You certainly don’t want to cut corners when it comes to home security, but the cost of professional monitoring and hardware fees can add up quickly. Fortunately, all kinds security equipment, including lights, detectors, contact sensors and other easy-to-install systems, are becoming more accessible every day. And that means you can keep your house and everyone and everything in it safer without spending serious money.

As my CNET colleague Megan Wallerton says, “The era of the $200 security camera is over.” Which means you can get multiple types budget home security devicesincluding door and window sensors, security cameras and motion detectors for your home. Plus, they often sell for under $20, so you can protect your house and have peace of mind while you’re away without breaking the bank.

We update this periodically.

Read more: The best cheap home security cameras of 2022

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Wyze is well known for its home security cameras, but it’s also released a great new video doorbell for under a hundred bucks. The Wyze Video Doorbell Pro has a wide field of view with head-to-toe visibility. It also supports two-way talk and high-definition live streaming – and even comes with a plug-in bell if you don’t want to tether it.

These are great devices for tracking packages, greeting guests, and deterring porch pirates.

Read CNET’s review of the Wyze Video Doorbell Pro.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

While we’re on the subject of affordable deterrence, it might be worth considering dummy cameras as part of your home security kit. Especially for larger properties where you want your home security system to cover a large area without breaking the bank, fake security cameras can make your house look like a gated complex at an affordable price. You can order a four pack of fake cameras for only about $15 here.

Deterrence will only get you so far with a fake security camera. If a burglar breaks into your house, you’ll still want an alarm system—either some kind of alarm monitoring device or a motion detector—to alert you to the break-in.

Read our list of the best home security cameras, including the Arlo Pro and more.

Tyler Lisenby/CNET

Alexa Guard can help you keep your ear (or some far-field microphones) nearby when you’re away. Echo Dot is the cheapest way to get Alexa Guard monitoring in your home. The last one fourth generation Dot usually sell for about $50, but the older third generation Dot works just as well and can be found for closer to $30 if you want to save some money. And if you already have an Echo, this monitoring service is completely free and can be set up via the Alexa mobile app.

Just say “Alexa, I’m leaving” to turn on the home monitoring feature. Then your Echo will listen for broken glass, alarms, or the sound of people moving around your house (it can tell pets from people) — and you’ll get a mobile alert if it hears anything.

There is also a subscription upgrade to Alexa Guard for $5 per month.

Read our Echo Dot review.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

It can be difficult for renters to increase their home security in part because installing a home security system can be quite involved — especially when you’re talking about smart deadbolts. So if you’re looking to add some security to your door locks without a lot of hassle or cash, consider a DIY retrofit lock like this one.

Devices like these, while not connected to Wi-Fi, still offer clever ways to add another home security barrier for thieves to bypass, which equates to some peace of mind for the anxious homeowner. And while it doesn’t have any of the benefits of a smart lock (like a control panel or burglar alarm), it’s portable, so you can carry this inexpensive home security lock with you when you’re staying at a hotel or Airbnb.

Read more about smart locks.

Wyze

Wyze Cam is the most wallet-friendly smart Wi-Fi camera. This home security camera offers free human alerts to your Wyze app, 14 days of cloud storage, and an SD card slot if you want continuous recording. Wyze’s signature outdoor camera security device also got an upgrade in 2020 and now includes a weatherproof housing, clearer night vision, a wider field of view, a functional siren, and more—all for under $40.

Read our Wyze Cam v3 review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

One of the most obvious deterrents to would-be intruders is a habitable house. Put some smart lights in your kitchen, living room, or front porch light fixtures, schedule them to turn on at certain times of the night, and you’ll instantly make your house a lot less attractive to more daring burglars.

One of the most wallet-friendly options for a DIY home security system: the Wyze bulb. You can get two for $17 or four for $34 – not much more than a regular LED bulb. These inexpensive home security gadgets connect directly to your Wi-Fi network and can be controlled with the Wyze mobile app through your mobile device. These lights are perfect for scheduling through your app and forgetting about them.

Wyze Labs

If you’re less concerned about recording specific rooms and more interested in monitoring the entrances to your house, a security sensor kit may be a more affordable piece of equipment for you. Wyze is the security company that takes the cake again here, letting you build your own security kit with a selection of devices, including a $24 entry sensor, a $19 keypad, a $9 motion sensor, and more.

Again, for the price, these home monitoring security devices are a solid value. For a small apartment or if you’re just monitoring your front and back doors, these smart home security devices can keep you safe with motion detection for a super cheap price—eliminating the need for professional monitoring with bad customer service or a false alarm.


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