How to Build Your Own DIY Smart Home Security System on the Cheap

Building your own DIY smart home security system can be an affordable way to protect your home. With some research and handy skills, you can set up a system customized to your needs without breaking the bank. Here's how to get started building your own system on a budget.

Assess Your Needs

The first step is deciding what kind of security features you need. Consider the following:

Once you've decided on the components you'll need, you can start shopping around and budgeting. I recommend making a list organized by priority so you can build up your system in affordable phases if needed.

Choose a Central Hub

The center of your DIY system will be a hub or control panel that connects all your devices and allows you to control the system. Here are some budget-friendly options to consider:

I chose Home Assistant paired with a Raspberry Pi because it had all the integrations I needed on an open-source platform, for less than $100.

Add Sensors and Detectors

With your hub selected, now you can start connecting security devices. I recommend starting with basic contact and motion sensors on doors, windows, and key areas. You can find wireless sensors for around $15-30 each.

To detect intruders outdoors, wireless security cameras are an affordable option. Many good DIY-friendly cameras cost $100 or less, like Wyze Cams. For indoor cameras, you can even use old smartphones!

Other sensors to consider include leak detectors, smoke/CO alarms, glass break detectors and smart locks. Shop around for budget-friendly Z-Wave or Zigbee compatible options that work with your hub.

Set Up Notifications and Monitoring

When your sensors are triggered, you'll want to be notified. Most DIY hubs come with a mobile app for notifications and system controls. You can also set up push notifications, text alerts, and email alerts as backup.

For professional monitoring, services like Ring Protect start at $10/month. Or for self-monitoring, set up security dashboards to view sensor status and camera feeds in one place. Home Assistant has a great dashboard.

If you want a louder alarm, connect a Z-Wave siren to your hub. Some also have strobe lights and can activate during smoke/CO events.

Consider Expansions and Upgrades

Once your initial system is up, you can expand it over time. If your budget allows, consider:

Eventually, you could integrate almost any smart device with your home security ecosystem. Building your own system allows endless possibilities for customization down the road.

The great thing about DIY systems is that you can get basic protection set up for a few hundred dollars, and expand features modularly over time. With some diligent shopping and research, you can build a customized smart home security system on a budget that keeps your home safe.