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When it comes to protecting your home, you want a security system that is strong enough to prevent break-ins but not so expensive that it breaks the bank.
Both Vivint and ADT offer a robust catalog of features and equipment that will ensure your home is well protected.
As our two top-rated systems overall, you can’t go wrong with either. ADT boasts the longest track record, with 146 years in the business and excellent customer reviews that prove it’s still got it. While Vivint doesn’t have a century-long track record, its emphasis on smart home integration and month-to-month contracts have made them the security system darling of the 21st century.
We’ve scoured dozens of data points to provide you with a detailed comparison of where Vivint and ADT stand on pricing, contracts, professional monitoring, installation, home automation, and equipment, weighing the pros and cons so that you can get a sense of which company will best fit your needs.
To determine the best outdoor security camera ranking, the Forbes Home Improvement editorial team analyzed third-party data on 17 major companies, with each product’s star rating determined by evaluating a variety of metrics, including:
- Costs/Contracts (15%)
- App Reviews (15%)
- Customer Reviews (15%)
- Customer Support (15%)
- Features/Smart Home Integration (20%)
- Options And Equipment (15%)
- Warranty (5%)
Vivint At a Glance
With over 20 years of security system experience, Vivint is by no means a newbie to the security system world. While not considered to be an inexpensive system, Vivint is known for being a great value for the price tag with a strong emphasis on home automation and connectivity. All of their monitoring plans offer 24/7 professional monitoring as well as round-the-clock customer support via phone or live chat, as well as a useful blog on their website to help address more frequently asked questions.
When it comes to equipment, Vivint offers top-of-the-line options and all plans include a panel and entry sensor, motion sensor and voice control. If you’re in the market for a more advanced system, Vivint also offers 1080p HD cameras complete with night vision, two-way audio and 24/7 professional video monitoring.
Vivint’s most modern feature is not, however, the equipment itself, but rather its month-to-month monitoring contract. If you choose to purchase your equipment upfront, you can live contract-free, paying only your monitoring fee each month. Those initial equipment costs can be hefty, however, so if you prefer to finance your equipment, you have the option to pay overtime on top of your monthly monitoring costs. Either way, you own your equipment outright.
All in all, Vivint’s robust connectivity for the price tag, as well as the other host of features on offer, makes it our top choice overall for home security systems.
Speaking of their month-to-month monitoring, Vivint’s most basic monitoring package starts at $29.99 a month and includes remote control of your system through their top-rated app, smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring, two-way voice features, cellular connection and all of their standard home automation and connectivity options.
If you want to opt in for cameras with video monitoring, your costs will start at $44.99 per month for one camera, with each additional camera adding $5 per month to your monitoring costs. Their maximum allotment is for six cameras, topping out their monthly costs at $69.99 per month.
Vivint offers 24/7 professional monitoring in their base $29.99 per month package, including environmental monitoring for smoke detection and carbon monoxide. If at any point your alarm is triggered, they will alert you and send updates as to what is occurring at home. They will also alert emergency services if they are unable to reach you, so you know that your home is always secure.
Vivint offers professional installation for $49 to $199 depending on the complexity of your system. This cost is also looped into the initial equipment cost and can be paid for upfront, or be included in your monthly payments.
Home Automation/Smart Home Features
Vivint is the clear winner when it comes to automation and smart home integration. Their devices easily connect to Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant and, unlike ADT, don’t require an upgrade to your monthly payments.
An additional benefit with Vivint is that their cloud video footage storage is included in their professional video monitoring services. This allows you to review your 24/7 footage from any of your cameras for up to 14 days.
In general, Vivint provides straightforward pricing tiers with a helpful team to assist you in determining what equipment is best suited to your needs. That said, equipment costs with Vivint tend to start at $599.99, which can be detering. A common complaint is also that a security consultation is required in order to get a formal quote for equipment, making it a bit more cumbersome to get a sense of what you will be spending upfront.
ADT At a Glance
ADT is the grandfather of security companies. With 146 years under their belt, you know you can count on them for great service. ADT really shines with its professional monitoring services, but they also offer self-monitoring options if you prefer to keep things DIY. Another benefit to having a lengthy track record is ADT’s top tier customer service with 24/7 phone and chat options, as well as ample online resources on how to use, maintain, and in some cases, even install your system.
When it comes to equipment, ADT has the goods, offering professionally installed fully wireless systems with all of your standard components as well as an array of additional features such as security and doorbell cameras, environmental monitoring, medical alerts, gas break sensors and panic buttons. Their 720p HD cameras also include two-way audio and night vision.
With their long history and plethora of equipment and plan options, ADT ranks as our second overall pick for best home security systems, and our top pick for professionally monitored systems.
ADT’s monthly fees start at $28.99 per month and include basic professional monitoring, however, if you want to opt into other features similar to Vivint, such as smart home and app connectivity, you will need to upgrade to their $49.99 per month tier. Cameras will also cost you a premium, with monthly costs for video monitoring starting at $58.99.
Compared to Vivint, ADT is less expensive on the front end, offering equipment and installation for $0 down with a monthly fee for renting equipment. You can also opt to pay upfront if you prefer to keep your monthly charges low. The biggest caveat with ADT is, of course, their three-year minimum monitoring contract, which is required with all monitored systems.
Similar to Vivint, ADT also offers 24/7 professional monitoring backed by a network of nine redundant monitoring centers which ensure that someone is available at any time, for any circumstance. With such a strong track record, they were an easy pick for Best Professionally Monitored System in our roundup for 2021.
ADT’s installation costs run about average, in the range of $99 to $199 depending on your system and location. ADT also offers DIY systems that allow you to install and self-monitor, saving on both initial and monthly costs
Home Automation/Smart Home Features
While Vivint offers home automation at their most basic price tier, ADT is able to connect to a larger array of equipment (including IFTTT, Rainbird, Sonos, Zipato, Lutron, Google Nest Mini, Kwikset, Z-Wave and Samsung SmartThings), giving you more flexibility with your home automation systems.
One of ADT’s unique benefits is that they cover $500 of insurance deductible should a break-in occur while their system is armed, a testament to the confidence they have in their system.
Likely the biggest rub with ADT is their three-year monitoring contract. Although they offer great options upfront with their full money-back guarantee (including monitoring fees) for up to six months after installation (some limitations apply), being locked into a three-year contract feels a bit antiquated. You can also opt out of your contract with them at any time without a cancellation fee, but you may be responsible for paying up to 75% of the remainder of your contracted monitoring fees, which can be a lot of money, depending on your package.
Key Differences Between Vivint and ADT
This is the true kicker. If you’re willing to purchase your equipment upfront, you can opt into a month-to-month contract with Vivint, unlike ADT who requires a three-year professional monitoring contract regardless of whether you paid upfront for the equipment or not.
Even if you opt to finance your equipment with Vivint, you can still cancel at any time as long as you pay the remainder of the balance on your equipment and installation fees, making it a great option for those who want a bit more flexibility.
With Vivint’s basic $29.99 per month monitoring package, you get an excellent array of features including remote control of your system through their app, additional environmental monitoring and all of their standard home automation and connectivity options. For the same “bells and whistles” as ADT your monthly payments will start at $62.99 per month, making it a much less palatable option for the budget seeker.
Key Similarities Between Vivint and ADT
Both companies offer similar equipment with equivalent capabilities, including environmental monitoring (although with ADT you will need to upgrade to one of their higher monitoring tiers). Both Vivint and ADT also offer home automation connectivity, albeit to different degrees and at different pricing tiers. While Vivint offers home automation at their most basic price tier, ADT is able to connect to a larger array of equipment, giving you more flexibility with your home automation systems.
When it comes to initial equipment costs, Vivint tends to be more expensive, but unlike ADT, you’ll own your equipment outright and aren’t stuck in a long term contract. All in all, both companies offer high-quality components with a similar variety of features.
Both companies offer professional installation of their systems at a fee. Vivint’s installation starts at $49 compared to ADT at $99, but both companies can cost upwards of $199 to install depending on the complexity of your system and your location.
Although ADT has the longest reputation for their professional monitoring services, Vivint has proven themselves as an equal in this area, offering comparable monitoring services at lower costs. The only caveat here is that, unlike Vivint, ADT requires a three-year minimum monitoring contract for their services, a tough sell with a top tier month-to-month option from Vivint.
How Vivint Stacks Up Against ADT
Best Security Company Overall
Although Vivint and ADT have a plethora of similarities in services, equipment and monitoring, Vivint’s month-to-month contract and reasonable prices can’t be beaten. Vivint’s app is top-rated and the capabilities for remote control of your system with seamless connectivity to your home automation gear without paying a premium, is difficult to beat. Even with their most advanced packages, including cameras and additional features, Vivint still wins best security company for top-of-the-line equipment and great prices.
Is Vivint or ADT Right for You or Your Business?
Although Vivint is our pick for best security company overall, ADT also makes an excellent choice for your home. Their three-year monitoring contract may seem daunting to some, but if you know you’re in it for the long haul, and aren’t interested in owning your equipment outright, ADT can provide you with excellent service and a plethora of equipment options for a comparable cost. This is particularly true if the bells and whistles of smart home automation don’t fit your needs. All in all, you can’t make a wrong choice by choosing either of these systems.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Vivint better than ADT?
Based on our criteria, yes, we think that Vivint offers more features for a more reasonable price than ADT. That being said, ADT offers excellent service and comparable cost with a longstanding good reputation, so it is a close second.
While Vivint charges a premium for their equipment, we think that their monthly costs are very reasonable. Their lack of a long-term monitoring contract allows for flexibility, without having to negotiate around cancellation fees and renewal windows.
How much does Vivint cost per month?
Vivint’s packages range from $29.99 to $44.99 per month depending on the features you choose, particularly video monitoring. Adding extra cameras and opting to pay off your equipment monthly can also increase those costs.
How much does ADT cost per month?
ADT’s base packages range from $28.99 to $62.99 per month depending on the features you choose, such as home automation, additional environmental monitoring and video monitoring. Adding equipment and features could also increase the monthly cost.