We recently got our hands on Protection 1 home security systems. It wasn’t our first time testing the systems, and we really hope it won’t be our last. Why? Because we walked away feeling, well, protected. And that’s what a home security system is all about, right? Sure, Protection 1 has some frills — like video and home automation features — but it also does a fine job at covering the basics of home protection. It’s not the best system we’ve tested, but we found several things we think you’ll like.
For starters, Protection 1 and ADT are essentially the same company.1 So, we enjoyed the outstanding service and quality equipment that we’re used to getting from from ADT (one of the top brands). But Protection 1 has its flaws, too. For instance, they require a 36-month contract, and they aren’t exactly transparent about their prices. That said, if you’re on the hunt for customized home security, you’ll want to keep reading. We’re sharing everything you need to know about Protection 1 — the good and the bad — right here!
Protection 1 opened up shop in the 1970s, and over the years, they went on to secure millions of homes in America. Then, in 2016, the deep pockets at Apollo Group Management acquired ADT for almost $7 billion and immediately merged it with Protection 1.2 And the rest, as they say, is history.
ADT and Protection 1 are indeed two peas in a pod. In fact, when we clicked on Protection 1’s About Us page, it took us straight to ADT’s About page! Their systems use the same high-quality hardware, the customer service is solid on both fronts, and both brands offer professional installs. But, we also found some big differences (don’t worry, we’ll get to that!). Today, Protection 1 has an A+ rating with the BBB and 97% customer satisfaction.3
FYI: One look at a company’s BBB rating can tell you a lot about the customer service they offer and the major complaints against them.
In our most recent round of testing, we quickly realized there were a handful of prices for us to track. That is, we had to pay the monthly monitoring fee, add-on equipment fees, and an installation fee. That’s a lot of fees! But thankfully, the equipment itself was on-the-house, which is standard for high-tech home security systems that require contracts.
We’ll break down the prices below, but just know that Protection 1 is the type of company to get you started for cheap, and then line their pockets with your money over the long haul. Actually, it’s really not so bad. Let’s have a look.
|Motion Detector with Camera||X||X||✓||✓|
|Plan Price||$34.99 per month||$44.99 per month||$49.99 per month||$54.99 per month|
We do think that $34.99 per month for basic landline home security is a bit steep. You can get similar protection for much cheaper with DIY systems like Ring Alarm and SimpliSafe. However, the Protection 1 plans that offer smart home automation and video are actually reasonably priced. That’s where we really start to see value with Protection 1. You’ll pay about the same for Vivint, another top contender with similar features.
Keep in mind that you’ll still be on the hook for add-on equipment costs (extra sensors, security cameras, smart devices, etc.) as well as the installation fee. Protection 1 requires a one-time installation fee of $99. Of course, we’d rather not pay this. But we think $99 is justifiable, especially since Protection 1 technicians are top-notch and gave us a masterclass in using our new system.
Love it or hate it, Protection 1 requires that you call in for a quote. So we obliged. You can expect a friendly and professional sales process, and they’ll even help you customize a system from the ground up. Just be careful about equipment upgrade costs because they can add up quickly!
Each Protection 1 system includes a minimum of:
Pro Tip: Before calling in to speak with a sales rep, it’s important to know what you want in a system. You might not care about certain features, like home automation or video, so why get talked into purchasing them? This approach can help you save time and money.
It’s not always the case, but we found that Protection 1 and ADT both aim to please when it comes to installation. Our tech was clearly experienced, and the whole setup took less than an hour. From our experience, you just don’t get that with most companies.
On the other hand, we actually like having a DIY installation option — because sometimes we’d rather, well, do it ourselves! Unfortunately, Protection 1 requires a visit from their techs to get you up-and-running. So, as long as you’re fine with a (highly-trained and good-natured) stranger in your home, we think you’ll like the Protection 1 installation experience.
Protection 1 was pretty easy to use and manage on a daily basis. But your experience will completely depend on which package you choose. If you go with either of the lower-tier options, you won’t get smartphone controls. You’ll only have access to smartphone controls using the Protection 1 mobile app if you spring for the Smart Control or Video plan.4 That’s important to note! Thankfully, all their systems include a touchscreen control panel, which is better than push-button controls.
We found the mobile app to be a little outdated and something that could use a nice little refresh. The same goes for the touchscreen control panel. While it was easy to arm and disarm our system, control smart features, and even check in on our live video stream, it failed to impress us. It certainly didn’t stack up to Vivint’s award-winning Sky App. But overall, the controls were straightforward and easy to use.
We also had indoor and outdoor cameras installed, along with numerous smart home gadgets (a garage door controller, remote door lock, smart thermostat, and smart smoke/fire detector). The devices all synced to the control panel with relative ease. And everything performed as expected — pretty darn well.
FYI: We think using your smartphone (opposed to the in-home control panel) opens up a world of possibilities — and we recommend it no matter which brand you choose.
What do we want? Outstanding customer service! When do we want it? All right, we’ll spare you — just know that you’re in for a treat here. Protection 1 offers all-around stellar customer service. They have a no-robot policy, although they call it a “no-automated telephone system policy.” Whatever you call it, it was nice to get a real human on the phone and not fall victim to a labyrinth of pre-recorded messages (it’s inhumane).
Did You Know: When you call in to speak with a Protection 1 agent, you’ll be speaking with the same agents that support ADT services. This crossover is a good thing!
Another thing you’ll want to consider when choosing a home security system is the guarantees. Protection 1 offers a 90-day, money-back guarantee. We found this to be better than the industry-average guarantee of 30 to 60 days, but it was not nearly as good as ADT’s 6-month, money-back guarantee. In fact, this is one category where these “sibling systems” are on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Protection 1 also offers something called a SafetyNet Warranty, which we typically don’t see.6 If your home is burglarized, this warranty covers you up to $1,000 in losses. That is, they’ll reimburse you for the payment of your homeowner’s insurance deductible, up to $1,000. And if you have Protection 1 environmental sensors in place (and actively monitored), this guarantee can extend to smoke, fire, freeze, and flood damage as well. Pretty nice!
Pro Tip: Oftentimes, you can get a discount on homeowner’s insurance if you can prove you have a professionally monitored home security system in place.7
Protection 1 performed pretty decent from day one. Depending on the package you choose, you can get some nifty features (like geofencing) that most systems don’t have. That said, Protection 1 didn’t really have the advanced tech we thought we were getting. Our system wasn’t driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and smart learning like, say, Vivint, or Nest Secure. Also, we would have liked to see more home automation integrations and better video surveillance options. But we digress. Here are the Protection 1 standout features:
Wireless Technology — You’ll like that Protection 1 systems are wireless. There’s no landline required, and all devices connect seamlessly to the wireless control panel.
Wireless Keypad — Easily control the system with a few swipes of the finger. This panel supports cellular, Wi-Fi, and Z-Wave connectivity. It also displays severe weather warnings straight from the National Weather Service.
Video — Get set up with indoor and outdoor surveillance with HD video quality, night vision, and other convenient features. Although helpful, we had hoped for a better lineup of outdoor camera options.
Home Automation — Protection 1 offers a smart door lock and a smart thermostat. The systems are also Z-Wave compatible, allowing you to build out a smart home ecosystem by adding all types of third-party devices.
Geo-Services — One of our favorite features, Protection 1 uses geofencing to track the location of our smartphone and intuitively control the system based on our configuration.8 For example, when we left for work, the system would automatically arm and turn off the lights.
Smartphone Controls — Access and control your system from anywhere using your smartphone, and even view live video streams remotely. We especially liked the customizable activity alerts that came through the mobile app. Note that this feature doesn’t come with the lower-tier plans.
Pet-Friendly Motion Sensors — You can avoid frustrating false alarms caused by pets. If your furry friend is under 40 lbs, the pet-friendly motion sensor will intelligently ignore him or her.
Medical Alerts — Protection 1 also offers a medical alert system, allowing seniors to age with more confidence. With the press of a button, the device will connect you to the Protection 1 monitoring center. It’s not too sophisticated, so we recommend looking around at some of the top options out there.
As you’ll see, there are loads of devices that you can purchase separately and add to your system. On the one hand, plenty of options are great. But on the other hand, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and mentally check out due to the sheer number of possibilities (Protection 1 offers more devices than you can shake a stick at).
Another thing to keep in mind is that they aren’t transparent with prices. You have to call in for a quote, which is never something we like to see.
|Device||Type of Device|
|Glass Break Detector||Sensor|
|Light & Appliance Control||Smart Home|
|Indoor Pan/Tilt Camera||Camera|
|Indoor Night Vision Camera||Camera|
|Remote Door Lock||Entry|
|Garage Door Controller||Entry|
|Wireless Doorbell||Doorbell Alert|
|Emergency Button||Panic Alert|
|Water & Flood Sensor||Environmental|
|Remote Thermostat Control||Environmental|
By now, you should know that Protection 1 has decades of experience in the home security industry. When they joined forces with ADT, they began to offer total home security and automation and a range of hardware options. We think their customer service is on-point, but we don’t like their long-term contracts, and we think they can dramatically improve their video surveillance offerings.
Overall, we’d say that Protection 1 could be a good fit for people who want a completely customized security system and don’t mind paying a steep price for it. But, for most people, we believe there are much better options out there to explore. So, when it comes to Protection 1, we highly recommend checking out some of the more reliable and affordable home security systems on the market today.
Yes, Protection 1 requires a 36-month contract.
Yes, the systems work with Z-Wave compatible devices for smart home automation.
No, the company requires professional installation on all systems, which costs $99.
Yes, Protection 1 offers (somewhat substandard) video surveillance with an outdoor camera and two indoor cameras.
Yes, these home security systems are wire-free.
ADT. (2020, May 29). Wikipedia. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
Lima, D. (2017, September 29). ADT, Protection 1 merge following $6.9B private equity buyout. South Florida Business Journal.
Protection 1: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, June 17). BBB.
Protection 1. (2019, February 1). eSecure 2.0. Google.
Solomon, M. (2018, September 15). How Zappos Delivers Wow Customer Service On Each And Every Call. Forbes.
Protection 1. (2012). SafetyNet Deductible Reimbursement Program.
CoverHound. (2020). 5 Ways A Security System Can Cut Home Insurance Costs.
White, S. (2017, November 1). What is geofencing? Putting location to work. CIO.