ADT is one of the top brands in the home security industry. We like their competitive rates and product variety. Also, their user-friendly equipment, smart technology, and mobile app all have impressive functionality. But no security system is perfect – including ADT. There are a couple of disadvantages to consider before purchasing, though nothing was a real “deal-breaker.” Our experts put it all on the table, and we share the results of our extensive research and testing of ADT.
Before we jump into sharing our hands-on experience with ADT-Monitored Home Security, here’s a quick glimpse into their past. ADT is easily the most established security company around. Way back in 1865, American District Telegraph (ADT) was pioneering home security by sending alerts via Morse code.1 Fast forward 145 years to today, and they’re still providing quality security systems for homes and businesses, with improved technology, of course. Systems monitored by ADT use hardwired and wireless equipment to scare away intruders and protect your home. They also integrate with home automation equipment for energy savings and convenience.
Our experts have been researching and testing ADT for close to a decade now. This time around, we went straight to the website for the ADT Authorized Premier Provider, Protect Your Home, which advertises multiple home security plans.2 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 Security with a landline, Basic Security with cellular, ADT Pulse + Video, or ADT Pulse Home Automation + Video.
ADT Protect Your Home’s packages start at $27.99 per month, which gave us around-the-clock protection for less than $1 per day. While this might sound cheap, it’s actually the going rate for basic home security. However, we found a handful of companies that offer the same or similar service for $10-$20 per month. So if you’re on a tight budget, ADT is probably not your best option.
We upgraded from the base package to try ADT’s other plans. We go into further detail on these plans in our “Which Plan is the Best?” section below. But for now, just know that ADT also offers video monitoring (ADT Pulse + Video plan) and smart home automation options (ADT Pulse Home Automation + Video). Here’s a quick overview of their monitoring plans:
|ADT Monitoring Packages||Price|
|Basic Security (landline required)||$27.99 per month|
|Basic Security with Quality Service Plan||$36.99 per month|
|Basic Security + Wireless Connect||$48.99 per month|
|ADT Pulse® + Video||$58.99 per month|
|ADT Pulse® Home Automation + Video||$59.99 per month|
As far as installation goes, ADT requires professional installation with a technician visiting your home. This service starts at $99, and the upgraded packages require additional install fees. From our experience, ADT techs are friendly and professional, and they even showed us the ropes after installing our new system. But if you’re the DIY-type and want to install your own system, you’re pretty much out of luck with ADT.
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.3 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.4 ADT-monitored 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.
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.5 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 Protect Your Home offers five main security packages that combine equipment and ADT monitoring. Prices range from $28 to $59 per month, which is reasonable.
ADT Basic Security
The best value plan we found offered by Protect Your Home is called Basic Security. This plan set us back $27.99 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 to ADT’s Basic Security + Wireless Connect, a cellular plan that runs $48.99 per month. Overall, the Basic Plan certainly 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.
ADT Pulse + Video
The next Protect Your Home plan tier is called ADT Pulse + Video. This one costs $58.99 per month or around $13 per week. As the name suggests, this plan offers everything in the basic plan, plus video monitoring and a true mobile experience. That is, you can use the ADT Pulse App to stay connected to your home security system from anywhere, any time. Arm and disarm your system, monitor your surveillance cameras, and receive real-time updates and notifications while away from home. We really like this feature set, but it is more expensive compared to other leading brands we’ve tested.
ADT Pulse Home Automation + Video
Now for ADT’s best plan – ADT Pulse Home Automation + Video. We thoroughly tested this plan, and we connected multiple automation devices to our system. It included everything in the ADT Pulse + Video, plus home automation features galore. In fact, it arrived on our doorstep with a smart indoor surveillance camera that allowed us to view the live stream video directly from our ADT Pulse App. At $58.99 per month, this plan gave us everything we typically look for in a high-end, complete home security system. But be advised, getting into home automation can get quite expensive with high equipment costs.
Overall, Protect Your Home’s top security plans are ADT Pulse + Video and ADT Pulse Home Automation + Video. Our in-depth research and testing revealed these plans offer us the most value for our dollar. However, be ready to pay a pretty penny to get these premium services. 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.
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 24- 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.”6 Still, not bad at all.
During our research, we found that the ADT-monitored home security system from Protect Your Home includes, at minimum, the equipment listed below.
Of course, ADT’s more advanced packages come with additional features. Protect Your Home can support the following controls, sensors, cameras, and home automation features:
Video Cameras and Home Automation
|ADT Equipment & Features||Basic Security||Basic Security with Quality Service Plan||Basic Security + Wireless Connect||ADT Pulse® + Video||ADT Pulse® Home Automation + Video|
|Pricing||$27.99 per Month||$36.99 per Month||$48.99 per Month||$58.99 per Month||$59.99 per Month|
|Indoor Camera||Not Included||Not Included||Not Included||Included||Included|
|Quality Service Plan||Not Included||Included||Included||Included||Included|
We discovered a wide range of home security devices that can be installed by Protect Your Home 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-monitored systems from Protect Your Home can detect intruders with infrared motion sensors. To help avoid false alarms triggered by pets, you 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.7
Protect Your Home sells security cameras that provide indoor and outdoor surveillance. With ADT Pulse + Video (Protect Your Home’s most popular ADT-monitoring 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.8 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 Pulse 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 Pulse + Home Automation package. But again, expect to pay a steep price to access this next-level convenience.
|Protect Your Home Smart Home Options||Primary Benefit||Type||Technology|
|ADT Pulse App||Convenience||Basic||App|
|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|
Yes, even though the equipment is high-tech, these systems are all-around easy to use. The company handled our installation from start to finish, and our technician stuck around to teach us how the system worked. Of course, our experts know home security systems inside and out, but it was nice to get this personalized attention for once.
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 Protect Your Home’s customer support line.
We always put ourselves in the shoes of the average consumer. And we found that ADT Authorized Premier Provider – Protect Your Home 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 Protect Your Home security packages are video surveillance, fire & flood monitoring, and home automation. However, we recommend digging into your local ADT authorized dealer reviews before signing an agreement, as service varies from dealer to dealer. 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.
Protect Your Home. (2020). ADT Monitoring Packages.
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.