ADT Home Security Review

Top-notch professional installation and one of the most reliable home security setups available

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SecureScore™: 9.2 / 10 This rating is derived from our editorial team's research, hands-on product testing, and customer surveys.
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How We Review

Home security and ADT are practically synonymous. And for good reason. ADT is the oldest home alarm company in the country, and during that century plus of experience they’ve continued to innovate. They’re constantly bringing new products and services to market to help keep you and your family safe.

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!

Secured by ADT Decal

Secured by ADT Decal

  • Intuitive, easy-to-use app
  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • Cellular backup
  • 145+ years of history in the security business
  • Partnership with Google Home

  • 1-year minimum subscription
  • No DIY installation
  • No self-monitoring options
  • Maximum resolution options of 1080p HD

Getting to Know ADT

Before we jump into our hands-on experience with ADT, let’s take a quick look at where this company came from. Like we said above, ADT is one of the most established names in the home security industry. In 1874, American District Telegraph — now called ADT for short — changed the security game by sending alerts via Morse code,1 and they started what could be called the first security system network by leveraging call boxes to send these signals to a central location. 

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. ADT has also added home automation features to its systems, which make life convenient, but can also serve as crime deterrents by reacting automatically to home events.

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 Control Panel

ADT Control Panel

Our Experience with ADT

ADT’s monitoring packages start at around $30 per month and range up to $82 per month for more complete home security. Frankly, these prices are steep, especially considering that there are security systems like Ring and SimpliSafe that offer home automation and video monitoring for less than $30 per month.

That being said, as you go up the price ladder, ADT becomes more cost-effective. That’s why 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.

ADT Pricing

Here is a quick rundown of ADT’s currently available monitoring packages.

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.

In our opinion, the professional setup is one of the best things about ADT, but we understand that it’s not for everyone. ADT recently launched a DIY self-installed system called ADT Self Setup, which comes with wireless sensors and Google Nest equipment for video monitoring and home automation. The installation process hinges on the new ADT+ app, and optionally, customers can ask the help of ADT technicians to guide them through a video link.

It’s great that ADT finally has a DIY option, but honestly, it could have done a better job. As it stands, we don’t like that only a small number of ADT components support DIY installation. ADT Self Setup is just not as comprehensive as ADT’s traditional, professionally-installed security system.

Something to keep in mind while we’re talking about which package to choose from is that not all home security solutions need to be expensive or high tech. Check out these seven ways to deter burglars for under $100 for some ideas.

For now, though, let’s learn more about the ADT pro-installed 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.

ADT Entryway Sensors

ADT Entryway Sensors

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. And as we know, fast response times give the best chances of stopping thieves before they get away with your belongings.

Also worth noting is that ADT’s monitoring centers are located across the country in what’s known as a “redundant network.” That’s a fancy way of saying that if one monitoring center goes offline — because of a power outage, for instance — a secondary, or redundant, location will make sure you’re not going to go unprotected. Crime can happen anytime, and so your burglar and package thief deterrent, in this case ADT, needs to be available 24/7 as well.

Expert Examined
From Travis Goodreau, Retired Burglary Detective
“One thing to keep in mind with landline service, I’ve investigated cases where burglars have pulled security panels directly out of the wall and severed the hardwire connection to the alarm company. When this happens, professional monitoring centers never receive the burglary alarm signal. I much prefer a wireless connection option when it’s available.”

Learn more about Travis and our methodology →

Our Customer Service Experience

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.

ADT Customer Survey & Reviews

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.

Customer Service & Support:
3.8 out of 5
4.4 out of 5
Installation Process:
4.0 out of 5
4.0 out of 5
Equipment & Technology:
3.9 out of 5
Home Automation:
4.1 out of 5
4.2 out of 5
Mobile App:
4.0 out of 5
Ease of Use:
4.1 out of 5
Overall Rating:
3.9 out of 5

Which ADT Plan Is the Best?

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.

  1. ADT Basic ($28.99 per month)
  2. ADT Secure ($55.97 – $60.97 per month)
  3. ADT Smart ($65.31 – $70.31 per month)
  4. ADT Video ($75.47 – $82.14 per month)

ADT Basic Security

ADT Basic Security is the cheapest plan available. This plan costs $28.99 per month, but it offers significantly less security value than ADT’s higher-tier plans.

One of the first things we should mention is that ADT’s systems require landline connections. While your components — your motion sensors, your entryway sensors, and your remotes — will be wireless, the connectivity of the system itself is not. While these systems can be more reliable, they are vulnerable to someone cutting your cord. Make sure you know where its located, and protect it if you can.

This package tier also doesn’t support the ADT mobile app, which means you have to be home to control your system. If you forgot to arm your system before leaving, you can’t do so remotely.

Lastly, this plan doesn’t offer home automation and video monitoring, both of which can be found in ADT’s higher-tier options.

ADT App Camera View’s ADT App Camera View

ADT Smart Home

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 Smart Home package offers more than just control, however. It’s the integration that really adds value, especially as a crime deterrent. For example, you can set up automation rules to automatically turn on your smart lights when ADT sensors detect motion to deter potential intruders.

ADT Smart Home + Video

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 Contract & Guarantee

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.

The Goods

During our research, we found that the ADT home security system includes, at minimum, the equipment listed below.

  • Touchscreen Control Panel
  • One Motion Sensor
  • Entryway Sensors
  • Wireless Remote
  • Backup Battery
  • Yard Sign and Window Decals

Of course, ADT’s more advanced packages come with additional features. can support the following controls, sensors, cameras, and home automation features:


  • Touchscreen Control Panel (additional $299 fee)
  • Keychain Remote Control
  • Mobile Companion App


  • Door Entry Sensors
  • Window Entry Sensors
  • Garage Door Sensors
  • Glass Break Sensors
  • Motion Detectors
  • Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors
  • Water Leak and Flood Sensors

Video Cameras and Home Automation

  • Indoor Cameras
  • Automated Lighting
  • Remote Thermostat Control
  • Keyless Entry
  • And More!

Equipment and Features Overview

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
Panel Included Included Included Included
Motion Sensor Included Included Included Included
Wireless Remote Included Included Included Included
Wireless Sensors Included Included Included Included
Indoor Camera Not Included Not Included Not Included Included
Landline Required Yes Yes Yes No
Quality Service Plan Not Included Included Included Included
ADT Outdoor Camera Mounted

ADT Outdoor Camera Mounted

The Lineup of Features and Tech

We discovered a wide range of home security devices that can be installed and monitored by ADT. Here’s a quick rundown of ADT’s specs as a home security system.

ADT Specs

System connectivity Landline, cellular
Professional security monitoring Yes
Average response time 30-45 seconds
Professional equipment installation Yes
Control panel Digital, touchscreen
Sensor options Motion, entry, glass break, etc.
Indoor and outdoor cameras Yes
Home coverage 1,600 to 4,000 sq. ft.
App compatibility iOS and Android
Warranty 6 months for installation, 90 days for equipment
Monitoring contract 3 years
Monitoring cost $45.99 – $61.99
Equipment cost Starting at $599.99
Equipment financing Available (24, 36, or 60 months)
Release date January 2019 (ADT Control)

For a closer look at what ADT offers, these are ADT best features and technology explained.

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

Video Surveillance
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.

Expert Examined
From Travis Goodreau, Retired Burglary Detective
“I always encourage residents to invest in a security system that allows them to stream and monitor their home from virtually anywhere. ADT’s Video package is a good option for this. The ability to check in on your home anytime is not only a peace of mind, but it lets you be the first to check on alerts and motion triggers. This cuts out a lot of those false alarm responses from law enforcement.”

Home Automation
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
ADT App Convenience Basic App
Smart Door Locks Worry-free Control Advanced Automation
Smart Lights Convenience Intermediate Automation
Smart Thermostat Convenience & Energy Saver Intermediate Automation
Video Doorbell Camera Advanced Detection Basic Camera
Smart Switches & Plugs Convenience & Energy Saver Basic Automation

Is It Easy to Use?

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. With access to the app, you can react quicker if crime ever happens in your home. Notifications from security cameras, for example, will get to you quicker, and you can even use two-way talk through the app to stop and drive away thieves.

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.

ADT Monitored Home Security Video

The Last Word

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!

Our Methodology: How We Rate and Review Home Security Products

Our process of reviewing and rating home security products begins with researching the different companies and security systems available. After rigorous research, we purchase the systems and bring them into our home. We then unbox the products and meticulously install the components like door/window sensors, motion sensors, control panels, security cameras, and central hubs. We also download the companion app. Finally, we put the system through dozens of simulated burglaries, home invasions, and package theft situations to see how well it can protect our home.

A typical home security test will take us several days to several weeks, and it’s not uncommon that we’ll test and tinker with products for several months. Our aim is to fully understand what it’s like living with the system so that we can give an honest and unbiased recommendation. That’s our promise to our readers like you.

Citations 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. (2020). Our History.

  2. Sullivan, P. (2010, April 30). Weighing the Value of a Home Security System. New York Times.

  3. ADT. (2019). The Evolution of ADT in the 2010s.

  4. ADT Security Services: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, March 2). BBB.

  5. ADT. (2020). Residential Security – Terms and Conditions.

  6. Fitzpatrick, M. (2019, September 5). Are Smart Device Home Insurance Discounts Worth It? ValuePenguin.

  7. Blevins, K. R., Kuhns, J. B., & Lee, S. (2012, December). Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender's Perspective.

Written By
Rob Gabriele
Managing Editor & Home Security Expert

As a home security expert and Managing Editor for, Rob Gabriele has written and edited over 1,000 articles related to home security. His expertise is in smart 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 Indianapolis, IN.