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SimpliSafe Home Security review

SimpliSafe is a great home security system for those who want to set it up themselves

SimpliSafe Home Security review
(Image: © SimpliSafe)

Our Verdict

If you want a DIY system where you can add professional monitoring, there’s no doubting that SimpliSafe is the best in the business, with contract-free options and monitoring packages with no contract period.

For

  • No contracts
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Wide range of sensors

Against

  • Hardware has to be bought outright
  • Smart-home integration only available with monitoring package
  • No smartphone app without a monitoring package

Well-known to provide some of the best home security systems out there, SimpliSafe has been designed to appeal to a wide range of buyers. At its simplest, it’s a DIY security system that you can monitor locally, although you can pay the optional installation fee ($79) if you’d rather have a professional come and install the system for you.

SimpliSafe: Key features

Free cancellation: 60-days

Security monitoring: Professional 24/7

Smartphone control: Yes

System price (starts at): $259

Monthly costs (start at): $14.99

Wired or wireless: Wireless

Video cameras: Yes (optional)

Installation fees (start at): DIY

 

If you want more from your system, you can upgrade to one of the monitoring packages, letting SimpliSafe’s security centers monitor your system and dispatch emergency services when an alarm is triggered. 

Buying the system is fairly straightforward. You first need to choose the hardware you need, before you can add the level of monitoring you want on top. All monitoring packages include smoke detection with firefighter dispatch, plus courtesy calls for water leaks and abnormal water detection. You will need additional equipment to take advantage of these. 

SimpliSafe has moved into the security camera market, offering it own security cameras and a smart doorbell as optional extras. You have to pay additional for video recording on all but the highest monitoring package.

You also need the highest-level monitoring package if you want the smart home integrations, such as Amazon Alexa voice control, and the mobile app. Comparatively low costs make SimpliSafe an attractive option, although if you want a DIY-only system, there are cheaper alternatives with the likes of the Ring Alarm.

Packages: How much does SimpliSafe Home Security cost?

SimpliSafe is neatly split in two: hardware and then monitoring at top. Both can be bought at the same time, although you first need to specify the hardware you want. At the end of choosing your system you can see exactly how much you have to pay, although the monthly monitoring costs aren’t displayed at checkout so make sure you note down how much these will be.

Hardware packages:

  • The Essentials: Equipment starts at $259
  • The Hearth: Equipment starts at $374
  • The Knox: Equipment starts at $449
  • The Haven: Equipment starts at $489

Monitoring packages:

  • Standard: $14.99 per month | No contract
  • Interactive: $24.99 per month | No contract

The hardware packages above can all be run standalone without a contract, but those are only the starting prices. If you need additional hardware, such as more sensors or cameras (no package ships with a camera), the price may increase. Monitoring packages have to be added as above to activate the more advanced features.

SimpliSafe Home Security review: Packages

The Essentials

The starter package, The Essentials includes everything you need for basic monitoring, including the Hub, which connects to your home network via Wi-Fi. You also get one motion sensor, which is pet safe (they’re designed so that only humans will set them off), three entry sensors to fit to windows or doors, and a single keypad for arming and disarming the system.

This system is well suited to covering the downstairs of a smaller house or an apartment.

SimpliSafe home security

The Essentials hardware bundle gives you everything you need to protect an apartment or smaller home. (Image credit: SimpliSafe)

The Hearth

The next bump up the equipment scale gives you everything that The Essentials gives you, plus you get a key fob for remote arming and disarming of the system, and an additional – and quite loud – 105dB siren to scare off anyone who trips the alarm. This package also adds in a smoke detector to pick up fires.

The Knox

Designed for larger homes with up to four bedrooms, this package gives you everything the Hearth does but ups the total number of Entry Sensors to six and gives you two motion sensors, too.

The Haven

The Haven is the big package, expanding on what you get with The Knox. Additions include a panic button, which lets you trigger the alarm with a single button push, and is handy if you hear someone in your home. 

You also get the full complement of environmental sensors, with the freeze sensor and water sensor joining the smoke detector.

Build My System

If you want to take a more hands-on approach to get what you want, SimpliSafe also offers a Build My System option. This starts out with the two required components – the Base Station ($114.99) and the Keypad ($69.99) – but lets you choose your own sensors. 

Additional Sensors

You can also add additional devices to any of the packages. All sensors are priced reasonably compared to the competition and include, the entry sensor ($14.99), motion sensor ($29.99), glassbreak sensor ($34.99), key fob ($24.99), 105dB siren ($59.99), freeze sensor ($29.99), water sensor ($19.99), panic button ($19.99), keypad ($69.99) and smoke detector ($29.99).

If you want to add 1080p cameras into the mix, then the SimpliCam cameras cost $99.99 each, with an optional Outdoor Kit waterproofing them for outside use available for $19.99. Cameras cost $4.99 a month for 30-days of storage, or $9.99 a month for up to ten cameras; you get camera storage included with Interactive Monitoring.

Simlicam SimpliSafe home security

With the SimpliCam you can view what’s going on in your home, too. (Image credit: SimpliSafe)

SimpliSafe Home Security review: Standard Monitoring

With the Standard Monitoring package, SimpliSafe monitors your home alarm system for intrusions. This mode enables the cellular mode on the Base Station, which can then communicate with SimpliSafe even in the event that your internet connection goes down.

With this level of monitoring, SimpliSafe can dispatch the police in the event of an alarm or dispatch firefighters if a smoke alarm is triggered. For water and temperature alerts you get a courtesy call.

SimpliSafe Home Security review: Interactive Monitoring

For $24.99 a month, SimpliSafe has the Interactive Monitoring plan. This gives you all of the same benefits of the Standard Monitoring service but unlocks some additional useful features, too. First, you get to use the mobile app, letting you arm and disarm your home system from anywhere, as well as receiving alerts when something happens in your home.

If you have cameras, then you get unlimited cloud recording, plus when an alarm is triggered, SimpliSafe’s monitoring center receives a 60-second clip so that they can collect evidence and inform police that a burglary is in progress.

Smart-home integration is also enabled by this package. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration lets you alarm your system with your voice. If you have a Nest thermostat, SimpliSafe can put it into away mode when the alarm is enabled and put it back into heat mode when you disarm the system.

Secret Alerts let you receive an alert on your smartphone when a sensor is triggered, without setting off the alarm. For example, if you want to make sure the kids aren’t raiding the liquor cabinet, you could use a sensor and a Secret Alert to tell you when this happens.

SimpliSafe also integrates with August, automatically locking doors when your alarm system is armed. For more control over the SimpliSafe system, particularly for those that are smart home savvy, the Interactive Monitoring package is a must.

SimpliSafe Home Security review: Warranty and cancellation

One of the best things about SimpliSafe is that there are no contract periods. Either of the monitoring packages can be enabled or disabled at will without incurring a penalty. That’s good news, as it means that you can switch from a simple to a monitored system at will. For example, if you’re at home most of the time, you may decide that you don’t need monitoring; however, when you go on holiday, you may want to turn Monitoring on while you’re away for that extra peace of mind.

SimpliSafe provides a limited three-year warranty for all hardware purchased from it, after which any broken components will have to be replaced as you own them. 

SimpliSafe Home Security review: App

SimpliSafe has an app available for iOS and Android, although you have to have the Interactive monitoring package for this to work, which is a little frustrating. It effectively cuts how useful the SimpliSafe system is in standard mode.

Once you’ve paid for the app, it’s one of the most basic in the business. You can turn the alarm on or off, and you can view the log of what’s happened in your home. You can also customise the alerts you get, including when the alarm is triggered or just for information, such as telling you when the alarm has been set and what armed it. If you’ve got cameras, then you can view the footage saved to the cloud or dive into the live views as well.

Although the SimpliSafe system can trigger your Nest’s Away mode the app doesn’t give you any control over the thermostat or other integrated smart devices. Some rivals, such as ADT Pulse, give greater control over other smart home devices in your house.

SimpliSafe home security

The app can arm your system automatically based on your Nest Thermostat. (Image credit: SimpliSafe)

How does Simplisafe alert you when an alarm is raised?

What happens when an alarm is triggered depends on the type of monitoring package you have. If you don’t have one, then the internal Base Station sounds an alarm along with any additional sirens that you have. Unless you’re within earshot of your alarm, there’s no way to shut it down automatically or to even know that the alarm has been triggered.

Upgrade to a monitoring plan, and things change. As well as the internal siren ringing, the security specialists are notified that this has happened. If you have cameras and the Interactive Plan, the specialists can visually identify if anyone is in the property.

Next, you’re called to be told what’s going on, giving you the opportunity to cancel the alarm if it’s a false alert. If it’s not a false alert or you can’t be contacted (you can nominate other people to call), SimpliSafe can notify the Police to dispatch someone, providing visual confirmation that someone is in the house if you have the Interactive monitoring plan.

SimpliSafe Home Security: User reviews

Taking in real-life experience with SimpliSafe is important to help you make the right decisions, although it’s fair to say that people are more likely to make complaints about bad service than make praise for a product that does exactly what it should. In this section, we’re looking at user reviews for SimpliSafe from well-established user reviews platforms.

Consumer Affairs has 159 reviews for SimpliSafe from the last year, with an overall score of just under 3.5. For those that love the system, they praise its ease of use and low costs, particularly not having to sign up for long contracts. Those who rated the system poorly complained about false alerts and sensors not working: a common issue when DIY-installs are performed, and issues that typically occur less in professionally installed systems.

TrustPilot has a similar three out of five score for SimpliSafe. Again, the positive reviews praised the ease of installation. Those who complained didn’t like the DIY approach that SimpliSafe offered.

SimpliSafe Home Security review: Other things to consider

One of the biggest costs with SimpliSafe is having to buy the hardware upfront, but this has its advantages, too. For example, if you want to move home, you can just take the alarm system with you. Just remember to inform SimpliSafe of your new address if you have a monitoring package so the company can dispatch emergency support to the right place.

Alternatively, you can cancel a monitoring package and deregister a Base Station by calling SimpliSafe. This lets the new owners of your home register the alarm to them, giving them a fully functional smart alarm system from day one, with the option to cheaply upgrade to professional monitoring.

The DIY installation isn’t going to be for everyone, but SimpliSafe does offer a 60-day guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied, you can return the system and the company will even pay for shipping. Given that you can get a month’s free monitoring at the time of purchase, if you return within a month, you’ll have paid nothing to try the system. If you’re on the fence and want to give it a go, this money-back guarantee may be the confidence booster you need.

Should you try SimpliSafe Home Security?

There’s not really another product quite like SimpliSafe. The DIY approach will appeal to those that want a custom install, although it does mean you face all of the hardware costs upfront. It’s also slightly disappointing that the base level doesn’t give you app control, making it a worse choice than rivals, such as the Ring Alarm. Certainly, if you’re not going to use professional monitoring, then look elsewhere.

The ability to add professional monitoring without a lengthy contract makes SimpliSafe more attractive, letting you turn this feature on and off when you like with no penalties or get-out clauses. It’s a shame the smart-home integration and advanced features are all hidden behind the most expensive monitoring package, though.

The DIY approach isn’t for everyone, and if you want the convenience of a professionally installed alarm system, there are better options out there, such as Vivint’s and Brinks’ home security offerings.