Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe

Both systems require DIY installation and work with Alexa and Google Assistant, but our experts found out some pretty major differences between Ring Alarm and SimpliSafe.

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jul 30, 2020

SimpliSafe

  • Month-to-month plans
  • Fast and easy DIY installation
  • Reliable professional monitoring
Editor's Rating
9.8
/10

Ring Alarm

  • Professional monitoring for $10/mo.
  • No contract required
  • Amazon-owned company
Editor's Rating
7.7
/10

Update: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring, Google Assistant integration, cloud storage separate from monitoring, and a professional installation option for $79.

Here, we put Ring up against SimpliSafe in a Ring vs SimpliSafe showdown.

We’ve followed Ring since it first appeared as a contestant on Shark Tank in 2013. We were disappointed when they didn’t walk away with a deal initially, but excited when Ring sold its first five million security systems and cameras following its rebrand. In 2018, Amazon purchased Ring, allowing them to grow even further. SimpliSafe, another smart security company we like, was started by two Harvard Business School students and quickly earned its place as one of the top dogs in the smart home security market.

We bought the Ring Alarm Security Kit from Ring and the Summerfort System from SimpliSafe. Both companies offered DIY installation, month-to-month contracting, and 24/7 professional monitoring. Which system came out on top? Keep reading to find out.

First, we reviewed the key similarities and differences between Ring and SimpliSafe. Then, we went through installation, professional monitoring, customer support, and the company’s respective mobile applications. 

Key Similarities of Ring vs SimpliSafe

We discovered some key similarities from our assessment of the two companies. 

  • Average app ratings: Both the Ring — Always Home app and the SimpliSafe app had average ratings around 3.2 stars.
  • Month-to-month contracting and self-monitoring options: Neither Ring nor SimpliSafe forced us to sign long-term contracts or pay for professional monitoring.
  • DIY or professional installation: We installed both systems ourselves, although both companies had professional installation options.

Key Differences of Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe

We also considered how the two systems differed:

  • System components: We noticed that while Ring had a pretty minimalist, five-part security system SimpliSafe’s system was about twice the size.
  • Customer support ratings: We looked at ratings for both systems and found that users had different things to say about SimpliSafe and Ring’s customer support systems.

Next, it was time to see what each system was made of.

System Components of Ring vs SimpliSafe

FeatureRing Alarm Security KitSimpliSafe Summerfort System
Base Station
Keypad
Contact/Entry Sensor
Motion Detector
Glass Break Sensor✓* with Alexa Guard
Range Extenderx
Panic Buttonx
Key Fobsx
Sirenx
Security Camera
Video Doorbellx

We bought the Ring Alarm Security Kit, which came with a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender. We already had the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired and the Ring Video Doorbell 2, so we used that with our security system. SimpliSafe’s Summerfort was a bit more extensive and included a glass break sensor, panic button, key fobs, and a siren. We should note that SimpliSafe also offered a video doorbell, but the system we bought didn’t include it.

Installing Ring vs SimpliSafe

Like we said before, both the Ring and SimpliSafe systems required self installation, unless we wanted to shell out $79 for a professional installer from SimpliSafe. Instead, we saved our money and opted for the DIY route with both systems. 

Installing Ring Alarm

When we installed our Ring alarm, we learned the importance of syncing one component at a time.

LED Light on Ring Alarm Base Station
LED Light on Ring Alarm Base Station

When we did, it made the process take a lot longer than it should have. Unlike other security systems, syncing all the Ring components to the base station didn’t happen immediately. We’re not sure if it was our network connection or what, but the process took a bit longer than with other systems.

Another thing we noted was that the contact sensors went on our door or window in the opposite way than we were used to. The larger part went on the door or window itself, while the smaller part went on the frame.

In a nutshell, we found following the video tutorials helpful with installing Ring. Using the tutorials, our installation process only took about 10 minutes.

Installing SimpliSafe

The SimpliSafe system was easy to install and didn’t require any drilling or special tools. The sensors themselves were peel-and-stick. It was the most idiot-proof installation type of all time, and the sensors felt very secure on the wall. Once we put up all our sensors, we only had to plug in our base station and sync our system to the SimpliSafe app.

SimpliSafe Base Station
SimpliSafe Base Station

A+ for installation, and professional installation, while nice, was probably not necessary.

Top System Installation

It was no contest — SimpliSafe was much easier to install than Ring. For a company that branded itself for its simplicity, this definitely tracked. We also loved that professional installation was an option, even though the system was easy enough to install ourselves.

Professional Monitoring with Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe

Professional Monitoring
Professional Monitoring

With professional monitoring, a team of professionals oversaw our home’s security from its call center. If one of our alarms went off, a team member called to check in, and, if necessary, contact emergency services for us. This was really helpful when we were away from the house or otherwise preoccupied when a potential security breach occurred.

Professional monitoring was the area where Ring and SimpliSafe differed the most. Both companies gave us the option to self-monitor or pay monthly. However, with SimpliSafe self-monitoring, we didn’t receive push notifications or remote control of our systems, which was a pretty big drawback.

We also found a few features with professional monitoring that we thought probably weren’t common knowledge.

Ring vs SimpliSafe Monitoring Options

Free Ring PlanRing Protect Basic PlanRing Protect Plus PlanSimpliSafe Cloud Storage Only Option 1SimpliSafe Cloud Storage Only Option 2SimpliSafe Standard PlanSimpliSafe Interactive Plan
CoverageAll Ring devices at 1 addressOne Ring doorbell or security systemAll Ring devices at one addressOne SimpliSafe cameraUp to 10 cameras at one addressAll SimpliSafe devices at one addressAll SimpliSafe devices at one address
NotificationsXXX
Custom Motion DetectionXXXX
Interact with Visitors RemotelyXX
LivestreamingXX
WarrantyOne YearOne YearExtendedThree yearsThree yearsThree yearsThree years
Length of Cloud Storage (in Days)n/a60603030030
Review, Share and Save VideosXX
24/7 Professional MonitoringXXXX
Cellular ConnectionXXXX
Environmental MonitoringXXX
Remote Control of SystemXXX
Secret AlarmsXXXXXX
Video-Verified AlarmsXXXXXX
Smart Home IntegrationsXXX
Exclusive DiscountsXX10% off Ring websiteXXXX
Monthly Price$0$3$10$4.99$9.99$14.99$24.99
Annual Price$0$30$100$59.88$119.88n/an/a
Annual Savingsn/a$6$20$0

Custom Motion Detection

We learned that all Ring Plans had custom motion detection, which basically combined person detection and activity zones. Person detection was pretty self-explanatory — our Ring Stick Up Cam Wired or Ring Video Doorbell 2 was able to tell the difference between people, pets, and inanimate moving objects like cars. That led to more specific and important notifications. We were so glad to not be getting a new notification every time our cat moved. 

Next, we tried out activity zones. Activity zones let us divide the area we recorded into three parts while we focused specifically on one. For example, if we had our camera facing the outdoors, we could tell it to ignore the street. As a result, we didn’t receive tons of false alerts. SimpliCam from SimpliSafe recognized humans’ unique heat signatures, so it can tell the difference between humans and animals.

Secret Alarms

SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan came with secret alarms. We’d never heard of this, so we had to look it up on the company’s website. Through our reading, we gathered that having a secret alarm meant we could be the only people in our homes aware that an alarm went off. Instead of having the alarm sound, a dead giveaway, we could silence the alarm and receive a mobile notification. This was a feature we hadn’t seen from any other security company, and we thought it could be useful for a liquor cabinet or safe.                                

Video-Verified Alarms

Another feature only available with the SimpliSafe Interactive Plan was video-verified alarms. If someone triggered our alarm, professional monitors were notified immediately via a one-minute clip of security footage. If they saw a robbery happening in real time, they alerted the police for us. Studies showed that video-verified alarms lead to higher arrest rates, according to SimpliSafe. Made sense to us!

It was no secret, SimpliSafe’s subscriptions were much more expensive than Ring’s, with its least expensive option coming in at about $5 more than Ring’s most expensive. When we considered that Ring had twice the amount of cloud storage, the price difference seemed even more stark.

Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe Contracts

Hallelujah! We were ecstatic when we found out both SimpliSafe and Ring offered flexible month-to-month options rather than the binding three-year contracts some companies force on customers. Ring did offer a one-year contract option which lowered the monthly cost slightly. Regardless of whichever contract we chose, we were able to rest assured that if we needed to cancel, there would be no fees for doing so. 

Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe Moving Policies

Moving seemed easy with both Ring and SimpliSafe. Since both systems were typically self installed, we knew we could just pick up either system and go, entirely without fees. We were also grateful that with SimpliSafe, we had the option to pay a professional $79 to install our system. 

Top System for Monitoring

With Ring, professional monitoring, cellular backup, and remote control of our system, we were only charged a maximum of $10 a month. With SimpliSafe, the same features cost us $24.99 a month. The choice was clear. For the affordability of its professional monitoring, Ring was the superior system.

Customer Support with Ring vs SimpliSafe

RingSimpliSafe
FeaturesOnline FAQ’s, phone, live chat, user forums, user manuals onlinePhone, email, user forums, user manuals online
Amazon Rating4.5Similar System 12 piece
3.5
BBB Overall RatingA+A+
BBB Customer Rating1.5 Stars2.5 Stars
Google Rating3.84.7
Winnerx

Both Ring and SimpliSafe offered customer support over their websites and phones. SimpliSafe even threw in an email option, which we liked. Each company’s customer ratings differed based on where we looked. Both companies got perfect overall ratings from the Better Business Bureau, which meant they advertised truthfully and responded to any customer complaints, among other things. However, both companies got around two stars from customers on the BBB, a notoriously tough crowd.

As the Summerfort system was not sold on Amazon, we looked at customer reviews for a similar SimpliSafe 12-piece system. It had a 3.5 out of five star rating, which we thought was decent. The reviews mentioned customer support, but were pretty mixed. While some said the service agents they spoke to were knowledgeable and helpful, others complained about being on hold for hours. The Ring Alarm Security Kit had similarly mixed reviews. While Ring had a lower Google rating, SimpliSafe had a nearly perfect 4.7.

Top System for Customer Support

While neither company offered consistently outstanding customer support, numerically, SimpliSafe won by only .025 stars, (2.5%). Nevertheless, we believed both companies could benefit from more customer support team members.

The Ring App vs the SimpliSafe App

The last thing we wanted to talk about was mobile applications. We knew that with smart security systems, our apps were basically our mobile command centers. Given that, we wanted to make sure both brands’ mobile applications easily connected to their respective systems and were user friendly. 

The Ring — Always Home App

On the Ring — Always Home app, we were able to livestream footage, arm and disarm our system, control any and all connected devices, get crime and safety alerts from our neighborhood, receive notifications, speak through two-way audio, and review cloud storage.

The Ring— Always Home App
The Ring — Always Home App

The app had ratings of 3.3 on both the Apple and Google Play stores, which we thought was somewhat low.

“App is nice and clean. Easy to use. A couple of annoying things/bugs: – schedules are not shared between devices. – you can get notification of an event, but when you go to check it in the app, it’s not there. After a refresh it may appear, but you can’t click on it. You have close and reopen the app to view,”

Android user Luke Glanford wrote in a four-star review.

The SimpliSafe App

The SimpliSafe app offered the same features as the Ring app, so we could control our security system, check out our livestreams, get notifications, and review footage. 

Livestreaming on the SimpliSafe App
Livestreaming on the SimpliSafe App

Around the time of this Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe showdown,  the SimpliSafe app got an influx of good reviews, which brought its rating up to a 4.8 in the Apple store and a 3.9 in the Google Play store.

Top System App

SimpliSafe won for best app over Ring Alarm!

Recap of Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe

So, which was the better system, Ring or SimpliSafe? Each was great for different purposes. We broke down our evaluation below. 

Ring was the best choice for 

  • Better app capabilities: With Ring, we could control our system remotely and receive push notifications, unlike with SimpliSafe.
  • Minimalist system: The Ring Alarm Security Kit we bought was only made up of five pieces, although there were also 10 or 14-piece kits available. We were also informed that we could add as many sensors as we desired.  
  • More affordable prices: At $10 a month for professional monitoring and cellular backup, Ring Alarm had some of the lowest prices around.

SimpliSafe was best for

  • Cellular backup included: With SimpliSafe, cellular backup was guaranteed.
  • More extensive system: The Summerfort system we bought had more components than the Ring system. For example, it had a glass break sensor, panic button, key fobs, and a siren.
  • Easier installation: We enjoyed the ease of our SimpliSafe security system’s installation.

Want to learn more? Read our in-depth reviews on the SimpliSafe Security System and Ring Alarm Security System.

 

Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe FAQs

  • Is SimpliSafe better than Ring?

    SimpliSafe was better than Ring in terms of installation, but ultimately Ring had more affordable monitoring prices and allowed us to control of system remotely, regardless of which plan we had.

  • Will Ring work with SimpliSafe?

    Ring and SimpliSafe were not compatible, unfortunately.

  • Is SimpliSafe as good as ADT?

    SimpliSafe won over ADT when it came to installation, customer support, and pricing. However, ADT had a better app and more system components to choose from.