A classic home security system may cost you thousands upfront, plus a sizeable monthly fee for monitoring. Thankfully, recent smart home advances have democratized home security so that you can protect yourself with an affordable DIY kit, with or without professional monitoring. Among the best cheap home security systems, you'll want to start with a Ring Alarm system, which offers affordable bundles and a low monthly cost for monitoring. But we have plenty of alternatives depending on your budget and needs.
Best overall bargain: Ring Alarm Security Kit
Ring Alarm Security Kit
Cheap, peerless cameras
Ring Protect Plus is a shot across the bow for major security companies that charge $40 to $60 a month for video monitoring and to "unlock" security features that you can't do without. Not counting per-camera monitoring, you have two main options: Ring Protect Plus and Ring Protect Pro. Plus lets you save clips of motion events for 60 days, with notifications warning if a person walks by or lingers outside your door. But if you want professionals to monitor events for suspicious behavior, the Pro plan costs more but gives you more peace of mind.
Ring Protect backs up your Ring Alarm bundle, which comes with a base station, keypad, door/window contact sensors, motion detectors, and range extender. You typically associate Ring with cameras, but you need sensors to protect your main points of entry or any camera blind spots. The keypad makes it easier to arm or disarm your system, and the range extender ensures your devices work across larger homes' total square footage.
If you do buy cameras, Ring gives you a ton of options. Among the best indoor security cameras, the Ring Stick-Up Cam remains our top pick for its versatility and quality, working both indoors and out, while the Ring Indoor Cam will save you money if you're sticking it on a shelf. With the best outdoor security cameras, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery and Ring Floodlight Cam Plus Wired will illuminate your yard at night. The Floodlight captures more ground, while the Spotlight version provides more versatility wherever it's installed. Overall, Ring cameras offer solid quality at affordable prices.
Cheapest professional monitoring: Wyze Home Monitoring
Wyze Home Monitoring - Annual Plan
Home security for strict budgets
Wyze used to offer self-monitored home security before it decided to branch out into professional monitoring. Now, you can pay an extremely reasonable $60/year for home monitoring, plus $40 for a Core Starter Kit that includes a hub, keypad, entry sensors, and a motion sensor. Add in the fact that most Wyze Cams cost very little on their own, and you have the ingredients for a security system that anyone can afford.
Wyze offers Noonlight monitoring with emergency dispatch, texting you 5 seconds after an alarm, or calling you 30 seconds after the alarm if you don't respond by text. Along with the starter kit, you can connect various Wyze Cams and have the pros monitor its feed and motion triggers for issues. You can also add water leak or temperature sensors, though you won't find other sensors like glass break, CO, or smoke.
The only downside to Wyze's affordable plan is that you pay per camera for storage, monitoring, and AI tech, whereas other companies include that as part of the package. As a result, Wyze is a better option if you plan to rely more on sensors, with a couple of cameras as a useful tool.
Aside from pro monitoring, the Wyze system offers another benefit: IFTTT. Wyze creates a bunch of smart home tech that can be triggered to respond to motion alerts, such as smart light bulbs or alarms. Program your lights to turn on when your Wyze Cam senses motion to scare intruders, for example.
Best rapid emergency response: Cove Home Security System
Cove Home Security System
Professional monitoring — done right
Launched in 2018, Cove Home Security has appropriately modern approaches to handling your safety. For example, when an alert is triggered, you'll immediately receive a text noting the source of the alarm; you can respond by telling them to cancel, send help, or call you for more information. At the same time, their professional monitoring team will call you using a two-way talk on your security touchscreen panel for more information. And if you can't be reached, they'll contact the appropriate emergency services, including the fire department, if a smoke detector goes off. Cove claims that by using RapidSOS when contacting dispatchers, they can convey important information more quickly during an emergency.
Cove is a DIY security company that requires professional monitoring and offers two price tiers: $15 per month for Basic or $25 a month for Plus. The standard subscription gets you full professional monitoring, cellular and battery backup during an outage, and a one-year warranty. The Plus plan adds on a lifetime equipment warranty, Alexa and Google Home voice commands, remote smartphone control over your system, and a $5 a month rebate for buying new security equipment down the line.
You can buy a wide range of sensors from Cove — motion, door/window, glass break, smoke, flood, CO — plus a key fob and medical alert button. For cameras, Cove now sells an indoor camera, outdoor camera, and two doorbell cameras. All of these have 1080p monitoring and 2-way audio, plus some pretty solid field-of-view. But you won't have the same smarts as other cameras with intelligent person detection or other perks.
Cheap pro monitoring or free AI detection: Eufy Wireless Protection System
Eufy Wireless Protection System
DIY for everything
Ring Protect used to offer $10 a month professional monitoring with Protect Plus, but decided to reserve this for its $20 per month plan. Now Eufy is your best option if you want to pay just $100 a year for monitored home security.
Eufy offers 24/7 monitoring through Noonlight with a promised 10-second response time and forgiveness for false alarms. There's also a cool Practice Mode for when you first receive the system, where you purposefully set off alarms to see how the system works without emergency services being alerted. You can buy the Eufy 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit with a keypad and various sensors for a reasonable price.
Eufy mostly depends on its respected security cameras for home security. Many of the best security cameras with local storage include Eufy Cams, so you can keep footage at home instead of on the cloud. Plus, they all offer intelligent AI alerts without requiring a subscription; for comparison, almost all other companies make you pay extra to know if the motion outside comes from a person or not. Combined, this ensures you can self-monitor your home with Eufy tech if the monthly pro monitoring subscription becomes too expensive.
Eufy focused for years on cameras like its 2k indoor cam, so it's new to the home security game. As such, it's missing some common system tools like fire/CO alarms, and its low monthly rate could always go up over time (like Ring's did). But for now, it's one of the best budget home security system options; and its home security cameras can also function well on their own.
Best bargain for DIY-installed security: SimpliSafe Home Security System
SimpliSafe 8 Piece Wireless Home Security System
Cheap security add-ons
SimpliSafe rose to the top of our best home security systems catalog in part because its low cost of entry belies the level of quality it delivers. You can pay as little as $15/month for the entry-level monitoring plan, which has nearly all the tools you'd expect in a security system: police, fire, and medical dispatch, water leak and high-temperature detection, seven days of recordings, remote arm/disarm, cellular backup, and other perks.
For $25/month, you get 30-day storage, on-demand video storage, better phone alerts with family/friend secondary alerts, "secret alerts" for when people access cabinets or safes, person detection, Alexa/Google Assistant support, and camera subscriptions. Many of these perks will be essential for your home security, so you have to pay for the priciest tier, but it's also more advanced than the cheaper programs from Ring and Eufy.
SimpliSafe offers a variety of entry-level security kits and sells individual sensors, cameras, and smart tech on its site to add on later. Because you attach its devices via adhesive strips and connect them to a hub via wireless, installing new ones into your system doesn't take significant time. With sensors costing as little as $15, your budget won't suffer.
SimpliSafe used to have fairly limited camera offerings, but recently added outdoor and doorbell cameras that give you a more well-rounded system. Overall, it has very few downsides.
Best for home automation: Abode Iota All-in-one Home Security Kit
Abode Iota All-in-one Home Security Kit
A steal for security smarts
Abode's main draw is its ability to play nice with virtually any smart speaker or smart device. Compatible with Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and IFTTT, the Abode Home Security Kit will sync up with virtually any smart device you already own or plan to buy. Then, you can use app automations to trigger responses in your smart devices in emergencies or to schedule regular behaviors. Your home security will only be limited by your imagination.
Abode is a DIY, customizable home security option that lets you pick and choose which devices you need for your starter package. Then, all your choices arrive already paired together, so all you need to do is place your sensors and cameras where they belong, and you'll have a functioning security system.
It's also another system that can be self-monitored. Abode offers a standard, month-to-month plan that enables all its app features (except professional monitoring) for only $6.67 per month. With this plan, you can pay for on-demand monitoring over short periods, such as when you go on vacation, but ultimately rely on yourself to monitor any alerts. If you choose to pay for monitoring, Abode's $16.66 monthly fee is less than most services besides Ring's.
Best security/thermostat combo: ecobee Smart Security
ecobee Smart Security
Save energy and save your valuables
ecobee is best known for making some of the best smart thermostats but recently branched out into home security. It partnered with RapidSOS for rapid emergency response and built smart sensors and cameras for a respectable security system.
Ecobee's various security bundles include door/window and motion sensors, plus an impressive 1080p 180º camera and the latest Smart Thermostat. You won't find many security tools other bundles offer, like keypads, key fobs, smart doorbells, outdoor cams, or glass-break sensors, but it has those core essentials for a reasonable price.
For $10/month, the ecobee Complete plan covers 24/7 monitoring, unlimited camera coverage with 30 days of event storage, smart alerts that recognize people, kids, or pets, integrations with HomeKit and Alexa, and tons of other perks. Plus, it has all the benefits you expect from the ecobee Smart Thermostat, including sensors in multiple rooms and voice controls. Again, this plan doesn't have some useful tools like cellular backup, but on the whole, this plan gives you the core essentials.
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Start with this simple checklist to decide which of the best budget home security systems will work for your home. Do you care about camera footage to catch potential thieves for prosecution, or do you want automated responses to scare people off? Will having professionals on call to double-check alerts give you comfort, or are you more bothered by strangers having video access to your home? Do you care at all about smart home devices, or are you just here for straightforward security?
Your best choice will depend on these answers, but the Ring Alarm Security System is our straightforward security pick. Ring sells reliable, economical cameras that you can stick anywhere, and while $20 a month is more than it used to be, it's still a great deal for monitoring tons of cameras at once. Even compared to the best home security systems where the cost is no object, Ring still holds its own against pricier competition.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Michael Hicks got his tech start in 2016, covering emerging tech like VR and self-driving cars before expanding to all things tech. When he's not gaming or reading SFF novels, he writes freelance for Android Central and Windows Central.
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Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.
For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.