Frontpoint, SimpliSafe, and Protect America are three of the highest rated alarm companies on our website. They all aim to offer best-in-class technology backed with professional monitoring, but they by no means approach the goal the same way.
Frontpoint, SimpliSafe, and Protect America approach home security in different ways, but they still have quite a lot in common. Most of their similarities can be found in the features their systems offer.
- They provide professional monitoring services.
- They offer wireless equipment.
- They are all DIY installed.
- They offer smartphone access.
- They cover all the basics when it comes to home security.
- Their systems are expandable with life safety features.
As for their differences, some of them are minor but most are distinctive enough to help you make buying decisions.
- Contract: Frontpoint has 1-year and 3-year contracts; Protect America has 3-year contracts; Simplisafe is contract-free.
- Equipment: Frontpoint and SimpliSafe systems are built around a hub; Protect America uses a control panel.
- Sales Process: Frontpoint and SimpliSafe allow you to buy everything online; Protect America gives customized quotes online or through phone.
- Home Automation: Frontpoint and Protect America offer a full suite of smart home products; SimpliSafe relies on third-party integrations.
- Cameras: Frontpoint and Protect America offer indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras; SimpliSafe offers an indoor camera and doorbell camera.
- Monitoring Method: Frontpoint uses cellular monitoring; Protect America offers landline, cellular, and broadband monitoring; SimpliSafe use broadband monitoring with optional, subscription-based cellular backup.
- Pricing Structure: Frontpoint and SimpliSafe's pricing structure are available online; Protect America's pricing is not as transparent.
When choosing a security system, knowing how much it will cost you is one of the first things you must consider, especially the long-term usage cost as dictated by the monthly monitoring fee and the upfront cost to cover the equipment fee.
Frontpoint makes shopping for equipment a lot easier by offering kits and packages. You can get started by choosing a kit that best fits your needs and then customize it by adding extra devices. Frontpoint's equipment packages start at $99 with a signed 3-year contract and approved credit. This price reflects a $300+ discount which you can use to create your own equipment package. For example, for $99, you can get a Frontpoint Hub, Wireless Keypad, Motion Sensor, three Door/Window Sensors, a yard sign, and window and door decals.
What about add-on equipment? The good news about Frontpoint is that it's self-installed, so you can buy add-on equipment anytime and install them yourself. There's no need to pay a technician $50 or more simply to stick a door/window sensor on a window. This is in contrast to companies like ADT that will require professional installation of any device you add.
Here's how much each add-on device will cost you:
- Door/Window Sensor — $32.99
- Motion Sensor — $64.99
- Glass Break Sensor — $74.99
- Garage Door Tilt Sensor — $44.99
- Carbon Monoxide Sensor — $89.99
- Flood Sensor — $44.99
- Smoke & Heat Sensor — $64.99
- Smart Light Bulb — $9.99
- Wireless Light Control — $49.99
- Garage Door Controller — $69.99
- Smart Door Lock — $179.99
- Panic Pendant — $39.99
- Keychain remote — $31.99
- Premium Indoor Camera — $199.99
- Indoor Camera — $99.99
- Outdoor Camera — $199.99
- Doorbell Camera — $189.99
SimpliSafe takes a similar approach as Frontpoint. They sell their products online, either on their website or from third-party retailers such as Amazon.
SimpliSafe sells set equipment packages. Their entry-level package sells for $229. It includes one Base Station and Keypad, one Motion Sensor, one Entry Sensor, and one Keychain Remote. SimpliSafe doesn't offer discounts as much as Frontpoint does, but that's a good thing if you don't want to be tied down to long-term contracts. They are contract-free and there's no need for a credit check in order to buy one of their equipment packages. You can simply go to their website, choose a package, and have it delivered to your doorstep.
SimpliSafe is also DIY installed, so whether you buy everything you need now or start small and gradually expand your security system, you won't have to pay installation fees. Here's how much each equipment costs:
- Door/Window Sensor — $14.99
- Motion Sensor — $29.99
- Glass Break Sensor — $34.99
- Water Sensor — $19.99
- Smoke Sensor — $29.99
- Temperature Sensor — $29.99
- Panic Button — $19.99
- Key Fob — $24.99
- SimpliCam Indoor Camera — $99.00
- Video Doorbell Pro — $169.00
The advantage of Protect America is that there are no upfront equipment fees. You can set yourself up with a system worth $1,400 without paying a single penny upfront simply by agreeing to use their professional monitoring service with a 3-year contract. For example, for as low as $19.99 a month (landline monitoring, not recommended) or $41.99 (cellular & broadband monitoring, recommended), you will get a basic security system with three door/window sensors, a motion sensor, and a control panel with a built-in keypad. As you increase your monthly rate, you will receive more sensors.
The downside to Protect America's approach is that the equipment is not flexible. Adding something as simple as smoke sensors will increase your monthly monitoring rate. Frontpoint and SimpliSafe both let you buy add-on products without increasing your monthly fee as long as your monitoring plan supports the device's features.
Equipment Pricing Summary
Of the three companies, SimpliSafe's equipment pricing is the least expensive and they also provide the most package options. The downsides are that their equipment options are limited and their packages are priced higher than the others because they don't require long-term contracts.
When it comes to packages, Frontpoint is the winner, provided that you're willing to sign a three-year contract and that you have an approved credit. Without the discounts, Frontpoint's equipment package pricing is higher than SimpliSafe.
Protect America's advantage over Frontpoint and SimpliSafe is that there are no upfront equipment fees. However, their systems are not flexible.
Monitoring Service Pricing
Frontpoint has a three-tiered pricing plan. They offer Protection Plan for $34.99/month, Interactive Plan for $44.99/month, and Ultimate Plan for $49.99/month. All three plans include all-inclusive (burglary, fire, medical) professional monitoring using cellular signal and broadband backup as well as automated system checks. Choosing a more expensive plan will also give you access to the Frontpoint smartphone app and features like Crash & Smash Protection, home automation, and video monitoring.
Keep in mind that Frontpoint requires a 1-year (for renters) or 3-year (for homeowners) contract. It's a long-term commitment, and in the span of three years, the monitoring cost will total to $1,295.64 for the Protection Plan, $1,619.64 for the Interactive Plan, and $1,799.64 for the Ultimate Plan. If you wish to terminate the service prior to the end of the contract, you'd still be required to pay 80% of the remainder of the term. For example, if you cancel your Interactive Plan contract with 2 more years, you'd still be on the hook for $863.81.
Simplisafe is currently running one of the best promotions we've seen. Check their website for full details.
SimpliSafe's pricing plan is also three-tiered, consisting of a Basic Plan (free), Standard Plan ($14.99/month), and Interactive Plan ($24.99). Using the system for free requires a lot of work and effort on the part of the user as it's a self-monitored plan. It also has downsides, like lack of notifications and smartphone access. These two features are critical for self-monitoring. The good news is you can get professional monitoring for as low as $14.99 per month using the Standard Plan. It still doesn't include smartphone access and remote smartphone notifications, but SimpliSafe's partner monitoring center will call you in the event of a break-in and send the police to your house on your behalf. You can gain access to the smartphone app and notifications among other advanced features by subscribing to the Interactive Plan.
Unlike Frontpoint, SimpliSafe is contract-free. If you sign up to a monitoring plan, you don't have to use it for several years and there are no penalties if you cancel. However, for the sake of comparison, using SimpliSafe's Standard Plan for three years will cost you $539.64, while the Interactive Plan will cost you $899.64.
Protect America offers a robust selection of monitoring plans that includes the rent of the equipment provided to you. [!link!]Protect America's pricing structure is also three-tiered, but each tier lets you choose between landline monitoring and cellular monitoring. We'll explain the difference between the two later on, but for now, let's talk pricing. Landline monitoring is cheaper than cellular monitoring. The least expensive landline plan is Copper ($19.99), followed by Silver ($37.99) and most expensive is Platinum ($42.99). If you wish to go cellular, Copper is $41.99 per month, Silver is $49.99, and Platinum is $54.99. All the landline plans include professional monitoring of burglary and intrusion sensors only, while the cellular plans include smartphone app access as well. Adding fire monitoring will increase your monthly rate by $9.99 regardless of your monitoring plan and there's another $9.99/month increase if you add cameras to your system. Fire monitoring and cameras are optional.
Protect America's contract requirement is less flexible than Frontpoint; whether you're a renter or homeowner, you will need to sign a 3-year contract. In minimum, using Protect America for three years will cost you $719.64 (Landline Copper Plan, no smoke alarms, no cameras). Their most popular monitoring plan, Cellular Silver, will cost you $1,799.64 without cameras or smoke sensors. You will pay the same amount whether you finish your contract or not because Protect America charges 100% of the remaining contract balance as early termination penalty.
Monitoring Service Pricing Summary
In terms of long-term usage cost, SimpliSafe is the lowest. You can use the system for free or add professional monitoring for $14.99. Even their most expensive monitoring plan is still inexpensive when compared to Frontpoint and Protect America's entry-level plans. SimpliSafe also has other advantages, like no-contract monitoring and subscription flexibility. You can opt in and out of their monitoring services hassle-free.
The introductory price of Protect America[/link] is also inexpensive. You can get professional monitoring for $19.99 a month. However, in terms of value, Protect America is actually expensive. Their low introductory price offers limited functionality and features. If you want total protection from burglary and fire, the minimum monthly fee is $59.98, and that still doesn't include security camera features.
When it comes to value, Frontpoint is the strongest option. Their monitoring plans might seem expensive compared to SimpliSafe and Protect America at first glance, but you'll get more than what you pay for if you look at the included features (all-inclusive monitoring, cellular monitoring, automated system checks).
If you're on the fence between Simplisafe and Frontpoint, it is important for us to point out that for several years in a row, Frontpoint has been our #1 choice for home security. If you're looking to setup service or just talk to someone more knowledgeable about your options, Frontpoint has set us up with a dedicated sales line to help you. (855) 246-7807
Pricing Plans Side-By-Side Comparison
|Protection Plan||Interactive Plan||Ultimate Plan||Basic Plan||Standard Plan||Interactive Plan||Copper||Silver||Platinum|
|Cost per Month||$34.99||$44.99||$49.99||Free||$14.99||$24.99||Landline - $19.99 Cellular - $41.99||Landline - $37.99 Cellular - $49.99||Landline - $42.99 Cellular - $54.99|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring|
|Medical Emergency Monitoring|
|Monitoring Method||Cellular||Cellular||Cellular||Broadband||Broadband w/ Cellular Backup||Broadband w/ Cellular Backup||Landline, Cellular, or Broadband||Landline, Cellular, or Broadband||Landline, Cellular, or Broadband|
|Other Protection Features||Crash & Smash Protection||Crash & Smash Protection||Smash-Proof Protection||Smash-Proof Protection|
|Included Equipment||+$99 for Basic Equipment Package*||+$99 for Basic Equipment Package||+$99 for Basic Equipment Package*||Basic Equipment Package**||Basic Equipment Package**||Basic Equipment Package**|
|Contract Length||1-year or 3-year||1-year or 3-year||1-year or 3-year||No Contract||No Contract||No Contract||3-year||3-year||3-year|
|Full Review||Frontpoint Review||SimpliSafe Review||Protect America Review|
|Get A Quote||Get A Quote||Get A Quote|
Frontpoint offers self-installed, wireless home security systems backed by a professional monitoring service that uses cellular signal for communication. Their equipment comes from trusted alarm system manufacturers such as Alarm.com and Qolsys, and they even provide smart home devices and cameras.
Wireless Equipment & DIY Installation
All of Frontpoint's components are wireless, from the hub that communicates to the wireless sensors and cameras that stream videos through Wi-Fi. However, some devices need to be plugged in, like the cameras and the hub.
The beauty of wireless equipment is that they are easy to install. This is important because Frontpoint is a DIY installed system. Most of the sensors can be installed using the included peel-and-stick adhesive tapes. Should you need help installing more complicated products, like video doorbells or smoke sensors, Frontpoint provides online video instructions or you may call their technical support hotline.
Cellular Monitoring with Broadband Backup
The monitoring method is a vital factor in every professionally monitored security system. It refers to how the system sends alert signals to you or the monitoring center. Landline, cellular, and broadband are the three most common monitoring methods used by alarm companies, and of the three cellular is the most reliable. A landline will not only add to the total cost (paying for phone service), but it is susceptible to outages and can be cut using a pair of wire cutters. Broadband communicates quickly but again won’t work 24/7. If your internet goes out and you are using broadband monitoring, you’re out of luck. On the other hand, cellular monitoring uses a cellular signal. It is fast and impervious to both internet and power outages.
All of Frontpoint's monitoring plans include cellular monitoring with broadband backup. Aside from offering the most secure and reliable monitoring method, they provide broadband backup, which uses your internet connection to send alerts in the rare case that cellular signal becomes unavailable.
Crash & Smash Protection
Crash & Smash Protection is another feature that makes Frontpoint standout. It's a feature that protects you from one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to breaking in. Basically, what experienced burglars do is they go straight to the control panel or hub and destroys it before it can send alerts. They take advantage of the delay period, a common security system feature that prevents false alerts.
With Frontpoint's Crash & Smash Protection, the system sends an alert to the central station without delay. To prevent false alarms, the alert remains a soft signal until you enter the correct disarm PIN. If the PIN wasn't typed in within a set amount of time, the soft signal becomes an active alert and triggers Frontpoint's response protocol. If the intruder destroys the hub or keypad, there's no way to enter the disarm PIN and the alert will come through.
To make their system more convenient to use, Frontpoint offers smartphone access via the Frontpoint app. The app is powered by Alarm.com and made specifically for the Frontpoint system. Using the app, customers can manage their account, arm and disarm their security system, and monitor the status of their sensors. The same app is used to monitor security cameras and control smart home products. It also delivers smartphone notifications and alerts concerning security and life safety sensors.
Smartphone access is reserved to Interactive Plan and Ultimate Plan users. The app holds a 4-star rating on both Apple's App Store and Google Play. It's also available to Apple TV and Kindle Fire users.
Home Automation & Cameras
Frontpoint's equipment offer goes beyond sensors. They also offer home automation products and security cameras.
Frontpoint offers full home automation. You can automate your lights, small appliances, locks, thermostats, and you can even use your voice to control the system. On top of that, they offer a smart doorbell and the ability to create rules using a schedule or your location through geofencing. If you want to use your voice to control your Frontpoint smart home, you can use Alexa or Google Home. Frontpoint also works with some third-party devices like the August Smart Lock Pro, which works with Frontpoint’s Ultimate Plan. However, use of August requires that you have an August Connect or August Doorbell Cam acting as a Wi-Fi bridge. (Though the August Video Doorbell will not work with your Frontpoint system).
As for cameras, Frontpoint offers an indoor camera, a premium outdoor camera with a built-in Bluetooth speaker, an outdoor camera and a video doorbell. Use of cameras requires the Ultimate Plan. With the Ultimate Plan, all your cameras will have a shared storage space for 1,000 event clips per month.
Frontpoint also offers a camera plan for $14.99/month. This is a self-monitoring plan, allowing you to buy only cameras without a security system.
SimpliSafe is a provider of self-installed security systems. They have a free self-monitoring plan and paid professional monitoring plans. Their systems are wireless and uses internet connection to communicate alerts, but with a professional monitoring plan, users also get cellular backup.
Wireless Equipment & DIY Installation
SimpliSafe's wireless system is designed for DIY installation. Like Frontpoint, most of their sensors are installed using peel-and-stick style adhesive. The installation process is guided by the app and the devices either connect to the hub (sensors, key fobs, panic buttons) or to Wi-Fi (SimpliCam & Video Doorbell Pro).
Broadband Monitoring With Optional Cellular Backup
The SimpliSafe 3 hub, which is the current hub offered by SimpliSafe, connects to Wi-Fi and uses your internet connection to send alerts. This is also known as broadband monitoring. As discussed earlier, relying on Wi-Fi to send alerts isn't the best monitoring method, but that's not a big issue because SimpliSafe offers cellular backup if you subscribe to any of their monitoring plans. With cellular backup, the system can continue to send alerts even if your internet is down. What about those who are on the Basic Plan? Communication isn't a big deal for Basic Plan users because their systems actually don't communicate alerts. The only way it provides notifications is by sounding the alarm signal siren built into the hub.
With an Interactive Plan, SimpliSafe users can also access the SimpliSafe smartphone app. Users can utilize the app to control their security systems remotely, watch security camera footage, and receive alert notifications. The SimpliSafe Home Security App holds a 4-star rating on Google Play Store and 4.8-star rating on Apple's App Store.
Cameras & Smart Home Integration
SimpliSafe offers self-monitored security cameras. Why are they self-monitored? Because they aren't linked to the monitoring center and you can buy them even without a SimpliSafe system. They currently offer two security cameras: the SimpliCam indoor camera and Video Doorbell Pro, but they plan to add an outdoor camera soon. Interestingly, the Video Doorbell Pro is the only product of SimpliSafe that requires hardwiring. It needs an existing doorbell setup to work, and it only works with 8 to 24VAC wiring.
SimpliSafe also offers some automation. SimpliSafe 2 and 3 both connect to the Nest Thermostat through Works with Nest and August Locks including the original and Pro versions. However, Nest and August integrations are only available to customers who are subscribed to the Interactive Plan. SimpliSafe 3 also works with Amazon Alexa devices and Google Assistant. While SimpliSafe is headed in the right direction regarding integrations, you still can’t automate devices in the traditional sense using rules or scenes.
SimpliSafe has a feature similar to Fronpoint's Crash & Smash Protection, but it isn’t as robust. If the Base Station is smashed during an entry delay, the signal dies. However, if it’s smashed after a set entry delay, they will send help.
Protect America provides self-installed but professionally monitored security systems. They offer landline, broadband, and cellular monitoring, and they use equipment from Interlogix. They also provide home automation products and security cameras.
Wireless Equipment & DIY Installation
Protect America, like Frontpoint and SimpliSafe, offers wireless equipment built for self-installation, eliminating installation and activation fees. Their products don't require drilling, connect wirelessly to the control panel, and are either free-standing or installed using adhesive tapes. Most customers report that installation only takes less than 30 minutes, although the actual install time will vary depending on how big the system is and what components are being installed.
Landline, Broadband & Cellular Monitoring
Of the three alarm companies we're comparing, Protect America is the only one that offers all three monitoring methods: landline, broadband, and cellular. Their landline monitoring plans are cheaper, starting at $19.99 per month. Broadband and cellular monitoring cost the same, starting at $41.99.
Protect America’s app has struggled over the years, though they’ve recently improved their rating to 2.4-stars on both platforms. It allows more control over your system like Frontpoint’s app, but the problem is that they are a security company trying to maintain a mobile app. They would be better off using an app from a technology company like Alarm.com.
Home Automation & Cameras
Protect America also has a limited home automation offer. Through Protect America you can automate small appliances, smart thermostats, and locks, that’s it. You can, however, add third-party devices. Protect America works with Amazon Alexa. With it, you can arm and disarm your security system using your voice. Protect America also works with the August Smart Lock Pro and they recommend the GoControl Z-Wave and Alarm.com Smart Thermostats.
When it comes to features,Frontpoint, SimpliSafe 3, and Protect America has similarities. However, we recommend that you dig deeper because even though they share a lot of features in common, they each have a different approach at offering those features. For example, they all offer security cameras and home automation, but SimpliSafe's two-camera lineup is limited and Protect America's automation features aren't as extensive as Frontpoint's home automation features.
Customer Service Comparison
A reputation is thankfully more than hearts and rants posted online. To us, a company’s reputation is reflected in the policies they lay out for their customers.
|Contract Length||1-year or 3-year||No Contract||3-year|
|Early Termination Penalty||80% of the remaining balance.||100% of the remaining balance|
|Return Period||30-Day Money-Back||60-Day Money-Back||15-Day Returns|
|Return Shipping Fee|
|Can You Move With Your System?|
|Live Chat Support|
|Notes On Customer Support Quality||Stellar service with fast response||High-quality service but struggles with response time||Good quality service but leaves a lot to be desired|
Customer Service Summary
In general, all three companies have customer friendly policies, but SimpliSafe has the edge as they don’t require a contract at all. Frontpoint is also good. There is a contract (1-year or 3-year) but they don't charge the full amount of the contract of the penalty if you cancel. We've also tested and proven their customer support and it's one of the things we like most about them. Protect America is still a good option, but you have to watch out for their contracts and cancellation policy. Their slightly lower BBB rating also indicates that they still have room for improvement in the customer service department.
|Plan||Price||Promo Price||Contract Length|
|Protection Plan||$34.99/mo||-||36 mo|
|Interactive Plan||$44.99/mo||-||36 mo|
|Ultimate Plan||$49.99/mo||-||36 mo|
Protect America Plans
|Plan||Price||Promo Price||Contract Length|