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      January 19, 2019

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  1. Protect America
  2. ADT
  3. Get Safe
  4. Live Watch
  5. Vivint
  6. Simplisafe
  7. Guardian
  8. Alarm Force

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Live Watch vs SimpliSafe

Best Wireless Security Systems

To help you find the Best Wireless Security Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Live Watch and SimpliSafe.

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Now more than ever, homeowners are looking for ways to protect themselves and their property. With more than 2 million burglaries each year - and an average loss of $2,000 per incident - wireless security systems are at the forefront of safeguarding against intruders.

It is true that there are other ways to make your home safer from burglary and invasion. For example, a well-lit exterior can discourage criminals from approaching your property, and high-quality deadbolts make it more difficult to enter your home. Unfortunately, even these measures will not prevent a determined criminal from picking the lock, smashing a window or slider door, and entering your home to steal your belongings or worse.

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Best Reviews

2019

Wireless Security System Reviews

3.5 stars
Live Watch

LIVE WATCH Visit Site

Features:

Equipment costs starting at $99

Activation fee of $19.95

1-year contract, then month-to-month

24/7 monitoring starting at $34.95/month

LiveWatch was created by a Kansas paramedic who wanted to create a cutting-edge home security system that would provide fast communication and response times during an emergency. In the last 10+ years, LiveWatch has gained more than 200,000 customers, and the company aims to treat each one of them like family.

Three plans of service are offered by LiveWatch. Every plan includes 24/7 monitoring, remote arm and disarm, LiveVoice Assist (which allows you to talk directly to the control panel in an emergency), and the ASAPer alert system that can be used to resolve alarms from a smartphone or computer. These include the following:

  • Mobile Pro: basic coverage for $34.95/month
  • Total Home: all the basics of the Mobile Pro, and additional features that include smartphone controls, home automation, and smart image capture, for $39.95/month
  • Total Home + Video: as the name suggests, all the features of the Total Home package, with the add-on of live video streaming and an included security camera, for $49.95/month

In order to start coverage, you'll need to choose an equipment purchase. There are two primary options: the Plug&Protect Basic ($99) and the Plug&Protect IQ ($299). The lower-priced package includes a somewhat retro GE Keypad Alarm Panel, 2 wireless door sensors, 1 wireless motion detector, a siren, 2 yard signs, 6 window stickers, and a keychain remote.

The IQ set includes everything in the Basic package, but the GE Keypad is replaced by a 7" Android touchscreen panel with dual-band connectivity and a built-in camera. Additional products are available for an extra cost, such as door sensors ($29 each), motion sensors ($78 each), and keychain remotes ($30 each). The monthly monitoring covers as many devices as you would like to add, all for the same monthly price.

Unlike most of the companies in our review, LiveWatch doesn't have a multi-year commitment to access their protection plans. Customers sign a 1-year contract, after which the service switches to a month-to-month plan. Also, LiveWatch has an excellent money-back guarantee: if you cancel within that first year, you can get a full refund when you return the equipment, with no restocking or cancellation fees.

Where LiveWatch left us confused was in the disconnect between the services listed as included in the Total Home packages and the products available during the checkout process. When we entered the highest level of equipment (IQ) and coverage (Total Home + Video), there was no option to add products one would expect, such as smartphone-controlled thermostats.

When we clicked on the live chat (which had popped up as soon as we went to the site, offering to answer any questions and offering discounts on the $99 starter kit), the representative said that the site was under construction and gave us a link to an external site with home automation products. We also saw that the IQ system was only $99 in our cart, despite being listed as $299 elsewhere - a good "problem" to have, but also indicative of inconsistencies with the site. Similarly, we were excited to see a 4.6/5-star rating as a Google seller, but the link took us to a page that said rating details were not available for this seller.

However, the customer service representative was very helpful with answering all of the questions we had and helping us put together a package that would meet our needs, so it may be that the site itself is going through some growing pains that will be resolved in the near future. We found many positive customer comments regarding the actual service provided by LiveWatch, so it could be worth your time to give them a look if you're shopping for a wireless security system.

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3 stars
SimpliSafe

SIMPLISAFE Visit Site

Features:

$229.99 for equipment starter kit

No installation fees

No monthly contract

Monitoring plans cost $14.99-$24.99/month

Touted by celebrities like Dave Ramsey and others, SimpliSafe provides wireless security systems that can be installed easily by the average consumer and that have no contracts to sign. As with most no-contract systems, SimpliSafe requires that customers purchase equipment outright, starting at $229.99 for the starter set, but their low monthly monitoring costs - less than $25/month - definitely result in savings over time.

So, what's included in the starter package? Ideal for 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 what's included in the Economy set, for a cost of $349.99; the Master package that has 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 has a total of two motion sensors, four entry sensors, the siren and smoke detector, along with a panic button, water sensor, carbon monoxide detector, and freeze sensor.

And, for additional savings, SimpliSafe is the only wireless security system we found that has refurbished equipment for sale. This could save you as much as 30% on the purchase of your wireless security system.

SimpliSafe breaks their monitoring into two easy-to-understand plans:

  • Standard, which includes 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 information promoting a Secret! Alerts bonus that can alert you when someone opens a private area such as a gun safe or liquor cabinet, but we couldn't find more details as to which sensors would be required or how that feature is set up.

We like that SimpliSafe offers free shipping on all products, a 3-year product warranty, and an exceptional money-back guarantee for 60 days after purchase.

On the other hand, we felt that SimpliSafe falls short in two significant ways. First, most wireless security systems are based on the concept of using technology to control everything from arming the system to changing the temperature in the home, and it seems stingy of SimpliSafe to charge extra just to be able to use their app to change the system features. SimpliSafe doesn't currently offer thermostat controls, door locks, or camera monitoring, while many of their competitors do.

Also, we were discouraged to see a considerable number of customers who said that they were awakened by false alarms on more than one occasion, and that the monitoring service took as long as five minutes to contact the homeowner. Those same customers often had difficulty in getting a timely response from SimpliSafe's customer service department when trying to resolve the issues (which often required switching the system's cellular coverage from T-Mobile to Verizon or vice-versa).

We strongly recommend that customers start with one of the smaller, less expensive equipment packages - possibly refurbished or purchased second-hand - and giving it a thorough testing in the first two months, in order to take advantage of the 60-day return policy if needed.

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Continued from above

For that reason, experts in home protection strongly recommend that you invest in a wireless security system, particularly those that have round-the-clock monitoring, to give you the greatest possible peace of mind. Most criminals will bypass homes that have a monitoring system, simply because it puts them at greater risk of being caught in the act.

Compared with traditional home security systems, wireless versions allow you to install them on your own and can easily be moved from one location to another - a convenient advantage for those who move frequently, such as students living in dorms or those who move around the country for work reasons.

Having a wireless security system can also save you money. Many homeowners insurance policies will give you a discount on your annual premium - as much as 20% - with an installed home protection package.

Wireless security systems can vary widely with respect to the protection they offer, the equipment provided, and the overall cost. Also, some offer 24-hour live monitoring of your system, while others leave that responsibility to you.

What should you look for in a wireless security system? Be sure to consider the following aspects:

  • Equipment Costs. What is included with your wireless security system compared to the number of sensors you need? How much does it cost to add extra sensors or other equipment that may be appropriate for your living situation?
  • Monitoring Service. Does the company monitor your system around-the-clock? Are the fees reasonable? Will the company contact local authorities in the event of a break-in or other emergency?
  • Guarantee. Does the company offer a satisfaction guarantee or a refund if there are any issues with the service or the equipment?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best wireless security systems available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the ideal wireless security system to protect your home and your loved ones! 

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