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Last updated on May 22, 2020

Best Self-Monitored Home Security System

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Self-monitored home security systems allow you to use quality security equipment to monitor your home without charge. We’ve reviewed some of the best self-monitored home security companies and analyzed our top three. Based on their equipment quality, customer service, and pricing, we’ve selected Abode iota, Google Nest Secure, and Canary as top picks for self-monitored security.

The 3 Best Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

 DIY/Professional Installation OptionsProfessional MonitoringCost of Professional MonitoringAverage App RatingEquipment Cost
Abode iotaDIY or ProfessionalAvailable$20/ month, $8 for 3 days, or $15 for 7 days3.2-stars iOS and 3.5-stars Android$199 for a starter kit
Google Nest SecureDIY or ProfessionalAvailable$19 /month with 3 year contract. $30 / month contract-free4.7-star iOS and 4.3-star Android$249 for starter kit
CanaryDIY onlyNot AvailableNot Available2.3-star iOS and 3.2-star Android$99 for Canary View All-in-One

*Data as of 04/24/2020

Abode iota

Most Customizable
abode iota

abode iota

Pricing

  • Basic – Free
  • Standard – $6/month
  • Pro – $20/month

An Abode iota starter kit costs up to $299, but Abode runs frequent cost-saving promotions on the kit. It includes a key fob for arming the system, one mini door and window sensor, and the iota hub, which doubles as a camera, siren, and more. Users can also purchase additional security equipment, such as door sensors, glass break sensors, and extra cameras.

In addition to the free Basic plan, which allows for self-monitoring through the web and Abode app, users can opt-in to the Standard or Pro plans. The Standard plan typically costs $6/month and adds seven days of online clip storage, as well as home automation capabilities and premium customer support. For $20 monthly, the Pro plan upgrades to professional monitoring, an unlimited warranty, 30 days of clip storage, and 4G security backup. 

Abode iota is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Nest, and Amazon Alexa. It syncs with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices and works with IFTTT. Customers love the HD camera, smart motion sensor, 93-decibel siren, and two way-voice capabilities.

Customer Service

The purchase process is a breeze with Abode. Begin with a starter kit, purchase any extra devices that you’d like, and even add professional installation before online checkout. Abode also has plenty of customer service support, though some additional support is only available to users with the Standard or Pro plans. The Abode app has a 3.2-star rating with iOS and a 3.5-star rating with Android.

Installation Options

Begin your DIY setup by connecting the iota hub to your router with an Ethernet cable. Next, the Abode app prompts device setup. After the initial setup, move the hub to your desired location, along with any other compatible devices. If you prefer, professional installation costs $99 for a starter kit and $25 for every five additional devices.

Google Nest Secure

Best Customer Service
Google Nest Secure

Google Nest Secure

Pricing

  • Self-monitored – Free
  • Three-year contract – $19/month
  • No contract – $30/month

Pricing may vary depending on current promotions, but the Google Nest Secure starter kit costs around $249. This kit includes the Nest Guard, which is an alarm, keypad, microphone, motion sensor, and a hub for the system. It also includes two Nest Tag key fobs for arming and disarming the system, a Nest Detect door sensor, and a two-year limited warranty.

The starter kit also provides access to the Nest app, allowing you remote control of your system. Cameras aren’t included in the starter kit, but Nest offers several great options that integrate very easily. If you wish to add professional monitoring and cellular backup power, Google partners with Brinks Home Security to provide those services.

Customer Service

Easily customize your Nest order by adding extra equipment or professional installation services. Online help materials can answer almost any question about Nest Secure. The app receives exceptional ratings, with a 4.3-star rating for Android and a 4.7 for iOS, and the customer support team is very responsive, despite not providing phone service currently. 

Installation

Don’t expect any headaches setting up Nest Secure. Simply plug in your Nest Guard hub and set it up with the Nest app. Next, set up the Nest Tags and assign them to specific users. Finally, sync your Nest Detect sensors with the app and then place them on doors and windows. Google provides thorough installation guides and videos to walk you through the process.

If you prefer professional installation, find a local Google Nest Expert and make an appointment for installation. The cost for setup begins at $99.99 and increases with each additional device.

Canary

Best for Budget
Canary

Canary

Pricing

  • Basic – Free
  • Pro – $8/month

Get started with the Canary View all-in-one package for $99. Equipped with a 1080p HD camera, 90-decibel siren, and built-in climate monitor for temperature, humidity, and air quality, it covers all the basic security needs for any home. The Basic plan provides advanced motion detection, 24-hour video storage, and one-touch access to first responders. For outdoor monitoring, choose the weatherproof Canary Flex for all the same capabilities outside your home.

To unlock additional features, like two-way talk, desktop streaming, and 30-day video storage, subscribe to the Pro plan. Packages vary based on the equipment you purchase, but it typically costs $8/month. All equipment purchased from Canary comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Customer Service

Users love the easy setup and connectivity, but wish that Canary offered phone support. For any issues, contact customer service through Twitter, email, or directly through the Canary app. The app has a 2.3-star iOS rating and a 3.2-star Android rating.

Installation

Installation is as easy as it gets with the Canary all-in-one system. Simply set the Canary on a shelf, table, or other flat surface and connect it to the internet using Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable. Control and monitor your system through the Canary app, and enjoy as the Canary uses its smart learning capabilities to adapt to your schedule, discern unusual activity, and more.

To install a Canary Flex outdoor camera, simply stick the magnetic swivel base on a flat surface, and then snap the camera into place. It’s a 360-degree base, so you can twist the camera to face any direction you wish.

How We Chose the Best Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

Based on the affordability, customer service, and equipment functionality, we chose the above self-monitored home security systems as some of the best. We scoured app store reviews, equipment specs, and plan pricing to find all the information you need to make the best decision for your home security.

FAQ

What does self-monitored home security mean?

Self-monitored security means that no professional team is watching your video stream in case of an emergency. You’re responsible to call the authorities after receiving an alert from your system.

Should I choose a self-monitored or professionally monitored home security system?

If having a professional team makes you feel safer, consider paying for a professionally monitored system. Self-monitored security offers the same security equipment and many benefits, but without monthly fees.

Can I have a home security system without a monthly fee?

Yes. Self-monitored home security systems are a good option if you’re looking for quality security equipment to monitor your home without charge. If you wish to upgrade, most companies offer advanced features with a monthly subscription.

About the Authors

Erica Mace is a freelance writer based in Provo, Utah. She writes extensively in the home security and automation fields, and has written for brands including Vivint, Your Local Security, Abodo, and the Smart Home Blog.