This ADT review includes information about all of the equipment the company offers, plus our experience using it. We’ll also go over their monthly subscription, customer support, and the ADT Pulse app before comparing ADT to other popular security systems.
ADT is probably the most recognizable security brand in the United States, and for good reason: with over 140 years in business, they’re by far the oldest security company in the country, but trust us, when it comes to their systems, they’re as modern as the sleekest start-ups.
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This is our video review of the ADT/ Protection 1 security system, specifically the Video Package.
Since filming this video, ADT has changed up it’s offerings quite a bit, but interested viewers can expect a new, updated video sometime in 2020. Still, some information about ADT has remained the same since our last video, including its subscription offerings, customer support and mobile application.
All of the ADT systems include a digital panel, contact sensors, a keychain remote, motion detector, yard signs, window decals, panic button and sensors for smoke, CO and floods. Only the Complete package includes the video doorbell and the indoor/ outdoor cameras, but we’ve detailed all the components below.
The digital panel is where users can arm and disarm their security system using a touchscreen pad.
They can also control any connected devices here along with the security system as a whole, as well as view live footage, if their plan allows for it. Finally, users can set up their integrations here with Alexa, Kwikset, Z-Wave and Liftmaster.
Entryway Contact Sensors
Also known as door and window sensors, contact sensors go on a door or window’s frame and the door or window itself to tell when it has been opened or closed.
Once that happens, ADT will alert the user immediately via a mobile notification. We appreciate the variety of entry sensors that ADT offers for different homes, from hardwired to battery-powered, from recessed to slim line. The wireless sensors are powered by CR123 batteries.
Users can arm and disarm their systems via the keychain remote, also called the key fob.
It’s a wireless device with buttons to arm and disarm the system as well as a panic button to contact the monitoring centers and request help. The keychain remote provides users with a mobile way to control their system or call for help, and with a battery life of up to five years, they won’t have to do much maintenance beyond putting it with the rest of their keys. Unlike the digital panel, the keychain remote doesn’t require a passcode to arm or disarm the system, making it a much more convenient process for the user.
This detector senses motion, but luckily for pet-owners, it can differentiate between people and pets of a certain size, so users can adjust it based on their pet’s weight.
This will ensure that they won’t receive a notification from their dog, only people. The sensor covers a 35 by 40 foot area, which is pretty large, and have a super long seven year battery life. Plus, they’re tamper-protected, meaning that users will be alerted if an intruder tries to move them in any way.
To connect to the monitoring center away from the digital panel there’s the panic button, a wireless device with two buttons that easily connect users with the police, the fire department or even medical professionals.
Wearable as either a bracelet, necklace, or clip, the emergency button is particularly useful for the sick, elderly, or disabled. Note that the buttons are recessed, useful for preventing false alarms.
ADT Video Doorbell Camera
Users paying for the Complete package will receive security cameras, starting with the Video Doorbell Camera. Here at Security Baron, we love video doorbells as they allow users to see and speak to whoever’s at their door remotely, a convenient and safe feature. ADT’s version has two-way audio via a speaker and a noise-reduction microphone, but it’s video quality is a bit sub-par at only 720p HD compared to the current industry standard of 1080p HD.
However, we were impressed with the video doorbell’s infrared night vision and 180 degree field of view, as wide as mathematically possible. Durability-wise, the video doorbell also satisfies with a temperature range of negative four to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Users will hardwire the video doorbell into their home, compatible with an 8-24 VAC system.
ADT Outdoor Security Camera
Many people make the mistake of putting smart security devices inside of their house only, while leaving the outside completely unmonitored. Fortunately, ADT offers an outdoor camera with a durable design.
Like the video doorbell, it’s video quality is a bit low at only 720p HD and unfortunately, it has an incredibly narrow field of view of only 95 degrees. However, we were impressed with the camera’s infrared night vision along with it’s IP rating of 66, ensuring that it’s totally protected from solids and even powerful water jets. As long as it’s not immersed in water, the outdoor camera will stay connected.
ADT Indoor Security Camera
ADT’s final camera offering is their indoor camera. Again, it has 720p HD video, infrared night vision, and a wireless setup.
However, it’s field of view is wide enough to fit our standards at 128.6 degrees, to be exact. One cool feature is that ADT didn’t just alert us when the indoor camera detected motion. No, they actually sent us a clip of what was happening, making it convenient to stay on top of our home security. One drawback, however, is the indoor camera’s lack of two-way audio, which we consider to be a necessary feature.
That’s it for ADT’s home security offerings, but they also offer environmental monitoring, available no matter which package the user chooses.
Most homes already have smoke detectors, but unless they’re WiFi-connected, users won’t know if they go off unless they’re home. That’s not the case with ADT’s smoke detector, which will alert both the user and the monitoring team if it detects smoke via mobile notifications, LED lights and even a built-in siren.
As ADT works with the lock manufacturer Kwikset, we were able to set up our smoke detector to unlock our home’s exit doors if it goes off, which gives us peace of mind when it comes to house fires. Plus, even if we don’t respond to the notification, it’s comforting to know that the monitoring team is on it and can even contact the fire department if needed. Like the motion detector, the smoke detector is tamper-protected and wireless, powered by three CR123 batteries. To learn more, read our review of 2020’s top smoke and CO detectors.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Another essential life safety device is a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that could be lethal if dangerous levels are ingested. Fortunately, ADT provides a CO detector that connects with the user’s app along with the monitoring team. With electrochemical sensing, it can detect levels of CO before they get too high, preventing CO-related illnesses and deaths.
Like the smoke and motion detectors, the CO detector is tamper-protected so the user will know if it’s removed. It also has an LED light and an alarm to make sure that users evacuate as soon as possible. In testing, we noticed the test/ hush button in particular, which let us easily perform tests to make sure the CO detector was working properly, and silence it when needed. We also appreciated that ADT provides hardwired options or wireless options with a battery life of up to 10 years. best carbon monoxide detectors of 2020Learn about the .
Experienced home-owners know that floods can cause thousands of dollars in damage; that is, unless they’re detected early. This wireless water sensor, placed in a basement, near a washing machine or anywhere where leaks can occur, catches floods before they take over. Learn more by reading our review of the best water leak sensors of 2020.
Now that we’ve gone over security and environmental monitoring, we want to show you how ADT can power your smart home.
Smart Light Bulbs
ADT’s smart bulb lets users control their lights remotely and even dim it via either the app or a voice command through Alexa. Users can also create custom scenes, groups of lights set to specific brightness levels that can be turned on and off easily, or schedules so that the lights turn on and off at specific times. There’s also an away mode that’ll mimic the lights when a user is home, a simple way to make it seem like people are home when the house is empty. To see other options, read our review of the best smart light bulbs of 2020.
One way to reduce heating and cooling costs is to use a smart thermostat that can be set onto schedules. ADT’s version lets users control their home’s climate from anywhere and set schedules to save on energy. We enjoyed getting alerted if the house was over 75 degrees, as well as making scenes with the thermostat and the lights. For example, we had our lights turn off as soon as the thermostat was set to 60 degrees, meaning we’re not home. Combining these two IoT devices made our lives more convenient and saved us on bills, a win win!
ADT’s smart thermostat should work with most HVAC systems as well as heat pumps, but users can leave that to their expert installer. Explore your options in our review of the best smart thermostats.
Garage Door Security
Next, ADT offers a garage door opener that allows for remote control and alerts if it’s less unopened. Compatible with the majority of garage door openers, this device basically connects the opener to the ADT app so that the user can control it remotely and receive notifications.
Finally, ADT offers smart plugs which can turn off lights along with small appliances remotely. We found it easy to setup the plugs with our IoT devices and could even use the plug to dim lights even on lamps that lacked dimmer switches. These plugs are useful for everything from lighting to coffee makers to flat irons. Users can also set their plugs on schedules and connect them with Alexa allowing for voice commands. Discover other smart plugs in our best smart plugs of 2020 review.
How It Performs
That’s it for ADT’s entire product lineup, but of course, we wanted to see how these components work in practice.
How Well It Worked
Since our ADT system was professionally installed, we’re focusing on how easy it was to use post-installation. Using ADT’s many components like the keypad, panic button, app and integrations with Alexa, it was very simple to arm and disarm the system from anywhere in the house as well as control connected devices.
Despite the fact that most of the system is made of hardened plastic, we found it very durable. We also appreciated ADT’s one-year warranty which ensures that they’ll replace defective products.
Smart Platform Integrations
In terms of voice assistants, ADT works with Alexa, Amazon’s version and the most popular of all the voice assistants. Users can tell Alexa to arm and disarm their ADT security system and control smart lights, locks and thermostats. Here are some commands to tell Alexa:
- Alexa, army ADT in away/ stay mode
- Alexa, disarm ADT
- Alexa, turn on/ off the light
- Alexa, dim the lamp by 10%
- Alexa, lock/ unlock the front door
- Alexa, set the bedroom thermostat to 70 degrees
Unfortunately, ADT doesn’t work with Google Assistant or Siri, so it may not be the best choice for users already in the Google or Apple smart home ecosystems.
Aside from Alexa, the ADT security system also works with connected devices from Kwikset, Liftmaster, which makes garage door openers, Sonos, a manufacturer of smart speakers, as well as anything with Z-Wave connectivity.
How to Set Up Instructions
All ADT systems are professionally installed, meaning that the user won’t have to do anything.
All ADT systems require that users pay monthly fees for professional monitoring.
This means that, as soon as the user is notified when one of their alarms goes off, so is a professional monitoring team. If the user doesn’t respond to the notification, the professional monitors will verify the emergency and call the proper services if necessary.
ADT also includes cellular backup which will keep the system on in the event of a power outage.
Price and Contracts
Unfortunately, ADT isn’t very transparent about their pricing. Rather, their prices are based on the amount of equipment and services used in a system and is negotiable. However, users can expect to pay anywhere from about $40 to $60 a month, based on our experience. Contracts are three years long, so ADT isn’t a good choice for anyone that wants to avoid a long-term commitment.
Since ADT is professionally installed, users will need to pay a moving fee. However, ADT does offer $100 off installation plus a 25% discount on additional devices. Again, ADT doesn’t lay out the exact cost of this installation, so feel free to negotiate with the sales representatives.
Customer support is especially important when it comes to home security. ADT has a few different methods of contacting customer support including phone, email, an online help center and even live chat.
Customer support from ADT is available 24/7 over the phone at the number 1-800-716-3640.
Another way to get support from ADT is by emailing [email protected].
Online Help Center
ADT’s online help center has a list of FAQs plus sections on “My Account,” “Billing,” “ADT Pulse” and “ADT Command.” While there is a lot of good information on how to solve technical issues, we were disappointed by the lack of pricing information, which is only accessible through a sales representative.
ADT has a live chat feature on their website that offers pretty quick responses, in our experience.
Our Experience Contacting Support
Like many companies, ADT’s customer support is hit or miss. Speaking over the phone was really time-consuming and we found that most representatives didn’t know how many infrared sensors their indoor camera has, a seemingly simple question. Additionally, it was frustrating to not be told directly how much their products and services cost. However, we found the live chat feature to be superior over the phone line in terms of how quickly we got our answers.
To see what other ADT customers had to say about their support, we turned to Google. On Google, ADT has a rating of 2.2 stars from 48 reviews. When we looked at the reviews mentioning customer support specifically, we found that six out of six were negative. Many people seemed to not understand the three year contract until after they bought the system. One user named Carson wrote,
“I canceled service after moving and they continue to bill me. They keep promising a refund, but they just keep billing me. I have called multiple times and they always promise a resolution, but never do anything.”
He added that after he filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, he was able to get a refund. However, this does not bode well for ADT’s customer support or their sales team.
The ADT Pulse App
ADT offers many different apps including ADT Control, ADT Go, ADT Pulse and myADT.
For our purposes, namely controlling and monitoring our security system remotely, this review focuses on the ADT Pulse app.
The ADT Pulse app lets users arm their security systems, set up schedules and home automations, control connected devices, receive notifications and livestream footage.
Google Play Store Rating
The ADT Pulse app has a 4.6 rating on the Google Play store, which is really high for a security app. Android-user Kelvin Noye wrote in a recent five-star review,
“The app works well and rarely do I have an issue. Connects to the garage door and thermostat as well. Waiting for the developers to include some automation in the app so that it could arm/disarm my system when I leave. But for now, it works exactly like I want.”
Apple Store Rating
The ADT Pulse app also fared well for iPhone users with a 4.8 star rating. People were really enthusiastic about the app’s easy functionality, and we are Security Baron must agree that it’s super user-friendly.
Now, we’re going to compare ADT to other top security systems that we’ve reviewed including SimpliSafe, Vivint and Ring Alarm.
ADT vs. SimpliSafe
If you’re looking for 24/7 professional monitoring on a budget or the option to self-monitor, SimpliSafe definitely wins over ADT.
They offer professional monitoring, cellular backup and remote control for only $24.99 a month, while ADT can cost over twice that amount. Both systems work with Alexa, but only SimpliSafe works with Google Assistant, so it’s a better choice for those in the Google smart home ecosystem, or anyone that has Nest thermostats or August smart locks. Plus, ADT requires that users pay for professional installation, while SimpliSafe offers a free and DIY installation in addition to a professional option. Overall, we recommend SimpliSafe over ADT due to its superior customer support and lower costs.
To learn more, read our full review of ADT vs. SimpliSafe.
ADT vs. Vivint
Although ADT and Vivint’s professional monitoring services are in the same ballpark in terms of price, Vivint gives its customers the option to self-monitor.
Plus, they offer professional installation for free, while ADT requires a costly fee. Vivint works with Google Assistant in addition to Alexa, plus integrations with Nest thermostats and Philips Hue lighting. Both companies offer fantastic mobile applications but if we had to choose one, it’d be Vivint over ADT.
To learn more, read our full review of ADT vs. Vivint.
ADT vs. Ring Alarm
In terms of cost, Ring Alarm is the most affordable of any security system I’ve compared ADT to.
Professional monitoring and cellular backup cost only $10 a month or $100 a year with Ring Alarm, and they don’t lock users into long-term contracts. Ring has a wide array of indoor and outdoor cameras along with three different video doorbells to choose from that have superior video quality to their counterparts at ADT. However, ADT takes the cake when it comes to customer support and the app, but we recommend Ring Alarm overall for its affordable and flexible professional monitoring, DIY installation and integration with Google Assistant.
To learn more, read our full review of Ring Alarm.
That’s everything we’ve learned about ADT, but here is some more information about the company itself, where you buy their systems and how to get in touch with them via social media, along with warranty and return info.
Like we said previously, ADT is the oldest security company in the United States, beginning in 1874 over 140 years ago. ADT actually stands for American District Telegraph as their original systems connected an alert system that used telegraphs. In 2010, ADT merged with Broadview Security, but in 2012, they went public. Finally, Apollo Global Management bought ADT in 2016 for $7 billion, merging it with the home security company Protection 1. Today, ADT serves over eight million customers across the United States, holding a quarter of the residential market share and 13% of the market share for small businesses.
Where to Purchase
Buy ADT devices and services on the ADT website. Blue by ADT devices are available from Lifeshield on Amazon, however, for the products and services in this review, users must buy directly from the ADT website.
To contact ADT, reach out to a representative over Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Current ADT users can also receive 24/7 phone support by calling 1-800-716-3640, while new customers should call 1-800-246-9320.
Follow ADT on social media using the following links:
ADT products come with a one year warranty. However, for users that want to extend their warranties, the company offers what they call an Extended Limited Warranty/Quality Service Plan. In short, they will pay for repairs or replacements of equipment for a few dollars a month. To get this plan, contact ADT at 1-800-716-3640.
If ADT can’t resolve an issue related to your system within your contract’s first six months, the user will return the equipment and get refunded. However, if the user caused the system problems, they won’t be reimbursed. Unfortunately, users can only return the system if something is wrong with it which ADT can’t fix. Otherwise, they’ll be locked into a three-year contract.
Although ADT certainly isn’t the most affordable option around, with a history this long, the company is certainly trustworthy. We’d recommend it to users that want 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup and aren’t afraid of making a long-term commitment. However, we wouldn’t recommend ADT if you want to self-monitor or pay for monitoring on a month-to-month basis. To see other options, check out our review of the best home security systems of 2020.
The monthly cost of ADT depends on the user’s equipment and services. Unfortunately, it can vary from customer to customer, so users will need to get a quote from an ADT sales representative. Unfortunately, ADT doesn’t list the cost of their products on their website. Rather, users will need to speak to sales representatives to negotiate the prices of their cameras and 24/7 professional monitoring. Although ADT is pretty expensive in terms of equipment and monitoring costs, we still think it’s worth the cost. The ADT Pulse app lets users arm their security systems, set up schedules and home automations, control connected devices, receive notifications and livestream footage. ADT will negotiate as they customize their pricing based on the users’ equipment and services. ADT does install their cameras along with the rest of their security system.
How much is ADT per month?
How much do ADT cameras cost?
Is ADT worth the cost?
What does ADT Pulse include?
Will ADT negotiate?
Does ADT install cameras?
The monthly cost of ADT depends on the user’s equipment and services. Unfortunately, it can vary from customer to customer, so users will need to get a quote from an ADT sales representative.
Unfortunately, ADT doesn’t list the cost of their products on their website. Rather, users will need to speak to sales representatives to negotiate the prices of their cameras and 24/7 professional monitoring.
Although ADT is pretty expensive in terms of equipment and monitoring costs, we still think it’s worth the cost.
The ADT Pulse app lets users arm their security systems, set up schedules and home automations, control connected devices, receive notifications and livestream footage.
ADT will negotiate as they customize their pricing based on the users’ equipment and services.
ADT does install their cameras along with the rest of their security system.