Regardless of age, everyone wants to feel safe in their homes. But it’s not just intruders that are worrisome; there can be fear of fires, floods or frozen pipes, and those are just a few things someone may need protection from. With a rapidly aging population, many homeowners or apartment dwellers may not be able to respond to emergencies as quickly as they once could. That’s why finding the right home security system is so important. I tested out SimpliSafe, and with its variety of options for on-site protection and remote monitoring, SimpliSafe provides not only peace of mind to those who live alone but also to their loved ones who can see what’s going on, regardless of their location.
What Is SimpliSafe?
Founded in 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts, SimpliSafe is considered one of the best affordable, DIY home security systems on the market. Two Harvard Business School graduates created the system with renters in mind when they couldn’t find a system that provided month-to-month payment options. Protecting more than three million people across the United States, SimpliSafe offers professional-grade home security with no long-term contracts. There are approximately 46 million older adults in the United States, and that number is growing. Nearly 21 million of those older adults rent their homes, which makes SimpliSafe’s flexible payment options with no long-term contracts an ideal solution for older adults.
Visually appealing and modern is what came to mind when I first visited SimpliSafe’s website. The first thing I noticed was a pop-up that appeared as I arrived at the site. The pop-up was there to help me find the perfect system. After answering a few questions, such as type of dwelling, property size and number of entry points, I was asked to enter my email address. Within seconds, I was emailed a quote with the company’s suggested package based on my requirements. This was a great starting point and is perfect for anyone who may feel overwhelmed with the many different options.
The Ups and Downs of SimpliSafe
When looking for a security system, I wanted a one-stop shop; a system that provides protection for all my concerns, not just intruders. I also needed a system that had an actual person on the other end of the monitoring system in case of an emergency. Finally, I wanted a system with an alarm that didn’t trigger at random or unnecessary times. The last thing I want is for my loved one to accidentally set off one of the sensors with their movement and be forced into an unsafe situation trying to deactivate it. SimpliSafe checked off all my boxes and even matched some requirements I didn’t know I had!
What Worked Well
- Live Professionals: SimpliSafe’s 24/7 monitoring staff calls when trouble is detected. They stay on the phone until the problem is solved or help arrives, a necessity for this reviewer. Having people monitor the system makes me feel incredibly safe, as if I had a 24-hour doorman.
- Visual Verification: There is the option to include visual verification to any monitoring plan, which allows SimpliSafe professionals to verify the alarm is real and dispatch help faster. This prevents unnecessary dispatches; a feature that put me at ease.
- Month to Month Payments: Unlike companies like ADT, which require a minimum three-year contract, there are no long-term contracts with SimpliSafe. I could either pay a monthly fee of $14.99 for the Standard monitoring plan or $24.99 per month for the Interactive one.
- Expect the Unexpected: No matter how much we prepare, there are situations out of our control. SimpliSafe is ready in case of power outages, Wi-Fi outages or natural disasters. In case of a power outage, SimpliSafe’s base station’s battery remains fully functional for up to 24 hours.
- Entire Home Monitoring: With outdoor and doorbell camera options, smart locks and window/lawn signs letting outsiders know you have a home security system, I can sleep easy at night knowing the entire home, both the indoors and outdoors, is protected.
- Smart Home Capabilities: SimpliSafe is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, August Locks, and even Apple Watches. There is also an app that allows you to turn the system on when you aren’t home. That being said, if this is a high priority on your list, I think Vivint still has the best smart home features.
- Sleek Look: SimpliSafe’s base system is modern in design and comes in white or black. The sensors are designed to blend in, so the security system doesn’t detract from the decor.
- Detects People, Not Pets: The system uses precise motion sensors, so it knows when a person is moving as opposed to a pet. This was extremely refreshing to learn, giving me confidence my system won’t be triggered unintentionally.
- High Upfront Costs: The initial cost of the system components can be pricey, depending on your package.
- Limited Customer Service Hours: Unlike some competitors that provide 24/7 customer service, SimpliSafe’s customer service phone line is open only from 9:00 AM to midnight Eastern Standard Time.
- App Monitoring Costs Extra: There is the option to self-monitor, which means I could use the app for live streaming, however, I wouldn’t get push notifications or remote control. In order to have live monitoring, push notifications and remote control, I needed to pay for the Interactive plan.
Tip: This system isn’t designed specifically for caregivers, but because of the interactive options, caregivers can set up text alerts for themselves, friends and family members.
Setting Up SimpliSafe
Living up to its name, installing SimpliSafe was simple, even for this reviewer who isn’t the most tech-savvy. I ordered The Essentials package with interactive monitoring because I wanted all the bells and whistles, and the system was delivered to my doorstep in about a week. The system works with both a landline and/or wireless connection. Most of SimpliSafe’s equipment is wireless and doesn’t require a landline, meaning if you’re like me and don’t have one, you can still have protection. The base station comes with rechargeable batteries and the sensors come with batteries that last between three and five years.
Tools were not needed to install SimpliSafe. All I had to do was peel the sticker from the back of the sensor and adhere it to the wall. The Simplicam and Simplisafe Smart Lock were also easy to install. The lock fits over almost any deadbolt using just a screwdriver. And I was able to install the camera in just four steps; I plugged it in, connected it to my wireless network, and clicked install camera on my Simplisafe app.
The app allowed me to do everything from my phone. I could view any activity, view live cameras, get alerts when family members or friends arrived at my home and monitor environmental dangers. Alerts also came right to my phone, which made monitoring simple.
All that being said, if you don’t want to install the system by yourself, there is the option for a professional to come and help. This is an additional cost; a one-time fee of $79 due at the time of installation.
You Should Know: The easy install options make this system ideal for older adults who are renting their homes or apartments. When it comes to moving the system from place to place, there are no hidden fees or added costs. The older adult can easily move at any point and bring the security system along with them.
Testing The System
Once my system was installed, the fun began. I started playing around with the sensors and the app and found everything to be very user-friendly. I placed the three entry sensors that came with The Essentials package on my front and back door as well as my first-floor front window. I wanted the outdoor monitoring capabilities, so I added a SimpliCam and smart lock to my package.
The Smartlock was amazing. It locked and unlocked my door when I armed or disarmed my system, and it had an outdoor keypad that allowed for manual locking and unlocking. Additionally, I could set it on a timer. Finally, the Smartlock lets me keep track of anyone who comes or goes; with the app, I get an alert on my phone whenever someone locks or unlocks the door. Additionally, the lock is keyless meaning one less thing I need to remember when I head out the door!
I’m also glad I invested in the SimpliCam and outdoor kit. The camera alone can only be used inside, but the outdoor kit option makes it safe for outside. With live HD video that streams clear video and even has night vision, I could see what was taking place outside my home both day and night. And as for how the camera handles the outdoor elements; it’s weatherproofed so I didn’t have to take it inside when it rained or snowed.
SimpliSafe Security System Offerings
SimpliSafe offers many different security packages depending on your needs. I had the option to either buy a pre-created package or build my own.
The build your own package includes a base station and wireless keypad that backs up to the cloud (web storage). You then add on any number of sensors needed to safely secure your home.
Those sensor options include:
- Entry Sensors that guard the front and back doors as well as first floor windows.
- Motion sensors that cover two main rooms so intruders will be detected regardless of where they go.
- 105 Decibel Sirens that are so loud intruders will be terrified and neighbors will be able to hear.
- Panic Buttons that can be put on the wall near the bed for easy late-night access to help.
- Temperature sensors that help prevent pipes from freezing.
- Smoke detectors that trigger a full system alarm before a fire breaks out with someone monitoring who can dispatch the fire department.
- Water Sensors that alert of potential floods or leaks.
- Outdoor Camera Kits with 24/7 high definition video, intruder and motion sensors.
- Video Doorbells that allow front door monitoring and two-way talk.
- Smart locks that lock with automatic timers or when the system is armed. Additionally, it unlocks when the system is disarmed. With this feature, I know my doors will always lock when I leave, giving me one less thing to worry about.
FYI: When deciding how many motion and entry sensors to purchase, think like an intruder and count the number of doors and windows that could provide someone with access to your home.
The pre-created packages all come with a base station and wireless keypad. What varies in these packages are the number of sensors. The most common packages are:
- The Foundation: Best for older adults who live in smaller apartments and includes one entry sensory and one motion sensor.
- The Essentials: SimpliSafe’s most popular package which includes three entry sensors and one motion sensor.
- The Hearth: Equipped with everything included in the Essentials, as well as a smoke detector and 105-decibel siren that is loud enough to scare away any intruder.
- The Knox: Best for older adults who live in larger homes with four or more bedrooms. It comes with one key fob that has a battery life of one year, one 105dB siren, one smoke detector, six entry sensors and two motion sensors.
- The Haven: SimpliSafe’s most extensive package, provides protection from any emergency that may take place. It includes one key fob, four entry sensors, four motion sensors, one 105dB siren, one smoke detector, one panic button, one water sensor and one temperature sensor.
Regardless of which package you choose, there is the option to add-on additional sensors to any package as well as outdoor camera kits, video doorbells and smart locks. But it’s important to note these add-ons do add up in the price.
|Package||Interactive Monitoring||No Monitoring|
The More You Know: Because there are so many options, I would use the pop-up feature on SimpliSafe’s homepage to receive an emailed quote so that you have an idea of where to start. I found the website is easier to navigate once I took a look at that quote.
Pricing at a Glance: Standard Monitoring vs. Interactive Monitoring
When it comes to pricing, I found the site to be a bit complicated. It doesn’t clearly state there is a monthly fee of $14.99 for standard monitoring or $24.99 for interactive monitoring, on top of the initial one-time price of the package. That took a bit of research on my end. The standard monitoring plan includes 24 hour live monitoring, environmental monitoring, and built-in cellular connection thanks to SimpliSafe’s partnerships with Verizon and T-Mobile.
I chose the Interactive monitoring plan included everything from the standard plan as well as the ability to arm and disarm my system remotely, alerts sent to my phone, secret alerts, video alert verification, unlimited camera recording, and smart home integration.
Secret alerts is one of my favorite features of the interactive plan. These are alerts that are sent directly to me, without triggering an alarm, meaning I can monitor exactly what takes place within my home. I chose to place an entry sensor on my safe. Now, every time someone opens my safe, I receive a SimpliSafe alert but no alarm goes off.
I’m also one to forget whether or not I’ve armed my system, so for me, having remote arming and smart home capabilities is essential. Being able to arm and disarm my system remotely gives me the flexibility to check my system from anywhere and if need be, let friends or family members into my home when I’m not there. And the smart home integrations mean when I’m in bed, I can just ask Alexa if the system is armed; I don’t have to get up to double-check.
Finally, the video alert system is a great addition as it allows monitoring center personnel to see video of what is taking place at my home. They are able to visually confirm whether or not they need to dispatch to the police or other help. This enables quicker, more accurate response times and can help reduce the number of false alarms.
Discounts and Warranty
SimpliSafe offers a 60-day money-back guarantee as well as free shipping if you’re unhappy with the system, and all systems come with a three-year warranty. Compared to other home security systems, this is one of the best warranty options available; on average, other companies, such as Ring, only offer a one-year warranty and charge extra for an extended warranty. There are no specific discounts in place for older adults; however, SimpliSafe offers a refurbished option of their systems at a 25% discount. All pre-owned systems are tested by SimpliSafe prior to resale and are eligible for the standard three-year warranty.
Final Thoughts About SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe is the perfect choice for anyone whose loved one rents an apartment or home. It’s also a great option for older adults since there are no long-term contract requirements and services can be canceled at any point at no cost. It’s simple to install and the app is easy to navigate. I love the modern look of the website and the system’s sleek style. I also appreciate the color option so that I can match it to the rest of the home. Because of the wireless options and small sensors, it’s a system that blends into my décor.
As much as I love this system, there are a few red flags. First, pricing isn’t as clear as I would have liked. I was able to understand the upfront costs for the system, but until I investigated further, it was unclear to me there was a monthly fee. Also, I found the number of package options to be overwhelming, even with the user-friendly pop-up options on the website. Aside from the standard packages, there are a handful of other suggestions that appear as you navigate through the site. For this reviewer, I found the more options I saw, the more confused I got and didn’t know exactly what to do.
Regardless of my concerns, I found this to be the best option for my family’s needs. The interactive monitoring option made me feel incredibly safe. Also, the fact there are no long-term contracts is a huge selling point. With older adults, it can be hard to plan for the future and this security system gives peace of mind I can cancel in the case of any unforeseen circumstance. If you’re looking for an affordable, user-friendly system that includes all types of protection, SimpliSafe may be the one for you.