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SimpliSafe Home Security Review

A Top Choice for an Affordable, No-Contract, DIY Security System

Last Updated On: June 18, 2019
SecureScore™: 8.5/10
View Packages
8.5 SecureScore™
Customer Service
7.9
Value
9.2
Equipment
8.1
Features & Technology
7.8
Ease Of Use
9.3

SimpliSafe Home Security Ratings

The name says it all. SimpliSafe is the ideal home security system for the DIY crowd. No tools? No sweat. Setup is a breeze, and you’ll be up and running in less than an hour. Choose from five security systems, and add à la carte options to your heart’s content. With emergency monitoring for as low as $14.99/month — it’s simple, safe, and affordable. See for yourself the SimpliSafe value…

PROS
  • Low Monthly Rates
  • Easy DIY Installation
  • Award-Winning Monitoring
  • No Long-Term Contracts
  • Wireless Equipment
  • Cellular Alerts
  • Environmental Disaster Protection
  • Indoor Video Security
  • Alarm Works Without Monitoring
  • 60-Day Equipment Trial

CONS
  • Proprietary Equipment
  • Equipment Expense Up-Front

Getting to Know SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe sells and monitors DIY wireless home security equipment. From shopping online to setting up at home and picking the level of monitoring you want, this is meant to be a cakewalk—perfect for those who want a secure home without the hassle of professional installation, long-term contracts, and complicated gadgetry. And it all starts at $14.99/month.

SimpliSafe started about a decade ago, when students at Harvard Business School realized that for their friends whose apartments had been broken into in Cambridge, there was no good home security system or solution for the renter. They decided to get the tech right but in a way that was easy to stick into place (and later remove) and without long-term contracts (nearly unheard of).

Today, the company has built what it wanted to, letting residents affordably monitor their homes remotely and have the freedom to shut off monitoring (but hold onto the equipment) on a month-to-month basis. Interestingly, this flexibility has made SimpliSafe popular among homeowners, too.

SimpliSafe makes all the equipment they sell. This includes base stations and entry sensors, motion detectors, high-decibel alarms, glass break sensors, smoke detectors, panic buttons, and an indoor surveillance camera. Unlike many other DIY alarm systems, those by SimpliSafe will guard your home even when your power is down for days, thanks to backup batteries.

Using a cell chip or landline connection, a SimpliSafe system can alert operators at C.O.P.S. Monitoring. This award-winning agency has multiple locations that can field each other’s calls as backup in case of natural disasters and other widespread emergencies.

All that said, you do have to buy the equipment upfront. On the other hand, the equipment costs are lower than market average, so you can get a lot of bang for a little buck.

Monitoring & Packages

A major appeal of SimpliSafe is that you can build your own custom system with whatever sensors fit your space, or choose from one of multiple tiers of equipment bundles. If you start with the mandatory base station and keypad, you’re starting at $185 and building up from there.

The packages are all reasonable. Even the highest-end, the Fortress, comes in under $500, and gets you the whole shabang with 14 hardware components. You can have as many as 4 SimpliCams, which run $99 each.

SimpliSafe Plans Overview

SimpliSafe PlansUpfront CostMonthly CostInstallation TypeMonitoringMore Details
StandardStarting at $229.96$14.99DIY24/7 MonitoringSee More
InteractiveStarting at $229.96$24.99DIY24/7 Monitoring + SMS/Email Alerts & Remote Arm/disarmSee More

Skip ahead or read about the sets in order (we only cover the most popular packages in our SimpliSafe review):

  • The Foundation $229.96
  • The Nook $254.95
  • The Essentials $259.95
  • The Bedford $274.94
  • The Homestead $284.93
  • The Sanctuary $304.91
  • The Bunker $329.91
  • The Oakstone $359.88
  • The Hearth $374.91
  • The Barrington $388.93
  • The Stronghold $424.87
  • The Keep $443.90
  • The Knox $449.87
  • The Stonefort $484.84
  • The Haven $489.86
  • The Fortress $509.86

The five-piece Foundation package costs about $230 online and includes:

  • 1 Base Station
  • 1 Wireless Keypad
  • 1 Motion Sensor
  • 1 Entry Sensor

The seven-piece Essentials package has additional entry sensors. The set sells for about $260 online and includes:

  • 1 Base Station
  • 1 Wireless Keypad
  • 1 Motion Sensor
  • 3 Entry Sensors

The nine-piece Hearth package adds fire protection to home security. The full set sells for just under $380 and has the following features:

  • 1 Base Station
  • 1 Wireless Keypad
  • 1 Keychain Remote
  • 1 Motion Sensor
  • 3 Entry Sensors
  • 1 Smoke Detector
  • 1 Extra Siren

The 14-piece Knox package combines fire protection with plenty of intrusion sensors. For just under $450 shoppers get:

  • 1 Base Station
  • 1 Wireless Keypad
  • 1 Keychain Remote
  • 2 Motion Sensors
  • 6 Entry Sensors
  • 1 Smoke Detector
  • 1 Extra Siren

The 14-piece Haven package is priced at $490. Its special features compared with the other sets are a glass-break sensor and a panic button. The collection includes:

  • 1 Base Station
  • 1 Wireless Keypad
  • 1 Panic Button
  • 1 Freeze Sensor
  • 1 Water Sensor
  • 1 Keychain Remote
  • 2 Motion Sensors
  • 4 Entry Sensors
  • 1 105 db Siren

Additional equipment for SimpliSafe is reasonably priced compared to its competitors, partly because there’s no middleman markup. Entry sensors cost $14.99, motion sensors $29.99 and glass break sensors $34.99. Panic buttons cost just $19.99 each.

SimpliSafe offers 2 monitoring options—its Standard plan, which is $14.99 a month and gives you a very basic 24/7 alarm monitoring system over a cellular network, and its Interactive plan, which is $24.99 a month and gives you added system control like SMS notifications, remote control, private files, and special alerts.

Technically, you have a third option, too: no monthly monitoring. That’s right, with SimpliSafe you can actually get the equipment and hope that this alone will deter any ne’er-do-wells. This is a rare option, and for people who find themselves suddenly budget-tight, it can be very helpful.

The Lineup of Features and Tech

SimpliSafe keeps home protection easy with an appealing spectrum of features for security and environmental monitoring. Here are highlights:

Award-Winning Monitoring
SimpliSafe’s emergency monitoring is optional. It’s provided by C.O.P.S. Monitoring, which has earned the “Best Monitoring in the Industry” award from the Central Station Alarm Association. They use multiple stations and multiple signal carriers to help ensure fast dispatching.

Video Security
SimpliCam is an indoor security camera with a motion sensor and night vision. Video is HD and captures a wide-angle view (120°). You can view clips online and send them to police if needed, but you’ll have to buy this gadget separately.

Keychain Remote
Sized to fit a keychain, the SimpliSafe remote controller lets you arm/disarm your security system with the push of a button. It also has a panic button to instantly call for emergency help.

Entry Sensor
SimpliSafe entry sensors can stick to doors and windows with removable adhesive. An entry sensor can trigger an audible or silent alert.

Glass Break Sensor
SimpliSafe glass break sensors detect the audio waves of breaking glass. They bring an extra layer of protection in case criminals bypass normal entryways. Glass break alerts can also speed up a police response.

Environmental Protection
SimpliSafe can help prevent or minimize environmental damage to your home. The hub can monitor smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, freeze sensors and water leak sensors.

A few extra perks are worth mentioning. First, if your alarm is tripped, a SimpliSafe rep will call your phone and ask if everything’s OK. You’ll have to provide a safe word, kind of like a vocal PIN, and if you can’t give it, the authorities will be on their way. This is an added layer of protection you don’t always see.

You can also specify which sensors are going to sound an alarm instantly and which will trigger a delay. This is something you can fine-tune as you go, in case you’re finding certain sensitivities. You can even set secret alerts, so you can get, say, an SMS alert when a sensor you’ve hid inside your liquor cabinet lets you know your teen has found it.

The app, while not as packed with the features you can find in Nest’s, does offer the key essentials. You can control the system, monitor all your devices remotely, and add extra PINs for other members of the family.

The motion sensors also have a neat feature—they can detect the unique heat signature of humans so that a pet doesn’t set it off.

SimpliSafe’s base station does come with a fairly bright light around its base, so it’s worth plotting out exactly where you want to store it.

You can integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Nest, so you can talk to your system in some capacity.

Contracts

SimpliSafe, unlike most other home security leaders, does not require long-term contracts. Customers pay month-by-month and can cancel emergency monitoring at any time without penalty. Unmonitored SimpliSafe systems can call attention to crime by sounding alarms for 4 to 5 minutes, so it’s at least minimal-level DIY monitoring.

Also, you can return a SimpliSafe security system (which you have to pay in full upfront) within 60 days for a full refund.

Installation

After you’ve ordered the equipment you want either online or with a rep on the phone, it’s been made super easy to setup upon arrival. You simply place the base station in a central part of your home that is within 400 feet of your sensors and 100 feet of your keypad(s), and you plug in the power cord. The sensors come with pre-applied sticky tabs on detachable backs, so you simply peel and stick—and ditto if you ever want to move anything around. They’re also gentle on wall paint. Clearly the adhesive went through user testing.

The base station integrates 802.11n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio, which is a serious boon for anyone in a rural area who has patchy cellular service. If you don’t want to use Wi-Fi, the 24/7 monitoring still works without it, but you won’t get automatic firmware updates. Also, there’s a siren embedded in the base, and a backup battery that’s supposed to last 24 hours, plus a SIM card for cellular connection.

To set up the base station, just follow the instructions in the setup guide or app. (You can also watch a 5-minute video of set-up on the SimpliSafe website.) Once your sensors are in place, just put the keypad in pairing mode, press a button on each sensor, and name each sensor on the keypad. And that’s it-your system is armed and ready.

The whole setup should take less than 30 minutes, with some reporting it takes just 15.

Is it Easy to Use?

SimpliSafe is one of the easiest systems on the market to use. Its sensors keep in constant contact with the base station, which in turn sends signals wirelessly to your phone (or authorities). This is different than many systems, which run through the keypad, putting the keypad at risk of being one of the first objects smashed by an intruder. So, in this case, smashing the keypad doesn’t hurt the system or communications at all.

SimpliSafe is so simple, in fact, that there’s no integration with 3rd-party smart devices like locks, video doorbells, lights, and cameras. This is a deal-breaker for some, but the company insists the move is intentional. The system is, after all, supposed to simple and easy to use, so while integration into other platforms is on their radar, it’s not really being seriously explored. And the company has promised new equipment soon, including a video doorbell, smart lock, and outdoor camera.

It’s worth noting that you can hook a Nest thermostat into the system and use alarm modes to control house temps. I.e., if you leave the house, your system can automatically go into “alarm” mode, which can in turn increase or decrease your house temp for greater efficiency. And you can ask Amazon’s Alexa to arm your system or check its status using Echo devices. This is a newer feature that doesn’t work on older SimpliSafe tech.

The Customer Service Experience

Reviews of SimpliSafe customer service are positive overall. Still, many customers suggest extending the service hours. SimpliSafe emergency operators respond 24 hours/day, but regular customer service hours from Boston headquarters are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, and people have plenty of questions outside of that window.

Also, after fast growth in 2015, SimpliSafe suddenly earned many bad reviews for phone wait times. In 2016 they hired additional agents to address the complaints. Since 2013, SimpliSafe has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau. It has an A+ rating with the BBB  and an average of less than one formal complaint to resolve per month.

Other complaints include that the system doesn’t integrate more smoothly with Mac and iOS, and that many features aren’t truly unlocked unless you choose the top monitoring plan. But again, that plan is still very competitive.

While you can reach out to customer support staff by phone, email, or social media, there is no live chat option. There are several detailed tutorials and FAQs on the website, and you can even look over alarm history reports online.

Stacking the Value

SimpliSafe makes it super easy to customize home security with add-ons. You can choose parts individually and as value sets. And the value sets have different combinations of a base station, wireless keypad, sensors and other equipment, with prices ranging from $229 to $499. Even though there’s no contract involved, your SimpliSafe security equipment will be under warranty for 3 years.

Speaking of value, if you can afford that extra $10 a month to get the Interactive plan (which at roughly $25 a month is still one of the least expensive plans anywhere), the value increases again as you can now customize and control your system from anywhere.

The Goods

SimpliSafe builds its own security equipment to help keep costs low. The following options are available.

Controls

  • Pushbutton Control Panel
  • Keychain Remote Control

Video Surveillance

  • SimpliCam Indoor Video Camera

Sensors

  • Door Entry Sensor
  • Window Entry Sensor
  • Glass Break Sensor
  • Motion Detector
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Smoke Detector
  • Water Leak Sensor
  • Water Freeze Sensor

The Last Word

SimpliSafe is a young company with admirable early success. It developed wireless security with renters in mind, but has become popular among homeowners, too. If you’re wary of long-term contracts or like the DIY approach, SimpliSafe scores big points. But if you want your system installed professionally, you’ll want to look into robust systems like Vivint, which come with a steeper price tag.

Ultimately, SimpliSafe offers a great entry point for first-time home security customers, and you can customize it easily to suit your needs. You have to buy the equipment upfront, but it’s under warranty for 3 years, you own it outright, and you don’t have to pay any fees to stop using it (or just move with it elsewhere) at any point.

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14 Comments

  1. T. Webb says:

    SimpliSafe is hands down the best deal out there. When I switched to SimpliSafe I saved over half the amount on my monthly bill. I went with the $25 monthly fee for the interaction with the camera’s and smartphone app. If I would have went with the $15 option I would have cut my monthly bill down by 1/4. I was paying $55 a month for “the other guys” and had no cameras at all. Installation was quick and painless. I work odd hours so I would rather do it myself instead of waiting on someone to show up. I have a 2700 sq ft house and installation took 15 minutes tops. I would recommend this to anyone that has a security system. The only CON that I have found is the cost of equipment upfront. Don’t let that scare you away though. Pay a little more upfront to pay less forever. I wish everything was this way. Most people will have saved enough in the first year (or less) to pay for the equipment bought then it’s all savings from there. Also, there is no contract and a 60 day money back guarantee. If SimpliSafe is ever dissatisfying you can leave and go somewhere else there is no contract trapping you there. I cannot recommend this company enough!

  2. Harry Watson says:

    Dear sir
    I have your system in my house am very happy with it except for the motion detectors that would pick up my cats.I got a letter from the police about to many false alarms are your sensors better now i have had my system for about 3 years my motions are all disabled. Thanks Harry Watson

  3. Frank Fraley says:

    How does the system work with two dogs in the house? Can they walk around and jump on the furniture without setting off the alarm? Thanjs

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Frank,
      The motion detectors are designed to detect human heat signatures, not pets. So they shouldn’t go off when your dogs run around.

  4. RT says:

    This system worked for a long while then began to have problems. We moved to another state and it really had problems. For months now we keep getting “no link to dispatcher” messages and flashing blue base lights. We are told the same exact thing each and every time we report it…take battery out of base, unplug, blah blah blah. This is not working. We were told one other thing once but it did not work either. Canceling subscription.

  5. Larry near Lexington, KY says:

    I have had our system for about 7 years (with three cameras purchased in the last 3 years) and initially, I had issues with connecting with the monitoring service. I called SimpliSafe and they sent out a different module for the base station. The first one was ATT based and the second was T-Mobile. No charge to receive the new one and they included shipping to return the ATT module. Worked GREAT then.

    BUT what I think is outstanding is the portability of the system. We will be moving soon and can take it down ourselves and reinstall it at the new house. That alone was a big selling point for me.

    My three cameras work flawlessly with my Android phone.
    .
    I do wish the cameras supported flash drive recording but it doesn’t…at least mine don’t. Not sure if they added that by now.

    Overall I would and have recommended this to my friends.

    BTW if the sale of our current home hinges on leaving the SimpliSafe system in place I will do that in a heartbeat and just buy a new one.

  6. Angelia Mowery says:

    Good afternoon. I am looking for a quote for alarms for the back part of my house. That is 7 windows and 3 doors. Thank you.

    1. Safe Home says:

      Hi Angelia,
      If you want a specific quote, we’d recommend contacting SimpliSafe directly.

  7. Catherine says:

    We have two doors we use routinely when leaving the house. Can we get a keypad for each, or will that mess with the system’s “brain”?
    Also, does the base need to be in a straight line to the door sensors? They are at right angles.
    Thank you.

    1. Safe Home says:

      Hi Catherine,
      Two keypads should work, although you can also use key fobs as an alternative. The angle shouldn’t be a factor.

  8. Roger Meyers says:

    The only issue I have with the system is the lack of volume control for the entry keypad. The beep it makes when you enter is so low you can barely hear it to remind you to disarm the system. You really have to be alert and remember to turn it off.

  9. Randell Carpenter says:

    I thought the system was self contained, I now find out it uses my home WIFI. My WIFI is satellite based. What if the internet is down due to bad weather? What happens if we change internet providers? How much band width does the system use without a camera? with a camera?
    Thanks
    Randell

    1. Safe Home says:

      Hi Randell,
      If your WiFi stops working, backup cellular coverage should kick in (assuming you have cell service in your area). If you change Internet providers, it should still work. For the bandwidth questions, we’d recommend calling customer service and asking.

  10. Dan says:

    I tried to order a system ! Paid for 2day shipping it never arrived . The coustmer service rep said they would over night a replacement!
    Never did arrive. Called again no one could tell me where it is or it it was sent. If they are that messed up I want nothing to do with them

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