Rob Gabriele

“Alexa — secure the perimeter.”

It might sound a little futuristic, but voice-activated home automation is here, and the best home security systems are offering hands-free voice through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to control everything from your deadbolts and doorbells to your lighting and thermostat.

And one of the biggest players in this space is SimpliSafe. With a SimpliSafe security system, you'll be able to arm and disarm your system with your voice, connect to third-party smart devices, and, generally speaking, make your life a little more convenient.

SimpliSafe Home Automation Lock

SimpliSafe Home Automation Lock

SimpliSafe Works With:

  • Google Assistant
  • Amazon Alexa
  • August Smart Locks
  • Apple Watch (arm/disarm only)

We recently tested SimpliSafe's products, and while it didn't wow us with cutting-edge home automations like Vivint did, we were impressed with its capabilities. It works with some of the biggest names in home automation like Google Nest and Amazon Alexa (although it plays better with the latter). Still missing from that list is IFTTT and Z-Wave, but hopefully those will be coming soon.

Let’s find out if SimpliSafe is worth the investment for tech-heads and smart home aficionados… or, if it’s better for folks looking for easy automation.

First Things First, A SimpliSafe Subscription

Before we dive into SimpliSafe’s home automations, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll need to sign up with SimpliSafe monitoring to access smart features. SimpliSafe has two different subscription plans: Standard and Interactive, priced at $19.99 and $29.99 per month respectively. You’ll have to spring for the Interactive plan if you want smart home integrations — but keep in mind the subscription also includes 24/7 alarm monitoring and video support.

Before we start talking about home automation, you need to know that to get these features out of your SimpliSafe security system, you're going to need to sign up for one of two subscription plans. Luckily, these are super affordable. Here's a breakdown of their two plans and the features they include:

Plan Feature Interactive Monitoring Self-Monitoring with Camera Recordings
24/7 Emergency Dispatch Yes No
Alarm Texts Yes No
Video Verification Yes No
Live Guard Protection Yes No
Arm/Disarm Remotely Yes Yes
Cellular Connection Backup Yes No
Push Notifications Yes Yes
Secret Alarms Yes Yes
View timeline Yes Unlimited
Unlimited Recording Yes Up to Five Cameras
10 Percent Off New Purchases Yes No
Lifetime Warranty Yes No
Cost $28 per month $11 per month

We went with the Interactive plan, and we must say, we were quite happy with the features and benefits. Note that a month-to-month subscription is par for the course. If you want smart home automation and security camera recordings, you almost always have to sign up with a subscription service. It’s how the industry works. Thankfully, SimpliSafe’s no-contract plan comes with smartphone controls, which allowed us to control all of our smart features remotely straight from the SimpliSafe app. Pretty nice!

Simple Automations

SimpliSafe prides itself on its ease-of-use — we mean, simple is in the name after all. While this means you're not going to get really advanced features like AI facial recognition or geofencing, you are going to be able to set everything up and operate it day to day without pulling your hair out. Simplisafe is a great DIY system for folks looking to add a few conveniences to their lives — not learn how to use a system more complicated than the space shuttle.

So if you’re not super-comfortable with new tech, SimpliSafe might be just what you’re looking for. Without further ado, let’s find out what smart features and integrations SimpliSafe offers these days.

Here’s a quick reference guide that shows which home automation platforms SimpliSafe integrates with. Keep in mind that SimpliSafe might add compatibility with IFTTT, Z-Wave, and others in the coming months or years. As consumers ourselves, we’d love to see it. That said, we still think they offer a pretty good lineup of smart features.

SimpliSafe Automation SimpliSafe Standard Plan SimpliSafe Interactive Plan SimpliSafe Self Monitoring with Camera Recording Plan
Amazon Alexa No Yes Yes
Google Assistant No Yes Yes
Apple Watch Yes Yes Yes
August Smart Locks No Yes Yes
Z-Wave No No No
Zigbee No No No

Google Nest Integration

We’re still getting used to calling Google Home by its new name: Google Nest. Call it what you will — SimpliSafe works with it. When you link SimpliSafe to Google Nest, you can say things like “Hey Google, am I protected?” or “Hey Google, arm SimpliSafe to away.” If you’ve yet to experience it, we think you’ll get a kick out of hands-free voice control.

We didn't test this system out ourselves — we happen to be on team Alexa — but everything we've researched says it's smooth sailing. With the Nest Hub Max, you can even pull up your SimpliCam’s live video stream to check out what's happening inside or out, and it's a slick enough piece of equipment to wow your visitors to boot.

Pro Tip: Not a fan of SimpliSafe's security cameras? With SimpliSafe's Google Nest integration, you can opt to use Nest Cams instead, and while Nest Cams don't work with SimpliSafe directly, you can control SimpliSafe and Nest Cams together using your Google Nest smart speaker or display.

Finally, although we’re partial to Alexa, we will say that Nest smart speakers offer better sound quality (bump that bass!) compared to Alexa-devices like the Echo Dot. Even the Google Home Mini packs a punch, despite its small stature.

SimpliSafe Works With Alexa

As mentioned, we’re big fans of Amazon Alexa and the way it works with SimpliSafe. It’s probably the most popular voice assistant, and we appreciated how easy the integration was to get started. All we had to do was enable the SimpliSafe Alexa skill on our Echo Dot and Echo Show, and then run through the step-by-step integration instructions. Within a few minutes we were commanding Alexa to arm and disarm our system, lock our front door, and show our live stream video on the modern smart display, which is pretty similar to the Nest Hub Max.

If it works in your budget, we highly recommend going with the Amazon Echo Show to really modernize your system. You can get similar touchscreen functionality from brands like ADT and Vivint, but it’s probably going to cost you a lot more with those premium brands. So you can think of SimpliSafe plus an Echo Show like an affordable workaround to enjoying a modernized touchscreen system. Your pocketbook will certainly thank you.

You should also know that SimpliSafe and Alexa work great with the Arlo Pro 3 cameras. Integrate this into your SimpliSafe security system and we think you’ll like the extra layer of security you get. We’d also recommend looking into Ring's home security cameras. Of course, since Ring is owned by Amazon, you can bet their indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras work seamlessly with Amazon’s Alexa. In fact, SimpliSafe + Ring Cams is our go-to setup.

Access SimpliSafe App on Apple Watch

The Apple Watch puts your home security commands right on your wrist. So let’s say you’ve gone out for dinner but forgot to arm your house — you can access your SimpliSafe app on your Apple Watch to secure your home. Your tablemates will think they’ve stepped into the future.

With that said, more and more home security companies are partnering with Apple for this nifty new integration. So it’s nothing all that unique to SimpliSafe.

SimpliSafe and August Smart Locks

August Smart Locks is our top pick for electronic door locks that you can control from pretty much anywhere. Combine August with SimpliSafe and a voice assistant like Alexa and you’re living the good life. Just say “Alexa, lock my front door,” and you can keep binging the latest Netflix du jour and never even have to get up. This is one SimpliSafe automation that’s a must-have.

Note that August makes several different smart locks that work with SimpliSafe, but we’re really liking the new Wi-Fi Smart Lock. At $229.99, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’ll allow you to remotely lock and unlock your door, keep tabs on your door status, hand out virtual keys, and lots more. Of course, August works with Google Home (er, Google Nest) as well.

SimpliSafe and SmartThings… It's Complicated

Samsung SmartThings is easy-peezy, but the SmartThings-to-SimpliSafe integration is another story. There’s a back-door way of integrating your SimpliSafe system with SmartThings, but we don’t really recommend it. It can get pretty complicated. So if you’re a SmartThings user, you should wait until SimpliSafe unveils this integration which, fingers crossed, will be coming.

And we hope it comes soon! We’ve seen the power of SmartThings in systems like ADT. In fact, some ADT Security packages come with this smart platform integrated right into the hub. Smart lighting, doorbells, thermostats, door locks — you can manage it all via SmartThings right from ADT’s touch screen panel. But again, if you’re looking for SmartThings connectivity with SimpliSafe, patience is a virtue.

SimpliSafe and IFTTT

You might know that IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That.” It’s a big player in the smart home automation market. Unfortunately, we found that SimpliSafe doesn’t offer this integration; not yet anyway. Once the company integrates with IFTTT (again, fingers crossed), you’ll be able to configure “recipes” that can turn on your Hue smart lights when SimpliSafe is disarmed, lock your August door lock when your alarm is tripped, and other helpful automations.

With that said, if you run third-party devices that happen to work with both systems, you might find a way to access IFTTT recipes with SimpliSafe. However, the company has not yet shown its hand on whether it plans to integrate IFTTT into its security platform. So keep a lookout! And we’ll keep you updated here.

Final Thoughts On SimpliSafe Home Automation

We say it like it is around here. And we must say that SimpliSafe could stand to be more “intelligent” when it comes to home automation. That is, we wish their systems worked with third-party platforms like Z-Wave and Zigbee, IFTTT, and others.

SimpliSafe - Yard Sign

SimpliSafe – Yard Sign

But then again, SimpliSafe does play well with Amazon Alexa and Google Nest. We hope that someday soon we'll be seeing Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and SmartThings added to the list, but for now, we think that for the right families, this is enough.

To sum things up, we think SimpliSafe offers just enough home automations to keep most folks happy. It’s not our best-rated home security system by accident; so if you’re looking for all-around value and affordability, we’d recommend giving SimpliSafe a try.

To take it a step further, if you have the budget, we recommend integrating an Amazon Alexa Show, along with Hue smart lights, an August smart lock, and a couple Ring Stick Up Cams for good measure. You might even consider adding in some home security robots — yes, this is a thing. This combination of products will keep you and your family smart and safe without lifting a finger.