Recent News: ADT is finally moving deeper into the DIY home security space with the new ADT Self Setup system, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 in Las Vegas. This new security system will feature a self-setup process powered by the new ADT+ app. In addition to ADT equipment, the app will seamlessly connect with Google Nest products, including cameras, doorbells, and thermostats, for all around home automation and security.
ADT is synonymous with home security. It’s the oldest home alarm company in the United States, and even today, it continues to impress with the home security options that it offers. You’ll find a good variety of products and technology from ADT, all of which are priced competitively and with top-notch functionality.
We recently signed up for a complete ADT home security system to test it out and see if it lives up to our expectations. It wasn’t a perfect security system. Truth be told, there are a couple of things to consider before buying ADT. Overall, though, it impressed us big time. It gave us great value for our money, and at closer look, it’s actually a cost-effective solution despite it seeming expensive.
That’s particularly true right now since ADT is offering a 30-percent site-wide discount for all online orders. In addition, if you purchase a Video package, which is ADT’s largest starter kit, you can receive a free Nest Doorbell that will be fully integrated into your security system.
We’re sharing with you today the results of our extensive research and testing of ADT. We think you’ll like what ADT has in store. So let’s jump right in!
Before we jump into sharing our hands-on experience with ADT home security, here’s a quick glimpse into their past. ADT is easily the most established security company around. Way back in 1874, American District Telegraph (ADT) was pioneering home security by sending alerts via Morse code.1 They created the first security system network by utilizing telegraph-based call-boxes to send alert signals to a central office.
Fast forward to today, ADT is still using the same process to secure homes, but with much improved technology. Instead of telegraph, ADT systems today use the internet, cellular signals, and landline connections to send out SOS signals. Additionally, ADT has also added home automation features to its systems, which improves security, convenience, and energy savings for connected homes.
Our experts have been researching and testing ADT for close to a decade now. One of the best things about ADT is that they can customize a home security solution to meet your specific needs, and their sales agents are immensely helpful in this regard. If you go with a package plan, your four main options include Basic, Secure, Smart, and Smart + Video.
ADT’s monitoring packages start at around $30 per month, or about a dollar a day, for 24/7 professional monitoring. That’s not the cheapest rate on the market, as there are a handful of options in the $10 to $20 per month range. But it’s also not the most expensive. We found it as a solid mid-range option, price-wise.
To push ADT to its limits, though, we upgraded from the base package to try ADT’s higher-tier plans. We go into further detail on these plans in our “Which Plan is the Best?” section below. For now, note that ADT offers options for smart home automation through the ADT Smart Home package, as well as video monitoring under the ADT Video and Smart Home package. Below is a quick overview of ADT’s monitoring plans.
|ADT Monitoring Packages||Price|
|Basic||$28.99 per month|
|Secure||$55.97 – $60.97 per month|
|Smart||$65.31 – $70.31 per month|
|Complete||$75.47 – $82.14 per month|
Besides the equipment and monitoring, classic ADT security systems require professional installation. This part of the service includes a visit from a technician in order to set up your system, which comes with a $99 service fee.
You’ll get your money’s worth, though, because from our experience, ADT’s techs are knowledgeable, efficient, and professional. They even showed us the ropes after installing our new system.
Take note, however, that if you’re the DIY-type and you want to install your own system, ADT recently announced a Self Setup system, which will come with a wireless base station and wireless components. The setup process will hinge on the new ADT+ app, and on top of ADT equipment, you’ll be able to link, control, and monitor equipment from compatible brands starting with Google Nest cameras and thermostats.
Although DIY, customers who choose to set up their own systems will not be completely on their own. An ADT technician will guide them every step of the way through an optional video link, which shows ADT’s commitment to providing quality service.
ADT’s venture into the DIY security market is interesting, and we’re excited to see how it plays out. For now, though, let’s go back to the professionally-installed ADT system we tested.
FYI:Professional installation typically costs money, but it’s an excellent option for seniors and those who are not tech-savvy.
Our latest testing revealed slight improvements in ADT’s equipment and feature set. Standard features now include push-button control panels, entryway sensors, interior motion detectors, and wireless keychain remotes. We’ve always liked the feel of the high-quality construction of ADT devices. Their products are made by manufacturing giants such as GE and Honeywell. But remember, a premium product often comes at a steep price.2 So expect to pay higher rates than the industry average for upgrades and add-ons.
For most people, reliability and fast response times matter, and they matter to us, too.3 ADT security systems can send emergency alerts by cell radio, which typically results in the quickest response times. Landlines can also be used as primary or secondary emergency connections. If you’re curious, we went with the cellular option, which our experts much prefer over landline connections. Our tests revealed relatively fast response times, but nothing that we haven’t seen from other brands. ADT just makes the mark here.
Finally, ADT monitoring centers are located across the U.S. in what we call a “redundant network” in the industry. Don’t worry, redundant is good in this context. It simply means that if one monitoring center goes offline, another location will ensure you don’t lose protection.
Learn more about Travis and our methodology →
ADT is known for their great customer service. But it can be hit or miss depending on the location. Although we spoke with a helpful agent on the phone, we’ve heard stories of people getting poor service. Thankfully, we found mostly positive reviews during our in-depth research of the company. ADT also gets a B+ rating from the BBB, which is a commendable score.4 So you can expect dependable customer service from this provider. Just don’t be too surprised if your experience fails to be outstanding.
Our staff is great at researching and testing systems and comparing it to similar security options, but we wanted to see what ADT customers have to say about the product and the service they receive over time. As of May 2020, we’ve surveyed 184 ADT customers and asked them to rate ADT in 10 different areas, including an overall rating. Below is a summary of their ratings.
We researched all of ADT’s plans, and we personally tested their most basic plan, as well as their most advanced plan. Here’s a quick rundown. ADT offers four main security packages that combine equipment and ADT monitoring. Prices range from $29 to $82 per month, which is reasonable.
Take note that as of December 2022, ADT is having a site-wide sale where all its online packages are up to 30-percent off. So if you’re looking to upgrade your home security this holiday season, now might be the perfect time to do so with ADT. In addition to the discount, customers who sign up for an ADT Video package will receive a free Nest doorbell.
The best value plan we found offered by ADT is called Basic Security. This plan set us back $28.99 per month but gave us a base security system with a control panel, motion sensor, wireless sensors, and a wireless remote. Unfortunately, this plan requires a landline connection, so customers without a landline installed will need to upgrade their plan to about $56 per month. Overall, the Secure Home plan certainly better protected our home with 24-7 monitoring, but it lacked features we’ve come to expect. For instance, there was no mobile app allowing us to control our system with a smartphone.
The next ADT plan tier is called ADT Smart Home. Pricing starts at $65.31 per month but can be as high as $70.31, depending on what equipment you have. The real value of this plan is that it lets you integrate your smart home equipment with ADT. In addition, ADT offers a number of smart home add-ons of its own, including smart light bulbs, smart plugs, smart locks, and a smart garage door controller.
ADT’s most inclusive plan is the ADT Smart Home With Video plan. It included everything in the Smart Home package, plus the ability to monitor live video feeds. As with the Smart Home plan, we were able to connect multiple automation devices to our system. In addition, the package arrived on our doorstep with a free doorbell camera that allowed us to see exactly what was happening on our front porch. At a price between $75.47 and $82.14 per month, this one is a little pricy, but it includes absolutely everything we typically look for in a high-end, complete home security system.
Overall, ADT’s top security plans are ADT Smart Home and ADT Smart Home + Video. Yes, they do cost a pretty penny, but our in-depth research and testing revealed these plans offer us the most value for our dollar. In fact, right now, the deal for a Smart Home + Video package is even better. ADT is offering a free doorbell or indoor camera.
If you’re looking for basic home security, ADT offers that too. But at $28-$50 per month, we recommend going with a different provider for a basic system. You’ll save money and enjoy better features, such as mobile app controls.
Did You Know: ADT offers an attractive moving deal. If you happen to be relocating, just reach out to ADT 30-days prior to the big move, and they’ll set you up for free in your new home. To learn more, read our guide to moving with an ADT security system.
ADT is best suited for folks who plan to stay put in their home for a few years. You’ll have to sign either a 12- or 36-month contract depending on your location. To help alleviate this contractual burden, ADT offers a generous 6-month, money-back guarantee. In all of our research and testing, this is the best guarantee we’ve seen. If ADT is unable to resolve any installation- or service-related problems within the first six months, they will refund the installation price and all monitoring fees paid over those first six months. According to ADT’s Terms and Conditions, “Equipment must be fully removed before a refund will be processed.”5 Still, not bad at all.
During our research, we found that the ADT home security system includes, at minimum, the equipment listed below.
Of course, ADT’s more advanced packages come with additional features. can support the following controls, sensors, cameras, and home automation features:
Video Cameras and Home Automation
|ADT Equipment & Features||Basic||Secure||Smart||Smart + Video|
|Pricing||$28.99 per Month||$55.97 – $60.97 per Month||$65.31 – $70.31 per Month||$75.47 – $82.14 per Month|
|Indoor Camera||Not Included||Not Included||Not Included||Included|
|Quality Service Plan||Not Included||Included||Included||Included|
We discovered a wide range of home security devices that can be installed and monitored by ADT. Here are several, but not all, of their equipment options, features, and technology.
Landline or Cellular
Many new home alarm companies only offer cellular connections for emergency monitoring. While cellular is typically the most reliable, it simply isn’t available in some remote areas. So if you live in the country, ADT is one of the few industry leaders to monitor through landlines and cell radio alike. Our experts prefer cellular, but we do like that ADT gives you a choice.
Pet-Friendly Motion Sensor
ADT security systems can detect intruders with infrared motion sensors. To help avoid false alarms triggered by pets, your installer can set these sensors to ignore moving objects up to 50 pounds in weight.
Flood, Fire and Leak Detection
For all-around home safety, ADT monitoring devices can detect water leaks, excessive heat, smoke, and carbon monoxide. We’ve tested several of these environmental monitoring devices. They gave us greater peace of mind – especially while we were out of town. These upgrades can pay for themselves a thousand times over.
Pro Tip: Check to see if you can get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance with environmental monitoring devices installed in your home.6
ADT sells security cameras that provide indoor and outdoor surveillance. With Video (ADT’s most popular offer), video can be live-streamed to your mobile device. We’ve found studies that show having a security camera installed is often enough to deter would-be burglars.7 And if your home is targeted, security cameras can give you hard evidence to catch criminals. We always recommend home surveillance.
According to our research and testing, ADT Smart security systems can also help to cut energy costs by automating lights, thermostats, and other things. You can add an extra layer of security and a touch of convenience with automated door locks for your home. Home automation is included in the ADT Complete package. But again, expect to pay a steep price to access this next-level convenience.
|ADT Smart Home Options||Primary Benefit||Type||Technology|
|Smart Door Locks||Worry-free Control||Advanced||Automation|
|Smart Thermostat||Convenience & Energy Saver||Intermediate||Automation|
|Video Doorbell Camera||Advanced Detection||Basic||Camera|
|Smart Switches & Plugs||Convenience & Energy Saver||Basic||Automation|
Even though the equipment is high-tech, ADT systems are all-around easy to use. For starters, ADT handled the installation of our system from start to finish. The technician even stuck around to teach us how to use the system. That’s just part of the white-glove service ADT provides.
As far as everyday security management goes, the basic system only has a few commands, controlled via the panel or keychain remote device. The more advanced plans offer mobile app control, putting home security controls at your fingertips.
While ADT systems are not the most user-friendly systems out there, overall they’re quite easy to use and manage. If you run into any problems, you can always seek help online or directly through ADT’s customer support line.
FYI: ADT just announced a partnership with Realty-titan Redfin for agent-free home tours. Using an ADT smart lock and other equipment, homebuyers can enter and leave a home at their leisure. The idea is that more homes will be toured more often, which will benefit both the buyer and the seller. We really like to see innovative partnerships like this.
We always put ourselves in the shoes of the average consumer. And we found that ADT offers plenty of home security options for a diverse customer base. In other words, they offer something for everyone. Our research and testing revealed that ADT professionally installs hardwired and wireless security equipment that’s robust and reliable.
Highlights of the premium ADT security packages are video surveillance, fire & flood monitoring, and home automation. However, we recommend digging into ADT reviews before signing an agreement. All in all, the premium plans offer an impressive feature set. But if you’re looking for basic home security features, you might want to look into Ring or SimpliSafe. ADT’s basic plans are a little overpriced from what we’ve seen, and we’ve seen a lot!
ADT. (2020). Our History.
Sullivan, P. (2010, April 30). Weighing the Value of a Home Security System. New York Times.
ADT. (2019). The Evolution of ADT in the 2010s.
ADT Security Services: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, March 2). BBB.
ADT. (2020). Residential Security – Terms and Conditions.
Fitzpatrick, M. (2019, September 5). Are Smart Device Home Insurance Discounts Worth It? ValuePenguin.
Blevins, K. R., Kuhns, J. B., & Lee, S. (2012, December). Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective.
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.