Best DIY Home Security Systems With Cameras

Not all home security systems come with a camera. These are the best that do.

A person taps a key fob on the base station of the Google Nest Secure system, one of the best DIY home security systems with cameras.

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 systems works with cameras, though, and for those that do, cameras are usually sold separately from the system's starter kit.

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Below, Consumer Reports members with digital access can get the ratings and reviews of the five best DIY home security systems that work with cameras that have great video quality. (Most are sold separately.)

 "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 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 monitoring costs as well as the security components included in each starter kit. 

Google Nest Secure Alarm Starter Pack H1500ES
Professional monitoring:
Optional
Monitoring cost: $19 per month with a three-year contract or $29 per month with no contract.
What’s in the box: A base station with a keypad, motion sensor, siren, two contact sensors with motion sensing, and two RF tags.
CR’s take: The Google Nest Secure security system is a stellar product, performing extremely well in our core security system tests, with an Excellent rating for security essentials. It offers crystal clear video quality, with a rating of Excellent, thanks to the Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor security camera, $300 (sold separately).

The system is lacking in only two areas—security add-ons and smart home add-ons—where it rates Good and Fair, respectively, because you can’t expand the system with as many additional security and smart home devices as competing systems.

Still, this Nest system is very easy to set up and use, and features the Google Assistant built into its keypad/base station, so you don’t need a separate smart speaker for voice control. Additional Google Nest Detect contact/motion sensors cost $49 each. You can monitor the system yourself using the Nest smartphone app or sign up for the optional professional monitoring.

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