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Bottom Line: The LifeShield Smart Home Security Kit is a versatile security system with home automation capabilities and the option to monitor professionally or on your own. Read ReviewThe wireless home security systems of 20 years ago were notoriously unreliable. They produced so many false alarms that many homeowners stopped using them. That’s all changed. Today you can buy DIY home security systems that have professional grade wireless security equipment that’s extremely reliable, easy to install and affordable. Basic DIY home security systems start at about $225 and top out at $800 or so. If you add wireless smoke/heat detectors, plan to spend about $1,300 for DIY alarm systems. That’s about half of what a professional alarm company would charge. Monitoring service, which notifies the police or fire department, can cost $40 or more per month. But if you shop around, you can get it for about $10 per month. Some alarm installers recommend eliminating window transmitters and installing motion sensors instead.

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Security cameras that you’ll be monitoring yourself as opposed to professionally monitored security systems usually have the simplest installation. Many of these cameras communicate via Wi Fi and only need hard wiring to their power source. Smaller cameras like video doorbells and peephole cameras frequently use batteries, which is even more user friendly. Outdoor security cameras can present more of a challenge, especially if the home’s exterior has limited power sources, if you don’t have many tools or if you are concerned about affecting your home’s appearance. In these cases, you may want to hire a professional with experience on prior camera installs. Finally, there are some circumstances where you can’t install your own cameras. Many leading providers of monitored home security systems such as ADT and Vivint require professional installation to make sure everything is in working order. In these cases, a trained technician visits your house to relieve you of this responsibility altogether. If you’re dedicated to doing it yourself and you want a professionally monitored security system, you do have plenty of DIY options: SimpliSafe, Frontpoint and Protect America are all strong choices. To learn more, check out our picks for the best outdoor security cameras or explore our comprehensive comparison guide on the leading home security systems. To start with, Frontpoint is the only home security system that is 100% wireless and 100% cellular.