The DIY home security market is starting to feel extremely populated. Traditional security companies, big brands, and small startups are all wrestling for their place in the space. Many products hover around each other with the same sorts of offerings and abilities.
Meet SimpliSafe: a product that combines the simplicity of DIY with the peace of mind of monitored home security.
SimpliSafe is a very simple option. They’re basically a home base, sensors, and keypad, but they’ve had pretty good success in the market. A Wisconsin police department even uses them to catch criminals. The product can be set up in minutes, and there’s no cancellation fee or contract. So, what’s the verdict?
The Product Specs
SimpliSafe packages come with a keypad, base station, and sensors. Sensors have ranges up to 400 feet and similar to many other home security options—you can mix-and-match by adding additional equipment, including an additional keypad.
Equipment offerings for SimpliSafe include contact sensors, motion sensors, keypad alarm, panic siren, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, leak detector, and freeze detector. The base station will need to be plugged in, but it does have a power backup and cellular backup with a sim card inside of it. The main frame plugs into a Wi-Fi unit, and the the Lithium batteries are said to run for at least five years.
SimpliSafe supports up to 41 sensors, and a 105dB siren will surely scare off an intruder if they get as far as entering your home. Users peel and stick monitors to the wall, windows, and doors using sticky tabs.
Packages start at $229 but go over $500. Multiple options and options on the fee you pay a month, start at 14 but also a 19.99 and 24.99 options. With all things considered, the professional monitoring does end up at around 50 cents per day.
SimpliSafe is controlled via smartphone app or the website.
SimpliSafe is a solid product and has had favorable reviews across the web. The main problem with SimpliSafe is that it doesn’t offer video cameras and can’t connect with Z-Wave, Zigbee, or any other wireless networks. This means that not only will home automation not be an option with SimpliSafe, your home security setup will basically be limited to sensors, or you’d have to purchase an additional system with cameras.
Since you won’t have video service, this also means that you can’t stream video to your home like many other security options allow. (And this is of course one of the main appeals of getting home security in the first place.)
There’s been a few mentions of false alarms and some general complaints, but for the most part the system is well reviewed and has worked as promised.
SimpliSafe does recommend for customers of large properties or homes (20,000 square feet or above, with 50+ windows) to opt for a system that could handle that size.
SimpliSafe does have a large upfront cost, and to be professionally monitored you will still be paying a monthly fee. We suggest that for these prices and options you opt for a company that is truly all inclusive and allows you to monitor the home with video.
The most troubling issue with SimpliSafe comes via a report by Forbes that hackers can break into the device if they can locate it and use a hardware/software that’s between $50 and $250 that allows them to access customer pins and turn off alarms at a distance of 200 yards away. The product also has one-time programmable chip in the alarm, so it can’t be updated. If there’s a hack, the owners can’t fix the hardware.
SimpliSafe is a fine product, but it’s limited. There’s more inclusive options on the market that are more likely to keep your home secured.