How Much Does Home Security Cost?

Home security system app

We’ll cut to the chase: A new home security system costs anywhere from $100 to $4,000. Home security pricing depends on what level of equipment and monitoring services you want. It’s just like Smokey The Bear said: “Only you can prevent [home security breaches]!”

On average, you’ll see a home security system cost between $500 and $1300 for one year. You’ll get basic stuff like a control panel (or hub), motion detectors, and sensors for doors and windows. You also get a year’s worth of professional monitoring, which means the company calls the cops for you (and more). Look for our Best Home Security picks: Vivint, Frontpoint, and ADT.

We recommend professional systems like this for complete home security because we love our dogs, and to a certain degree, our material goods (I couldn’t replace that Keanu Reeves Speed poster if I tried—the sentimental value is too high).  We get alerts directly to our phones when there’s unknown access or motion at home, and if we need to see for ourselves, we can view a livestream from our camera.

What to expect

On the low end

On the low end, you can get a cheap security camera that records everything in a single room or outside your door. It can run you as cheap as $50 or $60 bucks, but a lot of our best home security cameras run closer to $150 to $200.  A cheap home security system from SimpliSafe or iSmartAlarm starts around $200. That’s less than the price of a new laptop or BMX bike for sure. These cheaper systems usually involve self-monitoring, which means you’ll be the one to alert emergency services; you also won’t get a full-home setup for that price.

On the high end

On the high end, equipment and setup costs closer to $500 to $1,000 before adding monitoring,  special camera setups, and home automation. Professional monitoring ranges from $30–$50 per month, or $360–$600 per year, which is still definitely better than losing your precious exotic fish aquarium or prized heirloom quilt to some no-good thieves.

That’s the gist of it, but if you want more detail, we broke home security pricing into two categories: up-front costs and ongoing costs. Up-front costs involve things like installation, activation, and equipment. Ongoing costs are your monthly or yearly costs. You’ll pay for monitoring, app access, and cloud storage for your security cameras.

Up-front costs of a home security system

The up-front pricing of a security system can vary quite a bit, but there are a few ways to save money—like installing it yourself since some places charge $200 or more for installation. You could also opt for basic sensors instead of fancy home automation, and you could keep an eye on everything yourself instead of going with professional monitoring, which can be up to $100 per month or more.

Installation costs

If you get a professionally installed system, expect to pay $50 to $200 or more, which isn’t unreasonable—you’re paying for not only the tech’s time, but your own. And we don’t know about you, but we like using all of our precious time for naps and YouTube.

Which companies offer free installation?

Getting free installation usually involves signing a multi-year contract. These deals usually depend on your area, so while some of our best home security providers waive installation fees altogether, we understand why the charge exists. You know you wouldn’t want to spend your Saturday installing someone else’s cameras for free, right?

Since these promotions come and go so often, your installation fee may depend on getting a quote. If installing your own system seems interesting, check out our Best DIY Home Security Systems.

Do-it-yourself (DIY) home security

Most DIY home security systems use adhesives and simple mounts for their equipment, which means it usually takes less than an hour to set up sensors and cameras in your whole home. And you usually don’t even need tools. How great is that?

Equipment costs

Equipment costs are usually baked into a company’s plans for professional monitoring plan as part of a one-to-five-year contract. Otherwise, you’ll often spend $200–500 on the equipment outright. In our experience, that includes something like a control panel, two door or window sensors, and a motion detector. These basics are enough to cover your main entrances, but you may want more sensors for your secret lair entrance or doggie doors.

Monthly costs of a home security system

Self-monitoring costs

Even self-monitoring can cost money. Companies like Scout charge about $10 per month for full app access, which includes viewing cameras, arming and disarming the system, and any timeline events. We will say that paying the extra money definitely makes those DIY setups feel more like a full-on professional home security system. If you like the idea of a DIY system but don’t want to pay to use the app, check out our Abode review.

Professional monitoring costs

For 2018, the average price you can expect for monthly monitoring costs is about $30 per month. Keep in mind that most companies try to have multiple plan tiers, usually at least three (“Good, Better, and Best”), and sometimes more so they can properly address the varying needs of their customers.

On the low side, you’re looking at either free access, like with Abode Home Security, or $10–$20 per month, like with Scout or SimpliSafe.

In the middle, you have brands like Protect America and Link Interactive, which range closer to $30–$60 per month.

On the high end, brands like ADT Pulse, Vivint, and Frontpoint can cost up to $100 per month, depending on other factors like how many cameras you have.

We struggle because we want the best of the best, but we also like saving money when we can. Some of us don’t mind self-monitoring, but for our more suspicious team members, we definitely recommend professional monitoring.

Is the cost of home security worth it?

The boogeyman isn’t real, so you’re ok there, but some fears are justified—like a fear of burglary. In 2016, the average loss per family due to burglary was over $2300.1 (Imagine what kind of gourmet feast you could have with that money). And 58% of burglaries involved forced entry—meaning they didn’t just walk in because someone left the door open, but instead broke the seal of a door or window. Home security, even basic security, can alert you if that happens in your home—even camera-only systems would help you stay on top of things.

Recap

  • Up-front costs range from $500 to $1500.
  • Monthly costs range from $10 to $100.
  • A cheap security camera costs as little as $50, but we’d say around $100 is where you want to start.
  • A cheap security system with free self-monitoring costs as little as $200.

Sources

1.   FBI.gov, “2016: Crime in the United States