How Much Does a Home Security System Cost?

Kyle Lemmon
Jan 07, 2021
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At a glance

If you’re just settling into your new home, you’ve likely spent a pretty penny on moving already, so the last thing you want to do is pay too much for a new home security system.

Pricing out a home security system can be difficult and confusing. Even when the prices are displayed on the provider’s website, you have to wonder, “What is this really going to cost me?”

The average cost of a home security system

The average upfront cost of a home security system ranges between $250 and $1,500+. These costs include equipment, installation, and activation fees, and are one-time, upfront charges.

A monitored security system is truly the best way to protect your home. The average monthly cost for home security monitoring services is $30/month ($360/year). Monitoring prices can be as low as $9.99/month ($120/year) for basic monitoring, and upwards of $100/month ($1,200 annually) for more premium services.

Best home security systems

Whether you're looking for a DIY home security system or one with professional monitoring, every alarm system is a little different. Here are some of the best home security companies to consider.

Security System
Lowest monitoring cost
Installation type
Installation & activation fees
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Data effective 08/10/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.

Important home security costs to consider

Nothing’s worse than finally moving into your new place, cracking open your first bill, and finding unexpected charges attached. You can avoid having a negative experience by understanding the different costs you may encounter. Get familiar with these four types of costs so you can avoid unnecessary charges.

Equipment costs

The equipment costs make up the bulk of your upfront charges. Depending on the home alarm system and the equipment you choose, the price can vary drastically. Some companies will advertise “new-customer equipment pricing” where you can get up to $1,500 worth of “free” equipment upfront. It sounds like a great deal, but make sure to read the fine print on these types of offers, because “free” is almost never free.

Let’s zoom in on the fine print: 60-month monitoring agreement (48 months in AR, MI, WI, or CA total fees from $2,927.52) at minimum $60.99/month. Up to $199 activation fee may apply, home ownership, and satisfactory credit history required ... Taxes and permit fees may apply. Additional equipment may be added for a fee and alternative packages are available.

Notice all the extra “fees” that may apply. Also, in order to qualify for this offer you have to sign up for one of the more expensive monthly service plans at $60.99/month. The $1,500 of “free” equipment gets paid for in your monthly payment. The savings upfront is definitely nice, but “free” is still not free.

Activation fees

An activation fee is one of those hidden fees that you don’t hear about until you’re already on the hook. Though this is a one-time charge, it can put some dents in your wallet. Activation fees range between $0 and $199, and it’s important to know that it is a separate charge from the installation fee.

Make sure to not only ask but READ the contract before you sign to see if there is an activation fee. Many customer complaints come from verbal agreements not being fulfilled because they are not found in the contract.

Installation fees

Some home security companies charge a separate installation fee to set up their equipment in your home. The truth is, professional installation isn’t necessary. Advances in security technology make it super easy to install your home security system yourself. Here's a list of providers who offer DIY security equipment so you can skip these fees:

Monitoring costs per month

This monthly charge is for the service of having your home monitored 24/7 by an external monitoring center. This cost is based on the monitoring plan and equipment you chose during signup.

Most home security companies are pretty straightforward with their monitoring package pricing. Some companies, however, set a base monitoring price and adjust it (add to it) depending on the specific equipment you have monitored.

For instance, let’s say your base monitoring price is $42.99/month; if you add monitored security cameras to your system it can tack on $15/month. Additional charges are added for each monitored smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector (generally around $2 per smoke and detector $6 per carbon monoxide detector). This brings your monthly monitoring cost to $65.99/month.

Make sure to READ the contract to see whether additional monthly costs apply to monitor the equipment you have selected before you sign up.

Breakdown of home security

Like most businesses, home security companies market their lowest possible prices.  It's important for you to understand the pros and cons of certain deals. You might pay less up front, but you could end up paying more in the long run.

How exactly are companies lowering their costs on expensive security equipment and who is it actually benefiting, you or the company? Home security companies lower their system prices in a few different ways:

1. Entry-level pricing. The advertised price generally represents the lowest service provided by the company.

For example: Protect America advertises their lowest monthly package at $19.99/month. But the low cost comes with a significant catch. The Copper package is a LANDLINE based service. Not only are landline security systems easily compromised, more and more people are cutting their landline altogether. A cellular monitoring system provides a great deal more security than a landline. You should price your system for cellular monitoring, which can cost more, but is worth the upgrade.

2. Reducing the upfront costs for customers who sign a monthly monitoring contract. This is great for people who want an affordable home security option but can’t afford the heavy upfront costs of installation, activation, and equipment purchasing. The upfront costs are essentially spread out over the life of the contract, increasing your monthly payment slightly but saving you from paying these charges in a lump sum.

3. Offering DIY home alarm systems. By setting up and installing the system yourself, not only are you bypassing these upfront charges, but you’ll also usually pay a smaller monitoring fee, keeping your monthly payment lower.

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What do I get for my money?

Every home security service is a bit different, but what they all have in common is that they provide peace of mind. For a complete cost breakdown of equipment and services, check out our Home Security Cost Comparison Table.

Value of your home alarm system

So far we have focused on the cost of a home security system, which can be calculated in simple dollars and cents, but there are other factors that contribute to a system’s value. Often, spending a little bit more will get you a greater overall value. Here are some questions to keep in mind when considering the value of your home security system:

  • Functionality of the equipment. Does it work properly or frequently break down? How well does it keep you safe? Look for features like geofencing, home automation, etc.
  • Amount of equipment you receive. Are you paying a lot for only a few sensors and cameras?
  • Customer service. How easy is the company to work with? Do they maintain your system?
  • Bells and whistles. What cool, cutting-edge technology are you getting with it?
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Did you know?

A burglary occurs approximately once every 15 seconds, and the average loss per burglary is $2,230. What's more is that homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be burglarized. Here are even more home security stats to help you determine if a home alarm system is worth the cost.

Is professional monitoring worth it?

The value of your security system comes from the monitoring service. Although having a non-monitored system is better than nothing, a monitored system gives you so much more.

With a professionally monitored security system you are paying for someone to respond in an emergency situation. You want your home to be protected 24/7 but unfortunately, humans are not 24/7 creatures. We go to meetings. We go to the movies. We sleep. In other words, we can’t constantly check for system notifications.

If you miss an alert, it could spell disaster for your home. A monitored system covers you around the clock and alerts the authorities on your behalf if an alarm is triggered. Let the security company monitor your system for you so you can live your life knowing your home is safe.

Common monitoring features

  • Duress signals: You have the ability to enter a code into your system when you are under duress. This alerts the monitoring center that you need immediate help but are unable to be contacted (armed burglary in progress, etc.).
  • Medical alert monitoring: Pendants worn around the neck or wrist signal a monitoring agent to dispatch an ambulance.
  • Guidance: Monitoring agents are trained to offer guidance in an emergency situation. Self-monitored systems can only notify you if a sensor is triggered.
  • Emergency response plans: You can customize your own emergency response plan which allows you to choose to immediately notify authorities or contact a third party relative or individual.

The takeaway

A home security system is always worth the investment, whether it’s professionally monitored, self-monitored, or a local alarm system. Statistics prove that home security systems work.

Your post-move budget and personal preferences will affect what you prioritize in your security system for your new home. It's important to remember that it protects more than just your stuff, like your big screen TV, jewelry, or sports car. It also protects you and your family from home invasion, fire, flood, and other disasters.

The benefits of getting a home security system for your new living space far outweigh the costs.

Kyle Lemmon
Written by
Kyle Lemmon
Kyle has spent the last eight years testing, tearing apart, and talking about the latest home security, internet, and TV-related tech. Kyle has worked as a Managing Editor for and Before that, he wrote about home security and smart home technology and has been featured on Wirecutter and KSL-TV. Kyle graduated from Weber State University with a BA in Creative Writing and when he’s not digging in with the Reviews team, he serves as a panelist on the Stabby Award-winning The Legendarium Podcast reviewing fantasy and science fiction literature.