The Best Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

So you want to invest in your home’s security, but you don’t want to pay monthly fees for 24/7 professional monitoring. Hey, I hear you. If you have the time and a user-friendly app, self-monitoring is a great way to save money while still staying safe (say that five times fast). In this review, I picked out my five favorite security systems that allow for self-monitoring, judging them based on their components, installation processes, subscription options, customer support, and apps. Let’s get started!

Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm

Get motion alerts and livestreaming completely free with the Ring Alarm Security Kit. 

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Vivint
Vivint
Vivint
Vivint

Vivint is one of the few larger security companies that offers self-monitoring through the highly-rated Vivint Smart Home app. 

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Scout Alarm
Scout Alarm
Scout Alarm
Scout Alarm

When you self-monitor with Scout, you'll receive cellular and battery backup plus email, mobile, and push notifications so you can easily stay on top of your home's security. 

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abode
abode
abode
abode

abode gives you a ton of great options, like self-monitoring, 24/7 professional monitoring, and even on-demand professional monitoring in a unique twist. 

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Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm Security System

Ring Alarm

Monitor your Ring Alarm system yourself through the Ring— Always Home app. You’ll be notified whenever there’s movement, plus you can easily livestream footage to see what’s up with your home. Besides that, you won’t have to pay anything for installation, as it’s all DIY, so really, you’re only paying for your equipment. Now, prices do tend to fluctuate, but I bought my Ring Alarm Security Kit for only $239, which is really reasonable considering some systems cost hundreds plus steep monthly fees. One reason Ring Alarm is so affordable is because the equipment is pretty minimal. For example, the system I bought includes only a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender. Of course, you know I had to add the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired plus the Ring Video Doorbell 2, but it’s totally up to you. 

As you’re monitoring your own system, it’s important that the app is easy to use. Fortunately for you, the Ring— Always Home app has great ratings from both iPhone and Android users alike. The system itself has a 4.4 rating on Amazon, which speaks very highly. Plus, it integrates with Amazon Alexa, not surprising as Amazon owns Ring Alarm. If you’re already in the Amazon ecosystem, the Ring Alarm will fit in perfectly with your smart home. 

To learn more, read our full review of the Ring Alarm security system. 

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Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm

For those looking for the option to self-monitor, DIY installation, or a security system that integrates into the Amazon ecosystem, Ring Alarm is an obvious choice. 

Vivint

Vivint Camera

Vivint

Vivint has 1.3 million customers in the U.S and Canada, and for good reason. They’re a total rarity, one of the major security companies to offer self-monitoring along with 24/7 professional monitoring. Now, one of the best things about Vivint is that you don’t pay anything upfront for equipment. Instead, you’ll pay for your equipment in monthly installments, which is great for someone who doesn’t have all the money at once. So while you can self-monitor your system, keep in mind that you will be paying a monthly fee anyway, at least $30 a month. 

Another thing you should know is that Vivint requires professional installation at $129. Before you buy it, make sure you’re planning on staying where you are; if you move, you’ll have to pay that installment fee again. Additionally, Vivint only offers three and a half or five year contracts, so make sure you’re committed before signing up. 

Now, a major reason why Vivint is on this list of because of the Vivint Smart Home app. It’s one of the highest-rated security apps around, with ratings of 4.6 from the Google Play store and 4.5 from the Apple store. Clearly, a user-friendly app is particularly important if you’re self-monitoring and in this case, Vivint knocks it out of the park. 

To learn more, read our full review of the Vivint security system. 

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Vivint Home Security System
Vivint Home Security System
Vivint Home Security System

Vivint has 1.3 million customers in the U.S and Canada, plus professional monitoring and the highest-rated app of any security company.

Scout Alarm

Scout Alarm Security System

Scout Alarm

Scout Alarm is one of the newer DIY home security companies on the block, so naturally, I created my own customized kit. Now, one of the coolest things about Scout is its plethora of smart home integrations. Not only does it integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but it will also work with your Yale and Kwikset Z-Wave smart locks, or any Nest, LIFX, Philips Hue, or IFTTT-compatible products. If you’re all about the smart home, then Scout Alarm is a great choice. 

One thing you should know upfront about Scout Alarm is that even though you can self-monitor your system through the Scout app, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee anyway in order to get cellular backup, battery backup, and notifications. Of course I’m not thrilled that you have to pay for these things, as they are givens on most security systems. But at only $10 a month, this isn’t going to break the bank. Plus, 14 days of cloud storage is only $2.99 per camera per month, way less than most of its competitors (I’m looking at you, Nest). 

Finally, Scout has great customer support, easy DIY installation, and a pretty user-friendly app, making the system totally worth that extra $10 a month. 

To learn more, read our review of the Scout Alarm security system. 

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Scout Alarm
Scout Alarm
Scout Alarm

We like Scout Alarm for its DIY installation, many smart platform integrations, and lack of monthly fees. 

abode

abode Camera

abode

Next, we have abode, particularly the abode Essentials Starter Kit. If you’re looking for flexibility, abode is a fantastic option. Not only do they offer self-monitoring along with 24/7 professional monitoring, but they also offer on-demand professional monitoring. Let’s say you want to self-monitor your system most of the time, but this week you have a business trip to Dubai. Of course, it’d be nice to have a little extra protection back home, but you don’t want to make any big commitment or spend a ton of money. For only eight dollars for three days or $15 a week, you can get professional monitoring whenever you want. This is the only company I’ve reviewed that has this option, and I love how it puts the customer in the driver’s seat. 

On top of that, abode lets you choose between free DIY installation and professional installation from HelloTech, starting at $99. If you only want to pay for your equipment and nothing else, you’ll still get three days of cloud storage, plus the ability to add unlimited user accounts and create 100 home automations with up to 160 connected devices. I know I’m throwing a lot of numbers at you, but let’s just say that abode gives you a lot of bang for your buck. 

For more information, read our full review of the abode Essentials Starter Kit. 

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abode
abode
abode

With integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and many other smart home products, abode would be a great choice of a smart security system. 

Nest Secure

Nest-Secure-Security-System-review
Nest Secure Security System

Nest is Google’s foray into smart home and home security, originally beginning with the smart thermostat in 2010. Seven years later, Nest Secure was released to the public. You can either monitor it yourself through the Nest app or get 24/7 professional monitoring outsourced to Brinks Home Security. Now, the Nest app has great ratings from the Google Play store, but not-so-great ratings from the Apple store, so that’s something for iPhone users to keep in mind.

Aside from that, Nest Secure works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so it’ll integrate easily into either ecosystem. It’s also a convenient choice if you already have Nest products, as you can control them all through one app. While the Nest Secure system itself includes a Nest Guard (base station), two Nest Detect sensors and two Nest tags, you can also add on the Nest Cam Indoor or the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, among other products. To me, a security system isn’t complete without a camera!

To learn more, read our full review of Nest Secure. 

That’s all I have! To explore even more great options, read the best home security systems of 2019. 

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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