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A decent front door camera that comes free with one of the strongest video monitoring packages on the market today
Keeping an eye on your front door used to be something you asked Larry from next door to do. These days, with advances in home security technology, you can do it yourself easily with a quality video doorbell. We’ve reviewed plenty of cheap, DIY home security solutions that will get the job done.
So why go with a traditional, hardwired provider like ADT? There are a few good reasons, which I explored in full when I tested a complete ADT home security system over the course of several weeks. The quick version is: ADT’s professional cellular monitoring and premium Video & Smart package are hard to beat if you’re prepared to invest in quality.
ADT’s video doorbell is obviously a key element in their home security service. In this ADT video doorbell buyer’s guide, we’re going to look closely at costs and features. What’s the price for an ADT video doorbell? What can it do? How much will you pay for their much-hyped premium monitoring plan? And — most importantly — is an ADT door buzzer worth it.
FYI:Hardwired home security systems don’t rely on Wi-Fi to transmit alerts back to security technicians, making them more secure than comparable wireless, Wi-Fi systems.
By itself, ADT’s video doorbell sells for $200, which is neither at the high end of the spectrum (Vivint doorbells go for $249 a pop), nor squarely in bargain basement terrain (Ring doorbells sell for as low as $99).
One nice thing about ADT is that their video doorbell is included in their premium plan, Video & Smart (see below). Video doorbells usually cost extra. On the flip side, you can’t use your ADT video doorbell without an ADT plan, at least until you’re done with your monitoring contract. That isn’t all.
To really benefit from your ADT video doorbell, you’re going to need to purchase ADT’s premium Video & Smart plan ($17.48 per month when you pay in installments), which is the only ADT plan that includes video monitoring.
Just to point out the obvious, you need the video monitoring feature to actually see what’s happening on your front porch via your ADT hub or smartphone app. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for owning an expensive, wall-mounted walkie-talkie (ADT doorbells come with two-way audio).
Did You Know: ADT now sells a line of premium DIY home security equipment, which includes video doorbells. Check out my review of Blue by ADT for the full story. Or scroll down a few paragraphs for a quick run-through.
|Secure||Starting at $599||$9.98|
|Smart||Starting at $919||$15.32|
|Video & Smart||Starting at $1,049||$17.48|
*These plans require a 60-month contract.
Without a doubt, you can find cheaper home security solutions that come with video doorbells. A complete 21-piece Cove security system (doorbell included) costs about $400, for example. Cove is also worth mentioning here because it’s one of the few contract-free home security services we’ve tested that offers cellular monitoring, the most reliable type of connection in most expert opinions.
And keep in mind that ADT’s $1,049 price tag ($200 video doorbell included) doesn’t include monitoring fees, which we’ll dive into in just a second, or a number of à la carte items you may very well decide you need. Glass break sensors and environmental sensors, for instance, cost extra with ADT but are included with Cove.
That said, ADT’s Video & Smart plan includes some terrific programmable smart home automations and equipment. Want a front door lock that locks by itself at 9 p.m.? You’ve got it. Want your doorbell to tell your porch lights to flip on automatically or your alarm to arm itself when you’re 10 yards from the front door? All easy with ADT, at roughly the same price as top-of-the-line Vivint home security components.
What else can you do with your ADT video doorbell? Let’s find out.
Home Security Tip: Home alarms that communicate breaches or suspicious activity via Wi-Fi work fine — as long as your Wi-Fi is up and running. The best cellular security services, on the other hand, communicate via cellular radio networks, making them more or less failproof.
At $200, ADT’s buzzer is fairly basic as far as video doorbells go. Resolution is 720p, so don’t expect to print and frame your doorbell footage. AI detection is also kind of weak. When I spent some time testing ADT’s doorbell camera, for instance, I didn’t have much luck getting it to sift out meaningless information like passing pedestrians from the important stuff, like house visitors. I got alerts for any movement the camera happened to pick up.
That’s because ADT’s doorbell cam doesn’t have the ability to zero in on swaths of action, aka “motion zones,” like the substantially more sophisticated indoor camera that comes with their premium package.
Do you need that level of intelligence in a doorbell camera? If you live in a high-traffic area, without it, you may run the risk of getting more false alerts than you want. Needless to say, the serious events will always make it onto your radar.
To its credit, ADT’s video doorbell does have top-notch night vision, and the 180-degree viewing range leaves nowhere for intruders to lurk. You can also put ADT’s doorbell to work as an intercom, in the house or on the go. If a prowler didn’t notice your ADT decal — or the glowing blue bell next to your door — you can bet they’ll take notice when you say hello.
FYI: Google Nest Doorbell is now compatible with ADT security systems. The Nest is slightly cheaper with wired and battery-operated options, 1080p resolution, and advanced AI detections.
At $200, Blue by ADT isn’t going to save you any money over ADT’s own video doorbell, but it does offer some improvements like a crisper (1080p HD) picture and integrations with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Just keep in mind that if you want to enjoy video monitoring with Blue, you’re going to need to wire your Blue device to an existing ADT system. This means that the Blue doorbell would only really make sense if you already have an ADT Secure or Smart plan and are thinking of upgrading, or are comfortable self-monitoring.
Did You Know: If This Then That is a freemium SaaS platform that allows software and devices from different developers to communicate so you can automate productivity and household processes.
Before we get to ADT video doorbell’s standout features, let me just address the elephant on the porch: ADT’s $59.99 monthly monitoring fee. That’s because this is the amount you’re going to be paying monthly for the duration of your ADT agreement, typically 24-36 months.
If ADT’s equipment pricing is considered middle of the road, their monitoring is definitely a little pricey. For a little context, Vivint video and smart home monitoring is $44.99 per month, a good $15 less than ADT. Premium monitoring with Cove is only $28. (Read my police-packed Cove review to see how Cove’s cheaper plan performed in the field.) Both of these services offer first-rate cellular connections with first responders.
The point is: You have options.
I wouldn’t say that ADT’s more expensive video monitoring plan is the price you pay for best-in-class components and a name that’s been in the business for more than 140 years, but that wouldn’t be too far off the mark.
|Package||Monthly Monitoring Cost|
|Video & Smart||$59.99|
FYI: Self-monitored security systems mean you are your own security team. If someone breaks into your house, the siren will sound, you’ll get an alert via your smartphone, and it’s on you to call the cops. While you won’t have emergency services a button away, you will have video footage (if you’ve got cameras), which may or may not help in court.
|Plan||Video & Smart only|
|Requires monitoring plan||Yes|
|Agreement length||24-36 months|
|Trial period||6 months|
*Included in Video & Smart package
ADT’s video doorbells certainly aren’t the best thing since sliced bread, but in my experience, they do work without any hitches. Here’s what they do particularly well.
If you live in a multi-floor home like I do, having a reliable intercom with a smart lock is priceless. With ADT, you can also communicate with visitors and delivery drivers when you’re not at home. (“Please don’t leave my brand new Amazon Kindle on the steps, hide it in the flower pot. Thanks!”)
This is a matter of personal preference, but I like peripheral vision on my porch. ADT’s video doorbell supplies it with 180-degree (night) vision.
With a little help from the online portal — ADT’s “if this then that” platform — you can set up automations easily. Need to walk the dog at 6 a.m. when it’s still dark? Just tell the doorbell you want a little light when it sees you. Easy.
Most of us don’t need months of “porch footage.” ADT gives you 24 hours’ worth of cloud video for free, which definitely helps sweeten the pot.
Did You Know: You can purchase up to 60 days’ worth of footage for your ADT video doorbell for $2.99 per month. This is 30 days more than some competitors offer for the same price.
If you’re a budget-minded homeowner looking for a self-monitored doorbell you can put up yourself in a matter of minutes, that is not ADT. If you’re in that camp, Cove or Ring make more sense. Or even a self-monitored Google Nest Doorbell.
Who, then, would ADT’s video doorbell make sense for? For households in two situations.
One, you’ve got a home, you’re going green, smart, or both, and you want a white glove security service that will handle everything for you so you can sit back and reap the benefits of a completely secure home. Two, you’re already an ADT customer and want to upgrade to the Video & Smart plan because you want to see what’s happening in and around your home.
In either case, you’ve got to be staying put (no moving plans on the horizon) and you’ve got to be prepared to commit to ADT’s equipment and monitoring agreements for a minimum of two to three years. (Equipment payments can actually span up to 60 months with ADT.)
If that’s you, ADT is a great all-around pick for top-notch home protection.
Fun Fact: Can we take the smart lifestyle too far? The Egg Minder by Quirky is “a Wink-enabled egg tray that makes sure you’ll never run out of eggs at home and lets you know when they’re going bad!” We’ll let you be the judge on that one.
ADT isn’t known for bargain pricing, so it’s surprising how many deals they offer from time to time. Here are three that may come in handy if you’re considering a video doorbell.
Sign up for a 24-36-month ADT Video & Smart monitoring plan and enroll in EasyPay (automatic payments), and you could get three free door or window sensors and one free motion detector with your complimentary video doorbell. That’s a $350 value!
Sign up for a 24-36-month ADT Video & Smart monitoring plan with automatic payments and enjoy a one-time credit of $179.97 for monthly monitoring fees, along with your free video doorbell. To be eligible, you need to spend at least $599, the cost of the Secure plan, FYI.
The same prerequisites as above apply, but this is pretty nifty. Along with your free video doorbell, ADT is offering a free outdoor security camera installation. (Outdoor cams aren’t included in the Video & Smart package.)
And that’s just scratching the surface. ADT also has discounts for seniors, Cyber Monday specials, and moving deals. For a complete list, check out these ADT deals and discounts.
Did You Know: If you’re the victim of a burglary while your ADT system is armed, ADT will pay $500 of your insurance deductible.
ADT video doorbells are still evolving. Hence their cooperation with Google for the time being. My bet is that sooner, rather than later, their own doorbells will have more tempting specs: higher resolution definitely, motion zones, and better AI. Then again, most of the industry is still figuring out AI.
ADT’s video doorbell (valued at $200) comes with its premium bundle, along with a smart lock and a handful of other high-grade components. This is a good thing because ADT’s video monitoring package ($59.99 per month) isn’t cheap.
ADT Video & Smart subscribers also benefit from round-the-clock cellular monitoring, white glove installations, and smart home automations. If there’s one trend that’s here to stay, it’s smart homes, so those automations are a safe investment. In fact, if anything, going smart will start saving you money immediately.1
If all of these perks paint a picture of premium quality, that’s really what ADT is known for. Understandably, this might not be the ideal way forward for everyone. Want cheap and DIY? Try Cove or a doorbell from Ring. You won’t go wrong. Looking for a more permanent solution that will transform your home into the proverbial castle? That’s ADT.
FYI: Has facial recognition ever creeped you out or let you down? You’re not alone. Despite this, the majority of us still trust AI to identify the right suspect, per the Pew Research Institute.2
ADT values its doorbell cameras at $200, but they’re included in the Video & Smart equipment package.
Long story short: yes. Unless you go with their DIY alternative, Blue by ADT, which doesn’t require a monitoring plan.
Yes, all ADT’s components require professional hardwiring.
Yes, but at 720p, they’re just scraping by.
You bet. You can program your video doorbell to work in tandem with your porch light, for example, via the ADT online portal.
Energy Star. (2022). Smart Home Tips for Saving Energy.
Smith, Aaron. (2019, Sep 5). More Than Half of U.S. Adults Trust Law Enforcement to Use Facial Recognition Responsibly. Pew Research Center.