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SimpliSafe Home Security Review 2023
We’ve lived with the SimpliSafe system for over 120 days, and it’s a bargain home security option
SimpliSafe pricing and monitoring
SimpliSafe has four plan options to choose from. You won't pay a monthly fee for the unmonitored plan, but you also won't get camera recording or any of the other great features. The self-monitoring plan is only $9.99 a month and provides smart home support and recording.
SimpliSafe also offers two professional monitoring plans: the Standard, which costs $17.99 per month, and the Interactive, which costs $27.99 per month. Unfortunately, the Standard plan skips a lot of the most useful features, so we recommend shelling out the extra $10 per month for the Interactive plan.
Data effective 04/10/2023. Offers subject to change.
Professional monitoring means there's always someone ready to respond if an intruder triggers your alarm system. If your alarm system goes off, SimpliSafe's monitoring center will try to call you first in case it's a false alarm. If they don't get an answer, they'll call law enforcement to go check out your house.
If you opt out of professional monitoring, then your SimpliSafe system will function as a "local alarm." That means if someone trips a sensor, it will still set off a siren. But that's it.
Without a monitoring service, no one will contact you. You won't get a notification. No one will call the police for you. The only thing deterring a burglar from stealing your TV is a loud noise.
SimpliSafe security equipment
Because of SimpliSafe's DIY installation and no-contract model, you do have to buy all your security equipment up front. Even so, you'll still pay less for SimpliSafe's equipment than you would for equipment from most other security companies.
Data effective04/10/2023. Offers subject to change.
Check out this affordability comparison: SimpliSafe's most basic equipment package costs even less at a mere $244. In comparison, Vivint's smallest and most basic equipment package will cost you $599.
Vivint aside, SimpliSafe's pricing is roughly on par with other DIY home security systems like Abode and Ring Alarm. But you'll pay less for SimpliSafe than you would for Frontpoint.
If you want to save some extra cash, SimpliSafe also offers refurbished equipment. Used equipment costs around 20% to 30% less than new, and it comes with the same warranty as the new stuff.
What equipment SimpliSafe offers
True to the name, SimpliSafe equipment looks simple. The design is nice-looking but basic, and the system isn't going to turn your home into a Jetson-esque, fully automated smart home. Here's a list of all the equipment you'll find with SimpliSafe:
SimpliSafe burglary sensors
SimpliSafe hazard sensors
- Freeze detector: $30
- Water leak detector: $19.99
- Smoke detector: $34.99
- Glass break sensor: $39.99
- Temperature sensor: $29.99
- Carbon monoxide sensor: $50
Additional SimpliSafe add-ons
- 105 dB Siren: $59.99
- Key fob/keychain remote: $25
- Keypad: $69.99
- Yard sign: $3.99
- Pro setup help: Starts at $99
The current SimpliSafe system is an improvement over previous versions. The old SimpliSafe system was a lot less stylish. (It looked like something you'd see in your parents' house in the 90s.) And SimpliSafe didn't offer a smart door lock or a video doorbell. We're happy to see that SimpliSafe made changes to that over the years.
SimpliSafe equipment security features
SimpliSafe has a bunch of features to make its equipment more secure:
- Simultaneous cellular and Wi-Fi connections. So if your internet goes out or you lose a cell signal, your system will still work.
- "SmashSafe" back-up. If an intruder destroys your wireless keypad or base station, your system will send out an alarm to the monitoring center.
- Base station battery backup. If your base station loses power, it still has 24 hours' worth of battery backup juice.
Perhaps the biggest tech highlight to SimpliSafe's equipment is that it's a cellular system. That means you don't need to connect everything to a landline or rely on a Wi-Fi signal for your safety--SimpliSafe uses a cell signal the same way your smartphone does.
Cellular is the most secure connection a home security system can offer, so as long as your location has a strong enough cell signal, we can't recommend a better option.
SimpliSafe base station features
A lot of security systems use a main control panel to communicate with sensors and sound the alarm should someone crack a window and creep into your living room at 2 a.m. But SimpliSafe uses something a little different: a tower console called the base station.
A single SimpliSafe base station supports up to 100 devices--that's more than you should ever need.
The base station communicates with all your sensors and devices. (SimpliSafe's wireless keypad is just there to turn things on and off.) When you set up your SimpliSafe system, you'll take the base station out of the box and plug it in. Easy peasy.
The base station does have a pretty bright light on the bottom that stays on all the time, so keep in mind if you put it in your living room, it might annoy you during movie night. You can turn the light off in Settings, either through the keypad or through the mobile app.
SimpliSafe has three cameras:
- SimpliCam Indoor Camera: $99
- Video Doorbell Pro: $169
- Wireless Outdoor Security Camera: $189.99
SimpliSafe's cameras aren't the best security camera options. But the company did recently debut its first true outdoor security camera. And all of SimpliSafe's cameras have basic features you'll need to keep an eye on your house and talk to visitors on your porch.
Both the SimpliCam and the Video Doorbell Pro have person detection, so SimpliSafe can notify you only when the camera spots people, rather than telling you about every squirrel running down your fence.
But person detection only works if the camera has light. Both cameras have night vision, but person detection turns off. So overnight you'll get alerts about any motion at all, be it car, delivery truck, or racoon.
SimpliSafe's cameras also don't have many artificial intelligence features. These cameras can't tell the difference between an animal and a package. They don't have facial recognition, and they don't send smart alerts. Even if the camera spots a person, it will send you a generic notification that just says "motion detected."
The load time for SimpliSafe's camera feed is also a bit slow. Every time you get a doorbell notification, the app takes about five seconds to pull up. That sounds short, but it's pretty slow if you want to catch the delivery person and ask them to hide your new Amazon box.
We tested some Eufy outdoor cameras at the same time as the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, and despite being on the same Wi-Fi network, Eufy always loaded up faster than SimpliSafe--even though our Eufy camera was technically farther from our internet router.
There are plenty of doorbell cameras out there that can do more than the SimpliSafe version, such as the Google Nest Doorbell and the Arlo Video Doorbell. But these models won't integrate with your SimpliSafe security system, and you'll have to use separate apps for them.
For more info on the SimpliCam and the Video Doorbell Pro, check out our SimpliSafe Cameras Review.
A secret alert sends you a notification if a particular sensor is tripped, but it doesn't trigger the actual alarm. You can set any sensor to secret alert mode with the app. This feature is great for protecting liquor cabinets and gun safes from curious kids.
SimpliSafe home automation
We're big fans of the smart home trend around here, and we love when alarm systems integrate with smart home technology. Unfortunately, SimpliSafe is a little behind the times on that front.
A lot of alarm systems come with either Z-Wave or Zigbee integration (or both if you're Abode or Scout), which lets you add in third-party devices like smart locks and lights. SimpliSafe comes with . . . neither of those. It also doesn't work with IFTTT or SmartThings.
SimpliSafe Alexa and Google integration
The Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integrations let you arm your SimpliSafe system with just your voice, so you don't have to get out of your comfy bed at night when you realize you forgot to turn the system on.
But arming your system and asking about your system's status are all you can do with SimpliSafe through either an Amazon Echo or a Google Home device. You can't disarm your SimpliSafe system, you can't control your SimpliSafe door lock, and you can't view your SimpliSafe camera's livefeed.
SimpliSafe smart locks
SimpliSafe debuted its own smart door lock in 2019. The SimpliSafe Smart Lock modifies your existing deadbolt so you don't have to replace the whole thing. It works a lot like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, except that August has way more smart home integrations and features.
But good news, you can use an August Smart Lock and sync it with your SimpliSafe system to lock and unlock your doors depending on your security system's status. You can set it so that when you leave for work in the morning and arm your security system, your front door locks automatically.
SimpliSafe mobile app
The SimpliSafe mobile app is available to use with or without a plan, but you will be limited to the amount of functions it offers without the Standard or Interactive plan.
With the free plan, you'll be able to lock and unlock your alarm, get push notifications, change the system settings in the app, and see the live video feed. If you choose the $9.99 per month Self-Monitored plan, you'll have access to all the same features as the free version, as well as access to recordings for 30 days and the ability to download recordings.
SimpliSafe's professional monitoring plans are pretty cheap--especially by industry standards. Both plans offer a lot more features within the mobile app that make the monthly fee worth it. The Standard and Interactive plan offer 24/7 fire, medical, guard, and police dispatch as well as cell-communication backup.
The Interactive plan includes all the great features of the app, as well as unlimited recording up to 10 cameras, video verification, a lifetime equipment warranty, arming reminders, and secret activity alerts.
SimpliSafe installation is totally DIY, and it's easy. No drilling or punching holes in your walls (which is great for renters). Also, the equipment comes with adhesive strips, so you just peel off the cover and stick the sensors where you want them.
Even setting up the base station and arming the system are no big deal. Just follow the instructions in the setup guide or go through the SimpliSafe app. We used the app, and it gave us step-by-step directions to get everything connected and ready to go.
Our whole system was up and running within 15 to 20 minutes.
SimpliSafe customer experience
Aside from its lack of smart home integrations and camera features, we don't have many bad things to say about using the SimpliSafe system. It's exactly what it tries to be: a basic home security system that will help protect your house.
Everything from ordering our SimpliSafe system online to setting it up at home went smoothly for us. We got one call from the SimpliSafe monitoring center when we ran a test signal for our system. They called us within seconds, and they were pleasant to talk to.
There are definitely smarter home security systems on the market, but if you just want the basics, then SimpliSafe is a good (and affordable) choice.
How does SimpliSafe compare to other companies?
SimpliSafe is cheaper than a lot of other home security companies, especially the ones that require professional installation and multi-year contracts. SimpliSafe has DIY installation, and it's contract-free.
No contract, or 5 years
$10.00/mo. OR $100.00/yr.
Data effective 04/10/2023. Offers subject to change.
Even compared to other DIY home security companies, SimpliSafe's still pretty cheap. But if you want something that costs less than SimpliSafe, we recommend the Ring Alarm security system.
Recap: Is SimpliSafe good?
As DIY security systems go, we think SimpliSafe is a good choice. We see it as a cheap, reliable option for home security. The online ordering is super convenient, the DIY installation is easy, and the system worked well during our tests.
- Pricing: All the podcast ads are true: SimpliSafe is affordable. It's not the cheapest security system on the market, but it's pretty close. And it has a well-known brand name that potential intruders will recognize on your yard sign.
- Equipment: SimpliSafe has a range of security and environmental sensors to help protect your home from both human and non-human events. It doesn't have a lot of smart-home devices, and each Simplisafe camera is pretty basic, but its security equipment is good.
- Home automation: SimpliSafe falls short on the home automation front. It works with Alexa and Google, but you can't do much with either. And the system doesn't integrate with any smart lights.
- Installation: SimpliSafe installation is a piece of cake. We had our system up and running in about 15 minutes.
- Customer experience: SimpliSafe monitoring contacted us quickly, and the monitoring rep we talked to was friendly. Overall, the system is easy to use.
To learn more about choosing a home security system, read our Best Home Security Systems Review.
Data effective 03/07/2023. Offers subject to change.
No, SimpliSafe doesn't need Wi-Fi to work. It has a cellular connection you can use to connect the system wirelessly without an internet connection. If you can use Wi-Fi though, SimpliSafe recommends it for faster updates.
Yes, SimpliSafe offers a wireless outdoor security camera called, appropriately enough, the SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera.
The outdoor camera runs off batteries, which makes it really easy to install. And it has a built-in spotlight, which is helpful if you don't have motion-activated security lights in your yard.
Yes, SimpliSafe currently offers a free unmonitored option, and self-monitoring for $9.99 a month. The main difference between the free plan and the paid plan is the paid plan gives you access to recordings for 30 days and ability to download recordings, these are not available with the free version.
SimpliSafe uses a company called Central Station Security (C.O.P.S) for professional monitoring services.
Professional monitoring is included in the Standard or Interactive plan. With these plans, you'll get peace of mind knowing that a professional is watching your system 24/7.
ADT and SimpliSafe are opposites when it comes to home security systems.
ADT is one of the best-known names in the home security world. You'll pay a bit more for monitoring and equipment, but professionals will manage everything for you from installation to monitoring.
SimpliSafe is a cheaper option, and completely DIY. You can set it up yourself, and choose to self-monitor for free, or pay for professional monitoring.
If you're looking for the ADT brand name, but also want a system you can install yourself, ADT Self Setup is a great option.
We think SimpliSafe is one of the best home security systems for affordability and features.
The system is easy on your wallet, simple to set up, and there are no contracts. SimpliSafe also offers a wide variety of equipment, including carbon monoxide sensors, window sensors and leak detectors.
SimpliSafe is not Z-Wave compatible. SimpliSafe works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Google Nest, and August Locks.
We bought and installed the SimpliSafe system ourselves and lived with it every day for over six months to write this review. We also tested both the SimpliCam indoor camera, and the Video Doorbell Pro, and we connected SimpliSafe to both an Amazon Echo Dot and a Google Nest Mini to test smart home functionality.