SimpliSafe Home Security System 2024: Tested & Reviewed - NerdWallet (2024)

Pros

Cons

Reasonable hardware pricing and monthly monitoring fees without contracts.

Only integrates with Alexa, Google and Apple Watch for smart home automation, which requires a paid monthly plan.

No record of security breaches or other issues from the company.

Doesn’t offer facial recognition like some other providers, such as Ring.

Deciding factors

One-time costs

$249.96 for basic equipment.

Monthly fees

None.

Installation

DIY. Professional setup starts at $124.99.

Video monitoring

  • $0 to self-monitor without advanced features.

  • $9.99 per month for self-monitoring with camera recordings.

  • $29.99 per month for professional monitoring.

Contract

None.

How much does SimpliSafe cost?

SimpliSafe offers seven home security system packages. The company often runs promotions offering free trials of professional monitoring, free indoor cameras and up to 50% off packages. The prices below are list prices.

Package

Price

What you get

Foundation

$249.96

Base station, keypad, entry sensor and motion sensor.

Essentials

$279.95

Everything in Foundation package plus 2 more entry sensors (3 total).

Hearth

$399.91

Everything in Essentials package plus a key fob, siren and smoke detector.

Knox

$479.87

Everything in Hearth package plus three more entry sensors (6 total) and one more motion sensor (2 total).

Haven

$519.86

Everything in Hearth package plus one more entry sensor (4 total), one more motion sensor (2 total), a water sensor and a temperature sensor.

Lighthouse

$469.93

Everything in Essentials package plus a wireless outdoor camera.

Beacon

$709.90

Everything in Lighthouse package plus one more entry sensor (4 total), one more motion sensor (2 total), and one more outdoor camera (2 total).

You can also customize your own system or add specific items to an existing package. For example, you can add a smoke detector to a basic package for $34.99 or a video doorbell for $169.

How does SimpliSafe work?

Setup

We found SimpliSafe’s setup to be refreshingly straightforward. The system stood out for its sleek design and user-friendly app, which provided detailed, step-by-step instructions for each component.

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Even though we ordered a system with every possible SimpliSafe component, including items like cameras and temperature sensors, the box they came in was surprisingly lightweight. Each piece of hardware came clearly labeled in its own box.

SimpliSafe Home Security System 2024: Tested & Reviewed - NerdWallet (2)

It was easy to know that each component was activated because the base station (the system’s hub) lit up and announced the name of each new item when it connected. You can pay for professional installation, but we didn’t find it necessary.

Most of the products are wireless and require no drilling or tools to install, except the video doorbell, which connects to existing doorbell wiring, and the outdoor camera, which needs to be screwed on. The components all connect to Wi-Fi, and the base station has a backup battery in case of power or service failure.

The door and motion sensors that attach to walls had peel-and-stick tabs on the back, which stick very well (but fair warning, took some of our paint off with them on removal). All of the products are reasonable in size — the base station (the system’s hub) is the largest component, about the size of a water bottle.

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The door sensors are less than an inch long. Most of the components are white, except for the wired indoor camera, which is black. Overall, the products look streamlined and blend in well on a wall or shelf.

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Security

The SimpliSafe app has several security features to keep you and your system protected. We were especially impressed by the “Safeword” feature, which makes it easy to stop emergency services from coming to your home in case an alarm is accidentally triggered.

When an alarm is triggered (which you'll typically set up to happen only when your system is in “Away” mode) you’ll immediately receive a text message with the alarm time, cause and response. Because our system was in a 3-day “practice mode,” we received a phone call as a courtesy notice, but when the system is in regular operating mode, a SimpliSafe monitoring agent will be on the other line to request your safe word. If you don’t answer the phone or don’t provide the safe word, SimpliSafe can send emergency services to your home.

You can add more than one primary contact to be called to verify an alarm, and you can also add a secondary contact who will be notified after an alarm is verified and emergency services are sent. You can also list yourself as a secondary contact to receive a confirmation call.

We were also able to create a password, enter a phone number for two-factor verification, enable fingerprint or facial recognition to sign into the app, and create a unique PIN code to enter (into a keypad or the app) to disable an alarm.

The app generates a long alphanumeric recovery code to copy and keep somewhere safe, which you can enter if you need to log in without your device.

Customization

SimpliSafe’s system is highly customizable, providing a range of potential uses for different homes and families. Here are a few of our favorite options:

  • Change the volume of alarms and entry chimes, the duration of the alarm siren and the exit and entry delays (the amount of time you have to exit before the system is armed or enter and disarm the system).

  • Set up a separate panic button in the bathroom and set it to only contact medical services when pushed, not set off a loud alarm.

  • Set your cameras to be aware of pets and choose between “people only” and “all motion.” During our tests, we didn’t find a significant difference between the modes, but both reliably detected person movement.

  • Click squares of the camera view field you don’t want to receive alerts for if there are high-traffic zones in the view field, such as a hallway.

  • Set different responses in each device for Off, Home and Away modes. For example, when you’re home, a motion sensor can only send a push notification, and if you’re traveling, it will set off the home alarm.

Monitoring

With SimpliSafe, you’ll have four monitoring options, with prices ranging from free to $29.99 a month. We got a one-month free trial of the Fast Protect professional monitoring plan, which comes with all equipment packages. There are no contracts, and you can cancel, downgrade or upgrade your plan at any time (we easily canceled the monitoring plan after testing).

SimpliSafe puts your system in “Practice Mode” for 3 days if you subscribe to professional monitoring, so you can get comfortable arming the sensors without accidentally triggering an emergency dispatch. We set off a lot of alarms in the first day or two, so this was very helpful.

You can still use a SimpliSafe system without a monitoring plan, while some other home security providers, like ADT and Vivint, require a monthly fee. Without any monitoring plan, you’ll respond to alarm triggers yourself and have access to a live camera feed but not recordings.

SimpliSafe is definitely still functional without a monitoring plan, but there are some special features that made the monitoring worth it for us:

  • Emergency dispatch. If an alarm is triggered, SimpliSafe’s monitoring center will contact you, and if you don’t answer and give them your safeword, they’ll dispatch emergency services.

  • Secret alerts. With the $9.99 monthly self-monitoring plan and the $29.99 monthly professional monitoring plan, you set up motion and entry sensors in “Secret Alert” mode, which sends you a push notification without making any noise or light. This could be used for a medicine or liquor cabinet, for example.

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  • Camera recordings. With a $9.99 monthly self-monitoring plan, you’ll get unlimited camera recordings and 30-day cloud storage for up to 5 cameras without professional monitoring.

  • Recording and camera access. With Fast Protect ($29.99 monthly), unlike Standard ($19.99 monthly) monitoring, SimpliSafe monitoring agents can check your camera recordings to see what triggered the alarm and communicate with emergency services for more accurate and timely help. Monitoring agents can also speak to an intruder through your camera during an active burglary (only if an alarm is triggered) to let them know that police have been called.

  • Cellular backup. The Standard and Fast Protect plans come with a built-in cellular connection for backup coverage in case of a power outage.

Alternatives to SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe Home Security System 2024: Tested & Reviewed - NerdWallet (7)

Ring Security System

4.5

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4.5

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Equipment cost

$199.99

Base kit includes Alarm Base Station, keypad, door/window contact sensor, motion detector, Alarm Range Extender and free 30-day trial of Ring Protect professional monitoring. "Pro" starter kit comes with a Wi-Fi router.

Professional monitoring monthly cost

$20

Self-monitoring available with plans starting at $3.99 per month.

Hazard detection

Add-on smoke/CO detector and listener, flood and freeze sensor.

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details

SimpliSafe Home Security System 2024: Tested & Reviewed - NerdWallet (8)

Arlo Security System

4.5

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4.5

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Equipment cost

$199.99

Base kit includes one keypad sensor hub, two sensors, and a free three-month pro monitoring trial.

Professional monitoring monthly cost

$24.99

Some sensor features not available without subscription. Self-monitoring for cameras starts at $7.99 per month.

Hazard detection

Sensors can detect water and temperature and alert you when a smoke/CO detector goes off.

No smoke/CO detector.

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SimpliSafe Home Security System 2024: Tested & Reviewed - NerdWallet (9)

Abode Security System

4.5

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4.5

NerdWallet rating

Equipment cost

$139.99

Base kit includes security hub, key fob and mini-sensor for door/window.

Professional monitoring monthly cost

$24.99

Self-monitoring with extra features is $7.99 per month, but you can still use the alarm system for free.

Hazard detection

Add-on smoke alarm monitor and leak detector.

No smoke/CO detector.

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(Top photo courtesy of SimpliSafe)

Methodology

We collect data from providers and do firsthand testing as necessary. Our process starts by gathering information from providers and contacting providers for further information where needed. This information, combined with our specialists’ hands-on research, makes up our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance. The final output produces star ratings from poor (1 star) to excellent (5 stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star. Learn more about our ratings methodology here.

SimpliSafe Home Security System 2024: Tested & Reviewed - NerdWallet (2024)
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