When it comes to selecting a home security system, the sheer amount of choices can be very overwhelming. What should you look for in a security system, and how do you know what’s up to snuff? If you’re here, it’s probably because you’ve narrowed it down to ADT or Protect America. ADT, if you didn’t already know, is the oldest security company in the United States, with over 140 years in business. It’s probably the most recognizable security brand around, not surprising considering the company’s staying power.
I’m comparing the ADT Video Package I bought with a customized system from Protect America. Protect America, while not in business as long as ADT, has been around since 1992. As the first home security company with DIY installation, Protect America is super-respected in the industry. They even work with the police in their headquarter city of Austin, Texas to provide them with up-to-date security equipment. The fact that police trust Protect America for their security speaks volumes, in my opinion.
Today I’m going to compare ADT and Protect America in terms of their key similarities, key differences, installation processes, customer support systems, professional monitoring options, and apps. By the time this review is over, you’ll be an expert on both ADT and Protect America, able to make the most informed purchasing decision. There’s no time like the present; my review of ADT vs. Protect America starts now!
Key Similarities of ADT Vs. Protect America
Before I get too specific, I want to show you how ADT and Protect America are similar. Let’s make sure you’re in the right ballpark.
- DIY installation: You’ll install your system from ADT or Protect America yourself.
- Professional monitoring required: Both systems include 24/7 professional monitoring.
- Long-term contracts: Both companies require that you sign a three year contract.
If these are all acceptable, read on.
Key Differences of ADT Vs. Protect America
Now we get to the good stuff— the main ways that ADT and Protect America are different from one another.
- Cost of professional monitoring: While Protect America gives its customers professional monitoring for free, ADT bases the cost on your equipment and services.
- Customer support: Protect America has much better customer support ratings than ADT.
- App ratings: ADT has a higher-rated app than Protect America.
This is just a brief overview, but I’ll go into more detail below. First, let’s see what each security system actually includes. Let the games begin!
ADT Vs. Protect America System Components
The ADT Video Package I purchased has a few more components than the customized package I got from Protect America. Both systems feature motion and entry sensors as well as indoor cameras. The ADT Video Package also has a keypad, glass break sensor, keyring remote, smart lock, alarm, deadbolt, and video doorbell, while Protect America gave me a control panel, garage door sensor, and recessed entry sensor, meaning its hidden from view. For the aesthetically-minded, this could come in handy!
ADT Vs. Protect America Installation
Since you’ll install both the ADT and the Protect America systems yourself, it’s important that they’re easy and convenient to set up. I’m sure you have better things to do than tinker with a security system for hours, so I tested everything for you.
The first thing you should know about ADT is that the entire system comes pre-programmed, pretty typical of smart security systems. That means that setting up ADT doesn’t require any technical know-how; if you can follow step-by-step directions, you’ll be completely fine. The hardest components to setup? ADT’s indoor security camera, manufactured by Alarm.com, and the Kwikset deadbolt. I recommend setting up the camera on ADT’s website rather than the ADT Pulse app, which I found a bit confusing. As far as the deadbolt goes, it is installed the same way as any other deadbolt— it just has some electrical components. Again, make sure you follow the written instructions to a T, and if that’s not working, well, there’s no shame in hiring a locksmith. All in all, the process took me about an hour, so it wasn’t too strenuous or complicated.
Installing Protect America
Like ADT, Protect America offers DIY installation, but you’ll have help from customer support over the phone. I love this because you get the best of both worlds. While you don’t have to pay a pricey fee for professional installation, you still get the benefit of a Protect America rep’s knowledge and experience. My rep was Tiffany, and she really helped me not just to install the system but to test its every component. The only part of installation that I didn’t enjoy was placing the security camera. With an incredibly narrow field of view of only 60 degrees, it was hard to get the camera to capture all I wanted it to, especially when you throw in the ethernet cable it requires. Aside from that, installing my Protect America system was a great experience. Tiffany, I salute you!
Top System Installation
Both Protect America and ADT have pretty good installation, but Protect America really brought it to the next level by providing me with help over the phone. Therefore, I’m going to give Protect America the win over ADT for its easy installation. Protect America one, ADT zero.
We love ADT due to its great mobile app, free cloud storage for up to 30 days, two-way audio, and more.
We love Protect America for its integrations with Amazon Alexa, its great customer support, and its included 24/7 professional monitoring. All in all, we highly recommend Protect America.
ADT Vs. Protect America Professional Monitoring
ADT and Protect America require that you do 24/7 professional monitoring, although the ways they go about it couldn’t be more different. If you’re not familiar, professional monitoring means that you won’t be alone in monitoring your home’s security. Rather, each company will provide you with a team of people who will watch out for emergencies in your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Say you’re away on a trip and you have a break-in. It’s the professional monitoring team that will check in to verify the emergency before calling the police for you. Of course, you’ll be able to monitor your security system through your app as well, but professional monitoring gives you that extra protection around the clock.
ADT Vs. Protect America Monitoring Options
While Protect America offers 24/7 professional monitoring for free with all of its systems, ADT’s plans are paid and based on the amount of equipment and services you’ll need. As you’ll negotiate prices with your ADT sales person, I can’t give you exact prices, but I can say that you can expect to pay anywhere from $29 a month to $58 a month, give or take. ADT’s prices for traditional security monitoring, life safety monitoring, and camera monitoring aren’t cheap, unfortunately, but this is pretty typical pricing of the more “old-school” home security companies.
Now let’s talk cellular or landline backup, which will keep your security system on in the event of a power outage. All of ADT’s monitoring plans include cellular backup, while you can purchase cellular or landline backup from Protect America for an additional monthly fee. Depending on your equipment and needs, the cost of backup with Protect America can cost anywhere from $20 to $60 a month, and the fee is negotiable. In conclusion, if you want 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular/ landline backup with either company, the price offerings from each company are very similar, although you’re technically paying for different things.
ADT Vs. Protect America Contracts
Contracts from both ADT and Protect America are only available with term-lengths of three years. These contracts are binding, meaning you’ll have to pay them out even if you want to cancel. I’m not too enthused about the lack of monthly contracting, but that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make with ADT or Protect America.
ADT Vs. Protect America Moving Policies
On a more positive note, one of the benefits of professional installation is that if you’re moving homes, you can take your security system with you and reinstall it in your new crib. Just make sure you tell Protect America beforehand so they can send you a relocation key and update your information.
Top System for Monitoring
This was a tough category for me to judge because if you want cellular backup and professional monitoring from either company, it’ll cost about the same. In addition, both companies only offer three-year contracts, a drawback of each. At the end of the day, however, you can’t beat free, and Protect America offers free professional monitoring, almost unheard of in this industry. Again, I’m going to give Protect America the medal for monitoring over ADT. Now the score is two, zero. Can ADT make a comeback in the final two rounds? Let’s check it out.
ADT Vs. Protect America Customer Support
If you need help, the first places you should go to are ADT or Protect America’s online help centers. If that’s not cutting it, you can call or live chat each company to speak to a human, and get this: you can also Facetime an ADT rep. This is a customer support feature that I haven’t seen from any other security company, and it does strike me as a bit odd. Regardless, I could see it coming in handy if you need to show the rep a problem you’re having. Sometimes words just don’t cut it!
To see what real ADT and Protect America customers had to say about their customer support, I checked out Google reviews, a conglomeration of reviews from all over the Internet. While ADT has a poor rating of 2.5, Protect America is four-stars all the way. But what about the reviews that mentioned customer support specifically?
Well, out of 15 Google reviews mentioning Protect America’s customer support, 13 were positive, about 87%! That’s a really great stat, especially considering how much people love to complain on the Internet. Unfortunately, only one ADT review mentioned customer support and it was negative. Personally, my experience with ADT’s support was a mixed bag. I was passed around from employee to employee after asking a simple question about the camera’s infrared night vision— no one seemed to know the answer. However, I did enjoy using the live chat feature, so I suppose it depends on the medium.
Top System for Customer Support
This one’s no contest- Protect America has much better customer support than ADT. Now it’s three to zero. For ADT’s sake, I hope they can turn it around when it comes to its mobile app.
ADT Vs. Protect America Apps
A smart security system needs a smart app to go along with it. Whether you’re not home or you’re too lazy to get up, it’s important to have an app that’s both user-friendly and useful. How do ADT and Protect America’s apps compare?
The ADT Pulse App
Moving away from the fact that ADT named its app ADT Pulse, the app allows you to arm or disarm your security system, control connected devices, livestream video, and receive push notifications. Its ranked highly on the Apple and Google Play stores, with ratings of 4.8 and 3.9, respectively. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, the ADT Pulse app will work well on your phone or tablet.
The Protect America App
Protect America’s app has the same capabilities as the ADT Pulse app but unfortunately, it lacks positive customer ratings. While Android users gave it a passing 3.1, iPhone users only gave it a 2.4, which is cause for concern. Some reviews said the app didn’t connect with their system, rendering it useless. Not great!
Top System App
In a story of redemption, ADT beats Protect America when it comes to its mobile app. Hey, one is better than nothing!
Recap of ADT Vs. Protect America
With seamless DIY installation, free professional monitoring, and superb customer support, I’d recommend you buy Protect America over ADT, unless you’re an iPhone user. Let me break it down a little more thoroughly.
Pick ADT if you’d like…
- Higher-rated app: The ADT Pulse app has awesome ratings from both iPhone and Android users.
- Cellular backup included: ADT doesn’t require an additional contract for cellular backup.
- Customer support over Facetime: If you want to show your customer support rep a problem, you can do so through Facetime.
Pick Protect America if you’d like…
- Free 24/7 professional monitoring: All Protect America systems include professional monitoring on the house.
- Phone support during installation: While you’ll physically install your Protect America system yourself, you’ll have help from customer support.
- Great customer support: Protect America has great ratings for its customer support.
That’s it from me! If you’re still on the fence, read our full review of ADT or our review of Protect America. Or, leave a comment or question below— I’ll be sure to answer as soon as possible. Until then, happy security!
Related: The Best Security Systems of 2019