SimpliSafe vs Scout Alarm

We compare package, add-on equipment and monitoring costs from Scout and SimpliSafe, two popular smart home security companies.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Aug 5, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Aug 5, 2021
SimpliSafe vs. Scout

SimpliSafe

  • Month-to-month plans
  • Fast and easy DIY installation
  • Reliable professional monitoring
  • Professional monitoring costs $24.99 per month
  • Camera recording only costs $9.99 a month
  • Packages range from $160 to $342
Editor's Rating
9.8
/10

Scout Alarm

  • No long-term contracts
  • Award-winning monitoring
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
Editor's Rating
7.0
/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. 

Did you know that 83% of U.S homes don’t have security systems? Scout and SimpliSafe aim to change that. They both offer affordable systems with flexible contracting, disrupting the old-school security industry.

Scout and SimpliSafe started in pretty similar ways. Scout was born in Chicago when one of its soon-to-be founders tried to buy a home security kit. Finding all his options outdated and expensive, he began an independent crowdfunding campaign to make a new kind of security system. Within a month, the campaign had exceeded its goal, and since, Scout has sold over $500,000 worth of smart security systems.

In the same vein, SimpliSafe began when two Harvard Business School students wanted to create a security system with month-to-month contracting that would appeal to renters as well as home-owners. And voila— SimpliSafe was started!

I purchased the Summerfort System from SimpliSafe and a customized kit from Scout, and I’m super to see which one comes out on top. I’ll be comparing the system’s key similarities and differences, system components, professional monitoring, customer support, and apps. Let’s get started!

Key Similarities of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe

First of all, we should talk about SimpliSafe and Scout’s similarities to make sure that you’re in the right ballpark.

  • DIY installation: You’ll install both the Scout and SimpliSafe systems yourself, although SimpliSafe has a professional installation option for $79.
  • Cellular backup: With either system, you’ll get cellular backup to make sure your system stays on during a power outage.
  • Flexible contracting: Both companies offer a month-to-month contract term-length for professional monitoring.

All positives, unless you were looking for professional installation (in which case, might I recommend Vivint?). Now let’s see how the two companies differ.

Key Differences of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe

Scout and SimpliSafe definitely have their differences, like:

  • App Ratings: Both Android and iPhone users preferred the Scout app to the SimpliSafe app.
  • Customer Support: Scout has better customer support reviews than SimpliSafe.

Let’s get into more detail.

System Components of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe

Feature Scout SimpliSafe
Base Station/Hub Yes Yes
Door Panel Yes No
Entry/Access Sensors Yes Yes
Motion Detector Yes Yes
Glass Break Sensor Yes Yes
Smart Lock Yes No
Indoor Camera Yes Yes
Wireless Keypad No Yes
Panic Button No Yes
Key Fobs No Yes
Auxiliary Siren No Yes

The Summerfort system and the customized system from Scout are pretty similar. They both have a base station or hub which connects all the systems components and communicates with the apps, entry, or access sensors that tell you when doors or windows have been opened or closed, motion sensors, glass break sensors, and indoor cameras. With my Scout system, I threw in a smart lock, while my SimpliSafe system came with a wireless keypad, panic button, key fobs, and an auxiliary siren.

Installing Scout Vs. SimpliSafe

Both Scout and SimpliSafe offer DIY installation, so I want to make sure it’s actually easy to do yourself. I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do than install security systems all day, so I’m hoping these processes are seamless.

Installing Scout

scout-alarm-installation-review
Installing the Scout Indoor Camera

Scout was not the easiest system in the world to install, but this is largely because I didn’t install the parts one a time. Readers, don’t be like me: go one-by-one when you install the Scout Alarm system. And don’t you dare pull off those battery strips before you are supposed to!

As far as the door panel, access sensors, and motion sensor, the installation wasn’t too bad. For each device, I just added it in the app, paired it with both the app and the hub, then installed it by sticking it to the wall.

The hard part came when I had to install the camera. First of all, connecting the camera to the power adapter was a struggle for me, considering its placement. Next, I realized I had to pay money to set up the camera at all, which Scout does not make clear. Finally, I accidentally put a space in my password which caused me to reset the camera multiple times before it started working correctly. All in all, the process took much longer than I would have liked.

Installing SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe prides itself on its easy setup, and I can definitely attest to that. Once I stuck the sensors on my wall, windows, and doors, all I had to do was plug in the base station and sync the sensors with the base station and voila, I had a security system.

Connecting the SimpliSafe to Power
Connecting the SimpliSafe to Power

However, if that seems like too much for you, professional installation is available for only $79.

Top System for Installation

Overall, it was much easier and quicker to install SimpliSafe over Scout.

Professional Monitoring with Scout Vs. SimpliSafe

Professional Monitoring
Professional Monitoring

Professional monitoring means that a team of people will be alert to your home’s security 24/7. They’ll be there if any alarm goes off, and they can always contact emergency services for you if necessary. I recommend getting professional monitoring with any security system, as it ensures that you’ll get the help you need.

Both Scout and SimpliSafe give you the option to self-monitor, but with SimpliSafe, your app capabilities are limited to livestreaming. Another difference is that SimpliSafe now offers a cloud storage option separate from monitoring, which is cool.

Scout Vs. SimpliSafe Monitoring Options

Scout Monitoring Options

Scout Always On Plan Scout Always On+ Plan
Cellular and Battery Backup Yes Yes
Email, Mobile, & Push Notifications Yes Yes
SMS Alerts Yes Yes
Professional Monitoring No Yes
Environmental Monitoring Yes Yes
Remote Control Yes Yes
Secret Alarms No No
Video Verified Alarms No No
Smart Home Integrations Yes Yes
Monthly Price $9.99 $19.99
Monthly Price Per Camera $2.99 for 14 days 1st free, then $2.99 for 14 days
Yearly Price $107 $215
Yearly Savings $12.88 $24.88

SimpliSafe Monitoring Options

SimpliSafe Cloud Storage Only SimpliSafe Standard Plan SimpliSafe Interactive Plan
Cellular and Battery Backup No Yes Yes
Email, Mobile, & Push Notifications Yes No Yes
SMS Alerts No No Yes
Professional Monitoring No Yes Yes
Environmental Monitoring No Yes Yes
Remote Control No No Yes
Secret Alarms No No Yes
Video Verified Alarms Yes No Yes
Smart Home Integrations No No No
Monthly Price N/A $14.99 $24.99
Monthly Price Per Camera $4.99 for 1 camera or $9.99 for 2-10 cameras No cloud storage 30 days included w/subscription
Yearly Price $59.88 for 1 camera/$119.88 for up to 10 $179.88 $299.88
Yearly Savings $0 $0 $0

As you can see, Scout’s plans are lower-priced than SimpliSafe’s. To get professional monitoring, cellular backup, and remote control of your system will cost you $19.99 a month with Scout or $24.99 a month with SimpliSafe. It’s not a huge difference, but think about it— you’re probably going to have the same security system for years. After months and months, that extra $5 a month is going to add up.

Keep in mind that even if you choose to self-monitor with Scout, you’ll still need to pay $9.99 a month to be able to use your camera, get cellular backup, and receive notifications. Now let’s talk about some features only available through SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan.

Secret Alarms

For whatever reason, you may not want your alarms to make a sound. Maybe you don’t want to wake a sleeping baby if your husband walks in the front door, or maybe you’re trying to catch someone opening your safe without them knowing. That’s where secret alarms come in. You can have an alarm notify you in lieu of sounding off, which could be quite useful.

Video Verified Alarms

Another feature only available in SimpliSafe’s highest-tier plan is video verified alarms. Basically, if one of your alarms goes off, a one-minute video clip will be sent immediately to the professional monitoring team. From there, they can contact emergency services using the clip as evidence of a crime taking place. The benefit? Video verified alarms lead to higher arrest rates, according to a study on the SimpliSafe website.

Scout Vs. SimpliSafe Contracts

Both Scout and SimpliSafe offer flexible, month-to-month contracting. Scout also has a yearly option, but it’s not binding— you can cancel whenever and receive a prorated refund. Absolutely no cancellation fees? That’s what I like to hear!

Scout Vs. SimpliSafe Moving Policies

If you were paying attention, you’ll remember that both SimpliSafe and Scout offer DIY installation, so if you’re moving, you can just pack everything up and bring it to your new abode.

Top System for Monitoring

The choice is clear: Scout has better professional monitoring. Not only does it give you the option to self-monitor, but the monthly fees are also lower. Sorry, SimpliSafe!

Customer Support with Scout Vs. SimpliSafe

Scout SimpliSafe
Features Online video tutorials, community forum, FAQs, email, online form, phone Phone, email, user forums, user manuals online
Amazon Rating 3.5 3.5 (Similar system 12 piece)
Google Rating 5 4.7

As you can see, you can access customer support from either company using the same methods. Neither company offers a live chat feature, which I found a little disappointing.

I looked at Amazon reviews for a nine-piece kit from Scout, as mine was customized. The system has 4.2 out of five stars which is awesome. Similarly, Scout as a company has a perfect five-star rating on Google— both impressive, but I want to see what people said about customer support specifically. Out of six reviews that mentioned customer support, five were positive!

“The customer service is second to none. They even send you complimentary batteries when they are ready to be replaced…the system will require some tinkering every now and then. I recently had a frustrating issue and Scout bent over backward to make it right. I am very pleased and satisfied with Scout Alarm,”

wrote an Amazon customer in a five-star review.

The Summerfort system I bought from SimpliSafe wasn’t available on Amazon, so I took a look at reviews for a similar 12-piece system. Overall, the system got 3.5 stars on Amazon, while SimpliSafe as a company got three stars on Google— not as impressive. The Google reviews were split down the middle about customer support, with ravings and rantings side-by-side.

Top System for Customer Support

Scout has better customer support than SimpliSafe, with an average rating of 4.6 stars compared to SimpliSafe’s 3.25. In my opinion, a company with such a wholesome name as Scout should have good customer support!

The Scout App vs. the SimpliSafe App

Since you’re buying a smart security system, you’ll need an app that knows what’s up. An app that isn’t slowed down by cloud storage, an app that doesn’t barrage you with notifications. Are the Scout and SimpliSafe apps up to snuff?

The Scout App

scout-alarm-security-system-review
The Scout App

On the Scout app, you’ll be able to arm and disarm your security system, view your home’s recent activity, livestream footage, receive notifications, and control all connected devices. The app has a decent rating of 3.6 from the Google Play store, but strangely, no rating on the Apple store. When I clicked on the actual reviews, I saw that the ones from the past year were bad, while the ones from before were good. Seems fishy, as there used to be an overall rating of 3.3…

The SimpliSafe App

The SimpliSafe app is where you’ll arm and disarm your system, control any connected devices, receive notifications, and livestream and download footage if you have the Interactive Plan.

Livestreaming on the SimpliSafe App
Livestreaming on the SimpliSafe App

The app’s reviews have definitely improved within the past year. Currently, it has a 3.7 from the Google Play store and a 4.6 from the Apple store. It’s nice to see that they’ve spent more time on their app, because before a year ago, there were a lot of complaints.

Top System App

SimpliSafe has a better app than Scout, which seems to be backtracking in quality a bit.

Recap of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe

While Scout has more flexible, more affordable monitoring options and superior customer service, SimpliSafe had easier installation and a higher-ranked app, making it a tie. However, I’d choose SimpliSafe over Scout because its strengths relate more to the user’s experience. Still, your choice will probably come down to your personal preferences.

Pick Scout if you’d like…
  • Option to self-monitor: Scout gives you more flexibility if you want to monitor your system through the Scout app.
  • Tons of smart platform integrations: Although SimpliSafe works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest thermostats, and August smart locks, Scout has more integrations overall which include Yale and Kwikset Z-Wave Locks, LIFX, Philips Hue and IFTTT in addition to Alexa and Google Home.
  • Superior customer support: Scout has some of the best customer support in the security game today.

To learn more, check out our full written review on the Scout Alarm security system.

Pick SimpliSafe if you’d like…
  • Lower cost for equipment: The SimpliSafe Summerfort system costs $129 less than a customized kit from Scout.
  • Extra features like secret alarms and video-verified alarms: SimpliSafe offers some unique features that I haven’t seen from any other security company.
  • Easy installation: Installing SimpliSafe was a lot less complicated than installing Scout. Plus, they have a professional installation option which is the easiest of all!

Want to learn more? Read our review of the SimpliSafe security system.

FAQs

Scout and SimpliSafe are two relatively new security systems, so people have a ton of questions about them. We’re here to help.

  • Is SimpliSafe worth the money?

    SimpliSafe is definitely worth the money. For only $24.99 a month, we got:

    • 24/7 professional monitoring
    • 30 days of cloud storage
    • Google Assistant and Alexa integrations
    • Remote control
    • Notifications
    • Cellular backup

    Some companies charge up to $60 a month for the same services, so SimpliSafe is reasonable in terms of monthly costs. Their equipment is also affordable, with packages ranging from around $275 to $500.

  • Does SimpliSafe call the police?

    If you sign up for the Standard or Interactive plans, which include 24/7 professional monitoring, then SimpliSafe does call the police. If an alarm goes off and you don’t respond to the notification, the monitoring team will verify the emergency and then call either the police, fire department or local hospital. However, without either of these plans, SimpliSafe will not call the police; rather, the user will be responsible for contacting emergency services.

  • What is a Scout system?

    A Scout system is a home security system from Scout Alarm, a Chicago-based home security company that started in 2013 via a crowdfunding campaign. Scout’s four pre-packaged system options are:

    Scout Pack name Components Cost
    Architect pack Hub, door panel, motion sensor, 4 access sensors, 2 key fobs, yard sign, smart lock, glass break sensor $549
    Elements pack Hub, door panel, motion sensor, 4 access sensors, 2 key fobs, yard sign, smoke alarm, water sensor $349
    Large pack Hub, door panel, 2 motion sensors, 5 access sensors, 2 key fobs, yard sign $319
    Small pack Hub, door panel, motion sensor, 2 access sensors, 2 key fobs, yard sign $229
  • What is the cheapest alarm system?

    The cheapest alarm system is the Wyze Sense. For a kit that included a bridge, two contact sensors and a motion sensor, we only paid $19.99. However, that bridge required either the Wyze Cam V2 or the Wyze Cam Pan, which cost $19.99 and $29.99, respectively, bringing the total to a minimum of $40. For a smaller home, this is the cheapest alarm system that you can buy while still staying safe. What’s more is that Wyze gives you remote control and notifications for free, not making you sign up for professional monitoring. While professional monitoring isn’t currently an option, Wyze will eventually offer it in a partnership with Noonlight for either $59.88 a year or $4.99 a month with the $49.99 Core Starter Kit.