A recent review of the SimpliSafe home security system by industry expert Jeff Zwirn revealed a long list of flaws – and a few outright failures. SimpliSafe packages retail for a cost of $230 to $540 depending on the equipment selected, and the system consists of a base station, a keypad, motion sensors, door contacts, glass-break sensors, CO detectors, smoke detectors, water sensors, freeze sensors, a wireless siren, and a wireless panic button and/or keychain remote.
On paper, the system sounds impressive. There are no installation or maintenance fees, and no service contracts. Monitoring is provided on a month-to-month basis for a fee of $14.99. The system is shipped directly to your home, for you to set up and configure as you please. SimpliSafe claims to be an advanced home security system, using wireless technology and a “unique” design. But the issues with this system become apparent the moment it comes out of the box.
The SimpliSafe base, while aesthetically pleasing, is completely impractical. It’s meant to sit out in the open, making it easy for an intruder to spot and disable. It’s also fitted with a bright blue light, drawing attention to itself. The light turns off when an alarm is triggered, but since the siren is also in the base, unless the intruder is deaf that’s not going to help it hide any better. It’s battery backup only lasts 8 hours instead of the industry standard 24 hours.
Of all of its numerous components, only the fire and CO detectors are NRTL listed – meaning they’ve been certified safe by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. The remaining components are all tested in-house by SimpliSafe, which is in no way acceptable. Any device that provides a life-safety function needs to be tested by an independent third-party to ensure that it’s up to standard.
Most of the components are not well-built, either. There are no tamper switches on any of the wireless transmitters. This includes the glass-break sensors, motion detectors, and even the wireless keypad. An intruder would just need to pop the cover off to access the internal battery. In short, the system would fail instantly.
It somehow gets worse from there. The siren built into the main base is only about 2 inches in diameter, and muffled by the protective housing. If the CO detector in the basement were to go off and trigger the base alarm on the main floor, it’s unlikely anyone asleep on the upper floor would hear it. Even if an occupant were to hear the siren, they would have to either check the keypad display, or wait for a text message alert from the monitoring center to find out what the alarm is for – the siren only makes one sound for the 4 different possible alerts; intruder, panic alarm, fire, and CO.
This covers about half of the serious issues Zwirn found with SimpliSafe, but provides ample evidence to show why choosing a professional home security system from a professional alarm company is so important. You need to know that each component of your system will work consistently, can’t be tampered with or disabled, is being monitored by competent and trained professionals, and won’t leave you unaware of or confused by an emergency situation.
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