Search...

Simplisafe Review: Home Security System

Rating
3.5 / 5

Verdict
We rank Simplisafe UK a 3.5/5 because while the equipment is high-quality for the cost, the subscription fees are steep for a DIY system. We suggest self-monitor customers look to Amazon Ring for cheaper prices, or a full-service provider like Verisure if you’re willing to pay a monthly fee.

 
Reviewed by
Thomas Buck

SimpliSafe Review Summary

I was one of the first smart home enthusiasts to jump on board when Simplisafe (finally!) launched in the UK.

After more than two years as a customer, I’m still pleased with the performance and customization options Simplisafe provides.

However, I’ve been less happy with some features — namely the camera, which has poor night vision and requires a monthly plan to record events.

This review will cover cost, UK-only features, and equipment performance. All statements are based on my experience as a Simplisafe customer over the past two years, and also pull from 27 customer surveys we’ve conducted with Simplisafe customers using our website.

In spite of my good experience, I think most users are better served by other brands. This is especially true since Amazon and ADT have both developed their ecosystems substantially in the last year.

Overall, this is a DIY system that requires you to be capable (and enthusiastic!) about building your own smart home. If you’re not tech-friendly, I’d suggest a managed system like ADT or Verisure.

The cost is ultimately similar between all the major home alarm providers. £12–45/month is a normal cost, which means Simplisafe is best for customers who want to be very involved in building and customizing their system — rather than simply having a professional handle it.

Pros and Cons of Simplisafe


Pros

  • Highly customizable
  • No contract requirement
  • Integrates with your existing smart home (Google, Alexa, Siri)
  • Provides police dispatch options (unlike all other DIY options in the UK)
  • No fee increases for adding sensors

Cons

  • No professional install
  • Single camera provided by default
  • Low video quality (1080p but I’ve found the night vision to be lacking)
  • No video storage or alerts without monthly plan
  • Limited hardwire equipment options

Like all security systems, what makes it “worth it” is largely dependent on your home size, whether you rent or own, and crime rates in your area. Simplisafe is no exception, and some of the biggest “pros” are also the biggest “cons.”

Simplisafe Base Station
The Simplisafe Base Station is the hub for all your sensors, and can support up to a hundred devices. My tests were on a self-designed system with 24 devices in a 3-bedroom 2-level house.

For example, the system is heavily dependent on Wi-Fi. This is a benefit if you’re a renter, but a major drawback for homeowners who prefer hardwired systems.

The system also has a low monthly cost relative to most systems, which is great if you’re cutting costs but not-so-great if you can’t handle the tradeoffs, like installing sensors yourself.

How is Simplisafe UK different from the US?

Simplisafe uses the same equipment in the UK as the US, but the plans and connection to monitoring is different.

Plans are simpler in the UK, but we don’t get the “self-monitored” plan offered in the US. This is mainly because the police dispatch requirements differ. However, it’s a major drawback for those of us who want to use the app for remote arm/disarm without monthly fees.

Simplisafe wireless keypad
Arming and disarming the system is simple via the wireless keypad provided. I saw a slight 1–2 second lag before code input would stop the alarm countdown. Normal for a Wi-Fi-based system, but noticeable.

Police dispatch in the UK requires visual confirmation of a crime, unlike the US. As such, monitoring in the UK goes through an intermediary guard service rather than directly to the police. This means fewer false alarms, but it can also delay the response somewhat if you aren’t self-monitoring by default. (Read more on system requirements with the NSI.)

Simplisafe only includes police dispatch for the premium plan — another drawback for budget-conscious customers.

Overall, the value proposition of Simplisafe is not as good in the UK. To be fair, though, there are fewer DIY home alarm options here to drive the prices down.

Full review of Simplisafe costs

Simplisafe systems in the UK have two main costs:

  1. Up-front equipment purchase.
  2. Ongoing monthly plan fee.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what those costs look like in 2022:

Simplisafe
Up-Front Charges
Cost
Typical system cost rangeTypically
£250–500
Lowest system cost£248.97
Highest system cost£503.88

You’re typically looking at £250–500 to get all the equipment needed for your home. This greatly depends on the size of your home and your needs.

My total cost was £482, including tax.

However, I have a large home and wanted extra cameras, sensors, and an additional siren since I planned on testing the system as a noise-only DIY setup without monitoring.

Their “Foundation” package is currently sold for much less than that at £248.97, and what’s included is easily enough to cover your average 1–2 bedroom flat.

Simplisafe
Monthly Charges
Cost
Unmonitored (no plan)Free
Pro£12.99/mo.
Pro Premium£19.99/mo.

Simplisafe Plans: Pro vs Pro Premium

To put it simply, the plans offered by Simplisafe in the US are quite complex. Thankfully, their plan tiers in the UK are much more straightforward:

FeaturesFree PlanPro PlanPro Premium Plan
Monthly cost£0£12.99£19.99
24/7 live monitoringNoYesYes
Arm/disarm in personYesYesYes
Arm/disarm from appNoNoYes
Police force and fire dispatchNoNoYes
Smart home integrationNoNoYes

Let’s look at the key differences. The Pro plan offers 24/7 monitoring by the Simplisafe team. However, they will not alert the police for crime events — instead, they notify the system owner and any designated friends and family.

Pro Premium will also alert the police if deemed needed; they’ll also dispatch an in-person guard, although this part is optional.

Their original service in the US connects directly to the police, which comes with many logistics and issues; false alarms are one of the big ones. The rules and setup also vary from state to state, which makes it complex to set up.

They’ve fixed this somewhat in the UK by working with an in-between guard service rather than pinging the police directly when your alarm goes off. This is good, because it means a professional will determine whether the police should be called — either virtually or on-premise.

For me, the lack of smart home integrations on the free plan is the deal-breaker. If it weren’t for this, I wouldn’t be considering any other alarm systems this year. Unfortunately, this requirement brings the cost so close to “premium” providers like ADT and Verisure that I plan to switch before the end of the year.

Simplisafe Equipment Review

You’ll notice that all the equipment in these photos is a bit dusty and has some scuffs and scratches.

That’s because I’ve been using this system for over two years.

It’s held up decently, but the matte black and white surfaces show some marks if you don’t keep them out of reach of kids and pets.

I have a mix of white and black equipment, but I’d opt for white whenever possible if I was buying again. Against expectation, I’ve seen more scuffs and scratches on the black system components than the white ones.

Base station scratches
Getting knocked over a couple times by the dog was enough to put noticeable scratches on my matte black Simplisafe base station.

Equipment options

Every Simplisafe package sold in the UK comes with three core items:

  1. Base station: a router-like device that connects all your sensors and provides a speaker for the primary alarm.
  2. Wireless keypad: a keypad with screen for inside your door. This arms and disarms the system with a 4-digit code, and also provides settings for connecting and checking status of all your sensors.
  3. Indoor camera: a 1080p wi-fi based security camera that streams to the Simplisafe app. This is required with all UK plans because police dispatch is not allowed for security systems without visual confirmation of crimes.
Simplisafe sensors
The sensors are much better than the cameras with Simplisafe, making it a good choice if you care more about rapid police response than crystal-clear evidence capture. In my experience, night vision was poor but perfectly acceptable for supporting police response if needed.

They have more than 10 different sensors you can add to the system, including smoke detectors, glass break detectors, and water leak sensors. I’ll only comment below on the ones that I’ve tested and have comments for:

How Simplisafe compares with ADT and Verisure

Simplisafe looks cheaper on the surface, but the cost over time is not that different from the major professionally installed systems, which are ADT and Verisure.

Here’s a cost breakdown so you can see how it adds up over a few years of service:

Home alarm providerTypical install costTypical monthly costContract policy
Simplisafe£300£19.99No contract
ADT£599£13.99Contract required
Verisure£319£39 (varies considerably)Contract required

As you can see, while the costs are similar, Simplisafe is a tradeoff of flexibility for service level. Verisure costs more, but their system is built bespoke by their team for your home.

Simplisafe is geared more towards tenants, who don’t want to make a long-term investment like that.

The difference in monthly fees between Simplisafe and ADT is only £24 over two years of service — that’s a small difference considering all the tech support ADT provides compared with a DIY system.

Can Simplisafe UK integrate with my smart home?

Smart home integrations are one of the better features of Simplisafe. In the UK, they integrate with all but one of the three major smart home systems: Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Smart home systemSimplisafe Integration
Google HomeTrue
Amazon AlexaTrue
Apple HomekitFalse

Missing homekit is a drawback that’s likely to change as they roll out new software features. The real issue with Simplisafe’s smart home integrations is that you can only use them on the Premium Pro plan, which costs £19.99 per month. This is £7 per month more than their base plan, and adds up to an £84 per year fee just to connect with your smart speakers.

Can I take Simplisafe with me if I move internationally?

Simplisafe monitoring works anywhere in the UK and US, and you can use the same equipment when making a move — even internationally. However, the system does not provide any professional monitoring or monthly plan options outside the US and UK. The setup and costs for monitoring is also different between the UK and the US, owing to different regulations around police dispatch in each country.

This makes it much more flexible than a provider like ADT who will not allow you to use the same equipment even when moving just down the street. Still, it’s worth being aware of if you are making a long-term investment in the hardware.

Is Simplisafe UK a good value?

Simplisafe is a good value in the UK under the following conditions:

  1. You want to build a large, flexible home alarm system at low monthly cost.
  2. You are a renter and can’t drill in your walls.
  3. You care more about crime detection than camera quality.
Simplisafe spare siron
The spare siren is worth purchasing if you plan to opt for self-monitoring without a paid monthly plan. The base station is loud, but having two devices sounding the alarm makes it harder for an intruder to silence the system.

The Bottom Line: Good System, Difficult Pricing

Given the ever-rising crime rates in London and throughout the UK, nailing your home security install is much more important than, say, your smart thermostat.

For that reason, it’s recommended that you consider DIY systems only if you are highly confident in building and maintaining your home Wi-Fi network and keeping equipment up to date.

DIY systems like Simplisafe are great fun for those of us who value flexibility and the ability to build a large system at low cost.

Review methodology

Unlike most systems we discuss on CrimeRate, I’ve personally used this one for two years. (That’s why they’re dinged in the photos above). Equipment was not stress-tested, and all comments are based on normal daily use. Pricing comparisons are based on sample quotes when the company compared does not have public plan tiers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Simplisafe work in Europe?

Simplisafe provides self-monitoring without a monthly fee anywhere in the world. However, they only offer monitored plans in the United Kingdom and the United States. There are no public plans for the brand to expand into other parts of Europe.

Is Simplisafe any good?

Simplisafe is a good pick for renters, especially for flats since the wireless mesh system works best in smaller spaces. It’s commonly £100–250 per year cheaper than premium monitored plans from the larger home alarm brands like ADT and Verisure. However, the low cost is a tradeoff for self-install and limited hardwiring options.

How much does Simplisafe cost in the UK?

The cheapest Simplisafe system sold in the UK costs £248.97 with no monthly fees for basic self-monitor use. However, features like monitoring and remote arming require a subscription to their Pro plan for £12.99 per month. Advanced features like police dispatch and smart home integration require the more expensive Pro Premium plan, which is £19.99 per month.