When it comes to smart security systems, you have more options than ever before. But how do you sort through the good and the bad to figure out which sensors are best for your home? Well, let us do the hard work for you! abode is a superior product to SimpliSafe on almost every front.
Even disregarding the fact that abode makes one of the best security systems on the market, it’s easy to see where SimpliSafe falls short despite the years that they’ve had products on the market. With the expensive subscriptions required to access simple features, the security system is just difficult to recommend.
Below we break down the differences of the abode vs. SimpliSafe to help give you a sense of what each option has to offer. Alternatively, you can use the navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that interest you most.
abode vs. SimpliSafe — Differences
Difference #1: Technology – The first difference to discuss when comparing the SimpliSafe and abode are the differences in underlying technology. Since both systems are made up primarily of sensors, they need to be able to communicate wirelessly in order to communicate with the base and integrate with the rest of your home.
abode uses abodeRF long range for the sensors which is a proprietary communication technology that is reliable and very energy efficient. The system also supports Z-Wave, Zigbee, and IP-enabled devices and services, so there’s an incredible amount of potential for integration with other smart home systems.
While the SimpliSafe actually has a surprising amount of product integration due to its established position in the market, it’s less compatible by default due to the fact that it only supports WiFi.
Difference #2: Internet Connection – One area in which abode falls behind slightly is through the way it handles the internet connection. With either system, you’ll have a base that serves as a hub of sorts for all the various sensors distributed throughout your home. The base also often includes the keypad and alarm as well, so it’s important that it be located somewhere where it is both easy to access and secure.
SimpliSafe is completely wireless, which allows you to set it up pretty much anywhere you please. abode, on the other hand, needs to connect to your router via an Ethernet cable which means it needs to be relatively close to your internet equipment rather than installed where it’s most convenient.
Difference #3: Motion Sensor – Both smart security systems feature motion sensors, but abode takes things one step further with a built-in camera on their sensors as well.
How do you know whether detected motion is an intruder or a simple fluke? abode sensors will start taking photos immediately after detecting motion, which will allow you to easily see what the commotion is if there happens to be an intruder. Using wireless communication between the sensors and the abode gateway, you can place the camera wherever it’s most convenient, and with a built-in flash, you’ll always have a clear picture even in dark conditions. The camera is designed to take photos quickly and transmit them nearly instantly in order to provide context and reduce the incidence of false alarms.
The camera setup gives you confirmation in the event of an emergency and also helps cut down on situations where your alarm system is a little bit too sensitive.
The SimpliSafe sensors are just simple sensors, so they feel a little underwhelming when stacked up against the abode system.
Difference #4: Sensors – Now let’s get into the main attraction of these security systems: the sensors.
abode has a seriously impressive line of sensors that you can mix and match at will in order to build out the security system that is perfectly suited to your home.
Outside of the motion sensor with camera discussed above, there are options like the door/window sensor that can detect whether an entryway or window is open or closed — giving you quick feedback so you can be sure that the most vulnerable areas of your home are monitored. There’s even the option for a Recessed Door Sensor, that allows for a completely transparent installation that is drilled directly into your doorframe. If you’re looking for quality monitoring that is as unobtrusive as possible, this is probably your best bet.
Glass Break and Vibration sensors can detect when a window is broken, or even when an attempt is being made. If the sensor detects activity against the window, it will transmit the signal to the abode gateway and activate the alarm and send a notification if the system is armed. You can also use the sensor to do things like turn on the lights or perform other useful actions when the alarm activates by using the abode automation engine, so you won’t be left in the dark in the event of a break in.
Another option to back up the vibration sensors is an Acoustic Glass Break sensor that can detect the audio of shattering glass. Combining these two sensors together gives you a near-guarantee that you’ll be alerted in the event of an emergency since you’ll be approaching forced entry through the window in multiple directions.
Rounding out the home protection suite is a slim strip sensor, which is another option for discreet detection on a window or door. It lies flat on the frame and can send an alert when an entryway is open or closed.
Outside of these protection features, the abode line also includes options for smoke alarms and water leaks, as well as a unique home automation sensor that can be used as a trigger for other smart devices.
SimpliSafe also has its own line of sensors, although their offerings aren’t quite as robust as what you’d see with abode.
Entry sensors are the perfect complement to your doors and windows for instant alerts in the event of entry, and Glassbreak detectors will detect shattering glass (although there’s no support for vibration detection.) Carbon monoxide, smoke alarms, temperature sensors, and water sensors also add to the protection of your home in ways outside of a traditional security suite, keeping your home protected from other types of disasters as well.
Ultimately, while both systems have a pretty impressive lineup of sensors, we do feel that abode has the edge. The abode automation system is also a nice perk, as it allows you to tie certain actions to your sensors and greatly enhance their utility.
Difference #5: Add-on Siren – Both the abode and SimpliSafe systems offer support for extra sirens. However, abode actually has two different types of sirens: one suited for indoor, and one suited for outdoor use.
The Indoor siren will play a prominent sound if the abode alarm activates, warning intruders that your home is secured. All it takes is plugging the siren into an AC outlet at your desired location and a quick pairing process with your existing abode system. The built-in battery backup stays charged using the AC power, allowing your siren to continue functioning even during power outages. What is really cool, however, is that you can customize door sounds to alert you if a specific door is opened within your home, with volume options set to off, low, or high.
The abode Outdoor Siren functions in much the same manner, although it’s designed to weather the elements with IPX5 waterproofing and a UV resistant housing. Using the long-range abodeRF communication technology, your siren retains a strong connection to your base, and just like the indoor system you can program your siren to sound specific alerts when specific doors are opened. Tamper protection is also included on the abode Outdoor siren, so you’ll be instantly alerted if someone tries to compromise its integrity.
Difference #6: Remote Panic Button – While both the abode and SimpliSafe include a panic button option, only the SimpliSafe system has an actual remote panic button. This allows you to easily and discreetly trigger the alarm and contact the monitoring center. A trained agent will contact you in the event of an alarm activation, and in the event that you aren’t able to answer the call or you don’t provide the safe word, the authorities will be dispatched immediately to come to your assistance.
For retail or business customers, there’s also the option to have a “silent panic” feature, that will contact the police without alerting the intruder.
abode, on the other hand, has a panic alarm on the keypad itself. And if you want to have a remote panic button, you can contact abode and ask them to add panic button function to your abode key fob’s “+” button. However, we’d rather have abode offered a panic button separately, because otherwise you can accidentally trigger the panic alarm. Once the + button is depressed for two seconds, the monitoring center will be notified immediately to dispatch the police. They’ll also give you a call to notify you that police it on their way.
So, while it’s great to have a remote panic button, we do believe it’s best to keep it separate from the main key fob to avoid false alarms.
Difference #7: Battery Backup – Another area in which the SimpliSafe pulls ahead is the capacity of its battery backup. Without power, your SimpliSafe system can continue functioning as normal for up to 24 hours, while the abode alarm system can only work for around 10. This is a significant difference, as your abode sensors could be rendered ineffective if it takes a little longer to get power back on in the event of an outage.
Difference #8: Subscription – Both alarm systems offer subscription services that add extra features, and in order to unlock the full suite of monitoring capabilities, you’ll end up paying a monthly fee regardless of your choice in brand.
With abode, there are three different subscription plan tiers. Basic, Connect, and Connect + Secure.
The Basic plan is free, and it offers a pretty impressive host of features all things considered. For no additional cost, you’ll be able to access your system via your iOS or Android smartphone. There is also the option for on-demand monitoring, at a rate of $8 for 3 days or $15 per 7 days, which is perfect to be able to activate from time to time in the event that you’re headed out on vacation.
The basic plan includes 3 days of timeline and media storage, the ability to connect up to 155 devices to your abode network, unlimited user accounts, support for up to 100 Automations, support for IFTTT, and support via email and the support site. It’s actually a pretty impressive amount of functionality available by default, and you’ll get a good amount of use out of your abode system without any additional fees if you can pass on regular professional monitoring.
Connect is essentially the option you’re looking for if you’d like a cellular backup. This costs $10 per month and offers everything in the basic plan as well as 3G cellular backup, and 14 days of timeline and media storage. With the Connect tier, you’ll also have the option to take advantage of customer service over the phone.
Connect + Secure is the most premium tier, costs $30 per month, and adds in 24/7 professional monitoring as well as access to premium support and access to 90 days of timeline and media storage.
SimpliSafe has two different subscription tiers: Standard and Interactive.
Standard includes 24/7 Live Alarm Monitoring, Cellular Backup, and Environmental Monitoring. This plan costs $15 per month and has most everything you need to keep your system up and running with one glaring gap: the lack of control from your smartphone.
That’s right, you’ll have to shell out for the Interactive plan for $24.90 per month in order to control your system through your phone. That tier also offers support for alerts on your phone, discreet secret alerts that tell you when a sensor is activated without tripping an alarm, Video Alarm verification for easy recording of any potential intrusions, and unlimited camera recordings with storage for up to 30 days. Last but not least, the Interactive tier is required to unlock some of the system’s smart home integrations.
Ultimately, while the premium plan of SimpliSafe is actually a little less expensive than the monitoring plan from abode, the fact that we have to pay extra just to access the system through our phones has definitely left a bad taste in our mouths.
The abode system has the edge in terms of subscription plan quality, hands-down.
Difference #9: Video Monitoring – Both systems offer some form of video monitoring in addition to their basic sensor system, although they differ slightly in the way that they are implemented.
abode uses their own indoor 1080p streaming camera that connects to your internet via Ethernet or WiFi, providing a live video feed that will automatically upload video clips to your timelines when an alarm recurs — even if you’re only using the most basic plan. There are a variety of events that can trigger a recording and upload, such as a door opening or movement against a window. You can access a live stream of your home at any time from the abode web, Android, or iOS apps as well. The integrated IR LEDs are great for providing night vision capabilities in low lighting conditions, and you’ll receive pre- and post-alarm video footage of your home in the event of any alarm.
SimpliSafe offers much of the same functionality through their own 1080p camera. However, they require a $4.99/month subscription in order to record the footage. That fee allows your camera to record 60-second clips anytime it detects motion, but it’s definitely a little disappointing to have to pay extra for a feature that is included with abode by default.
Difference #10: Maximum Number of Devices – Both systems can support an impressive number of devices, but the abode does have a significant edge with the ability to interface with up to 155 devices versus the SimpliSafe’s 100. While you aren’t likely to run into situations where you’ll need to take advantage of the full 155 device capacity, it’s certainly possible to get close with comprehensive coverage of a large home. When you consider the wealth of sensors that an abode security system has to offer, it’s nice to have the flexibility to really lock down the security of each and every room in your home.
Difference #11: Smart Home Integration – abode supports the major smart home frequencies, and that pays off in terms of compatibility. There is a wide range of products that integrate seamlessly with your smart security system, and there are some pretty major brands represented in the compatibility list.
The abode system will work with pretty much any of the Z-Wave and Zigbee devices, most notable being ecobee, LIFX, Hue, Nest, Linear, and First Alerts. Another notable integration is IFTTT, which allows you to program your abode security system to trigger other smart home functionalities on different events. For example, you could set your lights to turn on when an alarm is triggered, or the lights to turn on when you disarm the system — illuminating your home when you walk in the door after a long day at work.
Long story short, the integration with abode is some of the most impressive we’ve seen from a smart security system, and with more and more Z-Wave and Zigbee devices continuing to release, that functionality will only continue to grow.
SimpliSafe only has WiFi capabilities, which severely limits the breadth of integration. With that said, SimpliSafe still has some good integration with select products. For example, you can use your Apple Watch to arm or disarm your system from wherever you happen to be, have your SimpliSafe tell your Nest when you’re at home and away for temperature adjustments, and even arm your system and August Smart Lock at the same time. There are some cool smart home features there, but it’s very clear that the system falls far short of what abode has to offer.
abode vs. SimpliSafe — Comparison Chart
|Hub to Router Connection||Ethernet||Wireless|
|Hub Battery Backup||10+ hours||Up to 24 hours|
|Extra Siren Support||Yes||Yes|
|Keypad||Separate, wireless||Separate, wireless|
|Multiple Keypads Support||Yes||Yes|
|Key Fobs||Yes||Yes (keychain remote)|
|Disarm Options||App, key fob, keypad||App, keychain remote, keypad|
|Advanced Subscription||$10 a month |
adds Cellular Backup
$30 a month
adds Professional Monitoring
Adds remote app controls,
smart home integrations
|Remote Monitoring & Notifications||Yes (no subscription required)||Subscription required|
|Cellular Backup||Included with paid plans||Included with paid plans|
|Sensors||Motion w/ Camera, |
Mini Door Sensor,
Glass Break and Vibration,
Acoustic Glass Break Sensor,
Recessed Door Sensor,
Slim Strip Sensor,
Home Automation Motion,
Light, and Temperature Sensor,
Smoke Alarm Monitor,
Water Leak Sensor
|Motion, Entry, Glassbreak, |
Smoke, Carbon Monoxide,
|Remote Panic Button||On a key fob by request||Yes|
|Monthly Contracts Available||Yes||Yes|
|Other Smart Home Compatibility||ecobee, LIFX, Hue, |
Nest, Linear, First Alerts,
Z-Wave and Zigbee
|Apple Watch, |
August Smart Lock
|Technology||abodeRF long range, Z-Wave, |
Zigbee, and IP-enabled devices
|Color||Mix of Black & White||White/Black|
abode vs. SimpliSafe — Things in Common
24/7 Professional Monitoring – One of the most useful aspects of having a smart security system is its ability to monitor your home continuously. Whether you’re at work, on vacation, or just dealing with a dead phone battery, it’s nice to know that there is someone looking out for the safety of you and your family at all points throughout the day.
Both abode and SimpliSafe support 24/7 professional monitoring. In the event of an emergency, these monitoring services will reach out to make sure that the alert isn’t a false alarm and then contact the authorities if you don’t answer the phone or provide your safe word.
It’s an extra monthly fee for this feature, but many feel it’s more than worth the extra cost for the peace of mind it provides.
Battery Backup – In the event, your power happens to go out, you can rely on the abode and SimpliSafe to keep you protected for hours with their included battery backups. The last thing you need in a power outage is a less secure home, so the knowledge that your sensors will continue to work for quite some time is certainly reassuring.
Cellular Backup – In the event that your power goes out or you find yourself without access to WiFi, both security systems offer 4G LTE cellular backup that gives you the ability to access and control your system via a smartphone. Just keep in mind that cellular backup requires a subscription with either device.
Siren – Both the abode and SimpliSafe systems have a siren built into the hub that will sound loudly when unusual activity is detected. They also support additional sirens, so everyone in and around your home will be alerted of potential danger.
The sirens also serve to deter intruders as well, oftentimes scaring them away and keeping your family safe from a traumatic situation.
Wireless Multiple Keypads – In addition to the keypad included with the abode and SimpliSafe by default, both systems also support additional keypads — perfect for adding to your second floor, garage, or other areas where you might need easy access to arm and disarm your system.
The abode keypad supports up to 40 unique PIN codes that you can provide to guests and family members, and it’s easy to review who has used your keypad in the mobile or web application. The wireless keypad communicates with the hub using abodeRF technology, which gives it an impressive battery life of up to 4 years under normal usages as well as a very long range.
SimpliSafe’s keypad is backlit when you need it to be, and goes dark when you don’t. The battery life lasts around 8 months so it’s not quite as impressive as abode’s system, but it uses simple AA batteries which should be super easy to replace when needed.
Key Fobs – Key Fobs are an excellent way to easily arm or disarm your system. Having a simple remote attached to your keys makes it incredibly easy to quickly change the mode of your security system when arriving or leaving your home. With the option for control on the keypad, through the app, or through the key fob, you’ll never be left without a convenient way to keep your home protected.
Flexible Contract – Traditional security systems often made their money by locking customers into long contracts, so it’s understandable that many people looking into the industry now might be wary. Worry not, as abode and SimpliSafe both give the option for monthly contracts on their monitoring system. Cancel whenever you want and avoid being charged the next month, with no termination fees or hassles.
Voice Assistants – Both abode and SimpliSafe support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, which adds yet another way to easily control your security system. From arming your system while walking out the door, to getting information on recent detection events, there’s actually a surprising amount you can do just with the power of your voice and an Amazon Echo or Google Home device.
abode vs. SimpliSafe — Our Thoughts
When comparing abode and SimpliSafe, it’s pretty clear that not all smart security systems are designed equally. abode is simply a better option on pretty much every front, from high-tech sensor integration to more attractively structured subscription plans.
SimpliSafe has been on the market for a long time at this point and they have quite a lot to offer, but their subscription pricing is truly holding them back. While the prices of the plans aren’t necessarily significantly more expensive than other options like abode, the fact that basic functionality like being able to check on your home from your phone are locked behind the most premium subscription is frankly unacceptable.
Save yourself the hassle and get the best that the smart security system industry has to offer by adding abode to your home.
Let us know what you think!
Have you noticed other differences between abode vs. SimpliSafe? Feel free to add them or share your experience with the products in the comments section below. Your input can help other people make the right choice!
Last update on 2019-02-21 at 06:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API