Best Self-Monitored Home Security System No Monthly Fee

For a long time, home security systems have been linked with high monthly prices. They’re essential for professional monitoring, which involves skilled dispatchers keeping an eye on your system and alerting police if a break-in occurs.

However, there are now a number of DIY home security systems available that allow you to monitor them from your smartphone and without paying the extra costs.

We’ve found that the very best self-monitored home security system with almost no monthly fee come from Abode, Ring, SimpliSafe, and Arlo

When one of these devices is activated, a siren sounds to frighten away prospective burglars, and you receive an alert on your smartphone, allowing you to contact the cops yourself. One thing to keep in mind is that if you phone 911 from out of town, the dispatcher will have to contact the police department in your hometown, which may cause a delay in the police response. Instead, you might contact your local police department directly.

When it comes to monitoring, you have some leeway. “Many of these DIY systems still provide professional monitoring as an option, “If you go on a long trip, for example, you may sign up for it temporarily.”

All of the systems below offer optional professional monitoring and cellular backup, which keeps the system connected to the internet in case of a power or internet outage, for a monthly fee. 

Here are the List of Best Self-Monitored Home Security System No Monthly Fee

SystemAbodeRing SimplisafeArlo
Ranking1st2nd3rd4th
Ratings8.0/107.7/109.8/108.8/10
InstallationDIY or professionalDIY or professionalDIY or professionalDIY
Smart platform integrationGoogle Assistant, AlexaGoogle Assistant, Alexa, Apple HomeKitGoogle Assistant, AlexaGoogle Assistant, Alexa, Apple HomeKit
Push notificationsYesYesYesYes
Free live streamingYesYesYesYes
Free cloud storageNoNoNo7 days
Free local storageNoNoNoYes
Equipment package prices$232-$292$200-$330$160-$342$99-$1,230

Abode

Best Self-Monitored Home Security System No Monthly Fee

Another excellent option for no-contract home security is Abode. It gave us even more possibilities than SimpliSafe in terms of packages, add-on devices, short-term professional monitoring, and home automation connection.

We began with the Smart Security Kit, a basic home security bundle that cost around $180. Then we added environmental monitoring, home automation, and voice commands to that basic system.

We had flexibility in smart home components as well. Abode works with a number of smart device companies, including Philips Hue and ecobee. It also works with Nest, a company you can learn more about in our Nest cameras review.

Finally, we had the option to add three or seven days of cloud storage for just 60 cents or $1.40 — or we could have added three or seven days of on-demand monitoring for $1.98 or $4.62.

LikeDon’t like
Compatibility with Apple HomeKitOnly a few camera models
DIY or professional monitoringLow-rated apps
Compatibility with Nest cameras, Phillips Hue lightbulbs, ecobee thermostats, Schlage locks, Bose sound systems, and other IoT devicesPoor customer support
DIY installationPerson detection not available on all cameras

Quick Setup

It was a breeze to set up our home security system. We went with a basic system that included a siren, a motion detector, and a security camera in one device. Our installation was only four steps long because it was “all-in-one”:

  • We plugged in the hub (essentially a base station).
  • We connected the hub to our internet router.
  • We downloaded the abode mobile app.
  • We placed door sensors and window sensors around our home.

All told, the installation took us about 30 minutes.

On-Demand Monitoring

Abode turned out to be a great choice for DIY, no-contract security. The system sent us mobile text alerts, and we livestreamed footage from our phones.

We found that abode also worked well when we needed occasional professional monitoring. In fact, it was the only alarm system we tested that let us get professional monitoring for a three-day weekend only! That was perfect when we decided to go out of town for Labor Day. Who wants to check their security feeds while they’re at the lake, right

FeaturesBasic planStandard planPro plan
LivestreamingYesYesYes
NotificationsYesYesYes
One-touch armingYesYesYes
Smart home integrationsYesYesYes
Video storage in days0730
Timeline of eventsNoYesYes
Home automationNoYesYes
In-app panic alarmsNoYesYes
Cellular backupNoNoYes
24/7 professional monitoringNoNoYes
Premium customer supportNoNoYes
Free shipping in the continental U.S.NoNoYes
Unlimited device warrantyNoNoYes* (annual only)
Daily price$0$0.20$0.66
Monthly price$0$6$19.80
Annual price$0$72$237.60

High-Quality Equipment

Overall, we were delighted with the equipment provided by habitation. The Gateway hub, a motion sensor, a door/window sensor, and a key fob were all included in the Smart Security Kit, which cost $180.

We spent another $160 on an outside camera and were really pleased with the crystal-clear image we received. Abode cameras have a 1080p HD video quality and a zoom range of 127 degrees. Our Amazon package delivery person’s clothing had a stain on it, which we could see. In addition, dwelling cameras offer two-way audio and infrared LED night vision.

Relevant:

Best Indoor Security Camera without Subscription

Best Outdoor Security Camera without Subscription

Ring Alarm Security Kit

Best Self-Monitored Home Security System No Monthly Fee

Given Ring’s history, it’s no wonder that there are five distinct Ring doorbell cameras to choose from. Ring Alarm security systems, which include control panels, conventional Ring security cameras, smart lighting, and smoke alarm listeners, are also available at a reasonable cost.

LikeDon’t Like
Neighbors app, which connects neighbors, police, and security personnel and allows users to post video clips and information about security events at their homesHardwired doorbells that require advanced installation skills
Alerts to desktop and phoneHistory of security breaches and hackings
Smart integrations with Google Assistant, Alexa, Schlage, Yale, Chamberlain, Leviton, and moreNo local storage
Lots of camera and video doorbell optionsNo silent arming/disarming feature

Alexa Integration

Given that Ring is now a part of the Amazon family, we weren’t surprised that Ring Alarm works seamlessly with Alexa. That integration meant, for example, that we could stream camera footage to our Fire TV Stick or our Echo Show. The bigger the screen, the easier it was to catalog the facial details of anyone walking the hallways of our apartment building. In fact, with just one fully integrated system, we could:

  • Guard against intruders
  • Monitor the environment
  • Automate our home

Doorbell Cameras

Ring is an especially good choice for those who, like us, prefer living in apartments. The thing is, most apartment dwellers don’t need outdoor cameras.

Ring has a large selection of doorbell cameras.

SimpliSafe

Best Self-Monitored Home Security System No Monthly Fee

SimpliSafe made it simple for us to make our house safer, starting with a variety of economical equipment bundles and DIY or expert installation options. SimpliSafe is, in fact, a market leader in DIY home security systems. It was one of the first firms to market low-cost, self-monitoring security systems to consumers like us. SimpliSafe is one of our favorite home security systems, and it’s always at the top of our list.

LikeDon’t Like
AffordableNo mobile alerts without paid plans
Remote controlNo person detection on indoor cameras
DIY installationCan’t download video to your phone without paid plan
Renter-friendlyKit required for outdoor camera

Equipment and Monitoring Choices

SimpliSafe’s basic technology protected us from intruders, but we also had the option of upgrading our inside video monitoring and environmental security. SimpliSafe’s technology, for example, was utilized to link to motion-activated cameras and smoke alarms. We could, however, manage our equipment and monitor feeds whenever we chose, from anywhere in the globe. While we choose to monitor ourselves for free, SimpliSafe offers expert monitoring for around $15 to $25 each month.

FeatureFree planCloud storage for 1 cameraCloud storage for up to 10 camerasStandard planInteractive plan
Price per month$0$5$10$14.99$24.99
LivestreamingYesYesYesYesYes
Professional monitoringNoNoNoYesYes
Environmental monitoringNoNoNoYesYes
Cellular connectionNoNoNoYesYes
Remote controlYesNoNoNoYes
AlertsNoNoNoNoYes
Secret alarmsNoNoNoNoYes
Video-verified alarmsNoYesYesNoYes
30 days of cloud storageNoYesYesNoYes
Smart home integrationsNoNoNoNoGoogle Assistant, Alexa

Home Automation With SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe’s top-tier monitoring plan adds support for Google Assistant automation. That meant we could use voice commands. We didn’t take advantage of this option because, as we said, we wanted to save a little money by self-monitoring. However, we liked that we could add this feature later if we wanted.

In addition to Google Home, SimpliSafe is compatible with Alexa and several smart devices, including Nest thermostats, August smart door locks, and Apple watches.

Arlo

Arlo

Arlo has a wide range of video baby monitors, indoor cameras, and weatherproof cameras to choose from. It is, in fact, one of our top picks for home security cameras on a regular basis. We didn’t have to acquire a lot of extra components because many of its cameras come with motion detection. Rather, we put up a security system that consisted just of a hub and cameras and met all of our requirements.

LikeDon’t Like
PortabilityNo door sensors
Wide selection of Arlo camerasNo glass-break sensors
Low-cost Arlo doorbell camerasNo Apple HomeKit support
Easy installationNo free person detection

Camera Options

Arlo has a wide choice of camera designs and features to choose from. In fact, it releases so many new cameras each year that keeping up with them may be difficult. Three of our favorites are as follows:

  • Arlo Pro 2: We found the Arlo Pro 2 to be a solid camera with 1080p HD resolution, a 130-degree field of view, infrared night vision, and two-way audio in our Arlo Pro 2 review. It’s also cord-free, so we didn’t have to deal with cables, and it has a rechargeable battery backup that can last up to six months on a single charge. Recordings are triggered by sound and/or motion.
  • Arlo Pro 3: This camera features amazing 2560p HD 2K resolution. As if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a 130-degree field of view and 12 times digital zoom. Best of all, with the attached spotlight and color night vision, we knew exactly whose cat was sitting outside our front door and meowing at 2 in the morning. For more information, check out our Arlo Pro 3 review.
  • Arlo Ultra: Arlo’s greatest outdoor security camera is the Arlo Ultra. Because its enhanced night vision takes up colors through motion-activated illumination, it performed excellent for us at night, as we noted in our Arlo Ultra review. A 180-degree vision with no fisheye effect and noise suppression for ultra-clear audio were two more Arlo Ultra features we loved.

Wire-Free Cameras

Arlo cameras are all wireless. Wire-free security cameras, unlike “wireless” security cameras, do not require any connected connections. As a result, we were able to place them everywhere in our house, both inside and out.

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