ADT and Vivint compete in high-end wireless home security. This review compares installation, contracts, costs and more.
Quick Tips! Here are five key points from our review:
- Installation: Both ADT and Vivint provide professional setup. They don't sell DIY security kits.
- Features: Both security companies support advanced features: indoor video, outdoor video and home automation.
- Contracts: Both companies require long-term contracts. Compared with Vivint, ADT has shorter contracts.
- Emergency Connection: Both ADT and Vivint can use cell radio to contact emergency dispatchers. Only ADT has a landline option too.
- Cost: Pricing may be similar, but Vivint's is more straightforward for shoppers seeking video and home automation.
Vivint vs ADT Overview
- Wireless security systems
- Pro installation
- Indoor/outdoor video security available
- Home automation available
ADT and Vivint sell wireless home security with pro installation. Both companies do support advanced features and require contracts. Still, for specific features each company has advantages. ADT is best for medical alert pendants, for instance.
- Contract length (ADT 36 months, Vivint 42 months+)
- Pricing (ADT is case-by-case for advanced systems)
- Proprietary vs non-proprietary equipment (Only Vivint builds their own)
Both companies require long-term contracts, but ADT's are a bit shorter. Also, only ADT systems can be monitored by other alarm companies when the contract ends. A Vivint advantage is clear pricing for all customers.
Similarities: Vivint vs ADT
Vivint and ADT both sell wireless security equipment with pro installation. They offer high-end standard protection against intruders and environmental threats, plus both can support video surveillance and home automation. Here are questions and answers to explain the shared points.
- What is wireless home security? Wireless security is the alternative to hardwired security. A control panel and sensors communicate with radio signals instead of through wires. A big advantage of wireless security is clean installation.
- What is pro installation? Pro installation is the alternative to do-it-yourself setup. ADT and Vivint both send technicians to install their security systems. Shoppers get peace of mind knowing that equipment is professionally installed. Still, some want the independence and flexibility that come with DIY security systems.
- What is standard security equipment? Home security companies bring multiple layers of security with equipment such as smoke detectors, glass break sensors, door/window entry sensors and panic buttons. Furthermore ADT and Vivint support video surveillance and home automation (smart homes).
- What video security cameras are available? ADT and Vivint support a full range of video cameras with audio: indoor and outdoor cameras, stationary and panning cameras, doorbell cameras and more. Some cameras need power outlets.
- What is home automation? A home with automation is called a smart home. It uses devices that allow programming of lights, smart locks, appliances and more. These can be controlled with alarm control panels and mobile apps. Voice commands are an option with ADT and Vivint too. Home automation can enhance security, add convenience, and help homes conserve energy.
Differences: Vivint vs ADT
ADT is almost 150 years old but Vivint was born with the Millennial generation. Generally ADT is superior in customer service. Other key differences involve emergency connections, contracts and equipment.
A wireless home security system can contact emergency operators in different ways:
- A cell chip is the most secure option.
- Internet is the least secure way to send emergency signals. It's not available from the security companies in this review.
- Landlines are vulnerable to criminal tampering, but sometimes they're the only choice. They can also be used as backup to cell signals.
Vivint can be used with cell monitoring only, so Vivint can only be used in areas with cell service. A cell chip inside the control panel sends emergency signals.
ADT can be used with a cell chip or a landline. Thus ADT has a wider service area.
A main difference between Vivint and ADT is contract length. ADT customers sign 36-month contracts. Vivint customers sign 48-month to 60-month contracts. The minimum length of a Vivint contract is governed by state law.
These contracts normally pay for emergency monitoring and the equipment used. Customers own the equipment when the monitoring contracts are through. With Vivint you may pay for equipment up front to lower the monthly bill.
ADT makes cancellation easier. Customers get six months to back out of their contracts. With Vivint the right of refusal time could be as short as three days. The longest return period for Vivint is one month.
Some choose ADT or Vivint for a particular feature. For instance:
- ADT is the best security company for medic alerts. Their panic pendants work across the US wherever cell networks are used. In comparison Vivint panic pendants only work within 350 feet of base stations.
- Both companies support smart thermostats, but Vivint builds its own smart thermostat that costs less.
Prices for ADT and Vivint can be close. Vivint prices are published online. ADT prices are not always clear.
- Prices for Vivint's two monthly packages are $29.99 and $39.99. The top-tier plan supports video and home automation.
- The cheapest ADT plan costs $28.99. It doesn't include video or home automation. To get prices for advanced plans, prospective customers have sales consultations of about 45 minutes. Prices vary by region and equipment used.
Both companies have optional monthly warranty costs. The ADT plan costs $7/month. Vivint equipment is also under warranty without the service plan for the first 120 days. After that, the Vivint Premium Service plan costs $10/month.
Vivint builds some of the equipment used in its security systems. The company also uses equipment built by 2GIG. ADT only uses equipment from third parties such as General Electric and Honeywell. Both options can be advantageous:
- Vivint's research and development lets the company provide some cutting-edge features for less. For instance, Vivint has developed a smart thermostat that costs less than the popular Nest thermostat.
- A drawback of Vivint's proprietary equipment is that it limits customers' flexibility if they move to another provider. Vivint Sky touchscreen control panels, for example, would need to be replaced. ADT equipment can be monitored by other alarm companies.
Summary Comparison: ADT vs Vivint
ADT and Vivint are rather similar with high-end wireless equipment, pro installation and contracts. Because of the contracts, the companies are better for homeowners compared with renters. Each company has a few slight advantages over the other, so overall the question of which is “best” comes down to personal preference. Check out our detailed review of Vivint and our review of ADT.