People want to Feel secure in their homes. But the lofty price of home security systems is a big reason why only one-quarter of US homes have any home security setup. Now the latest generation of do-it-yourself systems provide many features of professionally installed setups at a more attractive price.

A starter kit that you install and monitor starts at $200 to $300, although adding features or outfitting a larger home could add a few hundred dollars. In comparison, a basic professional system could cost about $1,300 for equipment and installation…and a monitoring contract for two years will add about $35 a month.

DIY kits include a wireless base station that connects to your home Internet and a built-in alarm…a battery-powered door/window and ­interior-motion sensor…a wall-mounted keypad or key fob and smartphone app that controls everything…and cellular and battery backup in case your electricity or Wi-Fi fails. Some DIY systems offer professional monitoring with flexible contracts ranging from $10 to $25 per month if you’d rather have the security company alert the police and/or fire department when your alarm is triggered. 

Best DIY systems, all of which feature cellular and battery backup if you purchase a monitoring plan…

Best overall: Abode Smart Security. This is the easiest to set up and use. It integrates with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant, so you can control the system with voice commands. Professional monitoring: $20 per month. Or order three- or seven-day monitoring for when you are away for $8 or $15, respectively. Included:
One entry sensor for a door or window, one motion detector. $229.

For low-cost professional monitoring: Ring Alarm Security costs $10 a month for the service of alerting the police if your alarm sounds. Ring’s Neighbors app lets you get crime and safety alerts from neighbors if they have Ring installed. Includes one entry sensor and one motion detector. Smart-home capabilities: Works with Alexa but only a limited amount of third-party smart-home devices. $199. 

For extra security features: ­SimpliSafe Essentials has a wider range of add-ons than many competitors, including smart locks…panic buttons to activate your alarm silently…a 105-decibel alarm, about 15% louder than typical alarms…and sensors that detect water, smoke, low temperatures and breaking glass. The advanced motion sensor can distinguish between people and pets. Professional monitoring: $15 to $25 monthly. Includes three entry sensors, one motion detector. Smart-home capability: Works with Alexa and Google Assistant, but only a limited amount of third-party smart-home devices. $259.

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