5 Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2019

Want to skip the installers and take a hands-on approach to home security? These are the best DIY systems.
  • Best Overall
    4 out of 5 overall
    Excellent customer service
    Pricey monitoring
  • Most Flexible
    4 out of 5 overall
    Free self-monitoring
    Pricey equipment
  • Best Home Automation
    4 out of 5 overall
    Excellent home automation support
    Subscription plan required
  • Best for the Basics
    4 out of 5 overall
    Affordable equipment and monitoring
    Restricted mobile app access
  • Best Value
    3.5 out of 5 overall
    Top-notch equipment
    Limited home automation support

When you think about home security systems, you might picture people in uniform traipsing through your house drilling holes in your walls and running wire.

But you don’t need to call in the professionals to secure your stuff anymore. There are plenty of DIY systems out there you can install yourself—without ever lifting a drill.

DIY home security systems can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand, depending on which company you go with and how much equipment you need. Plus, you might have an extra monthly cost for professional monitoring—anywhere from $10 per month to over $50 per month.

But even if you let the professionals do the monitoring, DIY home security is almost always cheaper than the professionally installed kind. And you get to skip the installation fees.

Best DIY home security systems of 2019 packages, prices, and details
ProviderMonitoring priceContract requiredSmart home integrationsSee details
Frontpoint$44.99–$49.99/mo.NoYesGet a Quote
Abode$0–$20/mo.NoYesSee System
Scout$9.99–$19.99/mo. NoYesSee System
SimpliSafe$14.99–$24.99/mo.NoLimitedSee System
Cove$14.99–$24.99/mo.NoLimitedSee System

Data effective 11/18/2019. Offers subject to change.

1. Frontpoint: Best overall

Frontpoint combines a huge range of equipment with easy installation and excellent customer service.

Source: Frontpoint

Pros

  • Reliable equipment
  • Excellent customer service
  • Good home automation support

Cons

  • Pricey monitoring plans

Why we chose Frontpoint

Frontpoint takes a hybrid approach to home security. It has an easy-to-use system you can install yourself, plus it offers tons of different sensor and security camera options and decent support for smart home devices. But on the flip side, its monitoring prices are the highest on this list.

Even so, if you want a reliable DIY security system backed up by great customer support, Frontpoint’s the way to go.

Frontpoint monitoring plan prices and details
PlansPriceMobile app accessCamera supportLearn more
Interactive$44.99/mo.YesYesGet a Quote
Ultimate$49.99/mo.YesYesGet a Quote

Data effective 11/18/2019. Offers subject to change.

Good home automation support

Frontpoint works with Z-Wave, one of the most common smart home protocols out there. That means you can use some third-party equipment, like smart thermostats, with your Frontpoint system—as long as it works with Z-Wave.

At least, you usually can. Frontpoint suggests that you contact its customer service team to make sure the third-party equipment you choose will work.

Excellent customer service

You know that kid in high school who always won first place at everything? That’s Frontpoint with customer service.

Frontpoint always comes out on top with great customer service scores1 and top-notch reviews from customers.2 And our experience with the Frontpoint team has been consistently positive.

The downside: pricey monitoring plans

Here’s where Frontpoint goes back to being like all the other big-name security companies out there: its monitoring plans are pretty pricey.

You’ll pay more for Frontpoint than you would for any other company on this with, and possibly even more than you would for other big-name security companies like Vivint. (Although Frontpoint’s equipment is definitely cheaper than Vivint’s overall.)

Speaking of equipment prices, Frontpoint does keep them pretty reasonable. It’s just the monitoring that’ll hit your wallet.

Want to learn more? Check out our Frontpoint review.

2. Abode: Most flexible monitoring

Abode gives you some unique options for monitoring and home automation.

Source: Abode

Pros

  • Free self-monitoring
  • Temporary professional monitoring available
  • Support for both Z-Wave and Zigbee

Cons

  • Pricey equipment
  • Keypad sold separately

Why we chose Abode

Abode is big on flexibility. It gives you multiple protocols for smart home devices, multiple ways to monitor your system, and multiple ways to use professional monitoring if you want it.

Abode monitoring plan prices and details
PlansPriceMobile controlSmart home supportLearn more
BasicFreeYesYesSee System
Connect$8/mo. OR $80/yr. YesYesSee System
Secure$20/mo. OR $200/yr. YesYesSee System

Data effective 10/28/2019. Offers subject to change.

Temporary professional monitoring

Let’s say you self-monitor your own security system. You just keep an eye on your smartphone and if something happens, you take care of it yourself.

Well, that works great until you go out of town. Who’s watching your system while you’re sipping Mai Tais on a beach?

Abode is the only company we’ve seen that lets you get professional monitoring for just a few days at a time. Even if you want to self-monitor your system the rest of the time, Abode lets you get 3 or 7 days’ worth of monitoring for a pretty low price.

Abode temporary professional monitoring prices: 

  • Three days: $8
  • Seven days: $15

Both Z-Wave and Zigbee integration

If you want to outfit your home with the latest robot technology, like smart locks and lights, then you’ll probably use devices that work with either Z-Wave or Zigbee.

Z-Wave and Zigbee are the two most common smart home protocols, but most home security systems only support one (and it’s usually Z-Wave). Abode gives you both, so you can keep that Zigbee smart light you already own.

The downside: pricey equipment

Abode’s equipment tends to cost more than other contract-free DIY security companies. You’ll pay less than you would for ADT, but more than you would with a cheaper system like SimpliSafe or Cove.

Want to learn more? Check out our Abode review.

3. Scout: Best for home automation

Scout broadens your horizons when it comes to home automation support.

Source: Scout

Pros

  • Support for two home automation protocols
  • Two equipment color choices
  • RFID control capability

Cons

  • Subscription plan required

Why we chose Scout

Scout is a home automation rock star. Like Abode, it gives you both Z-Wave and Zigbee protocol support, so you can add on a Z-Wave smart lock, a Zigbee smart outlet, and whatever else you need to smartify your house.

Scout monitoring plan prices and details
PlansPriceMobile controlProfessional monitoringLearn more
Always On$9.99/mo. OR $107/yr. YesNoSee System
Always On+$19.99/mo. OR $215/yr.YesYesSee System

Data effective 10/28/2019. Offers subject to change.

Stylish equipment

Most security companies have one color of equipment and that’s it, but Scout gives you the option to choose either a white or a black finish.

You don’t want your security system to stand out like a sore thumb in your carefully curated living room, and the color options make it just a little easier to have it blend in.

RFID tags

It’s only recently that Scout added an actual keypad to its line-up. For the most part, you use little RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags to turn your system on and off without having to fish your phone out of your pocket.

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FYI
RFID tags are small and can hook onto your keys, bag, etc. You can also use RFID stickers that you can stick on just about anything.

The downside: subscription plan required

Some security systems, like Abode and Nest Secure, let you self-monitor your own system for free. But not Scout.

Whether you want professional monitoring or want to watch everything yourself, you have to sign on for a Scout subscription plan. Otherwise, you can’t even access the mobile app. Not a great deal if you ask us.

Want to learn more? Check out our Scout review.

4. SimpliSafe: Best for the basics

SimpliSafe is easy to use, affordable, and (relatively) cheap to monitor.

Source: SimpliSafe

Pros

  • Affordable equipment and monitoring
  • Easy installation
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • Limited home automation support
  • Restricted mobile app access

Why we chose SimpliSafe

If you’ve ever listened to a podcast or even just the radio, then you’ve probably heard ads for SimpliSafe. But the hype’s not for nothing—SimpliSafe is a solid little security system, and it really does come at a super affordable price.

SimpliSafe monitoring plan prices and details
PlansPriceMobile controlVideo alarm verificationLearn more
Standard$14.99/mo.NoNoSee System
Interactive$24.99/mo.YesYesSee System

Data effective 10/28/2019. Offers subject to change.

Affordable equipment and monitoring

SimpliSafe makes security super accessible for people who don’t want to pay a bunch of money to secure their stuff. Everything from window sensors to motion detectors are pretty affordable through SimpliSafe, and its monitoring prices won’t break the bank.

SimpliSafe entry sensor price comparison:

  • SimpliSafe window sensor: $14.99
  • Frontpoint: $19.99
  • Abode: $29
  • Scout: $20
  • Cove: $15

Easy installation

SimpliSafe is simple to set up. You just plug in the base station and use the keypad. All the sensors come with adhesive strips, so it just takes a second to put them up where you want them.

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Pro tip
Keep in mind that with DIY security companies, the city you live in might require a permit for security systems. That can add some annoying bureaucracy-ridden time to your installation process.

The downside: pricey for mobile app access

You can get professional monitoring from SimpliSafe for super cheap: $14.99 per month. But if you want to control your system yourself using your smartphone, you’ll have to pay a bit more.

SimpliSafe doesn’t give you mobile control unless you sign on for its higher-priced plan—for $24.99 per month.

Want to learn more? Check out our SimpliSafe review.

5. Cove: Best value

Cove has high-end equipment at distinctly affordable pricing.

Source: Cove

Pros

  • Top-notch equipment
  • Easy installation
  • Helpful customer resources

Cons

  • Limited home automation support
  • Restricted mobile app access

Why we chose Cove

What it comes down to is that we really like Cove’s equipment—and that it doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for it.

Cove gives you top-notch security sensors and equipment for impressively low prices. It’s like a comfy middle ground between a fancy, big-name company like Vivint and a super affordable DIY company like Ring.

Cove monitoring plan prices and details
PlansPriceMobile controlVoice assistant supportLearn more
Cove Basic$14.99/mo.NoNoSee System
Cove Plus$24.99/mo.YesYesSee System

Data effective 10/28/2019. Offers subject to change.

Fast installation

Cove sends out your system pre-configured, so everything is already partially set up for you and installation goes pretty quickly.

You basically just have to connect your system to the monitoring station (which is super quick and easy to do through the control panel) and set up your sensors where you want them.

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Bonus points
We like that Cove doesn’t make you call anyone during the installation process. Its monitoring center can confirm your system is good to go through the control panel itself. Cove will even email you a customized certificate for your home insurance company that you can just forward on and rake in any available discounts.

Multiple alarm notification channels

Most of the time, if something (or someone) triggers your alarm system, your security company will call you. But Cove doesn’t settle for just phone calls.

If something sets off your Cove system, you’ll get not only a phone call but also a text message, and a live representative will speak to you through your system’s control panel.

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Pro tip
The thing where the customer service rep can talk to you through the panel is called LiveAssist, and it makes it easy to say if the event was just a false alarm. That’s really helpful if your city charges fines for too many false alarms.

The downside: limited home automation options

Cove doesn’t really do smart home stuff yet. It doesn’t work with Z-Wave or Zigbee, and you can’t add on devices like smart locks and lights. You can control your system with Amazon Alexa or Google Home, but for now, that’s about it.

Want to learn more? Check out our Cove review.

Recap

There are plenty of affordable DIY security systems on the market that are easy to install and use. Skip the installation fees and say goodbye to the technicians in your house.

Frontpoint—best overall: Frontpoint has solid, affordable equipment and even better customer service. Its DIY system is easy to install and you get lots of home automation options. Just know that you’ll pay more for monitoring than you would with some other companies.

Abode—most flexible: Abode is all about options. It supports multiple smart home protocols, it lets you choose between self-monitoring and professional monitoring, and it lets you opt for temporary professional monitoring if you just need it for a few days while you’re out of town. Not a bad deal.

Scout—best for home automation: Scout is the other security system that uses both Z-Wave and Zigbee smart home protocols. Plus, its RFID tags give you more ways to control your security system.

SimpliSafe—best for the basics: SimpliSafe has affordable equipment, affordable monitoring, and super easy setup. Just know that you can’t get smartphone control without paying for SimpliSafe’s higher-priced plan.

Cove—best value: We love Cove’s touchscreen panel and its simple setup process. Just know that you won’t have many (or really any) smart home support options.

Do you use a DIY home security system? Do you monitor it yourself or do you opt for professional monitoring? Let us know in the comments!

Sources

  1. Better Business Bureau, “Frontpoint Security Solutions, LLC
  2. Trustpilot, “Frontpoint