Andrew Garcia

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Between these two security systems, our favorite is ADT.

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You might think that all home security systems are the same, but truth be told, each one is unique in its own way. When shopping around, it’s imperative that you take your time and explore different options before deciding which is best for you and your family. Research is key, and to help you out we’ve taken on some of the brunt work for you by testing security systems in our own home.

Recently, we got our hands on both Bay Alarm and ADT’s cutting-edge home security packages. We extensively tested each product over several days to find out exactly how one stacks up against the other. Hopefully, this will help you decide on what route to take when preparing to make your game-changing decision. So without further ado, let’s jump right into our ADT vs. Bay Alarm comparison guide.

Selecting the Best Home Security System for You

First off, ask yourself this question: What do you and your family need? When considering which security system is best suited to protect you and yours, it’s crucial to keep in mind your individual situation.

While both ADT and Bay Alarm services offer great home protection, you may find that you’re more inclined to choose one or the other depending on pricing, equipment, features, and coverage. By taking a moment to complete a checklist of your must-haves, you’re sure to find the right setup for your home, your family, your property, and even your pets.

ADT Home Security Equipment

ADT Home Security Equipment


In our opinion, the available features and tech should be a primary focus when deciding between ADT and Bay Alarm. Considering the size of your space, such as the number of doors and windows, is also an important factor in choosing the right company. With that said, let’s go over some of the standout features that ADT and Bay Alarm have to offer.

ADT Key Features

ADT offers a larger initial installation package, providing sensors for protection as well as a keychain remote for activation and control over the alarm. Combining this startup offer with their extended line of additional equipment will provide an extensive amount of protection for your home.

ADT also offers an app making it easy to control your security system no matter where you are (your bedroom, the beach, Vegas, you name it!). Another feature worth mentioning is ADT’s outdoor video monitoring. This is important because, believe it or not, you can stop would-be burglars in their tracks with the right outdoor security cameras.

Finally, if you’re a smart-home aficionado, ADT offers dozens of home automation products. You can customize your home with smart lights, smart locks, smart thermostats, garage door sensors, and more.

FYI: Keychain remotes come in handy and will help to prevent false alarms. Keeping your remote with your car keys will help ensure that you’re never entering or exiting your home without the ability to arm, disarm, and access your home security system.

ADT does tend to be a little pricier compared to Bay Alarm, but if you’re looking for a company you can trust, ADT has you covered. We recommend reading our hands-on ADT review to learn more about what it’s like living with this industry-leading system on a day-to-day basis.

Bay Alarm Key Features

The Bay Alarm security system also offers many different features, including a touch screen control panel that makes navigating your system easy peasy. Similar to ADT, Bay Alarm is also compatible with Z-Wave wireless technology, which means you can install smart locks, smart lights, and thermostats that “talk” to each other and can be controlled using the same touch screen panel. Additionally, Bay Alarm offers a glass-break sensor which will sound the alarm if your window is ever broken.

Note that both ADT and Bay Alarm include 24/7 professional monitoring in the monthly fee. Neither company is cheap (especially compared to top DIY security brands like SimpliSafe), but we’ve found that you generally get what you pay for in home security.

Did You Know? Bay Alarm and ADT also offer medical alert systems for seniors. The services offer an immediate medical response at the press of a button. This extra measure of safety is incredibly important and can even prove life-saving!

Main Similarities Between ADT and Bay Alarm

When we tested both ADT and Bay Alarm’s products, we were honestly surprised at the amount of similarities uncovered between the two. Each company has incredible ratings and both have established years and years of reliable customer service as well as outstanding home protection.

With both companies you’ll be afforded 24/7 monitoring services that will provide immediate contact with local authorities in the event of an emergency. ADT and Bay Alarm can also equip you with doorbell cameras, home automation features, and smoke detectors. However, if you like to “do-it-yourself,” you may be disappointed to learn that each company requires professional installation. That being said, ADT's acquisition of LifeShield recently led to the debut of Blue by ADT, which is a DIY system. Read our Blue by ADT Doorbell Camera review for an example of their offerings.

As mentioned before, no two security systems are ever the same, and it’s important to understand these differences before making your final decision. The last thing you want is to expect one feature (which you believe to be standard), only to realize later it’s not available. We, like you, prefer not to be disappointed. And so, during our ADT vs. Bay Alarm exploration we also looked into what key differences might set them apart. Keep reading to see what we uncovered!

Key Differences Between ADT and Bay Alarm

Although both offer great home security coverage, Bay Alarm is only offered to California residents and can often require a bit more investment when it comes to initial costs and fees. ADT, on the other hand, is a more affordable system, offering more equipment at a more affordable monthly price. They also offer coverage to homes and businesses nationwide, making it more accessible for folks all across the country. In our opinion, the accessibility of ADT, the high ratings for their technology, and ease of equipment use give them a slight edge over competitors like Bay Alarm.

Costs and Contracts: How Much Can You Afford?

Another factor to consider in finding the right home security system is the cost, which can make or break a decision for some families. While both ADT and Bay Alarm require professional installation, their monthly pricing plans and contracts can vary drastically.

Did You Know? ADT and Bay Alarm both require a three-year contract, but ADT also offers a six-month money-back guarantee while Bay Alarm does not. To dig deeper into ADT’s terms, check out our ADT Contract page.

Bay Alarm requires a physical in-home security audit by one of their professionals to assess your home’s exact needs. Also, another thing you need to consider is the initial investment costs for equipment and installation fees. Bay Alarm costs $345 for startup services, while ADT is more affordable, costing as low as $99 out of the gates (depending on promotions).

Sticker shock? If so, take a breath and realize that startup fees and costs are pretty common within the home security industry. Although we don’t love the initial investment, the cost is usually more than worth it for the peace of mind alone.

Remember, the initial fees and costs are not the only things that need to be considered. The options you desire and the monthly payment plans should be deciding factors as well. ADT has pricing tiers that start as low as $29 per month and can go as high as $53 per month. As a bonus, if you’ve previously installed surveillance equipment, ADT will provide monitoring services to you for as little as $19.95 per month.

Bay Alarm Medical Equipment

Bay Alarm Medical Equipment

Bay Alarm services are offered with pricing plans that average about $30 per month, and semiannual and quarterly payment options are also available. We also really liked that Bay Alarm offers two different medical alert plans alongside their home security offerings. One is an in-home alert with GPS, and the other is a Mobile GPS medical service. The Mobile GPS service is offered at a starting price of $29.95 monthly, while the in-home service starts at $19.95 per month.

FYI: ADT does offer a wider selection of coverage and a larger area of services, providing contracts and alerts to homes and businesses all across the country. Unfortunately, Bay Alarm is limited to California residents only.

ADT Indoor Camera (left) and Outdoor Camera (right)

ADT Indoor Camera (left) and Outdoor Camera (right)

Summary of ADT vs. Bay Alarm

So, when all is said and done, where does this leave us? ADT and Bay Alarm home security services are both well established, professional companies offering detailed and personalized programs to provide the exact coverage you need for your home. Taking the time to understand your space and precisely what you’re looking for will help you select the best option for you and your loved ones’ protection.

Bay Alarm’s benefit (for those located in The Golden State) is an ideal fit for folks who value smart-home automation and reliable 24/7 monitoring. However, if you’re seeking a more affordable, well-established brand, ADT is definitely the way to go. Plus, it's available nationwide, and with ADT's movers-friendly policies, you can keep your security coverage even if you move outside of California. Ultimately, taking the time to value your home security needs and assess which company works best for you will provide not only your home with the best security, but allow for peace of mind knowing you’ve taken the steps to protect you, your loved ones, and everything you’ve worked for.

Remember: When comparing home security systems, it helps to make a list of the features and offerings that are most important to you. After you’ve made your list, check it against your top choices to see which system matches up the best. If money is an issue, write down your maximum monthly budget as well.

Hopefully we’ve helped to paint a clearer picture of which of these two home security systems will work best for you. There are a lot of brands out there, all with similarities and differences galore. But if there’s one piece of advice we can leave you with, it’s this: Don’t ever settle for second-best when it’s your safety and security in the balance.

Our Pick
Our pick is ADT
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SecureScore™: 9.2 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
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