Note: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring.
Note: abode now offers email and phone support to all of its customers regardless of their monitoring plan.
Are you looking for a security system that thinks outside of the box? Then you’ve come to the right place! The company abode was founded in 2014 by a former executive at ADT, the oldest security company in the U.S. Unlike ADT, abode focuses on creating more choices for the user, including on-demand professional monitoring which I’ll explain in a bit.
SimpliSafe, on the other hand, was founded in 2006 by students at Harvard Business School. When their Cambridge apartment kept getting robbed, the entrepreneurs-in-training decided to create a security system for renters, without long-term contracts. As both of these companies hold customers at the focus of their enterprises, I’m excited to see how their security systems stack up.
I purchased the abode Essentials Starter Kit, plus an abode Cam, and the Summerfort system from SimpliSafe. Today I’ll be comparing them in terms of system components, installation, professional monitoring, customer support, and apps. Let’s get started for some key similarities and key differences.
- DIY installation: Both abode and SimpliSafe offer DIY installation.
- Flexible contracting: Both SimpliSafe and abode have monthly contracting options, allowing you to avoid a long-term commitment.
- Cellular backup: As long as you pay a monthly fee with either company, you’ll receive cellular backup so your system will stay on in a power outage.
- Monitoring: While abode gives you the option to self-monitor, all SimpliSafe systems come with 24/7 professional monitoring.
- Customer support features: All SimpliSafe customers can call support over the phone directly, while you’ll have to pay at least $10 a month to call abode’s support directly.
- Android app ratings: The abode app has higher ratings on the Google Play store than the SimpliSafe app.
System Components of abode vs. SimpliSafe
Like I said, I bought the abode Essentials Starter Kit, plus an abode Cam, and the SimpliSafe Summerfort system. Both include a base station, called a Gateway with abode, door/ window sensors, motion sensors, key fobs, and indoor cameras. SimpliSafe gives you some extras— a glass break sensor, a wireless keypad, a panic button, and an auxiliary siren.
Of course, the SimpliSafe equipment is a lot more money than the abode equipment I bought, at $559 compared to the total of $391 I spent on the Starter Kit and the abode Cam. Of course, with that extra $168 gets you a lot more equipment, so it really comes down to your preference.
abode vs. SimpliSafe Installation
Since both abode and SimpliSafe have DIY installation, I want to make sure it’s not too time-consuming or complicated. Let’s take a look!
The first thing that you’ll install with your abode Essentials Starter Kit is the Gateway, your system’s base station which will connect all of your devices. On the Gateway is an activation code, which you’ll scan with your phone. Next, you’ll download the abode app and follow the step-by-step instructions. If you prefer, you can use the abode web app, which I found easier when I had to install my camera, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
After you plug in the Gateway via power and ethernet adapters, you’ll install the motion and entry sensors, which have easy adhesives on the back— no drilling here! Lastly, I installed the abode Cam, which required me to plug in the ethernet adapter and connect to Wi-Fi. All in all, installing abode was not a bad experience.
Please note that abode also offers professional monitoring through HelloTech which will cost at least $99, depending on how much equipment you buy. Call me cheap, but I prefer to do it myself.
Like abode, installing SimpliSafe doesn’t require any tools, drilling or skills of any kind. The sensors were peel-and-stick, my personal favorite method, and all I had to do to connect them was plug in my base station and sync everything in my SimpliSafe app. All in all, it was extremely convenient!
Top System Installation
This was a tough one as both abode and SimpliSafe are pretty easy to install, but I’m going to give the crown to SimpliSafe by a hair.
Professional Monitoring with abode vs. SimpliSafe
When it comes to monitoring, abode and SimpliSafe are pretty different from each other. While abode gives you the option to self-monitor, all of SimpliSafe’s plans include 24/7 professional monitoring, meaning that a team of people will monitor your system and can call emergency services for you if necessary. Let’s go further into detail.
abode vs. SimpliSafe Monitoring Options
This chart isn’t too overwhelming, is it? Basically, all SimpliSafe’s plans come with professional monitoring and cellular backup to ensure your system stays on in a power outage. In contrast, only abode’s Secure Plan has 24/7 professional monitoring for $20 a month or $200 a year. The customer support features you get also differ depending on which abode plan you choose, but we’ll get into that more in the next section.
Another unique feature of abode is on-demand professional monitoring. For only $8 for three days of $15 for a week, you can get professional monitoring from abode whenever you want. This is a really cool feature that I haven’t seen from any other security company, so I’m pretty excited.
abode vs. SimpliSafe Contracts
Great news: abode and SimpliSafe both offer flexible, month-to-month contracting, while abode also offers a yearly, discounted plan. Yahoo!
abode vs. SimpliSafe Moving Policies
One of the benefits of DIY installation is that you can just pick up your system and reinstall it in your new place, and that holds true for abode and SimpliSafe, unless of course you prefer paying to get your abode system professionally installed.
Top System for Monitoring
Since its recent price update, abode charges less than SimpliSafe for monitoring across the board. I love how they give you the option to self-monitor along with on-demand professional monitoring, so I’m going to give them the trophy for monitoring!
Customer Support with abode vs. SimpliSafe
Customer support is one area that abode and SimpliSafe really veer away from each other. Like I said before, the ways you’ll be able to get customer support from abode differ based on what monitoring plan you choose. If you choose to self-monitor with the Basic Plan, you can either check out the online help center or email abode, but you won’t be able to call them directly. Only with the Connect and Secure Plans can you call abode’s support team directly, but with the Secure Plan, your calls will be prioritized. SimpliSafe is a lot more— well, simple. All of its customers can check out their online help center, email, or call them directly.
Now let’s talk customer reviews. The abode Essentials Starter Kit has an Amazon rating of 4.3, which is pretty good. Unfortunately, the majority of the reviews that mentioned customer support were negative, and many people said that they didn’t hear back for days after emailing. This is a bit concerning, especially for people who have no other option.
While SimpliSafe’s Summerfort system isn’t on Amazon, I looked at reviews for a similar 12-piece security system with a rating of 3.5. Of the reviews mentioning customer support specifically, 70% were three stars or above, a definite improvement over abode.
“Our base station had trouble getting and keeping a cellular connection. But a call to customer support got immediate help and a new cellular chip for Verizon overnighted and at no charge. Easy to follow instructions had the base station up and running with a strong cellular connection in under 15 minutes,”
wrote Ken and Karin in a recent five-star review.
Top System for Customer Support
This one’s easy— SimpliSafe has much better customer ratings than abode, and I love that they give all their support features to all of their customers. SimpliSafe wins for customer support!
abode vs. SimpliSafe Apps
The final things I want to look at are abode and SimpliSafe’s mobile apps. Whether you’re monitoring your system yourself or using professional monitoring, it’s important that you can easily check in on and change your security system’s settings if necessary. Are the abode and SimpliSafe apps up to my very high standards?
The abode App
From the abode app, you’l be able to livestream footage, receive notifications, control any connected devices you have and view cloud storage. The app has a decent rating of 3.1 from the Apple store and a great rating of 4.2 from the Google Play store. Can SimpliSafe measure up?
The SimpliSafe App
SimpliSafe has the exact same capabilities as the abode app, plus you’ll be able to download footage with the Interactive Plan. Like abode, the SimpliSafe app has a 3.1 rating from Apple users. Its app for Androids, however, it not as highly-ranked as abode’s app at 3.4 out of five stars.
Top System App
Another easy win for abode, although both abode and SimpliSafe have really good apps.
Recap of abode vs. SimpliSafe
If you’ve been keeping track, then you know that SimpliSafe has better customer support and easier installation, while abode wins for professional monitoring and its app. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie on our hands, and it’s not surprising as these are two great systems. Your choice will come down to your personal preferences. Here, I’ll make it as easy as possible for you.
Pick abode if you’d like…
- Option to self-monitor: If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee, you can self-monitor your abode system through the abode app.
- Professional installation option: While SimpliSafe must be installed yourself, abode gives you a second option to pay for professional installation with HelloTech.
- On-demand professional monitoring option: Only abode lets you buy professional monitoring à la carte.
For more information, read our review of the abode Essentials Starter Kit.
Pick SimpliSafe if you’d like…
- Cellular backup with all plans: Whether you choose SimpliSafe’s Standard or Interactive Plan, you’ll receive cellular backup with your system.
- All customers can call support directly: No matter which SimpliSafe plan you choose, you’ll be able to call customer support directly.
Want to learn more? Read our review of the SimpliSafe Security System.
If you’re feeling uninspired, check out the best home security systems of 2019 or leave a comment below— I’m sure to answer in just a hop, skip and a jump.