ADT is the oldest — and perhaps the best-known — home security brand in the business. They use high-quality equipment made by top manufacturers like GE and Honeywell. And their approach to security is what you’d call classic, meaning it’s hands-on and human. No matter which ADT plan you choose, your system will be installed by a technician (none of that DIY stuff here), and it’ll be professionally monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This is a great fit for some people, and a not-so-great fit for others. Because ADT requires a long-term contract of two-to-three years, they’re generally best suited for those who plan to stay put for a while. Their costs can be a bit higher than average, but for that you get some of the highest-quality equipment on the market. And though they’ve been around a long time, ADT is definitely not outdated. In fact, ADT has some of the most advanced home automation capabilities in the industry.
Self-Monitoring Versus Professional Monitoring
Before diving into the monitoring packages available through ADT, let’s talk about what we mean by the term “monitoring.” In home security systems, there are two types of monitoring: either professional monitoring or self-monitoring. Professional monitoring means there’s a team of experts fielding any alerts from your security system 24/7. ADT includes this with all of their plans. Self-monitoring means you don’t have a professional team backing you up. Instead, you monitor your own security system. This isn’t an option through ADT, but there are some great companies that offer self-monitored home security systems.
With ADT’s professional monitoring, not only will you be alerted personally if your alarm is triggered, ADT’s home security professionals will also be notified, who can send help immediately. In many cases, those security professionals can also (with your permission) access your video cameras to check what’s going on in your home so you get the right kind of help. A big benefit to professional monitoring is that there will always be someone responding to any issues at your home, even when you’re asleep or away from your phone and unable to receive personal alerts. You don’t get the same treatment with self-monitoring, which is why we recommend going with a professionally monitored system if your budget allows.
Did You Know: ADT has nine company-owned monitoring centers located across the U.S. If one monitoring center goes off-line, another location will make sure you’re protected — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And just because you’re getting professional monitoring with ADT doesn’t mean you won’t also have the ability to monitor things yourself. With ADT’s two advanced packages — Smart and Complete — you get mobile app controls (including remote arm and disarm), smart home automation, and customizable alerts and schedules. With these features, you can feel comfortable that you always know what’s going on at your house.
ADT Equipment Plus Monitoring Plans
All of ADT’s monitoring plans are paired with a basic equipment package that you can customize to suit your needs. You’ll pay a monthly monitoring fee and a monthly equipment fee. ADT has three basic packages to choose from — Secure (aka Build Your Own), Smart, and Complete. Each comes with 24/7 professional monitoring, so the difference between the packages is really about the equipment and technical capabilities like smart home automation and indoor/outdoor surveillance.
The Secure plan is your most basic system. It’ll give you basic home protection that you can control locally with a touch-screen panel or with your voice using Alexa or Google Assistant integration. The Smart plan goes a step further by giving you the ability to control your alarm system remotely using the ADT Control app. You can also set customizable alerts and automate your home with smart equipment. (A smart door lock and smart plug are included.) The Complete package includes all that — plus video. You’ll get an indoor camera and a free doorbell camera, and have the ability to view and record video clips in the app.
To learn more about ADT’s offerings, check out our ADT plans and pricing page.
ADT Monitoring Plans and Prices
|ADT Monitoring Plans||Secure||Smart||Complete|
|Includes||24/7 professional monitoring, voice control integration, and basic equipment.||24/7 professional monitoring, voice control integration, and basic equipment, plus smart door lock and smart plug.||24/7 professional monitoring, voice control integration, and basic equipment — plus smart door lock, smart plug, indoor HD camera, and video doorbell camera.|
|Smart Features and Remote Controls||None||Mobile app control (including remote arm and disarm), smart home automation, and customizable alerts and schedules.||Mobile app control (including remote arm and disarm), smart home automation, and customizable alerts and schedules.|
|Video Support||None||None||Video surveillance with live streaming in the app, and the ability to record and save video clips.|
*For basic equipment included in the package. Price increases with additional equipment.
The Secure package may be a good fit for you if you’re looking for a basic system that you can control from within the house, but not interested in monitoring your system while you’re away from home. You won’t have the ability to control the system using ADT’s app, but that’s fine for many people — especially since you’ll have 24/7 professional monitoring.
With the Secure package, you can’t add video cameras or smart home devices to your system. But you can customize the package in some other ways. The basic Secure package, with a monthly equipment cost of $7.99, includes five pieces of equipment: a touch-screen panel, three door/window sensors, and a motion detector. You can upgrade this to a seven-piece package that has two additional door/window sensors for $9.32 per month. Or you can go with a 10-piece package that includes four additional door/window sensors and an additional motion sensor for $11.99 per month.
You can also add on several additional items for a fee: carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, flood detector, wireless key fob, panic button, glass-break sensor, and more.
Pro Tip: ADT frequently runs promotions that could get you a discount on your service and/or equipment. Check for the latest ADT deals before signing a contract.
If you want to be able to control your alarm system remotely — i.e., arm and disarm it, set up custom alerts, and more — you need to go with the Smart package or higher. You’ll be able to use the ADT Pulse or Control app to manage your system, which is a huge convenience. With the Smart package, you’ll also get access to home automation, which means you can incorporate neat features like smart locks and smart plugs. (One of each is included in the package.) In our hands-on experience testing and reviewing ADT, we found that the Smart package is quite the upgrade from the Secure package and well worth the difference in cost.
The Smart package, with a monthly equipment cost of $11.32, includes seven pieces: a touch-screen panel, three door/window sensors, a motion detector, a smart lock, and a smart plug. You can upgrade this to a nine-piece package that has two additional door/window sensors for $12.65 per month. Or you can go with a 12-piece package that includes four additional door/window sensors and an additional motion sensor for $15.32 per month.
You can add on all of the extra items that are available for the Secure system (for a fee), like carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, flood detector, wireless key fob, panic button, glass-break sensor, and more. Plus, you can incorporate smart LED light bulbs, a garage door controller, additional smart plugs, and additional smart door locks.
FYI: Because of their excellent service and reliability, as well as their strong home automation abilities, we rank ADT among the very best home security systems with monitoring.
The Complete package takes everything you get in the Smart package and adds video. You get an interior HD camera, plus a free video doorbell camera. Just like the Secure and Smart packages, you can customize this one by choosing a set with more pieces. For $15.19 per month, you get a nine-piece set: touch-screen panel, three door/window sensors, a motion detector, a smart lock, a smart plug, an indoor HD camera, and a (free) video doorbell from Google’s Nest. You can upgrade that to 11 pieces by adding on two additional door/window sensors for $16.52 per month. Or, get the 15-piece package, with four additional door/window sensors and two additional motion sensors for $20.52 per month.
Any equipment that can be added to the Secure or Smart packages can also be added to the Complete package. Plus, there’s an outdoor HD camera you can add on if you want another layer of protection.
Final Thoughts on ADT Monitoring
ADT’s three service plans offer something for nearly everyone. They’re ideally suited for those who’ll be living in their home for at least a few years (because of the contract) and for those who want to leave installation and monitoring in the hands of the professionals. If you want reliable home protection and some of the most advanced home automation capabilities in the business — and you don’t mind paying for it — then ADT is a perfect fit.
That said, I recommend ADT’s Smart or Complete packages. Their entry-level Secure package just doesn’t offer as much value for the price as you can get for professional monitoring with companies like SimpliSafe and Frontpoint. With ADT’s Smart and Complete packages, though, you get smart home automation that ranks among the best. ADT works on the Z-wave platform, so it integrates with hundreds of smart products. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and connects with Sonos smart speakers, Samsung SmartThings, and lots more.
The main difference between the Smart and Complete packages is video surveillance. If you want to include video cameras in your system, the Complete package is the way to go. It comes with an indoor HD camera and a free ($200 value) video doorbell camera.