Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2016


BY GERARD A WETZEL, JUNE 13, 2015 8:08 AM | Last Update: 8/19/2016


Everyone should be entitled to home safety and security. Today you are going to learn what the best DIY home security system of 2016 based on you needs. We will go over the five most reliable and bought systems in the market and determined what is right for you.

Why DIY?

Not all safety and security systems are the same, and with all the products out there it can be difficult to understand what is best for you, your family and your home.

Typical systems cater only to those of middle in the middle to upper-income households. Therefore, lower income and young consumer are typically left with nothing. That is about four out of five consumers not being able affordably to have some security for their home.

Luckily, technology has changed the face of the market which is quickly growing into a $1.5 billion industry.

Now, home security and safety is more affordable and accessible like never before. But, what is the best?

5 Best DIY Home Security System of 2016

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System

Canary All-in-One Home Security

Piper Classic All-in-One Security System

Pisector Professional Wireless Home Security Alarm System

Fortress Security Store S02-A and S02-B

Monthly Fees

Premium Only

Premium and Above

Premium Only

No

No

Camera

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Live Monitoring

Yes

Yes

Yes

Only Call-Ins

Only Call-Ins

Phone Integration

Yes (premium only)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Backup Power

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Home Automation Integration

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Price

$$

$

$$

$$

$

Fortress Security Store S02-A and S02-B Wireless Home Security Alarm System 

​The Fortress S02-A and S02-B are ideal for anyone who is new to home security. With multiple functions and features, what most stands out is the price. Many home safety and security equipment typically cost thousands over years while Fortress allows people to do it for a fraction of the price.

Best DIY Home Security System

The Good:

  • Can't Beat the Price.
    With the amount of products out there for home security, I would say that anything around $225 would be median. Fortress's S02-A and S02-B standard model includes five window/door contacts, two motion detectors, two key fobs, one panic alarm, and a few stickers for around $130. What a bargain, especially compared to those within its price plan.

  • Setup was a Breeze.
    The manual clearly was not written by a native English speaker. However, most of the installation is intuitive, and if you need any help or are a visual learner, there are free online videos that do a good job explaining the entire setup process.

  • Phone Integration.
    Both the S02-A and the S02-B can be programmed to call you if the alarms go off, or if there is some security breach. You can also call the system from your phone and be able to listen in real time. These are typically a feature that many systems at this price range and many medium price range do not include. You have the ability to set this system up with up to 6 phones, however, beware that there is no function to have a two-way conversation, and it does not allow for more than one phone use at a time.

The Bad:

  • ON/OFF Switch.
    The biggest problem that we saw was that the system had an on/off switch. To test whether this would be a problem we decided to arm the system and unlock the doors to simulate an intruder. As expected, the alarm and siren went off, however, just turning the switch made it possible to put out the whole system since the motherboard and the keypad are interconnected. Simply having an off switch in plain sight lacks common sense.

  • Siren and Alarm are Attached to the Motherboard.
    When we tested the sirens, they worked better than expected and I thought that was an advantage until we realized it was connected to the motherboard and keypad. All the intruders had to do was unplug it, and that would be it, silence. Also, the wire connecting the siren to the system does not have any sufficient length to put it where we wanted to.

  • Cheap Material.
    During the setup process, my brother dropped one of the motion detectors on his hardwood floors which created a vertical crack at the top-right of the detector. We understood that the whole system, because of the low price, would probably be very flimsy. However, it was clear that, with constant use, we would have to replace this at least every year.
Best DIY Home Security System 2016

Pisector Professional Wireless Home Security Alarm System Kit

The Pisector PS03 is an upgraded version of what the Fortress S02-A and S02-B are. It contains even more of the useful functions and features its counterpart offers with the same competitive pricing.

The Good:

  • Much More
    With most security alarm system, their lower price and standard models typically come with just a keypad, motherboard, about two window/door sensors, and motion sensor. The Pisector PS03-M offers significantly more, specifically more window/door sensors. Why is this important? Well, because the majority of homes and apartments have more than two possible points of entry. With this system, most people are probably not going to be needing extra components as with other systems.

  • Pet Sensors
    Many high-end alarm systems lack the ability for small pets (under 50 lbs) to roam around the home without triggering the alarm. This system includes three pet sensors thereby eliminating any pet triggered false alarms that commonly happen with security system owners that don't take their pets into consideration before purchasing security products.

  • Power Outage Warning.
    Low-priced security systems usually make the common mistake to have any emergency power supply. This system comes with a power outage warning feature that will notify you of the power outage and automatically switches to the emergency power supply which is the spare battery inside the motherboard only used for instances of no electricity.

The Bad:

  • What am I reading?
    Like most things made in China the instructions are no different. Although many of the system itself is intuitive to setup, the vast amount of components can overwhelm even experienced home owners. Also, the manual lacks organization. When this is the case many consumers rely on easy to read instructions. The more we read the instructions, it was clear that English not their native language nor where the instruction proofread by one.

  • Screw or Tape?
    None of the sensors mount to screws. It doesn't take 1000 home improvement projects to know that tape is one of the least used materials that stay after the project is finished. So, it would make sense to screw the sensors into the wall, and since it contained screw mounts, I decided to dispose of the 3M tape and use screws. However, upon further evaluation, it was clear that the mounts were just for the show instead of holding any functions. It confuses me why you would have a faux mount that doesn't work. I recommend that if you chose to tape the sensor to buy 5M tape for better security because the 3M tape they provide is not sufficient enough.

  • Lacks Smoothness
    Throughout the three weeks, my brother has used the system; he has experienced a lot of glitches. After coming back from a family dinner, we had a hard time with the key fob disarming the system, and he had told me it happens on occasion. In this instance, even though we eventually disabled the system, the indoor siren would not stop until it was unplugged.

Piper classic All-in-One Security System with Video Monitoring Camera

Piper is an all-in-one home safety, security and automation system. Unlike many home security devices, Piper adopts features that are more technologically advanced in comparison its counterparts that are more standard and outdated.

Best DIY Home Security System

The Good:

  • Integrates Well with other Home Automation Features
    As home automation is becoming more and more popular, Piper takes great considerations to have home automation integration. When purchased with accessories such as the Z-wave, you can connect multiple appliances and have automation, scheduling, and remote controlling capabilities through their smartphone app.

  • Phone Integration
    Its phone features are unparalleled. You can connect up to 5 phones and have a two-way conversation using your phone to someone in the room with the Piper. So, if you want to check if your kids came from home safely or you want to see if your pets are behaving, the two-way talk feature and video streaming will allow you to do that.

  • Beautiful Design
    For the two months that my brother used it, many guests not only found it non-intrusive, but it also blended in with many of today's modern objects that surround shelves and tables. It is very hard to find a system that can blend in with books, small statues, candles, plants, without making you or your guest feel spied on. Even though it is bigger than the most security systems, many guests were nonchalant about it.

The Bad:

  • Access Only Though the App
    There are no options to view through a computer or a web browser. For technologically advanced products with features, you would assume that it would contain common sense functions.

  • No Video Controls
    The app does not have the ability to fast forward, rewind, and freeze. The system does allow to save clips, but that is about all it can do. You also lack any video exporting capabilities. If someone broke in, it would be common sense to give surveillance footage quickly to law enforcement. Just allowing to save clips is simply not enough.

  • Accessories
    To take full advantage of its home security and automation features and capabilities, you do have to purchase the accessories. There is nothing more frustrating than to know that the product has so much potential only to realize if after the setup. Throughout the research process before buying the Piper, it was hard to differentiate which features it can do on its own and which one needed extra components.
Best DIY Home Security Systems

Canary All-in-One Home Security Device

Just like the Piper, the Canary is a direct competitor who contains features that are technologically advance. These systems tend to take a more minimalist feel without compromises in functions. They are also made to be intuitive so any homeowner can use these devices.

The Good:

  • Discreet
    Just because people like us want a secure life doesn't mean we need to be hermits. We all have social lives, and that includes having people over to our homes, and anything that may make guests feel uneasy isn't good for anyone. So, if having a system that can secure you and you belongings while simultaneously be discreet is a major plus. I noticed that out of all the systems my brother, and I tested, Canary was the most stylish while easily being able to conform to its background in comparison to any other system in its class.

  • Video Quality
    The video quality is amazing for this little device. Although multiple IP cameras do have better initial HD setting, the quality is still good enough to be able to identify individuals faces that are ten to fifteen feet away.

  • Microphone
    Although the sound isn't too crisp, the feature is useful if you want to not only communicate with those in your home but also simultaneously view them through the device. Since my brother's daughter has turned thirteen and has been walking home on her own, he has pointed out the sense of the piece of mind he gets when he can check up on her at any moment of the day to see if she is doing well.

The Bad:

  • Many False Alarms
    There is nothing more annoying than getting a false alarm. If you easily get anxious by hearing the tone of your phone telling you that there is activity in your home, I would not recommend this product. It is true that this product is still relatively new to the market and is bound to have bugs, however, we found the system to be a way too intrusive with its many false notifications. Over the 2 1/2 months, we owned the device; there have been at least two false alarms every week. Many were during the day, but a handful was at night. So, if you do decide to purchase the system, beware.

  • Monthly Fees?
    When we were opening the box from the rear, we were instantly satisfied reading "No Contract/Monthly Fee." Then we realized that we need to pay a subscription fee for an adequate amount of storage time. The free version does give you free 12 hours of storage for your videos but for most people 12 hours in not enough to provide peace of mind.
  • Alarm Not Loud Enough
    The alarm itself is not very loud. It is loud sufficiently to get someone's attention, but certainly not loud enough to alert your neighbors unlike traditional system or at least some of the budget systems we addressed earlier such as the Fortress Security S02-A and S02-B.

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System

SimpliSafe has been the standard for modern DIY safety and security systems for many years now. SimpliSafe2 is now on the market to uphold the level of reliability its predecessor created and compete with many new and improved versions of systems that are on the market today.

Best DIY Home Security System

The Good:

  • Easy Set Up
    There has been no system less infuriating to set up than this security system. Everything is already pre-programmed for you so once you place all the pieces you are instantly able to connect. The alarm system also has a USB flash drive built into the key chain that has an Easy Setup Wizard. The wizard allows you to customize your SimplySafe system on your PC then plug it into the Base Station and synchronize your settings. All-in-all enough easy setup and synchronization.

  • Back Up Battery Power
    SimplySafe 2 will continue to operate using its backup batteries even with an 8-hour blackout. If you need more power, you can always plug your base unit into a USB device which would last you for days.

  • Price
    If you are doing research because you do not like your monthly home security system, you won't find anything better for the price. Compared to some of the systems above, it clear that this isn't the lowest cost, and when you factor in the overall quality of each device and the reliability of a company that gives you a standard three-year warranty on everything, it is hard to say you would find anything better for the price.

The Bad:

  • Monthly Service?
    Phone integration is quickly becoming a standard for many systems to implement. The biggest downside to the network is that if you want to have phone integration, you must pay a monthly fee. The problem with going premium is that you don't have any of the rich features such as being able to stream via the camera system because there is no built-in camera that competitors such as the Canary and Piper have.

  • Siren
    The alarm siren is not very loud at all. So yes, you need the secondary siren for sure if you want the neighbors to take notice. That also applies to the voice as it emits from the base station.

  • Training Mode
    There is a 72 hour period when you first set up your system where you have no live monitoring. For a system that centralizes itself from a quick and easy installation the 72 hour training period is completely useless and deprives anyone 72 hours of a piece of mind.

And The Winner Is..?

Coming to this conclusion wasn't hard.

Although I love the features and benefits, both the Piper and Canary provided, there were just too many flaws to overlook. The boom in the DIY security system technology sector has brought forth lots of innovation and great ways to have safety and security. We still need to understand that it is still in its infancy.

There several of firmware and software upgrades that these systems need to adopt before anyone can invest in purchasing. By the time these updates arrive, you will need to purchase its newer version after dealing with all the bugs and hassles of the old one.

Until those happen, both my brother and I have been very satisfied with simplysafe2 for just over a year.

In reality, its only major flaw is that it lacks a camera that many new systems are including which we were able to supplement with a separate security camera system.

By separating the two, you are maximizing the ability each device was built for instead of what the Piper and Canary are trying to do; which is try to do everything at once and ending up doing it all mediocrely.

However, for the price and more importantly the reliability, Simplysafe2 will give you the most peace of mind for you, your family and your home.

Last Update: 8/19/2016