Best Cheap Home Security Systems 2020

Want to protect your property on the cheap? These affordable home security systems are for you!
  • Most Affordable
    3 out of 5 overall
  • Best DIY
    4 out of 5 overall
  • Best Home Automation
    3.5 out of 5 overall
  • Most Flexible
    4.5 out of 5 overall
  • Best Value
    3.5 out of 5 overall

You’ve heard the commercials and you’ve seen the ads. Everyone and their mom has a home security system these days—they seem essential. 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.

Best cheap home security systems of 2019 packages, prices, and details
ProviderProfessional monitoring priceStarter package priceSmart home integrationsSee details
Ring Alarm$10/mo.$199YesView System
SimpliSafe$14.99–$24.99/mo.$229LimitedView System
Scout$19.99/mo. OR $215/yr.$229YesView System
Abode$20/mo. OR $200/yr.$199YesView System
Cove$14.99–$24.99/mo.$229LimitedView System

Data effective 12/11/2019. Offers subject to change.

1. Ring Alarm: Most affordable

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

Source: Ring

Pros

  • Affordable equipment
  • Low-priced monitoring

Cons

  • No Google Home integration

Why we chose Ring Alarm

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.

Ring Alarm monitoring plans, prices, and details
PlansPriceMobile app accessMonitoring typeLearn more
Included FreeFreeYesSelf-monitoredView System
Basic$3/mo. OR $30/yr.YesSelf-monitoredView System
Plus$10/mo. OR $100/yr.YesProfessionally monitoredView System

Data effective 12/11/2019. Offers subject to change.

Ultra-affordable equipment and monitoring

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.

Home automation support

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 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.

The downside: no Google Home support

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.

Want to learn more? Check out our Ring Alarm review.

2. SimpliSafe: Best DIY

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

Source: SimpliSafe

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Affordable equipment

Cons

  • Limited home automation options

Why we chose SimpliSafe

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.

SimpliSafe monitoring plans, prices, and details
PlanPriceMobile controlMonitoring typeLearn more
Standard$14.99/mo.
No
Professionally monitoredView System
Interactive$24.99/mo.YesProfessionally monitoredView System

Data effective 12/11/2019. Offers subject to change.

Affordable equipment

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.

SimpliSafe starter kit price: $229

Vivint starter kit price: $599

Easy installation

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.

The downside: limited home automation options

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.

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.

Want to learn more? Check out our SimpliSafe review.

3. Scout: Best for home automation

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

Source: Scout

Pros

  • Total smart home support
  • Available financing

Cons

  • Requires subscription for self-monitoring

Why we chose Scout

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.

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

Scout monitoring plans, prices, and details
PlansPriceMobile controlMonitoring typeLearn more
Always On$9.99/mo. OR $107/yr. YesSelf-monitoredView System
Always On+$19.99/mo. OR $215/yr.YesProfessionally monitoredView System

Data effective 12/11/2019. Offers subject to change.

Both Z-Wave and Zigbee support

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.

Info Box icon
FYI
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.

Financing option

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.

The downside: self-monitoring comes at a cost

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.

Self-monitored plan: $9.99 per month

Professionally monitored plan: $19.99 per month

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.

Want to learn more? Check out our Scout review.

4. Abode: Most flexible

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

Source: Abode

Pros

  • Innovative equipment
  • Free self-monitoring

Cons

  • Higher equipment pricing

Why we chose Abode

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.

Abode monitoring plans, prices, and details
PlansPriceMobile controlMonitoring typeLearn more
BasicFreeYesSelf-monitoredView System
Connect$8/mo. OR $80/yr. YesSelf-monitoredView System
Secure$20/mo. OR $200/yr. YesProfessionally monitoredView System

Data effective 12/11/2019. Offers subject to change.

Flexible professional monitoring

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 $8 per month depending on what features you want.

But what if you want to self-monitor your system most of the time but get professional monitoring just for your week-long vacation when you’ll be far away chilling on the beach? Abode’s got you covered.

Abode on-demand professional monitoring price: 

  • 3 days for $8
  • 7 days for $15

You can get short-term professional monitoring from Abode for either three or seven days, and it won’t cost a fortune. Plus, it gives you just enough time for that weekend getaway or your full Tahiti vacay.

Home automation support

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.

The downside: higher equipment pricing

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.

Abode equipment cost comparison
CompanyDoor/window sensorMotion sensorGlass break sensor
Abode$29$55$39–$59
Ring Alarm$20$30Not offered
SimpliSafe$14.99$29.99$34.99
Scout$20$30$50
Cove$15$30$35

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.

Want to learn more? Check out our Abode review.

5. Cove: Best value

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

Source: Cove

Pros

  • High-end equipment
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • Limited home automation option

Why we chose Cove

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 monitoring plans, prices, and details
PlansPriceMobile controlMonitoring typeLearn more
Cove Basic$14.99/mo.NoProfessionally monitoredView System
Cove Plus$24.99/mo.YesProfessionally monitoredView System

Data effective 12/11/2019. Offers subject to change.

Touchscreen control panel

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
FYI
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.

Good customer support

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.

The downside: not many home automation options

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.

Want to learn more? Check out our Cove review.

Recap

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.

Ring Alarm—Most affordable: 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.

SimpliSafe—Best DIY: 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.

Scout—Best for home automation: 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.

Abode—Most flexible: 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.

Cove—Best value: 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.

Do you think it’s worth it to pay a lot for a home security system? What do you think of all the new cheaper options on the market? Do you use a DIY home security system yourself? Let us know in the comments!

Sources

1. Trustpilot, “Cove