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In the old days, home security systems could be very costly and complicated. You would need to have workmen install the various devices at your home.
They would run wires and test to see whether everything is connected. What’s more, you would have to pay for an expensive monitoring service.
Fortunately, there are now DIY security systems that make it easy – and not too costly – for you to protect your home. Two of the best ones are SimpliSafe and Abode.
But which one is a better buy in 2018?
|Abode Advantages||Simplisafe Advantages|
|Better for pure security (think burglar protection)||More budget friendly for 24/7 professional monitoring|
|Plays better with others (IFTT, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Alexa)||Better for homes larger than 15,000 square feet|
|More flexible system in general||Better for environmental threats (environmental sensors)|
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 First Up: Abode Security
- 2 Next Up: SimpliSafe
- 3 Comparing the starter kits
- 4 How does Simplisafe compare to other systems?
- 5 Comparing the prices of sensors and other components
- 6 Comparing the Adobe vs Simplisafe Plans
- 7 Final Analysis – What should you buy?
First Up: Abode Security
Abode gives you a security system that you can install yourself. Abode offers professional-grade security and home automation features. The system can be connected to your garage door, lights, locks, thermostats, and other
Abode not only keeps an eye on your home, it also notifies you when something is amiss. You have free access to the Abode mobile app or Web-based app and you can get push notifications for every single event.
For instance, if the front door is opened, you will get an alert on your smartphone, complete with the time and date when the door was opened.
At the heart of the Abode security system is the Abode Gateway. The Gateway connects to the different sensors and cameras you use, as well as connects to other smart home devices. It also transmits video recordings and other media to the Abode cloud and sends data to the professional monitoring center.
Features of Abode
- A backup battery that provides you with at least 10 hours of operation when there’s a power outage
- A paid but optional cellular backup that can ensure Internet connectivity when the Wi-Fi network goes out.
- Automation options can automatically lock your doors when you leave, among other things.
- The gateway has an embedded siren that can emit a 93-decibel shrill sound. You can also use the speaker to give out an audible sound when doors or windows are opened.
- Professional monitoring is available on a monthly basis or for shorter periods. You can add professional monitoring for three days, or seven days, which is perfect for those who are going on a little vacation but do not want to pay the monthly subscription.
- Visual verification. With instant access to your Abode’s security camera, you can immediately check when an alarm or sensor is tripped. This helps you know if it is a false alarm or not. You can then choose to disable the alarm or call the police, depending on what you see.
- The Abode can use your smartphone’s GPS locations and switch to either home or away mode. It can arm or disarm your alarm system depending on your location.
Abode works with Nest and can connect to the Nest Camera if you already have it. This will allow you to see your Nest Camera from the Abode app and you will be able to use the Nest Camera to check into your house.
It also works with Nest Protect, which is useful because Abode does not offer its own smoke detector. Lastly, it works with Nest Learning Thermostat, allowing you to set your Nest to home or away mode.
Abode also works with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices such as Aeon smart bulbs, Enerwave switches, GE dimmers, Fibaro flood sensors, GE Link light bulb, and Philips hue light bulb, among many others. You can also use IFTTT recipes with Abode.
IFTTT allows you to connect your security and alarm system to different services and more connected products. For instance, you can use IFTTT recipes to make Abode send you an e-mail once an alarm is set off.
Lastly, you can use Amazon Alexa speakers to control your Abode.
“I’ll admit it–I’m obsessed. I researched home security systems for 2 years before deciding on Abode. I’ve looked at everything: wired, wireless, ADT, diy, Home Depot, the Internet, the Internet, the Internet. There are some good systems out there, but none and that did everything I needed. Until Abode. It does everything I need from door/window sensors to cameras (motion and streaming) to self or fully monitored. The product is solid. And the customer support is great. They will talk with you and help to make it all work. It is the perfect DIY system.” Yellowledbetter, Amazon
Further Reading: You can read my full take of the Abode Connected Home System here.
Next Up: SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe aims to simplify your security system. It doesn’t have wires and it allows you to get sensors and cameras to help protect your home. You do not have to worry about wiring and there are no long-term service contracts to sign.
You can set up the entire system in just a few minutes. The premise is simple: Get a kit and then add the sensors you would need and, voila, you should be able to protect your home.
You can use it as a local alarm. But if you pay for professional monitoring, you can unlock more of SimpliSafe’s features. For instance, you get:
- Total home protection with professional security experts monitoring your system.
- Remote control for your entire system using a mobile app on your smartphone.
- Text alerts when an alarm is tripped.
It may sound like SimpliSafe and Abode are very similar products, but there are some subtle differences that could sway you towards choosing one over the other.
“Great system! I’ve recommended it to all my friends. This setup doesn’t come with an external siren. The base has a siren but since it’s in the house, the neighbors won’t hear it. So I ordered two sirens one from Amazon and one from SimpliSafe. The one from SimpliSafe was $20.00 cheaper. So, even with shipping I saved $12.00. With a siren on each side of my house, each neighbor can hear my alarm (sounds like a car alarm). Oh yes. It is a breeze to install. The distance from the entry sensors to the base is great! I have a sensor on my garage, man door which is at least 200 feet away and the signal going through all the walls communicates with the base, no problem. (this was a concern when I ordered the system) (BTW, I do have this with the monitoring option for $14.95/month.)” Amazon Customer
Comparing the starter kits
Looking at the starter kits, you would find that SimpliSafe offers the cheaper deal. However, the SimpliSafe starter kit does not include an indoor camera.
The Abode security system, on the other hand, comes with an indoor camera that features motion detection but does not include a separate motion detector. The Abode starter kit’s higher price is also because of its extra sensor.
|Price||$299 For the latest prices and discounts, check here||$229.96 For the latest prices and discounts, check here|
|Door and Window Sensors||2||1|
|Remote key fob||1||1|
|Smartphone app access||Free||Paid|
Adding a motion sensor and a wireless keypad to the Abode security kit will bring the price up to $432.00.
Meanwhile, adding a door and window sensor and an indoor camera to the SimpliSafe starter kit would bring the price up to $343.95 , but you will have to pay $24.99 per month for the Interactive plan, which will give you the remote access that Abode offers for free.
How does Simplisafe compare to other systems?
Comparing the prices of sensors and other components
When it comes to price, you will love how SimpliSafe’s extra components are generally more affordable than Abode’s.
|Glass Break and Vibration Sensor||$36||$34.99|
|Door / Window Sensors||$29||$14.99|
|Acoustic Glass-Break Sensors||$59||$34.99|
|Mini Door Sensors||$30||—|
|Recessed Door Sensors||$40||—|
|Slim Strip Sensor||$35||—|
|Indoor Motion Sensor||$54||$29.99|
|Indoor Streaming Wi-Fi Camera||$149||—|
|Motion Sensor w/ Wide Angle Camera||$115||—|
|Occupancy Sensor||$ 59||—|
|Remote Key Fob||$27||$24.99|
|System Status Indicator||$36||—|
|Home Automation Power Outlet & ZigBee Extender||$49||—|
|Indoor Add-On Siren||$59||$59.99|
|Temperature, Humidity, & Light Sensor||$49||—|
|Water Leak Sensor||$39||$19.99|
|Stickers||Pack of 3: $5||Pack of 5: $4.99|
|Carbon dioxide detector||—||$49.99|
Price-wise, SimpliSafe wins because of its hardware, sensors and cameras that are significantly cheaper than Abode’s. However, Abode does offer a wider range of sensors and cameras to choose from.
Another difference? Abode does not have its own environmental sensors that protect your house from frost, flood, and fire. It also does not offer a panic button, which may be very useful in the event that you are home when a thief breaks in.
Comparing the Adobe vs Simplisafe Plans
Both SimpliSafe and Abode work without you having to pay a monthly fee. But there are services and features that you can get with a plan.
SimpliSafe works even with no monthly fees, but you can only use the system as a local alarm with no way to remotely access your system. Meanwhile, Abode gives you free access to its mobile and Web apps, allowing you to monitor your home remotely.
Abode also gives you three days’ worth of media and timeline storage and unlimited user accounts. Abode also gives you e-mail support.
SimpliSafe gives you the opportunity to have 24/7 professional monitoring as well as cellular backup, for only $14.99 per month.
Abode charges $10 per month for its Connect Plan, which allows you to get cellular backup, 14 days of storage, and phone and e-mail support. You also get access to the mobile and Web apps.
SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan costs $24.99 per month and includes round-the-clock monitoring services, SMS/Email alerts, the ability to control your system remotely, secret alerts, and cellular backup.
Abode’s Connect and Secure Plan costs $30 per month. It gives you professional monitoring, 90 days of media and timeline storage, and access to its premium phone support hotline. You also get cellular backup.
SimpliSafe makes the right call in offering professional monitoring and cellular backup under its basic plan. This is what most people are looking for and they can get both for as low as $15.
If you like to be able to interact more with your security system and even get alerts, then you can pay $10 extra for all the alerts that the SimpliSafe system offers.
On the other hand, Abode gives you cellular backup for a much lower $10 per month, but if you want professional monitoring, you actually have to pay $5 more per month than the highest plan from SimpliSafe.
However, SimpliSafe fails in that it does not allow you free access to mobile and Web apps. While this most basic service is free with Abode, it will cost you $25 with SimpliSafe.
Depending on your needs, here are the services offered and the price of the lowest plan that offers them.
|24/7 professional monitoring||$14.99||$30.00|
|SMS/E-mail alerts||$24.99||FREE (via IFTTT)|
|Secret alerts||$24.99||Not offered|
|Cloud storage for recorded media||$5 (with Simplicam)||Free|
Final Analysis – What should you buy?
These two DIY security systems are both very easy to use and are both expandable. Both allow you to forget about wiring. Choosing between SimpliSafe and Abode really depends on what you prefer and what your needs are.
Budget concerns. If you are looking to save money but still be adequately protected, then get SimpliSafe. You can get a fully functional local security system.
It is also true that you save more with SimpliSafe if you want to have 24/7 professional monitoring. However, SimpliSafe failed their users when they made remote control via mobile app a premium service, rather than a basic one.
In this regard, get Abode if you want the ability to constantly check on your home. It offers a mobile app and Web app access even if you don’t pay for a monthly plan.
Home size. SimpliSafe is also ideal for homes that are bigger than 20,000 sq. ft.
What keeps you awake at night? If you are concerned about environmental threats, then SimpliSafe wins because of its range of environmental sensors. But if you are more concerned about burglars breaking in, then Abode should be your choice.
How smart is your home? Lastly, if you currently have a smart home, you should invest in the more expensive Abode. It works with Zigbee and Z-wave protocols works with Alexa and has IFTTT recipes already available. It also works with Nest devices.
This means that with Abode, you will be able to make use of the connected devices you already own.
However, if you are just starting out with your smart home and do not own any smart devices, then SimpliSafe would be the better deal because of its lower price. SimpliSafe works with Nest, but that is the end of its integration.
You are pretty much stuck with using SimpliSafe devices even if you already own Zigbee and Z-wave security cameras or sensors. You also cannot use IFTTT recipes to automate.
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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!