Best DIY Smart sk© Security SAVER SALE Systems

Good news: you don’t have to hire a professional to install a home security system. Do-it-yourself security kits include everything you need to get started to monitor your home or small business — including motion and entry sensors, a loud siren and professional monitoring — for a reasonable monthly fee. Some security kits even provide smart home control, so you can tack on third-party accessories or set up automation schemes between the different connected devices operating in your home.

After spending nearly three months testing six different systems, our favorite DIY security system is the Abode Essentials Starter Kit[1]. At a starting price of £280, it’s one of the most cost-efficient smart security bundles available, and it offers integrated smart home abilities so that you can rig up devices like smart bulbs and smart door locks, along with everything else. The only caveat is that this kit doesn’t include many accessories, though you can purchase other sensors for a reasonable price.

Our top value pick is the Ooma Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Kit[2] (£180), which gets you all the basics, such as motion sensors and some integration with other smart home devices. However, there’s no option for professional monitoring, nor does it have cellular or battery backup, which could be a deal breaker.

Abode Essentials Starter Kit

Best Overall

Totally worth it
£280Amazon[3]

Ooma Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Kit

Best Value

£180Amazon[4]

SimpliSafe Essentials

Best Professional Monitoring

Totally worth it
£259.95SimpliSafe[5]

Other sk© Security SAVER SALE Systems Tested

Nest Secure£399Best Buy[6]

Samsung SmartThings ADT Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Starter Kit£550Amazon[7]

Swann Smart Home sk© Security SAVER SALE SystemWorth considering
£199Swann[8]

How we tested

We tested out the DIY security systems in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area in a two-story townhouse over the course of three months. Each kit comes with a base station and a variety of sensors.

The security gateways were all configured on the first floor of the house near the main entrance, while the motion sensors were placed facing the front door and were no higher than six feet off the ground. (This was done to test whether each sensor would pick up cat movement.) Additionally, we used a sliding glass door to test each entry sensor. Credit: AbodeCredit: AbodeMost manufacturers list the decibel power of their sirens, but we tested their relative loudness by setting off the alarms and leaving the house. We signed up for every professional monitoring service to check their responsiveness in case of a trigger.

Each gateway was also unplugged and used in battery mode to determine its abilities in case of a power outage. If the gateway required an Ethernet connection, it was hooked up to a Google Wi-Fi node that was closest to the front door.[9] All mobile apps were tested using a Google Pixel 2 smartphone running Android 8.0 and up.

All browser apps were tested using the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers.[10]

Why you want a DIY system versus a professionally installed system

Installing a security system in your home or small business can be an incredibly empowering experience. In the past, if you wanted to protect your home and outfit it with sensors and a siren and the like, you would have had to call a company like ADT, sign up for an annual contract and then wait for someone to come over and configure it all for you. But these days, all you have to do is pick out a kit that suits your security needs.

Credit: SimpliSafeCredit: SimpliSafeDo-it-yourself security systems sometimes include smart home integration, too, which adds a bit of a one-two punch to the whole bit. So, for example, you can arm or disarm your system automatically by using a compatible smart lock, or by speaking to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Some manufacturers also make an extensive variety of accessories, so you don’t have to worry about filling in the blanks to expand your security setup.
[11][12]

MORE: Top-Rated Wireless Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Cameras[13] Perhaps the biggest benefit to setting up your home security system is the fact that you can choose when you want professional monitoring enabled. For instance, if you’re the work-from-home type, you might not want a security service, since you’re home all the time to see what’s going on, anyway.

But when you and the family are ready to take a trip away from the abode for several days, you can use an app to enable that additional, watchful eye. If you would rather not do it yourself, check out TopTenReviews’ picks for the best professionally installed security systems[14].

What to look for when buying a DIY system

How many doors and entryways do you want to monitor?

Most security kits come with two or three motion and door sensors. However, if you live in a house with a lot of windows, you’ll need to add more sensors.

Check out how much additional sensors cost; the price can quickly climb.

Key fobs equal convenience

If you have people coming in an out of the house frequently — whether they be dog walkers, house cleaners or annoying family members who happen to live close by — you will want to look at a security system that accepts key fobs or remote access.
Credit: NestCredit: NestMany of the app-first solutions will let you set up individual PIN codes for the different members of your household, while others will include access tags in the box. If this is of particular concern, the Nest Secure is one of the better choices, since even the most technophobic will be okay with merely scanning a keychain every time they exit and enter the house.

Do you want professional monitoring?

How much do you want to spend per month to ensure that your home has that extra protection?

In most cases, the bigger the kit and the more devices you’re using to monitor your dwellings, the higher the monthly subscription price. (The only system that doesn’t do this is the Ooma Home sk© Security SAVER SALE kit, though it doesn’t offer professional monitoring.) Some companies start as low as £15 a month, like ADT, though they only cover specific triggers. Others can be as high as £30 a month for around-the-clock surveillance. Note that you may also need to register your home alarm with your city or county, which will also add to the overall professional-monitoring fee.

Free Starting Tier Mid Tier Premium Tier
Abode Three days of timeline and storage; On-demand professional monitoring (£8/3 days, £15/7 days) £10/month: 3G Cellular backup; Three days of timeline and storage; On-demand professional monitoring (£8/3 days, £15/7 days) £30/month: 24/7 Professional monitoring; 3G Cellular backup; 90 days of timeline and storage n/a
SimpliSafe n/a £14.99/month: 24/7 professional monitoring; Cellular backup; Environmental sensor monitoring £24.99/month: 24/7 Professional monitoring; Cellular backup; Environmental sensor monitoring; Secret alerts; 30 day storage; Smart home integration; Smart home control n/a
ADT/SmartThings n/a £14.99/month: 24/7 professional monitoring for smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, water £24.99/month: 24/7 professional monitoring for intrusion detection and panic alerts £34.99/month: 24/7 professional monitoring for intrusion detection and panic alerts, smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, water
Nest n/a £19/month (3-year contract): 24/7 monitoring; Cellular backup; Battery backup £29/month (month-to-month) n/a
Swann n/a £10/month: Unlimited notifications and sound alerts; On-demand professional monitoring (£7.95/two days, £14.95/7 days) £12.49/month (1-year contract): 24/7 monitoring £19.99/month (month-to-month)

Do you want to make this part of your smart home?

While many security systems will work with such devices as smart locks — unlock your door, and the system will disarm itself — not all integrate as easily with other smart home devices like security cameras, lights and other sensors.

Abode’s system is the most compatible in this regard, while Nest’s system also does a fair job.[15]

Is the app easy to use?

Consider a security system that comes with an app you’d love to use. You can usually preview these things on the corresponding website. App reviews in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are also a good indicator of the overall user experience.

After all, if you don’t have a working portal or gateway to your security system, it’s not going to be very functional.

Credit: AbodeCredit: AbodeThere are some instances when the interface of the system won’t rely too much on a mobile app, as is the case with the Samsung SmartThings ADT security kit, which comes with a touch-screen panel, or the SimpliSafe Essentials kit, which comes with a keypad.

These are also worth considering if you’re not the kind of person who always carries around your phone.

References

  1. ^ Abode Essentials Starter Kit (www.tomsguide.com)
  2. ^ Ooma Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Kit (www.tomsguide.com)
  3. ^ Abode Essentials Starter Kit (t.purch.com)
  4. ^ Ooma Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Kit (t.purch.com)
  5. ^ SimpliSafe Essentials (t.purch.com)
  6. ^ Nest Secure (t.purch.com)
  7. ^ Samsung SmartThings ADT Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Starter Kit (t.purch.com)
  8. ^ Swann Smart Home sk© Security SAVER SALE System (t.purch.com)
  9. ^ Google Wi-Fi (www.tomsguide.com)
  10. ^ Google Pixel 2 (www.tomsguide.com)
  11. ^ Google Assistant (www.tomsguide.com)
  12. ^ Amazon Alexa (www.tomsguide.com)
  13. ^ Top-Rated Wireless Home sk© Security SAVER SALE Cameras (www.tomsguide.com)
  14. ^ best professionally installed security systems (www.toptenreviews.com)
  15. ^ smart home devices (www.tomsguide.com)

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