Many parts make up a home security system. Cameras monitor your house when you’re away, door and window sensors catch criminals coming through entryways, and alarm systems alert both you and the police of potential danger. But how do you budget for such a complex system?
The potential costs of a high-quality home security system have a great deal of influence over whether you will choose to invest in one or not. Home security costs are dependent on several factors, including the level of security you want, the type of installation you choose (professional or DIY), the amount/type of equipment, and the level of monitoring.
Hive, a premier home automation company in Tampa Bay, has installed thousands of security systems during our 12 years in business. From systems ranging from a few cameras and sensors to full coverage, in-depth, proactive security, Hive has seen every type of system for every kind of home.
In this article, we cover:
- DIY versus Professional Installation
- Vulnerable Areas of the Home to Consider
- The Costs of Home Security Equipment
DIY versus Professional Installation
Should you hire someone to install your security system or should you do it yourself? It’s helpful to answer this question right off the bat. Installation type affects your equipment cost along with the reliability of your system in the long run.
The cost of a DIY system is less complicated. Most DIY system websites list their prices for individual components and monthly fees. This route gives you the freedom to shop around and find the most affordable price. Security companies often offer a “base package” which contains basic alarm equipment. This might include one or two cameras, motion sensors, and an alarm panel.
Be aware of potential compatibility issues. While it may seem like a steal to buy pieces of your system from different companies to lower your cost, they might not link up.
As discussed in our Common Problems with Security Systems article, many companies use different software or programming. This makes them incompatible with other products. Homeowners are then compelled to buy most, if not all, of their equipment from the same manufacturer, no matter how reliable it is.
Research the equipment you’re interested in and ask about its compatibility with other systems. Hiring a professional installer has the advantage of already having compatible equipment. Taking the time to research their offerings is still beneficial. However, you will also have the chance to ask them detailed questions you may not have been able to answer before.
Always take the starting price with a grain of salt, whether you have a professionally installed system or a DIY one. Nearly every company publishes a price for a base set of equipment. But the number of components included in that starter package is well below what most consumers install. This makes the published base price on the low side.
Vulnerable Parts of the Home
The next key step is to decide how much coverage you need.
If you only want security while you’re away, a few door sensors, motion detectors, and fire alarms are enough. Yet, you may need a more comprehensive system for protection from intruders at night or at other times when you’re home.
Such a system should cover every point of entry into your home with a full suite of door sensors, glass-break sensors, motion detectors, and possibly cameras, which deter criminals from entering your home.
It’s vital to protect the doors and windows on the back of your home first because they’re the most vulnerable. Sliding glass doors are an attractive target for burglars because they’re made of tempered glass and are easy to break without getting injured.
Other vulnerable areas include garage doors, windows, and any specialty doors. Our article Alarm Systems: What You Should Know covers all potential at-risk areas of your home and how to protect yourself and your family.
How Much Does Security Equipment Cost?
Since many factors influence the type of system you want, it’s can be hard to pin down the budget. Using price averages, let’s break down how much the owner of 2,000 square foot home could expect when budgeting for a home security system.
Note: Prices averages gathered from studies by U.S. News and Forbes.
DIY Home Security Costs
Assuming you’re pursuing a DIY installation, expect the price to vary from product to product. The average price of a single outdoor camera is around $125. Likewise, a set of 4 outdoor security cameras averages around $500 in most cases.
Knowing exactly how much security you need plays a big part in overall cost. As seen above, bulk packages tend to be more affordable than buying each item separately.
Motion sensors, often the cheaper products in a package, can start at around $15. For example, the Energizer LED light sensor. These sensors emit a strong light whenever something passes in front of it. However, sensors ranging upwards of $50 can connect to other lights and alarm systems, alerting the homeowner if someone enters the property unwarranted.
Alarm panels average around $300 and often need a monthly monitoring fee to be efficient. Professional monitoring, cellular backup, and multicamera video recording can start as low as $10 a month with Amazon’s Ring Alarm, which charges $60-$100 for the base product. Prices climb to nearly $100 a month with a large, professionally installed system that’s bundled with a financing plan for the equipment.
So how does that add up? Let’s say our homeowner wants four cameras outside, one to monitor each corner of his house. Add a pack of 5 window/door sensors averaging around $20 and a motion sensor. Rounding out the equipment is an alarm panel and monitoring service.
For the equipment above, the homeowner can expect to spend $700 to $1000 depending on the brand, equipment additions, and monitoring plan.
Alarm Company Home Security Costs
Alarm companies offer equipment packages. This can include cameras, motion detectors, and door sensors. Take Ring as an example, which burst onto the home security scene with its video doorbell system in 2013.
Ring offers security packages starting at $300 with a variety of vendors. Their base package includes one indoor camera, four contact sensors, a motion detector, and an alarm panel. Professional installation is not included in this package.
SimpliSafe, another well know home security company, offers packages starting at around $200. These packages include 1 motion sensor, 3 entry sensors, 1 panic button, an alarm panel, and a key fob.
Using these companies as an example, a homeowner looking to get 4 cameras, at least 5 window/door sensors, a motion sensor, and an alarm panel can expect to spend around $800 to $900 for their system. Homeowners looking to increase their security inside with features like fire alarms, indoor cameras and sensors, and glass breaks can expect to spend an additional $150-$500 per product and package.
Professionally-installed Home Security Costs
You can expect a similar difference for other professionally-installed systems. The difference between the published starter price and the price you pay will be less if your home is small. Thus it will be more expensive if you want an arsenal of sensors and cameras or own a large property.
You’ll find that many professional installation companies are partnered with a monitoring service like ADT. These companies offer a $600 base price, with monthly monitoring fees ranging from $30 to $60 a month.
Is Home Security Worth the Price?
You should never underestimate the importance of protecting your home and family. The key to getting the most out of your home security systems is to research. The prospect of finding every vulnerable area of your home and pricing each item can be overwhelming. However, many companies, including Hive, provide consultations to help you best protect your home.
These consultations allow you to talk to a home security professional and create a budget that works best for you. Price should never get in the way of keeping your home secure.
Hive offers free consultations for all smart home installations. Contact us by calling (813) 957-9733 or reaching out through our contact page.