10 Best Self-Monitored Home Security Systems to Stay Safe

Updated: Apr. 10, 2024

Secure your home and keep watch of your property no matter where you are with one of the best self-monitored home security systems.

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Best Diy Self Monitored Home Security SystemsVIA MERCHANT

If you’re looking to secure your home and keep tabs on it while you’re away, a self-monitored home security system is a fantastic option. These security systems let you monitor your property through an app or a website. Don’t pay for a pricey, third-party monitoring service. However, some self-monitoring security systems may have monthly fees you’ll need to consider.

According to David Olafson, Director of Engineering at ADT, “Home security systems are one of your best lines of defense against home burglary. When thieves are looking for targets, they are looking for homes they feel confident they can get in and out of without being detected. Your home is protected when it has an audible or visible security system with features like alarms, outdoor or motion-sensor lights, security cameras, and stickers advertising the system.”

While there’s always a place for services that help select and set up a self-monitoring security system, we love that there is no need to call someone to install your security system with these self-monitored finds. Newer options are relatively simple for users to set up in a matter of hours. The best self-monitored home security systems provide various levels of security using different types of technology. Some rely on cameras while others have sensors or motion lights.

Best Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

1 / 10

Simplisafe 9 Piece Wireless Home Security System
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Best Overall Self-Monitored Home Security System

SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System

As our top pick for one of the best self-monitored home security systems, SimpliSafe is a clear overall winner. This wireless system is balanced and easy to install, but we especially appreciate that it is pet-friendly. The sensors know when your dog or cat is on the move versus an intruder, so it only sends notifications when a human is creeping about your home. And as anyone who has had their security alarm tripped at 3 a.m. by a hyperactive cat can tell you, a pet-friendly security system is an investment in safety and a good night’s rest.

In addition, most SimpliSafe system packages are less expensive than many competitor brands. As the overall best DIY security system, it’s also easy for any level DIYer to install—plug in the base station, place your sensors where you’d like and connect the camera (no tools required).

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • More affordable than other brands
  • Can tell the difference between pets and humans

Cons

  • Outdoor camera not included

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2 / 10

Ring Alarm 5 Piece Kit
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Best Budget Self-Monitored Home Security System

Ring Alarm 5-Piece Kit

Budget-conscious but still want to protect your home adequately? The Ring Alarm 5-Piece Kit is here to save the day. This kit includes a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector and range extender—making it a stellar choice for condos, apartments and smaller homes. It’s the best home security system without subscriptions, fees or hidden costs.

And when you’re ready to upgrade your smart home, it’s easy to add additional components, such as the Ring Doorbell, to meet your security needs.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly price point
  • Can add additional pieces
  • Compatible app
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Works best for smaller homes, condos and apartments

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3 / 10

Blink Outdoor Wireless 3 Piece Camera Kit
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Best Outdoor Self-Monitored Home Security System

Blink Outdoor Wireless 3-Piece Camera Kit

If monitoring the outside of your home is your focus, check out the Blink Outdoor Wireless Security Camera Kit. This battery-powered outdoor security camera system allows you to keep tabs on your home at any time with infrared night vision.

Store video clips and photos in the cloud with the Blink Subscription Plan and save clips locally to the Blink Sync Module 2 via a USB flash drive (sold separately). You can even customize motion zones via the Blink app to alert you when movement is detected in certain areas. And since these hardy cameras were built to withstand Mother Nature, they are durable and long-lasting. There’s also no wiring necessary, meaning this pick for one of the best DIY home security systems sets up quickly, too.

Pros

  • Withstands various types of weather
  • Can add additional cameras
  • Easy to set up
  • Buyers like the night vision clarity

Cons

  • Video storage requires a subscription plan

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4 / 10

Reolink 4k Security Camera System
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Best Splurge-Worthy Self-Monitored Home Security System

Reolink Security Camera System

If you’re interested in having all the latest bells and whistles on your security system, the Reolink Camera might be what you’re looking for. This eight-piece wired security system is a splurge, but the cameras deliver crystal-clear clarity—even when you zoom in. The outdoor cameras can identify people and vehicles based on their shapes, which minimizes unwanted alerts to harmless animals or shadows. Additionally, the free Reolink app allows you to access all your cameras remotely, regardless of how many you have or where you are.

Pros

  • Cameras identify people and vehicles
  • High level of clarity in the video
  • Can add additional pieces

Cons

  • Pricey

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5 / 10

Reolink 4k Security Camera System
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Best Self-Monitored Home Security System With No Monthly Fee

Eufy Security Pro 4-Cam Kit

While it’s a bit more pricey than other systems upfront, the Eufy Security Pro 4-Cam Kit is our pick for the best self-monitored home security system with no monthly fee. This wireless kit provides 180 days of battery life on a single charge (and works in almost any type of weather).

The system uses Eufy HomeBase 2 as its hub and is compatible with other Eufy products, so you can add additional smart security devices as needed. Buyers liked the security camera’s night vision, picture quality and motion detection capabilities.

Pros

  • No monthly subscription
  • Good picture clarity day or night
  • Can add additional pieces

Cons

  • Pricey

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6 / 10

Alpha Wifi Door Alarm System
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Best Smart Self-Monitored Home Security System

Alpha Wi-Fi Door Alarm System

Ringing up at under $100, the Alpha Wi-Fi door alarm system comes with sensors for windows and doors. When engaged, the smart home hub sounds an alarm whenever someone tries to enter, alerting the family to an intruder. Two remotes and a Wi-Fi-enabled app offer ample ways to both engage the alarm system and shut it off.

Each kit comes with five window and door sensors, plus an alarm hub that connects to Alexa for voice commands. We love that the system is customizable—just purchase the brand’s water sensors separately to monitor for leaks and floods, too.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Has both door and window sensors
  • Compatible with Alexa
  • Non-invasive, so it’s perfect for apartments

Cons

  • App features are only available to subscribers

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7 / 10

Panasonic Homehawk Window Home Monitoring Camera
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Best Window-Mounted Self-Monitored Home Security System

Panasonic HomeHawk Window Home Monitoring Camera

When it comes to the best self-monitored home security systems, finding one that mounts easily without drilling into the wall isn’t an easy feat. That’s why we’re sold on the Panasonic HomeHawk window home monitoring camera. Simply clean your windows, then use the powerful suction cups to adhere the camera to virtually any interior window, no drilling or complicated installation required.

Mounting the system inside helps keep the camera safe from the elements and out of thieves’ clutches. Person Detection Technology sees people and filters out the environment, such as moving cars and pets. A microSDXC card stores two seconds prior to any alert, so you can always watch back on a local device.

Pros

  • High-definition 1080p recording
  • Wide angle view
  • Mounts indoors, away from the elements
  • Detects people, not pets
  • No fee required
  • Color night vision

Cons

  • No app or smart hub compatibility
  • MicroSDXC card required for storage, sold separately

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8 / 10

Smart Door Alarm System
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Best Self-Monitored Home Security System with Alarms

Smart Door Alarm System

For those who don’t have the time or technology know-how to use an IP or Cloud camera, this simple smart door alarm system is just the thing. No contracts and no subscription fees mean that after paying the sub-$60 purchase fees, there are no added costs for smartphone notifications or alerts.

Set up the five included door and window sensors by simply connecting them to the hub via Wi-Fi. Then, connect. the hub to Google Assistant or Alexa for hands-free alarm shutoffs and to transition from Home to Away mode. The best part? The hub’s rechargeable battery operates for up to eight additional hours in the event of a power outage.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • No additional fees
  • Supports up to 100 window, door and motion sensors

Cons

  • Will not alert authorities of a break-in

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9 / 10

Expandable All In One Wireless Security Camera System
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Best Multi-Camera Self-Monitored Home Security System

Expandable All-in-One Wireless Security Camera System

Four HD, weatherproof cameras come with this expandable all-in-one wireless system. Access surveillance videos from your smartphone, or fire up the included 10.1-inch full HD digital monitor and 1TB hard drive to view live or archived footage. Each system supports up to 10 camera channels, making this one of the best self-monitored home security systems for larger homes.

These plug-and-play cameras are ideal for families who prefer spending less time (and stress) on installation. Reviewers note that the brand’s customer service is also quick to help with any setup issues or questions.

Pros

  • 10-inch monitor and 1TB hard drive
  • Four weatherproof cameras suitable for larger homes
  • Cameras auto-link to monitor hub
  • Expandable system supports up to 10 cameras
  • Black and white night vision

Cons

  • Cameras only offer 3MP resolution

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10 / 10

Casacam Wireless Security Camera System
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Best Touch Screen Self-Monitored Home Security System

CasaCam Wireless Security Camera System

Enamored with the idea of hooking up your security system to a Google Home or Echo Show, but don’t want to spend hundreds on a smart monitor? The CasaCam wireless security system comes with its own seven-inch touchscreen monitor. Like an Echo Show, it simplifies switching between camera channels and seeing, hearing and speaking to people on your property.

A rechargeable battery and SD card allow homeowners to re-watch recordings. Select auto-mode to record five seconds prior to any notification, or schedule recording times in advance. Because it works locally, there’s no need to hook the system up to Wi-Fi or smart devices.

Pros

  • Seven-inch touchscreen monitor hub
  • Auto, manual and scheduled recording modes
  • Smart motion detection using heat and video motion

Cons

  • Only supports up to four cameras
  • App can be spotty

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What to Consider When Buying a Self-Monitored Home Security System

When considering the best self-monitored home security system for your needs, determine the upfront costs and any monthly subscriptions the prospective system requires. You’ll also want to think about how you’ll monitor the system and what type of equipment it uses.

For large homes, consider expandable systems that support several cameras or motion sensors to cover every ground-floor entrance. Homes that already use a smart hub like Alexa may want to consider compatible systems because they allow you to disarm and more using voice controls. Overall, using any of the best self-monitored home security systems above will improve the safety of your home, family and property.

Types of Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

  • Subscription or Contract Security Systems: Third-party security systems require a monthly or yearly subscription to store camera footage or use the system’s app or monitoring website.
  • Sensors: Motion sensors pick up movement in a specified area, either inside or outside the home.
  • Security Cameras: Cameras record video and take photos of an area inside or outside the home. This footage can then be stored for later use. You can get a security camera without Wi-Fi.
  • Wireless: Wireless security systems run on a battery, which needs to be charged or replaced after a certain amount of time.
  • Wired: Wired security systems are integrated into your home’s wiring, which sends information back to a central control.

Why You Should Trust Us

When it comes to home security, uncertainty just won’t do. Emily Way is an associate shopping editor for Family Handyman with experience researching products and recommending the best designs to consumers. She researched and updated this piece, consulted industry experts at ADT and combed through user reviews to find the best home security systems that are worth the price.

Way consulted David Olafson, the Director of Engineering at ADT. On the ADT team, David is responsible for developing ADT’s next-generation home security platform. In a number of roles, David developed software to manage large networks of distributed computers. For the last few years, those computers have been home security systems, cameras, and related mobile apps.

How We Found the Best Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We scoured through dozens of highly-rated security systems to find the best one for every need, budget and installation skill level. Then, we narrowed it down the the ten best, according to reviews and expert input. Then, we combed through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test. A few of the above picks are from notable brands, while others are hidden gems that work just as well as (or even better) than the name brands.

FAQ

What is the difference between self-monitored and monitored alarm systems?

When deciding between self-monitored and monitored alarm systems, consider your own diligence. According to Olafson, “Monitored alarm systems offer continuous surveillance by a team of professionals who can promptly notify emergency services on your behalf. In contrast, unmonitored alarm security systems rely on your self-monitoring capabilities, requiring you to act if your system is triggered.”

The key distinctions between monitored and self-monitored alarm systems are:

  • Monitored Alarm Systems: Offer the convenience of professional monitoring and comprehensive expertise
  • Self-Monitored Alarm Systems: Come with lower upfront costs but require greater homeowner responsibility

When deciding between the two, there are a few factors to consider. “Monitored alarm systems are ideal for those who prefer the assurance of well-trained operators and a reliable team,” says Olafson. However, he mentions that it’s worth noting that the term ‘monitored alarm security’ is a general description, as each company may have distinct policies and features. He notes that in order to make an informed choice, consider the following questions:

    1. Who will be monitoring my home?
    2. Does the company monitor in-house, or do they outsource monitoring?
    3. What if my house still gets broken into?

That doesn’t mean that you should always opt for companies that offer optional subscriptions for higher levels of security coverage. “One thing to consider when switching to smart home monitoring is the commitment of the monitoring operators,” Olafson warns. “Ultimately, the difference between unmonitored and monitored smart home security systems is quite simple and can be broken down into this question: If an alarm chimes, will you need to check it out and call for help, or will you have a dedicated team of individuals to call for help?”

What home security system does not require a subscription?

Several companies offer home security systems without a subscription, including Ring, Arlo and SimpliSafe. However, it’s worth weighing the benefits and drawbacks of using a flat-fee security system. Many companies require a subscription to access certain features, such as recordings, doorbells and motion detection.

Do burglars avoid homes with security systems?

Many convicted burglars say they would avoid breaking into a house with a visible security camera, and the sound of a home alarm system going off deters most. Olafson says that when it comes to whether security systems deter burglars, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

One particular study interviewed former burglars, who stated that two of the most prominent reasons they would avoid breaking into a specific home were security cameras and barking dogs,” he says. “This is one of the most obvious benefits that can make home security worth it for many families. Many criminals are looking out for security systems as it’s important to them that they can enter and leave a property without being noticed. The presence of a home security system is a common reason that burglars will move on to find an easier target. This leaves your property and your family safe.”