We’ve reviewed and ranked the best home security systems, but now we want to take a look at how two of the top home security companies stack up against each other. Vivint (see the full review here), and Link Interactive (see the full review here), are two very different companies. Link offers DIY home security systems and is powered by Alarm.com. It’s established a reputation for great customer service and solid home security systems. Vivint was founded in 1999 as APX Alarm Security Solutions. When it rebranded as Vivint in 2011, it began providing home automation and energy management services in addition to home security. Its biggest selling point is the quality of its high-tech equipment, but we're also impressed with its lifetime equipment warranty, flexible contract options, and home automation abilities. Keep reading to learn more about how the two companies compare.
Customer service and reputation: Courteous vs. aggressive
When it comes to customer service, Link Interactive and Vivint have very different reputations. Customers praise the speed of communication with Link, and its customer service team is reported as courteous, helpful, and professional. The only consistent complaint is a long wait time over the phone, but customers can also email or chat online with Link’s customer service department.
In contrast, customer feedback on Vivint is split just about evenly between positive and negative. The complaints focus mainly around aggressive sales tactics, misleading sales information, and a lack of timely customer support once your system has been installed. That has not been every customer’s experience, and Vivint has recently taken steps to restructure its pricing structure to fit customer wants, so we're optimistic about its future of customer service.
Contracts: Standard vs. flexible
Link Interactive gives you the option of a 36-month contract, which is pretty standard for home security systems. It also has 12-month and 24-month options, but the costs are higher both up front and per month, so most people opt for the 36-month contract.
Vivint recently changed the way its contracts work for new customers. It now offers a month-to-month option where you have to pay only the monthly monitoring fee if you pay for all your equipment up front. It offers 42- or 60-month contracts if you decide to finance the cost of your equipment. While 42 months isn’t much longer than the standard contract length, being locked into service payments for 60 months may be daunting, especially considering Vivint’s tough cancellation policies. You have three days after installation to cancel your contract. After that, you can still cancel, but you’ll be responsible to pay the full remainder of your contract. However, Vivint's new payment plan means that once you have fulfilled the contract term and paid for all your equipment (over 42 or 60 months), you automatically go to a month-to-month agreement with the lower monitoring-only price.
Installation: DIY vs. professional
Link Interactive and Vivint have very different approaches to equipment installation. Link offers DIY home security systems without any professional installation options. This means there are no installation fees, though if you run into trouble, you’ll have to rely on remote troubleshooting help—another reason Link’s positive customer service reputation is so valuable.
Vivint’s home security systems require professional installation and come with a $49.99 installation fee. Professional installation assures that your equipment is installed correctly and saves you the worry and trouble of doing it yourself. On the other hand, you’ll have to schedule a day for the installation and have a stranger in your home, which might not work well with your schedule.
Monitoring: 24/7 cellular
Both Vivint and Link Interactive have 100% cellular monitoring, which is the more secure option over landline or broadband options, and both provide 24/7 monitoring from a central station. Link is powered through Alarm.com, but Vivint provides its own in-house, continuous monitoring and creates a reassuring environment for customers by staying on the phone with you during an emergency. Although there are concerns about Vivint’s customer service in other areas, its approach to monitoring and responding to alerts is top-notch.
Link offers three levels of monitoring. The Standard monitoring level is $30.99 per month and includes your basic 24/7 equipment monitoring. The mid-level Gold package, the most common choice, is $39.99 per month and adds interactive notifications and alerts to home automation management. The Elite is $44.99 per month and adds video monitoring to these other features. Each level has the option of paying monthly, annually, or for the full three-year contract up front at a discount.
Vivint offers two levels of monitoring: Smart Home for $39.99 and Smart Home Video for $49.99. The main difference is the Video package gives you the ability to add video products to your system. Both packages allow you to have home automation equipment. If you pay for all your equipment up front, you will have to pay the monitoring fee only on a month-to-month basis. If you finance equipment, however, your monthly payment will be higher (depending on what equipment you get) for the length of your contract.
Warranty: Three-year vs. lifetime
As far as warranties go, Vivint is hard to beat. It offers a lifetime equipment warranty that will replace any part or piece of equipment for free as long as you are a paying customer. This only covers normal wear and tear or defective equipment—any damage from clear neglect or abuse will not be covered. Any service calls to repair or replace your equipment in the first 120 days of your contract are free. After that, there is a $49 fee regardless of how long the technician is in the house.
Link Interactive has only a three-year manufacturer warranty on its equipment; however, it also offers a 30-day money back guarantee with every system it sells. This is a big difference from Vivint’s three-day cancellation window.
Packages & equipment: Basic vs. high-tech
|Equipment package||Standard||Gold||Elite||Smart Home||Smart Home Video|
|24/7 cellular monitoring|
|Contract length||12, 24, or 36 months||12, 24, or 36 months||12, 24, or 36 months||Month-to-month, 42, or 60 months (depending on financing)||Month-to-month, 42, or 60 months (depending on financing)|
|Mobile app access|
In summary: Link vs. Vivint
Vivint’s greatest appeals are its lifetime equipment warranty, wide range of available equipment, quality of equipment, multiple contract and equipment financing options, and excellent 24/7 monitoring.
Link’s reputable customer service, standard contract length, and 30-day guarantee are all points in its favor. Although Link doesn’t offer the same range of smart equipment in its packages as Vivint has, it does offer home security, safety, and automation features without requiring you to purchase extra equipment.
Ultimately, although Link Interactive offers a solid base of equipment in its packages and a good customer support team, Vivint placed higher on our list because it offers more contract flexibility, better equipment, and more convenient smart home features than Link Interactive.
Comment below to let us know what your experience with either of these two companies has been.