SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro Review
SimpliSafe’s video doorbell is a competitive entry in this market, especially when it’s backed by the company’s commitment to innovative technology in home security.
Nowadays, homeowners are saying goodbye to traditional doorbells in favor of smart doorbells that do more than just alert you of a visitor. We’ve gone through plenty of video doorbells, but for this review, we’ll be taking a look at the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro and deciding if it lives up to our expectations. Granted, SimpliSafe doesn’t have a long list of video doorbells like Ring does, but hey, the fact that SimpliSafe offers one is more than enough for us. Let’s jump right in!
Positives & Negatives
Below, we listed the positive and negative attributes of the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro for those who are short on time or like to keep things simple.
- Artificial intelligence: As with security cameras, artificial intelligence is an essential feature to keep annoying alerts to a minimum. The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro has person detection and can ignore motion from cars and animals, which meant that we only received notifications when a person walked by or approached our front door.
- 1080p HDR quality: While 1080p HD video quality is the standard among security cameras and video doorbells, we were surprised to find that the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro kicks it up a notch with HDR, which got rid of glare and shadows on our outdoor footage.
- 162-degree field of view: With a wider scope of our neighborhood street, we saw cars parking, joggers passing through, and any other events beyond our front door.
- Affordability: To our delight, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro only costs $169, much cheaper than the Nest Hello Doorbell, which is $229.
- No smart home integration: SimpliSafe doesn’t have any smart home integrations with their video doorbell, sadly. As proud owners of more than our fair share of smart home devices, we were pretty disappointed with this missing feature. In 2019, smart home devices reached $4.5 billion in sales,1 so that definitely tells us that there is a high demand for products that work with voice assistants; we hope SimpliSafe can update this in the future.
- Hardwiring required: Bad news for renters: hardwiring is the only option when setting up the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro. On the bright side, it’s completely DIY and doesn’t require a professional technician, though there is an option for a fee of $79. Plus, an existing doorbell is required to set up the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, so it may not work for all homes.
- Expensive cloud storage: While the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro itself is on the affordable side, the monthly costs for cloud storage is not. Without professional monitoring, which includes cloud storage, 30 days of cloud storage on its own costs $4.99 per month for one camera. That’s about $2 more than Ring’s monthly subscriptions, which cover twice the amount of cloud storage.
A Look at Design
With the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, we liked the clean appearance: a white face with an off-white gray body. The blue LED light that circles the button stands out nicely and adds to the modern yet simple aesthetic. Fair warning — because of the color scheme, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro lacks subtlety against dark surfaces.
As a weatherproof device, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro withstands temperatures between 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that it will not fare well under all climates, so for residents who live in colder places, be advised that the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro might not be the best choice.
The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro also requires an eight to 24-volt AC transformer in the existing doorbell wiring. A vast majority of U.S households meet this requirement, including ours, so we didn’t have to install a new doorbell box. If we did, SimpliSafe recommends a 16-volt AC transformer.
Hooking up the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
We weren’t disheartened by the fact that the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro required hardwiring. Yes, we would’ve liked a wireless option, but we chose to set it up ourselves to save us that $79 professional installation fee. All we needed for DIY installation was our Philips head screwdriver, a Wi-Fi connection, and a little bit of patience.
First off, we charged the battery before hardwiring the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro to our existing doorbell. After that, we moved onto hardwiring. We have a history of hardwiring security devices, so we didn’t have too much trouble. Once we wiped the sweat off our brow, we moved onto the next step.
We downloaded the SimpliSafe Home Security mobile app and activated the doorbell which took about five minutes. For us, it was an easy process because we’re veterans when it comes to hardwiring. That said, this setup might be difficult for newcomers but with patience and a number of guides, the process shouldn’t be too challenging. Again, there is always professional installation available as an alternative to DIY!
Did You Know: Wired security systems and cameras are less susceptible to interference from wireless signals such as radios, which prevents lost Wi-Fi connection. What’s more, wired video doorbells are harder to steal than wireless!
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro on the Daily
Like many security brands with alarm systems, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro worked harmoniously with our SimpliSafe security system which included a base station, wireless keypad, entry, motion, and glass break sensors, the SimpliCam indoor camera, panic button, key fobs, and siren. We go over each of these components in detail in our security system review, but as for the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, it mainly collaborated with the sensors. Any time one of the sensors was triggered in our home, the Video Doorbell Pro would immediately start recording.
Let’s take a closer look at the key features of the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro and how it improved our home security and daily lives.
- Video: Like we said, 1080p is the standard among security cameras and video doorbells. With the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, it also has HDR so the footage looked better lighting-wise. Plus, with the pan and zoom feature, we pinned down the smallest details. Finally, the 162-degree field of view gave us a wider vision of our street, which is usually jam-packed with cars and people.
- Audio: We feel like two-way audio is a feature that’s expected among video doorbells, so we were relieved that SimpliSafe didn’t stray from the norm. After all, how could we communicate with the delivery guy to leave the packages at our door when we weren’t home? Through the mobile app, we communicated clearly with visitors and even scared off a neighbor’s cat that roamed onto our front porch.
- Night Vision: SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro’s night vision utilizes two infrared LED sensors, so we were able to see who was at our doorstep when night fell. Even the glare from one of our friends’ glasses shone on our livestream one night, and while this didn’t bode too well for our eyes the longer we stared at the glare, the video quality was still very clear at night.
- Storage: Like we said earlier albeit briefly, 30 days of cloud storage on its own will cost $4.99 per month for one camera or $9.99 per month for two to ten cameras. However, the $24.99 a month Interactive Plan, which includes 24/7 professional monitoring and a bunch of other features in addition to 30 days of cloud storage.
- Person Detection: Suffice to say, we love video doorbells that have artificial intelligence because we don’t want to be bombarded by useless notifications alerting us of cars passing by or the neighborhood cats strolling through. For the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, there are two sensors for person detection: a heat signature to distinguish people from animals and a sensor to detect human forms rather than animal and car forms. That means that we only got notified when our doorbell detected people, free us from pointless notifications.
Pro Tip: Medium sensitivity for person detection is optimal as it’s the default setting. High sensitivity enabled more notifications, meaning the video doorbell is more hyper-aware of human forms. Low sensitivity gives fewer notifications. We recommend testing each sensitivity level after setup.
Monitoring & Storage Breakdown
SimpliSafe doesn’t really divulge any details regarding their monitoring and storage costs on their website — not unless you dig deep. We found out that there are two plans: Interactive Monitoring and Standard. There’s always the free plan, but we’re professional monitoring preachers so we chose the Interactive Monitoring plan, which costs $24.99 per month. If we only had the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, we probably wouldn’t have chosen that route as it would better serve a large SimpliSafe security system with multiple cameras. Because we already owned the SimpliSafe security alarm system, we weren’t too peeved by the price point. Additionally, the Interactive Monitoring plan allowed us to control our SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro remotely and receive notifications whereas the Standard plan did not.
|Free Plan||Standard Plan||Interactive Plan||Cloud Storage – 1 Camera||Cloud Storage – 2-10 Cameras|
|Learn More||View Plan||View Plan||View Plan||View Plan||View Plan|
|Price||$0 per month||$14.99 per month||$24.99 per month||$4.99 per month||$9.99 per month|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Video Verified Alarms||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|30 Days of Cloud Storage||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Smart Home Integrations||No||No||Yes||No||No|
As far as local storage goes, SimpliSafe’s doorbell camera doesn’t have any. Rather, our only option was the paid subscription for 30 days of cloud storage — again, $4.99 per month for one camera or $9.99 per month for two to 10 cameras. Although the pricing isn’t offensive, SimpliSafe does run on the slightly pricier end compared to Ring’s monthly subscriptions. Ring Protect plans either cost $3 per month or $10 per month for 60 days of cloud storage, the latter of which also includes 24/7 professional monitoring.
Money Saver Alert: If you’ve already signed up for the Interactive plan from SimpliSafe, 30 days of cloud storage is included for free.
Liaison With SimpliSafe Customer Support
We dread contacting customer support for any reason, but connecting with SimpliSafe representatives wasn’t as bad as we thought. Before that, though, we should mention that there are a number of ways we sought answers for any questions or issues we ran into while using our SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro. Phone, forums, email contact forms, user manuals, and a Help Center are accessible and provide useful information. Quick Google search also helped us navigate around SimpliSafe’s website with links that directed us to their support pages.
What we found most helpful when we called a SimpliSafe customer service representative was the extended hours, which lasted until midnight EST. For those late nights when we’d come home and needed immediate responses, we were grateful for SimpliSafe’s late hours of operation. The representative we spoke to, Dave, answered our questions — like why the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro stopped streaming one time. Dave clarified that if the LED color was yellow, it meant that a firmware update was in progress, which explained everything He communicated patiently and didn’t sound the least bit tired during our 11:15 PM phone call. While it took some time to get connected with Dave, we were pretty satisfied with our experience overall.
SimpliSafe Home Security App Experience
Recent data reports indicate that people use mobile apps 90% of the time over mobile sites,2 so it’s no surprise that many home security brands have created their own mobile apps to complement their products.
With the SimpliSafe Home Security app, we saw live footage of our front porch. While there was a little bit of lag, we panned and zoomed in, and the video quality remained crisp. There were two simple features with the live video: record and microphone. We recorded and saved our footage to the event history to review later. As for the microphone, we just had to tap on the little icon to speak to any visitors or delivery folks at our front door.
We played around with the settings, which wasn’t as robust as other apps but was still easy to use and intuitive overall. We adjusted the motion detection level and notifications; we also checked our Wi-Fi network. When we perused the event history, we saw a list of activities like the front door detecting motion, people ringing the doorbell and recordings saving. The SimpliSafe Home Security app synced up with our other SimpliSafe components so we managed them all in one place. We were content with the notification and motion detection adjustments that made using the Video Doorbell Pro more convenient.
Need a visual on our experience with the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro? Check out our SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro video review below.
The Last Word
To sum everything up, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro served its purpose for the $169 price tag. We enjoyed a handful of features, including the 1080p HD video with HDR, person detection, and 162-degree field of view. Whether it was better visuals or artificial intelligence that reduced the number of notifications on our phones, we applaud SimpliSafe for keeping our frustrations to a minimum. That said, we were disappointed in the lack of smart home integrations and the lack of a wireless setup. Not to mention that the monthly monitoring subscriptions are kind of expensive in our book, although the cloud storage only plans are reasonably priced.
Who We Recommend the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro for:
- Homeowners looking for an affordable video doorbell
- Those who like artificial intelligence in their security cameras and systems
- Those who don’t mind or prefer hardwired video doorbells
Who We Don’t Recommend the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell for:
- Renters who need permission from their landlords or HOA to tamper with the existing doorbell
- Those looking for smart home integrations
- Homes in colder climates
SimpliSafe has become a household name in the home security industry, which is expected to be worth $2.05 billion by 2023.3 We’ve come across our fair share of video doorbells, and while the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro didn’t receive a perfect score from us, it did check off a lot of our boxes. We’re especially keen on how affordable it is compared to other security brands. All in all, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro kept us in the loop of visitors whenever we weren’t home without becoming too overbearing through false notifications. Aside from the absence of smart home integrations, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro is affordable, simple to use, and complimentary the SimpliSafe security alarm system.
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro FAQs
- Does SimpliSafe offer a video doorbell?
SimpliSafe now offers a video doorbell, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro.
- How do I install the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro?
Installing the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro requires an existing doorbell setup and a Philips head screwdriver— that’s it! Now, the first thing I did was charge the SimpliSafe battery. After that, it was time to actually hardwire the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro into my home, which was where I encountered some issues. I couldn’t keep the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro connected to power for 30 minutes, but after that, the setup on the SimpliSafe app was easy and took less than five minutes. Once I set up the doorbell, it was easy to integrate it with the rest of the SimpliSafe system, so the only issue I had lied in the actual hardwiring of the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro.
- What is the best video doorbell?
The best video doorbells are the Arlo Video Doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the eufy Security Video Doorbell and the Nest Hello.
Statista. (2020). Smart home devices sales in the United States from 2016 to 2019.
Smart Insights. (2019). Mobile marketing statistics compilation.
Markets and Markets. (2020). Home Security System Market.