SimpliSafe Cameras Review 2020

SimpliSafe offers two basic security cameras: an indoor camera and a doorbell cam.
SimpliSafe logo
Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Human detection
Work as standalone devices
Lacking smart alerts

We think of SimpliSafe cameras as more like a bonus than a core feature. The SimpliSafe home security system is one of our favorite DIY options, but SimpliSafe cameras? They’re just a nice extra if you want to keep an eye on your living room or your porch.

The two cameras SimpliSafe offers are the SimpliCam indoor camera and the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro. Both are decent, affordable models. You could find better versions of both an indoor camera and a doorbell camera from several other brands, but other brands won’t work as smoothly with your SimpliSafe alarm system.

SimpliSafe camera comparison
ModelImagePriceVideo resolutionLearn more
SimpliCam Indoor CameraSimpliCam indoor camera$99.001080p HDView Plans
SimpliSafe Doorbell Camera ProSimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro$169.001080p HDView Plans

Data effective as of 10/28/20. Offers subject to change.

How SimpliSafe Cameras Work

SimpliSafe cameras take motion-activated recordings and work with SimpliSafe security sensors.

SimpliCam security camera

Source: SimpliSafe

Just like all SimpliSafe devices, SimpliSafe cameras are built for budgeters. The SimpliCam indoor camera costs a mere $99, and the Video Doorbell Pro is still decently priced at $169. Plus, both these cameras are easy to install yourself. The indoor camera uses a single power cord, and the doorbell camera uses your existing doorbell wiring.

Neither of SimpliSafe’s cameras blows us away from a tech perspective, but if you want cameras that put the “simple” in “SimpliSafe” and that work with the rest of your security system, then you could do worse.

SimpliSafe cameras work as standalone devices

A lot of home security companies require you to install a full system and subscribe to a pricey monitoring plan before they’ll support cameras. But SimpliSafe offers both of its security cameras as standalone devices.

You can buy either the indoor camera or the doorbell camera and use it all on its own without a single other sensor in place. SimpliSafe gives you motion-activated alerts for free, but we recommend subscribing to the video support plan. It starts at $4.99 per month and gives you 30 days’ worth of cloud storage.

SimpliSafe camera recording subscription plans
# of cameras1 cameraUp to 10 cameras
Price$4.99/mo. $9.99/mo.
Cloud storage30 days30 days
Motion-activated alertsYesYes
Clip downloadYesYes
Learn moreView PlanView Plans

Data effective as of 10/28/20. Offers subject to change.

SimpliSafe cameras use cloud storage (only)

Neither of SimpliSafe’s cameras have a local storage option. You can either get motion-triggered notifications for free or pay the fee for 30 days’ worth of cloud storage. If you want a camera that lets you store footage on a USB drive or microSD card, we recommend something like the Wyze Pan Cam or the Eufy Video Doorbell.

SimpliSafe cameras use event-based recording

Both the SimpliCam and the Video Doorbell Pro record short clips of video when they sense motion and then store that footage in the cloud (as long as you have a video recording plan). This type of recording is called event-based video recording.

On the flip side, some cameras offer continuous video recording that keeps the camera going 24/7 and gives you a complete timeline of footage you can look through.

Most people don’t need their cameras to record 24/7, but if you’re a business owner or you just want an ongoing recording of your backyard, then heads up that SimpliSafe cameras don’t have that feature. Try the Nest Cam IQ Indoor or the Arlo Q instead.

SimpliSafe offers video verification

With video verification, SimpliSafe monitoring reps can temporarily access your SimpliCam or Video Doorbell Pro to see if there really is an intruder in your house.

You need a full-on SimpliSafe security system to use this feature, but it’s pretty cool. Video verification helps prevent false alarms, like when your children leave the door open just a little bit and set off the sensor.

When your alarm system goes off, the camera starts recording and sends the footage to SimpliSafe’s monitoring center. That way, they can see if there’s really someone suspicious or if it’s just an errant kid.

If the idea of some monitoring center rep seeing your camera footage freaks you out, no worries. Video verification is optional—you can turn it off.

SimpliSafe SimpliCam features

The SimpliCam doesn’t have any “wow” features, but we like the privacy shutter.

SimpliCam indoor camera

Source: SimpliSafe

The SimpliCam is a basic little indoor camera. It has decent resolution, a good field of view, and standard features like two-way audio and night vision. It’s not bad for its $99 price tag, but there’s nothing about it that makes us say “wow.” It can keep an eye on your house and send notifications when it detects motion, but that’s about it.

SimpliSafe SimpliCam features:

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • 120º field of view
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection
  • Person detection
  • Privacy shutter
  • 14°–104° F operating temperature
  • Outdoor adapter kit available
  • Free motion alerts
  • 3-year limited warranty

Livestream

You can view the SimpliCam’s livestream through the SimpliSafe app on your phone or through a web browser. The live view shows you what’s happening at any given moment. Aside from a few seconds of lag time, you have a real-time view.

The livestream is great if you want to check on pets throughout the day or keep an eye on your kids when they’re home with the babysitter. But remember that if you want the camera to store motion-activated clips, then you have to subscribe to the camera plan.

Privacy shutter

Indoor security cameras can feel a little disturbing. How do you know it’s not watching you when you sneak into the kitchen at 2 a.m. to eat the last of that leftover cake?

For peace of mind about your secret nighttime snacking (and whatever else), SimpliCam comes with a privacy shutter. Not a lot of indoor cameras have this—it’s a visible metal shutter that closes around the camera lens so you can see at a glance that it’s not watching you. Feast away.

Outdoor adapter kit

SimpliSafe doesn’t have any outdoor security cameras, but it does sell an adapter kit that lets you outfit the SimpliCam for outdoor use. It’s really just a silicone cover that helps keep out water and dust. It also comes with a longer power cord.

The kit does expand the SimpliCam’s operating temperature range a bit: from 14°–104° F to -4°–114° F. But we don’t expect it to be the most reliable weatherproof camera around.

How to install the SimpliCam

The SimpliCam links to your Wi-Fi network wirelessly, so all you really have to worry about is the power cord.

SimpliCam installation steps: 

  • Once you have everything unboxed, insert the micro-USB cord into the back of the SimpliCam. Plug the other end of the cord into a power outlet.
  • Slide the SimpliCam body onto the base (unless you plan to mount it directly onto a wall).
  • If you don’t already have it, download the SimpliSafe app on your phone and log in with the email address and password you used when you bought the camera. Open the menu and choose Cameras, then tap the Install Camera button.
  • The app will guide you through the process of naming your camera and adding it to your Wi-Fi network.

Once you have the SimpliCam set up, you can adjust settings in the SimpliSafe app.

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro features

For the price, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro could use better smart alerts.

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro

Source: SimpliSafe

The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro has a lot of the same features as the SimpliCam, including high-definition resolution and person detection.

As video doorbells go, it’s not the smartest model we’ve seen. (We gotta give that honor to the Nest Hello.) And there are doorbell cams with better smart features that come at a similar price, like the Arlo Video Doorbell.

For $169, SimpliSafe’s Video Doorbell Pro is decent but not amazing.

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro features: 

  • 1080p HD resolution with HDR
  • 162º field of view
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection
  • Person detection
  • Built-in chime
  • Adjustable activity zones
  • Free motion alerts

Like the SimpliCam, the best thing about the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro is that it works with your SimpliSafe security system. If you don’t have a SimpliSafe system and just want a standalone doorbell camera, then we’d skip this one.

Adjustable activity zones

The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro gives you adjustable activity zones, which is great. You gotta choose a doorbell camera that lets you adjust activity zones. If you can’t, then you’re going to get dozens of notifications every day about cars driving down your street.

SimpliSafe doesn’t have the best adjustable activity zones we’ve seen. A lot of doorbell cameras let you draw which areas you want the camera to watch. SimpliSafe gives you a grid view and lets you block out tiles over areas you don’t want the camera to pay attention to. It’s not quite as fancy as the alternative, but it gets the job done.

Person-only alerts

If you want to get even fewer spammy push notifications, then you can turn on person-only alerts for the Video Doorbell Pro. This way, the doorbell will only notify you when it spots an actual human.

Person-only alerts are great if you’re tired of getting notified every time a cat walks through your yard or a tree branch waves in the wind.

How to install the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro

The Video Doorbell Pro is a bit trickier to install than the SimpliCam. This cam uses your existing doorbell connection, so you’re going to get to know some electrical wiring for this one.

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro installation steps: 

  • Turn off the breaker to your doorbell’s electrical wiring. (This step is very important unless electrocution sounds like a good time to you.)
  • Take off your current doorbell. You should be able to pry it off with just a screwdriver. You’ll need to carefully remove the wires from the back as you pull the old doorbell away from the wall.
  • Thread the wires through the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro’s mounting bracket and screw the mounting bracket into the wall. You’ll want to break out the drill for this bit. (Get it? Bit? Nevermind.)
  • Wrap the wires around the screws on the front side of the mounting bracket.
  • Slide the Video Doorbell Pro onto the mounting bracket until you hear it click. Screw the little lock screw into the bottom of the doorbell camera to secure it to the bracket.
  • Flip the breaker back on and make sure the doorbell chimes when you press the button.
  • Download the SimpliSafe app and log in with the email and password you used when you bought the doorbell cam.
  • Choose the Install a Camera option and follow the instructions to connect your doorbell cam to your Wi-Fi network and adjust the settings.

If the camera works but your doorbell’s not chiming (or it’s chiming when it shouldn’t), then you might need to get a chime connector from SimpliSafe.

We think they should just include it in the package, but they don’t seem to think enough people need it. (To be fair, you probably won’t.)

Recap: Are SimpliSafe cameras good?

SimpliSafe cameras are middle of the pack: not bad, but not great either.

True to the brand name, SimpliSafe cameras are simple. SimpliSafe only has two cameras, and they both have pretty basic features we expect from any decent security camera. That said, both cameras are relatively affordable, and we think you’ll get your money’s worth.

If you already have (or want to get) a SimpliSafe security system, then both these cameras are nice because they work directly with your security sensors. They also let SimpliSafe use video verification to see what’s going on when your alarm goes off.

SimpliCam indoor camera: The SimpliCam has HD resolution and person detection, but the angle isn’t easy to adjust, and it doesn’t have any smart alerts beyond telling you when it spots a person. We do like the privacy shutter, though.

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Camera Pro: The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Camera Pro uses your existing doorbell connection, and it has a lot of the same features as the SimpliCam. We like that it has adjustable activity zones, but it’s also lacking smart features beyond basic person detection.

Want to learn more about how to choose a doorbell camera? Check out our Smart Video Doorbell Buyers Guide.

Is your house ready for SimpliSafe cameras?

Even basic security cameras can impact your internet connection. If you already have some slowness or bandwidth issues, then you might want to upgrade your internet plan before you add cameras into the mix.

Here are some of our favorite internet plans to support home security systems and cameras.

Recommended internet plans for SimpliSafe cameras
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
Xfinity Internet$25$70*251000 MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$49$6515940 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.