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ByJackie Nelson Feature Writer

SimpliSafe Home Security Review

If the prospect of home security is leaving you stressed out and bogged down, SimpliSafe might be the salve you’ve hoped for. Their no-contract options offer less red tape than their competitors, and is one of their best features. With their recent revamp and rapid growth, SimpliSafe is making a decent hold for itself within the industry and in homes across the country.

The Claim

SimpliSafe advertises “more protection, less markup, no nonsense” when it comes to its “Whole Home Protection.” SimpliSafe’s revitalized brand and new hardware components seek to be “smaller, faster, stronger.”

Is it true?

Yes.
SimpliSafe carries through with their promise of better, smaller hardware and a generalized “no nonsense” approach to security – they don’t require a monthly contract or monthly fees for their DIY-monitoring services.
SimpliSafe offers the most plan flexibility among our top picks for home security systems and has an easy-to-use DIY installation for their new equipment. Although SimpliSafe is one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry, it doesn’t come close to the number of years of experience of more well-known security providers, like ADT. Being the new kid on the block comes with a handful of pros and cons.

Product Overview

Best for

Homeowners who want a security system with easy home automation and affordable, no -contract service.

Not for

Homeowners who want guaranteed theft protection, highly experienced customer service, professional installation, or high-end security cameras.

Features

Years of experience
13
Starting price
$15/month*
Contract term
No contract
24/7 professional monitoring
Yes
Number of plans
6
Professional installation fee
$79 "Pro Setup Help"
Number of monitoring locations
6
Home automation
Yes
Theft protection guarantee
No
Money-back guarantee
60-day

*Pricing is for basic package. Pricing will vary based on customization, package tiers, and fees.

No contracts

SimpliSafe is one of the best home security systems for no-contract pricing. All you need to do to start services is purchase the equipment upfront and figure out which professional or DIY monitoring plan is right for you – some as low as just fifty cents a day.

You can cancel at any time, but we recommend opting for the 24/7 Live Alarm Monitoring. The system will still function as an alarm without the monitoring, but the police won’t be called and you won’t be notified if you’re away from home. SimpliSafe prides itself on “not locking customers into service contracts” and it’s truly one of the best elements of their security service.

Updated equipment

SimpliSafe revamped their entire fleet of home security equipment in 2018 to be half the size and double the range, five times faster, and fifty percent louder. The new keypad is “SmashSafe,” which means even if an intruder damages it, SimpliSafe still alerts the police to the break-in. Its equipment relies on a built-in cellular connection but is reinforced with WiFi – something they call “Twice Secured.” SimpliSafe also features some great smart home compatibility, playing nice with Nest thermostat systems, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and even your Apple Watch.

Last but not least, the motion sensors are built to know the difference between human heatmaps and your pet. In theory, this would mean you’d get fewer false alarms from your dog’s leisure activities.

Budget-friendly pricing

In addition to new equipment and no contracts, their monthly monitoring rates are some of the lowest we’ve seen in the industry. You can monitor your system for free if you feel comfortable with alerting authorities on your own, but we think the $15 a month is worth it for their professional monitoring services.

You can also score refurbished SimpliSafe equipment for 25% to 30% less than brand new prices. When you consider the budget-friendly option of building your own custom package with the equipment you want (and nothing you don’t), we think SimpliSafe cuts out all the extra expenses in the most logical way.

Possible drawbacks

No guarantee against theft

Unlike the leading competitor in the home security industry, ADT, SimpliSafe offers no guarantee against theft or break-ins. If you choose to use SimpliSafe as your security servicer, don’t expect any reimbursement from the company. Although it’s rare for a company to offer a guarantee of this nature, it’s definitely something you should consider if you choose a no-contract, more affordable home security service like SimpliSafe.

Upfront equipment cost

When you cut out contract obligations, extensive packages and monthly service requirements, something’s got to give. While there are plenty of ways to save money with SimpliSafe in the long-term, you still have to pay for the equipment upfront. Depending on your preferences in home security necessities, a SimpliSafe equipment bundle could cost as much as $600 before taxes, fees and your future months of professional monitoring. Even the most basic equipment bundle will run you close to $200.

Limited camera capabilities

Most home security competitors provide both indoor and outdoor cameras for your home system. This isn’t the case when it comes to SimpliSafe. There’s only one indoor camera option, which features night vision, HD streamable video/audio and 30-day storage of footage. However, it doesn’t take snapshots, doesn’t have two-way talk abilities and cannot pan or move at all.

We were disappointed to see that SimpliSafe lacked such basic features in their camera – especially considering they recently improved their equipment in 2018. The “no frills” approach to simple security cameras definitely leaves something to be desired. It’s worth noting that an outdoor camera is available as an add-on doorbell feature, but isn’t included in any of the listed packages – even the most expensive one.

Limited experience

SimpliSafe was only recently founded in 2006, but is rapidly growing in popularity. It may be smart home savvy when it comes to voice controls, its third-party compatibility could be improved. It doesn’t align with Zigbee and Z-Wave, so you can’t easily connect it with your smart locks or other smart home actions. Hopefully as the company innovates and expands its expertise in smart home technology, it will offer enhanced capabilities and connections.

The Competition

SimpliSafe
ADT
Vivint
Frontpoint
Ring
Price
$15/month*
$36.99/ month
$39.99/ month
$35/month
$10/month
Professional installation
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Professional monitoring
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Home automation
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Contract length
No contract
36 months
48 months
60 months
36 months
No contract
Money-back guarantee
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes

*Pricing is for basic package. Please note pricing will vary based on customization, package tiers, and fees.

SimpliSafe vs. ADT

ADT is the leader in home security systems, protecting around eight million customers across North America. However, a name that big comes at a price. ADT requires a three-year contract and costs more than double what SimpliSafe costs for the least expensive monthly professional monitoring. Both providers have six monitoring locations around the country, easy-to-use home automation features, and a money-back guarantee.

They diverge in offers of professional installation (ADT includes it for a fee, SimpliSafe is designed to be DIY) and their theft protection claim. A standout feature of ADT is their theft protection guarantee – the company will pay up to $500 toward your insurance deductible if a burglary occurs while your system is armed. You may want to opt for ADT if a guarantee is important to you and you don’t mind paying more and being locked into a long contract. If you’re renting and like the flexibility of canceling anytime and having a low or nonexistent monthly payment for security, we think SimpliSafe could be your best bet.

SimpliSafe vs. Vivint

Out of all the competitors we evaluated next to SimpliSafe, Vivint may be the most different. Vivint has the longest contract terms, at 48- or 60-month subscriptions. And you’ll find the highest prices for Vivint security service. So what do you get for making such a long-term commitment to home security? Lots and lots of bells and whistles. Impressive smart home capabilities paired with easy-to-use security features make it a clear choice for top-notch home automation.

However, with no money-back guarantee to speak of, you’re truly locked into these services. If you’re more non-committal and desire a simpler (and more affordable) approach to home security, we think SimpliSafe is a better option. If you don’t mind setting up security for four or five years at a time, you might love the high-tech capabilities of Vivint.

SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint

SimpliSafe has a lot in common with Frontpoint. Both companies are well known in the DIY home security space, both have reputable professional monitoring, and both have newer, innovative security equipment. While Frontpoint certainly has the more sophisticated equipment of the two, it comes at a much steeper price point. Frontpoint requires professional monitoring, whereas SimpliSafe strongly recommends it. With that requirement comes a three-year contract and the obligation to purchase Frontpoint equipment.

If you have to cancel Frontpoint service due to a move or relocation, you still have to pay the remaining balance on your contract at 80% of the original price. Although both systems made our list of top DIY Home Security Systems, SimpliSafe is the more affordable – and perhaps, more simple –option for DIY security.

SimpliSafe vs. Ring

All things told, SimpliSafe and Ring have a lot in common. Both are home security newcomers making waves with their a la carte, DIY systems that emphasize customization and automation. Both enable you to keep your system concise with their choose-your-own-adventure style of kit-building, plus monthly costs for video storage and/or professional monitoring are very competitive — $10-15 per month, versus an industry standard of $40. But while those old guard systems levy higher monthly fees — and ensure that you'll be paying them for years to come with stringent contracts — those companies also tend to distribute the cost burden of installing a home security system over time. After all, they've got you for three years. Fancy-free Ring and SimpliSafe, on the other hand, require that you purchase all your equipment upfront.

Ultimately, the choice between SimpliSafe and Ring comes down to the smart home system you have — or want to have — in your home. Do you lean toward Amazon Alexa? As an Amazon company, Ring functions best with Alexa and other Alexa-enabled devices. A Google Assistant family? SimpliSafe is compatible with both.

Brinks Home Security FAQ

What does SimpliSafe Home Security include?

SimpliSafe’s most basic package – The Foundation – includes four pieces of equipment:

  • Base Station
  • Wireless Keypad
  • Entry Sensor
  • Motion Sensor

Additional equipment is included in higher tiered packages, which may consist of: glass-break Sensors, panic buttons, SimpliCams, smoke detectors, temperature sensors, water sensors, extra keypads, key fobs, extra sirens, or extra 9x9 yard signs. Each security system is backed by SimpliSafe’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you don’t like your system within 60 days you can get a full refund.

Does SimpliSafe require a phone line?

No. SimpliSafe equipment relies on a built-in cellular connection. It’s reinforced through a WiFi connection, making it “Twice Secured.” SimpliSafe also has power outage protection, which allows the battery backup to take over for 24 hours after your power goes out – a super reassuring extra layer of protection.

What happens when SimpliSafe detects a threat?

If you subscribe to professional monitoring with SimpliSafe, you will be alerted if a sensor detects a break in. The Base Station sounds an alarm while it alerts a monitoring center, which will contact you to cancel the alarm. Unless it gets canceled by you, police will be dispatched to your home. You can control your SimpliSafe system on your phone, tablet or computer for easy access away from home.

The Bottom Line

SimpliSafe is a DIY security company you should turn to if your main priority is affordable, transparent pricing and no contract commitments. Its equipment is easy to install, easy to use, and covers a little more than the absolute essentials of home security. Depending on your home’s unique needs, you can highly customize your package with all the extras and still pay less than some of the more recognized competitors. As long as you don’t mind paying upfront for your equipment and having a mostly basic system, SimpliSafe might be your perfect match to keep your household simple and safe.

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