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One of the most important things a person wants to do when owning a home is protect their family and loved ones. With a smart security alarm system, you can do just that. However, it can be a challenge knowing where to get started. Would you prefer to go the route of a professionally installed and monitored system, or are you the type of person that prefers to do it yourself?
If you’re the type of person who prefers to do things on their own, either of the smart systems compared in this article might be right for you.iSmartAlarm and Simplisafe are two of the better DIY security systems available on the market today. Bot systems are easy to set up and flexible, letting you monitor your home remotely on your own terms.
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The iSmartAlarm security package starts you off with an iSmart Alarm CubeOne, a motion sensor, a remote tag, and a contact sensor. If you want to, you can connect your remote tag to your keychain, so you’ll always know where it is. The CubeOne is the brains of your security system and serves as the hub to which everything else communicates.
Through your wifi network, the CubeOne establishes a connection with the cameras, sensors, and devices, throughout your home. You set up your CubeOne by connecting it to your router via a network cable. Included in your CubeOne is a siren, capable of 110dB, so it’s plenty loud enough to deter unwanted activity in or around your home.
Your motion and contact sensors connect to the CubeOne and will recognize movement around entryways, windows, and doorways. The sensors are for indoor use only, so you’ll want to put them in specific places you want to monitor throughout your home.
Also included in your starter package is your remote tag. Like the sensors, the tag connects to the CubeOne, which gives you the ability to control your smart security network remotely.
While it’s not a part of the starter kit, the iSmartAlarm system does have the capability of adding a camera. The iSmartAlarm Spot works very well and can either be added to your existing security system or work as its own standalone device. The Spot camera is loaded with features, including night vision, digital zoom, and two-way audio.
With motion recognition of up to 20 feet, the Spot security camera is sure to keep your home safe. Spot can also alert you to carbon dioxide in your home if you don’t already have a smart device in place for that. It can record videos and store them on iSmartAlarm’s cloud for free. You also have the option to move them to an external MicroSD card, if you prefer to have them available locally.
iSmartAlarm’s Spot camera is easy to install. It has a magnetic base and flexible legs, so you can put it just about anywhere you want. The adjustable legs allow you to capture virtually any angle you want.
After you have everything out of the box, to set up your iSmartAlarm security system, download the mobile app from either the Android or iOS marketplaces. Once the app installs, you’ll create your account and set up your system. Set up a master admin account so you have control over who can access the network. You can then add additional devices to your security system through the iSmartAlarm app.
After you’ve completed setup of your devices and have them all communicating with your CubeOne, iSmartAlarm will have you set the system mode. You have four modes from which to choose: Home, Disarm, Arm, and Panic. Here’s a quick rundown of each mode:
- Home – Select when to deactivate or activate devices (cannot control motion sensors)
- Disarm – System deactivate
- Arm – Activate devices, cameras, and sensors
- Panic – Siren is triggered, and alerts are sent out
With your smartphone app or your remote tag, you can arm and disarm your iSmartAlarm security system. While your security system is in Arm mode, if any of the sensors break contact, or if motion is detected, the alarm triggers and you are immediately notified. You’ll get a message telling you not to return home until you are certain it is safe to do so.
The iSmartAlarm security system has a comprehensive notification methodology. Alerts are pushed to you in a very timely fashion if the alarm triggers, and contains accurate information. Additionally, you can view system logs or the current status of devices and sensors. For example, you can see when doors open, or when the system is disarmed.
iSmartAlarms has a variety of bundles from which you can choose to monitor your smart security system. Outside of the starter kit, there are four additional bundles available.
iSmartAlarms also lets you create and customize your own package if that’s something you prefer to do as well. Here’s a rundown of some of the options you have with iSmartAlarm:
- Plus Bundle – If you want more coverage, this is the package for you. Includes additional contact and motion sensors.
- Flexible Video Bundle – Includes two iSmartAlarm Spot cameras, along with additional contact and motion sensors
- Shield Bundle – Made with spread-out, ranch-style homes in mind. Doesn’t have a security camera, but is the bundle with the most contact and motion sensors
- Guard Bundle – Designed for one or two bedroom homes. Includes four contact sensors, three remote tags, and three motion sensors
You can add additional iSmartAlarm devices or products at any time. This allows you to customize and build a smart home security system specifically tailored to you and the security needs of your home.
If you’re looking for a great Do-It-Yourself smart home security system, iSmartAlarm is a great choice. Installation is simple, and if you need additional devices in the future, you just order them and add them to your existing system. iSmartAlarm requires no contracts or fees and allows you to view and access your system remotely with your smartphone.
Bear in mind that if a break-in does occur, you and anyone else on the system are the only ones notified. It will be your responsibility to contact the proper authorities. Having said that, the alerts come quickly and gives you the ability to decide whether or not a call needs to be made.
iSmartAlarm is the perfect option if you’re a Do-It-Yourselfer that prefers to customize and install your own security system. It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg, and it’s an effective home security system. If you’re in the market for a smart home security system, take a long look at iSmartAlarm. You just might find what you’re looking for.
The second Do-It-Yourself smart security system we’ll discuss is Simplisafe. It’s an easy system to set up and will keep your home safe from would-be criminals or environmental dangers like floods and fires. Primarily, SimpliSafe provides a high-quality security system that you can manage on your own.
The SimpliSafe smart security system offers many different types of packages and is completely customizable. There are five packages available from which to choose. Let’s take a look at two of them:
- Haven – Includes the following: base station, keypad, two motion sensors, keychain remote, carbon monoxide detectors, window/door sensors, water sensors, and a 105dB siren
- Foundation – Included are: base station, keypad, entry sensor, and motion sensor
As mentioned, these systems are completely customizable, so if you want to add additional devices, you can do so at any time. For instance, SimpliSafe offers SimpliCams for video monitoring since none of their packages includes cameras.
Of course, you can always purchase additional sensors and devices if you need them for your home security. SimpliSafe also offers glass break sensors, if you have a lot of windows on the first floor of your home. Smoke sensors, freeze sensors, and water sensors can also be purchased and integrated into your system so you can be alerted when potentially damaging events take place.
Simplisafe does offer a monitoring plan for a monthly fee. This plan provides 24/7 coverage and will reach out to you if an alarm is set off. If necessary, the proper authorities will be dispatched by SimpliSafe’s monitoring team. For an additional fee, you can receive email and SMS notifications. There are also plans that cost a little more which give you the ability to control your system remotely and see system events.
If you’re not interested in paying the monthly subscription fees, you can use the SimpliSafe smart security system as a local, standalone system. If a sensor does trip, you’ll be the one responsible for calling the appropriate authorities. However, if you do want monthly monitoring, remember that you don’t have to sign a contract or commit to any length of time. SimpliSafe offers a flexible and hassle-free experience.
When you’re ready to setup your system, you’ll need to place the base station in a central location in your home. It needs to be within 400 feet of all your devices. The base station supports 802.11n wifi and is very beneficial if you live in an area with patchy cellular coverage.
If you’re concerned with malware that might be picked up via IoT, you don’t have to connect you SimpliSafe system. However, you won’t receive firmware updates that keep your system current. Housed within the base station is your backup battery, siren, and slot for a SIM card if you choose to have a cellular backup option.
Every device has a button on it which you depress to connect it with the system. You follow the setup process on the keypad, and the total installation of everything might take around 45 minutes. Smaller packages probably take less setup time, but either way, you’ll be up and running in less than an hour.
Currently, you can add four SimpliCams to your SimpliSafe security system. Setting them up is simple, as you only need to enter your wifi network credentials then scan a QR code into the app to connect. You can adjust and tilt the cameras as needed, and the camera has a 120-degree range of view, so you shouldn’t have any problems seeing what’s going on in the area.
SimpliCam footage displays in 720p, but only operates on the 2.4GHz wifi band. You’ll find the video quality is good, but the sound could be better. Night vision is available on the SimpliCam, but unfortunately two-way audio is not. Motion detection works well, as the camera can differentiate between a person and a small animal. You can receive push notifications for free, and with a monthly fee, you’ll have the option to download, record, or share video footage.
The SimpliSafe SimpliCam isn’t going to turn any heads as there are other, better cameras available. It isn’t waterproof, so you have to keep it indoors. However, it is a good solution for an added layer of security with your SimpliSafe system.
There are three modes available with your SimpliSafe smart security system: Home, Away, and Test. Putting your system in Home mode lets it know you are at home, and effectively disarms the system. Away mode arms your system, while Test mode enables you to validate your system is working the way it should be.
If your system is armed and one of the sensors trips, you’ll have 30 seconds to input your PIN into the keypad. Otherwise, the siren in the base station goes off, and SimpliSafe goes into action. You’ll receive a call asking for your safe word. If you don’t answer or provide the safe word, authorities are immediately dispatched to your residence.
SimpliSafe contact you to begin with so that authorities are not sent out in the case of a mis-entered PIN or accidental alarm trigger. If you aren’t comfortable with the 30 second time limit for PIN entry, you can extend the time to up to 250 seconds. Either way, you can be sure SimpliSafe will contact you promptly anytime the situation calls for it.
If you don’t mind shelling out the money for a monthly plan, SimpliSafe allows you to control your security system via its mobile application. This allows you to arm, disarm, and view system events no matter where you are. You can also assign and change your PIN via the mobile application. SimpliSafe also has a secret PIN option, which is a PIN that alerts the monitoring team if you are under duress. The alarm will quit, but SimpliSafe will dispatch the police immediately.
SimpliSafe is a good, quality smart security system that offers flexibility and ease of use. You can set it up in less than sixty minutes, and if you don’t want to sign a contract, you’re not required to. It’s a solid system if you’re the type of person who prefers to do things yourself.
If home automation is something more up your alley, you may not like the simplicity of the SimpliSafe system, but you do have the benefit of customizing SimpliSafe to your needs. You can choose (or not choose) a plan that’s comfortable for you and provides the features that make sense for you and your home. It’s your looking for a reliable smart security option, SimpliSafe is worth a look.
How does the Simplisafe compare to other systems?
As you can see, both iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe offer plenty of features and benefits. Both smart security systems are great for Do-It-Yourselfers and can be installed quickly and easily. Let’s take a look at some other ways these two compare with one another:
|Base Station||One Included||One Included|
|Remote Monitoring||Smart Device||Smart Device|
|Maximum Number of Sensors||75||41|
|Power Backup||48 hours||48 hours|
|Professional Monitoring||Not Available||Yes (Monthly Fee)|
|Door/Window Sensors||2 Included||1 Included|
Both iSmartAlarm and Simplisafe are quality smart security systems that provide an additional layer of protection to your home in their own specific ways. You know what works best for your home, so you should select the option that makes the most sense for you.
For our money, the iSmartAlarm system is the better smart security system when compared with SimpliSafe. It offers more options, more packages, and is a more robust system if you choose to use it without twenty-four-hour monitoring. While SimpliSafe provides an excellent opportunity for homeowners and renters, iSmartAlarm is a great choice for anyone who needs a simple and effective method for home security.
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!