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Frequently asked questions

There are many different home security systems on the market, and the “best” depends on your needs. When choosing the best home security system for you, compare and contrast the most popular systems to make an informed decision.

First, consider whether you want a professionally installed system like ADT and Vivint or a DIY-friendly solution like Frontpoint and Ring. Professionally installed systems are best for those living in their forever homes who want their equipment installed by experts. DIY systems are best for those looking for a flexible and custom security solution. 

Then, consider the cost. Most home security companies offer system bundles that range in price depending on the type and amount of security products you choose. Some companies like Frontpoint, Ring, and SimpliSafe offer build-your-own packages for complete customization. Additional costs associated with home security are monthly monitoring plans and professional installation. Read our in-depth guide to discover the best home security systems we recommend depending on your needs.

The cost of a home security system depends on various factors, including the system you choose, the equipment you need, monthly monitoring plans, professional installation fees, and more. Budget-friendly systems, like Ring, can start as low as $199 with no installation fees or required subscription plans. Other systems that require professional installation and monthly monitoring start around $500 for equipment and between $25 and $45 per month for monitoring. You can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for robust systems with high-tech features and smart home integration abilities. 

Many home security companies offer customizable systems that range in price depending on the products you choose. Other companies, like Ring, offer individually-sold security products if you don’t want or need an entire system. Lastly, many companies offer payment plans tied to 36 to 60 month-long contracts, enabling you to pay off your security equipment monthly rather than in full. ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint offer some of the best financing options. 

The good news is that there are home security systems available for various budgets, depending on your needs.

When it comes to installing security cameras in your home, the two primary installation options are professional installation and do-it-yourself (DIY) installation. With professional installation, the company you purchase a camera from sends a technician to your home to install the product. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing your security system was installed correctly and all pieces will function together properly. Security companies like ADT and Vivint require professional installation for all their security products. 

If you choose a security camera from a DIY-friendly company like Frontpoint, SimpliSafe, or Ring, you can install the security camera in your own home yourself following step-by-step instructions. In some cases, DIY home security companies offer professional installation for a fee, although it is not required. 

Other home security companies like Brinks offer both DIY-friendly systems and products that require professional installation, so you can choose the option that works best for you

The best home security system without a monthly fee is Ring. Ring products include specific features such as instant alerts, live view, two-way talk, and smart integrations with Amazon Alexa, Smart Locks, and other compatible devices without a paid subscription.

Another benefit of using a Ring home security system is the option to try monthly monitoring for free for 30 days to decide if it’s worth the cost. Ring’s protect plans are significantly less expensive than other home security companies. You can use Ring’s basic subscription plan that includes video recording for one device for $3 per month. Even Ring’s most comprehensive protection plan, Ring Protect Pro, costs just $20 per month. For reference, ADT’s monthly monitoring plans range from $27.99 to $62.99 per month, and Frontpoint’s single plan costs $49.99 per month. Lastly, Ring offers no-contract options, meaning you’re never stuck with a monthly plan you don’t want or need. 

Although Ring is the best home security system without a monthly fee, we don’t recommend it to everyone. “Monthly fees” in home security typically refer to monthly monitoring fees, which ultimately make your security system worth the cost. A monthly plan is worth it to get the most out of your security products and protect your home, family, and valuables in more ways than one. What each plan includes depends on the company. However, most offer 24/7 professional monitoring, emergency alerts and notifications, smart integrations, remote system controls via a mobile app, and video surveillance and recording. Fortunately, there are security systems with affordable monthly monitoring plans. We recommend SimpliSafe for those who want a DIY security system with an inexpensive monthly plan and Vivint for those who want a professionally-installed system with professional monitoring.

$38.99/mo for Pro Install* 

Requires 36-month monitoring contract starting at $38.99/mo. without QSP (24-month monitoring contract in California, total fees from $935.76) and minimum installation amount of $599 for professionally installed systems OR month-to-month monitoring contract for ADT Self Setup systems starting at $24.99 without QSP (one month minimum) and minimum purchase amount of $194.98.    Professional monitoring required for ADT to notify emergency contacts or services on your behalf. Service and installation charges vary depending on system configuration, equipment and services selected. For reactivations of professionally installed systems, a $99 test and inspect fee applies  . Upon early termination by Customer, ADT may charge 75% of the monthly service charges due for the balance of the initial contract term. Quality Service Plan (QSP) is ADT’s Extended Limited Warranty and is available for additional fee. Additional charges may apply in areas that require guard response service for municipal alarm verification. Professionally installed system remains property of ADT. Local permit fees may be required. Prices and offers subject to change and may vary by market. Additional taxes and fees may apply. Satisfactory credit required. A security deposit may be required. Simulated screen images and photos are for illustrative purposes only. For Self-Setup Systems, cancel by calling 888-392-2039 or by following the instructions in your order confirmation email. To avoid contract termination charges, cancellation must occur no later than 30 days after the contract date. Contract termination charges may be applied for cancellation after the initial 30-day period. Equipment must be fully removed and returned before a refund will be processed. Any shipping costs previously paid are non-refundable. Google and Nest Doorbell are trademarks of Google LLC. Some features, including mobile notifications, remote control, video streaming and video recording, require working internet and Wi-Fi. Minimum OS requirements are available at iOS is a trademark of Cisco and is used under license. Google Nest products and services featured are designed to make life easier and to build a helpful home and were not designed specifically for life-sustaining or safety-critical use cases. These products and services are compatible with the ADT Self Setup System, and depend upon working internet, Wi-Fi, and, in some cases, the service availability from ADT and/or Google. To learn more, please visit

6 Month Money-Back Guarantee*

Money-back guarantee only applies after ADT has made attempts to resolve a system-related issue and has not been able to resolve that issue within the first six (6) months of your original activation. ADT Money-Back Guarantee is not transferable. Equipment must be returned before a refund will be processed. Conditions preventing normal system operation cannot be caused by the customer. For professionally installed systems only.


Theft Protection Guarantee**

Customer may receive reimbursement of up to five hundred dollars ($500) of Customer’s homeowner’s insurance deductible (if any) if, and only if, ALL requirements for Theft Protection Guarantee are met to ADT’s reasonable satisfaction. Customer must request reimbursement within 60 days of property loss. Request must be mailed to ADT and include: Theft Protection Guarantee certificate signed by Customer, a letter from Customer requesting reimbursement, a copy of the police report, and a copy of the accepted insurance claim. ADT reserves the right to reject any application for reimbursement that does not comply with all of the requirements. For professionally installed systems only.