This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Vivint and SimpliSafe are top-rated security systems for small businesses, even though their main customers are homeowners. Both offer smart technology and mobile access to equipment, plus a useful range of cameras, locks, and sensors. Vivint offers professional installation and a wider range of sensors, while SimpliSafe is less expensive, easy to install yourself, and easy to use.
- Vivint: Best for SMBs with larger security needs (such as vehicles) that want professional installation
- SimpliSafe: Best for smaller businesses with simpler security needs, like mom and pop stores and offices, and for convenience stores
When to use an alternative: While Vivint and SimpliSafe are good for small businesses, they may not be the best solution. If you have large outdoor security needs, such as construction sites or garden shops, we recommend Tattletale. For complex security needs, ADT is your best choice, as it offers more options for cameras, tagging merchandise, and biometric keypads.
Vivint vs SimpliSafe Quick Comparison
$4.99–$24.99; free plan for unmonitored version
3.5–5 years, unless you purchase equipment outright
Self and Pro
Self and Pro
Phone support hours (Eastern)
Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–1 a.m. and Sat. 7:30 a.m.–midnight
Encryption, wired options
Encryption, jam alerts, battery backups
When to Choose Vivint
|Works with smart devices||Lacks keycard and biometrics|
|May be able to incorporate existing equipment||Pushy and shady sales practices|
|Has a wide variety of sensors for different situations||Requires drilling into walls|
|Offers professional monitoring for multiple situations|
Vivint ranked high on our list of the best business security systems and received special callout for its ability to integrate with smart devices and other equipment. (Note: SimpliSafe also integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant.) Between Vivint and SimpliSafe, we recommend Vivint for established businesses that have security needs beyond a door alarm, fire and flood, and simple cameras. In addition to the equipment it has in common with SimpliSafe, it offers sensors for large doors, vehicle tracking devices, and a smart thermostat.
With the professional installation, you get a consultation on exactly what you need for the best security for your business. (Be careful, because customers say the salespeople can be pushy on the upsell.) The installation is generally done by professionals—it does involve drilling holes into your walls, so this is not a good choice if you have a picky landlord.
If you purchase the equipment outright, you have no obligations for the monthly monitoring, which starts at $19.99 per month. (Plan pricing depends on the number of cameras you have.) However, if you upgrade equipment, expect to get put on a contract. Unlike SimpliSafe, however, you can get financing for your system at 0% interest, but you’ll need to purchase monitoring while you are paying off the equipment.
Customers overall give it excellent reviews. The most common complaints are the sales practices and problems with customer support if something does not work right.
When to Choose SimpliSafe
|Offers inexpensive equipment||No keycard or biometrics|
|Has no long-term contracts||Has iffy customer support|
|Is easy to DIY||Provides limited selection of cameras|
|Works with smart devices|
If you are on a tight budget, are in a temporary location, or just need some basic security, then SimpliSafe is a great choice. Ranked No. 1 on our list of best business security systems, it’s super easy to install yourself, and the plans run from free (to use the equipment in the most basic way possible) to $24.99 per month (for full monitoring). That’s cheaper than most of Vivint’s plans and provides similar services.
SimpliSafe lacks the tilt and car sensors Vivint has, though, and also does not have special procedures for duress alerts such as if someone was holding you up. It does have panic buttons, which Vivint does not carry. The panic button sounds a siren and alerts the authorities quicker than calling 911. This makes it a good choice for gas stations and convenience stores where the button can be hidden but easily accessed.
SimpliSafe’s equipment is wireless and generally attaches with sticky tape, so it’s quick to install and easy to move with you. (If you move with Vivint, it will reinstall the system for a fee.) Plans can transfer to new locations as well. Some companies install SimpliSafe systems for you if you prefer.
Security: Are SimpliSafe and Vivint Easily Hacked?
There’s no point having a security system that can be hacked. In the past, both SimpliSafe and Vivint have been vulnerable. However, they have updated their equipment and protocols to protect against hacking.
Vivint: Of most concern are Vivint’s cameras. They now have 1024-bit encryption and the ability to hide IP addresses of connected devices. However, clever hackers have been able to hack into the camera feed. This may be done through your Wi-Fi network, so it’s important to keep that secure with regular firmware updates, firewalls, and strong passwords. Vivint also has two-factor authentication to make sure only approved users can access systems. The door and window sensors also have tamper alerts.
SimpliSafe: SimpliSafe launched its SS3 version in 2018, which has signal encryption for all messages between products and modes of wireless communication. It also has a jam detection algorithm that notifies you if someone is trying to jam your system, as well as a battery backup in case someone tries to get around the system by cutting power.
Best for Price & Contract: SimpliSafe
DIY or through third-party
Monthly network maintenance fee
$49 after the first 120 days
$399.99 (Smart Hub)
$399.99 (Sky control panel)
Smoke, temperature, water detectors
0% interest up to 60 months with contract
Takeaway: SimpliSafe is cheaper, but Vivint offers financing.
Why SimpliSafe Is Best for Price & Contract
The budget-minded small business will find the best deals with SimpliSafe. Not only is the equipment cheaper overall, but SimpliSafe offers a multitude of plans that run from free to $24.99 per month.
- Unmonitored (Free): Access to basic features (with your own internet or cellular connection).
- Single camera monitoring ($4.99): Recording access for 30 days, download recordings, manual recording, phone app. No professional monitoring.
- Self-monitoring ($9.99): Everything in single camera monitoring plus person-detection capability for up to five cameras.
- Standard monitoring ($14.99): Everything above and 24/7 monitoring and dispatch for police, fire, medical; water and temperature detection; built-in cell connection; seven-day timeline history; smart lock control; alarm, error, and camera push notifications.
- Interactive monitoring ($24.99): Everything above and on-demand recording, visual verification with priority police dispatch; private notifications for access to cabinets or safes; SMS and email notifications; integrate with Alexa or Google Assistant; insurance discounts; camera subscription with automatic recording of certain events, even when the system is disarmed.
When to Use Vivint
Financially speaking, Vivint is the better choice if you need to finance your equipment, as it offers 0% interest. Keep in mind, however, that you are obligated to keep the service for as long as you are making payments on the equipment. Its monthly plans depend on the amount of equipment you have. The website says plans start at $19.99, though other pages say $29.99. You should assume its monthly plans will be higher than SimpliSafe, as are the equipment prices; plus, you need to call for a quote.
In the News:
In April 2021, Vivint made a $20 million settlement on charges that its salespeople were using deceptive and illegal practices to secure loans for new customers who did not qualify by using unrelated people’s credit reports without permission.
Best for Installation: SimpliSafe for DIY, Vivint for Professional
Best Cameras & Sensors: Vivint
Integrate with Alexa or Google
Android and Apple
Android and Apple
Camera view (outdoor)
Camera zoom (outdoor)
Camera battery life (outdoor)
Wired, not battery
Camera 2-way audio (outdoor)
Camera view (indoor)
Camera battery life (indoor)
Camera 2-way audio (indoor)
Camera ID people
Outdoor 24/7 continuous; indoor 20-second “smart clips” when motion is detected
Outdoor depends on plan; indoor 5 minutes when the alarm sounds or until motion stops, or upon your command
Notifies you of wrong code attempts
After 5 times
Entry, motion, glass break, smoke, CO, temperature, water, tilt, medical pendant, lamp control
Entry, motion, glass break, smoke, CO, temperature, water
Car theft sensors
Takeaway: Vivint has a greater variety of devices and slightly better cameras. SimpliSafe is comparable and better for those on a budget.
Why Vivint Is Best for Cameras & Sensors
Vivint’s cameras have a wider view than SimpliSafe’s. The outdoor camera can also zoom up to 10 times for capturing details (SimpliSafe’s zooms 8 times). Like SimpliSafe, it has lights and an alarm, plus the ability for two-way communication. Nonetheless, they are not so superior that they should be the only reason to choose Vivint vs SimpliSafe.
Vivint surpasses SimpliSafe in sensors and detection devices, however. In addition to the usual break-in and environmental sensors, it offers a tilt sensor, which is useful if your business has a garage or warehouse section with garage doors. If you have company vehicles, the car guard sensor is handy. It plugs into the OBD II port of your car. From there, you can track your car on your Vivint app.
When to Use SimpliSafe
If your needs are basic and you don’t want to mess with installing wired devices, SimpliSafe offers excellent indoor and outdoor cameras with features similar to Vivint’s. It also has a wide range of sensors that work for most small business needs, like water sensors for the bathroom and smoke detectors. Most of its devices are less expensive and easier to install.
Best for Professional Monitoring: Vivint
Takeaway: Vivint monitors more situations, while SimpliSafe works without a phone line.
Why Vivint Is Best for Professional Monitoring
Like SimpliSafe, Vivint has a DIY monitoring option, but only if you buy your equipment outright; it’s most often used with professional monitoring. Alerts are based on five categories—Burglary, Panic, Medical, Fire, and Duress—and each have their own protocols.
In general, a monitoring representative will try to contact you first so that you can confirm the emergency. They try through the control panel, then the primary contact (and secondary for burglary). If no answer is reached or the emergency is confirmed, appropriate emergency personnel are dispatched, and you will receive a notification by text.
The Duress alarm, something SimpliSafe does not have, works differently. The monitoring representative instead listens quietly for 30 seconds. If they hear nothing, they hang up and dispatch local police or guard to check. If they hear suspicious activity, they have another rep contact the authorities while they continue to listen. This is an excellent security feature for when someone invades your business while you or employees are there.
When to Use SimpliSafe
One standout we found in SimpliSafe that Vivint did not offer was a silent notification for situations like safes or cabinets being opened. Secret Alerts send you a notice but do not trip a system alarm. This is a good option if you have off-limits areas or equipment that should not be touched. SimpliSafe also has a panic button, which can be placed under the counter and used to send an alarm in an armed robbery situation.
Best for Ease of Use: SimpliSafe
Professional service calls
Phone support hours
Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–1 a.m. and Sat. 7:30 a.m.–midnight
Take it when you move
Customer reviews (general)
Confusing pricing; either great or terrible installation; didn’t know about having to drill holes in walls
Customer service declined in 2021; problems with charges, canceling
Takeaway: SimpliSafe is easiest to use, but if you don’t want to manage the system yourself, Vivint offers installation and repair.
Why SimpliSafe Is Easiest to Use
SimpliSafe is the easiest of the two to use. You can manage everything yourself, and the support section is searchable and has detailed how-to guides. Customer service is available seven days a week. Customers overall praised the ease of use of SimpliSafe. They had no trouble installing, moving, or adding to the system. However, in 2021, the number of complaints about customer support skyrocketed, with customers saying reps were rude and did not know the system.
When to Use Vivint
If you want the security of having a professional check your system, then Vivint is the best choice, although after the first 120 days, it will charge a service fee. Service calls themselves are guaranteed for 60 days, however, so they will come back for free if the first trip did not fix the problem. In 2021, customers generally had high praise for installation and use. Complaints were around billing and getting repairs when something did go wrong.
Whether you are starting your business or looking for ways to better manage it, security systems should be an important consideration. Both Vivint and SimpliSafe offer basic security tools for small businesses, with excellent cameras and a wide variety of sensors. Vivint is better for more complex security needs, while SimpliSafe is an excellent and economical DIY choice.