SimpliSafe vs. ADT | Stripped-Down Essentials or Full-Fledged Service

Most Flexible
Simplisafe
SimpliSafe
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Plans starting at 
$14.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Low-priced monitoring
Pro Bullet No contracts required
Con Bullet Limited smart home compatibilty
Most Experienced
ADT
ADT
3.7 out of 5 stars3.7
Plans starting at 
$27.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Decades of industry experience
Pro Bullet Same-day/next-day installation
Con Bullet Expensive monitoring plans

Overview

When it comes to home security systems, SimpliSafe and ADT are on opposite ends of the spectrum. In fact, the companies are so different that it's not a matter of which is better—it's more that each of them fills completely different needs.

SimpliSafe is newer, smaller, cheaper, and stripped down to the basics. ADT is massive, well-established, pricey, and full-featured. SimpliSafe makes its own equipment but outsources monitoring; ADT uses equipment made by other companies but monitors it in-house. Both are solid security choices, but you’ll have a very different experience depending on which option you choose.

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Compare SimpliSafe vs. ADT

Data effective 07/05/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

SimpliSafe and ADT pros and cons

Pros and cons of SimpliSafe

Pros
  • Pro BulletLow-priced monitoring
  • Pro BulletNo contracts required
  • Pro BulletUser installation
  • Pro BulletOption to turn professional monitoring on/off
  • Pro BulletCustomizable equipment packages
  • Pro Bullet60-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Con BulletLimited smart home capability
  • Con BulletNo mobile access with less-expensive plan
  • Con BulletLimited customer service availability

Pros and cons of ADT

Pros
  • Pro BulletDecades of industry experience
  • Pro BulletSame-day/next-day installation
  • Pro Bullet6-month return period
  • Pro Bullet6 monitoring centers for maximum coverage and backup
  • Pro Bullet24/7 customer service availability
Cons
  • Con BulletExpensive monitoring plans
  • Con BulletMandatory contracts
  • Con BulletNot a good option for rentals

Major differences

Monthly costs

SimpliSafe is dramatically cheaper than ADT in almost every category. In fact, SimpliSafe’s most expensive monitoring option is still cheaper than ADT’s least expensive option:

  • SimpliSafe packages start at $14.99 and go up to $24.99 a month.
  • ADT packages start at $27.99 and go up to $59.99 a month.

ADT has a lot to offer—especially if you want to add smart home equipment to your home security system—but if ongoing cost is the deciding factor, SimpliSafe is the way to go.

SimpiSafe and ADT home security systems cost comparison

Data effective 07/05/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Equipment costs

ADT charges a $99 (or more) installation cost, but the brand doesn’t otherwise charge up front for a system it says is worth $850. The equipment’s all provided by third parties, so what you receive may be from a different manufacturer than the equipment your neighbor received. Why’s that? ADT uses an independent distributor model involving third-party dealers. The dealers determine which equipment to use.

You’re free to resell your SimpliSafe equipment if it doesn’t meet your needs.
SimpliSafe, on the other hand, tends to cost between $200 and $500 for initial equipment purchase. That’s because it doesn’t use the rent-to-own model that’s popular with most security brands. You’re free to resell your SimpliSafe equipment on Amazon or eBay if it doesn’t meet your needs. The customer service reps may even suggest reselling as an alternative to giving you a refund.

Features and equipment

SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe equipment

A D T Equipment

ADT equipment

ADT beats SimpliSafe hands down when it comes to features and equipment. ADT has a wider selection of equipment, more home automation support, and an app that lets you control your home security system and smart home add-ons all in one place.

ADT also has more industry experience and more monitoring centers than SimpliSafe. This particularly matters during emergencies—if a natural disaster takes down one ADT monitoring center, the others are still up and running to protect your home.

Money-back guarantee

ADT has a six-month money-back guarantee, while SimpliSafe has a 60-day window to return the equipment for a refund. While we typically encourage users to install and test their equipment right away, getting on top of it is even more important with SimpliSafe than with ADT. You need to take advantage of the limited window!

Smart home compatibility

SimpliSafe equipment covers the basics. But while ADT systems work with Z-Wave devices, SimpliSafe systems don’t. This seriously limits your options for syncing a SimpliSafe system with third-party smart home devices like lights, locks, outlets, and thermostats. If you already have a security device from another brand, like a Blink XT camera, it probably won’t work with your SimpliSafe system.

ADT also works with Amazon and Sengled smart lights. With those and the Z-Wave compatibility, you can build out a solid smart home system.

Landline monitoring

ADT offers both landline and cellular monitoring. Landline monitoring may seem old-fashioned, but if you don’t have reliable cell service in your area, it’s the best option. At $27.99, ADT is one of the best options for landline monitoring at a great price.

SimpliSafe does have a backup landline option, but the base station will always try connecting to the cellular signal first. It's probably adequate for a backup, but if you need a constant landline connection it may not be the best option.

Installation

ADT and SimpliSafe offer dramatically different installation options. ADT sends professionals to install your system; SimpliSafe mails you equipment to install on your own.

SimpliSafe installation
Protip
SimpliSafe originally developed its systems with renters in mind. The pieces are easy-install using adhesives. Follow installation and removal instructions to avoid any paint damage from the adhesive material.

Our recommended ADT provider, Protect Your Home, can often install equipment within 24 to 48 hours of your call. That means you get your equipment much faster than if you waited for SimpliSafe to mail it out. The other benefit of having your home security system professionally installed is that there will be someone there to answer your questions about how the equipment works and give you advice about possible security risks in your home.

But DIY installation has its perks too. SimpliSafe sends your equipment preprogrammed, so it’s a simple setup. And since no one is coming to your house, you don’t have to take time off work to be home for installation. Plus, no one will try and upsell you on equipment you don’t want.

DIY installation is becoming more popular—not just with SimpliSafe but also with other systems like the Ring alarm system.

Customer service

Buying equipment is easier with SimpliSafe than with ADT. With SimpliSafe, you can buy everything online without making phone calls or having a back-and-forth. ADT doesn’t have that option. You have to talk to an agent and get a quote. Then, during installation, the service person may also make suggestions. Basically, you may not know exactly what you’re spending until after everything’s installed, which makes it hard to budget for.

ADT dealers
Our Choice
Because ADT works with third-party dealers to sell and install equipment, your customer service experience may deviate a bit, depending on what dealer you end up working with. We recommend Protect Your Home for buying and installing an ADT system.

If you need to get ahold of customer service, ADT offers 24/7 support over the phone or through live chat. You can also get help over email.

SimpliSafe has long customer service hours—9 a.m. to midnight (ET)—but it doesn’t offer the 24/7 support that larger companies like ADT provide. It doesn’t have a live chat option, either.

But while SimpliSafe has less customer service availability, it offers financial flexibility that ADT doesn’t match. Because SimpliSafe monitoring plans are optional, you can cancel your monitoring service any time if you need extra money for holiday presents, medical bills, or moving expenses. And because SimpliSafe has no contracts, it doesn’t charge fees for canceling your monthly plan.

In contrast, ADT requires a 36-month contract. If you cancel early, you have to pay 75% of the remaining balance.

Overall, SimpliSafe is better-reviewed by customers than ADT is. But ADT serves millions of customers, while SimpliSafe has only a fraction of that. There are more chances for things to go wrong with ADT.


SimpliSafe home security system review

SimpliSafe Equipment

Compare SimpliSafe plan prices

Data effective 07/05/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

The Standard and Interactive monitoring plans can both be purchased for any equipment package and aren’t related to equipment costs. If you get a system with a camera and prefer to have it professionally monitored, though, you’ll want to go with the Interactive plan.

Equipment

SimpliSafe creates and sells its own devices. The quality of this equipment seems satisfactory to most users, though it can’t be used with a different monitoring service like third-party equipment might.

SimpliSafe’s equipment selection includes the following:

  • Wireless keypads: $69.99
  • Key fobs: $24.99
  • Entry sensors (door and window sensors): $14.99
  • Motion sensors: $29.99
  • SimpliCams: $99.99
  • SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro: $169.00
  • Glass-break sensors: $34.99
  • Panic buttons: $19.99
  • Smoke detectors/alarms: $29.99
  • Carbon monoxide sensors/alarms: $49.99
  • Freeze sensors: $29.99
  • Flood sensors: $19.99
  • Sirens: $59.99

If you get a preset package, you may find that individual items cost less than the prices shown here, which are for the customizable packages.

Outdoor camera use
Take Note
SimpliCams aren’t made for outdoor use. You can install one outside the home with an outdoor kit SimpliSafe offers. But, even with the kit, there’s a chance that outdoor use will damage your SimpliCam.
Some of the equipment comes in either black or white. You can customize your color option when buying.

Customer service

For SimpliSafe, the big customer service issue is a lack of availability. Even though the reps take calls until midnight, the lack of 24/7 customer service hours reap some grumbling. The real problems, though, are the long hold times and the difficulty in getting customer service reps to call or email back.

>>Read more in our SimpliSafe review.


ADT home security system review

ADT equipment

Compare ADT plan prices

Data effective 07/05/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
What you can get with an ADT home security system varies wildly between plans. Generally, for bigger and nicer homes, you’ll want a higher-tier package to ensure full protection. A Basic plan can more easily protect a smaller home that's less valuable.

Equipment

ADT’s equipment is all created by third parties, such as Alarm.com, Honeywell, and DSC. The ADT equipment selection includes the following*:

  • Digital control panels
  • Entryway contacts (door and window sensors)
  • Wireless keychain remotes
  • Motion sensors
  • Smoke detectors/alarms
  • Carbon monoxide sensors/alarms
  • Flood sensors
  • Emergency buttons
  • Indoor cameras
  • Video doorbell cameras
  • Smart locks
  • Garage door sensors
  • Sirens

Like we mentioned before, ADT’s equipment works with Alexa, Z-Wave devices, and Sengled smart lights. That’s a huge part of the value.

*ADT is cagey about its equipment prices at times, so we’re unable to give exact costs. In any case, users don’t pay up front for the equipment.

Customer service

We mentioned that ADT’s customer service department has 24/7 availability through phone, email, and chat. We also talked about how ADT works with outside dealers and providers to serve its customers.

Most of ADT’s negative customer reviews come from issues in contracting through the dealers. Other frequently mentioned issues include unauthorized credit checks and illicitly scanned signatures.

>>Read more in our ADT review.


Our recommendation

Which is better? Because SimpliSafe and ADT are so different, we can’t recommend one over the other. Instead, we suggest choosing the one that’s the best fit for your home and your budget.

If you’re on a budget and you need basics only, SimpliSafe is a fantastic affordable choice. You can get the security equipment you need without a long-term contract. And if you decide you want professional monitoring, that option is always on the table. Read our full SimpliSafe review to learn more, or check out a few alternatives to SimpliSafe if you're interested in a DIY system, but aren't sold yet. 

If you want a full system with a huge support network, we recommend ADT. It offers tons of support, whether you need help learning how your equipment works or troubleshooting an issue in the middle of the night. Plus, you’ll have more options if you want to sync third-party devices like garage door controllers, smart lights, and automatic door locks. To learn more about ADT plans, read our full ADT review.