When you are ready to add security to your home, you will quickly discover that the options are almost unlimited. It can be hard enough to decide on specific devices, let alone which (if any) company you should choose. Then there is the trouble of deciding between their many packages. Often there is a salesperson on the phone with you, making it hard to know for sure if they are doing what is best for you or for their paycheck.
We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate at least the most common options. We provide some in-depth information on the leading home security companies and give you an overview of their plan packages.
Since not everyone can or wants to deal with a larger company, we have also included several options for DIY home security, from self-installation to monitoring, and even ideas of basic equipment costs. Read on for your Complete Guide to Home Security System Packages.
Home Security Systems
Here are the most popular Home Security Systems. Click on the name to jump to the package information.
|Name||Basic Equipment Costs||Installation Costs||Monitoring?||Monitoring Costs (per month)||Wireless?||Cameras?||Warranty?||Contract?||Details|
|Blinks Home Security||$79.99||—||—||—||✔||✔||✔||—||Check Amazon|
|Deep Sentinel||$499||—||✔||$49.99||✔||✔||✔||✔||Visit Site|
|Protect America||$50+||—||✔||$19.99+||✔||✔||✔||✔||Visit Site|
|Link Interactive||$180+||—||✔||$30.99||✔||✔||✔||✔||Visit Site|
|Nest Secure||$399+||—||✔||Brinks||✔||✔||✔||—||Visit Site|
|Ring Alarm||$199+||—||✔||$3+||✔||✔||✔||—||Check Amazon|
|Scout Alarm||$198+||—||✔||$9.99+||✔||✔||✔||—||Check Amazon|
|Vivint SmartHome||$300||$99||✔||$29.99+||✔||✔||✔||✔||Visit Site|
|Xfinity Home||Free*||—||✔||$29.99+||✔||✔||✔||✔||Visit Site|
Types of Home Security
There are several ways to increase your home security. When it comes to a home security system you have several options and what they can and cannot do will depend on several things, including your location, personal needs, what you are willing to spend to achieve peace of mind. Here are the general types of home security that are available.
Professionally Installed with 24/7 Monitoring
We’ve all seen the ads for home security monitoring. They usually feature a young family that is woken in the middle of the night to the sound of glass breaking or a clip of a would-be thief prowling around a home. Then someone comes on and says that these could’ve been prevented if you only had their service.
A professional-grade home security system has some advantages. First, the installation is usually done by the company, so there is no worry that something is not connected correctly or the risk of injury during installation. Professional installation also usually comes with some type of warranty that will cover, by either replacement or repairing part of the system if necessary.
Some professional companies even provide some customers with added protection against loss, damage, or theft of their property should the system fail in some way. 24/7 monitoring is usually available with all professionally installed home security systems. Of course, there is going to be a fee, usually monthly for this service. The price of monitoring varies from company to company and can depend on the type of system or package you purchase as well.
DIY Installed with 24/7 Monitoring
There are several companies that offer DIY installation options for their systems, or part of their systems. Additionally, there are some monitoring companies that do not even offer their own products, just the service of monitoring your self-installed system and alerting you (or authorities) when there is a problem.
Installing any home security system yourself comes with the understanding that it is your responsibility to ensure the system and all units are properly installed and in working order. The big downfall of some DIY installation systems is the failure to know and alert the owner if something is not in proper working order.
Before deciding on a system, check with the monitoring service that covers your area to make sure you know which systems they monitor, and what your options are. It would be a waste of time and money to purchase a system and install it, only to find out you have zero monitoring options if that is what you wanted.
DIY Installed and Monitored
The bottom of the ladder in home security are systems that you not only install yourself, but do not contract an outside source to monitor for activity, risks, or any other alerts. Not that these types of systems are worthless, some are quite advanced at detecting and alerting you that something is wrong. However, it is then up to you to respond and contact the necessary authorities.
For example, if someone breaks into your home while you are at work, the system MAY alert you to the break-in, but then you will have to call the police to have the break-in checked on. This may be fine for many individuals, but what if when the alert is sent, you are in a meeting with your phone either not on you or on silent? By the time you actually see the alert, the damage may already be done, and your personal property is long gone.
How to Choose a Home Security Package
No matter which company you choose, they will likely offer several package options. Some may have add-ons available or you may have to purchase entire bundles in order to get the specific components you want in your home security. Regardless of the company, you will probably have to make some decisions about the following services.
Professional vs. DIY Installation
In the age of automation and smart technology more and more home security companies are making products available that can be easily installed without the need for a professional. This is especially true in wireless installations where everything is controlled by a central device using either Wi-Fi or Cellular connections to control and monitor the devices.
Individuals who are worried that they may make a mistake may still want to consider professional installation. Some companies even give you the option of a professional installation, and if you are lucky, they will not charge you for it. Even DIY home security systems may need some expert help for proper installation. In such cases, you may want to contact a local security company for assistance in finding a qualified technician or hit up your techy friends for help.
One of the most varied parts of having a home security system is the cost of monitoring that companies charge and what that monitoring includes. Some companies will bundle their monitoring fees into the purchase price of their products, while others have them completely separate. Also, some companies have contract requirements that you will want to be aware of before agreeing to use their services.
The price involved when purchasing a home security system is based on several variables. The first is that actual cost of the equipment, then any installation fees, and finally any recurring fees for monitoring or insurance.
Most companies have at minimum a basic bundle that can be purchased as a unit. With this purchase, there can be additional installation fees if the company provides installation directly, or requires an outside certified technician. The table above lists the costs of the most basic equipment bundles. The installation fees listed are only those for the companies that require the use of their own installers. All other services either do not charge for installation or leave it up to you to decide.
In general, the only recurring fees that you should need to pay are for professional monitoring services. However, there are a few companies that have options for leased equipment or rent to own prices that allow you to pay for your equipment over a period of time.
Individuals that want a more advanced security system then their current budget may allow can take advantage of these options with less out of pocket costs upfront.
Monthly monitoring fees are often different from company to company. Individual companies also usually offer different levels of monitoring. The biggest thing to watch for is a company that requires a long term contract or can change the monthly rate you are charged with little or no notice.
Accessing Your Needs
Everyone has their own unique security needs depending on the size of the home, where they live, and what security measures they want to implement in their home. In order to determine your personal needs, you will have to take an inventory of your home, decide where you want monitors, what type of monitors you need, and any additional features you want to include.
Individuals that are unsure of their needs may want to enlist the help of a professional consultant to work out a home security plan. A consultant will walk through your home, help you discover any areas that are particularly vulnerable, and assist you in building a custom plan for your home security needs.
Some home security companies offer this service directly and often at little or no charge if you then choose them to provide your home security. If this service is not available in your area, contact your local police department, they will often be able to either refer you to someone or help you themselves.
DIY Buying Guide
So, you’ve decided to go the DIY route with your home security. The problem is, how do you know what components you need, and which ones are just fluff?
You can find many basic starter kits from almost every DIY home security retailer. Kits are a great way to start, however, they often only contain the minimum and you will likely want to improve your security with added sensors and components.
Take a look at these most common components and their uses to help you determine which ones to add to your custom system.
Hub or Base Unit
These days most home security systems are wireless and need a central device to communicate with all of the other devices. Often these can be purchased from the security retailer, or are part of a starter kit. However, if you already have a smart hub, such as an Amazon Echo, there is a hub built right in. You may not have to add the expense, just purchase components that are compatible.
The most common form of home security these days is using cameras to monitor your home, inside and out. Cameras can be found in a variety of styles, depending on your personal needs. There are cameras with motion detection, two-way communication options, and even night vision. High-quality cameras will allow you to capture live video and stream it to your smartphone or other devices.
Cameras can be found integrated into other components as well, such as a video doorbell, smart hub, and lighting. Cameras installed outdoors will need special protection from the elements; double-check this before purchase.
Alarms come in all shapes and sizes and are the foundation of a good home security system. Unlike sensors that simply detect a change, alarms are meant to alert. Alarms can be set to send alerts to you or the authorities (may require monitoring subscription). What most people are probably familiar with is an audible alarm that triggers a loud siren or another distinct sound that will alert people nearby that there is an issue.
As mentioned, sensors are designed to detect specific changes; these will vary depending on the type of sensor. For example, a door or window sensor detects the movement of them being opened (or closed). A motion sensor, however, detects movement across a larger area. There are also sensors that can sense changes in temperature, lighting, and noises levels.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors are a combination of a sensor and an alarm designed to detect and alert when there is smoke or carbon monoxide in your home. The biggest mistake some people make is to choose a detector that only senses smoke and not carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly if exposed for too long in a confined space. Double-check to make sure all of your smoke detectors are also carbon monoxide detectors.
Water and Fire Sensors/Alarm
Much the same as the smoke detectors, these types can detect condensation, water, and heat levels. This is important to have in areas that may be susceptible to water leaks, such as a basement. Fire alarms are great for the kitchen, but you should also consider them in areas where flammable materials are stored, such as a utility room or even your garage.
Technology and Home Automation
Every day there seems to be advanced in technology, which ultimately leads to options to automate our homes. Already you can purchase smart technology-enabled appliances, heating, air conditioning, and, of course, smart plugs and lighting.
Individuals that want more automated options in their home security will have to keep up with technology and pay attention to compatibility. It would do no good to purchase a top of the line, higher dollar automated device only to discover it cannot communicate with the rest of your system.
Luckily, most home security manufacturers are working hard to improve the compatibility of their components across most major automation devices, such as Amazon products with build in Hubs, Google Home, and even smaller brands, such as Wink. The most compatible all of your devices are, the easier your whole system will be to operate.
Professional Home Security Companies
We’ve already covered a ton of information. If you are still with us, then take a look at the companies below. When we could access the information, we’ve provided their available packages and any base equipment requirements. We hope that having all of this information in one place will make your search a bit easier.
ADT has been a leader in professional home security for over a century. Not only are they the largest in the US, but offer some of the best flexibility of profession home security systems.
ADT does require that their systems are professionally installed, however, the installation is often included in free of charge, so look for this promotion if you choose to go with ADT. Otherwise, professional installation will cost between $99 to $199.
There are several equipment options available, all start with a package, but you can add components as needed to fit your needs.
|Components||Basic||Basic Wireless||ADT Pulse®||ADT Pulse® + Video|
|Wireless Control Panel||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Brinks Home Security is a well-known name in home security. Brinks merged with ADT in 2009 but has remained an option for individuals looking for the newest home security options at a lower price.
Unlike ADT, Brinks offers the option of a professional installation or DIY. Since most of their component operate wirelessly, installation can be quick and easy for many individuals.
|Components||Home Complete||Home Complete with Video|
|Home Touch Control Panel||✔||✔|
|Wireless Motion Sensor||✔||✔|
|Wireless Door Sensors||3||3|
|Skybell video doorbell||—||✔|
- Door/Window Sensors
- Motion Sensor
- Glass Break Sensor
- Wireless Temp Sensor
- Flood Detector
- Smoke Detector
- FireFighter Fire Alarm
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Skybell Doorbell Camera
- Indoor Camera
- Outdoor Camera
Vivint is one of the leaders in modern home automation and prides themselves on providing the most modern technology to their customers.
Vivint places a high priority on proper home security. Even their basic packages include professional installation, access to the Vivint sky app, and several sensors. You can also add extra sensors and equipment as needed.
|Components||Home Security Bundle||Video Security Bundle|
|Touch Screen Control Panel||✔||✔|
- Element Thermostat
- Smart Door Lock
- Smart Garage Controller
Xfinity Home is a service provided by the cable company Comcast. As a result, it may not be available in all areas. For existing Comcast customers, adding Xfinity Home to their existing service may be the best option.
All Xfinity security systems installed by a Comcast technician, so you do not have to worry about whether or not it is set-up right.
|Components||Home Secure||X1 Starter Secure||X1 Premier Secure|
*All packages have the same basic set up, higher packages offer discounts on added equipment
- Indoor/Outdoor Cameras
- Zen Thermostat
- Smoke Detector
- Outlet Controller
- Door/Window Sensor
- Motion Sensor
DIY Home Security Systems
Abode is partners with several leading manufacturer in home security to provide homeowners more options for a DIY home security system. However, if necessary, they do offer professional installation options.
Abode offers two starter kits for customers to then build upon to meet their specific needs.
|Components||Iota All-in-One Security Kit||Smart Security Kit|
|Remote Key Fob||✔||✔|
- Door/window sensor
- Motions sensor
- Water leak sensor
- Smoke alarm monitor
- Sirens (indoor and outdoor
- Occupancy sensor
- Smart power switch
Blinks Home Security is built for the budget-conscious consumer with packages as low $79, with no contracts or service requirements. Blink is also an Amazon company, so you can be sure that all of the components will work seamlessly with any Amazon device.
Blinks Home Security is made for the homeowner that has no problem handling their own installation.
|Components||Blink Standard||Blink XT2|
|Indoor HD Video Camera||✔||—|
|Indoor/Outdoor HD Video Camera||—||✔|
- Camera mounts
- Additional Cameras
Deep Sentinel is a company dedicated to providing the fastest security responsiveness. Their single package is designed to fight criminals and get authorities involved faster than any other company.
Installation is a snap, as all Deep Sentinel components are wireless, and can be done on your own following the instructions included with the package.
Since there is only one option, we didn’t see the need to make it complicated. The Deep Sentinel system includes:
- 3 surveillance cameras (1 add-on option)
- A Central Hub
- Wall mounts for the camera
One part that makes Deep Sentinel unique is their security monitoring system called LiveSentinel, a dedicated group of trained agents that monitor your home 24/7 and alert the authorities when necessary.
Fortress offers DIY home security options for every home. Every Fortress Security system comes with a free mobile app for easy monitoring from any smart device.
Fortress security packages are preprogrammed so they only need to be mounted once you receive them. Many of the components are mounted using adhesive, while some may require small screw-in mounts.
|Components||S03||S1 Stealth||S6 Titan|
|Fortress Motion Detector||✔||✔||✔|
|Fortress Remote Fob||2||2||2|
|RFID Key Tags||2||—||2|
|Fortress Sim Card||—||✔||✔|
- Glass Break Sensor
- HD Security Camera
- Strobe Siren
- Plugin Siren
- Indoor/Outdoor Siren
- Indoor/Outdoor Strobe Siren
- Solar Siren
- Remote Fobs
- Door/Window Sensor
- Necklace Call Button
- RFID Keypad
- Panic Button
- Pet Immune Motion Detector
- Smoke Alarm
- Water Sensor
- Vibration Sensor
- Signal Repeater
- Gas Detector
- Smart Outlet
Frontpoint quickly becomes a leader in home security. Focusing on providing the latest technology in customizable configurations with different monitoring options. Frontpoint is currently available in all 50 US states and in all but 1 Canadian province.
Frontpoint provides complete DIY installation home security systems. Most can be installed in 30 minutes or less.
|Glass Break Sensors||—||—||2||1||1||2|
|Smoke and Heat Sensor||—||—||—||1||1||1|
- Panic Pendant
- Keychain Remote
Not everyone wants wireless monitoring, and that is where Protect America comes in. They offer both cellular and landline monitoring options for their customer.
All Protect America security systems are DIY installed.
- HD wireless video camera
- Smoke detectors
- Home automation with Amazon Alexa enabled devices
LifeShield is part of ADT Home Security. However, LifeShield offers customers additional environmental protections and no upfront equipment fees. You also do not need to sign a long-term contract.
All LifeShield Security home security systems are DIY installed.
|Components||Security Essentials||Security Advantage||Security Professional|
|Wireless Security Tablet||✔||✔||✔|
|Fire Safety Sensor||✔||✔||✔|
|Indoor Security Camera||—||✔||✔|
|Glass Break Sensor||—||—||✔|
- Entry Keypad
- Security Touchpad
- Wireless Flood Sensor
- Wireless Freeze Sensor
- Outdoor Security Camera
Link Interactive is a DIY solution for individuals who may or may not want to include professional monitoring services with their security system. The entire system is wireless and backed by cellular, so you do not have to worry about power outages affecting your security. They also connect with many home automation devices for even more security.
Link Interactive home security systems are DIY installed.
Where Link Interactive is a bit different than other systems. Their packages only come with your choice of a control panel, all other sensors and components are purchased separately. Their packages only reflect the level of self or professional monitoring they provide. Below you will see the monitoring each package provides followed by add-on equipment options.
|Crash and Smash||✔||✔||✔|
|Email & Text Alerts||—||✔||—|
|Number of Sensors||43||43||43|
|HD & Night Vision||—||—||✔|
- Key Fob
- Door/Window Sensors
- Motion Sensors
- Tilt Sensors
- Glass Break Sensor
- Smoke/Heat Detector
- FireFighter Module
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- IQ Flood
- Disaster Sensor
- Indoor Siren
- Skybell Doorbell Camera
- Interior and Exterior Cameras
- Smart Thermostat
- Z-Wave Thermostat
SimpliSafe offers a wide variety of options for homeowners to add home security without extended contracts or damaging their home with complicated installations.
Anyone can install a SimpliSafe security system. Each system centers around the SimpliSafe Base Station that you plug into any outlet. The Base Station communicates easily with all of the SimpliSafe components for complication-free home security.
|Component||Starter*||Standard*||Elite*||Beacon*||Haven||Knox||Hearth||Essentials||Foundation||Stonefont||The Keep||The Fortress|
|Key Chain Remote||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||–||–||✔||–||✔|
*Part of SimpliSafe’s Original line
- Video Doorbell
- Video Doorbell Pro
- Indoor Camera
- Outdoor Kit for Cameras
Smaller Systems for DIY Monitoring
Nest Secure, owned and sold by Google, offers several options for adding home security and home automation. Additionally, all products connect with Google Home for voice control options. Where the Nest Secure system shines is that it learns your preferences, and even who comes to your door.
All Nest Secure equipment is designed to be easily installed using the Google Assistant integrated Alarm Control and your smartphone.
All Nest Secure Bundles are designed to save you money when you add accessories and sensors to your core system. The Nest Secure Alarm System comes with the Nest Guard control pad, 2 Nest Detect sensors, 2 open/close magnets, 2 flat-mount, 2 corner- mount brackets, and 2 Nest Tags.
The makers of the Ring Video Doorbell bring home security options for the consumer that wants security, but the cost is an issue. Ring offers no-cost options for homeowners to monitor their own homes with no complicated contracts. Although if you want it, they do have professional monitoring services available.
Ring Alarm components are easy DIY installed in any home.
The foundation of all Ring Alarm Systems is the Alarm Indoor Security Kit which includes a Base Stations, a keypad, one contact sensor, one motion sensor, and a range extender. Beyond these, there are nearly endless options to add additional sensors and detectors, even video and two-way communication devices to build the home security system you need.
Like the other DIY home security systems, Scout provides nearly unlimited options for home security at some of the lowest costs in the industry. Those that want to can enlist C.O.P.S. monitoring services.
All Scout Alarm components are specifically designed for easy self-installation. Most components are completely wireless, so you don’t have to worry much about installation mistakes.
Scout Alarm offers several Scout Pack options for those looking to save a bit of money by purchasing equipment in bundles. All packs come with a Scout hub featuring 4G cell service and a built-in siren, access monitors, motion detectors and RFID key fobs.
We know that there is a lot of information here. We wanted to provide the most complete guide to home security systems possible and give you the widest variety in both professional and DIY home security systems. We sincerely hope we have made your search a bit easier and look forward to providing you with relevant and up to date information on all things home security.