Best DIY Home Security Systems With Cameras

Not every system comes with a camera. These are the best that do.

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A home security system sounds an alarm when someone is trying to enter your home. But is it a burglar or your kids forgetting to disarm the alarm—again? Security cameras help you tell the difference.

“Security cameras that are part of a complete home security system provide the consumer with a comprehensive picture, so to speak, of what is happening at the home,” says Kirk MacDowell, president of the home security consulting firm MacGuard Security Advisors in Lake Oswego, Ore. “Camera adoption by consumers in the residential space is one of the fastest-growing segments of the market.”

These cameras allow you to view live video feeds, talk to visitors or family members from afar, and receive alerts when the camera detects motion. Not every DIY home security system works with cameras, though, and for those that do, the cameras are usually sold separately from the system’s starter kit.

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Read on for ratings and reviews of the five best DIY home security systems that work with cameras. (Two include cameras in the box; for the others, you need to purchase the camera separately.) The list includes systems made by Abode, Kangaroo, Ring, and SimpliSafe. For the systems that offer cameras that we’ve tested in our home security camera ratings, we provide links to the cameras’ complete test results.

“We’ve found from our tests that the video quality of security cameras varies widely,” says Bernie Deitrick, CR’s test engineer for home security cameras and systems. “The best cameras offer crystal-clear video and handle difficult lighting or poorly lit scenes better.”

For more information on choosing the right system to guard your home, see our home security system buying guide. To see how other models perform in our tests, check out our home security system ratings.

5 Best Security Systems With Cameras

You can install any of these security systems yourself, but some require that you pay a monthly fee for professional monitoring.

With professional monitoring, dispatchers at 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 monitoring costs as well as the security components included in each starter kit.


Home Content Creator Daniel Wroclawski

Daniel Wroclawski

I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).