SimpliSafe vs Vivint Security Systems Compared: Cost, Monitoring, Installation, Customer Service, And More

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SimpliSafe vs Vivint doorbells side by side (caption: SimpliSafe vs Vivint)Are you looking for a basic or more elaborate home security system? Both SimpliSafe and Vivint can provide security for your home, but the two have vastly different offerings.

SimpliSafe offers a more simple security system at a lower cost. Meanwhile, Vivint has added features, like home automation, that you may be willing to pay extra for. Compare the two head-to-head and decide which aligns more closely with what you want.

Visit SimpliSafe | Visit Vivint

Customer Service & Reputation

The BBB (Better Business Bureau) can be a reliable indicator of how a company handles consumer complaints. How do our two companies fare?

  • SimpliSafe: A+ (accredited).
  • Vivint: F (not accredited), and there is an FTC settlement alert.

Not being accredited by the BBB is pretty rare in the home security industry. It isn’t necessarily a red flag to not be accredited since some companies choose not to seek accreditation. However, the fact that a company the size of Vivint is not accredited, combined with their B- rating, doesn’t make them look good.

SimpliSafe Complaints

  • Requesting to be unsubscribed from emails and still getting emails
  • Continuing to be billed after canceling
  • Tech support may require multiple calls to fix an issue

Vivint Complaints

  • Unhelpful tech support and customer service
  • Equipment malfunctions, which spirals into many other complaints including:
    • Scheduling tech visits
    • Paying for tech visits
    • Missing work because you have to be home for the tech
  • Cameras not staying connected and going offline
  • A lengthy installation process that often has hiccups

No company is immune to negative customer feedback. However, SimpliSafe tends to have more positive reviews than Vivint, and the criticisms aren’t as severe as those we found for Vivint.SimpliSafe logo

Customer Service & Reputation Winner: SimpliSafe

Equipment

Below is a table of the types of security equipment offered by each company.

SimpliSafe Vivint
Additional Keypad Checkmark
Keychain Remote Checkmark Checkmark
Door/Window Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Motion Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Indoor Camera Checkmark Checkmark
Outdoor Camera Checkmark
Doorbell Camera Checkmark Checkmark
Glass Break Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Panic Button Checkmark Checkmark
Smoke Detector Checkmark Checkmark
CO Detector Checkmark Checkmark
Freeze Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Water Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Additional Siren Checkmark
Smart Switch Checkmark
Smart Door Lock Checkmark Checkmark
Garage Door Controller Checkmark
Compatible Smart Thermostat Checkmark Checkmark

We’re disappointed that SimpliSafe doesn’t offer an outdoor camera, especially since this is a standard device used to catch criminals. This could be a deal-breaker for some customers.

Technical Specifications

Both SimpliSafe and Vivint manufacture their own wireless equipment.

Warranties

SimpliSafe has a three-year warranty for all equipment at no additional cost.

If you opt for Premium Service through Vivint, you have a lifetime warranty without any service charges. If you decline Premium Service, you have a 120-day warranty. After those 120 days, the equipment’s replacement/repair is free, but you must pay a service charge.

SimpliSafe and Vivint systems perform well. They each have complaints about equipment not staying connected or not working as expected. However, SimpliSafe’s equipment is more basic than Vivint’s and lacks an outdoor camera, which gives Vivint the edge here.Vivint Logo

Equipment Winner: Vivint

Technology

Most of us want the most advanced and up-to-date equipment options. Both companies offer home automation integrations.

SimpliSafe Compatibilities

Example of SimpliSafe equipment
Example of SimpliSafe equipment

Vivint Compatibilities

Vivint Equipment
Example of Vivint equipment

Battery Backup

Suppose you lose power (during a storm or by a burglar cutting wires). In that case, a battery backup will keep your system online for a set amount of time until the power is restored. SimpliSafe has a 24-hour battery backup, while Vivint’s is only four hours. Our experts cover home security battery backup technology in detail in case you’d like to learn more.

Cellular vs Landline Monitoring

Cellular monitoring is more secure than landline and broadband (internet) because there’s no concern about a burglar cutting your wires. All of SimpliSafe and Vivint’s plans have cellular monitoring.

App Performance & Ratings

Below are the Apple App Store and Google Play Store ratings and number of reviews to give you an idea of what readers think of each company’s respective app.

SimpliSafe App Complaints

  • Closing on its own
  • Not updating
  • Not staying connected with the system
  • Having to pay to use it

Vivint App Complaints

  • App is slow, freezes, or crashes
  • Cameras not updating in the app

Vivint Smart Home App screenshots

Vivint has many more home automation integrations than SimpliSafe does, and it’s known for its smart home capabilities. Both apps have some of the best ratings we’ve seen. We wish Vivint’s panel had more than four hours of battery backup since the standard is 24 hours. However, many power outages are resolved within four hours. Vivint wins this category by a hair, but we wish its battery backup was 24 hours.Vivint Logo

Technology Winner: Vivint

Value

To see how these two compare in a real-world situation, let’s go over an example of a common configuration in a household with the equipment below:

  • 4 door/window sensors
  • 1 keypad/panel
  • 1 motion sensor
SimpliSafe Vivint
Equipment $273.99 $599.99
Installation $0 $49-$199
Professional Monitoring $14.99/month
(cellular)
$39/month
(cellular)
Minimum Contract Requirement N/A 4 Years
Total Spent After 4 Years $993.51 $2,568.51-$2,718.51

As you can see, Vivint is drastically more expensive than SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe’s system is more simplistic, but it’s also much more affordable.SimpliSafe logo

Value Winner: SimpliSafe

Ease Of Use

SimpliSafe Vivint
Wireless Equipment Checkmark Checkmark
Wired Equipment
Installation DIY Professional
Easily Relocate Checkmark

After setup is complete, both systems are easy to use. Customers love how simple SimpliSafe is with its wireless, DIY setup. Vivint equipment is wireless, but it requires professional installation, which means you’ll need to schedule a time for a professional to come to your home.SimpliSafe logo

Ease Of Use Winner: SimpliSafe

What’s The Verdict?

The target audiences for SimpliSafe and Vivint are drastically different. SimpliSafe is excellent for those of you who are comfortable with installing a system yourself. Additionally, if home automation isn’t a top priority, you want to avoid a long-term contract, and you want more affordable monthly monitoring, then SimpliSafe is a great option.

However, for those of you wanting professional installation, advanced home automation integrations, more equipment options, and are okay with being locked into a four-year commitment, then you may prefer Vivint.SimpliSafe logo

Overall Winner: SimpliSafe

If you’d like to learn more about these companies, read our individual reviews on SimpliSafe and Vivint, including pros, cons, key features, and customer testimonials. Both companies are included in our reviews of the best home security systems.

Which company do you trust to protect your home?

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

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