How to Choose a DIY Home Security System Without Spending a Fortune

Fortunately, there is a way to find a balance between getting the security system you need versus paying more than you can realistically afford.

It all starts with knowing your needs and comparing them to the options that are available.

Types of home security systems

Essentially there are three basic types of home security systems.:

  • ⬥ Smart Home Technology
    • ⬦ The fastest-growing type of home security systems, smart home technology can let you do things such as remotely adjust your thermostat or let you open the door for a repair technician when you’re not at home.
  • ⬥ Security Equipment 
    • ⬦ Traditional home security devices such as burglar alarms or outdoor cameras.
  • ⬥ Environmental Monitoring 
    • ⬦ Includes equipment such as smoke alarms, leak detectors, freeze detectors, etc.

Before you break the bank to buy a home security system with all of the bells and whistles ask yourself the following questions to help determine your needs.

  1. What square footage is my home?
  2. How many rooms? Doors? Windows or other entry points?
  3. What’s my family’s schedule? When do I need my home protected?
  4. Who or what needs protecting? 
  5. What’s my budget (consider both upfront and ongoing costs)?

Home security equipment features

Home security equipment features can vary between companies, so use your needs as a guideline when comparing the different equipment features of each product.


Doorbell camera

A camera that’s typically placed near your front door (or whichever door you use most to gain entry to your home). It records people who stop by and will let you remotely see and speak with your visitors.

Nanny camera

A nanny camera is an interior camera that’s used to watch over kids, caretakers, the elderly and even pets.

Spotlight Camera

An exterior camera that records images and/or videos whenever it detects motion. Most include LED lights and in some cases alarms.


There are a variety of sensors available with the different home security systems. You’ll receive an alert when:

  • A door or window is opened
  • Glass is broken
  • A leak is detected
  • The interior temperature exceeds a particular threshold
  • A fire alarm goes off
  • Pipes freeze

Some companies have home security systems that are pre-programmed and work well for small homes that only need the basics. These kinds of systems are usually fast and easy to install as they work wirelessly and the components can simply be stuck on the windows, doors, and walls.

It’s also possible to buy DIY home security kits that let you pick and choose only the components you want, however, keep in mind that buying a la cart can get pricey.

What Size Security System Do I Need?

Control your costs by controlling what components you choose. At the least, you’ll need sensors and/or cameras to cover every exit and entrance to your home.

Do you need monitoring or would you rather pay a one-time fee and call it good?

If you opt to go with monitoring, make sure you understand the pricing structure as many companies charge cancellation fees if you opt to cancel after a trial of their service and/or if you move.

How to save on the system you want

First and foremost, shop around for the best deal.

When you’re comparing systems, look closely at the features and ongoing costs to make a good “apples to apples” comparison.

Check with your insurance company to see if they recommend any particular system and to find out how much you could save by installing a home security system. It’s worth the effort to find out as it could save you thousands.

Buy systems with only those features and equipment that you need to secure your home.

For example, if you don’t need smart home features such as light and heating control, then opt for a system without them.

While it may be tempting to go for all of the bells and whistles, you’ll save more when you pick and choose only the components you need.

In short, don’t be captivated by all of the amazing features of home security systems – you can spend less on a home security system without compromising your family’s safety.