These days we expect a lot of our home security cameras, and not just crisper images. We want to be able to see what’s happening inside and around our homes when we’re on the go — without getting alerts every time the dog runs into the TV room. Because of that high bar, top home security providers are constantly improving their video monitoring capabilities. ADT is no exception.
ADT has a reputation for reliable, time-tested home security equipment (with professional installations and monitoring) that’s worth the money if you’re ready to invest in a multiyear contract. But how do their cameras stack up in terms of pricing and features?
We spent over a hundred hours testing ADT equipment in our hands-on ADT security review. Today, we’re going to swoop down and take a closer look at what their indoor and outdoor cameras have to offer, including the prices you should expect to find, the latest upgrades and integrations, and some pretty neat discounts you could grab if you purchase an ADT camera today.
Did You Know: ADT’s security systems are all hardwired, which means an ADT certified technician connects every ADT device in your home to your security panel by physical wires.
At first glance, ADT’s pricing is a little tricky if you’re just looking for a bottom line. Long story short: ADT has three equipment plans. Each starts with a basic plan, but don’t worry, you can build them out. If you’re shopping for cameras, you’ll want to focus on the third plan, Video & Smart, because that’s the only one that includes video monitoring.
|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.
If $1,049 seems steep, here’s the silver lining. First, you get a nine-piece kit that includes an indoor camera and a doorbell camera. In our roundtop of this year’s best home security cameras, we’ve seen that by purchasing just those two components from wireless competitors can easily set you back $500.
Second, when you purchase an ADT video package, smart home automation is bundled in. That means you can outfit your home with green add-ons like smart thermostats, LED lights, and even plugs. Down the line these smart devices can really come in handy if you’re trying to cut down on electricity bills (like nearly all of us).
Finally, you don’t have to pay your whole bill upfront. You can pay off your ADT equipment in installments, like you do with your iPhone. So when you’re figuring out your budget, it’s better to look at that third column (monthly payments). In ADT’s case, we’re talking $17.48 per month minimum.
This monthly fee isn’t peanuts, and we haven’t even gotten to monitoring fees yet. If you’re just looking for one or two motion and safety sensors on the cheap with a camera that you can set down next to the TV and plug into the wall, check out Cove wireless security equipment. In fact, any of the top DIY home security systems will suffice.
With that said, ADT has built a reputation around top-quality equipment and reliable monitoring. So let’s take a look at the ADT camera lineup.
FYI: When you see “wireless” used to describe a home security system, it could mean that your devices communicate with each other (and your security provider) via your internet connection or that your equipment doesn’t require any hardwiring. Most often, though, it means the device is battery powered.
ADT’s 1080p outdoor camera isn’t anything fancy. It won’t send would-be prowlers a warning if they’ve been lingering too long on your porch. And in practice, it wasn’t very good at picking out a delivery van from a passerby. But the new 1080p HD cameras give a crisp picture, even at night, and the two-way audio feature is useful for quick, no-contact transactions on the porch.
If you’re comfortable controlling your security system with your smartphone (and I think a lot of us are), ADT’s new Control app is also a winner, giving you live video feeds of all your cameras. This isn’t just so you can feel like Big Brother. Those feeds will come in handy when (not if) you receive an alert and want to quickly check out the situation with your own eyes.
Believe it or not, at $290, ADT outdoor video cameras are relatively cheap. (Not a description we typically use for its products). For comparison, Vivint’s outdoor cams run $400 each.
Home Security Tip: ADT doesn’t sell additional cloud storage for its cameras like some competitors. But it does keep footage for up to 30 days — a lot longer than the 24 hours you typically get. If you need to archive footage older than a month, you’ll need to download it to an external device yourself.
The situation gets a little more interesting with ADT’s indoor cameras because when you move inside, you will find some of those useful AI enhancements you don’t get with ADT’s outdoor video cams. What does this mean for your home, practically speaking?
The biggest perk is smart alerts. You can program your 1080p HD ADT indoor camera to send you an alert when someone is rifling through your kitchen liquor cabinet, for instance, but not every time someone walks past the fridge. If you’ve rigged your living room with smart LED light bulbs (Google Nest products now work with ADT, by the way), you can program your camera to turn on the lights as soon as it detects a human crossing the threshold.
This list could go on, but you get the idea. You can do a lot with ADT’s indoor cameras. And just like ADT’s outdoor cameras, at $150 a pop ADT’s indoor video equipment is on the cheap side.
So you’ve got your ADT cameras. The ADT technician has been there and gone. Now what?
Whether you chose the Smart & Video package or just the bare-bones Secure plan, now you get to reap the benefits. That includes around-the-clock professional monitoring — which, you guessed it, isn’t free either.
|Package||Monthly Monitoring Cost|
|Smart & Video||$59.99|
If you zero in on that first row, you can see ADT’s monitoring service starts at $28.99 per month. Now track on down to row three. With video monitoring, your monthly bill will be a penny shy of $60. Once you figure in the equipment fees from above (another $18 per month), we’re talking a grand total of $78 per month for your camera-ready home security system.
While ADT can compete with other high-end security systems, like Vivint, in terms of equipment costs, ADT’s monitoring costs are at the high end. But those prices aren’t for nothing. ADT’s video monitoring service comes with one serious perk: a cellular connection (with optional landline backup). To put that into perspective, we all know how reliable Wi-Fi connections can be. Not very. Well, imagine if your home security system was dependent on one.
Cellular is a different story. With a quality cellular connection (think Verizon towers), security technicians communicate faster with first responders and you won’t have to worry about your security failing because your internet is down.1
That said, we’ve seen best-in-class cellular monitoring packages with considerably cheaper subscriptions. Check out our Cove home security review for the full story on one of the most affordable security alarms we’ve tested. Vivint plans are another good option for premium monitoring on a budget, with video camera plans starting at $23 per month.
FYI: With ADT’s custom zones feature, you can arm a higher-risk area of the house, like the basement, while leaving the rest of the house unarmed. This is really useful at night, when you’re inside and only want to protect critical entranceways.
There’s a lot happening behind your ADT wall panel when your cameras are turned on. Here’s a roundup of the features I think you’ll find most useful — starting with those nifty updated video specs we were so happy to see when we reviewed ADT.
When home security is at stake, a crisper picture is always better. 1080p HD is top of the line. ADT cameras are also night vision-ready, so you can see what’s going on in and around your home in low light situations.
Having audio isn’t just good for scaring off prowlers. ADT’s two-way mic will come in handy for communicating with delivery people, keeping tabs on kids, and saying hello to Fido when you’re at the office. (Fido might not get it at first, but eventually he’ll catch on.)
Once we’ve set up and activated our ADT security systems, many of us will say goodbye to our wall panels and reach for our phones. ADT’s new app does it all: alerts, live video feeds, alarm status by zone, and smart home automations.
Otherwise known as video analytics, AI detection lets your smart cameras learn on the job. With a little trial and error, this lets you weed out the suspicious behavior from the everyday behavior you don’t want to get alerted about. (Too many alerts would drive you crazy.)
You can program your cameras to talk to your other smart devices, too. This can be very cool. And it can save you a bundle of money if you set up smart routines. According to a study by the folks at Google Nest, using smart thermostats can reduce energy consumption by 11 percent.2
Did You Know: A smart plug can tell the coffee maker socket to switch on at 7 a.m. (when you’re ready for your coffee), rather than leaving it on all day and night. All that saved energy around the house could translate into 1-5 percent off your yearly energy bill.3
ADT has been struggling hard lately to bring their traditional, hardwired systems into the digital arena, where the competition is fierce, affordable, and lightweight.
Wireless home security systems (i.e., systems that run on batteries or plugs) are generally cheaper than hardwired systems and don’t require professional installations or servicing. For example, SimpliSafe plans start at $17.99 per month with cameras.
Unquestionably, the one thing you’re getting with ADT is quality — quality products, quality installations, and quality service. If their prices are in your budget ballpark — and you’re willing to commit for two years minimum — getting a quote from ADT certainly makes sense.
Home Security Tip: ADT SoSecure is an app that gives you real-time access to ADT security specialists via video and chat, including emergency roadside assistance. If you’re ever in a real bind, just toggle the red SOS slider on your phone to the right and help is on the way.
ADT is chock-full of discounts. In fact, there are so many deals on ADT security systems, we’ve devoted a whole page just to keep track! Here are a few that might come in handy if you’re shopping for cameras or you’re looking to build out your ADT video monitoring system.
Did You Know: ADT will give you a $200 Visa Rewards Card for referring new customers. This deal isn’t a one-off. The more customers you bring into the ADT fold, the more money you earn.
ADT comes with a few preconditions you need to be ok with to even consider installing their systems. If you don’t want to enter into a monitoring agreement, for instance, ADT is probably not a great fit. We’ve looked at numerous home security systems that don’t require contracts. After Cove, SimpliSafe and Ring would be at the top of that list.
Monitoring costs might also be a pain point for some. While ADT’s base plan costs a fairly reasonable $28.99 per month, in order to install ADT cameras, you’d need to purchase their premium plan ($59.99 monthly). For comparison, Cove premium plans, which also offers cellular video monitoring, are only $24.99.
On the other hand, ADT does offer a six-month trial period. That’s unheard of in the industry, by the way, where most companies only give you between 30 and 60 days.
The other benefits you get from going with ADT are top-of-the-line components backed by professional installations and service, 24/7 cellular monitoring, and a quickly developing line of smart home devices you can automate from a brand new app.
In other words, your home will be completely protected (and, if you want, automated) with ADT. And that may be enough of an incentive for many homeowners to give the 140-year-old company with the little blue sign a chance. We did. And we don’t regret it.
ADT components are high quality. All ADT cameras are now 1080p HD with infrared night vision. ADT indoor cameras also feature advanced video analytics.
Yes, you can. Currently, ADT’s Smart & Video packages cost $17.98 per month, over 60 months.
Currently, indoor cameras run $150 and outdoor cameras $290. A video doorbell camera costs $200.
No. Professional installations start at $99. Your final bill will depend on how many components and what kinds of components you end up installing.
Video monitoring packages cost $59.99 per month.
ADT’s Smart & Video package comes with an outdoor and indoor camera. Doorbell cameras are extra.
Quadrant Systems. (2020, Oct 20). 7 Reasons to Switch to Cellular Alarm Monitoring.
Nest. (2015, Feb). Energy Savings from the Nest Learning Thermostat: Energy Bill Analysis Results. Nest Labs.
Kemper, Emily and Dane Christensen. (2017, Sep 27). Adopting Energy Efficiency in Connected Homes. Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange.
As Managing Editor for SafeHome.org, Rob Gabriele has written and edited over 1,000 articles in home security. His expertise is in smart home automation and home protection with thousands of hours of testing and research under his belt. Formerly a reporter and producer for the USAToday network, Rob has been a writer and editor for over 10 years. He holds a Master’s of Science with an emphasis on writing from the University of Montana, and he currently lives in the Reno/Tahoe area of Nevada.