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      January 26, 2020

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ADT vs SimpliSafe

Best Alarm Systems

To help you find the Best Alarm Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of ADT and SimpliSafe.

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Increasing the security of your home is essential to protect yourself, your belongings, and your family. According to the experts, high unemployment rates and other economic woes in the nation are a factor in rising crime rates. With more than 2 million burglaries each year in the United States alone, and an average loss of over $2,000 per incident, it is well worth the investment to make sure your home is properly protected.

High-quality deadbolts and well-placed lighting on the exterior of your home can reduce the risk of becoming a victim. However, experience shows that skilled burglars can pick a lock, even a deadbolt, in a minute or less. On the other hand, crime data also demonstrates that criminals tend to avoid homes with an alarm system, to improve their chances of not getting caught.

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Best Reviews

2020

Alarm Systems Reviews

4 stars
ADT

ADT

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Features:

$99+ customer installation charge

$36.99+/month for monitoring

Customer information: 1-866-238-9934

ADT has been protecting homes and businesses for many years, making them one of the most recognized names in alarm systems. ADT has four main alarm system plans to meet your needs, with options for both landlines and cellular users, fire detection, or basic intruder protection. With ADT, you should expect to spend some money on start-up costs for installation and/or equipment that other providers include at no extra charge, particularly for the landline-based alarm systems.

Another difference you'll see with ADT is that they'll send an associate to evaluate your home's alarm system needs prior to installation. Most of the systems are wireless but some in-person coding is necessary with certain add-on equipment.

ADT's entry-level alarm system package is $99 for installation, plus an additional monitoring fee of $36.99 per month. The equipment in this package includes:

  • A wireless touchpad
  • 3 entry point sensors
  • 1 Wireless Motion Sensor (Pet-Immune)
  • Window decals and yard signs

This package does require a landline for use, and if you need more than three entry point sensors for your larger home, expect to pay more for your equipment.

ADT also has three wireless (no landline required) alarm system packages:

  • Basic Wireless - for $48.99/month, you get the features of the entry-level plan, plus 1 Key Fob remote
  • ADT Pulse - for $52.99/month, you receive all of the features of the Basic Wireless plan, plus mobile access and alerts
  • ADT Pulse + Video - for $58.99/month, you get the features of the Pulse plan as well as the capability for video surveillance

ADT does not tell you upfront what the equipment costs will be for those three wireless packages, or for additional sensors. But, at the time of our review, they were advertising free equipment on all four monitoring packages with the required installation charge. The fine print at the bottom of the page indicated that installation charges can be as high as $399 (or more!), depending on the system chosen, and that the free equipment offer is only valid for customers who sign a 3-year contract. This is quite steep compared with alarm systems in our review that take a more do-it-yourself approach to installation.

In short, ADT (1-866-238-9934) is a great choice for customers who need dependable alarm systems with all the bells and whistles and who are willing to pay extra for reputability and professional installation.

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3 stars
Simplisafe

SIMPLISAFE

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Features:

$229.99 for equipment starter kit

No installation fees

No monthly contract

Monitoring plans cost $14.99-$24.99/month

Promoted by celebrities such as Dave Ramsey and more, SimpliSafe sells wireless alarm systems with do-it-yourself installation and zero long-term commitments. Like the majority of no-contract alarm systems, SimpliSafe does require customers to buy their equipment outright. With a minimum price of $229.99 for the starter set, that's not an insignificant amount of money, but their low monitoring costs of $25/month or less definitely result in savings over time when compared with most contract-based alarm systems.

What comes with the SimpliSafe starter package? Best for dorms, small homes and apartments, this set includes one base station and wireless keypad, one entry sensor, one motion sensor, and one keychain remote for $229.99. Larger packages include the Economy package, which adds two more entry sensors for a total cost of $259.99; the Classic package, which adds a smoke detector and siren to the Economy set, for a cost of $349.99; the Master package, with a total of two motion sensors and six entry sensors, along with the smoke detector and siren, for $449. 87; and, finally, the Ultimate package for $539.85, which includes two motion sensors, four entry sensors, the siren and smoke detector, along with a panic button, water sensor, carbon monoxide detector, and freeze sensor.

If you need some extra savings, SimpliSafe is the only alarm system we found that has the option of buying refurbished equipment. You could save as much as 30% on the purchase of your package if you're comfortable with using pre-owned gear.

SimpliSafe breaks down their monitoring packages into two basic plans:

  • Standard, which includes standard round-the clock protection.
  • Interactive, which allows you to access the app to monitor your home activity and control settings directly from your laptop or smartphone. We also saw several references to a Secret! Alerts bonus that can alert you when someone opens a private area (for example, a gun safe or a liquor cabinet) but we couldn’t find further information as to which sensors would be necessary or to set that up within the alarm system.

We were impressed by SimpliSafe's free shipping on all orders, a 3-year product warranty, and an excellent money-back guarantee for 60 days after purchase.

But, we felt that SimpliSafe came up short in two critical ways. First, most modern alarm systems include the use of technology to control everything from arming the system to changing the temperature in the home, while SimpliSafe charges more (via the more costly monitoring plan) just to be able to use their app to change the system's settings. With respect to technology, SimpliSafe also doesn't yet offer thermostat controls, door locks, or camera monitoring, though many of their competitors do.

In addition, we were dismayed by a significant number of customers who complained that they woke up multiple times to false alarms, and that the monitoring service took up to five minutes to contact the homeowner in response. Those same customers often had problems getting a prompt reply from SimpliSafe's customer service department when attempting to get to the bottom of the problem (which often seemed to be related to switching the alarm system's cellular connection from T-Mobile to Verizon or vice-versa).

Because of the expensive start-up costs and the less-than-perfect customer reviews, we encourage you to start with one of the smaller, less expensive packages for your SimpliSafe alarm system. This will give you the opportunity to fully test the system and use the 60-day return policy if necessary. SimpliSafe earns a good rating.

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Continued from above

Alarm Systems have a wide variety of features, coverage, and price points. Some Alarm Systems charge hundreds of dollars for installation in addition to their monitoring services, while others offer free equipment and/or installation along with a monthly monitoring contract. The best Alarm Systems provide customers with flexible options with respect to installation and home phone line requirements.

As you consider which Alarm System will best meet your protection needs, it is wise to have a grasp of several common features offered by home security companies. These include:

  • Monitoring Service. Does the company provide live, round-the-clock home monitoring with live representatives who will respond quickly to contact authorities in the event of a burglary or other incident?
  • Equipment and Installation Costs. Is there a charge for the initial equipment package, or is it included with the monitoring service? How many sensors are included in that package, and how much will it cost to get the number of sensors your home needs? Will you be charged separately for installation?
  • Guarantee. Are you protected by a satisfaction guarantee and/or a warranty on your Alarm System equipment?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Alarm Systems available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right alarm system to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones for years to come!

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