Simplisafe2 and iSmartAlarm are two popular wireless home security systems that have similar features. They are designed to be installed by the home owner or renter.
Neither of them need any major DIY skills to install or technical skills to setup. You can monitor them with your smartphone. If you move to a new home you can take them with you.
Also there is no requirement with either of them to enter into a long contract such as when you have a security system installed by a security company.
The iSmartAlarm is a relative newcomer to the DIY home security system market with the company being formed in 2013.
You self-monitor and control this security system with your Smartphone (IOS or Android) and it connects to the phone via your internet connection.
You can add an IP camera to give more home monitoring options.
It can be expanded to work with just about as many devices as you want including home automation devices.
There are no ongoing fees to pay.
The latest version of Simplisafe is the Simplisafe 2 (as described on Amazon) but is known just as Simplisafe on the company’s website.
You install it yourself and there is no long term contract but you do need to pay a monthly fee to enable monitoring and notification functionality.
It connects through the systems own cellular network so there is no requirement for a landline.
Installation is quick and as it is wireless there is no drilling of holes in your walls.
As well as similarities there are a number of differences, too, that need to be considered when making a decision to secure your home.
Installation for both systems is relatively straightforward with minimal DIY skills needed. They both come with the components pre-programmed to work together. Simplisafe does not need the internet for set up (although this can help for further tutorials) whereas with the iSmartAlarm you need an internet connection to be able to set up the devices using the smartphone app. From my research Simplisafe appears to be easier to setup but iSmartAlarm are continually upgrading their software to improve this.
Monitoring – Self and Third Party
The iSmartAlarm gives you the ability to self-monitor your alarm system without any additional cost. You can see what is happening at home and, turn the alarm on and off from your smartphone. It contacts you by text, email or push notification (you can receive messages from the app even when the app is not active on your phone). This functionality is included in the cost of the equipment.
Simplisafe does not give you this ability unless you pay a monthly fee (cancellable at any time) depending on the level you choose. If you don’t pay it you have a standalone alarm where only the siren will sound if a sensor is triggered but it will not contact you.
By paying the Simplisafe monthly fee you get monitoring by a third party but to get this plus full interactive monitoring you need to pay more a month for third party monitoring and for full smartphone monitoring.
Control Panel And Alarms
Neither of these systems has a control panel in the conventional sense you may have seen when looking at more traditional security systems.
The iSA3 has a Hub that controls the sensors and sends a message to you when one of the sensors is tripped. All of the programming and setting of the alarm is done through your Smartphone app or using one of the key chain remotes. The Hub is also where the 100 db siren is housed and will sound when the sensors are triggered. There is no keypad.
Simplisafe2 has separated their control panel into two parts- the keypad and a base station which controls the system. This means if the keypad is destroyed the system will still dial out and continue to monitor the sensors . You can use the keypad to arm and disarm the system and make other changes. You can also use your computer to make changes using the easy setup wizard and when you pay for interactive monitoring you can use your smartphone. The siren is in the base unit and 85 db loud.
To get a notification from Simplisafe you need to be paying the monthly monitoring fee and it will dial out over a cellular network (T-mobile or Verizon). The advantage of the cellular network is that it can’t be cut with scissors like a land line and also many people don’t have land line phones now. The monitoring center will call you when an alarm is triggered but you can also receive SMS and emails notifications.
With iSmartAlarm the notification is included in the cost of the equipment and it sends notifications to your smartphone through your internet connection. You don’t get a phone call with this system but you get email and SMS messaging along with push notifications.
With the iSmartAlarm you can add an unlimited number of window door/contacts and motion sensors and 1 camera. The company is working to add more devices.
You can add up to 41 devices to work with the Simplisafe base station. In addition to motion sensors and window/door contacts you can have additional alarms, C02 monitor, water sensor, freeze sensor and panic button. Currently the system does not work with a camera.
A good feature of the Simplisafe2 is that it comes with a backup battery that lasts for up to 2 days. The system will continue to work as normal without power from the house supply. In this regard the iSmartAlarm does not have this built in and when there is a power outage the system does not work but you will receive a notification when this happens.
You may be forced to turn off the alarm by someone who has broken into your home. When this happens with Simplisafe you can enter a special duress code that turns off the siren but the system will send a notification out saying you have been forced to turn it off. At this time iSmartAlarm does not have this.
These two products are both good choices for protecting your home.
The Simplisafe is a more established system with many great features, accessories and great customer support. You can have this monitored by a professional monitoring service and also monitor on your smartphone but you do need to pay a monthly fee to unlock these features that can be cheaper than many other comparable services for third party monitoring. When you expand this system it makes it ideal for larger homes but can be used for apartments as- is. If you wanted a monitored system this makes it a good reasonably priced option.
The iSmartAlarm is a newer product and the software is being upgraded on a regular basis to make it friendlier to use and has come along from when it was first released. This system is set up for self monitoring and all this functionality is included in the price. If you are happy monitoring the system yourself than this makes it a good choice. There is a limited choice in devices you can add but more are being developed. I think this could be good for option for students, renters and small homes but you can expand it out for larger homes. There is also the possibility that it may move in to the home automation area at a later date by adding light switches, door locks etc to allow you to control your home from your phone..
Filed under: Buying Advice
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