Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Securitystars46Rating: 4.6 Reviewed by Paul
 

The Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System is a DIY solution for protecting your home. In addition to being able to install it yourself you don’t have to sign up to a long term contract with an alarm monitoring company.

All the security devices communicate wirelessly and are pre-programmed to work together when you get it. The base station is the only part of the system that needs to be plugged in with the rest using batteries to power them. If something triggers the alarm the system contacts the dispatcher over a cellular network (T-mobile or Verizon). Unlike most security systems that use a landline this communication cannot be cut by a pair of scissors.

The live monitoring runs from month to month and can be cancelled at any time and it costs between $14.99 and $24.99 depending on the monitoring package you select.

However, you can use it just as a local stand-alone alarm system if you don’t want the 24/7 live monitoring.

It is a fully portable system (as its wireless) so it can be taken with you if you move house. It is customizable and you can add more sensors to the system as you want up to a total of 41.

Another safety feature of Simplisafe2 is that if the power is cut the base station can continue to operate for up to 2 days with the backup batteries.  All the other components of the system run on long life batteries.
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Installation

The good news about this system, unless you like taking on difficult DIY tests, is that it is straightforward to install and set up. You don’t really need many DIY or technical skills to get it up and running. It can be done very easily within an hour or less.

There are no wires to worry about and the sensors and the keypad can be mounted using the 3m backing tape or if you prefer screws are supplied to attach them to the walls, frames, doors and windows.  If you choose to use the tape attachments then you don’t even need any tools in order to set this up.  Most customers have stated that the tape is very strong and have not had any issues keeping the sensors in place.

Also you don’t need to have internet in your home as it can all be setup following the instructions in the manual included.

There are two ways to get the installation instructions.  You can either follow along in the manual or plug in the key chain remote into one of your computer USB ports to launch the Easy Setup Wizard. Either way the instructions are clear and easy to follow along to.

The next step is plug in the base station in a central location near a window. Once that is done you get a menu to follow to help you to install the keypad, panic buttons, motion sensors, entry sensors and other sensors. There are 2 steps to install each of these – you need to pull a tab to activate the batteries and then mount the sensors by peeling off the backing tape and placing them in the correct place as guided by installation instructions. (You can screw them in place if you want).

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security SystemThe last steps are to activate your monitoring service and change your pin to activate the system from the default.

For further guidance there is a 5 minute installation video on the company’s website as well as helpful videos on setting up the sensors.
If you don’t use all the parts that come in your package you will receive an error message as all of the parts are pre-programmed to work together.  You can, however, deactivate any of the sensors through your online account or by contacting SimpliSafe.

Contract

There is no need to sign a contract to install your security system. But if you want someone to monitor your alarm you do need to choose a monitoring service.

The monitoring service is provided by Amcest (a UL Listed Monitoring Center) and when your alarm is triggered it sends a signal to the center and you will be contacted by phone or SMS/Email depending on the service you choose and they will dispatch the emergency services on your behalf. There are three levels of monitoring you can choose with Simplisafe. These are charged by the month and you can cancel or change the level of monitoring at anytime.

If you don’t choose a monitoring service then you effectively have a standalone local alarm system. You won’t be notified in anyway if the alarm is triggered while you are away from your home however for some homeowners this is sufficient.  If you want a system that will let you know when doors and windows are opened and emits an audible alarm in case of a break-in without wanting any internet access to that system or without having to pay any monthly fees this system will work for you, too.

If you do choose not to have the monitoring you will receive the error message “No Link to Dispatcher.” To get rid of it you need to contact Simplisafe and ask them to send you a download to remove the message.

You have 4 options of monitoring:

No monitoring – system is a standalone alarm system, the burglar alarm will sound in the event of a break in. The authorities will not be called nor will you be alerted by either text or email..

Standard – (Cost $14.99 as of 2/9/2014). You get central monitoring and notification around the clock but will not receive SMSSimplisafe Monitoring or Email alerts.

Alert – (Cost $19.99 as of 2/9/2014). On top of the standard features you also get SMS/Email alerts of alarms and when someone enters your home (it could be your children coming home from school and entering their pin or the cleaner for example).

Interactive Monitoring – (Cost $24.99 as of 2/9/2014). In addition to the Alert functionality you get full access to your system remotely with your mobile device.

The monitoring options can help you get a discount with your renters or home-owners insurance because it is 24/7 and UL listed (Underwriter’s Laboratories Listed).  SimpliSafe provides a certificate through your online account that you can send to your insurance company.

Simplisafe do not provide the monitoring service, this is done by AmCest. AmCest were founded in 1975 and is regulated by the Underwriters Laboratories for Protective Signaling (alarm and emergency monitoring services).

Most people have found the service professional with the maximum time for a response normally being 2 minutes with some receiving a call within 10-15 seconds. A few people say they did even after 10 minutes but it appears that their customer service department is very responsive and will work to resolve whatever might be causing slow responses – a number of times the cause seemed to be user error

Some people in their review of the system seem to expect they’ll get a call every time their alarm goes off by accident.  If you walk in the door and accidentally trigger the alarm and then enter your code within 30 seconds why would you expect a call?  If you’re under duress then you’d enter the duress PIN and that will ensure that the police are notified. (Only available with the monitoring service).

How monitoring works – alarm goes off, base station notifies the monitoring center, monitoring center contacts you – if they do not reach you or if you do not provide the safe word then they dispatch police or firefighters
Your city may require you register for a permit for a monitoring service and sometimes there is a fee involved for this registration.

You can set up monitoring service but have SimpliSafe remove the police notification if you want.  Some counties or towns charge for them to come out or charge for accidental alarms and if you have teens and don’t want to risk those expenses or fines or the expense of registering your alarm with your city you can have SimpliSafe remove that feature from your set up (found in forum)

It’s easy to cancel monthly monitoring at any time with a phone call or reactivate at a later date if you wish.

Customer Support

Simplisafe can be contacted between the hours of 9.00 am – 6.00 pm – Sunday to Friday (EST) by phone for any issues with your system. They also have an FAQ page and an active forum on their website where you can find answers to common questions.

Cameras

Currently the system does not come with security camera nor can one be added.

Video Storage

Not Applicable at this stage.

Alarm

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System Review The 8 piece system includes an alarm in the base station. It is 85 decibels loud. This is the equivalent to the sound of a blow dryer or food processor.  It is for internal use only and is unlikely to scare off any would be burglar and you may also struggle to hear if you are upstairs or chosen to hide the base station out of sight.

The alarm is only activated after a message has been sent to the monitoring service.

You can buy an extra siren that is 105 db loud. This is 4 times louder than the one included in the base station. This is the equivalent to the front row of a loud rock concert and will give an intruder a fright and hopefully scare them off. You can also mount this outside as it is weather resistant but it is advisable to place it so it is out of direct rain. Also it is worth noting that if you live in area that experience below freezing temperatures the life of the battery will be reduced. It is loud and when people have tested it their nearby neighbors have heard it and come outside to investigate.

Notification

To get notification of an alarm trigger you need to take up the monitoring service. The monitoring service will contact your primary numbers you’ve set and ask for the safe word before dispatching the emergency services. The recommendation is to have 2 primary numbers as a maximum to avoid too much delay.

Secondary contacts will be notified once the emergency services have been dispatched if a primary contact cannot reached.

With the alert and interactive monitoring services you can get SMS/Email alerts of any alarms as well as details of when the alarm is set and deactivated and if there is a power outage affecting the base station.

Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring of your system – the ability for you to see what’s going on with your alarm system while you’re away from home – is available when you choose the interactive monitoring option at $24.99 a month. This is done through an app you can download for free and it interacts with iPhone, Windows or Android smart phones.  It allows you to see when the system was armed and disarmed and whose pin was used. If you have bought additional sensors you can check the temperature of your home (especially important to prevent your pipes from freezing) and the status of carbon monoxide, fire, water and burglar alarms. This can also be done anywhere you have internet access. You can use the online command features to change your settings.

If you travel or are a way from home a lot you can use this feature to monitor your home. You also have the ability to turn the alarm off remotely which can be handy if you have someone coming in to water the plants or do some work while you are away and you don’t want to give them a pin number. Once they’re finished you can re-set the alarm.

A number of people use this feature when they have a vacation home and is useful for monitoring water and temperature as well as intruders.

Battery

The keypad, keychain remote, panic button and sensors all require batteries to operate.

The sensors come with CR123A batteries installed and have a life expectancy of three to five years. When they are ready to be replaced the base station will let you know. Replacement is easy. You just slide the sensors from the backing plate to reveal the battery. The system will let you know they need replacing about a month before they are completely drained.

The keychain remote uses a CR1632 battery and will typically last from 3 to 5 years. Again replacement is straightforward. The system does not notify you when the battery is low, you will notice this when it’s working range decreases.

The keypad requires 4 AA batteries and the system comes with them. They will need to be replaced in about a year’s time. The keypad will display a message to let you know the battery is getting low.

The base station is the only part of the system that needs to be plugged in but has rechargeable batteries as a backup. In the event of a power outage they can power the base station for up to 2 days. It uses rechargeable AA batteries and you are advised to replace them every five years.

The panic button uses a CR2032 battery which is included and will need replacing in 3 -5 years.

All these batteries are easy to find replacements and are available at Home Depot or can be bought online. You get a message from the system letting you know when the charge is getting low.

Sensors/Detection

There are 2 ways the system can detect an intruder – entry sensors or motion sensors

The entry sensors are placed on windows and doors and detect when they are opened. They are made up of two parts – the sensor and magnet. One piece goes on the frame and the other on the door or window. There are lines on the sensor that help to line the two up when installing, they can be up to 2 inches apart. When the system is armed and the window or door is opened the sensor sends a signal to the base station that the alarm has been triggered. The sensors have an effective range of 400 to 500 feet.  These sensors can be used on any kind of door or window so if you have windows that open top to bottom and those that slide side to side you can use these sensors on each.

The motion sensor is a thermal motion sensor and and will detect the heat coming from an intruders body. It designed so it should not detect pets that weigh less than 50 lbs. It is effective up to 30 ft and 90 degree coverage, so it works best when placed in a corner. If your pets are larger than 50lbs it can be placed upside down at around 4 feet to avoid them triggering the alarm while you are out.

When setting it up in your room the best position is in the corner so it can see the room for 30 feet of space.

Some people have experienced false alarms with their motion sensors when heat comes through heat vents or the air conditioning comes on to cool the room. There are 3 things that have been found to be effective (1) moving the sensor away from the vents (2) mounting the sensor higher up or (3) close the vent slightly.

It is advised not to have the motion sensor positioned directly in front of a window as motion outside the window is thought to sometimes cause false alarms.

Also, extreme cold and heat can impact performance (heat over 110 degrees)

Panic Button/Duress Codes

If there is a break in while you are at home you can hit the panic button (bought separately or included with other packages) to set the alarm off and contact the monitoring service. You will get a call to check if you are okay. If you don’t answer or don’t use your safe word they will alert the police. The panic button can also be set to silent where the alarm does not sound but alerts the monitoring service, so the intruder is not made aware that you’ve signaled for help. There is also a panic button on your keychain remote and keypad.

If you are the victim of a home invasion the criminal may force you to turn the alarm off using your personal code. Instead of using your personal pin you can use a duress pin code which will turn the alarm off but alert the monitoring service and instead of calling your home they immediately call the police.

Setting The Alarm

The alarm can be set in 3 ways:

You can use the keypad to set the alarm before you leave and you have 30 seconds to leave before it is activated.

Also included is a keychain remote. With this you can set and disarm the alarm remotely from your drive by pushing the either the off or away button. Also included is a panic button which will set the alarm off and contact the emergency monitoring service (if you have chosen the monitoring service) who will contact the police immediately.

You have the choice of setting the alarm for home or away. The away setting activates all sensors including motion sensors. The home setting does not activate the motion sensors but all other sensors are live unless you customize the settings. You may not want a particular door activated when you are at home.

If you have the interactive monitoring service you can also set and deactivate the alarm with your smart phone from anywhere in the world where you have cell phone coverage using the Simplisafe app.

Pin Numbers

You have 5 pins – a master and 4 others for disarming the system.  This is great if you have guests staying over, or someone is house sitting for you as you can give them a separate pin number for the length of the stay and then change it one their gone.

If you have the interactive monitoring service you can give your children separate pins. When they get home from school you’ll get a SMS/Email when they use the pin to disarm the alarm and another when they re-arm it on home mode.

 Control Panel

The keypad in many systems is also the control panel or brains of the system, but this is different with the Simplisafe system where the base station controls the system on a day to day basis.

There are up to 3 ways you can control the system:

Keypad – The keypad allows you to set the system for home or away, disarm it or press the panic button. In addition it has a menu function where you can change your pin, add a dialing prefix, add or remove components and test your system.

Easy Setup Wizard – This is activated when you plug your keychain remote’s USB into your computer. This easy to use and takes you through all the menus you have access to update your system. After you’ve updated your setting you need to plug the keychain remote into your base station to update the system.

Online Account: When you have interactive monitoring you can use an online account to make changes to your system remotely.

Timers

The system comes with the standard setting that once you have set the alarm by using the away mode you’ll have 30 seconds to leave the house before it is activated.

If any of the sensors give you 30 seconds to enter your pin code to turn it off as standard. If not entered in time the alarm will sound and the monitoring service is notified. Before contacting the emergency services they will attempt to contact you or an emergency number you have provided.

Protection Against A Criminal Defeating Alarm System

There are two features of the system that will help to prevent the system being defeated by a criminal.

The first is that it contacts the monitoring services by using the cellular network. This means that the criminal cutting the phone line does not stop the alert getting out.

The second is that the keypad by the door does not control the system. In many systems the intruder only needs to bash the keypad to stop the system working during the time delay between the sensor being tripped and the alarm being sent out. With the Simplisafe system it is the base station that sends the alert so destroying the keypad does not stop the alert getting it out.

Wireless or Wired

One of the attractions of this system is that it is wireless, including the contact with the monitoring service which uses the cellular network. The wireless frequency for the system communication is between 300 and 400 mhz. The range of the sensors is typically 400 – 500 feet but thick walls may reduce the range.

The base station alerts the monitoring service over the cellular networks of T-mobile or Verizon. However, it can be plugged into the internet or phone line as a backup if reception is poor or as a backup option. The base station will first try the cellular network and then will try the fixed lines.

Depending on your zip code your system will either ship with a T-mobile or Verizon SIM card. If you have trouble connecting to the chosen cellular network you can contact Simplisafe and they will work with you to find the best solution including sending out a SIM card from their other cellular network partner – e.g. if T-Mobile doesn’t work they’ll send out a Verizon one. They have a map on their site which shows which lets you know which network you will be with by default.

Many people seemed confused about whether or not they would have to pay for a new line on their own cell phone account or if they would have to use their own cell service provider for the cell phone line tied to their security system.  Neither of these is correct.  Instead, the base unit has a built in cell connection of its own.  The buyer doesn’t need to worry about what cell service they have on their own phones or pay for another line in order to use this system.

Zones

When setting up an alarm system you normally set up zones so you know which sensor has been triggered. Each of the sensors has a serial number and you can note which window, door or room you have put it in. With the interactive monitoring you can note this in your online account so that the SMS/Email alerts you receive will give you the name of the sensor triggered.

For other monitoring options pen and paper will come in handy, particularly when your system has more than a handful of sensor. You can see the last 5 five sensors that were tripped by going to the Easy Setup Wizard software under Recent Alarms. Your keypad also lets you know the serial number of the sensor that has been broken and a spreadsheet or written table will be needed to identify where the sensor is located.

However, when the alarm is sounded, it will not give you a verbal indication about which entry point has been broken.  It doesn’t say “Front Door”, for example.

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System Features

The 8 piece wireless home security system includes the following:simplisafe2 box

4 Entry Sensors – They are in 2 parts – magnet and sensor – to detect when a window or door is opened. When alarm not set the base station will chime to let you know that they have been opened.

1 Motion Sensor – detects motion within 30 feet within a 90 degree angle of the sensor

1 Base Station – This is the control center of the system. It sends the signal to alarm monitoring services using the cellular network.

1 Keychain remote – You can use this arm and disarm your alarm remotely. It also has a panic button. Plus it doubles up as a flash drive with software to customize your system’s settings from any computer.

1 Keypad – can arm and disarm system with pin number. Also includes a push panic button and menu functionality to change some alarm settings.

Dimensions

The dimensions for the various components for the 8 piece wireless system are:

Entry Sensor: 3 inches by 1 ¼ inches

Motion Sensor: 3 inches by 2 ¼ inches

Keypad: 6 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches

Base Station: 11 inches tall

Keychain Remote: 3 inches by 4/5 inch

Accessories

You can add to the system to have a total of 41 sensors. In addition to more motion and entry sensors you can purchase the following alarms and sensors separately as required:

Auxiliary Alarm – This is a 105 decibel alarm that can be used inside or outside the house.
Smoke Detector – When it detects smoke it will sound its internal alarm as well as the security system alarm.

Carbon Monoxide Detector – This sensor detects dangerous levels of this deadly gas and warns you with an alarm and coupled with monitoring plans you will get a call to alert you, SMS and emails and emergency services sent to your home to make sure you and your family are okay.

Water sensor – this will sound an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It is great for detecting leaking pipes and roofs when put in the attic or near plumbing to prevent extensive water damage.

Freeze Sensor – This sounds an alarm when the house temperature gets below 41 degrees. You can get alerts by SMS and email when you select the monitoring plans. You can also see hourly temperature readings online. This is great for a vacation home or if you have temperature sensitive objects

Panic Button – When you push this button it instantly triggers the alarm and contacts the monitoring services (if activated).

KeyPad – you can add additional keypads to your system.  If you have multiple points of entry – such as a garage door, front door, and a back door this would allow you to access the keypad immediately no matter which door you come through.

Glass Break sensor – detects the sound of glass being smashed up to 30 feet. it can be used for rooms with lots of windows or for large windows or sliding doors. It works well in conjunction with a motion sensor.

According to the SimpliSafe website each package comes with one yard sign and two window decals, too

Pros

System is fully portable

Installation is easy and comes pre-programmed with full instructions and extra help online if needed.

You can add to it as you please and when your budget allows

No fixed long term contracts, the monitoring is month to month and can be cancelled at anytime

You can access the system remotely through your phone

3 year manufacturer’s warranty on defective parts

100% wireless – no wires to run through your walls

Does not require a dedicated telephone line

60 day money-back 100% guarantee

Cheap monthly monitoring fee

No separate cell phone line required on your own plan

Internet connection not needed to install nor monitor the system

Great customer support

Tape or screw mounting options for each device

Certificate for use with insurance companies with the monitoring service may result in home-owners insurance discount

Duress PIN

Up to 5 separate PINs for family and friends

Good response times through the monitoring service

Home and away settings

Flexible in setting it up as you want it. This includes changing the sensors to alert only when tripped or change the setting as to how long before the alarm is sounded.

Cons

You need to have interactive monitoring service to use the remote features and receive text and email alerts
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The alarm on the base station is only as loud as a food processor

Does not have cameras nor the ability to add third party cameras

You can’t run it with other wireless or home protection systems to control cameras, lights or door locks.

Not Z-wave compatible or other wireless home network protocol so it is unable to connect with other home automation devices

No scheduling such as “arm at 8pm” or “disarm at 8am”

No light on the keypad so hard to see in the dark

Keypad does not tell you which sensor is receiving a warning (is this accurate?)

No verbal alerts regarding sensors such as “front door”

No chime-only option for doors and windows but can set to receive SMS or Email only and not trigger an alarm

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System Consumer Ratings And Reviews

There are over 700 consumer reviews for Simplisafe 2 Wireless Home Security System with the majority of them being very positive about the experience.

I spent a fair bit of time going through the reviews to understand what people liked and what they didn’t.  Most really liked the fact that installation was easy and the monthly cost of monitoring is reasonable.

Those that had an issue with the system most often it was about the customer service being rude or not being available. A number did not like the fact that the customer service is only available for certain hours. This appears to be only a minority of customers with the majority happy with the product and the customer service.

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System Price

If you’ve been looking at other monitored home security systems you’ll know have noticed this is lower priced system and you actually own the equipment. Also, there are no long contracts to sign.

The price on Amazon is comparable to the price on the company’s site and you get the added comfort and assurance of Amazon’s customer service and delivery system.

The 8 piece package includes 4 entry sensors and 1 motion sensors. This gives you cover for 2 doors and 2 windows. Simplisafe recommend you have one sensor on each door and window. For an average home this could mean a cost of $1,000 once you have all entry points covered.

This product was eligible for faster shipping for Prime members at Amazon so you might check and see if that’s still the case here: Click Here to Check Today’s Low Price on the Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System

Summary Of Review

I think this is a very good home security system and has a number of things to recommend it. It is easy to install and you can set it up how you want it. The system is well made at an affordable price and you have the ability to expand it as you want up to 41 sensors to get full coverage of your house for break-ins, smoke, C0, low temperature and water.

This 8 piece package is ideal for those with single floor apartments or small offices. It also makes a good starting point for those on a budget to secure their home, they  can then add additional sensors and devices as their budget allows.

Having said that there are a few things I’d like to see included in this system to make it really stand out. They are security cameras for more protection and a way for the system to notify you when there is a security event without having the monitoring service to bring this in the budget of those who don’t want a monthly charge.

This is probably not the best option if you are interested in home automation due to it not being compatible with Z-wave or other home automation protocols. Similarly, if you want a security system with integrated cameras then you are going to be better looking at other options.

If you are looking at full coverage of an average sized home you will be best looking at the packages that Simplisafe have on their site, as they offer a discount for these packages.

The monitoring options do give you a comprehensive security system and are value for money. You do have the ability to cancel at any time without penalty. Overall the system offers a good level of security at an affordable price with its good cellular coverage and battery backup it should be there when you really need it.

Filed under: Reviews

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