Do you want to sleep easy at night, knowing your home is secure from possible intruders? We all want to feel safe in our own homes, and having the right security system can help you accomplish this. Gone are the days of simply having window and door alarms. Now you can enjoy high-quality videos and images of anything and everything that occurs inside and outside your home 24/7. Talk about ultimate peace of mind.
You may be thinking, “If these home systems are all so good, how can I possibly decide between them?” It’s a great question, and the answer is in the details. We’ve tested and tried many security systems to iron out all the specifics and found some pretty distinct features among various brands. When you’re shopping around for the right home security system, consider the following: what features does it offer, how easy it is to use, and what is the cost?
We recently took a close look at two well-known industry leaders, SimpliSafe and Vivint, to better help you make the right decision for your home and family.
SimpliSafe vs. Vivint: The Similarities
It goes without saying that both SimpliSafe and Vivint have proved to be two of the best brands in home security. Nevertheless, we were still taken aback with the number of similarities between these two security powerhouses. Each offers plenty of features and, if you’re looking for total video surveillance, then these two are definitely contenders as they offer HD security cameras for both inside and outside your home (Vivint more so than SimpliSafe).
FYI: Although SimpliSafe and Vivint are similar, SimpliSafe is overall much more affordable than Vivint. You’ll have to sacrifice some advanced features, but if affordability is your main concern, then SimpliSafe is the way to go.
They also provide 24/7 off-site monitoring services, so you can enjoy that priceless peace of mind knowing your home is safe and secure.
One of the top similarities between SimpliSafe and Vivint is the ability to control each system via their mobile app. If you’ve got a smart device (and who doesn’t these days?), then you’ll have remote access to your system pretty much anywhere, anytime. You’ll be able to arm, disarm, and view live video footage using your smartphone.
SimpliSafe and Vivint both offer door and window sensors, as well as motion detectors, to provide complete protection of your entire home.
Each company also offers cellular and wireless connections to help ensure you’re always connected with the monitoring station. And they even have various options for environmental protection to choose from (think smart smoke/fire detectors, water leak sensors, CO sensors, and the like).
Last but not least, SimpliSafe and Vivint security systems connect to local authorities and will alert them in the event of an emergency.
FYI: Want to learn more about SimpliSafe? If so, head on over to our in-depth SimpliSafe review. We cover everything from features and tech, to living with the system on a day-to-day basis.
The Main Differences Between SimpliSafe and Vivint
Now, onto what truly sets these industry icons apart! The first standout difference between SimpliSafe and Vivint is the price. The upfront cost of a SimpliSafe system begins around $229.96, with a monthly cost of $14.99 for basic 24/7 monitoring. The up-front cost for a Vivint package is $599.99, with a monthly cost of $29.99 for the basic system. As you can see, Vivint is much more expensive. But then again, you’re getting a much more intelligent, integrated home security experience with Vivint compared to SimpliSafe.
Your installation preference is another major factor to consider. Are you a hands-on, do-it-yourself kind of guy (or gal)? Or do you prefer to sit back, relax, and watch others perform the heavy lifting? Well, whatever your preference, one of these brands has what you’re looking for. Vivint requires one of their professional techs to install the equipment, while SimpliSafe only offers DIY installation.
Did You Know: SimpliSafe doesn’t require its customers to commit to a long-term contract, but Vivint may require a contract if you don’t pay for the equipment up front.
The equipment Vivint offers is also a bit more cutting-edge than its competitor when it comes to smart home “intelligence.” They provide a 7” touch screen control panel (versus SimpliSafe’s basic push-button keypad), and if you’re a fan of smart home automation, Vivint integrates with third-party platforms and offers loads of smart equipment like smart locks, garage door controllers, video doorbells, and environmental sensors.
Note that Vivint technically owns the equipment. But, you can also choose to finance the gear, if you wish, as long as you meet the credit qualifications. Just remember, it’s not nearly as affordable as SimpliSafe, so expect to pay $60+ per month with Vivint.
Did You Know: Vivint’s security systems can interact with various Google Nest products, including Google Nest thermostats, to keep your home comfortable and secure.
Standout Features and Technology
Security and reliability are always the two main factors you should consider when purchasing a home security system. With that said, the next important thing you need to decide on is the feature-set you want in a setup. That’s where our hands-on experience comes in! We’ve tested both systems in-home for several days to help you discover the features you never knew you needed.
Best SimpliSafe Features
You’ll be pleased to know that SimpliSafe offers several different packages to choose from, depending on the size of your home or apartment and the additions you desire. All installations are DIY, but don’t let that scare you! Their equipment is quick and easy to install, so you can expect a fast and painless setup (remember, they’re called SimpliSafe for a reason).
Below are the most notable features included with any package of your liking:
- Ultra-easy Installation: SimpliSafe offers the fastest and easiest DIY installation of any home security systems we’ve tested. It only takes 20 minutes to get up and running.
95 dB Siren: Everyone in and around your home will hear the alarm when the siren goes off.
- SimpliCam Indoor Camera: SimpliSafe offers a pretty nice 720p HD camera meant for indoor use. You can also use the camera outdoors if you purchase the SimpliCam Outdoor Kit.
- SmashSafe Technology: Intruders often attempt to damage security system keypads immediately upon entry. With SmashSafe technology, local authorities are alerted even if the keypad is tampered with or destroyed.
- Protection From Power Outages: With a convenient backup battery, you won’t have to worry about compromising your safety in the event of a power outage.
- Six Monitoring Centers: Feel confident knowing one of SimpliSafe’s six monitoring centers is on hand to help when you need them most.
- Water and Fire Protection: With heat and water sensors, you and your family are alerted immediately if there is a fire or if a water leak is present that could lead to flooding or a pipe bursting.
- Decade-Long Battery Life: The batteries in the SimpliSafe entry sensors can last up to a decade, meaning you’ll rarely have to worry about changing them.
- Compatible With Alexa: Enjoy ultimate convenience when you can just ask Alexa to arm or disarm your SimpliSafe system.
Features of Vivint
Customization is the name of the game with Vivint’s smart home security systems. Whether you simply need a doorbell camera to see who’s at your doorstep, or want full indoor and outdoor protection of your home, Vivint can customize the package to your liking.
Below are the features you can enjoy with Vivint systems:
- Professional Installation: Vivint offers a white-glove installation service so that you don’t have to lift a finger. If you’re not into “doing-it-yourself,” then Vivint is a safe bet. The tech will even show you the ropes once the system is installed.
- Smart Cameras: Vivint’s indoor and outdoor cameras offer 1080p HD image quality, and their outdoor camera has person-detection. This cuts down on false alerts and sends you only the information you need.
- Livestream Video: Using Vivint’s mobile app, you can check in on your security cameras to see what’s going on around your home even if you’re out of town.
- Two-Way Talk: Always know who’s at your door with two-way talk, a feature built into their indoor, outdoor, and video doorbell cameras.
- Review Video Recordings: You can save and review video footage 24/7 from Vivint cameras. The footage is saved for 30 days and can easily be viewed minute-by-minute to find exactly what (or who) you’re looking for.
- Smart Locks: You’ll never have to worry about losing keys again with Vivint’s smart locks. When you have keyless entry, everyone in the family can have a unique access code, including expected visitors.
- Garage Door Controller: Open and close your garage door using your smartphone from pretty much anywhere. This is a great extra that we highly recommend.
- Infrared Vision: Night vision is critical for many reasons. Whether you’re away and need to see what’s going on at your house, or if you’re checking in on the kids after bedtime, infrared night vision gives you a clear picture of what’s going on.
Pro Tip: Vivint’s glass break sensors are a great investment. Have your Vivint tech install one of these sensors on each floor of your home, within 20 feet of the windows you wish to protect. Your alarm will sound if a would-be burglar smashes a window to gain entry. To learn more about this sensor and other neat Vivint features, check out our hands-on Vivint review.
SimpliSafe vs. Vivint: Pricing, Costs, and Fees
After our thorough investigation, it became clear that SimpliSafe is an ideal option for budget-minded shoppers, offering way more affordable security packages when compared to Vivint.
SimpliSafe Fees and Costs
Again, affordability is the name of the game for SimpliSafe and is one of the key reasons their systems are so attractive to customers. With SimpliSafe plans starting at $14.99, you won’t have to put a significant dent in your budget for basic monitoring. And even with more interactive features (like the SimpliSafe mobile app!) and complete home protection, the cost is only a little pricier at $24.99 per month. Personally, we see this as a steal!
FYI: You are never tied to a contract with a SimpliSafe system. With month-to-month plans, you have the freedom to cancel at any time for any reason.
Vivint Fees and Costs
Vivint does cost more than SimpliSafe, but it also offers many more “intelligent” smart home features that are worth checking out. Basic monitoring for Vivint systems begins at $29.99 per month, but the monthly cost can increase significantly depending on the number of cameras you have.
Here’s our latest rundown of Vivint’s costs and fees.
FYI: If you pay for the Vivint equipment up front, then you won’t have to be locked into a contract. But if you finance the equipment, Vivint will lock you into an agreement for three to five years.
Bottom Line: Is SimpliSafe or Vivint Better?
At the end of the day, we honestly believe both SimpliSafe and Vivint are great options for homeowners. There are pros and cons for each company, so it really comes down to your individual situation.
With Vivint, you’ll have much more flexibility and way more home automation options; however, you’ll also pay a higher price depending on the features you select. They also have some of the most innovative products on the market today, allowing for smart home capabilities inside and outside your home.
On the other hand, SimpliSafe doesn’t have nearly as many features, but it’s still a solid, easy-to-use system for anyone wishing to protect their home. The fact that they require DIY installation makes them an ideal fit for budget-minded folks. We love the fact that you can try out SimpliSafe for 60-days and get your money back should you not be completely satisfied.
Our bottom line: If you want flexibility, convenience, and ultimate home protection, and don’t mind paying a premium for it, then Vivint is your best bet. If you want a home security system that simply gets the job done and you aren’t worried about all the extras, then SimpliSafe is an outstanding option (especially for folks on a budget!).
Finally, if neither of these systems make sense for you, we recommend digging into our recently updated list of the top 10 best home security systems available.