Updated Mar 20, 2020

SimpliSafe VS Ring: What's the Best DIY Security System?

Cam Secore

Today, I’ll compare the Ring Alarm 5 Piece Kit vs. SimpliSafe 5 Piece Security System. The SimpliSafe system is built better and I usually prefer devices that have better build quality, but the Ring system wins this battle overall. From DIY security to lower monthly monitoring prices ($10 vs $25 a month), Ring is the more practical choice outside the inferior build quality.

Want to know how I reached that conclusion? I’ll be covering both these systems in terms of setup and support, monitoring, software, hardware, and accessories. Read on and see how these systems compare in a head-to-head battle.

Setup & Support

Ring easily takes the win because it’s one of the easiest security systems to install. Download and open the Ring phone app, scan the QR code on the back of your security accessories, and Ring will guide you during an interactive walkthrough. It’s easy to understand what you should do next for proper installation.

While I didn’t need the range extender because my house is 1,200 square feet, Ring includes a wireless z-wave range extender. This makes the whole system more versatile, especially if you have a large home. They also offer 24/7 phone and chat support and the support staff knows what they’re doing. I asked them some advanced questions about smart lock integration and they instantly had an answer.

What about SimpliSafe? They give you those classic (i.e., non-interactive) paper instructions that are OK, but not nearly as good as the Ring installation instructions. You can use the app for setting up the devices, but it’s not great and more of a hassle. After setting up the keypad, you can bring it to each accessory to set them up. It’s easy after the keypad, but the installation isn’t nearly as fluid as with Ring.

The support pales in comparison to Ring. They don’t help with installation over email for security reasons, and it often takes them 48 hours to get back about other questions via email. Nevertheless, they still fill your inbox with tips until you tell them to stop.

However, SimpliSafe’s setup has some good traits. They’ll put your system in test mode for three days after installation so the police aren’t called when the alarm is triggered. This is perfect for learning the system. The built-in speaker will also give you status updates when you add new accessories. While SimpliSafe has 24-hour monitoring, their tech support is only available from 9 AM to 12 PM.

Monitoring

Ring wins this category as well. It’s not exactly superior, they’re both comparable in terms of security. The major difference is that Ring is less expensive and has a DIY service.

Ring uses Rapid Response for their monitoring and they promise a 30-second response time. You’ll give them three emergency contacts who will be contacted when the alarm goes off. All three are called and asked to give a predetermined safe word. If no one responds, then the police are called to check the house. The seven-day training period lets you learn the system without the police being called, but you can turn this off whenever you’re ready.

One great thing is that Ring offers DIY security without the $10/month subscription. While that subscription gives you real monitoring and police support if needed, the free version allows for self-monitoring. This is good if you want to ensure that the kids are home safe or to ensure that specific rooms aren’t opened with fewer concerns about bad people breaking in.

SimpliSafe is the same as the paid Ring subscription. They use COPS and will call your two emergency contacts after the alarm is triggered for the safe word. If no one responds, then the police check the house.

Unlike Ring that allows for free DIY monitoring, SimpliSafe only allows paid monitoring at either $15 or $25/month. The more affordable plan gives you 24/7 monitoring along with fire detection, water damage detection, and a cellular connection if the WiFi goes out.

The more expensive plan lets you arm and disarm your system from your phone, get phone alerts, and create silent alarms that only notify you via your phone and not the police (good for keeping kids away from liquor or gun cabinets). While the cheaper plan gives you monitoring, it’s not worth it without the phone notifications.

With DIY support and a more affordable monthly plan, Ring pulls ahead in this category.

Software

Ring and SimpliSafe are similar in that each accessory has disarmed, home, or away mode and you can change them fairly easily. However, there are both big and minor differences with Ring once again pulling ahead.

Ring allows you to change the mode from the keypad or app. Each accessory can have its own mode and you can set the accessory to only give you a notification rather than alert the police. You can customize the entry delay between 1-3 minutes along with the exit delay. You can silently arm the system, but only if you turn off all other sounds (not ideal).

You can connect other household members to the Ring app and you can use Alexa to arm and disarm the system (disarming requires speaking the code). Ring integrates with Kwikset, Yale, and Schlage smart locks. They can even be used to arm and disarm the system. Ring will alert you if any accessories aren’t working or are tampered with.

There are just two minor issues. You can’t change the system immediately from away to home mode. You have to disarm first and then switch it. Also, you can’t cancel the exit delay without entering your PIN.

SimpliSafe is similar to Ring in many ways. However, you must have the $25/month plan to use the app for setting modes, which is irritating. You can choose Off, Home, or Away modes along with changing your master PIN or adding a Duress PIN.

The entry delay ranges from 30 seconds to 4 minutes and the exit delay is between 1-4 minutes. You can also change how alerts or errors are displayed. You can choose between notifications, SMS, or email. August smart locks work with SimpliSafe, but the integration isn’t as good. You also cannot give other people app access to your system. They’ll need YOUR username and password. However, you can arm and disarm (with code) with Alexa or Google assistants.

Unlike Ring, SimpliSafe can take 24 hours to notify you about an accessory not working.

Hardware

SimpliSafe wins the hardware category handily because all the accessories are built better overall. Starting with Ring, the accessories feel cheap (this is a budget system) and includes the base station, motion sensor, contact sensor, keypad, and range extender.

The base station has a 24-hour battery backup, 104dB siren (very loud!), cellular receiver when WiFi is down, and a speaker for enter and exit delays. The keypad isn’t great. It feels cheap, it’s only backlit when you touch the keys, and it’s hard to see the arm and disarm buttons. There’s also no panic button or screen.

The contact sensor batteries are rated for three years and it comes with strong tape and screws. The motion sensor uses passive IR, five chirp tones, and you can change the sensitivity level.

SimpliSafe accessories feel professional and less like a toy. The Nook kit comes with a base station, motion sensor, contact sensor, key fob, and keypad. The base station has a clear voice and 24-hour backup battery, along with a 95dB siren and cellular receiver. The keypad uses four AA batteries, has backlit rubber keys, along with a screen and a Duress code.

The entry sensor is lighter than Ring, which makes it versatile and easier to place on doors and other areas. The motion sensor is also smaller and it’s best for corners.

SimpliSafe’s accessories feel better and function somewhat better in some respects.

Accessory Options

The accessory options are pretty neck and neck. These are different accessories you can add to your security system.

Ring includes:

  • Ring doorbells for motion alerts and video recording
  • Cameras: Ring Stick Up Cam, Spot Light Cam, and Floodlight Cam
  • Panic Button
  • Smart locks, switches, smart outlets
  • Smoke & Co Listener, a smoke detector that triggers your Ring Listener
  • Flood & Freeze Sensor
  • Outdoor Motion Sensor, better motion sensor for outside
  • Various smart lights with different triggers (timer, motion, etc)

SimpliSafe includes:

  • Video Doorbell Pro as a smart doorbell
  • SimpliCam, indoor security camera (there are no outdoor cameras at the moment)
  • Glassbreak Sensor, triggers the sensor when a window is broken
  • Panic Button
  • Smoke detector
  • Temperature Sensor that notifies you when the temperature is under 41 degrees
  • Water sensor for leaks and floods
  • Louder siren (up to 105dB)
  • Key Fob for changing the system’s mode (Off, Home, Away) within 200 feet

Final Thoughts

While the SimpliSafe feels better and has similar accessories, Ring takes the lead with superior software, more affordable monitoring, a free DIY option, and a much easier installation. It’s not that SimpliSafe is bad, it’s just impractical when compared to Ring.

 

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