11 Types of Home Security Systems (Know Your Options)

In order to choose the right home security system, you need to know what types of home security systems are out there. Otherwise, you will not be able to make an educated choice simply because you will not know what you may be missing out on.

This is why I will show you the most common and popularly used types of home security systems, their pros and cons, and some of their variations you need to keep in mind.

Types of Home Security Systems

Generally, the following are the different types of home security systems:

  • Wireless, wired, or hybrid home security systems
  • Self-monitored or professionally monitored home security systems
  • DIY or professionally installed home security systems
  • Audible (bells only) home security systems
  • Smart home security systems
  • Dummy home security systems

Before we start, let me warn you that these are the different ways we can classify a home security system. However, just because a home security system is wireless does not give us the whole picture since a wireless home security system can be either DIY or professionally installed, a bells only, or a smart home security system.


Wireless Home Security Systems

Wireless home security systems are the most popular types of security systems most people use.

The reason wireless security systems are so popular is that they do not require a landline connection or complicated installation.

Wireless security systems are often DIY and are super easy to set up. Because of that, they are also portable and are ideal for renters and homeowners that move more frequently.

Usually, wireless home security systems have a central communication hub that each device will connect to using a radio signal.

One of the problems of wireless home security systems is that the wireless signal may not always be reliable because it can be affected by signal interference, network outages, structural obstructions, bad weather, and more. Your wireless internet signal needs to be fast and stable to ensure the system works as intended.

Some systems can also have a cellular backup in case something goes wrong with the wireless signal.

Wireless security systems can also manage a number of different smart security devices that can be monitored and controlled remotely through smart devices or personal computers.

Because the signals are transmitted wirelessly, this means that a burglar will not be able to deactivate the security system simply by cutting a few wires. They will be safer than wired home security systems but not 100% burglarproof because the signal can be intercepted and potentially hacked.


Wired Home Security Systems

Wired home security systems can offer fewer false alarms and higher reliability. The signal travels through the wires, and network outages or signal interference will not prevent the system from working.

On top of that, wired security systems are closed-network systems, which means that the signal is not as easy to intercept, making wired home security systems a lot more challenging to hack compared to wireless systems.

However, wired security systems that do not have a wireless or cellular backup can be easier to disable by cutting certain wires.

The installation of a wired security system is also trickier and a lot of hassle. Each sensor and camera requires a wire running to it, which is also not aesthetically pleasing too. Even some demolition work may be necessary in certain cases, which understandably dissuades people from using wired systems.

Some homeowners, though, will already have the proper infrastructure set up in their homes. If your home happens to have had a wired security system at some point in time, then it will be easier to install a new wired home security system using the old wires.

Wired systems are a lot less flexible. For example, if you want to change the location of even a single camera or a sensor, you may need to hire a trained technician. And if you want to take your wired home security system down and use it in a new place, this will not only be a lot more laborious but can also incur extra expenses.


Hybrid Home Security Systems

Hybrid systems take the best of both worlds. They are designed to work both using wires or wirelessly. Some systems can also have a cellular backup for added protection.

Hybrid security systems offer higher levels of safety but can be more expensive to purchase and difficult to set up.


Battery-Powered Home Security Systems

Some security systems can be considered battery powered. These are usually wireless and smart home security systems. Although these systems are a lot more flexible, portable, and easy to install, the fact that they use batteries to work means that you need to ensure their batteries are fully charged.

In other words, battery-powered home security systems require more maintenance and inspection.


Audible (Bells Only) Home Security Systems

Audible home security systems are a very basic type of security system. They will sound an alarm when set off. Usually, the sound is extremely loud and can be upwards of 100 decibels (dB). The loud noise will draw attention to the property, potentially scaring off criminals, but will not alert the authorities.

These systems are very cheap to run, but you will not be notified when the alarm goes off, and nothing stops the burglar from entering your home and disabling the alarm.


Professionally Monitored Home Security Systems

Monitored security systems are a type of home security system that is monitored 24/7 by a professionally trained team. Such systems normally require—monthly or yearly—subscription, which can vary from as little as $10 to upwards of $60 per month in certain cases.

Because these systems are constantly being monitored, this means they provide more security and a lower chance of false alarms.


Self-Monitored Home Security Systems

Self-monitored systems, on the other hand, cost less in terms of monthly fees or subscriptions.

With self-monitored systems, it is up to the owner to keep the system in check. The owner also has to screen and assess each situation when the alarm has been triggered, which can be time-consuming and frustrating and often lead to a higher number of false alarms.

On top of that, some people will just feel more anxious and stressed knowing that something could happen, and they may not see the notification on time.


DIY Home Security Systems

With a DIY home security system, you have the complete freedom to install the system the way you want, and if you need to move, you can do it without having to worry about paying any installation or relocation fees.

DIY home security systems are designed for quick and easy installation, and you don’t need to be particularly handy to do it.

However, this also means more work for you, and there is also the possibility of not installing the system properly. Some mistakes, for example, like not accounting for blind spots, proper alignment of sensors, and cameras, ensuring there is good signal coverage, can be overlooked, compromising the system’s efficacy.


Professionally Installed Home Security Systems

Having your home security system professionally installed has one big advantage—you will not have to worry about errors. When having a professionally trained team install your security system, they should account for all the little details and mistakes that inexperienced people may overlook.

However, this also comes at a cost.

Usually, home security systems that require a professional installation are more complicated systems. The installation itself can take a few hours in some instances, which can end up being fairly expensive.

In addition to that, these security systems will also be less portable, and if you were to move, you might need to pay extra fees for relocating.


Smart Home Security Systems

With the rapid growth of smart home devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), it is no surprise that smart home security systems are growing in popularity as well.

Smart home security systems will incorporate many different smart home security devices and allow you to have an all-encompassing security system for your home.

These systems are often wireless and DIY, making them an easy solution for both renters and homeowners. On top of that, they are also professionally monitored and allow for remote access.

These smart devices can offer superb detection of not only break-ins but also fires, flooding, smoke, and CO2. Some of these systems can come with medical alert buttons, panic buttons, motion-activated sensors and cameras, and so much more.

Smart home systems are an excellent way to get multiple security layers but can be fairly expensive, depending on how many devices and sensors you need.


Dummy Home Security Systems

Some homeowners and renters can use a dummy home security system to protect their homes.

A dummy security system is exactly what it sounds like—it is a fake or a pretend security system. Often fake sensors and security cameras are used that don’t really work and are not connected to any centralized security system.

Dummy sensors and cameras are very affordable, and the running costs are practically nonexistent. They look like real cameras and may deter some criminals but will not provide any tangible levels of security. If a burglar discovers these are fake cameras, they will know that your home is potentially not protected.


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Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

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