Lowest Price: $259.95
Manufacturer Recommended Price: $539.85
Summary: The SimpliSafe Home Security System is a DIY system that is quite versatile and affordable. It works well.
• It is easy to install with no drilling or wiring required
• It is affordable
• It has cellular connectivity
• It has no contract involved. Plans can be changed or canceled anytime
• It can be expanded and customized
• It has battery backup
• It has no monitoring contract
• It has affordable hardware
• It doesn’t have any phone or email notification
• Its mobile app is lacking
• Third party devices can’t work with it
• Its hardware looks clumsy
• Its online dashboard doesn’t log one out after inactivity
A lot of homeowners want to secure their home but they do not want to enter into a long-term contract where they might have to pay expensive monitoring fees. They also do not want to drill into the walls of their homes. SimpliSafe Home Security System is a wireless security system that provides all these and more. It is simple to use and it can protect you against unwanted people, fire and flood. It is a DIY system that allows you to monitor your home with a quite inexpensive monthly plan. Previous versions never had a surveillance camera but new systems will now come with a 720p night vision capable, motion detecting camera. The camera costs $99.
Pricing of Monitoring Plan and Hardware
The SimpliSafe system can be freely configured as desired with five options available. The Ultimate Security package costs $539.85. This includes two motion sensors, a 105dB siren, a keychain remote, a base station, carbon monoxide and water sensors, freeze and water sensors, window decals, a wireless keypad, a SimpliSafe yard sign and four window and door sensors. The most affordable package is the Starter package which costs $229.96. The Starter package contains basic home security items. These are the base station, one motion sensor, decals, an entry sensor, a wireless keypad, the yard sign and a keychain remote. You can add the camera for an extra $99. None of the current packages comes with the camera.
You can purchase additional components to expand on one package and configure your own package. You could add environmental sensors to your package to protect your home adequately against environmental hazards. Freeze detectors which cost $29.99 will alert you whenever the temperature drops below a certain point. This will prevent burst pipes. Water sensors which cost $19.99 will alert one of floods and leaks. Smoke detectors cost $29.99 and they can be integrated into a monitoring plan which will give an alert via SMS or email whenever an alarm is triggered and will send early responders should a fire occur.
If you have many windows, you can choose to purchase extra entry sensors which cost $14.99 and glass break sensors which cost $34.99. The system supports 41 sensors in total. If you have various entryways to your home, you could get extra keypads which cost $69.99 each.
The prices for additional components seem fair enough in comparison to the competition. Extra sensors from Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring System cost $39.99 each. For iSmartAlarm which is a budget system, entry sensors cost $59.99 for two.
There is a Standard plan that costs $14.99 per month which comes with round-the-clock coverage. Anytime a sensor is triggered, you will be contacted by SimpliSafe. If you do not provide the safe word that you have setup, the police will be dispatched. If you pay an extra $10 monthly, you get the Interactive plan which adds email and SMS alerts. This plan also allows you to use the smartphone app to disarm and arm the system. You can also use the Online Dashboard to gain more control of the system. The Interactive plan allows you to set up the sensors in Alert Only mode which will not trigger any alarm. You can put an entry sensor at the entrance of a cabinet and you will be alerted anytime the cabinet is accessed. If you compare this system with the Vivint Sky home security system which costs $49.99, monitoring fees are at least double the SimpliSafe plan as they range from $50 to $70 monthly.
SimpliSafe can be used as a local alarm if you don’t want to pay monthly fees. Anytime a sensor is triggered, you have to contact the authorities yourself. There are no commitments or contracts and the service plan can be changed, started and stopped at any point in time. This level of flexibility makes the SimpliSafe home security system a good alternative to security systems like Slomin’s or ADT which will require one to pay for multiple years of service with penalties if the contract is broken.
System Setup and Hardware
The SimpliSafe home security system comes with a 10.5-inch tall white plastic cone base station. The base station has a blue light at its base. It pulses to indicate that there is an error with a sensor and it steadily glows to signify that the alarm is on. To setup the base station, you place it at a central location which is within 400 feet of the sensors and 100 feet of your keypad(s). Then you plug in the power cord that is included. The base station doesn’t connect to your Wi-Fi router thus you have more freedom in placement. Inside, there is an 85dB siren, a SIM card that allows cellular communication for monitoring and a backup battery. Some traditional security systems require that you have a landline phone with cellular service. The system has no wires for extra-shrewd crooks to clip to bypass the system.
The sensors and keypad are powered by replaceable lithium batteries. They last for about 5 years with normal usage. The system will notify you if they need to be replaced. You do not need any drilling or wiring to install the system. You pull off the battery-activation strips and attach each component according to the instructions in the Owner’s Manual that is included. The components are easy to move around and won’t damage your walls. You can easily take the system to your next home.
The sensors are durable and if any fall, they still work fine. You can use the screws provided to install the components more permanently.
One off-putting thing was that the base station, keypad and other hardware looked dated. The white plastic base station and the tiny display on the keypad have a kind of metro look. All the components are white except for the camera which is black. The system doesn’t look as pretty as the Vivint Sky Security System with its 7-inch color SkyControl panel or the Nest Learning Thermostat. It doesn’t support Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, IFTTT, or any other home automation protocol. This means that it can’t be integrated with door locks, lights, video doorbells and other smart home devices.
Within an hour, you can setup the whole system which includes installing the entry sensors, environmental sensors, keypad, panic button, siren, setting up a PIN and testing the entire system. You can setup the starter package in less than 30 minutes. The keychain remote can also work as a USB drive if you remove its cap. If you use a Windows PC, you can plug it in and configure your system using the Easy Setup Wizard. You can also get lots of setup tips and help on its website. The company covers the whole system with a 2-month money back guarantee and a 3-year warranty on the hardware.
Using the system
The SimpliSafe system has three modes available and the system is straightforward to use. Test mode allows you to set up the system and ensure that all sensors are working fine periodically. Away mode will activate all the motion and entry sensors. Home mode will activate the window and door sensors. As you enter the various modes, the base station will clearly and loudly announce your actions.
Whenever the alarm is armed and any sensor is triggered, the keypad will beep and you have to enter your PIN within 30 seconds. If you do not enter your PIN, the siren of the base station will be activated and an alert will be sent to SimpliSafe. The company will call you and ask you for a safe word that you have designated during setup. If you do not provide the safe word or get the call, the Emergency Dispatch Center will send firefighters or police as the case may be.
You can adjust the time period for PIN entry to 250 seconds. And it can also be varied by sensor. It is nice to have the company contact you before contacting the authorities. This will prevent unnecessary movement of authorities and embarrassment on your part.
When tested, all motion and entry sensors worked fine. The base station and its 105dB siren worked perfectly fine. And the company made contact for every incident.
Mobile App and Online Dashboard
The monthly Interactive plan allows you to use the Online Dashboard to control the system, disarm and arm the system. You can also change your PIN, assign 4 guest PINS and view your System Event Log. There is also provision for a Duress PIN which one can use if an intruder is forcing you to disable the alarm. When you enter the Duress PIN, the alarm will quit sounding but the police will be alerted immediately. The Online Dashboard also allows you to adjust settings like exit and entry delay time, siren volume. You can also rename and manage sensors.
A disadvantage that was noticed is that when online, the home security settings is available to anyone who can access your web browser. The Online Dashboard was open in a browser tab and when it was open hours later, one can still log in and change the system settings. When the browser tab was closed and reloaded, the account was still logged in. This is quite dangerous.
There is a mobile app available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The app is quite basic. The app requires subscription to the Interactive plan and it allows you to turn on or off the system and view the System Event Log. It would be better if SimpliSafe could provide the nice system controls that are provided in the Online Dashboard in the app. If you can fork out extra $10 for the Standard monitoring plan, you will be able to control and customize your system anywhere from the Online Dashboard and the mobile app.
SimpliSafe or Not?
The SimpliSafe home security system is nice as it is flexible, easy to use and it is quite affordable. Anyone can install it in less than 1 hour and you are not compelled to sign for any monthly contract to begin to use it. It is also more versatile than other DIY systems like the SkylinkNet Alarm System and the iSmartAlarm which do not offer any monitoring plan. But if you are a fan of home automation, you can get the Samsung SmartThings system. It supports various protocols and it is compatible with many smart home devices. But you can’t monitor your home with it. If you are not a fan of DIY systems, you can take a look at the Vivint Sky system. This will cost you a lot but you will get a full system with monitoring and someone will come to your home to install everything.
Lowest Price: $259.95