The era of spending thousands of dollars on home security hardware and monitoring fees are long gone, so long as you’re willing to do a little work. Whether you’re looking to add a bit more peace of mind or just catch whoever keeps stealing your packages off the porch, there are plenty of options these days to DIY some home security tech that won’t break the bank.
There are standalone devices, packages and some subscription services that can handle whatever you need at a value. From a few hundred bucks to just the cost of dinner and a movie, here is what we recommend if you’re looking to set up some home security systems at your home or apartment on a tight budget.
A solid all-in-one kid that won’t break the bank? Ring starter kit (Approx. $249)
The easiest approach is also the most expensive (with expensive being a relative term, of course). If you want everything already assembled in one easy-to-use box, the Ring Alarm eight-piece kit is arguably your best bet. It includes enough sensors to cover your main doors and main living space, with one base station and keypad, four door/window sensors, a motion detector and one range extender (to extend the range of any sensors on the other side of your home or apartment). It’s a great kit for a smaller space, and its infinitely expandable with additional sensors if you ever want to add more coverage or move to a larger home.
As far as monitoring, all your sensors and cameras run through a smartphone app, with no additional costs required. There’s also a paid monitoring service available for $20 per month, but the system is fully functional as a self-monitored system for no additional costs.
The Wyze Lock is one of the best reviewed smart locks you can find, and it is also one of the cheapest. Set-up is relatively easy, and the lock can be controlled from anywhere with a smartphone app. It also has a gyroscope to detect the position of the door and can alert you to when the door is open or closed. There is also a function to have the door automatically unlock once you get within proximity of the door.
Need to keep an eye on your yard, your living room or your kiddos? Kasa has a low-priced camera option that allows you to set-up as many cameras as you’d like and connect them wirelessly. Footage can be viewed live from Alexa and Google devices, with 1080p video and night vision capabilities. The best part? The cameras can be configured with Kasa’s smart home ecosystem of devices and technology, and used to set up actions (i.e. when the camera detects motion, it can trigger lights, etc.). Multiple cameras can also be configured to monitor up to four security zones.
Need something for outdoors? Solar light sensor pack (Approx: $35.99 4-pack)
If you’re looking for an easy way to provide some light coverage to your yard and property, a four-pack of solar lights could be just the trick. The best part is they don’t require any hook-up since they’re solar-powered. They’re waterproof and can be installed pretty much anywhere (just make sure you’re not blinding your neighbors, of course). They also include a motion sensor to increase brightness when motion is detected, which serves to amplify coverage for motion and alert the homeowner to a change.
Want to put some alerts on a few doors and windows without all the extra fuss of a full-on security system? This should do the trick. A basic four-pack set of sensors (which can be used on doors and windows) will only set you back around $21, and is perfect to toss on back doors, child’s windows, etc. for some extra peace of mind. And at that price, they’re perfect for renters not wanting spend a lot for a bit of added security.
Need a smart doorbell? Ring has options (Approx: $64-$299)
There’s a reason Ring has become known as the smart doorbell company — they make a lot of good ones. From basic, cheap wired options to top of the line, battery-powered doorbells, there’s a Ring for pretty much any situation. They mostly all feature two-way talk functionality, motion detection and night vision. You get basic access to your doorbell for no cost, but you can add cloud storage and monitoring as part of Ring’s overall subscription plans (which could make sense if you’re using something like their home security system already).