Professionally monitored home security systems usually involve a company watching your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that you and your family are safe. However, these companies typically charge monthly fees that are stipulated in a signed contract, which requires a credit check and can be difficult to cancel. Self monitored home security systems incorporate the same technology, like door and window alarms, security cameras, and keyless door locks for secure entry, but without the additional cost or a long-term contract.
In fact, the best self monitored home security systems have several advantages over a professionally monitored system. In addition to no credit check and a lower cost, it is often easier (and less expensive) to install and uninstall the equipment yourself. Read on to explore some of the top products in this guide, and learn more about the key features of the best self monitored home security systems to keep your family safe.
- BEST OVERALL: Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit (2nd Gen)
- BEST BUDGET: YoLink Smart Door Sensors, 1/4 Mile World’s Longest
- UPGRADE PICK: SimpliSafe 12 Piece Wireless Home Security System
- BEST WIRED: Reolink 4K PoE Security Camera System, 4pcs Wired 8MP
- BEST PACKAGE PROTECTION: Panasonic HomeHawk Outdoor Wireless Smart Home
- BEST MOTION DETECTION: Blink Outdoor – wireless, weather-resistant HD
- BEST SECURITY CAMERA: eufy Security, eufyCam 2C Pro 2-Cam Kit, Wireless
- ALSO CONSIDER: BOIFUN WiFi Video Doorbell Camera, 1080P HD Wireless
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Self Monitored Home Security System
Whether you’re installing a keyless door lock for personalized entry or putting up several security cameras equipped with motion detection sensors and floodlights, it’s important to have a good understanding of how a self monitored home security system works. Having an awareness of the features that can help secure your home and keep your family safe is also essential.
One of the primary features to consider when choosing a self monitored home security system is the technology behind the system, including door and window alarms, motion detectors, video doorbells, outdoor and indoor security cameras, and wireless hubs.
- Door and window alarms are usually straightforward devices with two sides that are installed both on the frame and on the window or door itself, respectively. When the window or door is opened, the magnetic field between the two sides is severed, triggering the system to sound an alarm or send a notification to the user.
- Motion detectors do exactly what the name implies. These devices may send an alert to a mobile device or initiate a recording when they detect unrecognized motion within a specific range. Motion detectors can also be programmed to activate floodlights or sirens.
- Video doorbells typically feature built-in motion detection so they can begin recording as soon as someone approaches the door. These devices may also include two-way audio so the user can communicate through the doorbell.
- Outdoor and indoor security cameras are one of the more common additions to a home security system because they provide the user with a live, real-time view of what is happening around the home and surrounding property. They can be used in tandem with motion detectors, floodlights, and door and window alarms to create a highly secure system.
- Wireless hubs don’t have any real benefits when used independently. However, a hub is a common addition to a security system because it collects information from the other security devices and connects the system to the home Wi-Fi to enable instant notifications.
To ensure your home is secure at all times, consider investing in a self monitored home security system that you can monitor via an app. This feature will ensure you have constant and convenient access to the system through your smartphone, tablet, or computer. However, for a security system to connect to an app, it needs to communicate through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Wi-Fi is the better option, because it can link to more than one device at a time so multiple members of a family can access the security system.
Wi-Fi also offers better range, though Bluetooth provides a more consistent signal with fewer connectivity issues. Additionally, consider whether the new security system should connect through a smart home system—like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant—for voice control, live viewing, and smart device integration.
The ability to record video is integral to a security system because it can then be used to identify criminals, witness package delivery, or determine how the dog keeps escaping from the yard. Video is recorded at a range of resolutions, with more basic security systems only offering 480p (pixels) resolution and more advanced systems commonly providing up to 4K resolution, which equates to about 4,000p—nearly four times a standard 1,080p resolution.
Where the video is stored is another consideration to address. Removable storage is a good option in a security system with a small amount of storage space. However, a better local storage option is a network video recorder, which can store a significantly higher amount of data. Cloud-based storage is another option for users who want instant access to video files, though some companies will charge a monthly fee to store this data.
Depending on the devices that make up the self monitored home security system, a number of different notifications can be sent directly to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. These notifications are a key factor in self monitoring because they provide real-time reports about activity in and around the home.
Some security cameras and doorbell cameras can be programmed to send notifications every time they detect movement, while window and door alarms will send notifications when they are opened or, in some cases, if they detect broken glass. Typically, the frequency of notifications and the circumstances under which the user would receive them is a customizable feature.
With the wide range of technology options, it shouldn’t be surprising that there is an equally large variety of extra features that can make a self monitored home security system more effective, including night vision, two-way audio, spotlights, and sirens.
- Night vision is a valuable feature for a security camera. Typically, the camera will include a light sensor that automatically measures the ambient light and switches to infrared night vision mode when it’s too dark.
- Two-way audio allows the user to speak through the camera, doorbell, or another security device so they can address anyone outside without leaving the safety of their home, such as a solicitor or simply an unknown stranger. It can also be helpful for when you aren’t home, for instance, to talk to the kids when they arrive home from school or greeting a visiting friend before you return to the house from an errand.
- Spotlights and sirens are effective for fending off intruders. Motion detectors can engage a spotlight that bathes the invader in bright light so they are easy to see and identify—especially if the system also includes a security camera. Sirens take home defense a step further by sounding a literal alarm so everyone in the home and in nearby houses is aware of a break-in attempt.
When choosing a self monitored home security system, it’s also important to think about the ease of installation. Consider whether this is a project you can take on alone or if you may need to hire a professional installation service. Some high-quality self monitored home security systems are hardwired into the existing electrical system of the house, so the user doesn’t need to worry about continually recharging batteries. However, this method of installation can be complex and may require an electrician.
The majority of self monitored home security systems are not hardwired. The components of these systems, like doorbells and cameras, will need to be semi-regularly recharged, but they are much easier to install. Battery-powered security devices are also better suited for building a custom security system because it’s simple to add or remove a device—or even uninstall the entire system and set it up at a new house instead of having to leave it behind.
Our Top Picks
These top picks were chosen with all of the abovementioned considerations in mind, in addition to overall quality and value. Check out this list to discover some of the best self monitored home security systems on the market to increase family safety day and night.
Take home security seriously with a range of sensors and detection devices in this Ring Alarm 8-Piece Kit. The set offers four contact sensors that can be placed on doors and windows around the home, and it also features a motion detector so intruders can’t simply bypass the security system by breaking a window.
Each sensor wirelessly connects to a central Ring base station that pairs with the Ring app, where users can easily monitor and make changes to their home security. The entire system can be controlled through the Ring app, the included keypad, or via voice commands with a compatible Amazon Alexa device.
When starting the process of outfitting a house with a self monitored home security system, it can be beneficial to invest in a product like the YoLink Smart Door Sensors that can be expanded up to 1/4 mile without sacrificing clear connectivity. This system uses a central hub that directly connects to the home Wi-Fi network either through an ethernet cable or wirelessly to communicate with the user’s smart device through banner alerts, text messages, and emails.
The central hub then uses radio signals to connect to the four smart door sensors, ensuring any movement to open the doors or windows will activate the alarm. Users can also link the hub to a compatible smart home system, like Amazon Alexa, to interact with other smart home devices. The sensors operate on AAA lithium batteries, and they can last for up to 5 years without being replaced.
Designed with versatility and whole-home security in mind, this premium 12-piece self monitored home security system from SimpliSafe features a wireless hub that provides a built-in siren and a 24-hour backup battery in case of a power outage. The system also includes five door and window contact sensors and two motion sensors to ensure that entrances are properly protected, regardless of whether an intruder opens a window or breaks it.
The security system offers three convenient devices equipped to arm, disarm, activate, and control it: a panic button, a key fob, and a keypad. Users can connect this system to a compatible Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device for voice control and smart home integration. This system also incorporates a high-definition security camera, allowing the user to view the 90-degree field of vision through a live feed via a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
For those looking to gain maximum coverage with a self monitored home security system without worrying about wireless connections, battery failures, and poor video quality, this wired Reolink system is a great choice. All four cameras record in 4K video and feature motion sensors that send alerts when they detect movement. Users have the option to expand the system to include up to eight cameras for complete coverage of the home.
Each Reolink camera connects directly to the central network video recorder, which includes two terabytes of storage space to allow the cameras to continuously record 24/7, if necessary. The Reolink app provides remote access to the cameras from a smart device.
Keep a close eye on food and package deliveries to prevent porch pirates from stealing items with the Panasonic HomeHawk self monitored home security system that offers a 172-degree wide-angle security camera for full front door coverage. The system can integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control and live viewing with a compatible device or via the HomeHawk app.
This security system stores video footage on an SD card that users can remove and insert into a computer for viewing. The weather-resistant camera is completely wireless, and it’s easy to install above the doorframe to monitor movement within adjustable motion detection zones and then send live alerts to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The system also features a two-way talk option for communicating with visitors and infrared night vision to protect packages or deliveries left on a porch no matter the time of day.
The Blink Outdoor self monitored home security system is made to provide peace of mind, with three HD security cameras that feature motion detection technology designed to track movement within adjustable detection zones. The camera that detects movement begins recording and sends an alert to the user’s smartphone, tablet, or computer. This wireless communication is possible through the central sync module or hub that connects to the home Wi-Fi network.
The cameras also include infrared night vision and are each powered with two AA lithium batteries, which can last up to 2 years before requiring replacement. This system can integrate with Amazon Alexa for voice control and live video conversation through a compatible device. However, even without an Alexa-enabled device, the user can listen and speak through the cameras’ two-way audio capability.
The 2K resolution of the high-definition cameras included with the eufy self monitored home security system provides superior video and audio recording within the 135-degree field of view. The weatherproof cameras are also equipped with two-way audio, so users can speak through the camera from a smartphone or tablet instead of having to answer the door as soon as the bell rings.
A built-in spotlight and infrared night vision provide peace of mind for nighttime security. Users can switch the spotlight on or off via the app or with voice control through smart home integration using compatible Amazon Alexa devices. The security system uses human detection features to differentiate between a pet, vehicle, and a person, so users only receive the notifications that matter.
This affordable yet feature-rich self monitored home security system from BOIFUN offers a high-definition video doorbell camera that records video at up to 1080p resolution. It installs easily without hardwiring and runs on built-in rechargeable batteries that last for 2 to 4 months before needing a recharge. The system includes a 32-gigabyte internal memory card to locally store video recordings, or it can be wirelessly connected to upload recordings to cloud-based storage.
The video doorbell camera features two-way audio so the user can speak to visitors through a smartphone or tablet via the BOIFUN app. The waterproof camera provides a wide 166-degree range of view and is also designed with infrared night vision, motion detection, and human detection, ensuring the security system won’t respond to dogs, cats, squirrels, snakes, or any other non-human creature.
FAQs About Self Monitored Home Security Systems
Still uncertain about how to choose the best self monitored home security system to keep your family safe? The following answers to some of the most frequently asked questions may help.
Q. What is the difference between professional monitoring and self monitoring systems?
The difference between professional monitoring and self monitoring security systems comes down to who is doing the monitoring. With professional monitoring, a security company actively watches your home 24/7. Self monitoring systems are only watched by the user and anyone else given access. However, most professionally monitored systems also have a monthly cost associated with them, while most self monitored systems don’t have additional fees.
Q. Does a self monitored home security system come with a monthly fee?
A self monitored home security system usually doesn’t include a monthly fee. However, a subscription may be required if the security system uses a cloud-based server that charges for storing video and images captured on the indoor or outdoor security cameras.
Q. How do I choose a home security system?
Key factors to consider when choosing a home security system include Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, video recording and storage, installation procedures, and technology options like motion detection sensors or security cameras.