When it comes to protecting your home, you no longer need to rely on expensive security contracts from offsite-monitoring companies. DIY smart security cameras, smart lights, motion sensors, and other types of surveillance gear can easily be found online and in stores, letting you piece together a security system all your own.
That being said, for total peace of mind protection, you’ll still need professional monitoring, and you can get the best of both worlds by buying a DIY home security kit from companies like Ring and SimpliSafe. You can start with a simple video doorbell, but for as little as $300, you can upgrade to a complete home security system with brands like Ring Alarm and SimpliSafe.
Renowned for customizable pricing, quick, easy installation, and their wide assortment of smart security products, Ring Alarm and SimpliSafe are two of the most reputable DIY options when it comes to safeguarding your home, no matter your footprint or budget. But which of these two watchdog titans is best? Allow us to weigh in to help you decide.
Ring and SimpliSafe: The Basics
Ring has been around for quite some time. Launched in 2013 as Doorbot, the company was acquired and expanded by Amazon in 2018. Offering a myriad of security products including indoor and outdoor cameras, lights, video doorbells, and sensors, a Ring system can easily be paired up with a number of other smart home products, allowing you to build up your security profile over time.
Why Choose Ring? When it comes to building a complete Ring Alarm system, you can build your own DIY setup or purchase a pre-bundled Ring Alarm hardware kit, with prices starting at $200. At this price point, users get a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender. Upgrading to higher-priced Ring Alarm kits nets you more surveillance hardware, as well as an Amazon-owned eero router.
With the Ring Always Home app (for iOS and Android devices), users can arm and disarm their systems while away from home, receive alerts, view live camera feeds (using a compatible Ring camera), customize elements of their systems, and much more. The fact that Ring is owned by Amazon is either a pro or a con, it all depends on how you feel about Big Tech.
You may have heard about SimpliSafe through a podcast sponsorship, or maybe you’ve seen one of their commercials. Regardless of how you came to know the name, it’s one that should stick. Launched in 2006, SimpliSafe has been designing build-your-own security systems for homes and businesses both big and small. Peripherals include security cameras, smart locks, motion sensors, and a wireless keypad for arming and disarming your home.
Why Choose SimpliSafe? When it comes time to build your SimpliSafe system, you can choose exactly what hardware you want to use or choose from an assortment of pre-built packages. With prices starting at $229, the pre-designed kits include a base station, door/window entry sensor, motion sensor, and a wireless keypad, but you can customize these packages to add other products and services.
When you’re not at home, the SimpliSafe app (for iOS and Android devices) allows homeowners to remotely arm and disarm their systems on-the-go, receive alerts and notifications, view live and recorded camera footage, customize the performance of certain products, and more. Plus, SimpliSafe is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, August Locks, and other voice assistant platforms, allowing you to arm your home using voice commands (requires a monthly subscription).
Subscription Cost: SimpliSafe Wins Out
Both Ring and SimpliSafe offer a number of subscription options that provide users with professional monitoring services, cloud storage for recordings, extended device warranties, and more.
Do note that while you’ll be able to view live surveillance footage and receive certain alerts without a subscription, there are several key features from both brands that you simply won’t have access to without paying for a monthly or yearly premium.
Ring’s subscription options are broken down into three price tiers: Basic, Plus, and Pro.
The Basic package costs $3 per month (or $30 a year) and grants users 60 days of video history for one Ring camera, video saving and sharing, person and rich alerts, and snapshot capture.
If you have more than one Ring camera or doorbell, you’ll probably want to bump up to the Plus plan ($10 per month or $100 a year), which adds 60 days of video history for all of your Ring cameras. This tier also adds extended warranties for all hardware and 10% off select items when shopping through Ring.com and Amazon.
If professional monitoring is a must-have, you’ll want the Pro plan ($20 per month or $200 a year). This tier will require Ring Alarm Pro equipment to be fully functional, but the benefits are incredible. Users receive 24/7 realtime dispatch services when Ring Alarm gear is triggered, in addition to cellular backup for alarms when the Wi-Fi goes down, integration with Alexa Guard Plus, digital protection through Amazon’s eero Secure 6, and more.
Without a paid plan, Ring users can still view live camera feeds and receive motion alerts, but features like video storage and professional monitoring are not available.
SimpliSafe offers three paid subscription tiers — Self-Monitoring with Camera Recording, Standard Monitoring, and Interactive Monitoring — as well as a free Self-Monitoring option.
Under the free tier, users can view live streams of their SimpliSafe cameras, access up to seven days of system history, and control and customize their system through the SimpliSafe app.
If you’re going to be using SimpliSafe cameras, we recommend considering at least the Self-Monitoring with Camera Recording plan. For $9 per month, users get access to 30 days of video recordings for up to five Ring cameras, along with the ability to manually record when viewing a live stream, and the option to download recordings to a mobile device.
For professional monitoring, SimpliSafe’s $17 per month Standard Monitoring plan includes 24/7 police, fire, and emergency service dispatch, water leak and dangerous temperature detection (requires SimpliSafe’s water and climate sensors), along with a built-in cellular connection in the event that you lose Wi-Fi.
Then there’s the Interactive Monitoring plan for $27 per month. This adds SMS and email notifications, arming reminders, video verification, Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, and unlimited recording for up to 10 cameras.
Strangely, Interactive Monitoring features like SMS and email pings, voice assistant integration, and unlimited recordings are also features you can find in the Self-Monitoring with Camera Recording plan, but not the Standard Monitoring plan.
The Bottom Line: In a side-by-side comparison, SimpliSafe offers a better variety of pricing options (as well as a free tier) with slightly more features housed under each plan when compared to Ring.
What You Need To Get Started
If you’re not building your own Ring Alarm system, pre-bundled kits start at $200 and include the following:
- Base station
- Contact sensor
- Motion detector
- Range extender
Pricing increases based on the square-footage of the home or business you’re covering, along with the amount of hardware you’re looking to integrate.
When it comes to hardware diversity, Ring has got you covered — especially if you’re going to build your own Ring Alarm system. Offering a handful of high-quality cameras and sensors, along with integrations with third-party smart home brands, there are plenty of add-ons for your Ring system.
When it comes to building a system with SimpliSafe, you can either build your own package or choose from an assortment of pre-built kits, with prices starting at $229. The Foundation package (the most basic kit) includes:
- Base station
- Entry sensor
- Motion sensor
Similar to Ring, pricing increases based on the square-footage you’re looking to cover and how much hardware you need.
If you’re going completely DIY with SimpliSafe, a base station and keypad are required (totaling $119), but cameras and additional sensors can be added piece by piece.
The Best Accessories from Ring & SimpliSafe
Both Ring and SimpliSafe offer a number of great gadgets that stand as true calling cards for each brand. Here are a few peripherals we love.
Ring Video Doorbell (2020)
Shooting in crystal-clear 1080p HD, the Ring Video Doorbell (2020) can be wired directly to your existing doorbell system or run off battery-power. Once connected to your network, the bell will send realtime notifications to your mobile device when motion is detected, and can even be integrated with Alexa.
Ring Floodlight Cam Pro Plug-In
Keep your front yard and driveway safe with the Ring Floodlight Cam Pro Plug-In. With motion-triggered, bright LED floodlights, 1080p footage, and 3D motion detection, you’ll get the most accurate motion notifications when you need them most. While there’s no battery option, a simple connection to outdoor power is all you’ll need to get the Floodlight Cam up and running.
SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera
Shooting in 1080p HD at up to 8x zoom, this weatherproof camera from SimpliSafe has a 140-degree field of view, color night vision, and smart person detection that ignores squirrels and outdoor pets. Setup is quick and easy, and dual Wi-Fi antennas ensure the camera won’t drop offline.
SimpliSafe Wireless Smart Door Lock
This smart door lock and keypad from SimpliSafe allows you to receive alerts whenever your door is locked or unlocked. Conveniently, you can also set the lock to lock automatically, and includes a Key Fob if you’d rather skip entering a code on the keypad altogether.
In Conclusion: Two Excellent Security Brands, but Ring Comes Away With the Edge
Ring and SimpliSafe are powerful names when it comes to DIY security, and we recommend both of these brands’ products and monitoring services. While Ring may be a better fit for those looking to integrate with third-party smart home equipment, a Ring Alarm kit still offers a myriad of monitoring benefits, and the company’s indoor and outdoor cameras offer top-notch video quality.
For those looking for the best security options from their DIY system, SimpliSafe offers slightly less expensive subscription options with more benefits at lower price points (including 24/7 dispatch services). So if you’re looking for professional security monitoring at the lowest price — or if you just don’t like the Amazon ecosystem of products — then SimpliSafe is the right choice for protecting your home.
So which is better: Ring Alarm or SimpliSafe? With slightly more versatility and award-winning security cameras, video doorbells and security kits, we have to give Ring Alarm the edge in this fiight. If we had to pick just one of these brands for our own home security, we would go with Ring Alarm. Of course, these brands are always rolling out new products and features, and we’ll up-date this post as circumstances change.