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Published: Jun 04, 2024 9 min read

In the past, installing a home security system meant paying expensive flat installation rates for a wired system and monthly monitoring fees. Now, you can save some money by installing the system yourself. Some of the best home security companies offer wireless self-installed security solutions for the DIY enthusiast. These bundles can be two to three times more affordable than a professional installation, so long as you know exactly what your home needs.

Read on to learn more.

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DIY home security systems are much more affordable to install than professional systems. A starter kit can set you back anywhere between $100 and $300, while a professionally installed system can cost thousands of dollars.

Homeowners with self-installed systems can monitor the equipment themselves or pay a monthly fee for a monitoring plan. This option adds an ongoing expense to your security system, but may be worth it for the peace of mind. Professional monitoring means that someone is monitoring any triggers from your system around the clock, even when you're sleeping or otherwise busy.


Most DIY home security systems include starter bundles with cameras and sensors.

The number of devices you need depends on the size of your home and how comprehensive you want the system to be. A basic home security system includes a camera, window sensors and door sensors, but you can always add devices like carbon monoxide sensors, smart locks, smart thermostats, glass break sensors, smoke detectors, heat sensors and water leak detectors.


Generally, the installation process of DIY home security systems is very user-friendly, with minimal tools and effort involved. Most wireless home security systems come with mounting plates and guides on how to attach the device to the wall, be it using a drill or strong adhesive mounts.

The installation process depends on the device, how it must be affixed to the surface and its power source. Your mounting options are more limited if the gadget (wireless camera, floodlight, etc.) needs to be plugged in.

Homeowners need to consider the ideal placement for cameras and sensors and decide which areas are high priorities. These can be the garage or storage shed if they hold valuable items, the front entrance, or the back door to their home.


One of the main differences between professionally installed security systems and DIY systems is that you can pay for a monitoring service or do it yourself. Professional security monitoring means someone in a monitoring center is ready to respond if an alarm goes off in your home. In most cases, the monitoring center will call you or a designated contact to verify the alert and contact the local authorities if necessary.

This service comes at a cost — you'll have to pay a monthly fee to the security company for around-the-clock monitoring.

With self-monitoring, you can save a few dollars and keep track of the system yourself, receiving notifications on your smartphone whenever the sensors are triggered. The downside is that you can't monitor the system yourself 24/7, especially if you live in a large home with multiple entrances or if you are frequently away from home.

DIY home security systems vs professional installation

The perk of DIY installation is that you can customize the system to suit your home and upgrade it little by little. You also save on installation costs and monitoring fees if you monitor the system yourself. However, troubleshooting a DIY system might be a headache because you won't be able to call customer service to fix the problem.

Self-installed home security system


  • Easy to install and monitor yourself
  • No installation fees
  • Easy to relocate if you have to move
  • Best for homes with simple security needs


  • Buying each component individually may cost more
  • Maintenance and troubleshooting is your responsibility
  • Shorter warranty period

Professionally security system installation


  • Trained technicians take care of the installation
  • Suitable for multi-level homes
  • Maintenance support and customer service
  • Around-the-clock monitoring


  • High upfront cost
  • Typically requires a long-term contract
  • Third-party monitoring costs a monthly fee
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How to install a home security system yourself

Installing a home security system yourself takes some effort and research, but you'll save a lot of money on installation and monitoring costs.

Take note of the following before you start.

Plan your system

Determine the number of cameras and sensors you need based on your home's size and layout. To do so, identify the ways your home can be entered, such as windows, doors, and structures outside the home, like a storage shed or the garage door.

It's also a good idea to look into the local surveillance laws regarding cameras that capture public areas and ensure that cameras don't infringe on your neighbors' privacy.

Finally, check that your internet connection is strong enough to support the system and verify that all of the devices and sensors are compatible. This is especially important if you want to connect the security devices to a smart home device such as Amazon Alexa or Google Nest.

Install the control panel or base station

The control panel is the central hub from which you adjust and control the entire home security system. This can be a mobile app, a touchscreen keypad or a control panel installed in your home. Many smart home security systems also sell discreet standalone control hubs that you can place on the counter or a coffee table.

The ideal place to install a control panel is close to a power source and near the home's primary entrance, as these devices need to be easily accessible if someone has to deactivate them. On the other hand, avoid placing them in a visible spot where strangers can see you input the deactivation code from outside.

Install sensors and cameras

A basic security kit typically includes cameras, entry sensors, window alarms, and motion sensors. To install these sensors, identify high-priority areas around your home, such as the front door, the back entryway, and any windows that are on ground level.

Security camera options include video doorbells, outdoor cameras with floodlights, and indoor cameras fitted with motion detectors. The placement of these devices also depends on their power source — battery-powered cameras can be placed anywhere, while wired devices need to be close to a plug.

Test the system

Once you've installed each device and configured the security system, run a test following the directions in the owner's manual.

This usually involves setting the alarm system as you normally would and triggering it to confirm that everything works as it should. Walk past entryway sensors to check they're picking up movement, and open doors and windows to confirm that the alarm is working.

Installing a Home Security System Yourself FAQs

What is the best DIY home security system?

The best DIY home security system is one that suits the size of your home, your budget, and the level of security you want. Some popular options include systems from SimpliSafe, Abode, Ring Alarm and ADT Self Setup.

What to look for in a home security camera system?

Look for a home security camera system that is compatible with your home's layout, the area you want to monitor, and the power source. Another important consideration is privacy — modern security cameras are typically linked to a Wi-Fi network that could be vulnerable to hacks. The best home security cameras offer two-factor authentication to mitigate this risk. You can choose a wireless home security camera or video doorbell, which doubles as a doorbell and a recording device. There are also floodlight security cameras that record and illuminate the designated area at night.

Summary of Money's Things to Know About Installing a Home Security System Yourself

Although home security systems don't make your home 100% burglar-proof, they help discourage most break-ins. Research has shown that home alarms reduce the incidence of burglaries in a community and that security cameras can deter burglars from breaking into your home (though some may interpret that the house stores valuables).

Professionally installed home security systems (especially wired) are expensive and they may not be a practical security solution for a renter or homeowner who may sell soon.

DIY home security systems are an affordable alternative for many. These kits are easy to install and connect to the home's Wi-Fi network, allowing users to control every sensor from a central hub. They are also compatible with home automation devices like smart locks and lights, and voice assistance platforms from Google, Apple or Amazon.

The main difference between professional security systems and self-installed systems is that the homeowner can monitor the system themselves. This is a significant cost-saving benefit though it sacrifices 24/7 monitoring afforded by security companies.

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