Your membership has expired

The payment for your account couldn't be processed or you've canceled your account with us.

Re-activate

    Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2023

    Consumer Reports' tests reveal the best choices to protect your home

    When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.

    Abode Home Security system on side table by a house front door Photo: Abode

    Today’s home security systems do far more than protect your home from potential break-ins or trespassers. They also integrate a variety of convenience and safety features that include lights, locks, thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, video doorbells, and more. What’s more, they allow you to monitor and control all of these remotely, with an app on your smartphone.

    But that variety of features can also make it difficult for consumers to compare home security systems because of their different components and pricing.

    To help you make sense of your options, Consumer Reports has tested a variety of do-it-yourself systems from brands big and small, such as Abode, Blue by ADT, Cove, Ecobee, Eufy, Honeywell Home, Kangaroo, Ring, SimpliSafe, and Wyze.

    More on Home Security

    In our lab tests, CR grades each system based on its array of security features to see if it meets a minimum feature set that CR views as essential to the job of securing a home. That includes the ability to monitor a system yourself via a smartphone app, keypads and key fobs, and e911 so that you can contact your local emergency dispatcher regardless of your location. In addition to those essentials, our test engineers judge add-on security features geared toward environmental and personal safety, smart home capabilities, ease of use, ease of setup, and motion detection.

    Because these systems also connect to the internet, we think it’s important to also evaluate their digital privacy and security to make sure both your data and your home are protected from the prying eyes of manufacturers and attacks from hackers. As a result, each DIY home security system receives four types of digital privacy and security scores: data privacy, data security, replay disarm resistance, and jamming resistance.

    For more information on our testing and advice on choosing a security system, consult CR’s home security system buying guide.

    5 Best DIY Home Security Systems

    The top models from our tests include systems with optional professional monitoring. With professional monitoring, dispatchers at alarm-monitoring centers immediately notify you and the police when your alarm goes off. Self-monitored systems send an alert to your smartphone, but it’s up to you to contact the police.

    We note each system’s type of monitoring and the monitoring costs. Because these DIY systems are sold as kits, we also list the components included in the box.

    For even more options, check out our complete DIY home security system ratings.

    Security System Jamming

    Consumer Reports’ Digital Lab has tested DIY home security systems for digital privacy and security and found that a number of systems are vulnerable to jamming attacks. The video below explains how jamming attacks work and what you can do to prevent them.

    @consumerreports Our Digital Lab tests found some DIY home security systems are susceptible to “jamming” attacks. Learn more at cr.org/jamming 🚪 🔐. #homesecurity #homesecuritytups #diyhome #jamming ♬ original sound - Consumer Reports

    Security Systems 101

    Self-installed security systems are becoming more popular, but there are a few things to consider. On the “Consumer 101” TV show, Consumer Reports expert Dan Wroclawski explains to host Jack Rico what to look for when buying one.


    Home Content Creator Daniel Wroclawski

    Daniel Wroclawski

    I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).