Best DIY Home Security of 2018

The best DIY home security systems bring user-friendliness, easy installation and practical features into a single package. During our testing, we found that Scout Alarm meets most of these expectations and exceeds others. It doesn’t clutter your home with tons of equipment but sticks to the basics such as entry sensors and optional professional monitoring. While Scout Alarm requires a monthly fee to help pay for server maintenance and customer support, there’s no contract commitment so you only pay for service when you need it.

Best Overall

Scout Alarm

Scout Alarm’s mobile app is intuitive and simple, which makes it easy to secure and monitor your home. You can customize alerts and arm the system with a single tap on your smartphone.
Scout Alarm uses your home’s internet connection to keep you up to date on your home’s security. If the power goes out, the battery backup means the system can still set off alarms if someone tries to break in. Scout’s large and small starter kits on Amazon are a good way to get the starter devices you need for your system such as door panels, entry sensors and key fobs. One downside to Scout Alarm is that you must pay a monthly fee ($9.99) to use the system, but this fee pays for built-in cellular backup, which is often more expensive with other DIY home security systems. There’s no contract so you can cancel service if you don’t need it.
You can also upgrade a Scout Alarm system to include professional monitoring ($19.99/month), so you can get extra protection when you’re unable to monitor your home yourself. This system is the easiest to install as it walks you through every step of the setup process in the mobile app, taking about 10 minutes to install. Scout Alarm works with the smart home platforms from Amazon, Nest and IFTTT. When we tested Scout’s siren, it wasn’t as loud as other security alarms we tested, but it is loud enough that other sounds in your home shouldn’t drown it out. Scout’s one-year warranty isn’t very long compared to the three-year warranties from competitors, and the company doesn’t sell any security cameras for the system.
PROS
  • Easiest installation of systems we tested
  • Affordable professional monitoring
  • Easy to use
CONS
  • Requires a fee for self-monitoring
  • Limited equipment selection
  • One-year warranty
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