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.

Aliza Vigderman Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jun 17, 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

Note: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring, although you’ll only get notifications with the Interactive Plan. They also added a Google Assistant integration, and cloud storage is available separately from monitoring. They’ve also added a professional installation option for $79.

You’ve probably heard of the show Shark Tank, right? Well, Ring started as a lowly contestant back in 2013. They didn’t walk away with a deal, but after a rebrand, Ring sold five million of their security systems and cameras. Not bad! In 2018, Amazon purchased Ring, allowing them to grow even further.

SimpliSafe, a smart security company started by two Harvard Business School students, is one of the top dogs in the smart home security market. So today, we’re putting Ring up against SimpliSafe in a Ring vs Simplisafe showdown.

I bought the Ring Alarm Security Kit from Ring and the Summerfort System from SimpliSafe. The two companies offer DIY installation, month-to-month contracting, and 24/7 professional monitoring— but which system comes out on top? In this review, first I’ll go over Ring and SimpliSafe’s key similarities and key differences. Then, I’ll go through installation, professional monitoring, customer support, and the company’s respective apps. By the end of this Ring vs SimpliSafe review, you’ll have a great idea of which security system is best for you. Let’s jump in!

Key Similarities of Ring vs SimpliSafe

Before I go any further, I want to talk about what these two systems have in common.

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

All sound good? Great. Let’s move on.

Key Differences of Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe

Now let’s see how these two systems differ, which is probably going to influence your buying decision.

  • System components: Ring has a pretty minimalist, five-part security system, while SimpliSafe’s is about twice the size.
  • Customer support ratings: Users had different things to say about SimpliSafe and Ring’s customer support systems.

Let’s see what these systems are 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

I bought the Ring Alarm Security Kit, which comes with a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender. I already had the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired and the Ring Video Doorbell 2, so I’m going to use that with my security system. As you can see, SimpliSafe’s Summerfort is a bit more extensive, adding on a glass break sensor, panic button, key fobs, and a siren. I should note that SimpliSafe offers a video doorbell, but the system I bought didn’t include it.

Installing Ring vs SimpliSafe

Like I said before, you’ll install both your Ring Alarm or your SimpliSafe system all by yourself, unless you want to shell out $79 for SimpliSafe. I, however, opted for DIY, so let’s dive into my experiences.

Installing Ring Alarm

When installing Ring, it’s important that you don’t try to sync up multiple components at once.

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

I did, and 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. I’m not sure if it was my network connection or what, but the process took a bit longer than with other systems.

Another thing to note is that the contact sensors will go on your door or window in the opposite way you might be used to— the larger part goes on the door or window itself, while the smaller part goes on the frame.

In a nutshell, when you install Ring, I recommend following the video tutorials in the Ring app to a tee. If you do that, the process will take only about 10 minutes.

Installing SimpliSafe

The SimpliSafe system is easy to install and doesn’t require any drilling or special tools. The sensors themselves are peel-and-stick, the most idiot-proof installation type of all time, and they felt very secure on the wall. Once I put up all my sensors, I just had to plug in my base station and sync my system together in the SimpliSafe app.

SimpliSafe Base Station
SimpliSafe Base Station

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

Top System Installation

It’s no contest— SimpliSafe was much easier to install than Ring. For a company that prides itself on being simple, this definitely tracks. I also love that they have professional installation as an option, although this system is easy enough to install yourself.

Professional Monitoring with Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe

Professional Monitoring
Professional Monitoring

What is professional monitoring? It means that a team of professionals will oversee your home’s security from their call center. If one of your alarms goes off, they will check in, and if necessary, contact emergency services for you. It’s really helpful if you’re away from the house or otherwise preoccupied when a security breach is occurring.

Professional monitoring is where Ring and SimpliSafe differ the most. Both companies give you the option to self-monitor or pay monthly for professional monitoring. However, with SimpliSafe self-monitoring, you won’t receive push notifications or remote control of your system, a pretty big drawback.

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$0n/an/a

A bit overwhelmed? Understandable. I want to elaborate on a few features that may not be common knowledge.

Custom Motion Detection

All Ring Plans have custom motion detection, which basically combines person detection and activity zones. Person detection is pretty self-explanatory— your Ring Stick Up Cam Wired or Ring Video Doorbell 2 will be able to tell the difference between people, pets, and inanimate moving objects like cars. That’ll lead to more specific and important notifications, as let’s be honest, you don’t need to know every time your cat moves.

Next, activity zones let you divide the area you’re recording into three parts, one of which you want your camera to focus on. For example, if you have the camera facing the outdoors, you can have the camera ignore the street, so you don’t receive tons of false alerts. Keep in mind that the SimpliCam from SimpliSafe can also recognize humans’ unique heat signatures, so it can tell the difference between humans and animals.

Secret Alarms

Available with SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan are secret alarms. What does that mean, exactly? Well, say you want to be the only one in your home that knows when an alarm goes off. Instead of having the alarm sound, a dead giveaway, you can silence the alarm and instead receive a mobile notification. This is a feature I haven’t seen from any other security company, and I can see it being useful for a liquor cabinet or safe.

Video-Verified Alarms

Another feature only available with the SimpliSafe Interactive Plan is video-verified alarms. Say someone triggers your alarm. The professional monitors will be notified immediately via a one-minute clip of what’s happening. If they see a robbery happening in real time, they can alert the police for you. Studies show that video-verified alarms lead to higher arrest rates, according to SimpliSafe. Makes sense to me!

As you can see, SimpliSafe’s subscriptions are much more expensive than Ring’s, with its least expensive option coming in at about five dollars more than Ring’s most expensive. When you consider that Ring gives you twice the amount of cloud storage, the price difference becomes even more stark.

Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe Contracts

Hallelujah! While some companies force you to sign binding, three-year contracts, SimpliSafe and Ring offer flexible month-to-month contracting. Ring also offers a one-year option which will lower the monthly cost slightly. Whichever contract you choose, if you cancel, you can rest assured that there will be no lousy fees.

Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe Moving Policies

If either systems is self-installed, if you want to move you can just pick up your system and go without fees. Or, if you prefer, you can re-pay that $79 professional installation fee for SimpliSafe.

Top System for Monitoring

With Ring, professional monitoring, cellular backup, and remote control of your system will cost you a maximum of $10 a month. With SimpliSafe, the same features will cost you $24.99 a month. The choice is clear. For its affordability, Ring is the superior system for professional monitoring.

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 offer customer support over their websites and phones. SimpliSafe throws in an email option, which I like. As you can see, their customer ratings differ based on where you look. Both companies got perfect overall ratings from the Better Business Bureau, which means that they’re advertising truthfully and have 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 is not sold on Amazon, I looked at customer review for a similar SimpliSafe 12-piece system. It has a 3.5 out of five star rating, which is decent. The reviews mentioning customer support, however, were pretty mixed. While some said the people 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 has a lower Google rating, SimpliSafe has a nearly perfect 4.7.

Top System for Customer Support

While neither company offers consistently outstanding customer support, numerically, SimpliSafe won by only .025 stars, or only 2.5%. I have to give this small victory to SimpliSafe, although both companies could benefit from more customer support team members.

The Ring App vs the SimpliSafe App

The last thing I want to talk about is the systems’ apps. With a smart security system, your app is basically your mobile command center, so you want to make sure it easily connects to your system and lets you control it with minimal effort.

The Ring— Always Home App

From the Ring— Always Home app, you’ll be able to livestream footage, arm and disarm your system, control any and all connected devices, get crime and safety alerts from your neighborhood, receive notifications, speak through two-way audio, and review cloud storage.

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

The app has ratings of 3.3 on both the Apple and Google Play stores, which is a bit lower than I’d like.

“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,”

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

The SimpliSafe App

The SimpliSafe app offers the same features as the Ring app, allowing you to control your security system, check out what’s happening on livestreams, get notifications, and review footage.

Livestreaming on the SimpliSafe App
Livestreaming on the SimpliSafe App

Recently, the SimpliSafe app got an influx of good reviews, bringing its ratings up to a 4.8 in the Apple store and a 3.9 in the Google Play store.

Top System App

SimpliSafe wins for best app over Ring Alarm!

Recap of Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe

So, which is the better system, Ring or SimpliSafe? The answer is that they’re both good for different purposes. So, I’m going to break it down another way.

Pick Ring if you’d like…
  • Better app capabilities: Anyone who uses Ring can control their system remotely and receive push notifications, unlike SimpliSafe.
  • Minimalist system: The Ring Alarm Security Kit we bought is only made up of five pieces, although there are also 10 or 14-piece kits available and you can add as many sensors as you want.
  • More affordable prices: At $10 a month for professional monitoring and cellular backup, Ring Alarm has some of the lowest prices around.
Pick SimpliSafe if you’d like…
  • Cellular backup included: As you’ll be required to pay for 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup is guaranteed.
  • More extensive system: The Summerfort system I bought has more components than the Ring system, like a glass break sensor, a panic button, key fobs, and a siren.
  • Easier installation: You shouldn’t have any trouble setting up your SimpliSafe security system, or you can pay someone else to do it!

Want to learn more? Read our review of the SimpliSafe Security System and check out our review of the Ring Alarm Security System.

Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe FAQs

  • Is SimpliSafe better than Ring?

    SimpliSafe is better than Ring in terms of installation, but ultimately Ring has more affordable monitoring prices and lets you control your system remotely regardless of your plan.

  • Will Ring work with SimpliSafe?

    Ring and SimpliSafe aren’t compatible, unfortunately.

  • Is SimpliSafe as good as ADT?

    SimpliSafe wins over ADT when it comes to installation, customer support, and pricing, but ADT has a better app and more system components to choose from.