Is DIY Home Security the Project for You?

Last updated:  August 18th, 2017.  Before buying your own DIY home security system you will want to make sure it is something you can do.  More and more technology products are turning into a do-it-yourself assembly, making it easier for companies to reach consumers across the nation without sending a technician.  By being your own technician, you do save around $99-199 installation fee.

Frontpoint Security box received in mail shown

Quick look into more of the good & bad of DIY security systems:

Pros
  • Activated equipment is shipped to you
  • Easy peel & stick sensors
  • Accommodates to any residence location
  • Backup batteries
  • Smart security that can be turned on and off with phones
  • Can add to and expand security system easily in months to come (without paying extra for a rep to install more equipment)

 

Cons
  • Requires you being the technician (well.. duh!) 
  • Control panel may require a little bit of drilling
  • Setting up cameras can be tricky (outdoor more so than indoor)
  • Several users are not comfortable setting up one on their own
  • Limited to more basic security systems compared to a Vivint full home automation system

 

Note, if setting up your own security system doesn't sound like your cup of tea then look into an ADT security system who does it for you at a one time fee of $99. 

Top 3 DIY Home Security Systems with Monitoring

 FrontpointProtect Americalink interactive
Company
Founded200719921952
HeadquartersVirginiaTexas, USAUtah, USA
Sales Line855-861-8730888-936-2878855-534-7784
Website
Equipment
Standard Windows, Motion, Door & Glass SensorsYesYesYes
Touchscreen PanelYes(+)Yes
Key Remote (On/Off) FobYesYesYes
C02, Fire and Flood SensorsYesYesYes
Automation
Mobile & Tablet ControlYesYesYes
CamerasIndoor & Outdoor & DoorbellIndoor, Pan TiltIndoor & outdoor
Z-Wave TechnologyYesNoYes
Advanced FeaturesLight Control, Automated Door Locks, Temperature & Energy ControlGPS Security, Medical PanicDoor locks, Thermostats, Plugin light automation
Prices
FrontpointProtect AmericaProtect America
Monthly$34.99$34.99$29.99
Installation$0$0$0
Activation$99$0$99
Equipment545
Monitoring
24/7YesYesYes
Smoke, C02 & FloodYesYesYes
Overall Ratings
Customer Reviews544
Support554
BBBA+A-A+

 

Tips for Self-Setup Systems

Make sure to test your self-setup security system with the companies technical department right away

All of the Top 3 above have technical support lines that will verify that each security sensor is up and working.  They will also take note of which one is where and enter that into their system.  (ie., #2 door sensor is on the back door).  Don't forget to call them and activate it after setting it up.

Expect 30-60 minutes for installation

Some advertisements will make it sound like these security systems set themselves up in a few minutes.  While they have become much more user friendly, it still takes typical know-how skills. You must be able to access the areas in your home you want to place the sensors.  This may include a small ladder to place motion detectors or cameras in a corner.

Get a DIY system that is professionally monitored

Just because you are setting it up by yourself doesn't mean you should monitor it too.  Several DIY alarms don't have 24/7 monitoring making you reliable to react to any event.  If you are in work, school, vacation etc. you may miss the alert that your alarm has been set off.  Not having it monitored is nearly as worthless as not having one at all.  Each of the top 3 reviewed below provide monitoring for a monthly fee.

Start with basics and add to it to save money

A great benefit to DIY alarm systems is the ability to add to them down the road.  Make sure to start off with the essentials of: motion sensors, smart control, door/window sensors.  After setting up the initial system you can then add security cameras, smart thermostats and more later.  This will also help keep the starting cost to a minimum.

How To Install a DIY Alarm System

Woman shown sticking on a window sensor

 

 

Setting up a DIY security system is very easy.  Guides and instructions will be sent along with the system.  A quick break down of how to is as follows:

1.  Choose the company & buy the system.  Use our top 3 comparison chart above

2.  Security system is shipped out and arrives within 3-5 business days

security system shipped in box

Security system arrives in box within 2-4 business days pre-activated

3.  Set it up.  Peel off the back and apply sticky side to area needed

4.  Call to confirm sensor is activated and setup right

Call to confirm - they will test that each sensor is accounted for and working on their end.

Recap of the 3 best do it yourself security systems:

RankHome Security System SummaryContract Length
1FrontPoint36 months
2Protect America36 months
3Link Interactive36 months

Our final thoughts... 

Home security companies love DIY systems because it allows them to ship out their equipment to any location nationwide.  Customers love them because they save money, and it gives them a bigger sense of ownership.  If you are going for a standard system then typically DIY is your best option.  For larger homes or advanced home automation then going the DIY route is not for your.  As long as as the equipment is setup correctly it is just as good as professionally installed alarm systems and one shouldn't bother worrying which is better.

5 Comments
  1. Dana Washnock
    08/18/2017 at 11:00
    Reply

    Honestly I was scared at first about doing my own alarm system. But the flexibility of it was great. I also liked not having a technician in my home learning about where everything is. I'm sure I'm just extra paranoid but by doing it myself I kept out any creepo that might be working for a security company to identify goods in users homes.5/5 for me. Thanks for the tips

  2. Garret
    11/14/2016 at 10:23
    Reply

    If it was still early 2000's I would be hesitant about trying a DIY security system. Thankfully, technology has come a long way and I think technology will continue to get more user friendly. Several companies rely on consumers to be able to put their product together in order to use it. Luckily, these companies mention all make it easier than any kind of furniture project you may have tried in the past. Thanks for the great review on each one, they all seem like reliable options.

  3. Carleene
    11/10/2016 at 10:16
    Reply

    I like the DIY alarm systems because you can easily add to them throughout the years. With others, you have to call the company and pay for a tech to come out and install just a simple sensor (like a window or door). Getting a DIY security system allows you to expand it later on or even move with it easier. Thank goodness the companies have made the products more affordable so it is a viable option these days.

  4. M. Jones
    10/26/2016 at 06:04
    Reply

    As appealing as this sounds, I wouldn't want to mess anything up. I'm a bit of a joke in my household because of my near zero DIY skills, and I wouldn't want to bet my family's security on it.

  5. denna
    09/22/2016 at 04:00
    Reply

    DIY is not my thing so I would prefer spending an additional 100 bucks for its installation. No matter how easy it sounds like, I'm still afraid of installing it by myself because I might damage the system and it would require me to spend for additional expenses.

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