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Between these two security systems, our favorite is SimpliSafe.

SecureScore™: 9.4/10

SimpliSafe and ADT both sell wireless alarm systems, but they have very different deals. This SimpliSafe vs ADT review looks at installation, features, prices and contracts.

Quick Tips!

These fast facts can help you choose between SimpliSafe and ADT.

  1. SimpliSafe costs much less than ADT.
  2. Only SimpliSafe is contract-free.
  3. Only SimpliSafe has do-it-yourself installation.
  4. Both companies guard against intruders and environmental threats.
  5. Both can support indoor video cameras.
  6. Only ADT supports outdoor video and smart home devices.

Comparing ADT and SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe and ADT specialize in wireless alarm systems. They both guard against break-ins and environmental harm, but only ADT can support a “smart home.” Some popular smart home features are app-controlled lamps and voice-controlled thermostats.

Another big difference is setup. SimpliSafe uses DIY setup, but ADT sends an electrician to your home.


  • Wireless security equipment
  • 24/7 monitoring available
  • Mobile app available
  • Indoor video cameras


  • Home automation and outdoor video (ADT only)
  • Type of installation (SimpliSafe is DIY; ADT is pro)
  • No contract needed (SimpliSafe only)
  • Available in areas without cell service (ADT only)

Similarities: SimpliSafe vs ADT

SimpliSafe and ADT share the features of other leading wireless security companies…

Both companies protect against burglary and environmental harm. They also have 24/7 emergency service, indoor video and mobile apps. Here are answers to questions about these features.

  1. What is wireless security? Wireless alarm control panels use radio waves instead of wires to communicate with sensors. You don't need to cut into walls for setup. In contrast, other security systems (like traditional ADT) are hardwired.
  2. How do home alarms make emergency calls? Wireless alarm systems, when used with monitoring plans, can send alerts to emergency dispatchers. These dispatchers work for alarm companies. They call emergency personnel if needed. A wireless alarm system can send alerts using a cell signal, a landline or Internet. Cell signals are usually the most secure.
  3. What are mobile apps for home security? Mobile apps let smartphones and tablets work as alarm control panels. They let you remotely control your security system. You can even watch clips from your security cameras online.
  4. What video cameras are available? Both companies give free security cameras as promotions. SimpliSafe has the wide-angle SimpliCam. It captures HD video and has night vision. It can be triggered by human motion. This is SimpliSafe’s only security camera, and it's for indoor use only. ADT has a wider choice of security cameras for indoor and outdoor use. Both companies let you store video clips to the cloud for 30 days.

Differences: SimpliSafe vs ADT Security

Compared with ADT, SimpliSafe costs less and meets simpler needs. Also, SimpliSafe but not ADT requires a cell signal.

The two security companies have very different pricing. They're also different in terms of installation, features, contracts and emergency connections.


Compared with SimpliSafe equipment, the ADT alarm control panels and sensors have more features.

ADT uses equipment from leading brands such as Honeywell and GE. SimpliSafe builds their own control panels and sensors.

  • Both security companies can guard against burglaries and environmental disasters such as fire and flood.
  • Both support indoor video surveillance.
  • Only ADT offers outdoor video security and endless home automation options.

ADT home automation not only enhances security, but also adds conveniences. ADT alarm panels can use signals from “smart home” Z-wave devices such as light dimmers, automated door locks and the Nest smart thermostat. Smart home devices can be controlled by your voice, the alarm control panel, and mobile apps.

Long-Term Cost

SimpliSafe is much cheaper than ADT in the long run.

ADT customers pay less for equipment up front, but they eventually pay more. ADT customers sign contracts to pay for equipment and have it monitored.

Here's a sample comparison of SimpliSafe vs ADT prices:

  • A brand-new SimpliSafe economy package costs about $250. Monitoring is optional. Monitoring is as cheap as $14.99/month.
  • The $250 economy package is available refurbished for 30% off at SimpliSafe.com. A three-year warranty is included.
  • Optional monitoring starts at about $15/month. With mobile access SimpliSafe monitoring costs about $25/month.
  • If you chose 36 months with smartphone access, you’d pay about $900 in bills. With the cheapest plan you’d pay less than $600.
  • ADT security systems are valued at about $850 and up. Customers pay over time. Monitoring is required. Monitoring starts at around $48/month.
  • Customers pay about $75 to get an ADT system installed and activated.
  • Customers pay for security equipment over time. Charges are combined with those for system monitoring.
  • Bills are typically at least $50/month.
  • If you sign a 36-month ADT contract, you might pay about $1700 in bills. That isn’t including monthly warranty coverage. If you put the system under warranty, the three-year cost could be about $2,000.

Options for Monitoring

ADT requires a monitoring contract. SimpliSafe does not.

Most ADT customers sign 36-month agreements. California customers are only bound two 24-month agreements. In case of early cancellation, customers typically pay penalties.

SimpliSafe does not require contracts. You can choose monitoring of alerts month-by-month. You can switch between plans or cancel anytime without charge.

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Type of Emergency Connection

Wireless alarm systems can connect to emergency dispatchers three ways. From “best to worst” these are cellular signal, landline and Internet.

A cell radio chip in the alarm control panel is usually the best way to send alerts. Criminals can easily tamper with landlines. Internet connections are also subject to tampering and inclement weather.

  • ADT customers have a choice of cell and landline connections. If cell signals and a landline are both available, then both can be used. The landline will only be used if the cell signal fails.
  • SimpliSafe customers can use a landline as backup but must have a cell connection too. When considering SimpliSafe vs ADT, people in remote areas should first make sure that SimpliSafe monitoring is available.

Installation: DIY vs Pro

SimpliSafe installation is do-it-yourself. ADT installation is done by a pro.

Each SimpliSafe kit has instructions on a USB drive. You can set up a kit in about 15 minutes. These kits are good security for renters because you can easily move them anytime.

ADT pro installation is free or low-cost, but you’ll depend on ADT for system changes. ADT systems aren’t portable.

Summary Comparison: ADT vs SimpliSafe

ADT and SimpliSafe serve different audiences. Shoppers who carefully compare these security companies before choosing are usually satisfied.

SimpliSafe costs less and is commitment-free. Compared with ADT, SimpliSafe is simple in terms of technology and pricing. We like how SimpliSafe prices are clear. To learn more, see our SimpliSafe reviews.

ADT costs more and requires a contract, but it includes cutting-edge options like home automation and voice recognition. The main frustration is that prices are determined on a case-by-case basis. If you’d like to learn more about ADT, read our ADT reviews here.