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Best Cheap Home Security Systems


A good home security system can bring peace of mind, whether you’re traveling for the holidays or just going out for the night. But it can also cost hundreds or thousands of dollars if you want more security than a single smart camera can offer. Between the countless sensors, alarms, cameras and video doorbells that many modern security services offer, the final bill can quickly add up.

As home security systems — both professional and DIY — have gotten smarter, some have also gotten more affordable. In fact, you can find a few systems starting at under a hundred bucks. Here are the best cheap home security systems on the market right now.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Installation

DIY installation

Contract Required

No

Voice Assistant

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Additional Fees

24/7 professional monitoring fee, cloud storage fee

Service Bundles

N/A

If it has to be cheap, you can’t get a much better system for the money than Wyze Home Monitoring. If you spend $82 on a starter kit, you can get a hub, keypad, three-pack of entry sensors and a motion sensor. But you can put together a package to meet your specific needs, too, and it will almost certainly cost less than the alternative from any major DIY service provider — especially if you want to integrate security cameras or video doorbells. Additionally, Wyze’s fee for 24/7 monitoring is a very reasonable $10 per month. All in all, you could spend well under $200 for all your hardware and a year of monitoring.

Read the Wyze Home Monitoring review.

 

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David Priest/CNET

Installation

DIY installation

Contract Required

No

Voice Assistant

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Additional Fees

24/7 professional monitoring fee, recording fees

Service Bundles

N/A

Ring’s Alarm Pro system is a little pricier than Wyze’s, landing at $300 for the starting kit (though you can often find it on sale for less). But it brings more value per dollar than any other DIY security system. For that price, you’ll get the base device, four entry sensors, one motion detector, a keypad, one indoor cam and a Z-Wave range extender. That may not sound particularly exciting until you realize that the base station is also an Eero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router. That enables select Ring security cameras or video doorbells to process their data and store their footage locally. Add that to other perks, like an included Alexa Guard Plus subscription and cellular-powered backup Wi-Fi (if your internet or power goes down), and you’ve got an incredible product for the price.

Ring’s highest-level Protect Pro subscription costs $20 per month, which is lower than most of its DIY competitors’ $25-$30 range.

Read the Ring Alarm Pro review.

 

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Josh Goldman/CNET

Installation

Professional installation

Contract Required

No

Voice Assistant

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Additional Fees

24/7 professional monitoring fee

Service Bundles

Internet, phone, cable

Professionally-installed home security systems usually cost an arm and a leg, but that’s not the case with our favorite system from Comcast Xfinity. While it’s not available in all regions, if you can get it, it’s a steal (relatively speaking), starting at $360. That price will get you a touchscreen controller, three entry sensors and one motion detector. And the bigger the system you get, the better the price breakdown — all the way up to the $600 Ultimate package that adds seven more entry sensors, two cameras and a wireless keypad.

Xfinity Home has a few big perks going for it: First, it doesn’t require a contract; second, its $30 per month basic and $40 monthly premium 24/7 monitoring plans are consistently cheaper than other professionally installed systems; and third, you can connect a wide range of smart home gadgets into the system and integrate them easily through the app. All in all, Xfinity Home offers that excellent user experience you’d expect from higher-end systems like Vivint and ADT — but at significantly lower prices.

Read the Comcast Xfinity Home Security review.

 

Other home security systems we’ve tested

The CNET home security editors have tested out every major home security system over the years. We haven’t listed every single one here since some, such as AT&T Digital Life, are no longer available.

  • Abode: While Abode’s performance was solid, its prices were higher than other DIY options, such as Cove and SimpliSafe. The Abode Iota all-in-one security camera is an interesting option for renters or those living in smaller spaces — but it still doesn’t match the affordability or simple value of the options above.
  • Ring Alarm: Ring’s first home security system is a solid contender for best cheap home security system, but it just can’t quite edge out Wyze’s system for straight-up affordability. In addition, its Pro version adds so much value, it’s hard to recommend the original system over its upgraded successor.
  • Frontpoint: Although Frontpoint’s hardware is solidly priced, its $45 monthly subscription fee is simply too much to recommend it to anyone trying to stick to a budget.
  • Kangaroo: While Kangaroo is an incredibly wallet-friendly DIY security system, its value simply isn’t as high as Wyze’s. Its hardware isn’t just cheap on paper — it also feels cheap. And its doorbell camera is terrible.
  • Cove Home Security: While Cove’s hardware is reasonably priced, the inability to self-monitor the system — or even have app access — without significant monthly fees makes it a less-than-ideal option for the budget-conscious buyer.
  • ADT: Professionally installed systems probably aren’t the way to go for the best cheap home security system, and ADT is worse than others on the list simply for its astronomically high prices and forced contracts.
  • Vivint: Like ADT, Vivint isn’t for the faint of wallet. While it’s a great system for those interested in smart home integration, opting for Vivint won’t save you money in the short term or long run.

How we test home security systems

Hands-on testing is core to our evaluations of any home security products. In short, when it comes to home security systems, we pay special attention to the user experience, the promised features, reliability and overall value — along with a few other elements. We do the testing in a real home environment over the course of at least a full week. If you want to read more about our review process, check out our in-depth article on how we test home security systems and services.

Cheap Home Security Systems Compared

Wyze Home Monitoring Ring Alarm Pro Comcast Xfinity
System price $133 $300 $360
Monitoring price $10 $20 $30
Starter equipment A v3 camera, two door-window sensors, a motion detector, a keypad and the Sense Hub Eero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router, door-window sensors, motion detectors, a keypad, a siren and optional professional monitoring subscriptions Touchscreen controller, three door-window sensors, a motion sensor, battery and cellular system backup, Xfinity Home Security yard sign
Contract required? No No No
Setup DIY installation DIY installation Professional installation
Extra features Customizable system, integration with many third-party devices, integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Cellular-powered backup Wi-Fi, network security monitoring, local processing, storage for all of your Ring devices and integration with Alexa’s Guard Plus service Integration with a large and growing list of third-party devices, flexible pricing
Review score 8.4 9 8

Best Cheap Home Security Systems FAQs

Is it worth it to get a home security system?

Ultimately, you’ll have to answer this question for yourself. But home security systems do, in fact, deter burglars. Depending on where you live, a few hundred dollars may be a cost worth incurring to avoid the risk of burglaries or damaged property.

What is a good price for home security?

Home security systems range in price anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars. Generally, the larger the space you hope to cover — including the number of entryways you want to monitor — the more expensive the system. Many systems allow you to pick your devices a la carte, and most monitors shouldn’t cost more than $30 apiece. If you’re looking for reliable, budget-friendly picks, you shouldn’t spend more than a few hundred dollars on home security. Likewise, you shouldn’t be paying more than $25 or $30 at the most for monthly monitoring unless you’re using a professionally installed system.


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