6 Best Home Security Systems of 2024

The best home security systems are user-friendly, affordable and customizable to your needs.
Dalia Ramirez
By Dalia Ramirez 
Edited by Tina Orem

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A home security system is a collection of electronic hardware that is connected by software and managed by a central control panel or app.

The components, which can include door/window sensors, motion sensors, cameras, smoke detectors, glass-break sensors, panic buttons and more, work together to keep you and your home safe.

Best home security systems

Protecting your home or apartment from intruders and hazards doesn’t have to be complicated or break the bank. The best home security systems are customizable, affordable and have a variety of features that can make it easier to keep an eye on your loved ones and possessions.

Traditional alarm systems require professional installation and multiyear contracts, but modern kits can be self-installed, self-monitored and integrate smoothly with smart home technology.

Best overall: SimpliSafe

Courtesy SimpliSafe.

SimpliSafe Security System
SimpliSafe Security System

5.0

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5.0

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Equipment cost
$249.96
Base kit includes one base station, one keypad, one entry sensor, one motion sensor. Sometimes you can get one free Smart Alarm wireless indoor security camera and a free trial of professional monitoring if they're running a promotion.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$29.99
Self-monitoring available for $9.99 per month. You can also access basic features with no plan.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke/CO detector, water and temperature sensor.
Haven plan includes hazard sensors, alarm system, siren and panic button for $520.
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Best multifunction sensors: Arlo

Courtesy Arlo.

Arlo Security System
Arlo Security System

4.5

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4.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$199.99
Base kit includes one keypad sensor hub, two sensors, and a free three-month pro monitoring trial.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$24.99
Some sensor features not available without subscription. Self-monitoring for cameras starts at $7.99 per month.

Hazard detection
Sensors can detect water and temperature and alert you when a smoke/CO detector goes off.
No smoke/CO detector.
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Best DIY system: Ring

Courtesy Ring.

Ring Security System
Ring Security System

4.5

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4.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$199.99
Base kit includes Alarm Base Station, keypad, door/window contact sensor, motion detector, Alarm Range Extender and free 30-day trial of Ring Protect professional monitoring. "Pro" starter kit comes with a Wi-Fi router.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$20
Self-monitoring available with plans starting at $3.99 per month.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke/CO detector and listener, flood and freeze sensor.
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Best smart home integration: Abode

Courtesy Abode.

Abode Security System
Abode Security System

4.5

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4.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$139.99
Base kit includes security hub, key fob and mini-sensor for door/window.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$24.99
Self-monitoring with extra features is $7.99 per month, but you can still use the alarm system for free.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke alarm monitor and leak detector.
No smoke/CO detector.
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Best monitoring: ADT

Courtesy ADT.

ADT Security System
ADT Security System

4.0

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4.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Equipment cost
$194.98
Base kit comes with one ADT Smart Home Hub, one ADT Door/Window Sensor and the ADT+ app.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$24.99 and up
$59.99 with cameras. A monitoring plan is required with equipment purchase, but you can choose self-monitoring starting at $24.99.

Hazard detection
Add-on CO detector, smoke detector and water/temperature sensor.
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Best professional installation: Vivint

Courtesy Vivint.

Vivint Security System
Vivint Security System

3.0

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3.0

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Equipment cost
$599.99
Base kit includes Vivint Smart Hub Control Panel, four door/window sensors, and one motion sensor.

Professional monitoring monthly cost
$41
Professional monitoring plan is required with equipment purchase. $46 with cameras.

Hazard detection
Add-on smoke/CO detector and water sensor.
View details

How to choose a home security system

Professional vs. self monitoring

You can choose to have your home security system professionally monitored, or you can respond to alerts yourself. Some providers, such as Vivint, only let you use professional monitoring with their equipment, but others offer both options.

Professional monitoring comes with additional fees: typically around $20 to $50 per month. However, the benefits can be worth the price in an emergency.

  • When an event triggers your alarm, your provider’s call center is instantly notified, and a representative calls you to check in. If you don’t respond, they contact emergency or police services.

  • Some providers, such as SimpliSafe, offer the option to let a representative access your camera footage to investigate what triggered the alarm before calling authorities.

If you opt for self-monitoring, you’ll need to respond to the phone alerts your alarm system sends you and decide what steps to take.

Some providers, such as Ring, offer professional monitoring without a contract, so you can purchase temporary alarm monitoring during a vacation, for example.

Smart home integration

Smart home devices let you control your home’s temperature, lighting, music and more from your phone, computer or tablet.

  • Many home security systems also integrate with existing WiFi-connected smart home networks, such as Google Home and Alexa, to give you the ability to activate and disarm your alarm system — and check your cameras — from your personal devices too.

  • If you already use a specific smart home network, you may want to choose a security system that integrates with that network. Abode, for example, integrates with a wider variety of smart home systems, while Google Nest is best matched with other Google Home products.

Methodology

We collect data from providers and do firsthand testing as necessary. Our process starts by gathering information from providers and contacting providers for further information where needed. This information, combined with our specialists’ hands-on research, makes up our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance. The final output produces star ratings from poor (1 star) to excellent (5 stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star. Learn more about our ratings methodology here.