Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe Review 2022

Ring should be the undisputed winner here, but its reputation gives us pause

Best Budget Buy
Ring
Ring
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$10.00
/mo
  • Check
    Monitoring price: $10.00/mo.
  • Check
    Starter equipment price: $199.99
Best Value
SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$17.99–$27.99
/mo
  • Check
    Monitoring price: $17.99–$27.99/mo.
  • Check
    Starter equipment price: $229.00
Brianne Sandorf
Staff Writer, Home Security & Smart Home
Read More
February 01, 2022
10 min read

It seems like most DIY security enthusiasts are either Team Ring or Team SimpliSafe. At Reviews.org, we’re Team Ring-Except-for-Its-Murky-Ethics. We like Ring’s prices, plans, self-monitoring, cameras, and home automation—but not the way it conducts itself in sticky situations.

Where Ring fails, SimpliSafe steps in with its almost-as-good prices and cameras and its much-less-complicated values.

Ring Alarm pros and cons

Pros
  • Free self-monitoring
  • Inexpensive monitoring and cloud storage
  • Huge camera selection
Cons
  • Ethical issues with data and privacy

SimpliSafe pros and cons

Pros
  • Popular provider
  • Smart lock available
  • Intruder video verification
Cons
  • No free app access

Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe: Prices and monitoring plans

Winner: Ring

Ring’s equipment prices are standard, but its monitoring plans are unparalleled. SimpliSafe offers similar equipment prices, though it lags behind in monitoring.

Neither of these services requires contracts, so you can cancel the monitoring plans at your convenience.

Ring Alarm and SimpliSafe comparison
Home security company
Monitoring price range
Base equipment price
Camera price range
Details
Ring$10.00/mo.$14.99–$24.99/mo. $59.99–$349.99
SimpliSafe$17.99-$27.99$229.00–$489.00 $99.00–$169.00

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 08/11/2021 11:00 MST) Full disclaimer

Ring's kits start at $200 and run up to $330. SimpliSafe’s range from $229 to $489. For apartments or small homes, the starter kit from either Ring or SimpliSafe will meet most of your security needs. You’ll get similar items and value from both.

You can also buy separate pieces from each brand to create your own customized packages.

And there are add-ons. Ring has a vast selection of cameras and lights. SimpliSafe’s camera selection is limited, but it does offer extras you won’t see with Ring, like a smoke alarm and a branded lock. Their prices aren't extravagant compared to the rest of the market, but adding them to your setup will quickly increase your security costs.

Ring Alarm monitoring pricing

First off, Ring offers complimentary self-monitoring. For a grand total of free ninety-nine, you get access to all the Ring app’s features to aid you in your self-monitoring quest.

If self-monitoring’s not your style (it can be exhausting), you can pay just $10 a month for professional system monitoring plus free cloud storage for all your cameras.

When you pay for 12 months at a time, the Ring monitoring plan is discounted to $100 a year.

To put it simply: no other brands offer a deal anywhere this good. Even SimpliSafe, which isn’t super expensive by any means, charges for app and smart home access. It also doesn’t support unlimited cameras the way Ring does.

Ring Alarm monitoring plans
Plan
Price
Mobile app access
Smart home support
Learn more
$00.00/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$10.00/mo. OR $100.00/yr.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 08/11/2021 11:00 MST)

SimpliSafe monitoring pricing

With SimpliSafe, $17.99 each month gets you a monitoring subscription. That doesn’t include app access or smart home support, so you won’t really have eyes on your system. But at least you can feel comforted knowing that someone does.

If you bump up your monthly payment to $27.99, you get all the good stuff. That means not only app access and smart home support but also cloud storage for up to 10 cameras and video verification. SimpliSafe also offers customers of the Interactive monitoring plan a 10% discount on equipment add-ons and a lifetime warranty on equipment as long as they maintain their subscription.

Info Box
Video verification

With video verification, SimpliSafe employees will look at your camera footage to check for signs of an intruder before calling the police. That’s especially helpful if you live in an area where law enforcement or security guards require visual confirmation before they’ll respond to an intruder call. No false alarms here.

SimpliSafe monitoring plans
Plan
Price
Mobile app access
Smart home support
Learn more
$17.99
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
$27.99
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective 08/11/2021. Offers and availability are subject to change.

To recap: although the equipment prices are similar, Ring monitoring is more cost effective than SimpliSafe monitoring. Ring typically offers more for less than SimpliSafe does. But SimpliSafe’s video verification, which Ring doesn’t offer, makes up for a small part of the extra cost.

But even without video verification, Ring outstrips SimpliSafe costwise. If you’re looking to save money, Ring is the better choice.

Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe: Security equipment

Winner: Draw

We talked about equipment price; now let’s talk about what you’re getting for that money.

Ring and SimpliSafe are evenly matched in equipment. They both make their own equipment, which we like. They both favor the peel-and-stick setup, which makes things easy for DIYers. And Ring’s a whiz with cameras while SimpliSafe’s one of the only security companies that offers a custom lock.

Ring sells the following equipment:

  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • Window/door/entry sensor
  • Mailbox sensor
  • Motion detector
  • Smoke and CO listener
  • Flood and freeze sensor
  • Panic button
  • Retrofit alarm kit
  • Pathlight
  • Floodlight
  • Steplight
  • Smartbulb
  • About 20 different cameras
  • Sign
  • Solar sign

To complete its offerings, Ring also sells some items from other brands, like Schlage locks, Leviton switches, and Eero routers.

Light Bulb
Retrofit alarm kit

This kit is supposed to smarten up an existing compatible wired alarm system, bringing it into the future. That way you can use the system that’s already in place instead of getting all new sensors, motion detectors, etc. We haven’t had the chance to test it, so we’re unsure if/how well it works. But it’s a promising idea.

SimpliSafe’s equipment list isn’t as comprehensive, but it does offer some things you won’t see with Ring. Here’s what you can get with SimpliSafe:

  • Base station
  • Wireless keypad
  • Door/window/entry sensor
  • Motion sensor
  • Glass break sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Water sensor
  • Smoke detector
  • Carbon monoxide sensor
  • Panic button
  • Key fob
  • Siren
  • SimpliCam (indoor camera)
  • SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
  • SimpliSafe Smart Lock
  • Yard sign

Again, the fact that SimpliSafe makes its own lock is groundbreaking. We can’t think of a single other security company that does that.

Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe: Cameras

Winner: Ring

Ring started as a camera brand, and it has them down pat. SimpliSafe cameras are almost as good, but the brand doesn’t offer any outdoor cameras. Luckily, it sells a doorbell camera, which can do some of what a normal outdoor camera does.

Ring Alarm cameras

Ring offers tons of different cameras to cover tons of different needs. We aren’t going to talk about all of them, but we’ve included a good selection.

Ring doorbells and cameras vary in their power sources. Some require hardwiring, some require batteries, and some simply plug into an outlet. The power source will determine where and how you can use a camera, so always double-check before buying.

Also, these cameras don’t require a Ring security system to work. You can buy them to use as standalone devices.

Ring Alarm camera prices

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 08/11/2021 11:00 MST)

All Ring cameras have night vision and two-way audio, a feature that allows you to talk to folks who appear on your camera. You can pull up the live feed in your app and hit the microphone icon to speak: “Sorry, I’ll be home to open the door in just a minute.” “Can I help you?” “Please stop digging in my flowerbed at 3 a.m.”

Ring also offers what it calls “advanced motion detection,” a feature that helps cameras distinguish between people and animals. That means you won’t get notifications when your neighbor’s dog runs into your backyard and tries to eat the steak on your grill. (True story.) But you also won’t get notifications every time a stray cat wanders onto your porch, so we’ll call it a win.

Unfortunately, Ring doesn’t offer vehicle or package detection at this time. But it does have customizable motion zones that allow you to choose which areas are motion sensitive. So if you only want to be alerted to motion on your porch, you can easily set that up.

If you're looking for added security, you can get an extra pair of eyes on your outdoor cams with Ring's Virtual Security Guard. Although it hasn't been released yet, if you live in the U.S. you can join the waitlist. This $99 subscription will allow Rapid Response to monitor motion events on your external cameras.

All Ring cameras use the same app as the security system, creating a seamless security experience. You’ll see all your camera feeds on the same screen where you arm and disarm your security system.

Ring also uses a second app called the Neighbors app. When your cameras capture footage of a security incident, you can upload that footage to Neighbors. The app will share it with other users in your neighborhood.

You can add alerts and warnings to Neighbors without footage, too.

To use all of your camera features and post clips on Neighbors, you’ll need a cloud storage plan. If you use a standalone camera or choose to self-monitor your system, you’ll pay $3 a month for 60 days of cloud storage. But if you’re already paying for professional system monitoring, then great news: it comes with cloud storage for all your cameras.

Ring Alarm cloud storage plan price
Plan
Price
# days cloud storage
# cameras
Learn more
$3.00/mo. OR $30.00/yr. 601
$10.00/mo. OR $100.00/yr.60Unlimited

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 08/11/2021 11:00 MST)

SimpliSafe cameras

SimpliSafe keeps it simple by offering just three cameras: the indoor SimpliCam, the Wireless Outdoor Camera and the Video Doorbell Pro.

While the SimpliCam uses a plug, the doorbell needs to be hardwired into an existing doorbell connection.

As with Ring cameras, you can use SimpliSafe cameras on their own without a SimpliSafe security system. But you’ll get a lot more usability with the system.

For instance, when your SimpliSafe sensors are triggered, your SimpliSafe camera(s) will start recording. That’s a neat little feature that’ll make it easier to get footage of suspicious activity.

SimpliSafe camera prices
Plan
Price
Resolution
Human detection
Learn more
$99.00
720p
Icon No  DarkNo
$169.00
1080p
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective 08/11/2021. Offers and availability are subject to change.

In a lot of ways, we feel like SimpliSafe cameras are comparable to Ring’s. They have similar feature settings (night vision, two-way audio, person detection).

The biggest difference is that SimpliSafe doesn’t offer customizable motion zones. You can't pick certain areas in the camera view for the motion detectors to ignore; SimpliSafe's sensors pick up every movement. Except, apparently, vehicle movement, which SimpliSafe supposedly ignores altogether. (A tester on the team says this wasn’t true for them.) You’ll get a lot fewer notifications that way, but you’ll miss out on footage when a questionable vehicle passes by.

SimpliSafe doesn’t offer customizable motion zones.

To use your SimpliSafe cameras for anything beyond live video feeds, you’ll need a subscription. SimpliSafe offers more plan tiers than Ring, but none of them are as good of a deal as Ring’s $3 and $10 plans.

Like Ring, though, SimpliSafe includes cloud storage with its most expensive plan. And that plan also comes with video verification, which Ring doesn’t offer at all.

SimpliSafe cloud storage plans
Plan
Price
# days cloud storage
# cameras
Learn more
$4.99
/mo
30 days1
$9.99
/mo
30 daysUp to 10
$27.99
/mo
UnlimitedUp to 10

Data effective 08/11/2021. Offers and availability are subject to change.

To learn more, read our SimpliSafe Cameras Review.

Overall, we think Ring does a better job when it comes to cameras, but SimpliSafe is a good second choice.

Price Tag
Camera paywalls

We saw some reviews complaining about the paywall behind which some cameras’ features are hidden. It's frustrating to pay more to use a product you already have. We don't like that piece of the DIY-security-camera model. But, unfortunately, nearly all modern security cameras require subscriptions, so they're impossible to escape.

Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe: Smart home integrations

Winner: Ring

As far as smart home integrations go, here’s what we like to see:

  • Alexa compatibility
  • Google compatibility
  • Z-Wave or Zigbee compatibility

Security systems that don’t meet these criteria are difficult to use in a smart home setting. You won’t have voice control over it, and you won’t be able to connect it with many third-party devices. Your security will be out of the smart home loop.

Ring Alarm smart home integrations:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • Z-Wave
  • IFTTT

Ring not only meets the minimum requirements, it exceeds them. IFTTT compatibility is a huge bonus for a smart home. It’ll allow you to create custom applets with smart home chains. For example, you can create a chain where if you turn off the smart lights in your bedroom, your smart shades will roll down too.

SimpliSafe smart home integrations::

  • Amazon Echo
  • Google Home/Nest
  • August door locks

SimpliSafe doesn’t quite meet the threshold since it lacks Z-Wave or Zigbee compatibility. Most smart devices use one of those protocols, so without compatibility, your SimpliSafe system won’t be able to connect to Z-Wave lights, thermostats, and so on.

So if you have a smart home or like the idea of creating one, Ring is probably a better pick.

Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe: Customer service

Winner: SimpliSafe

Ring’s reputation has tanked in the last year or two, while SimpliSafe enjoys a relatively untarnished market presence.

Ring’s so great that it’s hard to believe it’s unpopular. But some of its practices make its equipment and services look unsavory. Some folks have concerns about the following:

  • Ring has had some issues keeping customer videos private from its own employees.¹
  • When left unregulated, the Ring Neighbors app has devolved into racial profiling and other discriminatory behavior in some places.²
  • The Ring partnership with some police departments has left users questioning how much of their videos law enforcement will see without their express permission—and what law enforcement will do with those videos.³

These issues are frustrating because Ring is a huge equalizer in home security. SimpliSafe’s $15-a-month fee will still be a strain on some folks, while Ring offers free self-monitoring. That makes security available to people who feel unsafe but couldn't afford that luxury before.

But by not aggressively protecting others’ rights with better rules and policies, Ring puts users between a rock and a hard place. Users may feel like they need to trade on their morals to get affordable security, and that doesn’t sit right.

SimpliSafe, on the other hand, has more typical customer service issues, like billing mixups and customers being on hold for a long time. So if you’re looking for something uncomplicated, you’ll want SimpliSafe all the way.

  • Ring Alarm customer service number: +1-800-984-1596
  • SimpliSafe customer service number: +1-888-910-1215

Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe: Which is better?

Ring’s better for your budget, your camera, and your home automation setup. But it needs to sort out its ethical priorities. For anyone who prefers to pass Ring over, SimpliSafe is a good option that’s almost as inexpensive.

  • Prices and monitoring plans: Ring. With free self-monitoring and $10 a month for monitoring and cloud storage, SimpliSafe can’t keep up with its app-feature gatekeeping and significantly higher prices.
  • Security equipment: Draw. Both Ring and SimpliSafe make their own peel-and-stick equipment for easy setup, and they both sell items beyond the basics.
  • Cameras: Ring. Cameras are Ring’s thing, and it offers a huge selection to meet many different needs. But if you don’t want Ring, SimpliSafe’s cameras are similar and can include video verification.
  • Smart home integrations: Ring. Ring works with every major smart home protocol and then some, while SimpliSafe won’t work with most popular smart home devices.
  • Customer service: SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe hasn’t created the camera empire that Ring has, and it’s also made wiser choices in how it conducts itself, so it’s not subject to the level of anger and scrutiny that Ring currently is.
Ring Alarm and SimpliSafe comparison
Home security company
Monitoring price range
Base equipment price
Camera price range
Details
Ring$10.00/mo.$14.99–$24.99/mo. $59.99–$349.99
SimpliSafe$17.99-$27.99$229.00–$489.00 $99.00–$169.00

Amazon.com List Prices (as of 08/11/2021 11:00 MST)

Methodology

To build our home security rankings, we consider the following:

  • Price
  • Equipment
  • Home automation
  • Cameras
  • Customer service

We also put countless hours of research and product testing into our Best Home Security Systems piece. That creates a foundation for other reviews of the same products.

We spent several more hours testing, reading product reviews, and poring over the companies' websites to develop information for this particular piece.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon.com. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.

Brianne Sandorf
Written by
Brianne Sandorf
Brianne has a degree in English and creative writing from Westminster College and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Before joining Reviews.org, she wrote safety and security content for ASecureLife.com. Her pieces and quotes are published across the web, including on MSN.com, Social Catfish, and Parents.com. Hobbies include wearing a seatbelt, wearing a life jacket, and keeping her arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Contact her at brianne@reviews.org.

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