Qolsys IQ vs GE Simon XT – Which Control Panel For Your DIY Security System?

DIY security systems are becoming a bit of a craze for modern homeowners. With the fact that they are a more affordable option, by allowing for free installation, while also enabling you to avoid long wait times and outsiders entering your home, prove they can provide several significant advantages.

There are, however, some issues and tough decisions to be made when it comes to setting up a DIY security system. One of those decisions is related to which control panel you should be using. Two of the more common options on the market today include the Qolsys IQ and the GE Simon XT.

The purpose of this article is to walk you through some of the major advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make a better decision about which option is best for you. Let’s take a look at some of the specifics of the two options, as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each.

Qolsys IQ Panel

To start off, the Qolsys IQ Panel has developed quite the reputation for its significantly advanced features and overall construction. It has a plastic border that is 1.25 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. It also weighs close to two pounds, making it a bit more lightweight than many of the control panel options that you will find today. The panel has five radios inside, which is more than the GE Simon XT.

As far as resolution, you are looking at specifications of about 0.3 megapixel. While this is not the best that you will find when it comes to resolution, very few users have complained about having issues regarding its use. Internally, the panel has no jumpers or added components in the circuit board and has tremendous ventilation to prevent overheating.


Since you are planning on installing the Qolsys IQ Panel on your own, you will also be happy to know that this is clearly a panel designed to allow users to make quick and easy repairs. This is refreshing considering many modern control panels seem to have been designed as disposable technology.

Some other advantages of the Qolsys IQ Panel is that it is easy to install and configure and allows you to set up for everything from home security and energy management to complete home control and automation. There are also a wide variety of accessory upgrades available for purchase. The advanced programming features are absolutely outstanding and have led to users calling it the Swiss Army Knife of security control panels.

The only major disadvantage with this panel is that the configuring of the advanced features can be difficult. There is quite a learning curve involved and Qolsys does not have the best reputation in the world for providing assistance when issues arise. The increased complexity and fact that it runs through Android, leads to the possibility of more difficult issues popping up. With that said, most users have reported that the panel is quite reliable.

Another small problem with the panel is that users have expressed concern over the fact that it has an input lag when entering your PIN for disarming. This issue is compounded by the fact that it has a bit of a finicky touchscreen, has resulted in causing some anxiety for users wanting to prevent false alarms from occurring.

Overall, the Qolsys IQ is a control panel that is as advanced as any that you will find in the security alarm industry today. The decision you have to make, as someone looking for a DIY option, is whether or not the significant learning curve that comes with the top-notch features is worth it for you.

GE Simon XT Panel

Unlike the Qolsys IQ, the GE Simon XT Panel has a much simpler design and does not come with a touch screen display. It is a beast as far as size, as it weighs in at 4.7 pounds and has dimensions of 16.1 x 10 x 3.8 inches.

The biggest advantage associated with this control panel is the fact that it is incredibly simple to use once installation is complete. There is not near as much of a learning curve involved with the GE Simon XT Panel as you will more than likely experience with the Qolsys IQ Panel.



On top of the simplicity, it also provides the advantage of allowing you to expand its functionality quite a bit. GE is one of the bigger brands in the world and finding add-ons and accessories for their products is quite easy. You also should not have much trouble adding new sensors with your already installed alarm system.

One of the things that have been debated by users quite a bit when it comes to this control panel is the ease of installation. While some have raved about just how easy it is to install, others have mentioned that they became so frustrated that they had to hire a professional to complete installation. Overall, GE does seem to have quite a bit of information on their website related to installation and delivers strong customer service when assistance is needed.

The biggest disadvantage associated with the GE Simon XT Panel is that it is limited as far as the advanced features that it provides. Users looking for advanced programming options and features will more than likely be disappointed by what this panel has to offer.

The Final Word

At the end of the day, deciding between the Qolsys IQ Panel and the GE Simon XT Panel comes down to just how advanced you want your control panel to be. The Qolsys IQ provides significantly advanced programming opportunities although it is a more expensive option. The GE Simon XT provides simplicity and affordability, although it is limited when it comes to advanced capabilities and reliability. If you are looking for the best quality option, your best bet is to go with the Qolsys IQ Panel. If value is your main concern, the GE Simon XT has plenty to offer on that end.

Becoming a dad ignited my interest in home security. I started with security systems and quickly fell in love with the fast-evolving internet of things (IoT). I love to review home security and smart home products, and learn about new technologies in the IoT space.

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