GetSafe Security System ReviewBy - 10/26/2017
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
GetSafe is a DIY smart home security system powered by Bay Alarm. Where Bay Alarm is limited to California and requires professional installation, GetSafe is professionally monitored but self-installed with services available throughout the United States. You can purchase equipment and pay for monitoring without a contract, or you can sign a contract to receive your equipment for free. And thanks to GetSafe, we were able to take their no-contract option for a spin.
GetSafe Protection and Equipment
GetSafe is different from most of the alarm companies we’ve reviewed. They use a different base and equipment, and they offer a fresh, flexible approach to paid monitoring. Though they are technically a full-service home security company, they compare better with hybrids such as abode and SimpliSafe, and even the new Nest Secure which can all be used as professionally monitored systems without a contract.
The Smart Hub
I wasn’t sure what to expect when GetSafe first arrived. In photographs, the system looks sleek and modern, but pictures can be deceiving. Fortunately, GetSafe did not disappoint. The base of the system is the Smart Hub, which has a unique design and is about the same height and width as an iPhone 7, though it’s thicker than the phone. The Smart Hub is used in place of a control panel, but it shares several features.
First of all, GetSafe’s Smart Hub communicates using internet (WiFi or Ethernet) with an optional AT&T cellular connection for backup. The catch is that Ethernet is preferred. Though you can use the system over a wireless connection, some features may not work properly and the system will not receive automatic firmware updates, which are essential for proper device security.
Second, it uses a rechargeable battery for backup. During testing, I triggered a power failure twice. Both times, I received an instant notification via email as well as a push notification to my phone. I also simulated a power outage to see how long the hub could survive without power. I pulled the plug at 11:54 am, and the system died at 4:50 pm. Though that’s not a long time for battery backup—most systems will stay powered for 12-24 hours—it’s better than nothing. Also, while testing the battery, I received multiple notifications.
- power lost
- battery almost dead
- battery dead
- power restored
Finally, just like a standard control panel, the Smart Hub allows you to control your system using your smartphone.
In addition to similarities, there are differences between the hub and a control panel.
First, most control panels include either a touchscreen or a built-in keypad for easy control over the system. The Smart Hub lacks both. The only visual indicator is a small light that shows system status. Unfortunately, status is limited to online/offline and has nothing to do with the system mode (armed/disarmed). The lack of visual confirmation of system status was noticeably missing during testing. It was also frustrating that I couldn’t disarm the system from the hub. I’ve had false alarms before, and the hub is always the first place I head. It’s often easier, faster, and more reliable than accessing a mobile app. Of course, you can always purchase a key fob to arm and disarm the system.
Second, most home security panels include Z-Wave; the Hub does not, but you can add the ability by purchasing a Z-Wave Adapter ($65.00). The Adapter connects to the hub via mini USB and sits between the hub itself and the power supply but it is not power dependent. Z-Wave will continue to function even if your hub loses power.
Third, the Hub lacks a siren. Like SimpliSafe, the siren is kept separate from the hub. I was told that if someone were to find and destroy the hub, that you would receive an offline notification, though I did not test this claim.
Equipment and Equipment Pricing
The Smart Home Hub is responsible for connecting to and controlling all GetSafe devices. Some devices will work with the Smart Hub directly; some require the addition of the Z-Wave Adapter.
Regardless of where you want to go with the system, you’ll start with the Starter Kit which you can purchase for $249. The Starter Kit includes the Hub, an entry sensor, a motion detector, the 85dB siren, two window stickers, cables, batteries, and an AT&T SIM card for the hub. With the Starter Kit in place, you can expand your system by buying additional devices a la carte.
- Motion Sensor (Pet-Friendly) – $47.00
- Entry Sensor – $34.00
- Siren – $48.00
- Monitored Smoke Alarm – $88.00
- Flood Detector – $39.00
- Keyfob – $32.00
- Glass Break Detector – $35.00 (Requires Z-Wave Adapter)
- Yard Sign – $13.00
- Window Sticker – $2.00
- Replacement Smart Hub $200
From a home security perspective, GetSafe offers the right equipment. They sell three security sensors (pet-friendly motion sensor, glass break, and entry sensor), two environment sensors (smoke sensor and flood sensor), a siren, a key fob, as well as home automation equipment and home security cameras, which we will cover later. Unfortunately, they do not sell a keypad, which would have been a good alternative to their interface-free Smart Hub.
In testing the devices, most provided the sleek appearance you would expect from a modern security system, though the door sensor has a deeper profile than others, including iSmartAlarm, Frontpoint, and SmartThings. One surprising feature is that most of the sensors (door/window sensor, motion sensor, flood sensor, and the siren) also include a temperature sensor. This addition is incredibly useful for creating automated rules based on temperature, but you can also select one of the devices to report your home’s temperature via the mobile app.
The motion sensor and siren are also equipped with tamper sensors. They will let you know immediately (via email and push notification) if someone moves either device. In fact, if you try to arm the system after the motion sensor is tampered with, you will be asked to override the alert, which will help to reduce your chances of a false alarm. To clear the alert, simply place the motion sensor back in an upright position. Finally, the siren can also act as a door chime. Unfortunately, as a siren, it’s too quiet, and as a door chime, it’s too loud. There is currently no option to adjust the siren’s volume.
Installing the system was fairly easy. The hardest part was the lack of direction. For example, the camera instructions suggest to download the EZVIZ app, but our research suggested that we use the separate GetSafe Video app. Other devices also lacked instruction. Fortunately, GetSafe offers online guides, including installation instructions, for all of their products.
The first step? Download the mobile app for iOS and Android users. You cannot setup the system using a computer, a phone is required. Once that’s done, you’ll need Ethernet. The hub requires Ethernet during setup, and though it can run on a wireless connection, GetSafe recommends leaving the hub connected to your router. After plugging in the hub, the indicator light will turn green to let you know that it’s time to proceed. The app includes a wizard that will walk you through next steps which essentially include putting batteries into all of your devices. Not even going to try to act cool right now, putting batteries in was the hardest part of the installation process.
Normally, a security system will ship pre-programmed with any purchased devices, but that wasn’t my experience. I don’t know if that’s because I received a test unit or if that’s how things always are, but it wasn’t challenging to pair the devices to the hub regardless. From the mobile app, hit the hamburger menu, select devices, click add a device, and select the device you want to pair. Pairing instructions were different for each device and this is where I had to rely on the online instructions linked above.
GetSafe Monitoring Plans
One of the major differentiators between GetSafe and other home security companies is GetSafe’s flexible approach to monitoring plans. They offer a “No-Contract Plan,” a “1-Year Contract Plan,” and a “3-Year Contract Plan.”
All three plans are $35 per month, and they all offer the same service. The difference is in the price of the equipment. The No Contract Plan requires that you pay full price for equipment, but you may opt in or out of service anytime you want. The Annual Plan includes a free starter kit, but you will be billed for an entire year of service should you choose to cancel before the 12 month period ends. Finally, the 3-Year Plan includes a free Starter Kit as well as a $250 equipment credit.
|No Contract||1-Year Contract||3-Year Contract|
|Monitoring Type:||Professional Monitoring||Professional Monitoring||Professional Monitoring|
|Cost of Starter Kit||$249.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Bonus Hardware Credit||$0.00||$0.00||$250.00|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring|
|Push Notifications and Email Alerts:|
|Cellular Backup (Powered by AT&T):|
|Video Cloud Storage:||+$5.99/month||+$5.99/month||+$5.99/month|
|Works With Nest|
One word of caution: signing a longer contract may not guarantee your monthly rate. As a new company, they are trying to find their place; however, they’ve already experienced one significant price change.
Initially, GetSafe had more options. You could use the system as a local alarm for free, you could self-monitor but add things like alerts for $19.00 per month, or you could opt to pay for your equipment up front and access professional monitoring for $29.00 per month. For those who purchased equipment expecting to pay $19.00 per month to access a service that no longer exists, this change probably seems significant. And for those who expected to pay $29.00 per month for professional monitoring, we hope that GetSafe is honoring their original pricing agreement. However, according to one customer, GetSafe contracts don’t honor pricing agreements.
Unfortunately, a few days after I ordered [the] system I received a contract that was unacceptable to sign. Contract included provision that allowed for increase to monitoring fee of 9% annually. Also, in the contract, GetSafe takes no responsibility to call the police department. Per the contract, GetSafe will only attempt to call the police department. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t provide much comfort.
GetSafe vs. Abode vs. Link Interactive vs. SimpliSafe
|Free Plan (No Monthly Fee)|
|Contract||No Contract||No Contract|
|What’s included?||1x Smart Hub
1x Entry Sensor
1x Motion Sensor
|1x Gateway with Siren
2x Door Sensors
1x Image Sensor
1x Key Fob
|1 Base Station with Siren
1 Wireless Keypad
1 Motion Sensor
1 Entry Sensor
1 Key Fob
|1x Touchscreen with Siren
1x Entry Sensor
1x Motion Sensor
|Push & Email Notifications|
|Event and Video History||3 Days Included|
|Other||Unlimited user accounts
Connect with 155 devices
Create up to 100 Automation Tasks
Works with Nest
|Self-Monitoring With Monthly Fee|
|Monitoring Cost||$10/month or
|Push & Email Notifications|
|Cellular Backup||Yes, Plus Optional On-Demand Professional
Monitoring (3 Days: $8 / 7 Days: $15)
|Event and Video History||14 Days Included|
|Other||Unlimited user accounts
Connect with 155 devices
Create up to 100 Automation Tasks
Works with Nest
|Professional Monitoring with Monthly Fee|
|Equipment Cost||Free With 1-Year Contract, Free Plus $250 Credit With 3-Year Contract||$299.00||$229.96||$75.00 With 3-Year Contract|
|Contract||No Contract, 1-Year, or 3-Year||No Contract||No Contract||1-Year or 3-Year|
|Event and Video History||+$5.99/month||90 Days Included||+ $4.99/month||+ $5.00/month|
Works with Nest Thermostat
Up to 20 smart rules
|Premium Customer Phone Support
Unlimited user accounts
Connect with 155 devices
Create up to 100 Automation Tasks
Works with Nest (Cams, Protect, and Thermostat)
|Works with Nest Thermostat||Two-Way Voice
Crash and Smash Protection
Smart Doorbell Integration
|Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
Monitoring and Equipment Summary
What you need to know about GetSafe’s Monitoring and Equipment:
- Starter Kit: $249
- No Contract or Annual Contract Monitoring
- Monitoring Starts at $35/month
- May Reserve the Right to Increase Pricing
GetSafe Home Automation
GetSafe may not offer a wide range of security equipment, but they make up for it by offering plenty of home automation features and products. Of course, first things first, you’ll need the right equipment to take advantage of the system’s smart home functionality.
Z-Wave Home Automation Devices
GetSafe offers a number of Z-Wave home automation devices. However, if you have existing Z-Wave devices, you MIGHT or might not be able to connect them to your GetSafe system.
Automating your home requires the Smart Hub and the Z-Wave Adapter. With the Z-Wave Adapter in place, you can control Z-Wave devices using the same GetSafe app you use to control your security system.
Z-Wave Equipment Pricing
GetSafe sells several smart home devices primarily aimed at automating the lights in your home. They also offer a Z-Wave Thermostat and a Z-Wave Garage Door Controller. And you guessed it, they all require the Z-Wave adapter.
I tested the white LED bulb, Smart Dimmer, and the Z-Wave thermostat. Everything worked great. The devices stayed connected, responded to commands, and worked in rules. During testing, only the Z-Wave Smart Dimmer 6 Module by Aeotec caused issues.
The Dimmer Switch had a range issue. When placed upstairs, it wouldn’t stay connected, even though it wasn’t any farther away from the Smart Hub than my LED Bulb. Second, the device has an LED indicator light. It’s a beautiful light, but you can’t turn it off, which is a problem if you want to place it in your bedroom. Third, Aeotec has an amazing energy management feature. When the same device is connected to other systems, you can view energy consumption reports. This wasn’t possible via the GetSafe app. Finally, two positives to balance out my complaining. First, as a Dimmer Switch, the device is geared towards lights; however, I tested it with a fan and other small appliances and it worked fine, assuming I left the dim setting at 100%. Second, the switch includes a USB slot to charge USB devices.
The smart bulb provided was the LinearLinc Bulbz, which is a dimmable Z-Wave bulb. The thermostat was the GoControl Z-Wave Battery-Powered Thermostat. As I installed the Nest E Thermostat, which happens to be compatible with GetSafe, just two weeks before testing GetSafe, I didn’t give the thermostat a thorough test beyond connecting it to the hub and controlling it using the mobile app. In general, I prefer Nest E over the GoControl as the interface on the Nest device is easier to navigate. However, GoControl works with a wider range of HVAC systems, making it more comparable to the Nest Learning Thermostat, different from Nest E, in that regard.
- Z-Wave Adapter – $65.00
- Z-Wave LED Bulb – $16.00
- Z-Wave Multi-Color LED Bulb – $56.00
- Z-Wave Smart Dimmer Module – $56.00
- Z-Wave In-Wall Smart Switch – $38.00
- Z-Wave Range Extender – $32.00
- Z-Wave Thermostat – $99.00
- Z-Wave Garage Door Controller – $90.00
GetSafe Plus EZVIZ Security Cameras
In addition to smart home devices, GetSafe sells security cameras, kind of. The catch is that integrated home security cameras are managed through a secondary app: GetSafe Video. According to GetSafe, they plan to integrate camera features into the primary app eventually, and there is already evidence of the same. However, they did note that this will only happen if camera adoption rate is high. What will happen to GetSafe’s cameras if the adoption rate is low? This is certainly something to consider if buying a system that supports a camera is important to you.
GetSafe currently sells four cameras compatible with the GetSafe Video app.
First is the $99 Indoor HD Camera a.k.a. the EZVIZ Mini +. This camera offers a 1080p resolution, two-way audio, motion alerts, and night vision.
The second camera is the $89.00 Indoor 360 HD Camera, a.k.a. EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus. This camera offers all of the same features as the Indoor HD but can pan and tilt to view a full 360°.
The third camera is the $109 Outdoor HD Camera, which we recognized as the EZVIZ Husky, a camera we played with at CES. This camera offers FHD resolution, night vision, motion alerts, and can use power or power over Ethernet.
Finally, they sell a $129 wall-mounted Motion Detector Camera. The Motion Detector Camera is entirely cordless and is powered by three AA batteries. As its name suggests, it is a camera (actually an image sensor), not a video camera. Instead of capturing video streams, it will take a quick snapshot of detected motion.
EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus
GetSafe sent us an EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus to pair with our test system. Setup was fairly easy. The biggest obstacle for most might be that the app choice isn’t clear. As already discussed, I selected the GetSafe Video app, but the instructions included with the camera suggest using the EZVIZ app. Neither app allows for a direct integration with the GetSafe system.
During testing, I had to continually remind myself that I was testing a sub-$100 camera. It’s a budget camera, and it feels like a budget camera, but it also has a few surprises. The star feature of this camera is motion tracking. Motion Tracking worked well. If you happen to be within the camera’s field of view, it will track your movement. Tracking is a little choppy, but it does the job.
Performance wise, it doesn’t live up to its FHD promise. By accident, I clicked on the Reolink app and conjured up footage from my Reolink Argus which I had sitting right next to Mini Plus. Argus is also a $100 camera with FHD video, but the video quality from Argus was vastly superior to Mini Plus. Second, though the camera can mechanically pan to view a full 360°, it has a limited 92° field of view at any given time. Though it can track a person if it sees a person, with such a limited field of view it’s possible that it won’t see someone at all.
The camera also features two-way audio, night vision, a microSD card slot, and a privacy mode which launches a shutter to cover the camera’s lens. From the app, you can turn audio on or off, turn the IR light on or off, and set up or disable notifications.
Alarm notifications are for camera motion events only, and the camera lacks smart motion features such as zones and learning. However, you can create a notification schedule for the camera to follow and you can adjust the sensitivity level of the motion detector. Finally, you can set a “notification sound.” If the camera detects motion, it can emit a soft beep, a more intense tone, or you can mute the tone. How intense is intense? Meh. It’s not any louder than the soft notification; it’s just a different sound. Where the soft beep is a beep, the so-called “intense warning tone” sounds more like a siren, but it’s a short siren and not very loud.
All of the EZVIZ cameras mentioned above will support local storage via a microSD card. However, they all lack free cloud storage beyond a 30-day free trial. Cloud storage is called CloudPlay, and it starts at $5.99 per month per camera.
For $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year, you will receive 7-days of cloud storage. For $10.99 or $109.99, you will receive 30-days of cloud storage. In addition to storage, CloudPlay offers a useful way to sort through recorded footage: a daily 24-hour recap of events.
Of course, I opted for the free trial, and though I think $5.99 per month is a little expensive for just storage, I did find the subscription useful. From the app, I had the option to download footage, access a nifty timeline feature, and view past events.
Works with Nest Thermostats
Unfortunately, GetSafe does not work with Nest Cam through the Works with Nest program, but it does work with Nest Thermostats. The system can support more than one Nest Thermostat which can be any model including Nest Learning and Nest E.
The GetSafe app offers limited control of Nest devices. Using the app, you can switch between Home and Away mode, turn the fan on or off, or adjust the temperature. The app also receives notifications from Nest, such as low-temperature alerts. And of course, you can use your thermostat in rules and shortcuts.
Smart Rules and Shortcuts
You can create automated rules right from the GetSafe app using a feature called Smart Rules.
Smart Rules start with a trigger which can be a schedule (specific time and date, reoccurring or not reoccurring), a security event (disarm, arm away, day arm, night arm, or intrusion), an event (open/close sensor, temperature, motion detection, flood, or switch action), a tap (you press a shortcut button from the app home screen to engage), or a combination of triggers. For example, you can say, “Weekday from 8 am until 5 pm (trigger), if my front door is open (trigger), send a notification (action).” The action is what happens after the trigger. The actions available for each rule will depend on the trigger you choose.
|Schedule||Arm Modes (Disarm, Arm Away, Day Arm, Night Arm), Devices (Configure Thermostat, Set Dimmer, Turn On For a Duration, Chime One/Twice, Push Send Notification, Wake Up Alarm on Device)|
|Security (Disarm, Arm Away, Day Arm, Night Arm)||Configure Thermostat, Set Dimmer, Turn on for a Duration, Chime Once/Twice, Send Notification|
|Security (Intrusion)||Set Dimmer, Turn on for a Duration|
|Events (Open/Close||Set Dimmer, Turn on for a Duration, Chime Once/Twice, Play All Sirens, Send Push Notification,|
|Events (Temperature & Switch)||Configure Thermostat, Set Dimmer, Turn on for a Duration, Chime Once/Twice, Send Push Notification,|
|Events (Motion Detection||Configure Thermostat, Set Dimmer, Turn on for a Duration, Chime Once/Twice, Play all Sirens, Send Push Notification,|
|Events (Flood Sensor)||Set Dimmer|
|Tap||Arm Modes (Disarm, Arm Away, Day Arm, Night Arm), Devices (Configure Thermostat, Set Dimmer, Turn On For a Duration, Chime One/Twice, Push Send Notification)|
Each Smart Hub can support up to twenty Smart Rules. In testing, I ran two rules, and they worked great. By far, my favorite trigger was Push. Adding Push as a Shortcut was a huge time saver for triggering automation.
Shortcuts are quick actions found on the home screen of the mobile app. You can create shortcuts for your smart rules, control actions (turn a connected device on/off, access your smart thermostat, etc.), or even video, though I have yet to find a way to make video work.
In addition to creating rules through the GetSafe app, you can create rules using IFTTT. The difference is that IFTTT will allow you to create cause and effect relationships (called Applets) between GetSafe and third-party devices and services.
To use IFTTT, you start by setting a trigger and then a reaction to the trigger. Currently, GetSafe has three available triggers and five actions. If you want to use GetSafe as the Trigger, you can choose from device opened, temperature changed, or arm state changed. As an Action, GetSafe can trigger the siren, swap to away mode, arm night mode, arm day mode, or you can trigger one of your LED bulbs (including color). For example, if you want to use GetSafe as the trigger, you could say, “When I disarm my GetSafe system, turn on Philips Hue lights.” Whenever you arrive home and disarm your security system, your lights will automatically turn on. If you wanted to use GetSafe as the action, you could say, “If Nest Cam detects motion, trigger GetSafe siren.”
Home Automation Summary
What you need to know about GetSafe home automation:
- Z-Wave Home Automation with Z-Wave Adapter
- Works with the Nest Thermostat
- IFTTT Integration
- FHD Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
Customer Service and Support
As a newer company, there isn’t a long established customer service history to review. However, GetSafe is a sub of Bay Alarm. Bay Alarm has been around for awhile and they currently hold an A+ rating with the BBB.
The current quality of GetSafe’s customer service and support is reflected in different customer forums and review websites. For the most part, reviews are positive, probably due to their customer-friendly policies.
For example, GetSafe offers a 30-day trial period. If you find that the system is not for you, you can return it for a refund less shipping costs, no questions asked. All of their devices also include a 1-year warranty to align with their one year contract. And because their equipment is DIY installed, you can easily take the system with you when you move, no penalty.
However, I decided to give support a spin. I called the support line and they picked up right away. We had a nice chat, support was US-based support, and I had no problems during the experience. Ironically, I had to call back to support the very next day, and this time I really needed help, not just confirmation of GetSafe’s ability to deliver quality support. The second time, I was placed on hold. In their defense, after about 3 minutes, they offered to hold my place in the queue for a callback, but I chose to hold. However, after 15 minutes on hold, I gave up and opted for a callback. Thirty minutes after the initial call was placed, I received a call from California, GetSafe’s home state, but there was no voice on the other end. They called again, but the call was disconnected, and again a third time. A few minutes later they tried again, but I was talking to my mom, and well, she comes first. Fortunately, I called back the next day and received help right away.
We’ve already discussed our major concern with GetSafe support: a potential increase in rate. Other than that, it seems like GetSafe is doing a lot of things right.
What you need to know about GetSafe’s customer service:
- High Customer Review Rating
- 30-Day Trial Period
- 1-Year Warranty
- Questionable Terms and Conditions
GetSafe is one part home security, one part smart home hub. It lacks some traditional home security features such as a control panel, keypad, and a loud siren, but it adds untraditional features like IFTTT, Works with Nest, and a more modern look.
All that said, GetSafe works as intended. Currently, their two biggest detractors are the disorganized and sub-par camera experience provided by EZVIZ and GetSafe’s lack of commitment to long-term pricing. Other than that, if you’re looking for a no contract home security system that will integrate with your favorite third-party smart home devices, GetSafe should be on your shortlist.
GetSafe Customer Review