ADT Pulse and ADT Control

ADT’s advanced security and home automation systems — ADT Pulse and ADT Control — offer flexibility, convenience, and high-tech features.

ADT Pulse
SecureScore™: 8.3 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
View Packages
Rob Gabriele https://www.safehome.org/author/rob-gabriele/
8.3 SecureScore™ How We Review
How We Review
Customer Service
7.3
Value
8.4
Equipment
8.7
Features & Technology
8.1
Ease Of Use
9.2
SecureScore™
8.3

We all want a home security system that’s easy to use and integrates seamlessly into our lives. After all, if home security isn’t convenient, we’re less likely to use it, which means it’s less likely to keep us safe. “Convenient” can mean different things to different people, but generally speaking, the more ways you have to control your security system, the easier it is to use. For example, it would be great to have an interactive touch-screen panel in the house, plus a smartphone app for when you’re on the go, plus the ability to control your system with voice commands. With ADT’s Pulse or Control systems, you get all of these capabilities and more.

Before going further, I should explain one thing: ADT is currently transitioning its ADT Pulse system to ADT Control. Pulse is the security and home automation system ADT has been using for about eight years. It includes a web portal and an app. Though ADT Pulse is still fully functional and supported by ADT, it’s not being issued to new customers. Instead, if you’re a new customer, you’ll get ADT Control. Launched in 2019, Control is the company’s latest generation system (including a web portal, app, and in-home touch-screen panel). Both systems have tons of great features, and we’ll talk more about those here.

ADT Pulse and Control Prices and Plans

ADT Pulse and ADT Control come as part of an equipment and monitoring package — specifically, one that supports home automation capabilities. There are two ADT monitoring plans that do that: Smart and Complete. The Smart plan starts at $65.31 per month for monitoring and basic equipment, and the Complete plan starts at $77.81 per month for monitoring and basic equipment. If you’re looking to include video surveillance, you’ll want to go with the Complete plan. It not only includes an indoor HD camera, but also a free video doorbell.

These prices are a bit steep compared to industry competitors, but keep in mind they include payments for equipment rental (rather than paying in full up front), as well as ADT’s award-winning 24/7 professional monitoring. If you’re likely to use remote control features and home automation capabilities, then you’ll get your money’s worth from ADT’s Smart or Complete plans. If you’re not that interested in whole-home automation, though, consider some lower-cost DIY security systems that offer strong performance, like SimpliSafe or Frontpoint. Get a feel for those systems by reading our in-depth review of SimpliSafe or our latest analysis of Frontpoint.

FYI: In our in-home trial of ADT, we found that the somewhat steep price for ADT Pulse/Control plans was well worth it for the added convenience and peace of mind we got with home automation and remote controls.

Features and Technology

ADT Pulse and ADT Control have the same core set of home automation capabilities and home security controls. There are some additional features to ADT Control, which we’ll go over in a bit, but first let’s look at the cool stuff they both do.

ADT Pulse Remote Alarm Control

  • Instant alerts: Set up cell phone push notifications so the system will automatically alert you when someone unlocks the door, opens the garage, rings the doorbell, or anything else you’d like to know about.

ADT Pulse Garage Door Control

  • Remote arm/disarm: Turn the alarm on or off from the smartphone app, or the web portal. This means you can disarm it as you pull into the driveway. Or arm it when you realize you’ll be staying out later than expected.
  • Live video: In the web portal or smartphone app, you’ll be able to see live video from any of your security cameras, including your video doorbell. You can also take snapshots and capture video clips. This is great for when you want to share an image with neighbors to warn them about any suspicious activity in the area.
  • Remote lock/unlock: Forgot to lock your door when you left the house? Lock it remotely with the app. Plus, set codes for each family member and visitor so you can track who’s coming and going. (This is particularly handy when you need to allow access to a repair person or cleaning service.)

ADT Pulse Remote Door Lock

Pro Tip: Cut your energy bill by automating your lights, thermostats, and other smart devices. And keep an eye on your electrical devices on-the-fly with the ADT Pulse/Control app, so you never waste energy when no one is home.

  • Smoke, carbon monoxide, and flood detection: Add ADT’s smart environmental sensors to your system, and you’ll be able to receive alerts when your home and family are at risk. Carbon monoxide detectors will warn you of gas leaks. Smoke and heat sensors will let you know of sudden temperature changes. Water leak/flood sensors will give you a heads-up before moisture has a chance to cause damage.

ADT Pulse Smart Thermostat

  • Control your smart lights, smart plugs, and smart thermostats: Turn on lights, turn down the thermostat, and activate a smart plug at the tap of a button in the smartphone app. And when you know you’ll want things set a certain way on a regular basis — like the lights dimmed and the thermostat lowered at 9 p.m. — you can set up automations to trigger multiple actions with a single tap. Pretty neat.

ADT Pulse Remote Light Control

  • Voice control with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa: Ask Alexa to change the temperature of your thermostat. Have Google Assistant turn on the porch light. With both Pulse and Control, you can use the power of your voice to control your alarm system and your smart home devices. (ADT Control has Alexa built-in, whereas ADT Pulse requires you to go through a few steps to set things up.)

  • Integration with Sonos smart speakers and other Z-Wave compatible devices: Control your speakers right from your ADT smartphone app. Create a preset program that’ll play music and dim the lights at the tap of a button. Plus, integrate your alarm system with hundreds of other Z-Wave devices.

FYI: ADT’s Pulse and Control apps are both highly rated. ADT Pulse earns 4.8 stars in the Apple App Store and 4.5 stars in the Google Play Store. ADT Control earns a strong 4.8 stars on both platforms.

ADT Pulse Video Control

Extra Features and Equipment With ADT Control

Though ADT Control has many of the same features as ADT Pulse, it does have a handful of really nice extras. These improvements probably aren’t reason to upgrade if you’re already on the Pulse system, but for those ordering new service, keep an eye out for these added features you’ll get with the Control system.

  • Seven-inch color touch-screen control panel, called “Command”: The Pulse system comes with a keypad, whereas the ADT Control comes with Command, an interactive color touch-screen control panel that lets you manage your security system and all of your smart devices — lights, garage doors, locks, and more. It even lets you watch a live feed from your video cameras.
  • Front-facing camera built into the control panel: This is a really neat feature. The touch-screen control panel has a built-in front-facing camera to capture a photo of whoever disarms the system. That way, you not only know whose code was entered to disarm the system, but you also have a photo of the person who entered it. (After all, someone outside the home may have gotten hold of one of your codes.)
  • Native Amazon Alexa: The ADT Command smart home panel comes with Amazon Alexa built in! This is a big improvement over ADT Pulse. Though Pulse works with Alexa, you have to first buy a separate Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, and you have to go through a few steps to get it set up with ADT Pulse. (This includes enabling the Alexa “skill” in Pulse.) With ADT Command and Control, Alexa is built in, so you don’t have to buy a separate Amazon Echo device, and there’s no tricky setup process to get Alexa up-and-running.

Did You Know: ADT runs on the Z-Wave platform, which means their systems are compatible with hundreds of different smart products. Read our guide to ADT’s home automation capabilities.

  • Integration with Amazon Fire TV: You’ll have the ability to get controls and alerts — and even view your camera feeds — on your Amazon Fire TV.
  • Geo-fencing abilities1: In simple terms, a geo-fence is a virtual perimeter around your house. Using geo-fencing, ADT Control can track when your smartphone leaves the geo-fence boundary and alert you if you’ve forgotten to lock the door or set the alarm. (Don’t worry, you can choose what alerts you get so the system won’t start pinging you unless you ask it to.) You can even use geo-fencing technology to open your garage and turn off your alarm when you pull in the driveway.

Final Thoughts on ADT Pulse and ADT Control

ADT Pulse and ADT Control are both strong security and home automation systems. In fact, ADT made our list of best home automation security systems when ADT Pulse was the name of the game. Now that Command and Control are here, ADT’s home automation capabilities are even greater, and the whole system is more intuitive.

The Command touch-screen panel acts like a smart tablet, giving you control of all of your home devices on a single interactive screen. And built-in Alexa, plus geo-fencing capabilities, are valuable perks that you just don’t find in the average security system.

All this adds up to ADT being a leader in home automation. If you want to have a truly smart home — and you can afford a little more than average for quality equipment and 24/7 professional monitoring — ADT is the way to go. However, if you’re only interested in a few select home automation features, the ADT price tag may not be worth it.

It wouldn’t hurt to do some comparison shopping with other top contenders. A good place to start is our guide to this year’s best home security systems. (You’ll notice ADT is right there near the top.) But if you think ADT has what it takes to protect you and to transform your house into a smart home, then head on over to our full review of ADT to learn more about our experience using the system.

Top
Citations
SafeHome.org only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. ADT. (2021). Command – Geo-Services FAQs.
    https://alpha.adt.com/help/394.html

Written By
Rob Gabriele
Managing Editor & Home Security Expert

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.

Not sure which system is right for you?

Take this quick and easy quiz to find out!

Start the Quiz