Setting up your own ADT Home Security system: How to DIY it

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Father and daughter using digital tablet
Father and daughter using digital tablet.

Westend61 via Getty Images


Securing your home and protecting your family with a reliable home security system is more important than ever these days. While long established names in home security like ADT offer comprehensive protection through professionally installed systems, you may be wondering: is DIY installation the best option for you and your home? We take a long look at ADT to give you a detailed answer below.

“Most of these DIY systems are incredibly easy to set up, even if you’re not the handiest homeowner on the block,” says home security expert Rob Gabriele. 

“These DIY home security systems are becoming so popular that even big names in the security industry are offering their own. ADT Self Setup is one of those. This security package allows users to gain access to ADT’s award-winning professional monitoring with the flexibility and affordability of a self-installed system.” 

ADT Self Setup gives you the freedom to build and customize your system however you see fit — plus, installation is frustration-free. That said, maybe you’re not a power-tool person, or ADT might be strain on your budget. No worries. We’ve lined up all the top home security companies in one handy place below.

Become a DIY pro with ADT Self Setup

ADT is arguably one of the most recognizable names in high-tech home security, and for good reason. The company has more than 150 years of experience to back up its products and services. And the latest addition to the home security company’s roster of comprehensive security solutions is its DIY offering: ADT Self Setup.

Customers can bypass professional installation fees, which typically start at $150 (and only go up from there if you’re eyeing wired systems from competitors), by building their own security package — or starting with one of several bundles offered by ADT. 

Breaking down your options with three ADT Self Setup packages

Before you can equip your home with your security devices, you have a choice between three ADT Self Setup packages. There’s a build-your-own option as well as a starter and premium kit. Here’s a breakdown of each.

As of this writing, all ADT Self Setup packages are 50% off thanks to ADT’s Memorial Day sale event.

  • Build your own: $98 (down from $195). This basic home security solution is the cheapest pick, but it’s also a bit barebones. Customers get one smart home hub, one door or window sensor, and access to the ADT+ mobile app. You can add additional devices as needed to build your own package, but prices of individual add-ons like the battery-powered Google Nest cam ($180) add up quickly. Like all Self Startup options, this requires a minimum one-month subscription of professional monitoring with your purchase. 
  • Starter kit: $195 (down from $390). This kit gives you everything the BYO package offers, plus a few valuable extras: one Google Nest doorbell, three additional door or window sensors, two motion sensors, one ADT yard sign, and a four-pack of ADT window stickers. This is, as the name implies, a solid option that adds intrusion detection and front door protection to the mix.
  • Premium kit: $373 (down from $745). Get everything from the starter kit, plus a second generation Google Nest hub that lets you further customize your home security with voice control for smart devices, remote control for any connected devices, and voice call connectivity. 

What comes in an ADT Self Startup kit?

Every kit comes with a few essentials: a smart home hub that brings together all of your devices, a sensor for door or window entry detection, and access to the ADT+ mobile app. Here is everything else you can add to your home security system.

All ADT products are currently 50% off during ADT’s Memorial Day sales event. Prices listed below reflect this current discount.

Video surveillance: 

  • Indoor/outdoor Google nest cam (battery): $90
  • Indoor Google Nest cam (wired): $50
  • Google Nest doorbell (battery): $90

Additional devices: 

  • Keypad: $45
  • Door/window sensor: $7.50
  • Motion sensor: $12.50
  • Smoke detector: $14
  • Flood/temperature detector: $17.50

Automated devices:

  • Google Nest mini: $24.50
  • Google Nest hub (2nd gen): $35
  • Google Nest hub Max: $115
  • Google Nest thermostat: $65
  • Keychain remote: $10

Accessories: 

  • ADT yard sign: $4
  • ADT window stickers (4 pack): $1.50
  • Weatherproof cable for the Google Nest cam: $12.50 to $20 depending on length
  • Trim kit for Google Nest thermostat: $7.50

Your final total will also include 24/7 pro monitoring services, which start at $25 per month. If you purchased a Google Nest camera, you’re on the hook for another $10 per month for a Nest Aware video storage plan.

What to expect with ADT Self Setup installation

“The [home installation] process typically involves a few straightforward steps,” says CEO of Awning.com Shri Ganeshram. 

“Firstly, one would need to decide on the components required for their home – this could range from basic door and window sensors to more advanced motion detectors and security cameras. After acquiring the necessary equipment, the next step is the installation. ADT provides user-friendly manuals and online tutorials to guide homeowners through the setup process. For instance, mounting cameras or placing sensors at strategic points around the home.”

Those manuals and tutorials will point you to the ADT+ mobile app to start. Simply create an account and put in your address and activation code (that came with your hub device) to get things set up. Sensors come pre-paired with the hub and are labeled, making it easy to keep track of everything. 

To install, simply pick locations for each device, name it, and remove the plastic tab to activate the battery. Double-sided tape is included for easy installation. Motion sensors also come with bracket screws if you’d prefer that over tape. 

Devices are synced to your hub manually. Tap the plus icon on the “devices” screen, select whichever piece of equipment you have in hand, and tap “set up new device.” There are extra steps here and there, such as tapping motion sensors to activate them or scanning the included QR code to sync your doorbell device, but thankfully there are video tutorials to guide you through the entire process. 

Pros and cons of ADT Self Setup home security

ADT Self Setup is a great pick for anyone considering a DIY approach to home security. You get the best of both worlds: the ease of equipping your home with a new security system all on your own backed by the reputation of a long-established security company. 

Here is a closer look at how ADT Self Setup stacks up when all is said and done: 

Pros:

  • Simplified self-installation: When it comes to DIY projects, ADT self-installation is far from challenging. Installing cameras and sensors (with double-sided tape or bracket screws) seems to be on the level of putting up a new shelf or hanging a picture — if you can do one, you can definitely do the other. Toss in the painless few steps it takes to create an ADT+ app account and sync your devices (everything comes pre-paired with your Smart Home Hub) and voila! Installation complete.
  • Seamless integration with Nest products: “[ADT] recently partnered with Google, so users can add Nest products to their system, including the Nest Video Doorbell, the Nest Battery Camera, and the Nest Floodlight — all excellent pieces of equipment with high-tech features like facial recognition,” says Gabriele. “If you’re looking for comprehensive security, it’s difficult to beat ADT.” 
  • Fast and reliable connections: Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave connectivity means that no time is wasted when your devices need to send data to other devices — or the local authorities if necessary.
  • No long-term contracts needed: While there are still expenses for professional monitoring services to take care of, you can rest easy knowing there’s no multi-year contract tying you to your ADT home security system.

Cons:

  • Be prepared for some higher-than-average equipment prices: “The primary drawback is the price,” says Gabriele. “To put it simply, ADT isn’t cheap… If you’re considering going with an ADT system, I’d just recommend making sure your budget can handle it. You’re looking at some pretty significant costs… and then monthly monitoring that can run anywhere from $45 to $60 per month, depending on the size of your system and the features you select.” The build-your-own package may be $195, but that price goes up fast if you want to add a camera (starting at $70), doorbell ($180), or other equipment. 
  • Required monitoring fees: Payments for ADT’s professional monitoring services are required upfront and start at $25 per month — although you can cancel after your first month and revert to self-monitoring, if preferred.

While there may be other DIY home security services that are more budget-friendly, there’s just no comparison to ADT’s reputation as a long-established home security provider. Now that you’re up to date on what the ADT Self Setup home security system looks like out of the box — as well as how easy it is to install and set up on our own — you can rest easy knowing your home is safe.

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