Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.
Friday, August 12th
While do-it-yourself home security systems may all start to sound alike, the service provided by Utah-based Link Interactive stands out in three ways.
Not a service we recommend
First, they are one of the only systems on the market that is 100% cellular. You can connect your system to your home WiFi, and any alerts or alarms will be sent through both pathways - whichever one is fastest at the moment the system is triggered. But, if you live in an area where the WiFi is not the most reliable, knowing that your system will function and send through the same 4G LTE network as your cell phone if needed may give you peace of mind.
Choose a preselected package or create your own
Most home security systems today let you design an a la carte package of components, and Ring is no different. You're welcome to hand-select just the gear you want to build out your ideal DIY setup. However, if you like the idea of a ready-made package, Ring has two to choose from: Alarm and Alarm Pro. You'll get just the basics in the Alarm kit: base station and keypad, four contact sensors, one motion detector, and one range extender. If you select that package, you'll then see options you can add - like an indoor camera, video doorbell, or two spotlight or floodlight cameras. That package starts at $249.99 and goes up to a little under $1000 if you choose the Deluxe Pro Bundle. (That package comes with two wired floodlights and not one but two video doorbells - which may be better suited for business owners who have multiple entry points being used regularly.)
Secure your home network with the Alarm Pro package
How about protecting your network at the same time? Ring's Alarm Pro package comes with a built-in eero Wi-Fi 6 router, and there are several equipment packages to choose from here too, starting at $249.99. The advantage of Alarm Pro is that your Ring security system will stay online even if your main internet connection goes out, as well as offering protection to your home network.
Tech for days
Just the basics or every possible component: Ring systems are capable of incorporating as much as you want, whether you buy it all right away or add to your DIY home security system over time. Attractive options include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, "smart" home gear like light dimmers and thermostats, electronic locks and more. If you're trying to save money, take a peek at the Certified Refurbished section on the Ring website. And, as long as your order is over $49, you won't pay anything for shipping.
Choose between professional and DIY monitoring
Most people looking for a DIY home security system still want to know that someone is on watch, monitoring for alerts and dispatching emergency services as needed. Ring offers that kind of coverage for $20/month; our research indicates that you'll want to take the time to set up your Ring system to minimize any false alarms. On the other hand, you may not want anyone outside of your household to have eyes and ears inside and outside of your property; in that case, Ring is one of very few options for do-it-yourself monitoring. You'll have that capability with both the Alarm and Alarm Pro packages.
Absolutely terrible feedback from Ring customers
Given how popular Ring's security equipment is, we were completely floored by how negative their reviews are. We saw that they had a "Not Rated" designation when we most recently looked at their listing with the Better Business Bureau - due to the BBB having to reopen a half-dozen complaints that had been closed previously. Not that bad so far, right? There were about 250 complaints filed there in the year prior to this evaluation, which also isn't overly concerning for such a big name in home security. However, when we looked at customer feedback elsewhere, it painted a pretty awful picture: thousands and thousands of people said that Ring deserves the lowest possible rating (and less than 20% who would give it a perfect five stars). People described doorbells that stopped working at moderately cold outdoor temperatures, challenges with getting equipment repaired or replaced under warranty, problems with billing, and having a hard time getting any response whatsoever from Ring customer support.
Your privacy may be at risk
Those poor customer reviews are bad enough, but it gets worse. All it takes is plugging in a few search keywords (try "Ring" and "hacked" or "Ring" and "police" ) and you'll see for yourself. Ring seems to be taking steps to resolve those concerns, but it's going to take a lot of effort (and results) before we'd feel comfortable with having a Ring security system in our home. After all, who wants to feel like they're being watched in their own home?
Not a trustworthy DIY home security system
For a long time, your only option was Ring if you wanted a video doorbell. Not anymore: almost every home security system offers that equipment these days, without the concerns we have about Ring's product quality or privacy issues. Ring has a lot of room for improvement, and until we see significant changes we can't recommend them for your DIY home security needs.
Across the board, more homeowners are turning to home security systems with do-it-yourself installation. After all, why pay for an expensive professional install and lengthy service contracts when you can choose just the equipment you need and set it up on your own? Then, when it comes time to move, all you have to do is take it down and put it right back up in your new place.
The first thing to decide when choosing a DIY home security system is monitoring: do you also want to do that yourself or would you prefer 24/7 professional care? Most homeowners want to know that someone is on duty round-the-clock and choose to pay for external monitoring, but you've got options if you want to keep an eye on things on your own.
Your next decision relates to your setup. What equipment is necessary to provide the coverage you've got in mind? At a minimum, your DIY home security system will likely include enough door sensors to cover all first-floor entry points and a panel/touchscreen hub for arming and disarming it. Other popular components include indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells, and sensors for smoke, fire and carbon monoxide. You may be able to buy your gear a la carte, though some security companies require you to purchase a package and then add on any extra components you need.
Finally, consider your budget. How much can you afford to spend, not just on the equipment but also on the professional monitoring if you so choose? Bear in mind that when you add higher-end features like video cameras with storage, you often have to pay more each month for the service contract.
Now that you have an idea of how you want your DIY home security system to be set up, how can you tell which company you should pick? Here are some criteria you can look for as you make the decision:
To help you protect your property and loved ones, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular DIY home security systems on the market today. We're confident that this information will give you everything you need to choose the most effective coverage at a price you can afford.
Select any 2 DIY Home Security Companies to compare them head to head
Before & After: This Renter-Friendly DIY Added a Personal Touch for ...
When you’re a renter, it can be challenging to make your home a true expression of yourself. But Cyn Moreno has a knack for adding personality to any home. She created a bright and utterly distinct ...
Tue, 09 Aug 2022