Best home security system: cameras and alarm systems for a safer home

The best home security systems to deter criminals, help prevent break-ins and safeguard your home from Ring, Canary, Simplisafe and more

best home security system: Simplisafe Shield
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(Image credit: Simplisafe)

Keeping the place you live, and those you share it with safe is no doubt one of your top priorities, and, at a time when most of us find ourselves leaving home more often than we have in a while, it's important to invest in the best home security system possible.

Devices such as security cameras, motion sensors, and alarms are a great way to get peace of mind whether you're in the house or away, acting as deterrents to potential criminals and protecting your property from unwanted intruders.

Of course, security systems come in many forms, and not all are suitable for every home. However, if the picture in your mind includes trailing wires, hard to install, and even harder-to-use systems and clunky devices that stick out like a sore thumb, then rest assured that security technology has come a long way in recent years.

Whether you want something light and simple or you want the whole security package, we've looked at some of the best and most popular offerings around to see which measure up. And if looking for a single-device set-up, take a look at our ranking of the best smart doorbells

Scroll down to see what we thought, as well as some more advice on how to choose your security system.

 The best home security systems in 2021 

Ring Alarm Security Kit 5-PieceReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Ring)

1. Ring Alarm Home Security System

Best DIY home security system

Specifications
Components: Base station, keypad, motion detector, contact sensor, range extender
Battery life: up to 8 months
Storage: Cloud storage
Compatibility: iOS, Android, Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Customizable+Affordable+Easy to install+Connects seamlessly to other Ring devices
Reasons to avoid
-No video capability

Without a doubt, one of the leading home security systems is the Ring Alarm. A recently updated entry in the world of smart security, the brand certainly hasn’t wasted any time making it onto our list. The system allows users to build a customizable smart security set-up that works for them. 

What's included

The second-generation 5-piece kit is probably the most popular choice for home security newcomers, as it includes only the basics to get you started. Inside is a large base station, keypad, range extender for large homes or spotty Wi-Fi, a contact sensor for windows or doors, and a standalone motion sensor.

How it performs

As with the Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Stick Up Cam, you’ll need to start by connecting the Ring Alarm to the super-handy Ring app. Then, you can download the app from the app store straight onto your smartphone. From here, you can control your entire home security set-up from any location - perfect if you’re looking to keep a closer eye on your home while on vacation or away from home.

As easy as the Ring Alarm Home Security System is to install, it’s also easy to take down when the time comes. So if you’re a renter or just don’t see yourself living in your current home forever, there’s no need to worry about having wasted your money on a system that you can’t take with you.

Perfect for those who like the idea of smart home security but don’t quite feel comfortable with having cameras around their home, the Ring Alarm covers all of the basic security bases for an instantly safer home without video surveillance being necessary.

Anything else?

What dramatically cuts the cost of this home security system compared with similar models is the DIY element. Professional installation isn’t required, so you can simply install it yourself wherever necessary with no costs incurred. 

And it’s just as easy to connect the home security system to an existing Ring Video Doorbell or Ring Security Camera if you’d like the best of both worlds.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Canary Pro Indoor Home Security CameraReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Canary)

2. Canary All-In-One Indoor Security System

Best home security system with camera

Specifications
Components: Home security camera
Battery life: 1-2 months (reduced with motion detection)
Storage: Cloud storage
Viewing angle: up to 147º
Compatibility: iOS, Android, Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Compact+Stylish+Air quality, temperature and humidity monitoring+Privacy mode
Reasons to avoid
-Short battery life

The Canary All-in-One Indoor Security System is a simple, high-quality system that won’t look out of place in your living room, or anywhere else you choose to put it. The system monitors your home while looking sleek and stylish at the same time.

What's included

Incredibly, this offering from Canary comes in the smallest package of all. With just a single device acting as the base station, security camera, motion sensor, and siren all in one, you won't need to fiddle around with lots of different sensors and gadgets if that's not your thing.

How it performs

Whether you place it on your coffee table or over on the sideboard, the high-quality 1080p HD camera will stream real-time video to the connected app, enabling you to check up on home wherever you happen to be at the time.

If your device does happen to pick up anything out of the ordinary, it’ll send a notification to your phone (or any other first responders you’ve listed), so you can see what’s happening. This allows you to tap through to the authorities quickly. But, of course, you won’t miss the 90dB+ siren, either.

There’s also a built-in speaker and microphone, so you can talk through the camera if you have a Canary Membership.

Thanks to automatic night vision, it’s possible to monitor the security of your home around the clock. So, if you hear a bump in the middle of the night, you can check what’s going on without even having to get out of the safety of your bed.

Unlike some systems, this model doesn’t require installation, meaning you can set it up in a matter of minutes. Simply download the free accompanying app and place your camera in your desired location. Then, connect it to the internet, and you’re done!

As if keeping your home secure wasn’t enough, this offering from Canary also monitors air quality, temperature, and humidity so that you can improve the overall health of your home. Finally, it has a privacy mode that completely shuts down the camera and microphone.

Anything else?

And if you’re looking to share responsibility for monitoring your home’s security, it’s worth noting that You can connect more than one smartphone to the camera via the app. 

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Arlo Pro 2 Home Security SystemReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Arlo Pro 2 Home Security System

Best wireless home security system

Specifications
Storage: 7 days
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Extras: can be controlled from your smartphone
Reasons to buy
+Superb video quality, night and day+Wireless+Waterproof+Built-in siren+7 days cloud storage for free
Reasons to avoid
-Not as accurate as some-Competitors offer more features

If you're looking to invest in a more premium home security system, look no further than the Netgear Arlo Pro. This smart security system offers a premium experience for those looking to invest.

The picture quality on the Arlo 2 is seriously impressive. The colors are bright and vivid for the daytime shots. And night vision fares just as well. 

Plus, if you need to get a closer look at something in the footage, you can just pinch to zoom on your smartphone.

Arlo is more generous than many when it comes to its free cloud storage, saving footage of any suspicious movement or sound for seven days.

There is a subscription offering, which will stretch this cloud storage to a month or longer and give you a few more features. 

It's also possible to start the alarm remotely, which is super handy if you're away from home and spot something you don't like the look of. Simply sound the 100+ decibels alarm and watch from the safety of another location.

The Arlo Pro 2 is IP65 rated, which means it should withstand the rain, cold, and – when we get it – heat and sunshine, and since there are no wires required, having it mounted in your garden shouldn’t be too much of a problem at all. 

To reduce the number of notifications you get, you can choose to have Arlo in Geofencing mode, which will switch the camera on and off automatically when you’re in or out of the house.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Arlo Pro 2 security camera system

Simplisafe Shield Home Security System

(Image credit: Simplisafe)

4. Simplisafe Shield Home Security System

Best home security system with subscription

Specifications
Components: Base station, keypad, 6 x entry sensor, 2 x motion sensor, key fob
Compatibility: Alexa; Google Assistant
Reasons to buy
+Easy to set up+Lots of room to expand+Built-in celluar
Reasons to avoid
-Subscription required for some features

Making it to our top spot, the Simplisafe Home Security System is a comprehensive example of a starter pack that will protect your home without overwhelming newcomers to the security world.

What's included

The set gives you a hub, keypad, two motion sensors, six contact sensors for doors and windows, and a bonus key fob. It's not cheap, coming in at around $260, but the additional contact sensors will suit those with large homes or lots of weak spots around the house.

How it performs

The system works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, making it a versatile addition to any existing smart home. In addition, you can use your voice to control the system if you don't have your phone handy, which you can also use via the Simplisafe app.

The system can be set up without drilling and can be used inside or outside. In addition, it's calibrated to detect the heat signature of humans rather than pets, and you don't need to worry about power or internet failures due to in-built cellular and battery mode.

You can add up to 100 devices with one base station, so you'll never reach capacity even if your house is all windows! Expand at your own pace for overall coverage.

Anything else?

24/7 professional monitoring adds an extra layer of safety to your system, allowing it to send for emergency services when needed. However, this and other features are only available with an extra fee, which costs between $14.99-$24.99 a month.

Ooma Home Security Starter Pack

(Image credit: Ooma)

5. Ooma Home Security Starter Pack

Best low-tech home security system

Specifications
Components: Base station; motion sensor, 2 x contact sensors, water sensor
Compatibility: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Includes water sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of smart features-Subscription required for Remote 911 feature

An affordable option recommended for those who don't have any other smart home devices around their home. The Ooma Home Security Kit simply requires an app on your phone to control the system.

What's included

Ooma gives you the usual suspects of a base station, keypad, and contact sensors. Still, you also get a water sensor that's useful for identifying things like leaking pipes and broken water heaters before they become a costly problem! Everything is wireless, making the whole system super-easy to install.

How it performs

There's good capacity to expand, and the Deluxe pack also gets you a siren and smoke alarm to further enhance your setup. Unfortunately, much like other home security systems on this list, advanced features like Remote 911 require a subscription at an extra cost.

The whole thing is battery-powered for convenience, and the geofencing features mean you can set the system to turn on monitoring whenever you leave the vicinity of your house.

Ring Alarm Security Kit 5-Piece keypad mounted to wall

(Image credit: Ring)

Are home security systems worth the investment?

Research has shown that home security systems actively deter criminals – whether a video doorbell, a single camera, or a comprehensive security system. So, yes, we would say that they're worth the investment. Discover more tips and tricks in our guide to how to protect your home.

What will I need to get started with my home security system? 

If you’re buying a home security system off the shelf, then you’ll need to think about what your chosen kit includes. For example, do you want cameras or sensors to be installed somewhere out of the way or somewhere you can access easily? Would you be better suited to a freestanding model that doesn’t require professional installation and can be placed on a bookshelf, coffee table, or somewhere similar?

You should also make sure your chosen system is compatible with your existing tech, such as an Alexa or Google Home, or iOS and Android smartphones.

 Can I use my home security system outside? 

Your ability to install cameras and other accessories outside depends on the security system you choose. While some will specify that devices are water and weatherproof, that’s not always the case, so make sure you check before committing to any particular setup. 

 Can I expand my smart home system in the future? 

Most (but not all) smart products on the market come with compatibility with common smart home hubs such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, making it entirely possible for consumers to build out their smart home system as time goes on. This is perfect for both those who are just dipping their toe into this world and those who already have a smart ecosystem in place. 

 What is the best home security system? 

The best home security system is hands-down the Ring Alarm Home Security System, which offers DIY installation and a completely customizable home security set-up for a pretty affordable price point. In addition, you can control your entire home security system from your smartphone, connecting it to other Ring devices such as video doorbells. And if you’re thinking of moving, then the Ring Alarm is super-easy to uninstall and take with you wherever you go. 

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Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team in the UK since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and more. In her spare time she's usually obsessing about space-saving and DIY hacks for small spaces, and how to affordably make a rental feel like a home.

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