11 Affordable Alarm System Options

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Technology is making it easier than ever to protect your family, your home and your business. Alarm systems from days of old could cost thousands of dollars to have installed and use. 

However, times are changing. Today’s DIY, WiFi-driven world means an affordable alarm system costs as little as $200.

You can be safe and live cheaply with the best alarm systems. And you can instantly access your alarm system directly from your smartphone to check in on your home.

Best Affordable Alarm Systems

All of the systems mentioned here use smart home technology, wi-fi or cellular data to protect your home. Many of them also work in tandem with systems like Alexa too. 

Which affordable alarm system should you choose? We’ve compiled facts on some of the most popular and affordable alarm systems so you can decide for yourself.  

1. SimpliSafe

simplisafe homepage

SimpliSafe is based out of Boston, MA, and was founded in 2006. The company says it’s so easy to use that 97% of their customers set up the systems themselves. 

With this company, you’re buying directly from the alarm system manufacturer. No middleman means no cost markup.

You decide which sensors you want to install or you choose a prebuilt package that a SimpliSafe professional installs.

Next, you can signup up for the SimpliSafe Interactive Monitoring plan that costs 83 cents per day ($303/year). This plan sends security alerts to dispatch the police.

No contract is necessary for the Interactive Monitoring plan. You also get a 25% discount on equipment purchases.

You can also self-monitor and avoid the recurring subscription fee. However, SimpliSafe won’t dispatch the police or monitor your alarm system.

Build Your Own Security System

SimpliSafe lets you build your own security system with these devices:

  • Base station with battery backup (included)
  • Wireless keypad (included)
  • Entry sensor
  • Motion sensor
  • Motion cameras
  • Glassbreak sensor
  • Panic button

The base station looks similar to a home personal assistant device like an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s portable and not hardwired into your home.

In addition to protecting your home from intrusion, you can buy hazard alarms. Some examples include smoke detectors, temperature sensors and water leaks.

Integrations

SimpliSafe integrates with these external smart home devices:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Home
  • August Locks

Pros

  • 60-day 100% money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 monitoring by professionals 
  • No contracts
  • Easy, do-it-yourself installation – no drilling, wiring or tools needed
  • A variety of packages to choose from
  • Affordable monthly monitoring fees
  • Award-winning monitoring system
  • Free shipping and free returns
  • No monitoring required

Cons

  • Upfront package cost
  • Pay the full cost for equipment if you self-monitor

Another benefit of the Simplisafe system? It can tell the difference between a person and a pet. This feature means there’s no risk of your dog or cat setting off the alarm system. 

There aren’t many cons we could find for Simplisafe.

However, you do need to pay for your system up front. The upfront cost is higher than some options.

Best For

Some of the people that may benefit most from Simplisafe include:

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners
  • Pet owners

Simplisafe offers a wide variety of products and services to suit most all security needs. The no-contract option, no monitoring option and affordable monthly monitoring costs make it user-friendly for most customers. 

The sensors also have a battery life of up to ten years. So, you can get many years of use before you must replace the equipment.

Bonus: Some police departments have used Simplisafe to stop burglary rings.

Trustpilot: 4.0 out of 5

2. Scout

Scout homepage

Scout security was founded in 2013 in Chicago, and initially launched thanks to crowdfunding. The goal? Create effective and affordable home security systems.

Like many of the other companies mentioned here, Scout’s security packages are affordable thanks to DIY technology. You, as the consumer, set your system in place.

One thing that’s different about Scout is that many of their system components are available in two colors: black and white. This option can allow you to choose a color that goes best with your home decor.

With Scout, you start by choosing the colors of the Scout Hub – their central component system. After that, you can add as many other types of sensors and alarms as you want. 

Monitoring Plans

Scout offers one self-monitoring plan (Always On) and one premium plan (Always On+).

One downside of Scout is that the Always On self-monitoring plan costs money. You pay $9.99 per month and can access your alarm system from your smartphone. Cloud storage costs $2.99 per month per camera if you want to store video footage.

The Always On+ monitoring plan costs $19.99 month and includes 24/7 monitoring from Scout. Cloud storage for the first camera or doorbell is free but $2.99 per month for additional cameras.

Neither plan requires an annual contract. But paying for an entire year upfront gives you a 10% plan discount.

Integrations

Scout currently integrates with these smart home systems:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Home
  • Hue
  • IFTTT
  • Lifx
  • First Alert
  • KwikSet
  • Yale

Pros

  • Month-to-month contracts
  • Self-monitoring plan or professional monitoring plan
  • Intruder and environmental products
  • Free shipping on orders over $200
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Limited product selection
  • Upfront costs
  • No free self-monitoring plan

Although Scout requires you to pay for monitoring, it can be cheaper than other professional monitoring services.

Best For

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners

Another great feature of Scout products is that they’re created to work in tandem with home systems such as Alexa.

Bonus: U.S. News and World Report voted Scout the best app-based security system in 2019.

Trustpilot: 3.2 out of 5 (due to no free self-monitoring plan) 

3. Brinks

brinks homepage

Brinks home security system offers several DIY equipment packages starting at $200. This entry-level price is similar to other home monitoring services.

But monthly professional monitoring plans start at $29 per month which is pricer than most alternatives. Depending on the package, you may need to sign an annual contract but can get a lower monthly rate.

Brinks also offers monitoring services with Google Nest. The Nest Secure package costs $19/monthly when you sign a three-year contract. Or, you pay $29 month-to-month.

Despite the higher monitoring costs, Brinks consistently wins award for the best customer service. One of the most recent awards is from Newsweek in 2020 for #1 best-in-state customer service.

All Brinks plans come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Other companies offer a 60-day trial period but one month can be sufficient.

Each equipment package can be self-installed with peel-and-stick components. Professional installation is available too.

Integrations 

Brinks integrates with a number of smart home and smart door lock services:

  • Nest Secure
  • Google Home
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Apple TV
  • Z-Wave

Other smart home devices integrate with Brinks as well. If you have a particular brand already, ask Brinks if it’s compatible.

Pros

  • Do-it-yourself installation
  • 24/7 monitoring available
  • Award-winning customer service
  • Month-to-month contract

Cons

  • Monitoring service is more expensive than other options
  • Upfront package costs
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee is shorter than competitors
  • No self-monitoring option

Best For

Brink’s home security services are best for several types of needs:

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Pet owners (their system detects small and medium sized dogs)

Brink’s offers security systems for businesses as well. However, they’re not clear on whether their Nest Secure systems are best for companies. 

If you’re a business owner in search of an alarm system, you may want to call them directly. They have separate security services for businesses. The option that’s best for you may depend on the size of your business. 

However, when it comes to home security, Brink’s has long-term experience in the industry. This makes it a good choice to consider for protecting your home.

Trustpilot: 3.5 out of 5

4. Cove

cove homepage

Cove offers competitive equipment and 24/7 monitoring plans.

You can answer several brief questions about your home layout to get a recommended package. It’s possible to add extra products like smoke and carbon monoxide sensors.

From there, you can choose from two 24/7 monitoring plans without a contract.

Monitoring Plans

There are no free self-monitoring plans but there are two different 24/7 plans.

Cove Basic costs $15 per month and includes this benefits:

  • One-year equipment warranty
  • 100% AT&T 4G LTE connection
  • Text and phone alerts
  • 24/7 monitoring

Cove Plus costs $25 per month and includes these benefits:

  • Smartphone control
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice control
  • Lifetime equipment warranty
  • Lifetime monitoring rate-lock guarantee
  • $5 monthly credit towards new equipment

If you want to access your home security equipment from your smartphone or a home assistant device, you will need to choose Cove Plus.

Integrations

Cove integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

It also integrates with other smart home devices. However, Cove is still rolling out capabilities to work with high-tech IFTTT and Z-Wave devices.

If you want to incorporate smart devices with Cove, contact their customer service first.

Pros

  • Build-your-own security and environment packages
  • Do-it-yourself installation
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • 60-day satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • No free self-monitoring plan
  • Only Cove Plus package offers smartphone monitoring access

Best For

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Pet owners

Cove is a relatively new home security system. It’s prices are competitive and have many positive user reviews. However, Cove lacks some of the functions that more well-established companies offer.

Trustpilot: 4.7 out of 5

5. Frontpoint

frontpoint homepage

Frontpoint security company has been in the home security business for over a decade, and their headquarters are in Virginia. The do-it-yourself system comes pre-configured for your needs. 

Its entry-level equipment cost for a basic package is lower than many. You can start with $99 while others have an initial cost near $200.

Unlike other plans, this basic package also includes some motion sensors. Other companies may charge extra.

In addition to security sensors, you can purchase environmental sensors and smart home accessories like smart door locks.

As with the other companies mentioned here, there’s no wiring or drilling needed. Do-it-yourself installation is easy for most users.

Frontpoint also boasts powerful encryption that will outsmart sophisticated hackers. The company calls it the perfect balance between low-end self-installation and professional installation.

Monitoring Plans

Monitoring costs start at $1.48 per day ($45/month) which is relatively expensive. You can pay month-to-month with both plans.

The Interactive Plan costs $1.48 per day and includes these key benefits:

  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Mobile alerts via text and email
  • Sensor history
  • Control system settings from a smartphone

The Ultimate Plan costs $1.64 per day ($50/month) offering these perks:

  • Motion triggered alerts
  • Night vision
  • Light control
  • Live video streaming

For full access, you will need to choose the Ultimate Plan to see live video.

Pros

  • Easy do-it-yourself set up right from the box
  • Intrusion protection as well as environmental protection
  • A lifetime price lock guarantee on monitoring services
  • Packages start at just $99
  • 30-day free trial period

Cons

  • Basic plan doesn’t offer live video streaming
  • Higher monthly monitoring costs than other companies 

Frontpoint boasts the easiest DIY home security setup in the industry and fast response times. They also have no-show alerts. For example, you can get notifications if your kids aren’t home from school by a specific time.

The company claims their systems work well with Alexa too. This means no entering codes when you leave – just tell Alexa to set your alarm.

Best For

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners
  • Pet owners

Frontpoint has won several awards for customer service ratings, including from Angie’s List. Plus, they’ve got an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. 

This company works hard to make customer service a top priority. 

Trustpilot: 4.4 out of 5

6. Abode

abode homepage

Abode was founded by a former ADT Home Security executive, and their headquarters are in San Francisco. Their mission? Smart, simple home security. 

You can build your own security system or buy a premade kit. These kits can be easy to self-install.

Abode integrates with these smart device brands:

  • Alexa
  • Google Home
  • Apple Home Kit
  • Z-Wave
  • IFTTT
  • Kwikset
  • Schlage
  • Yale
  • ZigBee

Plan Options

Abode offers a free self-monitoring plan and two paid plans.

Both paid plans are reasonably priced at $6 per month or $20 per month.

The Standard Plan ($6/month) has 24/7 monitoring and video archives.

But you will need to upgrade to the Pro Plan ($20/month) to have Abode automatically call first responders in an emergency. This plan also has cellular connectivity to record video during internet outages.

Pros

  • Month-to-month contracts, free cancellation
  • Three plans to choose from
  • Affordable plans
  • The ability to create up to 100 automations
  • Compatible with many smart home devices
  • Customized system plan

Cons

  • Up-front costs

There’s not a lot of negative things to say about Abode.

Best For

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners

Standard self-monitoring and home automation costs 20 cents per day. If you want professional monitoring, you’ll pay 66 cents per day.

Abode has a lot to offer for a variety of different home and business security needs. They’ve got a nice corner on the alarm system market.

There’s lots to choose from for most security system needs with competitive prices.

Trustpilot: 3.6 out of 5

blink homepage

Blink home security is owned by Amazon and has competitive prices.

They’ve got a variety of cameras and devices to choose from, starting at $34.99. This makes Blink one of the most affordable alarm system options we talk about here. 

This can be your cheapest option if you want self-monitoring. No professional monitoring services are available at this time.

You can buy indoor and outdoor cameras. But you can’t buy environmental sensors such as flood sensors or smart door locks directly from Blink.

Pros

  • Some of the most affordable cameras on the market
  • Self-monitoring system with no contracts
  • Notification alerts with video attached
  • Works together with Alexa

Cons

  • Basic system with few accessories
  • No professional monitoring available
  • Minimal one year limited warranty

Blink is cheap, but it’s also minimal. You won’t find any of the bells and whistles that come with other options such as Simplisafe.  

Best For

Blink’s simple security camera system might work out just fine for you. Is your main goal only to be able to see and monitor your home from your phone?

If so, then one or more Blink cameras might be just what you need. However, if you want a security system with a little more depth, you’re better off choosing one of the other options listed here. 

Trustpilot: N/A

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8. Defender

defender homepage

Defender carries both wired security systems and wireless systems. We’ll address their do-it-yourself wireless systems since the goal is to find a cheaper system you can set up on your own. 

Defender’s wireless security systems sell starting for as little as $95 (but this option is currently on sale for $79). However, this is a real do-it-yourself system with no professional monitoring available.

If you prefer buying home security systems in-person, Defender is available at Home Depot, Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Pros

  • No contracts 
  • Easy and fast to set up
  • Surveillance systems with large memory capabilities
  • Standard one-year warranty with extended warranties available

Cons

  • No professional monitoring available 
  • No other products such as entry or glass break sensors

Defender offers a basic system like Blink does, only with a little more pizazz. It lets you monitor your home or business from wherever you’d like via a variety of systems to choose from. 

Defender is owned by a company that’s been in the security business for over 50 years. From that fact, we can assume they know security well. 

Best For

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners

Defender is different than the other plans we’ve featured here. They’ve combined traditional security systems with today’s technology. 

It might feel a little old school with the monitors and cameras. However, not being forced to choose a monthly plan to use the equipment make Defender a great potential choice. 

Trustpilot: N/A

9. Vivint Smart Home

Vivint Smart Home homepage

Vivint Smart Home is a leading home security company. They service nearly 1.5 million customers in the U.S. and Canada. We wanted to mention Vivint because it offers more comprehensive products and services.  

With Vivint Smart Home, you start by calling and talking to an expert at the company. That person will help you build a security system that’s right for your home. 

After you’ve built the system you want, they’ll schedule a professional installer to come and put in the system. The Vivint website isn’t clear on how much installation costs. Instead, you need to call for a quote. 

Professional monitoring starts at $39.99 per month. 

All Vivint packages come with “Smart Deter” technology. The camera can use noise and sounds to scare away potential troublemakers.

Pros

  • Professional installation is convenient and ensures everything is set up correctly
  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • Several products and packages to choose from
  • No contract required

Cons

  • Professional installation is necessary
  • Professional monitoring is required
  • Upfront costs are higher – starting at a few hundred dollars
  • Some cameras require wiring

PCMag chose Vivint Smart Home as an Editor’s Choice for home security in 2019. They loved the fact that Vivint Smart Home has a fast response time to events. Also noted was an excellent doorbell camera. 

Best For

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners 
  • Non-DIYers
  • Those looking for comprehensive monitoring service

Vivint Smart Home will cost you more than a lot of the other systems listed here. However, for what you get, it’s a great value. 

Trustpilot: 4.0 out of 5

10. Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm homepage

With Ring, you buy the products you want, whether it be video doorbells, security cameras or entire security systems. Ring even has a neighborhood watch app. 

You can customize the setting for when you’re at-home and away to prevent false alarms.

There is one free monitoring plan. You can se live video but cannot store video for playback.

The self-monitoring plan costs $3 per month ($30/year) to archive video but you must decide when to call the police.

Professional monitoring costs $10 per month ($100/year) and includes 24/7 home monitoring.  

Pros

  • Wireless DIY installation
  • Affordable monitoring plans starting at $3 per month
  • 30-day free trial with the monitoring plan
  • Free shipping

Cons

  • Upfront costs
  • Works with only a few smart home systems 

Ring has fewer bells and whistles than other systems, but it’s also on the lower price point end. So, this could be an advantage if you’re looking to spend less. 

Best For

Ring is best for homeowners and renters. The simplicity of the system may not make it the best choice for business owners. 

Trustpilot: 1.4\3 out of 5 (due to poor app ratings and customer service)

11. Google Nest 

Google Nest homepage

We talked about Google Nest a little bit above in our section on Brinks Home Security.

However, you can also purchase Google Nest home security products independently of Brinks. 

Google Nest offers these security devices:

  • Video cameras
  • Alarm systems
  • Doorbells
  • Environmental controls

Buying directly from Google requires self-monitoring but there isn’t a monthly fee.

If you want help with professional monitoring, Google Nest will connect you with Brinks. 

You might also be familiar with Nest as a smart thermostat. This smart device can help save money on your electric bill.

Pros

  • No professional monitoring needed
  • Wide variety of products to choose from
  • Works with Google Home and similar devices
  • Do-it-yourself installation

Cons

  • Upfront costs
  • Wide selection may be overwhelming

Google Nest is pretty similar to the other DIY systems mentioned here. And their partnership with the long-trusted Brink’s for monitoring is a bonus. 

Best For

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners when partnered with Brink’s

Bonus: Google Nest will hook you up with professional installation, if you so desire.

Trustpilot: N/A

How to Buy a Home Alarm System

Safety and security is a concern no matter where you are. From losing your wallet while out and about to packages stolen off your doorstep, security is important. 

You’ve got many options for DIY alarm systems that are both easy to use and reasonably priced. Plus, in many cases, you can monitor them from wherever you’re at via smartphone access. 

Many home security companies provide alarm systems that aren’t to expensive. They offer systems for most family budgets with a minimum $200 entry cost.

To choose the best alarm system, follow these steps:

  • Enter house layout details for recommended number of security sensors
  • Compare build-your-own prices to a prebuilt package
  • Add environment and smart home devices for extra peace of mind
  • Decide if you want to self-monitor or pay for professional monitoring
  • Compare professional monitoring prices

It’s also important to have the best home internet and cellular service to use your alarm system 24/7.

If there’s an internet outage or no cell phone data coverage, the cameras and sensors may not work properly.

Summary

Home security is as relevant now as it has always been. However, we are fortunate to live in a time when keeping your home and family safe is easier and more affordable than ever.

Alarm systems like the ones referred to above are easy to install by the homeowner. And, for just a few dollars a month, you can have 24-hour monitoring and more.

We hope that one of the alarm systems mentioned here can help you protect your home and loved ones. Plus, with the affordable prices of these systems, you can still work toward financial freedom.

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