While some homes are just smart, Vivint homes make the honor roll. Our review explains why Vivint Smart Home is the cutting-edge home security brand. If you want to combine safety and feature-rich, 21st-century conveniences all in one cohesive app, then you and Vivint could be a perfect pair. Still, it’s not all rainbows. For one thing, the trial period is brief, so you’ll want to be sure that Vivint is your best buy. Read on for our latest hands-on review of the Vivint system.
Have you ever wanted a security system that can do much more than protect against prowlers? Vivint is a favorite for making your home safer and smarter all at once.
A “smart home” is automated, which means that its parts work over Wi-Fi networks. With Vivint, your home Wi-Fi network can host security sensors alongside appliances like lamps, smoke detectors, thermostats, TVs, and quite a bit more.
Vivint lets you control a Wi-Fi connected device in three ways. You can use:
You can tell Alexa or Google to close your garage door, lock up the house, and stream your favorite show. Then, you can kick back feeling like an oh-so-modern homeowner. Pretty fancy, right?
Vivint often provides free installation, leaving two main expenses:
As for Vivint’s equipment prices, we received a quote of $599 for a starter security set. We ran up an even bigger tab when we added extras like a doorbell camera ($199) and a couple of smart door locks ($149 each). You can pay in installments, though, so the monthly equipment cost is actually around $15 to $30. Vivint contract terms range anywhere between one and five years in length.
Now, what about their monthly monitoring prices? Vivint’s monitoring prices start at $29.99 per month, which is competitive compared to the rest of the market at that price point. The more security cameras you include, the higher the charge until you hit $59.99.
In case you wanted to know, Vivint does offer no-contract home security monitoring if you pay for your equipment upfront. Otherwise, you’ll have to sign a long-term monitoring contract as you pay off the installed equipment.
Through thorough research and testing, we give Vivint a strong overall rating of 9.0 for home protection and automation. They score higher than 9.0 for equipment, features, and technology. Since the super-smart systems are so simple to operate, we scored Vivint over 9.0 on ease of use.
Our lowest Vivint rating, 7.8 stars, is for customer service. We’d consider boosting this score if Vivint offered longer risk-free trials. It’s worth noting that customers generally only get a few days to cancel contracts without penalty.
Here are some pros and cons of Vivint:
More than the other security brands we review, Vivint can be an all-in-one solution for protecting and modernizing your property. They build especially advanced smart home systems, plus Vivint can guard your vehicles and convert your home to solar.
Vivint launched in the late 1990s and grew up with the Internet.1 From the beginning, Vivint focused on 100% wireless systems for smart home security. Its closest competitor has been ADT, an older company that got its start with hardwired systems. ADT has now made significant gains in the digital world, yet Vivint still has an edge in technology. Vivint designs its equipment, whereas ADT makes the most of third-party products, such as control panels from General Electric.
Along with offering smart home security features, Vivint continues to think outside the box. Some unique services include Car Guard and Vivint Solar:2
As with most home security apps, you can manage all of Vivint’s services using the same mobile app. If you want your property to be safer and smarter, and maybe Earth-friendlier too, then Vivint can be a great partner.
Since we wanted to find out what actual Vivint customers were saying, we collected ratings from 38 Vivint customers in late 2019 via an online survey. The majority rated Vivint “five stars” in most categories. One-star ratings from a few unhappy campers did drag the averages down.
Home security walks into Philosophy 101. Check these questions:
Logic tells us that the best home security systems are always monitored, duh! 🙂 If you aren’t able to report a crime, fire, or a carbon monoxide leak, you can count on Vivint for backup.
Paid monitoring with Vivint ensures a 24-7 cellular connection to emergency dispatchers. Your security system will call for help automatically, plus you can use the Vivint Sky 2.0 control panel or mobile app for two-way voice communication. We found that the average response time is about 10 seconds, which is standard for the industry.4
Payment for monitoring also activates the Vivint Sky app. Without it, you won’t be able to stream security video or otherwise remotely monitor your home. Something else worth noting is that without subscribing to a monthly payment plan, you won’t get access to Vivint’s 24-7 tech support.
Pro Tip: It’s worth mentioning that if you already have a contract with another home security provider, then your Vivint sales agent may offer a buyout to cover up to 12 months of that agreement.
The two Vivint monitoring plans are:
So what exactly can you monitor? Next are Vivint’s equipment options.
All new Vivint security systems have the Vivint Sky 2.0 control panel. The “smart hub” is a 7-inch tablet computer that attaches to your wall. When you aren’t using the screen for video or smart home control, it doubles as a digital picture frame to display your uploaded pics.
Here are details about other popular devices. This sample is small compared to the countless gadgets you can use with Z-Wave, a type of wireless home automation communication. Both Vivint and other brands make these compatible devices.5
Vivint’s smart door locks allow keyless entry. They also enable remote control so that you can lock or unlock a door over your iPhone or Android. Different styles work with Vivint, but Vivint emphasizes their partnership with Kwikset keypad locks.6
A doorbell camera keeps watch over your property. Plus, it helps create the illusion that you’re home. The Vivint mobile app tells you when motion is detected, and the sound system lets you talk with visitors. Vivint’s doorbell camera has infrared night vision, and it gives a 180-degree field of view so that no one can sneak past your door on either side. When we reviewed the doorbell camera, it had a 720p, which is definitely below average for the industry. This spec is something that hurts the overall Vivint score as 1080p is becoming the doorbell cam standard. With Vivint’s doorbell camera, it stores 30-second video clips automatically, and you get 14 days to review or download clips before deletion.
Vivint indoor and outdoor cameras offer high resolutions, 1080p and 4K, which we love and think is a necessity. Special features include night vision, pan, zoom, and two-way audio, which are some impressive features compared with the rest of the industry. By default, the cameras save 20-second clips when triggered by motion. You can also set Vivint cameras for continuous video recording (CVR). In comparison, cheaper security brands don’t support weatherproof cameras or CVR at all.
Smart thermostats make it easy to conserve energy and control your utility bills. When your security system senses that you’ve left home, the thermostat can adjust accordingly. You can also set the temperature by voice, the Vivint Sky app, and the old-fashioned way, by turning a dial. Vivint Smart Home works with Nest thermostats and a smart thermostat called Vivint Element. We especially enjoyed the ability to control all these peripherals from the Vivint Sky app, instead of needing to manage separate apps for different devices.
Not all smart home brands support smart plugs, but with Vivint, you’re in luck! A smart plug is a plug-in adaptor that makes any ordinary outlet “smart.” In other words, you can remotely turn on or off any appliance plugged into the outlet. No more worrying about whether you turned off the iron! Just head on over to your Vivint Sky app for control.
|Smart Home Options||Primary Benefit||Type||Technology|
|Doorbell Camera||Advanced Detection & Deterrent||Camera||Intermediate|
|Indoor Camera||Motion Detection||Camera||Intermediate|
|Outdoor Camera||Motion Detection||Camera||Intermediate|
|Smart Locks||Worry-free Control||Automation||Advanced|
|Garage Door Controller||Convenience||Automation||Intermediate|
|Element Thermostat||Convenience & Energy Saver||Automation||Intermediate|
|Voice-Activated Home Automation||Convenience||Automation||Basic|
|Smart Drive||Data Security and Protection||Server||Advanced|
These lists cover the security and smart home devices offered by Vivint. The options are almost endless, so this selection is just a sampling of the potential of each Smart Hub.
|Equipment, Packages & Features||Smart Home||Smart Home Video||Equipment Type|
|Remote Secure Video||Not Included||Included||Feature|
|Remote Arm and Disarm||Included||Included||Feature|
|24-7 Continuous Recording||Optional||Optional||Feature|
|Door and Window Sensors||Included (4)||Included (2)||Sensor|
|Motion Sensor||Included (1)||Included (1)||Sensor|
Same-day installation is often available for Vivint Smart Home. We definitely love that they can set up Vivint Solar within 48 hours.
Vivint sometimes installs smart home systems with no labor charge. In other cases, the cost is $49.99 and up. Vivint Car Guard is designed for easy do-it-yourself installation.
In the past, Vivint had some issues with customer service. However, their customer relations have improved significantly since the company’s early years when customers considered their door-to-door sales tactics to be too aggressive and deceptive. While the Better Business Bureau still fields complaints about Vivint door-to-door sales, nowadays, customers are more likely to find Vivint online, where they post their terms clearly.7
We decided to find out for ourselves! We placed undercover calls with their staff, and overall, the agents seemed to be more helpful than pushy. Also, through our survey of existing Vivint customers, we found that people tend to be happy with Vivint’s installation service, 24-7 tech support, and emergency call centers. Most of the complaints we see about Vivint’s customer service involve disputes over contract renewals.
Vivint designs its equipment to stay ahead of competitors technology-wise and does a pretty darn good job of it! If you want the latest home automation technologies, and you don’t mind paying for equipment upfront or signing a firm contract, then Vivint is your best home security option. Check out Vivint if you’re a homeowner, not a renter, and plan to stay at the same address for a while.
Vivint offers a number of different home automation tools and features. This includes garage door controllers, smart locks, video doorbells, and the Element thermostat. You can also link entry door sensors, window sensors, and motion detectors to it.
Vivint offers a number of different camera options. This includes both indoor and outdoor cameras that have motion detection. The company also has a video doorbell.
Yes, Vivint offers an app to manage your system. You can arm and disarm the system from the app. You can also see, in real-time who is outside your door. You can control your home automation, including the Element thermostat, lights, and locks using the Vivint mobile app as well. If you do not have the app, you can access the system online through your PC or tablet.
Yes, Vivint requires that you have a wireless internet connection in order to connect all of your home security system devices.
No, Vivint equipment only works as long as you have Vivint professional monitoring services.
No, you do not have to pay for Vivint’s home security equipment upfront. You can choose to enter into a four to five year contract using the Flex Plan. This plan requires a credit check. If you do not want to be in a long-term contract with Vivint, you can move to a month-to-month contract as long as you purchase the equipment upfront.
Yes, Vivint is compatible with Alexa.
Yes, Vivint is compatible with Google Home.
No, Vivint does not directly work with Ring devices.
Vivint. (2020, February 20). Wikipedia. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
Vivint Solar. (2020). Retrieved March 4, 2020.
VSLR: Vivint Solar Inc – Stock Price, Quote and News. (2020, March 4). CNBC.
Vivint. (2016, June 29). Monitored Alarm Systems Decrease Response Time for Emergency Events.
Vivint. (2020). Smart Lock (9910) – General Info and Specifications.
Z-Wave. (2020, February 21). Wikipedia. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
Vivint Smart Home: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, February 25). BBB.