In an ideal world, we would all be able to lock our homes against the possibility of unwanted guests entering, but until relatively recently, such security was out of reach for most people. These days, home security systems are more affordable and often completely DIY, further removing the barrier to entry.
The best home security systems (opens in a new tab) consist of various smart home devices (opens in a new tab)one of the best security cameras (opens in a new tab) to contact sensors and more. They’re also very easy to add and expand over time, so whether you want more outdoor cameras or a smart lock (opens in a new tab)they are often easy to integrate into your existing system.
If you have an Alexa or Google Assistant speaker in your home, then a smart security system is the way to go. Connecting the two will allow you to receive alerts and give voice commands, which is useful when you don’t have your hands free. The best smart screens (opens in a new tab) will allow you to watch a live feed of your chosen area to keep an eye on things.
This article will focus on DIY home security systems that generally don’t need professional installation. Not only does this reduce costs, but it also means that anyone in any household can install one. First of all, you need to decide which components you will get the most out of, which will help you choose the best home security system for you.
What do you need?
It may be tempting, but you probably don’t need a 30-piece security kit when you live in a two-bedroom house. Home security systems come in various compositions, from camera-centric alarms to single-device alarms. If you’re looking for something under $300 / £250 / AU$450, you’ll likely get the basics of a contact sensor, motion sensor, home base and security camera, but it varies.
Security cameras are probably the most familiar element of a DIY system, and many people tend to opt for a single camera over a more elaborate setup. These cameras can be used indoors, outdoors, or both, and are generally best mounted on a wall for the best view.
Motion sensors do what they say on the tin and detect when someone or something moves in an area of the house. This is useful for detecting break-ins when you’re away, and can often be set to ignore pets.
Place them on a door or window and you’ll get an alert when they open. The devices come in two pieces, one attached to the frame and the other to the window/door itself, so you can tell when these two parts are apart.
Leak sensor, glass break sensor and smoke alarm sensor
As slightly more advanced options, these sensors can be placed in the relevant areas to prevent missed plumbing faults, a smoke alarm alert, or a broken window.
keyboard and app
While most modern smart security systems make it easy to use the app for things like turning off alarms and monitoring events, some will also provide a keypad for times when you’re not actively using your phone.
base of operations/alarm
Many home security systems embed their siren or alarm into the base of the house, which should be placed in a convenient location where you’re most likely to hear it (or turn it off when there’s a false alert), such as the living room.
Are you a renter or homeowner?
What you can do with things like outdoor security cameras and smart alarms can differ significantly depending on whether you own your home or rent.
If you don’t have your landlord’s permission, you may not want to drill holes in the wall or permanently attach anything. Fortunately, most home security systems can be installed with removable tape. We recommend checking out what’s included to see if it would be right for your situation.
Meanwhile, homeowners have a bit more choice.
Initial cost or subscription?
While we’re looking to keep the initial cost of purchasing a security system low, you should also be on the lookout for hidden subscription costs that often come with these DIY security kits. We’ve summarized the total costs below, with the best brands charging between $12.99 and $22 for premium features. So remember that even if you get a bargain on the kit itself, things can still get expensive.
Home Security Packages Under $300 / £325 / AU$504
8-Piece Ring Alarm Kit (2nd Gen)
How many pieces? Eight, including a base station, a keyboard, four contact sensors, a motion sensor and a range extender.
Do you have a camera? The Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit (2nd Gen) doesn’t include a camera, but you can easily add extras like the Ring Spotlight Cam.
Subscription costs? Ring Protect Pro gives you professional monitoring with 24/7 access to services like police, fire, and medical help.
Total costs – $250/£180 (for 7 pieces + Ring Indoor Cam)/AU$504 for the kit + $20/£8/AU$15 per month for a subscription.
How many pieces? Only one, with the camera also working as an alarm, motion detector and climate monitor (temperature, humidity and air quality).
Do you have a camera? Yes, the Canary Pro is an indoor camera.
Subscription costs? $12.99 / £7.99 per month or $99 / £79 per year for 30 days of video storage, access to emergency services, a safety button that automatically sends the police to your location, person alerts, desktop streaming, and support of incidents.
Total costs – $169 / £139 + $99 / £79 per year for a subscription. It is not available to buy in Australia.
Learn more about the Canary Pro Indoor Home Security Camera (opens in a new tab).
How many pieces? Four, including a base station, motion sensor, contact sensor, and key fob.
Do you have a camera? No, Abode’s starter kit does not include a security camera.
Subscription costs? You will need a subscription to use the Abode suite. The Standard Plan with self-monitoring and home automation is $6.99 / £7.99 per month and the Pro Plan with professional monitoring and 7-day video storage is $21.99 / £13.99 per month. Both are without contract.
Total cost – around $232 (at Amazon) / £295 + $7-$22 / £8-£14 per month for a subscription. It is not available to buy in Australia.
Learn more about Abode’s Security System Starter Kit (opens in a new tab).
Yale IA-320 Sync Smart Home Alarm
How many pieces? Six, including a base station, two motion sensors, an external siren, a contact sensor, and a keypad.
Do you have a camera? No, the Yale 6-Piece System does not include a camera, but can be added separately.
Subscription costs? Nothing – Yale alarm systems are completely self-monitored at no additional cost.
Total cost – $270 / £248 at Amazon. It is not available to buy in Australia.
Learn more about Yale Smart Alarm Kits (opens in a new tab).
How many pieces? Nine, including a base station, a keyboard, four contact sensors, two motion sensors, and a security camera.
Do you have a camera? Yes, the SimpliSafe wireless home security system includes a SimpliCam.
Subscription costs? A premium subscription to 93c/83p per day gives you guest access codes, secret alarms for when you need to be private, unlimited video recordings, and professional monitoring.
Total cost – $299.99 / £324 (for 7 pieces) on Amazon + around $28 / £25 per month for a subscription. It is not available to buy in Australia.
Learn more about the SimpliSafe 9-Piece Wireless Home Security System (opens in a new tab).
eufy Security 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit
How many pieces? Five, including a base station, a keyboard, two contact sensors and a motion sensor.
Do you have a camera? No, the eufy Security 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit does not include a camera.
Subscription costs? Nothing, the eufy system is completely self-controlled at no extra cost.
Total cost – $130 / £109 / AUS$269 on Amazon. It is not available to buy in Australia.
Learn more about the eufy Security 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit (opens in a new tab).
How many pieces? Four, including a base station/camera, key fob, and two contact sensors.
Do you have a camera? Yes, the base station also works as an indoor security camera.
Subscription costs? None.
Total cost – about $139 (on Amazon). It is not available to buy in the UK or Australia.
Learn more about the Honeywell Home Smart Home Security Starter Kit (opens in a new tab).