Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2021
Consumer Reports' tests reveal the best ones for protection
Today’s home security systems are capable of far more than simply monitoring your home. They can integrate connected lights, locks, thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, video doorbells, and more, and allow you to monitor and control them with an app on your smartphone. But for all their appeal, it’s still difficult for consumers to compare systems because of their different components and pricing.
To help you make sense of them, Consumer Reports has tested a variety of do-it-yourself systems from brands big and small, such as Abode, ADT, Brinks Home Security, Cove, Eufy, Kangaroo, Ring, and SimpliSafe.
“Unlike many other products CR tests, DIY security systems offer many options for customization, so they needed to be evaluated from that perspective, as well as for their basic functionality," says Bernie Deitrick, CR’s test engineer for home security cameras and systems.
5 Best DIY Home Security Systems
The top models from our tests include systems with required or optional professional monitoring. With professional monitoring, dispatchers at alarm-monitoring centers immediately notify you and the police when your alarm goes off. Self-monitored systems send an alert to your smartphone, but it's up to you to contact the police.
We note each system’s type of monitoring and the monitoring costs. Because these DIY systems are sold as kits, we also list the components included in the box.
Security Systems 101
Self-installed security systems are becoming more popular, but there are a few things to consider. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports expert Dan Wroclawski explains to host Jack Rico what to look for when buying one.