Updated August 29, 2017

SimpliSafe Review: Is the Security System Good?

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SimpliSafe has low costs and no contract. But how good is this DIY home security system? Read on for the pros and cons and see how it compares.

SimpliSafe

Overall Score

3.8

Discount

3.0

Home Security

4.0

Customer Service

4.0

Equipment

3.0

Mobile App

4.0

Packages

3.0

Cancellation

5.0

Installation

4.0

Yard Sign

3.0

Online Community

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • No long-term commitment
  • Low monthly fee
  • Easy installation
  • Limited technology
  • Equipment cost

Bottom Line

Good basic home security for the money

In This Review:

Home security companies don't make it easy for you these days. You're often dealing with hidden fees, expensive equipment, and a long contract that's impossible to cancel.

SimpliSafe does things differently.

There are no hidden charges, no contract whatsoever, and low monthly monitoring prices - one of the lowest, in fact.

Not only that, it offers all-inclusive monitoring beyond just burglary and is completely 100% cellular.

Sounds too good to be true?

Read on to find out what the catches are (if any) and whether SimpliSafe delivers as a home security system.

10 Reasons to Choose SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe offers 10 benefits that make it a standout in the home security field.

  1. No contract. Many home security companies often require a three-year contract. SimpliSafe has no contracts at all. You can cancel any time you want without penalty.

  2. Low monthly costs. One of the best things about SimpliSafe is the price. Monitoring starts at $14.99 a month, which is the equivalent of a nice lunch. Even the highest tier is only $24.99 a month, which is half the price of other comparable companies.

  3. Reasonable equipment prices. You'll have to spend a little on equipment to get set up but you're not going to have to take out a second mortgage on your house to do it. You can get the basics for just $229 (more details below).

  4. All-inclusive monitoring. Even at the lowest tier, Simplisafe offers all-inclusive monitoring for burglary, fire/smoke, flood, freeze, and carbon monoxide poisoning (you will have to purchase the necessary equipment). Some other security systems only offer hazard monitoring at the higher service tiers.

  5. 100% cellular monitoring. Some security systems offer only landline monitoring at the lowest price tier, but Simplisafe uses 100% cellular monitoring. You don't have to have a regular telephone line for it to work. And plus, burglars sometimes cut phone lines, so with cellular, you're covered no matter what.

  6. 60-day full refund. You can get a full refund in the first 60 days if you're not 100% happy with it. SimpliSafe will even pay the return shipping fee.

  7. 3-year equipment warranty. SimpliSafe's equipment comes with a 3-year warranty. If you have any problems, SimpliSafe will try and fix it, or send you new equipment free of charge.

  8. Free and easy installation. SimpliSafe is all DIY, so there's no extra charge for installation. The equipment and the overall system itself are fairly straightforward. You can usually install it yourself in under an hour.

  9. Portable system. Traditional security systems are hard-wired into your home. But SimpliSafe's equipment is completely wireless and portable if you move.

  10. Real-time alerts. You can create customizable alerts that go to your smart device when your system is triggered. You can also use the app to check in on your home any time you want (only for the higher tier).

Reasons to Consider Another Security System

SimpliSafe is a well-priced basic security system, but there are still some downsides. Here are some reasons why you may want a different system.

  • No Smash & Crash protection. If an intruder smashes the SimpliSafe base station within the grace period (before the alarm is set off), then the alarm will not be triggered at all.

    Instead, Simplisafe provides a keypad separate from the base station. So you can lesson this risk by hiding the base station so the burglar won't find it within the 30-second grace period. If the burglar destroys the keypad, the police will still be alerted.

    A lot of other security companies do offer smash and crash protection (such as Frontpoint). Even if the base station is destroyed, it will still alert the monitoring system if the pending alarm is not disarmed.

  • No home automation. Home automation lets you control your home even when you're away. You can do things like switch off lights and adjust the home temperature. Unfortunately, SimpliSafe systems don't come with this technology - a significant drawback if you're interested in a smart home.

  • No outdoor cameras. SimpliSafe has an indoor camera that will pick up unusual activity inside the house, but there is no option for outdoor cameras. If this is important to you, you may want to look for a company that provides this feature.

Home Security Packages & Pricing

© nola.agent (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Let's be real here: Cost is can be a deal breaker.

The lower price points are a reason to give SimpliSafe a serious look. One thing we really like about Simplisafe is that they are upfront with their costs. There are no hidden fees. Simplisafe lays out all the information for you on their website.

There are two service plan levels, both very reasonably low priced:

  • Standard plan ($14.99/month): SimpliSafe's basic monitoring provides 24/7 professional cellular monitoring, which includes burglary, fire/smoke, freeze/flood, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Please note that you would still have to purchase the necessary equipment.

  • Interactive plan ($24.99/month): In addition to the Standard plan, the Interactive plan offers access to the mobile app, text/email alerts, and the ability to set up customizable alerts for when certain parts of your home are being accessed, such as a medicine or gun cabinet.

    OR

  • Self-monitor ($0/month): Simplisafe also gives you the option to self-monitor. You can just purchase equipment and don't have to pay the monthly monitoring price. But if you go this route, any alarms triggers will NOT report to the central system and you won't get any alerts. And you also no longer get access to the mobile app, so you have no way of disarming the alarm remotely.

    For only the price of a nice meal, we recommend that you get the 24/7 professional monitoring.

SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe offers five different equipment packages on its website. The 5-piece starter set is the cheapest at $229.96, which includes the base station, a wireless keypad, 1 motion sensor, 1 entry sensor, and one keychain remote.

You'll pay the most for the 16-piece ultimate bundle, which is $539.85 and includes 2 motion sensors, 4 entry sensors, a panic button, smoke detector, and sensors for water, freeze, and carbon monoxide.

The equipment packages are:

  • Starter package (5 pieces) - $229.96
  • Economy package (7 pieces) - $259.95
  • Classic package (9 pieces) - $349.92
  • Master package (14 pieces) - $449.87
  • Ultimate package (16 pieces) - $539.85

If you don't see a package you like, you can create your own custom version, which starts at $184.98. You can even buy refurbished equipment at 25-30% off.

Here are the equipment available:

  • Control panel. This is made up of a base station ($114.99) and keypad ($69.99 each). The keypad is what you use to arm and disarm the system, and it beeps any time the alarm is triggered. The base station is what sends the signal that you need help to authorities.
  • Security cameras ($99/each). The HD camera captures both audio and HD video. Includes free intruder and motion alerts. Watch a live feed on your phone for free.
  • Entry sensors ($14.99 each). Have a fear about a burglar climbing up a window into your bedroom? Robbers are, in fact, more likely to waltz in right through the front door. Windows on the first floor are also a popular target. SimpliSafe systems use door- and window-mounted sensors so that you always know when someone's coming or going.
  • Motion sensors ($29.99 each). A security system's ability to detect motion can be a godsend and a detriment if Fido keeps setting yours off. SimpliSafe's sensors aren't triggered by dogs or cats weighing less than 50 pounds.
  • Glass break sensors ($34.99 each). There's not much time to react when a burglar gets in. By noticing the sound of shattered glass right away, these sensors can give you some precious seconds to get help.
  • Panic button ($19.99 each). If you're at home when an invasion happens, press the panic button to instantly trigger an alarm.
  • Environmental sensors. Going beyond burglary risk, you can protect your house from other hazards too with carbon monoxide sensor ($49.99), smoke detector ($29.99), freeze sensor ($29.99), or water sensor ($19.99) for leaks and floods.
  • Yard signs. Putting burglars on notice that you've got an alarm system is a research-proven way to deter thieves. All SimpliSafe systems come with one yard sign (and you can order more for $3.99 each).

Security App Monitoring

Only the $24.99 Interactive plan will unlock access into this app. The SimpliSafe app can be used on iPhone, Android, and Windows phones.

Here's what you can do with the app:

  • Arm and disarm the system
  • Check system status
  • Review the system event log
  • Check the temperature in your home
  • See alerts when a flood or fire sensor is activated

Since you don't get home automation capabilities with a SimpliSafe system, the app is somewhat basic. Still, it's helpful to be able to keep tabs on your system when you're on vacation, at work, or just out running errands.

Customer Service

If you need to ask a question about your system or you've got a problem, you can get in touch with SimpliSafe customer support by phone 7 days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. You can also send your questions or concerns by email. There's no chat feature, unfortunately, which can be a headache if you need help outside regular business hours.

Installing the System

Installation is completely DIY, and there aren't any complicated instructions to read through. SimpliSafe pre-programs your system and sensors when you order your equipment. Once you get it, you plug in your remote keychain (which doubles as a USB drive) into your computer and install the SimpliSafe software.

From there, you plug in the base station, activate the batteries for each of your sensors, and decide where you want to put them. The next step is to customize your system settings and create your alerts. Once that's done, you plug the drive into the base station to transfer the settings over and you're good to go.

Negative Reviews

SimpliSafe has received positive reviews on the whole, but there are some naysayers out there. Several of the negative reviews we found involved a problem with the system itself. In some cases, customers were unhappy with the level of service they received when they called in with a problem.

A customer service representative from SimpliSafe did take the time to address all the negative reviews we found, but it wasn't clear how the various issues were resolved. There were also 19 complaints reported to the Better Business Bureau in the last 3 years. Thirteen of them stemmed from problems with SimpliSafe products and services. All of the complaints are listed as closed.

Common Complaints

Overwhelmingly, the two biggest issues with SimpliSafe seem to be problems with false alarms and the fact that customer service isn't available 24/7. Out of the two, the false alarm issue is the most worrisome because law enforcement agencies can charge you a fee if they have to respond to an alarm call when there's no emergency.

An article in Forbes has also critiqued SimpliSafe's susceptibility to hacking in recent years.

Tip: How to Prevent False Alarms

How It Compares

We decided to round out our view by comparing SimpliSafe to a couple of the most well known security systems on the market.

ADT. The biggest downside of ADT is the fact that you have to sign a three-year contract to get service. And their lowest tier is still almost twice the price of Simplisafe and doesn't come with cellular monitoring or all-inclusive fire/food/carbon monoxide monitoring.

On the plus side, ADT systems come with Z-wave technology - a huge plus if you're looking to jump on the home automation bandwagon.

 

SimpliSafe

ADT

 

Benefits and Features

Home Security$14.99 Standard Alarm Monitoring
$24.99 Interactive Alarm Monitoring includes SMS/Email Alerts and Smartphone Control
Plans start from $28.99/month to $58.99/month. All plans include 24/7 monitoring for burglary.
$58.99 ADT Pulse Video Plan includes remote secure video and smartphone control.
Customer Service9am to 6pm Eastern, 7 days a week. 24/7 Monitoring.24/7 customer support and monitoring.
Return Policy
60 days
6 months money back guarantee if there is a problem ADT cannot resolve
Warranty
3 years
After 90 days, there is a charge for servicing broken equipment. Or you can choose to pay a monthly fee for equipment warranty
Equipment$229 for basic package, or build your own
Basic equipment included
Mobile AppSimpliSafe Home Security app allows you to arm/disarm remotely and monitor sensor status. Requires Interactive monitoring subscription plan and SimpliSafe2 system.ADT Pulse app allows you to activate alarm, check sensors, watch live video feeds, control lights and appliances, adjust thermostats and view history of home activities. Available on App Store and Google Play.
Contract
No Contract
3 year contract
Installation
Do It Yourself
Professional installation available.
Yard Sign
ADT-branded yard sign
Home Automation ADT Pulse allows you to arm/disarm your house, control your lights and thermostats remotely.
Control Panel
ADT Pulse touchscreen control panel allows you to know alarm status, arm/disarm your alarm, control lights, check weather, and view live video from security cameras. Also allows you to quickly send an immediate alarm (medical, fire, or police).
Door Lock
ADT Pulse door locks allow you to remotely lock/unlock your door from any internet-connected device.
Door Sensor
Wired and wireless door sensors. Wireless door sensors can be installed yourself with no drilling or hardwiring necessary.
Glass Break Sensor
Detects if a pane of glass is shattered
Lowest Monthly Price
$14.99
$28.99
Motion Sensor
Outdoor Camera 
Security Camera
Thermostat 
Touch Screen 
Water Flood Monitoring
Window Sensor
Z-Wave 
Discount
Home Security
Customer Service
Equipment
Mobile App
Packages
Cancellation
Installation
Yard Sign
Online Community
Home Automation

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

SimpliSafe: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on August 4, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

ADT: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on January 8, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Frontpoint. Frontpoint's pricing is similar to ADT, with plans ranging from $34.99 to $49.99 a month. There's no installation fee; everything is DIY and the typical equipment package costs around $300, which is pretty comparable to SimpliSafe. You'll have to spend a minimum of $100 to get started and you're locked in to a 3-year contract.

Frontpoint systems support Z-wave technology (with compatible plans) as well as video camera monitoring. Like SimpliSafe, you only get a three-year warranty on your equipment versus the lifetime warranty that ADT offers.

 

SimpliSafe

Frontpoint

 

Benefits and Features

Home Security$14.99 Standard Alarm Monitoring
$24.99 Interactive Alarm Monitoring includes SMS/Email Alerts and Smartphone Control
Plans start from $34.99/month to $49.99/month. All plans offer 100% wireless and cellular system with 24/7 professional monitoring. $49.99 Ultimate Plan supports video streaming, automated door locks, and advanced thermostat control.
Customer Service9am to 6pm Eastern, 7 days a week. 24/7 Monitoring.Monday to Friday from 8am to 11pm Eastern. Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm Eastern. 24/7 Monitoring.
Return Policy
60 days
30 Days
Warranty
3 years
3 Years
Equipment$229 for basic package, or build your ownMinimum $99 for lowest tier/$199 for upper tier
Mobile AppSimpliSafe Home Security app allows you to arm/disarm remotely and monitor sensor status. Requires Interactive monitoring subscription plan and SimpliSafe2 system.
Alarm.com mobile app
Contract
No Contract
1 year or 3 year contract
Installation
Do It Yourself
Do It Yourself
Yard Sign
Home Automation Automate your lights, door locks, and thermostats using Z-Wave technology.
Control Panel
Standard control panel includes cellular technology. Optional touch screen control panel upgrade.
Door Lock
Supports Z-Wave door locks.
Door Sensor
Wireless door sensors. Recessed door sensors available. Garage door sensors available.
Glass Break Sensor
Lowest Monthly Price
$14.99
34.99
Motion Sensor
Pet-friendly wireless motion sensors.
Outdoor Camera Wireless outdoor camera (requires power)
Security Camera
Indoor and outdoor wireless camera options available (requires power)
Thermostat Supports many Z-Wave thermostats
Touch Screen 
Water Flood Monitoring
Window Sensor
Wireless window sensors.
Z-Wave 
Discount
Home Security
Customer Service
Equipment
Mobile App
Packages
Cancellation
Installation
Yard Sign
Online Community
Home Automation

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

SimpliSafe: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on August 4, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Frontpoint: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on January 13, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Protect America. Protect America is another company known for their low prices. The lowest service tier is just $19.99/month. However, it is even more basic than SimpliSafe. The $19.99/month plan is only for a landline connection and only monitors for burglary. But Protect America does include the basic equipment for free, so some people still prefer that there are no upfront costs. There is a 3-year contract.

 

SimpliSafe

Protect America

 

Benefits and Features

Home Security$14.99 Standard Alarm Monitoring
$24.99 Interactive Alarm Monitoring includes SMS/Email Alerts and Smartphone Control
Plans start from $19.99/month to $54.99/month. All plans include free equipment, no installation fees, and 24/7 monitoring.
$54.99 Cellular Monitoring Plan includes cellular connection, smartphone control, automated door locks, and lighting control.
Customer Service9am to 6pm Eastern, 7 days a week. 24/7 Monitoring.Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm Central. Saturday to Sunday 9am to 7pm Central. 24/7 Monitoring
Return Policy
60 days
14 days
Warranty
3 years
Lifetime
Equipment$229 for basic package, or build your own
Basic equipment included
Mobile AppSimpliSafe Home Security app allows you to arm/disarm remotely and monitor sensor status. Requires Interactive monitoring subscription plan and SimpliSafe2 system.SMART Connect app allows you to arm and disarm your security system remotely, monitor sensor activity, view live video, and control locks and lights. App is available on App Store and Google Play.
Contract
No Contract
3 year contract
Installation
Do It Yourself
Do It Yourself
Yard Sign
Home Automation Supports Z-Wave Door Locks, Lights, and Thermostats
Control Panel
GE Simon XT
Door Lock
Door Sensor
Glass Break Sensor
Lowest Monthly Price
$14.99
$19.99
Motion Sensor
Security Camera
Indoor use only camera. Up to 2 streams
Thermostat 
Touch Screen 
Simon XT Touch Screen
Water Flood Monitoring
Window Sensor
Z-Wave 
Discount
Home Security
Customer Service
Equipment
Mobile App
Packages
Cancellation
Installation
Yard Sign
Online Community
Home Automation

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

SimpliSafe: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on August 4, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Protect America: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on January 13, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Bottom Line: Is SimpliSafe Worth It?

SimpliSafe is a good basic security system. The monitoring price is hard to beat and we love the fact that you're not locked into a contract. You just have to shell out a bit for equipment upfront.

On the other hand, if you want something a little fancier and don't mind higher monthly costs, ADT or Frontpoint may be a better fit. But you'll lose the no-contract benefit of SimpliSafe. The key is to fully research any security system you're considering before you commit so you don't end up with a dud.

(Additional Writing by Anna)

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a home security comparison and financial education website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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