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Two of the most popular smart home security systems on the market today are Simplisafe and ADT. They both come with their own unique set of features to keep you protected, and they’re both very good. But which one is best for you depends entirely on your budget, the connectivity you want, and the features you’ll use the most.
Let’s sift through some of the noise together to determine which one will work best and how you can arm yourself with the right tools to keep your home and your family safe. You’ll be able to take advantage of the protection you need against intruders while maintaining more control over what’s happening at home, even when you’re not there.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 The Main Differences Between Simplisafe and ADT
- 2 SimpliSafe Home Security System
- 3 ADT
- 4 The Verdict
The Main Differences Between Simplisafe and ADT
- Simplisafe works with Simplisafe equipment only while ADT can integrate with your entire smart home automation system
- Simplisafe offers easy DIY installation while ADT professionals manage all home installs
- Simplisafe has glass sensors but ADT does not
- Simplisafe offers a self-monitoring mode but ADT always requires a subscription
SimpliSafe Home Security System
Simplisafe has been around for a hot minute, so they know what’s up in the area of home security. Their systems are easy to set up and install, plus they have a lot of features and capabilities. It’s a simple and effective way to keep your home safe whether you’re there or away.
With two monitoring plans, you can choose which works best for you. The Standard Plan connects with the Simplisafe operations base for continuous monitoring of your home. When one of your sensors is triggered, Simplisafe will be notified immediately.
Once Simplisafe is notified, they’ll notify you via phone to ensure everyone is safe. False alerts aren’t common, but they can happen, so this is an important first step before notifying the authorities. All you have to do is give Simplisafe your predetermined key phrase and they’ll dismiss the alert.
In the event something is wrong, Simplisafe can dispatch the necessary emergency personnel to address the issue and resolve the problem. This is especially reassuring if you’re not currently at home. You know someone will be on their way as soon as possible to check it out.
The Standard Plan also includes live streaming via a mobile app or web browser, so you can keep apprised of the situation at home anytime, even if there’s not an alarm. That means you can look at your camera feeds in real time. If you want Simplisafe to record your video history so you can access it later, you will have to pay extra.
Simplisafe also offers an Interactive Plan is a comprehensive plan with more features for people who want something that they can interact with more. It comes with everything on the Standard Plan, plus support for Nest thermostats and text or email alerts.
This gives you more flexibility when choosing how you monitor your home. You can do more of the monitoring yourself in self-monitoring mode. However, that also means you have to contact the authorities yourself when something goes wrong. You can’t count on the Simplisafe team to do it if you don’t give them access to your alerts.
The other drawback to self-monitoring mode is that the alarms only work on your home network. If you’re away, and an alarm is triggered, it will only be triggered on devices using the home network, so you won’t know anything about it. It requires that you be much more vigilant than you would have to be otherwise.
Simplisafe comes with a base station and a keypad. Some other home alarms have a control panel that you can use as a hub to connect every device together and control them, but Simplisafe allows you to choose from some default configurations or create your own system.
No matter which way you choose to configure your system, you can design it to do exactly what you want it to do. The controls are easy to understand and allow you to monitor your home in the way that makes the most sense for you.
The comprehensive equipment that Simplisafe provides is simple to use, so you can set it up and protect your home with ease. The equipment is designed to notify you when break-ins and other emergencies occur so you can take action.
All devices connect to the control panel in a central location so you have easy access to the latest updates in your home security system.
Motion Detection Sensor
The Simplisafe motion detector is designed to detect motion from as far away as thirty feet. It can work 400 feet away from the control panel, so you can place it almost anywhere in your home. It’s also made to ignore pets and wildlife that weighs less than fifty pounds, so you won’t be constantly annoyed with alerts when the breeze blows. You can mount it on a wall or any other flat surface.
When your glass breaks, it’s likely because someone is trying to get in. With Simplisafe glass sensors that are tuned precisely to the sound of glass breaking, you’ll know if something breaks and be alerted right away. The sensors connect to your control panel so you can identify what’s wrong and get the help you need.
Door and window sensors tell you when doors and windows open and close. You’ll get a notification when a door opens or closes so you’ll know what’s going on at home. If you’re not expecting anyone, you may want to check in and make sure everything is ok.
Additionally, if you’re expecting your son to come home at a specific time and he doesn’t make, you’ll know that it’s time to check in and find out where he is. Door sensors are great tools for making sure your family is safe.
Window sensors tell you if someone is trying to get into the house through unconventional methods so you can check out why and call the authorities. They’re also great tools for knowing whether or not you forgot to shut all the windows so you don’t accidentally turn on the air conditioning and waste energy.
All door and window sensors come with batteries included, plus an adhesive strip on the back so they’re easy to install, set up, and connect for us right away.
If you plan to use the security cameras that come with the Simplisafe equipment, you’ll need a monthly service subscription. With the subscription, you can see your camera’s footage in real time via the mobile app or you can enable cloud recording so you can watch your footage history later.
The Simplisafe security cameras let you:
- Live stream on the mobile app
- View footage in 720p resolution
- Record automatically
- Save to the cloud
- View footage at night with night vision
The built-in sirens on the Simplisafe smoke detectors will notify Simplisafe if there’s smoke in your home and you’ll get a phone call. Simplisafe will dispatch the authorities to inspect the situation and diffuse the emergency.
If you have areas of your home that are prone to leaks or experience moisture, water sensors can help you keep an eye on them. If the sensor detects any moisture, you’ll get an email or a text so you know to check it out. The sensors are wireless, so you can install them anywhere with moisture and they won’t get damaged or pose a hazard.
- Easy installation and setup
- A simple home security solution
- Straightforward with no frills
- Two plan options with local or professional monitoring
- Plenty of equipment to customize your setup
- Won’t integrate with other smart home devices
- No control without a monthly subscription
- Local monitoring isn’t as effective as professional monitoring
When it comes to simple solutions, Simplisafe is one of the best. It’s easy to install and set up, you have several monitoring options, and you have tons of choices when it comes to configuring the equipment that will work for you. It doesn’t integrate with other smart home devices, so if you have a smart thermostat or smart door locks, you can’t control it all from the same dashboard, but the no-frills approach that Simplisafe takes to home security is refreshing.
ADT has been one of the largest names in home security for more than one hundred years. That may sound crazy, but they started providing simple home security solutions like home alarms, fire alarms, and security alarms in 1910.
There’s a good reason why ADT is so popular. They provide reliable service and plenty of options. The downside is that there’s a huge third-party network of contractors who are authorized to sell ADT security systems, so it’s hard to predict things like customer service experiences without reviewing every retailer. Not only that, but it can get a little confusing.
We’re going to focus on reviewing the equipment and the system itself so you have a better idea of how it works. It’s up to you which provider you choose to install and maintain your system based on who is near you and what qualifications they have.
ADT offers a simple landline service, so if you still have one of those, it’s a great option for integrating your phone and your home security system into one plan. Any services you subscribe to over and above the landline option can be expensive. However, with those prices, you get multiple monitoring centers for more comprehensive security coverage.
All ADT home security systems are professionally monitored. You can count on quick responses to any alarm by the monitoring agents at ADT. They’ll notify the appropriate authorities right away if someone breaks in or your toddler tries to escape.
ADT service providers all offer different plans at different prices, so it’s up to you to do your research to find out which one is right for you. In general, you’ll find basic security systems connected via landlines or advanced ADT monitoring services called ADT Pulse, connected via cellular service.
While it costs more, the benefit of connecting your home security system to a cellular service is that it can’t be disconnected if you lose power. A cellular connection is faster and more secure, plus you can access your system via a full suite of fancy home automation technology.
With six monitoring centers around the country, you don’t have to worry about one of them going offline. You’ll still get all of the monitoring and security you need with the other five watching over you.
When you first sign up for ADT, they require a 36-month contract. It’s standard across the board from all providers, so you likely won’t be able to get away from it. It can be frustrating if you end up deciding you want to cancel, but you won’t sign anything until all of the equipment is installed just the way you like it, so you’re not signing on for anything you don’t want.
The ADT control panel is pretty standard. It’s the same basic design that a lot of other security companies offer. However, it does give you full control of your system whether you have a basic package or the ADT Pulse.
The basic control panel has physical buttons that allow you to control the entire system while the ADT Pulse control panel has a touchscreen with icons that are more interactive, allowing you to control all of your equipment and home automation options from the base.
ADT doesn’t have equipment of their own. They use third-party manufacturers for all of the equipment they install and there’s nothing exclusive about it, but they have a wide range of equipment to choose from.
If you just want to secure your doors and windows with sensors, that’s always an option. If you would rather have everything fully armed with smart lights, flood sensors, cameras, and more, then ADT has all of the equipment you need.
The problem here is that ADT doesn’t list equipment prices online, so you really don’t know how much it’s going to cost at the end of the day unless you have a provider come out to give you a consultation. The good thing about this is that you won’t be lured by false pricing since it varies based on where you live, the contractor, and the details of your setup.
ADT offers indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and a doorbell camera. However, they’re not the best quality security cameras out there. In terms of design, they’re relatively boring and plain, but they do record in 720p HD resolution. They don’t have two-way audio, but ADT designs their security systems for looking in on your home, not communicating with it.
The indoor camera operates wirelessly, so you can install it anywhere without worrying about unsightly cords or where to plug it in, which is more than we can say for other manufacturers of home security cameras.
The doorbell camera is relatively new, and it brings ADT into the modern era of home security. Before this offering, ADT was lacking in some of the most up-to-date equipment on the market. Now you can enjoy HD recording at your front door in conjunction with two-way audio so you can talk to the person on the other side.
Door and Window Contacts
ADT calls their door and window sensors ‘contacts,’ which doesn’t bother us any because they function the same way. You’ll know if someone tries to force entry or if something is happening at your home when no one is supposed to be there.
You can place these anywhere and get notifications when someone is where they shouldn’t be. The pet-friendly design reduces false alarms so you won’t have to know about any old wind that blows.
Wireless Keychain Remote
This is a fun feature that allows you to arm or disarm your system on your way down the street. If you don’t like messing with arming your system and then getting out in 60 seconds, you can arm it with the remote as you pull out of the driveway. Or you can disarm it as you turn down your street after a long day at work.
The wireless remote only works about 75 feet away from the digital keypad, but it’s a handy feature if you think it’s something you might use.
With home automation options galore, you can connect your ADT system to more than just your ADT devices. You can control your smart lights, thermostat, outlets, locks, garage door openers, or any other smart devices you may already have set up.
This functionality requires the Pulse plan and costs a bit more, but it gives you a lot more functionality and control over your home. Plus, you can fill in the gaps where ADT equipment falls short with upgraded cameras or different door and window sensors.
The ADT home automation also features full integration with Amazon Alexa, so you can tell your system what to do without picking up your phone and opening the app or walking over to the control panel.
The ADT Pulse mobile app allows you to control your security system and all of your smart home devices from anywhere. Check live streaming camera footage, turn on your air conditioner before you come home, or arm your system with just your voice.
The great thing about ADT installation is that your professional contractor will come to do it all for you. All you have to do is decide which equipment you want and where you want it. If you don’t want to mess with all of the installation and set up, ADT can do it for you.
They’ll place a sign in your hard, hardwire everything to your home, and then review the entire set up with you to identify areas that you may have missed the first time around. They’ll also make recommendations where they feel you may benefit from a different piece of equipment than the one you choose. The downside to all of this is that you’re going to pay for installation.
The customer service with ADT is a bit unpredictable because it depends on which outlet you use to install and monitor the system. It’s a mixed bag with varying reviews, so do your research online, talk to your neighbors, and read some first-hand experiences. You’ll be better off for it in the long run when you choose which contractor you want to install your system.
- Integration with Amazon Alexa on the Pulse plan
- Six monitoring centers for comprehensive coverage
- Full home automation capability with wireless plans
- No prices online
- Lots of third-party providers offering varying experiences
While ADT coverage doesn’t necessarily come cheap, it comes with a lot of options, including full home automation options for your entire smart home world. Installation and monitoring are professional and comprehensive, and although your customer service experience is a bit unpredictable, you will enjoy the use of all of your smart home devices via one system if you choose the ADT Pulse plan.
Simplisafe is just that: simple. Installation is easy to do on your own, and while you can’t integrate it with any other systems, it has a no-frills policy when it comes to its offerings. If you prefer simple set up and easy ongoing use, this is definitely the solution for you.
ADT is more comprehensive and offers plenty of options when it comes to controlling your entire home from afar, but it costs more to do so. You can set up a full suite of home security and smart automation devices and have complete control over everything in your home. It’s a more difficult solution to understand for beginners, but may be right for you if you want to see and control everything all the time.
Justin obtained his MBA at Baker University. He loves learning and writing about smart home technology and has a passion for its application. Justin brings a wealth of writing experience to the All Home Robotics team and enjoys discovering new and creative ways to implement smart home technologies into his own home (and sharing his findings here)!