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      March 31, 2020

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ADT vs Vivint

Best Home Security Systems

To help you find the Best Home Security Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of ADT and Vivint.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Home Security Systems, please Click Here

Where can you find the best home security system? Today's marketplace gives you more options than ever, with packages ranging from budget-friendly, basic home monitoring with equipment you install yourself, to technician-installed systems that include smoke and flood detectors.

Before you determine which home security system is right for your needs, it's important to understand why you should have one. Although crime rates have been dropping in some areas, there are still nearly 2 million break-ins nationwide every year, resulting in losses of at least $2,000 on average. And, even if a burglary doesn't lead to a big financial loss, there's no way to put a monetary value on the peace of mind that vanishes when you find out that an intruder was inside your home.

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Best Reviews

2020

Home Security Systems Reviews

3 stars
ADT

ADT

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Features:

Installation fees starting at $99

Required contracts of 24 to 36 months

Monthly monitoring ranging from $27.99 to $58.99/month

Landline or wireless monitoring packages available

ADT enjoys some of the highest name recognition in the home security systems industry. It's no wonder - with more than 140 years of experience providing security of many different kinds, this company has been around for a long time.

One of the advantages of ADT's size is their 24/7 monitoring centers: with six locations throughout the US, you don't have to worry that a natural disaster or other event will disrupt your coverage. This is a huge benefit compared with smaller companies that use a single location to provide their monitoring services.

As with many products, however, brand names can equal more money from your wallet - and ADT is one of the most expensive home security systems available today. Their entry-level package, the Basic, sounds like a good deal at just $27.99/month - but you'll have to have a landline. That's great if you haven't made the switch to purely mobile for your phone usage; otherwise, you'll need to factor in the costs of installing a landline and paying for its monthly service separately from your ADT package.

There's a big price jump from the Basic to the next level of service, ADT Pulse. You won't need a landline because this package is monitored wirelessly, but you'll be paying $53.99/month for the service. And, if you want to add video surveillance to your home security setup, ADT charges a hefty $58.99/month for their highest level of coverage.

There are three main packages offered by ADT, which may be named differently depending on your part of the country and the partner provider servicing your area. In a nutshell, here's what you can expect:

  • Traditional: ADT's most economical home security system, this includes a digital panel, entryway contacts/sensors, wireless keychain remote, motion detector, yard signs and window decals, and 24/7 monitoring. While ADT doesn't specify on their site exactly how many entryway sensors are included, customer comments indicate that you should expect to receive 3 in your initial equipment package and you can add more as you need them.
  • Control: this level of coverage adds remote arm/disarm, smart home controls, and customizable alerts, schedules and automations to your home security system.
  • Video: as the top tier of service, this package increases your protection with security cameras that can be live streamed from mobile devices, and that allow you to record and save video clips.

All ADT systems require professional installation, with fees starting at $99 and increasing as you add more equipment.

Be aware that all of these prices may vary, depending on where you live. ADT doesn't publicize their rates on their main website, because the monitoring, installation and equipment charges depend on your local service area. So, take all of the amounts in this review as a ballpark figure.

ADT offers a 6-month money-back guarantee. It states that you "may receive a refund" of the installation price and any monitoring fees already paid if the company can't resolve any service- or installation-related concerns, but certain restrictions apply. Looking at the fine print, these conditions just require you to have all equipment fully removed before your refund is processed, and any system-related issues can't have been caused by you.

While ADT gives you the advantage of a long history and the comfort of brand recognition, their prices and packages are not transparent - and many customers complain about hidden fees, the lengthy contract requirements, and charges they didn't expect. Most of the home security systems ADT puts together can be found with other providers - who charge much less, with no required contracts.

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2.5 stars
Vivint

VIVINT

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Features:

Installation fees from $49-$199

No contract required when equipment is bought upfront

42- or 60-month contract with Flex Pay equipment purchase

Monitoring fees from $29.99-$44.99/month

Medical pendant support if desired

Entry, smoke and CO detection included on all plans

You may be familiar with Vivint because of their door-to-door salesforce. The company has more than 1.4 million customers throughout the US and Canada.

As with most of the larger providers of home security systems, Vivint relies on partner resellers and servicing companies to provide your coverage - so be aware that when you request a quote through the main Vivint site, your information will be passed along to one of those partners.

The Vivint site itself doesn't give too many specifics about their packages and pricing - so we took a look at some of their authorized resellers' websites. While availability and fees in your specific area may vary, here's a good general idea of what to expect from Vivint's services:

  • Smart Security Monitoring: you'll pay $29.99/month for the most basic coverage, which includes mobile access to your home security system, entry/smoke/carbon monoxide detection, medical pendant support, and 24/7 monitoring.
  • Smart Home Monitoring: for $39.99/month, this package includes smart home integration, letting you control your system through Google Home or Amazon Echo.
  • Smart Home Video Monitoring: if you want to add video surveillance to your home security system, this is the package for you. It starts at $44.99/month.

All of Vivint's systems require professional installation, and you can expect those fees to range from $49 to $199, depending on the equipment you choose. Unlike most of the home security systems we evaluated, Vivint doesn't seem to have pre-configured packages of equipment. Instead, your system will be customized to your specific needs.

The only equipment package we found advertised was the Flex Pay Starter Home Security System: 4 door/window sensors and a motion detector, starting at $9.17/month with a lengthy 5-year commitment. Vivint offers Flex Pay plans on all of their equipment, but you're locked into a contract for up to 60 months. You can also pay for your sensors and other devices upfront with no contract requirement, but until you schedule an appointment with a Vivint sales rep, you won't know exactly how much your system may cost.

Vivint lists a few of their product prices - Doorbell Camera ($249.99), Element Thermostat ($169.99), Outdoor Camera ($399.99), etc. - but don't give you an idea of how much you'll pay if you need more than 4 door/window sensors or any other equipment. We love that Vivint has so many ways to make your home "smart" and secure, and that they include smoke/CO detection in all of their monitoring plans, but customers want to know how much they're going to spend ahead of time.

Where Vivint comes up really short is in reputation. No other home security systems provider we evaluated had the high number of complaints we found regarding Vivint. On the BBB site alone - where, incidentally, Vivint has a disappointing "D" rating - there were more than 2700 complaints closed in the most recent 12-month period and a whopping 8900+ closed in the last 3 years. Other than a few compliments for "friendly, nice" salespeople, it's hard to find anyone with something positive to say about Vivint's home security systems.

When you're looking for increased peace of mind and safety, but your equipment has frequent outages, your smart home doorknobs unlock at random times, and you can't get help from the company you're locked into for up to 5 years, that's worse than having no home security system at all. Unfortunately, those are just a few of the problems customers report experiencing when using Vivint.

While Vivint initially seems to have all of the bells and whistles you could want for your home protection needs, the actual experience of having their service is almost guaranteed to be a let-down. Because of Vivint's poor reputation, we strongly recommend you go with one of the higher-ranked home security systems in our review.

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Continued from above

You may feel like your home won't be a target because you live within a gated community or you have strong deadbolts and motion-activated floodlights. While those preventative measures can make it less likely you'll be the target of a home invasion or robbery, the most determined criminals can still gain access to your house. For that reason, the experts strongly recommend that you invest in a 24/7 monitored home security system. Not only does it make it less likely that a criminal will target your house to begin with, but it also ensures that any attempts to break into your home will be detected immediately and reported to you and to local law enforcement.

When considering the many home security systems on the market today, you'll quickly see that they vary widely with respect to features, provided equipment, and service fees. Some providers give you all of the sensors and other equipment at no cost, with the understanding that you'll install the needed components on your own. Other services require you to make an appointment with a technician who will set up your home security system for you. Also, while most systems are monitored using wireless connections, some companies still use landlines - which can add to your costs if you are one of the millions of homeowners who rely solely on mobile phones and need to add a landline to use the home security system.

As you look through home security systems reviews, it's easy to get bogged down in the numerous packages, price points, and add-on features. Keep in mind the following basic criteria, to help you narrow down the options to find the right protection for your home:

  • Equipment and Installation Costs: What will you pay to get the equipment needed for the level of coverage you want? If the equipment isn't given to you free of charge, do you own it outright or do you pay monthly to rent it? If there's no charge, are there add-ons not included with the basic setup that you'll need to pay for? If a technician install is required, how much will you pay for the service?
  • Monitoring Service. Will your home security system be monitored around the clock? What do customers say about the response time of the service? Will local authorities be contacted directly and immediately, or will the company reach out to you first (e.g. false alarms)? How much does the monitoring cost per month?
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. If you're unhappy with your home security system for any reason, can you get a refund? Is there a warranty period on any provided equipment?
  • Reputation. What do current and previous customers say about their experience with the home security system? Has the provider been rated by the Better Business Bureau? Does the company deliver on its promises to keep you safe?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best home security systems available today. We hope this information gives you all of the insight needed to identify the home security system that will protect you and your loved ones now and in the future!

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