ADT has a 140-year history in the home security industry and has six redundant monitoring centers across the country. That means if one ever loses power, another call center can seamlessly take over so you are never without service. ADT is known for their reliability and they have a $500 theft protection guarantee. So if your home is ever burglarized while your system is armed, they will pay $500 towards your insurance deductible. Here is a quick summary of the ADT pros and cons.
At first glance, ADT appears to be more expensive, and it is. However, their products and services along with their flexibility and customization justify the higher price. Basically, you get what you pay for. They offer a wide variety of features from which you can choose to start with or add on to later. For example, you can opt for a security system, video cameras, environmental sensors, and an ADT Health medical alert. Plus, ADT’s home automation offers a generous menu of features to pair your system with third-party devices like smart locks and voice assistants.
ADT’s security packages start at $27.99 per month, and what you get will depend on which equipment, options, and the length of contract you choose.
Get lots more information on this 150-year-old brand in our hands-on ADT review.
With Vivint, cellular backup is a given. Home automation with Vivint ranks among the best we’ve seen, and we’ve been big fans of Vivint’s monitoring services, too. Vivint also provides you with professional installation (required) except for the outdoor and doorbell cameras which have a small fee. Although Vivint’s equipment is noticeably advanced, it’s extremely easy to use. They also have cellular monitoring with two-way voice communication. And if you opt for their premium service, you will also get a lifetime equipment warranty as well.
Vivint is a leading security and smart home technology provider with more than one million customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Vivint’s pricing works a bit differently than its peers. Individual equipment costs aren’t readily available, so the best way to find out how much a Vivint package will cost you is to call Vivint and speak to an agent, who will help you build a package that fits. This means you will only be paying for the equipment you need and not for those you don’t. For more details about this cutting-edge brand, visit our hands-on Vivint Smart Home review.
More specifically, Vivint has four packages with two different ways to pay. Their packages range from $11.83/mo. to $29.83/mo. plus a service fee. Or, you can pay for the equipment up front. Their upfront options range from $709.98 to $1789.83. Additionally, Vivint has a Flex Pay program that is basically a payment plan, but it also has some additional advantages as well. With Flex Pay, there’s no activation fee, no installation fee, lower service plan price points, and after the financing term, your monthly payment drops. The Flex Pay financing options are either a 42- or 60-month contract with approved credit.
In 2018, Cove introduced a new kind of DIY wireless security system for homeowners — one that was affordable, modern, and simple to set up, but didn’t require any burdensome contracts with lurking fine print. Cove also offered something most competitors didn’t offer at their price point: 24/7 cellular monitoring that guaranteed quicker, more reliable connections to emergency services than standard Wi-Fi.
Cove is a relative newcomer to the home security game with a basic mission to make home security as affordable and hassle-free as possible. Read about our own 10-minute installation in our hands-on Cove home security review.
Cove’s two packages start at $14.99 and offer round-the-clock cellular monitoring with live assistance via text and operator, and smart home automation you can integrate with Alexa and Google Home.
The big bonus with Cove’s premium plan, Cove Plus ($24.99), is that you can control your Cove system with their smartphone app. (That includes integrating your 1080p HD video cameras, a feature not included with the basic plan.) Those additional 10 dollars also lock your rate in and give you a lifetime warranty on your Cove equipment, which ranges from $150 (for a small home) to around $350 if you’ve got 3,000 square feet of house.
If you can live without the smartphone app and don’t need live camera feeds, both Cove plans give you professional monitoring over a cellular connection with unique RapidSOS technology that sends first responders not just alerts, but detailed information about the nature of the emergency and where in the house the alert originated. Data like this can shave minutes off response efforts.
Frontpoint is an industry leader that provides high-quality home security systems you can install yourself. And they give you plenty of customizable features and options for your money. Additionally, Frontpoint has consistently landed at the top of our list of the best security systems for customer service. Learn much more in our complete Frontpoint review, but for now, here is a quick summary of the Frontpoint pros and cons.
Frontpoint has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and is one of the most popular DIY home security/automation companies in the industry. They offer affordable prices and send you a package with customized (pre-configured) equipment that can be immediately installed and used in less than 30 minutes with no special skills or tools required.
A 1-year or 3-year monitoring contract is required and they start at $34.99/mo. They also have three different equipment packages that start at $99.00. In addition, they have a wide variety of security and home automation options available, including indoor and outdoor video surveillance cameras with night vision, environmental disaster sensors, geo services, and an app you can use to access, monitor, and control your system remotely. Learn the ins and outs of Frontpoint’s costs in our full Frontpoint pricing guide.
SimpliSafe is known for easy installation, affordable monitoring, and reliable DIY equipment. From its beginnings as a startup in Cambridge, Mass., SimpliSafe has now become one of the most popular security systems for renters. It’s also one of the best no-contract systems, which is great for folks who don’t like feeling boxed in. And, they’ve recently redesigned their equipment to be smaller, faster, stronger, and loaded with all-new safeguards built for a cellular connection then backed up with Wi-Fi.
SimpleSafe is one of the fastest growing home security companies in the country, they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and are currently providing home security to over 2-million customers. Not to mention they manufacture their own equipment so they can pass those savings on to you.
This company offers some extremely affordable equipment and monitoring services. The SimpliSafe equipment packages start at $99 and their monitoring packages start at $14.99/month. You can either select one of their packages or customize your own. Read our full breakdown of SimpliSafe’s costs and package options for lots more detail.
SimpliSafe is an award-winning, no-frills wireless, portable, home security system that works exceptionally well. The equipment was easy to install, with no tools or wiring required — something we really liked when we reviewed SimpliSafe in full. Finally, SimpliSafe’s camera, the SimpliCam, rounds out the SimpliSafe system as one of the best options for basic intruder protection.
This system is 100% cellular so no landline is needed. The SimpliSafe equipment also works whether you opt for a monitoring package or not. Additionally, there are no contracts to sign, they offer free shipping, a 60-day money-back guarantee, and will even pay for the return shipping if needed. And, they frequently offer discounts on select packages, making them even more affordable.
Alder Home Security is another solid pick for cellular monitoring, which is a huge selling point and ensures reliable monitoring and speedy response times should a break-in occur. Rest assured, you and your family will be securely connected to Alder’s emergency monitoring personnel when you need them most. Alder’s wireless systems also offer easy DIY installation, a touchscreen control panel, smartphone controls, and it’s all backed by solid guarantees. Here are Alder’s pros and cons:
Cellular monitoring matters, perhaps now more than ever. Of course, Alder users understand this, and they benefit from the most secure and reliable cellular connection around. But there’s more to these systems — like video surveillance options, home automation features (Alexa and Z-Wave compatible), and let’s not forget the equipment itself. Almost all of Alder’s devices are made in-house. This translates to high-quality, innovative products that just so happen to be covered by a lifetime guarantee. Read more about this fairly new brand in our full Alder review.
But one of the most impressive things about Alder is their commitment to customer satisfaction. It’s one thing to have your home and family secured, but it’s another thing to be backed by a company that truly cares. We get that sense with Alder — from their CEO down to their monitoring agents, they hold strong values that permeate through their whole operation. For these reasons and more, Alder gets our pick for the best cellular home security system available.
Cellular home security monitoring is currently the most popular form of monitoring available and for good reason. The benefits of cellular home security monitoring are unequivocally valid and not just advertising fluff.
The most important benefit of cellular home security monitoring is the fact that it’s wireless. Cellular monitoring is a key component of any security system, and one you should definitely consider if you’re choosing the system that’s right for you. These systems will have fewer vulnerabilities because there are no lines that can be cut, and your system isn’t dependent on your internet connection. So a cellular signal is always on and continuously monitoring your system.
Additionally, with a cellular signal, you won’t have to pay for a landline, your system can be serviced remotely, all communications are encrypted, and you can receive activity alert text messages, which is something you can’t do with a landline.
The following are common features found in home security systems with cellular monitoring:
Cellular home security systems often include motion detectors that pick up on any unexpected movements during the late hours or when you are away from home.
Most security systems today will provide you with a mobile app which will send alerts to your mobile device whenever activity is detected. This will enable you to respond to any situation immediately and accordingly.
By arming your security system, you are activating it and basically telling it to begin monitoring. And by disarming your security system, you are setting it to stop monitoring.
A wireless home security system is one that doesn't require your equipment to be integrated with your electrical wiring. The installation of wireless security equipment is usually installed using adhesives, which is perfect for renters or those who don't want to drill holes in their walls/ceilings. Additionally, a wireless system provides an extra layer of security because there are no wires that can be cut and all communications are encrypted.
An entryway sensor is a two-piece magnetic circuit device. One piece is placed on the window or door frame and the other piece is placed in the same location of the corresponding window or door. These magnetic circuits touch when the entryway window or door is closed. When the window or door is opened and the magnetic circuit connection is broken, an alarm will go off and you, the monitoring center, and/or the authorities will be notified.
A glass break sensor is one that is placed on the glass of any window or door. They are designed to detect any type of glass intrusion. So when someone breaks the glass of any window or door that has a sensor on it, an alarm will go off and you, the monitoring center, and/or the authorities will be notified.
Most security system alarm panels are either a manual pushbutton panel or a digital touchscreen panel. They are generally installed on the wall near an entry door. The control panel basically controls all phases of your home security system. Most security systems these days can also be accessed using a mobile app so you can control them remotely.
Home automation is what enables you to control your security system and other functions of your home automatically and remotely adding a great deal of convenience to your busy lifestyle. Most home automation devices are voice-controlled. You can tell them, or program them, to arm/disarm your security system, lock or unlock the doors, turn on/off the lights, thermostat, garage door, appliances and more.
You will be capable of remote access to your home security/automation system when you use an associated mobile app. These apps will provide you with the ability to access, monitor, and control almost all the features of your system, including being able to view real-time video feeds.
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.