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The age of security systems that bind you with a contract is dying. With a lot of new home security systems not needing professional installation and not requiring monthly fees, more and more people can now protect their homes without worrying about the cost.
Security systems help you keep tabs on what’s happening at home, especially when you’re not there. Lucky for you, you now have plug-and-play systems that are wire-free. You do not even have to lay down wires or drill holes into your wall.
There are so many options for smart home security systems on the market today, that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This massive and growing industry continues to provide a variety of options to those interested in making their home safe and secure. It can be a challenge for anyone to sort through all the noise and find something that works for them.
Two of the better options available are Arlo and Simplisafe. These smart home security systems protect your home and family against intruders and alert you if an emergency occurs. Let’s take a closer look at these two systems, along with how they stack up against one another.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Arlo Home Security System
- 2 Wire-Free Cameras
- 3 Wired Cameras
- 4 Other Arlo Products
- 5 Pros and Cons
- 6 Summary
- 7 SimpliSafe Home Security
- 8 Pros and Cons
- 9 Summary
- 10 Conclusion
Arlo Home Security System
The Arlo home security system is most well-known for its cameras. With its audio and motion detection devices, Arlo offers a long-lasting system that will ensure peace of mind for your home security. There are more advanced systems on the market, but they’ll cost you much more than the Arlo system.
Arlo is one of the best cameras you can purchase for your smart security system. The devices are affordable and don’t require a lot of hassle to get started. You can choose from several different options, which will offer you various different features and functions for your smart home security system.
Easy and convenient installation
Installing an Arlo camera is simple, which is primarily due to its lack of cables. Arlo cameras vary in size, but they offer several different methods through which they can be powered. All camera designs are similar and come with a powerful magnet you can use to attach the included wall-mounts.
Once you have the camera in place and pointed in the direction you want, they should stay in place. You can, however, move them if need be, unlike other cameras which are fixed in place. This is great if you think you’ll need to change the position or location of the camera.
Since it’s easy to install and access the camera, you can easily access the rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to mess with the mess of cables whenever you change them out. One nice thing about Arlo’s security cameras is that they are rated IP65, so they’ll work in essentially all weather conditions.
Arlo has two base station options: Hub Pro and Hub Basic. While you can use the basic hub to connect your entire system you’ll get more features and better stability with the Hub Pro. You’ll spend a little extra money, but it’s worth it.
With the Hub Pro, you’ll get a built-in siren, which users can set to trigger based on particular conditions. Additionally, you can set it off manually through the mobile app. It’s nice to have the comfort of an alarm within the confines of your home.
You do have to provide a wired internet connection from your router to your hub sot hat it can be online. It needs this so that you can access the cameras via your mobile phone and to access video clips stored in the cloud. There’s also a USB port which gives you the ability to store video locally if you decide you don’t want to sign up for one of the cloud storage subscriptions.
Batteries and charging
When you have everything unpacked, the first thing you’ll want to do is charge up your cameras. You’ll receive a micro-USB charger which plugs into the back of the camera to charge the battery before you install them. You can remove these batteries, but they have to charge through the camera unless you purchase a Pro Charging Station.
If you do decide to purchase a Pro Charging Station, you want to be sure you purchase additional batteries to charge. This is a good idea if you have a large number of cameras, that way you always have the coverage you need and spare batteries when you need them.
Battery life of the Arlo security cameras depends largely on how they’re being used. With motion detection and video recordings occurring at unknown intervals, it can be difficult to predict battery longevity.
You’ll typically get between three to six months worth of battery life out of your Arlo security cameras. Of course, if you put your camera in a place that gets a lot of traffic and movement, your battery will not last nearly as long.
If you have an outlet nearby, you can also leave them plugged in so you always have power. This is especially handy if you need to go on vacation and want to ensure that you don’t lose connectivity or power while you’re away.
Once you have all your cameras charged up and ready to go, you’ll need to pair them with your base station. Download the mobile app and it will guide you through the entire process. Initial set up is straightforward, which means you don’t have to deal with a lot of confusion or complexity. If you do have any problems, you can always un-pair the camera with the base station, then reconnect it.
For ease of connectivity, the Hub pro is much easier to use than the older Arlo Basic base station. You’ll also notice that managing the connections is easier as well. Whether it’s due to newer and updated software or better and more advanced hardware, you’re more likely to have a better overall experience with the Hub Pro.
Quality and Recording
While the Arlo security system isn’t full HD quality, you’ll still get a great picture at 720p resolution. What’s great about Arlo is that you can change the quality in the camera settings. If you want the best quality, you can go with that. Or if you prefer longer battery life, you can choose that option and the camera will adjust the resolution based on your selection.
With the Arlo cameras, you’ll have the ability to view your feeds even in the dark, thanks to the built-in IR LEDs. The LEDs illuminate out to 23 feet, which is perfect for your porch or the driveway area in front of your house. The video feed is clear enough that you can make out people even at night.
While the Arlo smart security system isn’t the best on the market, signing up for a subscription can help make it smarter. Doing so lets you target particular areas or activity so you can customize where your camera tracks movement. Additionally, you can determine when a package has been left on your porch or call the authorities if you receive an emergency alert.
You’ll also get sound capture with your Arlo security system, which accompanies your video feed. If you prefer to receive alerts based on audio as opposed to movement, you can do so. You can also set the camera to use both if you want. The system also includes the ability to speak to someone through the camera by using the mobile app.
Through the app, you can customize what sets off the detection alert. There are a wide variety of actions and ranges you can choose from, or you can just leave it at default and let Arlo make that determination. If you do choose to customize, you can do things like have your camera start recording when it detects motion and then send you a notification or email to let you know.
Arlo’s smart security system is flexible and easy to use. It has presets available for your use as well. One nice present is that geolocation is turned on by default. You can use this feature to arm or disarm your security system based on whether you’re at home or gone. When you leave it will arm itself and when you come back it’ll disarm.
The notifications and alerts are nice to have as well. Emails and messages let you know what’s going on in your home, even if you’re not there. That way, you can alert the appropriate first responders if necessary.
App and access
The Arlo app offers a solid design that is sleek and easy to use. With the basic option, you don’t have to pay for a subscription but you are limited to some of the features you’ll have access to. For instance, if your camera captures a video, you can download it and save it. If you want to keep it on the cloud though, you’ll need a subscription package.
The lack of requiring a subscription to use its service means Arlo is cheaper than other smart security systems in the long run. You can set up your Arlo cameras and not have to worry about any ongoing monthly costs. The option to not have to pay for a package means you have the freedom to add more cameras or other security devices in the future.
The company’s latest wire-free camera model is the Arlo Ultra, which delivers 4K ultra-high definition videos. The camera uses advanced dewarping technology that helps it cover a wider area than other cameras. It also records in HDR and can automatically zoom in when it detects movement. Moreover, it tracks the moving person or object. This camera has a field of view of 180 degrees.
The Arlo Ultra has a spotlight that is triggered when it senses movements. So if it sees a potential intruder, it will turn the light on, scaring away anybody who might be lurking in the shadows. What’s more, the Arlo Ultra gives you colored images and videos even in night vision mode.
The Arlo Ultra sells for $399.99. It may be expensive, but it has better specifications than other wire-free cameras from the same manufacturer. For instance, the Arlo and Arlo Pro both have 720 pixels of resolution, while the Pro 2 delivers 1080 pixels full HD resolution. The Arlo does not have a wide field of view, while the Arlo Pro and Pro 2 has 110 and 130 degrees field of view, much narrower than the panorama you get from the Ultra.
A side-by-side comparison of Arlo’s wire-free cameras
To get a rundown of what each device offers, here is a side-by-side comparison:
|Model||Arlo Ultra||Arlo Pro 2||Arlo Pro||Arlo||Arlo Go|
|Price||$399.99 (Check out the latest rates here!)||$299.99 (Check out the latest rates here!)||$249.99 (Check out the latest rates here!)||$179.99 (Check out the latest rates here!)||$349.99 with AT&T plan (Check the latest rates here!)|
|Field of view||180||130||110||—||110|
|Can be powered by solar panels||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Powered by rechargeable battery||Yes||Yes||Yes||CR123 batteries||Yes|
One thing about Arlo’s wire-free cameras is that they cannot record continuously. In fact, the Arlo Ultra and Pro 2 need to be plugged in to capture what’s happening 24/7. Another feature that requires the camera to be plugged in is the activity zones.
When it comes to storage, the later version wire-free cameras have a USB drive located on the base station, allowing them to store video clips locally. The Arlo Go uses a micro SD card, while the original Arlo doesn’t let you save your videos locally.
The Arlo Go is a mobile camera. It comes with a recurring data plan from Verizon, Arlo Mobile, or AT&T so that you can put up the camera even outside of Wi-Fi range. This feature makes the Arlo Go perfect for keeping an eye on faraway areas, such as the garage or tool shed.
Arlo has two 1080-pixel full high definition indoor cameras that cost anywhere from $175 to $250: the Arlo Q and the Arlo Q Plus. Both the Arlo Q and the Arlo Q Plus are made for indoor use and are not weather-resistant. Both of them offer a field of view of 130 degrees, as well as night vision and motion and sound alerts.
However, the Arlo Q does not have local storage, while you can insert a microSD card into the Plus version to store recorded clips. The Q Plus also offers two additional options to power the camera. You can use a Power-over-Ethernet or Ethernet cable to power the Q Plus.
Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plus: Comparison
This table lists the differences and similarities of the Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plus.
|Model||Arlo Q||Arlo Q Plus|
|Price||$199.99 (Check out the latest rates here!)||$249.99 (Check out the latest rates here!)|
|Field of view||130||130|
|Audio alerts||Sound only||Yes|
Other Arlo Products
Aside from these cameras, Arlo also offers a baby monitor, an audio doorbell, and a security light.
Arlo Security Light
The Arlo Security Light works with your cameras or by itself. It is entirely wire-free, allowing you to put it just about anywhere. It also has an IP65 water-resistance rating that protects the device from water, as well as from dust. You can use it both outside and inside the house. You can have the security light work on its own, lighting up when it senses movements.
You can also use the Arlo light with your Arlo camera, helping the camera extend its coverage.
Arlo Audio Doorbell
The Arlo Audio Doorbell enables you to answer the door even when you are not home. When somebody presses the doorbell, you will be notified on your phone. You will then be able to talk to whoever is there.
The Arlo Audio Doorbell can also take messages from your visitors in case you are not able to answer them. Moreover, you can shoot off a quick reply.
Arlo Baby works like any of the manufacturer’s other cameras. Its edge, however, is that it can sing a lullaby to get your baby to sleep. It can also function as a night light, on top of being able to check on the air quality in your baby’s room.
Using Arlo as Your Security System
Arlo is an excellent security camera system that allows you to add cameras, lights, and other devices together. If your main reason for installing a security system is to keep an eye on your assets and properties, then you can never go wrong with Arlo’s range of cameras.
These cameras deliver exceptional images and videos with anywhere from 720 pixels to 4k UHD resolutions. All of the manufacturer’s cameras can also detect movement and/or sound, allowing them to record only when necessary and alert you if there are things that you should know. What’s more, these cameras feature night vision, enabling you to see things even in the dark.
You will also love how Arlo works with different voice assistants, including Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Arlo cameras and lights are also compatible with IFTTT recipes, enabling you to add it to smart home platforms such as SmartThings and others.
Arlo is excellent for those who want to protect their homes with security cameras, but do not want to be bothered with monthly fees. Moreover, the company does offer Smart Plans, which unlocks more feature for the cameras.
Arlo Smart Plans
With Arlo Smart Plans, you can get advanced artificial intelligence detection and custom activity zones, which can help lessen the number of false positive that you get. You can also get notified on your smartphone when something happens at home. These plans range in prices from $2.99 per month per camera to $14.99 for up to 20 cameras.
Pros and Cons
No security system is perfect but that doesn’t mean Arlo isn’t worth considering for your smart home protection needs. Here are some of the pros and cons of this system:
- Various battery/cable installation options.
- Plenty of accessories.
- Multiple control options.
- Mobile app for iOS and Android.
- No default subscription required.
- Free week-long cloud storage option.
- Cables could be sturdier.
- Smart subscription required for additional features.
- Easily removed from mount.
- Only offers 720p resolution.
Using Arlo for your home security needs means you’re getting a lasting system. You’ll have peace of mind in knowing that the batteries in your devices aren’t going to run out and that you don’t have to pay an additional monthly cost for your system to work. Yes, there are more advanced platforms with more features, but for those looking for a basic system, Arlo gets the job done.
Based on everything the system offers, Arlo is a great entry point into smart home security. It offers a modular design, is easy to install, and you can expand whenever you need to. Additionally, you only have to worry about the cost of hardware if you decide not to go with a subscription option.
If you do decide to go with a subscription package, you’re giving yourself more advanced features and capabilities with your security platform. Arlo offers rates comparable to other security systems on the market. For a starter system, Arlo isn’t a bad option.
SimpliSafe Home Security
SimpliSafe made its mark in the DIY home security monitoring market because of its easy-to-use system. With SimpliSafe, you are not limited by using only cameras and lights, you can also get a wide variety of sensors that work together to protect your home.
SimpliSafe’s sensors can help you guard your home against intrusions, environmental hazards, and other threats. This system has several packages for you to choose from. First, there is the Foundation that includes the base station, the keypad, an entry sensor, and a motion sensor. This system can adequately protect a small home from unauthorized entry and can tell you if it senses movements. This package sells for $229 (Check out the latest rates here!).
Then you have the Essentials, which adds two more entry sensors to the package for a price of $259. This system allows you to monitor if a door or a window has been opened. You can also get the Hearth for the average-sized home. It has everything that the Essentials package offers plus a 105-decibel siren and a smoke detector. You also get a key fob with this package. The Hearth sells for $375.
For larger homes or those with a lot of windows, the Knox is ideal for you. With six entry sensors, two motion sensors, a 105-decibel siren, and a smoke detector, you can adequately protect your house for only $449.
The beauty of the SimpliSafe system is that you can always add more sensors if you want, or you can just build your own system. The list of sensors offered by SimpliSafe includes:
- Glassbreak sensor
- Panic button
- Smoke detector
- Temperature sensor
- Water sensor
Aside from the sensors that you can add, you can also opt to add the SimpliCam and the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell.
You can choose between two monitoring plans with Simplisafe. The Standard Plan is your first option. With the Standard Plan, the system connects back to Simplisafe’s base of operations where your home is constantly monitored. In the event a sensor goes off, Simplisafe is notified immediately.
Once Simplisafe is alerted to the issue, an operator will reach out to ensure that you and your family are safe. You’ll provide a predetermined safe word and at that point, Simplisafe will dismiss the alert. Also through Simplisafe’s Standard Plan, you’ll get live streaming through the mobile app or via a web browser.
One thing to remember with the Standard Plan is that for mobile alerts and notifications, you will have to pay an additional fee for recorded video history.
The second monitoring plan that Simplisafe offers is its Interactive Plan. Choosing the Interactive Plan means you get everything that comes with the Standard Plan, plus some additional features and services. For example, text and email alerts, along with Nest Thermostat support.
Users can also go the self-monitoring route if they so choose, however, there is a very large disadvantage to doing so. If an emergency does occur, those who self-monitor much contact the appropriate authorities themselves. Additionally, the alarm will only work locally, so you’d have to be home to know that an emergency has occurred.
Most home alarm platforms are built around a control panel which connects to and controls devices. Simplisafe only offers a base station and a keypad as its control panel. This gives users the option to develop their system on their own or choose from a pre-configured option.
No matter which choice you make, you’ll get exactly what you want to make sure your home is secure and safe.
Simplisafe’s security system comes with plenty of equipment to protect your home and alert you in the event of an intrusion or break-in. Simplisafe’s control panel ties into every piece of its equipment so you can have the latest information regarding the security of your home. Here’s a look at some of the equipment you can have with your Simplisafe security system.
Motion Detection Sensor
Simplisafe’s motion detection sensor works up to 400 feet away from its control panel. It will detect motion up to 30 feet away and pets under 50 pounds won’t set it off. You can also stick it to a wall or other flat surface for optimal monitoring placement.
Oftentimes when glass breaks, it means someone is attempting to gain entry to your home. Simplisafe has a glass sensor that it tunes to recognize the sound of glass breaking. You can pair the glass sensor to your Simplisafe control panel and monitor your home so you know if a break-in via a glass window or door occurs.
Speaking of windows and doors, Simplisafe offers a sensor that can identify when a door or windows opens and shuts. When this happens, the sensor sends out an alert, letting you know that something is happening that shouldn’t be. These sensors come with adhesive and pre-installed batteries, so they’re easy to set up.
With Simplisafe, you can’t use a security camera unless you subscribe to one of their monthly plans. If you choose to, you can view life footage via the mobile app. You can also add cloud recording to your subscription, which stores all your recordings in the cloud so you can view it in the future.
With Simplisafe’s security camera you’ll get the following features:
- 720p resolution.
- Live streaming via mobile application.
- Cloud recording (requires an additional fee).
- Automatic recording.
- Night vision.
The Simplisafe smoke detector includes a built-in siren. The device will go off when it detects smoke in your house and a Simplisafe professional will reach out to you. If need be, Simplisafe will send out first responders to assess the situation and determine that nature of the emergency.
If you have an area in your home that is prone to leaks, Simplisafe’s water sensor might come in handy. When the sensor detects water, you’ll get a text or email alert. The sensor is 100% wireless, so you can place the device anywhere you need to.
Pros and Cons
Just like with Arlo, Simplisafe has its share of pros and cons. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect with the Simplisafe security system.
- Easy to set up and install.
- Straight-forward home security.
- No frills.
- Portable – take it with you.
- Optional local or professional monitoring.
- Two plans from which you can choose.
- Plenty of equipment options.
- No integration with other smart home systems.
- Local monitoring is basically useless unless you subscribe to a plan.
- Cannot control system without a subscription plan.
If you’re looking for an affordable and effective security system that gives you the ability to protect your home, the Simplisafe is a solid option. Unfortunately, you won’t get a lot of the features and functionality you need to monitor your home without signing up for a subscription package.
Installing Simplisafe is fast and simple. Even if you purchase all the hardware associated with the system, you’ll still end up getting a better value than with other Do-It-Yourself options in the home security market.
Without a monitoring plan though, the package is essentially worthless. However, even with a subscription, you’re still not going to pay near as much as you would with other systems. If you want newer technologies that will protect your home, then Simplisafe is a solid option.
While these two systems are two of the more well-known platforms available on the home security market, there isn’t much they have in common. You’ll get great protection for your home no matter which option you choose. However, you’ll have more monitoring options if you choose Simplisafe.
Basically, if you want all the sensors that manage other areas of your home, Simplisafe is going to be the system for you. But if you just need some high-quality cameras that keep an eye on the entry points into your home, then you might take a close look at Arlo. Either way, you’re getting a great smart security system to protect your home and family.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!