Both SimpliSafe and Protect America are reliable home security companies that provide a solid DIY installation option for those who prefer to save a little cash. They offer 24/7 monitoring at competitive prices while offering a little more flexibility when compared with larger companies. While you really can’t go wrong with either one, there are differences between the two companies that are worth thinking considering.
SimpliSafe is best known for its flexibility and low costs. Even the highest tier security system SimpliSafe sells still comes in under $500. You don’t have to sign on the dotted line with SimpliSafe, either. It offers a no contract option and even allows you to cancel monitoring plans and pick them back up whenever you’d like. If flexibility is important to you, SimpliSafe really can’t be beat.
Protect America is known for its well-made hardware that is manufactured by GE and backed by a lifetime warranty. It has low cost tiers and non-cellular options for areas without great cell phone service, which can be a huge advantage for some customers.
While both companies have similar price points and functionalities, there are some stark differences in options and products that consumers should know about before making a decision about Protect America or SimpliSafe. Let’s break down the similarities and differences between these two companies.
|Hardware||4 out of 5||4 out of 5|
|Customer Service||3.5 out of 5||4 out of 5|
|Pricing||4 out of 5||5 out of 5|
|Mobile App||3 out of 5||5 out of 5|
|Smart Home Capabilities||4 out of 5||3 out of 5|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||$19.99-$42.99/month||$0-$24.99/month|
|Upfront Cost||$250 if choosing professional installation||Equipment purchase and $79 if choosing professional installation|
|MoneyBack Guarantee||3 Days||60 Days|
|Contract Length||3 years||None required|
|Installation||DIY or Professional||DIY or Professional|
|Basic Equipment||Base station, keypad, entry sensor, motion sensor||Control panel, door/window sensors, motion detector, yard sign, door/window stickers|
Protect America vs. SimpliSafe: What are the similarities?
- Monitoring is 24/7: With either of these companies, you will get someone monitoring your home all day every day. This means if someone tries to break in, you’ll be notified and so will the authorities.
- Affordability: Both Protect America and SimpliSafe are DIY-installation companies and have low-cost options that will save you cash when compared with the larger companies. You’re saving money by installing equipment yourself and paying lower monthly fees in general.
- Environmental protections: When you purchase a plan with either companies, you have the choice of carbon monoxide detectors, as well as fire alarms, and services that will detect whether you have a frozen pipe or a leak.
- Smart home options: SimpliSafe and Protect America offer home automation options and can even incorporate Z-wave technology you already have in your home.
- Mobile app: You can arm and disarm your security system with both companies using your smartphone, as well as view live video from the indoor video cameras.
- Reliable equipment: Both companies score high marks in reviews on hardware. Protect America’s equipment even has a lifetime warranty.
- Installation: While both companies are DIY installation, they both also offer the option of setting you up with a technician if you would rather have it done by a professional.
- Indoor cameras: Both companies offer high quality HD security cameras that alert you to intruders and motion via your smart app.
Protect America vs. SimpliSafe: How are they different?
- Contracts: Protect America requires a three-year contract, whereas SimpliSafe is much more flexible. With SimpliSafe, you pay month-to-month, which means you can turn your monitoring plan on and off if you’d like. If you are looking for a more flexible option, SimpliSafe is going to be a better choice.
- Landline options: While both companies offer cellular service, only Protect America offers landline connectivity, which could benefit customers who don’t get great cell service in their areas.
- Equipment leasing: Protect America leases the equipment, while the customer will purchase SimpliSafe’s equipment upfront. Think about how much it matters to you if you do or don’t own the equipment. Do you want to be able to take the equipment with you if you move?
- Trial periods: SimpliSafe offers you a 60-day money back guarantee, which allows you to return the equipment within two months if you aren’t a fan. You have to cancel within three days to get all your money back from Protect America. That’s a pretty small window of time that you’ll have to make that decision.
- Pricing and packages: Both companies offer standard bundles and a la carte options. But prices for both equipment and monitoring vary widely, with Protect America costing more over time. Protect America has no upfront fees for equipment though, while SimpliSafe requires you to purchase the equipment. Think about whether you are willing to spend more upfront or if you’re more comfortable with a lease situation.
- Outdoor cameras: Only Protect America provides an outdoor camera to keep an eye on what’s going on outside. For now, you can integrate another brand’s camera into your SimpliSafe system and the company says they have plans to introduce their own outdoor camera soon.
Protect America: What you need to know
Protect America offers low-cost cellular packages along with landline service and more expensive monitoring plans. Customers lease the equipment and choose based on pre-packaged bundles or they can choose to purchase equipment a la carte. Prices can vary widely, and steep cancellation fees can run some customers away.
- Cost: If you want a basic home security system, you’ll be able to get that at affordable pricing — starting at under $20 a month if you go for a three-year contract with their professional monitoring service. The company also price matches with similar security companies within seven days of purchase.
- Reliable equipment: Protect America’s equipment is made by GE and they provide a lifetime warranty on all of the equipment.
- Landline option: While cellular-based home security systems are popular, they may not work as well in rural areas. Protect America offers a landline option for those customers.
- Mobile app: Customers don’t seem pleased with Protect America’s mobile app, scoring low in both app stores due to reported glitches.
- Confusing prices: Our SecurityNerd had trouble nailing down prices from Protect America for anything beyond standard packages. Your quote will be based on equipment and type of monitoring, but you also may not get access to some options like the mobile app when you go for landline service.
SimpliSafe: What you need to know
SimpliSafe offers budget-friendly packages with a large variety of bundles to suit homeowners and renters alike. While you will be paying for equipment up front, you also have the flexibility of paying month-to-month for monitoring or canceling monitoring entirely based on your needs. While customer service has been a pain point in the past, our SecurityNerd was pleased with the attentive service on both prospective and existing customer lines.
- Flexibility: You can bypass a contract with SimpliSafe, as well as turn monitoring on and off based on what you need that month.
- Affordability: Even the most expensive security bundle is less than $500 (remember, you’re purchasing your equipment with SimpliSafe), making it a great choice for homeowners on a budget. If you want to go bare bones, you can choose to bypass monitoring services.
- Satisfaction guarantee: You get to try SimpliSafe for two months, and if you aren’t impressed, you can send everything back for a refund. This makes SimpliSafe an attractive option because there is no risk.
- Upfront costs: Although you get to own your equipment, some customers may not want the initial cost of purchasing upfront.
- Compatibility issues: In online reviews, users complain new equipment is not compatible with old equipment. So if you’re looking to upgrade, you may have to purchase more equipment than you need to make sure it all works together properly.
Take a more in-depth look with our full Simplisafe review.
Protect America or SimpliSafe?
Security Nerd recommends SimpliSafe because of the straightforward pricing and flexibility for all customers. You know what you’re getting when you purchase from SimpliSafe, and you have the flexibility to change your equipment and monitoring plans without having to worry about a long-term contract. (This is particularly useful for folks in apartments.)
While SimpliSafe edged out the competition, Protect America is still a good choice and may work better for certain consumers. Because it offers a landline option, Protect America would be ideal for someone in a rural area or who doesn’t have the most reliable cellular service. You can also get an extremely low cost option with very little upfront cost if you’re OK with going with a long term contract.
As is the case with all home security company choices, which company you should go with depends entirely on what does and doesn’t matter to you. Make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and compare it against what each of these companies offers. When choosing between Protect America or SimpliSafe, take into account whether you want to own your equipment or lease it. Protect America is the best choice if you want to lease your equipment, while SimpliSafe requires you to purchase it upfront. If you are a commitment-phobe or think you may move often, SimpliSafe is a more attractive option due to the flexibility.
In our opinion, SimpliSafe edges out Protect America based on flexibility, but you can’t go wrong with either of these strong home security companies. Having a clear understanding of your own preferences will help you make the right choice for your home.
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.