Based out of Boston, SimpliSafe is a home security company that covers over 3 million homes in America. It’s known for its flexibility, easy setup and nominal startup cost. Perfect for the DIY crowd, SimpliSafe is a high-tech/low-cost option that does not require a landline or Wi-Fi as the system communicates utilizing a built-in cellular connection. Homeowners can choose to go completely unmonitored and pay no monthly fee at all or to go with a fully-monitored system complete with automatic notifications and remote arming capabilities.
SimpliSafe scores high marks when it comes to value, quality and customization. You can choose from preset packages for home security or build your own system from scratch. Some customers have reported long wait times for Customer Service assistance, but our Security Nerd had a very positive experience with Customer Service and waited less than one minute before being connected to a representative, so those issues may have been addressed by SimpliSafe. Some users have reported cell connectivity issues, but also say that SimpliSafe responded by sending them cell boosters. Overall, SimpliSafe seems to be going to great lengths to respond to any issues that their customers are reporting.
The list of positives are long, but it’s not the best option if you are not interested in putting in some installation time or if you’re looking for a larger, more full-service home security company. There is also room for improvement when it comes to smart home capabilities.
Here’s how we graded SimpliSafe:
- Hardware: 4 out of 5 stars. Customers enjoy the sleek design and there aren’t a lot of complaints about the equipment. In most cases, if there were connectivity issues, SimpliSafe offered equipment like cell boosters to remedy the problem.
- Customer Service: 4 out of 5 stars. Although most of the low scores in online reviews have to do with customer service hold times, our Security Nerd didn’t have that experience with the IT, sales or existing customer department. It’s possible the company has beefed up their customer service staffing in response to some initial bad reviews.
- Pricing: 5 out of 5 stars. It’s tough to beat the affordable price and quality of this system. Although it does have an up-front cost for equipment, it makes up for it with low monthly monitoring services. You even get the choice to get rid of the monitoring service if you want to save money.
- The Mobile App: 4 out of 5 stars. Users enjoy the ease of the app along with the timeline of your home activity. Both Apple and Google app store reviewers give the app high marks.
- Smart Home Capabilities: 3 out of 5 stars. This is where SimpliSafe has room to grow. Currently its SmartHome capabilities are limited compared to other companies, but they still have some good options that may work for you. For a company that is so focused on tech, it seems odd that this is such a weak spot and we’re guessing that they will be addressing this in the future.
From the start, you can choose equipment based exactly on your needs. That means you don’t have to buy an expensive package and not use some of the equipment you paid for with the package. And, if you choose monthly monitoring, you can suspend it or pick it back up anytime. In this way, SimpliSafe provides ultimate flexibility without a contract. This makes it a great choice for those who may not want a long term situation or who really need that flexibility.
Even the highest-level security bundle comes in under $500, making this an attractive option for homeowners who aren’t looking for expensive home security. Spend as little or as much as you want on home monitoring, because you do have the option to go completely unmonitored with SimpliSafe.
Since SimpliSafe security is compatible with Alexa, that means you can arm and disarm your system just by asking Alexa. This system is also compatible with Google Assistant, August door lock and Nest. When it comes to smarthome simplicity, this is perhaps the best feature with these SimpliSafe plans.
SimpliSafe offers a 60-day money back promise that if you don’t like the system, you can return it. They even pay for shipping, so this is a great benefit to the consumer.
SimpliSafe offers camera monitoring, but the camera can only work indoors. This means you’ll only have video of the inside of your home once a break in has already occurred. Not to mention, having a camera outdoors is a good way to deter would-be intruders.
If you purchase security with SimpliSafe and decide to upgrade in the future, new equipment is not compatible with older equipment. That means if you want to upgrade part of your system, you’ll be purchasing new products across the board.
Equipment available from SimpliSafe
With SimpliSafe, you are getting sleek equipment with simple setup at a fair price. The best part is, you can pick and choose which equipment you want to use based on the size of your home and desired security. Motion sensors are also a standout here because the SimpliSafe sensors are able to differentiate between pets and humans, which alleviates those pesky false alarms caused by your dog running around the house.
- (1) Base station
- (1) Wireless keypad
- (1) Motion sensor
- (1 ) Entry sensor
- Glass break sensors
- Panic button
- Freeze sensor
- Water sensor
- Smoke detector
- Video doorbell
- Indoor HD camera
The SimpliSafe mobile app
The mobile app from SimpliSafe has a:
- 4.1 rating in the Google store
- 4.8 rating in the Apple Store
The app is straightforward and allows homeowners to watch live video and control their home security from anywhere. Other features include:
- Video doorbell monitoring from your smartphone
- Instant notifications of activity including alarms
- A real-time timeline of system activity throughout the home
- Arm and disarm from your smartphone
- Ability to record live video
With nearly 30,000 SimpliSafe reviews in the Apple Store, the majority of those reviews are five stars. But one complaint that bubbled up fairly often was that some customers had stopped receiving notifications from their doorbell monitor. Some users have also complained about long hold times for customer service, but that was not our experience when dealing with SimpliSafe.
SimpliSafe smart home capabilities
While SimpliSafe has gotten better with its smart home capabilities, it still lags behind competitors without the option of a smart lock or integration with an outdoor camera.
Here are some smart home options compatible with SimpliSafe products:
- Google Assistant
- August Door Lock
- Nest Thermostat
SimpliSafe has remedied part of their lack of compatibility by coming out with their own doorbell camera. But this won’t be desirable for people who already have another brand doorbell camera in place. If you already have a doorbell camera from another brand, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to integrate it into the SimpliSafe plans.
SimpliSafe customer service
Although SimpliSafe’s monitoring service is 24/7, its customer service staff is not available around the clock. Users will be able to reach a representative 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to midnight, EST.
To test customer service, the SecurityNerd team called customer service to inquire about a potential security system.
- Sales: Representatives pick up the phone rather quickly on the sales line, and automatically ask if you’d like to do a walk-through of your home to determine the best security for you. They were able to answer multiple questions about different models, but were less interested in answering questions about established packages and pushed toward the custom build. Overall, customer service was a plus and all questions were easily answered. If you are looking to customize your own system, the sales reps will be extremely helpful in assisting you.
- Design: Customer service agents push to give you great service by offering to evaluate your entire home by doing a walk-through over the phone. You can also get the same service on their online portal. Agents asked about our home security needs and home layout while also staying mindful of customer’s budget. There was no push to upsell or make us go beyond her budget.
- Install: Since installation is DIY, it is a simple setup that ranks high in usability and ease. But if there is a problem with setup or installation, users report long wait times and frustration. Some reviewers even reported not getting a callback for days with equipment that wasn’t working. However, when we called the IT line for assistance, the answer was picked up in less than 5 minutes. You do have the option of leaving a message and waiting for a callback if you don’t have time to wait on hold.
- Alarm: Reviewers expressed quick response times when an alarm is tripped, except in rare cases where cell phone service is not optimal. (The system communicates using Verizon or T-Mobile, not Wi-Fi.) Reviewers reported that customer service reps have sent cell boosters to remedy in the case of a connectivity problem, so the company is on top of making sure that its response time to tripped alarms improves in these cases.
- Service: A common theme in online reviews is it takes some time for customer service representatives to answer the phone. Although it has been an overarching complaint, when we called the existing customer service line, a representative answered the phone in less than one minute. So far, we haven’t been disappointed in accessibility and helpfulness, so those complaints may be an old problem that has since been dealt with by SimpliSafe.
SimpliSafe pricing and packages
When purchasing a system with SimpliSafe, here are the costs to consider:
- Equipment Costs: You purchase equipment up front either from a pre-determined package deal, or à la carte. There are over 15 different packages in different price ranges to choose from.
- Installation Costs: Because you install the equipment yourself, there are no installation fees with SimpliSafe. However, if you don’t feel like you can do it yourself, SimpliSafe will set you up with a contract technician who will come to install the system for you for a fee of $79.
- Monthly Costs: You can choose whether or not you would like SimpliSafe to provide a monthly monitoring service. If you don’t, there are no monthly costs. If you would like monitoring, you must choose between two different plans. The Standard plan provides only 24/7 monitoring. The Interactive Monitoring plan adds SMS notifications and allows you to remotely arm and disarm your home.
- Activation fee: SimpliSafe does not charge an activation fee, which makes it unique in the home security industry.
If you prefer to create your own security system or simply purchase items à la carte, here are the prices for each piece of equipment. Each system is required to at least have a base station and wireless keypad.
- Entry sensor: $14.99
- Motion Sensor: $29.99
- Glassbreak Sensor: $34.99
- Panic Button: $19.99
- Smoke Detector: $29.99
- Temperature Sensor: $29.99
- Water Sensor: $19.99
- Extra Keypad: $69.99
- Key Fob: $24.99
- Yard sign: $4.99
- SimpliCam: $99.00
- Video doorbell: $169.00
The Bottom Line
For homeowners who are looking for a solid mix of value and quality, SimpliSafe is a great choice. Set up is simple, and you have a 60-day money back guarantee if anything goes wrong. While some customers have complained about customer service in online reviews, our team experienced quick and friendly service, so it is possible that SimpliSafe has added manpower to their call centers.
The most attractive part of the SimpliSafe plans is that you can choose what you want every month. You can even turn off monitoring if you have a winter home that you don’t need monitored year round or if you are simply looking to save money. This also helped make SimpliSafe our choice for the best apartment security system.
If you are still on the hunt for other options, here are a few to consider:
- Scout: This company is similar to SimpliSafe with its low cost plans and customization, but it offers more smart home options than SimpliSafe. A big difference with Scout is that you are required to have a monthly service, where SimpliSafe does not require any monthly cost if you decide to go without their monitoring service.
- Frontpoint: This is another DIY wireless home security company that provides flexibility when compared to the larger companies. There are upfront equipment costs here with required monthly monitoring. This one tends to have higher marks in customer service, but a contract is required, unlike SimpliSafe.
- Larger national companies like ADT or Vivint. You’ll be paying more in fees, but you may like the idea of someone else installing your equipment and coming out to do a total home evaluation beforehand. (Read our comparison of SimpliSafe vs ADT.)
SimpliSafe provides the perfect choice for homeowners who want security on their own terms. With a small up-front cost, customers enjoy affordable monitoring services and can change services anytime. And with a two month money back guarantee, you really aren’t taking a risk when trying it out for your home.
About the Author
Erin is a freelance video producer and writer based out of Florida. She works with major retail companies and digital startups as a brand storyteller. When Erin's not writing, you can catch her scuba diving and spending time with her dog (not at the same time).