What to Know About Home Security Systems

Are home security systems worth the cost?

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What is a Home Security System?

The first “home security systems” in the U.S. gained popularity when crime rates rose after World War I. They were mostly rudimentary. Some involved electromagnetic locks and ringing bell alarms. One consisted of a group of men called “door shakers” who would go house to house every night making sure doors were securely locked.

Needless to say, home security systems have come a long way. Modern systems employ electronic and technological solutions to keep homeowners safe and secure. Smart phone apps make them simple and convenient to monitor.

How Do Home Security Systems Work?

Home security systems work in several key ways.

  • A control panel or phone app runs and monitors the system, providing up-to-date information.
  • Door and window sensors monitor possible entry points to your home.
  • Motion sensors alert you to unwanted activity.
  • Wired or wireless security cameras provide easy monitoring and a video record of any incidents that may occur.
  • A high-decibel siren or alarm can scare off intruders and alert you to attempted break-ins.

Not every security system comes with all these options, and the ones that do are likely to be the most expensive. The more methods you use to secure and monitor your home, the less likely it is that your system will fail.

How Much Do Home Security Systems Cost?

There are three costs to consider when deciding on a home security system: the equipment, the one-time installation fee and the monitoring price (typically monthly).


The cost of your equipment depends on what you want. Sensors and alarms on every window and door, along with several security cameras, will be more expensive than a more barebones approach. Consider your needs and your budget before spending a ton of money on the top-level premium package.


The installation fee is the set-up cost for the security system. While some systems like Vivint Smart Home offer professional installation, others like SimpliSafe require DIY installation. Fees can reach upwards of $200.


Services like ADT provide comprehensive support and 24/7 live monitoring. You’re essentially paying for an extra set of eyes and ears to constantly monitor your home system for signs of trouble. For some, that added convenience and piece of mind is definitely worth the price.

Popular Options

There’s no room to bargain when it comes to the safety and security of your home and loved ones. Some of the best-reviewed and most popular home security systems available include:

Less Expensive Alternatives

Think of home security as a kind of insurance. You could pay a good chunk of money for a system with all the bells and whistles and never need it. You could also skimp on security, leave your home vulnerable and lose valuable possessions in a burglary. It’s weighing the personal risk and reward with the cost of the product, and the decision will always come down to you, the homeowner.

If you don’t think a full-blown security system is right for you, consider cheaper alternatives that can deter theft. Installing security cameras is fairly simple. Reinforcing door jambs and locks can foil someone trying to forcibly enter your home. And even something as simple as putting up fake home security signs in your yard could be enough to make a potential thief reconsider their target.