SimpliSafe and Alder are two relatively new additions to the home security industry. Alder sells their security systems with the help of door-to-door sales representatives, and SimpliSafe takes an online, flexible approach. SimpliSafe is known for its unique, workable home security offers, while Alder is making a name for itself as a reliable provider with brilliant response times. While either makes a great alternative to a traditional security company, there are differences you'll want to consider. We'll compare the two side by side to see which is best for you.
Alder vs. SimpliSafe - What do they have in common?
- DIY installation: You'll need to install your system by yourself - while some may consider this a negative, you could be saving a bit of money here
- Home automation: Smart home options are pretty basic with both, you'll be able to use video doorbells and Amazon's Alexa, but there are much more comprehensive systems out there if you're after a smart home
- Mobile app: You can monitor your system on the go with a mobile app; though the Alder app wasn't rated as well, they have similar functionality and offer an identical user experience
- Wireless equipment: You can access straightforward wireless equipment that requires minimal fuss with either company
Alder vs. SimpliSafe - What are their differences?
- Contracts: Most home security companies will require a long-term commitment of some kind, and Alder isn't an exception. You'll need a three or five-year contract to use Alder's services, but SimpliSafe is flexible and doesn't require a contract
- Professional monitoring: If you want to sign up for Alder's services, you'll need to purchase professional monitoring. With SimpliSafe, you don't need to have any monitoring
- Door to door sales: You may be visited by an Alder rep selling their security systems on a door-to-door basis; SimpliSafe doesn't do this
- Upfront cost: Since SimpliSafe doesn't offer contracts, you'll have a higher upfront cost. However, you could save money in the long run by purchasing a SimpliSafe system
SimpliSafe - What you need to know
You'll have everything you need for a successful DIY installation when you receive your SimpliSafe delivery.
However, if you do need assistance, some reviews report long wait times when trying to get ahold of customer support. This wasn't our experience - our SecurityNerd could chat with support staff within 5 minutes. But it's something to keep an eye on
If you want flexible equipment available on an a la carte basis, you can't go wrong with SimpliSafe. Not only can you fine-tune your system to your liking, but everything comes with a 3-year warranty. Some of the equipment that SimpliSafe offers include:
- Motion sensors
- Panic buttons
- Smoke sensors
- Glass break sensors
SimpliSafe offers more than a dozen different security packages, ranging from small four-piece kits for small homes to 16+ piece sets designed for commercial clients/large homes.
SimpliSafe wouldn't be our first choice for a Smart home. But, their range of products is growing. Some products are compatible with SimpliSafe, though. They include:
- Google Assistant
- Nest thermostat
- Apple TV
- Smart locks
There are 16 packages to choose from, all at a much lower cost than a traditional company would cost. You can buy an entire home security system for under $150 without monthly fees.
Costs: The most expensive bundle is still less than $500; this is an inexpensive option with optional monitoring
Money-back guarantee: You can return your products within 60 days under their satisfaction guarantee. They'll even pay for shipping
Flexibility: You can purchase items on an a la carte basis giving you the freedom to customize your system from the get-go. You can choose to have a 4-piece system with no monthly costs, or you can have a 16-piece mega system with monthly monitoring services; everything is up to you
Indoor only: SimpliSafe doesn't offer outdoor cameras (except for video doorbells). Security cameras are a significant deterrent, and you lose this benefit with SimpliSafe
Equipment compatibility: Newer equipment isn't guaranteed to remain compatible with old equipment, meaning you may be forced to upgrade your whole system if you decide you want to upgrade part of it later on
Alder - What you need to know
Alder systems are easy to install and are geared towards those who want to install on a DIY basis. Reviewers mention that installers are friendly and knowledgeable. With that said, professional installation is available for a fee (which is usually included in your three or five-year contract).
Alder can offer you a basic security package with a three-year contract:
Alder's basic package includes:
- Touch screen control panel
- Two door/window sensors
- Motion sensor
- Base station hub and keypad
Alder's standard package includes:
- Three door/window sensors
- Two motion detectors
- Touchscreen control panel
- Indoor camera
- Key fob
You can add optional extras to go with your base package. The service runs on a cellular connection so that you won't need a landline or WiFi. Most people tend to purchase the base package and add items on an a la carte basis.
There are a lot of Smart Home features that Alder doesn't work with. For example, only older Alder equipment (such as the GC2 touchscreen control panels) is compatible with Z-wave technology. This is one area where Alder could stand to improve.
The video doorbell cameras are a great feature and will let you talk to whoever rings your bell. You can give instructions to a delivery person, communicate with a friend who's dropped by, or otherwise make it seem like you're at home - even when you aren't.
Alder's costs are confusing, and it took a bit of effort to get everything together. From what we can gather, the prices are as follows:
Activation fee: Not all companies charge an activation fee; however, with Alder, you'll pay $49
Monthly fees: Your monthly monitoring plan will set you back at least $34.99 but could be as high as $65 per month
Installation costs: There are no direct upfront installation costs; you'll pay for your installation costs throughout a three or 5-year contract
Equipment costs: You don't pay anything upfront for the basic package, as included in the contract
Costs are pretty low if you sign up with the basic package. However, you can upgrade to the standard package (which will set you back around $55+ a month).
Hostage code: You can set up a hostage code with the control panel. If you're in a hostage situation and are asked to disarm the system, you can discreetly enter the hostage code, alerting Alder to dispatch emergency services
Moneyback guarantee: The three-year contract is a negative, but you do have a 30-day warranty that'll let you cancel without penalty
Professional installation: Installation is offered with no additional costs
Response time: Alder security monitoring centers boast a 3.4 second response time, believed to be the fastest in the industry
Long-term contract: The 36-month contract is a negative that could cost you thousands in the end
Home automation: Due to their basic offerings in this area, Alder probably isn't for you if you want a complete smart home ecosystem
Alder or SimpliSafe?
If you're looking for a fully flexible system that lets you customize everything without the need for contracts, then SimpliSafe gets our vote. You should also consider SimpliSafe if you want to self-monitor.
However, suppose you're looking for professional monitoring services and searching for a slightly more traditional security system with the fastest response time in the industry (and don't mind paying a little extra for it). In that case, you should take a chance on Alder home security.
Whichever company you choose, you'll have access to competitively priced, excellent security equipment that's more flexible than many of their competitors.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.