How to Install a SimpliSafe Home Security System

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SimpliSafe recently sent us the latest and greatest version of its DIY home security system (including new bells and whistles like Live Guard and the Smart Alarm Indoor Camera) so we decided to set it up all over again. We've refreshed this guide as needed and enhanced the expert insights we discovered during the process.

Is SimpliSafe easy to install? It is when you have a little help. Let our start-to-finish SimpliSafe installation guide be your right-hand pal as you get ready to protect your home. We walk you through every step of the process to help make your SimpliSafe installation as easy and successful as possible.



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Video: How to install a SimpliSafe home security system

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Get a pro installation

While we love SimpliSafe as a DIY security system, if installing gadgets isn't for you, no problem. They also have a professional installation option starting at $124.99.


Before you get started

Believe me, these pregame tips will make your SimpliSafe installation painless. Fortunately for you, we already made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

SimpliSafe security system in boxes.

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

1. Review the SimpliSafe setup guide

I know it doesn’t sound like fun, but it’s the smart thing to do. And we know you’re smart because you’re taking steps to keep your home and loved ones safe. Seriously, though, SimpliSafe Home Security did a great job on this guide and it will help you along the way.

2. Think about where you want to put stuff

The installation moves along at a pretty brisk clip, so I recommend deciding in advance where you want your security system components to live.

  • Base station: You want a central location and a dedicated power outlet (not one connected to a light switch that could be accidentally turned off). And you don’t want to place it on the floor. I have a fairly small, one-level home, so I put it on a desk in my entry hallway where I could hear it in the living room, kitchen, or bedrooms.
  • Keypad: We recommend putting the keypad wherever it will be most convenient; near the door that you use the most is a good place to start. And you need to think about the distance between the base station and the keypad. SimpliSafe recommends keeping them 10 to 100 feet apart.
  • Entry sensors: These are the sensors that guard your doors and windows. They let you know when something opens or closes. During setup, you need to name each of them, so it will help move things along if you already know that you want one on the front door, one on the back door, and one on the kids’ bedroom window. 
Notepad
Motion detector placement practice

You can practice placing sensors. You need to line up the magnets, so if you check it out in advance (and even mark the placement for later reference), you’ll be all set when it’s time to activate them and stick them up for real.

Some doors—especially in older homes—can be tricky when it comes to aligning the magnets. Thankfully, our YouTube expert, Katie, has a hack for you if you run into this problem like she did when installing a different security system.

3. Set the scene

I tend to get flustered when I set up new technology or build a new Ikea table, so I always make a plan to diffuse myself. Put on some happy music, grab a relaxing beverage, and take some deep breaths. Now, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get down to the nitty-gritty.

1. Set up the base station

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

  • Take out the base station box and unpack it. You should have the base unit and a power cord adapter. 
  • Attach the power cord to the base station. It plugs in from the bottom of the device, not from the side, so that might be different than what you’re expecting—it was for me. 
  • Take the base unit to your predetermined location (or, if you skipped the pregame, figure out where you want to put it and go there). 
  • Open the SimpliSafe app and find "Set Up New System" in the side menu. Honestly, the app is your best friend throughout this process, so you'll do fine if you follow the prompts.
  • Name your property when prompted in the app. I chose "Rebecca 's pad" and Katie went with "Katie's house" but feel free to be more creative.
  • Pull out the battery tab. 
  • Plug in the base station. Again, make sure it’s a dedicated outlet that isn’t connected to a switch. You don’t want to accidentally turn off the power to the one gadget that’s keeping your home safe. 
  • Scan the QR code or enter the serial number at the bottom of the base station to connect the base to the SimpliSafe app.
  • Connect to your home Wi-Fi network. Note: SimpliSafe works only with 2.4 GHz networks.
  • Create a master PIN for arming and disarming the system.
  • Choose a code word for verification with monitoring professionals. Very important when you need to cancel a false alarm.
  • Allow for any necessary firmware updates.
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Here's how to know the base station is working

You’ll know the base station is connected and working when the light glows blue.

2. Set up monitoring

Once the base station is set up, the app will move on to professional monitoring. While we recommend professional monitoring as the best way to secure your home and loved ones, we know it's not for everyone. If you plan to monitor your SimpliSafe alarm system on your own, it can be tricky to skip this step.

The bottom line: We couldn't find a way to opt out of this prompt—and it had to be completed before we could add sensors.

The good news: SimpliSafe gives you 30 days to try professional monitoring for free. So, go ahead and complete this step and then set a calendar reminder to go in and cancel it before those 30 days are up.

SimpliSafe app prompt to add monitoring

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

  • Choose your monitoring plan (remember—you can try it free for 30 days). We went with the Fast ProtectTM plan that costs around $30 a month and includes video verification and the new Live Guard feature. There are other options that start around $10 per month.
  • Add the required personal information.
  • Look out for a confirmation text that lets you know everything is up and running.
  • Save the monitoring center numbers to make sure they don't get blocked during an emergency.

3. Install your sensors and devices

Your SimpliSafe kit may include various devices like contact sensors, motion sensors, a keypad, a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and an indoor camera. Each device gets installed on its own, but they all follow a similar process. Here's what you'll do for each device.

  • Remove the battery tab and press the setup button.
  • Follow the app's instructions to place the device in its intended location.
  • Name each device to easily identify its location.

"Wash, Rinse, Repeat"

These basic steps apply to all of the sensors and devices that you need to install—whether it’s a glassbreak sensor or SimpliSafe Smart Lock. The app will continue to guide you through the installation of each sensor and device. To be helpful, we walk through installation for the most common devices below.

Images: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

Install SimpliSafe entry sensors

  • Start with one of your entry sensors. All of the devices are labeled in individual boxes. Entry sensors are for doors and windows (or anything else that opens and closes, like the medicine cabinet). 
  • Go to the door or window where you want to install the sensor and take it out of the box. I often get into battles with little boxes, so I like to get everything opened up before I dig into the installation.
  • Clean the surface before installation and ensure the pieces are within two inches of each other.
  • Select "Entry" in the Devices menu in the app.
  • Remove the battery tab, press the setup button, and wait for the app's prompt.
  • Attach the sensor using the included adhesive backing or screws.
  • Name the sensor based on where you installed it (front door, bedroom window etc.).
  • Finish all the installation prompts in the app and wait for confirmation that the sensor is installed and ready for action.

Learn more about how to install entry sensors.

Install SimpliSafe motion sensor

  • Unbox the motion sensor. The motion sensor keeps tab on movement in a designated area of your home. It also helps reduce false alarms, especially for homes with pets.
  • Select a location for your motion sensor. It's best to place the motion sensor in a high corner to capture movement over a wide area. We recommend using a motion sensor to cover a high-traffic areas of your home that may not have a door or window.
  • Select "Motion" in the Devices menu in the app.
  • Remove the battery tab, press the setup button, and wait for the app's prompt.
  • Attach the sensor using the included adhesive backing or screws.
  • Name the sensor based on where you installed it (hallway, kitchen, etc.).
  • Finish all the installation prompts in the app and wait for confirmation that the sensor is installed and ready for action.
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SimpliSafe's Gen 2 Motion Sensor

SimpliSafe's latest motion sensor can detect motion within 35 feet and has a 90-degree field of view. You can also put the Motion Sensor Gen 2 into Pet Mode, which helps it distinguish people from pets.

Install the keypad

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

Katie McEntire installing SimpliSafe keypad

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

The keypad allows you to arm and disarm your system. Install it by:

  • Place the keypad in the spot you’ve designated. SimpliSafe recommends keeping at least 10 feet between the keypad and the base station, but I set up mine about three feet away and there were no problems.
  • Remove the battery tab,  press the setup button, and wait for the app's prompt.
  • Attach the keypad to the wall. There are already four adhesive strips attached to the back of the keypad bracket. Peel off the adhesive strips on the back of the keypad and stick it to the wall. We recommend doing a dress rehearsal with a level and a pencil to make sure you get it on straight. You don’t want to be annoyed by the skewed angle of the keypad every time you see it.  
  • Finish all the installation prompts in the app and wait for confirmation that the sensor is installed and ready for action.
Notepad
Give the keypad a trial run

To find the perfect spot in your home for the keypad, try placing it on a shelf or table for a few days to see if the general location works before installing it on the wall.

Install the SimpliSafe Smart Alarm indoor camera

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

The Smart Alarm indoor camera offers advanced features and can be placed on a surface or mounted on the wall.

  • Ensure the camera is charged. It can work wired or on battery, but it needs to have some juice to complete the setup.
  • Press and release the setup button on the top of the camera.
  • Watch for a flashing light. That lets you know it's good to go.
  • Press the setup button again when prompted in the app.
  • Listen for "Camera added."
  • Test the camera's live streaming.
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Watch for our full Smart Alarm camera review

We're currently putting this camera through its paces and will have a full review for you soon. 

Install the SimpliSafe smoke and CO detector

This is the only SimpliSafe gadget that requires you to get out the drill—but don't worry, installation is still pretty easy. 

  • Pull out the battery tab and press the button on the front of the device
  • Twist off the mounting bracket on the back of the detector. This is the part you'll affix to the wall or ceiling to mount the alarm.
  • Mark the wall through the slats for the screws. 
  • Drill holes for the screws and fix the bracket in place.
  • Twist the smoke detector onto the bracket.
  • Finish any other installation prompts in the app and wait for confirmation that the detector is installed and ready for action.

4. Finish pairing and test your system

After you’ve installed all of your sensors and devices, select "Done Installing" in the app. At this point, the system will enter practice mode and you can test its functionality.

At this point, you’ve got a SimpliSafe security system that’s set up and ready to sound the alarm if someone opens a guarded door or breaks a protected window. This level of protection will alert you to danger and possibly scare off an intruder, but it won’t give you alerts, remote control, or a direct link to help without a subscription. But you've got 30 days to try out SimpliSafe's professional monitoring for free, so don't be shy about testing it to see if you think the extra reassurance is worth the extra money each month

Bonus tips: Make the most of your SimpliSafe system

Connect to Wi-Fi for faster system updates

The SimpliSafe system uses cellular data for updates, but your home's Wi-Fi offers a faster and more secure connection. Here's how to connect SimpliSafe to Wi-Fi:

  • On the keypad, press Menu.
  • Enter your PIN.
  • Select Settings.
  • Select Wi-Fi. 
  • Select your network name from the list. Make sure you choose the 2.4 GHz option, since SimpliSafe does not work with 5G.
  • Enter your Wi-Fi password using the keypad buttons. It works like an old telephone, so you'll need to press "2" three times for the letter C, etc.

Motion sensor installation tips

Images: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

  • Install the motion sensor with the test button facing up toward the ceiling.
  • You don’t have to stick the motion sensor to a wall. It will work on a shelf, but it detects motion within 30 feet and looks both side to side and up and down, so a relatively high corner spot is usually best.
  • If you’ve got a pet, you can tweak the motion settings to avoid an onslaught of false alarms and alerts. Dogs over 30 pounds can go undetected by turning the motion sensor upside down (pointing the test button down toward the floor) and placing it about four feet from the floor. If you’re a cat person, make sure the cat can’t get to the sensor—put it at least six feet off the ground and don’t place it on a shelf they can climb on.
  • To avoid motion alerts when you’re home, make sure your system is in HOME mode.

Learn more about how to effectively place motion sensors in your home.

Glassbreak sensor installation tips

  • Don’t place the sensor directly on the glass. 
  • Put the sensor on a wall or shelf that’s less than 20 feet away from the window you want to guard.
  • If you have curtains, keep the sensor within five to 10 feet of the window. Curtains can muffle the sound of breaking glass.
  • Avoid the kitchen. The regular clinking of glasses can trigger a false alarm.

Environmental sensor installation tips

  • Place the temperature sensor near pipes that could freeze. It automatically sounds the alarm when it reaches 41°F.
  • Place the water sensor on the floor near a hot water heater drip pan, washing machine, dishwasher, or bathtub. It doesn't need adhesive.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and living rooms. 
  • Keep CO detectors away from the fireplace, furnace, stove, or garage to reduce nuisance alarms.
  • Install smoke detectors in every bedroom and in central spaces on every floor of your home. 

Learn more about correct smoke detector installation and maintenance.

SimpliSafe camera installation tips

Now that you’ve survived the installation of your SimpliSafe system, you’re on your way to becoming a DIY smart home security pro. Here are some more resources to keep on hand if you get the bug to expand your current home security or smart home setup.

Installing SimpliSafe FAQ

Yes, SimpliSafe is easy to install. The keypad walks you through the entire process, the user manual is easy to understand, and SimpliSafe's customer service reps can help with troubleshooting.

Most SimpliSafe equipment adheres with sticky tape or sits on a flat surface. The only exceptions are the CO and smoke detectors, which mount to the wall or ceiling with screws.

You can deactivate any SimpliSafe device through the keypad. This is especially useful if you lose your key fob, since anyone can use it to disarm the system. If you recover your key fob, it's easy to reactivate it.

  • On the keypad, select Menu and enter your PIN.
  • Select Devices.
  • Select the device you want to remove.
  • Scroll through the options and select Remove.

No, you don't have to take the DIY route with SimpliSafe. Professional installation starts at $99, but beware the fine print: "additional fees may apply." 

Learn more about SimpliSafe costs

Other DIY security systems—like Cove and Frontpoint—come with pre-paired and pre-named sensors. This shaves a few minutes off their installation time compared to SimpliSafe. 

You'll use touchscreen control panel to complete the Cove installation process, which is similar to how the SimpliSafe keypad walks you through each step. When installing Frontpoint, you access instructions on the app.

The third difference involves your back-up plan in case installation goes awry. Like SimpliSafe, Cove has an optional professional installation option. Frontpoint leaves it all up to you.

Otherwise, all DIY equipment installs with adhesive. Learn more about SimpliSafe vs. Frontpoint and SimpliSafe vs. Cove.

You only need an alarm permit for SimpliSafe if your local ordinances require one.

It's up to you to request, complete, and file the proper paperwork. If the form asks for SimpliSafe's address or other specific information, email permits@SimpliSafe.com for help. 

Read answers to more SimpliSafe FAQs.


Compare SimpliSafe to other home security brands

Brand
Installation
Monthly cost Icon Tooltip  Dark
Best for
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Smart home compatibility Icon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
ProfessionalBest professional home security$599.00No *Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
ProfessionalMost trusted security brand$0.00YesAmazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
DIY or ProBest customer ratingQuote required
Online quiz
No *Amazon, Google
Ring
DIYBest budget-friendly pick$199.99NoAmazon, Google, Z-Wave
DIY or ProBest DIY home security$245.00NoAmazon,
Google

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.
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Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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