What We Like
No monthly contracts
You can cancel at any time
Physical privacy shutters on the SimpliCam
Solid option if you're into DIY security
Easy to install
What We Don't Like
The components are lightweight, although somewhat basic
You won't find many of the security bells and whistles here
SimpliSafe, which protects more than three million homes, pioneered DIY home security more than a decade ago. The company continues to focus on security rather than add-on smart-home devices. By keeping its attention on technology that matters most for keeping your home safe—such as solid communications between devices and long battery life—SimpliSafe ensures the highest level of protection without the significant expense of pro-installed systems. Monthly contracts are not required. You can cancel at any time, although remote features will not be available.
Design and Installation
SimpliSafe designs and makes its own high-quality equipment. As the name suggests, the strategy is simplicity. The components are lightweight, although somewhat basic. Only a few external devices can be integrated, notably the Nest Learning Thermostat and August smart locks. SimpliSafe’s website provides transparent pricing for packages to protect homes of various sizes.
The installation process begins by plugging the base station into an outlet. Then the keypad, which is separate from the base station, provides step-by-step instructions to set up each component. Attach sensors to doorways, windows, and walls using a strong adhesive backing. Press a button on a component to pair it with the system and then give it a name. You’re then ready to set up professional monitoring. SimpliSafe also offers professional help with installation for $79.
We like SimpliSafe’s focus on privacy. Most home security systems allow you to turn off indoor cameras under certain conditions—such as when the system is disarmed. But SimpliSafe goes a step further by using physical privacy shutters on its 4.5-inch-high SimpliCam. One glance at the camera confirms that it’s not recording when you’re at home.
SimpliSafe also offers “Secret Alerts” for customers on the $24.99 Interactive Plan. If you place a contact sensor on jewelry drawer, liquor cabinet, or a place where weapons are stored—and somebody opens it up—you will get a notification without triggering an alarm. These alerts can also be used to notify you that children have arrived safely at home (if the kids use a unique PIN code to disarm.)
How It Works
Like most systems, you can set SimpliSafe for Home, Away, and Off. The system is primarily armed or disarmed using the keypad. The stylish base station emits a colored light to indicate the system status. Without a monitoring plan, you can access the status, receive notifications, and see a live video feed via the mobile app.
With a monthly subscription, your SimpliSafe system is monitored by COPS Monitoring, one of the largest professional monitoring services in the United States. The Interactive plan also provides access to a 30-day history of video clips for up to 10 cameras.
Price and Monthly Plans
SimpliSafe starts at about $229 for a package that includes one base station, one wireless keypad, one entry sensor, and one motion sensor. A larger package of equipment, with as many as nine entry sensors, can exceed $400. You can also buy SimpliSafe equipment a la carte. The list of equipment includes smoke detectors, temperature sensors, glass-break sensors—all for between $20 and $30—as well as a $169 video doorbell. A key fob with a panic button costs $24.99.
You’ll pay $14.99 per month for the Standard plan, which includes 24/7 professional alarm and environmental monitoring. At this level, you also get a cellular backup and live feeds for up to 10 cameras. However, to get pro monitoring as well as remote features and video recordings, you’ll need to spend $24.99 a month for SimpliSafe’s Interactive plan.
SimpliSafe is designed to be a reliable, closed system that’s laser-focused on home security. Abode, a DIY competitor, offers an open platform for third-party components and grants access to remote features without a monthly fee. SimpliSafe’s $24.99 a month plan represents a savings compared to similar monitoring plans offered by ADT, Vivint, and Xfinity Home.
Easy to install and offers highly reliable security.
SimpliSafe represents the middle ground between expensive pro-installed home security and low-cost systems that focus on home automation, self-monitoring, or video-doorbell solutions. If you want the simplest possible DIY solution combined with pro monitoring—and you’re comfortable with paying $24.99 per month, then consider SimpliSafe. It doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles, but SimpliSafe is easy to install and provides reliable home security.