SimpliSafe Review

By | July 30, 2017

SimpliSafe Review

Rating: 4.2/5 stars

If you would like to improve your home security on a budget, with a smart system that does not require complicated technical interventions or a landline to work, SimpliSafe will surely draw your attention.

It claims to be a simple yet efficient security system and has an affordable price for both homeowners and renters. Based in Cambridge, MA, the company offers highly configurable plug and play security solutions that take minutes to install and require no monthly monitoring contract.

About SimpliSafe

Since the product’s launch in 2008, the company has frequently made it in popular publications, radio and TV programs, and has maintained an active social media presence. At the moment, their page has over 200,000 Facebook likes.

The company came to life as a small startup, aimed at offering home security solutions suitable for renters. Over the years, they expanded their operations nationwide, achieving an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Customer feedback is mostly positive, with few complaints overall. Most dissatisfaction notices refer to false alarms, defective equipment, bulky sensors or poor customer support. However, company representatives claim they offer above standard customer support services, and many of their clients agree.

How Does SimpliSafe Work?

Sensors transmit information to the base station via wireless technology. The base station connects to central dispatch using a cellular network, thus eliminating the need for a landline. The system is plug‘n play, meaning that it is ready for use as soon as you plug it in, requiring no further configuration. The supplementary sensors are plug ‘n play as well, making it easy to add new components to the system.

At startup, the base station provides voice notification that it is ready to start monitoring. Here are SimpliSafe’s basic principles of operation:

  • A triggered sensor alerts the base station, which, in turn, notifies central dispatch via the cellular network connection.
  • Customer support will shortly contact you, prior to calling 911.
  • In case it’s a false alarm, you need to tell your safe word to the dispatcher. If you don’t do it, customer support notifies the police department.

Keep in mind that these services come at an additional cost. You need to subscribe to the most expensive service package in order to benefit from monitoring, emergency dispatch or phone alerts. On the other hand, you don’t need to sign a contract or make any type of commitment. You can cancel the Services anytime, for any reason, without having to pay additional fees.

SimpliSafe’s Features

  • Easy and fast system setup, due to the fact that all components are wireless;
  • All units come pre-programmed to work instantly, no additional settings are required.
  • Lower monitoring expenses compared to competing services;
  • No contractual commitments required, clients being able to cancel anytime they wish;
  • System connects to central dispatch via cellular network, to eliminate the need for a landline and avoid system sabotage by telephone wire cutting;
  • Permanent dispatch monitoring, with safety protocol that involves sending a police squad on location in case of emergency;
  • Real-time system control via client application, available on Android, iOS, and Windows and requiring a working Internet connection;
  • SimpliSafe allows numerous sensors (up to 41) and gives you the freedom to distribute them as you see fit, from gun safes to medicine cabinets, closets, drawers and more, and add later on if you find it necessary;
  • The types of sensors available include magnetic, proximity, fire, smoke or gas;
  • Sensors offer a 400-foot range, the system being able to effectively cover larger buildings;
  • Prompt sending of alerts to your phone and/or email, to notify you of any activity detected;
  • Built-in keypad smash proof feature, set to alert central dispatch in case someone tries to disable SimpliSafe using brute force;
  • The system includes lithium batteries with a five-year lifespan, so power outages will not be a problem;
  • All security features are fully functional in case the power grid fails;
  • The system is pet-friendly, meaning that your cat or dog will not trigger an alarm.
  • Most insurance companies accept this system as viable, so using it to improve your home security may bring you insurance policy discounts of up to 20%;
  • In case you decide to move out, you can take the system down and reinstall it at the new location.

SimpliSafe Pricing and Refunds Policy

As mentioned, the system does not require a minimum subscription period and involves no long-term commitments. More than that, it comes with a 60 days money back guarantee and free return shipping.

Depending on what you want for your home and how much you are willing to spend, you can choose from 6 different packages. For each package, monitoring is available at an additional cost.

The Customized System comes with a base station, keypad and remote, allowing customers to add the rest of the components according to their needs and preferences, starting at $14.99 a piece. Since the system is able to support up to 41 components, its customized version fits very well larger residences or commercial buildings. However, the company warns that SimpliSafe may not be a good option for very large buildings.

The Starter Package is the most basic option available, recommended for small homes. It includes 5 components: base station, keypad, remote control, motion detector and magnetic entry sensor. It also comes with two stickers and a yard sign, warning potential intruders that the building has a security monitoring system. The cost is $229.96.

The Economy Package is the most popular among buyers, featuring two additional magnetic sensors compared to its predecessor, and costing $259.95.

The Classic Package has an additional smoke detector and a powerful 105dB siren providing fire protection, unlike its Starter and Economy alternatives. The price is $349.92.

The Master Package features 14 components and represents a great choice for larger homes. It provides burglary and fire protection at a price of $449.87.

The Ultimate Package is the most complex standard option offered. It includes all sensors the company has on offer, covering burglary, smoke, carbon monoxide, freeze and flood in a 16-piece kit comes available at the price of $539.85.

Regardless of the SimpliSafe pack you choose, additional components can be purchased anytime. Here is a list of their stand-alone prices:

  • Base station: $114.99;
  • Keypad: $69.99;
  • Remote: $24.99;
  • 105dB siren: $59.99;
  • 9”x9” yard sign: $3.99;
  • Magnetic entry sensor: $14.99;
  • Motion detector: $29.99;
  • Glassbreak sensor: $34.99;
  • Panic button: $19.99;
  • Smoke detector: $29.99;
  • Carbon monoxide sensor: $49.99;
  • Freeze sensor: $29.99;
  • Flood sensor: $19.99.

As mentioned above, monitoring services are optional and charged separately. Without them, the system acts as a local alarm. SimpliSafe customers are able to subscribe or unsubscribe anytime, without worrying about yearly commitments or hidden fees. Upgrading or downgrading your plan is also possible. There are two monitoring service plans available:

  • The Standard Plan features 24/7 alarm monitoring, backed up by a cellular connection. It comes at the price of 50c per day, or $15 per month.
  • The Interactive Plan features all of the above, plus SMS and Email real time alerts, the ability to control the system from afar using the client app, and secret alerts, which monitor cabinets, safes etc.

The manufacturer claims that their low subscription prices can save you up to $1577 over a three-year course, compared to competing services. Of course, there is no guarantee in this sense, so it is up to you to look up competitive offers and do the math.

Regardless of the package or plan you choose, every system comes with a three-year warranty, as well as a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Return shipping is free of charge, on the condition that you use the pre-paid return label. The company offers full refunds.

SimpliSafe Strengths

  • Eliminating the need for a landline is a big step forward, especially since few homeowners still use one today. A cellular connection is far more versatile, with lower chances of being sabotaged by potential intruders.
  • The full-time monitoring services are, indeed, cheaper than those offered by most competitors and an accessible option for those living in dangerous neighborhoods or having dealt with theft attempts and breaking an entry in the past.
  • The wireless technology incorporated by SimpliSafe eliminates the need for cables and simplifies the installation process, which only takes minutes. The sensors are easy to install due to the double-sided tape included in the package. All the wireless components (such as sensors, detectors, remotes) run on standard batteries. When needed, replacing the batteries is easy.
  • The Interactive Plan sends real time texts for each alarm triggered, providing information such as the exact time and the triggered sensor’s ID. Also, controlling the system is possible from anywhere in the world through the client application.
  • The SimpliSafe base station and the keyboard have a separate design, so you can place the keyboard on the wall close to the front door and base station safely inside. This way, it would be impossible for anyone to tamper with the base without setting off an alarm. The wireless keyboard’s smash protection is a valuable feature as well, eliminating the concern that someone could use force to turn the alarm system down.
  • In the case of a power outage, the base station (which is plugged in) switches to its internal emergency battery, without compromising security levels. In the case of unauthorized entry during a power grid failure, the system will work normally, alerting your SimpliSafe dispatcher via GSM connection.
  • The lack of contractual commitments is a big plus, allowing you to switch between various plans as you see fit.  
  • The client application is available for the most common platforms: iOS, Android and Microsoft Windows.
  • The wireless components have a 400 feet operation range, so you can place them wherever you see fit.
  • Besides providing unauthorized entry protection, SimpliSafe also offers a different variety of sensors, such as smoke, freeze, flood or carbon monoxide. All of these can be connected to the system and send real time information via text, Email or the client app.
  • The company provides detailed instructions, video tutorials, and one-on-one customer support when it comes to installation.
  • Even though the base unit’s built-in siren is powerful, an even more powerful stand alone wireless siren is available for purchase.

SimpliSafe Weaknesses

  • The service lacks modern features, such as video surveillance and home automation. Some of the competitors already have these features on offer.
  • Those who are fear the prospect of a DIY installation have no alternative, as the company does not provide installation services.
  • Even though the company takes pride in offering top-notch customer service, most of the complaints posted online refer to poor customer care quality and limited availability. The company claims they don’t outsource, hiring only US based call center operators and dispatchers.
  • Some customers report frequent false alarms. Although this is a negative point, all security systems trigger false alarms from time to time.

The Bottom Line about SimpliSafe?

Overall, the company offers a well built, easy to install, affordable home security solution. They offer budget subscription rates, well below most competitors. Online user feedback is overwhelmingly positive, which is the best indicator when it comes to the quality of a product or service. The manufacturer offers a 3 years warranty, and 60 days money back guarantee, eliminating most risks related to the acquisition.

SimpliSafe stands out from the crowd by not requiring any long-term commitments and not exposing the buyer to early termination fees. It could use some modern features, such as video surveillance or home automation. However, such features would surely increase the costs as well, so, in the end, it all comes down to what you expect from a security system.

It is up to you to review the available offer, compare various products and services and see which one is best for you. If you like what SimpliSafe has to offer, nothing keeps you from trying it within the 60 days and returning it in case you are not satisfied.