ADT has built quite a reputation over the past century and a half.
This well-known home security brand has been protecting people and their properties since before your grandparents were born. But don’t think that means they’re out of touch. Throughout the decades they’ve been keeping abreast of the threats of the day, offering solutions to keep their customers safe up into the modern age.
In their 145-plus years in the business, the company has managed to attract over 8 million customers. That’s a pretty impressive number, and it suggests they must be doing something right. That doesn’t necessarily make ADT right for you, though. Every home is different and every homeowner has their own particular security needs.
Are you most worried about porch pirates, burglars, or home invaders? Or are you more concerned with emergencies, like fires and floods? You have to consider installation options. Are you handy with an ammeter, or do you break out in cold sweat if you have to identify the right screwdriver? Then, there’s the all-important issue of price. When it comes to security, is money no object? Or are you working with a tight budget?
Whew, that’s a lot of questions.
We’ll answer all of them, though, and take a deep dive into ADT’s pricing — both for equipment and monitoring. Plus we’ll tally up all of the other miscellaneous costs like installation fees and the like, so you have a clear sense of ADT’s value in addition to the raw numbers. Finally, we’ll give you a peek at ADT’s newest system, the fully DIY package for those handy homeowners that are looking to save a few bucks.
FYI: ADT is sweetening the deal for customers looking to go the DIY route. Right now, you can get 15 percent off any of their Self Setup systems. We have more on that below, but suffice it to say it’s a pretty good deal. If you’re not so sure you want a long-term agreement, you should read our review of ADT’s contract. It’s not as binding as it sounds.
Learn more about Rob and our methodology →
When it comes to an ADT system, you need to pay attention to three things in particular — the monthly monitoring fee, the additional equipment charges, and your installation fee. We’ll get into those in just a bit, but first, a quick word on the ADT buying process.
If you’ve shopped for an ADT system before, you’re going to want to pay close attention because a lot has changed recently. And we’re not just talking about pricing changes, either.
We remember testing the ADT Pulse – ADT’s flagship security system from the early 2010s – during its heyday. We carefully did our research, as we always do, and we were able to list out all the pieces of equipment we got with the system. We knew everything was to know about the system’s door sensors and could tell you to the decibel just how loud the arm was. What we couldn’t tell you, though, was how much the system cost. In those days, ADT refused to reveal anything about pricing until you got in touch with a sales representative, and even then there was all sorts of complex negotiation that went on, so it was impossible to say definitively what you, the customer, might pay for anything.
We’re happy to say that today ADT is a little more transparent with their pricing. After clicking around on the website, you’ll see that new users will likely spend around $50 on their monthly monitoring, but the total bill is going to depend heavily on which equipment package you go with.
Yes, we agree that those prices are a little above the industry average, but if you want a Cadillac, you’re going to have to pay for a Cadillac. You’re going to pay slightly more with ADT, but we’d argue that you’re going to be happy with where your money is going. More on that later.
Another positive change is that you can now buy ADT systems online. Previously, transactions were done over the phone, but with the new buying process, you can select your equipment package, optimize your ADT system with add-on devices, and fill out your account information in front of your computer. You’ll still have to talk with an ADT sales rep over the phone to complete the order, but the majority of the buying process can be done purely online.
Pro Tip: ADT has some pretty interesting smart home integrations, but be careful. There are hidden dangers to home automation you might not be aware of.
Now let’s talk numbers, starting with the monthly monitoring fee. Here’s how much ADT’s monitoring service will cost you depending on your equipment package. We’ll detail what each equipment package includes later on, but for now, let’s focus on the monthly monitoring fee for each.
|Upfront Equipment Price
|Monthly Equipment Price (60 months)
|Monthly Monitoring Price
|$45.99 per month
|Essential Monitoring + Quality Service Plan
|$49.99 per month
|Essential Monitoring + Smart Home+ Quality Service Plan
|Video and Smart Home
|$59.99 per month
|Essential Monitoring + Video Security + Quality Service Plan
ADT’s monthly pricing is easy to understand. It all depends on which equipment you purchase.
If your system includes just security and environmental sensors, the Essential Monitoring feature is enough to cover those. They will be connected to ADT’s monitoring center and you’ll gain access to the ADT Control smartphone app, one of the best home security smartphone apps we’ve tested.
If you add smart home devices, like smart locks or smart thermostats, you’ll need both the Essential Monitoring and Smart Home features. The Smart Home features will give you access to the automation controls available through the control panel and the app, and it will also let you add and control ADT-compatible home automation devices you might already have at home.
Lastly, if you want to go all-in and purchase security cameras, you’ll need to add the Video Security feature. This one includes Smart Home features, but it adds essential video monitoring functions like cloud video recording and smart motion detection for your cameras. With ADT’s current security camera offerings, which we’ll list down below, you can even unlock facial recognition. Pretty neat, right?
Now for the bad news: ADT requires all customers to sign a long-term contract. The monitoring contract is at least 36 months. However, if you decide to finance your equipment–a popular option since up-front costs can be steep–you’ll tack on another two years, for a total of five. That’s among the longest contracts we’ve seen in the home security market.
Did You Know? While ADT isn’t the best system for folks who move around often, they do offer a moving program with some pretty impressive deals if you happen to be relocating with ADT. Read all about it in our breakdown of the ADT Moving program.
As for the Quality Service Plan listed under the Features column, that’s what we’ll discuss next.
To answer the question: No, there aren’t any hidden fees. There are extra fees, but they are not hidden. In our most recent go-round with the ADT security system, which you can read about in our full ADT review, we got to experience the streamlined buying process.
We bought a comprehensive equipment package with security cameras and home automation devices, which meant we were automatically enrolled in the highest monitoring service plan. The final figure for our monthly payments was $61.99. That’s a little above the advertised $45.99 to $59.99 pricing, but ADT showed us a breakdown of what that cost entailed.
Here’s the breakdown:
|Quality Service Plan
We compared that to the price we saw earlier, and found that the Quality Service Plan (QSP) cost went up from $7 to $9. The Quality Service Plan is an extended warranty service. It covers the cost of repair or replacement of damaged equipment. We think this is worth having, as the cost of ADT equipment can be quite high, as you’ll find out below.
It’s important to note, though, that the QSP cost is variable, meaning it will go up as you add more pieces of equipment to your package. We also found that it goes up even more when you add smart home devices or security cameras as opposed to the more basic pieces of equipment like sensors. We understand why this is, but make sure you keep an eye on that QSP cost as you build out your system.
Speaking of extra costs, here’s another one that still surprises many ADT shoppers – the installation fee.
ADT requires professional installation, and this service isn’t free. It costs between $99 and $199 depending on the size of the system as well as the types of devices being installed. Security cameras and smart home devices are usually the ones that can push the installation cost to the ceiling.
ADT’s installation fee may seem expensive, but the company is known for having highly-trained technicians who go above and beyond to get the job done right. And we’d know — we’ve had their professional service ourselves not just once but several times throughout the years. The quality and consistency are top-notch, which is why ADT has been our best professionally installed system several years running.
We’ve talked about the first two major costs to consider when buying an ADT system: The monthly monitoring cost, which includes the Quality Service Plan for the equipment, and the installation cost. Now let’s talk about the third one, the equipment cost, which is the most likely to run up your bill.
When buying ADT equipment, you’ll have to start with a package. There are three options, which are Build Your Own, Smart Home, and Video and Smart Home. We found that these three package options offer something for everyone.
As you read through the following options, remember, you can upgrade or modify these plans to better suit your needs. That’s a nice thing about ADT. They provide flexible package options, not just one-size-fits-all plans like other companies.
The ADT Build Your Own Package, as the name implies, is sort of an open-plan blueprint for building a personalized ADT security system. In truth, though, it is a basic home protection offer from ADT that can protect even a small family house.
This package includes a digital touchscreen panel, three door/window sensors, and one motion sensor. And the price? $599 if you pay in full up-front. This is pricey, considering that when we reviewed SimpliSafe, we were able to start with a basic package with one motion sensor and one door/window sensor for around $250.
Comparing ADT’s pricing with SimpliSafe’s pricing, however, is like comparing apples and oranges. Big-name manufacturers like GE and Honeywell make ADT products.1 SimpliSafe’s products are made in-house. It’s not that SimpliSafe’s hardware is bad – they have one of the best DIY-installed security systems – but there’s a difference in quality if you compare it to equipment built by world-class manufacturers like GE and Honeywell.
Another thing to note is that while SimpliSafe and most DIY security systems like Ring Alarm require an up-front payment, ADT is more flexible. You can choose to pay in installments up to 60 months, and if you do, you’ll hardly notice the equipment cost. Here’s a sample computation based on the listed included equipment:
|Build Your Own payment options
|$24.96 per month
|$16.64 per month
|$9.98 per month
The ADT Smart Home package adds one key element to the ADT system: smart home automation.
This package comes with the same basic set of equipment included in the Build Your Own package, but it adds a smart door lock and opens up the possibility for you to add other smart home devices like smart thermostats, smart speakers, and smart displays. Those features definitely gave us greater command over our system. In addition, it let us pair our existing smart home devices, particularly those with Z-Wave wireless technology, to the ADT system.
As for controlling the system, we used the ADT Control app, through which we received instant alerts sent straight to our smartphones, notifying us of any suspicious activity.2 It was also through the app that we created automations, like locking our doors everytime we armed the system at night or turning on lights at precisely 6 p.m.
To fully enjoy the smart home features, you’ll need to add more smart home devices from ADT or pair compatible third-party Z-Wave products. But with the included equipment, here’s how much this package will cost:
|ADT Smart Home payment options
Overall, we think this package is quite the upgrade from the basic equipment included in the Build Your Own package. With 60 months financing, it’s only $5 more per month than the previous month. In our experience, the Smart Home plan is where ADT begins to offer true value.
Pro Tip: In late 2022, ADT announced a partnership with State Farm Insurance. The two companies will be working together to develop new smart home security products that are even better at preventing accidents and deterring intruders.
Finally, the ADT Video and Smart Home plan is the ultimate package from ADT, which combines basic home security, smart home features, and video monitoring features. It also comes at a healthy price increase, but we found that ADT offers deals for this package more frequently than the other packages. For example, you could receive free equipment or discounts.
The addition of video monitoring features allowed us to add security cameras to our security system. These cameras were from Google Nest, as ADT forged a strong alliance with Google3 to be able to offer and integrate Google Nest products with their security system.
As we discussed in our Google Nest Cam review, the sleek cameras from the internet giant are some of the smartest in the industry. They include features like person detection and facial recognition, although the latter is hidden behind a paywall called the Nest Aware cloud subscription service.
The good news is, ADT’s monitoring service for the Video and Smart Home package includes that subscription, so you won’t have to pay an extra fee to Google. You’ll have access to the full suite of features of the Nest Cams.
Another thing to note is that ADT offers video verification. In a break-in scenario, ADT’s monitoring center agents can check-in via the cameras to confirm the alarm, relay it to the authorities, and potentially deliver faster emergency response.
The ADT Video and Smart Home package includes:
|Video and Smart Home payment options
|$48.25 per month
|$32.17 per month
|$19.30 per month
For a more detailed explanation of what ADT cameras can do, check our full ADT security camera review. Also check out our Nest Doorbell review for a detailed write-up of the smart doorbell’s features.
ADT’s packages are well-put-together, and as we said earlier, we think there’s something for everybody here. The fact that they are customizable alone makes them scalable for any size home.
That being said, ADT’s equipment is pretty permanent; once it’s installed, you get the most out of what you paid for by staying put and using the system for years. Plus, there’s the lengthy monitoring contract to consider. ADT may not be the best fit for the younger crowd looking for cheap and nimble home security, nor for people who move around often.
If that’s you, stay around until the last part; ADT may have something for you so you can enjoy its excellent protection through the monitoring service and equipment, minus the contract and the high costs.
For now, let’s talk about customizing your security system. The packages above aren’t final. If you need more devices to protect your home or enjoy the smart home convenience, ADT offers add-ons.
Take note that if you choose to purchase add-ons, the cost of each additional device will be added to your final payment amount. If you choose a financing plan for the equipment, they will also be computed and added to your monthly equipment installments.
Here’s the full list of ADT’s add-ons.
|Price in full
|Monthly price in 24 months
|Monthly price in 36 months
|Monthly price in 60 months
|Secondary wireless touchscreen keypad
|Google Nest Wifi router and point
|Google Nest Mini
|Google Nest Hub
|Google Nest Hub Max
|Google Nest Thermostat
|Smart door lock
|Google Nest Cam (battery)
|Google Nest Cam with floodlight
|Google Nest Cam (indoor, wired)
|Google Nest Doorbell (battery)
Another thing to consider when looking into ADT’s add-ons is that you have to pick add-ons that fall within the coverage of your monitoring plan. Otherwise, ADT might bump you up to a higher plan. For example, if you got a Smart Home package with a monthly monitoring fee of $49.99, adding even a single security camera will automatically put you in the $59.99 monitoring plan with video security.
Also, as we explained earlier, the cost of your Quality Service Plan might increase depending on the scale of your system. If you’re shopping from ADT’s website, we recommend checking the bottom of the page, as it shows the breakdown of your equipment and monthly monitoring cost as you customize your ADT security system.
As far as features go, you can expect the following from ADT’s packages:
Wireless security customers can get mobile alerts from ADT alarm systems and emergency operators. Mobile alerts plus remote control and monitoring give customers control from virtually anywhere.
Each ADT monitoring plan includes 24-hour service to dispatch police and first-responders.
ADT specializes in both wireless and hardwired security. Wireless equipment installation leaves no permanent marks. Wireless ADT plans can support remote monitoring, remote control, and home automation.
Optional security cameras let you monitor your home from virtually anywhere in the world. Stream live video and access saved clips with your mobile phone, tablet, or desktop computer.
ADT professionally installs its security systems to ensure that customers are well-protected. Get professional installation of your wireless or hardwired system! Customers can also transfer their equipment from other security companies.
Home automation provides extra security, plus it saves time and money. Use biometric voice recognition and ADT’s mobile app to automate your home’s alarm, lights, thermostat, and more.
Control your wireless security remotely with the ADT mobile app and ADT keychain remotes. Each ADT keychain remote has four buttons: Arm, Disarm, Panic, and LED Light.
An international leader in hardwired security, ADT has installed millions of systems. Installation is professionally done whether you’re getting ADT monitoring for the first time or transferring your service to a new home.
We’re well aware that ADT’s price might be a turnoff to some home security shoppers, but never fear — there are a few ways to save on your overall tab. Shopping at the right time for instance, can make a pretty big difference to your bottom line.
Right now, for instance, you can save 15 percent on an ADT Self Setup system — more on that below.
Also, if you want to wait for the exact right moment to purchase a new system, make sure you bookmark our guide to ADT’s latest deals and promotions. We keep that page up to date with the latest sales ADT is offering.
Did You Know? Some insurance companies offer a discount on home insurance if you have a monitored home security system like ADT installed.4
As promised, let’s discuss ADT Self Setup for a minute. ADT Self Setup, unlike the classic ADT system, is a DIY security system. That means you’ll install it yourself, but you won’t pay an installation fee (unless you want to reward yourself with ice cream for a job well done). So already, that’s $99 to $199 saved compared to the ADT security system.
ADT Self Setup’s monitoring rates are also lower. It’s either $24.99 or $34.99 – almost half of what ADT charges for its classic system, while providing most of the same features. The cheaper plan provides monitoring for security sensors similar to Essential Monitoring from ADT, while the more expensive one offers Smart Home and Video Security features. It even has video verification, just like ADT.
For equipment, you’ll pay $194.98 to $579.98 for the pre-selected packages and all the add-ons are also considerably cheaper than ADT’s pricing, even the ones that are the exact same products like the Nest Thermostat.
First, here’s a look at the packages:
|Build Your Own
|ADT Smart Hub
|Google Nest Hub
|Google Nest Doorbell
|Yard signs and stickers
So what’s the catch? There has to be a catch, right? Well for starters, ADT Self Setup offers fewer options for equipment. For example, it doesn’t work with the Nest Cam with floodlight, the smoke/CO detector, and smart lock. The system itself is not as robust as the ADT system we talked about above.
Another caveat is that you’ll have to pay the equipment fee up-front. Sure, it’s cheaper than ADT, but with the up-front payment, the ding in your budget will be more noticeable.
And lastly, instead of a touchscreen control panel, you’ll control the ADT Self Setup with either the included ADT+ app or the touch button keypad that is sold separately.
Speaking of that, here’s a list of all the add-on equipment you can buy for ADT Self Setup:
Considering how much cheaper it is than the ADT security system, ADT Self Setup could be a better option for you. Here’s our first-hand experience reviewing the ADT Self Setup system where you can learn more about what it offers, what it can and can’t do, and how it really fares in the real world.
Throughout our research and testing, ADT shined in several categories. Their packages and pricing are straightforward, and their monitoring costs are reasonably priced for what you get, especially the ADT Smart Home plan. Also, the company offers a generous 6-month, money-back guarantee, which is the best guarantee we’ve seen in the industry (certain restrictions apply). Overall, ADT users can expect their dollars to stretch with these products and services. All in all, the value is certainly there for those who can afford it.
But it bears repeating — ADT isn’t for everyone. If you’re the type who prefers no contracts and cheap monitoring, or free self-monitoring for that matter, then we recommend looking at systems offered by Ring, SimpliSafe, Abode or even ADT Self Setup. With these brands, you’ll spend more money initially, but you’ll own the equipment from day one, and you’ll only be on the hook for $10 to $20 per month for monitoring. With that said, if you value 24-7 monitoring from true professionals, and you plan to live in your home for several years, then ADT likely has the ideal package and plan for you.
No, not all ADT packages need Internet access. You will need an Internet connection if you want to use home automation and smart home devices in your ADT home security package.
ADT is short for American District Telegraph, the original name of the company when it was founded all the way back in 1874.
Yes, ADT does offer security system devices that have Wi-Fi connections, but most of them need to be powered via a wired AC connection.
Yes, ADT requires professional installation. An ADT technician will visit your home to install the equipment.
ADT’s professional installation typically starts at $99 and increases in price depending on the equipment you decide to have installed.
Yes, ADT requires contracts. ADT’s required contract length starts at 24 months and varies depending on your location and agreement terms.
Yes, professional monitoring services are required when you sign up with ADT.
Yes, ADT works with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
Yes, ADT works with Google Assistant.
The monthly cost of ADT starts at $45.99 a month and increases in price depending on the equipment packages and plans you decide to go with.
If the power goes out, your ADT system will run on a battery backup for up to 24 hours.
Yes, ADT has panic buttons. You can get an ADT panic button pendant and wear it around your neck or as a wristband.
Yes, ADT charges early termination fees so it’s important to review your agreement before cancelling.
ADT. (2022, April 30). ADT is Committed to Your Home and Business Security
ADT LLC. (2020, January 16). ADT Pulse ®. Google.
ADT. ADT GOOGLE PARTNERSHIP.
Gleeson, P. (2019, March 6). How Much Is a Monitored Alarm Insurance Deduction? Zacks Investment Research.