(Last updated on April 21st, 2020)
Home security isn’t a waste of time or money. In fact, it can preserve the value of your property and the safety of your family. Those who typically look for homes to vandalize or break into often look for places where they don’t believe they’ll be caught. By installing home security and putting a decal on your window, you inform a potential criminal that your home isn’t an easy target. This one factor, alone, is enough to deter most criminals.
That’s not the only benefit. Home security can assist with the prevention of disasters, such as fires or floods, by alerting you to danger in enough time to prevent the problem or escape. Think of the extra value of monitoring technology, too. Video cameras can check on packages while you’re not at home, for instance.
But how do you know which security system to purchase? Let us help! We’ve broken down SimpliSafe and ADT, two leading companies in the home security market, to give you the best picture of their pros and cons. Both companies do provide exceptional home security, but they differ in crucial methods and strategies. In our guide, we’ll examine their monitoring plans, their customer service ratings, and their overall prices to provide you with the best information possible before making a decision.
If you’re in a rush, just take a look at our infographic down below. It’s a snapshot of the detailed discussion further down.
A Quick Rundown of the Winners of Each Category
Winner: ADT. ADT provides greater product packages and tiers of service than SimpliSafe, allowing them to effectively service a wider variety of customers and home security needs.
Winner: Both. SimpliSafe and ADT vary in their installation model. SimpliSafe is better for small homes or those who like to DIY, while ADT has more comprehensive installation services due to their professional engineers who visit your home to install their products for you.
Winner: ADT. Although they are more expensive by a little bit on paper, ADT provides more value for their money. Their contract model also provides more financial security than SimpliSafe’s by-the-month model.
4. Customer Service
Winner: Both. SimpliSafe and ADT receive mixed ratings from many review sites, and they are both higher than the other on different sites.
Winner: ADT. ADT’s traditional contract service is more secure and reliable than SimpliSafe’s month-only model.
Overall Winner: ADT. ADT has some tough competition in SimpliSafe, but overall offers much better quality of service and a wider range of possible protection plans and products.
Now let’s get into the actual specifics: is SimpliSafe or ADT better for you? Let’s find out, first by checking out each company’s monitoring packages.
What’s Included in SimpliSafe’s Monitoring Packages?
SimpliSafe’s security model revolves around a single base unit that’s placed in the hub of your home, and which is connected wirelessly to the monitors, cameras, or detectors installed as part of your package. This hub is then controlled remotely via computer or device.
SimpliSafe has two major plans for your home security needs.
1. Standard Plan
The Standard Plan has all the basic function you might require. It includes:
- 24/7 monitoring, connected to a live alarm
- Cellular connectivity, enabling instant response from SimpliSafe personnel regardless of your phone plan
- Environmental monitoring, which protects your home from fire or flood damage.
2. Interactive Plan
The Interactive Plan, meanwhile, is an elite package that includes an immediate response to every alarm by SimpliSafe professionals. This can lead to faster arrival of medical or law enforcement personnel, should they be required. This package includes everything the first did, as well as:
- Arming of the system from anywhere, such as your phone while you’re leaving in a car
- Phone-based alerts
- Secretive alerts- these can allow you to covertly monitor someone whom you suspect might be snooping around while you’re not looking
- Video alarm verification
- Unlimited camera recording
- Smart home integrations, for connecting your SimpliSafe system to other smart home functions.
SimpliSafe then offers comprehensive product packages to combine with these monitoring plans. These packages all revolve around the standard model of a base unit positioned in a living room or bedroom which is interlinked wirelessly with the rest of your package’s equipment. The various products which are included in these packages are:
- Entry sensors
- Motion sensors
- A siren, attached to the base unit
- Panic buttons
- Freeze or water sensors
- Smoke or carbon monoxide detectors
- Key fobs
The packages are collected into themed groupings which vary greatly in price, allowing you to specialize or narrow your focus if you don’t require certain features for your fine-tuned security set. They’re made for homes with an emphasis on environmental security, burglary prevention, or home monitoring.
What’s Included in ADT’s Monitoring Packages?
ADT is a more traditional company that has security suites in a few standard tiers. These go from a lower-cost, basic selection to a higher-cost, premium tier, each building upon the last. Each tier offers greater product viability and use.
1. Traditional Package
The Traditional Package has standard security features that are found in many market mainstays. Some of these offered features are:
- Digital keypads- These operate as the base unit for ADT systems, where you control most of the major functions of your network from a keypad installed by a technician.
- Wireless keychain remotes- These are excellent for controlling your system on the go.
- Motion detectors
- Environmental sensors
- Entryway sensors
- Yard signs and window decals- these are an important feature of ADT and other security companies, as even the sight of a home with security monitoring is often enough to deter those looking to break in or attempt theft of your property.
- High-decibel alarm- this alarm, like SimpliSafe’s, is designed both to alert you to a possible problem or to scare off any intruder.
- Backup batteries- These are included to prevent unexpected system shutdown in the event that a battery change was forgotten by you or an ADT technician.
2. Control Package
The Control Package gives you all of the above products and features but which also includes the ADT Pulse app. This software connects every network in your home together, making for easier functionality and control and more efficient response-time for your home’s various functions. For instance, you can connect your security systems to your energy timers, tuning them to turn your lights off or on when your alarms do the same.
3. Video Package
Finally, the Video Package includes all of the above as well as remote secure video viewing. For those plans with cameras installed, you can review recorded video or live stream the current recording from anywhere you have the app installed, including your car or bedroom.
ADT provides three monitoring plans which combine with the equipment packages above.
1. Essential Plan
The Essential Plan provides basic home security through 24/7 monitoring, all connected to ADT’s secure servers. However, this plan does not use cellular networking like SimpliSafe’s most basic plan. This more basic package is quite affordable as a result.
2. Total Protection Plan
The Total Protection Plan is similar to SimpliSafe’s Standard Plan, providing cellular connectivity for its monitoring and responses to ADT’s professionals through the Safewatch CellGuard. It has all the same features and perks as before to go with the faster response time.
3. Premium Protection Plan
Finally, the Premium Protection Plan gives all of the above coverage as well as ADT Plus. This networking took connects all of your security systems to the rest of your home’s wireless smart technology. It’s meant for integrating all of your systems into one cohesive unit which is easier to control and monitor, especially remotely.
Both companies offer great options for different customers, but ADT wins out, in the end, thanks to its more varied tiered model, which can provide for those with smaller budgets. In addition, ADT’s product packages are just as comprehensive and fulfilling as SimpliSafe’s but are controlled through a more traditional keypad, preventing the need for a device in the case of an emergency. This simplicity is a better quality to look for when choosing a security system that needs to be reliable in a crisis.
This is a category in which both companies have radically different installation processes. Let’s break down those methods.
Getting Set Up with SimpliSafe’s Installation
SimpliSafe does not require professional installation at any point in its process. Its wireless equipment arrives pre-programmed, requiring you to do the setup yourself. You must find a suitable spot for the base station and other equipment included in your package. These pieces are typically stuck to walls or doors via sticky material on their back sides.
Because of this method, SimpliSafe does not cost extra money for installation. However, you are required to provide batteries and the labor necessary to adequately install all of your equipment. It is up to you to ensure that your sensors are placed in an even spread or in the right locations, for instance.
Getting Set Up with ADT’s Installation
By contrast, ADT professionals come to your home and perform the installation for you. A time window will be agreed upon beforehand and the visit, once begun, takes care of both a pre-review of your home’s security needs and the actual installation of the equipment. Any paperwork that must be signed will be done so during this appointment.
ADT’s installation costs vary depending on how many pieces are being installed. The usual cost for a suite of cameras, monitors, or other gear can be between $99 and $199.
The actual time it takes to install the ADT equipment will be between two and four hours, typically. The SimpliSafe installation can take much less time if you are efficient and know what you’re doing.
Altogether, SimpliSafe’s method might be tempting for those who appreciate the fine control and nonexistent cost that come with installing the equipment themselves. However, those who aren’t confident in their installation skills may wish to go with ADT for the added peace of mind, since those professionals are guaranteed to know what they’re doing. Neither way is more correct than the other, as they provide different challenges and costs in either time or money.
These two companies are priced fairly evenly, although the main difference is seen in where their cost differences end up. For instance, ADT’s monitoring plans are more expensive but its equipment prices are included in that cost. By contrast, SimpliSafe’s plans are cheaper but its equipment can be much harder on your wallet.
A Deeper Look at SimpliSafe’s Value
Let’s start with SimpliSafe. They do not charge for installation, as you are responsible for the proper placing of all of your monitoring gear. Their product packages can range from $199 to upwards of $500. Their plans cost:
As you can see, their plans are very cheap, but this is offset by the extreme cost of their equipment. It can be difficult for some to afford such a large purchase all at once. SimpliSafe’s greatest financial perk is the flexibility inherent in its lack of contracts longer than one month.
A Deeper Look at ADT’s Value
ADT’s plans are in a single price range below $60 per month. You must also include, in your final calculations, the cost of installation for your equipment and software. They are:
ADT’s cheapest plan is more expensive than SimpliSafe’s most expensive plan, but the cost of equipment is included in this cost, allowing families to spread their money out over a longer period of time.
This ultimate value is what gives ADT the edge, in our minds. The fact that the plans offered by ADT cover more security needs for less than $30 more a month than SimpliSafe, in addition to not costing anything else for the equipment right away, make it an affordable and effective option for almost anyone regardless of their financial situation.
4) Customer Service
Oftentimes, the best way to vet any kind of service company is to check with the people they’ve already serviced. Therefore, customer reviews for security companies are a great metric for judging how well they treat their customers.
The Better Business Bureau, a website known for its fair ratings of businesses in all economic aspects, both ADT and SimpliSafe have ratings of A+, indicating extremely high customer satisfaction and a distinct lack of significantly-negative reviews.
However, their scores begin to differ with two other websites. Trustpilot.com is a review-aggregator website that collects feedback for various companies. On this site, SimpliSafe has a rating of 3/5; this means that it receives average amounts of positive and negative reviews. On the other hand, ADT has an abysmal score of 1/5. This is quite a blow for ADT, showing a significant amount of customer dissatisfaction.
But ADT’s score on consumeraffairs.com is 3.8 out of 5, while SimpliSafe has a much worse rating of 1.5/5. Overall, these varying scores indicate that certain customers have felt deep dissatisfaction with both companies, but their Better Business Bureau ratings indicate that both SimpliSafe and ADT are effective enough with their customers that they do not face significant criticism. These combined ratings show a need for improvement but acceptable customer satisfaction.
Therefore, this round is a tie.
Examining SimpliSafe’s Contracts
Again, these two companies could not be more different in this arena.
SimpliSafe does not have contracts the way many modern companies do. Instead, it offers month-by-month payments for both of its monitoring plans. This means that there is never a cancellation fee or early termination fee, so you are free to switch home security companies at any time if you feel that your needs will be better met elsewhere. However, SimpliSafe does not guarantee service for its products to the same degree that a company with a long-term contract with you might. Support over many months is not an obligation that SimpliSafe is required to fulfill.
Examining ADT’s Contracts
On the other hand, ADT has a much more traditional way of pricing its monitoring plans. It offers contracts that have a minimum time of 36 months or 3 years. This may seem like a long time, but ADT offers a guarantee of all of its services, including its customer support and technicians, during this timeframe.
In addition, ADT offers a variety of contract supplements and amendments in the event that you need to move but want to take ADT with you. This allows for consistent coverage even as you change careers or schools.
ADT does have an early termination fee, but unlike many traditional companies, they do not require you to pay the remaining balance up front. In fact, it can only be up to 75% of your remaining balance, and this remaining price is somewhat negotiable. This keeps ADT’s contract reasonable in length and price.
ADT’s contracts are more comprehensive thanks to their monitoring plans, which cover more surveillance needs than SimpliSafe’s indoor-only security. ADT, by contrast, covers both indoor and outdoor security and has a money-back guarantee for a 6-month period. SimpliSafe’s money-back guarantee is only for 60 days.
ADT wins this round, as SimpliSafe’s contracts are more flexible but aren’t so cheap as to negate the advantages that ADT brings to the table. For only a little more money, ADT’s contracts provide better, more complete security for anyone’s home or family. Their longer contract also ensures that ADT will work hard to keep you satisfied as a customer for as long as possible.
SimpliSafe brings a lot of individuality and innovation to the home security market, but we recommend ADT overall. SimpliSafe is better-suited for small apartments and niche cases where you have a lot of money to spend at once. ADT, on the other hand, is a more all-purpose home security system that can protect people of all kinds and families of all sizes. It also watches both the inside and outside of your home. Although SimpliSafe appears to be cheaper at first glance, ADT simply offers much more value than its competitor.
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