How Much Does a Home Security System Cost? The 4 Best Systems to Invest In (2024 Updated!)

Home security is the peace of mind you and your family needs for the safety of yourselves and your belongings. People with a home security setup are always praising how much they’re worth it. With new security technology being implemented every day, the right system can be your home’s new German Shepherd. But with so many services out there, how do you pick the right one for you?

We at Agent Advice do the research so you don’t have to. We’ve spent hours researching the best home security systems on the market, basing our findings on price, efficacy, and unique options. Let’s go through our top picks for home security systems in your home!

The 4 Best Home Security Systems for Your Peace of Mind

  • Most Flexible Security Options: Ring
  • Monitored Security Option: FrontPoint
  • Monitored System with Unmonitored Features: Vivint
  • Wireless Security System: SimpliSafe

Most Flexible Security Options: Ring


Top Features

: Tons of different products, integration with Amazon smart products

Why we chose it: Ring is Amazon’s home security offering that started with a simple doorbell camera and expanded into a wide variety of home security solutions and plans to choose from. It takes our pick for flexibility because of how customizable its package is. It can be wired or wireless, monitored or unmonitored, and they don’t require a contract to get started. Ring Alarm is truly a mainstay in the home security industry.

Ring offers a huge variety of equipment. When it comes to security systems, they offer an alarm security kit with several components, a smoke and CO listener, a flood or freeze sensor, a panic button, a motion detector, and the Retrofit Alarm Kit, a bundle that connects hardwired contact sensors to their system. They also offer a huge range of video doorbells and security cameras which allow you to customize your home security system cost. 

You can choose to install everything yourself or have a professional come install it for you. The self-installation kit comes with detailed instructions for even the most novice home security enthusiasts. All of their tools can be used for self-monitoring, but they also offer 24/7 professional monitoring for the Ring Alarm if you upgrade to their Ring Protect Plus plan. They also offer lifetime theft protection!

Because Ring Alarm can be retrofitted to your existing home security solutions, it’s easy to tack on their amazing technology into your setup. Also, all of their tools can be integrated into a smart home, especially compatible with Amazon Alexa and Echo. With no contract required, you’re free to choose the products you need and implement them as you see fit. 

Given its many custom solutions, Ring is indeed the most flexible option for home security out there. It’s also super affordable, making it a great choice for families on a budget who still need the peace of mind that their products offer.

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Ring Pros
  • Wide variety of custom solutions
  • Low prices and no contract required
  • Smart home integration
Ring Cons
  • Lack of glass break sensors
  • Not for households with Google smart home devices

Monitored Security Option: FrontPoint


Top Features

: Professional monitoring, DIY setup

Why we chose it: FrontPoint is a leading home security company that provides top-of-the-line solutions and both wired and wireless options. We’ve chosen them as our best-monitored security option because of the way they send informed warnings for real threats. They’re compatible with tons of smart devices, iOS or Android, and they offer several add-ons for those looking for more.

FrontPoint offers three packages, which include several types of security cameras, sensors, light control tools, smart door locks, and other home security components to choose from. They also do have a glass break sensor and remote thermostat controls. They offer full access to their mobile app to control your system anywhere with your monthly plan. You can also build your own plan to pick exactly what you want so you have control over your home security costs.

When it comes to monitoring, they offer 24/7 monitoring and a live video stream. What makes their cameras unique is that they can distinguish between routine activities and real threats to your safety. In the event there’s a threat, they’ll send you a customized alert instantly and alert authorities. You can specify what notifications you want to receive and assign virtual zones or tripwires. 

FrontPoint does not offer professional installation. Instead, they make the DIY process of setting their systems up very simple—they encourage self-installation for security purposes. They’ll provide you with login credentials for your account and the default keycode. They also provide very detailed instructions to install your system and connect to the mobile app. Reviewers say the setup is fairly easy with no wiring to worry about.

All in all, FrontPoint is a fantastic solution for those looking to leave the monitoring to a professional. Their packages are geared toward DIY setup, so you don’t have to worry about someone knowing the weak points in your home. They also offer system and battery backup checks so there’s no downtime. 

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FrontPoint Pros
  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • Easy installation process
  • Intelligent cameras and sensors
FrontPoint Cons
  • No lifetime warranty
  • No professional installation

Monitored System with Unmonitored Features: Vivint


Top Features

: Flexible monitoring options, car security solutions

Why we chose it: Vivint is another mainstay in the home security industry, known for its extensive list of premium equipment, smart home products, and integrations. We’ve chosen Vivint for our best-monitored system with unmonitored features, as there are three different monitoring plans to choose from, and each plan includes 24/7 professional monitoring. 

Vivint has a wide array of different products that can be bundled into customizable packages. They include a touchscreen smart hub, doorbell cameras, indoor cameras, door and window sensors, and a smart lock. They also have a ton of other components, like smart home products, smoke and CO detectors, and glass break detectors. They even offer products for car security, too!

Vivint only offers professional installation, as their products are a little complex to be installed by a novice. They want to make sure that their products are working as intended. They offer this at a flat rate with no hidden fees. Once your technician installs your products and walks you through how to use them, you can begin monitoring your home immediately.

Speaking of monitoring, they have very flexible options here. Each of their plans comes with 24/7 professional monitoring with mobile access, smoke and CO monitoring, and a medical alert system. They also offer smart home features and video monitoring for their larger plans. If you choose to finance your equipment, each of these plans must come with a four to a five-year contract, but you can avoid this by paying for the equipment upfront.

You’ll be paying a premium for Vivint, but the equipment they offer is well worth the cost. They offer a warranty for the first 120 days, which they’ll repair your equipment free of charge. Afterward, it’s $49 per service. They offer the latest smart home technology and tons of smart home integrations, making them the ideal fit for those looking to make their home like Area 51.

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Vivint Pros
  • Affordable monitoring plans
  • Great smart home integrations
  • Voice-activated security option
Vivint Cons
  • Equipment comes with a premium price tag
  • No DIY installation option

Wireless Security System: SimpliSafe


Top Features

: Completely wireless solution, easy to install

Why we chose it: Last on our list is SimpliSafe, a respected home security company that offers straightforward home security products with no contract required. We’ve chosen SimpliSafe as our best wireless security option due to the fact there’s no hardwiring necessary, adding to the ease of installation. They’re also very affordable, making them a powerful combo of intuitive setup, powerful security, and value.

SimpliSafe offers several different packages which range from very basic to very comprehensive. They offer customizable options if you want to pick and choose. They offer a wireless base station, the SimpliCam indoor camera, a video doorbell, entry sensors, motion sensors, and a wireless keypad. They also offer a smart lock, glass break sensor, and environmental monitoring equipment. All of their solutions are wireless.

SimpliSafe only offers self-installation, but the fact that their equipment is so easy to set up should make this less daunting. If you’re especially amateurish when it comes to tech, you can always hire an external handyman to install it for you. They offer a comprehensive self-installation guide, and they offer a customer support hotline from 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM EST. 

They offer three plans, which include a complete monitoring plan as well as plans for only professional monitoring and only camera recording. The comprehensive plan comes with 24/7 monitoring, full functionality with the SimpliSafe app, alert notifications, live video feed, and camera recording options. They also integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, but that’s all. 

Their equipment and monitoring solutions are very affordable, and with the ease of setup, you should have a secure home in no time. Their wireless options add to security, and their central hub acts as a backup for cellular connection, too. If you’re looking for straightforward service, SimpliSafe is right for you.

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SimpliSafe Pros
  • No hardwiring necessary
  • No contract required
  • Very affordable prices
SimpliSafe Cons
  • No professional installation
  • Minimal smart home integrations

Picking the right home security system for you

We’ve covered our top picks for home security systems, but the decision is up to you. Which one fits your needs the best? If you’re not sure yet, don’t worry! We’re going to run through some of the basics of home security solutions and best practices for making your decision. 

Before anything, let’s go through some general expectations when it comes to price. The average cost of security equipment ranges from $199 to $399, and you can expect to pay more if you’re purchasing a comprehensive package. The average cost of installation and activation is anywhere from free to $199. As for monthly monitoring costs, these can range from $25 to $50 on average. These are estimates, but they should give you a good window for when you’re choosing between services. It’s up to you to decide the home security systems worth.

With that out of the way, let’s go through the different types of home security systems, including monitored or unmonitored and wired or wireless. 

Monitored security systems

When you opt for a monitored security system, it means that there’s someone on one end watching the system and responding to threats on your behalf. If they observe any threat to your safety, they’ll notify you instantly and contact emergency services. If they can’t reach you, they’ll usually reach out to an appointed contact. It can be a little creepy having someone watch your house, but they can catch things you otherwise wouldn’t.

This is the most popular form of security system. Monitored systems come in two types: self-monitored and company-monitored. 

Company monitoring is the more traditional approach, with a team of personnel controlling and operating your cameras, sensors, and alarms. Most of the time, they’ll contact your designated contact center when they observe any suspicious activity. You’ll also usually receive a phone call to verify that the system wasn’t set off by mistake. 

As the name suggests, self-monitoring allows you to control the cameras, sensors, and alarms of your system. Most of these systems nowadays have a mobile app accompanying them that allows you to observe camera feeds wherever you are. When the alarms are triggered, you receive notifications, and you can choose to call authorities based on what you observe. 

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. A company-monitored system has fewer blind spots and allows for more immediate calls to authorities, but you need to be immediately available to confirm and it can be a lot less private. Self-monitored systems give you more control and provide you with evidence to back up claims, but you could miss an alert and they require a WiFi connection.

Unmonitored systems

An unmonitored security system is the other side of the spectrum. Here, no one monitors your home, but some sensors trigger in and around your home which activates a loud siren to ward off intruders. These include products like a control panel, motion sensors, glass-break sensors, door and window sensors, an alarm system, and smoke detectors. Some even come with a smartphone app.

These kinds of systems offer a bunch of advantages over monitored systems. They’re less comprehensive, which means they’re far easier to install and operate, and they still provide a good sense of security. They’re way more cost-effective, as you don’t have to purchase and install cameras all over your home. They’re self-run, too, making them especially easy to operate for novices. 

However, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind. First off, they’re far less secure than monitored systems, as they don’t pick up footage. This means that those that don’t trigger the sensors can get away with breaking into your home. They’re dependent on the homeowner being around, which makes them less effective if you’re at work or on vacation. Also, they’re not automated, and contacting emergency services during a stressful situation can be difficult. 

If you’re not comfortable with having cameras picking up your every move day-to-day, an unmonitored system may be right for you. Plus, these systems are a good first step into home security, as they’re affordable and intuitive. 

Wireless security system

Now that we’ve covered how systems are monitored, we should talk about how security systems are installed. First, let’s discuss wireless systems. These are home security systems that don’t require the need for hardwiring to the control panel, with everything working off a WiFi connection or Bluetooth. Components usually include sensors, cameras, alarms, and the main control panel. 

These systems have three processes: detection, annunciation, and monitoring. The detection stage is when the system picks up any changes in security risk, like when someone breaks a window or breaks into a door, a fire alarm picks up the presence of a fire, and more. Annunciation is when the owner is alerted of that danger through the use of alarms, notifications, phone calls, lights, and more. Monitoring is when emergency services are notified of the presence of danger in your home.

Wireless systems have plenty of benefits. Because you don’t have to worry about wiring, they’re usually very easy to install in the home with the use of DIY kits without the need for much handiwork. Plus, they’re a lot easier to move and adjust as needed. They’re easier to upgrade, as it usually just comes down to an update or switching out the device. They’re more difficult to disarm by intruders, who’d otherwise just cut a cord. Last, they’re really easy to control remotely. 

However, they have drawbacks, too. Interference is easy with these systems, as they require a network connection to function properly. They’re also vulnerable to hacking, especially if you’re using a cheap system that doesn’t encrypt its signals. You’re also going to go through a lot of batteries, and you can be insecure if a battery runs out when you’re away. Some even need wires! Monitoring services sometimes need a landline connected to function properly. 

Wired security systems

Wired security systems require hardwiring to function properly. Typically, all the security devices around the home are connected to the central control hub with low-voltage wires, including sensors, keypads, and cameras. The control panel will know the status of every device in the home, and it can notify you if there are any problems. These are usually more expensive, but they have their advantages.

The first advantage is that they’re extremely reliable when hard lines are running properly, offering a far more trustworthy connection than wireless systems can. Once they’re installed, they’re easy to maintain, only requiring batteries to operate. They’re especially useful for larger homes, as more devices can be connected to the central system. These systems are hard to hack because they require a manual connection, a reason many professionals favor them. Plus, they usually have a lot of features and offer much higher-resolution video. 

Disadvantages with these systems exist, though. As mentioned, wired systems are usually far more expensive than their wireless counterparts. Because they require a professional to install, installation is also a considerable cost. While they can’t be hacked as easily, an intruder just needs to find the right wire and cut it to disable the system. These systems are difficult to uninstall, and some companies even refuse to move this equipment to a new location. Plus, they offer almost no remote capabilities.

Protect your home with the right tools 

We hope this guide was helpful with your home security decision. This is a very serious decision to make, and you should do your own research when landing on the solution for you. But remember that in the end, whatever you choose, you’ll have a more secure home for you and your family. 

Agent Advice does the research so you don’t have to. We have the experience and know-how for everything real estate related, and we post articles and reviews all the time for products and services. We want you to land on the right tools for you!

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 12/29/2023