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Complete home security comes with a price tag. Here’s what to expect and how you can save on your ADT camera bill.
If you’re going to spend the money on home security cameras, you likely expect a lot out of them. Motion detection, real time alerts, color night vision, and maybe even professional monitoring. And for good reason — you rely on these pieces of equipment to keep your family safe.
And trust us, top home security providers know this. Providers like ADT.
One of the top names in the home security industry, ADT has a reputation for reliable, durable, time-tested home security systems and equipment. While it’s not necessarily the most affordable option, we’d still argue it’s well worth the money if you’re looking to invest in a multi-year contract and are looking for a solution you’re not going to have to do much fiddling with. ADT handles everything from the professional monitoring to the installation of your new system, all you have to do is sign on the dotted line.
But are they the right option for you?
We’ve spent over a hundred hours testing ADT equipment, which you can read all about in our hands-on ADT security review, but today we’re going to take a closer look at one element of these systems — ADT’s security cameras. We’ll check out their features and pricing, and offer some advice on how to save if you’re thinking of purchasing an ADT system yourself. We’ll even let you in on the pricing for ADT’s new DIY-friendly systems.
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 four 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 either want to focus on the third plan, Video & Smart, or you can build out your own package including security cameras with the more flexible and DIY option ADT Self Setup. Just take note that ADT Self Setup isn’t as comprehensive as the professionally installed ADT security system in terms of equipment.
|Secure||Starting at $599||$9.98|
|Smart||Starting at $919||$14.15|
|Video & Smart*||Starting at $1,049||$23.12|
|ADT Self Setup||Starting at $179.99||Starting at $24.99 for professional monitoring|
*These plans require a 60-month contract.
If this seems a little steep, think of it this way. First, with any ADT package, you’re going to get multiple pieces of equipment that serve different home security functions. In our roundtop of this year’s best home security cameras we’ve seen that just two components of these packages could 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, over 12, 36, or 60 months — 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 about $10 per month for the most basic system.
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: In the home security world, wireless can mean two different things. It might mean that the equipment is battery-operated, or it could mean that it uses Wi-Fi to connect. Make sure you know which is which before you purchase.
ADT’s Pro HD Outdoor Camera isn’t going to blow you away with a long list of features. While it does offer crystal-clear resolution and two-way audio, you’re not going to have color night vision, alarms, floodlights, or any of the other bells and whistles that come with similarly priced cameras from Lorex, for example. Depending on the subscription plan you go with, some of those cameras can run as much as $300 a piece or more.
That said, ADT’s new control app is a winner. This easy-to-use smartphone app gives you live feeds from all of your cameras and offers customizable motion alerts so you can keep your eyes on suspicious activity as it’s occurring.
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.
While the outdoor cameras are a little lacking in the feature department, ADT really steps up to the plate with their indoor counterparts. Here you’re going to find some of those AI enhancements that are lacking outside, but what does that look like, exactly?
Well, 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.
Did You Know: If you favor a DIY installation, ADT does have a line of wireless home security products called ADT Self Setup. This security system uses Google Nest Cam indoor and outdoor cameras, but ADT-branded security sensors and peripherals.
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|
|ADT Self Setup||Starts at $24.99|
So with the most basic package, your monthly monitoring is going to run you $45.99 per month. If you want video monitoring, though, you’re going to be paying about $58 per month. This isn’t exactly cheap, so it should definitely be factored into your total costs when you’re considering a home security system.
While ADT can certainly go toe-to-toe with other high end security systems like Vivint in terms of equipment pricing, their monitoring costs tend to be a little on the high end. But don’t think you’re just shoveling money into the garbage disposal. ADT’s monitoring is some of the best in the business with almost instant connectivity to emergency centers, one-touch alerts, and some of the fastest response times in the industry. And here’s the big one – cellular connectivity.
You know how your Wi-Fi is always going in and out? 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.
Right now, though, the biggest deal they have going on is that their customizable security packages are running 20 percent off. Here’s a breakdown of those prices, in case you don’t have a calculator built into your head.
|Package||Original Price||Sale Price|
|Build Your Own||$9.98 per month||$7.99 per month|
|Smart Home||$14.15 per month||$11.32 per month|
|Video & Smart Home||$23.12 per month||$15.44 per month|
Also, if you go with a Video and Smart Home package, they’re going to throw in a free gift to sweeten the deal. You can learn more about that in our review of the Nest Video Doorbell.
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 $45.99 per month, in order to install ADT cameras, you’d need to purchase their premium plan ($57.99 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.