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The best DIY home security systems for 2021

The best way to protect your home is to install a security system that matches your lifestyle. Each home is unique, and you should assess where risks lie before investing in a home security system. Hiring a home security company to install a system and monitor your home can also be expensive.

You can find DIY home security system kits that come with different elements you can use to create a customized security system. We’ve reviewed different DIY home security systems to give you a better idea of which products make sense for your needs.

SimpliSafe

simplisafe

SimpliSafe redid its DIY kit in 2018 with a new (and much better) look and better functionality, including dual cellular and Wi-Fi connections, so the system won’t be disrupted by a power outage. The Knox is an excellent choice for larger homes where you already know you’ll need more than one or two sensors for full protection.

It comes with a base station and separate keypad, a key fob, six door sensors, two motion sensors, a siren, and a smoke detector — all in one package. Professional, no-contract monitoring is available for $15 per month, and you can add extra devices like outdoor cameras, smart locks, and more. The SimpliSafe is an excellent system if you want to start off big.

Ring Alarm

Ring’s security kit combines a few more traditional elements of home security systems with a newer DIY approach that works well if you are comfortable with a classic setup. The kit comes with a base station, a separate keypad to install on the wall, a contact sensor, a motion detector, and range extender (plus compatibility with all other Ring products, specifically their video doorbells and security cameras).

That’s an excellent array of products for a great price, and they are easy to set up and understand even if your experience with home security systems is limited. The keypad allows you to switch between Away, Home, and Disarmed modes, like traditional systems, but with useful features like programmable delays for arming, and push notifications for your phone app.

Aside from the Ring Alarm, Ring also offers 24/7 professional monitoring and video recording for a fee, with no cancellation fees if you decide to go back to a simpler setup. Get more information from our full review.

Honeywell

Honeywell’s latest offering is a series of stylish devices that allow for easy customization based on your home and just how you want your security system to work (starter kits are also available if you just want a little of everything, which is what you will find in our link below). The MotionViewer is the larger, with built-in video and motion detection: It runs only on batteries and is designed to be placed in a central location where it can watch over things. There’s also an outdoor version that can be mounted on a wall! However, Honeywell also offers simpler motion sensors and access sensors that you can place around your home as desired. There’s a key fob with buttons for easy locking and unlocking, or changing security modes as needed. Otherwise, everything is controlled through the excellent Honeywell app.

It’s also worth noting that the indoor MotionViewer comes with speakers that can play music and built-in Alexa voice assistant compatibility, so you can easily use it as a smart speaker or give security voice commands. The Honeywell is a great alternative if you want an Amazon Echo but prefer something a bit more security-focused.

Kangaroo 5-piece kit

If you’re looking for a more affordable home security option, seeing these options for $200 to $300 each may feel a little depressing. Fortunately, there’s a great answer in the market for smaller budgets, too, thanks to Kangaroo’s five-piece security system that’s still under $100.

The Kangaroo includes a hub with a keypad and siren that also acts as a smoke and carbon monoxide sensor, two motion sensors for guarding entryways, and two “Roo tags,” which are essentially keychain fobs for easy entry. You manage the system via an app, which includes alerts for motion detection and fires, and there is an option for professional monitoring with a free three-month trial period. The system also has some nice extras like Alexa compatibility and a pet mode for setting up the system with pets in mind.

Nest Secure

Nest Secure Review
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

Nest Secure (read our full review) is the best example of what a home security starter kit should be: Simple, easy to understand, and unobtrusive while it’s working — but, with plenty of options for expansion or additional features. The kit comes with the Guard hub, a round device with a number pad that tracks all the other sensors, but also incorporates a siren and motion sensor of its own. You also get two Detect motion sensors to set up where you please around the house, and two Tag key fobs that will let you pass through them. You can disarm the detectors with a code, or simply choose a silent mode to avoid triggering the alarm when necessary. These sensors can also light up as indicators, let out chimes so you know when an unlocked opening has been accessed, and switch to a pet mode so pets won’t set them off.

The Nest Secure is an expensive setup for three motion detectors and no cam, but Nest’s devices are state of the art, responsive, and minimalist, so you really get what you pay for. You can add indoor or outdoor cams, video doorbells, and additional motion detectors whenever you want to expand the system. You can also arrange for mobile notification, and enable professional monitoring via Brinks Home if you prefer.

Abode

The Abode home security starter kit comes with a well-thought-out app that includes total system control utilizing a key fob, a sensor for general motion detection, a door and window sensor, and a Gateway hub. While Nest is only compatible with Nest technology, Abode is compatible with both Zigbee and Z-Wave Wi-Fi apps. That means that the Abode Suite of applications is more widely accessible, offering more customization and integrations.

That, plus the many different sensor options available from Abode, make this DIY system one of the best by far for integrating with or expanding on older devices. In addition to being compatible with other Wi-Fi apps, the Abode security system even pairs up with Google Assistant and Alexa so you can use voice commands to control it.

Read our full review if you’d like more information. If you still don’t know if it’s better to install your security system or hire a professional to do it for you, you can check out this extensive list of the best home security systems that include both DIY kits and options to have professionally installed.

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