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      January 17, 2019

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  7. Guardian
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ADT vs Vivint

Best Wireless Security Systems

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

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Now more than ever, homeowners are looking for ways to protect themselves and their property. With more than 2 million burglaries each year - and an average loss of $2,000 per incident - wireless security systems are at the forefront of safeguarding against intruders.

It is true that there are other ways to make your home safer from burglary and invasion. For example, a well-lit exterior can discourage criminals from approaching your property, and high-quality deadbolts make it more difficult to enter your home. Unfortunately, even these measures will not prevent a determined criminal from picking the lock, smashing a window or slider door, and entering your home to steal your belongings or worse.

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Best Reviews

2019

Wireless Security System Reviews

4 stars
ADT

ADT Visit Site

Features:

FREE Equipment on many plans, with 3-year contract

$99 customer installation charge

Monitoring plans start at $48.99

Customer Information: 1-866-305-4104

With the longest history in the protection business, dating all the way back to 1870 in New York City, ADT (short for American District Telegraph) is one of the most well-known names in the wireless security systems market. While they do still offer traditional home security systems that require the use of landlines and regular wiring, ADT has kept up with the times by focusing on the development of newer wireless packages.

We noticed right away that ADT has an installation fee of $99 for most packages. Although many of ADT's competitors offer do-it-yourself installation, ADT still requires customers to meet in person with a security advisor, who will help customize a wireless security system for the needs of the home and then install it (same-day installation is available in some of ADT's service areas). In-person sales representatives have a reputation for being pushy and pressuring customers to accept packages that go well beyond what they were looking for in terms of features and budget, which drops ADT somewhat in our rankings.

ADT also charges more for monthly monitoring than many of the providers we reviewed. There are three main packages offered by ADT:

  • Basic Wireless: Starting at $48.99/month, this plan includes a wireless control panel, 3 wireless door/window sensors, 1 wireless motion detector (pet-immune), window decals and yard signs, 1 key fob, and CellGuard (ADT's wireless connection to their monitoring systems)
  • ADT Pulse: Starting at $52.99/month, this plan includes all the features of Basic Wireless, and adds mobile access and alerts to the coverage.
  • ADT Pulse + Video: Starting at $58.99/month, this plan includes all of the features of Basic and Pulse, along with video surveillance and an additional wireless keypad.

The most popular package is the Pulse, primarily because of the ability to use any smartphone, tablet, or computer to monitor and adjust the system. We weren't overly impressed by ADT's extra charge to include those features, as many other providers of wireless security systems include that capability at no extra cost to customers.

On a positive note, ADT includes a free Personal Emergency Response System with the purchase of any security monitoring package. This consists of a waterproof pendant that can be worn as a necklace, on a wristband, or clipped to a belt. When the rescue alert button is pressed, a notification is sent to an ADT monitoring representative who will then either contact you by phone or using the two-way voice system provided in some ADT wireless security system packages. If needed, the representative will contact local emergency services.

We recommend that prospective customers check out the Special Offers page (accessed by following the link at the bottom of the site under the "Learn" heading). While the wording on the page made it unclear whether the offers listed there are for a limited time or always available, it would be worth your time to ask prior to making a commitment. At the time of our review, those offers included:

  • Free security system with a 3-year contract and $99 customer installation charge
  • Same-day installation
  • 3 additional sensors for free
  • 6-month money-back guarantee
  • $500 theft protection: if your home is burglarized while under ADT coverage, ADT will pay up to $500 of your insurance deductible

With more than six million total customers throughout its history spanning more than 100 years, ADT clearly does many things right when it comes to protecting people and property.

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3 stars
Vivint

VIVINT Visit Site

Features:

FREE equipment and installation with some packages

Up to $198 in activation fees

Packages start at $53.99/month

Customer Information: 1-855-881-3071

If you're looking for a wireless security system with all of the latest technology bells and whistles, Vivint should be on your list of candidates. From Nest thermostats to Amazon Echo, Vivint's home security packages make it possible to change the temperature of your home, watch your kids playing in the living room, or even lock your front door from anywhere you have internet access.

All of Vivint's packages include the following:

  • SkyControl Panel: described as "like having an iPad on your wall", it displays video, controls temperature, manages system options, and provides an intuitive smart home experience. Users can also talk live with a monitoring professional through the panel in an emergency.
  • Sky App: puts control in the palm of your hand through Vivint's smartphone app. Control your home's temperature, locks, lights and more, remotely arm and disarm your wireless security system, even see live video of your front porch from the Vivint Doorbell Camera.
  • Home Security sensors and controls: all packages include 3 wireless door/window sensors, motion sensor, key fob, control panel, power adapter and battery, and cellular card that installs into the control panel. Other available products for Vivint's monitoring include doorbell and outdoor cameras, Ping cameras, 24/7 video recording, garage door controls, smart locks, Amazon Echo, and Element thermostats.
  • 24/7 monitoring

There are three main packages that Vivint offers:

  • Smart Protect, which covers the basics of door and window sensors, motion detectors, and smoke detectors. This plan starts at $53.99/month.
  • Smart Protect & Control, which includes monitoring of two additional smart home services. These services include a doorbell cam, door lock, thermostat, garage door controller, outdoor video, and HD video recording indoors. This plan starts at $60.99/month.
  • Smart Complete, which includes monitoring of three additional smart home services, as well as 1 Terabyte of secure cloud storage (known as "Space Monkey", for some reason). Call for pricing.

We like that Vivint offers free equipment and installation with certain packages. Be sure to read the fine print on the offer, however: depending on which state you live in, you'll need to commit to a hefty five-year contract (four years in a handful of states) with a plan of at least $60.99/month in order to qualify. We weren't able to find anything on Vivint's site to indicate that they have any sort of customer satisfaction guarantee, so making a five-year commitment (or paying the remaining contract balance) may be too much for many people. Also, if you move, you'll be charged a $99 moving fee if you've been a customer of Vivint for less than a year; the fee is waived if you renew your contract and you've been a customer for at least a year.

Vivint does have a warranty and service plan. For customers who choose Premium Service ($10/month), Vivint will repair and/or replace any defective part of the wireless security system at no charge. For all other plans, the warranty period is only 120 days after installation; beyond that point, Vivint will provide replacement parts at no extra charge, but you'll have to pay a $49 fee for the service call as well as taxes.

So, what will it cost to protect your home with Vivint? The easiest answer is "it depends". Vivint makes it very difficult to find out their package pricing, insisting that customers speak directly with a representative. We even tried using the chat function on the website but were told that pricing is only done over the phone or in person. Numerous customer reviews describe pushy salespeople knocking on their doors at late hours and signing people up for 5-year contracts without being explicit about the length of the commitment. You can be certain that for every feature added, you'll pay more - so with base packages starting at $53.99, Vivint is undoubtedly one of the costliest wireless security systems in our review.

We were glad to see that Vivint does have an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau. On the other hand, we were stunned to see that there have been nearly 4,000 closed complaints with the BBB alone in the last three years.

Overall, Vivint is a mixed bag. If having the latest technology in wireless security is a priority and you have an ample budget, Vivint should be on your list of possible companies. Just be prepared for the longest contract terms in the industry, and be proactive with contacting Vivint's customer support if you have issues with any of the equipment after installation.

Visit Site

Continued from above

For that reason, experts in home protection strongly recommend that you invest in a wireless security system, particularly those that have round-the-clock monitoring, to give you the greatest possible peace of mind. Most criminals will bypass homes that have a monitoring system, simply because it puts them at greater risk of being caught in the act.

Compared with traditional home security systems, wireless versions allow you to install them on your own and can easily be moved from one location to another - a convenient advantage for those who move frequently, such as students living in dorms or those who move around the country for work reasons.

Having a wireless security system can also save you money. Many homeowners insurance policies will give you a discount on your annual premium - as much as 20% - with an installed home protection package.

Wireless security systems can vary widely with respect to the protection they offer, the equipment provided, and the overall cost. Also, some offer 24-hour live monitoring of your system, while others leave that responsibility to you.

What should you look for in a wireless security system? Be sure to consider the following aspects:

  • Equipment Costs. What is included with your wireless security system compared to the number of sensors you need? How much does it cost to add extra sensors or other equipment that may be appropriate for your living situation?
  • Monitoring Service. Does the company monitor your system around-the-clock? Are the fees reasonable? Will the company contact local authorities in the event of a break-in or other emergency?
  • Guarantee. Does the company offer a satisfaction guarantee or a refund if there are any issues with the service or the equipment?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best wireless security systems available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the ideal wireless security system to protect your home and your loved ones! 

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