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      February 17, 2020

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SimpliSafe vs Alarm Force

Best Alarm Systems

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

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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

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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2 stars
Alarm Force

ALARM FORCE

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Features:

Professional installation

Award-winning 24/7 monitoring

AlarmForce boasts more than two decades of experience in the alarm systems industry. Begun primarily with traditional wire-based systems, AlarmForce has kept up with market trends by incorporating newer technologies in their alarm system packages.

Before considering AlarmForce, you should be aware that their service area is extremely limited, and we might not even have realized it if we hadn't seen the "Service Locations" link at the bottom of the page, under the heading labeled "Support". According to that page, the only areas served by AlarmForce at the time of our review were Canada and selected metro areas in Ohio and North Carolina. Regrettably, even with the most competitive pricing and service, they wouldn't be able to offer the protection of an alarm system to most customers in the United States.

If you do happen to live in AlarmForce's coverage area, their services include the following:

  • Secure: for $29.99/month, you get a touchscreen control panel, 1 motion detector, and 2 door contacts with 24/7 monitoring
  • Connect: for $39.99/month, you get a touchscreen control panel, 2 motion detectors, and 3 door contacts; access via mobile app, and real-time notifications
  • Control: for $44.99/month, you get a touchscreen control panel, 1 motion detector, 3 door contacts, 1 image sensor, 1 smoke/heat/freeze detector, Z-Wave control for home automation for add-on features like indoor/outdoor/doorbell cameras, smart thermostats, smart door locks and light bulbs, and garage door controllers

We also spotted a promotion to get the first three months of monitoring coverage for free, but no further information was provided to tell customers how to qualify for that special pricing.

A positive aspect of AlarmForce's alarm systems is the free lifetime warranty, with zero fees for labor, replacement parts, or equipment. Many of their competitors charge, at the very least, a service call fee even for equipment covered under warranty, so this does give AlarmForce an edge in the few markets they serve.

Additionally, their monitoring service has won a five-diamond rating for providing excellent attention to customers: one of only two providers of alarm systems in our review to have earned that award.

In short, if your home is in Canada or one of AlarmForce's regions of coverage in North Carolina or Ohio, they might meet your home protection needs quite well; but, because their service area is so drastically limited, we can only give AlarmForce a lower rating at this time.

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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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