Note: SimpliSafe now offers self-monitoring, which will disable app usage and turn the system into a local system only.
Update: Vivint now offers 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup for $39.99 a month plus $5 per camera for 14 days of cloud storage. Without this plan, your system will be a local alarm only.
If you’re a security nerd like me, then you probably already know about SimpliSafe and Vivint. SimpliSafe was founded in 2006 by two students at Harvard Business School who wanted to create a security system for renters. That’s why they created a company with month-to-month contracting, because you never know when you’re going to be on the go!
Vivint, on the other hand, is an older company founded in 1999. In 2012, they were acquired by the Blackstone Group for over two billion dollars and currently, they have over 1.3 million customers in the U.S and Canada. No big deal, right?
I purchased the Summerfort system from SimpliSafe and the Basic Security System from Vivint. Which one is the system for you? We’re about to find out.
First I want to give you an overview of what the two systems have in common, and what they have that’s different. Let’s take a closer look.
- Cellular backup included: No matter which plan you choose, you’ll get cellular backup with your systems.
- Customer support: Both companies have Google ratings in between three and four stars.
- Some system components: Both systems I purchased include entry sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors, and security cameras.
- Installation: While Vivint offers professional installation, SimpliSafe is DIY.
- App ratings: The Vivint Smart Home app has better ratings than the SimpliSafe app.
- Monitoring options: While Vivint gives you the option to self-monitor, SimpliSafe requires that you sign up for 24/7 professional monitoring.
If that all sounds good, we can move on to system components.
SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint System Components
Both the SimpliSafe Summerfort System and the Vivint Basic Security System include entry, motion, and glass break sensors along with security cameras. SimpliSafe also gives you a base station, panic button, key fob, and auxiliary siren, while Vivint throws in smoke and C.O monitors, a video doorbell, a smart lock, and a control panel.
SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint Installation
While you’ll install SimpliSafe yourself, Vivint requires professional installation. Let’s take a closer look.
Installing SimpliSafe requires no tools, no drilling, and no knowledge of security systems at all. The majority of the system is peel-and-stick, which a literal child could handle. Once the sensors are up, all I had to do was plug in the base station and sync everything in my SimpliSafe app. From start to finish, installing SimpliSafe took only a few minutes, so I’m super pleased.
For $129, you’ll get your Vivint system professionally installed by the same person who delivers it. My technician was very polite and courteous, putting booties around his shoes as to not track in dirt into my home. He also clearly knew what he was talking about with the system, making me feel very confident that it was set up correctly.
Vivint has 1.3 million customers in the U.S and Canada, plus professional monitoring and the highest-rated app of any security company.
Top System Installation
I have to call a tie for this round, as you can’t really compare DIY with professional installation— it’s sort of like comparing apples and oranges. I guess monitoring, customer support, and the app are where things will really get heated!
Professional Monitoring with SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint
When it comes to home security monitoring, there are two main options available: self-monitoring through your mobile app or 24/7 professional monitoring. If you choose the latter, you’ll get a team of people monitoring your system at all times. If one of your alarms goes off, it’s the professional monitors that will contact emergency services for you, if need be. This can be especially helpful if you’re on vacation or simply preoccupied. I recommend getting professional monitoring whenever it’s offered, but Vivint does give you the option to self-monitor. Let’s get into more detail.
SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint Monitoring Options
With SimpliSafe, the cost of your monitoring will depend on the services you get, whereas Vivint bases it on the amount of cameras you have. Let’s start with SimpliSafe.
Both the Standard and the Interactive Plans include 24/7 professional and environmental monitoring as well as cellular backup, ensuring your system will stay on in a power outage, but that’s where the similarities end. For remote control of your system, notifications, cloud storage, and smart home integrations, you’ll need to do the Interactive Plan for $24.99 a month.
Now let me explain a couple SimpliSafe features that may not be super-obvious.
Secret Alarms allow you to receive a notification without the alarm physically going off, which could be useful for a liquor cabinet or safe.
Video Verified Alarms send a one-minute clip of your livestream footage to the professional monitoring teams, allowing them to verify that a crime has taken place. With evidence in hand, video verified alarms lead to higher arrest rates, according to the SimpliSafe website.
Vivint makes it a lot more simple, basing your monitoring cost on the amount of cameras you have. Their prices aren’t cheap, especially when you consider that you’re already paying a monthly fee for your equipment. That’s right— you’ll pay nothing for Vivint up front, but instead will pay a monthly fee for your equipment.
If you have more than two cameras, your monthly fee will simply increase. All Vivint plans include cellular backup, which is a good thing.
Clearly, SimpliSafe has more reasonable prices, with its highest option at $24.99 a month being less money than Vivint’s lowest option at $29.99 a month. Keep in mind that the Vivint equipment itself was $844 compared to the $559 I paid for the Summerfort system so overall, you’re going to spend a lot more money with Vivint than with SimpliSafe.
SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint Contracts
While all SimpliSafe contracts are month-to-month, Vivint requires you to sign either a 3.5 or a five year contract. However, you can cancel Vivint at anytime— you’d just need to finish paying for your equipment.
SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint Moving Policies
As SimpliSafe has DIY installation, if you’re moving, just pick up your system and install it in your new home. With Vivint, on the other hand, you’ll have to pay that $129 for professional installation again.
Top System for Monitoring
To me, the choice is clear. Simplisafe’s monitoring is more affordable and flexible than Vivint’s, with monthly contracting and lower monthly prices. Okay, now it’s SimpliSafe one, Vivint zero. The next two rounds should be interesting.
Customer Support with SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint
Both SimpliSafe and Vivint offer customer support in the form of phone lines and online help centers. SimpliSafe lets you send support an email or submit a form online, while Vivint has a live chat feature. To see what real customers thought of SimpliSafe and Vivint’s customer support, I turned to Google reviews. Google combines customer reviews from many different websites to bring you one comprehensive rating. While SimpliSafe received a three-star rating, Vivint received a 3.8.
“Absolutely love this company. Equipment has only had one hiccup and a technician was out the next day to fix it free of charge. Customer service is always great even with small holds during busy hours (normal for any company though),”
wrote James Ballard of Vivint in a five-star review.
Top System for Customer Support
The algorithms don’t lie— Vivint has better customer support than SimpliSafe, as evidenced by their higher rating on Google. I also prefer live chat to email, as it typically yields faster response times. Ladies and gentleman, we have a tie, and you know what that means— it’s all going to come down to the apps.
SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint Apps
Now it’s time for the final round, the apps. We’re talking smart security here, so a user-friendly app is essential to monitoring and controlling your security system. Who will break the tie and reign supreme?
The SimpliSafe App
From the SimpliSafe app, you can arm and disarm your system, control any connected devices you may have, receive notifications, and, if you have the Interactive Plan, livestream and download footage. The app has decent ratings, a 3.1 from the Apple store and a 3.4 from the Google Play store.
The Vivint App
The Vivint app has the exact same capabilities of the SimpliSafe app, plus it allows you to see and speak to visitors through your video doorbell. With ratings of 4.6 from Android users and 4.5 from iPhone users, the Vivint app is one of the highest-rated in the app store.
Top System App
Vivint’s app is superior to SimpliSafe’s although they are both bug-free and easy to use. Whichever system you choose, the app will be on point.
Recap of SimpliSafe Vs. Vivint
While SimpliSafe has more affordable and flexible professional monitoring, Vivint won for customer support and the app, so your decision really comes down to what type of installation you prefer. If you want DIY, I’d go with SimpliSafe. If you’re willing to pay for professional monitoring, then congratulations: Vivint is the system for you. Let’s break it down even further.
Pick SimpliSafe if you’d like…
- DIY installation: I had no issue setting up my SimpliSafe system, and what’s better is I didn’t have to pay for it.
- Flexible contracting: SimpliSafe only offers month-to-month contracting, my personal favorite.
- 60 day money-back guarantee: If you absolutely hate your SimpliSafe system, you can send it back for a full refund— including shipping!
For more information, read our full review of the SimpliSafe security system.
Pick Vivint if you’d like…
- Professional installation: Sure, it costs $129, but Vivint’s installation is top-notch.
- Option to self-monitor: Unlike SimpliSafe, Vivint doesn’t force you into paying an additional monthly fee for professional monitoring.
- Great app: The Vivint Smart Home app is one of the highest-rated security apps around.
Want to learn more about Vivint? Check out our review of the Vivint home security system.
If neither SimpliSafe nor Vivint sounds great to you, check out the best home security systems of 2019 or leave a question below. I look forward to speaking with you soon!