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SimpliSafe vs. Ring Alarm Home Security

They’re both DIY and contract-free, but can newcomer Ring Alarm’s lower monitoring fees and smart home compatibility outshine the equally affordable, tried-and-true SimpliSafe?
Written by | Updated October 13, 2020
Best for No-Contract Pick
SimpliSafe
  • À la carte systems
  • Video monitoring
  • Limited home automation
  • À la carte systems
  • Video monitoring
  • Limited home automation
Best Budget Pick
Ring Alarm
  • Low monthly fees
  • 24/7 customer service
  • New company
  • Low monthly fees
  • 24/7 customer service
  • New company

SimpliSafe vs. Ring: SimpliSafe takes the lead

SimpliSafe regularly makes the top of our “best of” lists for security systems, and it takes the lead here as well.

With wireless, battery-powered devices, it’s simple to install, easy to use, affordable, and convenient. SimpliSafe offers all the basics à la carte, so there’s no need to pay for devices you don’t need.

The SimpliSafe app lets you self-monitor your cameras for free, and it’s one of the few security companies that offers video alarm confirmation through its professional monitoring services.

Ring also has a lot going for it—like competitive pricing and a variety of devices that integrate smart home compatibility—but it’s still too fresh on the home security system scene for us to evaluate how well it’s working for users.

For that reason, SimpliSafe continues to be our trusty top pick.

Compare SimpliSafe vs. Ring

Company
Logo
Starting Monthly Monitoring Cost
Basic Equipment Package Cost
Outdoor Cameras
Build-Your-Own System Option
Learn More
Best No-Contract Pick Best Budget Pick
SimpliSafe Ring
$14.99 $10.00
$229.00 $199.99
No Yes
Yes No
Visit SimpliSafe View on Amazon

Amazon.com price as of 08/05/20 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer. Offers and availability subject to change.

How we decided: SimpliSafe vs. Ring

We’ve tested cameras and doorbells from both Ring and SimpliSafe, but in order to research each company’s security systems we had to dig deeper.

We got our hands on both systems and multiple team members tested them. On top of hands-on tests, we also spent about five hours combing through each company’s website, we read more than 100 customer reviews, and we watched about a dozen hands-on video reviews of each system to better understand their pros and cons.

Things we compared between SimpliSafe and Ring include:

  • Pricing, plans, and contracts
  • Equipment options
  • Professional monitoring options
  • Overall value
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Smart home compatibility

To find out more about how we rate and review home security systems, check out our full methodology.

Similarities: Ring vs. SimpliSafe

As big players in the DIY home security space, SimpliSafe and Ring have lots in common:

  • DIY installation
  • No contracts
  • Mobile app access
  • Affordable equipment
  • Low monitoring fees

Both DIY wireless systems are easy to install and uninstall, and neither require a monitoring contract. Both companies have self-monitoring options as well, so you can access your system, get motion detection notifications, and watch your cameras through a mobile app.

Pricing for both SimpliSafe and Ring is comparatively lower than professionally installed brands like ADT, and both systems offer similar basic equipment and features, including indoor cameras, crash and smash protection, and cellular backup.

SimpliSafe and Ring both offer smart home integration. And even though Ring is well known for its Ring Video Doorbell, SimpliSafe also now offers video doorbells as part of its product lineup.

Differences: SimpliSafe vs. Ring

A few distinct—and possibly dealbreaking—differences include the following:

  • Outdoor cameras
  • Monitoring costs
  • Video monitoring
  • Smart home integration
  • Equipment packages

Ring ends up being slightly cheaper than SimpliSafe, though not by much. But Ring doesn’t offer the à la carte options that SimpliSafe does, so you’ll have to choose from one of its standard packages.

SimpliSafe has been around longer, so it might be a better choice for those who want a company with a more established reputation.

SimpliSafe also offers a three-year warranty on its equipment compared to Ring’s one-year. But Ring’s 24/7 customer service is a step up from SimpliSafe’s 9 a.m-to midnight (EST) hours.

When it comes to monitoring, SimpliSafe offers visual alarm confirmation. That means monitoring agents can access your security camera or SimpliSafe video doorbell  footage when your alarm goes off, cutting down your odds of a false alarm.

Still, Ring might be a better choice if you want to add an outdoor camera or other smart home devices to your alarm system. Ring offers outdoor security cameras and home automation through Z-Wave and Zigbee functionality. SimpliSafe is a better fit for smaller spaces that don’t need home automation.

SimpliSafe at a Glance

SimpliSafe hub, keypad, alarm, camera, and smoke detector

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • À la carte packages
  • 3-year warranty
  • Affordable pricing
  • Video monitoring

Cons

  • No outdoor cameras
  • Limited home automation

Pricing, plans, and contracts

SimpliSafe is contract-free, and you’ll pay around $230 for a basic system that includes the base station, keypad, one entry (or contact) sensor, and one motion sensor.

You can add additional sensors and devices to any package to build your own SimpliSafe security system or ditch the packages all together and design your own system completely from scratch.

SimpliSafe doesn’t require you to sign up for a monthly monitoring service, but without it, your home security system will operate only as a loud alarm to scare off intruders. For $14.99 a month, you’ll get standard professional monitoring so your security system can call out in the event of an alarm.

If you want remote app access to your system to secure entry sensors, your monthly fees go up to $24.99 a month for the Interactive plan.

This plan also lets the monitoring center access any SimpliSafe cameras linked to your system for video confirmation of alarm events, and it gives you cloud storage for your cameras’ video footage.

Because there are no contracts, you can cancel monitoring at any time.

Contracts and extended warranties 

SimpliSafe offers a three-year limited warranty and a 60-day return policy. If you aren’t satisfied with your system for any reason, you can return it for a full refund (including return shipping costs) within 60 days of purchase.

Customer service

If you need help with your system, SimpliSafe has email support, online help forums, and a customer service line available 7 days a week between 9 a.m. and midnight EST.

SimpliSafe has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, with the main complaints we see about customer support concerning long wait times. But overall, customers have positive things to say about the company.

Here are some of SimpliSafe’s other customer service ratings:

  • Trustpilot rating: 4.1 stars, Great
  • SimpliSafe Home Security app on Apple App Store: 4.8 stars out of 5
  • SimpliSafe Home Security app on Google Play: 4.7 stars out of 5

*Ratings as of August 5, 2020

Smart home 

SimpliSafe’s current smart home options are limited, but they’ve been steadily growing over the past two years. It recently added a proprietary smart lock to complement its third-party compatibility.

The SimpliSafe system is currently compatible with Nest thermostats, August Smart Locks, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa.

Alarms and notifications 

When you subscribe to the Interactive plan, you get notifications when any of your security system sensors trip. If your system is armed when one of your sensors is triggered, SimpliSafe monitoring will contact you. If they can’t reach you, they’ll try one of your emergency contacts before dispatching first responders.

One unique feature of the SimpliSafe app is that you can get “secret alerts” to alert you through the app when specific sensors alarm without actually setting off an alarm at your home.

Equipment 

SimpliSafe offers a wide range of devices, including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, motion sensors, key fobs, a panic button, freeze sensors, window and door sensors, and a water sensor.

Most devices run on battery power (with the exception of the cameras) and use your home’s Wi-Fi network to communicate. The control panel/keypad is smaller and sleeker than Ring’s.

Who SimpliSafe is best for

If you think you might have significant life changes in your future, SimpliSafe is a great choice for a home security system. You can pack it up and take it with you, and its à la carte options provide for easy system expansion.

You can also increase your security by adding in professional monitoring, and increase control with remote access through the mobile app.

Learn more in our full SimpliSafe review.

Find answers to your questions in our SimpliSafe FAQs.

Ring Alarm at a glance

Ring Alarm

Pros

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Wide variety of devices
  • Affordable pricing
  • Home automation options

Cons

  • New on the market
  • No video monitoring
  • No à la carte option

Pricing, plans, and contracts 

Like SimpliSafe, Ring doesn’t require you to sign a contract. A basic Ring security system starts at around $200 for a base station, keypad, one contact/entry sensor, one motion sensor, and one range extender.

Ring doesn’t offer any fully à la carte systems, but you can purchase a Ring Alarm security kit and add on more individual devices.

Unlike SimpliSafe, Ring’s mobile app is free, so you can self-monitor your system. You can access your cameras’ live feed, use the two-way talk feature on the cameras and smart doorbell, and receive motion alerts without paying subscription fees.

If you want to save camera footage, you can pay $3 a month for the Basic Ring Protect Plan for one camera.

If you also want professional monitoring and unlimited video cloud storage, it’s just $10 a month for the Ring Protect Plus Plan.

All Ring Protect Plus subscribers also get 10% off all future equipment purchases and an extended warranty. Plus, paying for a full year of the Protect packages gets you two months free.

Contracts and extended warranties

There are no contracts with Ring. If you decide the system isn’t for you within the first 30 days, you can return it for a complete refund, but you’ll be charged $5 for shipping.

Ring offers a one-year warranty against defects for all equipment. For a one-time fee of $39.95 you can get Ring Assist Plus, which gives you an extended two-year warranty, a special VIP customer service phone number, and a lifetime protection plan to replace any equipment that gets stolen or damaged.

Customer service 

Ring’s customer service line is available 24/7, and so are its live online customer support agents.

The Better Business Bureau gives Ring a grade of A+, but while its doorbells are popular and get good reviews, the Ring Alarm system is new enough to the home security industry that there isn’t much customer feedback out there yet.

Here are some of Ring’s other customer service ratings:

  • Trustpilot rating: 1.6 stars, Bad
  • Ring Always Home app on Apple App Store: 4.3 stars out of 5
  • Ring Always Home app on Google Play: 4.0 stars out of 5

*Ratings as of August 5, 2020

Smart home 

Ring Alarm devices are equipped with Z-Wave and Zigbee, making them compatible with a variety of third-party devices:

  • Door locks by Schlage, Yale, and Kwikset
  • Lights, plugs, and switches by GE and Leviton
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by First Alert

Like SimpliSafe, Ring is also compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Alarms and notifications

The Ring app will send you a push notification for motion events, video doorbell rings, and opened contact sensors so you can self-monitor your system.

You can also sync your Ring with Alexa devices to control the system with your voice and get notifications.

With Ring, you can also access the Neighbors community in the same smartphone app as your home security system. In the Neighbors community, you can see what your neighbors have noticed or caught on camera and hear from police about what’s going on.

While anyone can use the Neighbors App (including SimpliSafe users), having it in the same spot as your security system cuts down the app clutter.

Note: We encourage anyone using a neighborhood-watch-style app to read all of the fine print before joining the community—especially in regard to privacy policies.

Equipment 

Ring’s devices are similar to SimpliSafe’s with the addition of outdoor HD cameras and smart lighting.

When we conducted our Ring Doorbell review, we found it to have slightly better night vision than the SimpliSafe doorbell cam.

The batteries on Ring devices—like its motion detector and door and window sensors—last longer than SimpliSafe’s because the devices use radio frequencies rather than your home’s Wi-Fi.

Learn more about our top picks for the best smart doorbells, including the Nest Hello doorbell and ADT doorbell.

Who Ring is best for

If you’re willing to take a bit of a gamble on a newer security system, Ring might pay off.

It’s a good setup if you’d rather self-monitor your home and avoid monitoring fees, and it’s also a nice option if you think you’d like to get smart security locks and lights working with your system’s sensors.

Read more in our Ring review.

Get answers to your questions in our Ring FAQ.

A Word About Wireless Security

Several Ring Alarm and camera users have reported breaches in their accounts that allowed a stranger to use the two-way communication to intimidate them. This is a risk every user takes when they use any internet-connected wireless system. The good news is you can minimize the risk with proper internet security. Here are a few easy tips for securing your system from online threats:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts
  • Opt for extra security measures like two-factor authentication
  • Add shared users instead of sharing login credentials
  • Change your home Wi-Fi password frequently
We still confidently recommend Ring and other similar wireless internet-connected systems. And while these threats are real, they can be avoided with a few extra precautions.

Winner: SimpliSafe

When it comes to SimpliSafe vs. Ring, it’s a close call, but SimpliSafe comes out on top for its established reputation. It’s affordable and easy to install and use, it has customer-friendly policies, and it’s continuing to expand its home automation.

We’ll be watching Ring to see if it holds its own.

View SimpliSafe Packages

Disclaimer

Amazon.com list price as of 08/05/20 12:00 p.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Written by Kasey Tross

Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. Learn more

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  • none1

    Without a contract, Simplisafe is worst in industry, you don’t get notices if someone enters your house at all. You can get $5 horns at the dollar store that sound off when someone opens your door, similar to simplisafe without a contract. Even non security systems like logicircle and other cameras give you at least that basic level of security free. So Simplisafe simply doesn’t compete with ring, nest, etc. UNLESS you opt for the monthly fee. Article should point this out more, it is mentioned, but, the uselessness of no contract isn’t really made clear for simplisafe. Monitoring IS good, and should also be mentioned both ring and simplisafe can have professional monitoring of smoke alarms, something nest can still not do.

    • Bl4ckHol3

      Just think about it for a moment. How do you get notification to your phone without access to internet, and yes, it has to be without internet access, otherwise it would be unreliable. So how you do it? you need a sim card and 2g, 3g or 4g access. Now sims are not free, and actually, the security companies, need to have a contract with all major phone providers, in order to supply such notification option to customers, so that it doesn’t matter where you live, and who owns the mast near you. This is why most security companies will ask you for a monthly fee, so that they can cover the costs of maintaining that contract and keeping your system connected.
      The very simple devices you mention in your post, only work when the WiFi is on, and the moment it’s off, there will be no notification to your phone. The horns and simple door detectors are cheap but easy to overcome, and the loud sirens for $5 will only work for 20 sec, then they are in the water basket and no sound will come out. The active monitoring plan will alert the dispatch that something is going on, and no matter how hard the burglars try, they will not be able to stop someone coming to your house to check on it.

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    The review on the warranty for Ring is not entirely accurate. As long as you are buying the monitored service ($99 per year), your equipment is covered under an extended warranty for an additional 2 years (for a total of 3 years) giving the same warranty as SimpliSafe

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