Andrew Garcia

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Between these two security systems, our favorite is Vivint.

SecureScore™: 9.1/10

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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.

Vivint Smart Home Equipment

Vivint Smart Home Equipment

So many alarm companies are competing for the title of the best security system, and this makes shopping for the perfect home security setup a bit more formidable than it should be. That’s why we test security systems — so we can offer first-hand insight on how each system works and give you objective information about them.

Recently, we managed to get our hands on two popular brands in the home security space: Vivint and ADT. If you’re considering one of these brands, we compared the two side by side, from features, to pricing, to ease of use.

ADT Home Security Equipment

ADT Home Security Equipment

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

When shopping for the perfect home security system, it’s best to compare and contrast the many options available to you within the marketplace. Think about your must-haves and your max budget. Are there special features that have grabbed your attention? Is your home the size of a castle, a bungalow, or somewhere in between? Narrowing your search will help you better understand what security company is right for you.

After testing both ADT and Vivint, we were surprised at the number of differences uncovered, especially when it came to the required contract length. With ADT, you’re looking at a 36-month agreement (although with a six-month money-back guarantee), while Vivint requires a 48-60 month commitment. Personally, we’re not fans of long-term contracts; however, they’re not a deal-breaker for us if the company proves relationship worthy. And Vivint and ADT are absolutely relationship-worthy.

Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro Installed

Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro Installed

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. Vivint, on the contrary, is a newer millennial startup that was birthed with the intention to integrate more technology to create simple, easy-to-use smart home systems. It doesn’t quite have the industry clout of ADT, but it’s definitely getting there.

Next, let’s talk about connection methods. Vivint uses cellular signal-based monitoring, which means their systems send alerts through cellular connections much like cellphones. This option is suitable if you live in a place where there is strong and consistent cellular coverage. Otherwise, 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.

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.

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

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

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 Door/Window Sensor

Vivint Door/Window Sensor

Vivint vs. ADT Pricing

Undoubtedly, ADT and Vivint are both high-quality in-home security systems with great customer service. Before you make your decision though, be sure to read the fine print to fully understand the financial investments.

Vivint is pretty clear and their monthly rates are listed online at $29.99 and $39.99; the more expensive package includes video and home automation. Here’s our latest roundup of Vivint’s plans, packages and prices.

ADT is a bit more intensive with their pricing, as they require a consultation before giving you exact pricing. They do offer an affordable plan of $28.99 per month, but this doesn’t include any video or home automation. Most prices for their coverage and equipment vary by location and requirements. 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.

Photo of our Vivint Installation Specialist, Don

Photo of our Vivint Installation Specialist, Don

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.