(Last updated on January 11th, 2021)
In today’s world, home security can be more vital than ever. Although some may doubt the effectiveness of home security systems, research has shown that homes which indicate signs of monitoring or security are often passed over by those seeking easy burglary or vandalizing targets. In fact, just having a sticker advertising the watchful eye of a known security company is often enough to convince potential troublemakers to move on.
Therefore, home security is actually one of the best ways to protect your property’s value and, more importantly, the people and things you keep inside. When it comes to peace of mind, few services compare to home security systems. But where home security ought to be a simple matter, it can actually be quite confusing thanks to the wide variety of companies that all claim to be the best in the market.
How can you tell which to choose? Let us do the heavy lifting and provide you with a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of both Vivint Home Security and ADT; these are two top-notch companies that have been in the business for some time, and thus know much about the topic of home security.
However, they differ in a few critical ways. In this guide, you can look into their monitoring plans and product packages, customer satisfaction ratings, and overall price points to determine which company provides the best bang for your buck.
If you’re in a hurry, however, you can always just take a look at our infographic, which boils down out analysis into a few quick points to consider.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Vivint. They have greater customization for their security packages and offer higher-quality service plans.
Winner: Both. Vivint and ADT have similar installation fees and methods, making them almost identical.
Winner: Vivint. Vivint offers greater value for money despite being a few dollars more expensive than ADT, as well as offering options for low-income families.
4. Customer Service
Winner: Vivint. They have better scores in general across many review sites, indicating deeper customer satisfaction.
Winner: ADT. ADT offers better contract lengths and cancellation policies than Vivint.
Overall Winner: Vivint. Their better ratings, value for money, and overall monitoring plan flexibility cement Vivint as the better of the two security companies
But now, let’s dive right in and see what Vivint and ADT bring to the home security market. First up, we’ll look at the two companies’ monitoring packages.
What’s Included in Vivint’s Monitoring Packages?
Vivint is a security company that’s focused on integrating all of its home security software and devices into one, connecting network. Its Smart Home app is the nexus through which Vivint’s products are controlled. This app can be integrated with other home systems through the hub or specialized software packages we’ll discuss later.
1. Vivint Smart Control
This is the second-most comprehensive security suite available from Vivint. It offers 22 distinct products to give you a wide variety of operational security checks and safety features for full-home coverage. These include:
- The Vivint Smart Hub- this is the centralized panel installed where you please which controls all of the functions of your security system from one location.
- Vivint Smart Home App- similar to the smart hub, except transferred to mobile form so that you can control your home security even while you’re away or when you’re on approach.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Smoke Detector
- Flood/Freeze/Heat Sensor
- Yard Sign and light
- Vivint Doorbell Camera
- Vivint Element Thermostat
- 2x Kwikset Smart Locks- These are smart locks which don’t require a key, although they have a slot for keys if you desire. Instead, they primarily rely on passcodes and can be coordinated with lighting or thermostat settings.
- Garage Door Controller
- 2x Vivint Lamp Modules- These are lighting controls that can shut off or turn on lamps when the appropriate trigger is tripped upon your entry or exit. For instance, you can program the lamps to turn off when you lock the front door as you’re leaving or to turn on when the front door opens again.
- 6x Vivint Smart Sensors- These are motion detectors which can be programmed to alert authorities and Vivint specialists when unauthorized activity is detected in your home.
2. Vivint Smart Complete
This package is very similar to the Smart Control package, except it comes with two extra products: the Vivint Ping Camera and the Outdoor Camera. The Ping Camera is an indoor, two-way camera that lets you instantly speak to anyone inside the home. The Outdoor Camera is, of course, an outside model that’s perfect for recording visitors or for seeing who’s at the door before opening.
These two product models are the packages that offer the widest variety of Vivint’s security experiences. The other packages are more focused lines of products that are great for those with niche security needs.
3. Vivint Smart Entry
This package focuses on the entrances and exits from your home, eschewing some of the extra products discussed above in favor of a tighter, more specialized security suite.
4. Vivint Safety and Security
The Safety and Security suite specializes in general home safety, including the detector collection and removing the cameras and smart locks.
5. Vivint Surveillance
This 16-product package focuses on camera flexibility and communication via the Ping Camera.
6. Vivint Smart Energy
As you might guess, this collection is all about coordinating your locks and sensors to your home’s thermostat and lighting settings. It’s ideal for homes that need to cut down on the energy bill.
What’s Included in ADT’s Monitoring Packages?
ADT is a security company that provides its security suites in tiers, with one basic selection of their standard security product assortment, then two higher tiers with more products and greater overall coverage.
This basic package offers all of the main features found in ADT’s security suites. These include staples of the industry, such as:
- Digital keypad- This is similar to Vivint’s “Hub”, and it allows you to control the various aspects of the ADT security system from wherever it is installed.
- Entryway contacts- This is a collection of pre-approved personnel which you can specify, allowing certain people access to your home even if you’re not there.
- Wireless Keychain remote- An ideal product for prepping your home for your arrival.
- Motion detector
- Entryway sensors
- Yard sign and window stickers
- 24/7 monitoring
- A high-decibel alarm- The alarm is designed to be painful and alarming, both to alert you to immediate possible danger and to scare off any potentially-nefarious people breaking in or lurking around your home.
- Backup batteries- these ensure that even if you forget to change the battery on something crucial, your home will still be protected.
The control suite is the next tier of coverage, containing all of the above features found in the Traditional option, but including the ADT Pulse app. This mobile app allows you to connect all of your security systems and computers, as well as your devices, together into one network. You can set up alerts from a variety of ways, such as text or email.
The final tier of ADT’s packages is the Video suite, which has everything that the previous two tiers brought to the table, but which also includes remote secure video; this feature lets you review any captured footage from security cameras on your devices or computer. You can also set your video cameras to live stream from your front door or inside your home.
Home security cameras are not included by default in any of ADT’s packages, and instead must be added to any of the above 3 selections. They are a given for the last option since it relies on captured footage to be valuable.
In addition, fire, flood, and carbon monoxide detectors must also be added to any of the above 3 packages. This critical type of sensor does not come by default in any of ADT’s offerings.
Overall, while both companies provide excellent, extensive package plans that can fit the requirements of different individuals and families, Vivint clearly wins in the package department due to the better quality of its packages and its greater customization options. Vivint’s comprehensive suites offer more features than ADT’s greatest package without adding extra features like security cameras and carbon monoxide detectors. The greater control offered by Vivint, with its more niche, affordable packages, allow it to better serve customers who only have specific security needs.
Overall, both companies are very similar when it comes to their installation procedures and costs. Let’s break them both down.
Getting Set Up with Vivint’s Installation
Vivint’s packages are installed by professionals employed by Vivint itself, rather than subcontracting the installation service to a smaller company. They require an authorized signer be present for all installation proceedings, and they plan out specific time windows for appointments so that you can plan to be there for the next steps. Installation appointments can vary in time from less than two hours to over five hours, depending on how much equipment is to be implemented.
Their installation proceedings are usually done in one appointment, which fits in a pre-review of your home’s needs, paperwork, signing, and the actual installation. You will be required to view videos explaining how all of your equipment works before the technician leaves, and he will answer any questions you might have. The standard price for Vivint installation can vary depending on your exact package, but it will be between $99 and $199.
Getting Set Up with ADT’s Installation
ADT also uses professionals from their company to install their security suites. These follow similar time windows and procedures as Vivint’s technicians, although their installation times may be a bit longer depending on the exact packages offered. ADT’s installation fees also range from between $99 to $199.
When it comes to installation procedures, both companies are so similar in price, time, and method that the differences are truly minimal. This category is an even tie between the two.
Vivint and ADT have similar pricing plans, although their exact values can shift depending on what gear is purchased by a customer.
A Deeper Look at Vivint’s Value
Vivint’s pricing plans start with a very basic $9.17 “Flex Pay” plan that offers the bare minimum of coverage for someone needing a little security right away. Beyond that option, their pricing plans are applicable to the packages we discussed at the beginning of the article. They are:
1. Smart Home Monitoring Plan: $39.99/mo.
This allows you to install a variety of their products from the above packages and offers 24/7 monitoring by Vivint Professionals.
2. Smart Home Video Monitoring Plan: $49.99/mo.
This plan is just like the previous plan, although it includes extra video-monitoring capability and file storage on Vivint servers.
A Deeper Look at ADT’s Value
ADT has a more varied plan spread. Keep in mind that their packages of products are much more limited than Vivint’s.
1. Essentials: $36/mo.
This plan allows for basic monitoring and surveillance and includes all the things discussed in the basic package we reviewed above. These are things like 24/7 monitoring, sensors, the decals on the window, etc.
2. Total Protection: $44/mo.
This plan includes all of the previous security features plus the Safewatch CellGuard, which allows you to plug in your monitoring system to ADT’s security centers wirelessly.
3. Premium Protection: $56/mo.
Finally, this higher-priced option from ADT gives you the previous features as well as ADT Plus, which hooks up your security monitoring to your home’s automated systems. This connects well with the ADT Pulse app, allowing for true control of all the interconnected systems of your home from anywhere you desire.
Both companies charge comparable prices for extra features, such as cameras and the requisite installation fees that are included in the overall charge.
Between the two, Vivint once again takes this round due to its greater pricing options for lower-income families and the overall greater coverage offered by its basic plan, which has more features and more complete security to offer than ADT’s basic plan. While the ADT plan is only $36 a month, four more dollars for greater peace of mind and a more comprehensive collection of features is a small price to pay for exponentially-greater safety for your home.
4) Customer Service
Perhaps the greatest metric of a security company’s success is the rating it receives from its customers. After all, security companies’ business is in providing safe, affordable home protection for people; peace of mind is the product. Therefore, customer satisfaction is a direct goal for any security company.
This arena is a bit more of a toss-up than the package comparison. Vivint, for starters, received a Better Business Bureau rating of B-, which indicates that the number of customer complaints about the company has risen in the last year. ADT, by comparison, has a BBB rating of A+! That’s quite an approving metric for any security company.
However, the popular website consumeraffairs.com shows a slightly different story. ADT has a rating there of 3.8 out of 5, while Vivint has a higher score of 4/5. This indicates that customer satisfaction for Vivint might be overall better when people bother to review positively, rather than only negatively.
Furthermore, the popular review site trustpilot.com indicates from its metrics that ADT has a general rating of 1/5: this is a terrible indication for a company’s customer service. Meanwhile, Vivint has a rating of 4/5, with a much higher number of reviews. This again indicates that many people are satisfied with Vivint enough to provide positive feedback, while most people seem to only speak about ADT when they complain.
Overall, this is a close competition, but we have to give it to Vivint overall. It appears that their rating on BBB does not reflect the appreciation that its customers hold for their service, and it may require updating in the near future. More important than this rating is the voice of the people the companies serve, and it’s clear that ADT is lagging behind in this important aspect.
When it comes to contracts, there is a significant difference in time between the two.
Vivint’s security contracts require a minimum time investment of 42 months. This comes out to 3 years and 6 months. ADT, on the other hand, only requires contracts for a minimum of 36 months or 3 years exactly. This may not seem like such a long time, but 6 months is quite a hefty amount of money when you consider the cost of a package’s 6-month total altogether.
Furthermore, both companies have slightly different policies when it comes to early termination of your contract. For Vivint, your contract must be canceled within 3 days of installation to avoid having any fee. If you miss this window, cancellation requires you to pay the remaining total balance of your contract right away; this can mean that you must pay for 42 months’ worth of security all at once.
ADT’s cancellation policy, on the other hand, requires you to pay only 75% of your remaining balance upfront should you decide to terminate your contract early. This makes ADT’s contracts both shorter, and thus more manageable, and its early-cancellation policy friendlier to the consumer. ADT wins this round.
The two companies are very similar in size and scope, but Vivint’s personalized touch and various options make it a better pick than ADT, despite the slightly higher price it charges for its plans and services. ADT and Vivint are really close in a lot of metrics, but the customizability of their plans and the flexibility that allows boosts the latter’s effectiveness, in our minds. Altogether, Vivint will serve a wider variety of home security needs than ADT for an overall cheaper price over time.