SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint — Differences Explained

SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint

We’ve come a long way from a security industry dominated by systems with cumbersome equipment and expensive contracts. SimpliSafe and Frontpoint are two systems leading the way in modern home monitoring equipment, and they both provide excellent protection for you and your family with intuitive technology and affordable prices. The two security systems are actually quite similar in many ways, but we do feel that Frontpoint is the better choice. It’s a little more expensive per month, but it also offers some extra features that are just too good to pass up.

While we might have a favorite when comparing SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint security, the truth is that both of these systems have quite a lot to offer. Both brands offer a user experience that is far better than the long contracts and complicated installation that more traditional service offer, and do so at a price point that is accessible for most any homeowner. The truly “best” system is going to depend on what you’re looking for when it comes to protecting your home.

Below we go into the similarities and differences of these two smart security systems. If you’d rather grab some quick information on a specific topic, feel free to use the navigation bar to jump to the section that interests you most.

SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint — Differences

  • Difference #1: Automated System Check – The first difference when comparing SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint security comes with the automated system check. One rather unique advantage that Frontpoint has when compared to SimpliSafe is the ability to check to ensure the system and sensors are online every 60 minutes. This should ensure that you don’t end up with any significant gaps in your coverage, as it isn’t always immediately apparent when your security equipment goes offline with most brands.

  • Difference #2: Hub Sensors – The vast majority of smart security systems handle most of the monitoring from the main panel or hub. The sensors in your home will feed data back to a central location which will set off an alarm or contact the authorities. There’s an inherent flaw with this system, however, in that many alarm systems will be rendered ineffective if an intruder smashes the equipment.

    Both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint also handle most of the security in the hub, but Frontpoint has a distinct advantage with the “Crash & Smash” feature. This utility will keep your system working even if the control panel is destroyed by the intruder, which is a major perk that ensures security even in a worst-case scenario.

    The Crash & Smash system included in the Interactive and Ultimate packages will send an immediate alert the section that an intrusion is detected. This alert is known as a “soft” alert, and it goes to the Frontpoint monitoring sensor. Frontpoint will wait for an all-clear signal, and if it’s never received, they will assume the worst and transfer the soft alert to an active alert — sending help immediately regardless of any damage to the panel.

  • Difference #3: Multiple Keypads Support – One area where SimpliSafe has a significant advantage is in its support for multiple keypads. Both systems have a keypad on the hub/panel itself, but it’s always nice to have extra keypads for additional control at key points around your home.

    SimpliSafe allows you to place a pad wherever you please, such as one panel on each floor, a keypad near the garage, or even one at every entrance to your home. Being able to quickly arm and disarm the system from wherever you happen to be is great, and having keypads spread throughout the home also ensures help is never far away in the event of an emergency.

    Frontpoint has two different panels to choose from: The digital Touchscreen control panel or the less expensive Standard Control panel. However, it does not support multiple keypads. Control will only be possible through the main panel as well as through options like the key fob, mobile app, and voice control.

  • Difference #4: 24/7 Professional Monitoring – Both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint offer 24/7 professional monitoring that can provide speedy assistance in the event of a threat to your home. The actual monitoring process itself is pretty similar regardless of the brand you choose, although they both have their own advantages and drawbacks.

    SimpliSafe is an attractive option because they offer month-to-month contracts for monitoring rather than tying you into a contract. However, they also don’t handle their monitoring in-house — instead, contracting it out to a third-party service known as COPS monitoring. Although COPS generally does a great job, it’s always better to have all aspects of your security handled by a single company.

    Frontpoint has a team of security professionals employed directly by the company to handle monitoring. However, they do not offer monitoring on a month-to-month basis. When you sign up for a monitoring subscription, you’ll have to commit to either a 1-year or 3-year contract.

    So, essentially, the better monitoring service will depend on what’s most important to you. If you value a security system that handles surveillance in-house, Frontpoint is probably your better bet, while SimpliSafe comes out on top for those who desire flexibility in their subscriptions.

  • Difference #5: Subscription – There are subscription plans available with both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint that greatly enhance the features and security offered by your alarm system.

    SimpliSafe offers two different plans: Standard and Interactive.

    Standard is the base plan, and offers 24/7 live alarm monitoring, cell service, and environmental monitoring (required for smoke, carbon monoxide, temperature, and water detection) for $15 per month.

    The more premium plan, Interactive, is available for $24.90 a month. It offers all of the features mentioned above, as well as a lot of features focused on making it easier to access your system. Pretty much all the mobile controls are enabled by the Interactive tier, such as control from your smartphone and alerts right on your phone. You’ll also have access to secret alerts that will tell you when a sensor is tripped without triggering the alarm — perfect for keeping an eye on closets, safes, liquor cabinets, and more without calling emergency services.

    Outside of those features, the Interactive plan is pretty much a necessity if you want to get the most bang for your buck out of your cameras. Video alarm verification will allow you to confirm whether a threat is real when a sensor triggers, as well as collect valuable video evidence that can be extremely useful for police as they try to identify suspects. Unlimited camera recording also provides thirty days of storage for as many cameras as you please, allowing you to go crazy with the camera placement for comprehensive coverage. Last but not least, the premium plan is required to enable any smart home interactions.

    Frontpoint subscriptions are more expensive, but you get access to more features with the premium plan.

    The “Protection” plan is available for $34.99 per month and pretty much just provides 24/7 professional monitoring for burglaries, medical emergencies, and fires.

    The “Interactive” tier costs $44.99 per month and is the most popular option (and the one we recommend!). It adds in cellular alerts as well as mobile app control. You’ll also have access to the useful Crash & Smash Protection, Email & Text Alerts, and Geo Location Services that will send arming and alarm notifications automatically when you leave the home. The extra $10 per month adds a lot of extra utility, so we recommend springing for at least Interactive if you do decide to purchase a Frontpoint system.

    Ultimate” is just $5 more at $49.99 and includes all of the above as well as home automation and video surveillance. You’ll get a complete monitoring experience with the Interactive tier, but if you’d like to add in cameras or connect your Frontpoint system to the rest of your home, the minor price increase with Ultimate may be worth it.

    Although SimpliSafe plans are less expensive, we’re a bigger fan of the way that Frontpoint approaches their subscriptions. You’ll spend a little more per month, but you also get access to excellent features like Crash & Smash Protection and Geo Location Services.

  • Difference #6: App – Just like pretty much any security system, SimpliSafe and Frontpoint both have apps for Android and iOS; they also both support Apple Watch. However, Frontpoint actually supports Kindle Fire and Apple TV as well — easily making it one of the most compatible security systems from an app perspective.

    Having access to control on the Kindle Fire and Apple TV might not be a dealbreaker for most of us, but it’s always to have extra ways to access and control your home security.

  • Difference #7: Sensors – Both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint have a pretty impressive lineup of sensors that do a great job of monitoring your home and keeping you and your family protected.

    Regardless of your choice in brand, you’ll have access to motion, entry, glass break, smoke, temperature, carbon monoxide, and flood sensors. Frontpoint is even more comprehensive in their coverage, with the addition of Garage Door and Recessed Door sensors.

    Frontpoint’s sensors are also a little bit higher tech and have multiple options for communication, being able to provide data to your main panel, your smartphone, other sensors, or even other smart equipment. This opens up a whole host of smart home compatibility, and gives you the ability to do cool things like having your heat kick on every time the garage door opens — getting your living room nice and toasty for when you come home from work. It’s in this way that the utility of Frontpoint extends beyond simple security, and this is one of the biggest advantages that the brand has over its competitors.

    All in all, Frontpoint has a better variety of sensors and the technology behind each sensor is significantly more impressive.

  • Difference #8: Maximum Number of Devices – Frontpoint is a great security system, but you might start to run into issues if you’d like to provide comprehensive coverage of very large homes. SimpliSafe supports up to 100 devices in their security network, while Frontpoint can only work with up to 59.

    For most homeowners, the 59 device limit won’t be a significant hindrance. For people with a lot of rooms to cover, or who want coverage that is as robust as possible, however, the limitations of Frontpoint might start to come into play.

  • Difference #9: Video Monitoring – While you need a premium subscription to access most of the features, video monitoring is an excellent complement to both the SimpliSafe and Frontpoint security systems. They differ in the type of equipment they offer and the type of features they provide to your security, however, so let’s break down the differences between the two brands.

    SimpliSafe has their own 1080p indoor camera with a live video feed you can access whenever you please. However, with the $4.99 subscription plan, your camera will also be able to record 60-second clips anytime it detects motion. This motion-triggered recording can be the difference between letting an intruder go free and bringing them to justice, and it’s also great for determining whether an alert is false or legitimate.

    Sale
    SimpliCam 24/7 HD Security Camera
    110 Reviews

    The Video Doorbell Pro offers a 162-degree field of view on the front of your home that allows you to keep a close eye on your entryway. Two-way audio enhanced by noise and echo cancellation allows you to communicate with visitors and scare off intruders, and heat signature and human motion detection give you a clear picture of whether the commotion at the door is actually a threat.

    With either camera system, video recording is available as a $5 per month subscription plan, or $10 a month for an unlimited number of cameras.

    Frontpoint has more options for monitoring, with the addition of an outdoor camera in addition to the indoor camera and video doorbell.

    Both the Indoor and Outdoor wireless cameras are pretty similar in their features, with night vision, two-way audio, and a 1080p resolution, as well as motion activation and the ability to back up all motion recordings to storage. The main difference between the two is that the Outdoor camera’s physical housing is designed to be weatherproof and handle a wide range of temperatures. The outdoor camera’s viewing distance is also higher, with the ability to record up to 40 feet away — even in the dead of night.

    Just like the SimpliSafe model, the Frontpoint video doorbell has a motion sensor, night vision, and can stream in 1080p. However, what sets it apart is the ability for the recording to respond to two different events: motion in the front of the home, and when the doorbell rings. Having that extra recording trigger when the doorbell rings makes it much safer to answer your door with the knowledge that the interaction is being recorded.

    Any video features for Frontpoint require the Ultimate subscription tier, and that monthly fee also comes with storage for up to 1000 mobile clips each month, with each clip being between 35-45 seconds and triggered upon motion detection.

    Ultimately, it’s difficult to say which system has the edge when it comes to video monitoring since they both have their own perks. With that said, the addition of a weatherproof outdoor camera with Frontpoint is a great way to keep an eye on the front of your home.

  • Difference #10: Smart Home Compatibility & Technology – Last but not least, there are some significant differences between the two brands when it comes to their smart home compatibility — and that’s largely due to differences in the way the systems communicate.

    SimpliSafe uses only WiFi to communicate, which is great for running your security system but not so great for communicating with other smart devices. With that said, it does have some decent integration with Nest and August smart products. For example, your security system can tell your Nest thermostat when you go out and when you come home in order to adjust the temperature for maximum energy savings and comfort. August Smart Locks will also automatically lock the doors when you leave, which adds an extra layer of security as a backup for those forgetful mornings before you’ve had your coffee!

    Sale
    August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, 3rd gen technology - Dark Gray, works with Alexa
    1,457 Reviews

    The main reason that Frontpoint has better smart home compatibility is that it supports Z-Wave frequencies in addition to WiFi. Z-Wave and a similar technology known as Zigbee are the two leading technologies for smart home communication. The fact that Frontpoint has access to Z-Wave makes it more compatible by default and opens up the potential for integration with hundreds of devices.

    With that said, it’s important to recognize that the potential for integration doesn’t necessarily mean that your Frontpoint will work with all of your devices.

    Some notable compatible devices include the Schlage Smart Lock, August Smart Lock Pro, and the Alarm.com Smarter Thermostat. You can also use a whole host of Frontpoint products such as the Z-Wave smart plug and light bulbs, as well as the RCS Thermostat, 2GIG Radio Thermostat, and Trane.

    The list above contains products that are pretty much guaranteed to work with your Frontpoint system, but it’s possible that other Z-Wave products will work just fine as well. If you want some suggestions for smart tech that will work with your security system, Frontpoint support is pretty good about providing recommendations.

    All in all, Frontpoint is definitely the better option if you’re looking for a system that can work well with the rest of a connected home.


SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint — Comparison Chart

SimpliSafeFrontpoint
Hub to Router ConnectionWirelessWireless
Hub Battery BackupUp to 24 hours24-Hour
Two-Way Audio on a HubNoNo
Hub SirenYesYes
Extra Siren SupportYesYes
Hub SpeakerYesYes
Hub SensorsN/ACrash & Smash
KeypadSeparate, wirelessYes, digital or
buttons (depends on the control panel)
Multiple Keypads SupportYesNo
Key FobsYes (keychain remote)Yes
Disarm OptionsApp, keychain remote, keypadApp, keychain remote, keypad
Automated System CheckNoYes
24/7 Professional MonitoringOptionalYes
Basic Subscription$14.99/month$34.99/month Protection
Advanced Subscription$24.99/month. Adds remote
app controls,
smart home integrations
$44.99/month Interactive
$49.99/month Ultimate
Contract RequiredNoYes
Remote Monitoring & NotificationsSubscription requiredYes
Cellular BackupIncluded with paid plansYes
Landline ConnectionNoNo
SensorsMotion, Entry,
Glassbreak, Smoke,
Carbon Monoxide,
Temperature, Water
Door & Window Sensor,
Glass Break, Motion,
Garage Door, Recessed Door,
Flood, Carbon Monoxide,
Smoke and Heat
Maximum Number of Devices10059
Remote Panic ButtonYesYes
Video MonitoringYesYes, Video Doorbell,
Wireless Indoor & Outdoor Camera
Monthly Contracts AvailableYesNo
Google AssistantYesYes
AlexaYesYes
IFTTTNoNo
Smart Home CompatibilityApple Watch,
Nest Thermostat,
August Smart Lock
Z-Wave Smart Plug,
Z-Wave Light Bulbs,
Schlage Smart Lock,
August Smart Lock Pro,
Z-wave Thermostat (TBZ48D),
RCS Thermostat (TZ45),
2GIG Radio Thermostat (CT100),
Trane (XR524),
Alarm.com Smarter Thermostat
TechnologyWiFiWiFi, Z-Wave
DIY SolutionYesYes
Professional Installation RequiredNoNo
ColorWhite/BlackWhite

SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint — Things in Common

Simplisafe

  • Remote Monitoring & Notifications – Having remote access to your system is a really important part of feeling confident that your home is protected while you’re away. Both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint offer remote monitoring and mobile notifications, although those features are locked behind a subscription with SimpliSafe.

    Remote control of your system makes keeping your home safe much more convenient, but it’s the notifications that really make a huge difference. Having a prompt alert in the event of a home invasion, fire, gas leak, or rapid changes in temperature can be the difference between coming home to a ruined home or having the information you need to take quick action.

    Frontpoint definitely has the edge here since mobile monitoring is available for no additional cost, but the option is available for either system.

  • Cellular Backup – Both security systems use the internet to communicate. But what do you do if your network goes down? Losing the internet shouldn’t mean leaving your home vulnerable, and both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint offer a solution in the form of cellular backup. Cell service for your security system comes with a monthly fee, but it’s more than worth the investment when it means keeping your home safe 24/7.

  • Battery Backup – Having cell service for your security system doesn’t mean much if there isn’t any power to the sensors! SimpliSafe and Frontpoint are also both built with a battery backup that will kick in in the case of a power outage. Your sensors will continue to be powered for up to 24 hours, which will generally be long enough to get any power issues identified and addressed.

  • Internet Connection – Some security systems require an ethernet cable hooked into your router in order to go online. This might not seem like the end of the world, but it’s definitely inconvenient as it limits the places where you can place the hub. The SimpliSafe and Frontpoint are both totally wireless, which means you can install the hub/panel wherever you please as long as you have access to a power source.

    The ability to function without ethernet is great for convenience, but it also makes your system more secure since you can place the hub in an area you can quickly access rather than being tied to your internet equipment.

  • Siren – The siren is an important part of the security system, as it can both alert you and your family to danger as well as scare off any intruders. Both models have a siren built into the base, but they support additional sirens as well. The support for these add-on sirens allows you to make sure the entirety of your home is covered, although the default siren is plenty loud on its own!

  • Simplisafe Extra Siren New Version 2 Generation
    Fortrezz SSA2USR Siren Strobe Alarm Wireless Z-wave Red Lense
  • Key Fobs – It’s possible to both arm and disarm your security system using the main panel or through the mobile app. However, both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint give you an additional option for control as well — the key fob. As a simple button that fits easily on a keyring, it’s one of the most convenient ways to easily activate or shut down your system. It’s not a necessity for a security system to have by any means, but you’ll quickly start to find all sorts of situations where being able to control your sensors with the press of a button can be extremely useful.

    Frontpoint’s fob is especially useful for those who want to give access to their friends and family, as each fob has a personalized remote control that will inform you of who is arming or disarming your system. Trusted individuals will have access to your home without having to remember an alarm code, and you’ll have easy access to information on who is coming and going.

  • Remote Panic Button – In an ideal world, you’ll never have to use the panic feature. However, security systems should equip you to be prepared for the worst case scenario, and both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint have a remote panic button you can keep on hand for instant help in the event of an emergency.

    SimpliSafe has a dedicated remote panic button you can purchase separately, but there’s also a panic button included on every key fob. A simple press alerts the emergency monitoring that you need help fast.

    Frontpoint’s remote panic button is actually a panic pendant that provides convenient and customizable alerts in one device. The wearable device is great for elderly or disabled family members, as it ensures they will always have access to emergency services right on their body. There are options built into the pendant for both intrusion and medical alerts, so you can receive the appropriate medical services with a single press. The company also has a more basic panic alarm on their key fob — just like SimpliSafe.

    Frontpoint’s implementation of the remote panic button is a better option for those who need on-demand access to medical assistance, but both companies do a great job of providing easy access to help when you need it.

  • Voice Control – As yet another method of security system control, both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint include voice control through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

    The Alexa Skill for SimpliSafe and Frontpoint is actually pretty sophisticated. Using just your voice, you can lock and unlock your doors, open or close your garage, arm and disarm your system, and more. While you’ll obviously need some additional equipment beyond the simple sensors in order to lock doors or close your garage, it’s nice that the skill is built with greater smart home functionality in mind.

    There are some inherent flaws in including the ability to disarm your security through voice control since an intruder could theoretically just ask Alexa or Google Assistant to disable the alarms. However, both brands have addressed this risk by requiring a PIN in order to disarm security, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your voice assistant cooperating with intruders during a home invasion.

  • DIY Solution – One of the advantages that these brands have over more traditional security systems is that they are super easy to set up yourself. The installation process is slightly different depending on the system you choose, but whether you opt for SimpliSafe or Frontpoint, your home should be protected in less than an hour.

    Setting up SimpliSafe is as simple as taking everything out of the box, plugging it in, and following a setup process on the keypad. You’ll press a button on each sensor that you’d like to add to your system during the initial setup, and this is the same process you’ll take if you decide to expand your coverage in the future as well. All in all, the SimpliSafe setup process should take you less than 45 minutes in total.

    Frontpoint’s system is also incredibly easy to setup and install, and they actually include the industry’s first activation wizard that allows you to get everything setup from your phone whenever and however you choose. However, you also have the option to walk through the installation with a Frontpoint tech if you’d like some more guidance during the process.

    One cool aspect of Frontpoint is that they give you a two-day test window in which you can learn the ins and outs of your system. This is a useful perk, as it allows you to get acquainted with all the features without worrying about an alarm calling the police. You can also extend the process if you wish, since learning new technology takes more than a couple days for many of us.

    SimpliSafe and Frontpoint are really an example of how far the home security industry has come. Rather than requiring a technician to handle the entire installation process, it’s easy for pretty much anyone to take the equipment out of the box and get the whole home set up in a matter of minutes.

    With that said, there’s something to be said for the professional touch. If you’d like a system that will send a technician out to handle the installation from beginning to end, you may be interested in a system like Vivint or ADT. Check out our comparison between the two for a breakdown on how these systems shape up.


SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint — Our Thoughts

Frontpoint

Comparing SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint security is a bit of a challenge because they both cover all of the bases when it comes to protecting your home and honestly quite similar.

However, when push comes to shove, we’d have to give the edge to Frontpoint due to security features like Crash & Smash protection, the automatic self-test, and superior smart home integration. With that said, the monthly fees are a good amount more expensive than what you’d pay with SimpliSafe, so if those features aren’t too important to you, you can save yourself a significant amount of money over time by opting for SimpliSafe.

For more information about SimpliSafe and Frontpoint security systems, check out our SimpliSafe Review — Things You Should Know and Frontpoint Security Review — Things You Should Know articles.

Our Score:
  • SimpliSafe
  • Frontpoint
4.6

Let us know what you think!

Have you noticed other differences between SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint? 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 2019-04-21 at 08:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *