If you want the peace of mind that comes with having a home security system but don’t want to break the bank paying monthly monitoring fees, there are plenty of options out there that offer high-quality equipment and equipment packages without a contract and many without monthly fees. Here are the top five home security systems without monthly fees in 2019.
SimpliSafe is most commonly known for their high-quality, versatile, and durable home security equipment that they manufacture themselves. And, they don’t have any contract requirements. They offer less traditional, simplified security systems with a focus on monitoring. Here are some of the SimpliSafe pros and cons.
- Lowest Comparable Monthly Monitoring Rates
- Self-Monitoring Option
- Lifetime Warranty (all packages)
- No Long-Term Contracts
- DIY Wireless Installation
- 60-Day Equipment Trial Period
- Cellular Alerts and Monitoring
- Three-Year Equipment Warranty
- Environmental Disaster Sensors
- Indoor Video Option
- Portable Equipment
- Free Shipping and Returns
- No Home Automation Equipment
- Up-Front Equipment Expense
- Proprietary Equipment
- No Smartphone Controls with Self-Monitoring Option
The SimpliSafe system is perfect for those on a budget and those who rent because of its affordability and portability. Their equipment packages range from $229-$499 and have a three-year warranty. Their monitoring packages range from $14.99-$24.99 per month and they offer a no-cost self-monitoring option as well.
The SimpliSafe equipment sets vary in functionality, but the basic set includes a base station, wireless keypad, entry and motion sensors, and a keychain remote. You can also customize a package with any equipment you’d like or add-on to an existing package. Additionally, any of their equipment will work whether you add a monitoring plan or not.
The installation is a simple plug-in the base and place the sensors around your home process. Then all you do is adjust the settings and it’s ready to go.
SimpliSafe includes a battery backup with their equipment so you’ll be covered in the event of a power outage. And, their equipment is portable so you can easily take it with you when you move. This is an especially attractive feature for renters or those who move around a lot. You will also enjoy a wide range of environmental protections such as smoke, carbon monoxide, freeze, and water leak sensors.
Abode offers security and home automation equipment without any long-term contracts or monthly fees. You will only have a one-time equipment purchase expense. Their systems are DIY, wireless, and easy to install. And they have optional professional monitoring available as well. Here are some of the Abode pros and cons.
- Easy DIY Wireless Installation
- No Long-Term Contracts
- Professional Monitoring Available
- Free Shipping and a 30-Day Return Policy
- One-Year Warranty
- Environmental Protection
- Home Automation
- No and Low Monitoring Fees
- Poor Quality Equipment
- One-Year Warranty Comparatively Short
- Low Camera Resolution
- Inconsistent Sensor Connectivity
Abode sells their equipment in bundles that range in price from $279-$639; however, check for their current sales and you will probably find them somewhat cheaper. Additionally, you can easily expand and/or customize your Abode system to better suit your particular needs and lifestyle. You also have the option of choosing from a self-monitoring plan or a variety of professional monitoring plans with 3G cellular backup that range from an on-demand option to a reoccurring monthly monitoring option that ranges from $8-$30 per month. And, they have a 30-day return policy, free shipping, and give you a one-year equipment warranty as well.
The available equipment will vary depending on the bundle you choose; however, they all come with 1-gateway, 1-motion sensor, 1-mini door contact, 1-keyfob, and a window sticker. And, you get three days of timeline and media storage, unlimited user accounts, and they are capable of connecting up to 155 devices and up to 100 automations.
Arlo is a home security camera system that’s DIY and a 100% wireless installation. Their systems come with indoor and outdoor cameras that have night vision and a security light. The only drawback is that there are no other security options available. But if you only want video surveillance cameras, then this might be the perfect solution for you because you won’t be paying for any extra equipment you don’t want. Here are some of the Arlo security camera pros and cons.
- DIY Wireless Installation
- Wi-Fi and 3G Cellular
- No Required Monthly Fees
- Automatic Night Vision
- Free Cloud Storage (up to 7 days)
- One-Year Equipment Warranty
- Baby Camera Option Available
- Continuous Recording Option Costs Extra (per camera)
- Cameras Don’t Record Sound
- Fluctuating Weather Related False Low-Battery Reports
- Functionality Limited to Security Cameras (no other equipment available)
- No Professional Monitoring Services Available
- No Free Trial Period
Arlo offers three subscription recording plans. The Basic Plan comes with 7-days of cloud recordings, recordings for up to 5-cameras, and limited support for three months. The Basic plan is free of charge and comes with all their equipment packages so there’s only a one-time up-front equipment cost. However, their upper tier packages will have an equipment cost plus the cost of whichever recording package you choose. The Arlo recording subscriptions range from free (the Basic plan) to $149 per year with no contract requirement. And while Arlo doesn’t have any additional security equipment available, they do have a full line of complementary accessories from which you can choose, as well as an available Baby Camera option.
Ring was recently acquired by Amazon. They don’t offer equipment packages which means all their offerings are a la carte. Ring currently offers doorbell cameras, exterior lighting cameras, and plenty of accessories that complement their equipment.
- Easy DIY Installation
- Wi-Fi Connected
- Battery Powered or Hardwired Option
- Two-Way Talk
- Intuitive App
- Compatible with Some Third-Party Smart Home Products
- No Contract Requirements
- One-Year Warranty
- Free Theft Replacement
- Video Recording Packages Cost Extra
Ring doesn’t offer equipment packages; however, you can choose from a variety of doorbell and exterior lighting security cameras that range from $99.99-$499.00 and they have plenty of accompanying accessories. Ring offers accessories such as a solar panel, ring chime, quick release battery pack, and more.
Additionally, Ring also has two monthly video recording packages that range in price from $3-$10 per month. Or, you can opt to pay for them annually for $30-$100 respectively. Another great feature is that Ring doesn’t have any contract requirements other than the recording options we mentioned above. You might also be able to receive some exclusive discounts and an extended warranty if you opt for one of their upper tier packages and they will also replace your equipment for free if it’s ever stolen. But unfortunately, Ring doesn’t offer any home automation products of any kind, at least for now.
Nest’s parent company is Google and they offer 100% DIY wireless equipment, except for the Guard hub which has to be placed on a flat surface by the door you use most often. Nest has also partnered with the lock-maker Yale to create a smart lock which can be used with the Nest Secure system. So when you unlock your door, the security system is automatically disarmed.
The Nest system connects via Wi-Fi and can be controlled using the provided app. You simply place Nest Detects throughout your home and the alarm will be triggered and a siren sounded if someone enters your home and doesn’t disarm your alarm system. You could also use Nest Tags to tap the Guard to disable your system as well. With Nest, you buy the basic package and add on the equipment you want and need from there. Here are some of the Nest pros and cons.
- Easy DIY Wireless Installation
- Two-Year Warranty
- Professional Monitoring Services Available
- Home Automation
- Month-to-Month Monitoring Option
- Starter Kit Doesn’t Come with Cameras (have to be purchased separately)
- Starter Kit is Expensive
- Not Compatible with IFTTT (or other similar devices)
Nest Secure (which is their starter package) comes with a multi-function Nest Guard hub, a siren, motion sensor, keypad, two Nest Detect motion sensors, and two Nest keyfobs. But if you want surveillance cameras or cellular backup, you will have to buy them separately. And, if you want the cellular backup, you will have to purchase a monitoring subscription as well.
The Nest Secure starter package is $399 and you can add on as many features as you like for an added cost per item. And Nest’s monitoring plans start at $10 per month for a limited basic plan.
Most people find the Nest Secure equipment easy to install. Nest also provides a step-by-step guide on their app to help with the install. Additionally, paring the equipment is easy and the system is user-friendly as well. The main drawback with using Nest is that you have to sort through their equipment to determine what you need, then price everything individually, which can be difficult if you’re fairly new to the home security/automation scene. However, Nest does provide top-quality equipment with plenty of room to add on and expand your system.
Features of No Monthly Fee Home Security Systems
If you are looking for no monthly fee home security systems in 2019, you might consider learning what some of the basic features are and what they do. Then you can make an educated decision about which of those features you really need. Here are some of the most common security system features available in 2019 and what they do.
A wireless security/home automation system gives you more flexibility and security because there are no wires to deal with and no chances of the lines being cut. Generally, a wireless system communicates with your devices using a cellular connection. Many of the security systems today have wireless capabilities.
A DIY installation is just as the name suggests. It's a do-it-yourself process rather than the installation being performed by a professional. DIY security systems, which are mostly wireless, give you more control over where and how your system is installed and it doesn't require you to pay a professional to install it. Generally, a DIY security system is a "plug-and-play" process and doesn't require any special tools, if any at all.
Some security systems are designed to send you mobile alerts when certain activities are detected. Once you receive an alert, you can use the provided app to look into your home to see what might have triggered the alert. This will help you to respond quickly by contacting the authorities if needed.
The control panel of any system is generally a wall unit that's either manual or touchscreen. This is what controls your entire security and/or home automation system and can be accessed, monitored, and controlled remotely using the provided app.
Motion detectors are placed around the home. They are devices that will sound an alarm and send you, and sometimes the authorities, an alert that activity has been detected so you can respond accordingly.
Entry sensors are a little different than motion sensors because entry sensors are placed on your windows and doors and will sound an alarm and/or send you an alert when any protected window or door has been opened or compromised.
DIY wireless home security systems are generally more affordable than any other type of system; however, just like anything else, that's not always the case. Another way to keep your home security/automation system more affordable is to find one with either a low monthly monitoring fee or one that offers a self-monitoring option. And, try to find one that doesn't require you to sign a long-term contract. Additionally, watch out for those extra fees for things like cloud storage for your video recordings, add-on equipment, battery backups, or other things that perhaps another security company might have already included with their package price.
Expandable home security and home automation systems are just that—expandable. This means you can add-on to your existing equipment to create and expand your system into an entire home security and home automation network. Some equipment is proprietary, meaning they will only work with equipment from within their brand. And other brands make equipment that's compatible with other third-party equipment and can be easily integrated. So if you want to keep things simple, you might consider buying a package that already contains everything you need. If you want to build your own home security/automation ecosystem, then shop for a brand that makes it easy to do so.
There are two types of security systems available. Those you get for free from a home security company and those you purchase to own. With many home security companies, they will provide you with all the equipment you need and the only requirement is that you sign a long-term contract and pay the monthly monitoring fee for the duration. However, you don't own that equipment. Once your contract is up, you will have to sign another long-term contract or return the equipment. If you purchase any given security/home automation system, it's yours—you own it. That means it belongs to you, you can do whatever you want with it, and you can take it with you when you move.