abode and SimpliSafe offer hybrid security systems backed with optional and contract-free monitoring services, putting them at a unique advantage over traditional alarm companies that offer security systems tied to a monitoring service with a long-term contract. Because they are good at what they do, abode and SimpliSafe are often stacked against each other. Because opinions vary as to which of them is better, this definitive side-by-side comparison will help you pick the right alarm company for your home.
abode Pros & Cons
- Flexible Subscription Options With No Contract
- Wide Equipment Selection
- Stellar Customer Support
- Hardware Feels Clunky & Cheap
- Relies On Internet For Alert Transmission
SimpliSafe Pros & Cons
- No-Contract Professional Monitoring
- Option Between Professional and Self-Monitoring
- Affordable Monthly Rates
- Limited Device Lineup
- Functions as Local Alarm When Self-Monitored
- Limited Camera Options
- abode and SimpliSafe offer wireless security systems that can be self-monitored or professionally monitored by a central station.
- Both companies require an initial equipment purchase in order to get started and there are no financing options.
- You can use both systems for free without monthly subscriptions.
- Both systems are designed for easy DIY installation.
- HowSafe.org has tested and approved both systems.
- Self-Monitoring — Without a subscription, abode can send alerts to your smartphone. SimpliSafe, when used without a plan, only sounds a siren in an emergency.
- Home Automation — abode supports an extensive number of smart home integrations, while SimpliSafe is more focused on home security than automation.
- Refurbished Equipment — SimpliSafe offers more affordable refurbished systems, while abode only sells brand new products.
- Return Policy — SimpliSafe has a 60-day return policy, while abode only gives their customers 30 days to return their systems.
Sales & Pricing Comparison
abode and SimpliSafe both offer their systems online. Once you're ready to purchase, simply go to their website and buy the system of your choice. You can also buy their products from online retailers such as Amazon. After purchasing a security system, you can add professional monitoring or use the system for free without a subscription.
With abode and SimpliSafe, you don't necessarily have to get a subscription. You can use their systems for free, essentially bringing down the long-term cost to zero. However, if you want additional protection, you can set up professional monitoring or improve upon the existing self-monitoring features. abode has an $8/month self-monitored plan that activates cellular communication for a more reliable delivery of alerts and a $20/month professionally monitored plan that enables 24/7 central station monitoring. SimpliSafe, on the other hand, has a $14.99/month professional monitoring plan and a $24.99/month monitored plan with cellular backup, app access, and home automation. In comparison, abode offers app access and home automation free of charge.
As mentioned earlier, SimpliSafe and abode both require an initial equipment purchase. Security systems typically come in packages. abode's packages are sold for $199 to $429, with some packages including a year of professional monitoring service. SimpliSafe have far more packages that differ in size and inclusions. The cheapest package you can get costs around $230, but some packages sell for as high as over $1,000. Additionally, SimpliSafe offers refurbished equipment packages. These packages have been tested and certified by SimpliSafe and come with the standard three-year warranty, but they cost less considering that they are not brand new.
Both companies offer wireless systems designed for easy installation. We've proven this to be true when we tested both abode and SimpliSafe. Based on our experience, SimpliSafe is easier to install, but abode is also user-friendly. The primary difference is that you can install SimpliSafe without a smartphone, while abode requires the abode smartphone app during installation.
Key Features & Tech
abode's standard equipment packages include a base station, a motion sensor, a key fob, and a door/window sensor. If you're willing to shell out $30 more, you can opt for abode iota, which is a base station with a built-in camera. SimpliSafe, on the other hand, has been improving their equipment lineup. They recently launched SimpliSafe 3, with an upgraded base station and revamped design for sensors and accessories. SimpliSafe is now SimpliSafe' standard equipment, but you can still purchase SimpliSafe 2 for a lower price. Aside from the base station, standard packages include motion sensors and door/window sensors, while larger packages include life safety sensors and more accessories.
Abode's platform is designed for both home security and automation. The base station itself directly connects with Z-Wave and Zigbee home automation products, plus the abode app has a feature called CUE. CUE is a home automation program that allows the creation of rules and automated actions. SimpliSafe, on the other hand, is not big on home automation. The system works with Alexa, [!link!], Nest Thermostat, and August locks, but integrating these products requires a subscription.
Our testers have hands-on experience with cameras from both companies. When they tested abode cameras, they weren't impressed. It's an indoor camera with standard features, but it feels cheap and the camera quality isn't up to our standards. They had the same thoughts about SimpliCam, SimpliSafe's camera, but were impressed by SimpliSafe's doorbell camera.
Both abode and SimpliSafe have smartphone apps that you can use to control, monitor, and access your security system. abode, however, is the clear winner because the app can be accessed by all abode customers and because the app supports CUE, abode's home automation engine. SimpliSafe's app can only be accessed by those who have an Interactive subscription for $24.99/month.
In security systems, communication is important. abode and SimpliSafe are both systems that communicate and send alerts using the internet, but in addition, they can communicate through cellular signal. Cellular communication is preferred because it's more reliable and less susceptible to outages. The catch is that cellular communication comes with a fee. With abode, you must pay at least $8/month to activate cellular communication. With SimpliSafe, you also need a subscription, starting at $14.99.
Customer Service Experience
One key advantage of hybrid security systems like SimpliSafe and abode over traditional security systems is that there are no contracts. Should you decide to opt for a subscription, you're not forced to use the service for several years. With abode and SimpliSafe, you can use their services for several months and then stop whenever you want. You can even opt in and out of their services.
SimpliSafe gives their customers 60 days to return their security system if they don't like it. abode only has a 30-day return period.
Both companies cover their equipment with a 3-year warranty, ensuring that their systems will function optimally for three years under normal use. Otherwise, they will cover the repair or replacement of the system free of charge.
The Bottom Line: Who Wins?
abode and SimpliSafe are very similar, but they're not exactly for the same types of lifestyle. abode is best for those who want to self-monitor because you can use the system for free and still enjoy high-quality self-monitoring features. Occasionally, if you need professional monitoring such as when you're going on vacation, you can opt for their professional monitoring services. SimpliSafe, on the other hand, is best for those who want professional monitoring but without committing to a long-term contract. The two companies are equally good, and we recommend both of them.