As a homeowner, a good home security setup can offer peace of mind. With the right system, you can enjoy 24/7 monitoring and see what’s happening on your property at any time throughout the day or night.
There is a vast sea of alarm companies all vying for the title of top security system, so shopping for the perfect one for you can seem pretty daunting. That’s why we test the systems for you – so we can show you first-hand how each home security system works, and give you an objective opinion about them.
With a plethora of home security providers out there, you will find brands that focus on DIY solutions (like Ring), systems without contracts (like Abode), and brands that focus on reliable and affordable equipment that they manufacture themselves (like SimpliSafe).
Today, however, we are doing a comparison of two of the most well-known names in home security: ADT and Vivint. If you’re deciding between these two brands, we have compared them side by side for you, looking at everything from pricing, to features, to ease of use, and more.
We'll offer our expert insight on areas where the two systems compete and let you know where the systems are the same or if the differences are negligible. Straight ahead is a comparison and contrast of two top-ranked systems to help you shop.
FYI: If you want to know what it’s like living with Vivint, check out our full Vivint review here. Or, if you think ADT might be the better option, you can read more about this popular brand in our ADT review.
Understanding the Differences
Your first step when considering a home security system is to learn all the various options that are available to you. You also want to focus on your must-haves and your maximum budget. Some things to think about as you comparison shop are: the size of your home, how much security you need, any special features you desire, etc. Zeroing in on what you actually need will help you narrow the search.
We will start with one of the biggest differences between the two brands — contracts. Both companies require them, but the difference in length is significant. If you go with ADT, you will be required to sign a 36-month contract although that does include a six-month money-back guarantee. With Vivint, the contract requires a 48-to-60-month commitment.
FYI: Contracts and pricing are not “everything.” You should also consider the functions and features of each system so that you can make the best decision according to your specific security needs.
Another difference is reputation. ADT has been in service for over 145 years (almost as old as Canada!), and over the years they’ve built a stellar reputation for reliable home security. It all started when the company’s founder invented a system to send for help during a break-in using telegraphs.
This next difference could be the most important: their connection methods. Vivint uses cellular signal-based monitoring, meaning their systems send alerts through cellular connections much like cellphones. If you live in a place where there is strong cellular coverage, this isn’t an issue. However, if you don’t, you risk losing connection to your system, so it’s not the best security system for folks who live in rural areas.
On the other hand, ADT lends more flexibility to homeowners in terms of connection methods. It also offers cellular monitoring, but there are options for landline and broadband systems as well. This gives ADT a much wider area of coverage, as their systems can work in areas with poor cellular or broadband coverage, as long as a landline is available.
And finally, you will find a difference in overall pricing – that is pricing that includes equipment, monthly monitoring, and installation costs. Generally speaking, Vivint targets customers who want high-quality equipment and services and are willing to pay top dollar to get it. ADT casts a wider net, with systems that suit those of varying preferences and budgets.
Comparing Similarities of Home Security Services
Alright, we’ve talked about their differences, but how do these two really match up in terms of essential qualities and services offered? Both ADT and Vivint offer top-of-the-line home security systems complete with professional installation and wireless equipment.
Full-home automation is also available, which can be a wonderful addition to the standard home monitoring systems by giving video surveillance to homeowners for an added sense of security. Using a mobile app, you’re able to know the status of your home instantly, anytime and anywhere. As a bonus, you can also include appliances, thermostat control, door locks, and more in your home automation setup. But after testing both systems, we have to give the edge to Vivint when it comes to smart home automation. It’s the best in the business in this category.
Vivint vs. ADT: Key Features to Look Out For
Features are key when trying to make that final irksome decision and taking the time to understand each of them is important. The last thing you (or we) want is for you to settle for one option, only to realize it’s not what you need. While some companies might offer home automation or installation costs, you’ll find that the service does not cover the proper area of your space. ADT and Vivint, however, include the ability and option to cover the entire exterior and interior of your home, providing coverage and awareness to all areas.
FYI: For those who are a bit intimidated by the idea of DIY installation, you should take comfort in knowing that both ADT and Vivint offer professional installation and startup to make sure that all equipment is functioning properly and operational.
As mentioned, Vivint’s home security system is operated using a cell-based monitoring program. While this works swimmingly for most, it does limit those who do not have consistent access to cellular signals. ADT offers mobile services, but also a landline, allowing a broader base for customer use. Additionally, ADT offers a personal medical alert response. This can be added to your monthly packages and contracts, allowing the wearer to find peace of mind in situations that might present themselves as dangerous to those with elevated medical needs and conditions.
Did You Know: Medical alert response has been proven to effectively save lives. If you or a loved one has a special medical need or condition, a medical alert response can be a great way to ensure that any medical emergency is addressed in a safe and timely fashion. So if you’re looking for an extra layer of emergency coverage, check out our rundown of the best medical alert systems.
Both Vivint and ADT do offer highly rated services for home protection, with the biggest variant involving the contract length and pricing. While some might find it worth the investment to have specific features, others might opt for basic coverage and simplicity.
Vivint vs. ADT Ordering and Pricing
Undoubtedly, ADT and Vivint are both high-quality home security systems with great customer service. However, if you are someone who prefers investigating your options and ordering online, you may be disappointed with Vivint. Vivint offers a spare website with minimal product and pricing information. They also require you to order over the phone.
ADT, on the other hand, offers a much more comprehensive website and the ability to order online or by phone. In the end, this may not seem like a big difference, but it’s one you should know about.
Next, Vivint is the less expensive option of the two with monthly monitoring rates of $29.99 to $44.99. However, this does not include the cost of the equipment, which is dependent on the equipment that you choose and which you are required to purchase. The more expensive package includes video and home automation. Here’s our latest roundup of Vivint’s plans, packages and prices.
ADT is more expensive, at least at first glance. However, note that their monthly fees include equipment rental. In a nutshell, you will pay between $45.99 and $59.99 for monitoring AND equipment rental with ADT. If you want to learn more about ADT’s offerings, check out our in-depth guide to ADT plans and prices.
Also keep in mind that you can finance your equipment with both companies. With Vivint, you’ll own the equipment and make payments on it over time. But with ADT, you’ll rent the equipment as long as you have their service.
We’d like to add that Vivint and ADT both require a contract. The typical contract term for ADT is three years, while it’s four to five years with Vivint. The only exception is if you buy your equipment upfront, in which case, Vivint will let you sign a month-to-month contract that you can get out of without penalties.
And here comes another differentiation between ADT and Vivint. ADT gives customers a 6-month money-back guarantee. During this period, if there are issues with the system that ADT can’t fix, it will refund all your monthly payments and installation fees. With Vivint, there’s no such guarantee, and the window for getting out of the contract is only three days. After that, the contract takes full effect, and that means you’ll need to pay an early termination fee if you cancel.
Equipment and Installation
Knowing whether you’re able to install your own equipment or if you’ll need professional help is a major step in easing your home security startup. Vivint produces its own line of security cameras and other equipment, and Vivint has the best home automation technology available, including its own smart thermostat. A downfall to this is that Vivint is not compatible with any other brand devices, compared to ADT which gives you more options and flexibility.
Both brands offer professional installation, and the cost is one place where the brands are identical. You will pay between $99 and $199, depending on which package you choose.
Did You Know: ADT allows externally sourced monitoring equipment such as cameras, sensors, thermostats, and other home automation devices. This freedom to choose your exact equipment will always be up to you if you decide to switch to another home security provider.
Our Final Verdict on Vivint vs. ADT
Basically, both ADT and Vivint are wonderful, high-quality home security services that you really can’t go wrong with. Evaluating your home’s specific monitoring needs, the daily use of technology, and your desire for more synchronized applications are all vital when trying to figure out the right company to go with.
While some may be drawn to full-home automation, others might like the idea of basic monitoring on a budget. Take a moment to go over (and over!) the details, and ask for more information when necessary. After all, there’s really no such thing as too much research, especially when the safety and security of you and your loved ones are involved.
But to give you something to really sink your teeth into, we think Vivint is all-around better than ADT, but only slightly. Vivint’s equipment is top-notch. The system is fully-integrated for smart home automation. And Vivint’s professional installation is really something else.