Best DIY Home Security Systems With No Monthly Fee

The household surveillance market is saturated with all kinds of options and bundles for families and individuals. One of the most obvious differences between these alarm kits is whether they come with professional monitoring and installation, or they’re DIY packs. As more people opt for self-service, they want to make sure that they’re getting a good deal. This is a closer look at the best diy home security systems with no monthly fee out on the market for 2020.

What We Did to Find the Best

To figure out which were the best no monthly fee home security systems, we looked at five key metrics. Each got an initial grade between 1 and 10. From there, we summarized the final marks on a scale of 1-10.

  • Features

    0-10

    monitoring period, 24/7 alerts, disaster protection etc.

  • Support

    0-10

    telephone, email, chat, and other channels

  • Price

    0-10

    monthly fee, money-back, trial period

  • Ease of Use

    0-10

    installation, maintenance, service support

  • Trust Score

    0-10

    BBB.org and Trustpilot (positive, negative reviews)

We looked at the top details that customers want, including wireless cameras, sensors, video monitoring, and smart integrations. The research involved scouring web and retail resources for the latest devices, trends, and contract terms. We also had to see what current and previous customers had to say. With all of that information, we could find the average value of each home security option and compiled this list of the top picks.

1. Abode: A Comprehensive Kit For Half the Price

Total Score 9.8/10

Abode Home Security
Abode Security Device
Abode Cameras
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment10/10
  • Price10/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score9.0/10
Best for Budget Monitoring

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

7 days

Abode offers advanced features for just a fraction of the price that other competitors charge. A base station package costs around $200 and then, families can add equipment as they see fit. Plus, the brand has fantastic reviews on Trustpilot. The system integrates with Amazon Alexa, Ecobee, HUE, IFTTT, Google Assistant, and more.

Professionally monitored service is available for less than $10 per month, although individuals can bypass this option if they wish. Also, there’s no minimum charge for recording, so families can keep media files for later access. Contracts are an option for those who want to sign on to a month-by-month or yearly agreement. There truly is something for everyone.

Pros:

  • Attractive pricing
  • Dozens of intelligent integrations
  • Expert monitors available
  • Interior/exterior cams
  • No minimum charge for recording
  • Portable
  • Starter & custom kits

Cons:

  • Requires a strong Internet connection
  • Small trial period
  • Some quality issues

While Abode will blow many consumers away with its great prices and availability of products, it’s not for everyone. Some people may prefer the more durable and dependable items from another company. Abode’s equipment can feel less modern and glitchy. That said, those with a strong Internet connection will find the system to be suitable for their needs.

The self-installation is straightforward and user-friendly, plus there are so many techniques that customers can choose from. They may begin with a starter kit and then add a mini sensor or glass break panel or anything else to the mix. Plus, if they have existing automations like Ecobee or Google Assistant, the system will sync with them seamlessly.


2. SimpliSafe: Top Monitoring Quality Without the Price Tag

Total Score 9.8/10

SimpliSafe Main
SimpliSafe Camera
No Contaract SimpliSafe
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment10/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score10/10
Best for Customer Support

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

60 days

This brand’s equipment kits range from $229 to $499. You can get professional monitor capabilities for $14.99 to $24.99 each month, or choose self-surveillance for free. The least expensive set from SimpliSafe costs $229 comes with a base station, wireless keypad, an entry sensor, motion detector, and keychain remote. Clients can add extras onto their bundles or completely customize their kit.

Set-up takes minutes and is great for renters who aren’t tied down to a specific location. Environmental protection will alert customers of water leakage, smoke, or rising temperatures. The most comprehensive and expensive package costs $489 and includes environmental sensors and 24/7 monitor access.

Pros:

  • Battery backup
  • Durable devices
  • Easy to move service
  • Environmental protection
  • Lifetime warranty on packages
  • No term agreements
  • Simplicam

Cons:

  • Indoor cams only
  • Lack of automations
  • High upfront costs

If individuals are looking for surveillance cams, they’ll find them with SimpliSafe. The Simplicam is just $99 and detects movement in 1080p HD. There’s also a video doorbell for $169 that includes two-way audio, 1080p HD quality, and a 120° wide-angle lens. The bad news is that the business offers interior cams only, so outdoor surveillance will be a different matter.

That said, clients are welcome to build their kits if they want to customize with products go into their household. It starts with the base station and wireless keypad. From there, they can choose hazard-sensing equipment like a glass break sensor or movement detector. They can also select from their preferred camera, keyfobs, sirens, panic buttons, and environmental protection devices.


3. Nest: A Low-Cost, Self-Installed Offering From Google

Total Score 9.5/10

No Contract Nest Main
Nest Features
Nest Hello Video
  • Features9.5/10
  • Equipment9.0/10
  • Price9.5/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score9.5/10
Best for No-Contract Security

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

Nest regularly tops the lists of the greatest DIY home security systems with no monthly fee. All of the equipment is wireless besides the control hub. The devices also work with other smart products like locks. The contact sensors can go on all of the entryways, and individuals can get push notifications whenever they detect movement.

Even without the subscription plans, the Nest kit comes with a two-year warranty. Indoor and outdoor cameras are available for an extra charge, but it’s affordable for most families. Moreover, clients can choose the mini version of the hub, a video doorbell, a smart thermostat, and more. There are a couple of plans to choose from, each offering its unique benefits such as automation and recording.

Pros:

  • Automation
  • Built-in siren
  • Mix-and-match plans
  • Pro monitoring option
  • Protection for every room
  • Two-year warranty
  • Wireless equipment

Cons:

  • Cameras sold separately
  • Lack of integrations
  • Upfront costs

The Nest Secure bundle costs $399 and comes with a control hub with a built-in siren, two Nest Detect motion sensors, and two keyfobs. The cams range in price from $199 to $399 and include indoor and outdoor options, as well as a doorbell camera. The original Nest Hub by itself costs $129. Customers may also want to tack on pro surveillance from Brinks for an extra $10 each month.

Even though the upfront costs can be a bit higher than expected, the equipment is simple to use and does a good job of syncing with the control panel for full coverage without a yearly contract. This is best for people who already know how DIY alarm kits work and are okay with limited integrations.


4. Arlo: A Trusted Surveillance Camera Provider for Budgets

Total Score 9.5/10

Self Monitored Arlo Main
Self Monitored Arlo Detection
Self Monitored Arlo Camera
  • Features9.5/10
  • Equipment9.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score10/10
arlo-logo-sidebar
Best for Outdoor Cameras

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

90 days

Arlo offers 100% wire-free technique and comes with an interior and exterior camera options. While there is continuous file recording, clients can’t get professional monitors with this brand. Even so, the other equipment features are great and include night vision, 3G cellular backup, and intrusion protection. Moreover, customers can choose from a pre-set plan, or they can purchase items a la carte.

Eight different camera options allow for greater personalization and assurance. Plus, monitored subscriptions are as little as $2.99 per month. Other equipment includes floodlights, wall mounts, and chimes. On the downside, there aren’t standalone movement detectors, which may turn some people off.

Pros:

  • Continuous recording
  • Doorbell cams
  • Good reputation
  • HDR wire-free
  • Indoor/outdoor cams
  • Low-cost file storage
  • Trial period

Cons:

  • Add-ons can get pricey
  • Limited integrations
  • No audio on some cams

If you want to explore a wide range of cams, both inside and outside your smart home, Arlo is the brand to check out. Most of the products come with a one-year warranty, and the monitor plans are optional. Even so, they cost just a few extra bucks per month, which makes them well worth it. Just be careful because some of the items don’t record audio while others do. Also, things can add up quickly if you’re purchasing a la carte.

Overall, this is a good option for those who want more control over their surveillance and recordings but don’t want to splash out on some fancy, expert-monitored package. Also, Arlo is expanding its lineup to include a new intelligent floodlight, so that’s another thing to look out for.


5. Ring Alarm: A Crowd Favorite For Custom Protection on a Budget

Total Score 9.2/10

No Contract Ring Main
No Contract Ring Cameras
Ring For Apartments
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment9.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score8.0/10
ring-logo-sidebar
Best for Inexpensive Devices

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

This brand is known for their doorbell cams, but they have much more to offer. This includes things like control hubs, touchscreen panels, surveillance cams, intelligent lighting modules, and more. There is also the widely-praised Neighborhood app, which keeps customers in the same town aware of news and happenings.

Like many other businesses, Ring lets customers choose from a starter kit or building a bundle from scratch. Ring will work with Amazon Alexa and other third-party products for a complete ecosystem, making it a great deal. There is no charge for self-monitored service, while professional monitors start at just $10 per month. Keep in mind that some of the doorbells require hardwiring, which usually take longer to install.

Pros:

  • Certified integrations
  • Inexpensive expert monitors
  • Intelligent lighting modules
  • Live-streaming doorbell cams
  • Multipacks
  • Neighborhood app
  • Recording & photo capture

Cons:

  • Installation can be tricky
  • Reports of glitches
  • Some doorbells are hardwired

Ring Protect is one of the best no monthly fee home security system options. Clients can try it for free for 30 days. It comes with battery backup, continuous streaming, and photo capture so people can save their recordings and play them back later. A variety of cams for inside and outside allow customers to choose which one suits their property. Pair that with the intelligent lighting modules and third-party integrations, and families can build their own smart house.

This business has some of the lowest prices on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s the worst quality. Clients will get many of the same features as more expensive brands, such as 1080p HD quality, wide-angle lenses, customizable movement detection, and night vision.


Top 5 Best No-Contract Surveillance Bundles of 2020 (Pricing & Features)

This chart shows the top aspects to consider when choosing between DIY home security systems with no monthly fee. Check out which brands have what you need, be it outdoor cams, file storage, or something else.

Provider Total Score Price Monthly Fee DIY Instal Trial Period Warranty Backup Custom Kits Indoor/Outhoor Cams Integrations Mobile Control Pro Monitors Siren Video Storage Wireless
1. Abode 9.8/10 $179+ $0-$8.33 Yes 7 Days 1 year Yes Yes Both Yes Yes Yes Yes Cloud Yes
2. SimpliSafe 9.8/10 $229+ $14.99-$24.99 Yes 60 Days 1 year Yes Yes Indoor Yes Yes Yes No Cloud Yes
3. Nest 9.5/10 $399+ $0-$29 Yes 30 Days 2 years Yes Yes Both Limited Yes Yes Yes Cloud Yes
4. Arlo 9.5/10 $139+ $0-$19.99 Yes 90 Days 1 year Yes Yes Both Limited Yes No Yes Cloud Yes
5. Ring 9.2/10 $199+ $0-$10 Yes 30 Days 1 year Yes Yes Both Yes Yes Yes Yes Cloud Yes

Customer Advantages of No Monthly Fee Home Security Systems

There are more benefits than meets the eye when it comes to no monthly fee home security system. Besides the potential monetary savings, consumers don’t have to worry about strict contracts, policy restrictions, or subscription requirements. Here is a look at three top advantages.

1. Avoid Hard Credit Inquiries

One of the great things about these DIY brands is that they typically don’t require a credit check. This means that even individuals with a poor credit history can still get their hands on one of these packages. The lack of regular payments every month can help to relieve stress, too.

2. Keep the Budget in Balance

Going off of point number one, these types of plans eliminate the need to worry about how you’ll make next month’s payment. The primary concern is paying for the upfront costs. After that, some brands offer an expert monitor package for an additional fee, but otherwise, there aren’t any recurring costs to deal with.

3. Freedom to Change Locations

This is especially convenient for renters because they don’t have to pay an extra charge for relocating or canceling their service. Certain companies are particularly kind to short-term customers, allowing them to try the products for 30 or even 60 days with a refund guarantee.

Features to Expect From No-Fee Security

Whichever best no monthly fee home security system you choose, keep these top features in mind. These are the most sought-after aspects that consumers desire, especially in a smart, self-installed surveillance package. While no single brand will have all of these, decide which highlights are non-negotiable to help you choose.

Affordability - You’ll Get What You Pay For

This is somewhat of a given, but there are brands out there that will promise great things at a discounted rate. In reality, they're skimping on safety. It's often worth spending a bit extra for the peace of mind of assured protection. That said, this professional service and quality can still come at a fantastic price point.

Buy It, Own It - No More Paying Off Equipment

The thing about long-term contracts and plans is that they often charge you every month until, eventually, you own the equipment. In contrast, these no-contract bundles have a higher upfront cost, but then the customer owns the products and can keep them, even if they cancel their service.

Contact Sensors - Keep Every Entryway Safe

A contact/entryway sensor will ensure that the base station picks up on any movement in the vicinity. It will then send that information to the user's smartphone, alerting them of any intruders or naughty pets. A basic bundle will include these products, although you can usually buy more if your house is larger.

Control Hub - A Base Station That Does It All

These control panels differ depending on the company, but they usually serve as the brains of the entire operation. That means they should ideally include a touchscreen, keyless entry, and easy syncing with the other products. That way, the user's mobile phone can receive alerts and updates from the base station throughout the day.

Motion Detection - Movement Triggers Day & Night

Clients need to be able to count on their movement sensors to sound the bell day and night. Most basic packages come with at least one of these, although today's models are becoming way more advanced. This includes things like infrared night vision, LEDs, wider ranges, and facial or pet recognition.

Room to Grow - Expandable, Custom Kits

The ability to have a plan that grows with you can make a huge difference. More and more companies are offering custom kits or the option to tack on more products a la carte as the family grows. This allows for a better-suited bundle and more peace of mind.

Self-Installation - Save Money & Time

Ideally, DIY home security systems with no monthly fee will involve straightforward self-installation. A do-it-yourself approach can save time and money because you don't need to wait around for an agent to set things up. Plus, you don't have to pay them for their time and labor.

Texts & Push Notifications - 24/7 Mobile Access

Companies never underestimate the power of mobile control because it's something that consumers expect these days. Being able to check in on the house day or night with the push of a button is invaluable. Every brand and package needs to include this convenient and stress-busting feature.

Useful Things to Consider Before Choosing

Finally, here are some last-minute things to look for in a surveillance plan. Consider this the master list of features that you shouldn’t negotiate on. This will help you find top no monthly fee security systems.

1. The Features List

Every consumer should know what they desire out of their surveillance plan. This is why there are so many different options out there; everyone has their specific needs. Maybe you would like indoor and outdoor cameras, or perhaps you need extra movement detectors. Keep a list of your must-haves to make finding the ideal match even easier.

2. The Convenience (or Inconvenience) of DIY

Before spending on a self-installed safety package, be sure that the do-it-yourself route is the right one. Some people aren’t technologically-savvy, and they would be better off paying a bit extra for the convenience of professional set-up. On the other hand, others may save loads of time, money, and energy by setting things up by themselves.

3. Client Reviews

When shopping for a big-ticket item, it’s always a good idea to see what previous customers have to say. This goes for surveillance packs, too. Check out review sites and see what actual clients think about the brand and products. If they feel they got their money’s worth, then go ahead and proceed.

4. Customer Service & Support

While looking through those reviews, pay attention to what past clients have to say about the company’s customer service. You need to know that you’ll be supported as you set up the products and keep things up and running. Courteous and knowledgeable representatives will make the experience so much better.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Best No Monthly Fee Home Security System?

    There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and that’s a good thing. Some individuals want extra surveillance outside while others prefer indoor safety products. The top no monthly fee home security system will differ for each person because everyone has their unique needs. Fortunately, there are five wonderful options here that will fit most families’ requirements, budgets, and lifestyles.

  • Who Has the Cheapest Home Security System?

    It depends on what kind of package you’re looking for. Some companies offer basic plans for less than $200, but they might not include everything that the customer wants. Others may charge for equipment that you don’t need. Instead, try to find an affordable base plan or a customized kit so that you can pick and choose your products. Keep in mind that self-monitored and installed kits will automatically cut costs.

  • Do No-Fee Security Systems Store Videos?

    Yes, some of them do, but it’s up to the client to find out which ones they are. Some research is necessary, but a good place to start is this list of the top five choices. Most of them offer media file storage to some extent.

  • Do Security Systems Without Monthly Subscriptions Offer Monitoring?

    Yes, but the expert monitors often come with an additional charge. This could be as low as $10 per month, so for many families, it’s worth it. Experts can keep an eye on the property 24/7, alerting clients of any suspicious activity before it becomes apparent.

  • Do Security Systems Without Service Charges Offer the Same Protection as Those With Monthly Fees?

    In most cases, they certainly do. Start by checking out this listing of the top five plans to get a feel for what a trusted company can offer. Just because there aren’t any month-by-month payments, that doesn’t mean the household won’t be secured.

  • How Much Money Do DIY Home Security Systems With No Monthly Fee Cost?

    Again, this depends on what kind of equipment the customer orders. Some basic plans that cost a couple of hundreds of dollars. Others cost upwards of $500 for a full suite of products. The wise thing to do is conduct some research into the most-liked companies as well as what your unique set of needs are.

  • Can I Still Get a Homeowners Insurance Discount With a No Monthly Fee Security System?

    Usually, you can get the advantage of homeowner’s insurance discounts even if the surveillance package is a no-contract one. Safety products, whether they’re monitored by yourself or a professional, can reduce the cost of insurance by up to 20%.

Cutting Costs Doesn't Have to Mean Compromising on Safety

It’s easy to see that buying a surveillance bundle is something that is tailored to the individual’s needs. That said, it’s also obvious that people don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get quality service and assurance. Even the no-contract plans offer tons of benefits, such as 24/7 access and views, media file storage, countless sensors, and mobile updates. A bit of research can go a long way in keeping your smart home and loved ones safe and your wallet happy.



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