SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Which Home Security System Should You Buy in 2023?
One offers professional monitoring, while the other lets users self-monitor and install their own equipment. But there’s a third contender to consider, too.
SimpliSafe and ADT are both household names in the home security world, but there are quite a few differences between the two companies. SimpliSafe is known for its DIY options, but ADT has taken a major swing at that arena with Blue by ADT. There are also some distinctions between the two companies in terms of pricing and initial setup costs.
Navigating and understanding the different things the companies have to offer can help customers decide which one might be the best fit for their situation. When it comes to ADT vs. SimpliSafe, which one is the best home security system? Spoiler: ADT is our top pick, but the SimpliSafe home security system brings a lot to the table.
How We Compared Home Security Systems
At first glance, comparing two different security systems can be daunting, but there are common elements both share that can be compared on a one-to-one basis.
- Reputation: How often a company responds to complaints, as well as the way that company responds, speaks volumes about the user experience. Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau help compare the two companies’ reputations side by side.
- Equipment options and quality: No two pieces of home security equipment are created equal. The quality of the equipment, the configurations it comes in, and the customization offered to customers are all important factors.
- Packages and plans: Some customers want professional monitoring, while others want the ability to self-monitor. Ideally, a company offers both options. In this comparison, SimpliSafe and ADT have both plans available.
- Pricing and fees: Just as choice is important in what packages are available to customers, the pricing and fees also have to reflect that. Different pricing options for different budgets make security systems available to the widest range of potential customers.
- Installation: Many companies charge exorbitant fees for professional installation while leaving it the only option available to customers. The ability to install a system at home, with minimal tools or knowledge required, can help customers reduce costs.
- Monitoring: Monitoring plans add a whole new level of security to a home security system, but they aren’t all the same—and not every customer wants professional monitoring. The best home security systems often include the option to self-monitor a system as well as professional monitoring.
- App user experience: There’s an app for everything these days, but not every app works the same. Some are clunky, with difficult-to-navigate interfaces that make it harder to use the system, not easier.
- Contracts and trial period: Contracts can trap customers into long-term commitments before they know how the system performs. When comparing security systems, customers will want to look for the option with a trial period: Something that looks good on paper might not live up to expectations.
- Warranty: If something breaks or doesn’t work as expected, customers will want to have a reasonable amount of time in which to return the piece or even the entire system. Comparing how two companies’ warranties work can help determine the better pick of the two.
- Home automation and device compatibility: The modern home is one that serves its owner, and a home security system needs to be able to tie into the smart home with relative ease.
1. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Reputation and Customer Reviews
ADT reviews on Consumer Affairs are generally positive and the company has an impressive rating of 4.1 out of 5. Customers praise the company for its fast response times and the professionalism of its technicians, and several reviewers have been ADT customers for many years. While ADT’s rating on Trustpilot is lower at 1.2 out of 5, the company is quick to respond to reviews—both positive and negative—quickly and with constructive advice, which shows potential customers that the company is committed to customer satisfaction. Additionally, ADT has been in the home security industry for many years, which makes it one of the best-known names in the industry. According to industry expert Sadie Cornelius of safesmartliving.com, “ADT is one of the oldest and possibly the most well-known home security company. With more than 140 years of experience, ADT is a household name.” That alone may be enough for many people to choose ADT.
SimpliSafe reviews on Consumer Affairs are relatively positive, though the company’s overall 3.8 out of 5 score is slightly lower than ADT’s. Customers write that SimpliSafe’s home security system is reliable and the company is quick to respond to questions. On Trustpilot, SimpliSafe has a 3.9 out of 5 rating after more than 16,000 reviews. The company doesn’t respond to as many negative reviews, though, and it tends to take more than a month before customers receive an answer. However, as Cornelius points out, “SimpliSafe is one of the original DIY players with their longstanding history of easy do-it-yourself installation, along with no long-term contracts and low monitoring fees.”
Bear in mind when researching SimpliSafe vs. ADT reviews that customers leaving reviews are often frustrated. Therefore, the actual score carries less weight than how the company responds to those complaints.
Verdict: Both SimpliSafe and ADT have very good reviews and high customer ratings. While SimpliSafe has slightly more positive customer reviews overall, ADT’s stellar reputation and long history in the home security market give it the edge.
2. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Equipment Options and Quality
How does SimpliSafe work? The SimpliSafe security system offers a variety of different equipment options, including SimpliSafe cameras, a SimpliSafe doorbell, entry and motion sensors, hazard sensors, and even a smart lock. SimpliSafe produces its own equipment in-house, which means the company is more familiar with the devices and can provide better service. Unfortunately, the equipment isn’t compatible with that from outside sources. SimpliSafe has a somewhat limited variety of products, too, and next to no smart-home options aside from the smart lock.
ADT edges out SimpliSafe home security by not only offering higher-end equipment, but also by broadening compatibility with other systems. ADT’s basic offerings include several ADT security cameras, entry and motion sensors, and hazard sensors—but even this equipment comes with more features than SimpliSafe’s competing equipment. For example, ADT’s smoke detector also has a built-in carbon monoxide detector, while SimpliSafe does not offer this option.
ADT’s own touch-screen and window/motion sensors are well built, but the company can also work with Google Nest products, including cameras, Wi-Fi, and thermostat, enabling it to integrate smart-home functionality into the system. While there is no ADT doorbell, customers can purchase the Nest Doorbell through ADT and sync it with their system.
Then there’s Blue by ADT, which is the DIY option. “ADT acquired LifeShield in 2019 to offer a DIY system for those who don’t want to hassle with professional installation,” explains Cornelius. A Blue by ADT system comes with its own equipment that isn’t compatible with traditional ADT alarm system gear, and it has a wide range of options between indoor and outdoor ADT cameras, motion and hazard sensors, and more. It too is compatible with some Google Nest products.
Verdict: A close look at equipment options and quality from both ADT and SimpliSafe only highlights how ADT outshines its competition: SimpliSafe falls short of ADT as it lacks some key offerings such as garage door controls and smart plugs; ADT’s device connectivity is also typically more consistent than SimpliSafe’s.
3. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Packages and Plans
SimpliSafe excels when it comes to equipment package options, offering seven different prebuilt configurations:
- The Foundation is a four-piece package that includes a base station, keypad, entry sensor, and motion sensor. It also offers a free indoor SimpliSafe camera (as do all packages). This package is best for customers who live in an apartment or small house and only need a basic security system.
- The six-piece Essentials package mirrors the Foundation, but includes three entry sensors instead of one. It’s ideal for customers whose home has several first-floor entry points, such as doors and windows.
- The Hearth has nine total pieces of equipment, including everything from the Essentials package, a wireless siren, a key fob, and a smoke detector. It’s a solid choice for customers who want to use noise to deter burglars.
- The 13-piece Knox package includes everything from the Hearth package, but increases the number of entry sensors to six and the number of motion sensors to two. It will work well for a customer who has a larger home with multiple accessible windows and doors.
- The Haven is a 14-piece package that includes the same pieces from the Knox package but offers four entry sensors instead of six. In addition, this package has a panic button, a temperature sensor, and a water sensor. It’ll appeal to customers who want to add more hazard sensors to their home in addition to intruder sensors.
- The Lighthouse has seven total pieces of equipment: a base station, a keypad, three entry sensors, a motion sensor, and a wireless outdoor security camera. It is a good choice for customers who need to monitor their home’s exterior.
- The 10-piece Beacon is a slight upgrade from the Lighthouse, including the same equipment but increasing the number of entry sensors to four, the number of motion sensors to two, and the number of wireless outdoor security cameras to two. It is designed for customers who need more than one outdoor camera to help protect their home.
If none of these configurations work, SimpliSafe also offers a build-your-own system option that allows customers to pick and choose the specific equipment pieces they need for their home. Customers can also opt for a prebuilt package while adding extra equipment to meet their home security needs.
What is ADT? ADT is a professional installation and monitoring home security company that has three total preset package options:
- The Build-Your-Own package includes a digital touch-screen panel, three door and window sensors, and a motion detector. It’s a great base package that customers can use as-is or add equipment to in order to build a customized home security system.
- The Smart Home package includes everything from the Secure Home package, as well as a smart door lock in the customer’s choice of three finishes (satin nickel, bronze, and brass). It’s a good choice for customers who want to integrate their smart-home devices into their home security system.
- The Video & Smart Home package comes with the same equipment as the Smart Home package, as well as an outdoor Google Nest Cam. It is designed for customers who want a well-rounded package that provides video surveillance in addition to smart- home compatibility.
ADT customers can add equipment to any of these three packages to create a tailored system that meets the customer’s security requirements, whether that means additional indoor or outdoor cameras, more home automation devices, or hazard sensors.
ADT also offers several DIY packages through its Blue by ADT brand for customers who want to install their own home security system and opt for self-monitoring:
- The Starter System includes a base station, two door and window sensors, access to the mobile app, an ADT yard sign, and four ADT window stickers. It is ideal for customers looking for a basic system to help protect their home.
- The Starter Plus System includes everything from the Starter System but increases the number of door and window sensors to four. It also adds two motion sensors. It works well for customers who have medium-size homes and need a more comprehensive security system.
- The Premium System offers the same features as the Starter Plus System, but includes six door and window sensors and a keypad. It’s designed for customers whose homes have multiple entry points and need adequate protection against intruders.
Blue by ADT also offers a Build Your Own System that allows users to customize their home security system to their specific needs. That system comes with a base station and access to the mobile app, and customers can add on equipment from there. Customers will want to note that ADT and Blue by ADT equipment are not interchangeable, so if a customer has an existing ADT system, they won’t be able to add Blue by ADT equipment to it (and vice versa).
Blue by ADT customers can add on additional accessories, like a wireless outdoor camera, indoor cameras, and more. It’s a more affordable option because it’s a DIY system, but customers can choose monitoring if they like.
Verdict: SimpliSafe offers seven equipment packages, while ADT offers six (including packages from Blue by ADT). Both offer fully custom packages, too.
4. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Pricing and Fees
SimpliSafe’s up-front equipment costs can be expensive, especially with the company’s larger packages. However, SimpliSafe often gives customers a discount on equipment, as well as offering a free month of professional monitoring, which can help keep the up-front costs down. SimpliSafe’s package pricing is as follows:
SimpliSafe has three total monitoring plans, including two professional monitoring plans and a self-monitoring option. Customers can expect to pay as much as $27.99 for SimpliSafe’s monthly costs.
|Monitoring Plan||Approximate Cost Per Day||Cost Per Month|
|Self Monitoring with Camera Recordings||$0.33||$9.99|
ADT costs are higher because the company only offers professional monitoring services, which vary depending on the package chosen by the customer. Because there is no self-monitoring option, ADT monthly costs are quite a bit higher than SimpliSafe; however, many customers prefer ADT’s comprehensive professional monitoring options as they can provide greater peace of mind. The costs are as follows:
|Equipment Package||Monthly Cost||Total Cost|
|Secure Home||From $9.98||$599|
|Smart Home||From $14.15||$849|
|Video & Smart Home||From $23.12||$1,387|
While some security companies allow customers to choose their monitoring plan, ADT bases it on the equipment package the customer chooses. All options have basic professional monitoring, and the price increases with the addition of extra features based on the equipment features in the customer’s package. The prices are broken down as follows:
|Monitoring Feature||Monthly Cost|
|Quality Service Plan||$7|
Blue by ADT’s packages are considerably more affordable than the traditional ADT packages and are more in line with the prices offered by SimpliSafe, so those comparing Blue by ADT vs. SimpliSafe will likely come up with similar estimated prices. The cost for these packages is as follows:
Blue by ADT customers can choose between self-monitoring and professional monitoring for any system. Customers who choose professional monitoring will pay a minimum of $19.99 per month for this service. Blue by ADT offers the first month of professional monitoring for free, allowing customers to test out the service before they decide to opt for it.
Verdict: Customers comparing ADT and SimpliSafe may want to consider monthly costs and up-front cost: ADT tends to be more expensive on a monthly basis since equipment is leased, whereas SimpliSafe customers will likely need to put more money down at the time of purchase. Ultimately, for customers looking for a home security system and self-monitoring capabilities, SimpliSafe may still offer the most bang for the buck. However, ADT’s higher pricing and additional fees may be worth it for buyers looking for a professionally monitored system that integrates smoothly with home automation devices.
5. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Installation
Home security systems often give customers the choice between DIY installation and professional monitoring. That is the case with SimpliSafe. The system is designed to be installed by the customer, with peel-and-stick application and easy-to-follow instructions—this makes it one of the best apartment security systems since there’s no drilling needed to install the equipment, so renters won’t risk their security deposit. SimpliSafe claims its system can be set up by the customer in under an hour with no tools needed. The company offers multiple resources on the SimpliSafe customer service and support site, as well as live online chat, to help customers who have questions about installation. Customers who aren’t sure how to install security cameras can also choose to have their system professionally installed by a SimpliSafe technician, though most go with DIY installation. “If you are not a tech-savvy person or want peace of mind that your system is set up properly, then it’s probably worth paying a professional to help you set up your home security system,” says Cornelius.
On the other hand, there is no DIY installation option with a traditional ADT home security system. A customer must first work with an ADT customer service representative to build their package, and then schedule a date and time for installation. Customers are required to pay a security camera installation cost of around $150 for their ADT system installation. This is a solid option for customers who want to make sure their equipment is properly installed, but it leaves DIYers out of the picture.
However, customers who want to install their home security system themselves can also choose Blue by ADT which, like SimpliSafe, is designed for DIY installation. However, Blue by ADT equipment is not the same as traditional ADT equipment; customers can’t choose to install their traditional ADT home security system themselves, and Blue by ADT’s equipment differs from the original ADT equipment. Therefore, customers may prefer to go with a name like SimpliSafe that is built on the idea of a self-installed security system.
Verdict: SimpliSafe’s equipment is primarily designed for DIY installation, although customers can opt for professional installation if they prefer. ADT home security systems must be installed by a professional. Those who want a DIY system from ADT will need to opt for Blue by ADT; however, they are advised that this is a different product offering.
6. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Monitoring
There are three SimpliSafe monitoring plans, although only two are professional. Customers can also opt to use their SimpliSafe system unmonitored, which is free but doesn’t offer the benefits of the following three plans:
- The Self-Monitoring with Camera Recordings plan includes HD live view on all cameras and unlimited video recording for up to five cameras. It’s the cheapest option, as well as the only option for customers who aren’t interested in professional monitoring.
- The Standard Monitoring plan includes 24/7 police, fire, and medical dispatch and HD live view on all cameras. It’s ideal for customers who want professional monitoring to help alert emergency responders when needed, but who aren’t interested in any extras.
- The Interactive Monitoring plan includes 24/7 police, fire, and medical dispatch; HD live view on all cameras; unlimited camera recordings for up to 10 cameras; video alarm verification; a built-in cellular connection; water damage and temperature monitoring; and an extended warranty for the lifetime of the subscription. Customers who choose this plan may also qualify for home insurance discounts. This plan is designed for customers who want to take home security monitoring off their plates entirely for additional peace of mind.
ADT offers three different professional monitoring plans that offer a wide range of options and features. Customers will be required to sign a 36-month contract when they sign up for monitoring, and there is no way to get out of that. The plans offer the following features:
- The Secure Home Monitoring plan includes intrusion detection; fire, carbon monoxide, and flood monitoring; and voice control. It’s a basic option that works well with the entry-level package.
- The Smart Home Monitoring plan has all the features of the Secure Home Monitoring plan, but adds remote access to the mobile app and smart-home automation. It’s ideal for customers with smart-home devices who aren’t interested in camera monitoring.
- The Video & Smart Home Monitoring plan offers the same features as the Smart Home Monitoring plan, along with video monitoring and stored video clips. Customers who want a comprehensive home security system will likely opt for this plan.
For those considering Blue by ADT, the system offers a choice between DIY monitoring and 24/7 professional monitoring. Blue by ADT plans do not require a contract so customers can change their choice at any time. The plans offer the following benefits:
- The DIY monitoring plan includes self-monitoring, mobile alerts and notifications, and Wi-Fi connection. It’s basic, but it’s more than enough for customers who aren’t interested in professional monitoring.
- The 24/7 professional monitoring plan offers cellular backup, professional monitoring by ADT, mobile alerts and notifications, Wi-Fi connection, and authority notification in the event of an emergency. This plan is ideal for customers who want the additional peace of mind of a team of pros looking out for them.
Verdict: ADT offers three comprehensive professional monitoring packages, though customers must sign a minimum 36-month contract for ADT service (Blue by ADT customers get a professional monitoring service with no contract). SimpliSafe’s two professional monitoring options are more basic, though the company also offers a self-monitoring option and does not require customers to sign a service contract.
7. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: App User Experience
While a company’s app might not sound like a major selling point, many home security customers rely on their apps to help manage their systems. “You need reliability and control when it comes to an app for your home security system,” advises Cornelius. “The apps allow you to remotely arm and disarm, turn lights on and off, lock doors, and get alerts for when something is wrong. During an emergency, time is of the essence, and if a user has difficulty using their home security app, it could mean the difference between life or death.”
The SimpliSafe app allows users to remotely arm and disarm their system and watch live video from their various cameras. Customers can see a timeline showing them events such as the arming or disarming of the system or a detected motion. This helps them easily keep an eye on their home when they are away without needing to scroll through multiple screens each time. The SimpliSafe app seems to be well liked, with 4.6 stars and more than 22,000 reviews on the Google Play Store. It has a similar rating in the App Store, and several of the user reviews mention exactly how easy it is to use.
There are three separate ADT apps, each designed with a different purpose in mind:
- The ADT Control app is similar to the SimpliSafe app, allowing customers to arm or disarm their system, view camera footage, and even keep track of home automation devices such as smart lights, locks, and thermostats. Customers can only use this app if they have a Smart or Video monitoring package. This app has a 4.8 rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.6 rating on the Google Play Store. This app is the updated version of the older ADT Pulse app.
- The MyADT app allows customers to manage their account, including paying their bills, setting up automatic payments, updating their account information, and managing their appointments. The app also has guides to help customers troubleshoot different pieces of equipment, and customers can also order yard signs through the app. This app has a 4.8 rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.8 rating on Google Play.
- The SoSecure app is designed for customers while they’re on the move. It offers location sharing, 24/7 SOS response from ADT, SOS chat, and a widget to allow customers to access help from their lock screen. There’s also a paid version of the app that includes 24/7 roadside assistance, crash detection, and more. SoSecure has a 4.5 rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.4 rating on Google Play.
Customers who choose Blue by ADT will have access to a single app that allows them to arm their system, check their cameras, view saved media, and stay informed via push notifications. The app also allows customers to see, hear, and speak to visitors using two-way talk and control their smart-home devices. The Blue by ADT app has a 4.4 rating on the Apple App Store and a 3.7 rating on Google Play.
Verdict: ADT offers three different apps that allow customers to control their home security system, manage billing, and keep track of their loved ones (Blue by ADT has one app), although customers will need to opt for the Smart or Video monitoring package to access the ADT Control app. SimpliSafe’s app is easy to use and well rated, but it’s not as comprehensive as ADT’s app options.
8. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Contracts and Trial Period
SimpliSafe has two main strengths. First, it requires no contracts. Users can set up the system, and if they’re unhappy with it, they can cancel service without paying a penalty. The other benefit is SimpliSafe’s trial period in the form of a 60-day money-back guarantee. Users can try out the system and if they decide it’s not for them, SimpliSafe will refund their payments as long as the user notified SimpliSafe within the 60-day purchase window. SimpliSafe also offers a 30-day trial period of its Interactive Monitoring plan, so customers can test out the features free of charge. At the end of that trial period, customers can either begin paying the monthly monitoring fee or choose a different monitoring plan if they decide Interactive Monitoring isn’t for them.
ADT requires customers to sign a minimum 36-month monitoring contract, except in California, where the contract is 24 months. Unlike SimpliSafe, ADT doesn’t offer a trial period for its monitoring services. While ADT doesn’t technically offer a free trial for its equipment, there is a 6-month money-back guarantee, which outshines SimpliSafe’s 60-day money-back guarantee.
Blue by ADT is slightly different, offering a 30- or a 60-day trial depending on what promotions are currently active. This is separate from the 6-month guarantee offered by the professionally monitored ADT systems, and it’s a great way for a prospective user to test out a DIY system. Blue by ADT also gives customers a free month of professional monitoring when they purchase a system, so they are able to test out their system in its full capacity to decide whether they want to pay for a professional monitoring plan or just monitor their system themselves.
Verdict: Potential ADT customers can expect to be locked into a lengthy contract, whereas SimpliSafe customers can use their system without one. However, SimpliSafe’s trial pales in comparison to ADT’s: it lasts 60 days, while ADT customers can take advantage of the company’s 6-month money-back guarantee, giving customers more time to determine whether their system fits their needs.
9. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Warranty
SimpliSafe equipment comes with a basic 1-year limited hardware warranty, but customers have a couple of ways to extend that warranty. First, if they sign up for the Standard Monitoring plan or Camera-Only before that warranty expires, they can extend it for up to 2 years, resulting in a total warranty of almost 3 years. Second, customers who sign up for Interactive Monitoring before their original 1-year warranty is up will benefit from a limited lifetime warranty for those products. Both warranty extensions are valid as long as the customer carries an uninterrupted subscription during that time frame.
ADT only provides a 90-day warranty on equipment, although a longer warranty called the Quality Service Plan (QSP) can be purchased for additional cost. Customers will need to call and speak to an ADT representative in order to opt into the QSP coverage. Blue by ADT customers will receive a 12-month limited warranty, and once that year is up customers will be responsible for the cost of repairs or replacements for their equipment. While most defects will appear within the first few months of use, some problems might not emerge until later, such as a manufacturing defect that shows up over time, so this warranty period may not be sufficient in some cases.
Verdict: ADT offers a 90-day warranty on equipment with the option to purchase an extended warranty plan (Blue by ADT has a 12-month limited warranty on defective equipment). SimpliSafe’s hardware warranty is much more generous at 1 year and includes the option of an extended warranty for customers who choose professional monitoring.
10. SimpliSafe vs. ADT: Home Automation and Device Compatibility
SimpliSafe technically has a few home automation features, but those features are severely limited in scope. Users can have Alexa or the Google Assistant arm and disarm the system, check its status, and more. SimpliSafe also offers its own smart lock that customers can control from the app. Customers can also set a timer on the SimpliSafe smart lock, or set it up so it locks or unlocks automatically when the security system is armed or disarmed. If someone enters the wrong code into the smart lock five times, the customer will get a notification, and after 15 incorrect attempts the home will be automatically locked for 30 minutes. The other smart-home integration lies in the August smart locks that can be used to automatically and remotely lock and unlock the doors, similarly to the SimpliSafe smart lock.
ADT goes beyond that. Not only does it offer a smart-home monitoring plan, but it also works with smart plugs, garage door openers, and various kinds of smart locks. Both ADT and Blue by ADT sell and install Google Nest equipment such as cameras, thermostats, and Wi-Fi, and these devices work with the ADT security system to create an automated home that’s controllable right from the ADT Control app. For customers who envision controlling their entire home from their phone, ADT is the clear choice.
Verdict: ADT offers customers full range of control over its security system by integrating with Google Nest and Amazon Alexa. SimpliSafe’s home automation is more limited.
Verdict: ADT is our choice for customers looking for a reliable and highly reputed company with full-service monitoring and professional installation. However, SimpliSafe’s contract-free packages and self-monitoring option may make it a better choice for customers looking for a reliable yet cost-effective home security system.
Is SimpliSafe as good as ADT? Although ADT is the objectively superior choice because of its advantages in the areas of monitoring and automation, SimpliSafe isn’t a slouch. It’s still a great choice for customers who already have the system and enjoy it. For those who prefer to let professionals handle everything, ADT is the better option, but DIYers might prefer to use SimpliSafe or even look at ADT Blue vs. SimpliSafe’s offerings to determine which might best fit their needs—either DIY home security system is worth it if it fits the customer’s requirements.
The fact that ADT offers a DIY option through Blue by ADT makes the company an even clearer choice than before as the winner, but the cost factor comes into play. Users will pay more up front for SimpliSafe, but they’ll have fewer monthly expenses. ADT’s monthly costs are higher, but they encompass the majority of its expenses. Customers considering ADT vs. Ring vs. SimpliSafe or Frontpoint vs. SimpliSafe will find that all mentioned systems can be the ideal match for many homes alongside implementing the top home security recommendations.