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SimpliSafe vs Iris: Which No Contract Security System Is Better?

ASL Insider Tip

Iris Update | Feb 5, 2019

As Lowe’s increases its focus on its core home improvement business, the company has decided to sell Iris. Iris customers can expect their systems and monitoring plans to stay the same for now. Lowe’s is also still selling Iris for new customers, but because there is uncertainty around the new buyer, we recommend opting for SimpliSafe—at least until we see how the new buyer handles Iris.

If you’ve done any researching in the DIY home security space you’ve probably come across the names SimpliSafe and Iris. Both companies appear to offer a similar product on the surface, but if you dig deeper you’ll find that their offerings are vastly different. SimpliSafe focuses more on home security, whereas Iris pays more attention to home automation. Which one is better for you?

Key Similarities & Differences: SimpliSafe Vs Iris

No Contracts

Neither SimpliSafe nor Iris have  contracts for their packages. This is a huge benefit when it comes to home security. Most companies lock you into a long-term contract but SimpliSafe and Iris do not.

We have a tie for this category since both Iris and SimpliSafe have no contracts.

What’s the Installation Process Like?

SimpliSafe’s installation process is very easy. You do everything yourself so there is no additional fee. SimpliSafe claims the installation process is less than 15 minutes since the system is pre-programmed. All you have to do is peel and stick the sensors where you want them.

Iris offers professional installation from Installernet. However, we think you can install your system yourself, which is an option. They have the peel and stick sensors as well. But if you get the thermostat or some GE switches or outlets you’ll need a professional to install them since they need wired into your home.

The winner for this category goes to SimpliSafe because of its low installation time.

What are Your Monitoring Options?

SimpliSafe has two professional monitoring plans: Standard and Interactive. Standard is $14.99/month and has cellular monitoring 24/7. Interactive is $24.99/month and has cellular monitoring 24/7 plus it gives you remote control of your system for your home automation equipment. Please note that monitoring is not required for SimpliSafe however, we do recommend it.

Iris has two monitoring plans as well: Basic and Premium. Basic is free and Premium is $9.99/month. These aren’t professional monitoring plans though. The Basic plan lets one person view the previous 24 hours of activity and the Premium lets up to 6 people view the previous 14 days of activity. With Premium you can also record video and get more notifications. Both the Basic and Premium plans are monitored via broadband.

SimpliSafe is the clear winner on this one because we feel that professional cellular monitoring is safer than DIY broadband monitoring.

How is Their Customer Service & Reputation?

SimpliSafe has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has only had 32 complaints over the past 3 years. Lowe’s, as a company, has an A+ rating with the BBB and has 4468 complaints over the past 3 years. These aren’t fair comparisons really since Lowe’s is a major retailer.

In a more fair comparison, SimpliSafe has a record of great customer service. Iris has more problems with its equipment so complaints are higher.

SimpliSafe is our winner for this category.

Package Showdown

SimpliSafe Equipment Packages

Package NameStarter PackageEconomy PackageClassic PackageMaster PackageUltimate Package
Equipment Cost$229.96$259.95$349.92$449.87$539.85
ConnectionCellularCellularCellularCellularCellular
Keypad11112
Motion Sensor11122
Door/Window Sensor14464
Keychain Remote11122
Base Station/Hub11111
Panic Button$19.99 each$19.99 each11
Siren$59.99 each$59.99 each111
Smoke Detector$29.99 each$29.99 each111
Range ExtenderN/AN/AN/AN/A1
Glass Break Sensor$34.99 each$34.99 each$34.99 each$34.99 each$34.99 each
Carbon Monoxide Detector$49.99 each$49.99 each$49.99 each$49.99 each$49.99 each
Freeze Sensor$29.99 each$29.99 each$29.99 each$29.99 each$29.99 each
Water Sensor$19.99 each$19.99 each$19.99 each$19.99 each$19.99 each
Security Camera$99 Each$99 Each$99 Each$99 Each$99 Each
Package Name
Equipment Cost
Connection
Keypad
Motion Sensor
Door/Window Sensor
Keychain Remote
Base Station/Hub
Panic Button
Siren
Smoke Detector
Range Extender
Glass Break Sensor
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Freeze Sensor
Water Sensor
Security Camera
Starter Package Economy Package Classic Package Master Package Ultimate Package
$229.96 $259.95 $349.92 $449.87 $539.85
Cellular Cellular Cellular Cellular Cellular
1 1 1 1 2
1 1 1 2 2
1 4 4 6 4
1 1 1 2 2
1 1 1 1 1
$19.99 each $19.99 each 1 1
$59.99 each $59.99 each 1 1 1
$29.99 each $29.99 each 1 1 1
N/A N/A N/A N/A 1
$34.99 each $34.99 each $34.99 each $34.99 each $34.99 each
$49.99 each $49.99 each $49.99 each $49.99 each $49.99 each
$29.99 each $29.99 each $29.99 each $29.99 each $29.99 each
$19.99 each $19.99 each $19.99 each $19.99 each $19.99 each
$99 Each $99 Each $99 Each $99 Each $99 Each

Iris Equipment Packages

Below is a table that shows the top of the line packages available through Iris. There is more equipment available for Iris but we did not list it all. Please check out Iris’s website for more information.

Package NameSecurity PackAutomation Pack
Equipment Cost$99.99$129.99
Iris Hub$59.99
(must have one)
$59.99
(must have one)
Keypad1$39.99 each
Motion Sensor11
Door/Window Sensor22
Keychain Remote$24.99 each$24.99 each
Smart ThermostatStarting at $79.99 eachStarting at $79.99 each
Smart Plug$34.99 each1
Panic Button$24.99 each1
Smoke Detector$29.97 each or $39.97
(with CO detector) each
$29.97 each or $39.97
(with CO detector) each
Water Sensor$29.99 each$29.99 each
Carbon Monoxide Detector$39.97 (with smoke detector) each$39.97 (with smoke detector) each
Wireless Indoor Camera$129.00 each$129.00 each
Wireless Outdoor Camera$149.00 each$149.00 each
Package Name
Equipment Cost
Iris Hub
Keypad
Motion Sensor
Door/Window Sensor
Keychain Remote
Smart Thermostat
Smart Plug
Panic Button
Smoke Detector
Water Sensor
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Wireless Indoor Camera
Wireless Outdoor Camera
Security Pack Automation Pack
$99.99 $129.99
$59.99
(must have one)
$59.99
(must have one)
1 $39.99 each
1 1
2 2
$24.99 each $24.99 each
Starting at $79.99 each Starting at $79.99 each
$34.99 each 1
$24.99 each 1
$29.97 each or $39.97
(with CO detector) each
$29.97 each or $39.97
(with CO detector) each
$29.99 each $29.99 each
$39.97 (with smoke detector) each $39.97 (with smoke detector) each
$129.00 each $129.00 each
$149.00 each $149.00 each

Even though Iris has way more equipment available their packages are lacking, which is why SimpliSafe is our winner for this category.

Warranty Comparison

Iris offers no warranty whatsoever, which we are truly shocked by. Most home security providers offer at least a 1 year warranty. SimpliSafe offers a 3 year warranty.

SimpliSafe is the clear winner in this comparison.

SimpliSafe vs Iris: And the Winner is…

SimpliSafe! We’re sure you’re not shocked by this since SimpliSafe won most of the comparisons. SimpliSafe’s low prices, great customer service, 3 year warranty and ability to add professional monitoring are some of the reasons we feel it is better than Iris. That’s why SimpliSafe is listed at the top of our home security systems reviews.

Do you think SimpliSafe is better than Iris?

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30 responses to “SimpliSafe vs Iris: Which No Contract Security System Is Better?”

  1. I’ve had Iris for 4 year now or so, I’ve added devices through the years and have been very happy with them and the system. Pro monitoring is available and I am pretty sure it was right when this article was written or possibly a little beforehand. The statement “Even though Iris has way more equipment available their packages are lacking, which is why SimpliSafe is our winner for this category.” is laughable… Iris does not need a bunch of different packages, the starter packs work great and then you just choose what extras you want, IRIS wins this category hands down. Customer service has been GREAT and I live in a little mountain town so probably have less access to Iris employees in the know, etc. Lowes has been great and very easy to deal with IF I’ve had any issues. They even gave me an extra device for my troubles I once had. Someone commented on the smart plug’s being useless. I firmly disagree, I use them every day and now have 3 of them. Anyway, had to chime in, I have more positives to share, maybe later. Thanks !

    • Hey James, thanks for sharing your feedback. We’re glad to hear you’ve had positive experiences with Iris. We’ve found the updates made to Iris (namely the second-generation of Iris) to have left a lot of folks unhappy. However, there are those who found their products and services to completely work for them. Please keep us in the loop as you add more products and let us know what you think.
      Best,
      Amy

  2. Thanks for the article. Two things to add/update…

    The IRIS products are covered by Lowes’ standard 90 day warranty

    IRIS’s Pro-Monitoring is now promoted on its website at $14.95/month

  3. Morning WaywardOne – Where did you hear that? Their landing page shows $19.99/per month and we haven’t heard otherwise yet. Would love more info if you’ve got it. – Lia

  4. Need assistance – After 3 hubs, still can’t get it to register and have been able to get ZERO assistance. Reached out to the chat feature on the Lowes page and was directed to go to the store; went to the store and they directed me to IRIS customer support. Called customer support and they sent me to the store as they are the experts. Previous experience w/Lowes were great – this current experience is the worst I have ever encountered!!! Looking for feedback and/or guidance for immediate solutions and/or other systems that can utilize the current IRIS paperweights currently in my possession.

  5. I’ve been extremely disappointed in my iris system. It’s constantly loosing connection several times a week even after changing cable modems and Internet providers. I’m constantly having to reset my Hub to be able to view my system. So if I leave town for the weekend it’s a guarantee it won’t be working. The whole system is pointless unless you pay the $10 a month subscription because you can’t add rules to send you a text or let the camera record. I have a motion sensor in my garage that constantly gives me false alarms. My smart thermostat doesn’t fully function correctly because it won’t follow a schedule and it’s no where near product the nest thermostat my brother bought. I feel like this was a great concept but it just doesn’t work good. I’ve spent a lot of money in this product to be very very disappointed. Don’t make the same mistake I did by buying into this product.

  6. Generally, in my opinion, pay attention to the negative reviews. I soooo wanted this system to function and instead it is a time-consuming disappointment in my experience. Do you have any information on the following?

    A serious issue in the scheme of things, the outdoor camera/s no longer record on motion but rather only if activated, for example, by a sensor breach.

    I have spent an inordinate amount of time both by phone and email attempting a solution. I recall being told by one person that this function no longer exists unless activated manually. Others have offered, at times, what seems to be sheer nonsense — and/or a run around.

    This should be a relatively simple matter. And, of course, a functionality on which many a purchaser of any security system with cameras would want to be able to trust/rely. . In fact, I would not have purchased the system if this important feature was not included.

  7. i went all in on IRIS Version 1. I have it installed in 3 different homes and loved it. I have 6 cameras, 24 contact sensors, 5 motion detectors, 8 iris enabled light bulbs, 3 glass break detectors, 2 smoke detectors, 10 smart plugs, a 7 day programmable thermostat, a moisture sensor, water shut-off valve, 2 sirens, 2 fobs, 2 keypads, 2 garage door tilt sensors, and 2 power meter readers; all in one house!

    Further I have recommended it to several coworkers, two of whom also purchased a system. Now I am being told that on June 30 I have to migrate to IRIS 2.0. give up my secure web interface and manage my home security system on an unsecured wireless phone and ,my Verizon wireless USB modem in my IRIS system isn’t supported in 2.0 and there is not yet a promised replacement being offered. I’ve ordered my “replacement hubs months ago and so far only 1 of them has shipped and been delivered, one was lost by UPS and there is no accounting for the third one.

    Is this program being run by millennium chimps? What moron forces their happy customers to manage their home security network on un unsecure smart phone???

    Who operates a business like this, especially a security based business!? Needless to say I am very fed up and just about done with Lowe’s altogether!

      • DON’T BUY IRIS! ! !
        The Chimps are still running the asylum. They are no closer to a secure web interface than they were a year ago, the new 2.0 products are all cheap crappy Chinese made junk and pale in comparison to the build quality of the 1.0 stuff. Nothing new in months but promises of grandeur from the marketing department. Buy anything but IRIS!

    • I also went All In with Lowes Iris, I have GE Z-Wave Wall Switches and Outlets as Well. They work great. I was also disappointed when they removed the web interface. I spoke with Tech Support and the interface will be returning soon. Have you integrated your Iris with Amazon Echo? It’s the Bomb! “Alexa, Set Thermostat to 62 Degrees” “Alexa, Turn Off Kitchen Nlight”

  8. Hi asecurelife editors,

    I recommend updating the post given that Iris has updated to gen2 devices as well as now offering professional monitoring for $9.99. Also the article does not take into consideration that Iris supports a ton of other devices beside the sensors and detectors.

    • They don’t have pro monitoring yet. I am a current iris owner and $9.99 is the premium not professional. The pro monitoring is comming soon maybe but is not guaranteed yet. Plus, it is said to be $19.99 for pro monitoring so you’re wrong about that my friend…..

  9. Simplisafe does NOT have cameras that are compatible with their system. They stated many times they would have them before the end of 2015, but as of June 2016, we still have no cameras. Also, the only thermostat they claim is Simpisafe compatible is the $225 NEST thermostat.

  10. IRIS does what SimpliSafe does plus more. Most IRIS systems I see are kits that include the hub and keypad. Mine (Smart kit) also came with the thermostat, range extender, 4 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors, and smart plug (which I found useless since it only works as a timer if you pay for the premium monthly service). I haven’t had any problems with it other than the motion sensor in my den is pretty sensitive – it seems to pick up the dog when he’s outside but walks by the window. I added an irrigation timer which works great even though the signal from the hub has to go through a brick wall and halfway down my house. I wish IRIS would add a weather station. I am bummed that I would have to pay the $10/month premium plan to use the smart plug.

    BTW, I’ve used IRIS since it came out but their upgraded hub has me wondering if I’m now stuck with a lemon of a security system. It found all my sensors just fine but it doesn’t like my keypad.

  11. Iris has no support their 800# puts you on hold for ever! I have been on hold for over 45minutes. While I’m typing this I’m still on hold, unfortunately this is bout the 4th time in have had this wonderful experience. If you want great assistance , don’t look for it here. Pass on their wonder support and their products !

  12. Now that Lowe’s has announced that it will be offering a professional monitoring service, it should be a great option. Unfortunately, my experience has been consistent with what others have reported here: Iris is unreliable. Sensors go offline frequently. More importantly, the system does not notify me reliably when sensors go offline. How can you rely on a system that fails silently?

    In a particularly egregious example, my wireless surveillance camera stopped working without raising any alarm. It took me weeks to notice it. When I did, Lowe’s acknowledged that a recent update had caused problems for some camera systems. They correctly predicted that it would take weeks for them to ship a new update to fix the problem. What sensible person would rely on a security system that suffers failures that take weeks to correct?

  13. As a recent home owner of a new home in a new subdivision which was being inundated by the local alarm companies wanting to sign me up. I went the home automation/monitoring route which Iris supports. My friend and neighbor on the other hand, went the SimpleSafe route. As Fred mentions, being a Police Officer and noting all the false alarms, I knew this would be an issue with my friend’s SimpleSafe, as they offer 3 free false alarms for the first month. As well, they have to pay $15 annually to the local detachment of the Police for this monitoring fee-for that exact reason of false alarms. With Iris I have the ability to choose the number(s) I want to notify me so if I am going to be travelling (on a plane or over seas) my friends that are at home locally are the ones being notified. It’s a win-win and much less of a cost. In fact from a monitoring and automation point of view, I have more devices, video, thermostat, etc covered at less of a cost then my SimpleSafe neighbor at a fraction of the cost. Now, Iris has introduced a new hub (version 2) which I just received–free of charge, with even more advantages including bluetooth devices so this is one more reason, and I am so glad I made this decision.

  14. I have an Iris system and door sensors are routinely dropping off the system even with the ranged extender I added on. This happens most often during the summer and I suspect it is a heat issue.

  15. I installed the IRIS system and everything went smoothly up to the point where they had to verify my phone details by text message. Turns out MetroPCS does not allow the text system IRIS uses, i.e. IRIS can not alert you of any alarms if you are on the MetroPCS network. I tried to resolve this with both companies and neither one really knows how to address the problem (especially John ID nr 909575 ;-))

  16. My issue with Iris is being nickled and dimed for features that should come standard.

    I bought a smart plug so I could schedule lights to turn on and off. Turns out I have to pay $10 a month just to get that to work. Sheesh.

    With smarter homes and the Internet of things rolling in like a tidal wave, I’d be surprised if Iris lasts more than a few years. There are far more innovative companies building smarter, well-designed user experiences.

  17. I was a police officer in a medium sized city for 30 years. Roughly 90% of all alarms called in by professional monitoring services were false. The situation is so bad that in some jurisdictions, including the one I worked for, alarm calls receive a low priority so if it’s busy it may be hours before the police check. Plus they fine you if you get a certain number of false alarms within a certain period of time. So how is that any better than the self monitored system IRIS provides? After the meeting or when I get out of the movie I can check my phone to see if I missed anything. If IRIS did contact me odds are it was a false alarm anyway although this is speculation as I haven’t seen any data about the false alarm rate of either system.

    SimpliSafe wants that $15/mo. That is probably where they make the bulk of their money. I’ll go with IRIS and save the $15/mo and at least I’ll get a text. Then I either go home and check it out or call my neighbor and let him check it out. SimpliSafe won’t provide any notification unless you upgrade to their $20/mo plan.

  18. I was automatically signed up the service and getting charged for 2 months with Iris. When I call up asking for a refund, the agent was rude and not willing to understand at all. I asked him to check if there was any usage of the ‘Permium’ service then they could charge me.

    Just ridiculous and I’ve had a buggy system where the Alarm has gotten turned on a few times for no reason in the middle of the night.

  19. I understand the case for central monitoring but disagree it is of primary value. I care much more about being awakened by an intruder than being robbed when I am away. I fully accept the risk that I’ll miss the call and the police will not be notified if I am gone. I submit the risk is LOW – that is, I will usually get the call. Also, I believe Iris can be set up to call more than one number. I am a retiree and home most of the time. For me, Iris is the way to go.

    • If you are home most of the time and lock your doors you will more then likely be awaked by an intruder with either system. The question would become do you want simplisafe to automatically call the police while you do what you need to do to protect yourself or have iris notify and then still have to call the police, protect yourself, your family, and or pets.

    • Iris does offer a cellular backup connection for $4.99 a month. But it is very important for consumers to realize that this does not provide monitoring via a Central Monitoring Station. All Iris systems are self monitored and our statement is in fact true: “Iris does not offer cellular monitoring via a monitoring station”.

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