SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Review

SimpliSafe’s outdoor camera stays true to the brand’s easy, DIY approach to security

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Image
SecureScore™: 8.0 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
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8.0 SecureScore™
Customer Service
9.0
Value
7.8
Equipment
6.7
Features & Technology
7.5
Ease Of Use
9.0
SecureScore™
8.0
How We Review

Affordable? Check. Effective? Check. Simple? Check.

No matter how you slice it, it’s tough to go wrong when you’re keeping your property secure with SimpliSafe. Not only is their equipment durable and well designed, it operates perfectly without having to pay a monthly fee — great news if you’re looking for security cameras on a budget.

These cameras are easy to set up around your property, and the price point makes it easy to pick up a few of them if you need to keep an eye on multiple points. While they’re not exactly perfect, we would say the protection SimpliSafe cameras offer is comprehensive.

For those reasons, SimpliSafe’s Outdoor camera made my list of favorite outdoor security cameras. Of course, while testing the camera I did find some weaknesses, which I’ll also share with you shortly.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera on Fence Post

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera on Fence Post

Let’s start with the basics. Like the Wired Indoor Camera, formerly known as the SimpliCam, and the new Wireless Indoor Camera, the Outdoor Camera is pretty affordable considering the features that you get. It has full color night vision, 1080p HD video, and an up-to-six-month battery life. Not bad.

So much for the basics. Let’s dig a little deeper by looking at the pros and cons to get a better sense of this camera’s real strengths and weaknesses.

Pro Tip: The SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera’s biggest drawback? Its limited features. Enjoy the power of AI detection with SimpliSafe’s rival, Google Nest Cam. See our Google Nest Cam review for more details (we loved the Familiar Face Alerts in particular).

PROS
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Smartphone controls
  • High-resolution video (1080p)
  • Motion-activated spotlight
  • 8x digital zoom
  • 140-degree viewing angle
  • Smart motion detection
  • 60-day, money-back guarantee
  • Three-year warranty
  • Cloud video storage available

CONS
  • Wi-Fi fluctuations can cause slow wake times
  • Limited features
  • Camera only works with SimpliSafe equipment
  • Battery needs more frequent recharging
  • No local video storage

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First Impressions

So if you’re already using SimpliSafe to protect your property from unwanted intruders, great! Snag an outdoor camera and you’re good to go. If you’re planning on investing in a security system, this might be one to check out. SimpliSafe offers several pre-built packages to choose from, or you can customize your own. You’re still in good shape. If you’re just looking to install a camera to keep an eye on the back yard, though, this one probably isn’t for you. It just doesn’t have enough features to justify a stand-alone purchase. Head on over to our guide to the best outdoor security cameras and see what’s available.

SimpliSafe Essentials Kit

SimpliSafe Essentials Kit

One drawback is that you need to purchase both a SimpliSafe base station and a keypad if you want to use this camera. Once that’s done, though, you’ll be able to check out the camera’s live feed at any time via the SimpliSafe app, as well as have access to past events and real-time motion alerts. All said and done, you’re looking at $389.97 — $189.99 for the camera, and $199.98 for the other requisite equipment.

Pro Tip: Right now SimpliSafe is offering 20 percent off any new system when you sign up. They’ll also throw in a free month of their new Fast Protect monitoring and one of their new Wireless Indoor Cameras. That way you can monitor your interior as well as your exterior.

The good news is, if you’re a SimpliSafe user already enrolled in the Interactive plan, the camera’s premium features are actually included in the plan. Just connect the camera to your system and you will auto-magically gain access to everything the SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera has to offer, with no additional monthly fees.

Pro Tip: If you’re accustomed to using the cloud for storage, you should find a lot to like in a SimpliSafe alarm system. Read our in-depth SimpliSafe review for more on that.

Installing the Camera

Just like the SimpliCam, which I also reviewed, the new SimpliSafe outdoor camera is very easy to install. Its construction is simple and lightweight; rest assured you’re not dealing with bulky equipment or small parts.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera in Box

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera in Box

Everything about installation was easy and straightforward, from removing the camera from the box to placing it on my wall. It’s always a good idea with any battery-operated camera to check the battery first to see if it needs charging (like we did when we reviewed the Ring Spotlight Battery). I made sure to dig out the battery from the SimpliSafe Outdoor camera box, and charge it in the house before beginning installation.

The battery took about two hours to reach a full charge (the three flashing lights on the battery are an easy indicator). To compare, this was about the same time it took for the battery-operated Reolink Argus 2 camera to charge when I reviewed it.

But here’s the big difference between SimpliSafe and the Reolink cameras I reviewed: the Reolink’s battery isn’t removable. You have to plug the USB cord into the camera itself to charge the battery, which – for me – meant having to climb up and take it down every two to three months or so. (The battery lasts three to six months before it needs a recharge.) That’s not ideal, frankly, because I’m barely 5 feet tall, I don’t have the steadiest hands, and I’m just not very fond of ladders.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Inside

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Inside

So with SimpliSafe Outdoor, I had a bit of flexibility, and I used it. While I waited for the battery to charge, I took the device apart and found the place the battery would go when it reached 100%. Easy enough, right?

I also had a closer look at the camera’s magnetic mounting bracket. It connects with the camera tightly, so I knew it would be secure once I mounted it, but it was also easy to adjust. Even before I’d finished charging the battery I could position the camera in the mount to test out different angles.

We really like this approach to mourning. We saw it with the Google Nest, and we saw it again when we reviewed Geeni. These magnetic mounts are great for adjusting on the fly, but make sure you’re installing them where potential burglars and thieves can’t get their hands on them. More on this in our guide to security camera placement.

I liked how I could install the camera anywhere, using just two screws and the included bracket. Since I’m accustomed to DIY cameras, this step was no sweat. But if you’re new to home security, check out my thorough security camera installation guide for more tips.

FYI: If you don’t want to hassle with setting up the camera yourself or have physical limitations preventing you from doing so, SimpliSafe offers Pro Setup Help as an add-on service. Starting at $99, a SimpliSafe-approved technician will come to your home and set up the equipment for you.

Next, I took the bracket apart, then proceeded to drill those two (very) small screws into the wall adjacent to my home’s garage door using the bottom of the bracket as my guide.

SimpliSafe Garage Door Bracket

SimpliSafe Garage Door Bracket

From there, I sealed up the mounting bracket and popped the camera body into place.

Installing SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera to Wall

Installing SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera to Wall

Here’s where things might get slightly complicated – but don’t worry, it’s still SimpliSafe, so the answer is never too hard to find. With most of the top wireless security cameras, location matters – greatly. The camera can sometimes perform poorly if it’s placed too far away from the required base station or Wi-Fi router. Six to eight feet is usually the maximum distance;3 any farther away and you might experience delays in loading the camera’s live stream and preparing motion-activated clips.

FYI: Get lots more tips on installing SimpliSafe equipment in our complete SimpliSafe installation guide.

You might also try installing the camera in one location, find it’s not responding at all, and have to move the camera elsewhere. It’s a common process that requires some trial and error, but it shouldn’t add too much time to the total installation.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Placement

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Placement

Plus, if you have a solid Wi-Fi connection and/or range extender, you might not encounter these issues at all. That said, let’s get into the full experience.

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SimpliSafe Outdoor: The Full Experience

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera on Garage

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera on Garage

As I said previously, this camera works with a SimpliSafe alarm system and won’t record as a standalone camera. So provided you have the SimpliSafe equipment, the camera should be as easy to use as any other wireless camera, from the multi-functional Canary cameras I reviewed to the practical Lorex cameras I tested soon after.

FYI: You never know what your security cameras are going to pick up. Passing cars in the afternoon? A raccoon strolling through your backyard in the early morning hours? How about a dog-food eating burglar who sued his victims for mental anguish? It’s a strange world out there. Keep an eye on it.

For the most part, the technology takes care of itself, and after spending a few minutes navigating the app, locating and browsing settings, I started getting motion-triggered notifications. My live view showed up on the same screen I used to add the camera initially, and from there, I could navigate to my video timeline, look at pre-recorded clips, manually record an event, and even download clips to my smartphone or computer.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera App

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera App

What did that live view look like, you might be asking? See for yourself:

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera View

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera View

Video Quality

On a beautiful early fall day in Central Ohio, the picture quality I got from the SimpliSafe outdoor camera is just about the best you can hope for in a security camera: clear and colorful, thanks to the camera’s 1080p resolution. That’s still the industry standard, and for good reason. It means the camera can capture finer details like facial features – details that could mean everything in the event of a break-in.

For what it’s worth, I’m glad to see SimpliSafe adhering to said standard in the outdoor camera. When it first came out, the SimpliCam maxed out at only 720p resolution. Of course, industry standards have gone up since then, and to SimpliSafe’s credit, the latest generation of SimpliCam now has 1080p resolution. All in all, SimpliSafe’s cameras are doing well in terms of video quality.

FYI: Looking for a new doorbell camera? Check out our full SimpliSafe video doorbell review.

Night Vision

When the sun set, things got even more interesting. For one, the camera, according to SimpliSafe, can record in full color at night with a range of up to 10 feet, thanks to a motion-activated spotlight. Now, this wasn’t an earth-shattering discovery, as I’ve tested a number of spotlight cameras and found them to be immensely useful. But I was still impressed with the way this camera handles night vision, for the simple fact that I was able to control when and how I used that spotlight.

If I wanted potential intruders to see the light pop on (that’s usually when they run away), I could set the spotlight to trigger as soon as motion is detected. Or, I could keep the spotlight off for a more discrete approach and rely on infrared (in this case, black and white) night vision. It’s all right there in the app, under the camera’s settings, as seen in this screenshot:

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Settings

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Settings

During my tests, the camera didn’t miss any motion, but because it’s an outdoor camera Wi-Fi connections can be finicky, it did struggle at times to record in color at night.

Most of the time, what I got were slightly grainy but overall decent motion clips. Would they be usable to the police if the camera happened to capture an intruder or another crime in progress? For the most part, yes. But again, wireless cameras do have their limits at night.

Now, let’s explore more notable features of this camera.

Motion Detection

In a fairly recent development, SimpliSafe’s motion detection can now decipher between people and other types of motion. So if it’s human intruders you’re worried about, turn on people mode so you’ll be notified only when a person enters the frame.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Motion Detection

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Motion Detection

For intrusions of the animal variety, turn on all-motion detection to track critters in your flower beds. It’s not anything the average wireless camera can’t do these days (see our analysis of Arlo’s wireless cameras for a slightly glossier experience), but if you’re a SimpliSafe loyalist, I think you’ll appreciate this simple but important feature.

Two-Way Talk

The camera has a built-in microphone that lets you hear what’s happening around your home, even while you’re away, and talk to relatives or even suspicious lurkers within the camera’s view. This is a standard feature in security cameras, and for good reason: it can actually scare people away.

The audio handled as well as many others in the market, like the affordable Wyze Cam I tested recently. It fell just a bit short of expectations in audio clarity, but it definitely accomplished the task.

Smart Home Integrations

By itself, the SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera doesn’t integrate with any smart home platforms or third-party devices. Since the camera requires a SimpliSafe system to work properly, the only way to sync it up with existing smart home devices and platforms in your home is through SimpliSafe’s smart hub (aka base station). From there, you can set SimpliSafe to pull up your camera’s live stream if the alarm is triggered (and automatically sound the siren).

All in all, SimpliSafe automates well with Alexa-enabled platforms like the Echo Show and Fire TV, but it was a little less intuitive than when I reviewed Blink’s security cameras. SimpliSafe users still have plenty of options to automate with other components, like smart lighting, smart locks, and smoke detectors. For example, you can tell Alexa you’re going out, and Alexa will set the system to Away mode, so it’ll be armed and ready for any suspicious or hazardous activity.

One final note about home automation: You’ll need an Interactive plan to enjoy any home automation feature. Otherwise, SimpliSafe is just a security system. A pretty good one, sure, but one without smart home integrations.

Three-Year Warranty

Many competitors in this market offer one-year warranties by default, with options to extend – and that typically costs extra. With SimpliSafe, the warranty is three years, no matter what. It’s a nice touch, and another reason I’ve been recommending SimpliSafe as one of the best security systems out there.

On top of that, you’ll get a no-questions-asked, 60-day money-back guarantee. During that period, you can return your system and get your money back. It’s essentially a risk-free buy.

SimpliSafe Camera Costs

Side of SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera

Side of SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera

For $189.99, the SimpliSafe outdoor camera is priced fairly, in my view. Some might find it a bit steep, since it only works with a SimpliSafe system and lacks any direct smart platform integrations. Also, as I noted above, the original Indoor camera costs only $99 and the new Wireless Indoor Camera costs just $139.99. Simplisafe frequently includes one or the other for free in pre-made packages.

We should say that where the outdoor camera is concerned, it’s pretty obvious that it was simply meant to fill a void in SimpliSafe’s product line. Users had long been clamouring for an outdoor model. Compared to $100+ outdoor cameras we’ve reviewed previously, though–like the Reolink Argus 3 camera and its successor, Argus 3 Pro–this one didn’t knock our socks off, but we also understand its primary function: as a component to SimpliSafe’s larger system, rather than a standalone camera.

Pro Tip: Learn more about the hottest SimpliSafe sales and deals throughout the year in our full SimpliSafe discount guide.

It’s a decent camera at a mid-range price, reminiscent in form and function of Night Owl cameras. The price, however, appears to reflect the flexibility this camera provides, so I don’t think $189.99 is an unreasonable price for an add-on camera. If you think otherwise, the $80 Night Owl camera might be worth looking at; their cameras tested well and presented a functional alternative.

One final note about pricing —  keep an eye out for deals. SimpliSafe offers them throughout the year. For example, SimpliSafe recently offered 40 percent off of any new system PLUS a free indoor camera. It pays to do your homework.

Keep reading for a brief snapshot comparing SimpliSafe’s cameras.

SimpliSafe Cameras: Cost Breakdown

SimpliSafe Product Product Type Price
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
  • Doorbell Camera
  • 1080p resolution
  • Wired Installation
$169
SimpliCam
  • Indoor Security Camera
  • 720p resolution
  • Plug-in
$99 (free with some kits)
SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera
  • Outdoor Security Camera
  • 1080p resolution
  • Battery-powered
$189.99
SimpliSafe Smart Alarm Wireless Indoor Camera
  • Allows for professional monitoring and response
  • 1080p resolution
  • Battery-powered
$139.99

SimpliSafe Packages: Cost and Features

Interested in what a full SimpliSafe security kit might cost you? Here’s the latest pricing on the brand’s selection of packages.

Pro Tip: SimpliSafe is always running sales on these systems — particularly around the holidays. This past year, systems were a whopping 60 percent off. And even now each one of these packages is 20 percent off. Missed the bigger sale? Don’t worry, as the next one will be coming up soon. Just keep an eye out on our SimpliSafe deals and sales guide for the most up-to-date information.

SimpliSafe Package Pricing

SimpliSafe Package Components Price Sale Price
The Foundation Base station, keypad, entry sensor, motion sensor $249.96 $99.98
The Essentials Base station, keypad, three entry sensors, motion sensor $279.95 $111.98
The Hearth Base station, keypad, key fob, three entry sensors, motion sensor, auxiliary siren, smoke detector $399.91 $159.96
The Knox Base station, keypad, key fob, six entry sensors, two motion sensors, auxiliary siren, smoke detector $479.87 $191.95
The Haven Base station, keypad, key fob, four entry sensors, two motion sensors, auxiliary siren, panic button, freeze sensor, smoke detector, water sensor $519.86 $207.94
The Lighthouse Base station, keypad, 3 entry sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 wireless outdoor security camera, $469.93 $198.97
The Beacon Base station, keypad, 4 entry sensors, 2 motion sensors, 2 wireless outdoor security cameras $709.90 $283.96

SimpliSafe Individual Equipment Costs

In addition to their affordable kits and cameras, SimpliSafe sells their own equipment and add-ons individually, ranging from motion and entry sensors to video doorbells and smart locks. Here are their offerings and what you can expect to pay:

SimpliSafe Offerings

SimpliSafe Equipment Equipment Type Cost
Base Station Control $129.99
Keypad Control $69.99
Entry Sensor Sensor $14.99
Motion Sensor Sensor $34.99
Glass break Sensor Sensor $39.99
Panic Button Remote $19.99
Smoke Detector Sensor $34.99
Smoke/ Carbon Monoxide Sensor Sensor $59.99
Temperature Sensor Sensor $29.99
Water Sensor Sensor $19.99
Key Fob Remote $24.99
105 dB Siren Control $59.99
Yard sign Display $3.99

SimpliSafe Subscription and Monitoring Plans

Part of SimpliSafe’s value lies in its flexible monthly plans. There are no contracts required with SimpliSafe, so you can subscribe to a monthly plan with the option to cancel at any time.

Since neither of SimpliSafe’s cameras allow for local (micro-SD card) storage, the cloud is the only option for storing video. SimpliSafe’s offerings include cloud video service starting at $4.99 per month. That’s just for storing video from SimpliCams and the new outdoor camera, and that’s a pretty fair price compared to most camera subscriptions nowadays. It’s about the same price you’d pay to store video from an Arlo or Canary camera, for example. And it allows storage for more than one SimpliSafe camera, too.

If you want to connect your system to the authorities for live monitoring, the brand makes it easy to add that on. You’ll need to choose between two SimpliSafe monitoring plans, listed as follows:

Monitoring Costs and Options

Plan Features Monthly Cost
Standard
  • Unlimited 24/7 camera recording
  • Motion alerts
  • Remote arm and disarm
  • 1-year warranty
  • No contract required
.99 per day
Interactive
  • 24/7 live monitoring
  • Fast response time
  • Unlimited video recording
  • Video verification
  • 24/7 monitoring for water, fire, and dangerous temperature detection
  • Advanced remote alerts (SMS, email, etc.)
  • Remote arm and disarm
  • Extended warranty available
  • No contract required
.93 per day

Did You Know? SimpliSafe recently announced the release of it’s new Fast Protect monitoring program. It costs $29.99 per month, and allows the company’s security experts to monitor emergency situations in your home when your alarm is tripped. Keep in mind, though, it requires the purchase of their new $139.99 Indoor Camera.

Final Thoughts on SimpliSafe Outdoor

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera, installed, evening

SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera, installed, evening

SimpliSafe started out as a favorite of college students and renters, but it didn’t take long for the brand to become universally beloved by homeowners, businesses, apartment dwellers, retirees, and home security enthusiasts in general.

The addition of an outdoor camera to SimpliSafe’s arsenal only makes it a more well-rounded security solution. Did the camera knock my socks off? Not really. But part of that is because there are plenty of other top security brands that can do the same thing at the same or lower price, and still be on par with this camera in terms of performance.

But those other brands don’t rely on a complete home security system to keep them running, either. With a trusted brand like SimpliSafe, you can’t really go wrong with the new outdoor camera.

If you already have a SimpliSafe system installed — or you’re considering buying one — then this outdoor camera will protect your home with the best of them.

FAQs

Does SimpliSafe have outdoor cameras?

Yes. SimpliSafe’s new Wireless Outdoor Security Camera offers a 140-degree field of view, wire-free installation, and resolution of up to 1080p HD.

Do SimpliSafe cameras have two-way audio?

Yes. Two-way audio works on all cameras in the SimpliSafe system. To speak, hold down the microphone button while viewing the livestream. To listen, release the microphone button to hear audio from the camera. You will not be able to hear the audio while holding down the microphone button.

How many cameras can I use with SimpliSafe?

If you have a SimpliSafe security system with an Interactive Plan for $27.99 per month, you can add up to 10 cameras.

How is the video quality on a SimpliSafe camera?

The new SimpliSafe outdoor camera records at up to 1080p resolution, the industry standard for HD video. The other SimpliSafe cameras, namely, the SimpliCam and the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell, also have a 1080p resolution.

What is SimpliSafe’s warranty?

SimpliSafe offers a generous three-year warranty, along with a 60-day, money-back guarantee.

Citations
SafeHome.org only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. PR Newswire. (2017, Jun 21). Introducing SimpliCam — SimpliSafe's $99 Smart Security Camera.
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/introducing-simplicam–simplisafes-99-smart-security-camera-300477770.html

  2. PR Newswire. (2021, Aug 31). SimpliSafe Broadens Whole Home Protection with Launch of Outdoor Camera.
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/simplisafe-broadens-whole-home-protection-with-launch-of-outdoor-camera-301366058.html

  3. Lorex. (2021). How to Install Security Cameras.
    https://www.lorextechnology.com/articles/extending-wireless-camera-range/R-sc16000061

Written By
Jaime Fraze
Security Camera Expert

Jaime Fraze has 16 years of writing and editing experience, with seven years spent writing about emerging technologies. As our home security camera expert, she has hand-tested and reviewed every major security camera brand and has written more than 300 articles on the topic. Previously, Jaime has contributed to award-winning media outlets such as the Rocky Mount Telegram and the Daytona Beach News-Journal. As a homeowner and mother of two, Jaime is constantly looking for ways to keep her home and family safe. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English/Journalism from the University of Delaware.