If you're trying to decide between Vivint or ADT, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there on these two home security companies. It can be challenging to compare the two services - ADT has been around for nearly 150 years, yet Vivint offers some of the newest, most innovative home security technology available. ADT has name recognition, but Vivint is no slouch, catching the attention of Forbes and making two of their coveted lists.
What it all comes down to, though, is that your family's safety is your top priority. Protecting your belongings comes in close behind. That's why it's important to take your time and examine the features - as well as the cost - of the nation's largest home security company against a relative newcomer. I'll help you do just that in this guide.
There's no question that ADT brings the weight of many years of experience to the home security table. Vivint, by contrast, has only been around since 1999. That hasn't stopped this innovative company from taking a commanding lead over other, smaller companies. Where ADT boasts experience, Vivint brings it in terms of high-tech, forward-thinking equipment, and home automation. The company has won more than a handful of industry awards, including three customer service Stevies (awarded for contributions of businesses and organizations) in 2016 alone.
However you slice it, each of these two companies offers some of the best home security systems on the market today. While there are some similarities when you evaluate ADT vs Vivint, there are a couple of key differences as well. Here are some of the areas to compare when deciding on Vivint or ADT:
1. Connection Type
ADT offers landline connection, landline with cellular backup, and 100% cellular monitoring. Vivint systems use 100% cellular service.
Both security firms offer a full range of devices including window/door sensors, key fob remotes, and home security camera systems. I'll go into more detail about both companies' equipment options later in this guide.
3. Personal Preference
As you consider whether to get ADT or Vivint, one thing to keep in mind is that ADT is geared a bit more toward traditional security services, while Vivint has a stronger focus on home automation. Both do offer some Z-Wave integration, however.
Both companies provide fire monitoring services. Also remember that while online home security system reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings can be helpful components in your comparison process, they aren't the only factors you should consider. Both ADT and Vivint Security utilize authorized dealers to handle their sales and installation, so your experience may vary depending upon your local providers.
Costs of Monitoring
You don't want to put a price on your family's safety and sense of security in their own home, yet the budget is an unavoidable factor when choosing a home security system. In terms of Vivint Security vs ADT, there isn't a huge cost difference between the two.
What it really comes down to is exactly what you're getting for that price and how the packages are structured. ADT vs Vivint isn't a precise apples to apples comparison, however, they are close enough to give you a good overall picture.
ADT Security Pricing
ADT's pricing is based mainly upon features, each tier coming equipped with at least one additional feature over the one below it. Packages range from about $36.99 per month for basic landline monitoring to $58.99 per month for cellular monitoring with video surveillance, plus system control via the mobile app.
One of the more frustrating issues I found in my research is that due to the number of independent authorized ADT dealers, packages vary widely - right down to the names. For instance, one agent may call the top tier Premium Protection with ADT Pulse, while another calls it ADT Pulse+Video.
In addition, some agents offer three plans, and others offer as many as five. The company's main website does not display pricing information, aside from a couple of promotional offers. Instead, you are encouraged to call a customer service representative for more information on plans and pricing.
Vivint Security Pricing
Unlike ADT, Vivint boasts pricing transparency - and they deliver on that promise. The company website clearly spells out each of their three monitoring plans along with the cost. They are as follows:
- Vivint Starter: $39.99/month
- Smart Protect: $53.99/month
- Smart Control: $60.99/month
Vivint also utilizes independent customer service representatives, so you may encounter different offers and promotions depending on your local dealer.
When it comes to equipment, these two companies use different methodology.
ADT includes in all of their packages:
- Control panel
- Three contact sensors
- One motion detector
- One key fob
- Window decals and yard signs
These are the basic components provided for free when you sign up for service. If you order ADT Pulse with video monitoring you'll get at least one security camera as well.
Read More: Check out our buyer's guide to home automation systems to learn more.
Vivint provides free equipment with their monitoring packages as well, except that you get more flexibility in your base package. The method Vivint uses is to assign a point value to each product. You get five points worth of equipment with their starter package, seven points with the mid-range option, and nine with the top tier.
You then get to pick how many of which pieces of equipment you'd like based on your individual needs. Don't want the key fob? Choose an extra sensor instead. With the highest tier package you get to pick one or two home automation - or "premium" - options in additional to your basic security equipment.
On top of the standard contact sensors and motion detectors, all Vivint security systems come with their proprietary SkyControl touchscreen panel. This gives them a leg up on the competition if you're particularly tech savvy, as you'll have to pay extra for a fancier control panel if you go with ADT.
In terms of smart home devices that operate via your security system panel, Vivint vs ADT is no contest. Vivint excels in home automation, carrying an extensive line of products from smoke detectors to doorbell cameras. One of the options you'll have with the top package is the Vivint Playback - essentially your own cloud storage unit which syncs with your media devices for easy access.
Terms & Contracts
ADT and Vivint differ in some areas of their terms and are similar in others.
- Vivint - 48 or 60 months, depending upon your state
- ADT - 36 months
- Vivint - $399 for Vivint Starter, $99 for other tiers
- ADT - $99
- Vivint - $99 fee if you've been with them for a year, $99 fee if remaining under existing contract, $0 fee if you sign new contract at new location and have been with them over a year
- ADT - Free security system for new location plus 25% of additional equipment if you've been with them at least 24 months and did not purchase your equipment and services through an authorized dealer
- Vivint - lifetime warranty
- ADT - no standard warranty, "limited warranty" called Quality Service Plan (available for extra fee)
- Vivint - three days in most states, five days in Alaska and New York
- ADT - six months
Early Termination Policy
- Vivint - must pay 100% of your remaining contract balance
- ADT - must pay 75% of remaining balance
It's important to keep in mind as you compare Vivint Security vs ADT that there are virtually always promotions and specials going on. You can also negotiate with your sales rep for free installation or bonus equipment. They will almost always make a concession rather than lose a potential customer.
There are pros and cons to both of these home security companies, and your decision-making process will be highly individual. If your goal is to integrate as much of your home automation and monitoring as possible, you'll likely lean toward Vivint. If you, on the other hand, prefer the option of having a hard-wired landline connection for your security system, you may find ADT more attractive. If that's the case, you'll want to find the lowest landline price you can, so be sure to read up on the best home phone service too.
Ultimately, both services provide fairly standard equipment and monitoring, so it's simply a matter of personal preference and which features and contract terms are most acceptable to you. Remember, too, that your physical security isn't the only thing at risk on an everyday basis. While you're shopping around for security systems, you might want to evaluate the best identity theft protection as well.
To see how ADT stacks up against Frontpoint, another competitor in the home security market, then check out our comparative guide on Frontpoint vs ADT.