
  • Free indoor camera

Data effective as of 03/24/21. Offers subject to change

What to look for in a cheap home security system

When we say cheap, we don’t mean shoddy. We mean quality home security systems that just happen to sell at a lower price.

Cheap security system features:

  • Self-monitoring
  • Flexible monitoring plans
  • Self-installed equipment

There are a few things that tend to lower a security system’s cost, like self-installed equipment that don’t require a professional setup or starter packages that you pay for up front instead of paying off over a long period. (Some cheap home security systems are actually more expensive initially, but you end up paying less money over time due to a lack of contract.)

Another way to cut costs with home security is to get a system that offers a self-monitoring option. Because you’re doing all the work, self-monitoring is typically free.

All of the systems we recommend in this review have some or all of these features.

Best Value June 2021

SimpliSafe: Best value

SimpliSafe logo
  • Easy setup
  • Affordable equipment
Pro monitoring from $14.99/mo.

SimpliSafe keeps it simple with easy-to-install, basic security equipment.

SimpliSafe doesn’t go overboard on extra features and frills you may not even use. Nah, SimpliSafe stays down to earth with a super simple, no-contract system that gets the job done. And it won’t break the bank either.

Speaking of saving money, SimpliSafe might cost more than Ring Alarm for monitoring and equipment, but it’s still extremely affordable by security system standards.

You can buy enough SimpliSafe equipment to turn your house into a stunning impression of Fort Knox—and your bill won’t even come close to what you’d have spent on Vivint devices ($229 vs. $599).

Take it from us—the SimpliSafe system is super easy to set up. When we tried it out, installation for a single-story house with two main entrances took us only about an hour. Just connect your sensors to the SimpliSafe hub and stick them where you want them. You’re all set.

Money icon
Home security camera
Some home security companies, like SimpliSafe and Cove, frequently offer free cameras with the purchase of a home security system. It’s a great, cheap way to add extra protection to your DIY system.

To learn more, read our SimpliSafe cameras review.

SimpliSafe’s simplicity has a downside: some seriously lacking home automation options. SimpliSafe’s base station does not support either Z-Wave or Zigbee, so you can’t currently add on things like smart lights or smart locks. (SimpliSafe does sell its own smart lock, but if you don’t like it, you’re out of luck.)

You can use SimpliSafe with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, and it works with the Nest thermostat. But we’d still love to see some more smart home options available.

SimpliSafe monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlMonitoring typeDetails

ProfessionalView Plans

ProfessionalView Plans

Data effective 06/17/2021. Offers subject to change.

A award badge for Editor's Choice in May 2021

Abode: Editor’s choice

Abode logo
  • Innovative equipment
  • Free self-monitoring
Pro monitoring from $20.00/mo.

Abode offers unique, flexible professional monitoring options, plus good home-automation support at an affordable price.

If you want to watch your system yourself but could use professional monitoring for times when you’re on vacation, then Abode has a unique feature for you: temporary professional monitoring.

Abode’s the only company we’ve seen that offers this. And sure, you could cancel your SimpliSafe monitoring plan one month and reinstate it the next, but that’s a little more involved than Abode’s deal.

Here are the deets. When you choose Abode, you have the option to sign on for full, 24/7 professional monitoring for your system. It’ll still be pretty cheap compared to other home security systems. And if you don’t need that, then you can self-monitor your system for free, or for $6 per month depending on what features you want.

As for automation, Scout’s not the only system out there that supports both Z-Wave and Zigbee. Abode’s hub uses both those protocols so you can use all the third-party smart home devices your heart desires.

And don’t think you’re limited to just lights and locks—those third-party smart devices include things like night vision cameras and extra security sensors.

Last but not least, affordability. Abode’s equipment costs more than most of the other companies on this list. And the more equipment you buy, the more those higher prices add up.

If you go wild with equipment, your cost could end up being significantly higher than you thought. So keep an eye on those extra devices as you’re loading up your digital cart.

Abode monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlMonitoring typeDetails

SelfView Plans
Connect$6.00/mo. OR $60.00/yr.

SelfView Plans
Secure$20.00/mo. OR $200.00/yr.

ProfessionalView Plans

Data effective 06/17/2021. Offers subject to change.

Ring Alarm: Best budget buy

Ring logo
  • Affordable equipment
  • Low-priced monitoring
Pro monitoring from $9.99/mo.

Ring Alarm is as cheap as a security system gets, but it still packs in some impressive features.

If you want affordable security, then Ring Alarm is here to deliver. Not only can you get a starter equipment package for a remarkably low price, but you also get professional monitoring for only $10 per month. Unbeatable.

Even the other cheap providers on this list can’t match Ring Alarm when it comes to affordable equipment and monitoring prices. SimpliSafe used to be our affordability star before Ring came along and beat it out with $199 starter equipment and $10-per-month monitoring plans.

And that $10 per month? That’s just for full professional monitoring. If you want to monitor your system yourself, that’s either free or just $3 per month, depending on what features you want.

Though Ring might be cheap, but it’s not skimpy. The Ring Alarm system works with Z-Wave, which means you can add on things like smart lights, smart locks, and smart outlets.

Plus, if you already use Ring doorbells or cameras, you can control your Ring Alarm system in the same app you use for your cams. Way to simplify your life.

Light Bulb icon
Pro tip
If you’re not familiar with Ring’s security cameras, they’re definitely worth a look. Ring makes some of the best models on the market, and they always include essential features like night vision and high-definition recording.

Of course, there’s always a downside. Ring Alarm has really good home automation options overall, but it’s missing one little thing: Google Home support. Ring doesn’t currently work with Google devices, so if Google Home is your main squeeze when it comes to voice assistants, then Ring might not be the best choice for you.

Finally, Ring also has some concerning privacy policies with its footage. Anything you share to Ring’s proprietary Neighbors app could end up in the hands of the police.

Ring Alarm monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlMonitoring typeDetails
Included FreeFree

SelfView Plans
Basic$3.00/mo. OR $30.00/yr.

SelfView Plans
Plus$10.00/mo. OR $100.00/yr.

ProfessionalView Plans

Data effective 06/17/2021. Offers subject to change.

Scout: Best RFID option

Scout logo
  • Total smart home support
  • Available financing
Pro monitoring from $9.99/mo.

Scout takes the home-automation cake with two connection options: Z-Wave and Zigbee.

If you live for choices, then Scout has just what you need. The Scout hub works with both Z-Wave and Zigbee, which are the two biggest connection types you need if you want to use smart home devices.

Z-Wave and Zigbee are the two biggest names in home automation. They’re protocols, which means they’re the connections your security system uses to support cool smart home devices like lights, locks, outlets, garage door openers, and more.

In short, Scout lets you get started on building your robot home of the future—and for a reasonable price.

Info Box icon
Most security systems support either Z-Wave or Zigbee, but Scout is one of only a few we’ve seen that use both. Say hello to possibility.

Even though Scout’s equipment prices are pretty affordable, it can still be a big up-front cost to buy everything at once. But if you’re strapped for cash, don’t worry—Scout offers financing options through Affirm that let you pay for your stuff over time.

There’s a drawback, though. A lot of these cheaper security systems offer free self-monitoring through a mobile app. But Scout makes things a little pricier by requiring you to sign on to either its self-monitoring plan or its professionally monitored plan—and both come with a monthly charge.

The $9.99 cost for self-monitoring is the same price as what you’d pay for professional monitoring through Ring Alarm—and only $4.99 less than what you’d pay for professional monitoring through SimpliSafe or Cove. Not the best deal in our book, Scout.

Scout monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlMonitoring typeDetails
Always On$9.99/mo. OR $107.00/yr.

SelfView Plans
Always On+$19.99/mo. OR $215.00/yr.

ProfessionalView Plans

Data effective 06/17/2021. Offers subject to change.

Cove: Best for basics

Cove logo
  • High-end equipment
  • Good customer support

Cove combines impressive equipment with impressive low prices. But don’t expect home automation.

If all you want is a top-notch security system with a fancy touchscreen control panel and you don’t care about things like, say, home automation, then Cove is for you. It’s got SimpliSafe-level pricing for better-than-SimpliSafe equipment.

Cove’s control panel is way more than the mere keypads we see with a lot of cheaper, DIY home security systems. It’s a full touchscreen panel, and it’s not just there to look pretty.

Most security companies call and maybe text you if someone triggers your alarm system. But Cove monitoring reps can contact you directly through the control panel as well. Then, if it’s a false alarm, you can just tell them. No big deal.

Megaphone icon
Cove innovation
That feature where monitoring reps can try to contact you through your control panel is something we’ve seen from only big-name companies like Vivint—until now.

Cove gets excellent customer reviews¹, and it has a bunch of resources on hand to make your security life easier. Installation is super easy, but if you get stuck, Cove has lots of online videos ready to help.

Pin icon
Bonus tip
If you ever have to call into Cove phone support, the agents can accept photo text messages so you can show them what’s wrong instead of trying to explain it five different ways.

Unfortunately, Cove doesn’t support Z-Wave or Zigbee, and it doesn’t work with many smart home devices. At least not yet.

You can use your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to control your Cove system, but that’s about as far as smart home features go. Until Cove starts supporting more smart home devices, it will just be kind of a simple little security system.

Cove monitoring plans
PlanMonitoring priceMobile app controlMonitoring typeDetails
Cove Basic$14.99/mo.

ProfessionalView Plans
Cove Plus$24.99/mo.

ProfessionalView Plans

Data effective 06/17/2021. Offers subject to change.

Recap: Best cheap security systems

You don’t have to sign a years-long contract and pay a small fortune in monthly monitoring costs to get a home security system. There are plenty of excellent cheap options out there, you just have to choose the right one for you.

  • SimpliSafe pioneered affordable home security, and it still has one of the best DIY systems out there. Just don’t expect a lot of home automation options.
  • Abode is the only company we’ve seen to offer temporary professional monitoring. It’s great if you want to watch your system yourself most of the time and just set up some backup for when you’re away.
  • Ring Alarm gives “affordable” a whole new meaning, and it still provides full home automation support and works in the same app as Ring’s cameras.
  • Scout supports not just one but two smart home protocols (Z-Wave and Zigbee) so you can plug in basically any smart device you want and still have it work with your security system.
  • We love Cove’s touchscreen control panel and extensive customer support videos. We’d just like to see it introduce more smart home support options.


When ranking home security systems, we consider five factors:

  1. Price
  2. Equipment
  3. Smart home integrations
  4. Security cameras
  5. Customer experience

When choosing cheap systems, we put the biggest weight on price, but our recommendations still have quality equipment with good integrations and decent customer service experiences.

Cheap security systems FAQ

Should I get a self-monitored security system?

For most people, we recommend a professionally monitored home security system over a self-monitored system.

We love the idea of self-monitoring in theory, especially because it saves a ton of money. But self-monitoring makes it hard for users to enjoy leisure time, like sleeping or movies, because there’s a chance that they’ll miss something when they don’t have their phone on hand.

Luckily, since most self-monitored systems don’t have contracts, you can easily sign up for a month of monitoring here or there when you need to go on vacation.

What are the best cheap security cameras?

Some of the best cheap security cameras we’ve seen are from Wyze, YI, and Blink, among others.

Most cheap security cameras are indoor cameras, but sometimes you’ll see outdoor cameras and video doorbells at lower prices as well.

Read our Best Cheap Security Cameras Review to learn more.

What’s a DIY home security system?

A self-installed/DIY home security system is a system you install on your own. It’s a direct contrast to the traditional, professional installed security system that most people think of when they think security.

DIY systems tend to be cheaper and easier to use than most professional systems, but they may not have all the benefits.

For more information, read Best DIY Security Systems and Best Professionally Installed Security Systems.

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1. Trustpilot, “Cove.” Accessed May 5, 2021.