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It takes about 10 minutes to set up. When we tested the built in siren, it was one of the loudest, making it hard for intruders to ignore. There's a 10 hour backup battery that keeps your system functional when the power goes out. Another thing that makes abode so easy to use is its ability to talk to devices from Nest and Amazon, as well as Z Wave and ZigBee devices. You can also link your abode system to other smart home devices via the IFTTT online task automation service. abode's one year warranty isn't robust, but it’s typical of DIY smart home systems.

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Access fees are sometimes required to unlock all or part of a system's self monitoring features for about $10 a month. With regards to professional monitoring, you can expect to pay between $15 and $30 a month for the service, which generally covers any access fees as well. This is lower than the $37 average on traditional security systems and doesn't require a contract; not all DIY security systems have professional monitoring. What equipment should you get?Begin with a starter kit that covers your basic DIY home security needs such as the number of motion detectors and entry sensors for your home's size. From there, you can choose other devices to enhance the surveillance around your home. Most of the systems we tested sell add ons to boost your security beyond the basics. The most useful add ons are third party smart home devices. Scout Alarm, abode, SimpliSafe, SwannOne, Wink and Iris by Lowe's can all integrate with Nest, which means you can set up your home security system to work with other Nest products such as a security camera. Half of the systems we tested can also use If This Then That IFTTT, a free internet based automation service that helps DIY security systems and third party smart home devices work together. Of course IFTTT goes beyond smart home tasks, but we're unsure if linking your security system to financial services and restaurants has any material benefits at this time. Very few systems offer smoke detectors as an add on, and in the case of home8alarm, it uses a fireman device to send alerts when your smoke detectors go off.