To Do or Not To Do: DIY Security System

The number of Do-It-Yourself security systems and products are growing and the options are tempting.

But, DIY security isn’t for everyone.

In fact, the percentage of U.S. households with professionally monitored alarm systems is growing, while the percentage of homes with self-monitored (DIY) systems is not.

You’re really looking at three options: professionally installed and monitored security, DIY monitored security and DIY self-monitored security.


If you’re looking for a monitored security system, the DIY deal may not be as great as it appears. In fact, you may pay $170 LESS for a professionally-installed security system and one year of monitoring.

We’ve found a DIY system can be $650 for the first year ($350 for the equipment at $24.99 per month) compared with $480 for a professionally-installed system and one year of monitoring (free equipment with $39.99 per month for monitoring). QEI Security & Technology also offers a free service warranty for the term of the contract.

Self-monitored products are really in a different category because you will not be paying a monthly monitoring fee. These are products like Canary, Piper and iSmartAlarm. All are around $200 for the equipment and you monitor your system (which means a monitoring center and the police are not automatically notified).


Besides cost, the other main consideration is installation.

How comfortable are you that you can properly install and service the system yourself? If you think you can do it, then a DIY system is a great option.

If you have kids or pets, you might want the more sophisticated equipment and installation that a professional can provide. They know the best places for motion detectors so your dog isn’t constantly tripping the alarm (they’ll also choose the best type of motion detector based on your dog’s breed and weight).

Most professional security companies, including QEI Security & Technology, offer free installation because we know how important it is for the system to be installed correctly.


Another consideration is convenience.

Most DIY products will each have their own smartphone app, so you could be juggling three or four apps, depending on what you have in your home. With a professionally-installed system, you can control your security system, cameras, locks, lights and thermostats with one app.

If video is important to you, read the fine print.

Many DIY cameras do not have the ability to record video or even send you a snapshot when the door is opened. A professionally-installed system by QEI Security & Technology can send you a snapshot or video clip every time the door is opened and you can program your system to save any video you want.

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