Boundary Smart Alarm Review – DIY monitored smart home security to rival SimpliSafe

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Boundary Smart Alarm Review Rating

Summary

The Boundary Smart Home Alarm is the best alternative to Simplisafe for a DIY monitored alarm system I have tried. The DIY nature makes it considerably cheaper than ADT while offering superior security to none monitored systems from Ring, Yale and others.

Overall
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Pros

  • Both the upfront costs and monthly fee are attractive against competing Simplisafe
  • £10 a month plan includes remote arming, cellular backup and automated phone alerts
  • Option 24/7 police monitoring
  • £25 PCM monitoring plan also includes yearly maintenance and battery changing

Cons

  • Sensor pairing is difficult due to tiny QR codes with 40-digit codes
  • No cameras

Boundary is a new UK based company specialising in DIY Z-Wave powered smart home security systems. This system aims to be an alternative to big names such as SimpliSafe, providing a similar set of features, including 24/7 monitoring with police response if you select the top monthly plan. Both of these brands aim to disrupt the professionally installed alarm brands such as ADT and Ajax.  

Boundary Smart Home Alarm Bundle, Z-wave Wireless, Wi-Fi...
  • Includes Outdoor siren, hub, 4x motion, 2x contact...
  • State-of-the-art alarm system which you can...
  • Integrates with Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT
  • Arm & disarm remotely with your phone, a key fob,...

Specification and Sensor Options

At the heart of the system is the Alarm Hub, which is also your keypad. The hub and all the accessories use Z-Wave to communicate, similar to the SafelyTeam system.

Being a smart home security system, you have various third-party integrations, including:

  • Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • SmartThings
  • IFTTT

The individual components you can get either individually or as part of a bundle include:

  • Door & Window Contact Sensor – £30
  • PIR Motion Sensor – £30.00
  • Key Fob (Pack of 2) – £20.00
  • Outdoor siren – £90.00
  • Desk Stand – £20.00

That's quite a limited set of hardware, but it is the essential bits and the sensors you'd expect on a normal home alarm.

Competing brands have some or all of the following:

  • Glassbreak sensor
  • Wireless indoor and outdoor cameras
  • Temperature sensor (Boundary motion and contact sensors have temperature built-in)
  • Water sensor
  • Panic Button
  • Smoke detector
  • Co2/Carbon monoxide detector

None of the above is essential at all, but they are an added bonus, and this being a Z-Wave system, it should be easy to include.

Plans

Similar to other systems, Boundary has a free-tier, Lite plan. It is a bit more useful than some options. You have up to two sensors, two users, key fob management, partial arming, and arm/disarm from the app. This should be usable for a small flat.

Most people will want the Smart plan, which is £9.99 and has unlimited sensors plus:

  • Activity Alerts
  • Geolocation reminders
  • Night Time Reminder
  • Amazon Alexa & Google Home
  • IFTTT
  • Night-time reminder
  • Automated keyholder calling
  • Extended 3 year warranty
  • Priority Technical Support

Then there is a Pro which requires professional installation and costs £25pcm. This is more expensive than others but includes:

  • Occupied home simulation
  • Annual maintenance visit by an engineer
  • 24/7 Professional Monitoring
  • Level 1 immediate police response request
  • Battery replacement in sensors and outdoor siren

It is the annual maintenance and battery replacement that sounds appealing to me and something other brands don't do.

Set-Up & Pairing Sensors

In theory, setting up the Boundary alarm system was easy. Download the app, sign up, log in to your WiFi on the home base, pair the system, then pair the sensors.

All went well until it came to pairing the sensors. The QR you need to scan is inside the sensor, and the backplates are not easy to get off, which is also worth remembering for battery replacement. After a few minutes, I figured out the motion sensor, it slides down quite easily. The contact sensor was much harder, I had to take a knife to push down the latch then slide it off.

Then the QR code itself is a 40-digit code, and the size of the QR square is very small because it is printed on the sensor itself. For a single motion sensor, I spent about 5 minutes before my Pixel 6 scanned it. For the contact sensor, I was unable to scan it. It was quicker to type in the 40 digit code. Not ideal if you have a big system.

Pairing sensors can be annoying with multiple brands, but this was definitely the most frustrating one I have used.

Once that was done, everything else worked perfectly.

In Use & Phone App

Once set up, the system works well, and I have experienced no problems with it at all. Because I work from home, I have never really bothered with an alarm system, and I never remember to arm them when I review them. Boundary has a useful geofencing feature that will notify you to arm the system when you leave your home. The notification doesn't come through very quickly. When I go out for a walk, it's normally at least 5 minutes after I leave the house, which is fine by me, the important thing is that it has been reliable.

You can arm things the old fashioned way, with your PIN code on the keypad, but I have predominantly used the mobile app, which gives you the option to fully arm it or put it in night mode.

With the night setting, only some of the sensors get armed, so for me, that would be the downstairs sensors.

When armed and a sensor is triggered, you get the usual countdown, and there is plenty of time to unarm your system.

If you don't unarm it, the siren will sound, your phone will get a push notification, and you will get a phone call. The phone call is an automated system that informs you to check the app.

If you have a fully monitored system, the hub will inform the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). ARC will then try and contact the primary contact, if the contact does not answer, the police will be called, and a nominated keyholder will be contacted.

IFTTT Automation

Boundary has a useful set of premade applets for their system, which work with Philips Hue, Google Sheets, SmartThings, Sonos and Spotify.

Most of my lights are Philips Hue, so I set the system up with this, and it works well. If you don't have an IFTTT pro account, there is a bit of a delay, but I have found it works well.

I have the system:

  • Switch off lights when armed
  • Flash Hue lights red if the alarm is triggered
  • If the alarm is disarmed during the night, turn on Philips Hue lights

Activity Alerts

An added feature within the system is to set up activity alerts. These are rule-based alerts that allow you to see when a sensor is triggered or inactive. So you can know if or when people enter or leave your house.

Price and Alternative Options

Boundary Smart Home Alarm Bundle, Z-wave Wireless, Wi-Fi...
  • Includes Outdoor siren, hub, 4x motion, 2x contact...
  • State-of-the-art alarm system which you can...
  • Integrates with Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT
  • Arm & disarm remotely with your phone, a key fob,...

The Boundary Alarm bundle I was sent was the medium bundle which has an RRP of £419, but at the time of writing, there was a massive 40% off, taking it down to £251.40

Even if there isn't a sale on, you can sign up for the newsletter for 25% off, making it £314.25.

Because there are more than 2 sensors, the system requires a £9.99 PCM subscription fee.

Boundary also has bundles available on Amazon.

Alternative options include:

Ring

Sale
Ring Alarm 8 Piece Kit (2nd Generation) with Ring Alarm...
  • Get an advanced home alarm system for your house...
  • Put whole-home security at your fingertips with...
  • Receive real-time notifications when your security...
  • Add additional components, such as wireless Motion...

Ring Alarm Pack Medium (2 motion + 2 contact, no outdoor siren) is currently £240 normally £270 or the large pack with 4 contacts, and 3 motions sensors is £290. You'd then need the outdoor siren at £70. There is also the Ring Alarm 8 Piece Kit (2nd Generation) with Ring Alarm Outdoor Siren for £290.

Ring then charges £8/month, but this would also cover any cameras and doorbells you may have. Having all your cameras and alarm in one system is the main reason to opt for Ring over Boundary.

The main disadvantage for Ring would be that it lacks a proper monitoring service, you only have the option for it to auto-dial an emergency contact.

Simplifsafe

Sale
SimpliSafe 13 Piece Wireless Home Alarm System (3rd...
  • The 13 piece SimpliSafe System is ideal for larger...
  • Easy DIY installation – no drilling, wiring or...
  • Pet friendly for both dogs and cats – with...
  • You're always protected - smash proof, power cut...

SimpliSafe has four options on Amazon, a 7-piece system starting at £170 (£309 RRP) then going up to the 13 pieces for £277 (£504 RRP). The 13 piece kit includes Keypad, SimpliCam, 3 Entry Sensors, 2 Motion Sensors, Glass Break Sensor, 105db Wireless Siren, Panic Button and 2 Key Fobs.

Simplisafe has two contract options Pro and Pro Premium. The Pro costs 43p/day (about £13), and the Pro Premium is 73p/day, so about £22. Both plans have 24/7 Live Alarm Monitoring, but you need the Premium plan for: Police dispatch, camera recording, video verification and mobile app remote arm & alerts.

Having the remote Arm & Alerts walled off on the most expensive plan is particularily annoying.

While the SimpliSafe Pro Premium plan is cheaper than Boundary, they don't have the yearly maintenance, and I would personally add a lot of value to this.

Yale

Sale
Yale IA-320 Sync Smart Home Alarm, White
  • High Security for your Home: With a Smart Alarm...
  • Easy, Wire-free set-up: This alarm and accessories...
  • Expand with Accessories: With a range of...
  • Subscription Free App-Control: With no monthly...

Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm has a variety of packages, the 9-piece kit is currently £300, and there are regular discounts. This system doesn't need any subscription service at all. You can get phone alerts and arm/disarm remotely. However, because there is no subscription, there is also no professional monitoring service.

SafelyTeam

The Safely Smart Home Alarm is lesser-known, but the main selling point here is that everything is preset up for you. After pairing the Boundary sensors, this is a major selling point. They also have a variety of smart home sensors making it more than just a smart alarm.

The packages are not cheap, though. The Defender package is £249 and only has one contact sensor, one motion as well as the siren and key tags

SafelyTeam have three service plans  £5pcm, £10pcm and £19. The top plan includes 24/7 monitoring.

Overall

I think the Boundary Smart Home Alarm system fits in well with the growing number of smart alarm systems on the market. Upfront pricing is very attractive (at the current discount), and the £9.99 PCM monthly fee sits in nicely between the unmonitored Ring and the more advanced Simplifsafe system.

It is significantly more appealing than the likes of ADT, which will charge you around £40 PCM and have a steep upfront cost with the professional installation.  

My main gripe was how difficult it was to pair the sensors. It was frustrating enough that anyone that finds technology difficult should factor in this problem with their purchasing decision.

I haven't used the system long enough to test the batteries, but Boundary indicates this should be yearly maintenance. Like every other wireless smart home system, if you have a big system, it could get annoying. In particular, the contact sensor is annoying to access the battery, I would almost certainly end up neglecting these. But to be clear, this issue isn't exclusive to Boundary. My smart radiator valves do my head in too.

Beyond that, this is an excellent system. The overall hardware and app look and feels a bit more professional than Safely, and it was easy to use and reliable. I found the geofenced push notifications for remote arming particularly useful, and competitors, Simpisafe, wall off remote arming into their £22pcm a month package.

Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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