SimpliSafe – Wireless Alarm / Home Security Systems
Firstly lets start by saying this is not an advert or a sponsored post.
We’ve been in the market for a wireless alarm system for a while, but we’d not really seen anything that worked the way we wanted it to.
Scroll forward to July 2020 and while watching a YouTube channel I follow, they cut to a piece about their latest sponsors SimpliSafe and the box that had just arrived. It looked good and it was probably the right tool for our needs, so I put it in the maybe pile and carried on watching.
Scroll forward a little further and I spot an online offer for SimpliSafe. To be honest I’d totally forgotten about them, but this reminded me to take a proper look.
The reason this system caught my attention in the first place, was how exceptionally well thought out the system looked to be. Their security products cover everything you could hope to monitor including leaks, frost, smoke and CO2, and nearly all sensors are wireless (except for the base station & any camera’s you might want) so their system is really easy to install and can be moved should you wish to or in case you move home.
With a system like this you are sticking sensors up anywhere you need them with the included and easy to remove sticky pads, instead of wiring everything together and trying to find places to hide all that wiring.
Gone are the days of installing high cost alarm systems which are hard wired to your home and then moving only to have to buy a full system again for your new home. It’s for these same reasons that this type of system is also great for Renters, Students, Holiday Homes, Campervans, Caravans and Van Lifers etc.
When it comes to the product packages there’s a great range that cover the average user requirements, but also options to add extra components, or you can just build a system from scratch according to your personal needs. And if they haven’t swayed you yet, they even offer a 60 day money back guarantee.
So with all these positives, and the 60 day money back guarantee, we decide to give it a go and this is what we think so far.
Buying experience Part 1 The Kit:
Buying / Choosing a SimpliSafe system is easy, they currently have 6 Pre Selected systems with a mixture of components that most people choose depending on their needs, and you can then add additional pieces should you need them. Alternatively if you just fancy a standalone security Camera setup, you can do that too.
The best way to figure out your package in our opinion is to look at their sensors and decide what you need or would like to have. Maybe your home would be better with more window / entry sensors or maybe you need more motion sensors. Whatever you need plan this out first, think about being locked out of your home and which places you might try to gain access. This gives you a great starting point, and it’s from here you can start to look at the packages and what they include as well as how much you’ll be looking at spending either as a package, a package with a few extras or as a build it yourself from scratch option.
For us it was all about cost initially, so we worked out a system for our home based on how best we could protect our home with the fewest sensors to suit our current meagre budget.
Whatever works out to be the best option for you, the beauty of this system is that you can add more to it whenever you need to, or like us whenever you have the extra funds, so there’s no penalty for starting this way
Shipping, Deliveries, Packaging etc:
Shipping was pretty quick for us, I think it took 3 days from order to delivery.
Everything comes in a smart recyclable brown cardboard box which when opened has the flaps with SimpliSafe written on them and underneath a packing slip with your order details.
Below that there’s an open thin card envelope with your security sign, instructions and spare sticky pads is next. I’d advise you not to use this sign or the stickers advertising what alarm system you use, this only tells possible burglers what alarm system they maybe facing once they try to enter and remove the element of surprise.
If you do want to advertise you have an alarm, order yourself a generic sign on Amazon. The down side to this is all the extra signs and stickers going into landfill, maybe SimpliSafe could produce generic signs and cover this off? It would also be nice to see recycled or alternative materials that are better for the planet for these signs too.
Next you’ll find a collection of well packaged brown boxes with your items names / images printed on the top.
This packaging is well thought out, firstly its a neat compact quality package when it’s all together so the smaller internal packages hold themselves tight together and remove the need for extra fill packaging so there’s no unnecessary plastic or foam or polystyrene here, and it clearly states what’s inside each box.
Inside each of these boxes the products are also protected with a single recyclable bag and the camera and base station have plastic static protectors to cover things like the camera lens and other sensitive parts. Where the items use batteries (pre installed) you’ll also find a plastic pull tab that prevents the battery terminals from being active until you pull them out.
The only other packaging inside is a screw pack in case you need screws instead of the included easy remove sticky pads.
Now if we were to be picky (which we are!) we’d say the tiny screw pack is the worst shrink wrap type plastic packaging and that the pull tabs are also plastic, this is a shame considering the detail that SimpliSafe seems to have taken in packaging their system with recyclable packaging, so lets hope they’re already planning to remove all these extra little plastic items with a box for screws and paper or card pull tabs in the future, come on SimpliSafe its 2020 cheap non recyclable plastics shouldn’t be here anymore.
Right so now we’ve got everything out and ready to go what do we think?
Well lets start by saying nothing feels cheap, even the tiny door / window sensors feel substantial for what they are. The plastics feel good quality, even the mounting plates are made from the same plastic and so everything feels like a quality setup. Again if this was a perfect world i’d love to say that these plastics would have come from the oceans or previously used recycled plastics of some sort, but maybe this post will give them a push…
Our pack came with a free Camera and even the power cable was carefully wrapped up neatly (sadly again with a plastic cap and rubbery plastic loop for holding the cable in its tidy loop, but again something that can be changed) the point I’m trying to make here is everything is right when it comes to presentation and the quality of each product. From the looks of build quality these items will all look good and age well.
Getting Started and setting it up!
Getting started is extremely easy, even those not so technically minded will be able to do this. The instructions are extremely simple but most of all this system is designed to just seamlessly work together.
First off you’ll be turning on the base station by plugging it in, then you’ll be pulling out the battery tab in the keypad, from here everything just works.
The screen on the keypad tells you what to do and matches perfectly with the wee instruction manual both guiding you through setup.
The base station will notify you as each item is added to its system and before long you’re ready to install each of your items.
*TIP If I was to be adding lots of sensors I would say install each one as soon as you’ve set them up with the base station, this way you don’t mix them up when installing. For example accidentally sticking your now connected front door sensor to your back door.
So what else can the SimpliSafe system do? Here’s a few of the features we think add that little extra to your system.
Security Codes Normally when you setup a security system you’ll need to create a security code that everyone can remember to arm or disarm the system. Not so here, with the SimpliSafe system you can setup a different code for each user, handy for those with a memory like a sieve.
Panic Buttons There’s a built in panic button on top of the keypad just in case you need it. And if you wanted any extras to place about the house you can add these to your basket as extra items to your order.
Under Duress You can also setup an “Under Duress” code, so if you were ever in a situation whereby you were threatened to cancel the alarm, you can input your duress code and the alarm will turn off, but it will also notify SimpliSafe that there’s a serious issue and you are under duress. Clever thinking however i’m not sure what happens if you don’t have their monitoring…
Immediate Triggers Just like any alarm system, when the system is triggered there’s a short delay before the alarm goes off. This is to give you time to get to the keypad and enter you access code. However with the SimpliSafe system you also can set some of your sensors to Activate Immediately. For example a window sensor on a rarely used door, window, garage or shed etc. These won’t go off unless the alarm is set, but if it is, as soon as they are triggered the alarm will sound.
Buying experience Part 2 – Do you need monitoring?
To be honest this is my only frustration with this security setup. SimpliSafe seem to have the security packages right, but the monitoring packages miss a chunk of potential users like us.
Let me explain, when you look at the packages, there are some basic features using the app that you would think would be in a base package for those of us who don’t want the all singing all dancing full setup, some features you might even think should already be included in the system as standard like app control, but no, if you want basic app control then you will need a subscription of £240 per annum!
Lets look at their monitoring packages.
SimpliSafe Monitoring Packages come in the following flavours.
Recording Plan (Cameras only x10) £4.99pm
See exactly what happened before, during and after your camera detects the activity. With an optional recording plan, for just £4.99 per month for up to 10 cameras, you can record, store and share critical footage with police and neighbours.
Record anytime, anywhere at the touch of a button
Download and share clips from your home security camera
Pro – £12.99pm or (£155.88pa)
Our professionals monitor your home for break-ins and more. Anything happens, we’ll call you and your designated contacts.
24/7 Live Alarm Monitoring
No Contracts, cancel anytime
Pro Premium £19.99pm or (£239.88pa)
Our elite service. Our professionals monitor your home. Anything happens, we’ll call you and dispatch the authorities.
24/7 Live Alarm Monitoring
Police & Fire Dispatch
Mobile App: Arm/Disarm from Anywhere
Alerts Right On Your Phone
Video Alarm Verification
Unlimited Camera Recording
Smart Home Integrations
No Contracts, cancel anytime
So as you can see, the monitoring packages you’re looking at are between 3 price brackets, £59.88pa, £155.88p and £239.88pa, which when comparing what’s included in each of these packages goes to prove that SimpliSafe are heavily pushing users towards the all singing all dancing top package, even to gain basic features.
If you look at most digital services like this they’re all doing the same thing, which from a business point of view makes sense to a degree, but in my opinion in this sector, not as much. Take Netflix as an example, they’ve kept the pricing basic but they sell far more of their service to more customers around the world than the other TV subscription services do. Why? Well they were the first to give an excellent product at a reasonable price point that most people could afford and now the other companies are all playing catchup. Its the same with Amazon Prime deliveries.
This is where I think SimpliSafe have missed a trick, and they should be selling another base service, that would be more suitable to the masses, lets call it Security Basic at £7.99pm or £95.88pa which could include:
The Camera Plan plus the Mobile App: Arm/Disarm from Anywhere and Alerts Right On Your Phone
by using the App only, you add some very useful basic additional benefits to those of us using a basic system, say students in Halls of residence or camper vans, holiday homes, narrow boats etc etc. These are the same people who would probably skip signing up to any of the current security plan options rather than paying an extra £156 to £240 ish a year. But if they added a basic system of less than a £100 pa with useful features in the app included, I think more people would probably give it a go, I know we would.
So should you choose a monitoring plan? Well that depends on your individual needs, but we feel the pricing is a little steep for some as it stands right now.
So there you have it, do we feel like we have a good home alarm system, YES we definitely do, its smart, easy to setup, well made, the hardware is affordable, and you can add to your system as and when the need arises. Most of all it gives us that extra peace of mind that a security system gives you. Just be aware of the Monthly addons for security monitoring, we feel they could do better here, but I’m sure SimpliSafe have probably started to notice this issue already…
Should you buy one, YES. If you need an alarm system and want something that’s exceptionally easy to install then this system ticks a lot of boxes and we think the Product packages are priced well.
As we’ve purchased our own system we were automatically given a discount link for friends & family that gives you £50 off a SimpliSafe alarm system and gives us vouchers too. If you would like to save £50 follow this link and please let us know in the comments below. This offer will not work with other offers.
Product Score 4/5 – Great overall system but loses a point on subscriptions right now
Environmental Score Packaging 3/5 – Good packaging when it comes to the cardboard boxes, size of packaging, no polystyrene or foam fill, but could do better with extra small packaging plastics like cable hoops and caps, small spare screw bags, screen covers etc
Environmental Score Products N/A – There’s no information on this on the company website, products look to be well made and made to last and they can be moved easily to be re used, but likely to be virgin plastics.
Environmental Score Company N/A – There’s no information we can find on this on the company website.