Home Security System Cost

The cost of installing a home security system is $700 - $1,900‚Äč.

In this guide

Monitored vs. unmonitored home security systems
Wireless vs. hardwired
DIY vs. professional installation
How to choose
Top home security systems
Equipment
Installation
Monitoring plans
Other services
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQs

How much does it cost to install a home security system?

A home security system protects your family, home and valuables from burglars, intruders, fires, and carbon monoxide poisoning even when you are away. Most systems consist of a central control panel, and an entryway keypad with numerous sensors 1 and motion detectors 1 installed around the house. If any of the doors or windows are opened while the system is armed, a sensor 1 will send a signal to the control panel, which will sound an alarm. If you have a monitored home security system, it will also simultaneously use your phone line to call an off-site monitoring unit. An employee will then immediately call the house and ask for a password. If no one picks up or the person who picks up is unable to give the correct password, the police will be informed.

According to an FBI crime statistics report, a total of 1,579,527 houses were burgled in the U.S. with the victims suffering over $3.5 billion in property losses. Installing a home security system makes it harder for a burglar to break in and chances are greater that a burglar will bypass a house if it is too tough or requires a greater effort to get past the security measures. If in case a burglar does break in, the alarm may scare him away. Additionally, a home security system may also save you some money on your home insurance premiums.

On an average, you can expect to pay around $99 for activation, $600 for equipment (if bought separately), $35 per month for monitoring (basic monitored system with three-year contract) for a total cost of $735. This would be for standard home security system system that consists of one control unit, two or three door/window sensors 1, one motion detector 1, one video camera, one key fob, and siren.

Monitored vs. unmonitored home security systems

Home security systems can be monitored or unmonitored. Unmonitored security systems are comparatively inexpensive because homeowners do not have to pay for 24/7 professional monitoring. Moreover, they are easy to install. At the same time, an unmonitored home security system means that you are on your own. If an intruder breaks in and you are not at home, there is no one to call emergency services. You have to hope that someone will hear the alarm and call the police. A self-monitoring security system, which sends a notification to a specified list of people if a sensor 1 is triggered and allows you to monitor your home remotely using a cellphone, is usually considered to be a type of unmonitored home security system.

In the case of monitored home security systems, an alarm will be sounded when a sensor 1 is triggered and the monitoring center will notify emergency services after evaluating the situation. It provides peace of mind about the safety of your family and gives you the added assurance that someone will call the police in case of an emergency. Since a monitored home security system includes the cost of monitoring in addition to the equipment, costs are significantly higher. Monthly fees can range from $15 to $60, depending on what you have signed up for. Some companies offer a discount on the equipment if you sign a three-year contract ($600 to $2,160). The alarm system will work even if you don’t sign up for professional monitoring.

While you can install some monitored systems yourself, others have to be installed by professionals and can cost you anywhere between $99 and $399. Unmonitored systems are mostly DIY, which means you don’t have to pay for professional installation.

While a monitored home security system is definitely more secure than an unmonitored one, you may choose to buy either option depending on how safe you think your neighborhood is and how much you can trust your friends and neighbors to look out for you.

Wireless vs. hardwired

Home security systems can be of two types: wired or wireless. In a fully wireless system, the different sensors 1 installed around the house communicate wirelessly with the control panel, usually via radio frequency and the control panel uses your broadband or is equipped with a cellular uplink, which enables it to communicate with the monitoring station. In a fully wired system, the sensors 1 are connected to the central panel with wires in the walls and floors and the unit communicates with the monitoring station via the landline. Some systems may be a combination of both, for example, the sensors 1 and the control panel communicate wirelessly but use the landline for external communication.

One disadvantage of fully wired systems is that they fail to work if the phone lines are cut. This is why some new models use the landline as their primary mode of connection with a cellular backup. Though hardwired security system components are typically less expensive than wireless system components, they have to be professionally installed, which increases the total cost. If you are planning to install a hardwired system in a finished home, you may also have to do some drywall 2 repair ($60-$90 per hour) after installation.

Another advantage of wireless systems is that they are easy to upgrade. You can buy a new component or add-on in the market and simply swap the existing one. However, some wireless systems can be prone to various types of interference emitted by other devices such as microwaves, baby monitors etc. and structural interference.

DIY vs. professional installation

Wireless systems are usually easy to install and DIY. The equipment and setup instructions will be mailed to you when you buy a home monitoring package. Wired systems have to be installed by professionals ($99), which adds to the total cost. It will also involve drilling holes or making permanent modifications to your home. Most companies use their own installation staff or sublet it to approved contractors. While you can hire an electrician ($65-$85 per hour) to do the installation, check the company’s policies to know if it will affect the warranty.

How to choose

If your home is already wired for a security system, you can simply activate it by calling the provider or update the existing technology to switch to a different provider. Wireless systems are more suitable for people living in rental homes or historic homes, where you cannot make any structural modifications. If you live in a remote area with limited cellular network, a hardwired system may be more suitable for your needs. You may also want to explore security systems with home automation options that allow you to control lighting and thermostat 3 remotely or view live video using your smartphone.

Top home security systems

Security systemProsCons
Protect AmericaLow initial investmentThree-year contract with high cancellation charges (100% of the remaining amount)
Sky Link Alarm/Alert SystemEasy to installNo professional 24/7 monitoring
MONI smart securityWireless systemLong term contracts (three to five years)
Xfinity HomeCustomizable2 year contract minimum
FrontPointOffers a 30-day risk-free trialDefault 3-year contract
Cox HomelifeCustomizable packagesAvailable only in Cox service areas
LiveWatchTouchcontrol panelDefault package doesn’t have enough sensors 1 for an average-sized house, may have to buy additional sensors 1 separately
LinkInteractiveWireless/cellular systemThree-year contract with automatic renewal
iSmartAlarmWireless systemNo battery backup
SimpliSafe Home SecurityLow monthly feesHigher upfront cost
GetSafeEasy to installMonthly charges for self-monitoring
AbodeWireless system1 year warranty
VivintWireless system3-day cancellation period (30 days for seniors)
AT&T digital lifeWireless systemTwo-year contract


Equipment

A basic starter kit for a home security system will consist of a central control panel, 2-3 door/window sensors 1, siren, and a motion detector 1. Depending on your needs, you can buy additional door and window sensors 1 ($15-$60), keyfobs ($25-$50), motion detectors 1 ($30-$50), indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras ($99-$200), smoke/CO detectors 1 ($30-$100), etc. Remember that some providers may require you to switch to a higher plan if you add more components to your security system.

Installation

Most wireless systems are easy to install and can be set up by the homeowner in less than an hour. Wired systems require professional installation ($99-$399). Most home security providers sublet the installation to local contractors.

Monitoring plans

Home security monitoring plans vary widely from provider to provider. Though the industry standard has been a three-year contract for a long time, a few companies have started offering month-to-month and annual plans as of late. Early termination of the contract may require you to pay the balance amount in some cases.

Most starter plans include 24/7 monitoring and protection against home intrusion. Premium packages may include home automation capabilities, live video monitoring, and protection against fire, water leaks, and medical emergencies as well.

Other services

While reliable 24/7 monitoring and quick response time are essential features in any security system, some providers also offer other useful services such as duress signals (a secondary code that can be entered on the alarm keypad to notify the monitoring center if you are forced to disarm the system by an attacker), set-up guidance (instructions to set up and activate the security system), panic button 4 ($30 additional, to press in case of emergencies), emergency response plans (some systems use text messaging to verify emergencies before dispatching personnel and avoid false alarms). Some of these features may be included only in the premium packages.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • Smart locks ($99-$200) allow keyless door entry and generally use a smartphone app as the virtual “key”. Also, if you integrate a smart lock with a compatible home security system, you can easily set up rules that involve the lock.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Do not forget to take into account the ongoing cost of repairing and maintaining your home security system. If you buy an unmonitored alarm, you are fully responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement expenses. If you buy a monitored security system on a contract, many companies offer a warranty on the equipment and perform reduced cost repairs and replacements during the warranty period.
  • Some companies reduce upfront costs or provide the start-up equipment for free if you sign up for a long-term monthly monitoring service.
  • If you live in a small apartment and want to monitor your place when you are away, you can use a surveillance camera (around $1,200).
  • A good home security system company will not try to sell you unnecessary equipment, intimidate you into making a quick decision, pressure you to overspend, or hit you with hidden charges, policies, or other unwanted surprises after you’ve signed a contract.
  • Some home security providers offer a lifetime warranty on the equipment. However, this warranty is valid only if you are still being monitored by them. There may also be other requirements such as monthly testing of equipment to ensure that the warranty remains in place. Do not forget to read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Before signing a contract, check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the company.
  • Some counties or communities may require you to pay a fee before installing a monitored security system. In most cases, the home security company should be able to tell you if you need a permit in your area and walk you through the steps to obtain one. If not, check with the local governing body. Without a permit, you may have to pay high false alarm fees.
  • Some providers have introduced new features that allow users to communicate with their security system using voice commands. If you are interested, you can look for a home security system that can integrate effortlessly with Amazon Echo Dot and its voice assistant Alexa. Home automation features are typically included in the pricier premium packages.
  • Some insurance companies offer a discount of 5%-20% on premiums if you have a monitored home security system. Generally, the more features your security system has, the greater the discount you might be eligible for on your homeowners insurance. Find out if your insurance provider offers such benefits.
  • Some home insurance policies may require the homeowner to install a security system if the home was burglarized previously or if the home is located in a neighborhood with frequent home thefts.

FAQs

  • What is the best home security system?

Most review websites report Frontpoint as the best home security system with Vivint and LiveWatch Plug & Protect coming a close second.

  • How much is an ADT security system per month?

ADT security system offers various monitoring packages ranging from $36.99 per month to $52.99 per month.     

  • What is Vivint security?

Vivint Smart Home is one of the leading providers of smart home security systems in the U.S.

  • How much is Comcast security?

Comcast security costs range from $24.99 per month to $49.95 per month. All customers also have to pay an installation fee of $99.

How much is a home security system?

A monitored home security system can cost as much as $15-$60 per month. Some providers may require you to pay for equipment, installation and activation upfront ($99-$650). An unmonitored or self-monitored system can cost between $70 and $600, depending on the components you choose to install.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Detectors: (Also known as Sensors) Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal
2 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
3 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off
4 Panic button: An electronic device used to summon security, police, or emergency services in situations where there is a threat to persons or property

Cost to install a home security system varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Amagansett, NY
+11%
Athens, GA
-9%
Banning, CA
-6%
Cortland, OH
-23%
Dekalb, IL
+3%
Harlingen, TX
-33%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Port Saint Lucie, FL
-18%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Sumter, SC
-24%
Westlake, LA
0%

Labor cost in your zip code

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Methodology and sources