SimpliSafe vs. Nest: We Compared These Security Systems—Here’s the One You Should Choose
SimpliSafe and Nest are two popular home security systems, offering reasonable pricing, great products, and several unique packages. But which is better?
SimpliSafe and Nest haven’t been around as long as some other home security companies, but they’ve quickly managed to earn legions of fans and become two of the best home security systems on the market. Not only do both companies offer flexible packages to customers, but they also carry affordable price tags and robust smartphone apps to assist with live monitoring. They have the backing of two massive corporations, with Nest falling under the Google umbrella and SimpliSafe working with support from private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, ensuring they have plenty of money to innovate and launch powerful new products for their members.
Since both have the backing of deep pockets and numerous ways to customize their services, customers can find it hard to determine which company is best. A home security system is usually a wise investment—but is SimpliSafe or Nest the better choice? Before making a decision, there are numerous factors for shoppers to consider.
How We Compared Home Security Systems
Home security systems are responsible for protecting a customer’s family and property, making it crucial for them to understand what to look for in a home security camera system so they can fully vet all aspects of a company before buying its products. From reputation and pricing to available equipment and warranties, here’s everything shoppers need to consider when choosing between SimpliSafe vs. Nest.
- Reputation: Regardless of how old (or new) a company is, previous customers have likely shared their opinions publicly. Opting for a home security company with poor reviews could lead to disappointment down the line, while companies with stellar reviews are more likely to leave a positive impression.
- Equipment options and quality: Not all companies offer the same products. If the same products are offered, it’s important to understand if one is higher quality and less likely to malfunction.
- Packages: Customizable packages allow shoppers to tailor their security needs specifically to their home. A company that gives more options to shoppers is preferred over one that’s inflexible or offers few equipment packages.
- Pricing and fees: Multiple costs are associated with security systems. This includes a monthly service fee in addition to purchasing equipment and paying for installation. Customers need to be aware of not only up-front costs but also ongoing fees.
- Installation: Many products today can be self-installed by the buyer, but others must be handled by a professional. Neither option is better than the other, though each carries its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
- Monitoring: Professional monitoring is the big draw of most home security systems, as it ensures someone is always checking in on the property and alerting emergency services as needed. Not all companies offer this feature, which may be a deal-breaker for discerning shoppers.
- App user experience: There’s no point installing a robust security system if it’s difficult to use. Smartphone apps are a big part of the home security experience, and some companies offer more-intuitive software than others. If an app is hard to access or lacks features, it’s a less compelling option than competitors that have well-rounded apps.
- Contracts and trial period: A trial period gives households a chance to test a service before committing, while a contract locks buyers into a plan with stiff penalties for opting out early. A company with generous trials and no contracts is much preferred over one with no trials and an ironclad contract.
- Warranty: Warranties give households peace of mind that things will be fixed if they go wrong. Even the best equipment can experience failure, and the best home security brands will be quick to replace faulty gear without any fuss.
- Home automation and device compatibility: Homes with other connected devices (such as smart lights or smart locks) may want to integrate them with their security system. This isn’t a feature offered by all brands, making it important for shoppers to consider before making a purchase.
1. Reputation and Customer Reviews
SimpliSafe and Nest are both popular choices in the home security space. Nest has grown in popularity over the years due to its affiliation with Google, while SimpliSafe runs quirky advertisements designed to make it appear more approachable than its competition.
While the two brands have seen tremendous growth, customer reviews are mixed for both Nest and SimpliSafe. With over 1,000 reviews on Trustpilot, Nest has a 1.1 out of 5 rating. Primary complaints include a slow app when users are attempting to view live footage from security cameras and issues with product reliability. Reviews are slightly more upbeat on Consumer Affairs, with Nest earning a 2.8 out of 5.
SimpliSafe reviews are much better on Trustpilot, with the company receiving a 3.6 out of 5 rating. Reviewers say that SimpliSafe customer service is responsive and products are reliable, though others say customer support is slow and products aren’t as premium as expected. The 1.8 out of 5 rating at Consumer Affairs paints a different picture, with most reviews lamenting high equipment costs and poor reliability.
These reviews may not tell the whole story, however, as customers with negative experiences are more likely to share their feedback than customers without any complaints. In fact, SimpliSafe has managed to gain over 4 million subscribers since launching in 2006, while the Nest smartphone app has seen over 10 million downloads on Google Play. The companies are clearly popular with shoppers, even if their reviews aren’t always overwhelmingly positive.
Verdict: SimpliSafe and Nest are both well known in the home security industry—the former because of widespread marketing that includes digital ads and podcasts, and the latter because its equipment is produced and sold by Google. Both companies have mixed customer reviews on platforms such as Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs, though SimpliSafe’s reviews lean slightly more positive, with customers praising the company’s helpful customer service and top-quality equipment.
2. Equipment Options and Quality
Home security needs vary from customer to customer, so it’s important that a system has a variety of equipment options to choose from. Hooman Shahidi, senior vice president of product at SimpliSafe, recommends that shoppers choose at minimum a mix of indoor and outdoor cameras, motion sensors, entry sensors, and environmental hazard detectors. “[Every] home and homeowner’s safety needs are different, often varying based on house/apartment size, location, weather and number of occupants,” he explains.
SimpliSafe has a large selection of home security products, including different types of window alarm sensors, security cameras, motion sensors, and hazard sensors (such as smoke detectors and water sensors). Cameras are arguably the most important part of a home security setup, and SimpliSafe allows shoppers to choose between several types of security cameras, including the Wireless Indoor Camera, Wired Indoor Camera, and Wireless Outdoor Camera. These are generally of good quality, offering a wide field of view, impressive resolutions, and solid performance at night.
Along with its home security products, SimpliSafe has a small selection of other smart-home devices, including a video doorbell, additional sirens, and a panic button. SimpliSafe alarm systems are highly customizable, allowing shoppers to choose from a wide range of equipment to best protect their homes.
Nest doesn’t offer as many home security products as SimpliSafe. Several Nest cameras are available (including the Nest outdoor camera, Nest camera with floodlight, and Nest wired camera), though reviews for these are mixed, with many customers commenting on steep price tags and video quality that falls short of the competition. Despite these issues, the Google Nest outdoor camera is still one of the best outdoor security cameras, thanks to its easy integration with other Google devices and the ability to save up to 60 days of footage.
Along with security cameras, Nest offers a wide range of smart-home products to augment its security lineup. Available products include the Nest Hub Max smart display, Nest Audio smart speaker, Nest Thermostat, and Nest Doorbell. These tend to carry reviews that are more positive than those for the security cameras.
Verdict: SimpliSafe and Nest both produce high-quality equipment that includes a range of security cameras. However, Nest’s equipment is primarily intended for smart-home compatibility, while SimpliSafe takes a more comprehensive approach to whole-home security by also offering motion sensors, entry and glass-break sensors, a panic button, and an extra-loud siren.
SimpliSafe home security systems come in a variety of prebuilt packages. There’s also an option for customers to handcraft their own packages. All seven prebuilt packages include a SimpliSafe base station and SimpliSafe keypad, allowing easy access to its features and a way to arm or disarm the system.
- The Foundation is the bundle with the lowest price, and it includes nothing more than a motion sensor and entry sensor. Like all prebuilt bundles, it also comes with a keypad and base station.
- The Essentials is slightly more robust than the Foundation, offering a motion sensor and three entry sensors.
- The Hearth is the advanced version of the Essentials package, featuring everything from that package plus an extra-loud 105-decibel siren, key fob, and smoke detector.
- The Knox is built for large properties, featuring two motion sensors, a smoke detector, six entry sensors, a key fob, and a siren.
- The Haven features a slew of items designed to detect environmental hazards, such as a water sensor, a temperature sensor, and a smoke detector. Along with these products, it includes traditional security gear such as two motion sensors, a key fob, four entry sensors, a siren, and a panic button.
- The Lighthouse is the first bundle on this list that features a wireless outdoor camera. Along with the camera, the Lighthouse includes three entry sensors and a motion sensor.
- The Beacon features two wireless outdoor cameras, four entry sensors, and two motion sensors.
Nest packages are quite different from SimpliSafe’s packages, as its products are largely designed to let customers mix and match products. Nest security devices work well with Nest smart-home devices (such as the Nest Thermostat and Nest Hub Max), making them ideal for a completely connected smart home.
Shoppers who don’t want to build their own bundles only have three prebuilt options to choose from with Nest.
- The Front Door Monitoring Package includes a Nest Hub (2nd Gen) and a Nest Doorbell (battery).
- The Outdoor Monitoring Package includes a Nest Hub (2nd Gen) and a Nest Cam (battery).
- The Total Security Package includes a Nest Hub Max, Nest Doorbell (battery), and Nest Cam (battery).
These three bundles aren’t nearly as compelling as the seven offered by SimpliSafe, but shoppers will want to keep in mind that Nest has a larger selection of general smart-home products. This means customers who don’t mind building their own bundle will have plenty of unique devices to choose from that can’t be found at SimpliSafe.
ADT has partnered with Nest to start offering products such as the Nest Cam (battery) and Nest Cam with Floodlight (wired) to customers, so it may be worthwhile for shoppers to compare ADT vs. SimpliSafe before making a decision. Customers interested in DIY security systems may want to also compare ADT vs. Ring, as they both make it easy to build a customized package that fits homes of all sizes.
Verdict: SimpliSafe and Nest customers can choose between building their own customized systems and opting for prebuilt equipment packages. However, Nest’s three packages only include security cameras, while SimpliSafe’s seven packages offer more robust home security devices such as security sensors, environmental sensors, cameras, and ultra-loud sirens, as well as security cameras.
4. Pricing and Fees
SimpliSafe and Nest both offer products that support DIY installations. They also require ongoing monthly fees for additional features such as video storage or professional monitoring, but shoppers will find packages designed to fit small apartments or sprawling mansions. For SimpliSafe, the seven equipment packages start at $249.96 and max out at $709.90, though the company often has discounts and offers to bring the cost down. Stand-alone cameras are also available for prices between $100 and $190, so those who are sure how many security cameras they need can easily add on to their package in the future.
As for monitoring plans, three options are available with two of them offering round-the-clock emergency dispatch. Only the Self Monitoring with Camera Recordings option lacks this feature—though it’s also the cheapest at $10 per month. SimpliSafe monthly costs can vary widely based on which plan customers choose.
|Average Monthly Cost
|Fast Protect Professional Monitoring
|Self Monitoring with Camera Recordings
The Nest equipment packages aren’t nearly as robust as those offered by SimpliSafe, and that’s reflected in the pricing. Shoppers can also purchase stand-alone cameras for prices between $99 and $280.
|Front Door Monitoring Package
|Outdoor Monitoring Package
|Total Security Package
Nest Aware is the monthly plan that corresponds to all this Nest equipment, and it’s much cheaper than what’s offered by SimpliSafe. Two options are available—Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus.
Nest Aware offers 30 days of event video history, intelligent alerts, and the ability to alert emergency services directly from the Google Home app. Nest Aware Plus offers 60 days of video history and up to 10 days of 24/7 video history, along with everything else available with a standard Nest Aware subscription.
|Nest Aware Plus
Google used to offer professional monitoring via Nest Secure, though the functionality will disappear on April 8, 2024. For professional monitoring with Nest equipment, shoppers now need to look at plans offered by ADT.
Verdict: SimpliSafe and Nest both offer comparable pricing, allowing customers to secure their homes without breaking the bank. Both also have relatively low-cost subscriptions to help customers monitor their systems while staying within their budgets.
SimpliSafe and Nest design products that are easy for customers to install without professional assistance—even if they’re not sure how to install security cameras. Both companies guide customers through the installation process using a variety of physical instruction booklets and prompts from the accompanying smartphone app, allowing users to get their devices up and running in a matter of minutes. This makes SimpliSafe and Nest among the best apartment security systems on the market since renters can easily install and remove the systems without needing to drill holes and damage walls.
“SimpliSafe is designed with ease in mind, including installation,” explains Shahidi. “[The] DIY installation process can be completed in a matter of minutes with the help of [the] simple step-by-step installation instructions found in the SimpliSafe app.”
For those who prefer to have someone else handle the installation, SimpliSafe and Nest provide optional installation assistance. Security camera installation costs are almost nonexistent if equipment installation is handled in a DIY manner (assuming all the tools are already on hand), while professional installs can be quite expensive.
“You can install your SimpliSafe system yourself, but if you would like to have your home security system professionally installed SimpliSafe currently offers professional installation through OnTech, with most installations starting around $200,” says Shahidi.” The exact cost for professional installation depends on the number of devices that need to be installed. The service covers everything from unboxing and finding the right location for motion sensors to showing customers how to use the system and syncing the products with the home’s Wi-Fi network.
Payment for equipment happens up front, though payment for the installation services won’t be finalized until all the equipment has been properly set up.
Nest offers a similar service, though it’s run through two third-party providers—OnTech and Handy. Pricing varies by location, though customers can expect to pay at least $99. Along with providing home security installations, OnTech will set up a variety of smart-home products. The Nest Thermostat installation, for example, costs $159.99 and comes with expert advice about using the system.
Most households will find that wireless cameras and sensors from both Nest and SimpliSafe are fairly easy to install, while wired devices require a bit more nuance. If any electrical work or drilling is required for setup, customers will want to consider contacting a professional. But for devices that only require syncing with a Wi-Fi network and mounting to a simple bracket, most people would be better off saving their money and doing the installation themselves.
Verdict: SimpliSafe and Nest devices are designed for quick and easy DIY installation; however, both companies also offer professional installation for those who need a little extra help or just want to feel confident that everything is properly installed.
Monitoring is an important part of a home security system. With some companies, customers may be able to self-monitor their system for free or for a small monthly fee. However, opting for professional monitoring comes with many additional benefits that often make the cost worth it.
“A professional monitoring service is an invaluable feature of a home security system,” says Shahidi. “Without it, the responsibility rests on the homeowner to self-monitor all components of their security system, from cameras to sensors, and are responsible for calling the authorities when help is needed.”
SimpliSafe offers four different monitoring plans, one of which is a free plan with a very limited set of features. Two of the four plans offer professional monitoring—a key distinction between SimpliSafe and Nest, which offers no professional monitoring.
SimpliSafe users can choose from one of these four plans.
- The Unmonitored plan allows users to view the live feed of cameras from the SimpliSafe app and remotely arm or disarm the system. It is a free service with no monthly fee required.
- The Self Monitoring with Camera Recordings plan gives access to 30-day recording history for up to five cameras, the option to download videos to a phone or PC, and control of the system via the smartphone app. It does not include professional monitoring.
- The Standard Monitoring plan features basic professional monitoring without camera recordings, though users can access a live feed of their system via the SimpliSafe app.
- The Fast Protect Professional Monitoring plan is the most robust option offered by SimpliSafe. It grants access to professional monitoring along with unlimited video recordings and a lifetime warranty.
Nest only offers two services, and neither includes professional monitoring.
- The standard Nest Aware plan offers a 30-day event video history and intelligent alerts that can detect familiar faces and chirping alarms inside a home. It also allows users to contact emergency services directly through the smartphone app.
- The Nest Aware Plus plan increases the event video history to 60 days and includes a 24/7 video history for up to 10 days, in addition to intelligent alerts and the ability to contact emergency services.
Neither company locks customers into a contract, allowing them to change their subscriptions as they see fit without having to pay a penalty.
Verdict: SimpliSafe customers can choose from four different monitoring plans, including two self-monitoring and two professional monitoring. Nest, on the other hand, only offers self-monitoring plans with no option for professional monitoring.
7. App User Experience
Google has been slowly transitioning its Nest products from the Nest app to the Google Home app. The Nest Cam (battery), Nest Cam with Floodlight (wired), and Nest Cam (wired) have all made the jump to Google Home—meaning they’re no longer accessible on the Nest app. The entire Nest lineup is yet to find support on Google Home, so households running multiple Nest devices may find themselves jumping between software to control all their gadgets.
Both the Nest app and Google Home app are intuitive and easy to use. Google Home is particularly user-friendly, as the company continues to push updates to the software as it rolls out support for more Nest products. Using the apps, users can arm and disarm their system, receive notifications and alerts, and view camera footage. Both apps are available on iOS and Android.
The same functions are available on the SimpliSafe app, which is also available on iOS and Android. Unlike Nest products, all SimpliSafe products are accessible through a single app. For a complete look at how to sync Nest devices with Google Home or the Nest app, customers can view the official support page.
All three apps (Google Home, Nest, and SimpliSafe) have stellar customer reviews. Across both iOS and Android, not a single app has less than a 4 out of 5 rating. It’s worth noting that Google Home and the Nest app have significantly more reviews than SimpliSafe (over 500 million across all platforms compared to just over 1 million) yet still managed to pull in great scores and have minimal complaints.
Verdict: The SimpliSafe and Nest apps have similar customer ratings, and both allow users to perform basic tasks such as arming and disarming their system, checking camera footage, and receiving notifications about potential security concerns in their home. However, Nest devices can also connect to the Google Home app, allowing customers to sync their security system with their smart-home devices.
8. Contracts and Trial Period
SimpliSafe and Nest do not require contracts. This allows customers to cancel their subscriptions at any time without a penalty. This isn’t always the case for security systems, making this a big selling point of both services.
Nest offers a 30-day trial of Nest Aware to users who are setting up an eligible device in the Nest app or Google Home app. Only one trial is available per household, and it’s limited to new customers or those who are upgrading from a first-generation Nest Aware subscription. This trial includes almost every feature found in a regular paid subscription, though Emergency Calling is excluded. Also, customers will want to note that certain features aren’t available in all locations. Specifically, familiar face alerts are not available on Nest Cams in Illinois.
SimpliSafe is more generous than Nest, offering a 60-day trial. If customers aren’t happy with the products, they can be returned free of charge (SimpliSafe even pays for shipping). This 60-day return policy is only available for products purchased directly through the SimpliSafe website. Refunds are typically issued 3 business days after the shipment is completed. This return policy isn’t quite the same thing as a free subscription, but it’s great to know SimpliSafe lets users test out the products for an extended period and accepts returns for up to 60 days.
Verdict: Neither SimpliSafe nor Nest requires customers to sign a contract. SimpliSafe offers a generous 60-day trial period, while Nest offers customers a 30-day Nest Aware self-monitoring subscription free of charge.
Nest typically provides a limited 2-year warranty for its products. However, warranty lengths vary by product, with some devices carrying a 1-year warranty (such as the Nest Temperature Sensor) and others seeing extensions when installed by a certified Nest Pro (such as the Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm). There are a lot of variables to consider when piecing together a Nest security system, so customers will want to read the fine print for any devices they’re considering before purchase and installation.
By contrast, all SimpliSafe hardware comes with a standard 1-year warranty that extends to a lifetime warranty when customers sign up for the Fast Protect Professional Monitoring subscription. For the product to be eligible for the lifetime offer, customers must sign up before its original 1-year warranty expires. SimpliSafe customers who sign up for a Standard Monitoring plan or Self Monitoring with Camera Recordings plan before the 1-year warranty expires will extend the warranty for an additional 2 years.
As soon as a household terminates its subscription, the warranty is no longer in effect.
Verdict: Nest products come with a limited 2-year warranty, while SimpliSafe products have a limited 1-year warranty. However, SimpliSafe customers can extend their equipment warranty by subscribing to a monitoring plan.
10. Home Automation and Device Compatibility
Nest security items are designed to work with all other products in the Nest lineup, along with other products that support Google Home. This allows households to sync their security cameras and video doorbells with their lights, smart thermostats, and smart displays. It’s a robust system, and few platforms offer similar functionality.
SimpliSafe works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, though it’s not as streamlined as what’s offered by Nest. Customers need to sign up for the Fast Protect Professional Monitoring plan or Self-Monitoring with Camera Recordings plan to access this functionality. Commands are also rather limited, with SimpliSafe users able to arm their system with voice commands, but not able to access live video feeds or active smart locks in all cases.
SimpliSafe does commit to keeping customers’ information private, however. “While other home security companies have become more focused on commercializing private information, SimpliSafe has not and will not,” says Shahidi. “Our primary focus is security—keeping people, their homes and information secure. We take care to embed privacy protection measures into all our products and services, and you should make sure any device you purchase does the same.”
Verdict: Nest security equipment is fully compatible with Google Home, which means it can integrate easily into an existing Google smart-home system. Although SimpliSafe systems are capable of working with Google Home or Amazon Alexa, the system isn’t set up for smart-home integration the way Nest systems are with parent company Google.
Verdict: SimpliSafe and Nest are both well-known options when it comes to home security; however, SimpliSafe comes out on top thanks to its broad range of security equipment, including cameras, motion detectors, entry sensors, and environmental sensors. Nest is still an excellent option—especially for customers who have a smart-home system set up through Google Home.
When it comes to home security, SimpliSafe is a company that’s hard to beat. Its variety of cameras, sensors, and other gadgets make it a more robust home security service than Nest. Its generous trial period and warranties provide another layer of security to buyers, allowing them to test out products before committing to a plan and giving them peace of mind that they’ll work as intended for years to come. Shoppers may also want to compare SimpliSafe vs. Ring, as the two have several features in common.
Nest doesn’t offer as many security products as SimpliSafe (its catalog offers a few cameras, sensors, and video doorbells), but the company’s selection of secondary smart-home products is much more compelling. Not only does Nest produce a variety of first-party smart displays, smart speakers, and thermostats, but its devices will work with any of the hundreds of other products that are compatible with Google Home.