Security systems offer plenty of home protection — for those who can afford the mainstream packages. But if you’re home is a little too quirky and your budget is a little too low to pay for monthly security, you need to check out the alternative DIY systems for your smartphone.
6 Best Wireless Alarm Systems for the Money
These wireless alarm system products can be customized with single purchases, swiftly set up, and controlled easily through apps — all without paying extra for professional services.
The Piper Home Security System starts with a one-time $239 price and like the best DIR home security apps, it lets you tap into wireless network capabilities (in this case, through the Z-Wave protocol) through your smartphone to build your own system out of simple devices.
You can build out your wireless alarm system with window sensors or environmental sensors that cost around $50 each. There are also some home automation options for lights and appliances. Open the app and you can set your security to any of four settings, from completely off to fully armed.
Viper, not to be confused with Piper, is an alternative wireless alarm system that works (and looks) in much the same way. For $230 you get a starter kit with one window sensor and one motion sensor. You can add a variety of other sensors, cameras and sirens wherever you want them.
The accompanying app is relatively easy to use and lets you monitor your home on the go. There’s even a separate suite of products for your car, too. Viper is a little less expensive than Piper for starting up, but doesn’t have as many smart home capabilities.
Despite the “i” this product doesn’t have much to do with Apple products (it’s available for iOS and Android devices). What it does offer is one of the best prices out there for DYI alarm system. For $199, you get a startup kit that includes a motion detector, two contact sensors for doors and windows, two remote tags and the control hub with an included siren. You can add more devices as you want, and of course it comes with smartphone capabilities. The primary downside is that adding a security camera is extra expensive at $150 more, and the camera may not work with all home Wi-Fi networks.
Scout is a ZigBee-based system centered on the smartphone. It’s a little more expensive than the other options, but also embraces smartphone functionality more readily, too. For $120, you get a base station and a door sensor. Other sensors for doors, windows, and motion range from $20 to $40. Everything is watched and managed through the smartphone app, which sends notifications when any of the sensors go off. You can immediately choose any number of responses, from ignoring it to calling the police.
The app is also customizable, allowing you to pick different reactions for certain sensors if you would rather get a phone call instead of a cell phone. Watch for this system when it hits shelves in August 2014: One of its few negative points is the lack of a brand-name security camera to go with it.
5. Fortress S02-C
The name may sound like something from a video game, but the product is actually the latest generation in the Fortress line of home security systems. The price has dropped to around $190 and the system comes with a primary panel, 10 small contact sensors, two motion detectors, two different types of sirens, a panic button and three remote keychain fobs.
This is one of the best prices you’ll be able to find for that many sensors, but the unit does have its limitations: Fortress can auto-call your phone in case of an emergency, but it does not include any app integration for smartphone management.
At $500, Tattletale offers one of the most expensive single devices on this list, but it’s also very inclusive. The control hub uses a touch screen to control a variety of security devices, including sensors for smoke, motion, window breakage and open doors. The hub itself is has its own motion sensor if you want to use it to watch doorways. It is also portable, allowing you to control sensors and receive alarms no matter where you are in the house.
It has a siren and strobe light that activate to warn you about any danger signs. The separate sensor devices range from $60 to $90. Like the Fortress system, this is a useful option if you do not want to depend on a smartphone for your DIY security system.
These budget wireless alarm systems should do the job for anyone looking to protect their family and property.
Photo Credit: Philips Communications