Security Smart Home

5 Cheapest Ways to Create Your Own Wireless Home Security Alarm

Dann Albright 14-10-2015

Wireless home security alarms Safe and Sound: 4 Great Smart Home Security Devices Read More can be quite expensive, with starter kits often costing $200 or more. But if all you’re looking for is a simple alarm that will scare off a burglar, you can combine parts from a few different places and save yourself a lot of money. Put one of these five wireless home security alarms together with the recommend components, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own alarm system!


Iris + Utilitech: $100

Lowe’s has entered the smart home game with its own hub and sensors under the name of Iris. You can get most of the same types of sensors as you can get from bigger names like Smartthings and WeMo, but the Iris brand is significantly cheaper. Combining an Iris sensor and hub with a Utilitech alarm will give you a solid wireless alarm system for a very reasonable price.


You’ll need the Iris hub [Broken URL Removed], which costs $50, significantly less than most smart home hubs Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? For a while, people thought of the idea as nothing more than a gimmick, but recent product releases have shown that smart home automation is starting to live up to its promises. Read More . Adding an Iris motion sensor adds another $20 to the total (these sensors are known to be very sensitive; if you have animals around or you live in a busy neighborhood, you might opt for a different sensor). And a Utilitech 85-decibel alarm with flashing red LED is just $30. Not bad for $100. Plus you now have the Iris hub so you can add more home automation devices.


Iris and Utilitech offer a number of other sensors that could be integrated into your wireless home security alarm, like a contact sensor for opening doors and windows, a glass break sensor, and even a water leak detector. Iris will also email, text, or call you when your alarm goes off.


WeMo + Honeywell: $85

For a very simple alarm, all you really need is a motion sensor and an alarm. Because the WeMo system 3 Ways The Belkin WeMo Can "Smarten" Your Regular Household Lamps We took the time to look at the possibilities for turning your regular household lamps into smart lamps. Read More doesn’t require a central hub, you can construct a simple alarm system on the cheap. You’ll need to do a bit of light hacking to get it all to work, but it’s been done before, and it can be done again.


In addition to the WeMo Swicth and Motion Sensor, you’ll need the Honeywell Wave-2 siren and a JACKYLED DC power supply switching adapter. In short, you’ll plug the switching adapter into the WeMo Switch and connect it to the alarm. Now, when the motion sensor turns on the switch, the adapter will deliver the 12 volts necessary to fire up the siren.

This siren can put out over 100 dB, so be careful when you’re setting it up, as it’s easy to set it off!


SmartThings + Fortrezz: $180

If you’d like to start making your home smarter 6 Smart Home Projects You Can Take On This Weekend Here are six ways to add a little ambient intelligence to your daily routine. Read More , the SmartThings hub is a great place to start. For $100, you’ll be ready to communicate with a variety of different smart home devices, using both Z-Wave and Zigbee formats. Combining the $100 hub with a $30 arrival sensor will give you a number of options for your wireless home security alarm.


The arrival sensor will detect when someone has entered a certain area. Put it on your front door and set your SmartThings hub to trigger the Fortrezz siren strobe ($50) if someone is detected when you’re away from home, and you have yourself a home security alarm.



The siren strobe combines a 100 dB alarm with bright red flashing LEDs—there will be no mistaking that an intruder has been caught!

D-Link + Scout: $170

D-Link’s DCS-930L camera is one of the most affordable web cams A Guide to the Best Budget Webcams for Under $60 If you don't own a webcam, you should get one ASAP. It's one of those things that seems unnecessary until you have one, and then it suddenly becomes useful for all kinds of things. Read More you buy at $40. Even at that price, it offers both motion and sound detection, and will send emails to your phone if it detects someone in your home while you’re away. And by combining those emails with IFTTT, you can create a recipe that will get your attention (via text message or call) and set off an alarm in your home.


The Scout system is a great home security package, but if you don’t want to buy the whole thing right away, you can just start with the $130 base station and add sensors later. Scout’s integration with IFTTT means that you can sound the alarm whenever you want; just set up a tweet or an email that will trigger Scout’s 106 dB siren.



This combination requires a bit more work than the others, but it also nets you a Scout base station, which can be used to further automate your home in the future. If you’re looking to buy an entire system, just not quite yet, this could be a great way to go.

Arduino + Components: $60

This is a real DIY project, requiring you to rig up a sensor, alarm buzzer, and a set of lights to your Arduino and breadboard. The process is quite simple, and we covered it in this DIY post on how to create an Arduino alarm system How To Make a Simple Arduino Alarm System Detect movement, then scare the heck out of an intruder with a high pitched alarm sounds and flashing lights. Does that sound fun? Of course it does. That's the goal of today's Arduino project, suitable... Read More .

To get started, you’ll need an Arduino board, an ultrasonic sensor, an alarm buzzer, an LED light strip, and a breadboard with jumper wires. If you buy a simple Arduino starter kit 4 Best Starter Kits for Arduino Beginners There are plenty of great beginner Arduino projects that you can use to get started, but you'll need an Arduino and some components first. Here's our pick of 4 of the best starter kits for... Read More , you’ll get most of these things, plus a bunch of other cool stuff for beginner Arduino projects.

Follow the instructions in our DIY post, place the whole setup where you’d like to monitor for intruders, and you’ll be set to go!

Creating Safety

No matter which of these projects you decide to take on for your wireless home security alarm, you can be confident that any intruder in your house will be caught and warned—and you can feel better about leaving your house alone. Or you can rig up a security alarm for your bedroom so your little brother doesn’t go snooping. Either way, you win.

Have you pieced together any part of your home security alarm? What did you use? Did it work well? Share your thoughts below!

Image Credits:Burglar breaking into by Brian A Jackson via Shutterstock

Related topics: Home Security, Smart Sensor.

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  1. Anonymous
    October 15, 2015 at 6:35 am

    The alarm system I use is fitted with a sim card. Not only can I check the status of the alarm from my smart phone, but it will also send out text messages to 5 numbers. I have myself and my immediate neighbours programmed into it. If I am too far away and my neighbours check and say the house is safe I can reset the alarm remotely.

    • Dann Albright
      October 20, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      Interesting! I've never heard of that. What's the system called?

  2. Anonymous
    October 15, 2015 at 6:20 am

    Whichever system you decide on, supplment with this: get to know your neighbors! Sounds obvious, but how many really know even their immediate neighbors enough to notify them before going away for extended periods?

    • Dann Albright
      October 20, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      That's a great point, and definitely something to remember. Social interaction can take you a long way! And they'll be able to pick up on things an alarm system wouldn't, like a suspicious car hanging out around your house or someone looking in your windows.

  3. Anonymous
    October 15, 2015 at 2:10 am

    For not much more you could buy a Piper or Canary.

    Piper has temperature, humidity, motion, light, and sound detectors in a single device. All of the above plus external temperature are displayed in a home vitals display in the Piper app. It can be expanded with door/window sensors, water sensors, and control switches. It is programed with simple rules to record video with the built-in camera, sound
    a built-in audio alarm, push a message, send a text, make a phone call to you, or Email you. There is no monthly monitoring fee. Piper is powered by a wall wart with about 8 hours of battery backup.

    Canary is a stand alone device. It has motion, sound, temperature, humidity and air quality sensors. When triggered it records a video and sounds an audio alarm. It sends you a notification when it is is triggered. It is powered by a wall wart or or Power over Ethernet. Video can be stored up to 30 days. 12 hour storage is free.

    Both store events in the cloud. You monitor the video and audio and decide if authorities should be notified of an emergency. Setup and control is through an Android or iPhone app.

    The Canary takes about 15 minutes to setup. Piper takes a little longer, especially if you have the optional sensors.

    • Dann Albright
      October 20, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Yes, you definitely could get one of those, but neither of those let you create something. We're big on DIY around here, and on saving money, and if you can combine the two, we really like it! Both the Piper and the Canary are great systems, especially if you want additional monitoring capabilities, but they do cost more (even if it's not much more).

  4. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    There are systems available that call you instead of an expensive alarm monitoring service. The one I use is by X-10, and has been around for about 20 years. It has been upgraded recently to be able to use a cell connection instead of the older wired phone ( the wired is still available) It calls a sequence of numbers you program in and calls until one answers.

    If you already have a working alarm, but not monitored there are dialer boxes that can hook up to it that will call any 4 numbers you specify and gives one of 3 messages - burglar alarm, fire alarm or medical emergency depending on what sensor was triggered.

    Most home alarm companies will practically five the hardware away to get your name on a 3 year contract. The cost of the hardware is covered in the monthly fee. Those contracts are notoriously hard to get out of for any reason. And will automatically renew if you don't cancel during a narrow window they allow.

    Most insurance companies will give a discount if you have a monitored alarm, but not if it is self monitored. Sometimes it is worth paying the fee to get the discount. That can effectively lower the real cost of monitoring - you still pay the $40 a month, ($480/year) but if your insurance is reduced by $250, that makes the real cost $230/year or $19/ month. The discount will vary based on your insurance company.

    • Dann Albright
      October 20, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      All very good considerations. I wasn't aware of the potential discount with insurance companies—that's a good thing to keep in mind, especially if you're hoping to use an alarm system to save some money. Thanks for the info!

  5. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Are these systems independently powered or do they rely on house power?

    • Dann Albright
      October 20, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      There are some of both. For example, the WeMo needs to be plugged into an outlet to work. But an Arduino can run off of a 9V battery. The Honeywell siren is actually supposed to be wired into your mains, but you can get around that with the WeMo setup. So it varies a bit.

  6. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I haven't bought an alarm system yet because of the most significant cost: monitoring services. someone has to call the police, after all.

    It would help me much more if you would look at such services. I don't want to have to pay TWC $40/month to monitor my system.

    • Dann Albright
      October 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Right, someone does have to call the police—and with these systems, it's you. You'll get some sort of notification (you can decide which) and then you'll need to take action from there. Of course, you could just set your alarm to go off for a while to try to scare someone away, but I'd hesitate to recommend that.

      Also, monitoring services aren't nearly as fun as creating something yourself. :-)