How much something costs seems like a simple question. In some cases, the question can be answered quickly and easily. However, when it comes to security systems the question cannot be answered as simply.
Costs related to a home security system can vary drastically depending on several things, including your location, security system, and monitoring fees. This article will walk through these variables, and help you decide which security system may be right for you and know the range that the system will cost you.
What is the average cost of a home security system?
The cost of a home security system includes the fees for equipment, installation charges, and in many cases monthly monitoring fees. Depending on the security system you choose you can reduce the overall cost or eliminate fees for installation and monitoring. Take a quick look at the national averages for each of these fees.
|Fee Type||Occurrence||Low End **||High End **|
**may be higher or lower based on specific terms and conditions
Type of Home Security Systems
Home Security Systems can be very different based on several different things. First, home security systems can come in a wide range of sizes. There are very basic systems that may only have a door alarm with a few sensors and huge home security systems that have video surveillance, motion and sound detection, as well as thermal imaging capabilities.
However, all home security systems are going to fall into one of the three following categories based on the installation and monitoring features included with the system.
Professionally Installed Systems
Home security companies that offer their own equipment and usually require professional monitoring from the company as part of their agreement fall into this category. These are the bigger companies that most people will more than likely recognize, such as ADT, Brinks Home Security, and Vivint SmartHome.
Costs can vary significantly from company to company, as well as dependent on the package you choose and any additional sensors you include. We’ll get into some more of those specifics in a moment.
The biggest trend in home security is the rapid rise security systems that can be installed by an individual with just a little bit of tech experience or in some cases none. Smart technology can be intimidating for many people and they would be less likely to utilize these options.
However, self-install systems have some advantages, particularly in the costs associated with installation, over professionally installed systems. Self- installed systems come in two variations.
There are several companies that have similar packages and add-ons as the home security companies of the past but allow the homeowner to handle the installation themselves. These companies tend to place more focus on the various monitoring plans that they have to offer instead of worrying about pushing extra equipment at you that you may not even need.
A surprising number of home security systems can be purchased from third-party retailers. Most of these can only be monitored directly by the homeowner, as many monitoring companies will not work with third-party components. When installing and monitoring your own home security system you can even build a completely custom system that will fit your unique security needs.
Top Home Security Companies
There are so many security companies these days that it can easily make your head spin. We thought we would help comb through the wide range of companies that offer some type of home security service or components to save you some time. These companies are listed due to repeatedly falling on top lists year after year.
In order to be completely unbiased, we have listed all companies in alphabetical order and insinuate no choice of one company over another.
Full-service Companies: Systems + Monitoring
These companies offer packages that include equipment and monitoring, the cost of packages and monitoring fees vary between companies.
- Brinks Home Security – an ADT Company
- Vivint SmartHome
- Xfinity – a Comcast Company
DIY Home Security Companies
These companies may offer professional installation as an additional expense, but they primarily offer home security systems that can be self-installed by almost anyone. The general idea is that if you can set up a Bluetooth speaker, you can install a DIY home security system.
- Abode Connected Home Security
- Blinks Home Security – an Amazon Company
- LifeShield – an ADT Company
Smart Home Technology – Self-Monitoring Tech
There are several places to buy technology that adds smart technology and home security options to your home. You will probably not be surprised at some of these names.
- Amazon Security – also acquired Ring
- Nest Home Security
- Scout Home Security
Costs Involved with Home Security Systems
Now to get down to the actual dollars and cents of home security. As we mentioned, these costs can be different based on several things. In general, there are three costs associated with having a home security system. Here is a brief explanation of each and a range of the fees taken from the most popular companies
Up Front Costs (sometimes called activation fees)
Upfront costs are often charged by companies for several reasons. Home security companies will often charge a new customer an initial charge based on the package that they choose. We like to think of this as like a rental deposit, you know the ones that require paying a deposit equal to the first and last months rental amount.
Some companies charge absolutely no upfront fees. However, in most cases, the companies that charge no upfront fees will require a longer contract length, although not always. To avoid upfront fees, look for special discounts and package deals.
Depending on what is included, such as equipment, installation, and one-time contract fees, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $1500. We know that seems like a huge range, and it is due to the wide range of potential options. This includes all sizes of home security systems.
Often installation may be part of what may be considered an upfront cost, although not always. Some home security companies charge a fee for installation that is separate from any monitoring service they may offer.
Most home security companies are moving away from large installation fees or will offset the fee with a contract agreement. However, there are a few companies that still require professional installation and charge for the service.
Installation charges usually start as low as $99 and go up from there depending on the company, equipment package, and any additional components you add to the system. Larger security packages may cost $600 or more.
The bane of anyone that has a home security system is the monthly monitoring fees. The reality is that there have been hundreds of comparison studies that show that the average loss during a break-in is around $2400. Most home security monitoring fees will be less than that over the course of even the longest contracts.
Professional monitoring runs anywhere from $15 to $60 a month, or even higher for systems that have several added devices. The companies that do require contracts, have various contract lengths, with the longest being 36 months. That means that even the most expensive monitoring (without added devices) will still be less than the AVERAGE loss incurred during a break-in, at $2160.
Many monitoring plans also offer theft protection guarantees. For example, all of ADT’s monitoring plans include this protection, which covers $500 of your insurance deductible in the event of a break-in.
How to Choose Which System is Right for You
Now that we have given you all the cost rundown you should have no problem deciding on a home security system, right? Just kidding, we know that cost is not the only important aspect of choosing a home security system, there are several other things to consider many that can impact the overall cost. Here are a few details you may need to consider before making your decision.
Accessing Your Security Needs
Each home has unique security needs and it is important to consider your needs before deciding on a home security system. This is important since nearly all home security companies charge fees when you add more sensors and security components to your package.
Knowing what you need ahead of time can help you choose the right package, then if necessary, you will only add what you need. This will also prevent you from purchasing components that you do not need. For example, we always suggest securing all second-story windows. These should be locked, however, not every second story (or higher) window will require a monitoring sensor. This would be cost-prohibitive in many situations.
Most Common Equipment
The packages that security companies have a wide range of equipment, especially when you are comparing systems with a different focus, such as a system that is built for video monitoring versus a package that is designed to protect against alternative access with motion detectors. There are also systems that are more focused on environmental protection, such as fire, flood, etc.
Here are a few of the most common security components to help you decide what your personal security needs are.
Hub or Base Unit
The central control of most modern security systems is a smart hub or base unit; called by several names but all are the main control device of the system. Some systems may be able to connect to a hub that you already have, check with the specific system to ensure compatibility.
Cameras are the cornerstone of most home security systems. Though not a requirement, technology improvements allow cameras to be integrated into other devices to offer a more concealed way of monitoring your home. The most popular of these types of devices is likely Video Doorbell. They are made by several manufacturers, and allow alerts, video monitoring, and often even two-way communication.
Sensors refer to the wide range of devices that are used to signal the base unit when there is a detectable change. There are tons of different types of sensors, however, they will general detect one or more of the following.
You may not realize these sensors even have magnets in them, these are the type usually found on access points, like doors and windows. They have two parts, one that remains stationary on the casing or jam, while the other is installed next to the first, but on the moving part of the door or window. When they are opened, the circuit created by the magnet is interrupted triggering an alert.
Probably what most people are familiar with, motion detection sensors pick up the slightest movement within their field of view. These can be used outside your home, on lights, cameras, and even alone. Some are available for use indoors, often as a secondary or backup to other sensors.
Sound detectors are less utilized by others as a separate unit. However, with the popularity of voice control, most homes now have at least one device that can respond to sound in the form of voice. Smart speakers have sound sensors that are programmed to respond to a specific ‘wake’ word. The sound detector is nearly constantly monitoring. Anyone who has had a smart speaker can probably attest to the sensitivity if they have ever accidentally said the wake word as part of a conversation.
Another type of sensor that many people may be aware of are the ones used to protect against changes in the environment. These include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as, fire, flood, humidity, and temperature sensors. Every home with a thermostat and central heating or air conditioning will have some type of temperature sensor.
Vibration sensors are not as common as many other types of sensors but are starting to emerge in some devices as an added feature. One example is the impact sensor in the Ring Door View Cam. This device replaces an existing peephole, adding a video to allow remote access and two-way communication. This device also has impact sensor technology that will alert if someone knocks on the door instead of using the doorbell.
Several home security devices offer choices for homeowners to monitor activities in and around their home. You can choose systems that can be monitored privately using a mobile app, or professional monitoring for round-the-clock protection.
Some home security components have monitoring in addition to other features. The most common monitoring devices are cameras. Many can even offer live monitoring options. The monitoring availability and potential charges can be different between each device and their connectivity.
There are a few ways that you may be able to save some money with your home security. Here are a few of the ways that homeowners are saving money all the time on new and existing home security systems.
- Self Installation
- Insurance Discounts
- Tax Deductions
- Shop Around
- Ask for Discounts
- Start with a Bundle or Package
- Sign a Contract
The Top Contenders
We’ve put together the chart below to give you a quick look at some of the fees that you may expect from the top names in the security industry. Some of these are security companies that offer both professional installation and monthly monitoring, while others let you set up the equipment. Not every company has monitoring requirements, and of those that do, contracts may vary.
|Name||Basic Equipment||Installation||Monitoring?||Monitoring Costs (per month)||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|
|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|
The costs associated with home security systems can be very different. Many security companies are working hard to offer homeowners, and even renters, more affordable options. Each homeowner will have to decide for themselves if the protection and peace of mind are worth the costs. We all hope that we never have to utilize all the benefits of a home security system, either from intruders or environmental causes, like a fire.
We hope that the information we have included in the guide has helped you to understand the various fees associated with different home security systems and security companies. You always have the option of going without a home security system or building your own system from scratch with various security devices. No matter what choice you make, we wish you and your family all the best and hope you can find the security options that fit your needs and your budget. Good Luck!