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Thursday, January 20th
SimpliSafe was founded in 2006, and its alarm systems protect more than a million homes throughout the US and UK. This is one of the few home alarm systems on the market that come with options for both professional, round-the-clock monitoring and self-service if you prefer to keep an eye on things yourself without 24/7 external surveillance.
Lots to choose from
SimpliSafe makes it simple to get the equipment you want for the alarm system you have in mind: either customize it from the get-go, shop refurbished systems, or choose from their five packages:
Add what you need, including professional install if desired
Not seeing the equipment you need in one of the packages? No problem. You can add extra components without adding to your monitoring costs. These systems are designed to be easy for the average person to set up, but if you want professional help you can choose that for an extra fee (starting at $99).
4 monitoring options
There are four ways you can use your SimpliSafe alarm system: unmonitored, self-monitored with camera recording, standard, or interactive. All four allow you to arm and disarm your system remotely, keep you informed with push notifications, and send you alarm/error/camera alerts.
Unmonitored lets you DIY for free
The Unmonitored service only comes with the cost of the equipment you choose to install. It's a pretty bare-bones option; there's no police or fire dispatch, no SMS or email notifications, and you can only view a 7-day timeline of any events logged. As you might imagine, this plan isn't very popular among consumers who want a halfway-decent home alarm system.
DIY plus cameras for under $10/month
The next tier, Self-Monitoring with Camera Recording, costs $9.99/month. If you want a truly DIY alarm system from install to monitoring, this is your plan. You can view an unlimited timeline/history of your system, you'll get all possible notifications and alerts, unlimited recording on up to five cameras, and it can integrate some smart home components. There's no emergency services dispatch: you essentially are the monitoring center.
2 professional monitoring packages
To add in professional monitoring, you'll need to choose between the Standard ($14.99/month) and Interactive ($24.99/month) plans. The standard doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles: it's a basic alarm system that has round-the-clock monitoring but no integrations, SMS/email notifications, or arming reminders. Most people who want a well-rounded alarm system setup choose the Interactive, which allows you unlimited recording on up to 10 cameras and all of the other features SimpliSafe makes available.
No contracts, 60-day trial
No matter which plan you choose, you have a 60-day risk-free trial to see if your alarm system meets expectations. Plus, there are no long-term contracts with SimpliSafe; you can cancel at any time.
Features you won't see elsewhere
There are two novel features of SimpliSafe's monitoring that are available with the top-tier package that you might want to consider. One is Visual Verification; it allows SimpliSafe reps to confirm that your alarm is real so that police can be dispatched faster. The other is the Secret Alert: if you've got a cabinet or private area that you want to monitor without setting off an alarm, your SimpliSafe system can do that. You'll get a quiet alert when those places are breached.
Recent updates lead to sharp decline
As we went to check out SimpliSafe's most recent customer feedback, expecting it to be on par with the glowing reports we found in the past, we were surprised and disappointed. One huge detail is that the company had recently pushed two-factor authentication to all of their accounts: ordinarily, that's a good thing, but in SimpliSafe's case they were restricting it to a single username. In other words, unless you allow all of your household users to log in using the same account, only one person can access the system remotely. When we reached out to SimpliSafe's live chat online, the rep confirmed that this is the case - and that they had no projected date when the two-factor authentication would be available for multiple usernames on one alarm system. They also didn't respond to our question as to whether it would be feasible for everyone in a household to log in remotely using the same sign-on.
Reputation not trending upward lately
That lines up with a downward trend we see reflected in other client comments. While the company has thousands of five-star reviews, many of those are several years old; on the other hand, ratings left within a few weeks of this evaluation complain about struggles to get equipment repaired or connected, to get refunds for broken components (or even just during the 60-day free trial), or even just to reach support reps in a timely manner. Not a good look.
Not our favorite right now
While SimpliSafe used to be in a tie for our highest rating, these recent developments leave us wondering if their alarm systems are still a trustworthy choice. Because it's going to take some time to (hopefully) see improvements, we've downgraded SimpliSafe to a "just average" three-star rating and suggest looking at a different service in the meanwhile.
There are so many options today, from well-known providers that have been around for fifty years or more to brand-new companies selling DIY-installed, wallet-friendly home alarm systems and automation all in one.
You've got plenty of reasons to use an alarm system, whichever route you choose. Not only can they protect you against break-ins while you're away, but they can also give you extra peace of mind if you're one of the millions of Americans who find themselves working from home on a regular basis. Need to know who's at your door before you open it? Many systems will send live video right to your smartphone, letting you decide if you should interrupt that conference call with your team!
What are the basics of an alarm system? Most packages come with a few window/door sensors and some kind of control panel. You can still find traditional equipment that includes a wall-installed panel, but most of today's systems have a portable tablet used to arm and disarm it. From there, the options are nearly limitless and can include indoor/outdoor cameras, video doorbells, smoke/fire and carbon monoxide detectors, and many other features to keep you feeling secure.
Beyond safety, alarm systems now give you plenty of choices for home automation. What might have seemed like space-age tech just ten years ago is commonplace: use your smartphone to turn down the thermostat before you get home from work, arm your system with a voice command even when you're already in bed for the evening, or sign into your system from your computer at work to make sure you really did remember to lock the front door (and take care of it if you didn't!).
With so many options, it can feel overwhelming to choose an alarm system. There are several things to keep in mind that can help make the decision clearer and lead you to the package that will meet your needs:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best alarm systems available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the right protection to keep you, your loved ones, and your property safe and sound!
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