SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security Deluxe Pack
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I just bought a house, and it already had a wired home security system installed and the previous owner had paid it through for a few months, so I got to try it out. When it expired, I decided I didn’t want to get into a contract, so I shopped around for options.
I arrived at 3 options, 1: just stick with the same provider, which was a local provider that used COPS monitoring service, 2: SimpliSafe, 3: GetSafe
The monthly rate for all 3 options was roughly the same, but only the local security option had a contract (though only 6 months)
GetSafe was just a little pricier, but the app seemed like by far the nicest option. I went with simpliesafe due to the price and benefits.
I unloaded everything, and setup was fairly straight forward. I set up a few sensors to test with and a panic button and key fob. Everything worked nice, the volume wasn’t bad and my kit came with a second alarm.
Where it fell apart is that I have a detached garage. The moment I took the motion sensor outside (everything is wireless), it stopped communicating with the hub. The hub was sitting just inside the door on the kitchen table, no strong interference from anything. I played around to be sure it wasn’t just bad luck. No dice, inside it works fine, outside, no good.
Also the fob didn’t have very great reach.
Another major downside to the simplisafe is that the radio that communicates to all your sensors and stuff has to be relatively in view, to effectively communicate. What this means is that if a thief knows where to look for your base unit, they can break in and smash it up before it gets a chance to call home.
Ultimately, because of the lack of coverage for my detached garage, I returned the unit for a full refund. While I had it set up, I was able to test out the phone app briefly, and it wasn’t bad, but wasn’t as nice seeming as the GetSafe. I signed for a 6-month contract because you just can’t beat the reliability of wired. It’s a Napco unit with Gemini keypad, and the keyfob works from halfway across my yard, putting the simplisafe to shame. The app leaves a great many things to be desired (literally arm/disarm, not even stay/away modes, and doesn’t work half the time), but it does all I need it to do: give me an extra way to disarm remotely).
I would say, if you have no detached buildings, and are able to put it somewhere centrally located in your house without it being in plain sight, it’s a perfectly fine option. If you have a large house, or a lot of RF interference issues or anything like that, you probably just need to bite the bullet and have a wired setup installed.
Note that it says monitoring is only $15, but I don’t think that includes app support. If you want app support (which I can’t imagine you don’t), that’s $25/mo
Thanks for a very informative post.
I STRONGLY suggest that anyone considering buying this alarm system first Google “Simplisafe hack”. You will learn that this alarm system is severely lacking because of it’s poor design. It is not that difficult to hack since the remote transmitters used to arm and disarm the system are fairly easily received (a radio signal) and decoded by a bad guy. Once this has done, he can then reproduce the signal sent by the remote when you enter your code to arm or disarm your alarm. This means that he can now disarm your alarm system any time he likes! Now days, even common garage door openers have better security! Obviously Simplisafe knows about this problem but is unable to fix it easily since the system’s firmware can’t be updated remotely because of the system’s architecture. According to those who have investigated the problem, to fix it will require the replacement of major pieces of the system. Too bad Simplisafe didn’t include the ability to update the firmware remotely, because the bug is not that big of a problem to fix. Many other remote controlled devices, car keyfobs for example, could potentially be hacked in this manner so manufacturers now use a “rolling code” so that each time the the button on the keyfob is pushed, a different code is transmitted.
I was thinking to buy this alarm, but after a few minutes of reading I decided to pass since this flaw is apparently well known by the hacker community.
Sure, odds are that most thieves won’t have the technical know how to do this, but I’m not willing to take the chance. Today, there a lot of hackers out there who might do this just for the “sport” of it! Hopefully they don’t have friend who is a burgler!
You could get around this problem by changing your security code regularly, but who wants to do that? And, how often is often enough? Or, it has been suggested that you not use the remote controls at all, and instead arm and disarm your alarm using your smartphone, but that requires that you pay $25 a month to Simplisafe to get that service. Like I said earlier, I’ll pass on this Woot. I hope you find this information useful.
I think that hack is more of a theoretical threat than a real one. If someone is taking the time to do this, you’re a specific target and would need a higher level security system.
Yep. You become a specific target once you put up your “Simply Safe” yard sign or window sticker.
That’s why it’s smart to swap yard signs with a friend or neighbor who has a different company’s system. You both get the deterrence benefit of yard signs, but neither of you tips the bad guys off to which system you have.
i like this alarm system. having no coverage issues with the base hidden away. during testing alarm company called within a second or so and the one time the distress code was entered by mistake the police were at my house quickly. it is always good practice to NOT display the sign of your actual alarm company as real hackers have ways around each of them. default stepup options work well but there are many options you can change to work for your particular situation.
Been debating for a month now what to do about a home security set up. I’ve considered Simplisafe, but it’s not quite what I want esp for the 25$/mo fee. I just want something that would notify me via email/text if a door/window is opened, so I can check a camera and then decide if the police need to be called or not (especially since I have pets which could trigger a motion alarm setup).
The only thing I came across was Piper, using zwave sensors, but I read a number of complaints about it dropping the wifi signal and having to reset it if that occurs. I do have a hardwire setup previously installed, and supposedly you can buy a electronic piece to add and rig something up yourself, but not terribly confident about that either. So I’m kinda back to considering the Simplisafe. Hoping someone might have other suggestions?
I have used SimpliSafe for about 2 years now. A system on each of two different houses. I have it set up so that they contact me. they don’t call the police or fire unless I tell them to do so.
I get alerts on my phone, know when the system is armed or disarmed and by whom, can check the temperature in the house (to know if the furnace is running in the winter)have moisture detectors and CO2 detectors as well.
Very happy with the systems. They call quickly as soon as anything triggers.
And I agree with a previous post about the hacks. If you are being personally targeted, then there are very few options for total safety. I don’t have any signs up and my controller isn’t visible from any windows so you can’t see what system I have.
Again, very happy!
Since everything is wireless, I assume everything except the base station is battery powered. What is the battery life on these? Is there some warning for when a battery is getting low on a sensor?
Battery life is pretty good - the keypad uses AA and the devices use electronic batteries of various sorts, and you do get warning if a sensor goes offline or does not arm.
If you have a bunch of entry sensors, does it tell you which one was opened? For instance, can it be programmed to say, “Back Door Entry Sensor Open”?
You can name each and every sensor and it appears on the webpage and your app. When one triggers, it tells you which one.
You can program for home mode and away mode so that motion sensors don’t trigger in home mode, for instance, but do trigger in away mode.
If your main concern is awareness of what’s happening in your house, take a look at security and automation options from Iris by Lowes and Smartthings (now owned by Samsung). Both of these will notify you when an alarm is triggered, then you decide what to do about it.
Other contract-free or self-monitoring options include Scout, Canary, Wink, Abode, Novi, and Korner. Blink looks appealing too.
Go with SimpliSafe if you want someone else to monitor your system for you.
I had bought this system after a neighbors house was broken into a few years back- a month after we installed it I found it invaluable when I got a call at 10:30 am that my front door entry sensor had been breached. I told them to call the police and by the time I got home the police were searching my property as my front door had been kicked in… the alarm sounded and scared them away before anything was taken thank God. The Smartphone app is what I used to arm and disarm the system- upon leaving and returning home and I found it very simple to operate. I would recommend it to everyone. you can’t put a price on peace of mind…
Bought this system in May.
Have been very happy with the system and the monitoring company.
There are no guarantees when it comes to thieves and burglars. There are precautions you can take; like alarms, cameras, dogs, nosey neighbors (lol), etc. However, these are just layers.
Simlisafe comes at a reasonable cost and does exactly what it is supposed to do.
I like the ability to activate/deactivate the alarm from my phone, web access, and text alerts (which are adjustable).
I would recommend this system - YMMV
Great security system and the price is right too. They will send you a base station for T-Mobile, which is ok if you have good T-Mobile service in your area. But T-Mobile did not have good service in my area, and I was having connection issues, but they do have base stations that use Verizon but you have to request those. After I switched to Verizon if works flawlessly.