DIY home security systems aren’t necessarily home security camera systems in which you’re building everything yourself from scratch. Instead, a DIY home security system is an interactive system in which you can install yourself, manage yourself, and monitor yourself. Depending on your needs, you have options to install DIY home security systems or to pay a subscription fee to have professionals surveil your home 24/7 (and, upon breaching of security, contact local fire and/or police departments as needed).
If you have decided that you’re ready to take on the DIY home security system and get one going in your home, you’ll want to take a close look not only at the products available on the market today, but also several other factors that will affect your interaction with your home security system. In other words, what do you need to know in order to build a smart home security system that is both effective and easy to use…from anywhere in the world? Here are some things you should consider as you begin investigating this process.
Streamlining of Home Automation & Home Security System
A smart home security system is able to connect to your home wi-fi network, which allows you to monitor and control your home security devices and systems from your phone. Basic DIY home security systems include thigs like a few door/window sensors and maybe a motion detector or two, along with a hub that interacts with those devices. Most basic home security systems allow you to add other devices/sensors around your house.
But do you want more than that? Do you want to create a comprehensive system of home security that includes door locks, garage door openers, indoor and/or outdoor home security cameras, lights, water regulators, smoke detectors, and much more? If so, you will want to be sure to choose a home security system that can be seamlessly integrated into and connected and with other components, all controllable by you and manipulated by using certain sets of rules (e.g., lights turn on with motion detection, doors unlock when a smoke alarm goes off, etc.).
Essentially, as you consider which home security system will work best in your house, don’t forget to consider the other components of home automation that either already exist in your space or that you want to add into your space later. Video storage that is local on the home security camera, for example, will have limitations that cloud storage later on might not have, but budget certainly comes into play in making these types of decisions.
In the following article, the DIY home security systems that are identified and detailed all incorporate systems that are controlled by a mobile app, with your smart phone serving as the command center. Some of the systems use a communications hub, which does everything the app does but locally on-site, as well as communicates with a professional monitoring service at the triggering of a sensor.
DIY Installation or Professional Installation?
Budget is the first consideration of whether or not to DIY or professionally install your home security system, although it’s not the only one. Obviously, doing it yourself will save money on installation charges and then the followup subscription fees. The DIY kits available on the market are sold as kits that are easily installed and configured to meet your specific needs in your home. These kits are generally expandable, meaning that you can add components at your convenience as your needs change, although you’ll want certainly want to consider compatibility and expansion options in the early stages of your home security system research.
The DIY security systems reviewed in this article are self-monitored, meaning that when devices and/or sensors are triggered, you’ll receive alerts or notifications directly. You will be responsible for contacting the appropriate emergency personnel as a result of those notifications; however, some DIY security system kits are offering professional monitoring services as an optional add-on or on-demand.
Depending on the home security system’s components, installation might be as easy as using some double-sided tape. Or it might be quite complex, requiring specialized tools and configurations. These would be your professionally installed security systems, which often provide 24/7 monitoring but may require multi-year contracts. In addition, professional security systems communicate directly with emergency response teams, based upon the alerts or notifications received.
Can I Just Use a Home Security Camera?
A home security camera might just do the job in meeting your home security needs if you live in a small apartment or condo and you simply want to be able to check in on your home while you’re away. Nearly all security systems connect to your wi-fi, so you can use your smart phone to access surveillance footage and receive push notifications from the camera’s motion/sound sensors (which come standard on most home security cameras now). You can read all about
However, for multi-faceted security and home automation, a home security camera – even the most deluxe available – just won’t cut it. You’ll want to look into complete home security systems.
Pros & Cons Of DIY Home Security Systems
As is the case with nearly everything in life, there are decided advantages and disadvantages for DIY home security systems. Briefly, they are as follows:
Pros of DIY Home Security Systems
- Lower cost than professional security systems. This lower price tag comes without sacrificing the basic system components that you probably want. Also, cost is generally a one-time fee; after purchase, you won’t have additional alarm expenses.
- Wireless connectivity. Because a DIY home security system isn’t going to be hard-wired into your home’s electrical system, it is relatively easy to install and manage, including moving, expanding, upgrading, or changing in other ways.
- Cell phone notifications and alerts. When your security sensors are breached in any way, your alarm system connects to your cell phone (and, for many DIY systems, other cell phone numbers that you want), so you receive immediate, real-time communication.
- DIY security systems work well for renters or for those who are planning on moving at some point in the future, because you can easily uninstall and move the system with you.
- Online monitoring. Not all DIY home security systems and smart home automation systems are mutually exclusive because of online monitoring features; these mean that, through your app or online portal, you can do things like adjust lights, thermostat, etc.
Cons of DIY Home Security Systems
- Risk of installation errors. If you’re DIYing your home security system, it means you’re not a professional, which ultimately increases the risk that the system might be installed incorrectly or less than optimally.
- Expensive extra components. While it’s great that DIY home security systems offer expansion opportunities, these don’t come without a cost. Each additional sensor and component will raise the cost of your overall system.
- Repair costs. If your DIY security system fails, or a component breaks, you are responsible to cover the replacement cost.
- While simplicity in installation can be a good thing, simplicity as far as additional security options (e.g., battery backup, redundant alerts, programmable motion immunity for pets, etc.) can be a disadvantage.
- Self-connect with emergency response. Probably the biggest advantage to having a monitored (e.g., “professional”) alarm system is the immediate alerting sent to police and/or fire department. DIY security systems don’t have this.
- Limited warranty. After the purchase of your DIY security system, you’re pretty much left on your own, without tech support, free equipment upgrades, etc.
Home Security Systems Reviews
The following section takes a close look at many DIY home security systems on the market today. Consider your needs as you study each system; remember, the more complex the system, the more it’s likely to cost.
Blink Home Security Camera System
The camera captures video in 720p HD resolution, which facilitates your clear viewing of the video surveillance. There is little distortion or blurring with high definition. You can easily access on-demand, live video streaming through the Blink app. Blink is designed for indoor use.
A simple self-installation process allows you to have your home monitoring system up and running in just a few minutes. After that, wireless cameras are easily controlled with the included apps or even with just your voice through Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices (e.g., Alexa, Echo, Echo Dot, and Tap). As any good home security camera system will do, Blink provides home and pet monitoring in real time in the video camera “live view” streaming mode. There is also totally free cloud storage, without any monthly fees or service contracts required.
BIBENE Wifi Home Security Alarm System
The BIBENE system PIR detector is 8M, with a wide-angle 110-degree field of view coverage, during both daytime and nighttime. All sensors included in the BIBENE home security alarm system kid are already connected with the main panel; each sensor is individually labeled with a corresponding label on the main panel to improve the ease and accuracy of installation. You have the capacity to use each sensor in the way that seems best for your situation and needs – for example, you might choose to keep the motion sensors inactive while you activate the door sensors. This DIY customization aspect is a huge benefit.
BIBENE is proud of the app’s easy installation and usability. You will be able to control the entire system remotely from your smart phone or tablet. When you receive warnings or alerts, you’ll be notified of the exact area that the alarm was triggered.
OXA Smart Wireless Sensor Alarm System
OXA system is a wifi-enabled cloud security alarm system including a wifi hub (to which all the sensors will connect via wireless connection), door/window contact sensors, motion sensors, remote controller, and a waterproof doorbell button/panic button. There is also a built-in strobe siren that sounds at 80 decibels, although you can customize what the alert is for each sensor. Because it is wire-free, the system is easy to remove and take with you, if you want.
COOWOO ST30 Professional Wireless Smart Home Security Alarm System DIY Kit
COOWOO is probably best mounted on the wall, probably in a corner, and DIY installation is fast and easy. In under 15 minutes, your system should be set up with your smart phone. There is tool-free setup and assembly, as well as plug-and-play installation.
COOWOO can be controlled via voice through Amazon Alexa or remotely via your smartphone or tablet through the system’s app. You can control a single sensor through the app, or you can control an entire grouping of sensors. The smart wireless hub that is included in the alarm system connects all the sensors together, triggers the loud siren, and identifies which of the sensors is triggered. There is also backup battery support to keep the hub in operation should power be lost.
SABRE Home Expandable Wireless Burglar Alarm Security System WP-100
This all white security system is designed with aesthetics in mind and actually looks stylish and modern in the home. Even more importantly, however, is SABRE system’s user-friendly properties and features. Four operation modes include alarm, alert, home, and standby, and an unlimited number of sensors can be added to the system and placed up to 500 feet away from the main control panel. This provides a lot of variability and personalization opportunity for use.
Not only is SABRE’s home security system easy to use, but it is also easy to install because it is completely wireless. There is no wiring needed. A low battery indicator will make sure you easily maintain battery operation. An AC adapter is the smart panel’s main source of power, but backup batteries are recommended to provide an added level of security and reliability.
SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security Command Bravo with Camera
A major talking point of the SimpliSafe wireless system is that there are no contracts required for full service, yet the protection coverage is comparable in completeness to other home security systems that do require coa
ntracts. There is an optional monitoring feature that connects with police dispatch, to improve your safety at all hours of the day and night, plus an audible alarm sounds on-site when the system is triggered to deter intruders. SimpliSafe is controllable via your smartphone or laptop, providing on-the-go mobile control and immediate alerts should the home security system determine that anything is amiss while you’re away.
UOKOO 360-Degree Fisheye Panoramic Network Wireless Camera
What’s more, UOKOO’s viewing clarity is not only available during the light of day, but also during the dark of night up to 16 feet with the camera’s night vision. UOKOO offers motion detection, which sends push notifications straight to your phone, and/or you can opt to have the alert photos locally on micro SD storage. The micro SD storage feature allows you to record, store, and review footage up to 128G and can be managed from your cell phone, including video playback.
Two-way audio capacity means that, through a built-in speaker and microphone, you can both hear what’s going on in the room while you’re not physically present, and you can also speak to the room’s occupants through your phone app. This means you can communicate with your family members, friends, and even pets while you’re away from home. This DIY home security camera system is simple to set up with mobile wi-fi, and once you’re set up and ready to go, you will have easy remote access to the camera via your mobile 4G network or wi-fi.
Canary All-in-One Home Security Device
But, as its name suggests, the Canary All-in-One Device is more than just a home security camera. Canary contains an integrated siren that, at 90decibels, will deter intruders or other suspicious activity simply by sounding off. The device will start recording upon motion activation, and there is a remote arming/disarming feature that allows you greater control while you’re away. Instant access to and communication with police dispatch is another option that Canary offers to provide peace of mind. Not only that, but intelligent notifications allow you to receive instant video alerts on your devices as needed.
Not enough for an All-in-One device? How about this feature: the Canary also monitors air quality, temperature, and humidity with HomeHealth technology, which provides data to help you analyze and understandyou’re your health might be affected by your home. With so much offered, the Canary has a surprisingly (and pleasingly) simple installation procedure: there is no installation required, actually. You only need to plug in the Canary and connect to the internet, and you’ll be on your way. There is free secure cloud storage included with the purchase, meaning you don’t have monthly fees or contracts to access your video footage.
Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
Nest Cam’s built-in microphone and speaker offer two-way communication, almost like an intercom. You can talk and/or listen to whoever or whatever is in the room through the app on your phone. Night vision capacity captures clear video footage during the night as well as the day. There is also an option to program in intelligent alerts, continuous cloud recording, and create activity zones for more precise alerts. A monthly subscription is required for full access.
Fortress Security Store S02-A Wireless Home & Business Security Alarm System DIY Kit
Should a security breach be detected, an auto-dialer function will call up to six pre-programmed, designated phone numbers as alert protocol – this includes your own phone, which means that you will receive real-time alerts and notifications about potential intruders. Fortress’ speaker can also be used to play a recorded message or another customized sound. A built-in microphone also allows you to hear what’s going on in your home while you’re not there as you call the system from your phone. Furthermore, the Fortress’ loud alarm (110 decibels) will alert neighbors of the sensor triggered, and thus intuitively deter potential intruders. This DIY home security system is easy to install and to set up. Fortress can be easily deactivated via a keypad or disarmed via a keyfob.
abode Connected Home Security & Automation Starter Kit
Abode home security offers peace of mind with its various effective features, including night vision to help you see clearly what’s going on in your space even in the dark of night, battery backup for when the power goes out, cellular backup for when the power goes out or for mobile access to surveillance footage, and fully encrypted services. Visual event verification helps to reduce the number of false alarms by this home security system as well. Amazon Alexa can be connected to abode as well, providing you with easy voice activation and control capabilities as well.
This DIY home security system is designed to work well for anyone in any living space – homeowners and renters alike. Abode grows with you and can be modified easily to fit your new living accommodations with more than 150 devices connected to protect and automate anything from studio apartments to large homes. The abode hub is software upgradeable, which means your home security system will always be up to speed, technologically speaking.
iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System
The iSmartAlarm app will show who is at home, the time(s) that family members left or returned, and the on/off status of each sensor. You will receive free phone alerts, text message alerts, push notifications, and email alerts should the system detect a breach in security, keeping your safety at the highest priority. You can view the status of your home and safety with the optional iSmartAlarm compatible security camera.
iSmartAlarm is open to future home automation features with almost unlimited expandability. You can upgrade the firmware to the most current version to ensure that you have the best experience with the product. No monthly service fees or contracts are required. (Note: This particular model is available only for the United States and Canada at this time.)
SkylinkNet SK-200 Connected Wireless Alarm System
As with all DIY home security systems, the SkylinkNet alarm system is easy to install (plug-and-play) and is designed to be set up in minutes. What’s more, the sensors can be easily removed, should you move and want to take your home security system with you to your next home. The SkylinkNet app is available for iOS devices. You can customize system settings such as entry delay, exit delay, and alarm duration, all from the app. You can also add up to 10 home security cameras inside or outside and up to 100 sensors and controllers throughout your home as you see fit. SkylinkNet is also compatible with other home automation devices, and they can all be controlled simply and efficiently from your smart phone via the SkylinkNet app.
GetSafe Wireless DIY Home Security System
Unsightly wall-mounted control panels for your home security panels are old news. GetSafe’s home security system can be controlled simply through the app on your phone, allowing you to stay aware of and keep control of your home from anywhere in the world. What’s more, the system can be upgraded to provide fully customizable functionality (such as alerts, smart rules, etc.) and integration with other smart home applications. Streamlining your smart home security makes you safer while keeping control intuitive and manageable.
In today’s world, it has become easier (and, arguably, more necessary) than ever to set up a smart home. This includes integrating your Things into a system that can easily and remotely be controlled…by you. Think cameras, alarms, speakers, door locks, lights, thermostats, vacuums, and even pet feeders. While the technology to do some, or all, of these things might feel overwhelming, DIY home security systems have taken center stage in designing systems that are made simple and relatively affordable. These smart systems tend to be custsomizable so that, no matter how many or how varied the smart devices you have, managing them is so easy that it’s almost intuitive.
The end goals, of course, probably include your ability to keep your family safe, to save money, and to improve your quality of life. DIY home security systems are an excellent way to accomplish all three of those goals in one fell swoop. Be sure to closely examine your needs and expectations from the beginning as you research DIY and wireless home security systems, as each targets specific facets of home security in slightly different ways. Prioritize your needs, from overall activity sensing to notifications to alarms to controllability.
And if you’ve determined that a full-scale home security system isn’t what you need after all, don’t forget to take a close look at individual devices that can be used to increase your peace of mind and safety in your home. Because, really, that’s what it comes down to: deciding how to best secure and monitor your home while you’re away.