Vivint Security System Review
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Vivint Security System Review

Vivint is one of the more popular security systems in the United States and Canada, with over 1.4 million users overall. This Vivint review goes over the components available, what it’s like installing them, as well as monitoring options, customer support, the Vivint Smart Home app, and more company information. 

  • Self-monitoring or 24/7 professional monitoring available
  • Free professional installation 
  • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Philips Hue and Nest thermostats
Get Best Offer
Vivint
Vivint
Vivint
  • Price: $844 for basic system
  • Best Feature: Free pro installation 
  • Great For: Homeowners 

Overview

Vivint is one of the larger security companies in the United States. The company lets users decide if they want to pay monthly for professional monitoring but if they don’t, their system becomes local only and they won’t be able to use the app. On a more positive note, all Vivint systems are installed professionally for free. 

<We Recommend For>
  • Someone who wants either 24/7 professional monitoring or a local alarm system
  • Anyone that wants to pay upfront or finance their security system
  • A person that wants professional installation but doesn’t want to pay for it
<We Don't Recommend For>
  • Anyone looking for professional monitoring on a budget
  • Someone that wanted to self-monitor through an app without paying a monthly fee

Video Review 

Our updated video review of Vivint goes over system components, installation, monitoring costs, customer support, the Vivint app and more. Subscribe to our channel to watch more content and enter our monthly giveaways. 

System Components

We purchased the Basic security system which included a SkyControl Panel, security sensors, a smart lock, a video doorbell, smoke and CO monitors plus an indoor camera. Later, we also purchased the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro and the Vivint Doorbell Camera, and we also included some other connected devices that work with Vivint. 

Vivint Doorbell Camera Signage
Vivint Doorbell Camera Signage

SkyControl Panel

The SkyControl Panel, otherwise known as the Smart Hub, is a touch screen that integrates all the parts of the Vivint system, allowing users to control them as well as livestream camera footage. The Hub lets users arm and disarm their security systems, press a panic button to connect with monitoring teams, and review cloud storage. Plus, the Panel has a speaker and microphone enabling two-way audio with the cameras.

We mounted our SkyControl Panel on the wall, but it can also be placed on a flat surface. Vivint also offers other panels including: 

  • Vivint Smart Hub
  • Vivint Glance Display
  • SkyControl 3.0 
  • SkyControl 2.0 
  • SkyControl 1.0 
  • Go!Control Panel. 
Vivint Panel on Wall
Vivint Panel on Wall

Security Sensors

Vivint’s security sensors include motion sensors, glass break sensors, and door/ window sensors that can tell if a door or window has been opened or closed. The sensors communicate with the Panel, which again, is connected to the Vivint Smart Home app, the monitoring center as well as the rest of the IoT devices that work with Vivint. Here are all the security sensors that Vivint offers: 

  • Door and Window Sensor
  • Recessed Door Sensor
  • Motion Detector
  • Glass Break Detector
  • Tilt Sensor 
Vivint Entry Sensor on Door
Vivint Entry Sensor on Door

Ping Indoor Camera

Like we do with all security cameras, we put Vivint’s indoor camera through our Necessary Features Test.

Vivint Indoor Camera
Vivint Indoor Camera

Here’s how it fared:

  • Video: The indoor camera has 1080p HD video, the industry standard, plus a nice and wide 155 degree field of view. While users can’t zoom in at all, we’re still satisfied with the indoor camera’s video quality in general. 
Vivint Video Display
Vivint Video Display
  • Audio: The camera has a speaker and microphone enabling two-way audio, which means that users can speak through the Panel as well as the app to whoever they’re recording. 
  • Night vision: Infrared LED sensors allow for clear vision even at the darkest of nights. 
Vivint Indoor Camera Night Vision
Vivint Indoor Camera Night Vision
  • Storage: 14 days of cloud storage costs $5 a month for 30 second video clips, but for 24/7 continuous recording, users will need to buy the Vivint Smart Drive, a DVR that costs $249. The camera doesn’t have a micro-SD slot so footage can’t be stored locally, unfortunately. 
  • Smart platform integrations: The camera works with Alexa and Google Assistant so users can command it hands-free. 
  • Artificial intelligence: Finally, the indoor camera lacks person detection so users may receive some unnecessary notifications from movement of pets, cars, or other inanimate objects. 

Aside from the Ping Camera, Vivint also offers a Fixed Camera and a Pan and Tilt Camera. Explore other options in our review of the best indoor cameras of 2020

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro 

Vivint’s outdoor camera is one of the highest quality outdoor cameras we’ve ever reviewed. Not only does it have 1080p HD video display, but also a 4K HDR sensor, which makes for an even clearer picture. Plus, users will be able to zoom in for those hard to reach details, with a nice 140 degree field of view. 

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro Mounted
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro Mounted

And not only does the camera have two-way audio, infrared night vision, integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant plus the same storage options as the indoor camera, but it also has person detection. When the camera sees a person, after a certain amount of time it’s red LED light ring will turn on along with an 85-decibel siren.

The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro on the Vivint Smart Home App
The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro on the Vivint Smart Home App

Plus, the user will be sent a thumbnail image of the person, automating your home security like never before. But keep in mind that the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro is plug-in, which may be a dealbreaker for some users. Read our full review of the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro for more details or check out 2020’s best outdoor cameras. Vivint also offers the original Outdoor Camera. 

Vivint Doorbell Camera

Last year, Vivint came out with the version of the video doorbell, namely the Vivint Doorbell Camera. Hardwired into a home or battery-operated, the Vivint Doorbell Camera can either record 24/7 or when a person approaches, notifying you through artificial intelligence capabilities. Although the camera has two-way audio and infrared night vision, its video quality is a bit lower than we’d like at 720p HD. However, with an 180 degree field of view and the ability to pan and zoom in digitally, we were able to easily greet and speak to guests through the Vivint Panel and app. 

Vivint Doorbell Camera
Vivint Doorbell Camera

Like the rest of the Vivint security system, the Doorbell Camera works with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing for voice commands. We could save video clips from the Vivint app, or buy 14 days of cloud clip storage for $5 per camera per month. Another option for that 24/7 continuous recording we mentioned is to buy the Vivint Smart Drive for $249. At $249.99, the Doorbell Camera certainly isn’t the cheapest option around, but we like that it has person detection as well as integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant, although its video quality is a bit underwhelming.

Vivint Doorbell Camera Video
Vivint Doorbell Camera Video

To learn more, read our full review of the Vivint Doorbell Camera or read our review of 2020’s best video doorbells

Kwikset Smart Lock

In addition to using a key, the Kwikset Smart Lock can be controlled remotely or opened via a numerical code. Plus, users will be notified if the door is left unlocked. The lock can be programmed to trigger other connected devices, for example, having the security system disarm when the door unlocks.

Kwikset Deadbolt
Kwikset Deadbolt

To let people in when no one is home, users can create up to 30 unique codes, much more secure than leaving a key under the welcome mat. For more information, read our review of the Kwikset SmartCode 888 Deadbolt or check out our best smart locks review to research other brands. 

Garage Door Control 

This controllers lets users open and close their garage doors remotely and get notified if they’re left open. This device is super useful for packages, as users can let delivery people into the garage to guard packages from theft. Plus, it has a tamper alarm so that the user will get alerted if anyone tries to mess with it. 

Aside from home security and automation, Vivint also offers several devices intended for environmental monitoring, another essential tenet to home safety. 

Smoke Alarm 

Vivint’s wireless smoke alarm connected with the SkyControl Panel so users can be alerted whenever it goes off, whether they’re home or not. Protecting a radius of 35 feet, the smoke alarm monitors itself to make sure it has enough power and hasn’t been tampered with. The smoke alarm has a five year battery life and an 85-decibel siren to make sure that everyone at home knows of an emergency. If this doesn’t sound like a good option, check out our best smoke and CO detectors review to see some more products. 

CO Detector

Although carbon monoxide is invisible, tasteless and odorless, it could be lethal if enough is ingested which is why every home needs a CO detector. Vivint’s version also has a 35-foot radius, a tamper alarm and an 85-decibel siren, with a battery life of three to five years. If it detects dangerous levels of CO, the detector will automatically unlock the doors, disarm all window sensors and turn on the furnace fan to allow for ventilation and an easy escape. 

Water Sensor 

To detect water before major flooding happens, water sensors can be placed near washing machines, dish washers, or anywhere where flooding could occur. It also detects freezing temperatures, because if pipes freeze, they could burst, causing flooding. Wireless with a tamper alarm, the water sensor has a three to six year battery life. To learn about some other options, read our review of the best water leak sensors

How It Performs 

Now that we’ve gone over all of Vivint’s products, let’s talk about how they worked in practice. 

Installing the Vivint Entry Sensors
Installing the Vivint Entry Sensors

How Well It Worked

Since Vivint offers professional installation on the house, users won’t need to do anything to set up their Vivint products, which is really great and something we haven’t seen from any other security company. Once the system was installed, we didn’t encounter any problems, and we’ve had it up and running for over a year at this point. The Panel makes the system really easy to navigate if you’re home, and the app makes it easy if you’re not. Overall, the Vivint system is really painless to install and use. 

Durability

The Vivint system is super durable, with no components breaking in over a year of use. It’s also very discreet, which is important when thinking about home security. 

Smart Platform Integrations 

Aside from working with Philips Hue smart lighting and Nest thermostats, Vivint primarily works with Alexa and Google Assistant, the two most popular voice assistants. Let’s talk about the commands you can use with each. 

Alexa 

The Vivint.SmartHome – Complete Alexa skill lets users control their connected device using their voices alone, making for a much more convenient home. Here are some sample commands: 

  • Alexa, turn on my lights. 
  • Alexa, army my security system “away”. 
  • Alexa, set the heat to 70 degrees. 
  • Alexa, I am cold. 
  • Alexa, close my garages. 
  • Alexa, lock my front door. 
  • Alexa, show me the doorbell camera. 

This is a super comprehensive list of capabilities, so those in the Amazon ecosystem will enjoy integrating their Vivint system into the mix. 

Setting up Amazon Integration on Vivint Panel
Setting up Amazon Integration on Vivint Panel

Google Assistant 

The Vivint Smart Home Google Assistant action is also super comprehensive, allowing control for cameras, garage doors, lights, locks, thermostats, and of course, security systems. Here are a few commands:

  • OK Google, turn up the thermostat. 
  • Hey Google, unlock the front door. 
  • Hey Google, arm security. 
  • OK Google, show the front door camera on living room TV. 

Users will be able to view their Vivint footage on smart displays like the Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, so Vivint is a great choice for those already in the Google ecosystem as well. 

How to Set Up Instructions

Like we said before, users won’t set up their Vivint systems themselves; rather, that’ll be left to the professionals, so there’s no setup instructions needed. 

Subscription Plans

For users that don’t want to pay a monthly fee, they won’t be able to use the Vivint app, turning their smart security system into a local alarm only, which we don’t recommend. For the rest, Vivint offers professional monitoring.

Professional monitors means that 24/7, a team of people will be notified if any alarms go off, contacting emergency services if necessary. This is basically a backup plan for anyone that’s not available to deal with a home security situation at all times, and we recommend professional monitoring whenever it’s available. Monitoring also comes with cellular backup, which keeps the system on in the event of a power outage. 

Price and Contracts 

The monitoring cost will depend on the equipment the user has, ranging from $29.99 a month all the way up to $49.99 a month for the first two cameras. This is pretty pricey, as I’ve seen costs as low as $10 a month from less traditional security companies like Ring Alarm. Plus, this cost doesn’t include cloud storage. Contracts are either monthly or if the equipment is financed, equal to the timing of the loan.

Vivint Security System Plans
Vivint Security System Plans

Moving Fee 

For users that move houses, they can get their systems moved and professionally installed for an $129 fee. 

Customer Support

Aside from their online support center, Vivint’s customer support can also be reached over live chat or on the phone. 

Phone Number

To reach Vivint’s phone support, dial 801-377-9111 in the United States or 800-216-5232 in Canada. 

Email 

Unfortunately, Vivint lacks support over email. 

Online Help Center 

Vivint has an online help center that includes information about using their systems as well as portals for each specific product. However, we had trouble finding a lot of information about Vivint in terms of pricing; the website is very much focused on getting the user to call sales, so it’s better for troubleshooting than it is researching products before buying. 

Live Chat 

Another option is live chatting with a support representative on Vivint’s website. 

Our Experience Contacting Support 

We have had mixed experiences with the customer support team. When we first chatted a representative, the connection was lost and the conversation ended. The next time we tried to click on the “Support Chat” button, it was not clickable. As we much prefer chatting online over speaking on the phone, this was a bit annoying.

Vivint really wants you to call and speak to their representatives, so we called to ask for some information about their packages, and 25 minutes later, still did not have all the information we wanted. All in all, it was not a great experience- we were on hold for a while, then transferred between multiple people, and told to “look at the website”, which has little to no information on it regarding packages.

Google Ratings 

To see what other Vivint customers thought of their support, we turned to Vivint’s ratings on Google. Vivint received a 3.7 rating on Google with over 800 customer reviews. This rating is above average but not great. In the most recent review, a customer named Moe Sandouga complained about the customer support department, 

“I couldn’t arm my system for 10 days because a technician could not come out. It’s been almost 4 months and still no sensors!”

In general, it seems like customer support is hard to get ahold of, a common issue for customer service teams.

The Vivint Smart Home App 

For users that pay the monthly fee, they’ll be able to use the Vivint Smart Home app. 

The Vivint Smart Home App
The Vivint Smart Home App

Features

On the Vivint mobile app users can disarm or arm their security system, control their homes’ temperature, communicate with visitors through the Doorbell Camera, speak through two-way audio on cameras, control locks and lights, be alerted when doors are left open or unlocked, and livestream camera footage.

Google Play Store Rating

The Vivint Android app has a 4.4 rating, very impressive. Andrew Hubbard, an Android user, wrote in a recent five-star review, 

“This app works great. It’s so much easier to be able to easily set the alarm from my phone when I forget to set it when I leave the house.”

Apple Store Rating 

The app has an even better rating on the Apple store, a nearly perfect 4.6. We found the app very easy to use to control and monitor our Vivint components. 

Comparisons

Now, let’s compare Vivint to three other top security systems, ADT, Ring and SimpliSafe. 

Vivint vs. ADT

While Vivint can also work as a local alarm system, all ADT systems require users pay for 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup in a three year contract, the cost of which can range from $20 to $60 a month. ADT also has professional installation, but unlike with Vivint, it’s not free. And while both systems work with Alexa and Kwikset, ADT also integrates with Z-Wave and Liftmaster. Overall, we’d recommend Vivint over ADT because of it’s more flexible and affordable monitoring and plethora of smart platform integrations, especially with Google Assistant. To learn more, read our full comparison of Vivint vs. ADT

Vivint vs. Ring

For no monthly fees, Ring users can livestream footage, receive notifications, and control their systems remotely, unlike Vivint. Plus, 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup and 60 days of cloud storage cost only $10 a month or $100 a year with Ring, which would cost over three times as much as Vivint. However, users will need to install their Ring systems themselves, unlike with Vivint; plus, Vivint has more impressive outdoor cameras and video doorbells. Both systems work with Alexa and Google Assistant, but Ring’s equipment is much cheaper.

Ring Protect Plans
Ring Protect Plans

We’d recommend Ring for users on a budget but Vivint for users that want the best quality cameras. Read our full review of Ring Alarm to learn more. 

Vivint vs. SimpliSafe 

While SimpliSafe users that don’t pay monthly fees will be able to livestream footage, it costs $24.99 a month with SimpliSafe to get remote control and notifications under the Interactive Plan, also this also includes 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup plus 30 days of cloud storage, which starts at $29.99 a month with Vivint. Simplisafe lets users choose between DIY and professional installation for $79. Plus, SimpliSafe works with August smart locks in addition to Alexa, Google Assistant and Nest thermostats.

SimpliSafe Security System
SimpliSafe Security System

We’d recommend SimpliSafe over Vivint unless the user is passionate about not paying for professional installation. Read our comparison of SimpliSafe vs. Vivint  to learn more. 

Company Information

That’s all there is to know about Vivint’s offerings, but let’s talk a bit more about the company itself. 

Company History

Vivint was founded in 1999 as APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc and was acquired by the Blackstone Group in 2012 for over $2 billion. By March of 2019, the company had more than 1.4 million customers across the United States and Canada. In terms of controversies, Vivint had had their fair share for deceptive marketing in Pennsylvania and Wyoming. From 2009 to 2014, the company also settled with the states of Nebraska, Oregon, Ohio and Arkansas. Unfortunately, the company is known for their aggressive sales tactics, which have caused many customers to complain. 

Where to Purchase 

Purchase Vivint on the Vivint website. Currently, Vivint isn’t available on Best Buy or Amazon. 

Contact

To contact Vivint, call 801-377-9111 in the United States or 800-216-5232 in Canada. For billing, customer service and technical support call 800-216-5232, for investor relations, email [email protected], and for solar energy sales and customer service, call 877-404-4129. To purchase a system, call 855-616-6589, to report a potential vulnerability email [email protected] or, for media relations, email [email protected]. Another option is to use the support chat on the Vivint website. 

Social Media 

To follow Vivint on social media, use the following links: 

Warranty Info 

With the normal service, Vivint customers receive an 120 day or four month warranty, repairing or replacing any defective product for free. However, after that period, the user will need to pay a service charge plus tax. 

Return Policy 

One can cancel Vivint if there was a death of a close one, a bankruptcy, a transition to an assisted living home or another extenuating circumstance. Otherwise, users may not be able to get out of their contracts, if they financed their equipment.

Recap

While Vivint definitely has some nice qualities, like it’s Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, free professional installation and easy to use app, it’s also pretty expensive when it comes to professional monitoring. Plus, users have to pay a monthly fee to use the app at all, which is disappointing. So while Vivint is definitely at the top of our list when it comes to usability, it’s not the best choice for users on a budget. 

FAQs

How much does Vivint cost per month?

Vivint has an optional monthly cost of $39.99 if you want remote control of your system, 24/7 customer support online and over the phone, in-home technician services and an equipment warranty. However, you can avoid monthly fees completely if you prefer.

Is Vivint a good company?

Vivint is a decent company, although they’ve gotten in legal trouble for their aggressive sales tactics and deceptive marketing in the past. However, they do provide a new security system with Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, free professional installation and an easy to use app.

Is Vivint better than ADT?

We believe that Vivint and ADT are on the same playing field, so it depends what you’re looking for. While ADT has better professional monitoring than Vivint, Vivint wins for customer support and its app.

Can I cancel Vivint?

One can cancel Vivint if there was a death of a close one, a bankruptcy, a transition to an assisted living home or another extenuating circumstance. Otherwise, users may not be able to get out of their contracts, if they financed their equipment.

Can Vivint see my cameras?

For customers that pay for professional monitoring, the monitoring team can check into their cameras if an alarm goes off in order to verify an emergency.

Does Vivint run a credit check?

For users financing their Vivint equipment through FlexPay, Vivint will run a credit check. However, Vivint won’t run a credit check for users paying for their equipment up front.