Home security systems can be so nice. Whether we are talking about high-end systems that will let you know your basement is flooding while you are on vacation, or modest systems that simply notify you that your door has been opened, we have come a long way.
My 7 Point Review: SimpliSafe Alarm System, has been prepared to help you understand the pros and cons, the strengths and weaknesses, and the applications and features of SimpliSafe wireless home security systems, so that you can decide if it is the unit that best suits your needs.
WE WILL BE DISCUSSING:
Before you consider a security system.
I cannot stress enough the importance of prioritizing defense over deterrence and detection. Defense is about physically keeping someone from your home. An alarm or video camera does not defend your home.
Alarms are meant to deter burglars; to scare them after they have attempted to gain entry. Sometimes these ear-piercing sounds do that, sometimes they do not.
Video cameras are meant to show you who is either trying to break into your home or who has already broken into it. Sometimes that works in your favor, sometimes it does not.
CAUTION: A security system does not actually secure your home and is only one part of an overall system or strategy to do so. So before investing in any system make sure your doors and windows are impenetrable.
One of leading security systems claims to offer, Crash & Smash Protection. Meaning what? If your door is kicked in, the alarm will go off and the video camera will take pictures. That is no protection at all!
What are you looking for in a security system?
There are so many things here to consider:
- Do you want it to be mobile so you can take it with you if we move?
- Do you want to be able to upgrade?
- Do you want remote access?
- Are expecting a mobile app?
- Do you want a digital video recorder (DVR) to have your own recordings?
- Do you want indoor, outdoor, and/or doorbell cameras?
- Do you want wireless (battery powered) or hardwired cameras and sensors?
- Do you want two-way talk on cameras?
- Do you want a touchscreen console?
- Do you want motion sensor alerts?
- Do you want infrared night vision?
- Do you want monitoring, and do we want it to include fire, smoke, flood, carbon monoxide and/or medical pendants?
- Do you want two-way hands-free communication with the monitoring center (known as two-way voice monitoring)?
- Do you want Wi-Fi, cellular and/or landline monitoring connections? (Having more than one is known as redundant monitoring. The purpose is to reduce connectivity issues.)
- Do you want monitoring options, such as the ability to change companies?
- Do you need a system that works with Apple and/or Google?
- What type of alert capabilities are a must-have (phone, email & text)?
- Do you want integration with home automation tech so it controls things like locks, lights and climate?
It should be noted that I am not presently in favor of an all-in-one integrated system. I do not believe the technology is secure enough at this time. (See Digital Trends.)
When it comes to tech, it is normal for the early roll outs to have bugs and shortcomings, but the excitement and newness of the product overcomes those deficiencies. However, in the arena of home security, that simply is not the case.
At this time, I am therefore advising clients to maintain a stand-alone strategy. In this way, if the camera system is disabled, the door locks are not compromised. If the alarm system has been hacked, the windows are still impenetrable and the security lights are still functioning.
What you can expect to pay.
There are three approaches that companies tend to take:
Some companies, like Protect America and ADT, throw in a certain amount of equipment (a package) for free, if you sign a monitoring contract. Typically, you can add more gear by raising the monthly fee. You can expect to pay between $20-$50 a month for this type of service. (SOURCE: https://www.homesecuritysystems.net)
Other companies, like Frontpoint, sell you a package deal (plus any add-ons you might want) and charge a monitoring fee with a contract. Their packages range from $100-$500 and their plans from $35-$50 a month. (SOURCE: https://shop.frontpointsecurity.com)
What packages are available from SimpliSafe?
(Available from Amazon.com)
Alpha – $234.99
Includes: One Base Station, One Keypad, One Entry Sensor, One Motion Detector, One Master Key Chain Remote
Bravo – $264.94
Includes: One Base Station, One Keypad, One Key chain remote, Four Entry Sensors, One Motion Sensor
Bravo w/ camera – $399.97
Includes: One Base Station, One Keypad, One Key chain remote, Four Entry Sensors, One Motion Sensor, One SimpliSafe Camera (sold separately $137)
Delta – $395.99
Includes: One Base Station, One Keypad, Six Entry Sensors, Two Motion Detectors, One Master Key Chain Remote, One Extra Key Chain Remote, One Auxiliary Siren
Echo – $549.99
Includes: One Base Station, One Keypad, Six Entry Sensors, Two Motion Detectors, One Master Key Chain, One Extra Key Chain, One Auxiliary Siren, One Smoke Alarm, One Panic Button, One Glass break Sensor
For 2018, they have done some re-branding as follows:
(Available from SimpliSafe.com)
The Foundation – $229
Includes: One Base Station, One Key Pad, One Entry Sensor, One Motion Sensor
The Essentials – $259
Includes: One base station, One keypad, Three Entry Sensors, One Motion Sensor
The Hearth – $374
Includes: One Base Station, One Keypad, One Key Fob, Three Entry Sensors, One Motion Sensor, One 105dB Siren, One Smoke Detector
The Knox – $449
Includes: One Base Station, One Key Pad, One Key Fob, Six Entry Sensors, Two Motion Sensors, One 105dB Siren, One Smoke Detector ($419 at Amazon)
The Haven – $489
What are the Reviews?
A visit to SimpliSafe.com will provide you with an immediate pop-up showing a google review of 4.7 stars as seen above. These 10,000 reviews are reported in the lower right hand corner to be from the last 12 months.
A trip to Amazon tell a bit of a different story with a 3.6 overall rating.
If we mosey on over to Yelp, the stories even a bit more grim at just under 2.5.
Consumer Affairs ranks them with 3 stars out of 5. Albeit, they are not accredited by them.
And finally, the Better Business Bureau gives them a 3.93 out of 5. The BBB gives a composite score whereby there rating counts double that of customer reviews.
Although, these numbers are a bit disparaging, it is not unlike customers to contact the latter two organizations when they have a negative experience.
What I like about SimpliSafe.
- No long-term contracts – just like with cell phone companies, this could be the new trend.
- 3-year equipment warranty – standing behind your gear goes a long way.
- 60-day money back guarantee – if you do not like it send it back. That is nice.
- It falls more in the stand-alone, DIY category – this allows tailoring to your personal needs and wishes.
What I do not like.
- The customer reviews are a bit troubling. However, with their new line rolling out this year, I will be excited to see if that changes.
What do like best about SimpliSafe? Do you have a system? Leave me a comment or question and I will get back with you.