Professional or Self-Monitoring Alarm System: Which is Right for You?

Having an alarm system in place is a great way to give you some peace of mind. Here is how to choose between a professional or self-monitoring system.

Professional or Self-Monitoring Alarm System: Which is Right for You? Great secure door with Italian lock

Only about 38 percent of Americans own some kind of home security system.

Are you looking to join this group? Are you having a hard time deciding what kind of alarm you want for your home?

There are tons of different types of alarms and security devices you can choose from.

One of the most important choices you’ll have to make during this process, though, is deciding whether you want a self-monitoring system or one that’s monitored by professionals.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of these different systems so you can choose one that makes the most sense for you and your home.

Self-Monitoring Vs. Professional Monitoring: What’s the Difference?

Before we dive into the pros and cons that come with these two types of systems, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand the key differences between them.

Here are some of the basics you need to know about self-monitored and professionally monitored alarm systems:


As the name suggests, with a self-monitoring alarm system, you are doing the monitoring on your own.

With most self-monitored systems today, you can use your computer or a smartphone app to help you pay attention to what’s going on in and around your home.

You can also set up some systems so that they’ll call, text, or email you or someone else on your contact list if the alarm gets set off.

Professional Monitoring

With a professionally monitored system, a third-party monitoring service will monitor your alarm system and your home for you.

When you use a system monitored by professionals, you can set up distress codes with the service. This, in turn, allows them to contact emergency help and send them your way whenever your alarm gets triggered.

They will also deactivate the alarm for you once it’s been set off.

Self-Monitoring Pros and Cons

Some people lean toward these systems initially because they have concerns about price. There’s a lot more to this decision that the amount you’ll spend on your alarm system, though.

Here are some of the other pros and cons associated with self-monitoring systems that you ought to know:


When you choose a self-monitored system, you get to save yourself the added cost of paying a monthly monitoring fee. If you have concerns about your budget and want to keep costs low, self-monitoring is a great option.

With a self-monitored system, you also don’t have to worry about dealing with any middlemen. You find out yourself when your alarm gets triggered, and you have the freedom to handle the situation as you see fit without a third-party getting involved.

A self-monitored system also saves you from having to pay any fees in the event that your alarm gets set off by accident. If you don’t want to fork over your hard-earned money every time the neighborhood cat sets off your alarm, this is a good option to consider.


One of the main drawbacks of a self-monitored system is the fact that you don’t get a lot of back up. If your alarm gets triggered while you’re unavailable, there won’t be anyone else to step in and deal with the issue on your behalf.

Connections can be limited when you use self-monitoring systems, too. If you rely on your smartphone to help you monitor your home and your battery dies or you’re in a dead zone, you’re out of luck until you can get to a charger or somewhere with better reception.

You also miss out on quality control. When you spring for a system monitored by professionals, a trained technician comes to your house to ensure everything works as it should. When you choose a self-monitored system, you have to rely on your own installation expertise.

Professional Monitoring Pros and Cons

Professional monitoring, like self-monitoring, is not a perfect set up. There are benefits and drawbacks to this option as well, including the following:


When you choose to go with a professional alarm system monitoring service, you get to enjoy peace of mind knowing that someone will be out to check on your home as soon as the alarm is triggered, even if you’re not there personally.

Professional systems also give you peace of mind because they’re set up by professionals. This helps to ensure there aren’t any blind spots in your home that may be more vulnerable to burglars.

In most cases, you can also trust that your alarm system will go off even in inclement weather or when you lose power. This is because more professionally monitored systems have battery backups included.


One of the main downsides to professional monitoring is the contracts and fees that come with the service.

You will have to pay more money in most cases to have your system professionally monitored, and you’ll likely have to agree to a contract that lasts at least a year. Often, though, there are discounts available that help to offset the price of the system and the cost of monitoring.

You’ll also have to pay a fee, in most cases, in the event that your alarm system gets triggered by accident. This can get expensive if you (or your kids or pets) are not careful.

Choose the Right Alarm System Today

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both self-monitoring alarm systems and alarm systems monitored by professionals. Now that you know more about both of these options, though, do you know which one is a better fit for you?

Keep this information in mind as you make your decision to ensure you’re buying an alarm system that works best for you and the rest of your family.

Do you want to learn more about monitoring your home or improving it to make it more secure? If so, be sure to check out some of our other home improvement articles today.

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