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DIY Home Security vs. Professional Installation

Enjoy this post today from Parker Hansen on the differences between professional and DIY home security installation.

New homeowners are often overwhelmed with the initial costs of setting up their home – homeowner’s insurance, utilities, furniture, security…the to-do list goes on and on.

So is it worth the time and effort to install your own security system, or should you hire a professional? Here are the pros and cons of each choice.

Professional Installation

Hiring a professional gives you a break from all of the home responsibilities on your plate.

It also gives you the peace of mind that your security system works properly and won’t crash on you at the moment when you need it. However, the price tag might not be so nice.


  • Confidence in knowing that all wiring, buttons, and other hookups are correctly connected.
  • You can relax and continue your business while a professional installs your system.
  • A name brand system provides top quality.
  • Recognizing the name of your system may deter thieves.


  • Expensive upfront costs for installation.
  • Often higher monthly costs, especially if you want more features and/or a wireless system.
  • Thieves may know how to disarm standard, name brand systems.

The pros of professional installation are quite good. However, if you are concerned about saving money, then you should seriously consider the pros of a DIY security system. Installing your system may seem daunting, but it is simpler than you think and saves a ton of money.

DIY Home Security

People often assume that DIY home security systems are not as secure, or not as good quality as professionally installed ones. They worry that they do not possess the mechanical skills necessary to install something so complex.

Furthermore, they worry that a lesser known, or off brand system will not have as good customer service or response times as more popular, professionally installed systems such as ADT or Ackerman.

The truth is that all of these assumptions are wrong. DIY systems offer all the same quality features as professionally installed systems, and the security is just as strong. They are very simple to install. A step-by-step guide is always included and you only need simple tools. Many (such as Frontpoint and LiveWatch) are known for their outstanding customer service.


  • Installs within a few minutes, and includes a simple step-by-step guide.
  • You save a lot of money.
  • You receive satisfaction in successfully tackling something new.
  • You choose which sensors you want to install, making the system highly customizable.
  • The quality and security are just as good as professionally installed systems.
  • Thieves may be less likely to know how to disarm the system.


  • Installing hard-wire systems may require a degree of mechanical skill (wireless systems require little-to-no mechanical skill).
  • You may worry from time to time whether you correctly installed everything.

To prevent yourself from worrying about whether you installed the system correctly, test it. Set the alarm, then try opening a back door or window to see whether your alarm company calls immediately.

Try this from different points of entry into the house. However, notify your alarm company beforehand that you are testing the system so that they do not send the police to investigate.

In deciding whether to invest in a DIY home security system or to pay a professional, your decision comes down to costs and self-confidence. If you know how to use a screwdriver and other basic tools, the DIY systems are all easy to install. You’ll want to choose one that fits your needs and doesn’t break your wallet.

Editor’s Questions: Have you ever installed your own security system? How difficult was it? Have you been satisfied with it? What other issues (pros or cons) might you have with a professional or a DIY system?

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  1. Nice overview of the basic options. I always tell people that if they’re a little bit handy with the tools, and technology, it’s pretty easy to DIY it. If you’re not good at either of those things, it’s going to be a whole lot of frustration!

  2. If you can handle the wiring yourself, DIY is the way to go. One of my friends set up cameras around his home and he found it was really simple. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    If I had extra money, I’d definitely hire a professional. But, I admit I am a frugal person, so I’d definitely prefer the DIY home security system. I am glad that nowadays I can almost do it on my own with available and right resources on the Internet.

  4. I recently found an even cheaper alternative for a DIY home security system. Fake security signs/stickers and dummy surveillance cameras! haha I found them in a novelty store in SF chinatown and they looked so real. So I looked it up on the internet, and found a forum where people claimed to use them. I don’t know if I would recommend their use, but it’s interesting to note that some people do use them. Maybe it gives them a false sense of security?

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