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      January 22, 2019

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iSmart Alarm vs SimpliSafe

Best Home Security Systems

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

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Everyone wants to feel safe in their own home, no matter how big or small the residence. In the United States, there are over two million burglaries every calendar year, with losses averaging at least $2,000 per crime. Home security systems are the most popular, reputable way to deter would-be criminals and to catch them in the act.

However, many consumers are turning away from traditional home security systems which often involve lengthy service contracts, not to mention the installation of equipment and wiring that can leave unsightly holes in the walls - and that might not even be allowed by a landlord for those who are renting an apartment or house.

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Best Reviews

2019

DIY Home Security Reviews

3 stars
iSmart Alarm

iSMART ALARM Visit Site

Features:

Equipment packages start at $249.95

No contracts or monthly fees

No monitoring services available

If you're looking for a high-tech home security system that is legitimately do-it-yourself, you may like what iSmartAlarm has to offer. Created in 2012 in Silicon Valley and a regular darling of publications like CNET and PC Mag, this company has a laser-sharp focus on using technology to its utmost when protecting homes and families.

This is most evident in their approach to monitoring: completely DIY via smartphone app, with notifications of alerts and alarms sent to you by text, email, phone call, and push notifications. The advantages are many - you can control your system from anywhere you can use your phone, there's no middleman to deal with (which also eliminates false alarm calls to the police or EMS), and, most appealing, you don't pay any monthly fees. Ever. Once you buy the equipment, it's yours.

But, that same advantage may also be a drawback for customers who have a need for third-party, round-the-clock monitoring. Most of iSmartAlarm's competitors offer it, even those companies that also have a do-it-yourself monitoring option. If you have users in the home who aren't comfortable with using a smartphone (such as elderly, young children, and so on), you might be looking elsewhere for your home security system. Also, because the system is completely dependent on your home's power and internet connection, you'll be out of luck if either one goes down because of a storm or service outage. Sometimes, technology is not our friend!

On the other hand, because there are no monitoring fees, you're only on the hook for the purchase price of the equipment. What will that run you? Take a look and some of the packages and bundles offered by iSmartHome:

  • Plus Package: 1 CubeOne hub, 3 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 remote tag, and iSmartAlarm window decals for $199.99
  • Deluxe Package: includes one CubeOne hub, 4 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 2 remote tags, and iSmartAlarm window stickers for $249.95
  • Pan & Tilt Smart Home Video Bundle: 1 CubeOne hub, 2 contact sensors, 1 motion sensor, 1 HD iCamera KEEP, 2 remote tags, and 4 window decals for $349.99
  • Shield Package: the most comprehensive package available, this includes i CubeOne hub, 8 contact sensors, 7 motion sensors, 3 remote tags, and window decals for $613.90

Every package is expandable; you can buy individual components and add them to your home security system as needed. All equipment sold by iSmartAlarm comes with a one-year warranty. Unfortunately, the company does not appear to offer any kind of customer satisfaction guarantee, though they do allow customers to return equipment within the first 30 days if it is unused.

iSmartAlarm is the home security system of choice for many technologically-savvy individuals who don't want to pay monthly fees for monitoring. But, for those who want a company with a longer history, third-party monitoring of systems, or a reassuring customer satisfaction guarantee, they'll likely have better luck with one of the other services in our review.

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3 stars
SimpliSafe

SIMPLISAFE Visit Site

Features:

$229.99 for equipment starter kit

No contract

Monitoring plans cost $14.99-$24.99/month

"Perfect Fit" money-back guarantee

Frequently promoted by big names like CNET Magazine and Dave Ramsey, SimpliSafe offers home security systems with do-it-yourself installation. What makes them popular with a get-out-of-debt guru like Ramsey? That's easy: there's no required contract, and monitoring service fees are some of the lowest available, starting at just $14.99 per month.

As with all of the DIY systems in our review, you'll have to pay for your equipment: the intro package includes a little less than some of SimpliSafe's competitors, with just a base station and keypad, one door sensor, one remote sensor, and one keychain remote. This will set you back $229.99. Unless you have a small apartment/home, you'll probably need much more than that to get your home protection up and running; larger packages add the following:

  • Compact: for $244.99, you get one extra entry sensor (total of 2)
  • Economy: for $259.99, you get two extra entry sensors (total of 3)
  • Economy Plus: for $304.99, you get a total of 4 entry sensors and 2 motion sensors
  • Starter Plus: for $304.99, you get the Economy package plus a 105 dB siren

The trend continues, with additional sensors and features as you go up in price through the packages: Lookout, Classic, Master, and Ultimate. Of course, you can also use the Build My System tool to put together the exact components you want for your particular situation.

You may even be able to save more money if you're willing to use "pre-owned" equipment: SimpliSafe is the only DIY home security company to offer refurbished equipment for purchase. Your savings could be as much as 30% compared with brand-new components.

What about monitoring? SimpliSafe keeps things, well, simple:

  • Standard, which includes basic round-the clock protection via cellular or WiFi connection for $14.99 per month.
  • Interactive, which adds the functionality of controlling and monitoring your system via smartphone or computer. You'll get text/email alerts if anything sets off your alarms. They also mention a "Secret! Alerts" if you have sensors on private rooms, safes, drawers, medicine cabinets, and so on, but there were no additional details as to how you'd set it up or which sensors would be needed. This is $24.99 per month.

New customers will appreciate that SimpliSafe components come with a 3-year warranty, and the company offers a stellar 60-day satisfaction guarantee that allows for returns for any reason within that period.

However, SimpliSafe has a significant number of issues that may give you pause. First, you may have noticed that you'll have to pay extra just to use an app to control your system. With most of the DIY home security systems on the market, that functionality is included as part of keeping up-to-date with technology. It will then come as no surprise that SimpliSafe does not currently offer any integration with smart home products, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Nest thermostats. For the truly DIY-and-tech-savvy customer, this is a glaring omission.

And, we found more than a few reviews that described being awakened by false alarms more than once - but not hearing from the monitoring service for up to five minutes. Customers also had difficulties in getting timely responses from SimpliSafe's customer service department when they needed help with their installation or when components weren't working as expected. One of the most common issues was with respect to the cellular connection, trying to switch providers in order to work with the more reliable network in their service area.

Given how expensive the SimpliSafe equipment can be, we're glad that they offer a 60-day return window. If you like what this company has to offer, you'll have two months to put it to the test before deciding if they're the home security company for your needs.

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Continued from above

Instead, customers are opting to use DIY home security systems, which gives them the convenience of setting up their protection equipment exactly the way they choose and taking it with them when they move to a new home.

Of course, every good DIY home security system should be paired with common-sense protective measures, such as using top-rated deadbolts on all entry doors and making sure all doors and windows are secure before leaving home or going to bed in the evening. Home protection experts strongly prefer security systems that include 24/7 monitoring as well, for added coverage and peace of mind particularly when people are at home. Using live monitoring has been demonstrated to greatly reduce the likelihood of burglary or invasion, as most criminals want to avoid being caught red-handed.

An added perk to taking the DIY approach to home security is saving money. These systems tend to be less expensive to purchase and set up, and yet they are usually eligible for the same premium discounts on homeowners insurance: up to 20%.

When considering the various do-it-yourself home security systems on the market, what should you keep in mind? Each company differs when it comes to the type of equipment they sell and service, the ease of installation, and whether or not they offer live monitoring of your system. Keep the following criteria in mind:

  • Equipment Costs. What does the company include with its home security packages? How many sensors will you need, and what will you be charged to get the level of coverage you want? What will you have to spend to get any additional equipment that you need for your particular living arrangements?
  • Monitoring Service. Will your DIY home security system include any kind of monitoring, or is that left as your responsibility through online apps and other features? If 24/7 live monitoring is available, how much will it cost per month? If there's a break-in or other emergency at your home, will the service contact local authorities on your behalf?
  • Reputation. What do other customers have to say about the business, the equipment, and/or the service received? How easy is it to get help, either with your do-it-yourself installation or with the service? Can you expect a satisfaction guarantee or refund if you are unhappy with the home security service?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best DIY Home Security Systems available today. We hope these reviews help you find the best do-it-yourself home security system that will keep you and your family safe for years to come!

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