ADT vs Frontpoint Security System Review

ADT vs. Frontpoint is a story of old vs young, of traditional vs. modern, truly a tale that will stand the test of time. ADT is the oldest security company in the United States, with over 140 years in business. They’re undeniably the most recognizable security brand around, in my opinion, and that’s got to mean something good, right?

Frontpoint is another customer favorite in the home security industry. Only a decade old, the company was the first nationwide alarm company to include smart security in all of their systems. They were also the first to make a self-guided setup app. Clearly, Frontpoint is a leader in the industry in terms of innovation, so I’m excited to see how their system compares with a similar system from ADT.

In this review, I’ll compare the ADT Video Package to a customized system I bought from Frontpoint. I’ll be going over the two systems’ similarities, differences, and installation processes. Next, I’ll move onto professional monitoring, then customer support. Finally, I’ll end by comparing their apps before telling you which system I recommend overall. Security Baron’s comparison of Frontpoint and ADT starts now!

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Frontpoint
  • DIY installation
  • Professional monitoring required
  • $630 for customized system

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ADT
  • DIY installation
  • Professional monitoring required
  • $773 for ADT Video Package

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Key Similarities of ADT vs. Frontpoint 

I’ll admit that I can get a little wordy, so before you buckle down and get into the nitty gritty of the systems, I want to tell you what ADT and Frontpoint have in common.

  • DIY installation: You’ll install both the ADT and the Frontpoint systems all by yourself.
  • 24/7 professional monitoring required: Both companies require that you pay a monthly fee for 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup.
  • Highly-rated apps: Both the ADT Pulse app and the Frontpoint app have high ratings from Android and iPhone users alike.

Key Differences of ADT vs. Frontpoint 

Next, I’m going to tell you the main ways that ADT and Frontpoint are different from each other.

  • Customer support: While ADT doesn’t have the highest customer reviews, Frontpoint’s customer support is truly stellar.
  • Return policies: ADT gives refunds within six months if they weren’t able to resolve an issue, while Frontpoint gives you 30 days for a total refund for any reason.
  • Contract lengths: ADT only offers three-year contracts, while Frontpoint lets you choose between one and three years.

Perfect! Now let’s see what’s actually included in these systems.

ADT vs. Frontpoint  System Components

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ADT vs. Frontpoint System Components

The ADT Video Package and the customized Frontpoint system I bought are pretty similar, as you can see. Both give you a keypad, motion, entry, and glass break sensors, keyring remotes, smart locks, video doorbells, and indoor cameras.

ADT vs. Frontpoint Installation

Both ADT and Frontpoint offer DIY installation, which is good because it means you won’t have to pay for professional installation. I’ll save money wherever I can, even if that means I have to spend time reading some installation manuals!

Installing ADT

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Installing ADT

Installing the ADT Video Package certainly wasn’t the hardest task I’ve ever done, but it wasn’t the easiest, either. Let me start with the good. Everything in the system comes pre-programmed together, which makes the process a lot easier. The tough parts were the camera and the Kwikset Deadbolt. It’s a bit confusing, but the camera that comes with the ADT Video Package is actually made by Alarm.com, but it still uses the ADT Pulse app. I recommend setting up the camera through your computer rather than through the app.

Installing a deadbolt could be easy or hard for you, depending on your experience. Fortunately, ADT gives you a nice step-by-step guide, and if that doesn’t work, you can always have a locksmith install it. Excluding the smart lock, installing the ADT system took me about an hour, which is a bit longer than I’d like to spend on a security system but definitely not bad.

Installing Frontpoint

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Installing the Frontpoint Keypad

Most of the Frontpoint security system is wireless, which definitely makes installation a lot easier. The sensors and even the keypad are peel-and-stick, my personal favorite installation method, and like ADT, everything comes pre-programmed with the hub. In the same vein as ADT, installing the Frontpoint camera was the most complicated part, but it wasn’t too bad. I just had to plug in the ethernet and power cables, add the camera on the Frontpoint website, and connect it to my Wi-Fi. The process took a little under an hour, so I’m pretty happy!

Top System Installation

Frontpoint has easier installation by a hair, because that ADT camera still gives me nightmares. Frontpoint for the win!

Professional Monitoring

Looking to self-monitor through your app? Then you’re reading the wrong review. Both ADT and Frontpoint come with 24/7 professional monitoring, which means you’ll have a team of professionals monitoring your security system. It’s super helpful if you’re on vacation, stuck in a meeting, or trapped at the bottom of a ball pit. Wherever you are, if there’s an emergency at your home, the professionals can take care of it. They’ll check in with you and your home and if they determine it’s necessary, can contact the police, hospital, or fire department for you. I wish I had them for every aspect of my life!

ADT vs. Frontpoint Monitoring Options

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Frontpoint Security System Plans

ADT and Frontpoint’s monitoring options work pretty differently. While Frontpoint lets you choose from three clear plans, ADT plans are based on both the amount of equipment you get and the services you want.

No matter which plan you choose on which system, you’ll get cellular backup along with your 24/7 professional monitoring. What does that mean, exactly? It means that your system will stay on even if the power in your entire neighborhood goes out. And that’s a good thing, in case you didn’t know!

I also wanted to explain the two more esoteric features of Frontpoint. One, they offer crash and smash protection, which means that if someone tries to (you guessed it), crash or smash your control panel, the professional monitoring team will be notified immediately and can send help. The second thing is geo-location services. In a nutshell, you can connect your family’s phones to your Frontpoint system and stay updated on their locations. This seems a bit creepy to me, and unnecessary as most smartphones have their own internal location services.

I’m going to be honest— Frontpoint’s plans are a bit on the more expensive side, especially when you consider that you’d have to do the top-tier plan to get livestreaming, night vision, and control of your smart locks and lights. Nearly $50 a month just to have a security system with night vision feels like a lot to me, but again, this is typical of these more established companies.

Unfortunately, ADT’s pricing is not much better. While I can’t give you exact prices, I can say that you’ll pay a minimum of $28.99 a month for traditional security monitoring. If you want life safety monitoring, referring to smoke and carbon monoxide sensors, that cost will rise to $35.99 a month. And if you want to add an indoor and an outdoor camera, the cost goes to $57.99 a month! Of course, the exact pricing will depend on exactly what equipment you have, but be sure to negotiate with your sales person.

ADT vs. Frontpoint Contracts

ADT only offers three year contracts which you can start paying after your first six months with the system. Frontpoint, on the other hand, is a little more flexible, offering both one and three-year contracts. If you want to cancel before the contract is up, you’ll need to pay 80% of the remainder. However, if you do finish your Frontpoint contract and want to continue, you can go month-to-month. Unfortunately, neither company has very flexible monitoring options, a drawback of both ADT and Frontpoint.

ADT vs. Frontpoint Moving Policies

As both ADT and Frontpoint have DIY installation, you’ll just move your system yourself if you are moving into a new home. There are no fees involved whatsoever! Just make sure you let Frontpoint know before you’re moving— they’ll send you more double-sided adhesive for your sensors and activate your system.

Top System for Monitoring

When it comes to professional monitoring, I’m looking for a system that with both flexibility and affordability, and Frontpoint wins in both of those categories. I like that it has a shorter, one-year contract option as well as cheaper prices. Frontpoint two, ADT zero!

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ADT Security System
ADT Security System
ADT Security System

We love ADT due to its great mobile app, free cloud storage for up to 30 days, two-way audio, and more. 

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Frontpoint Home Security System
Frontpoint Home Security System
Frontpoint Home Security System

We recommend Frontpoint due to its unmatched customer support, its user-friendly app, and its awesome camera with 1080p HD video display, two-way audio, and free local and cloud storage. I also love that 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup are built-in. 

ADT vs. Frontpoint  Customer Support

adt-vs-frontpoint-security-system-review
ADT vs. Frontpoint Customer Support

Contacting customer support? Not ideal no matter who you are or what the situation is. But it’s a reality of life, like flossing or doing your taxes. And if I’m investing hundreds if not thousands of dollars into my home’s security, then I want to make sure that the customer support is on point.

Both ADT and Frontpoint offer online help centers as well as phone lines, but get this: ADT also gives you live chat and even Facetime! Facetiming with an ADT customer support rep may seem like the most awkward thing imaginable, but I could see it being helpful if you want to visually show them an issue. Still, it’s a bit odd.

Next, I took a look at what real customers had to say about ADT and Frontpoint’s customer support. Unfortunately, ADT only has a 2.5 rating on Google, which is pretty yikes! Plus, all of the reviews that mentioned customer support were negative. Clearly, this is not ADT’s strong suit.

Frontpoint, on the other hand, is known for its incredible customer support, some of the best in the business. That amazing reputation is reflected in their 4.6 overall Google rating, and let me tell you, I kept scrolling and scrolling and saw nothing but four and five star reviews.

“Customer service has been professionally helpful each time that I have had questions. They won’t leave you hanging if you have an issue. All that and you get a peace of mind knowing that you have someone watching your back”

wrote Jack Linamen in a five-star review. Sounds great to me!

Top System for Customer Support

It’s no contest— Frontpoint has much better customer support than ADT. Again, if you’re keeping track, it’s Frontpoint three, ADT zero. Will ADT redeem itself with the app, or will it be a clean sweep for Frontpoint?

ADT vs. Frontpoint App

adt-vs-frontpoint-security-system-review
ADT vs. Frontpoint App

The last thing I’ll write about is the app from which you’ll control and monitor your smart security system. We’ve all dealt with buggy apps, and I think we’re all in agreement that they’re zero amounts of fun. Let’s see if the ADT and Frontpoint apps spark joy.

The ADT Pulse App

adt-app-review
ADT Pulse App

Don’t ask me why ADT named it’s app “Pulse,” I’m just here to review it! From the ADT Pulse app, you’ll be able to arm or disarm your security system, control any connected devices, livestream footage, and receive notifications. The app has great ratings, a 3.9 on the Google Play store and a 4.8 on the Apple store. Not too shabby, ADT! But is it enough to beat the beloved Frontpoint?

The Frontpoint App

frontpoint-app-review
The Frontpoint App

The Frontpoint app does the exact same things as the ADT Pulse app and it’s also highly rated. While Android users gave it a 4.1, iPhone users gave it a 4.5! It seems like both apps are pretty easy to use, so you’re covered either way.

Top System App

The numbers didn’t lie, and the ADT Pulse app beat the Frontpoint app by .1! A win’s still a win.

Recap of ADT vs. Frontpoint 

It shouldn’t come as a shock that I’d recommend Frontpoint over ADT. They have more flexible and affordable monitoring options, easier installation, and better customer support than ADT. The only category that ADT beats Frontpoint in was the app, and it was a pretty marginal win.

That’s my recommendation, but I understand that people have different things that they’re looking for in a security system. Because I’m an incredibly kind and giving person, I want to break it down for you even further.

Pick ADT if you’d like…

  • Higher-rated app on iPhones: While the ADT app has a 4.8 on the Apple store, Frontpoint has a 4.5.
  • Customer support through live-chat and Facetime: For such an old company, ADT has the most modern ways to reach customer support.
  • Customized monitoring plans: Instead of choosing from three plans like Frontpoint, you’ll create your own with your sales person based on equipment and services.

Pick Frontpoint if you’d like…

  • One-year contract: Frontpoint offers a shorter term length than ADT, which only offers three years.
  • Great customer support: Frontpoint has some of the best customer support from any security system we’ve reviewed.
  • Higher-rated app for Androids: While Frontpoint’s Android app has a rating of 4.1, the ADT Pulse app only has a 3.9 rating on the Google Play store.

That’s it for me! To learn more, read our full written review of the Frontpoint security system or our review of the ADT security system. 

Related: The Best Security Systems of 2019

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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