Best home security system: the best home alarm systems and kits for greater peace of mind

The best home security systems and starter kits to keep your family and possessions safe, from Ring, Canary, Arlo and more

best home security system: Simplisafe Home Security System
(Image credit: Simplisafe)

Putting a single security camera on the porch or by the back door just won't be enough for those who are really serious about protecting their homes.

Thankfully, modern technology has made it possible to have an entire home security system protecting your property for a reasonable price. You can now feel safer with sensors, cameras, and more besides monitoring the inside and outside of your home.

And investing now could really save you from tragedy, with recent research from ElectricalDirect revealing that home burglaries increased significantly during 2020. The report cites smart locks, motion sensors, video doorbells, night vision cameras, and an alarm system as top ways to prevent your home from falling victim.

Not only does this ensure that you can detect anyone trying to enter without permission (or getting up to no good outside) before they get any further, but having these devices will also warn potential criminals not to attempt anything in the first place.

We’ve taken a look at some of the best home security systems available right now to see which ones are best for beginners, security experts, smart homes, and more rating them on what’s included as well as their ability to expand into larger set-ups down the road.

Scroll down to see what we thought and, once you’ve chosen, take a look at our rundown of the best smart doorbells to help take your system to the next level.

The best home security systems in 2021 

SimpliSafe Shield Home Security System

(Image credit: Simplisafe)

1. SimpliSafe Shield Home Security System

Best DIY home security system

Specifications
Components: (depending on package) entry sensor, motion sensor, security camera, glass break sensor, panic button, smoke detector, carbon monoxide sensor, freeze detector, leak detector, keypad, key fob, siren, yard sign
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 4G
Smart home compatible: Alexa, Google Assistant
Reasons to buy
+Includes largest number of devices+Highly customizable+Professional monitoring+Easy installation
Reasons to avoid
-Quite expensive if you want the full set-Subscription required for best features

A DIY home security system designed to be comprehensive without overwhelming, the Simplisafe Home Security System range is our favorite for usability, scalability, and sheer coverage.

Installation

As stated above, the number of devices that can work with a Simplisafe system is staggering. Entry sensors, motion sensors, and a siren are fairly standard. Still, you can also add a glass break sensor, panic button, smoke detector, carbon monoxide sensor, freeze detector, and leak detector for complete coverage.

You can also buy an additional Simplisafe security camera, smart lock, and doorbell if you want to extend things even further.

To get started, all you need to do is plug in the base station (which is also where your siren resides), connect it to the Wi-Fi, and use either the keypad's LCD display or the app to pair your other components. These can be installed without any wires or screws, which is handy for renters or those looking to move soon.

Monitoring

It's entirely possible to use the Simplisafe Home Security System on its own, but forking out for the Interactive subscription plan comes highly recommended. With this, you'll get 24/7 professional monitoring and use of the app, compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant to arm and disarm your system using just your voice, and more.

For example, not only can you set four guest PINs for friends and family, but you can also create a 'duress PIN' for when you are being forced to turn the siren off.

There are also options to adjust the siren volume and set time frames for entry and exit into the home - both essential if you have different needs.

Professional monitoring itself is super-handy, triggering a remote call center to check on you if a sensor is triggered. If you don't relay a pre-established safe word, then it will call the emergency services. You can also set 'Secret Alerts', which notify your phone but don't set off the alarm.

Anything else?

The Simplisafe system ensures against internet or power failures by included both a backup battery that promises to last 24 hours and a cellular connection. This means you'll never be caught out in an emergency. 

Panasonic KX-HN6003W Smart Home Monitoring System

(Image credit: Panasonic)

2. Panasonic KX-HN6003W Smart Home Monitoring System

Best smart home security system

Specifications
Components: Hub, 2 x window/door sensors, indoor camera, smart plug
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, ULE
Smart home compatible: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Includes security camera and smart plug+No subscription charges for storing video
Reasons to avoid
-Additional products will need to be Panasonic 

While some home security systems prioritize sensors and alarms over cameras, the Panasonic Smart Home Monitoring & Control Kit includes a camera for monitoring indoors, a built-in microphone for 2-way communication, and an infrared sensor that can detect movement.

But that's not all you get with this comprehensive system, as another motion sensor is included for monitoring around the whole home, and the twin window/door sensors will alert you when someone enters your home with or without permission.

The smart plug is also a bonus, allowing you to control things like lights, fans, heaters, or anything else you might want to put on a schedule. 

It's an impressive array, with the only drawback being that third-party devices won't work with Panasonic's hub. So make sure you're happy before committing. 

Livingetc rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Arlo Pro 3 2-Camera Indoor/Outdoor Wire-Free 2K HDR Security Camera System

(Image credit: Arlo)

3. Arlo Pro 3 Indoor/Outdoor Wire-Free 2K HDR Security Camera System

Best home security system with cameras

Specifications
Components: Base station, camera x 3
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Smart home compatible: Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, SmartThings
Reasons to buy
+Weatherproof for outdoor use+Built-in siren and spotlight+Wireless set-up
Reasons to avoid
-Just cameras-Expensive

As the price tag suggests, the Arlo Pro 3 Smart Home Security System is a step up from many of its competitors but, offering just security cameras without extra sensors is most suitable for those just starting to build their system.

The video quality is excellent, with night vision and zooms into footage for a closer look. There is a built-in siren alarm that can be activated manually from your smartphone.

The newest Arlo model also includes an integrated spotlight, which will help deter unwanted visitors and aid video capture of any incidents. You can also use the system with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit.

Canary Pro Indoor Home Security System

(Image credit: Canary)

4. Canary Pro Indoor Home Security System

Best all-in-one security system

Specifications
Components: 1 x base station/camera/siren
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Smart home compatible: Google Assistant, Alexa
Reasons to buy
+One simple device+In-built 90dB siren
Reasons to avoid
-No contact sensor-Subscription required for advanced features (1-year free included)

Want a home security system but aren't super enthusiastic about mounting half a dozen devices around your home? The Canary Pro Indoor Home Security Camera avoids that hassle by including a siren, 2-way audio, security camera, motion detector, and even climate monitor into one good-looking hub.

The camera captures 1080p HD video with a 147-degree field of view and night vision, and a 90dB siren will alert you to any untoward behavior happening at any time of day. Like other security systems, you can access the camera feed via your phone, and the premium service includes 24/7 live viewing, 30-day video history, and a personal safety button.

One of the most attractive things about the Canary Pro is that it can blend into the rest of the home, increasing the chance that it won't tip off any would-be burglars.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ring Alarm Security System (2nd Gen)

(Image credit: Ring)

Best value home security system

Specifications
Components: Base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, range extender
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee
Smart home compatible: Alexa, Ring
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Room for customisation+Can be connected to other Ring devices
Reasons to avoid
-Security cameras not included

A deserving entry in our home security rankings, the Ring 5-Piece Home Security System is (almost) a one-stop shop for keeping your home secure.

The set includes a base station, keypad, contact sensor for doors and windows, motion detector, and even a range extender for larger homes. The keypad is easily mounted onto a convenient wall, and you can control the alarm via the Ring app.

Although it doesn’t come with a security camera included, you can hook the system up to other Ring products such as a Ring Video Doorbell, and it’s also simple to use with smart home systems such as Amazon’s Alexa. This compatibility makes it super-easy to build out a wider-ranging system.

If you already have some smart devices in your home and want to make better use of them, then Ring’s offering could be your best choice.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Ring Alarm Security System

How to choose the best home security system

Ring Alarm motion sensor being fitted in corner of room

(Image credit: Ring)

How do security systems work?

Building on the safety provided by the standalone security cameras, home security systems include tools such as motion sensors, smart locks, and entry sensors that can detect when someone has entered the home - whether they have been invited or not. This makes it much harder for unwanted guests to enter without detection, even if they can evade a security camera’s field of view.

The biggest role of security devices is undoubtedly their role as a deterrent as, if potential criminals are faced with a home that has cameras and motion sensors installed, they are less likely to attempt a break-in in the first place.

And now that almost all security systems are connected to smartphones through an app, immediate alerts are now possible even if you're not physically at home.

What's the difference between contact sensors and motion sensors?

You may notice that many of the products listed here include something called an 'entry sensor' or 'access sensor.' These devices come in two parts - one attached to a door or window and the other to the wall beside it. These two parts can sense when they are close together or far apart, so if the window or door is opened without you knowing, it will initiate an alert. Motion sensors, meanwhile, detect any kind of movement happening in their line of 'sight.'

Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been a part of the Livingetc team since 2021, offering expert advice on the best smart tech for your home. Passionate about interiors and how technology can be integrated into daily living without sacrificing aesthetics, in her spare time she can be found shopping for the latest accent pieces for her own space.