We all want to feel safe in our homes. But only a fraction of consumers are willing to pay out for a traditional security system. According to a Reviews.com survey, 46% of U.S. adults find installing and maintaining a home security system cost-prohibitive. Industry analysis from Market Research Future points to “high initial installation cost” as a major limit on the home security market’s growth. A pricey kit of devices, a three-plus-year contract, monthly fees totaling around $40-$50 — old-fashioned security is a big investment.
Now, many great home security companies are upending these conventions by ditching contracts and offering build-your-own device sets, but the price of a full, professionally monitored system is still high.
Enter DIY home security. Pick the devices you want. (Maybe you just need one.) No installation fees, no contracts, and, potentially, no monthly fees to speak of. Wireless security system installation means you’re sticking devices to the wall, no tools needed. You monitor alerts sent by your sensors and cameras of choice, then take action if the situation merits it. It’s home security for the modern age.
While DIY home security makes peace of mind affordable, it also puts a lot more responsibility on you to protect your property. If you miss an alert, no one will call the police on your behalf.
To help you decide on the best home security solution for you, we’re breaking DIY wireless security down to its constituents: equipment installation, and user experience.
DIY Home Security Pros and Cons: Equipment
|Equipment ✓ Pros||
Equipment ✗ Cons
|A la carte devices||Partial or incohesive system|
|Freedom to choose from multiple brands||Device integration hiccups|
|Distance from up-selling techniques||Less advice on equipment suited to home|
|Target personal safety concerns|
DIY Home Security Pros and Cons: Installation
|Installation ✓ Pros||Installation ✗ Cons|
|Install on your own schedule||Wait for technician’s appointment window|
|Experiment with device locations||Less placement advice from experts|
|Easy, tool-free installation|
DIY Home Security Pros and Cons: User Experience
|User experience ✓ Pros||User experience ✗ Cons|
|Total control via app||Buggy app performance|
|Free or cheap camera footage storage||Limited storage duration without subscription|
|Detailed alerts from sensors and cameras||Potentially not enough information to make decision to call emergency assistance|
|Smart home functionality||Responsibility to contact first responders|
DIY Wireless Home Security: The Bottom Line
Contemporary DIY home security systems have come a long way from the tripwired, blaring sirens that threatened to call the police on the family dog. They are pared down in terms of price, service, and number of devices. But at the same time, a DIY security installation expands the possibilities of home safety.
A DIY home security system makes safety more accessible and is a great entry point to the possibilities of smart home tech. Take video doorbells or camera floodlights — both enable you to record and rebuff intruders, but also to greet delivery people, neighbors, even your kids as they troop in after school. You’re transforming your house into both a secure home and a smart home.
If you are reliably on your phone and prepared to respond to alerts as they occur, a DIY system is a great choice. For those who can’t be on-call for their home’s defense, or are looking for an expertly curated set of devices, go with a full-service security system.