How Much do Home Alarm Systems Really Cost?

A good home security system can cost slightly more than $100 or can cost more than a thousand dollars. Differences in cost often relate to how much or how little time and research a homeowner invests in learning about security systems. Prices will also vary depending upon whether you opt for an expensive home security system sold by a third-party vendor or whether you decide to save a bundle of cash by installing a worthwhile and reliable system on your own.

How To Begin Pricing Home Security Systems

In order to determine the true cost of a home security system, it is important to first assess your security needs. Who or what, precisely, are you trying to protect? Do you live in a high-crime area? What types of break-ins are most common in the area where you live? What is the current state of your home’s security? Engaging the help of a home security checklist is wise as all of these questions and more need to be addressed before you can begin pricing your best options.

Hardwired Vs. Wireless Alarm Systems

After determining what it is that you desire from a home security system, educating yourself on the various types of home security systems will help you find one that best suits your needs, as well as your budget. For instance, although a hardwired system is the most reliable alarm system that you can buy, installing one can be a bit more labor intensive since holes will need to be drilled into your home’s structure and other wiring work may need to be done. Whether you pay a professional installer, hire a handyman or follow careful instructions on how to install a home security system on your own, the end result will likely cost several hundred dollars. A do-it-yourself installation, however, will save you quite a bit if you opt for a reliable hardwired alarm system.

Wireless systems, on the other hand, are easier to self-install. With units ranging from $99.50 to just over $500, these systems are often selected over hardwired ones and can be just as effective. Be aware, however, that wireless systems can be easier to disable than their hardwired counterparts. It is up to you to calculate the risks and the benefits involved in choosing between a wired and a wireless home security system.

Alarm Monitoring Costs

You will also need to determine whether you need an unmonitored or a monitored alarm system. If choosing a monitored system, be sure to calculate the long-term annual cost of alarm monitoring when comparison shopping. If you choose to install a home security system yourself, you may be able to access monitoring for as little as $8.95 per month. Leasing or purchasing a similar alarm system from a third-party vendor that includes monitoring, however, can cost quite a bit since those monthly monitoring costs can average $20 – $25 per month or more. With the cost of equipment, installation and monitoring, it is not unusual to find homeowners who have paid several thousand dollars for a home security system purchased through a vendor when they could have acquired the same protection for a fraction of the cost if they’d chosen a DIY option.

Adding Layers Of Protection

Bearing in mind that security experts recommend that homeowners have at least two separate systems in place at all times, it is also wise to add the cost of secondary devices and deterrents into the overall cost of securing a home. Such secondary systems provide an extra layer of security and protection and include things like alarm monitoring, keyless entry systems, surveillance cameras and motion detectors. These additional systems and deterrents will also range in cost from a few dollars per month to a one-time cost of $50 or more depending upon which ones you need to help best secure your home and your family.

The High Cost Of Doing Business With Certain Security Vendors

While you can install your entire home security system yourself for a lot less money than a third-party company will, some people will still opt to pay a vendor to do so. If you are among these people, there are a few things that you should be aware of. Homeowners are often overcharged by security vendors and some have been outright scammed into paying large sums of money for alarm systems. For a more thorough explanation of the various warnings about home security companies and their representatives, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Long-Term Contracts Can Be Costly

If you are leaning towards using a home security vendor to set your system up, be sure to also consider the long-term costs of leasing equipment, if applicable, as well as calculating the cost of monthly monitoring for an extended period of time.  Be aware that it is not unusual for alarm companies to offer free or very low-cost equipment in exchange for a lengthy, more expensive equipment lease with a monitoring contract. When compared to similar and effective DIY alarm systems with inexpensive monitoring, the upfront purchase may cost more, but the long-term cost of the home security system is often hundreds of dollars less.

More Federal Trade Commission Warnings

Often, companies hungry for business will hire a representative to specifically target homes that advertise the presence of a home security system with outdoor signs and window stickers. Sales reps will even try to convince a homeowner that equipment must be upgraded or outright replaced for various reasons despite nothing being wrong the current equipment. Many times unscrupulous reps will pressure a homeowner to immediately sign a new contract to upgrade or purchase new equipment. Homeowners who are unsure about a company or who are uncomfortable about the tactics being used to secure a new contract are advised to call the Better Business Bureau.

Inexpensive Deterrents and Home Security Systems

As mentioned earlier, a good home security system should also include multiple deterrents. These are usually very inexpensive options, such as a portable lock bumping protector, which is sold for less than $20, or an alert that makes the sound of a vicious attack dog each time a visitor approaches a home, which sells for around $80. After researching the many options available, homeowners are often surprised to find that quality systems and deterrents made by trusted home security brands are not only easy to install, but are also inexpensive with many totaling just a few hundred dollars in all.

12 comments on “How Much do Home Alarm Systems Really Cost?
  1. john says:

    Very good article. Not every one is capable of installing their own system so its important to find a quality company. Hardwired is always the best over the long term. But sometimes you have to go wireless. Dogs and locked doors and windows are always a good start.

  2. LaToya says:

    This is a very insightful article. Lots of good information on comparing DIY home alarms and home alarm companies. Thanks for doing the research Laura.

  3. emeline Paulson says:

    Please call to give me info re: what components I need to buy for a wireless home security system.

    Thank you


  4. Ovid Dillard says:

    I am very pleased with alarm man.for. The money you
    Can’t do better.most of these companies are just to high
    No one should pay more than 20 dollars a month
    For service.some will stick you with a two or three year
    Contract and charge you 30 or 40 dollars a month.

  5. home security systems says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This
    is a very well written article. I will be sure
    to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.

    Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  6. Mich says:

    Thank you for the comprehensive coverage, which provides details of the various options and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

  7. June B says:

    Thank you for the very helpful advice. It sounds like DIY option can be just as effective and cost significantly less than a full service option.

  8. Vince says:

    I think u should stress that homeowners need to research their local laws before they self-install an alarm. In many states, you have to file for an alarm permit prior to install. If u fail to file for permit prior, my particular area fines $100 pus permit fee. Some jurisdictions require a licensed installer and may even require permits for low voltage. That means if u install a low voltge system in an area that requires permits and u didn’t get one, youve just voided your home insurance. If your alarm isn’t installed to code and you get false dispatches, you can very easily be billed. Leaving this important info out is irresponsible in my opinion. Is DIY a viable option? Of course…but without due research a homeowner can face stiff fines if they don’t follow the local laws and ordinances regarding alarms. You’re the professionals here, you should know better.

  9. Gene Sterling says:

    Vince you sound like you work for an alarm vendor! :(

  10. Jason says:

    As a licensed installer here in NY, Vince does make some excellent points. A homeowner can be fined, and very stiffly for false alarms if they are installed improperly. There’s nothing wrong about informing you of the consequences of installing on your own, especially if you do become fined but had no clue that it was possible. A smart consumer is a well informed consumer!

  11. Hollie says:

    We have recently become aware of a prowler on our property, and have had our vehicles tampered with. I’m looking mainly for a motion light + outdoor security camera or two. Any suggestions on that equipment would be greatly appreciated. And yes we have filed reports with both our local PD and our county sheriffs office. Thanks in advance for any advice!

  12. admin says:

    Home security is something we all know we should pay attention to, but that we don’t always think about.
    Security lights cost less than security cameras and can also be convenient just for everyday use.

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