SimpliSafe Home Security System Review
SimpliSafe was a simple and affordable DIY home security solution
What We Like
- SimpliSafe integrated with both Alexa and Google Assistant, so we had no trouble controlling the SimpliSafe security system using only our voices.
- Installation was DIY or professional.
- SimpliSafe’s app made it easy to control our system remotely and livestream footage, whether we were using an iPhone or Android.
What We Don't Like
- Not directly compatible with Apple HomeKit.
- Cameras can’t handle temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bottom LineSimpliSafe gave us a lot of options, from professional or DIY installation to self-monitoring or professional monitoring. Plus, we didn't have to sign up for a long time period, as all its contracts are month-to-month.
Enjoy better home security for less with SimpliSafe’s latest promotional offer: 40-percent off security systems plus a free indoor cam for every package purchase. Just add an Interactive monitoring trial at checkout to enjoy these benefits.
Simple is easy. Simple is good. And in this fast-paced world we’re living in, we can all appreciate a product that does what its job without complicating our lives even more. That’s precisely why SimpliSafe is one of the top home security brands. It’s a simple, reliable, and effective home security system.
SimpliSafe makes buying, setting up, and monitoring a security system as simple as possible without limiting your options. It lets you do DIY installation or hire professionals to do it for you, you can self-monitor your security system yourself or have SimpliSafe’s monitoring partner do it for you, and you can take your pick from SimpliSafe’s affordable security packages.
So far, so good, but is there a catch? There’s a couple, actually. Given its simple nature, SimpliSafe offers a limited choice of equipment. It also lacks the smart home capabilities of more advanced security systems.
At the end of the day, though, what matters the most is whether or not it can keep your home safe, so in this review, we’re looking at the good, the bad, and everything in between on SimpliSafe.
SimpliSafe App Features
|Remotely arm/disarm system||All plans|
|Arming modes||Off, Home, and Away with 24/7 professional monitoring plans|
|Push alerts||All plans|
|Live streaming||All plans|
|Unlimited cloud storage||Self-monitoring plans and Interactive Plan|
|Secret alerts||Interactive Plan only|
|Smart voice assistants||Alexa and Google Assistant with self-monitoring plans and Interactive Plan|
|Smart platform integrations||Nest thermostats and August smart locks with self-monitoring plans and Interactive Plan|
- Monthly subscription plans
- Fast and easy DIY installation
- Reliable professional monitoring
- Professional monitoring costs $17.99 or $27.99 per month
- Camera recording on five cameras costs as little as $9.99 per month
- Packages range from $250 to $700
SimpliSafe Video Review
We also produced a video review of SimpliSafe!
What You Get/ Unboxing
SimpliSafe is flexible from the get-go. You can fully customize your own system. You’ll start with a base station and keypad, and then add as many (or as few) pieces of equipment. You can take your pick from a wide range of security and safety sensors and security cameras.
If you prefer the easy way, though, you can pick one from the seven pre-customized packages that range from the $250 four-piece kit to the $510 14-piece kit. There are also mid-size kits that include security cameras that cost up to $700. And of course, once you’ve found a kit that you like, you can still add more sensors and devices before checking out.
Once your security system is all built out, you can choose between two payment options. You can either pay the full price upfront or apply for financing through Affirm. You can pay over the course of three, six, or twelve months, depending on your spending capacity. With a 12-month payment plan, you can pay as low as $12.50 per month for a basic security system.
SimpliSafe Equipment Overview
These are the pre-customized options available from SimpliSafe, in order from most to least expensive. Keep in mind that the prices listed are MSRP, and SimpliSafe often has sales that slash the price by at least 20-percent.
|Package||The Beacon||The Lighthouse||The Haven||The Knox||The Hearth||The Essentials||The Foundation|
|SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera||2||1||0||0||0||0||0|
Since we wanted the full SimpliSafe experience, we decided to customize our own system. We started with a base station and two keypads, and then added eight entry sensors, two motion sensors, and a glass break sensor. We also got ourselves a panic button, several control key fobs, and an auxiliary siren. Lastly, we purchased SimpliSafe cameras, namely the SimpliCam indoor camera, the SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera Pro, and the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell.
That’s quite a comprehensive system, but don’t worry: We’ll take a closer look at each individual component and discuss what they do and what special features they have, if any.
At the center of every SimpliSafe system is the base station, which serves as the brains of the system.
In a nutshell, it connected all of the components to the SimpliSafe app so we were notified of any activity (when we used the Standard or Interactive plans, of course). In addition, it connected to the professional monitoring center and played a 95-decibel siren if any alarms went off, which meant it was almost equal to a loud, high-pitched blender in terms of volume.
If you live in a multi-storey house, however, note that the siren is hardly audible on different floors. We recommend buying auxiliary sirens like we did, and placing them on different floors and even outside. Fortunately, the auxiliary sirens can reach up to 105 dB, so they are a bit louder than the siren on the base station.
Our main point of control was the keypad, a wall-mounted device that looked like a large remote control. It may seem a bit clunky, but the keypad actually has a touch-sensitive screen, making controlling it a little easier.
From the keypad, we were able to arm and disarm the system, manage user PIN codes, and control every aspect of the system. It may not look as good as those tablet-like control panels other brands offer, but it’s actually quite useful.
It’s also very secure. It’s tamper-proof, so if someone tries to smash it, it will actually sound SimpliSafe’s siren and notify you. That’s a great feature to have against smash-and-grab burglars who might break-in, smash your security system panel to delay alarm response, and get away.
These two-part sensors went on doors or windows and their respective frames to tell us when they opened or closed.
After a bit of touring our apartment for vulnerable entry points, we determined that the ground level of our home was the best place for our entry sensors, as that was where intruders were more likely to enter. Of course, we tried out the entry sensors too and discovered that they notified us when they moved about two inches apart from one another. Could an intruder slither into a two-inch crack to enter our apartment? We don’t think so, so our verdict: The door sensor works.
Our SimpliSafe motion sensors did exactly what they were intended to. They detected motion.
Starting on a positive note, the motion sensor left our pets well enough alone. It didn’t notify us even when our cats moved, sprinted, and hopped around our living room furniture. That’s great if you’re a pet-owner like us, as pet-triggered false alarms can be pretty frustrating.
On the other hand, though, we found the motion sensor’s 90-degree field of view a bit limited. You have to be very specific in where you place the sensor to get the most value out of it. In our experience, the best placement for the sensor is in the far-side corner of a room so it can quickly catch when someone walks in and to eliminate large blind spots.
FYI: We placed motion sensors in corners to get maximum range.
Glass Break Sensors
Largely self-explanatory, the glass break sensors would have been very useful if an intruder decided to break a window instead of open it.
They worked on sliding glass doors, as well, but don’t worry, these large-ish sensors don’t need to be placed on the glass door itself. Just place it near glass doors and windows, and it will pick up the sound of breaking glass. We didn’t actually break any glass windows to test the sensor out, but we did play a sound of glass breaking and found that the glass break sensor responded as we expected.
SimpliSafe has two options for cameras: The indoor SimpliCam and the new wire-free SimpliSafe outdoor camera. In our SimpliCam review, we were impressed with this plug-in device. It even had a stainless steel privacy shutter, which we liked on those days when we felt like Big Brother really was keeping tabs on us. Like most people, we weren’t interested in being watched 24/7, especially when our security system was disarmed.
PRO TIP: We made sure to test out each of the systems’ components after we installed them to ensure that they connected with the app properly.
SimpliSafe Outdoor Camera
SimpliSafe didn’t always have an outdoor camera, but thankfully, they have one now. It’s a 1080p outdoor camera that boasts a 140-degree field of view, color night vision, and a motion-activated spotlight integrated right into the camera’s face. And, it echoes the simplicity and DIY-friendly approach of SimpliSafe.
Unlike a Ring or Nest cam, however, the SimpliSafe outdoor camera doesn’t work as a standalone camera. The camera will only record video and connect the camera to your home Wi-Fi if you pair it with a SimpliSafe system. Also, the outdoor camera has no local storage, but you can store video in the cloud from up to five cameras for $9.99 a month, which is about average as far as camera subscriptions go.
The SimpliSafe outdoor camera is wire-free, so you can install it without worrying about proximity to power outlets (though you do have to consider proximity to the SimpliSafe base station). The camera costs $169.99.
One word of warning is that the camera is rated IP65 for dust and water droplet protection, but it’s not designed for temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Those in super-cold climates might want to take note. Overall, this is a good camera, but since it’s so new, it’s too soon to tell whether it’ll make our list of the best outdoor security cameras.
- Video: At 1080p HD, the video quality on the SimpliSafe outdoor camera was better than the SimpliCam, and it had the added bonus of 8x digital zoom. 1080p is the current industry standard, and for outdoor video recording, it helps with capturing finer details like an intruder’s face or a critter in your garden. The outdoor camera had a wider field of view than the SimpliCam, which we also appreciated.Not up to par with cameras that already employed a 4K display like the Arlo Ultra, which has twice as many pixels as 1080p HD, SimpliSafe’s video quality was much better than many cameras that still only produced 720p. We were able to watch Gabe throughout the day without any problem, so although it wasn’t the best video on the market, it certainly got the job done.
- Audio: We loved using the camera’s speaker and microphone to talk to people remotely. We just pulled out our SimpliSafe app and spoke to them directly.
- Night vision: Overall, we’d say that we were impressed by the SimpliCam’s infrared night vision. We got a pretty clear picture of Gabe with absolutely no light entering our windowless room. We knew some cameras like Ring Spotlight Cam Battery offered both color night vision through a bright white light combined with infrared night vision. We preferred the SimpliSafe’s infrared night vision on its own because it was more inconspicuous. Gabe may have known about the camera as he tested it with us, but an intruder would not.
- Storage: We prefer to back our footage up in two ways: locally, on a micro-SD card or hard drive, and through cloud storage, as a secondary backup. While the SimpliCam and the SimpliSafe outdoor camera lacked local storage of any kind, cloud storage was available either on its own or lumped with professional monitoring.
- Artificial intelligence: Many cameras in the industry are packed with A.I.-enabled features like person detection and facial recognition. Unfortunately, the SimpliCam lacked facial recognition. However, it included special heat sensors that knew the difference between humans and animals, otherwise known as person detection. That cut down on the number of false alarms we received each day.
SimpliSafe’s panic button enabled us to contact emergency services with just the click of a button. If we couldn’t reach our alarm or call 911, we weren’t left to deal with a tricky or dangerous situation on our own. Instead, we could simply reach for our panic button.
Once we pressed the button, the system alerted SimpliSafe’s monitoring center, and the center turned our alarm on. In the end, the panic button had the potential to get us help just as quickly, if not sooner, than calling 911.
Another backup option was the key fobs, which combined the panic button and the keypad. The panic button and keypad allowed us to arm and disarm our system, minus the passcode, of course. We found that the fob came in handy particularly when we were on a different floor of our home from the keypad.
The SimpliSafe siren made it a great security system for larger homes.
The auxiliary siren was a good way to make sure we heard our alarm if it went off. In terms of decibels, it sat at 105, meaning it was as loud as a table saw. Its water resistance meant we could use it outside. When it went off, the entire neighborhood could hear!
We used the siren upstairs and found that it was a great way to stay connected to the base station and main parts of the larger security system while we were a floor away.
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
A front door find, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro sent us notifications about visitors, let us view them over live stream, and allowed us to speak to them through two-way audio.
To use SimpliSafe’s Video Doorbell camera, we needed to have an existing doorbell setup, so it was fortunate that we did. After hardwiring it into our home, we took a closer look at its performance.
- Video: We were very impressed with the Doorbell Pro’s video. Not only did it have a 1080p HD display with a 162-degree field of view, but it also had HDR, which helped limit distortion from outdoor light.
- Audio: A standard feature of all video doorbells, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro had two-way audio, so we got to have conversations with our guests remotely. This really came in handy in preventing package theft when we needed to give instructions to delivery people.
- Night vision: We appreciated the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro’s infrared night vision, which allowed us to see clearly at night.
- Storage: Storage options with the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro were essentially the same as they were for SimpliCam, $9.99 a month for unlimited recording on five cameras, or $27.99 a month for unlimited recording on 10 cameras as part of a professional monitoring plan.
- Artificial intelligence: Like the SimpliCam, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro had person detection, which was really helpful for a camera facing the street. We weren’t notified about every car that passed, just human visitors. We had fewer false notifications with the Video Doorbell Pro than with the SimpliCam, too, which made staying on top of our visitors much easier.
All in all, we were very pleased with the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, and it was very reasonably priced at $169.
Simplisafe also offered environmental monitoring, such as smoke detectors and CO detectors, freeze and water sensors, and a smart lock. We controlled all of these items remotely through the SimpliSafe app. When we used the Standard Plan or Interactive Plan, our system notified us of any activity.
How Well It Worked
SimpliSafe was one of the easiest systems for us to get up and running for daily use, even as we added various new components like the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro. Nearly everything was wireless and connected with the base station, which conveyed information by speaking out loud, sending notifications to our app, and even changing the color of the LED strip at its base.
Once we’d installed the system, the firmware updates were automatic, so it didn’t require any maintenance post-installation. We were so impressed with SimpliSafe, we added it to our best home security system roundup.
Smart Home Features
SimpliSafe was no old-school alarm system. It was smart and connected to both the internet and voice assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant.
We enjoyed using the voice assistants to control SimpliSafe. We were impressed that we could use just a brief statement to Alexa and set our system in the home or away mode. Likewise, we used our voices to check the system’s status and to arm and disarm it.
Finally, we hooked up SimpliSafe with our Nest thermostats and August smart locks and created automated triggers. For example, our thermostat knew to drop the temperature as soon as our system was armed.
When we purchased our SimpliSafe system, we wanted to see what it was like to use it without paying any additional monthly fees. We found that it was pretty robust. Comparing SimpliSafe with Ring Alarm, for instance, we found the two were quite similar. Like Ring Alarm’s free plan, we were able to control our system remotely and receive notifications. We also got full smart platform integration plus a seven day history timeline, compared to Ring’s 60 days of cloud storage.
With SimpliSafe, we splurged for the Interactive Plan, which was the “whole enchilada”: 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, remote control, notifications, smart platform integrations, and more.
Pro Tip: Social media posting mistake #1: Uploading vacation pics before you’re back home. With SimpliSafe professional monitoring, though, you can rest easy knowing trained operators are watching over your home while you’re out there sipping cocktails by the beach.
|Features||Free plan||Self-monitoring with five camera recording||Standard Monitoring plan||Interactive Monitoring Plan|
|24/7 professional monitoring||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Fast Protect™ Technology||No||No||No||Yes|
|Video verified alarms||No||No||No||Yes|
|Unlimited cloud storage||No||5 cameras||No||10 cameras|
|Smart home integrations||No||Yes||No||Yes|
We thought the Interactive Plan was well worth its $27.99 per month price. Plus, we could pay for a single month, so we didn’t have to make any long-term commitment, which was great for renters like us (or commitment-phobes).
Find more pricing details on the SimpliSafe price overview page.
DID YOU KNOW: SimpliSafe offers a wide range of plans: recording plans with no monitoring, monitoring plans with no recording, the Interactive Plan that features both, and a free plan that has neither.
Fast Protect™ Technology
In line with SimpliSafe’s monitoring plans, here’s one feature that SimpliSafe is focusing on developing right now and is a feature exclusively available to Interactive plan users.
Fast Protect™ aims to speed up and streamline SimpliSafe’s process of responding to alarms, while also keeping false alarms to a minimum. To do that, it incorporates several features, including video verification, alert texts, and critical alarms.
- Video verification: If you have security cameras, SimpliSafe’s monitoring agent will access its livestream briefly after an alarm is received to verify the incident. This process also helps speed up police response, as verified alarms are prioritized over tripped systems that could turn out to be false alarms.
- Alert texts: In addition to calling the homeowner, SimpliSafe will notify them through an instant text. The homeowner can then respond to the text to confirm or cancel the alarm. This feature is dual-purpose. In case of real security incidents, alert texts give users a more efficient way to confirm alarms than through a phone call. In case of false alarms, it lets users quickly cancel the alarm without having to talk to a monitoring agent.
- Critical alarms: This feature is optional, but when turned on, this lets the SimpliSafe app bypass silent and Do Not Disturb modes so critical alerts can still go through. This ensures that the homeowner never misses an alarm.
Again, Fast Protect™ is an exclusive feature of the Interactive plan, so a $27.99 monthly payment is necessary to enjoy its benefits.
During check out, SimpliSafe gave us some options when it came to actually installing our system. While we opted for DIY installation, there was an option to get our system professionally installed for $79 from an authorized third party. However, we found that the DIY process was pretty easy, making SimpliSafe one of the best DIY home security systems.
First, we plugged in the base station. From there, we created a Master PIN in the SimpliSafe app. The app actually guided us through the entire process, from sticking our keypad on the wall to installing, testing and naming our devices. We didn’t need to be a tech expert to install SimpliSafe, and the process took less than an hour, if even.
The SimpliSafe App
The SimpliSafe app, which worked with every plan including the free plan, was where we armed and disarmed the system, live-streamed footage, and got alerts. The self-monitored camera plan and the Interactive plan also let us view our recordings and set up smart platform integrations.
The app had awesome ratings, a 4.8 for iOS1 and a 4.5 for Android2, and we definitely agreed with the ratings. It was easy to stay on top of our home using SimpliSafe’s app.
SimpliSafe had a few options for reaching customer support, including a phone line, user forum, and email address. A few user manuals were available online, as well. Support was available via phone and email every day from 9 AM until midnight, EST.
We reached out to customer support via both phone and email. For the most part, we felt SimpiSafe’s email customer support was timely in response. Once, they responded within the same day. Another time, it took a day to respond, and once it took five days, so the average stood at two days, which was not bad.
However, for the fastest support, we had to call SimpliSafe directly. That considered, the email responses we received were very friendly and thorough, so, overall, we had a good experience with SimpliSafe’s customer support team.
Of course, as with any security system, SimpliSafe isn’t for everyone.
Who We Recommend SimpliSafe For…
- Anyone that needed a professional monitoring service and cellular backup: SimpliSafe monitoring was available for as little as $17.99 per month, and offered protection for a reasonable price.
- Someone that wanted DIY installation or professional installation: No matter which option we chose, installing our system was something that anyone could have done easily or affordably.
- A user in the Google or Amazon smart home ecosystem: SimpliSafe worked with Alexa and Google Assistant as well as Nest thermostats and August smart locks.
Who We Don’t Recommend SimpliSafe For…
- Someone in an especially cold climate: SimpliSafe now offers an outdoor camera. However, that camera only works in temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Anyone that wanted a security camera with facial recognition: The SimpliCam was a fine camera in terms of video, audio and night vision. It even featured person detection. However, it lacked facial recognition.
SimpliSafe was an affordable security system that worked well, but not all of its parts were created equal. We were a bit disappointed with the lack of facial recognition in the SimpliCam. As we mention in our guide to the best security cameras with artificial intelligence, that’s becoming a common feature among security cameras.
While other companies had more advanced cameras, SimpliSafe did a good job in terms of its other components, flexible monitoring options, and easy DIY installation. Overall, SimpliSafe certainly proved trustworthy and made staying on top of our home’s security a breeze.
SimpliSafe had a number of packages and customizations available, as well as deals. Right now, in fact, SimpliSafe is offering 40-percent off all new systems. Explore this and other SimpliSafe Prime Day deals, SimpliSafe Black Friday deals, or just general SimpliSafe discounts. Or, learn more in our SimpliSafe FAQs.
Was SimpliSafe any good?
SimpliSafe is good. It’s one of our top-rated security systems, with affordable and flexible professional monitoring, awesome smart platform integrations, and impressive customer support and system components.
Was SimpliSafe better than ADT?
SimpliSafe was better than ADT when it came to installation, customer support, and pricing, but ADT had SimpliSafe beat in terms of its mobile app and variety of system components.
How much did SimpliSafe cost per month?
Simplisafe offers a free plan, but that plan doesn’t include video storage or professional monitoring. To record video, SimpliSafe charges $9.99 per month to store footage from up to five cameras. For professional monitoring, SimpliSafe charges $17.99 or $27.99 per month. The latter, the Interactive Plan, comes with environmental and professional monitoring, plus cellular backup, remote control, notifications, cloud storage, and other features.
Plans Free plan Storage for up to 5 cameras Standard Plan (monitoring without storage) Interactive Plan (monitoring and storage) Monthly price Free $9.99 $17.99 $27.99
Did SimpliSafe offer professional monitoring?
SimpliSafe offers professional monitoring. For $17.99 a month, the Standard Plan provides 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, environmental monitoring, remote control, and notifications. However, you don’t get any video storage. For $27.99, you get all the perks of the Standard Plan plus secret alarms, video verified alarms, unlimited cloud storage for up to ten cameras, and smart platform integration.
Apple App Store. (2020). Simplisafe Home Security App. apps.apple.com/us/app/simplisafe-home-security-app/id555798051
Google Play. (2020). Simplisafe Home Security Mobile App. play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simplisafe.mobile&hl=en_US