In the United States, a burglary occurs once every 18 seconds. This equates to almost 200 per hour and close to 5,000 each day.
These terrifying statistics demonstrate just how important a good home security system is. Not only do they have the power to deter potential burglars and raise the alarm, but certain devices even capture crucial video footage of the criminals for later prosecution.
The marketplace is packed with home security solutions, though, and narrowing your search down to just one option can be tough. Finding a system to suit your budget only makes this even harder, especially as security technology continues to grow more advanced.
But don’t worry: in this comprehensive guide, we’ve compiled the top 12 DIY home security systems with no monthly fees.
What does that mean? You can install each of these devices yourself without needing to hire a professional to do it for you. That’s a major advantage, saving both time and money.
Monitoring is optional on these 12 home security systems too: you don’t have to pay a team to watch over your property on a daily basis — making them even more cost-effective.
While professional monitoring definitely has its advantages (extra peace of mind, increased security), it’s an extra outgoing to consider. And the high-performance of the best DIY home security systems reduces the need for external monitoring too.
The options covered below offer maximum convenience for even the most non-tech-minded consumer: you just pay for the DIY system itself, set it up and relax knowing your home is safer than ever.
We’ve listed the 12 best DIY home security systems from the most expensive to the least, incorporating a great range of prices to satisfy buyers on diverse budgets. All costs specified apply to Amazon.com and are correct at the time of writing.
Nest Security Camera 3-Pack ($394)
Nest is one of the foremost names in the world of home security, and this system is a fantastic product utilizing cutting-edge video.
While it retails at a high price, this Nest Indoor Cams 3-pack offers solid value for money thanks to its impressive features. One true perk is its Alexa-compatibility: you can control it with your voice alone, provided you already have an Alexa unit in your home. This offers real convenience for those with reduced mobility who want to keep track of activity elsewhere in other rooms.
Nest Indoor Cams stream video in crisp 1080p HD for for a crisp image, even at night. This makes smaller details hard to miss and ensures a high standard of clarity, helpful for identifying faces if needed.
Nest Alerts keep you in close contact with your property at all times too. Alerts arrive via the compatible Nest App whenever one of the cameras picks up signs of activity or movement in any room covered.
These Nest Indoor Cams feature built-in speakers too, which operate both ways. What does that mean? You’ll hear sounds from within areas monitored by the cameras and have the freedom to communicate through the speakers (such as telling your cat to stop scratching the couch).
This function means you can interact with friends or family without calling them, and you can even warn intruders they’re being watched. This may be enough to deter them.
The Nest Indoor Cams are designed for a high standard of stability, sitting on all types of surface for reduced risk of tipping over. In-built magnets enable you to connect the Cams to metallic surfaces, or you can attach it to a wall directly.
You can save 10 or 30 days’ worth of video footage in the cloud for future reference (ideal if you’ve been away from home on vacation). Playback is designed for maximum convenience, allowing you to fast-forward and rewind hours of footage in seconds.
If your budget has room for the Nest Indoor Cams 3-pack, it’s an outstanding choice for any property. The two-way speakers are a definite highlight, while the various set-up options offer great flexibility during installation.
Arlo Pro 2 ($385)
Arlo Technologies is known for its high-end security and surveillance products. The Arlo Pro 2 is a fine example of the brand’s innovative approach to home protection, boasting completely wireless performance. This means no problems with exposed wires or tangled power cords.
The camera features 1080p HD resolution with night vision; this activates automatically in low light, designed to capture clear footage round the clock. The Arlo Pro 2 has also been built to be weather-resistant, operating at temperatures between 32 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Arlo Pro 2 includes two-way audio. You’ll be able to communicate with anyone in your home at any time via your smartphone, whether they’re supposed to be there or not. The Smart Siren blasts at an impressive 100 decibels, drawing attention and (hopefully) warning intruders away. You can control this remotely or activate it to sound when motion or noise is detected.
You can run the Arlo Pro 2 on its rechargeable battery or plugged into a power source, whichever works for you. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Fire TV and Echo Show as well, allowing you the freedom to operate it with voice commands only. It even works with Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT (If This Then That).
The Arlo Pro 2’s Arlo Smart function is an optional extra you may want to consider trying for the free one-month trial phase (what have you got to lose?). With Arlo Smart, you can customize the alerts you receive based on different types of activity, monitoring people and specific areas of the home.
You can contact emergency services directly from the lock screen on your smartphone, giving you the power to alert local authorities to a situation with a short process.
The Arlo Pro 2 comes with seven days’ worth of free cloud recordings, so you can store live video or audio for the first week following purchase. So, you don’t get the ability to save 10 or 30 days’ footage in the cloud as part of the service as with the Nest Indoor Cams 3-pack, but again, you can still benefit from this trial period even if you don’t want to upgrade to a more expensive deal.
Honeywell Lynx Touch L7000 ($380)
Honeywell is a company with multiple different interests, and the Lynx Touch L7000 is just one of numerous security-focused products. It’s another fantastic high-end security system with some good features and functions, at a slightly lower price than Arlo and Nest’s items.
It’s not as sleek and visually-impressive as either of the aforementioned products though. The 7” touchscreen looks a little small and old-fashioned, though it’s clearly well-designed for functionality — which is really the most important thing. The colors are vibrant and dynamic, helping each of the different icons contrast (a major aid for users with eyesight issues).
You can access all the main functions of the system via the touchscreen’s menu. Security, Automation, Video, News, Traffic and Notices are all available at a quick tap or two. Time and weather details are included too.
Two-way audio is available, as is Z-Wave connectivity. This lets you control different aspects of your home’s functions through the system, such as lighting, alarm, door locks, thermostat and more. It’s a solid feature that expands the Lynx’s value, offering a wide range of functionality beyond basic security.
If you’re away for some time and want to make your home look occupied in a more convincing way, you can use the randomized lighting control to fool criminals watching the property. 20 rules (even-based actions) and 20 schedules (time-based actions) can all be programmed.
The Lynx supports as many as four cameras and displays their feeds individually or in unison. This works with video products from Honeywell, such as the iPCAM-PT or iPCAM-WO.
The Advanced Protection Logic ensures the alarm is reported even if an intruder interferes with the system during a forced entry. This offers an extra layer of security and protection. You can activate a voice announcement of zone- and system-statuses to set your mind at ease, at home or away.
The Honeywell Lynx allows for as many as 48 user codes, including Installer, Master and 46 Secondary options. This is ideal for providing specific guests with their own unique entry codes, which can then be deactivated without removing your own personal code.
You can control your garage doors via this system as well, with space for up to four doors available. You can monitor the status of the garage door at any time, automatically control it directly or through a schedule, all on your smartphone.