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ByAnne Dennon Home Technology Writer

Anne has covered home security and home automation for Reviews.com for two years. She's interested in human-computer interaction and tech ethics.

SimpliSafe Home Security Review

SimpliSafe lives up to its name, eschewing the long contracts and steep rates of traditional home security companies in favor of month-to-month subscriptions that cost less than half the industry norm. SimpliSafe solves a number of age-old home security problems, from contracts and their associated red tape (so long, early cancellation fees) to bulky, hard-to-install devices. Sleek equipment, smartphone control, automation possibilities, and professional monitoring, for a couple hundred down and $15-$25 per month — SimpliSafe earns its place as the home security newcomer to beat.

SimpliSafe’s Claim

SimpliSafe advertises “more protection, less markup, no nonsense” with a product lineup, service promise, and general ethos that seeks to make total home protection “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 have contracts or levy any of the fees associated with them.

SimpliSafe also offers the most plan flexibility among our top picks for home security systems with a plethora of packages, including refurbished and custom kit options. You can get professional assistance to install a SimpliSafe system (for a $79 fee), but you probably don’t need it. No tools are required to complete the simple DIY installation.

In addition to affordable, customizable device kits and affordable, month-to-month plans, SimpliSafe modernizes home security by embracing home automation. Combine SimpliSafe devices with other automation gadgets and control the lot via any of the three biggest home automation systems: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple Homekit.

While established home security companies like ADT can boast decades (or, in ADT’s case, a century) of proven service, consumers and professional techies alike sing SimpliSafe’s praises. It’s not just a good deal; it’s a good system. SimpliSafe has rethought the pricing and the goals of home security. The result is a complete smart home security system priced to provide ease and safety to a greater swathe of the market, including those who have been priced out of traditional home security systems.

Pros

✔ No contracts
✔ Updated equipment
✔ Budget-friendly pricing

Cons

✘ No guarantee against theft
✘ Upfront equipment cost

SimpliSafe Packages

  The Haven The Knox The Hearth The Essentials The Foundation
Starting Price $489 $449 $374 $259 $229
Best for Comprehensive security coverage Large homes Basic coverage plus smoke detection Basic security coverage Small homes and apartments
Base Station and Keypad
Entry sensor 4 6 3 3 1
Motion sensor 2 2 1 1 1
105dB Siren
Smoke Detector
Key Fob
Panic Button
Freeze sensor and Water sensor

SimpliSafe offers over five device packages to choose from, plus a build-your-own option, designed to cover homes ranging from apartments to multi-floor houses with up to four entrances.

If you don’t need a complete system, and just want to be able to keep an eye on your front door, SimpliSafe also offers its own version of the popular video doorbell. This multi-functional device provides security and automation capabilities all on its own, but it also feeds into a larger SimpliSafe setup. If any sensor picks up movement, the video doorbell starts to record.

All of SimpliSafe’s devices come with a 60-day trial period, so if you want to order a larger kit and then experiment with how much security you really need, it’s painless to test in house and then send back products you end up not needing.

SimpliSafe Overview

Advantages

No contracts

SimpliSafe stands out amongst home security systems for its no-contract pricing structure. Many companies want to get you on the hook for three years or more, and may only offer a discount on upfront equipment costs if you sign the dotted line. With SimpliSafe, you spend approximately $200-$500 up front on the equipment of your choice, and then figure out which professional or DIY monitoring plan is right for you. The professional monitoring option, which allows you to control your system through a smartphone while alerting the police on your behalf in the event of a break-in, starts at just $15 per month. 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 — smartphone control only kicks in with the professional monitoring option. Aside from this unfortunate catch-22, SimpliSafe prides itself on aligning with customers’ best interests. Not locking customers into service contracts is the best example of this commitment.

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 50% 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 heat signatures and your pets. This means your dog won’t set off any alarms.

Budget-friendly pricing

SimpliSafe’s monthly monitoring rates are some of the lowest we’ve seen. You can monitor your system for free if you feel comfortable with alerting authorities on your own, but you might as well throw in the $15 per month for professional monitoring services — it’s the only way to access all of SimpliSafe’s smartphone controls.

You can also score refurbished SimpliSafe equipment for 25% to 30% less than brand-new prices, but with the same three-year product warranty. With low monthly rates plus the budget-friendly option of building your own custom package with just the products (new or refurbished) you want, SimpliSafe cuts out all the extra expenses associated with home security in the most logical ways.

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.

Upfront equipment cost

Without contractual obligations, there’s no way to pay the company over time for your equipment. That means that you’ll need to foot the total device bill upfront. SimpliSafe’s affordable monitoring means you’ll save money going with the company in the long-term, but you’ll feel the pinch at first. Depending on your home security preferences, 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.

The Competition

  SimpliSafe ADT Vivint Frontpoint Ring
Compared to SimpliSafe n/a Pricier, but offers theft protection and better brand recognition Lots of smart home options, but requires long-term contracts Fancier equipment, but higher costs Similar prices/features, but focused on Amazon's Alexa
Price $15/month* $36.99/ month $39.99/ month $35/month $10/month
Professional installation Yes 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
SimpliSafe View plans View plans View plans View plans

*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 8 million customers across North America. The big name comes with a big price. ADT requires a three-year contract and charges more than double what SimpliSafe does for professional monitoring. On the other hand, ADT offers a theft protection guarantee — the company will pay up to $500 toward your insurance deductible if a burglary occurs while your system is armed. Both providers have six monitoring locations around the country, easy-to-use home automation features, and a money-back guarantee.

SimpliSafe vs. Vivint

Out of all the SimpliSafe’s competitors, Vivint may be the most different. Vivint has exceptionally long contracts — 48- or 60-month terms — and high rates for professional monitoring. So what do you get for making such a big commitment to Vivint? Lots of bells and whistles. Impressive smart home capabilities and user-friendly security features make it a stand-out option for anyone looking to make automation a central part of their security system. If you want automation, but also value flexibility and affordability, SimpliSafe is a better option.

SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint

SimpliSafe has a lot in common with Frontpoint. Both companies are associated with DIY setup coupled with strong professional monitoring and recently updated security equipment. Frontpoint has the more sophisticated equipment of the two, but the upgrade comes at a price. Required professional monitoring plus a three-year contract makes Frontpoint potentially more costly long-term. If you have to cancel Frontpoint service due to a move, you still have to pay the remaining balance on your contract at 80 percent of the original price. SimpliSafe is the more affordable — and perhaps, simpler — option for DIY security.

SimpliSafe vs. Ring

Both SimpliSafe and Ring 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 choose-your-own kits, plus competitive monthly rates for video storage and/or professional monitoring. They charge $10-15 per month; the industry standard is $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 you to purchase all your equipment up front. The main difference between SimpliSafe and Ring is compatibility. As an Amazon company, Ring functions best with Alexa. SimpliSafe is compatible with all three big players: Amazon, Google, and Apple.

SimpliSafe 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: glass-break sensors, panic buttons, SimpliCams, smoke detectors, temperature sensors, water sensors, extra keypads, key fobs, extra sirens, or extra yard signs. Each security system is backed by SimpliSafe’s 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 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 you cancel the alert, 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.

How do you install SimpliSafe?

SimpliSafe is designed for DIY installation. You don’t have to haul out the tool box or make holes in the wall. SimpliSafe’s setup consists of using adhesive tape to fix the keypad to the wall, and then plugging in the base station. Then, follow the prompts to test and name your devices. All other products — from water sensors to cameras — just have to be stuck on the wall or perched on a shelf, then powered on for further instructions.

The Bottom Line

SimpliSafe is the DIY security company you should turn to if your main priority is affordable, transparent pricing and no contract commitments. The equipment is easy to install, easy to use, and covers all the essentials of home security. Depending on your home’s unique needs, you can customize your package with extra sensors or integrate third-party automation devices to build out a complete smart home. You get more for your money with SimpliSafe, and your savings just increase over time; SimpliSafe pricing blows most recognized competitors out of the water.

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