If you don’t have a home security system, you’re leaving your home, your loved ones, and your belongings in potential danger. Two million home burglaries occur in the U.S. every year, SafeWise¹ reports – that’s an average of one burglary every 13 seconds.
There’s only one way to protect your home: install a security system. You don’t have to spend a fortune to reduce the risk of a home invasion thanks to new technology and inexpensive DIY options. No matter your budget, here’s how you can put together a reliable home security system.
Build Your Own DIY Security System
DIY home security systems protect your home without the need for professional installation or extensive wiring. The components included, and sophistication of monitoring differ at various price points, but many systems are modular and allow you to add more devices as your budget allows. Here’s what you can get for your budget.
1. Bare Minimum Security Under $100
You can secure your home without spending much by choosing a bare minimum security system. These simple security systems typically consist of:
- A main control panel or central hub
- Two or more door and window sensors
- Motion sensors
- A panic alarm
These components can be controlled using key fobs or a smartphone app. Other features may include alarms, auto-dialing of emergency services, and text messages or push notifications in the event of suspicious activity, meaning someone will be notified if your home is compromised.
A basic starter option like this is just right for small homes or apartments and is affordable enough to be accessible to people on a tight budget. Professional monitoring isn’t usually an option, so you have to be diligent about keeping an eye on your home and alert the authorities yourself if you receive notification of a break-in.
2. A Bit More Tech for About $200
With a slightly larger investment, you can get more high-tech options for your home security system. Many smart home starter kits are available at this price point. In addition to the basic security components available in cheaper systems, these kits may include:
- Two-way audio for remote communication
- HD cameras with wide views
- Options to integrate other smart home devices
Because these systems are generally built around a central hub instead of a wall control panel, you have more opportunities to expand your system into a robust smart home network. Apps allow you to control and monitor multiple aspects of security, including watching security video streams from wherever you are, checking which family members are at home, and tracking whether doors and windows with sensors installed are open when they shouldn’t be.
3. The Basics for About $300
If you’re ready to invest in another layer of security, DIY systems are available with expanded compatibility for a larger number of devices. These systems are designed to work with multiple protocols so you can connect numerous security components and smart home devices without causing any conflicts.
These DIY setups provide added security with:
- Entry sensors
- Smart locks
- Outdoor sirens or alarms
- Optional professional monitoring
- Multiple cameras
- Programmable event triggers
By building on basic security, you give yourself more ways to protect and monitor your home. Most systems at this price point operate through smartphone apps with a variety of options, including the ability to control lighting, remote locking and unlocking of doors, and monitoring for fires or carbon monoxide leaks in addition to burglaries.
Other Home Security Options
Homes with smart technology assistants, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, can be protected using integrated smart home systems. However, you may need a higher budget to invest in these options. For example, Amazon² offers “Smart Home Security” as part of its home services, but packages start at $600 because an Amazon technician performs an assessment and assists in putting together the right combination of devices.
Some DIY systems offer integration with smart home assistants, allowing you the option of voice activation and monitoring at a more affordable price. With smart home assistants, it’s possible to make emergency calls simply using voice commands. You can also monitor activity feeds and control components like smart locks and lighting. Integration with smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors provides additional security for you and your family.
Where to Find Deals on Home Security Components
To find the best security system for your home, consider your needs and your budget. Starting with an inexpensive option gives you the basic coverage required to keep an eye on your home and deter burglars, so don’t worry if you can’t afford a full smart home setup right from the start.
Research options within your price range at familiar outlets like Amazon or by using online review sites. Read what others are saying about reliability, ease of use and adequacy of security. Ensure your home will be properly protected by assessing features like:
- Camera resolution and range of view
- Internal storage or cloud storage for security videos
- Wi-Fi range of the components
- Availability of backup power
What you’re protecting is also an important deciding factor. If you’re mostly concerned about valuable possessions, you may not need a system with an extensive network of sensors or streaming HD video. However, if your family goes in and out of the house frequently and you have older kids who spend time at home alone, you may want to invest in a system with more monitoring options and the ability to automatically alert authorities when suspicious activity is detected.
Make safety and peace of mind your goals when shopping for a home security system, and you’ll know what components are right to meet your needs. Invest in the best platform you can afford right now but give yourself room to expand as your family grows or your security requirements change. Flexible technologies give you the freedom to update your system without replacing the main components, so building a good foundation from the start ensures you’ll always have a system on which you can rely.
Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.