Simply Outdated. A look into the SimpliSafe DIY Security System
Last updated: June 1st, 2017. Dave Ramsey loves them (or at least gets paid too) and maybe that is what got you researching SimpliSafe security in the first place. He is their primary spokesperson and anytime you tune in to his radio show you will hear him talk about this company. Like our top picks Frontpoint and Protect America, SimpliSafe is a do it yourself installation security system. If this doesn't sound like your forte, we suggest an ADT alarm who will installs it for their users.
A glance at the good and the bad of SimpliSafe Security:
- Trusted brand
- Good history
- Self-installation security system
- Positive customer reviews
- Multi purpose sensors for medical pendants
- A+ BBB rating
- Very high upfront fees
- Very costly to upgrade equipment in future (have to re-buy at full price versus a free upgrade after 36 months with other companies).
- Outdated equipment
- Not as easy to setup as they make it sound
- Lack of home automation
- Limited live support
We'll cover all the aspects of their security system below so you can decide if they are the best company for you.
SimpliSafe Quick Facts
|Key Remote (On/Off) Fob|
|C02, Fire and Flood Sensors||Extra fee|
|Mobile & Tablet Control||Limited|
|Advanced Features||Medical alert|
|Smoke, C02 & Flood||Additional|
|Customer Rating||3.5 of 5|
|Support Rating||3 of 5|
|Equipment Rating||2 of 5|
SimpliSafe monitoring & security system costs
Users pay upfront for the equipment on top of a monthly monitoring rate.
Most security companies give a complete free security system for signing up for their service. This is really where SimpliSafe sticks it to the consumer because you pay upfront for their equipment $300-600 on top of a monthly fee of $24.99.
Here are the different packages offered by SimpliSafe Security:
1 - Ultimate Package. $540. Expensive, several better deals with any of the best DIY security systems we reviewed. Comes with a lot of home security equipment, more than the average house needs. If purchased, you will most likely have a lot of unused equipment.
For the same amount of equipment, you can get Protect America and pay $34.99 in monitoring, saving yourself $540.
This Ultimate package comes with enough equipment to cover homes with 3-5 bedrooms and 3 doors that lead to outside. No security cameras come with this package which is surprising since it is their most expensive one. If you have this kind of money to spend upfront on a smart alarm we recommend you check out ADT Pulse, you can see SimpliSafe and ADT comparison here.
2 - Master Package. $450. Not much change from Ultimate with this package. You don't get a smoke sensors and no emergency pendant. Still includes 14 other sensors.
3 - Classic Package. $350. One less motion detector from the Master package and a good all around setup for most consumers. This will cover most homes easily without leaving you with excess equipment.
4 - Economy Package. $260. If you are going to get Simplisafe, it'd be smart to start out with this Economy package. You can always buy and add on more equipment later. The economy package is good for middle class homes, apartments, condos or mobile trailers.
What kind of Security System does SimpliSafe offer?
Most security companies distribute Honeywell and General Electric equipment. This is one thing that stands out with SimpliSafe is their white labeled equipment. We rate it 3.5 of 5 stars. Each sensor has a backup battery. The siren is loud enough to wake you up at night if a burglar enters (and most likely a few of the neighbors too).
Motion Detector - These work by peel-and-place in highly trafficked areas of your home, such as hallways or a living room. It is infrared and detects any heat wave over 45 lbs. If you have a large guard dog inside you might want to swap these out for something else.
You can add a motion sensor for $40 anytime.
Security Camera - Their camera is nice but is going to cost a lot of money upfront. Users are able to connect to it through their free smart phone app. It is an indoor camera so it shouldn't be put anywhere outside where the temperature and weather can effect it. This is NOT a pan and tilt camera. Meaning wherever you place it is what you will see. Honestly this camera is not as effective for the price so if you want DIY home automation it is more economical to go with Frontpoint who will throw in a camera for free. If you are looking for a standalone security camera, you may be interested in the Canary or Cocoon which have better technology and serve as a multipurpose sensor.
Time to be the handyman...
They claim it can be install it in under 5 minutes which is simply not true. Expect 30-90 minutes.
Here's how it should go
1 - You buy one of their packages
2 - You get the equipment shipped (pre-activated) to you
3 - Peel and stick the sensors to areas. You place the door sensors on top of door etc. It is an easy process but don't let their advertising get the best of you. We recommend using a professional installation company. If you are a crafty or technically-skilled person then it will be easy for you.
4 - After installation, call their support and they will finish activating the system and test it over the phone.
Note - Several things may effect how long it takes to install such as: your comfort level with technology, ability to reach high corners, ability to follow how-to guides.
SimpliSafe's false advertising:
We saw this SimpliSafe ad we had a good laugh and have to diagnose it.
First of all, you don't save 'thousands' of dollars by doing it yourself. Most companies charge $99 for installation if that! Second, the title says 'Five-Minute installation'. Unless you are Superman and can fly through your house that is absolutely a ridiculous claim to have. Expect 30-90 minutes at least.
The who, what, when, where and why of SimpliSafe
Founded in 2006 in Boston, MA by Chad Laurans who had been a victim of home burglary. With that personal experience he went to work and created what is now SimpliSafe security. While some companies are known by offering the 'latest and greatest' these guys are known for being basic and offering what works.
They offer national monitoring service in all 50 states and have more than 150 employees. They do lack backup monitoring stations, meaning if something bad such as a natural disaster happened to their primary monitoring station you may be left without a provider.
Alarm Reviews conclusion on SimpliSafe
Call us biased or whatever you may but if you end up forking out $300-900 (by the time you add camera and other sensors you need) for SimpliSafe, you really didn't get the best deal or security system. If you are comfortable committing to a 36 month agreement where you can still move nationwide, any of our top 5 beat this company.