Best Self-Monitored Security Systems of 2022

Find a home security system that lets you monitor everything yourself

Best for Smart Homes
Abode Horizontal
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Self-monitoring from
$0.00
  • pro
    Excellent integrations
  • con
    Few cameras
Best RFID Option
Scout
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Self-monitoring from
$9.99
  • pro
    Unique RFID control
  • con
    Charges for self-monitoring
Best Budget Buy
Ring
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Self-monitoring from
$0.00
  • pro
    Affordable equipment
  • con
    Lackluster camera security
Best Smart Home Hub
Samsung Smartthings ADT
3 out of 5 stars
3
Self-monitoring from
$0.00
  • pro
    Excellent smart home support
  • con
    Lacking livestream access
Mindy Woodall
Managing Editor, Home Security & Smart Home
Read More
December 21, 2021
8 min read

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our disclosure policies to learn more.

Whether you’re a smart home junkie or you just want to get a notification the next time your creepy neighbor Marv tries to wander into your backyard, self monitoring home security systems let you keep an eye on your property all by yourself. With just a smartphone, you can have total control over your alarm system and smart home devices.

But most of the popular home security systems on the market require professional monitoring and high monthly subscription fees. Here are the five best self-monitored alarm systems that let you DIY for less (or sometimes even free).


What about Google Nest Secure?
Heads Up

Google no longer produces Nest Secure. While you can’t get that straight-up Google Assistant supremacy in your security system anymore, many of the systems we recommend connect to Google Home and other Google devices.

Compare best self-monitored security systems
Provider
Self-monitoring price
Starter kit price
Smart speaker integrations
Learn more
Abode

Free

$279.00
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, Zigbee, IFTTT, Bose, Sonos
Scout Alarm

$9.99/mo.

$229.00
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, Zigbee, IFTTT
Ring Alarm

Free

$199.99
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Z-Wave
Samsung SmartThings

Free

$299.99

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 12/21/2021 10:00 MST)


What to look for in a self-monitoring security system

Self-monitored systems are easiest to use when you have an intuitive (ideally free) app, cameras that provide motion detection and other notifications, and opportunities to connect your system to additional smart home and security devices.

Self-monitored security system features:

  • Accessible apps
  • Easy-to-use cameras
  • Video doorbells
  • Smart home device compatibility

Want to read more?

Abode: Best for smart homes

Abode
Abode
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Excellent smart home integrations
pro Affordable starter kit
con Limited camera options
Self-monitoring from
$0.00

Abode supports multiple smart home protocols so you can add on extra devices.

Abode is like the friendly kid on the playground at recess. It gets along well with just about everyone. Abode makes it easy to integrate smart home devices into your system, and it has a bunch of different third-party integrations, including standard Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols.

Abode hub and sensors

Source: Abode

Abode doesn’t charge extra for you to self-monitor your home security system. You have free access to the mobile app included with your security system, and you can arm, disarm, and check on your system from anywhere using your smartphone.

Abode monitoring plans
Plan
Price
Monitoring type
Details
Basic

Free

Self

Standard$6.00/mo.

Self

Pro$20.00/mo.

Professional

Data effective 12/21/2021. Offers subject to change.

Keep in mind that the free Basic plan doesn’t give you cellular back-up. That means if your power goes out or your Wi-Fi dies, then your home security system goes down with it. We think it’s worth the extra monthly cost to have cellular back-up.

Abode’s cameras aren’t the best we’ve seen. It does offer an indoor camera and an outdoor cam that can work as a doorbell camera. That said, we’ve seen more and better options from Nest and Ring.

Scout Alarm: Best RFID option

Scout
Scout
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro Code-free door panel control
pro Good smart home integrations
con Charges extra for self-monitoring
Self-monitoring from
$9.99

Scout lets you control your home security system with button-free RFID stickers.

Scout Alarm is a bit of a unique security system. It lets you control things with little RFID tags or stickers. If you haven’t heard of RFID before, it stands for Radio Frequency Identification. And with Scout, it means you can put an RFID sticker on just about anything and use it as a key to arm and disarm your alarm system.

Scout hub, door panel, and sensors

Source: Scout

Scout’s RFID feature gives you an easy way to control your system that doesn’t require typing a code into a keypad or pulling out your phone. When you’re walking into your house with your arms full of groceries (or small children) it can be way easier to just swipe a key tag at Scout’s door panel.

Scout monitoring plans
Plan
Monitoring price
Monitoring type
Details

Always On

$9.99
/mo

Self

Always On+

$19.99
/mo

Professional

Data effective 12/21/2021. Offers subject to change.

If you really want a keypad, you can get one. Scout sells them on the side so you can use both buttons and key tags as you wish.

Scout has a self-monitoring option for its system, but it doesn’t let you do it for free. Unlike every other company on this list, Scout Alarm makes you pay a monthly fee to have access to the mobile app so you can self-monitor your system.

Plan on spending about 10 bucks per month just to control your security system from your phone and get alerts. Scout also has limited camera options, so it’s not our first choice for equipment either. Although, its doorbell camera is super affordable at only $99.

Ring Alarm: Best budget buy

Ring
Ring Alarm
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Cheap equipment
pro Free self-monitoring
con Questionable camera security
Self-monitoring from
$0.00

Ring Alarm keeps costs low with affordable starter kits and equipment.

If you want an easy, self-monitored security system you don’t have to dump a lot of cash on, then Ring Alarm is an excellent choice. The Ring Alarm starter kit costs only $199.99, and it offers a base station and all your standard sensors, including door and window sensors, motion detectors, and flood sensors.

Ring Alarm equipment

Source: Ring

Ring Alarm is affordable and easy to use. You set up all the equipment yourself, and the system even works with Z-Wave so you can add on third-party smart home devices. Ring doesn’t worry about a lot of bells and whistles. You get a basic keypad, a base station, and standard sensors, like window sensors.

Ring Alarm monitoring plans
Plan
Price
Monitoring type
Details

Self-monitoring

Free

Self

Protect Basic

$3.00/mo.

Self

Protect Plus

$10.00/mo.

Professional

Data effective 12/21/2021. Offers subject to change.

Ring doesn’t offer its own smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but you can get a “smoke and CO listener.” This little device listens for your regular smoke detector (or carbon monoxide sensor) and sends you an alert if it hears the siren go off.

Ring’s self-monitored security system is great, but its cameras have a few more question marks attached to them.

Sure, Ring offers outdoor, indoor, and doorbell cameras with top-notch features like HD recording and two-way audio. But Ring cameras have come under fire in the last year for a host of security issues that consumer watch groups say Amazon (Ring’s parent company) hasn’t properly addressed.1

Since the accusations first came out, Ring has added some new security features like two-factor authentication. But you should decide for yourself if you think Ring’s features justify the flaws.

Samsung SmartThings: Best smart home hub

Samsung Smartthings ADT
Samsung SmartThings
3 out of 5 stars
3
pro Extensive smart home integrations
pro Good mobile app control
con Limited camera features in app
Self-monitoring from
$0.00

The SmartThings hub gives you central control over all your different smart home devices.

Samsung SmartThings is more than a security system; it’s a home automation powerhouse. SmartThings works with dozens of different third-party smart devices and home security sensors to create one unified system you can control through the SmartThings app. All you really need to get started is the Samsung SmartThings hub.

Samsung SmartThings hub

Source: Reviews.org

Samsung SmartThings offers some of its own security equipment and sensors, including a multipurpose sensor you can put on doors and windows. The multipurpose sensor includes includes a temperature sensor so you can get alerts if a room gets too hot or too cold.

SmartThings also offers its own indoor camera. It has some pretty good features, including 1080p video and advanced object detection.

Samsung SmartThings monitoring plans
Plan
Price
Monitoring type
Learn more

Self-monitoring

Free

Self

Data effective 12/21/2021. Offers subject to change.

But you don’t have to rely on SmartThings equipment alone. SmartThings allows for various integrations, so you can add on other security sensors, smart home devices, and security cameras from a bunch of other companies, including Yale, TP-Link, Arlo, and August.

SmartThings also doesn’t require a monthly subscription cost. You have full access to the mobile app for free.

SmartThings offers a second, professionally monitored security system as a collaboration with ADT. You get ADT equipment and monitoring but with all the smart home functionality of the SmartThings system.

Just keep in mind that the ADT kit doesn’t support self-monitoring. Be sure you’re going for the regular SmartThings equipment if you want to take charge of things yourself.

The big appeal of Samsung SmartThings is that you can control all the different smart devices you have in your house from just one app. Otherwise, you’d need a separate app for every different device.

But SmartThings can’t totally get rid of all those other apps. If you use security cameras, you’ll still need to keep those individual apps around so you can view your camera’s livestream.

Recap: Best self-monitored security systems

DIY security is more popular than ever, and you have a bunch of different options for self-monitored home alarm systems.

  • Abode doesn’t have the best camera, but it offers free basic self-monitoring, and it gives you some popular smart home protocols.
  • Scout Alarm connects with both Z-Wave and Zigbee, plus it gives you RFID control over your system. But you have to pay a monthly fee to self-monitor your system.
  • Ring Alarm has super affordable and functional security equipment, but its cameras suffer from security flaws.
  • Samsung SmartThings lets you connect all your smart home stuff and make it worth together. Plus, you can self-monitor your equipment for free.

Do you have a self-monitored home alarm system? Do you prefer professional monitoring? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Methodology

We compare and rank home security systems based on five key factors:

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

For self-monitored security systems, we also closely examine how expensive and how good the self-monitoring is.

Self-monitored security system FAQ

How do I choose a self-monitored home security system?

Which system you choose depends on what you want. Do you want to add on a bunch of smart home devices? Do you want security cameras? Do you mind paying an extra monthly fee for self monitoring?

Here are some things to look for as you compare different systems:

  • Does it charge extra for self-monitoring, or is it included with the purchase of the system?
  • Does it integrate with the other smart devices you use or want to use? For example, Philips Hue lightbulbs or a Schlage Encode smart lock.
  • Does it have cellular back-up? If your power or your Wi-Fi goes out, you want to know that your security system will still work.

If you want a system with top-notch cameras, then it’s worth looking at brands like Nest and Ring. These companies are known for their security camera offerings, and you know you’ll get features like two-way audio, night vision, and HD recording.

If you want a system that supports smart home devices, then check out something like Abode, Scout Alarm, or Samsung SmartThings. These systems support smart home protocols, like Z-Wave and Zigbee, and they integrate with major brands like Philips Hue smart lights and Schlage smart locks. (Check the company’s website for specific information on integrations.)

How does self-monitoring work?

Self-monitoring relies on your smartphone. You’ll get push notifications and alerts when something triggers your alarm system. If it really is an intruder and not just your teenager forgetting the passcode again, then you can call the cops (or fire department or EMT’s) yourself.

Cameras are helpful with self-monitored systems because you can view the camera’s livestream and see what’s actually happening on your property even if you’re not physically there.

Are professionally monitored security systems worth it?

The short answer is yes, we think so. But not if you can’t afford them.

It’s nice to have professionals who can keep an eye on your security system 24/7. Everyone has to set down their smartphone at some point, and you can’t respond to alerts about your security system (including false alarms) if you’re not monitoring your phone. Professional monitoring is always on high alert.

But professional monitoring is also expensive. And if it comes down to not having a security system or having a security system that you monitor yourself, we think it’s better to secure your home and keep an eye on things on your own.

Aside from the initial up-front cost of the equipment itself, most self-monitored systems don’t charge you much, if anything, for self-monitoring.

Sources

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon.com. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

Mindy Woodall
Written by
Mindy Woodall
Mindy has been writing about technology for seven years. She covers all things smart home for Reviews.org, and keeps track of the latest robot gadgets. Mindy attended the University of Utah and her work has been featured on the likes of Parents.com, Digital Care, Hostfully, and more.

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