SimpliSafe has been in the smart security system game for years at this point, but does Ring Alarm offer a competitive alternative? The truth is, while SimpliSafe has a huge number of features that make it a quality home monitoring option, the expensive monthly fee really holds it back. Ring offer many of the same capabilities at a much more affordable price, and it’s one of our favorite smart alarms on the market.
SimpliSafe has had time to create a product that offers some of the best smart utility on the market, with a whole line of sensors and useful features that make it a truly impressive marketing. However, like a relic of the olden days where home monitoring was prohibitively expensive, a lot of that functionality is locked behind a monthly fee that isn’t really optional if you want the complete experience. Simply put, Ring is the more attractive option at the moment despite missing a few different features.
Below, we go into detail on the differences of SimpliSafe vs. Ring to help give you a sense of where these systems excel and where they fall short. Read on for a full break down, or jump directly to the sections that interest you most using the navigation bar.
SimpliSafe vs. Ring Alarm — Differences
Difference #1: Technology – The first difference when comparing the SimpliSafe vs. Ring Alarm is the technology that they use to communicate. The SimplISafe communicates over WiFi only, which is efficient but also limiting in the degree of smart home integration possible. Ring Alarm, on the other hand, uses WiFi but also has the ability to interface with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. Setup with the Ring is also a breeze, and that process is handled using Bluetooth.
The SimpliSafe is an excellent security system, and at the current moment, it actually does a better job of supporting other smart products than the Ring system does. However, the Ring Alarm’s more flexible connectivity opens up much more potential than a simple WiFi setup does and considering that the company was recently bought out by Amazon, it’s likely that we’ll start to see some greater integration coming over the next few years.
Difference #2: Internet Connection – The two-alarm systems both need an internet connection to function correctly. The SimpliSafe model operates entirely via WiFi, so you won’t need to connect it to your router via an Ethernet cable. This flexibility is super important, as it allows you to place your hub wherever it’s most easily accessible rather than having to be tied to the router.
The Ring Alarm offers that same flexibility, but it also gives you the option of hooking your hub directly into the router. Why would you want to be tied down with an ethernet cable you might ask? While wireless internet has come a long way since the first WiFi routers, it still isn’t quite as fast and reliable as an ethernet connection. While the slower speeds of a wireless signal might not make a huge difference even in this application, having that option to hook directly into the router is great for those who desire optimal stability or who do not have a wireless network for one reason or another.
So, in average use, you won’t really notice a difference between the two routers since they both support wireless connections. For those who would like that ethernet option, however, you’ll have to opt for the Ring Alarm.
Difference #3: Disarm Options – One of the ways in which SimpliSafe does pull ahead is through the greater flexibility in Disarm options. With the Ring Alarm, you can disable your security system either through the app or with the keypad. SimpliSafe offers those options as well, but also includes a keychain remote that makes it much easier to automatically arm and deactivate your system as you come and go.
It may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the key fob actually adds in a lot of convenience — especially when you consider how easy it is to hand a fob to members of your household or even staff like a housekeeper or dog walker. The SimpliSafe definitely has the advantage in this area since you won’t have to have guests deal with an app or enter a code — just give them a fob and you’re good to go!
Difference #4: Sensors – Both the SimpliSafe and Ring Alarm systems offer a wide range of sensors that allow you to customize your security system to best suit your needs. Mix and match sensors at will to get the setup that makes you most comfortable, and easily expand your setup in the future with a simple installation and syncing process.
The most basic sensors are the Motion and entry sensors that are what you’d probably think of first when the topic of home security comes up. Essentially, these sensors detect activity — whether it’s a door opening or unexpected movement within the room — and alert you or the authorities accordingly.
Both systems also offer smoke and carbon monoxide sensors to keep you safe in the event of a fire or gas leak, as well as a water sensor to detect moisture before it becomes a significant problem.
SimpliSafe has some pretty unique sensors as well that we feel are quite useful, such as Temperature and Glassbreak. Temperature sensors allow the security system to alert you when your home starts to get too cold — saving you from the disaster of dealing with burst pipes. Glassbreak can detect the sound of glass breaking, so it’s great to have in rooms on the first floor with a lot of windows as the first line of defense against intruders trying to access the home in that way.
Ultimately, we feel that SimpliSafe has the edge in terms of sensors. However, Ring Alarm does give the company a run for its money with its support for Z-Wave and Zigbee equipment that allows you to use some third-party sensors. Just keep in mind that if you do add sensors in this manner, that they cannot be used for security purposes or to dispatch the police.
Difference #5: Panic Button – SimpliSafe also has the edge in their implementation of a panic button. Their version is a remote button that is more versatile and discreet. When you press it, it will contact the monitoring center which will then call to make sure you’re okay. If you don’t respond or can’t give your safe word, the police department will be dispatched to your location immediately. SimpliSafe is also an excellent option for retail or business customers, as it will allow you to activate a “silent panic” feature that will alert the authorities without setting off an alarm that could alert the intruders.
The Ring Alarm also features a panic button, but it’s a lot less flexible than SimpliSafe. Like its competitor, it will alert the police and send them to your location, but you need to have access to the keypad and press two different buttons simultaneously to activate it. There is also no option for that silent alarm, which makes it less than ideal for commercial buyers.
One of the biggest issues with the Ring Alarm’s panic feature is that it’s super obvious when you’re using the function. In a dangerous situation, intruders will be well aware that you’re calling the police, whereas the SimpliSafe is much more discreet.
Difference #6: Subscription – The subscription is where the benefits of the SimpliSafe system start to get outshined. The company offers two different plans: Standard, for $15 per month, and Interactive, for $24.90 a month.
The Standard subscription includes 24/7 live alarm monitoring, cellular backups, and environmental monitoring. This is great for adding an extra line of defense to your home, and the cost is somewhat reasonable.
However, to really get the most out of your SimpliSafe system, you’ll need to opt for Interactive which is significantly more expensive. This plan unlocks features mobile alerts, secret alerts that inform you about activity without tripping the alarm, video alarm verification that will record any detected activity, and even something as simple as being able to control your system from your phone.
That’s right, in order to control your smart security system from your smartphone, you’ll need to pay for the premium subscription. In this day and age, that sort of ‘feature” should really be more like a baseline if the company wants to market themselves as a smart security system. It’s really a shame, as SimpliSafe has a lot going for it, but the fact that they lock some of the most useful utility behind a high monthly fee makes it a no-go in our books.
The Ring Alarm system, on the other hand, offers 24/7 professional monitoring for just $10 month. This includes cellular backups as well as video storage for all of your Ring doorbells and cameras. The fact that the subscription is shared across other Ring products also makes the Alarm equipment an extremely attractive option for those who already have other Ring products, as you won’t really be paying much extra to access the full extent of features.
At the end of the day, in terms of subscriptions, it’s really no contest: The Ring is the superior product by far.
Difference #7: Voice Control – One aspect that holds the Ring Alarm back from feeling truly intelligent is the lack of any sort of voice control. Arming the SimpliSafe system is as simple as giving a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice command, while you’ll have to use the keypad or app to do the same thing for the Ring Alarm.
It’s not really a huge inconvenience to have to press a button on a pad or a phone, but we can think of more than a few times where having that voice control would be helpful — especially when walking out of the house with your hands full!
Difference #8: Smart Home Integration – Despite only having access to WiFi, the SimpliSafe system actually does a better job at smart home integration than the Ring does at this point in time. Use your Apple Watch to arm or disarm your system from wherever you happen to be or have your security sensors inform your Nest thermostat when you leave the home and adjust the temperature accordingly. Integration with the August Smart Lock will also automatically lock your doors when you leave the home, which should give you the peace of mind that your home will stay protected even on those off days where you forget to lock up yourself!
Even without ZigBee or Z-Wave support, the SimpliSafe is a great addition to your connected home.
The Ring Alarm isn’t the best at integration, but it does work beautifully with other Ring products like smart doorbells and security cameras. The underlying technology required for smart home integration is there, so we expect that more features will be added over the next few years that truly make it an integral part of your home. However, in its current state, you may find the integration a little bit lacking.
Difference #9: Design – Lastly, there are some minor differences in design when comparing the Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe. The former is available only in white, while the SimpliSafe offers both white and black options. Outside of the colors, you won’t notice too much of a difference between the two models. Both have a sleek design that is minimalistic and should blend in quite nicely with most any decor.
SimpliSafe vs. Ring Alarm — Comparison Chart
|Hub to Router Connection||Wireless||Ethernet/Wireless|
|Hub Battery Backup||Up to 24 hours||Up to 24 hours|
|Extra Siren Support||Yes||Yes|
|Keypad||Separate, wireless||Separate, wireless,
|Multiple Keypads Support||Yes||Yes|
|Key Fobs||Yes (keychain remote)||No|
|Disarm Options||App, keychain remote, keypad||App, keypad|
|Basic Subscription||$14.99/month||$10 per month or $100 annually|
|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 plan|
|Sensors||Motion, Entry, Glassbreak,
Smoke, Carbon Monoxide,
|Motion, Entry, Smoke,
Alarm Smoke & CO Listener, W
|Remote Panic Button||Yes||No, but on the keypad|
|Security Camera||Yes||Yes: variety of indoor and
outdoor Ring Cameras
|Monthly Contracts Available||Yes||Yes|
|Other Smart Home Compatibility||Apple Watch,
August Smart Lock
|Schlage Connect Z-Wave,
all Ring products
|Technology||WiFi||Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee,
Bluetooth for Setup
SimpliSafe vs. Ring Alarm — Things in Common
24/7 Professional Monitoring – One of the biggest perks of any smart security system is the peace of mind it offers you and your family. So what do you do while you’re away from home and can’t frequently check in on your system? Both SimpliSafe and Ring Alarm offer options for 24/7 professional monitoring.
When you subscribe to this monitoring system, the service will check in with you or your trusted contacts in the event of the alarm being triggered. If you don’t answer your phone or are unable to provide your safe word, the authorities will be dispatched to come to your rescue. The additional monthly fee is often worth it for the protection it will provide your family in the event of an emergency.
Cellular & Battery Backup – Both the SimpliSafe and Ring Alarm also offer 4G LTE cellular backup, so you can control your system even while you’re away from home. Both also offer battery backups that will keep your home security running smoothly in the event of an outage, so you’ll never have to be worried about your house losing the secure monitoring you’ve paid for.
Just keep in mind that the cellular backup is an additional monthly fee with both systems. The extra battery, however, is included for free. With 24 hours of battery capacity, you’ll have more than enough time to get your house back online without dealing with gaps in coverage.
Siren – Both security systems have a hub with a built-in siren that will sound at the detection of danger, alerting you to any issues and scaring off any potential intruders. However, with alarms that only have a siren in the base, there’s always the possibility that an intruder could smash the system and leave the alerts ineffective. Fortunately, both SimpliSafe (SimpliSafe Siren and Ring (Z-Wave Siren) also support extra sirens that you can install as a redundancy to ensure that you’re never left without siren functionality.
Wireless Multiple Keypads – Keypads are the primary way you’ll arm and disarm your system, so it’s important that you have easy access to it in important areas of your home. With support for wireless multiple keypads, you can install a pad wherever you need it most, such as one on each level or at every door that leads to the outside. Spreading the keypads throughout your home ensures that you’ll never be too far away to take advantage of your alarm’s security features, and placing them near doors is great for avoiding false alarms when you take a little too long to get from the entryway to the main pad!
Video Monitoring – The primary way that these systems protect your home is through a sophisticated sensor system, but if you’re like to turn your security equipment into a full home monitoring suite, you can also add in video monitoring. SimpliSafe has their own 1080p camera, while Ring offers a whole host of smart cameras that you can choose from.
Flexible Contract – No one likes long term contracts, and both SimpliSafe and Ring Alarm understand that it sucks to have to commit to a long-term security monitoring agreement. Unlike some more traditional sensor systems, both SimpliSafe and Ring allow you to opt for monthly contracts and to cancel at any time with no termination fees or hassles.
DIY Installation – Installation is super easy right out of the box. Just pull out the base, plug it in, and place the wireless sensors wherever you please — no technical know-how required.
SimpliSafe vs. Ring Alarm — Our Thoughts
Our favorite in this comparison is the Ring Alarm, hands down. While the SimpliSafe does have some advantages like the extra sensors and more flexible panic buttons, it’s really held back by the absurd gating of features behind a subscription fee.
With the Ring, you can unlock everything you need to keep your smart security running flawlessly with just a $10 fee. To get the same functionality with SimpliSafe, you’ll need to pay $25. That might not seem like a huge difference when you consider just a single month of service, but when you stretch things out over the years that you’re likely to use your security system, the cost of using a SimpliSafe alarm system is simply astronomical when compared to a device like the Ring.
If SimpliSafe were to revise their subscription plans to make them much more affordable or add in some key functionality to the device itself without a monthly fee, it would probably be one of our top picks in the industry. In the way things are currently implemented, however, we can’t in good conscience recommend it when there are alternatives available like Ring.
Last update on 2020-01-21 at 15:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API