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The best self-monitored home security system

A self-monitored home security system provides home safety without the high prices and lengthy contracts. These are our top picks.

A self-monitored home security system provides home safety without the high prices and lengthy contracts that often accompany professional monitoring. We compared six security companies based on contract and price, customer service, and installation to recommend the best options for you.

Here's a summary of  our top picks for the best self-monitored home security systems:

Provider

Reviews.com score 

Requires a contract?

Length of contract

Upfront costs

Professional monitoring option?

Installation options

Smart Home Compatibility

Camera

Trial period

SimpliSafe

4.2

No

N/A

$229+

$14.99/mo – $24.99/mo

DIY or professional installation

Yes

Yes

60 days

Abode

3.4

No

N/A

$229+

$4/mo or $20/mo

DIY or professional installation

Yes

Yes

7 days

Vivint

2.9

Optional

42-60 months

$599+

$29.99/mo, $39.99/mo, or $44.99/mo

Professional installation

Yes

Yes

3 days

Ring

4.2

No

N/A

$199.99+

$10/mo

DIY or professional installation

Yes

Yes

30 days

Arlo

3.2

No

N/A

$499.99+

N/A

DIY or professional installation

Yes

Yes

3 months

Blue by ADT

3.4

No

N/A

$179.99+

$19.99/mo

DIY installation online

Yes

Yes

30 days

Information accurate as of 11/19/2020

SimpliSafe

Best overall wireless home security

simplisafe.jpg
Shutterstock

4.2/5


SimpliSafe is our favorite option for wireless home security. The company offers flexible packages with excellent devices and a helpful app. The company also boasts top-rated customer satisfaction.


Pros:

  • Top in customer satisfaction
  • Optional professional monitoring
  • Excellent devices and app

Cons:

  • Self-monitoring requires their top-tier monthly plan.
  • No standalone smart home products

Contract & Price

SimpliSafe's equipment prices start at $229 for its basic packages and go up to $489. 

The company offers two wireless home security plans:

  • Standard: $15 per month for 24/7 monitoring and dispatching along with a built-in cellular connection
  • Interactive: $25 per month for unlimited camera recordings, on-demand video, and automation integration with Amazon Alexa or Google Home

SimpliSafe doesn't require contracts -- all plans are month-to-month, and you can cancel anytime. SimpliSafe offers a generous 60-day trial period during which you can return your equipment for a full refund.

Customer Service

SimpliSafe ranked first in a 2020 J.D. Power home security study for overall customer satisfaction. The company is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating.

Installation options

SimpliSafe offers both DIY and professional installation. The systems are designed for easy DIY installation, but customers can choose professional installation for a one-time fee of $79.

Check out: full SimpliSafe review.

Abode

Best for self-monitored security solutions

abode-home-security.png
Abode

3.4/5


Abode is the top home security system for self-monitored security. For $6 per month, you get access to the company's full monitoring capabilities. Abode offers customizable equipment kits with no contracts.


Pros:

  • Low-cost monitoring solutions
  • Lifetime warranty for professionally monitored systems

Cons:

  • 7-day trial period
  • No smart doorbell
  • Cellular backup is not available for the basic monitoring plan

Contract & Price

Abode's equipment prices start at $229 for the basic package. 

For its monitoring option, Abode gives customers two plan options:

  • Standard: $6 per month for self-monitored systems, includes one-touch alarm/disarm, video storage, and smart home integration
  • Pro: $20 per month for access to professional monitoring services, includes free device shipping and discounts

Customer Service

Abode's website makes it easy for customers to contact the company via chat or use the online knowledge base. However, Abode isn't accredited with the Better Business Bureau, and it has a C rating with the organization.

Installation options

Abode is designed for easy DIY installation. Customers can also opt for professional installation for a one-time fee of $99.

Check out: Abode review.


3.2/5


If you're looking for a free or low-cost home security option, Arlo might be right for you. The company offers free self-monitoring and extremely low-cost professional monitoring plans.


Pros:

  • Optional free self-monitoring
  • High-quality video capability
  • Low-cost monthly plans

Cons:

  • Extra cost for 24/7 recording
  • The most expensive camera on the list

Contract & Price

Arlo's camera kits start at $499 and go up from there. You can also add individual cameras onto the package for anywhere from $100 to $200 per camera. Arlo offers three plan options:

  • Arlo Smart: free for 1080p resolution and push notifications. Doesn't come with cloud storage
  • Arlo Smart Premier: $2.99 per month for 2K resolution, 30 days of cloud storage, artificial intelligence, push notifications, custom activity zones, and advanced object detection
  • Arlo Smart Elite: $4.99 per month for 4K resolution, 30 days of cloud storage, artificial intelligence, push notifications, custom activity zones, and advanced object detection

Customer Service

Arlo is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A rating. Customers can get support through the Arlo community, through live chat, or by calling the company.

Installation options

Arlo customers can choose between DIY and professional installation. While Arlo doesn't actually offer professional installation, it partners with HelloTech for installation services for U.S. customers.

Vivint

Best for home automation

vivint-home-security.png
Vivint

2.9/5


Vivint offers highly-rated home security with lots of smart home and home automation technology. The company's contracts are flexible, as customers can opt to pay for their equipment upfront to avoid a contract.


Pros:

  • Flexible contract options
  • In-house smart home tech
  • Professional monitoring option

Cons:

  • More expensive than the other options
  • Have to pay for equipment upfront to avoid a contract

Contract & Price

Vivint's equipment prices start at $599 for a basic package. You can either pay for your equipment upfront or finance your equipment, but the latter requires a contract. 

Vivint provides three home security packages:

  • Smart Security Monitoring: $29.99 per month for 24/7 professional monitoring and mobile alarm access, along with entry, smoke, and fire detection
  • Smart Home Monitoring: $39.99 per month for the above features, plus smart home integration
  • Smart Home Video Monitoring: $44.99 per month for video surveillance to enhance home security

Customer Service

Vivint customers can reach a company representative via online chat or get answers to their questions in the company's digital database. However, the company only has a C- rating with the Better Business Bureau and it isn't accredited.

Installation options

Vivint offers DIY installation. Professional installation costs between $49 and $99, depending on the system.

Check out: Vivint review.

Ring

Best wireless security camera options

ring-home-security.png
Ring

4.2/5


Ring offers affordable and flexible home security options. The company is best known for its cameras, but it also offers comprehensive security systems.


Pros:

  • Low-cost system
  • Optional professional installation
  • Packages for any size home

Cons:

  • Mediocre app
  • Cellular backup and video recording are only available with paid professional monitoring.

    Contract & Price

    Ring's equipment prices start at $199.99 for the basic package. The company offers two paid wireless home security plans:

    • Basic: $3 per month for snapshot capture, video history for 60 days, and two-way audio
    • Plus: $10 per month for professional monitoring and extended warranties on all devices

    Ring customers don't have to opt for a monthly fee. The company offers free self-monitoring, which provides motion-activated notifications, real-time video with Live View, and two-way talk.

    Customer Service

    Ring isn't accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but it does have an A+ rating. It's also one of the top-rated companies for overall satisfaction in a J.D. Power home security study.

    Installation options

    Ring is intended for easy DIY installation. Customers can also choose to have their Ring system professionally installed for a starting price of $99.

    Check out: Ring review.

Blue by ADT

Best for smart home integration

ADT-smartphone-home-security.jpg
Shutterstock

3.4/5


Blue by ADT offers some of the best smart integration for home security systems. It also offers customizable packages and the option for self-monitoring.


Pros:

  • Customizable packages
  • Optional self-monitoring
  • Advanced smart home integration

Cons:

  • No professional installation option
  • Mixed customer service reviews

Contract & Price

Blue by ADT's equipment starts at $179.99. 

The company offers two plan options:

  • DIY monitoring: free for self-monitoring, mobile alerts and notifications, and wifi connection
  • 24/7 professional monitoring: $19.99 per month for professional monitoring by ADT, mobile alerts and notifications, wifi connection, cellular backup, alerts to authorities in an alarm event, and no long-term contract.

Customer Service

Blue by ADT has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but it came in last place in a 2020 J.D. Power home security study for overall customer satisfaction. Customers can contact Blue by ADT for help via phone or email.

Installation options

Blue by ADT doesn't offer professional installation. Its products are only intended for DIY installation.

Pros & cons of a self-monitored home security system

Pros

  • Low or no monthly fees: Self-monitored home security systems come at a far lower cost than professionally monitored plans.
  • No long-term contracts: Self-monitored home security plans typically don't come with long-term contracts; instead, they operate on a month-to-month basis.
  • Easy to install: Most self-monitored home security systems are designed for easy DIY installation.

Cons

  • Homeowners are on their own: When you have a professional monitoring service, then professionals will monitor your home and call the police if an alarm is triggered. With self-monitoring, it's on you to call the police.
  • Limited connection: With self-monitored security systems, you're entirely dependent on your smartphone. If you don't have phone service, you don't know the status of your alarms.

How did we choose the best self-monitored home security systems?

Here at Reviews.com, it's our mission to evaluate consumer services and recommend the best ones for our readers. We do the research and hard work, so choosing the right service for you is as easy as possible. When we evaluate home security systems, we look for companies with a good reputation, quality equipment and competitive pricing. 

To choose our top self-monitored security system providers, we use a formula that considers monthly pricing, equipment costs, ease of installation, the flexibility, and customer satisfaction.

FAQs about self-monitored home security systems

Can you monitor your own security system without a smartphone?

If you opt for a self-monitored home security system, you'll need access to a smartphone or tablet to do your own monitoring. Keep in mind that if your system sends alerts, you'll need one of these devices to receive them.

What does self-monitored home security mean?

Self-monitored security means that no professional team is watching your video stream in case of an emergency. You're responsible for calling the authorities after receiving an alert from your system.

Should I choose a self-monitored or professionally monitored home security system?

If having a professional team makes you feel safer, consider paying for a professionally monitored system. Self-monitored security offers the same security equipment and many benefits but without monthly fees.

Can I have a home security system without a monthly fee?

Self-monitored home security systems are a good option if you're looking for quality security equipment to monitor your home without a monthly fee. If you wish to upgrade, most companies offer advanced features with a monthly subscription.