They say your home is your castle, and in today’s day and age, it’s never been easier or more important to keep that castle safe.
With modern self-monitored home security systems, you can watch over your home from virtually anywhere on earth, and save a whole lot of money from using a third-party monitoring setup.
What is a self-monitored home security system?
These surveillance systems are installed at home and monitored by the user, rather than a third-party security company. They can be as basic as a doorbell camera or as advanced as multiple cameras and zones, and allow you to stream and record footage through an app or other viewing platform.
To help you find the best home security system that you can monitor yourself, we’ve compiled a list of the front runners and a little more about what they bring to the table.
These picks represent all categories including affordable, high-tech, and easy to use, giving you only the best on the market to choose from.
We all have different needs for home security but there are some cameras and systems out there with a better reputation than others.
Whether you want something affordable or the best wireless setup, we’ve got you covered, with our choices for the best home security camera system on the market today.
Best Overall: Ring
- Compatibility: Alexa
- Warranty: 12 months
Ring is considered the king of modern-day home security and it’s no wonder their systems are our pick for the best self-monitored home security camera system.
The Amazon-owned brand started small with doorbell surveillance and today offers one of the largest selections of cameras, HD quality picture, a range of plans for customers, and loads of added security features.
The best thing about Ring is its ease of use and it’s this user-friendliness that’s earned it the top spot. They feature DIY installation which is among the easiest of all the cameras today and their free app works on both Android and iPhone devices. From the app, you can control things like sirens, lights, and recording, so it’s a on- stop shop to do it all.
Another great thing about the Ring system is its huge range with options like wired, wireless, and solar-powered cameras. You can go as small as a single indoor camera or have a complete security system that includes features like indoor/outdoor cameras, theft protection, two-way talking, and up to 60 days of video history stored on the cloud.
Ring goes above and beyond just cameras which makes them the best security system for the home. You can choose extras like panic button, flood and freeze sensors, third-party devices, motion detectors, and more to use alongside their cameras, so you’ll never have to give a second thought to safety and security at home.
On the downside, Ringo is only compatible with Alexa-enabled devices so if you run any other type of smart home hub, you won’t be able to integrate Ring with it. Furthermore, you’ll have to pay a fee to record video, so unless you plan on sitting by your phone all day and monitoring what happens, you won’t be able to avoid this extra cost.
Another potential negative is the view that the Ring cameras give off, with some customers finding them to be slightly fish eye. Although it’s a minor distortion and doesn’t impact how well you see everything thanks to the larger field of view, if you’re particular about the angle and final picture that you see while viewing your security system, it could be a deal-breaker.
Aside from a few minor setbacks, there’s nothing out there that compares to the Ring security camera range. Their range comes with a 30-day money-back policy, one year warranty on most devices, and anti-theft protection where they’ll replace any camera that’s been stolen. Ring is affordable, reliable, and easy to use, and you can go as little or big as you want when deciding how to monitor and protect your home.
Runner Up: Abode Home Security
- Compatibility: HomeKit, Alexa, Google, Bose, Sonos, IFTTT, Z-Wave, Zigbee
- Warranty: 12 months
When you want the most comprehensive self-monitored home security system, look no further than Abode. The Abode system covers it all from cameras to water leak sensors and everything in between.
They offer standalone products and comprehensive kits, and their plans don’t require any lock-in contracts. Best of all, they integrate with most smart home systems and other devices and are still an affordable option.
The biggest selling point of this security suite is its sheer range of products and how basic or advanced you can make your setup. Abode blows the competition out the water by not just offering some cool cameras but things like window and door sensors, water leak sensors, sirens, fobs, and smart home systems. They’re all made with the high quality and solid reputation that Abode has, and will serve you well for many years.
Compatibility is a huge plus for Abode and they go above and beyond what most other cameras and systems do. This system integrates with loads of third-party products including Apple HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Bose, Zigbee, Z-Wave, and more. Even with a huge assortment of devices and services running in your home, Go Abode will be able to integrate seamlessly.
The biggest negative of the Abode system is the quality of some of their camera’s pictures, which can lead to some issues with visibility. Although they appear well made and the hardware is good quality, the final picture you get when checking the cameras is a little lackluster compared to others. Some customers wished they would be clearer or with a wider field of view, so be prepared to spend a little more for their range of wide-angle lenses if you want to see it all.
In addition to the slightly disappointing image quality, Abode doesn’t offer much on its free plan. You’ll need to upgrade a level to get support from Abode as well as record video, so there’s not much point in using it without this. The monthly fee is also a little higher than others we’ve seen, so while the cameras themselves might be affordable, keeping them running is a little more.
Abode has made a name for itself as one of the more affordable and fully integrated home security systems, and if you want to create a custom security suite for yourself, they’re one of the best. Their products come with a 12-month warranty but not extra offers of theft protection, which would have been nice to see. Abode ticks all of the boxes for easy home security and allows you go as far as you want when choosing extras, and they’re at the top of our list for sure.
- Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
Vivint has delivered the best home security system for those who are happy to spend a little extra, and they have options to go either self-monitored or with ongoing support. Vivint offers integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and you can choose to go it alone or sign up for their Service Plan that covers you with 24/7 support, installation, and monitoring.
According to their happy customers, the Vivint app is an impressive spectacle, and it greets you each day with a rundown of what’s happening around your home. You can see what doors might be unlocked, get a view of all of your cameras in live mode, and use other smart home features like temperature control and lighting adjustments.
The best thing about this security system is that it goes above what a standard doorbell camera does, and can even monitor your vehicles or tell you what doors and windows are open. If you would rather spend more to feel safe and know that every inch of your home is covered, there’s nothing out there like the complex coverage that Vivint offers.
Quality-wise, the picture you’ll get using these cameras is phenomenal, and it’s the perfect choice for someone who wants to see the finer details. Even their most basic doorbell camera offers added features like parcel detection and protection, and you’ll get an HD view in live mode or with saved recordings whenever you want to see them.
The cost of Vivint is a huge downside though, and unless you’re willing to pay the price for service, you may be turned off. A standard plan that comes with 24/7 professional monitoring, as well as other perks, costs almost the same each month as a doorbell camera, and if you want to self-monitor it’s possible, but you won’t be able to use the app or remote access if you go with this option.
Another negative worth considering is the lack of buying options if you don’t want a complete security setup. They offer a standalone doorbell camera that’s still pretty expensive but otherwise you have to shell out for a complete kit or one of their larger smart home systems, so there’s not a lot of choice if you have your heart set on Vivint but want to do it on the cheap.
Vivint is the home security system for those who want to go above and beyond what others can do, giving you the peace of mind that your entire home is covered. Their cameras come with a limited lifetime warranty when you sign up for their service plan, so they’ll always be replaced if anything goes wrong. Although expensive, these higher costs come with a lot of benefits, so it’s worth considering if you can afford it.
- Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave
- Warranty: 12 months
ADT is a huge name in home security and one of our favorite picks for self-monitoring success. The ADT brand has been delivering home security since before it was cool and is now compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, and others. The ADT Blue range is ideal for self-monitoring and comes with the app that lets you check weather conditions, get a live view of cameras, and check whether doors are locked and lights are on, or you can upgrade to the standard ADT service for a professional security suite.
ADT gives their customers loads of chances for customization, including whether they want a cellular or landline connection used for their security system, and if they want to use the basic Blue option or a monitored plan. They have six different levels of service to choose from including self-monitoring or 24/7 remote monitoring, and pretty much every security device you can think of including cameras, detectors, monitors, and more.
One of the best things about choosing ADT is their lengthy trial period that lets you get a good handle of what they offer. Unlike other cameras and systems that offer nothing, you’ll be able to test out the ADT system for 30 days and see what you think. This way you can determine whether you’ve made the right choice using this brand without the pressure of commitment.
However, ADT usually wants to see their customers locked into plans, and these range from 24 to 36 months in total. If you don’t want to be committed to something serious like that, they do offer ADT Blue which is out there to compete with other self-installed security cameras, but it’s still pretty expensive in comparison. These come in a month-by-month basis and can be canceled any time, however, they’re nowhere near what you get with their premium service.
Another negative to weigh up is the fact that ADT doesn’t make their own equipment, so they don’t seem deserving of the higher prices. Their accessories and cameras are made by the same company that does many of the other security-in-a-box brands, so it seems like you’re paying extra for brand recognition and not necessarily a better product.
Most of the ADT cameras come with a 12-month warranty and if you choose to subscribe to a premium plan, you can cover their replacement for just a few dollars a month. As one of the longest-lasting and most trusted security companies around, you might find it worthwhile to spend extra for everything that ADT is known for, but if you’re after affordability others are probably better suited.
- Compatibility: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
- Warranty: 36 months
If you prefer to keep things simple, the best home security system self-monitored option out there is Scout. Scout prides itself on being a DIY option that’s simple enough for everyone, has smart home integrations, 24/7 police dispatch, 4G cellular and battery backup, and month-to-month plans with no needs to lock into any long-term contracts.
According to their happy customers, Scout is a great low-price option that still gives you security and peace of mind. All of their plans start with a smart home system and you can build from there, so you choose how many cameras you want, as well as other options including motion sensors, door panel sensors, keypads, and more.
Even though they’re a more affordable choice, they still integrate with Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as other options like Hue, Lifx, and Kwikset. Better still, you get a full 60 days to trial the Scout system out in your home without any pressure, and if you don’t like it, you can get a full refund.
There are plenty of options for Scout’s customers with their most basic package offering sensors and a keypad, or a more advanced kit with cameras, smoke alarms, and broken glass sensors. You can also choose whether you want to self-monitor or have it monitored by a third-party provider offered by Scout, so as far as customization goes, it’s one of the better options.
On the downside, you can’t use Scout without also buying their smart home hub. If you already have one that you use or you just want a single camera, it’s not an option. While they might seem cheap initially, paying for this hub before you even get to the security accessories means it’s not as affordable as you think, so keep this in mind if you don’t want any unnecessary extras.
Another drawback to the Scout security system is that you get charged for self-monitoring, even at its most basic level. In the most basic package, the offerings are pretty lackluster, so it’s easy to see where the costs start to stack up. There’s also no option to have it professionally installed which could be a dealbreaker for those who aren’t technically minded but might not be an issue for others.
Scout offers an impressive three-year warranty on their products which is nice to see, but when you add up the total costs you’re going to spend, it’s a nice incentive to use this company.
If you want low fuss and easy surveillance options, Scout has a range that can cater to just about any of your self-monitored security needs, even if you will have to spend extra for the features that come as standard with others.
Self-Monitored Home Security System FAQs
A self-monitored security system is an affordable and practical way to keep an eye on your home, but if you’ve never owned one of these setups before, there’s still a bit to learn.
To help you figure out the basics and determine what you need from a security system, we’ve answered some popular questions about home security cameras and what they’re all about.
Is Ring Better Than ADT?
Ring and ADT are two popular home security system options, each with strong points that might appeal to certain users, so it depends on what you’re looking for.
The Ring system is affordable, easy to use, and synchronizes with most smart home systems but ADT has a solid reputation and offers perks like theft protection and money-back guarantees, even if it’s the more expensive option.
Is Wireless or Wired Security Cameras Better?
Whether a wired or wireless security camera is better can only be determined by what the user wants from a surveillance setup as they each have pros and cons to be weighed up.
Wired cameras are cheaper to purchase but come with trickier installation initially, whereas wireless cameras can be easy to set up but costlier and require charging.
What’s The Difference Between Surveillance Cameras And Security Cameras?
Surveillance and security cameras are mostly similar aside from a few minor differences, mainly that a surveillance setup is intended to record video as well as watch live streams.
A surveillance camera might also operate on an IP network so the camera’s footage can be viewed from a remote location, compared to a security camera that has a monitor at the same location.
Can I Mix And Match Security Cameras?
Nothing is preventing a homeowner from having multiple cameras installed at their home provided they’re compatible with each other and your home’s internet connection.
In some cases, you’ll need to view and access them from separate platforms, otherwise, they can be accessed from one central hub if they’re compatible. You might also be able to integrate security cameras with other devices in a smart home, like lighting and smart assistants.
The Easy Way to Keep Watch
It’s never been easier to have a fully functioning security system watching over your home thanks to the modern age of surveillance and a huge range of do-it-yourself options.
There’s no need to spend a fortune just to get quality security features for your home, and any of our recommendations will deliver you the peace of mind you need to know that your house is secure.