NorthStar Alarm home security is a mid-sized security company in Orem, Utah, serving about 50,000 customers. The company offers flexible home security packages and options, including smart home automation technology and personal medical alert devices.
Based out of Boston, SimpliSafe is a home security company covering over 3 million homes in America. It's known for its flexibility, easy setup, and little startup cost. Flexibility is SimpliSafe's primary offering, and it's perfect for the DIY crowd as a high-tech yet low-cost option.
SimpliSafe vs. NorthStar Alarm Security - What are their similarities?
- Mobile App: NorthStar and SimpliSafe have an easy-to-use mobile app with multiple functionalities, including the ability to manage push notifications, arm and disarm your alarm system remotely, monitor video doorbells, and more. Apps are available for both Android and iPhone.
- Customizable Equipment: Both are relatively flexible and offer you control over hardware purchases. You can choose your equipment bundles and upgrade on an a la carte basis. Other companies are much more rigid in this respect.
- Hardware: Our Security Nerd rated SimpliSafe and NorthStar's Hardware similarly, with both offering excellent quality equipment that is well designed and simple to use.
- Smart Home Integration: NorthStar alarm services and SimpliSafe both offer limited smart home integration; However, there are some differences. They do have a lot of similarities, such as voice control and a smart thermostat.
SimpliSafe vs. NorthStar Alarm Security - What are their differences?
- Long-term contracts: Flexibility is SimpliSafe's main selling point; you can cancel your monthly monitoring plan without any penalties and don't need any long-term contract. However, NorthStar only offers a 5-year contract, and customer reviews report that the contract will auto-renew for 18 months at the end of the term if it's not canceled beforehand.
- Pricing: SimpliSafe is acknowledged as one of the lower-priced home security systems providers. However, NorthStar is quite expensive, even for a traditional home security provider.
- Installation: SimpliSafe is one of the best home security systems for simple, DIY installation, taking just a few minutes to get up and running. Conversely, NorthStar always has professional installation. Both have their pros and cons, but this is a significant difference.
SimpliSafe - What you need to know
DIY installation of your SimpliSafe system is simple and takes just a few minutes to set up; however, if you need more assistance, SimpliSafe hasn't been the fastest at answering the phone or arranging callbacks. Some customer reviews mention new customers being left days without a callback or working equipment. With that said, Our Security Nerd experienced the opposite, with it taking less than 5 minutes to connect to a friendly customer support agent. You could also leave a message and wait for a callback if you don't have time to hold.
SimpliSafe offers a good combination of new, sleek security equipment with easy setup and a fair price. You can pick and choose your equipment based on the size of your home and level of desired security; motion sensors are popular as it stops false alarms caused by innocuous things (such as house pets). In addition to the usual basic system, you can purchase these on an a la carte basis:
- Security Cameras
- Control Panel
- Window sensors
- Glass break sensors
- Panic button
- Freeze sensor
- Water sensor
- Smoke detector
SimpliSafe could do better in terms of smart home integration; though it does have a limited selection of home automation products, it's better than NorthStar.
Here are some smart home options that are compatible with SimpliSafe products:
- Google Assistant
- August Door Lock
- Nest thermostat
Part of SimpliSafe's compatibility issue was remedied when they created their new video doorbell. Still, it's worth mentioning that if you have a doorbell camera in place, you won't be able to integrate it with your SimpliSafe equipment.
SimpliSafe is known for flexibility, offering more than a dozen different packages in varying price ranges at your convenience. SimpliSafe is much cheaper than NorthStar, and you can buy a fully functioning security system for under $150 without any monthly fees (not including professional monitoring). Even SimpliSafe's most advanced packages with optional extras are unlikely to set you back more than $500, and since you can choose not to subscribe to a monthly monitoring plan, you can save money there, too.
- Costs: Even the top bells and whistles security bundle come in at under $500, making this an attractive option for those looking to save money without compromising on their home tech. You have several monitoring options, including self-monitoring.
- Satisfaction Guarantee: SimpliSafe offers a 60-day money-back guarantee that'll allow you to return the system for a full refund if you don't like it - they'll even cover shipping.
- Flexibility: You don't need to sign up for any long-term contracts, and you can customize your system with optional add ons, and you don't need to have any professional monitoring if you don't want to. This is a company that caters to your exact requirements.
- Equipment Incompatibility: If you purchase security with SimpliSafe and decide to upgrade in the future, new equipment is likely not compatible with older equipment, necessitating much more significant upgrades if you want to upgrade even a tiny part of your system.
- Higher Upfront Cost: Since you don't need to pay monthly or get locked into a contract, upfront costs can be higher than other companies.
NorthStar Alarm Security - What you need to know
NorthStar will arrange professional installation for you, and this is at $199 no matter what package you choose. With that said, they do run special promotions for $99 installation throughout the year.
NorthStar is an authorized dealer for Honeywell security equipment. They are highly rated and can easily integrate with various third-party home automation devices. North Star offers customizable, flexible packages based on a points system that is as follows.
- Door and window sensors: 1 point
- Motion detector: 2 points
- Glass break detector: 2 points
- Smoke detector: 2 points
- Keychain Remote: 1 point
- Medical Pendant: 1 point
NorthStar products and the phone app are compatible with a limited number of third-party automation. You can also purchase some of these products as a part of your NorthStar security package. They offer:
- Smart door locks
- Smart garage door opener
- Lyric WiFi thermostat
- Voice response.
The cost of the equipment is free. However, this is based on the provision that you sign up for a 5-year contract. Installation costs are $199, or $99 if you can sign up under one of their special promotions; the activation fee is $199. As for monthly costs, they range from $54.99 to $74.99.
- Flexible Packages: Every package is fully customizable, meaning that you get to fully design your NorthStar home system, making it a bespoke product.
- Lifetime warranty: NorthStar offers a lifetime warranty that is quite rare; SimpliSafe only offers a 3-year warranty.
- Pricing: Compared to other companies, especially SimpliSafe, NorthStar is quite pricey. The monthly monitoring service is quite expensive. However, they have quality equipment and good response times to account for this.
- Limited service area: Currently, North Star serves 30 states: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia.
- Contract Length: NorthStar home security only offers services on a contracted basis, with customers signing up for 60-month contracts. This makes it an expensive hassle, especially if you need to cancel or change your contract.
SimpliSafe or NorthStar Alarm Security?
Homeowners considering using either SimpliSafe or NorthStar for security services should consider which they value more. Low monitoring costs and flexibility is an area where SimpliSafe wins. If you live outside of their service area, you won't use NorthStar, either.
If outdoor cameras are a necessity for you, or you want a lifetime warranty, then NorthStar is worth further consideration.
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.