October 21, 2012

SimpliSafe DIY Home Alarm System Review

We used to have ADT for our home security since my wife had signed up with them when she was single.   Finally we got out of their multi-year contract and we were happy to be rid of it.   After seeing some positive reviews on the net and doing some comparison shopping I decided to go with SimpliSafe for our new home alarm.

So a few months ago I bought and installed a SimpliSafe2 home alarm system.    The  SimpliSafe system is a simple wireless based do-it-yourself home installation with no contract commitment.  The basic alarm monitoring costs just $14.99 per month.  The alarm is monitored with police dispatch.   They use a cellular wireless signal so you don't have to have it connected to your home phone or even need a home phone.   This is a nice feature for us since with the ADT system we were stuck having a landline because the alarm system required a home phone to dial out on.

Great pricing

While companies like ADT often offer free hardware installation, you do have to pay to buy your hardware from SimpliSafe.   However its reasonably priced.

You can get a basic system for about $280 :
1 base station
1 wireless keypad
1 (free) keychain remote
2 motion sensors
3 entry sensors
1 yard sign
2 window decals

$278.92 with free shipping

I opted for the SimpliSafe2 system since it has more features like freeze and water alarm and plans for fire and carbon monoxide alarm.  The total cost I paid for our system was $463.55  That included the SimpliSafe2, 3 door sensors, 2 motion sensors, panic alarm, 2 keychains and a yard sign. 

The monthly monitoring cost for SimpliSafe starts at only $14.99 compared to the $42 and change that we were paying for ADT.   ADT quickly gets the money from the free hardware back by charging you significantly more for monthly service and locking you into a 3 year contract.

If you compare a basic SimpliSafe configuration with ADT you'll save hundreds of dollars over a three year period.  

ADT SimpliSafe
Hardware $0 $280
Monthly $42 $15
3 year total $1,512 $820

Total savings = $692

Thats an apples to apples comparison of features from ADT and SimpliSafe.   You can spend more with SimpliSafe if you want more features.   The SMS text monitoring service is an extra  $5 per month and advanced online monitoring and other monitoring will be $25 total, but our ADT system didn't offer those features.

Super Easy Install
The installation was very easy and the monitors simply stick on the walls.   When you turn on the base station it has voice commands that tell you what to do.    SimpliSafe's site has a 5 minute video showing the installation.   It is really simple to install and get setup and you can do it in a matter of minutes.  
I did have some initial glitches getting the system to be recognized by SimpliSafe and I decided to hoook the unit to our home phone. 

Unfortunately our home has very poor and undependable cellular signal and I think that is likely the cause of the problem we had, though I'm not certain.   I also have to say that one time my wife accidentally triggered the alarm and it didn't seem to call the police.   We're not sure why that happened.  I don't know if my wife ever found the time to call the SimpliSafe people to follow up and try and figure out what happened.  

Limited technical support hours 

One of the negatives I found with SimpliSafe is that their actual phone support has pretty limited hours of just Monday - Friday 9AM to 6PM EST.   Thats not convenient and not very good as far as I'm concerned.   I can't take off time from work to troubleshoot the thing and I went in assuming they'd have basically 24/7 phone support, but I assumed wrong.   Of course the monitoring system is 24/7 but if you need technical support then they are limited to bankers hours.  

- affordable cost
- no contract
- easy install
- portability
- cellular based monitoring
- wireless sensors

- support hours
- glitches when installing

Other sources :
I first recall reading about SimpliSafe at the review at MyMoneyBlog
Here is a YouTube review which shows the actual hardware as it comes in the box.   Another Youtube video shows some home installation.

Overall I would recommend SimpliSafe as I think the glitches we've seen are the exception to the rule and its a great value.

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