Smart security systems make keeping your home protected easier than ever before, and DIY options have never been more accessible. When comparing SimpliSafe vs. Nest, we feel as if the latter is the better value due to the fact that it offers smart features without any additional monthly fees.
SimpliSafe has been around for years at this point and is one of the biggest names in smart security, but Nest Secure has made big waves in the industry recently as well. Outside of an upfront cost, you won’t really need to shell out extra to use the Nest Secure like you would for SimpliSafe. In this case, it appears that the newcomer to the field is the better buy.
Below, we go into detail on the differences between these two smart security systems to help give you a better sense of which option works best for you. However, if you’re interested in something specific, feel free to jump to the appropriate area using the navigation bar.
Navigate this article:
SimpliSafe vs. Nest Secure — Differences
Difference #1: Cellular Backup – The first difference when comparing the Nest Secure vs. SimpliSafe is in the way they implement cellular backups. Both brands support this feature, but Nest pulls ahead with the option for a $5 per month standalone plan.
With SimpliSafe, cellular backups are only available when you opt for a subscription plan. While Nest also offers those backups with their 24/7 monitoring plan, the inexpensive monthly fee for standalone cellular backups is a definite advantage.
Difference #2: Battery Backup – One area in which the SimpliSafe does come out on top is in the length of time it can stay online using a battery backup. Having security coverage persist through power outages is a major plus, and SimpliSafe will provide monitoring in the absence of power for 24 hrs — twice as long as the 12 available on the Nest.
Being able to have access to key features like arming and disarming is a major benefit, just keep in mind that some more minor conveniences may be disabled until you’re hooked back into power. Still, it’s nice to know that your home won’t go unprotected if you drop power — and the SimpliSafe gives you a significant amount of time to get things back up and running.
Difference #3: Multiple Keypads – Another benefit of the SimpliSafe system is the inclusion of multiple keypads. While the system only comes with one by default, it’s possible to buy extra keypads to place where you need them. It’s nice to be able to put at garage door entrances, backdoors, or in the upper levels of your home to give you complete control over your security system from wherever you happen to be.
Just like the expandable sensors, the keypads can be added in at a later date, so we recommend passing on the extra pads for the time being until you have an idea of the setup you need for your specific home.
The SimpliSafe pad is also quite high quality as well, with a big, bright display and backlit keys making it easy to use at night. There’s no need for a plug — just place it wherever it’s most convenient to access your system.
Unfortunately, the Nest Secure’s only keypad is located right on the top side of the base unit.
Difference #4: Extra Siren – Another cool security benefit of the SimpliSafe is the inclusion of an additional siren that can sound the alarm if you’ve hidden the base. The Nest Secure, on the other hand, has a base and siren 2-in-1.
This is one area where the Nest Secure definitely falls short, as having the siren built into the base that controls the security system is a single point of failure. If an intruder were to come in and smash the Nest base, you’ll end up with a security system that’s no longer doing its job.
The SimpliSafe’s inclusion of an extra siren allows you to hide away your base in an area that is protected and easy for you to access, so you can ensure that your home stays protected even if intruders are savvy enough to damage the visible equipment. The extra keypads also enhance this functionality, as you can place them a long way away from the main hub.
Difference #5: Remote Panic Button – Having a panic button easily accessible is an important part of feeling safe in your home. In the event of a home invasion, having the ability to easily alert the authorities from a safe and convenient location is ideal, and SimpliSafe does a much better job of making that a reality.
When you trigger the remote panic button, it will instantly trigger the alarm and the monitoring center will call to make sure you’re okay. If you don’t answer the phone or give your safe word when you answer, they will alert the police that you’re in danger. For retail and business customers, there is also the option for a silent alarm that will alert authorities without making a scene.
The Nest Secure also features a panic button, but it’s located on the base itself and will not alert the police in the event of an emergency. While the loud alarm my startle or deter intruders, it is lacking some of the functionality and security that SimpliSafe has to offer.
Difference #6: Sensors – One area in which SimpliSafe comes out far ahead is with its sensors.
Nest Secure is mostly made up of motion sensors that adjust to sense different things based on where you place it. For example, when you place Nest Detect on a door it will work both as a motion sensor and an Open/Close sensors. On a window, it will sense when the window opens or close, and on walls, it will serve as an occupancy sensor to alert you when someone walks nearby. This flexibility and the fact that you only need to have access to a single type of sensor for all your needs is certainly convenient, but it does fall short of the sheer mass of options that the SimpliSafe family has to offer.
SimpliSafe entry sensors are easy to install on any door or window and will alert you to any unexpected entries. Even when the system is off, the sensor will sound a pleasant door chime when a window or door is opened, so you’re never caught off guard if someone enters the home.
The SimpliSafe motion sensors have a 30-foot range and a 90-degree angle, which essentially allows them to cover the entirety of a room if you place them in a corner. It’s the perfect way to detect unexpected movement once you’ve gone to bed for the night or are on vacation.
Glassbreak sensors are specifically designed to detect the sound of shattering glass and are perfect when combined with motion detectors for monitoring of vulnerable areas in the home. It’s especially useful for areas on the first floor with multiple windows.
In addition to providing a quality security system, SimpliSafe also provides their own smoke detectors. These detectors are built with photoelectric sensors that provide increased safety when compared to ionization sensors. They are excellent at detecting fire in the earlier smoldering stages before it breaks out into flame, which is great for giving you and your family the time needed to quickly evacuate. When it detects smoke, the SimpliSafe smoke detector will sound its own internal siren as well as triggering the full-blown security alarm. Pair the smoke detector with the company’s carbon monoxide detector, and you’ll have a full suite of home protection products that provide security both from intruders and from fire and gas leaks.
Temperature sensors can give you a useful heads up if your home gets too cold — saving you from the disaster of burst pipes.
Last but not least, the SimpliSafe water sensors will detect leaks and flooding as soon as they become an issue and can save you a significant amount of hassle and money by staving off disaster with timely alerts.
Difference #7: Maximum Number of Devices – The Nest Secure allows for one Guard (hub) per home, and up to 30 Detects (sensors) per home. There’s also a maximum of 10 Tags per person, Tags being sensors that allow people to easily bypass security measures with a simple dongle. If you’re using other Nest products, you’ll also have to be mindful of the maximum numbers you can have under one account. Read more on that here.
If you’re looking for a truly huge security system, the SimpliSafe might be more up your alley. With the ability to have up to 100 devices programmed to it, it clearly comes out ahead for larger homes that need comprehensive coverage in every room.
Difference #8: Subscriptions – Both have subscription plans, but with one main difference. With Nest Secure, the plan is an optional add-on that adds some additional monitoring in without being a necessity, while the SimpliSafe locks a lot of their smart features behind an ongoing fee. This is one of the main drawbacks of the SimpliSafe model, and one of the main reasons why we don’t recommend it over the Nest Secure despite the huge amount of features that the line has going for it.
The Nest Secure offers a Professional Monitoring plan that includes 24/7 monitoring and cellular backup. This is available for $19/month with a 3-year contract, or for $29 per month with no commitment.
SimpliSafe offers two different plans: Standard and Interactive. Standard is $15 per month and only includes 24/7 Live Alarm monitoring, Cellular Connection, and Environmental Monitoring. This essentially enables all the basic functionalities of the alarm system such as the ability for the system to alert police or firemen to any issues and store cellular backups.
Interactive is $24.90 for 30 days and adds in the ability to control from your smartphone, receive alerts right on your phone, and to receive secret alerts that let you know when the system has been triggered without sounding an alarm. The system will also collect video when an alarm is triggered, which is excellent for verifying a threat is legitimate while also providing evidence of a robbery, as well as unlimited video recording with cloud storage of up to 30 days. Last but not least, the Interactive plan adds in further support for smart home integration, making it easier to integrate your security system into the connected home at large.
What is really shocking about the SimpliSafe subscriptions is that you need to pay almost $25 a month just to be able to control your system from your phone. When you consider that that capability is available for free on the Nest Secure, it becomes harder to justify shelling out for features that should have been there by default in the first place.
Difference #9: Smart Home Integrations – Both the Nest Secure and SimpliSafe integrate well with a number of different smart products.
With Nest Secure, you’ll have the ability to interface seamlessly with pretty much any Nest product including the Nest Hello doorbell, Nest x Yale lock, and Nest Connect mesh WiFi. Voice control is also available through Google Assistant.
SimpliSafe supports Google Assistant as well but also takes things one step further with Amazon Alexa integration. Just say something like “Alexa, arm SimpliSafe,” and let your system to do the rest. Use your Apple Watch to arm or disarm your system from wherever you happen to be, and even use the security system to control your Nest thermostat while you’re away from home. That’s right, you can even control some Nest products with SimpliSafe rather than being boxed into the Nest Secure, which keeps it as a competitive option even for those heavily invested in other Nest products.
Difference #10: Third Party Monitoring – These two security systems both offer third-party monitoring, but both do it through different companies. While ideally, it would be nice to see that the companies manage their system in-house, it appears that they contract the monitoring out to other services that do the work for them.
Nest Secure uses Brinks, which is one of the most reputable security companies in the world. Known for their dedication to security and protection, Brinks Home Security has racked up more than 1 million subscribers. They have years of experience in both residential and commercial security, so your home should be in good hands if you do opt for the monitoring plan from Nest.
SimpliSafe uses COPS monitoring in order to monitor homes and dispatch police and firemen. They have been in business since 1978 and are the largest wholesale alarm monitoring providers in the United States. They don’t have quite the same reputation that Brinks does, but they still offer a quality monitoring system that is ready and waiting in the off chance that you need to take advantage.
One thing we did want to note is that Nest is a lot more transparent about who they contract their monitoring out to, while SimpliSafe actually needed to be questioned in order to explain more about their monitoring system. This doesn’t necessarily mean that SimpliSafe was purposely obscuring the fact that they don’t monitor homes themselves, but the fact that the information is front and center with Nest and hidden for SimpliSafe is certainly a little bit questionable.
Difference #11: Design – Both security systems are designed with a minimalist design that allows your devices to blend easily into the walls and be as unobtrusive as possible. Nest Secure is available only in white, however, while the SimpliSafe comes in both white and black.
Having that extra color option is certainly nice, although we don’t feel like it should be a dealbreaker in any case given how well white goes with pretty much any decor.
SimpliSafe vs. Nest Secure — Comparison Chart
|Hub to Router Connection||Wireless||Wireless|
|Hub Battery Backup||Up to 24 hours||12 hours|
|Extra Siren Support||Yes||No|
|Hub Sensors||N/A||Motion, Proximity, Tamper|
|Keypad||Separate, wireless||On the hub|
|Multiple Keypads Support||Yes||No|
|Key Fobs||Yes (keychain remote)||Yes (Nest Tag)|
|Disarm Options||App, keychain remote, keypad||App, Nest Tag fob, keypad,
|Basic Subscription||$14.99/month||$19/month, 3 year agreement
$29/month, monthly contract
|Advanced Subscription||$24.99/month. Adds remote app controls,
smart home integrations
|Only one plan available|
|Remote Monitoring & Notifications||Subscription required||Yes
(no subscription required)
|Cellular Backup||Included with paid plans||Included with paid plans
Or pay $5/month ($50/year)
if you want cellular backup
|Sensors||Motion, Entry, Glassbreak,
Smoke, Carbon Monoxide,
|Motion (Nest Detect)|
|Remote Panic Button||Yes||No, but on the keypad|
|Security Camera||Yes||Yes: variety of indoor
and outdoor Nest Cams
|Monthly Contracts Available||Yes||Yes|
|Other Smart Home Compatibility||Apple Watch, Nest Thermostat,
August Smart Lock
|Wink, Nest Hello doorbell,
Nest Connect mesh WiFi
|Technology||WiFi||WiFi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE),
SimpliSafe vs. Nest Secure — Things in Common
Wireless System – Adding In protection to your home doesn’t necessarily mean you have to deal with a mess of wires. Both the Nest and SimpliSafe models are completely wireless systems. Just plug in the base and enjoy comprehensive coverage of your home in just minutes.
Expand & Customize – One of the coolest aspects of these two security systems is the fact that they are scalable and customizable. If you need more sensors, just add them into your existing system and you’ll be all set. This is a great perk for those who want to test out a system before fully committing to outfitting their entire home.
SimpliSafe has several different packages you can choose from, although you can add in more sensors as necessary to suit your needs. These packages range from a 5-piece system that includes a base station, a keypad, 1 entry sensor, 1 motion sensor, and a key fob, to a 12-piece system that adds in additional sensors, a security camera, and even a panic button. You should be able to find a package that works for you, but you can also customize it at will for the ultimate in flexibility.
There’s also the option to buy the original SimpliSafe Kit, just keep in mind that the old systems and the newer SimpliSafe equipment do not work together.
The Nest starter pack also has everything you need to get started, and it’s pretty easy to expand whenever you please with more Nest Detects and Nest Tags, a subscription to cellular backup, a Nest Camera, and more. The security system also works well with other Nest products, so it’s probably one of our top picks for those already invested in the Nest Ecosystem.
DIY Installation – Since there are no wires to worry about with either system, installation couldn’t be simpler. Just take things out of the box, plug them in, and get your home secure within minutes.
24/7 Professional Monitoring – Both security systems offer the option for 24/7 professional monitoring, which is the perfect option for keeping an eye on your home while you’re away on vacation. Even in situations as simple as having a dead phone battery, it’s nice to know that there’s someone keeping an eye on your home at all times.
With both models, you’ll need to pay an extra fee for access to this 24/7 monitoring. If an alarm triggers, trained agents will make sure that the alarm isn’t false by contacting you or your trusted contacts before contacting the police. It’s an excellent safeguard to have on hand in the event that you aren’t available to keep an eye on your security system.
Flexible Contract – Speaking of subscriptions, both Nest and SimpliSafe offer monthly contracts so you won’t have to worry about a long term commitment. You’ll be able to cancel at any time without any termination fees or other hassles, which makes it easy to opt for a subscription without having to worry about being locked in for the long haul.
Video Monitoring – In addition to the standard sensors included with each system, both SimpliSafe and Nest offer video monitoring as well. The former uses its own 1080p camera, while the latter will integrate well with any Nest Cam.
SimpliSafe vs. Nest Secure — Our Thoughts
Ultimately, when comparing Nest Secure vs. SimpliSafe, we have to give the edge to Nest Secure almost entirely due to the fact that the majority of the security features are available without an additional subscription. If you didn’t throw monthly fees into the equation, we’d be inclined to say that SimpliSafe is the better device due to the extra features available and better support for larger homes. However, when you consider you need to pay almost $30 a month just to have the ability to control your security system with your smartphone, it’s clear that the advantages offered become a whole lot less important.
In the early days of home security, subscriptions were quite commonplace and protecting a home was a relatively expensive affair. While SimpliSafe is on the top of its game when it comes to smart features, it also feels like they are stuck in the past with a business model built around monthly fees when Nest Secure offers a comparable experience for far less money.
So, if you’re looking for some of the absolute best security on the market and are willing to pay an ongoing fee for that privilege, we would say that the SimpliSafe alarm is the superior choice. However, we wouldn’t really purchase it ourselves due to the fact that it comes with a monthly fee while the Nest Secure manages to do a great job without one.
For more information about SimpliSafe system, check out our SimpliSafe Review — Things You Should Know article.
Last update on 2020-04-08 at 00:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API