If you’re ready to shop for a home security system, there are two things you should know before you buy. First, you need to decide what type of kit you want: the one that requires professional installation or the kind that you can DIY. From there, it helps to understand the basic components you can expect to get and how they work together, before deciding which bundle is right for you. If you’re leaning towards a DIY option, here’s everything you need to know about these systems to get started.
What Does DIY Mean in Home Security?
A DIY home security system is one that’s all about ease of installation and use, no matter your skill set.
Each DIY home security kit comes with a handful of devices that work together to protect your home — but none of them require professional installation. This empowers you to get started on your own terms, with helpful online guides standing by for added support. Plus, they are truly customizable to fit your family’s needs, no matter your floor plan or lifestyle.
You should consider a DIY home security system if you want to:
Once you’re set up and ready to use your system, you have the option to DIY monitor it from anywhere as well, with an easy-to-use app. But for an extra fee most companies also offer professional monitoring with a subscription if you want an additional set of eyes on it (and even more peace of mind).
The Essential Parts of a DIY Security System
In order to end up with a DIY system you know you can rely on, it helps to know why. This comes from understanding what each of the main components does and how they work together, before adding to your cart. Here’s what to know about the core pieces of a typical DIY security system.
You can think of a base station as the mastermind behind your system; without it, none of the other pieces would work. Your base station connects to all of the components in your kit via WiFi. Then, if your system is armed and one of the sensors gets triggered, it sends a signal to the base station. From there, your base station alerts you by sounding a siren, notifying your app or other connected devices, or both — depending on how you set up your system.
Managing your DIY system can be as simple as ordering takeout for delivery from your phone — as long as the kit utilizes a handy app that has everything in one place.
Not all home security system apps offer the same perks, but here are some common features you can expect:
When considering the right kit for you and your family, remember that the app is an equally essential part of the overall system, from setting up to everyday use. A good app should make things easy to control from the palm of your hand.
Using an app to control your compatible security system components is convenient when your phone is handy. But what if you need to grab something from your car and realize the system is armed — and your phone is all the way upstairs? Instead of running up the stairs, you can disarm your system using the closest keypad on your way out.
Some keypads also have panic buttons, which will sound a siren during an emergency situation and alert designated contacts or a professional monitoring service (if you're enrolled in one).
Whether you stick with one or buy a few extras for around the house, you can put a keypad wherever is most convenient for you: mounted on the wall near your front door or sitting on a table near the back entry.
When you leave your house, whether it’s for a quick grocery run or a vacation, it’s nice to know if a door or window opens while you’re away. That’s where contact sensors can come into play. They consist of two magnetic pieces that you put on doors and windows that are potential entry points (and add as many to your system as you want). If the magnetic connection breaks while the system is armed, it triggers your base station, which may also sound a siren if you have it set up for that. Your app will notify you if this happens, so you can check in.
And some contact sensors can even let you know if there’s a potential issue before you leave. The app can send you an alert if any of them were disconnected when you armed the system. That way, if a window or door was accidentally left open, you can quickly pop back inside to close it so your escape artist of a cat doesn’t try to take a tour around the neighborhood.
Although contact sensors can get triggered right before someone enters your home, motion detectors add an extra layer of protection.
You mount the detector on a wall in the middle or corner of a room, and it uses passive infrared sensors to look for movement and warmth. And you don’t have to worry about Fluffy or Fido setting off the sensors if you let them roam around your house. Most systems won't detect small animals at all, and some even let you adjust sensitivity settings for the size of your pets.
Although these are all the things that come with a basic kit, one of the perks of a DIY home security system is how easy it is to customize. If you need more than the basics, you can buy several optional add-ons including:
Another helpful addition to your home security is the Neighbors App. Anyone in your area — whether they own a Ring Alarm or not — can post about safety incidents and connect with neighbors to share crucial information. Plus, you can get alerts and engage with local agencies about breaking news, safety tips, and incidents. If you want more information on a recent incident, you can share footage from your security camera or ask a question for your neighbors to answer. Together, you and your neighbors can keep the community up-to-date and create a safer environment. Download the Neighbors App today and together, you and your neighbors can keep the community up-to-date and create a safer environment.
Now that you have the low-down on DIY kits and how their basic components work, you’re ready to buy. Browse Ring DIY products or speak with a Security Expert for free at 1-800-800-RING to get professional advice tailored to your space.
1 Requires the Ring Alarm Security Kit.
2 Smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring is not available for commercial properties. See Ring alarm licenses at: https://www.ring.com/licenses