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Vivint Home Security Review

A premium smart security solution, Vivint sets the standard for high-tech features and all-around home protection.

SecureScore™: 9.0 /10
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Editors Note:

Vivint has an active promotion: “$0 Activation + Professional Installation” Click here for more details. (last updated 8/10/18)

9.0 SecureScore™
Customer Service
7.8
Value
8.4
Equipment
9.6
Features & Technology
9.8
Ease Of Use
9.5

Vivint Home Security Ratings

If you want home protection powered by smart technology — Vivint does it all. Vivint’s 100% wireless systems guard against intruders… with style. The sleek, contemporary equipment lends a nice touch to the modern home. And as a leader in home automation, Vivint offers voice recognition, fixed and panning video cameras, doorbell cameras with two-way voice communication, and more. See for yourself in our Vivint review how they are redefining home security…

PROS
  • Sleek Contemporary Equipment
  • 100% Wireless Systems
  • Available ASAP (Same-Day Installation)
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Cellular and/or Landline Connections
  • Remote Access (Mobile App)
  • Indoor/Outdoor Video Cameras
  • Doorbell Camera with Two-Way Voice
  • Environmental Disaster Protection
  • Home Automation

CONS
  • Requires Pro Installation
  • Above-Average Monthly Cost
  • Long-Term Contract
  • Trial May be Short

Getting to Know Vivint

Vivint is one of the highest-ranked home security companies on the market today, and the standout reason is clear: smart security. Its 100% wireless systems take home automation to new heights with sleek gear that’ll please geeks and designers alike and monitoring that rivals the best pro plans anywhere. All Vivint systems are professionally installed, and what you get is pretty much unrivaled—voice recognition, remote control door locks, panning video cameras, the first-of-its-kind doorbell camera, and 2-way voice communication.

Headquartered in Utah, Vivint began as APX Alarm Security in 1997. It partnered with the banking firm Goldman Sachs in 1998 and was acquired by the global investment firm Blackstone Group in 2012.

In recent years, Vivint has expanded its focus beyond home security, and now offers solar energy and Internet services. It’s got a bit of an unusual offering within home security, too, making a name for itself as a company that lets its customers buy equipment á la carte. That said, it’s less flexible when it comes to contracts—which are fixed at 5 years / 60 months. (Exceptions are made for certain extenuating circumstances such as military service.)

Vivint emphasizes the benefits of home automation for shoppers with medium and higher budgets for home security. Their 100% wireless systems are professionally installed rather than DIY, and a technician connects each system to a powerful cell radio network to reach emergency monitors. The company has its own monitoring centers (instead of outsourcing), and in 2014 reported an average call response time of 10 seconds.

Monitoring & Packages

The tech behind Vivint’s equipment is so solid that even negative feedback has little to do with the equipment or functionality, and more to do with pushy salespeople (more on that below). If you’re looking for a basic and cost-effective system that’ll pass the minimum threshold for home security, Vivint probably isn’t for you. But if you want to transform your home into a menacing smart tech fortress that looks good doing it, and you have the cash to do it, look no further.

The two monitoring options with Vivint are:

  • Smart Security Service: Basic home protection (burglary/environmental) at $29.99/month for monitoring plus equipment financing or the purchase of equipment upfront
  • Smart Home Service: Home protection (burglary/environmental) and home automation at $39.99/month for monitoring plus equipment financing or the purchase of equipment upfront

Choices for special security features include:

  • Doorbell camera
  • Door lock with remote control
  • Remote (online) garage door control
  • Remote thermostat control
  • High definition indoor video recording
  • Outdoor video surveillance

Vivint also offers 4 starter packages for equipment, and they run from roughly $700 to nearly $1800. The company does let you pay off the equipment over 5 years through its Monthly Flex Pay, so you can pay as little as $12 a month to offset the costs.

Vivint’s starter kit includes the touchscreen panel plus your choice of 6 smart sensors—that’s door/window sensors, motion detectors, glass break detectors, flood/freeze detectors, and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Each component is replaced or repaired for free, by the way, and you can either add equipment bit by bit, or simply upgrade to the next package bundle. And because Vivint works with the Nest Thermostat and Amazon Echo, you can actually purchase them as part of your Vivint package.

Sticking to its pattern of branching out, Vivint recently added two Google Home Minis to each of its starter kits and introduced a new Neighborhood Watch app called Streety at CES. All this and Vivint both designs and manufactures most of its equipment, and is even compatible with other smart products, like Nest Learning Thermostat and Amazon Echo.

It’s worth noting that you can forego a monthly monitoring plan with Vivint and still use the equipment to monitor your home yourself, but you won’t have access to the mobile app and 24/7 tech support.

The Lineup of Features and Tech

Getting into the nitty gritty, here are some standout tech features:

Vivint Doorbell Camera
Create the effect that you’re home! Vivint’s doorbell camera lets the owner view and speak with visitors via the Vivint Sky app. The Vivint doorbell camera provides streaming video and also supports two-way voice. When this came out in 2015, it was revolutionary—the first of its kind.

Customizable Remote
Vivint and other wireless security companies provide remote controls that fit on keyrings. The typical remote can arm/disarm the system and also has a panic button. It also lets users set a custom function, like locking doors or adjusting lights.

Video Cameras
Vivint monitors a variety of indoor and outdoor security cameras. Video can be live-streamed to their mobile Sky app and saved to cloud storage.

Voice-Activated Home Automation
Vivint home automation is enhanced with Amazon Echo voice technology. Using biometric voice recognition, a Vivint system can respond to commands that control home temperature, lighting, locks and more.

Vivint Element Thermostat
The Vivint Element thermostat works with Vivint home automation to add convenience and of course comfort and cost savings. Vivint’s newest control panel can work with the Vivint Element thermostat to make customized recommendations about settings to lower your bills while keeping you comfortable.

Smart Home OptionsPrimary BenefitTypeTechnology
Doorbell CameraAdvanced Detection & DeterrentCameraIntermediate
Indoor CameraMotion DetectionCameraIntermediate
Outdoor CameraMotion DetectionCameraIntermediate
Customizable RemoteSimplicityControllerIntermediate
Smart LocksWorry-free ControlAutomationAdvanced
Garage Door ControllerConvenienceAutomationIntermediate
Element ThermostatConvenience & Energy SaverAutomationIntermediate
Voice-Activated Home AutomationConvenienceAutomationBasic
Smart DriveData Security/ProtectionServerAdvanced

Contracts

Vivint offers mostly 5-year contracts, which is also the length of the Flex Pay term, and you have to buy out the duration of your contract if you have to cancel. There are some exceptions for extenuating circumstances, like active military service.

All that said, if you’re able to pay for all your Vivint equipment up front, you’re eligible for a month-to-month contract and can still get professional alarm monitoring. A lot of people aren’t able to buy all the equipment up front, but even so, it’s rare for a home security company to offer any customers the super flexibility of month-to-month contracts.

It’s worth reiterating that the longer your contract, the less you pay each month for the equipment you financed. But you’re locked in for longer. Money really does buy you the freedom of flexibility here.

Installation

Vivint’s equipment is serious, so professional installation is a must. Typically, installation starts at $49.99 and increases from there depending on the additional equipment purchased.

Is it Easy to Use?

You control your equipment through the 7″ touchscreen control panels with large icons and clear text. For added simplicity, Vivint’s top plans support Vivint Sky mobile app control and voice recognition. With voice recognition, you can simply say, “I’m going to bed” to automatically lock your doors, arm your security system, and adjust lights throughout your home. A customizable keychain remote also helps make Vivint home automation and security easy to use.

Vivint Home Security Video Review

The Customer Service Experience

Vivint’s customer service has greatly improved over the past couple of years. Not only did Vivint earn a reputation for being aggressive with sales, Attorneys General for multiple US states filed charges for misrepresentation and deceptive sales tactics. Not long ago the company had thousands of pending complaints and a low rating from the Better Business Bureau… but today the Vivint BBB rating has climbed to a “C.” A more transparent pricing structure introduced in January 2017 is partially responsible for the drop in customer complaints and increasingly positive Vivint reviews.

Stacking the Value

Before 2017 Vivint customers paid monthly for monitoring but never actually owned their security equipment. Today, eligible Vivint customers can eventually own their security equipment with interest-free financing (or you can just buy it all up front). Vivint Flex Pay splits the monthly bill payment into one section for monitoring and another for the control panel and sensors. Customers make payments over 3 to 5 years depending on where they live or do business.

It’s important to note that potential Vivint customers have the power to negotiate. For example, if you already have a contract with another home security provider, the Vivint sales agent has the power to offer a buyout to cover up to 12 months of the contract. However, the more months they cover, the less “bonus” they receive. This isn’t the case with all alarm companies, and is behind some of the negative feedback about pushy salesmen in the past.

The Goods

Vivint home security systems feature Vivint Sky 2.0 control panels with 7″ touchscreens, and these are the true belly of the beast. Each control panel oversees entryway sensors, at least one motion detector, and at least one environmental sensor such as a smoke alarm, and video cameras and cutting-edge home automation features are available with top Vivint plans.

Here are lists of Vivint security system functions and features.

Controls

  • Touchscreen Control Panel that “Learns”
  • Two-Way Voice for Emergency
  • Keyfob with Arm/Disarm, Panic and Custom Button
  • Panic Button
  • Panic Pendant

Sensors

  • Entry Sensors
  • Garage Door Sensors
  • Glass Break Sensors
  • Motion Detectors
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Smoke and Heat Sensors
  • Water Leak/Flood Sensors
  • Freeze Sensors

Video Cameras

Cloud storage is included with monitoring plans for Vivint customers who use video security. Space Monkey is the unit, and it holds 1TB of data, or roughly 2 million photos. Your video will be automatically backed up on this device and to the cloud.

  • Fixed Indoor Camera
  • Pan and Tilt Indoor Camera
  • Outdoor Camera
  • Doorbell Camera with Voice and Mobile Access

Home Automation

  • Keypad Door Locks
  • Remote Light Control
  • Remote Thermostat Control
Equipment, Packages & FeaturesSmart HomeSmart Home VideoEquipment Type
PricingSee PackageSee PackageSee All
Remote Secure VideoNot IncludedIncludedFeature
Professional InstallationIncludedIncludedFeature
Remote Arm/DisarmIncludedIncludedFeature
Cell ConnectionIncludedIncludedFeature
24/7 SupportIncludedIncludedFeature
24/7 MonitoringIncludedIncludedFeature
Pet FriendlyIncludedIncludedFeature
24/7 Continuous RecordingOptionalOptionalFeature
Control PanelIncludedIncludedController
Door/Window SensorsIncluded (4)Included (2)Sensor
Motion SensorIncluded (1)Included (1)Sensor
Freeze SensorOptionalOptionalSensor
Doorbell CameraOptionalOptionalCamera
Indoor CameraOptionalOptionalCamera
Outdoor CameraOptionalOptionalCamera
Element ThermostatOptionalOptionalAutomation
Smart LockOptionalOptionalAutomation

The Last Word

Vivint is a top choice for customers seeking professionally installed home security with advanced automation. Sales practices in the past damaged the company’s reputation, but it remains a leader in innovative home protection. If you want the latest home automation technologies, including a best-in-class doorbell camera, and you don’t mind paying for it upfront or by signing a long-term agreement, Vivint is probably your best bet.

Questions to Ask When Considering Vivint

What type of home automation features does Vivint offer?

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.

What type of cameras are used with the Vivint security system?

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.

Can you use Vivint with a mobile app?

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.

Does Vivint require the use of Wi-Fi?

Yes, Vivint requires that you have a wireless internet connection in order to connect all of your home security system devices.

Does Vivint equipment work with different alarm providers?

No, Vivint equipment only works as long as you have Vivint professional monitoring services.

Do I have to pay for Vivint equipment upfront?

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.

Does Vivint work with Alexa?

Yes, Vivint is compatible with Alexa.

Does Vivint work with Google Home?

Yes, Vivint is compatible with Google Home.

Is Vivint compatible with Ring devices?

No, Vivint does not directly work with Ring devices.

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15 Comments

  1. Avatar Ashley S. says:

    They have been so helpful every time we need assistance. I have yet to have a less than stellar experience with Vivint

  2. Avatar Dianna Oneschuk says:

    I tried to cancel vivint because i moved. I had 1 year left to pay and they wont let me cancel say i still need to pay even though im not in the house that just aint right i will never get them again
    I told them i would not say anything good about them on line

    1. Avatar Tom says:

      Just because you moved doesn’t mean you don’t still have to pay for the equipment. Why would it all of a sudden be free?

    2. Avatar Dr. Damon says:

      I have used Vivint for the last 90 days and I am not impressed with their service. At least three times my motion detector went off without cause, they did not add fire protection which increased my home insurance. Needless to say, they are not winning and may be loosing a valuable customer.

  3. Avatar TRACY M LOIBL says:

    I have always been happy with Vivint until now!! We are purchasing a new home and wanted to do a ‘new move new service’ that they offer. I called a few weeks ago and was told about the ‘new move new service’ option. I was told they do things different now…. we could either finance our new equipment or purchase it outright and pay the monitoring which was $3?.?? (it was 30 something, don’t remember the new amount). If financing our new equipment, with everything we want, our bill would be about 70ish a month until equipment was paid off which we were fine with. When I just called to ask a specific question about some equipment, I was told the financing is through a finance company. We dont want that on our credit so I said we would just purchase it outright and not fiance. Then I was told if we pay it outright and not finance it, our monthly monitoring would remain what we are paying now of $65ish. They penalize you by charging a higher monthly monitoring if you dont finance it which doesn’t make sense. Its 0% interest so what does it matter if we finance or purchase it outright? That is bad business practice.

    They said we can take our old system with us but they charge around $200.00 to remove it from our home and another $200.00 to install it in our new home and then I am still paying the $65ish a month for a system that isn’t sufficient for our new home.

    I got the payoff to just payoff the remaining of our contract. They left me no choice but to pay it off and find a new alarm company.

    I use to recommend Vivint to everyone. I am a crime scene technician and do a lot of residential burglaries and I recommended Vivint more times than I can count. Never again!!!!

  4. Avatar Lucy says:

    This company seems good until you get a few months and later with them. We got roped into a contract via the services and a loan on the equipment. For the first few months the system worked great. Our dogs could run around the house while we were gone and everything worked great. Suddenly a few months in our dogs start setting off the motion detector. And on multiple occasions with no one trying to break in the alarm goes off in the middle of the night waking us at 3 am. None of this has been as bad as us trying to cancel though. We sold our home and since we would not be allowed to use the system in our apartment called to cancel. We put together the pay off money. and got everything ready. Well, we had to call the loan company directly, pay off the equipment, then call Vivint to give them the confirmation number to prove we had paid it off. Then we had to give written notice in an email of our desire to end services including another number. Then we had to call them again and after over a month we are still fighting them to disconnect services. Just today they called the cops on the new homeowners… Do not go with this company.

  5. Avatar Ron says:

    I only went searching for Vivint after receiving multiple emails promoting them that get flagged as junk mail. My mother had Vivint for several years when living in Florida, and when she passed away it was very difficult to cancel the service. I submitted multiple cancellation requests and it still took 6 months to cancel the service, along with another 3 or 4 months to get a refund for the monitoring fees. I have seen the reviews and the claims that this company has cleaned up their act, but as the above reviews claim, it’s a nightmare when you want to stop using them. When anybody asks me about home security, I tell them that Vivint should be at the bottom of their list.

  6. Avatar Joe medina says:

    I signed 5 year contract and moved after 4 years and no longer used the service. Nevertheless I paid the final year of the contract as I had agreed to do. The final month of my contract I contacted Vivint and asked how to discontinue service and stop charges after my contract was satisfied. I then followed the instructions but vivint continues to charge my credit card. I called twice to fix the problem but they have not done so. I am sorry that an otherwise positive experience has ended so poorly. I will not use them again as I am having to spend many hours to try to resolve the issue. No one seems to care and no one seems to have the ability to fix a simple problem.

  7. Avatar John Rosenthal says:

    We were told that if we moved and the new owners took the new service that we would no longer be responsible. We contacted Vivint SERVERAL times with the new owners names and their desire to take over the service. The new owners immediately took the Vivint service. This was in December 2018 and they continued invoice us and I even paid the next three months (along with the new owners also paying). I just received a notice from a collection agency that Vivint wants full payment on the contract when another owner is using the Vivint service. I am also paying an additional amount for the equipment that Vivint used to connect the new owners (RATHER THAN INSTALLING NEW EQUIPMENT). I am going to request the three months refund on payments that the new owners are paying (a duplicate amount). WHAT A WAY TO DO BUSINESS!!

  8. Avatar ken says:

    The installation technician was great. The customer service with a problem is terrible. Have made several phone calls with the same issue and nothing gets resolved. Spent 2 hours on the phone trying to resolve an issue, they wanted me to climb a ladder and check on the installation they had done less than 1 month ago. Really!! Now they will send a tech in a week and want to charge me a fee for an installation that has never worked. Somewhere the customer service department and the installation departments need to get together. Not much coordination.

  9. Avatar Beverly Venable says:

    I am not a happy customer with Vivint ! I have been asking for the past two weeks for a “Alarm Registration form” to be mailed to me, because my Vivint system was installed over 2 weeks ago.
    I have gotten was a run around, no one seems to know what it is and or no response to my request.
    They are required by law to provide the form to their customers if your State requires one! Which my state does.

  10. Avatar Sue says:

    When my 5 year contract was up, I had a hard time canceling. Customer service told me that I couldn’t just email them in writing that I wanted to cancel, or tell them verbally, I needed to send them a letter. The company sent solicitors to my house to ask me about joining again. I wasn’t interested. The rep said that I needed to remove the vivint yard sign because I wasn’t using them anymore. I asked them if I had to remove the sign and they said no, but they came back at a later time and removed it without my knowledge.

  11. Avatar Leslie Davis says:

    I have been less than satisfied with Vivint. Customer service is great and they get a tech out everytime I need one. However, the response time on the panel is slow. I have a hard time seeing who is at my door. Its extremely delayed and I do not feel like its safe. My equipment disconnects and then i have to go through the same process over and over again. I am very unsatisfied. I want to cancel but I have to pay over $2000 to buy out my contract which i think is a little ridiculous or wait two years and keep this crap that does not work. They have one option to get out of a contract which is transferring it to someone else. No one is going to take over my system due to it being so pricey. I pay over 90 a month for half ass service. Their right of rescission period is only a whopping 3 days. Very dissatisfied customer!

  12. Avatar kenny swenson says:

    After reading the D rating on the BBB, I called to cancel my upcoming appointment that I made mere hours ago & reverse the “refundable” fee. That fee refund process was so slow that in itself says a lot about this company’s difficult customer service process. I am still waiting on hold as I write this…. 20 minutes

  13. Avatar Angela Norman says:

    We purchased the Vivint system through Best Buy. We were advised we didn’t have to pay a monthly fee, ever. We monitored it ourselves through our the Vivint app on our mobile phones. Then a couple of years in they wanted to charge $20 per month to continue to have access to the mobile App. We are still paying Best Buy and we canceled the service with Vivint and now have a pretty worthless (very expensive) security system.

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