Smart home security systems are perhaps one of the easiest areas in the smart home in which a person might quickly get overwhelmed. Shopping for a home security system can be a challenge, especially given that the industry continues to grow.
Smart security covers everything from professional services to do-it-yourself kits. It includes locks, sensors, cameras, and many other devices.
Of course, the obvious benefit to these different options is that you’re bound to find something that works for you and your home. Sorting through everything that falls under the smart home genre can be tough, but don’t worry, we’ll get it straightened out. The following guide will help you make sense of what’s out there so you can focus on finding the right smart home security package for you.
Contents (Jump to)
More than likely you’re familiar with some of the more common home security firms. These include professional offerings like ADT, Vivint, and AT&T. These companies offer security bundles for you, then configure and install them. Typically you are locked into a two-year contract which includes a monthly fee and more than likely will require a termination charge if you decide to cancel early.
The thought of having a company come in and set everything up for you is very appealing, and if that’s what you prefer, then, by all means, you should go that route. Often you’ll get window sensors, security cameras, and arm/disarm keypads to protect your home. You’ll also get professional monitoring, which is nice to have if something goes wrong and first responders need to be notified.
You’ll receive a comprehensive system that provides convenience and avoids the challenge of installation and monitoring, however, you’re going to have to spend quite a bit in the process. It’s up to you to decide if you’d rather have the freedom to do things yourself or pay for someone else to do it for you.
What’s interesting is that more recently, these companies are becoming aware that this approach to smart home security is outdated. As a result, several are making changes to keep up with the demand for do-it-yourself devices and services. For example, ADT now offers a security system without requiring a contract from its users.
Additionally, several major professional companies are starting to provide options that integrate with smart home systems. Samsung, SmartThings, Lutron, and LG are just a few examples of smart home devices that smart home security companies are beginning to integrate into their own systems. Sticking with the ADT example, the company also works with Nest now, and will soon have its own IFTTT channel.
While this type of growth is promising, professional smart security firms are still hesitant to make any drastic changes to their core long-term and monthly contracts. However, if you’re the type of person who prefers to have a little more freedom, then you may want to go the do-it-yourself route.
That doesn’t mean professional services don’t have value. These systems are the best option if you’re looking for convenience. Of course, just keep in mind that you’ll be locked into a contract with a monthly fee, which some people prefer to avoid.
Do-It-Yourself Smart Home Security
In comparison to the smart home systems, you’ll get with professional companies, do-it-yourself systems are all about choice and customization. The tradeoff is that you are responsible for installing and monitoring the system. If an emergency occurs, you’re the one who has to contact first responders as opposed to the company monitoring your home.
Keep in mind that where a professional company offers bundled services and products, you’ll have more freedom and purchasing options if you decide to go the do-it-yourself route. DIY systems come in a wide range of choices. There’s anything from full-service systems that include 24-hour monitoring to single devices like locks or cameras.
If you do decide against a professional security company, there are many things to consider prior to selecting the DIY system or device that makes the most sense for you. Let’s explore some of the more common options you’ll find so you can get a better idea of what will work best for you.
Thankfully, just because you decide not to go the route of a professional system doesn’t mean that you’ll miss out on the features they provide. There is no shortage of do-it-yourself companies that provide consumers with a wide range of security products.
These packages could include motion detectors, window sensors, door sensors, sirens, glass sensors, and more. Some systems and devices even offer the ability to sign up for professional monitoring. It will cost you a monthly fee, but you have the ability to cancel any time you want and not have to worry about a termination charge.
iSmartAlarm, Scout, SimpliSafe, and Adobe are just a few of the systems that offer several security devices that work together as one. Here is a quick chart to show you how some of these do-it-yourself security systems compare with one another.
|Monthly Fee||No||Yes||No (Remote features require contract fee)||No|
|3G Backup||No||Yes (No additional charge)||Yes (Monthly charge)||Yes (No additional charge)|
|Professional monitoring||No||Yes (Monthly charge)||Yes (No additional charge)||Yes (Monthly charge)|
|Security Camera||Yes (Additional charge)||Yes (Additional charge)||Yes (Additional charge)||Yes (Additional charge)|
|Smart home integration||IFTTT||Nest, Alexa, IFTTT||Nest||Nest, Alexa, IFTTT|
As you can see there are plenty of options available when it comes to choosing a do-it-yourself smart home security system. If you would like to see additional systems along with our recommendation on which system is best, take a look at our post on the best smart home security systems.
Smart Home Locks
Smart home locks don’t have quite the cache that smart home security systems or smart security cameras (we’ll get to them soon) do, but the category is growing. There are several Bluetooth enabled smart home locks which pair with your phone. Some of these, like the August Smart Lock, the Kwikset Kevo, and the Danalock, will auto-unlock the door when you get close to it.
The Yale and Schlage smart locks work with Z-Wave technology, so if you have a hub like the one Wink offers, then you’ll be able to easily connect and program these smart lock options.
Both the Danalock and the August smart locks will install over most deadbolts. The process is relatively painless and can be completed in a matter of minutes. Yale, Kwikset, and Schlage, on the other hand, use their own deadbolts.
That’s about it for smart locks. If you want some more info on smart locks, please take a look at our review of some of the best smart locks for 2018.
Another common do-it-yourself category is that of standalone smart security cameras. These devices are particularly appealing to those that want to keep an eye out in a certain area. Most likely this is an area of the home considered to be vulnerable.
The smart camera do-it-yourself market has grown substantially during the past few years. Now you can find options for outdoor, indoor, or indoor/outdoor cameras available on the market. These cameras have a wide range of prices as well, with the costs largely depending on what features you want or need.
With smart security cameras, you’ll find a vast amount of differentiation in features. Some cameras, for instance, offer great HD live streaming so you have a nice, crisp feed. Others provide a wide angle so you can have a wider viewing area
The Piper NV, for instance, is a fantastic all-in-one camera that offers environmental and motion detection, free cloud-based storage, night vision, a Z-wave hub, and a built-in siren. There are also other indoor options with similar features like the Nest Cam, Logi Circle 2, and the Ooma Butterfleye.
Or, if you prefer to have something you can put outside, you can take a look at the Arlo Pro or the Blink XT. All of these outdoor smart security cameras offer easy installations, rechargeable batteries, and the ability to integrate with third-party platforms.
In addition to smart security cameras, are smart doorbells which come equipped with cameras. Among the most popular of these devices are the Ring, Nest, and Skybell doorbells. When someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the door, your phone will get an alert. At the same time, you’ll have the option to view a live stream. The best thing about a smart doorbell is that you can see who is at your door whether you’re at home or away.
A La Carte
We’ve talked about do-it-yourself smart home systems, however, there is another piece of smart home security which touches on the DIY area. While you can go with a professional security system or a do-it-yourself system, you can also piecemeal a smart security system together.
For instance, maybe you have an August Smart Lock and an Arlo Pro smart security camera and you want to find a way to incorporate them with other smart home devices. Like maybe a Nest thermostat, a few Philips Hue bulbs, and a Ring doorbell.
Fortunately, there are hubs that allow you to integrate all of these types of devices into one system. Hubs like SmartThings and Wink connect devices to your wireless network. Typically, these hubs come equipped with several ways to speak to devices. Most hubs support ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, and wifi.
In addition to smart hubs, smart assistants are becoming more and more popular as options for smart home security systems. Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit all provide voice control capabilities. Of course, not all devices will work with all three voice platforms, but you’ll have a solid amount of devices that you can use with each.
As you can tell, there is no shortage of options for your smart home security system. No matter whether you go with a professional system, a do-it-yourself kit, or an a la carte approach, you’re taking a big step in making your home a safer place. If you have more questions about smart home security or want more information about specific systems, check out our choices for the best smart home security systems.
Find out here all you need to know about smart security and security cameras with expert reviews on Nest products, Blink, Kuna, Ring, and many more.
Home Security Articles
- Monitronics vs ADT Home Security: Which Security System is Best?
- SafeTouch vs ADT Compared – Which Should You Choose?
- AT&T Digital Life vs ADT Home Security: Equipment & Plans!
- Xfinity Home Security vs ADT Home Security: Which is Best for You?
- The BrickHouse Security Review – Is it the Right Fit for You?
- Bay Alarm vs ADT – Which One Works for You?
- Brinks Home Security vs. SimpliSafe: Which One Is Better?
- Frontpoint Security vs Vivint Smart Home 
- Simplisafe vs LiveWatch? Do-It-Yourself Home Security
- Garmin Vivosmart vs. Fitbit Charge: Which One Is Better?
- ADT vs CPI – Which is the Best Home Security System?
- Protect America vs. SimpliSafe: Which One Should You Get?
- Simplisafe vs ADT: Which Should You Choose?
- SimpliSafe vs Vivint Home Security: Which One Is Better for You?
- Arlo Pro vs. Arlo Pro 2: The Differences and Which One to Buy
- Nest Secure vs ADT Security: Who Wins?
- Simplisafe vs Iris – Which is the Best Home Security System?
- Nest Cam vs Blink XT – Features, Pros and Cons
- The Best Arlo Alternatives That You’ll Love!
- Garageio vs MyQ Garage Door Openers: Which One Should You Buy?
- Fortress Security vs Simplisafe: DIY Home Security Battle!
- LiveWatch vs Frontpoint Security: Which DIY Security System is Best?
- Remobell vs. Ring: Which Should You Choose?
- Arlo vs. Simplisafe Security: Which is Best for your Family?
- Arlo Q vs. Arlo Pro 2: Which is Right for You?
- Wyze Cam vs Amazon Cloud Cam – Which is the Better Security Camera?
- The Notion Home Sensor Review: Is it a Good Buy?
- Arlo Pro vs. Arlo Go – Is the New Arlo Go a Better Security Camera?
- Wyze vs. Nest Cam Compared: Which Security Camera Should You Buy?
- The Ultraloq UL3 Review: Will This Smart Lock Work for You?
- August Smart Lock vs. August Smart Lock Pro: Which is Best?
- Reolink Argus vs. Netgear Arlo Pro: Which Wire-Free Camera is Better?
- Kwikset Premis vs. Schlage Sense: The Battle of HomeKit-Compatible Smart Locks
- Logitech Circle 2 vs. Arlo Pro: Which Security Camera is Best?
- Arlo Pro 2 vs. Reolink Argus 2: Which is a Better Security Camera?
- Arlo Pro vs. Canary Flex: Which Will You Love More?
- OneLink vs. Nest Protect: Which Should You Choose?
- TP-Link Kasa Cam Review: All You Need to Know
- Arlo Q vs. Arlo Q Plus : Which One Should You Buy?
- Blink XT vs. Amazon Cloud Cam: Which is Right for You?
- Best ADT Security Alternatives to Consider 
- The Best Biometric Gun Safes On The Market!
- Ooma Butterfleye Review: Will This Smart Security Camera Work For You?
- The Ring Alarm Home Security System Review That You’ll Love
- The Best Nest Protect Alternatives You’ll Love
- The Best Z-Wave Sirens On The Market!
- Cujo Firewall vs. Norton Core: Which Will You Love?
- Ring Alarm vs Simplisafe Comparison : One Is Better
- One IS Better: Nest vs Simplisafe in 2021
- Zmodo Greet vs. Ring Video Doorbell: Which Video Doorbell Will You Like More?
- One IS Better: Nest IQ vs Nest Cam Outdoor
- iSmartAlarm vs. Simplisafe: Which One Will You Like More?
- Wink Lookout vs. Ring Protect: Which One Will You Like More?
- Ring Video Doorbell vs Nest Hello: Which One Will You Like More?
- The Best Outdoor Wireless Security Camera System with DVR
- Vivint Doorbell Camera vs. Nest Hello Video Doorbell: Which is Best?
- Everything You Need to Know About The Dojo Security Review
- Nest IQ vs. Arlo Pro 2: Which Security Camera is Best?
- Nest Secure vs. Abode Home Security Kit: Which is Best?
- The Nest Cam IQ Review – Pros and Cons
- How Does Amazon Alexa Work with Nest?
- Ring Protect vs Blink Home Security: Which is Best in 2020?
- The Best Z-Wave Motion Sensors That You’ll Love
- Wink Lookout vs. Adobe Smart Security System: The Full Comparison Review
- The Best Smart Driveway Alarms for 2020
- ADT Pulse vs. Vivint Smart Home: Which is the Home Security System?
- The Wink Lookout Review – Should You Buy It?
- Arlo vs Ring: Which Security Camera is Best in 2020?
- The VeraSecure Review: Is it Right for You?
- Kuna vs Ring: Which One Is the Better Security System?
- Everything You Need to Know About The Nest Aware
- The Full Manything vs. Presence Home Security App Comparison
- The Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs The Netgear Arlo Pro
- Blink XT vs Arlo Pro – Which is the Best Smart Security Camera?
- The Best Smart Home Alarm Kits
- Arlo Q vs Arlo Pro: Which Security Camera Is Best?
- Simplisafe vs Frontpoint Home Security Comparison 
- The Ring Video Doorbell Elite vs The Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Top Smart Padlocks for 2020
- The Best Cameras for SmartThings Available Now
- Best SimpliSafe Alternatives for the Smart Home
- Abode vs. Scout Alarm: Which Smart Security System Will You Love More?
- The Full Blink XT Review: Another Cheap Knockoff?
- My Nest Secure Review: Is It Worth It?
- The Ultimate Nest Hello Doorbell Review for 2020
- The Logi Circle 2 vs Nest Cam: Which Will You Love More?
- The Best Z-Wave Compatible Doorbells You’ll Want to Install Now!
- The Full Ring Floodlight Cam Review: Does This Security Camera Work as Promised?
- Scout Alarm vs SimpliSafe Security: Which Wireless Home Security System to Love?
- Battle of the Ring Doorbells: The Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- SimpliSafe vs Abode: Which Smart Security System Will You Love Most?
- Best Smart Home Security Systems for 2020
- ThreeC Smart Home Security CCTV IP Camera Robot 960P Wireless Review
- The Full Walabot DIY Review: A Smart Way to See Through Walls
- A Smart Padlock to Love: The Full Noke Padlock Review
- Arlo Q vs Nest Cam: Which Smart Home Security Cam is Best for You?
- Schlage vs Kwikset Smart Locks: Which Offer the Most Security?
- The Full Asante Smart Garage Door Opener with Camera Review
- Go Beyond Security: The Top 5 Smart Locks for 2021
- Masterbuilt Bluetooth Smart Digital Electric Smoker: Is This the Smoker You’ll Love?
- CUJO Smart Internet Security Firewall Review: Does This Work as Promised?
- The Comprehensive GetSafe Home Security System Review
- Ooma Home Security Review: Does This Live Up to the Rest?
- iHoan Smart Home WiFi-Enabled Security Alarm System Review: Get Everything in One
- Cocoon Review: Is the Cocoon All-In-One Home Security System Worth the Price?
- The Ultimate Best Smart Home Cameras Guide for 2021
- Does the Zmodo Smart Wireless Home Security Camera System Live Up to the Hype?
- Arlo Smart Security Cam Review: Is This the Smart Cam for You?
- iSmart Alarm DIY Security System Review: Is it Worth the Hype?
- The Latest Remocam RMCU-1508 Smart Home Security Camera Review
- The Top 3 Best Z Compatible Wave Deadbolts to Keep You Safer
- Nestcam vs Foscam: Which Smart Security Camera is Best?
- Will This Top the Smart Home Cameras? My Full iFamCare Helmet HD Cam Review
- The Best Security Cameras for a Smart Home You’ll Love
- Leeo Smart Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Monitor Review for a Safer Home
- Smart Doorbell Showdown: The VueBell Smart vs Ring Video Doorbell
- The Best Biometric Access Control Systems Out There
- The Best Top Alternatives to Belkin WeMo You’ll Love!
- Does The VueBell Smart Doorbell Make Your Home Safer?
- The Zeeq: Speaker, Health Tracker, Alarm Clock and Smart Pillow: Will I Sleep Better?
- Netgear Arlo vs Canary Smart Home Security Camera System
- GetSafe vs SimpliSafe – Which Smart Security System is Better?
- One IS Better: Schlage Connect vs Sense in 2021
- Nucleus Smart Intercom Review – Is it a Must Have?
- Schlage Connect Review – Does This Touchscreen Deadbolt Work Well?
- Best Nest Compatible Devices
- Amcrest Pro HD Review – Is the Quality Worth it?
- Guardzilla vs Canary – Which Security Camera System is Better?
- The Best Smart Garage Openers for 2021
- The Best Smart Smoke Detectors for 2021
- GoGoGate 2 vs MyQ Smart Garage Opener – Which One is Better?
- My Nest Protect Review – Time to Ditch Your Old Smoke Alarm?
- BeOn Smart Security Lighting Review – Is It Really Worth the Cost?
- Blink Home Security System Review – A Newer, Easier Home Security System?
- Guardzilla Review – A Security Camera You Can Control with Your Phone
- The Best Nest Cam Deals – Nest Cam Deals Tracker
- Zmodo Greet Review – Answering Your Door While You’re Away Just Became Possible
- The Circle with Disney Review – Helping Make the Internet Safe for Youngsters
- Jacob Jensen Wireless Doorbell Review – The Doorbell that Science Fiction Writers Dream Of
- iHomeware Zigbee CoinGuard Vibration Sensor Review – A Whole Different Kind of Smart Home Technology
- Arlo Q 1080p HD Review – Is This The Right Smart Home Security Camera For Your Home?
- NuBryte Touchpoint Review – Does the NuBryte Offer Enough?
- Garageio Smart Garage Controller Review: Should You Buy It?
- Flir FX Review – Is this Smart Security Cam Worth the Price Tag?
- Honeywell Lyric Leak and Freeze Detector Review: All You Need to Know
- The Samsung Smart Cam HD Pro Review You’ll Love
- Comparing the Ring vs Skybell Smart Doorbells
- Appbot Link Review – The Best Smart Robot Surveillance Camera?
- The Doorbird vs Ring WiFi Doorbell – Which is the Best Video Doorbell?
- Doorbird Door Cam Review – Is it Overpriced or the Perfect Solution?
- Reviewing the August Smart Doorbell Camera – Is the Price Worth it?
- Oco Wireless Security Camera Review – The Ultimate Smart Cam?
- Abode Connected Review – A Worthwhile Home Security and Automation Device?
- Nest Cam vs Piper: Which is Best?
- The Best WiFi Smart Doorbells – The Only Ones Worth Considering
- MyFox Security Camera Review: Yay or Nay? Find Out Here!
- Zmodo EZCam Review – Another Copycat or Enough New Features?
- 3 Dropcam Alternatives for the Disenchanted User
- Canary vs Nest Cam – Which is Best?
- Contrasting the Arlo vs Dropcam – Which Device Wins?
- Scout Smart Alarm System Review: Is it Worth Buying?
- Comparing the Danalock vs August Smart Lock
- Stuck Between the Canary vs Piper? Read This Comparison!
- Canary Review – The Canary Home Security System
- WeMo Camera Review – A Close Look at the WeMo Netcam by Belkin
- The Skybell vs Doorbot Smart Doorbell Comparison
- The Nest Cam vs Dropcam Pro – Which is the Better Buy?
- Foscam vs Dropcam – Which Smart Security Cam is Better?
- Fibaro Motion Sensor Review – Does it Really Work?
- Smart Home Hacks – How to Avoid Having Your Smart Home Hacked
- The New Ring WiFi Doorbell Review – What Stands Out
- The Top 3 Alternatives to Doorbot – Some Different Options
- Zipabox Review – The Zipato Zipabox Home Controller
- Doorbot Smart Doorbell Review – Do you Need it?
- Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock Review – Does This Bluetooth Smart Lock Work as Advertised?
- Our Nest Gen 2 vs Gen 3 Comparison – What are the Differences Between Them?
- August Smart Lock Review – Ditch the Keys!
- SkyBell Doorbell Review – Does the SkyBell 2.0 Smart Doorbell Work as Intended?