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.
Did you know that 83% of U.S homes don’t have security systems? Scout and SimpliSafe aim to change that. They both offer affordable systems with flexible contracting, disrupting the old-school security industry.
Scout and SimpliSafe started in pretty similar ways. Scout was born in Chicago when one of its soon-to-be founders tried to buy a home security kit. Finding all his options outdated and expensive, he began an independent crowdfunding campaign to make a new kind of security system. Within a month, the campaign had exceeded its goal, and since, Scout has sold over $500,000 worth of smart security systems.
In the same vein, SimpliSafe began when two Harvard Business School students wanted to create a security system with month-to-month contracting that would appeal to renters as well as home-owners. And voila— SimpliSafe was started!
I purchased the Summerfort System from SimpliSafe and a customized kit from Scout, and I’m super to see which one comes out on top. I’ll be comparing the system’s key similarities and differences, system components, professional monitoring, customer support, and apps. Let’s get started!
Key Similarities of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe
First of all, we should talk about SimpliSafe and Scout’s similarities to make sure that you’re in the right ball park.
- DIY installation: You’ll install both the Scout and SimpliSafe systems yourself, although SimpliSafe has a professional installation option for $79.
- Cellular backup: With either system, you’ll get cellular backup to make sure your system stays on during a power outage.
- Flexible contracting: Both companies offer a month-to-month contract term-length for professional monitoring.
All positives, unless you were looking for professional installation (in which case, might I recommend Vivint?). Now let’s see how the two companies differ.
Key Differences of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe
Scout and SimpliSafe definitely have their differences, like:
- App ratings: Both Android and iPhone users preferred the Scout app to the SimpliSafe app.
- Customer support: Scout has better customer support reviews than SimpliSafe.
Let’s get into more detail.
System Components of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe
The Summerfort system and the customized system from Scout are pretty similar. They both have a base station or hub which connects all the systems components and communicates with the apps, entry or access sensors that tell you when doors or windows have been opened or closed, motion sensors, glass break sensors, and indoor cameras. With my Scout system, I threw in a smart lock, while my SimpliSafe system came with a wireless keypad, panic button, key fobs, and an auxiliary siren.
Installing Scout Vs. SimpliSafe
Both Scout and SimpliSafe offer DIY installation, so I want to make sure it’s actually easy to do yourself. I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do than install security systems all day, so I’m hoping these processes are seamless.
Scout was not the easiest system in the world to install, but this is largely because I didn’t install the parts one a time. Readers, don’t be like me: go one-by-one when you install the Scout Alarm system. And don’t you dare pull off those battery strips before you are supposed to!
As far as the door panel, access sensors, and motion sensor, installation wasn’t too bad. For each device, I just added it in the app, paired it with both the app and the hub, then installed it by sticking it to the wall.
The hard part came when I had to install the camera. First of all, connecting the camera to the power adapter was a struggle for me, considering its placement. Next, I realized I had to pay money to set up the camera at all, which Scout does not make clear. Finally, I accidentally put a space in my password which caused me to reset the camera multiple times before it started working correctly. All in all, the process took much longer than I would have liked.
SimpliSafe prides itself on its easy setup, and I can definitely attest to that. Once I stuck the sensors on my wall, windows, and doors, all I had to do was plug in the base station and sync the sensors with the base station and voila, I had a security system.
However, if that seems like too much for you, professional installation is available for only $79.
Top System for Installation
Overall, it was much easier and quicker to install SimpliSafe over Scout.
Professional Monitoring with Scout Vs. SimpliSafe
Professional monitoring means that a team of people will be alert to your home’s security 24/7. They’ll be there if any alarm goes off, and they can always contact emergency services for you if necessary. I recommend getting professional monitoring with any security system, as it ensures that you’ll get the help you need.
Both Scout and SimpliSafe give you the option to self-monitor, but with SimpliSafe, your app capabilities are limited to livestreaming. Another difference is that SimpliSafe now offers a cloud storage option separate from monitoring, which is cool.
Scout Vs. SimpliSafe Monitoring Options
As you can see, Scout’s plans are lower-priced than SimpliSafe’s. To get professional monitoring, cellular backup, and remote control of your system will cost you $19.99 a month with Scout or $24.99 a month with SimpliSafe. It’s not a huge difference, but think about it— you’re probably going to have the same security system for years. After months and months, that extra $5 a month is going to add up.
Keep in mind that even if you choose to self-monitor with Scout, you’ll still need to pay $9.99 a month to be able to use your camera, get cellular backup, and receive notifications. Now let’s talk about some features only available through SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan.
For whatever reason, you may not want your alarms to make a sound. Maybe you don’t want to wake a sleeping baby if your husband walks in the front door, or maybe you’re trying to catch someone opening your safe without them knowing. That’s where secret alarms come in. You can have an alarm notify you in lieu of sounding off, which could be quite useful.
Video Verified Alarms
Another feature only available in SimpliSafe’s highest-tier plan is video verified alarms. Basically, if one of your alarms goes off, a one minute video clip will be sent immediately to the professional monitoring team. From there, they can contact emergency services using the clip as evidence of a crime taking place. The benefit? Video verified alarms lead to higher arrest rates, according to a study on the SimpliSafe website.
Scout Vs. SimpliSafe Contracts
Both Scout and SimpliSafe offer flexible, month-to-month contracting. Scout also has a yearly option, but it’s not binding— you can cancel whenever and receive a prorated refund. Absolutely no cancellation fees? That’s what I like to hear!
Scout Vs. SimpliSafe Moving Policies
If you were paying attention, you’ll remember that both SimpliSafe and Scout offer DIY installation, so if you’re moving, you can just pack everything up and bring it to your new abode.
Top System for Monitoring
The choice is clear: Scout has the better professional monitoring. Not only does it give you the option to self-monitor, but the monthly fees are also lower. Sorry, SimpliSafe!
Customer Support with Scout Vs. SimpliSafe
As you can see, you can access customer support from either company using the same methods. Neither company offers a live-chat feature, which I found a little disappointing.
I looked at Amazon reviews for a nine-piece kit from Scout, as mine was customized. The system has 4.2 out of five stars which is awesome. Similarly, Scout as a company has a perfect five-star rating on Google— both impressive, but I want to see what people said about customer support specifically. Out of six reviews that mentioned customer support, five were positive!
“The customer service is second to none. They even send you complimentary batteries when they are ready to be replaced…the system will require some tinkering every now and then. I recently had a frustrating issue and Scout bent over backward to make it right. I am very pleased and satisfied with Scout Alarm,”
wrote an Amazon customer in a five-star review.
The Summerfort system I bought from SimpliSafe wasn’t available on Amazon, so I took a look at reviews for a similar 12-piece system. Overall, the system got 3.5 stars on Amazon, while SimpliSafe as a company got three stars on Google— not as impressive. The Google reviews were split down the middle about customer support, with ravings and rantings side-by-side.
Top System for Customer Support
Scout has better customer support than SimpliSafe, with an average rating of 4.6 stars compared to SimpliSafe’s 3.25. In my opinion, a company with such a wholesome name as Scout should have good customer support!
The Scout App vs. the SimpliSafe App
Since you’re buying a smart security system, you’ll need an app that knows what’s up. An app that isn’t slowed down by cloud storage, an app that doesn’t barrage you with notifications. Are the Scout and SimpliSafe apps up to snuff?
The Scout App
On the Scout app, you’ll be able to arm and disarm your security system, view your home’s recent activity, livestream footage, receive notifications, and control all connected devices. The app has a decent rating of 3.6 from the Google Play store, but strangely, no rating on the Apple store. When I clicked on the actual reviews, I saw that the ones from the past year were bad, while the ones from before were good. Seems fishy, as there used to be an overall rating of 3.3…
The SimpliSafe App
The SimpliSafe app is where you’ll arm and disarm your system, control any connected devices, receive notifications, and livestream and download footage if you have the Interactive Plan.
The app’s reviews have definitely improved within the past year. Currently, it has a 3.7 from the Google Play store and a 4.6 from the Apple store. It’s nice to see that they’ve spent more time on their app, because before a year ago, there were a lot of complaints.
Top System App
SimpliSafe has the better app than Scout, which seems to be backtracking in quality a bit.
Recap of Scout Vs. SimpliSafe
While Scout has more flexible, more affordable monitoring options and superior customer service, SimpliSafe had easier installation and a higher-ranked app, making it a tie. However, I’d choose SimpliSafe over Scout because its strengths relate more to the user’s experience. Still, your choice will probably come down to your personal preferences.
Pick Scout if you’d like…
- Option to self-monitor: Scout gives you more flexible if you want to monitor your system through the Scout app.
- Tons of smart platform integrations: Although SimpliSafe works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest thermostats and August smart locks, Scout has more integrations overall which include Yale and Kwikset Z-Wave Locks, LIFX, Philips Hue and IFTTT in addition to Alexa and Google Home.
- Superior customer support: Scout has some of the best customer support in the security game today.
To learn more, check out our full written review on the Scout Alarm security system.
Pick SimpliSafe if you’d like…
- Lower cost for equipment: The SimpliSafe Summerfort system costs $129 less than a customized kit from Scout.
- Extra features like secret alarms and video-verified alarms: SimpliSafe offers some unique features that I haven’t seen from any other security company.
- Easy installation: Installing SimpliSafe was a lot less complicated than installing Scout. Plus, they have a professional installation option which is the easiest of all!
Want to learn more? Read our review of the SimpliSafe security system.
Related: Best Security Systems of 2020