Note: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring, although you’ll only get notifications with the Interactive Plan. They also added a Google Assistant integration, and cloud storage is available separately from monitoring. They’ve also added a professional installation option for $79. Finally, abode now offers email and phone support to all of its customers regardless of their monitoring plan. They have also added an integration with Apple HomeKit.
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 or professional installation: Both abode and SimpliSafe offer DIY installation or professional installation for a fee.
- Flexible contracting: Both SimpliSafe and abode have monthly contracting options, allowing you to avoid a long-term commitment.
- Self monitoring or professional monitoring: Neither company forces you to pay for professional monitoring.
- App capabilities: Only users on SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan get remote control and push notifications, while all abode customers get that for free.
- 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!
After a recent update, SimpliSafe offers professional monitoring for $79.
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 have some similarities and some differences. Both offer a self-monitoring option, although SimpliSafe’s is pretty limited and doesn’t include livestreaming.
abode vs. SimpliSafe Monitoring Options
If you want cloud storage only from SimpliSafe, that is possible for low prices. However, abode offers three days on the house, a clear advantage.
One 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 free cloud storage along with on-demand professional monitoring, so I’m going to give them the trophy for monitoring!
Customer Support with abode vs. SimpliSafe
Both SimpliSafe and abode offer customer support over email, an online help center, as well as a phone line. 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.
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…
- On-demand professional monitoring option: Only abode lets you buy professional monitoring à la carte.
- More smart platform integrations: Although both systems work with Alexa and Google Assistant, abode also works with Philips Hue lightbulbs, ecobee, LIFX, Yale, Kwikset, IFTTT and more.
- Remote control and notifications for free: While you’ll have to pay $24.99 a month for these features with SimpliSafe, abode offers them free of charge.
For more information, read our review of the abode Essentials Starter Kit.
Pick SimpliSafe if you’d like…
- Cheaper professional installation: SimpliSafe’s professional installation option costs $79 compared to a minimum of $99 with abode.
- Higher-rated apps: Whether you’re an iPhone or an Android user, you’ll prefer SimpliSafe’s app over abode’s app.
- Superior customer support: SimpliSafe has much higher customer support ratings than abode.
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 2020 or leave a comment below— I’m sure to answer in just a hop, skip and a jump.