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Although we may reach out for technical support or for clarification on a particular feature, the companies have no input on our testing practices and we don’t share our results or rankings with them before publishing our reviews. As we researched this topic and security systems in general, we reached out to Jamie Vos, vice president of the Electronic Security Association ESA for his thoughts on DIY systems. He emphasized professional monitoring for security systems: “If you receive a text alert, you may not be in a condition to respond and you may not hear an alarm. At that point, you have lost valuable response time, whereas a professional monitoring station can automatically alert first responders. ”We also contacted Kirk MacDowell, a board member with the Security Industry Association SIA and president of MacGuard Security Advisors Inc. He said a security system can act as a central heartbeat in the home. “Devices such as locks that can be opened remotely, home light control and thermostats that can raise or lower temperature are all tied into one convenient app and then tied into the alarm, making the operation seamless. ”How we tested DIY home automated systems For each new DIY security system, we test in two areas: user experience and ease of installation. These help build a picture of a system's effectiveness and how it affects you. For user experience tests, we see what each system and its companion smartphone app can do. In our experience, the best DIY home security systems have many ways to arm and disarm so you don't always need your smartphone.

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63 View at Amazon$249View at Walmart$249. 99View at The Home Depot?For those looking for a less expensive outdoor security system, the Arlo Pro costs just $189 for a single camera/base station setup; the newer Arlo Pro 2 is $299. The main tradeoff?The Arlo Pro records video at 720p versus 1080p for the Arlo Pro 2. Otherwise, you get a generous storage plan, a two way audio, a weatherproof camera and an excellent app with a lot of features. Read our full Arlo Pro review. Reasons to BuyExcellent audio, daylight videoReasonable cloud storage plansSimple to use, flexible softwareReasons to AvoidBlurry night videoMobile app not optimized for tabletsCord isn't fully weatherproof$79. 99 View at Walmart$79. 99View at The Home Depot$79. 99View at Amazon?Kasa's lower cost outdoor security camera is a good deal if you don't mind a few tradeoffs. Daytime 1080p video from this camera was excellent, but nighttime video was less defined; it was hard to make out people's faces. The camera is weather resistant, but the connection between its cable and power supply is not.