While other alarm companies brag about their years of experience in the alarm industry, there are those whose claim to fame is their innovation.
Ever since SimpliSafe was established back in 2006, they've been a forward-thinking company with a unique marketing approach. Fast forward to the present, they are now one of the largest and most easily-recognizable alarm companies in the U.S.
Alder is another young company that relies on innovation to stay ahead. A decade after it was established, Alder remains a breath of fresh air in the alarm industry because of the simplicity of their products and features, a welcome deviation from overly complicated security systems offered by most alarm companies.
Alder Pros & Cons
- All-Inclusive Monitoring For Burglary, Fire, & Medical Emergency
- Average Response Time Exceeds Industry Standard
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
- Three to Five-Year Contracts That Auto-Renews
- Limited Smart Home Offer
- History of Misleading Sales Tactics
SimpliSafe Pros & Cons
- No-Contract Professional Monitoring
- Option Between Professional and Self-Monitoring
- Affordable Monthly Rates
- Limited Device Lineup
- Functions as Local Alarm When Self-Monitored
- Limited Camera Options
- Wireless Equipment
- DIY Installation
- Smartphone App Access
- Professional Monitoring
- Lack of Home Automation
- Sales Process — Alder markets their products online and through door-to-door sales reps. SimpliSafe only sells through their online shop and retailers.
- Contract — Alder requires a three to five-year contract. SimpliSafe is contract-free.
- Monitoring — With Alder, professional monitoring is required. SimpliSafe can still function without professional monitoring.
- Cameras — Alder doesn't have cameras, but it integrates with third-party indoor and outdoor cameras. SimpliSafe has an indoor camera and a video doorbell.
- Refurbished Equipment — Alder only sells brand new equipment. SimpliSafe gives their customers the option to buy refurbished products in order to bring down the upfront equipment cost.
Sales & Pricing Comparison
Alder's sales process depends on who reaches out first. If you encounter an Alder sales rep during one of their door-to-door marketing sessions, the sales rep can assist you right away in choosing the right security system and setting up service. If you reach out first either through phone or email, you will have to wait for the quote that Alder will generate for you. From there, a sales rep will assist you through the rest of the process. SimpliSafe's sales process is much simpler. Just go to their website, choose an equipment package or build a custom package, and then place the order. You can add monitoring services before checking out or set up service once the system is installed by logging into your SimpliSafe account and subscribing to professional monitoring.
Alder's monthly rate varies per location, but by our estimate, monitoring plans start at $35 per month. It can go higher or lower depending on existing deals in your area. Of course, adding premium features will only increase your monthly rate. With SimpliSafe, there are two monitoring plans. The first plan, which includes professional monitoring and cellular backup, starts at $14.99 per month. The second plan, which also gives you access to the SimpliSafe smartphone app, will set you back $24.99 per month. SimpliSafe is able to offer a lower monthly rate because they skipped the middle men—sales reps and local dealers— and offer services directly to customers.
Alder prefers customizing each package to every customer's needs. The price will depend on how large a security system you want. However, Alder might throw in free equipment or discounts if you choose a security package large enough. A small upfront payment is also to be expected. With SimpliSafe, the upfront cost is higher because the full price of the equipment package upfront. The smallest package you can buy is only $229, but larger packages with over twenty device inclusions can cost over $1,000. The advantage of this setup is that there are no contracts required. With Alder, the initial payment is low, but you'll be required to use their service for several years.
Alder security systems are designed for DIY installation, but if you want professional help, Alder can send over a technician to install your system for a small fee. Many existing customers highlight the fact that Alder's technicians are friendly, professional, and well-versed regarding their security system. SimpliSafe is also DIY installed. Our testers here at HomeAlarmReport have had first-hand experience installing a SimpliSafe system and they've noted that it is easy to install. However, for a $75 flat rate, you can ask a SimpliSafe partner technician to perform the installation.
Key Features & Tech
Alder's standard equipment revolves around an intuitive touchscreen control panel that ties together the entire system. It wirelessly connects with sensors and accessories as well as provides an accessible way to monitor and control your security system via its touchscreen interface. Motion sensors, door/window sensors, and glass break sensors are also standard components of the Alder system. SimpliSafe's standard equipment is a little different. Instead of a control panel, the SimpliSafe Base Station ties all the systems together. It's more secure than traditional control panels because you can hide it away and use the included wireless keypad to control your security system. Even if the keypad is destroyed, the Base Station remains fully functional and capable of sending alerts.
Home automation is one area where both Alder and SimpliSafe are equally lacking. Alder's home automation features are limited to Alexa integration Yale smart lock compatibility. SimpliSafe has more partners, including Alexa, Google Home, August smart lock, and Nest Thermostat, but some of these integrations require a subscription to SimpliSafe's professional monitoring service.
Alder doesn't really offer any cameras, but the system integrates with the Xiaomi Yi Home indoor camera and Arlo Pro indoor/outdoor camera. You can buy these cameras from Alder or from other retailers and then integrate them with the security system to be able to watch videos using the Alder app. SimpliSafe, on the other hand, has self-branded cameras. There's the SimpliCam indoor camera and SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro. Both cameras can work with the security system or operate as standalone, self-monitored cameras.
Although both security systems have smartphone apps, Alder's app is free to use for all customers, while SimpliSafe's app is exclusive to Interactive plan subscribers. Interactive is SimpliSafe's highest-tier monitoring plan with a $24 per month rate. Both apps provide the functionality to control your security system, receive alerts, and monitor the status of sensors. They can also be used to stream real-time security camera feed.
Alder's control panel sends alert notifications to their monitoring centers and to your smartphone using wireless cellular signal. There's no need to maintain a landline connection or connect it to Wi-Fi. However, if you want a backup connection in the event of cellular reception loss, you can connect the control panel to your existing Wi-Fi network. SimpliSafe is designed to use your Wi-Fi signal primarily, so you must have an internet connection in order to use the system. However, if you subscribe to a professional monitoring plan, the cellular chip embedded into the base station will activate, giving your security system cellular backup. In case your internet is down, the base station will use switch over to GSM signal to send alerts.
Customer Service Experience
One key difference between Alder and SimpliSafe is the monitoring contract. Most alarm companies, including Alder, require long-term contracts. The contract legally obliges you to use their service for a certain number of months. In Alder's case, contracts are three to five years. SimpliSafe, being a non-conventional alarm company, doesn't require contracts. You can cancel service anytime you want without incurring penalties. You are even free to opt in and out of service anytime, although monthly fees already paid to SimpliSafe will not be refunded if you opt out. You can choose to pay one month at a time or one year in advance to receive discounts.
Going back to Alder's contract, if you cancel service prior to the end of the contract term, you will be charged a hefty penalty. The penalty is computed based on the number of months remaining on your contract. For example, if you have six months remaining, the penalty is equivalent to six times your monthly rate. With SimpliSafe, because there are no contracts, you can cancel service anytime without penalties.
Due to Alder's lack of an official documentation regarding their return policy, we're assuming that they don't have one. However, consumers are protected by the 3-day Right of Rescission as dictated by the U.S. federal law. With this provision, you can return the equipment and cancel service without incurring early termination penalties within three days after signing the contract. SimpliSafe, on the other hand, gives their customers 60 days to return defective or unwanted equipment and receive a full refund. However, service fees already paid to SimpliSafe cannot be refunded.
Finally, if you have a prospect of relocating within the next few years, you'd be happy to know that both Alder and SimpliSafe will let you move without penalties or additional fees. You can simply box up your security system and install it in your new home. However, with Alder, you must talk to their customer support first before initiating the move. With SimpliSafe, updating your address is the only necessary step, as your address on record tells them where to send help in case of emergency.
Bottom Line: Who Wins?
After taking a long hard look and comparing SimpliSafe and Alder, it's clear that SimpliSafe is a stronger option. They have better pricing and sales process, more useful features, and more customer-friendly policies. The fact that SimpliSafe is a contract-free security solution is also one of its biggest advantage over Alder, especially if you want a monitoring service that can be flexible. However, Alder is by no means a bad choice. In fact, we recommend it over SimpliSafe to those who want to set up a security system but don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on upfront costs. That is, if you're okay signing a three to five-year deal with them.
|Features & Technolgy||8||9|
|Ease of Use||8||8.8|
|Monitoring Type||Professional||Professional or Self-Monitored|
|Installation Type||DIY||Professional or DIY|