Update: Vivint now offers 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup for $39.99 a month plus $5 per camera for 14 days of cloud storage. Without this plan, your system will be a local alarm only.
Out of all the security companies in the U.S, ADT and Vivint are two of the most popular. ADT is actually the oldest security company in the country. They’re so old, in fact, that when they first started out, they provided security via telegraph! Fortunately for you, they’ve advanced since then, but their reputation remains pretty strong.
Vivint is a much younger company, founded in 1999 and sold to The BlackStone Group in 2012 for two billion dollars, a nice chunk of change if you ask me. Today, they have 1.3 million customers in the U.S and Canada, so I’m excited to see how their Basic Security System compares to ADT’s Video Package.
In this review, I’ll go over the two systems’ key similarities, key differences, system components, installation processes, professional monitoring options, customer support systems, and apps. By the time you’re done reading this review, you’ll have decided whether ADT or Vivint is the right system for you. Let’s get it started!
Key Similarities of ADT vs. Vivint
Before I dissect them within an inch of their lives, what do ADT and Vivint have in common?
- System components: The ADT Video package and the Basic Security System from Vivint have most of the same components.
- App ratings: The ADT Pulse app and the Vivint Smart Home app have good ratings from both iPhone and Android users.
- Long-term contracting: Neither company offers month-to-month contracting.
Key Differences of ADT vs. Vivint
Now I want to point out the main ways that ADT and Vivint differ.
- Installation: You’ll install your ADT system yourself, while Vivint requires that you use a professional.
- Billing: While ADT makes you pay for your equipment upfront, you’ll pay for your Vivint system in monthly installments.
- Professional monitoring: ADT requires that you do 24/7 professional monitoring with all of its systems, while Vivint lets you choose between self-monitoring or professional monitoring.
Let’s move onto the systems themselves.
ADT vs. Vivint System Components
As you can see, the ADT Video Package and the Vivint Basic Security System have a lot in common. Both systems include motion, entry, and glass break sensors, smart locks, indoor cameras, and video doorbells. The ADT package also comes with a keyring remote so you can arm or disarm your system without the app, while Vivint throws in an alarm, panel, and smoke and C.O monitor. Three cheers for environmental monitoring!
ADT vs. Vivint Installation
A key difference between ADT and Vivint is their installation processes. Let’s take a closer look.
More of a hands-on person? Then you won’t mind setting up ADT yourself. Everything in the system comes pre-programmed, so installation doesn’t require any technical knowledge. The hardest components to install were the camera and the Kwikset deadbolt. The camera was hard because its from Alarm.com but uses the ADT Pulse app— do yourself a favor and just set it up using your computer. The deadbolt is like any other deadbolt, except with a few electronic components. It wasn’t too bad, though, when I followed the step-by-step instructions. If you’re more of an auditory learner, try Youtube, and if you are giving up completely, just hire a locksmith— no shame! All in all, installing the ADT security system took me about an hour, which is reasonable.
Are you more of the administrator rather than the doer? Vivint requires that you pay for professional monitoring for $129. This isn’t cheap, but I must say that I was impressed with my technician. He knew what he was doing with the system, and he even wore booties around his shoes to prevent tracking dirt into my home! Much appreciated, Vivint Technician Man Whose Name Escapes Me.
Top System Installation
Honestly, whether you want DIY or professional installation is totally your call, so I’m going to call it a draw for this category.
Professional Monitoring with ADT vs. Vivint
Now that your system is hypothetically set up, you’re probably wondering who’s actually going to monitor it. When it comes to home security monitoring, there are two options available: self-monitoring or professional monitoring. Both are pretty self-explanatory. Self-monitoring occurs between the user and their app, while professional monitoring brings a whole team of people to monitor your home’s security. In the event of an emergency, they will always be available to contact the police, hospital, or fire department for you, so someone will always have your back.
ADT vs. Vivint Monitoring Options
Vivint gives you the option to self-monitor or get professional monitoring, based on the amount of cameras you have. Keep in mind that since you’re not paying for anything up front, you’ll have a monthly fee from Vivint no matter what; professional monitoring would be on top of that.
ADT requires that you do professional monitoring of some sort. With ADT, the prices are not as clear-cut. Instead, they’re based on your equipment and services. What I can tell you is that traditional security monitoring will cost at least $29 a month, while monitoring for “life safety” devices (smoke, C.O, and flood detectors) will cost at least $36 a month. Finally, if you want monitoring for indoor and outdoor cameras, the cost rises to at least $58 a month. As you can see, Vivint and ADT aren’t cheap, but at least ADT lets you negotiate with your sales person.
Now let’s talk cellular backup. If the power in your neighborhood goes out, cellular backup is what makes sure your security system stays on. Both ADT and Vivint include cellular backup with all of their systems, so no need to worry— even in the darkest of power outages, your home will stay secure.
ADT vs. Vivint Contracts
If you’re looking for flexible contracting, then look elsewhere. ADT only offers a three-year contract that you pay after the first six months, and Vivint offers three and a half or five year contracts. You can cancel anytime without a fee, but you’d still need to pay for your equipment in full, of course.
ADT vs. Vivint Moving Policies
Another benefit of DIY installation is that if you move, you can just pack up your system and reinstall it in your new house. That’s the case for ADT, and it certainly lifts a weight off my shoulders. Moving with Vivint, however, will require you to pay that pesky $129 installation fee again. Rats.
Top System for Monitoring
I’ll admit that I was really divided on this category. While I like that Vivint gives you the option to self-monitor, I’m less thrilled at their prices and term lengths. ADT is more affordable, and gives you a shorter, three-year option, so I’ll give them the win for this one. That’s ADT two, Vivint zero, if you’re keeping track. Can Vivint win for customer support or app? Keep reading.
We love ADT due to its great mobile app, free cloud storage for up to 30 days, two-way audio, and more.
Vivint has 1.3 million customers in the U.S and Canada, plus professional monitoring and the highest-rated app of any security company.
Customer Support with ADT vs. Vivint
If you need help with your ADT or Vivint security system, you can contact customer support through phone or live chat, or check out their websites for some helpful hints. ADT also offers support through Facetime, which, if you feel comfortable enough, could possibly come in handy if you’re having a problem with your physical system.
What do real customers think of ADT and Vivint’s customer support? I looked at each company’s Google reviews. Google reviews are a great resource because they combine reviews from many places on the Internet, so I can get a really good idea of how tons of customers feel really quickly. While ADT has a dismal Google rating of 2.5, Vivint has a more respectable 3.8 star rating. But what do people think of each company’s customer support specifically?
Unfortunately, ADT only had 11 reviews, and the one that mentioned customer support was negative. One person complained that ADT renewed their contract without their permission and did not process their cancellation, a bit shady. Vivint, on the other hand, has over 800 reviews. People had mixed things to say about customer support, and many people complained about the aggressive sales team. Overall, it seems like neither company exactly kills it when it comes to customer support.
Top System for Customer Support
Vivint has better customer support than ADT, although support is neither company’s strong suit. For some of the best customer support in the business, check out Frontpoint.
ADT vs. Vivint Apps
Finally, I want to go over each company’s mobile app. Think of the app as the mobile command center– it’s gotta be easy to use, free of bugs, and it should put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to your home security.
The ADT Pulse App
From the ADT Pulse app, you can arm or disarm your security system, control any connected devices you may have, livestream footage, and receive push notifications. The app has awesome ratings— a 3.9 from the Google Play store and a 4.8 from the Apple store.
The Vivint Smart Home App
Vivint’s app has the exact same capabilities as the ADT app, but it also allows you to see and speak to your visitors through your video doorbell. The Vivint Smart Home app has incredible ratings, a 4.6 from Android users and a 4.5 from iPhone users.
“Great app and Vivint is an amazing system! From being able to unlock the door from my phone to getting notified when the power is out at my business, Vivint has come through for me time and time again!”
wrote a Google user in a five-star review.
Top System App
The numbers don’t lie: Vivint has the superior app over ADT, although they’re both pretty good.
Recap of ADT vs. Vivint
Ladies and gents, this is a tough one. While ADT has better professional monitoring than Vivint, Vivint wins for customer support and its app. So, the choice is truly going to come down to your personal preferences.
Pick ADT if you’d like…
- DIY installation: You won’t have to pay a fee to install ADT (accidental rhyme!).
- 24/7 professional monitoring included: ADT includes professional monitoring with all of its systems.
- Customer support over Facetime: If you want to show your customer support rep something, ADT makes it easy.
Pick Vivint if you’d like…
- Professional installation: Less work for you, although you’ll have to pay an installation fee of $129.
- No upfront payment for equipment: Instead, you’ll pay for your Vivint system in monthly installments.
- App with great ratings: The Vivint Smart Home app has an average rating of 4.55 out of five stars.
Related: The Best Security Systems of 2019