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5 Home Security Systems for $20 or Less a Month

6 minute read

Devon Taylor

By Devon Taylor

Key Takeaways

  • A host of budget-friendly home security system companies have cropped up in recent years.
  • Many of these options have DIY installation, low equipment costs, and attractive monthly prices — even free.
  • The up-front equipment cost will be the largest financial barrier to installing one of these systems. However, some companies allow you to pay in installments or finance the cost.

Believe it or not, a home security system can save you a bundle of money. Sure, it’s an extra monthly expense to tack on to the budget. That’s not including a potential one-time installation fee. However, the potential long term savings generally make it a worthwhile expenditure. Even better, many newer security system companies are offering their services for much less than the traditional home security brands.

For less than $20 a month, you can have a home security system set up to protect yourself and your belongings. We scoured the internet for the best deals around and gathered them all into one handy article for you. So if you’ve been considering adding a home security system to your place, check out these affordable options.

How Much Can You Save With Home Security?

We know what you’re probably thinking.

“How does spending a bunch more money on a home security system actually save me money?”

That’s a fair question, but there’s also a reasonable answer. Yes, adding a home security system to your house comes with an extra cost. Not only will there be a one-time cost to have the system installed, but monthly monitoring fees also need to be paid. On the other hand, most home insurance policies offer a discount — up to 15 percent — to those with adequate security systems. Just remember to call your insurance provider and ask for it.

The Hidden Savings of Preventing Break-Ins

American households lose an average of $2,120 during break-ins and burglaries. The most common items taken are cash, jewelry, and expensive electronics. A home security system will reduce your chances of being victimized. Some studies suggest that adding an alarm system to your house will decrease the risk of break-in by up to 60 percent. Even alarm systems that aren’t actively monitored are better at deterring criminals than nothing at all. After all, they don’t know whether you’re still paying a monthly fee.

Aside from protecting your financial assets, home security systems also offer an element of personal protection. For example, someone who tries to break into your house while you and your family are sleeping will likely be scared off by the blaring alarm. Even if they manage to snatch a purse or wallet on their way out, the most important thing is that your family is safe.

SimpliSafe

Pros
  • No contracts
  • DIY installation
  • 60-Day money back guarantee

Cons
  • Limited smart home compatibility
  • Missing advanced features
  • Lower quality cameras

SimpliSafe is, well… fairly simple. But that’s not a bad thing.

For anyone looking to save money by installing a security system themselves, SimpliSafe is a great option. Their hardware packages start at just $245. Even if you opt for a more expensive bunch of equipment, the company lets you finance your purchase, so you don’t have to fork over the whole cost up front.

SimpliSafe offers a variety of monitoring packages. The self-monitoring options are $0.93 and $10 a month. However, a small step up to $18 or $28 a month gives you more recording options for more cameras — up to 10 altogether. Other systems might have a few more features, but almost nothing beats SimpliSafe’s affordable entry costs.

Cove

Pros
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Two-way audio from monitoring center
  • Great reviews

Cons
  • Limited smart home compatibility
  • Brand new to market
  • Best features locked behind higher prices

Cove’s monthly monitoring fees are $17.99 (Basic) and $27.99 (Plus). We do recommend the more expensive package, though, since it includes mobile device access to your system and additional video recording. When it comes to hardware, Cove sells most of its stuff à la carte, if you want. However, a basic package is about $300. You can finance your hardware over three years, but it will cost you an extra $10 a month.

One of Cove’s best features is actually its quiz, which helps you determine what kind of equipment best suits your specific house. Cove is designed to be self-installed, but they do offer professional installation — for a price. Cove offers a mobile app for monitoring your system, plus RapidSOS to communicate with emergency responders quickly. You can also receive instant text messages anytime an alarm is triggered.

Abode

Pros
  • Apple HomeKit compatibility
  • Easy setup
  • Perfect for apartments or dorms

Cons
  • Up-front equipment prices are high
  • Not ideal for larger houses
  • Cancellation fee

Abode is another great option in the DIY home security market. This system is primarily designed for smaller houses or apartments, making them a bit less suitable for larger houses. Still, with advanced smart home compatibility, a one-year warranty, and affordable monthly monitoring fees, there’s a lot to like.

The Basic plan is free, but only offers a live video feed with no recording. The $6 per month Standard package adds 10 days of video recording. The $21.99 per month Pro package adds lots of value, with professional monitoring and cellular backup. You can even add professional monitoring on demand, for three- or seven-day periods. It’s perfect for when you’re going away for a bit, but otherwise spend most of your days at home.

The upfront cost is mostly in line with others on this list, starting at about $250 for a basic package and up to $350 for a full-featured one. There is, however, a $35 cancellation fee if you return your system. Most other competitors don’t charge this.

Blue by ADT

Pros
  • Iconic ADT brand name
  • DIY installation
  • No contracts

Cons
  • Expensive add-ons
  • Frustrating mobile app

ADT Security is one of the most well-known names in traditional home security systems. In an effort to compete with the new era of budget, self-install smart home security, ADT introduced their Blue sub-brand. They have a single monthly plan, for $19.99 a month, that comes with 24/7 professional monitoring, mobile app access, two-way audio, and 60 days of video storage. The free plan excludes the pro monitoring and only keeps your video footage for 24 hours.

A build-your-own package of hardware starts at $109, but can quickly climb to $300 or more when you start adding more cameras, sensors, or a smart doorbell. The Blue by ADT app is your one-stop-shop for all things connected to your home security system, but some users have expressed frustration that it doesn’t always seem to work right. A recent update addressed many of these problems, but the last thing you want is your home security system to be glitchy when you need it most.

Blue does have some smart home compatibility, but the best features — including security automation — are reserved for ADT’s more expensive Pulse plan.

Wyze

Pros
  • Affordable pro monitoring
  • Free starter kit
  • No contract

Cons
  • Doesn’t include a camera
  • Weak smart home support
  • Can’t share app access with family members or roommates

Wyze is easily one of the cheapest options for home security systems you’ll find. The home monitoring price is just $9.99 a month — or $100 a year if you pay annually — and hardware packages start at just $99. While you certainly can’t beat the price, there is an element of “you get what you pay for” with Wyze. It doesn’t have quite the same amount of features as SimpliSafe or Adobe. It doesn’t even have a cellular backup, meaning it’s essentially useless if your home internet goes down for any reason.

The good news is that Wyze doesn’t skimp on equipment quality. The hub, sensors, and cameras are all top notch devices that are easy to install. You can buy additional equipment, as needed, for a relatively low price. The system supports up to five cameras and a bunch of smart home devices. This service has no contract and a 30-day money back guarantee. The warranty on all equipment only lasts a year, which is also a bit of a downer. Still, Wyze is a great way to keep an eye on your property for a minimal cost.

Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Devon Taylor

Managing Editor

Devon is an experienced writer and a father of three young children. He's simultaneously trying to build college funds and plan for an eventual retirement. He's been in online publishing since 2013 and has a degree from the University of Guelph. In his free time, he loves fanatically following the Blue Jays and Toronto FC, camping with his family, and playing video games.

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