The company

Founded in 2006 and launched in 2009, SimpliSafe is the fastest growing home security business in the market. Two Yale/Harvard alumni are behind the Boston based company, Chad and Eleanor Laurans. It was after seeing how burglars broke into the places of a couple of friends of theirs that were renting in the Cambridge area that they understood the necessity of bringing affordable home security solutions also for those who rent and move often. Something you could install it yourself and receive monitoring only for the periods of the year you needed without being stuck in long contracts as most of the traditional home security companies do.

The don’t do sellers, they offer the possibility to buy equipment without the mandatory monthly fee monitoring, they allow you to only sign up for monitoring services for short periods of time such as a month or two (ideal for when you go on vacation during the summer), they offer very easy and straightforward installation and setup for the hardware and they have a great customer support reputation. But not everything that shines is gold. The equipment they sell is quite outdated and not very eye attractive, if you don’t sign up for the monitoring you won’t even be able to monitor the system by yourself as in order to have access on your smart device to what’s up in your home you have to enable a monitoring service, so basically without monitoring the equipment is just a bunch of scarecrows (sometimes thieves just get scared when they see the equipment, that’s a fact). On the counterpart the monitoring options are very competitive when it comes to the price and regarding the equipment they have made a great leap forward in the first part of 2018 with the release of SimpliSafe3, equipment that, even if still very limitedly, allows for some form of home automation, something that the company was not offering at all.

While the company in the last few years has been in the conversation for the top 10 when it comes to home security systems, it’s still behind many of the most notable companies in this sector; with the launch of SimpliSafe3 we think the Bostonians will be able to close the gap and solidify their position among the top companies in the home security business.

The good and the bad

Positives

  • No fees if you don’t need monitoring
  • Straightforward easy and DIY installation
  • Competitive monitoring prices
  • 60 days money back guarantee
  • Portability
  • Equipment has 3 years of warranty

Negatives

  • Limited control if you don’t contract monitoring ;
  • Outdated equipment;;
  • Pretty much no home automation available;
  • No outdoor camera available.

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The tech

We briefly mentioned SimpliSafe3, the much needed update on SimpliSafe’s equipment. Unfortunately the 3.0 version is not available for older customers, while the company has reported to be working on a solution to offer customers to upgrade and replace their systems.

Probably the weakest point of the company is that in offering no mandatory contract, they need to reduce costs somewhere else and in order to compensate you know you will not get top of the line technology. Don’t get us wrong, the equipment is solid but when you check the competitors, you know it’s also outdated. You start to build your system with a Base Station (and again, when you look at the 3.0 version it’s a completely different kind of story) that has a GSM Cellular connection and a battery that will provide you with 8 hours of protection if there’s a power outage in your place. And here is the first problem with this outdated equipment. Most of the other companies usually send you a text or you receive a push notification on your smartphone when the power goes out to tell you that the main hub is now working with the internal energy source and also when the internal battery is about to die you will get a notification, but SimpliSafe won’t give you any sort of alert until the weekly automatic test will come back negative, so if you are out on vacation and the power is out, you will only get an email a few days later telling you that the system is unresponsive. That is not what you would expect by your home security system.

Another huge problem with the base station and the keypad that communicates with it is the encryption. With a cheap device, you can harvest the pin and use it when the owners are out in order to disarm the system. This huge flaw was fixed with SimpliSafe3 but again, this equipment is only available for new customers.  

SimpliSafe is a whole other story. So we also gotta give credit to the Bostonians for working on solving this kind of small big issues and we acknowledge that new customers will be able in the near future to get a more secure Base Station.

The rest of the equipment is of course also kind of outdated (we are talking pre SimpliSafe3), the design might seem a little old and not fancy at all, but for the prices you will pay with the monitoring services you will get devices that will do their job decently. Unfortunately there’s at least one last negative point as the company is not currently offering any outdoor camera solution and we are fond of outdoor cameras; this is something SimpliSafe has acknowledge and that is working on it.

Let’s take a look at some of the equipment for SimpliSafe.

Equipment

Base Station and Keypad

This is the core of the system, a base station that works along with the keypad. The base station is the one piece of the equipment that contacts the monitoring center in case of need. With the keypad you will able to arm and disarm your system. If the keypad gets smashed by intruders, the base station will send a signal to the monitoring center.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $114.99 + $69.99

Door/Window Sensor

This is the standard entry sensor, nothing fancy, a little bigger than what most of the companies uses to offer, but it will do the job.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $14.99

Motion Sensor

What you see is what you get with SimpliSafe, this motion sensor will detect any movement up to 30 feet and will send a signal to the Base Station in case movement is detected when the alarm is armed.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $29.99

Siren

For indoor or outdoor use, this 105 dB siren will be sure to make everybody know that something is going on.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $59.99

As we said, pretty straightforward devices that will help you improve your home security. The fact that can be purchased separately allows you to project the full protection of your house step by step and according to your budget.

Let’s take now a look to the other home protection equipment offered through Scout and, of course, compatible with the Scout Hub

Glass Break Sensor

This device can detect a glass breaking up to 20 feet. Like most of the devices of its kind, it needs to have no impediments between the glasses and the sensor in order to work properly.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $34.99

As we said before, new customers can get the SimpliSafe3, the much needed improved system by the Boston headquartered company. This system is more secure, more technologically advanced and also looks like a modern security system. Automation is still very limited to basic Amazon Alexa commands and Nest Thermostat.

Base Station and Keypad

Communication between the two are now encrypted, Wi-Fi has been added to the base station so now there’s dual communication, it looks great (thanks to IDEO) and can be integrated with Amazon Alexa for the arm and disarm function. The light ring will tell you if the system is arm or disarm. It has, like the previous model, an integrated 95 dB siren and an 8-hour internal battery.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $114.99 + $69.99

Door/Window Sensor

The 3.0 version of this sensor is almost half the size of the original. This means that will go unnoticed (or at least not easily detected) by potential intruders. It will also allow you to put this devices in small cabinets where you might have some stuff you don’t want your kids to reach into.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $14.99

Finally we want to take a look at some of the most innovative home automation devices compatible with Scout and also at the cameras offered by Nest, the only cameras compatible with the Chicago headquartered company.

Garage Door Sensor

This new sensor is also more discreet and will detect movement up to 30 feet. Also it’s pet friendly up to 50 lbs.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $29.99

As we said before, SimpliSafe is still lacking an outdoor camera and for both SimpliSafe and SimpliSafe3, you can only get this indoor camera:

SimpliCam - Indoor Camera

This is an HD Video-Audio camera with 120-degree field of view, it has infrared vision and allows you to monitor live video through the app when you are on a monitoring contract.

Cost if you buy it outside the equipment pack: $99

Other equipment

Others equipment worth mentioning are the smoke detector that have a cost outside the package of $29.99, a CO Detector at $49.99 (only available at the moment for the older version of the system), a water sensor at $19.99, a freeze sensor at $29.99, a keychain remote at $14.99, and a panic button at $19.99.

The Tech outside the Equipment

What else does Frontpoint offer?

Home Automation is still way behind the competitors when it comes to SimpliSafe. The company has made progress lately with the 3.0 version but Amazon Alexa integration is still limited and the only other home automation device that can be integrated into the home security system is the Nest Thermostat.

The communication between the monitoring center and the central panel in your home is by cellular line, for the old SimpliSafe system, and dual (cellular plus Wi-Fi) for the SimpliSafe3 system. This latter way you will have a back up if one or the other goes down. We really like this as cellular transmission is the most secure among the possibilities a company might choose.

An app for interact with the security system is also available, the main use for it is to arm and disarm your system but it presents many flaws like inconsistency in notifications or delays when updating a sensor or even delay in the transmission of the status of your security system.

SimpliSafe system uses different monitoring centers as they rely on C.O.P.S., an UL listed monitoring company headquartered in New Jersey.

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The Packs

Packages are pretty straightforward when it comes to the Boston headquartered company:

  • No Plan
  • Standard Plan
  • Interactive Plan

As we talked over and over, what makes SimpliSafe very attractive is the possibility of having no monthly plan and to activate this just for small periods of time. The main difference between the Standard and the Interactive plan is that if you want to control the system with your smart device and if you want to use some of the limited home automation features, you can only do it with the Interactive one.

Prices, Contracts and Equipment Packages

With SimpliSafe you don’t need to sign a contract as there are no contracts. You will pay monthly for the service you decided to get. If you want no monitoring, you will only pay for the equipment, you will install it yourself and that’s it. If you want your home to be monitored (and have no control over your security system outside the use of the keypad) you can get the Standard Plan for $14.99 a month. If you are looking to control your system from your device and you want to get alerts for free (with the standard, sms and email alerts cost an additional $4.99 a month) you will sign up for the Interactive plan that stands at $24.99.

Choose your plan

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Interactive Plan

$ 14
99Per Month
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Cellular connection
  • Wi-Fi Connection (only on SimpliSafe3)
  • SMS and email alert (additional $4.99)
  • Live video streaming
  • Video recording (additional $4/99)

Ultimate Plan

$ 24
99Per Month
  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Cellular connection
  • Live video streaming
  • Video recording
  • Remote arm and disarm
  • SMS and email alert
  • Customize sensors
  • Nest Thermostat
  • Amazon Alexa (only on SimpliSafe3)
  • August Smart Lock

When it comes to the equipment packages, you have a 60-day free returning policy. Of course, since you have no contract, all the equipment must be paid upfront. You can choose from five different packages, Alpha, Bravo, Bravo with camera, Delta and Echo. Each package will provide different amount of equipment.

AlphaBase Station and Wireless Keypad (x1), Motion Sensors (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x1), Keychain Remote (x1)
BravoBase Station and Wireless Keypad (x1), Motion Sensors (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x4), Keychain Remote (x1)
Bravo with cameraBase Station and Wireless Keypad (x1), Motion Sensors (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x4), Keychain Remote (x1), SimpliCamera (x1)
DeltaBase Station and Wireless Keypad (x1), Motion Sensors (x2), Door/Windows Sensors (x6), Keychain Remote (x2), Siren (x1)
EchoBase Station and Wireless Keypad (x1), Motion Sensors (x2), Door/Windows Sensors (x6), Keychain Remote (x2), Siren (x1), Smoke Detector (x1), Glass Break Sensor (x1)

Our review

When it comes to installation (extremely easy) and no contract (something no other top 10 home security system offers), we think SimpliSafe is innovative. When we take a look at the equipment most of the customers have (the outdated SimpliSafe version) we really struggle to recommend this home security systems. Too many flaws and an equipment that is not visually attractive with zero home automation features. Another story when we talk about SimpliSafe3. Here we are talking about a home security system that is contemporary and that presents a glimpse of what the company can achieve by presenting more secure equipment and some home automation features. For many the possibility to have a good security system with a monitoring option that can be enabled or disabled month to month is great and we think that too, but first SimpliSafe needs to offer to their old customers the possibility to replace their old system with the SimpliSafe3, once that will be done, we will be talking about a solid top 10 candidate when it comes to home security systems.

Customers reviews (from consumeraffairs.com)

What people say

Customer Reviews (from www.amazon.com)

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