If you’re in the market for home security, some cursory research makes it obvious that there are a ton of options out there to keep your property protected. From traditional security systems built into your home wiring, to basic DIY options that offer simple protection for bargain prices, there are options out there to suit pretty much anyone’s needs. If you’re looking for easy access to comprehensive security, a one box solution like SimpliSafe may be just what you need.
While SimpliSafe may not be a household name at this point, they are actually a pretty huge name in the smart security industry — having been around for more than 10 years and with a valuation of over $1 billion.
The third-generation SimpliSafe system has recently hit the market, so there’s no better time than the present to dive into what this security solution has to offer.
With superior design and better integration with third-party products, the new SimpliSafe system is the brand at its best.
SimpliSafe Old vs. New System
Since SimpliSafe has been on the market for such a long time, they were one of the first players for smart security solutions. But technology has come a long way in the last ten years — especially in the smart tech scene — so the SimpliSafe brand has gone through a couple different refreshes — with the most recent being version 3. The update was needed due to some major security concerns and a dated appearance, but while it seems superior on paper overall, it wasn’t an upgrade in every way.
One of the biggest issues with SimpliSafe 3 is the fact that it is not backward compatible at all. If you have an existing SimpliSafe system, you won’t be able to use the new sensors, and you can’t use older sensors with the new model. This isn’t the end of the world for people new to the brand since they will be buying everything from scratch, but it hasn’t been a popular decision with existing customers who were hoping to upgrade.
SimpliSafe will continue to sell the SimpliSafe Original for the time being, but we recommend you opt for the SimpliSafe 3 if you’re a new customer for a few different reasons.
First off, the new system is more secure. The original model actually has a major flaw that allowed anyone with a cheap piece of equipment to harvest customer PINs and even turn off the system from up to 200 yards away. This flaw wasn’t fixable and is probably the main reason why the brand had to completely upgrade. The new equipment also features enhanced signal encryption, which beefs up the security a little more as well.
Other major benefits include a sleeker design, the addition of WiFi support, and better third-party compatibility.
So if you’re new to the SimpliSafe brand, the SimpliSafe 3 is probably the clear choice. If you’re an existing customer, however, the new equipment won’t work with your SimpliSafe Original, so you’ll have to continue buying the older sensors or scrap your equipment and start from scratch.
From a design standpoint, the SimpliSafe 3 base is the best the brand has ever produced. It looks a bit like a cross between an Amazon Echo and Google Home and has a sleek design that should fit in well with pretty much any home decor. Included in the hub are a high-quality speaker, 95db siren, and support for cellular and WiFi connectivity. Also on board is a battery backup that will keep your security up and running the event of a power outage.
The other parts of the system don’t look quite as nice, but they have the same solid construction and functionality. SimpliSafe equipment is definitely one of their strong points, and you can customize the starter kit at will in order to get the collection of sensors and controllers that are just right for your home.
SimpliSafe 3 also introduces a brand new keypad with upgraded usability. The keys are now backlit and will lit up when used, and the larger screen, softer touch surface, and better range make it a little more convenient to use when compared to earlier models. The system supports multiple keypads, and they are completely wireless — allowing you to place them wherever you please and enjoy up to 2 years of battery life.
When you purchase a SimpliSafe system, you’ll have the option to buy pre-configured systems or to purchase sensors a la carte, which gives people the ability to personalize their security or just go with easy packages that have everything they need by default. Plus, the prices are exactly the same as the original SimpliSafe brand, giving very little reason to buy the older equipment if you’re a new customer.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different packages.
5-piece: a base station, a keypad, 1 entry sensor, 1 motion sensor, and a keyfob.
8-piece: a Base Station, a keypad, 4 Entry Sensors, 1 Motion Sensor, 1 Panic Button.
9-piece: a base station, a keypad, 4 entry sensors, 2 motion sensors, and a SimpliCam HD indoor security camera.
12-piece: a base station and keypad, 5 entry sensors, 2 motion sensors, a panic button, a keyfob, and a SimpliCam HD indoor security camera.
Unlike some more traditional systems like ADT or Vivint, SimpliSafe installation is easy to handle yourself. The starter kit is already partially pre-configured for you when it arrives, so most of your time is going to be spent trying to find the best spot to place all your sensors.
Once you have everything in the area that you’d like, getting the security up and running is as simple as pressing a button to register it, and enter a personalized name for it on the keypad. Then just activate the test mode and walk around the home to make sure all the devices are operational.
The base station setup is just as simple — just follow the directions in the setup guide or app, and you’re ready to go! Installation should take you less than 30 minutes in total, with some users reporting it taking less than 15. That’s much faster than other brands that require a technician to come out to wire your home, and that’s one of the biggest drawing points of the SimpliSafe system.
SimpliSafe Monthly Cost
SimpliSafe handles pricing differently than many of their competitors. A lot of brands offer free or very cheap equipment with the costs rolled into the monthly fee, while SimpliSafe requires you to purchase all components yourself up front. There are both pros and cons to this approach.
On the bright side, charging full price for all their equipment allows SimpliSafe to offer low costs for their monitoring services and they don’t tie you into a long contract. The equipment is also portable, which means you can move your system easily free of cost. The obvious downside is that buying all the equipment at once is expensive, and if you decide to no longer use SimpliSafe security, you’re left with equipment that you can’t use with any other company. There’s also the issue of planned obsolescence, which we’ve already seen come into play with the lack of compatibility between the SimpliSafe Original and SimpliSafe 3.
As far as subscription plans go, you have the option for no monitoring or professional monitoring. It’s possible to use your SimpliSafe system without any monthly fees, but that just lets it act as a local alarm system that will sound the siren if activity is detected. Professional monitoring is required for the system to contact the authorities and is also required to access cellular backup to keep your security active in the event of an outage.
For monitoring, you have two different options: Standard and Interactive.
Standard costs $15 per month and includes 24/7 Live Monitoring, Cellular Connection, and Environmental monitoring for protection from other emergencies like smoke, carbon monoxide, and floods.
Interactive is a little more expensive at $24.99 per month, with all of the above plus the ability to control your system and receive alerts on your phone. There’s also support for secret alerts, which will alert you when a sensor is triggered without sounding the alarm — perfect for keeping an eye on your closets, safes or liquor cabinets without alerting the authorities.
This plan also gives you access to video services like Video Alarm Verification that can determine whether a threat is legitimate and record evidence of a break-in, as well as unlimited camera recording and storage for up to 30 days for as many cameras as you please. Last but not least, Interactive is required to enable smart home integration, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Overall, we think you should at least have access to Standard. With that said, the mobile control is just too good to pass up for most homeowners, so Interactive is really your best bet.
|Price||Free||$14.99 / month||$24.99 / month|
|SMS/Email Alerts||No||$5 extra||Yes|
|WiFi Connection||Gen 3 Only||Gen 3 Only||Gen 3 Only|
|Live Video Streaming||No||Yes||Yes|
|Recorded Video History||No||$4.99/month/camera |
|August Smart Lock||No||No||Yes (Requires |
|Alexa Integration||No||No||Gen 3 Only|
|Google Home||No||No||Gen 3 Only|
SimpliSafe Video Monitoring
SimpliSafe has a dedicated 1080p indoor camera and smart Video Doorbell Pro.
You can view a live video feed of your home with just the Standard plan, but paying the extra $4.99 per month gives you access to video recording and the ability for the camera to record 60-second clips any time it detects motion. This can be a huge perk in the event of an intrusion, as you’ll have video evidence that you can show to the police for easier identification and apprehension of criminals.
The Video Doorbell has a 162-degree field of view which does a pretty good job of monitoring the entire front of your home, although it does fall short of 180-degree competitors. It’s one of the more high-tech options we’ve seen, with two-way audio equipped with noise and echo cancellation, heat signature detection, and human motion detection. You should be able to easily communicate with people at your door, and the camera is smart enough to distinguish between humans that could pose an actual threat and animals just passing by.
Overall, SimpliSafe has pretty average video support. It isn’t excellent since it’s lacking some options like an outdoor wireless camera (although the brand plans to add one in in the future), but it also isn’t bad. Their video cameras are a good complement to your home security, but they’re definitely not a standalone option with as many features as something like a Nest Cam or Ring Camera.
SimpliSafe — Smart Home Integration
With the Interactive plan for $24.99, you’ll unlock access to SimpliSafe’s smart home integration. The smart features with SimpliSafe honestly aren’t as impressive as you’d see with some other brands like abode, Vivint, or even ADT. We wouldn’t recommend SimpliSafe for homeowners who place significant value on integration, but the alarm system does interface with some major brands.
For example, you’ll be able to use your security system with Nest Thermostat to adjust the temperature while you’re at home or away for a great balance of comfort and energy savings. Another notable integration is August Smart Lock and Smart Lock Pro, which will automatically lock or unlock your door when your arm or disarm your SimpliSafe security system — just keep in mind that you’ll need either an August Connect or August Doorbell Cam to enable this functionality, as the lock on its own cannot connect to WiFi.
One benefit that SimpliSafe does have going for it is the ability to support voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. While you won’t be able to disarm your system due to the obvious security concerns, being able to activate your security with a simple voice command while you’re walking out the door makes it super easy to keep your home protected hands-free.
At this time, there are no integrations with smart lighting, which is a disadvantage that SimpliSafe has when compared to competitors. However, the team has pledged to add HomeKit support in the future, which should make lighting integration a more realistic possibility. This could allow your system to do things like turn on Philips Hue lights when motion is detected, which would make the system more secure since lighting is important for deterring criminals and being able to easily see in an emergency situation.
Why SimpliSafe Home Security is a Good Choice?
Contracts – One of the biggest advantages that SimpliSafe has to offer is the fact that they don’t require long-term contracts. You’ll pay for professional monitoring on a month to month basis, and can cancel at any time. There’s even the option to self-monitor by using the system’s alarm to call attention to crime, but the lack of mobile control and instant access to authorities does make this a slightly less attractive option.
Environmental Protection – The SimpliSafe hub can detect environmental threats to your home, with the ability to monitor smoke detectors carbon monoxide detectors, freeze sensors, and water leaks. This makes the brand a viable option for total home protection rather than having the utility be limited to security alone.
Optional 24/7 Professional Monitoring – The SimpliSafe professional monitoring is offered by C.O.P.S. monitoring, which has won the “Best Monitoring In The Industry” award from the Central Station Alarm Association. C.O.P.S. uses multiple stations and signal carriers in order to provide fast response times in the event of an emergency.
Why SimpliSafe Home Security is a Bad Choice?
App Control – App control is available only with the $24.99 per month subscription, which is a major disappointment. This makes self-monitoring significantly less viable since your security system will essentially just be a sensor setup that will sound alarms that you won’t be able to monitor while away from home.
If you’re looking for a security system that supports self-monitoring with free app control and easy access to 3 or 7-day on-demand monitoring, take a look at abode. They are a relatively recent startup, but have already made a name for themselves in the industry and are our personal favorite for home security.
Equipment Expense Up-Front – Although the equipment costs are significantly less than competitors like Vivint and ADT, you’ll have to pay for the entire equipment setup up front with no option for financing. This expense can be significant if you’d like to offer comprehensive protection for larger homes, so it’s an important factor to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to buy.
SimpliSafe — Our Thoughts
SimpliSafe hasn’t been around as long as some of their competitors, but they have already seen a massive amount of success. And despite being relatively young, they are certainly more established than recent startups with a 10-year history of providing security solutions.
The system was originally developed with renters in mind due to the easy portability and lack of contracts, but the security has also become very popular with homeowners too. For those looking to avoid long term contracts and high monthly fees, or those who are looking for easy DIY setup, SimpliSafe is one of the best options around.
With that said, SimpliSafe does fall short in the home automation category. That’s not the end of the world since their primary concern is providing flexible, affordable, and effective home security, but it’s definitely a disadvantage for those who were hoping to add in cool interactions with the rest of their smart tech. One of the best brands on the market for home security is Ring. They offer a wide range of smart home cameras and doorbells to choose from in addition to their Ring Alarm security system. Plus, their subscription plan is one of the most reasonably priced.
Overall, SimpliSafe is an excellent option for first-time buyers with a comprehensive selection of sensors and great monitoring services. The only thing really holding it back is how poor of an option it is for self-monitoring since app control is locked behind their most premium plan.
Let us know what you think!
What are your thoughts about SimpliSafe?
Last update on 2019-02-20 at 17:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API