Did you know that in 2017, 20.6 per 1,000 households were burglarized? So it isn’t any wonder why a lot of people are now looking for a home alarm system that they can use to keep their homes and their families safe.
In the past, alarm systems at home were too costly. On top of the equipment and the monitoring costs, you needed to have the system professionally installed. These wired sensors needed cables and wires to function, so the professionals had to take care of the configuration.
Well, not anymore. Today, you have a choice from among several home security products that you can install by yourself. These wire-free systems usually work together without you needing to integrate them.
Two brands that offer DIY home security are SimpliSafe and Protect America. Which one is better?
Protect America allows you to protect your home from burglaries and lets you see what’s going on with the help of indoor and outdoor security cameras. They also offer sensors that could let you know if there’s a fire, carbon monoxide leak, or flooding.
These sensors come pre-programmed out of the box, and they are wireless. That means you can put these sensors just about anywhere you want. They also come with a lifetime warranty and locked-in pricing.
You also get to enjoy 24/7 monitoring. If you’re too busy to check your phone, there will always be somebody who is going to keep an eye on your sensors. Professional monitoring means that there will be live humans who will know once an alarm is triggered and send appropriate help your way.
The company offers several products that allow you to adequately protect your home. These devices and sensors are modular, which means you only need to buy the things that you need and have it work with your system.
The company’s intrusion detection products let you know if someone entered your house without your permission.
- Door and window microsensors
Protect America offers you door and window microsensors that are small enough to put anywhere. These pre-programmed sensors will let you know if a door or window was unexpectedly opened. It has a five-year battery that ensures continuous protection.
If you have armed your alarm system, triggering these sensors will sound the alarm.
- Motion detector
Place the indoor wireless motion detector anywhere inside your home, and you will get alerted when something moves within 25 feet. These motion detectors sense heat coming from anyone.
Now, if you have pets at home, one of the problems you will encounter is your dogs or cats triggering these sensors and causing a lot of false alarms. The good news is that Protect America’s motion detector is pet-friendly and will not mind pets weighing less than 40 pounds.
- Touchscreen control panel
All of these sensors connect to the touchscreen control panel. This control panel features a dashboard where you can find all the information you need to know. It shows you the status of your motion detector, or if your windows and doors are open or close. It can even tell you the temperature inside and outside your home.
The control panel will also allow you to arm or disarm your alarm system. The large display ensures that the icons are never too crowded.
The control panel also has a sleek housing, and the touchscreen LCD is very responsive.
HD wireless video camera
Protect America also gives you live video surveillance via a high-definition wireless camera. This camera boasts 720 pixels of video resolution and a frame rate of 30 frames per second, giving you clear and smooth footages.
The HD camera also has a field of view of 60 degrees, allowing it to see a lot of what’s in front. When it gets dark, four infrared LEDs serve as its night vision. This night vision allows you to see up to 16 feet ahead.
The camera also has two-way communication, allowing you to talk with whoever is near the camera.
- Outdoor home security cameras
Protect America also offers an outdoor security camera with 24 infrared LEDs that allow you to see up to 65 feet ahead. This camera also gives you 720-pixel high-definition footages and 128-bit AES encryption so that nobody else can view your feed.
Protect America’s system also includes a monitored smoke detector that protects you from fire. You can get a carbon monoxide detector and a firefighter sensor as well.
The Protect America system also protects you from flooding and freezing temperatures with the Trident Environmental Sensor. All of these will help keep your family safe from environmental threats.
If you have connected devices in your smart home, you can use Z-wave to connect them to your Protect America system. This allows you to operate anything from smart lights to thermostats using your Protect America app.No products found.
When any of your sensors are triggered, an alarm is sent to three monitoring centers. This redundancy is to make sure that you get the help you need when there is an emergency.
Protect America has pretty straightforward packages. You start with three door and window sensors and pay $39.99 per month. This basic package includes the touchscreen control panel, three door and window sensors, a motion detector, a yard sign, a keychain remote, four door and window stickers, access to the smartphone app, and round the clock interactive cellular monitoring.
You can also choose the nine-sensor package and add only $3 per month or the 14-sensor package and add only $5 per month to the basic package price. Only the number of door and window sensors change with each package.
For each of these packages, you have the option to add an indoor video camera or the August Pro Door Lock for $7 per month. You can add both options for only $10 per month. If you need more sensors, you can order it from the company.
Here’s the thing: you can pay absolutely nothing up front when you get devices and sensors from the company. You only pay the monthly subscription. But if you want to lower your monthly fees, you can opt to pay any amount upfront.
For instance, getting the 14-sensor package costs $44.99 per month if you pay nothing upfront. But if you pay $300 now, you will be able to deduct $10 from your monthly dues.
What you would like about Protect America
Protect America gives you a lot of leeway in determining how your alarm system should go. They have a range of sensors and their system works with Amazon Alexa. You can just use voice commands to arm or disarm your alarm. Plus, if you have Z-wave devices, you can connect these to your Protect America system.
They have wireless devices and sensors, which means that you will no longer need to drill holes or lay down cables to use the system. You can set the system up yourself, and you will not need any professionals (read: expensive) to come to your home.
You can also check everything from your smartphone using the companion app. More than that, the company replaces your equipment if it breaks down. It does so at no additional fees.
What can be better
The packages described on the website are pretty straightforward. However, if you have something else in mind that is not included in the package, then you will need to request a quote from the company. That’s because not all prices are listed on their site. You would have to inquire how much you would need to add for indoor and outdoor security cameras, flood and water detector, smoke detector, and environmental sensor.
Also, you are locked in for three years. This means that if you do sign up for a contract, you will not be able to discontinue the service any time you want. There is also an option for you to self monitor your system.
The final word on Protect America
Protect America is an excellent choice for those who are looking for entire home protection. The service is ideal for long-term renters or homeowners because of the three-year contract.
SimpliSafeNo products found.
Like Protect America, SimpliSafe’s systems are modular. You start with a package and then just add more sensors as you need them. SimpliSafe aims to provide whole home protection: detecting intrusions, letting you see what’s happening, and even protecting your home from environmental threats.
SimpliSafe offers you a variety of packages that you can use as a starting point for your home security system. Each package has a different set of sensors, but all of these packages come with a base station, a keypad, and at least one motion detector and entry sensor.
For those living in small homes, you can choose The Foundation, which, at less than $230, gives you four pieces of equipment.
Those living in large homes can choose The Knox, which already includes six entry sensors and two motion detectors. But for those who would like to monitor environmental threats, there’s the Haven, which also consists of a water sensor and a freeze sensor.
To find out what each package gives you, here’s a comparison table to make it easier:
|Package||The Haven||The Knox||The Hearth||The Essentials||The Foundation|
|Total number of pieces||14||13||9||6||4|
You can use the SimpliSafe system without any monthly fees for professional monitoring. But know that it will only function as a local alarm.
This means that if someone trips the sensors, the siren will sound and that’s it. Nothing much is done. If you’re not home, nobody will call the police, and you won’t be alerted.
SimpliSafe offers two professional monitoring plans: Standard and Interactive.
The Standard plan includes 24/7 professional alarm monitoring, a cellular connection, and environmental monitoring. For only $15 a month, the monitoring center will dispatch the proper authorities if you’re not able to do anything.
Meanwhile, the Interactive plan gives you everything you get from the Standard plan, plus access to the mobile app so that you can arm or disarm your alarm no matter where you are. You also get alerts on your smartphone. You can get advanced features such as secret alerts, video alarm verification, unlimited recording, and smart home integrations. You pay around $25 per month for this plan.No products found.
What you would like about SimpliSafe
The company does live up to its name; it helps keep you safe without the complicated steps. Everything here is simple, modular, and works with each other out of the box. There is no need for you to call in the professionals to install the system, and you do not have to be a tech geek to figure out how to get everything going. Instead, you just take everything out of the box, place them where you want them, plug them in, and that’s it.
The company is very upfront with their pricing. Everything you need to know is on their website, and they have a “no hidden fees” promise. The company also does not lock you in any contract, and both the equipment and the monitoring plans are budget-friendly.
What can be better
SimpliSafe uses proprietary sensors and devices, which makes it challenging to integrate with your smart home. The system allows for very minimal interactions with connected devices. What’s more, you will need to invest quite a sum upfront.
Comparing Protect America and SimpliSafe
At face value, it would seem that both companies are very much alike. They offer whole home security products and services that help keep you safe from intruders and environmental threats. Both work with professional monitoring services to help you keep an eye on things.
However, if you dig deeper, you will find that there are significant differences between the two systems that can help you decide one way or another.No products found.
No upfront costs
Protect America allows you to get their system without having to pay anything. However, you will be paying a much expensive monthly fee that will include charges for the equipment cost and the professional monitoring service.
SimpliSafe requires you to buy its equipment and packages. However, you get lower monthly dues. What’s more, SimpliSafe doesn’t require you to sign a contract with them. Protect America needs you to stay with them for three years to recoup the cost of letting you use their devices for free.
Cost-wise, which one is the better deal?
Let’s take, for example, that you are getting the three-sensor package from Protect America. You will need to pay $39.99 every month for three years for that package, which totals around $1,440.
Choosing a similar package from SimpliSafe, The Essentials, cost $260. You will need to pay $25 a month for the Interactive plan, which totals $900. Going with SimpliSafe, you will pay $1,160 for the first three years.
In this instance, you save around $280 with SimpliSafe, which more than covers the cost of the equipment you paid for upfront.
Protect America does not put up prices for all of its devices and sensors. However, for those with advertised prices, SimpliSafe consistently has more wallet-friendly devices.
Protect America has a lifetime warranty for its products. They will replace any sensor or device that breaks down and malfunctions. SimpliSafe, meanwhile, has a 60-day money-back guarantee.
SimpliSafe has a wide variety of sensors that help make your home safer. On top to the entry sensors and the motion detectors, you also have glass break sensors, environmental sensors, indoor cameras, and even a video doorbell. All of these devices come from the company itself, so you do not have to spend time pairing them.
Protect America has a minimal offering when it comes to in-house sensors and devices. However, they do have Z-wave integration. This means that if you already have Z-wave sensors and devices, you can have them work with the Protect America system.
SimpliSafe allows you to use their system as a local alarm so that you can opt not to spend anything beyond the cost of the equipment. Meanwhile, Protect America locks you in a three-year contract with professional monitoring.
SimpliSafe vs. Protect America: Which One Should You Get?
Both SimpliSafe and Protect America lets you guard against burglaries and environmental threats, but they go about it differently.
Protect America is more suitable for homeowners who will benefit from the lifetime warranty that the company provides. You no longer have to be stuck with sensors that do not work. The company will replace it for you.
This security offering is also an excellent choice for those who have a smart home and want to integrate their current connected devices to an alarm system. As long as it works with Z-wave, you can hook it up with Protect America’s system.
However, SimpliSafe is the better choice for most people. Not only are you free from long-term contracts, but this system also gives you the flexibility to choose a wholly professional monitored system, or you can do it yourself.
SimpliSafe also has more sensors and devices on offer, at much lower prices than the competition.
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