Home security systems may seem expensive, but there are several ways you can get around high-cost systems by using DIY home security systems that you install yourself. Each company offers different services, features and add-ons that can bolster your sense of safety.

Find out exactly what to expect from the DIY version of home security, as well as the pros and cons of choosing this route. We’ll also give you insight on how to choose the best DIY home security system for your own home.

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Your Guide to DIY home security systems

Here’s everything you need to know about DIY home security systems so you can decide if this type of protection is right for you. 

DIY home security systems overview 

Home security systems that allow for DIY installation instead of professional installation can be faster to set up because you can install them on your schedule. At the same time, it’s up to you to make sure your home’s entry points are adequately covered and that all devices are properly installed.

With some systems like Canary, you can use a mobile app rather than a traditional monitoring system to monitor your home. You receive alerts when an alarm is triggered in your home, which allows you to review the incident and decide whether or not to call the local authorities for help.

Most companies also offer the option to upgrade and connect your security system to a monitoring center for additional support. You still get alerts through the app, but if the monitoring center can’t contact you, they’ll call the authorities on your behalf. Others, like SimpliSafe, automatically integrate a monitoring service into your plan so that professionals are prepared to contact the police on your behalf if necessary.

Today’s DIY home security systems operate using a central hub, like a touchscreen control pad, in your home that connects through Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi. Some companies, including SimpliSafe, use cellular systems so you don’t have to worry about losing the connection if your internet goes out. 

Available add-ons include DIY home security video cameras, as well as video doorbells. Other package deals allow you to integrate additional features like key fobs, glass break sensors, sirens and smart thermostats.

DIY home security pros 

One of the major advantages of choosing a DIY wireless home security system is that you don’t have to deal with scheduling a professional installation team to oversee the process. That means you can install the system on your own terms without having to take off work or sit around waiting for the installers to show up. 

Additionally, most DIY home security systems don’t require a long-term contract. Whether you move or simply don’t want to spend the money anymore, you can typically cancel at any time with no penalty. 

Many of today’s systems also allow you to connect with other smart home features you already own, like Alexa or Google Assistant. You can use the same verbal commands to control your security system and also set automatic responses. For example, some systems let you control your lights and thermostat remotely. This would allow you to turn on all of the lights in the house if an alarm goes off.

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DIY home security cons

DIY home security may not be ideal for everyone. One of the downsides is that you have to figure out the monitoring needs of your home on your own, including how many sensors are required for each exterior door and window.

You will also have to install and connect the system on your own. Some DIY home security systems need to be wired directly to your router, while others connect via WiFi. If you’re not technically savvy, you may prefer the option of professional installation.

Finally, the start-up price for the equipment can add up if you have a lot of entry points in your home. Many companies offer a starter package with a set amount of alarms, but you’ll likely need more than what’s included if you have a lot of windows and doors. Plus, it’s up to you to make sure you’re covering all of the vulnerable spots in your home — there’s no professional installer to double-check your system. 

DIY home security system reviews 

When choosing the best DIY home security system, start by comparing costs on the starter kit, the costs for monthly monitoring plans and/or app use, the contract length and integration with your existing smart home products. 

Once you have found a few systems that meet both your needs and your budget, it’s time to assess their quality and brand reputation. Perform a quick online search of your top contenders to see what actual users are saying about the product. Research reviews on the installation process and the ongoing monitoring process. It’s difficult to fully understand the process for installing sensors is if you’re only relying on the company’s marketing. Instead, see how easy or difficult it was for real customers. You might even find helpful tips and tricks. 

Looking at consumer ratings also lets you see how the company handles any customer complaints or problems. You could uncover potential hidden costs and find out how helpful the customer service team is.

Your home security system, especially if it’s a DIY system, is an important investment in the safety of your home and family. Make sure you choose the right system for your needs.