SimpliSafe has received several home security industry awards for their products. The company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, provides wireless sensors and detectors at set prices. Each package contains a different type and amount of product that the users must install themselves. There are monitoring options available with no pre-determined length: All monitoring contracts are month-to-month.
SimpliSafe developed a niche for itself by providing consumers with options for self-installed, simple home security systems. The company sells their products, packed with various sensors made for SimpliSafe by overseas manufacturers, directly through their online site or through websites like Amazon. Users can only get the pre-determined packages through Amazon. They must buy individual components directly from SimpliSafe. You do not rent or lease the products, nor do you get them free if you sign up for a monitoring contract like most home security companies require.
Their brand of home security primarily appeals to the do-it-yourselfer who wants to test out having a home security system themselves before actually committing to long term contracts. The products are easy to install. The monitoring, since there is no contract obligation greater than 30 days at a time, allows first-time home security users try out monitoring first and see if they need it or like it.
SimpliSafe product designs and packaging gives it several advantages:
- Easy Set Up – Users state, on average, that it takes about 30 minutes to have the system up and running. Everything is already programmed and ready to use once users plug it in and install the sensors and/or detectors and activate the batteries.
- Sixty-day Refund Policy – Consumers have up to sixty days to return the product and receive a full refund.
- No Monitoring Contracts – SimpliSafe provides only month-to-month contracts. The company offers three different monitoring plans.
- Customizable – If you do not like the equipment that comes with the five packages offered, you can create your own package and buy just the sensors or detectors you need.
- Dedicated Cellular – The system operates over a dedicated cellular frequency.
- No Activation Fees – Most home security companies charge, on average, about $99 to activate the system, on top of any installation charges. SimpliSafe has no activation fees and no installation fees as all systems are DIY.
- Equipment Costs – Since you pay for the equipment and own it, the packages can be costly. The most expensive package costs $539.85.
- No Z-Wave Compatibility – SimpliSafe consoles will not connect to smart home appliances.
- Old Fashion Design – The base stations, keypads, sensors and other components are bulky and strictly functional. There are no, for example, recessed sensors or mini-versions of door or window contacts.
- Incompatible with Other Systems – SimpliSafe only works with SimpliSafe products. Their sensors and other devices are manufactured abroad and will not function with 2Gig or DSC or other major sensor manufacturers
- Low Volume Alarm – If you monitor the system yourself, the base station alarm has a very low volume, about 85 decibels.
- No Video – SimpliSafe does not currently offer any camera options.
- Cell Phone Coverage – You must have reliable cellular phone coverage throughout your home or small business, or the sensors may not communicate effectively with the base station.
- App – The smartphone app, which can only work if you pay for a monitoring package, received low marks for user-friendliness and usability. The layout is poor and the screens difficult to see.
Home Security Packages Overview and Charges
SimpliSafe provides five packages that contain different types and numbers of equipment. You can also elect to customize your package by paying for a base station ($114.99), keypad ($69.99) and select and pay for individual components separately.
There is also an option of buying a refurbished package for about 20-15% less than the cost of a new package.
All SimpliSafe systems are wireless.
Packages, Components, and Prices
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*The base station has an internal siren, about 85 decibels. The external siren is 105 decibels.
Monitoring Packages, Components, and Prices
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Home Security Service Overview
SimpliSafe gives the average homeowner an opportunity to buy and try a wireless home security system without any sales pressure or long-term contract commitment. The system is one of the only true plug-and-play units in the marketplace. The sensors and detectors are already synchronized with the base station. The directions appear simple, and there are several videos on the company website and a helpline that can assist clients if necessary.
Unless you subscribe to the Interactive Monitoring Plan, you control the settings through the keypad. Each package comes with a Master Keychain Remote. The cap on one end has a thumb drive with SimpliSafe’s proprietary software. You plug the drive into your PC, and you run the software to edit any system settings. The keychain lets you remove sensors or change your pin code for system access.
The range of sensors and detectors includes just about every type, just not every version. There are no recessed or mini-versions of anything.
The iPhone and Android apps are available for free but only work if you subscribe to the most expensive monitoring contract.
Monitoring contracts run monthly. You can start and stop as many times as you want, whenever you want. Unless you subscribe to the Interactive Plan at $24.99 per month, you cannot control the system through your smartphone, nor can you manage settings online from any PC or laptop.
Two of the three monitoring contracts, the Alert and Interactive, will send texts whenever alarms are enabled or disabled.
The Interactive monitoring package allows users to set secret alerts, which will text them whenever a sensor is triggered in a sensitive area inside the house which is not configured to alarm. For example, the secret alarm function available with this package lets you set up the software to send a text whenever someone accesses particular spaces. For example, a gun or medicine cabinet, file drawer with sensitive papers or a storage cabinet with jewelry or valuables, if protected, will alert the user by smartphone without an audible tone.
The system uses cellular connections and not hardline phones. However, the base stations have a hard phone line input that you can connect as a backup to the cell service.
The two detectors, smoke and fire and Carbon Monoxide, have the same plug and play capability as the sensors. Adding a detector or a sensor later on is simple. The instructions have easy and simple directions to connect any SimpliSafe product to the system.
Here is the list of sensors and detectors available:
- Entry Sensor (for a door or window)
- Motion Sensor
- Water Sensor
- Freeze Sensor
- Glass Break Sensor
- Smoke and Fire Detector
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Panic Buttons
Additional base stations, keypads, and keychain remotes can be bought separately if desired also.
SimpliSafe supports as many as 41 sensors per base station. Everything is wireless. Each sensor uses 3M command strip tape (extra tape is provided in each package). The tape has the strength to hold the sensors and detectors in place on any surface. The type of tape allows you to remove it cleanly if you need to replace, reposition or remove the items.
The base station works on AC power with a battery backup. The rechargeable backup battery lasts up to 48 hours in the event of a power outage and will recharge automatically once the utility company restores power.
The components operate using lithium batteries that advertise a five-year useful life. These are off-the-shelf items and do not require purchase through SimpliSafe.
Since you own the equipment, you can take it with you if you move residences.
All equipment has a three-year product warranty. You can return anything within sixty days for a full refund.
The base station receiving range, direct line of sight, is 400-500 feet. Actual range will depend on size and thickness of walls and any other items located between the sensors and the base station.
It has voice-prompt mechanism that guides the user through the sensor and detector installation process. There is also a built-in siren.
The wireless keypad has a small LED screen and keypad. You arm and disarm the system with the keypad after inputting your user code.
The keychain has a panic button and off and away buttons. There is also a flash drive with the system operating software.
The motion sensors are pet safe up to 50 pounds as long as the sensor is at least five feet off the ground.
Customers use the entry sensors for doors or windows. You have the larger sensor and the smaller magnet. The magnet typically goes on the door or window itself and the sensor attaches to the door or window frame. When in safe mode, the base station emits a door chime sound to let you know that someone is entering or leaving through a protected window or door.
The panic buttons have two settings: alarm, which will sound the siren and silent, which will silently alert the monitoring station (if you opt for monitoring service).
The smoke detectors have an internal siren that will also sound along with the siren embedded in the base station console. If you have the Alert or Interactive monitoring, a text message will be sent to your smartphone alerting you of any activation.
This sensor has two prongs that detect moisture. They must be placed in close proximity to any appliance that may overflow or flood, or near the floor.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Like the smoke detector, there is an internal siren that activates if carbon monoxide is detected. Also like the smoke detector, if you opt for Alert or Interactive monitoring, your smartphone receives an activation text.
The freeze sensor will activate the alarm panel if the temperature in the house drops below 41° Fahrenheit.
The glass break has an audio chip designed to detect the sound of broken glass, causing the sensor to alert.
Chad Laurens founded SimpliSafe in 2006. The company obtained private financing a few years later and by 2011 was profitable.
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company received another $57 million from a venture capitalist in 2014 after their revenues tripled from 2012-2013.
The primary motivation is simplicity and do-it-yourself systems that avoid the major complaints by most homeowners of iron-clad, long-term contracts required by other home security companies.
SimpliSafe has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with only 18 complaints lodged by consumers against the enterprise in the last three years. Most competitors who belong to the BBB experience hundreds of complaints, on average, annually.
We would greatly appreciate you sharing your experiences, good and bad, with SimpliSafe on our website. Any information on the sensors, detectors, replacement issue, monitoring package experiences or anything else related to SimpliSafe service is welcome.
Any homeowner who has never had a home security system before would probably benefit the most from purchasing one of the SimpliSafe packages. The equipment works well; there is enough choice to provide for most home needs, and the installation is simple. The biggest advantage is the lack of a long-term monitoring contract. You can get a basic package and then try out the monitoring for a month, two months or until you decide if you want to keep it or not. The cost of the equipment is competitive.
If you are looking for the latest, sleekest, and most advanced equipment, then SimpliSafe probably is not for you. The lack of video monitoring may also exclude a segment of users.
Overall, SimpliSafe is an excellent home security product that provides reliable products and monitoring at competitive prices.