SimpliSafe is a smart home security company that’s known for its lack of long-term contracts. Instead, users can pay monthly for 24/7 professional monitoring, or self-monitor through the SimpliSafe app, although capabilities might be a bit limited.
- Although self-monitoring is an option with SimpliSafe, users will only be able to livestream footage; for remote control of the system and notifications, they’ll need to buy the Interactive Plan for $24.99 a month.
- SimpliSafe’s system works with both Alexa and Google Assistant along with Nest thermostats and August smart locks.
- Installation can be easy, DIY, or professional, available for only $79.
Price: Packages from $274.94 - $489.86
Best Feature: Easy DIY installation
Great For: People avoiding long-term contracts
Founded in 2006 by two Harvard Business School graduates, SimpliSafe was originally created with renters in mind. Unlike homeowners, renters need a security system that won’t damage their homes and that doesn’t require a long-term contract.
SimpliSafe’s mostly wireless security system covers everything from sirens and sensors to base stations, keypads and security cameras. Recently, they came out with a video doorbell. And while at first SimpliSafe required that users pay monthly for 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup, they added on a self-monitoring option as well. However, this option is pretty limited in terms of capabilities, to be explained in detail later.
- Flexible, monthly contracts and mostly wireless system
- 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup available for reasonable prices
- Integrations with Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest thermostats and August smart locks
- Must pay $24.99 a month for remote control, notifications, and other features.
- No Apple HomeKit integration
Check out our video review of SimpliSafe where you can see our team review the Simplisafe system up close and personal.
One good thing about SimpliSafe is how much users can customize their systems in terms of components. Written in detail below, the company has many components available and often come out with new products to add into their ecosystem. Here’s an overview of their most popular, current offerings.
Every SimpliSafe system requires a base station as well as a wireless keypad. Given that users sign up for 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup, which keeps the system on if the power goes out, the base station is what will connect users with the monitoring center.
The base station also comes with a 95-decibel siren, about as loud as a belt sander, which will go off if any of the sensors detect motion, entry or glass breaking. SimpliSafe recommends that customers place their base station somewhere inconspicuous so they remain connected with the monitoring team.
SimpliSafe’s wireless keypad is where users will arm and disarm their systems using a passcode. Like the base station, it will sound if any of the sensors go off, but note that even if the intruders smash the keypad, the base station will continue working. Typically, keypads are placed near front or side doors so that users can easily arm and disarm their systems on their way out and into their homes.
Entry sensors are two-part, magnetized sensors that go on a door/ window frame and the door/ window itself to tell when they have been opened or closed. They should be placed on doors and windows at the ground level of homes, as that’s where intruders are most likely to enter. If the sensors are moved more than two inches apart while the security system is armed, they will trigger the base station and alert the user, given that they’re paying for notifications.
Motion sensors should be placed in a living room, kitchen, or main hallway, used to detect motion when the system is armed. SimpliSafe’s motion sensors have a 30-foot range and a field of view of 90 degrees, so they’re best placed in corners.
Note that SimpliSafe offers a “home mode” that lets users have certain sensors armed and certain sensors disarmed, if they’re only going to be in a specific area of their homes like their bedrooms. For pet-owners, be aware that pets under 50 pounds won’t trigger the motion sensors, which should cover most cats and dogs.
Sometimes, burglars will break glass instead of opening a window to avoid the entry sensors, which is why glassbreak sensors are necessary. They can recognize the sound of glass breaking and alert the base station. SimpliSafe recommends that users put glassbreak sensors in any room that has three or more windows on the ground level.
The SimpliCam is SimpliSafe’s indoor camera, which users can livestream from the SimpliSafe app across all available plans. The SimpliCam plugs into power and is about 4.5 inches in height. It also comes with a stainless steel privacy shutter, useful for those concerned with surveillance. However, all SimpliSafe’s footage is encrypted through AES-256, the current industry standard.
While the SimpliCam costs $99, the company often has promotions that give customers a free camera with a new system purchase, so it’s best to wait until holiday sales to buy a SimpliSafe system. The camera should be placed in a main hallway or another main room on the ground level.
The SimpliCam has 1080p HD video display, the current industry standard, plus a wide, 120-degree field of view. The only drawback of the camera’s video quality is that there’s no way to zoom in digitally or optically, unlike some of its competitors.
The SimpliCam comes equipped with a speaker and microphone which lets users speak to whoever they’re livestreaming through the SimpliSafe app. Not only is this feature useful for communicating within a family, but it’s also useful for intrusions. Many intrusions have actually been stopped mid-way because of two-way audio, so this is a very necessary feature.
One drawback of the SimpliCam is it’s bright white light. Although this produces very clear night vision, it makes the camera more conspicuous than if it has infrared LED sensors. Other cameras on the market offer clear night vision without drawing so much attention to themselves.
Unfortunately, the SimpliCam lacks local storage through a micro-SD card slot. However, cloud storage is available either combined with monitoring, or on it’s on. On its own, 30 days of cloud storage costs $4.99 a month for one camera and $9.99 a month for two to 10 cameras.
From cloud storage, users can download and save clips to their own devices or local storage units like hard drives. It’s recommended to back up footage in two ways in case one method fails.
The SimpliCam will alert users whenever it detects motion when their systems are armed. However, it lacks the artificial intelligence capabilities that allow cameras to differentiate between people and other moving objects like packages or vehicles, so users might receive some unnecessary notifications. However, due to the camera’s heat sensors, it can tell the difference between humans and pets due to their unique heat signatures, so pet-owners won’t be notified from motion from pets.
For quick contact to emergency services, SimpliSafe offers a wireless panic button to be stored somewhere easily accessible in bedrooms. Once the user presses the panic button, it automatically triggers the alarm so that the monitoring team is alerted and can verify the emergency before contacting the police, if necessary.
In case users can’t reach their panic button in times of emergencies, SimpliSafe provides key fobs with two main functions: one, to arm and disarm the system without having to use the keypad and two, as an additional panic button.
For users with large houses who may not be able to hear their base station from everywhere in the house, SimpliSafe has an auxiliary siren that’s actually louder than the base station at 105-decibels. About as loud as a table saw and water-resistant, the auxiliary siren can even be used outside to alert neighbors of trouble.
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
Like many other smart home companies, SimpliSafe recently introduced a video doorbell that lets users see and speak to whoever’s at their doors. Basically, it’s an outdoor camera that’s hardwired into homes through their existing doorbell setup, and it can be installed using only a Philips head screwdriver.
Unlike the SimpliCam, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro has person detection so users won’t be notified about motion from vehicles, a huge plus. The video doorbell also has 1080p HD video display, a very wide, 162 degree field of view, two-way audio, and infrared night vision. Storage-wise, the options are the same as the SimpliCam, with no local storage and cloud storage available for monthly fees. The cost is $169, which is actually below average compared to competitors.
SimpliSafe makes its own smart lock which can be controlled remotely through the SimpliSafe app. Available in cloud, nickel or obsidian, the lock costs $99 and includes an outdoor PIN pad. Synced with the rest of the security system, the smart lock can lock as soon as the system is armed and unlock as soon as the system is disarmed, not requiring use of the app or a key.
After five wrong PIN numbers, the user will be notified and after 15 wrong attempts, the lock will lock for half an hour, and if the user has a monitoring plan, the team will call them and potentially call the police.
The user will be notified of all of the locks’ activity and can even sync it with Alexa and Google Assistant, given they have the Interactive Plan. Users can also give guests temporary passcodes so that they can easily unlock the door when they’re not home. Without causing damage to doors, the smart lock can be installed over any existing deadbolt using a screwdriver, with no drill needed.
SimpilSafe also offers environmental monitoring, keeping users safe from fires, dangerous CO levels, and flooding as well as home invasions.
Not only does the SimpliSafe smoke detector have an internal siren, but it can also trigger the base station’s alarm, along with alerting the user via the SimpliSafe app. The smoke detector costs $29.99.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous because it’s odorless, colorless and completely invisible to the naked eye. However, if dangerous levels are ingested, it could be lethal, which is why it’s important to have a carbon monoxide or CO detector. SimpliSafe’s version will also alert users via their mobile application so even if they’re not home, they can alert anyone who is home to evacuate. The detector costs $49.99.
The majority of floods are preventable, if the water leak is detected early enough. Once the water sensor contacts water, the user will be alerted, all for $19.99 each.
Finally, the freeze sensor detects users when the temperature indoors is below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures could lead to pipes freezing and bursting, which could be costly, so this $29.99 device can come in handy.
Setup and Performance
SimpliSafe certainly has a wide array of available products, but it’s important to make sure that they work as well as advertised. Our team of experts tested out the SimpliSafe system to see just how well it performed.
How Well It Worked
SimpliSafe is one of the easiest systems to get up and running and use on a daily basis, even as they’ve added various new components like the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell pro. Nearly everything is wireless and in communication with the hub, or base station. The SimpliSafe hub conveys information by speaking to you out loud, sending notifications to your app, and even changing the color of the LED strip at its base.
Due to frequent firmware updates, there’s little to stress about SimpliSafe once the system is installed. Even if an intruder destroys the keypad, the sensors can still connect to the base station, mobile app and professional monitoring center.
Although the SimpliSafe system is mostly made of plastic, we have had the sensors installed for well over a year without any issues. Further still, the SimpliCam has been dropped on a number of occasions and still functions without a hiccup. Frankly, the durability of SimpliSafe is not at issue because the system requires so little interaction.
Smart Platform Integrations
SimpliSafe works with Alexa and Google Assistant, the two most popular voice assistants from Amazon and Google, respectively. Here’s exactly what users can do with each.
Using Alexa, users can arm their security system in either home or away mode, or check the status of their security system.
Here are the commands for each:
- Alexa, ask SimpliSafe to arm my system in away mode
- Alexa, tell SimpliSafe I’m going out
- Alexa, tell SimpliSafe I’m leaving
- Alexa, tell SimpliSafe to turn on
- Alexa, ask SimpliSafe to arm my system in home mode.
- Alexa, tell SimpliSafe to lock up.
- Alexa, tell SimpliSafe good night.
- Alexa, tell SimpliSafe I’m going to bed.
- Alexa, ask SimpliSafe if my house is secure
- Alexa, ask SimpliSafe if I am protected
- Alexa, ask SimpliSafe for my current status
- Alexa, ask SimpliSafe what’s shakin’
This skill only works with the latest version of SimpliSafe and users must pay for the Interactive Plan to use it.
Weather on the Nest Hub Max
Those in the Google smart home ecosystem can have the Google Assistant arm their SimpliSafe security system in either home or away mode, just like the Alexa skill. Users can say either “arm security” or “set security to arm”. Again, this integration is only available with the Interactive Plan.
Aside from voice assistants, SimpliSafe also works with Nest thermostats and August smart locks, allowing for automated actions. For example, users can have their Nest thermostats automatically turn down or have their locks lock automatically when the system is armed in away mode.
How to Set Up Instructions
SimpliSafe’s setup guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to install all of their components, beginning with the base station and keypad.
Here are the few first steps:
- Plug in the base station in a central location in your home like near a front or side door on the ground level.
- Your SimpliSafe app will guide you through creating a Master PIN for your system. The keypad comes equipped with adhesive tape, so just peel it off and stick it to your wall. It should be placed near the main entrance.
- Next, install and name your devices in the keypad. In short, the keypad will prompt you to remove the devices’ battery tabs, press the test button and choose from a list of names like Living Room, Kitchen, Basement, etc.
Aside from instructions, the setup guide also provides users with information on how to use their systems, warnings about the keypads and frequently asked questions.
SimpliSafe offers self-monitoring along with 24/7 professional monitoring. However, users who self-monitor their systems won’t be able to receive notifications or control their systems remotely, although they can livestream footage through the SimpliSafe app. To get notifications and remote control, along with a few other features, users will need the Interactive Plan, which includes 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup.
Users with 24/7 professional monitoring will not only be alerted if any of their alarms go off, but a team of professional monitors will also be alerted. After verifying that an emergency is taking place, be it a home invasion or an environmental emergency like a fire, the monitoring team can call the proper services for the user if they don’t respond, be it the police, fire department or even the local hospital. With SimpliSafe, 24/7 professional monitoring comes with a cellular connection which will keep the system on in the event of a power outage.
Here’s what else is included with the top-tier Interactive Plan:
- Environmental monitoring: To use the smoke, CO, water or freeze sensors, users must buy either the Standard or Interactive plan.
- Secret alarms: To receive notifications without having alarms sound, users must buy the Interactive Plan.
- Video-verified alarms: To receive a video clip of the camera’s footage in the body of the push notification, users must buy the Interactive Plan.
- 30 days of cloud storage: If a user wants 30 days of cloud storage, they have two options. They can either buy the Interactive Plan, which includes it, or pay a separate monthly fee for cloud storage. The cost is either $4.99 a month for one camera or $9.99 a month for two to 10 cameras.
- Smart platform integrations: Finally, to integrate SimpliSafe with Alexa or Google Assistant, users will need the Interactive Plan.
Price and Contracts
Users can self-monitor their SimpliSafe security systems for free. However, if they want 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, and environmental monitoring, the Standard Plan costs $14.99 a month.
For the entire package which adds on remote control, notifications, secret alarms, video verified alarms, 30 days of cloud storage plus smart platform integrations, the Interactive Plan costs $24.99 a month. Again, if a user wants cloud storage on it’s own, the cost is $4.99 a month per a single camera or $9.99 a month for two to 10 cameras.
SimpliSafe only offers monthly contracts so users won’t be forced to make a long-term commitment and can cancel anytime.
If the user installs their SimpliSafe system themselves, there’s no moving fee from the company. However, if the user wants professional installation, they’ll have to pay that $79 fee again if they move.
SimpliSafe has a few options in regards to customer support, including a phone line, a user forum, and email address, plus a few user manuals online. Support is available via phone and email everyday from nine AM until midnight, EST, except for the following holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
- Fourth of July
SimpliSafe’s phone number for support is 1-800-297-1605.
SimpliSafe’s support email is [email protected].
Online Help Center
SimpliSafe’s online help center has information about using their systems, orders and billing, monitoring, and general questions. In our experience, most of the answers we’re looking for are easy to find. There are also user forums that are pretty extensive. However, not all of them have responses from support staff, which is a bit disappointing, as it can feel a little like the blind leading the blind with other customers offering their best guesses.
Unfortunately, SimpliSafe doesn’t offer live chat, which is a feature that many younger users may want.
Our Experience Contacting Support
In installing, researching and testing SimpliSafe, we’ve had to reach out to their customer support via email a few times. Once, they responded within the same day, once, it took a day to respond, and once it took five days, so the average stands at two days, which is not bad. However, for the fastest support, users should call SimpliSafe directly.
The email responses we did receive were very friendly and thorough, so overall, we had a good experience with SimpliSafe’s customer support team.
Looking at reviews for a 12-piece SimpliSafe system on Amazon that included smoke and water sensors, the overall rating was 3.5, with 75% of the reviews at a perfect five stars. Out of the 20 reviews that mentioned customer support specifically, 45% were five stars and 70% were three stars or above, which speaks highly of their support system.
As a company, SimpliSafe has a 4.7 star rating on Google, with over 80% of the reviews at five stars. The majority of the reviews mentioning customer support were positive just like on Amazon.
The SimpliSafe App
Whatever plan a user chooses, they will use the SimpliSafe app to livestream footage at the very least. This section goes over the app’s capabilities as well as it’s ratings on the Apple and Google Play stores.
Depending on the user plan, the SimpliSafe app is where users can arm and disarm the system, livestream footage, view cloud storage and system activity, set up smart platform integrations as well as secret alerts and receive notifications.
Google Play Store Rating
Android users gave the SimpliSafe app a 4.5 star rating. In a recent five-star review, William Tinklepaugh wrote,
“Over all the Simplisafe App is everything it should be. It’s not confusing to use. It provides (what I believe) the perfect amount of options, without being technical.”
Apple Store Rating
The SimpliSafe app has a 4.8 rating on the Apple store from over 4,000 ratings, one of the highest ratings that our team has seen from a smart security app.
This section compares SimpliSafe to security systems from three popular companies, Ring, ADT and Nest.
SimpliSafe vs. Ring
Ring and SimpliSafe have a lot of similarities. Both offer self-monitoring in addition to 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup. However, even if users monitor their Ring system themselves, they’ll still be able to control their devices remotely and receive notifications, unlike SimpliSafe.
In addition, Ring customers can pay $10 a month or $100 a year for professional monitoring and cellular backup, while SimpliSafe customers would pay $24.99 a month for the same services. However, in terms of equipment costs, the companies are pretty similar. Another difference is installation.
While both Ring and SimpliSafe offer DIY installation, only SimpliSafe offers a professional installation option for $79. Both systems work with Alexa and Google Assistant, but other IoT devices differ in terms of their capability.
To learn more, read our full review of SimpliSafe vs. Ring.
SimpliSafe vs. ADT
ADT is the oldest security company in the United States and its monitoring options reflect that. Unlike SimpliSafe, ADT requires that you sign up for a three-year contract for 24/7 professional monitoring.
The cost isn’t set in stone; rather, it’s based on the user’s equipment and services. Our team found that SimpliSafe was easier to install, with better customer support and lower prices than ADT.
To learn more, read our full review of SimpliSafe vs. ADT.
SimpliSafe vs. Nest
Nest, a company owned by Google, is one of SimpliSafe’s biggest competitors. Their Nest Secure system is way more minimalist than SimpliSafe’s Summerfort system, consisting of only the Nest Guard, a base station, two Nest Detector sensors, plus two Nest Tags, or key fobs. Users can also choose from their wide array of cameras, namely the Nest Cam Indoor, the Nest Cam Outdoor, plus the newer and more impressive Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.
Nest’s products are at the top of the industry in terms of quality, but they’re also towards the top when it comes to price. While they do provide a self-monitoring option that includes notifications and remote control, professional monitoring will cost either $19 a month with a yearly contract or $29 a month with a monthly contract, so we recommend signing up yearly to lock in a lower price.
Another added cost is storage, which is sold separately from monitoring. Fortunately, Nest recently lowered it’s storage prices, so 30 days of cloud storage costs $6 a month or $60 a year while 60 days of cloud storage costs $12 month or $24 a year.
That means that if you want 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup and 30 days of cloud storage, it will cost a minimum of $24 a month with Nest or $24.99 with SimpliSafe, a negligible difference. However, users that want to self-monitor should go with Nest as they will get more app capabilities.
To learn more, read our full review of the Nest Secure security system.
Here’s some more important information about SimpliSafe.
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, SimpliSafe was founded in 2006 by Chad and Eleanor Laurans, who were at the time students at Harvard Business School. After a few of their friends’ Cambridge apartments were robbed, the Laurans decided to create a security company specifically for renters that didn’t require signing up for long-term contracts.
Working from home from 2006 to 2008, SimpliSafe launched with help from angel investors in 2009. The next year, their revenue was $1.4 million, and revenue increased to $38.5 million only two years later in 2013. The next year, SimpliSafe raised $57 million in Series A funding, making them one of Boston’s fastest-growing companies.
By 2015, SimpliSafe had 300,000 customers and 250 employees and in 2018, the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman has a controlling interest. The same year, they introduced the third generation of their security system, redesigned with help from a design firm called IDEO. The company plans to release an outdoor camera in addition to its most recent products, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro and the SimpliSafe Smart Lock.
Where to Purchase
It’s best to purchase SimpliSafe directly from their website. However, some devices and systems are also available on Amazon. We recommend buying directly from the company for the lowest prices and sales.
The best way to contact SimpliSafe is over the phone at 1-800-548-9508. They’re available everyday from nine AM until midnight, EST. Another option is to fill out the contact form on their website. For regular updates, email offers are also available.
Here are links for SimpliSafe’s social media accounts:
SimpliSafe offers a three-year, limited warranty on it’s products. They will accept defective products or product parts and will replace them with new or reconditioned products for up to three years after the original purchase date.
SimpliSafe offers a 60-day money back guarantee. If users aren’t satisfied with their product, they can return it within the first 60 days of ownership for a total refund including shipping with a prepaid label. Users will be refunded after SimpliSafe receives their products.
Overall, our team is very impressed with SimpliSafe’s system and offerings, especially since they’ve introduced self-monitoring and some new components like the Video Doorbell Pro.
Who We Recommend SimpliSafe For
- Renters will appreciate the lack of long-term contracts as well as the mostly wireless system, which is easy to both install and remove.
- People who want 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup will appreciate SimpliSafe’s relatively low prices.
- Those in the Amazon or Google ecosystem, or anyone who owns Nest thermostats or August smart locks, could easily integrate SimpliSafe into their smart homes.
Who We Don’t Recommend SimpliSafe For
- People that want to avoid monthly fees and monitor their systems themselves won’t like that they won’t have remote control of their system, nor will they receive notifications if any sensors go off.
- People in the Apple smart home ecosystem won’t be able to integrate SimpliSafe into their smart home or perform voice commands through Siri.
- For people looking for the absolute lowest prices around, SimpliSafe may not be the best option.
To learn about some other great options, read our review of the best home security systems of 2020.
Is SimpliSafe any good?
SimpliSafe is one of our top-rated security systems, with affordable and flexible professional monitoring, awesome smart platform integrations and impressive customer support and system components.
Is SimpliSafe better than ADT?
SimpliSafe is better than ADT when it comes to installation, customer support, and pricing, but ADT has SimpliSafe beat in terms of their app and variety of system components.
How much does SimpliSafe cost per month?
You can pay $0 for SimpliSafe a month, but you won’t have access to the app. If you want professional monitoring, then SimpliSafe either costs $14.99 a month or $24.99 a month. The former Standard Plan will get you environmental and professional monitoring plus cellular backup, while the latter Interactive Plan adds on remote control, notifications, cloud storage, and other features.
Does SimpliSafe offer professional monitoring?
SimpliSafe does offer professional monitoring with either the Standard or the Interactive Plans. For users that only want 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, and environmental monitoring, the Standard Plan costs $14.99 a month. For the entire package which adds on remote control, notifications, secret alarms, video verified alarms, 30 days of cloud storage plus smart platform integrations, the Interactive Plan costs $24.99 a month.