If you’ve been toying around with the idea of getting a home security system, it’s likely that you’ve heard the name “SimpliSafe” more than a few times —- probably in conversations involving other top-rated providers like Vivint and Ring Alarm.
There’s good reason for this. Simply put – see what we did there? — they’re one of the most comprehensive, affordable, and easy-to-use DIY home security systems out there, not to mention they’re one of the top security systems for renters. Need another reason? They’re constantly innovating — making both their products and services better — to keep their customers as safe as possible from burglars and home invaders.
Is this simple system enough to keep you and your family safe, though?
Don’t worry — we’re going to explore that and more in this review. We recently got my hands on SimpliSafe’s latest and greatest equipment, and we put everything to the test in our own homes. We’ll let you in on some tips and tricks regarding the installation and day-to-day use of this system, but before we get into that, let’s get some context with some high-level pros and cons.
Pro Tip: Finding the right security system for your family is a bit like picking out a new car. Do you need a sedan or a truck? Do you want a minivan or an SUV? Your individual needs should dictate what you ultimately purchase.
Those are the details in a nutshell–simplified. All right, so what do other customers have to say?
Overall, it’s clear that SimpliSafe has refined its offerings through the years, and the result is pretty impressive. Is it a perfect system? No. There’s no such thing. Is it a great system, though? Sure. We’d be willing to say that. Is it the right system for you? Let’s find out!
We’ll get to each individual piece of equipment in just a bit, but before you start working with that, you’ll need to download the app. So just a quick word on SimpliSafe’s app to get us rolling.
I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of home security systems over my career, and as such, I’ve downloaded dozens and dozens of apps. Best is a subjective term, and I’m not sure I’m willing to say SimpliSafe is the best, but it’s certainly in the conversation.
Why? Because it checks two of the most important boxes for me – it’s well designed, meaning it doesn’t glitch out or get buggy, and it’s intuitive, meaning everything is where you’d expect it to be. Throughout the entire setup and testing process, I was never scratching my head wondering how to, say, find the live video from my camera or change the settings of a certain piece of equipment.
It’s also feature-rich and very responsive. Here’s what you can do using the SimpliSafe App:
Overall, it’s a handy tool and makes working with your security system really convenient.
Enough about the app, though. Let’s talk about the equipment itself — you know, the fun stuff.
As you can see in the video above, I was immediately impressed by the quality of most of these products. Everything felt substantial, everything was designed with the user in mind, and everything was really easy to set up. Simple, even.
Let’s put all that information in black and white, though. Just what do you need to know about SimpliSafe’s various components?
I really liked the size and the design of the Base Station. For connectivity’s sake, it’s recommended that you put it in a central location off of the floor, which means it’s likely going to be out in plain sight in your home. Not to worry, though; it has a pleasing, vase-like shape, and the glow from its light is actually pretty nice — especially at night. I set mine up on the mantle next to some plants, and my wife, who takes design pretty seriously, told me it looked great. Brittney stamp of approval right there.
It definitely compares favorably to other systems’ base stations. Ring’s base station mounts on the wall and looks a little like a speaker. It’s not bad, but not really design-y either. And the base station I used when I reviewed the Eufy Dual Video Doorbell was a little too big and boxy for my liking. Out of the three, I’d take SimpliSafe’s all day.
On your app, you’re going to go to the “add new device,” screen and find your base station. This is the first thing you need to do to set up the rest of your equipment. The app recommends that you don’t place the base station too close to the router, but after one failed attempt to connect it to my Wi-Fi network, I brought it into the same room as the ole internet box. Once I did that, it popped on the network quickly, and I was able to move it back to the room I wanted to place it in just fine.
The base station does have an onboard battery to keep your system working in the event of a power outage, but that battery only lasts about 24 hours. It’s best to place it near an outlet so you can keep it plugged in at all times.
Nice size, good weight, and I like the neutral coloring. It’s smaller than the previous SimpliSafe motion sensor, which I like, and hefty enough that it’s not going to break if it falls off the wall. Ask me how I know…
The installation itself is easy if you actually follow the instructions. On the app, it says to remove the adhesive backing and firmly press it against the wall for 30 seconds. I got a little impatient and pressed it for about five, which caused the sensor to immediately fall down. Unfortunately, that ruined the command strips SimpliSafe uses, and I had to peel them off and replace them with my own. Can’t fault SimpliSafe here, really. That was my mistake. Once it’s on the wall, hit the sync button, and your home base will recognize it and pair it to your system.
Most motion sensors, this one included, work best picking up activity moving across their field instead of toward or away from it. They also work best when they’re 6 to 8 feet above the ground.1 Keep that in mind when you’re placing it in your home.
These are a little bulky, but it’s forgivable. They’re smaller than Frontpoint’s sensors by far, but they’re a little bigger than Abode’s. They do look easy to work with, so that’s a plus. I like that there’s a light on them for connectivity feedback.
Similar to the motion detector, the entryway sensors have peel-and-stick command strips on their back. I learned my lesson from last time and firmly pressed them onto my door frame for a longer amount of time without incident. You just want to make sure that the two pieces are lined up correctly to avoid false alarms. Stick them up, hit the sync button, and you’re good to go.
SimpliSafe has designed these sensors to trip once they move beyond two inches from each other. This is actually quite a bit of space when it comes to the install, so don’t worry if your door isn’t flush with your frame. Mine isn’t, and they worked just fine.
The keypad feels solid and looks good. I can’t really decide if I liked the analog push-buttons or would have preferred a touch screen. Feels a little dated. For context, Ring and Vivint both offer touch-screen control panels that feel a little more modern.
This was the only piece of equipment I had a problem with on the install. Now to be fair, part of this might have been because I removed the battery pull tab before I was instructed to by the app, but it took a little doing to finally get it connected. I had to disconnect the batteries and then bring the keypad into the room with the base station to finally get it to connect, and it only did as I was dialing the number for customer service. I guess it felt threatened. Once it was connected, I peeled off the backings to the adhesive strips and stuck it to the wall next to the door. Easy peasy.
Pro Tip: If you have issues with your install, SimpliSafe’s customer service is here to help. They’re just a few clicks away using the app, and in our customer survey above, we found that most users find them really helpful. Or, you can check out the company’s online knowledge base, with full product support for all of SimpliSafe’s many products.
The keypad has a panic button on the top of it. If you need immediate assistance, you can press and hold that button. Your alarm will sound, and, if you’re signed up for a SimpliSafe monitoring plan, authorities will be summoned if you don’t dismiss the alert. Most of the time, the police will be at your house in less than 10 minutes, depending on how far you live from the nearest station.2 Keep in mind, though, that self-monitoring is also an option if you don’t want to sign on the dotted line. SimpliSafe is actually one of our favorite no-contract, self-monitored home security systems.
Looks and feels like most higher-end smoke detectors on the market today. It was a little smaller and lower profile than the one I’d previously installed in my office.
If you’re installing this on a wall like I did, it’s a little difficult to get things lined up properly as the button and speaker holes are horizontal. I recommend using a pencil to mark where your screws should go. Or, you could not be as obsessive as me and install it however you want. Pair it with the app, and you’re good to go.
Most people know how important smoke detectors are, but very few people know just how dangerous carbon monoxide is. If your home has fuel-burning appliances like water heaters, stoves, or clothes dryers, you absolutely need one of these in your home. Luckily, SimpliSafe’s sensor monitors both smoke and CO and will alert you any time it detects either in your home.
Pro Tip: You need to be really intentional and deliberate about where and how you install this piece of equipment for it to be effective. For more information, check out our carbon monoxide detector installation guide.
I really like SimpliSafe’s new Smart Alarm Wireless Indoor Security Camera – it’s leaps and bounds better than the previous iteration of SimpliSafe’s indoor camera. I like the size of it, I like the design of it, I like the clever way the mount can twist so you can install it on the wall. I also love that it’s wireless — SimpliSafe didn’t have a wireless indoor camera for the longest time. I also like that this camera can be professionally monitored. This adds a layer of security most indoor cameras don’t offer. I don’t like that the foot piece is plastic, but since it’s an inside camera, I’ll forgive it.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for more options to keep an eye on your property, you might consider checking out our guide to this year’s best security cameras. I’m sure you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for over there.
The installation process was as easy as any other camera I’ve ever worked with, if not easier. Make sure it’s fully charged, hit the sync button, and bingo. All set. Now it does take a few minutes to connect to Wi-Fi and update the firmware, but at the end of the day, I was up and running from box to mantle in about 10 minutes flat — save for the five-hour charge time.
Well, a few things you should know, actually. This is a really solid indoor camera, and I’m happy SimpliSafe has given it some thought. It’s leaps and bounds better than the previous iteration and offers some pretty interesting functionality.
Let’s talk specs first. It has a 10x digital zoom, a 125-degree field of view, and a whopping 1536p HD resolution. Not quite 2k, but like… 1.5k. In my testing, I found it was more than enough to capture all the detail I thought I’d need from an indoor security camera.
Now, privacy. As you might know, a certain major manufacturer of security equipment was recently busted for not taking enough measures to protect their customers from the prying eyes of their field agents.3 While you may think allowing third parties to monitor your camera feed is a little intrusive, SimpliSafe assuages that concern with a snap-up privacy shield. When that’s up – as in, when the alarm system is deactivated or in “home” mode — you’ll know no one’s looking in.
Finally, day-to-day functionality-wise, I couldn’t find much to complain about. It’s super responsive, it captured everything it needed to in my tests, it’s easy to adjust the settings in the app for optimal performance, and the audio quality and minimized latency are some of the best I’ve seen in a camera in this weight class. During my testing period, there was only one time when the audio malfunctioned, but that was easily solved by turning the live feed off and on again.
Keep in mind, this camera is for indoor use only, and don’t think that pointing it out the window is going to keep burglars from coming on your property. For that, you might want to invest in one of SimpliSafe’s Wireless Outdoor Cameras. It comes with a built-in spotlight so you get clear images at night. Of course, you can also check out list of the best outdoor security cameras if SimpliSafe’s offering doesn’t suit you.
A quick demonstration of the audio and video quality of SimpliSafe’s new indoor camera.
Finally, I didn’t order any of SimpliSafe’s several add-on products. I was definitely intrigued though by the stand-alone panic button, the extra siren, and the key fob. The fob lets you easily disarm your system as you approach your house. No codes to remember. In addition, if you have a larger yard, I recommend ordering extra yard signs. Burglars are definitely turned off when they see that your home is protected.
If you’re anything like me, once you’ve set everything up, you’re going to want to test each piece of equipment to make sure it’s functioning properly. You might be a little hesitant to do this, though, especially if your system is connected to dispatch authorities. SimpliSafe thought about this and gives you a three-day “practice mode” where you can trigger as many alarms as you like just to see how everything works.
And trigger I did, much to my wife’s dismay.
Pretending to break into my own home is always entertaining, but I was stopped dead in my tracks every time by my SimpliSafe system. In my pre-testing research, I read complaints about faulty equipment issues, but at no point did any piece of equipment malfunction. Even if it did, there were two more pieces of equipment that would have caught me immediately (motion sensor, indoor camera, etc.) — this is how every security system should function, by the way.
When I tested the system, the monitoring center contacted me in about 20 seconds. As far as response times go, 30 seconds is the industry average, so I felt like SimpliSafe was especially snappy. Remember — every second counts in emergency situations, so you want a responsive system to keep the thieves and burglars at bay.
That said, I felt very safe using this system, and I was confident that in a real emergency, I would have been protected — especially since I signed up for their Fast Protect Monitoring plan. More on that in just a bit. First I want to talk about the highlights of this system.
After living and working with the SimpliSafe system over the course of about a week, I was really impressed by how seamlessly communicative everything felt. Each component talked to other components without so much as a hiccup, and I really liked how immediately available everything was from the app. If I wanted to check in on my cats while I was at the grocery store, I could use the indoor camera; if I forgot to arm the system before I left, I could quickly switch it on while picking out my eggs.
Pro Tip: While SimpliSafe gets a lot right with home security, that doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong. Check out these seven home security mistakes you can’t afford to make.
I also like how thoughtfully all of the pieces of equipment were designed. I know I made the “simple” joke already, but this really is an extremely user-friendly and easily accessible system. A lot of folks might be too intimidated by the term “do it yourself” to think about trying to set up a DIY security system, but trust me — this couldn’t be easier. The only power tool I used was a drill to sink two screws into some drywall for the smoke alarm/CO sensor mounting bracket.
I know I just got done talking about how easy this system was to install, but I think the install process was made a little too simple by opting for command strips instead of mounting hardware. I know, I know. It just doesn’t feel permanent. Now for some folks, this might be a selling point. For me, though, I was worried that in a year or two, the humid summers and dry, cold winters would swell and shrink those adhesive strips so much that eventually my equipment would fall off my wall.
I will say SimpliSafe does provide mounting hardware in the box with some of their equipment, although it’s kind of on the user to figure out how to make it work. The trick is to use the battery housing as a mounting bracket.
I also have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the keypad. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a fine piece of equipment and does what it needs to do, but it just felt like it needed some upgrading. Maybe it does need to be a touch screen like Rob tested out in his review of Vivint security systems. Maybe it should have some more advanced functionality built in.
As it stands, though, the push-button keypad felt like a piece of equipment from 15 years ago working to keep up with a modern system that outpaced it. During my testing period, I barely used it at all, since everything was easily controlled by the app. I will say I appreciated the inclusion of the integrated panic button, though. I’m very thankful I didn’t have to use it, but I was glad it was there.
Drawbacks aside, I do have to say I was satisfied overall with the functionality and quality of the SimpliSafe system. It felt comprehensive, and most of all, I felt very secure using it. A big portion of that had to do with the equipment, but an even bigger portion of that had to do with the monitoring.
Let’s talk about that next.
SimpliSafe’s FastProtect monitoring is one of the system’s biggest selling points. When an alarm is triggered, SimpliSafe agents will be able to access your indoor camera and speak with you to verify there’s an emergency. If you provide them with the safeword you established during the setup process, you’ll be able to disable the alarm. If no one responds or if an intruder is spotted or another emergency situation is detected, first responders will be dispatched to your property.
In the meantime, two-way voice controls mean security personnel can speak directly to intruders and let them know they’re on camera and that the police are on the way. This usually stops intruders in their tracks, before they can do any serious damage to your home or get away with anything valuable. In the security world, this type of monitoring is the gold standard.
But how much does it cost?
The short answer is not much. Fast Protect costs just $29.99 per month, which is relatively cheap when you compare it to other professionally monitored systems, like ADT, which charges as much as $80 a month for monitoring. If you’re not looking for high-level security with professional monitoring, though, you can always go with a standard plan, which doesn’t include video monitoring, for $19.99 per month. If you just want cloud storage for your recordings, that’ll be $9.99 per month, and if you don’t want anything at all, your system will still work just fine. After all, it is one of our favorite security systems with no monthly fee. Here’s a quick breakdown:
|SimpliSafe Plan||Fast Protect||Standard Plan||Self-Monitoring with Camera Recordings||Self Monitoring|
|Monthly Cost||$29.99 Per Month||$19.99||$9.99||Free|
You don’t get video storage if you’re self-monitoring, but you can count on the system to alert you any time there’s an issue, and you have the power to turn the system off and on no matter where you might be in the world.
And while we’re talking about money, let’s talk about how much the equipment itself costs.
Overall, the system I was using – one home base, one keypad, two entryway sensors, one motion sensor, one wireless indoor camera, and one smoke/CO sensor — cost $371.94. Not bad in my opinion, especially for how protected I felt during the test period.
Pro Tip: I’ve provided all of the retail prices for you here, but keep in mind that SimpliSafe almost always has a sale running. Right now you can get 60 percent off any new system when you sign up for Fast Protect Monitoring. Be sure to bookmark our SimpliSafe deals guide for more up-to-date information.
That said, SimpliSafe offers several different packages, and all of them offer great value for the price. In fact, in honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can get all of these packages for 60 percent off. Often deals like these last until the first of the year, but we can’t make any promises!
|Package||Normal Price||Sale Price||Monthly Price|
|The Foundation||$249.96||$99.98||N/A (Must order at least $150 to finance)|
You can also build your own system. Here’s a complete breakdown of SimpliSafe’s equipment and their costs.
|Wireless Indoor Camera||$139.99|
|Wired Indoor Camera||$99.99|
|Wireless Outdoor Camera||$189.99|
|Smoke and CO Detector||$59.99|
As you can see, none of this equipment is really going to break the bank, even when you’re buying multiple pieces to outfit your home comprehensively. SimpliSafe’s costs are among the best in the industry, and their protections are too. More on that in the next section.
When you’re considering which security system will protect your family, it helps to shop around. You can start by reading this SimpliSafe vs. Ring Comparison guide, or you can check out this quick snapshot of a few other options. Then I’ll talk about safety and give you my final verdict.
|Security Camera Option?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Self Monitoring Option?||Yes||No||No|
|Cost||Affordable||Moderate||Can Be Expensive|
*ADT does offer a DIY option, but when I reviewed ADT Self-Setup, I found that their focus was still primarily on professionally-installed systems.
So now that you’ve got a good idea of how SimpliSafe stacks up, let’s talk about things from a different perspective…
Above all, you want a security system that’s going to protect you and your family from burglars and home invaders. So does SimpliSafe get the job done in this regard?
Well, thankfully no one tried to break into my house during my testing period so I can’t say with certainty how a real-life criminal would react. But in my tests, I was confident that the super-loud alarm coupled with their new professional monitoring where SimpliSafe security experts can actually communicate with the intruder through the camera, would probably be enough to deter most burglars. Just remember to put out that yard sign!
So let’s say the unthinkable happens — you’ve installed your SimpliSafe security system, you’ve made it clear you have one with a yard sign and window stickers, you keep your routine dynamic, and you take care to make sure there aren’t good hiding spots on your property. What happens if a burglar still decides to break in?
Well up until very recently you would have been on your own. SimpliSafe was a self-monitored system for most of its life, but they’ve recently changed that — as I discussed above. With the new Fast Protect monitoring system, SimpliSafe will not only be able to alert authorities to an emergency at your residence, they’ll be able to confirm what’s going on through your indoor camera and relay important details to the police like the number of intruders, and descriptions of them. This is really powerful functionality, here, and well worth the $29.99 per month, in my opinion.
I mentioned it above, but let me reiterate it here: I felt very safe using this system to protect my family. So let’s get on to the final word.
Here’s a quick recap of what I thought about SimpliSafe’s security system.
I think the above video says it all, but just to recap — if you’re looking for a DIY home security system that’s easily customizable to your specific needs, SimpliSafe needs to be on your short list of providers to check out. Are they perfect? Well, maybe not for everyone, but they definitely deliver on their promises and offer enough opportunities for customization that they appeal to a pretty broad swath of the security-minded population.
When it comes to keeping your family safe, I’d say the answer is pretty simple.
We spend countless hours testing security systems, but the evaluation actually starts before we have equipment in our hands. We conduct exhaustive research on manufacturers to make sure they’re up to our standards — and the standards of our readers. Only then do we install them in our own homes to see what it’s like living with them day-to-day to give you our honest insights, experiences, and recommendations.
SimpliSafe’s security packages, as well as individual pieces of equipment, are priced reasonably.
SimpliSafe has a great reputation in the security industry and consistently ranks highly on SafeHome.org’s “best of” lists.
SimpliSafe’s most advanced monitoring package costs $29.99 per month, standard monitoring is $9.99, and self-monitoring is free.
SimpliSafe offers pre-built security packages as well as fully customizable systems.
SimpliSafe offers three security cameras: A battery-powered indoor camera, a wired indoor camera, and a battery-powered outdoor camera.
Constellation. (2021, May 14). Your Guide to Motion Sensors: How They Work & Where to Place Them.
Safe Smart Living. (2023, Mar 10). Average Police Response Times In The U.S. By City, State, & Crime.
Federal Trade Commission. (2023, May 31). FTC Says Ring Employees Illegally Surveilled Customers, Failed to Stop Hackers from Taking Control of Users' Cameras.