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The best DIY home security systems offer the safety and assurance of a professionally installed security system, but at a lower cost—but require a little more work on your part.

Best Diy Home Security Cameras

A DIY home security system is one that you have to install yourself, which may take you an hour or two, depending on how many sensors you want to install in your home. But when it’s an investment of time, you don’t need Bob Vila-level knowledge; Mostly, all you’ll need is a screwdriver.

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After that, though, a DIY home security system works just like a professionally installed system does: It monitors your windows, doors, and everything else around your home, and if something goes wrong sends an alert to you and emergency services if

Most of the best DIY security systems also offer professional monitoring as an add-on feature, allowing authorities to be alerted to break-ins or other emergency occurrences in your home. Some security kits also offer smart home controls, so you can integrate third-party accessories like smart lights, smart locks, and smart smoke detectors.

But with so many affordable options available, which one is the best? To find out which is the best, we installed the leading DIY security systems in our own homes.

Why can you trust Tom’s Guide? Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services and apps to help you find what’s best for you. Learn more about how we test, analyze and evaluate.

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Whether you’re a first-timer to smart security or seasoned in the world of automation, the Abode Essentials Starter Kit has something for everyone, which is why we think it’s the best DIY security system overall. In addition to being a versatile smart home controller with Zigbee and Z-Wave integration—which means you can use it to control things like smart bulbs and smart locks—it’s also easy to set up. Abode’s system can also be linked to Apple’s HomeKit, and controlled using Siri.

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The starting bundle is a bit thin in its accessory offerings, but you can choose from several other packages and buy additional sensors separately.

Abode offers three levels of service: Free, Standard ($6/month or $60/year), and Pro ($20/month or $200/year). The free plan doesn’t allow you to record video from the camera or use automation within the system, but you can view live video, use smart home integration, and receive push notifications.

The Standard plan gets you 7 days of rolling cloud storage for videos and a timeline of events, like when the doors open. The Pro plan gets you 30 days of cloud storage, as well as 24/7 professional monitoring, as well as cellular backup. If you have the Standard plan, you can also get three- and seven-day monitoring as needed for $8 and $15, respectively.

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As of May 2023, Abode now works with Google Nest products, including the Google Nest Cam, Nest Hub Max, Nest Learning Thermostat, and Nest Doorbell. Abode users can do things like view livestreams from video doorbells and security cameras and build automations around those devices.

Earlier, Abode added support for Google TV and Android Watch owners as well. If you have a TV or streaming device that runs Google TV, you can view feeds from your home security cameras on your TV. If you have a smartwatch running WearOS (such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5), you can view the event timeline, arm and disarm the system, view camera views, and run automations, among other features.

If you don’t need all the smart home integration, Abode is now offering a less expensive option. The Abode Security Kit ($139) works with Alexa and Google Assistant, but doesn’t have Zigbee, Z-Wave, or HomeKit compatibility. However, it will still have battery backup, 4G wireless backup, and a built-in siren. The kit comes with a base station, a motion sensor and a door/window sensor; You’ll be able to add more sensors to the kit.

Don’t care too much for professional monitoring? The Ooma Smart Security Starter Pack is pretty minimal—you get the hub, one motion sensor, and two entry sensors—but you also get Ooma’s robust VoIP service for a low monthly fee. The system also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can use a smart speaker to arm and disarm your system, and receive updates on system status.

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Ooma’s free tier includes push notifications, unlimited sensors, and a remote siren. For $5.99 per month, you get E911, phone call, text message and email notifications, and auto arm and disarm.

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Ooma also added professional monitoring (at an additional $14.99 per month), which was a much needed feature. Since its launch, Ooma has added both battery backup ($34.99) and cellular backup, so your system will keep working even if the power and internet go out. The Ooma Telo 4G — which offers cellular backup — costs $129, plus $11.99/month.

Instead of building your own equipment, why not use some of the best video doorbells and security cameras already on the market? ADT’s sleek little DIY home security system works with Google Nest devices, such as the Google Nest Cam, Nest Doorbell, and Nest Protect smoke detector.

The starter kit comes with a hub, which has a siren and a keypad to arm and disarm the system, as well as a Z-wave antenna for smart home connectivity, an 85-decibel siren, a 4G LTE cellular Radio, Bluetooth, a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio, a speaker and a 24-hour backup battery. It comes with a Nest Doorbell (battery), four window/door sensors and two motion sensors.

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However, you can customize the system with additional Nest cameras, a Google Nest Hub, a Nest Thermostat, as well as additional door and window sensors.

It all works with a new app called ADT+, which provides a live feed from the cameras, and sends you alerts when motion is detected. Furthermore, the app lets you create smart home routines; For example, you can program it to turn your lights on and off at specified times, or when you leave or arrive home.

If you don’t care too much for fancy home automation schemes like bulbs that light up when someone opens the door, the SimpliSafe Essential Kit is our runner-up choice for best DIY smart security system. In addition to being one of the louder sirens we tested (93 decibels), it’s also stylish, and the included keypad makes it accessible for anyone to set up. And, the kit comes with more accessories than competitors’ usual bundle, including three entrance sensors instead of the standard one or two. Additional accessories won’t break the bank either, and include a smart lock and a video doorbell, two things you rarely find in DIY home security systems.

The SimpliSafe integrates with both Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as August, making it the best smart lock we consider. SimpliSafe’s professional monitoring starts at $14.99 per month, and the $24.99/month plan includes several additional features, such as stealth alerts. You can also cancel the plan at any time.

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Ring’s alarm system is economical, very easy to set up, has a loud alarm, battery and cellular backup. Plus, Ring has a number of compatible add-on devices, like video doorbells, security cameras, and smart lights, and it works with Alexa, so you can arm and disarm your system with voice. Ring’s system is compatible with select Schlage, Kwikset, and Yale smart locks, as well as smart plugs, smart light switches, and smart outlets on GE and Leviton. Here’s a list of everything that works with Ring.

Ring’s second-generation Ring Alarm features smaller door and window sensors, as well as a redesigned keypad with one-touch buttons for police, fire, and medical assistance. The Ring Alarm Security Kit costs $199, and includes a keypad, base station, contact sensor, motion detector, and a range extender. Ring also sells a retrofit alarm kit for $199; If you have a home with existing sensors, it can incorporate those sensors into Ring’s system, potentially saving you some money and the hassle of adding new sensors yourself.

Ring also has the Ring Alarm Pro, which has an Eero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router built right into the main hub. Pricing starts at $299, and includes 24/7 Internet backup, expandable backup power, local video storage, and Eero Secure. , which protects your network from malware and other online threats.

If you want professional monitoring, you’ll need to subscribe to Ring Protect Pro, which is $20/month, but it also includes internet backup if you have Ring Alarm Pro.

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Wyze has made a name for itself by offering quality smart home devices at insanely low prices, and its Wyze Home Security System is no exception. At $99, the starter kit includes a base station, keypad, motion sensor, and two window/door sensors, one of the lowest prices outside of Ooma. And, adding accessories like the Wyze Cam v3 is equally affordable. Plus, professional monitoring only costs $100 a year

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