Simplisafe can be installed and used without monthly subscription fees in the UK. However, most app-based features do not work without a paid plan, including remote disarming and smart home integrations. Camera motion alerts work without a paid plan, but video cannot be recorded and stored — only streamed live.
Considering the increasing flexibility of DIY security systems like Amazon’s Ring system or enthusiast builds like Wyze, we’re optimistic that Simplisafe will increase access to push notifications and integrations in the future.
The most significant limitation of Simplisafe without a monitoring plan is the lack of app features. You can open the app, but you can’t do much besides streaming live video from the camera included on all UK systems.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s present and missing:
|Smart home integrations||Requires paid plan|
|Police dispatch||Requires paid plan|
|Arming and disarming remotely||Requires paid plan|
|Sensor and alarm push notifications||Requires paid plan|
|Camera motion detected||Available without paid plan|
|Sensors and alarms||Available without paid plan|
|Streaming live video||Available without paid plan|
Simplisafe systems work perfectly well “locally” without paying for one of their premium plans.
Suppose you simply want the alarm to make a racket when tripped or check-in remotely via a video camera. In that case, the free tier of Simplisafe is a good option with a low effort setup relative to other DIY options.
The issues arise when you want to use the app, since by definition all the monitoring and police dispatch requires a paid plan.
I’ve tried my system on the free tier for a couple months while working from home, and I found it acceptable for the peast of mind that an alarm would sound if a break in happened while I was asleep. Here are the main issues I ran into:
For now, the limitations put Simplisafe in an odd spot in the market where it’s not quite “DIY” but doesn’t have the level of support and customisation offered by more established brands like Verisure.
The position makes it a good fit for renters who would otherwise go with Verisure, but need a system with no monthly fees and rental-friendly install. In addition, Simplisafe is drill and nail-free, and easy to pick up and move.
While Wyze offers more features for true self-monitoring in terms of video storage and push notifications, Simplisafe isn’t directed towards smart home enthusiasts.
Instead, it’s a system for non-techies who just want easy, hassle-free setup. With that in mind, it makes sense if your needs are limited to sounding an alarm for break-ins and checking in on the flat while you travel. I’ve tested my personal system without a plan, and while I ultimately chose to return to paid features, I enjoyed the peace of mind knowing there would at least be a racket if someone tripped an alarm.
Users who are determined to use Simplisafe equipment without paying for their premium features can unlock the basics like push notifications if they are willing to get creative.
The simplest method is to set a loud noise alert with Amazon Alexa, so that you get an Amazon alert if there’s a loud noise in your home. Since the Simplisafe alarm works fine without plans, this will trip the Alexa and send you an alert outside the Simplisafe app.
If you’re considering upgrading from the Simplisafe free setup, here’s what’s included in both Pro and Pro Premium plan tiers as of 2022:
|Features||Free Plan||Pro Plan||Pro Premium Plan|
|24/7 live monitoring||No||Yes||Yes|
|Arm/disarm in person||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Arm/disarm from app||No||No||Yes|
|Police force and fire dispatch||No||No||Yes|
|Smart home integration||No||No||Yes|
As you can see, smart home integrations are limited to the most expensive plan. Additionally, Simplisafe has not yet integrated with Apple Homekit.
Overall, enthusiast-grade systems like Wyze are a better fit even if you’re willing to pay, because Simplisafe is not designed with integrations in mind and the app can be a bit clunky for if-this-then-that home automation setups.