Science & Technology



CNET: The best home security systems of 2020: Live monitoring, DIY kits, video doorbells


Published in Science & Technology News

The home security industry is booming after a decade or so of app-enabled upheaval. There's a new wave of less expensive DIY systems, cameras, smart locks and video doorbells to consider alongside the professional alarm and monitoring system options that have been around for decades. Big names in tech like Amazon and Google want a part of the action, too. It's admittedly quite a bit to take in - and today's home security providers don't necessarily always make it easy to comparison shop, to say the least.

That's where we come in, though - not only by putting these systems and their best features to the test at the CNET Smart Home, but by evaluating the whole buying process, as well. We look at other important factors, too - including the privacy concerns that come with filling your house with cloud-connected cameras.

So, are you ready to set up a base station, install that window sensor and door sensor, and connect your doorbell camera to an alarm monitoring service or home security company? Keep reading for our breakdown of the best home security systems that we've tested to date, including DIY home security systems you can install yourself, professionally installed systems that promise to automate your whole home, and standalone gadgets like video doorbells, too.


Best DIY system

SimpliSafe Home Security


CNET TAKE: SimpliSafe's easy-to-install, easy-to-use security system ( well-positioned as the best home security system when it comes to value. It offers a comprehensive set of features, security cameras and a very good mix of battery-powered sensors, all of which performed reliably well in our tests. Starter kits begin at about $230, or you can build your own custom system with the exact mix of devices you're interested in.

Professional monitoring starts at $15 per month, but you'll almost certainly want to spring for the $25-per-month plan, which adds in things like mobile app controls and voice support via Alexa and the Google Assistant. That also means that you should go with another pick like Abode or Ring if you don't want professional monitoring via a monitoring station but still want to control your system from a smartphone app.


Best professional installation system


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