iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe are two of the best smart home security systems on the market according to many users. However, good security comes at a price, and we want to help you choose a system that doesn’t leave you hundreds of dollars out of pocket.
So, let’s check out the pros and cons of these systems, and we’ll explain why one system comes out ahead.
- What’s The Difference Between iSmartAlarm & SimpliSafe?
- What Do They Have In Common?
- iSmartAlarm vs SimpliSafe Home Automation
- Data Security
- Comparing the Look & Feel
- Customer Service
- Pricing & Fees
- iSmartAlarm vs SimpliSafe: Which Is Better?
What’s The Difference Between iSmartAlarm & SimpliSafe?
The key difference between iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe is the price. When we compared the deluxe packages from both companies, we found that iSmartAlarm was cheaper. It’s also a self-monitored security system, so there are no monthly fees.
SimpliSafe is different from the iSmartAlarm system in that it’s the only one that offers professional monitoring. It also has a wider product range, which allows you to connect a water sensor, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and even a panic button to the system. It also has multiple backup options in case of a power outage.
- One of the cheapest options
- Self-monitoring only
- Free mobile app access
- Premium product
- Wider product range
- Requires a monitoring plan
What Do They Have In Common?
iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe have in common that they are both DIY home security systems. Both offer wireless home security devices that are easy to install in your home and allow you to track security threats remotely. You can also use both systems with Alexa and Google Home, but with iSmartAlarm, you’ll need to enable it to use the Google Assistant through IFTTT.
Features In Common:
- Alarms trigger connected siren devices
- Can purchase extra devices separately
- Wide variety of starter packages
- DIY Installation
iSmartAlarm vs SimpliSafe Home Automation
Both systems are only able to use the most popular smart home platforms, and neither can use the Z-Wave home automation system. The iSmartAlarm system can connect to IFTTT-supported devices, which include Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
But, to get this system to connect to Google Home, we had to do it manually through IFTTT, which meant we had to set and memorize specific phrases.
SimpliSafe is already set up to integrate with Alexa and Google Home, but from our other SimpliSafe reviews we found that you can’t connect further devices with IFTTT. The only other third-party device you can use is the Nest Thermostat. We felt that this would be useful in combination with this company’s temperature sensor.
Both of the base stations from iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe are smaller than what they looked on the website, which we were happy with. We liked the different designs of both of these products, as they both look modern and fit in with our other smart home devices.
We preferred the base station from SimpliSafe because we found it was easier to disguise it amongst other items. One of our testing team remarked that it looked more like a fragrance diffuser or humidifier than a base station, and another of our team’s friends mistook it for one, which we agreed is a good sign it would get bypassed by a burglar.
The problem is an opportunist is always looking for the least difficult option, where you don’t have any security. If he sees this [smart doorbell] he’s going to think – “hold on, these people think about security”,
- Michael Fraser, ex-burglar and security expert
iSmartAlarm offers two cameras; the Spot and the iCamera KEEP Pro. The Spot has a 720p resolution, 4x zoom, night vision, and a 130-degree wide view lens.
The iCamera KEEP Pro improves on this model with 1080p resolution, motion tracking, and a mechanical pan and tilt for a 350-degree view. Both models have audio detection for smoke and CO alarms, two-way audio, and free Cloud storage. They also both have a micro SD slot if you want to increase local storage up to 36GB.
While we initially thought the iCamera KEEP Pro was impressive, we found that it was troublesome to set up and maintain. Set-up was buggy, and even when we could get it to work, we found that the video dropped out completely after a few minutes.
- Spot with 720 resolution
- iCamera KEEP Pro
The SimpliSafe SimpliCam indoor camera has 1080p resolution, an optional addon to make it weatherproof, if you have access to the app, will stream HD footage 24-7 to your phone. Its field of vision isn’t as wide as the iSmartAlarm cameras, but we found the motion sensors were a lot more reliable.
Of the two indoor cameras, we prefer the SimpliCam, because it’ll automatically start recording when something or someone triggers the door/window sensors, security camera, motion sensors, or panic button.
SimpliSafe is currently the only security system of the two that offers a doorbell camera. Their Video Doorbell Pro has a 1080p security camera and two sensors - one heat, one motion - to reduce false positives.
It also starts recording when it detects motion, even if nobody rings the doorbell, and triggers the other cameras on the system to do the same.
We felt that this would be a great way to catch a burglar at the front of our home before they even triggered any of the contact sensors.
During our research, we found that customers have been requesting that iSmartAlarm make a doorbell camera for years .
For now, you can connect your iSmartAlarm system to Ring through IFTTT. While this does provide a solution, we didn’t like that we had to go to another home security system to solve it.
Both iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe’s motion sensors have a 30ft range and a 90-degree field of vision, making them similar in monitoring capacity.
However, iSmartAlarm’s motion detector is larger in comparison, and this made it tricky to fit in the corner of the room where it could cover more space. We found that each room we used these devices in needed an additional motion sensor to ensure we had covered all entrances and exits.
Smart Phone Access/Mobile App
With iSmartAlarm, you get free access to their app, but you’ll have to sign up to SimpliSafe’s Interactive Plan to control your security system from your smartphone.
iSmartAlarm’s app was too buggy to be reliable. While we found that it worked most of the time, we didn’t feel secure knowing that there would be times when we couldn’t log on to operate our alarm system. We felt that it was more reliable to arm and disarm the system with the key fob than the app, as sometimes our system wouldn’t respond to commands from the app.
Your home can be a gold mine to hackers, who are seeking to capture your banking password, your online accounts, and your personally identifiable information, and entering and establishing a beach-head through an IoT device can be the low-hanging fruit.
- Professor Ralph Russo, Director of Information Technology Programs at Tulane University
While we did have to pay a monthly fee to use SimpliSafe’s app, we liked that it went beyond a lot of free home security apps. We could view the system’s activity log, check our home’s air quality, and even get notified when our family members arrived home.
And, if you want to receive a notification when someone or something activates your door/window sensors, you can set up silent alarms through the app.
Of course, we can’t talk about home security without considering how secure the data collected by these devices is. When we were researching these products, we found that SimpliSafe offered the best data privacy. Your data is protected by end-to-end encryption, both externally and between the devices in your home.
They also claim to use 256bit bank-level encryption. Their SimpliCam indoor cameras also come with a built-in privacy shutter. All videos captured are encrypted and stored for 30 days before they’re deleted. You can also use Face ID, fingerprint identification, or two-step verification with your login and app.
They also designed the third-gen devices to safeguard against a hack that affected second-gen devices . It’s also worth being aware that there may be a vulnerability in the third-gen devices, but sources dispute the validity of this . In comparison, we struggled to find any information about iSmartAlarm’s data security.
During our research, we found that two years ago, an IoT smart home security expert discovered five vulnerabilities in the iSmartAlarm system that could allow a burglar to take over an alarm system or bypass authentication . According to the user forums for this product, users have found vulnerabilities in the software as recently as three months ago.
|Installation||Self-Install (DIY)||Self-Install (DIY)|
|Sensors||Entry, Motion||Entry, Motion, Glassbreak, Carbon Monoxide, Water, Temperature, Smoke|
|Ability to Relocate System||Yes||Yes|
One of the biggest differences between iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe is that iSmartAlarm has no option for professional monitoring. We review SimpliSafe and its professional monitoring service regularly, and we still think it’s one of the best monitoring services around.
Whether you choose the Standard or Interactive plan, you get access to the same monitoring center. The difference between the two plans is that with the Interactive plan, the monitoring center will call the emergency services for you. As you can expect, the Interactive plan comes with a higher monthly fee.
Whether you feel safer with self-monitoring or a professionally monitored system will be down to you. Our team couldn’t agree on which option they preferred, and we could see the merits of different options depending on what we were protecting.
Packages & Options
Both companies have a variety of packages available to get you started with everything that you need. We also liked that it was easy with both companies to add on extra devices to our purchase if a package didn’t come with everything we wanted.
We felt that it was easier to compare which product package we needed on the iSmartAlarm website, as there was a handy table that showed us which products, and how many, were included in each kit.
However, with SimpliSafe, you can choose to buy professional installation if you’re not confident doing it yourself, and you have the option to build a custom package if none of them suit your home.
We agreed that both systems were easy to physically install in our homes. iSmartAlarm’s devices - and most of those from SimpliSafe - either have an adhesive backing or only need powering through a mains plug socket.
Both of these are great options for if you’re renting because, except for SimpliSafe’s Video Doorbell Pro, you don’t need to screw anything into your walls or adapt any internal wiring.
In our other reviews on SimpliSafe, we often talk about how easy it is for us to connect the devices together and to Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
SimpliSafe’s devices use a cellular network to connect together, so we didn’t have to worry about WiFi connectivity when installing our devices.
We also liked that if we weren’t confident in installing and connecting our system ourselves, we had the option to choose professional installation at checkout, and we weren’t charged for this until we scheduled a technician.
While it was easy to connect iSmartHome’s devices together, the reliance on WiFi meant that for some of us in older homes, we had to purchase separate WiFi boosters to get the system to work. Once we got the app working it was easy to connect the system to our Amazon Alexa, but we had to fiddle with the IFTTT software to get it to work with Google Home.
Comparing the Look & Feel
We liked the look and feel of the devices from both of these companies. All of the devices we tested were modern and didn’t look out of place in our home, and they didn’t feel imposing.
Even though the two base units have different silhouettes, we didn’t struggle to blend them into our other belongings. We liked that the SimpliSafe base station felt heavier, as this gave us more confidence that we couldn’t accidentally damage it by knocking it off a table or shelf.
However, we didn’t like how the brand name was on most of our iSmartAlarm products. We felt that this stopped the entry sensors from blending in against window frames.
Plus, we didn’t feel comfortable broadcasting the name of our security system in a way that potential burglars would see it. If a burglar had familiarity with modern security systems, it’d give away that the house wasn’t monitored.
Communication & Information
On both websites, we thought it was easy to find the information we needed to make a purchase. However, we thought that SimpliSafe made information about their devices and services significantly clearer.
During our research, we found that SimpliSafe’s customer service was also more responsive to all forms of communication, and we were never waiting long on the phone to talk to a representative.
We tried phoning iSmartAlarm’s customer service multiple times across one day, and never received a response - only when we emailed them did they get back to us within a few days.
Forum users have noted that they don’t tend to respond to emails over the weekend.
With this in mind, we felt less confident that if we had an issue with an iSmartAlarm product, that it would get solved quickly and with minimal frustration.
SimpliSafe’s home security system devices are covered by a three-year warranty. iSmartAlarm’s devices are only covered for a year after purchase
SimpliSafe offers a 60-day money-back guarantee on all their products with free return shipping and exchanges. iSmartAlarm has a 30-day refund policy and doesn’t cover the price of shipping.
Neither of these companies locks you into any contracts. We found it was easy to cancel our monthly fee with SimpliSafe if we wanted to stop our monitoring service.
Related Comparison: SimpliSafe vs Scout Alarm
Pricing & Fees
iSmartAlarm’s pricing is easy to understand as they don’t charge you per month to use their service. So, all you need to pay for is the hardware. The devices from iSmartAlarm are cheaper than those from SimpliSafe, but to us, the price difference was notable in how the products felt and performed in the home.
By comparison, SimpliSafe is more expensive, as you have very limited options if you want to self-monitor. Their hardware is more expensive, but also comes with a lot more features. All of their devices come fitted with cellular backup and battery backup in case of a power outage, so you’re not always reliant on an internet connection.
SimpliSafe offers two professional monitoring service plans, the second of which allows for push notifications if any of your security cameras detect a threat, your window sensors are opened, or your alarm system is triggered. We all agreed that for home security, having a monitored plan gave us greater peace of mind.
However, we also agreed that iSmartAlarm’s self-monitoring alarm systems would be a good budget choice if you work at home, have a smaller area you want to protect, or simply can’t afford the ongoing monthly fee.
iSmartAlarm vs SimpliSafe: Which Is Better?
Based on our research the better security system between SimpliSafe vs iSmartAlarm is SimpliSafe. Our SimpliSafe review found that while this product is more expensive, many users feel that it’s good value for money when compared to other smart home security products.
We liked that we could connect carbon monoxide detectors into our system so we could keep our family safe in case of boiler failure. It’s also a better system for other smart home integrations, and being able to use voice control with Amazon Echo or the Google Assistant makes this our best pick for home security.