Home security means different things to different people. For some, meandering, pony-sized Rottweilers named “Killer” provide peace of mind for their family and possessions. For others, it’s a Louisville Slugger slipped under the bed frame or gates manned by donut-gorged stooges.
As a former denizen of suburbia, though, the term inspires images fueled on far less machismo and snobbery. Instead, “Home Security” in the world of sheltered souls means small alarm key pads and a posse of sensors designed to alert home owners (re: parents) to any household comings and goings. Owning one tolls the end of late night debauchery for all teenagers trapped inside. In other words, they were the handicraft of Satan himself.
Age has a way of changing one’s outlook though and now that I’ve been armed with the wherewithal to acquire my own possessions for some time, my perspective on these electronic dungeon masters has shifted. Never willing to shell out additional rent for a doorman, all that once defended my apartment from eager snatchers were two locks and a deadbolt. Things clearly needed to change. The trouble is that the majority of “Home Security” systems are exactly that. Security systems for homes. Yes, some could be tooled down for apartment installations, but like most New Yorkers, my humble abode is a rental, meaning permanent installation of anything is a no go.
“..SimpliSafe operates on the principal that when you buy a security system, you own it for life and should retain the option to transfer it if you ever move.”
Clearly, SimpliSafe understands my problems, because their product is the perfect fit for my situation. Taking full advantage of the convenience of wireless technology, SimpliSafe operates on the principal that when you buy a security system, you own it for life and should retain the option to transfer it if you ever move.
At the core of each system is a base station and keypad. The base station serves as the control center for the surrounding components and contains a siren capable of emitting 85-decibel alarm blasts. When connected to a phone line, triggering the siren simultaneously alerts the SimpliSafe emergency dispatch center of a disturbance.
Outside of collapsing the eardrums of any unwanted intruders and calling in the cavalry, the base station’s speaker also provides voice prompts related to arming and disarming the system that are initiated at the keypad. Since it’s completely wireless, installing the keypad near entryways involves pulling on the battery activation tab and peeling back adhesive strips to mount it on the wall. Really, that’s all.
Once on, the keypad will prompt you to select a master 4 digit pin. This pin controls all aspects of the system. However, if you have frequent guests, girlfriends, etc. you may also create additional pins which can disable the alarm while limiting access to other functions. When armed, users have the option of two modes: “Home” and “Away”. Home activates all entry sensors to protect against break-ins, but disables motion sensors leaving you free to move about while in your residence. Away enables both.
Entry sensor components which communicate with base station install in a similarly easy fashion to the keypad. Consisting of two pieces, one part is attached to a window or door, while the other half is placed on the frame. When separated the sensor alerts users that an entry way is open and potentially at risk for intrusion. Thus correct placement of these pieces is critical to making the system function properly, and is the one thing I’d recommend planning a little for before attaching. That said, each system comes with plenty of additional adhesive strips should you need to re-do a placement.
Rounding out the components are motion sensors and a panic button. Motion sensors detect any motion of large objects within 20 feet and are friendly for pets under 50 pounds. The panic button is rather self explanatory and is designed to immediately trigger the alarm should a situation arise by pressing it for more than 3 seconds. Stickers warning potential intruders that your domain is monitored by SimpliSafe are also provided should you wish to place them on your windows or doors.
Once the battery tabs are pulled and each component is placed in the desired position, the base station will automatically register their presence and include them as part of the system. The keypad does allow for testing modes to gauge the range of your motion sensor placement or otherwise trouble shoot the setup if you run into problems.
While using the Simplisafe 1500 system in my tests, setup took me less than 15 minutes from start to finish. The system and process went seamlessly as promised and even my doubts about the adhesive strength of the strips proved to be false.
Upon leaving for vacation, I felt secure knowing that anyone trying to break into the GP home theater lab would be met with a loud surprise that was sure to alert nearby neighbors of mischief a foot (I opted not to test the call in center function, since I generally prefer to leave the cops out of my testing procedures). That said, it’s nice to know that for an additional $15 bucks a month I could also have professional response units standing by 24 hours a day.
All in all, SimpliSafe drastically improved my piece of mind, and, in my opinion, is well worth the reasonable upfront purchase price. If you live in an apartment, or even a home, I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable home security system with virtually no installation hassle. Considering it can always move with you and expand to meet the needs of increased space, there’s really is no other product like it. To check out their variety of security systems and options, visit SimpliSafe’s site. Pricing and a link to purchase the 1500 system used in my testing which includes: 1 keypad, 1 base station, 1 panic button, 1 motion sensor, 2 entry sensors, and 1 keyfob is included below.