Andrew Garcia

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Between these two security systems, our favorite is ADT.

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SecureScore™: 9.2/10

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When you buy a new home (whether it’s your first or 50th), you’ll want to make sure that you and everything you hold dear remains safe and secure. Unfortunately, the world can be a scary place, which makes installing the right home security system an essential priority for homeowners (and renters, too!). However, finding the right fit can be difficult. From interactive cameras to sensors to alarm systems, the choices are seemingly endless.

Not to worry! We’re here to help make your decision much easier. We recently got our hands on packages from both ADT and Smith Thompson, two of the top home security providers in the industry, and we tested each system over multiple days. We took a look at their various features, similarities, differences, and prices to help you make a decision on how best to protect your home. So let’s jump right into this ADT vs. Smith Thompson comparison.

ADT Home Security Equipment

ADT Home Security Equipment

How Are ADT and Smith Thompson Alike?

You really can’t go wrong with either of these high-quality setups, but it’s still important to know how they match up. For the most part, we found lots of similarities during our research and investigation.

Both companies offer cellular monitoring and mobile apps, which let you manage your system from your smartphone or tablet no matter where you are. We especially like this since we’re often on the go, travelling throughout the day between work, pesky errands, and unexpected outings. So an app is a must-have.

They also each share a sufficient customer service response time, up-front fees, and long-term contracts (Smith Thompson’s long-term contract is optional though). Both also staff monitoring stations for 24/7 professional monitoring, ensuring your home is always covered.

FYI: ADT requires a three-year contract unless you happen to live in California, in which case they only require a two-year contract. However, ADT does not charge monthly for their equipment.

Finally, both ADT and Smith Thompson offer professional installation (though Smith Thompson also has a DIY installation option). This means that a professional technician will do the dirty work for you. And they’ll even show you how to use your new system before leaving your home. While we like what the best DIY security systems have to offer, we’re all about professional installation.

How Do ADT and Smith Thompson Differ?

So, what actually sets these big brands apart? The main difference we uncovered has to do with their size and market familiarity. ADT is a large, well-established company (they’ve been in business for over 140 years!) that offers services throughout the United States.

Smith Thompson, on the other hand, only provides its service in Texas. So, if you don’t reside in the Lone Star State, then the decision between these two just became really easy for you.

Did You Know? While Smith Thompson is around 40 years old, they haven’t really increased the services they offer, nor have they expanded their equipment line. With that said, maybe they want to keep things simple and cover the basics really well.

In terms of package options, ADT offers a wide variety of setups along with many devices that can be added on. They also offer both cellular and landline connections, as well as home automation with voice recognition and environmental hazard detection.

Some benefits of going with Smith Thompson are that they offer DIY installation. Not to mention customers own their equipment outright (unlike ADT), which can help you save money up front. To top things off, Smith Thompson also provides an optional contract monitoring package, allowing you to either self-monitor your system or shop around for a better fit.

ADT vs. Smith Thompson: Our Favorite Features

At minimum, both ADT and Smith Thompson will provide you with a security system that is sure to protect your home along with everything and everyone who dwells within. When buying a system though, you still want to consider what your home actually needs and the features that would work best for you. By taking a more in-depth look into each company’s features, you’ll be that much closer to making a well-informed decision.

Key Features of Smith Thompson

Smith Thompson has been offering their services to homeowners in Texas since 1978. They are an established company that provides significant features with their home security systems. Some of the best features include:

  • Self-Installation: Though Smith Thompson offers the option for customers to install the system themselves, they also offer professional installation for those lacking confidence, time, and/or patience.
  • Compatibility With Existing Systems: If you already have a security system and the equipment, it’s possible that Smith Thompson might be able to handle monitoring for it without you having to purchase a new system. This could help you save on initial costs by connecting the alarm to your current system.
  • Wireless Monitoring: This allows you to change your system settings directly through an app without even being at home. It could come in handy if you’re out and about, as it would allow you to respond to and deal with any alerts you get while away.
  • Indoor and Outdoor Cameras: Similar to ADT, Smith Thompson offers indoor and outdoor security cameras for total home surveillance.
ADT Indoor Camera (left) and Outdoor Camera (right)

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

Interesting Fact: While Smith Thompson does offer a long-term contract, it is not required like it is with ADT. You can go with a month-to-month plan and cancel anytime, which gives you the flexibility you would not otherwise get with ADT.

Standout Features of ADT

As mentioned before, ADT is a much larger company offering service throughout the United States and Canada. Since they have such a diverse customer base, they provide diverse packages to match, each with various features that are customizable to fit your needs.

We tested and reviewed ADT, and listed below are some of the top options we found in their home security packages:

  • Environmental Sensors: While most features of home security systems are geared towards deterring intruders, environmental sensors go one step further to ensure you and your family are safe. They can detect a number of environmental conditions, including flooding, carbon monoxide, extreme temperatures, and smoke/fire.
  • Home Automation: This allows you to control all aspects of your security system through an app on your mobile phone. ADT’s home automation includes smart locks, thermostats, garage door controllers, etc. ADT also plays well with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home for hands-free voice control.
  • Indoor and Outdoor Video Surveillance: Cameras that can be placed anywhere on your property (inside and outside) can help capture any suspicious activity that occurs around your home. You’ll also be able to monitor footage through the app on your smartphone.
  • Medical Alert Pendants With GPS: If you or a family member suffer from a debilitating condition, or if you have an aging adult in your home, this could really come in handy and potentially save a life. If there’s an emergency, an ADT Health medical alert system will send help at the push of a button.
ADT Medical Alert - Medical Alert Plus System

ADT Medical Alert – Medical Alert Plus System

FYI: ADT also provides motion sensors that can tell the difference between humans and animals/pets. That way you’ll still feel safe without being unnecessarily disturbed throughout the night (especially if you have cats).

Cost and Fees for ADT vs. Smith Thompson

For many homeowners, the price of a home security system is often a very significant factor in deciding which way to go. It’s important to always keep your budget in mind. But, remember: The phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to home security packages. So if you want the best, you’ll likely have to reach a little deeper into your pocketbook or purse. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go broke or take on a side hustle to protect your home and family. Let’s explore the cost of both ADT and Smith Thompson.

Pricing for ADT

ADT has three base plans, all of which can be customized to fit your specific needs. When it comes to customizing their packages, ADT’s flexibility opens up a lot of different options for you.

Their plans range from $29 to $56 per month, and each package requires an up-front fee of $125 at the beginning of the contract. This one-time fee includes installation, but you’ll still be required to pay additional fees if you want to add extra equipment to your package. If you keep it simple, you’ll still get quality security coverage at a reasonable price.

To learn more, have a look at our latest roundup of ADT’s pricing, packages, and plans.

Pricing for Smith Thompson

Unlike packages from ADT, Smith Thompson’s are less customizable simply because they have less features to offer overall. However, Smith Thompson’s monthly costs are generally less expensive than ADT’s, which is a plus.

Their basic plan, which is pretty bare-bones as far as features go, starts at $16.95 per month (similar in price to our top-rated SimpliSafe system). Their midrange plan, which comes with a few more perks, is $21.95 per month. And their best plan is $29.95 per month (the same price as ADT’s cheapest).

Each Smith Thompson plan requires an up-front fee of $89, and it will cost you an additional $7 per month if you plan on using their app. Here’s a downside: Should you need to buy the equipment or have them install your system, it could cost you up to $400, including the $89 up-front fee to begin service (oof). However, if you already have your own equipment and intend to install the system yourself, then you can save a good amount of money.

The Equipment

ADT’s basic system includes a bevy of equipment — which can be built upon if you choose to purchase a more expensive package. Their equipment includes a control panel, a keyfob remote, entryway sensors, motion sensors, security cameras, signage for the front of your home, and more.

Smith Thompson offers much less equipment than ADT’s basic plan, but they do include entry sensors, motion sensors, a central base station, and optional cameras. Recently, Smith Thompson added the IQ touch screen panel to its packages, which offers home automation features for remote smart light, lock, and thermostat control.


As we mentioned before, ADT requires a three-year contract in every state but California. If you live in California, they only require a two-year contract. With ADT’s “moving” service, they can help relocate you anywhere in the country. Of course, they won’t move your furniture, but they’ll get you squared away with security services when you move into your new home.

Pro Tip: If you want to learn more about ADT’s terms and conditions (including their generous six-month money-back guarantee!), we recommend reading our ADT Contracts guide.

Smith Thompson offers a long-term contract but does not require it. If you choose, you can pay on a month-to-month basis and cancel at any time. The long-term contract can be a great tool to finance your system and pay less money up front.

Which Should You Choose?

Now, for the fun part … After reviewing both companies, we’ve discovered that you really can’t go wrong with either brand. ADT and Smith Thompson are both great choices when it comes to securing your home. But, one important thing to keep in mind is that Smith Thompson provides their service only in Texas. If you currently reside there but may be planning to move out of state sometime soon, you should probably go with ADT.

If you don’t want a lot of features and just require a basic home security setup, then Smith Thompson is the clear choice for Texans. You won’t be locked into a three-year contract, and you’ll definitely save money each month.

However, if you want video surveillance, fun extras, and full home automation, ADT is the way to go. Regardless of who you choose, we’re confident that you’ll enjoy peace of mind that’s absolutely priceless.

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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