Note: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring.
If you know anything about security systems, you’ve probably heard of Frontpoint. They’re known for their incredible customer ratings, often a rarity in the home security industry. Although they were only founded a decade ago, Frontpoint is a pretty old-school company when it comes to their long-term contracts for professional monitoring. But with such great accolades from customers, is Frontpoint worth it?
I’m going to compare Frontpoint with SimpliSafe, another DIY security company. Fun fact: SimpliSafe was created when friends of two Harvard Business School students kept getting their Cambridge apartments robbed. With engineering degrees in their hands and the promise of renters safety in their hearts, the students founded SimpliSafe, known for its month-to-month contracting.
In this review, I’m going to compare SimpliSafe to Frontpoint: their system components, installation processes, professional monitoring options, customer support, and finally, their respective mobile apps. I’ll be referencing my customized Frontpoint package and SimpliSafe’s Summerfort System, to be specific. Let’s see which security system will come out on top!
What do the Frontpoint and SimpliSafe systems have in common? Both have:
- DIY installation: the majority of both systems are wireless and peel-and-stick, making installation a breeze.
- 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup included: neither plan gives you the option to self-monitor.
- Good customer support: both have generally positive ratings from the Better Business Bureau and Google.
Of course, this is a comparison, so you’re going to want to know how the two systems differ. The biggest differences between Frontpoint and SimpliSafe are:
- Contract term lengths: Frontpoint requires long-term contracts, while SimpliSafe has a month-to-month option.
- Cancellation fees: If you want to cancel before your contract is up, Frontpoint requires that you pay 80% of the remainder, while SimpliSafe lets you cancel without having to pay an additional money.
- Mobile apps: Frontpoint’s app is higher rated than SimpliSafe’s app, which wasn’t exactly beloved by its users.
Now let’s get into the meat of the systems and see how they stack up.
We recommend Frontpoint due to its unmatched customer support, its user-friendly app, and its awesome camera with 1080p HD video display, two-way audio, and free local and cloud storage. I also love that 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup are built-in.
I customized my Frontpoint package, while I purchased a pre-packaged system from SimpliSafe. Both of my packages included keypads, entry sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors, security cameras, and key fobs. I purchased a few extras from Frontpoint like a smoke/ heat sensor for environmental monitoring, a video doorbell, and a smart lock. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know how I feel about connected devices!
Both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint boast DIY installation, which I love because it means that I don’t have to pay a professional. But which system was easier to install?
Anyone could install the SimpliSafe system, whether you’re an experienced carpenter or you’ve never screwed in a light bulb. All the sensors were peel-and-stick, which I loved, and none of them fell off even once. After I put the sensors in, all I had to do was sync up my base station with the app and the surrounding sensors. Easy as pie.
Like SimpliSafe, the majority of Frontpoint’s components stick on the wall, and everything comes pre-programmed with the hub. Installing the camera was a little more complicated, as it involved ethernet and power cables, adding the camera on the Frontpoint website, and then connecting it to my Wi-Fi, but it’s still something anyone remotely tech-savvy could do.
Top System Installation
The SimpliSafe system was easier to install by a hair, but both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint have super simple DIY installation. One point to SimpliSafe!
SimpliSafe has easy DIY installation, great customer support, and flexible monthly contracting.
Both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint include 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup. With professional monitoring, you’ll have a team of people monitor your system and contact emergency services for you if needed. Cellular backup ensures that your system will stay on even if the power go out.
SimpliSafe and Frontpoint Monitoring Options
Like I said, whichever option you choose, your SimpliSafe or Frontpoint plan will include 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup, but that is the end of the similarities. This chart is pretty intense (you’re welcome) but let’s take a step back and talk about what some of the more esoteric features actually entail.
If you don’t want anyone else to know when an alarm goes off, SimpliSafe offers secret alerts, which means that you’ll receive notifications but the alarms won’t sound. This can be useful for something like a liquor cabinet or a safe. Only SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan offers secret alarms.
Video Verified Alarms
If an alarm is triggered, the camera will immediately start recording and will send the monitoring center a one-minute clip. From there, the monitoring team can confirm if a crime is taking place, and call the police if necessary. Having video evidence sent directly to your professional monitoring team means faster emergency response time, and according to SimpliSafe’s website, higher arrest rates. Again, video verified alarms are only available with SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan.
Automated System Checks
All Frontpoint systems come with automated system checks, which ensure that your home’s security system is online and active through hourly tests.
Unique User Codes
Want to share access to your security system with family or friends? All Frontpoint systems allow you to assign multiple unique user codes so others can access your Frontpoint account.
Crash and Smash Protection
If you choose to do Frontpoint’s Interactive or Ultimate plans, you’ll receive crash and smash protection. Oftentimes, intruders will try to deactivate security systems by breaking control panels. With Crash and Smash Protection, the professional monitoring team will be notified as soon as your control panel is smashed. Even if your physical hardware is broken, the professional monitors can still call the police for you.
Geo-location services is one feature from Frontpoint’s Interactive and Ultimate plans that I personally find a bit creepy. It allows users to link their family members’ cell phones up with their Frontpoint systems so that the users can track family members’ locations throughout the day. As most smart phones have location services built-in, this feature seems a bit unnecessary, but perhaps it could be helpful for someone without a smart phone who, for whatever reason, needs tracking.
Not only will you be able to review your video footage, but also a timeline of your sensor’s history with Frontpoint’s Interactive and Ultimate plans.
Motion Triggered Alerts
Motion triggered alerts mean that as soon as your camera detects motion, it will notify you immediately with a clip or image. It’s an easy way to stay on top of your home’s security without even having to log into your Frontpoint app. Motion triggered alerts are only available under Frontpoint’s Ultimate plan.
SimpliSafe and Frontpoint Contracts
Contracts are where things get really different. Frontpoint requires that you sign a one or three year contract. If you want to cancel before your contract is up, you’ll have to pay 80% of its remainder. After your initial contract is up, you can go month-to month if you prefer.
SimpliSafe, on the other hand, does not require term-length contracts— everything is month-to-month. You can cancel at anytime without having to pay a fee, which is clearly a lot better than Frontpoint’s binding contracts.
SimpliSafe and Frontpoint Moving Policies
As both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint have DIY installation, you’re able to easily move either system if necessary. For Frontpoint, just let them know that you’re moving. They’ll send you more double-sided adhesive and activate the system for you when you’re ready. Before you move, they’ll make sure your new place has a cellular signal (which it should, as they offer cellular connections through AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon). There are no fees involved.
SimpliSafe works the same way- simply pick up your system and re-install it in your new home.
Top System for Monitoring
As SimpliSafe’s plans are way more affordable and don’t require long-term contracts, SimpliSafe is the clear choice for professional monitoring. SimpliSafe is definitely a more modern security system than Frontpoint, and its professional monitoring options reflect that. Shout out to SimpliSafe for making professional monitoring affordable and flexible!
Although I’m disappointed that neither company offers live chat, with Google ratings of 4.5 and 4.7, Frontpoint and SimpliSafe are clearly doing something right where their customer support is concerned.
“I’m very impressed both with the quality of the alarm system and with customer service. The alarm was easier than I expected to install and any questions I had was answered by their representatives,”
wrote Gerald Flanders of SimpliSafe in a five-star Google review earlier this year. People had equally positive things to say about Frontpoint,
“I’ve had Frontpoint for 1.5 yrs now after doing my research on home security companies. I have been impressed with their amazing customer service from my initial inquiries to installing it myself at home. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to has a been pleasant and helpful,”
wrote Krystal Oberski in another five-star Google review.
SimpliSafe loses points for having poor customer ratings from the Better Business Bureau, as 80% of the reviews mentioning customer support were negative. It seems like while customer support is helpful with initial installation, they are less helpful when customers encounter technical difficulties.
Top System for Customer Support
Both SimpliSafe and Frontpoint have pretty positive customer support ratings, but Frontpoint wins for customer support, with better ratings from the Better Business Bureau and Google than SimpliSafe. I can’t say I’ve seen a security companies with more gushing customer support reviews than Frontpoint. In this battle, Frontpoint absolutely crushes it.
Your app is what distinguishes the old-school security system that your parents had from a smart security system. You’ll use it to monitor your home’s security, wherever you are. Let’s see how the SimpliSafe and Frontpoint apps stack up.
The SimpliSafe App
On SimpliSafe’s app, you’ll be able to arm and disarm your system, control connected devices, receive notifications, and livestream and download footage (if you have the Interactive Plan, of course).
People weren’t loving the app— it only got a 3.3 rating on the Google Play store and a 2.8 rating on the Apple Store!
The Frontpoint App
From the Frontpoint app, you’ll be able to arm and disarm your system, receive push notifications, livestream footage or view your video history, and control all connected devices.
Customers like the Frontpoint app, with ratings of 4.1 from Android users and 4.5 from iPhone users. For a security app, these are pretty high ratings.
Top System App
Frontpoint clearly has the better app verified by customer ratings from both iPhone and Android users. No matter what side of the aisle you land on, Frontpoint’s app will probably work better for you than SimpliSafe’s. Frontpoint with another one!
Recap of SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint
There’s no doubt that I’ve thrown a lot of information your way. So which system is better, SimpliSafe or Frontpoint?
I think the choice comes down to your personal preference.
Pick SimpliSafe If You’d Like…
- Month-to-month contracting: you’ll be able to cancel at anytime without having to pay a fee.
- Incredibly simple installation: everything is wireless and peel-and stick, which makes installation a breeze.
- Affordable professional monitoring: plans start at less than $15 a month.
Pick Frontpoint If You’d Like…
- Fantastic customer support: high ratings from the Better Business Bureau and Google.
- High-rated app: positive reviews from both iPhone and Android users.
- Pretty easy installation: the majority of the system is wireless and the only mildly complicated part is installing the camera.
If neither system sounds good to you, check out the best home security systems of 2019.