New house, new security system

I recently moved to a new house (August) and decided that I was going to have a security system to replace the antiquated ADT system the previous owners had installed. I started looking around & decided that there were 3 that provided what I was looking for in a system. Nest, Ring, and Simplisafe. There were a couple others I looked at but I was looking for things like a glass-break sensor, doorbell camera, or a panic button that they didn’t offer.

That lead me to look into the 3 options I mentioned previously. I’ll start with the drawbacks for all three, then the benefits for all three & why I settled on what I did and the issues I ended up having with it.

The Nest is well known and I already had the thermostat & the smoke detector so adding the other parts would have been an easy choice but their parts are almost universally more expensive than the other two. Also their subscription package was the highest cost year by year. The Ring system seemed to be a bit cheaper on price but they don’t offer the option of a key fob to let you into the house without having to run to the keypad. Neither of these two offered a glass-break sensor or a panic button. Simplisafe was the cheaper cost for hardware but it currently doesn’t have an outdoor camera (they are working on it) and their subscription is nearly as expensive as Nest. They were higher on price for the extra siren if you wanted to go with that but Nest doesn’t offer one. Nest does also charge each year if you want cellular back-up and it’s motion sensor is in the door sensor which could be a benefit for some, but read about my issue below & it’ll explain why it wasn’t great for me.

Each did have a number of benefits if I was to choose them. All 3 offered a doorbell and indoor cam, monitoring, and door/window sensors. Simplisafe’s price on most items was the biggest benefit and covered the most check boxes I was looking for in the hardware area. Ring was the cheapest overall for the monitoring & what parts I could get total and it allowed a battery powered camera which means no drilling into brick to put the camera up. Nest would have integrated with the items I already had and also had the outdoor camera I want.

I ended up going with the Simplisafe system based on a few friends who have it & say they have no issues and it was easy set up and that it was hassle free. I haven’t had a perfect install or hassle-free yet and I still want to be able to have the outdoor camera so I hope they release that soon. My issues are not only with the installation but also with the fact that their marketing department took an idea and ran with it without fact checking anything.

  • The sensors are very easy to set up using a “command-strip” style double-sided tape but the sticky part does not stick very well, even after you clean & dry the surface you want to stick them to beforehand. I replaced a number of them with 3M Command strips.
  • The motion sensors are supposed to be “pet friendly” and are even identified on the site with the text of “We precision-engineered our motion sensors to detect the unique heat signature of humans. Not pets.” This is not true & apparent marketing B.S. After a few emails to them asking why my motion sensor was tripped by my two less-than-35-pound puggles (resulting in a call from the monitoring company less than 5 mins from when I left home), it turns out they recommend that if you have pets larger than 30 lbs, or that they may get close to the sensor (it’s heat-based IR), that you put the sensor up upside down at around 4′ off the ground. This way it will catch someone walking through but not the dogs. I decided to put both motion sensors in the basement & order some new window sensors for the areas that the dog would be.
  • The doorbell installation was pretty easy but as soon as I connected the doorbell to my system, the mechanical chime started ringing constantly and causing the dogs to go crazy. Another call from tech support and they shipped out a “chime connector” which appears to be some sort of resistor that you put inline to the power going to your chime. This stopped the constant ringing and allowed me to finish the set up for this item.
  • The WiFi for both of the cameras is a little flaky and can result in a “not found” message for them when they try to record or you try to view them live. I will be contacting the support team about this in the future.
  • The indoor camera is set to record any time the system is armed or disarmed so that’s a little odd. I am unable to find a setting that would allow me to turn it off anywhere in the app or the site.
  • I am unable to find anywhere to set a profile other than Off/Home/Away. I would like the option of adding a profile where I could be home, open the doors upstairs, etc. but if someone were to come in the basement, the motion detectors would trip.

All in all I’m satisfied with my purchase and so far with the settings. I have set it and used it for a couple weeks and it doesn’t make me feel like I live in a prison but it does allow for a small bit of comfort against break-ins even if I do live in a lower crime area.

What are your thoughts? Did you have other things I should have considered?

One thought on “New house, new security system”

  1. I bought a security system around the same time you did. I was replacing an 11+ year old Abbra self-install system. It wasn’t hard to find a system significantly better than my antique. I looked at SimpliSafe, Ring, and Nest. I don’t remember all the details but it came down to:

    Cost: Ring was significantly less expensive. I got the 8-piece kit (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K1379PQ/) for $188.98, about $10 less than the 5-piece kit. This gave me everything I need. I MIGHT get an additional motion detector.

    Ease of use: To set it, punch in your code and press “Home” or “Away”. To disarm, punch in your code and press “disarm”. Or, even better, use the app.

    Monthly Monitoring: Ring offers monthly monitoring at $10 a month or $100 for a year if bought a year at a time. You get 30 days free up front.

    Features: This thing isn’t going to do your laundry for you but it does what you’d expect. I liked that the keypad and the actual alarm are separate. The old one they were one unit and we couldn’t hear it (it was hung in our laundry room; our main entrance to the house). I have the keypad in the same spot as the old unit but I hung the alarm behind my TV so it’s out of sight. I also like that the app manages all of your Ring devices. I was also looking to stay away from key fobs. My wife lost two with the old system and they were expensive to replace. With Ring, the app on your phone is the key fob. I hope she doesn’t start losing phones 

    Setup: It couldn’t have been easier. It’s all done through the app and was almost too easy.

    Other: for the $100/year monitoring charge I get unlimited video storage for all my Ring cameras. I bought myself a Ring Doorbell for Christmas (ho ho ho). Ring Neighbors, part of the app, is also pretty cool. I hung all the sensors with the double-sided tape that came with the kit and I used Velcro Command Strips to hang the keypad and alarm. It communicates with the monitoring service using Wifi and has cell backup (included). The alarm and keypad both have battery backup. Each user can have their own code which is handy if you want to see who is coming/going.

    One thing I’m disappointed with is the lack of Alexa integration. I imagine that will be coming pretty soon. Amazon bought Ring in the first half of 2018 and other Ring devices have Alexa integration so it won’t be long.

    Like

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