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In this article, we go in-depth on the pros and cons of SimpliSafe. Find out where this popular DIY system excels and where it falls short in the home security market.
After moving into my new house, one of my first priorities was to invest in a home security system. There are so many options that I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. One of the home security companies that kept coming up in my research was SimpliSafe. After a couple weeks of thorough research and recommendations from family and friends, I decided to purchase a system from SimpliSafe and have been protecting my home with it ever since.
In this article, I break down the pros and cons of SimpliSafe so you know exactly what to expect with this popular DIY home security system.
Pros: Easy Installation, No Contracts, Low Monthly Cost, and Reliable Protection
When researching Home Security Systems the most important things to me were:
- Low cost of equipment and low monthly monitoring fees
- A high-quality system that is reliable
- Options to customize so I’m paying for only what I want
- Easy setup and installation. That last thing I wanted to do was sacrifice an entire weekend setting up a DIY security system and even worse, risk setting it up wrong and rendering the investment useless.
Much to my delight, SimpliSafe has lived up to its name. It was one of the lowest prices in the industry, great quality, customizable, and simple to setup and test. There are dozens of home security systems to choose from but the benefits that convinced me to chose SimpliSafe were:
- Price – SimpliSafe requires no monthly contract, unlike most companies that try to lock you in for a year or longer. The monthly costs are low ($14.99 for standard monitoring or $24.99 for more advanced features like controlling settings and getting alerts through an app. Pricing as of January 2018) and the one-time equipment purchase is very affordable. The equipment comes with a 3-year warranty so you can get a free replacement for any issues.
- Monitoring – SimpliSafe uses 24/7 cellular monitoring so you don’t need a phone line and even if a phone line is cut, the system will still be able to call for help. Monitoring is not just for burglary but also includes flood, fire, freeze, and carbon monoxide. You can also choose not to pay for monitoring and just use the alarm and siren to alert you and scare off intruders.
- Wireless – Unlike many systems that are hard-wired into your home, SimpliSafe is completely wireless allowing you to move sensors anywhere in your house without any issues.
- Ease of use – The setup process is simple and easy and took me around 30 minutes. You don’t need any special skills or tools, The instructions are straightforward and they hold your hand through each step, anyone can do it.
Every system comes with a few core items:
- Base Station – this is the hub that contacts the monitoring center through a cellular connection if your alarm goes off.
- Wireless keypad – is used to set and disarm the system. Most alarm systems use the keypad to contact the monitoring center. Burglars know this so the first thing they do when they break in the door is destroy the keypad. SimpliSafe solves this by contacting the monitoring center through the silent Base Station while distracting the burglar with a beeping noise from the Keypad.
- Master keychain remote – this allows you to remotely arm or disarm your system. It also includes a panic button and a USB drive that you can plug into any computer and update your system’s settings.
When I purchased the equipment, I had the opportunity to choose from a number of features a la carte. I added a bunch of items to make sure my house was fully covered:
- Entry sensors – these detect when a door or window is opened
- Motion sensors – these detect any motion within 30 feet and 45 degrees left, right and down.
- 105-decibel siren designed to make any burglars run for their lives and/or go deaf
- Smoke detector
- Yard signs and window stickers which are half the battle, right?
SimpliSafe offers many other features to beef up your security like cameras, glass break detectors, panic buttons, freeze and water sensors etc. I decided to hold off on those but, if I decide to add them in the future, I can easily integrate them into my system.
The setup was extremely easy
When you open the box it tells you to plug the USB drive on the keychain into your computer. Once you do that, a wizard pops up and walks you step by step through the process. Below is a look at the setup wizard.
The setup wizard dumbs it down and gives you all the information you need. I often caught myself thinking “but what about—” and as soon as I would think that, the answer was right in front of me. The instructions eased any apprehensions I had of screwing up the installation.
Once we set up the system it explains how to put it into test mode to ensure all your sensors and sirens are working properly.
Cons: Issues Staying Connected to the Monitoring Center, High Up-Front Cost
There are no perfect products and SimpliSafe is no exception.
When we set everything up and completed testing, we were getting a message on the keypad “No link to dispatch” which meant, my system had no connection to the monitoring center and no way of contacting help if needed…yikes.
Fortunately, customer service was able to quickly troubleshoot and fix the problem. The Base Station defaults to a T-Mobile sim card to contact the monitoring system and apparently T-Mobile service in my area is not good.
Within a day and a half they sent me a new Verizon sim card with instructions to easily install, problem solved. I’ve read anecdotes online of people’s systems randomly disconnecting from dispatch years after set up which is a scary thought since that connection could potentially be life-saving. However, if the connection is ever lost, the Base Station will tell you immediately and won’t stop reminding you. Annoying but effective.
Luckily this has not been a problem since we swapped sim cards, fingered crossed it won’t pop up in the future.
One other con worth mentioning is the high up-front cost. Unlike many home security companies that rent you the equipment for a low monthly cost, SimpliSafe requires you to buy the equipment up-front. The exact cost will depend on the number of sensors, alarms, and detectors you need, but on average will be around $500.
It’s unfortunate that you have to invest in the equipment up-front, however, if you plan to keep your system long term, purchasing will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run.
Final Verdict: SimpliSafe Is a Reliable DIY Home Security System
Overall, I am very satisfied with my investment in SimpliSafe. The safety of my family, especially at home, is my #1 priority and SimpliSafe gives me the peace of mind I need. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a low cost, high-quality system that is easy to set up. There are dozens of other options and all have their pros and cons. I found SimpliSafe to be the best option for my criteria.
Thank You for Reading Our Review of SimpliSafe Home Security!
Now that you know the pros and cons of SimpliSafe, it is time to start protecting your family and your home.
For more details about, and thousands of other reviews, SimpliSafe is available on Amazon. If you’re like me and like to compare many options, below are the others that I highly considered but for one reason or another decided against. We recently published an in-depth comparison of SimpliSafe vs. ADT. ADT is the leader in the space but is very different from SimpliSafe. The best system for you will be will be completely dependent on the options and features that are most important to you, and of course your budget.
- Fortress Security Store S02-E Wireless Home Security Alarm System DIY Kit
- Protect America
Have you had a different experience with SimpliSafe? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Are there any other home security systems you think beat SimpliSafe? Please let us know in the comments section or contact us directly, we would love to hear your feedback.
January 2018 Update: SimpliSafe announces the release of their third-generation home security system
In January 2018, SimpliSafe announced a rebuilt and redesigned third-generation version of their innovative home security system. This new release features a faster, sleeker, and safer system at the same price as previous models. Some of the key updates to note:
- Designed in partnership with the well-renowned design firm IDEO.
- Sensors are much smaller than before (about half the size) and have twice the range.
- The keypad is redesigned with a new sleek digital display screen that wakes with a soft touch.
- The new Base Station now has a backup battery so you remain protected if there is a power outage.
- Firmware that has processing speeds five times faster than before.
- A technology called SmashSafe™ that ensures authorities get alerted even if the Base Station, Siren or Keypad are damaged during a break in.
- Motion and Glassbreak Sensors have been updated to do a better job ignoring a dropped glass or pets and only picking up on real danger.
- SimpliSafe also noted in their announcement that they will soon release a video doorbell, outdoor camera, and smart lock.
You can read the full announcement here. Part of the reason we love SimpliSafe is that they continuously innovate. Even though we have the second-generation version, we are excited that they keep pushing the boundaries and improving home security.
Our review is for the second generation model. If you are considering buying the third-generation SimpliSafe, add these new features to the list of Pros. Based on all of our research, all of the other Pros and Cons we outlined still apply to the third-generation system. We will keep this article updated as more customers report and review this new third-generation system.