Vivint vs. ADT | Compare Security Giants

Best for Home Automation
Vivint
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
Plans starting at  
$29.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet High-end smart home support
Pro Bullet Contract-free option
Pro Bullet High up-front equipment costs
Best Reputation
ADT
3.9 out of 5 stars3.9
Plans starting at  
$27.99
/mo.
Pro Bullet Decades of industry experience
Pro Bullet Same-day/next-day installation
Pro Bullet Expensive monitoring plans

Vivint vs. ADT overview
Vivint and ADT are two of the most popular home security system companies out there. In most situations, Vivint’s got ADT beat, but it’s not perfect for everyone. Below you can dig into how Vivint and ADT compare so you can pick the one that works for you.

Compare Vivint vs. ADT

Data effective 08/02/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

*ADT’s entry-level package offers only landline monitoring while Vivint’s base package includes cellular monitoring. If you want cellular monitoring from ADT, it will cost at least $58.99 per month.

**Vivint’s contract-free option requires the purchase of all equipment up front.


Vivint and ADT pros and cons

Vivint

Pros
  • Pro BulletHigh-end smart home support
  • Pro BulletContract-free option
  • Pro BulletIndustry-par monitoring prices
  • Pro BulletMobile app access for all plans
Cons
  • Con BulletHigh up-front equipment costs
  • Con BulletLong contracts (if opting for a contract)

ADT

Pros
  • Pro BulletDecades of industry experience
  • Pro BulletSame-day/next-day installation
  • Pro Bullet6-month return period
  • Pro BulletMore monitoring centers than most competitors
Cons
  • Con BulletExpensive monitoring plans
  • Con BulletLimited mobile app control

Notable similarities

Installation

Both Vivint and ADT require a professional installation with a fee of at least $99 attached. You’ll have to make an appointment and be home when the installer arrives, which may mean taking time off work. That’s not super convenient, but that way, you can oversee the installation yourself. And it gives you a chance to talk to a security expert during installation without calling a brand customer service department.

Features and equipment

Vivint Equipment

Vivint equipment

A D T Equipment

ADT equipment

ADT and Vivint both offer high-end security system features like smartphone control through a mobile app and home automation integration, but those features cost more with ADT than with Vivint.

Vivint also leads the security industry when it comes to equipment, though ADT isn’t far behind.

Customer service

ADT and Vivint are both ahead of security competitors when it comes to customer service availability. Both companies offer 24/7 support over the phone and through chat. ADT also offers email support.

Both companies also have some critical online reviews, just for different reasons. We’ll go into those more in individual brand review sections later.

What if I have to move?
Protip
Both Vivint and ADT will reinstall your home security system in your new home for a fee. If you don’t take your system with you, you’re still responsible for either buying out your contract or continuing to pay monthly fees—even with the security system not in use. Vivint will waive the fee if you’re moving for military deployment though.

Major differences

Monthly costs

How much is Vivint? The lowest package is $29.99 a month. It appears that ADT is a better deal at $27.99 a month, but that price gets you landline monitoring. It doesn’t offer cellular monitoring until the $45.99-per-month package.

That means Vivint’s monitoring costs are lower than ADT’s, particularly if you want a plan that supports video monitoring or home automation integration. The exception is if you want landline monitoring. While we recommend cellular monitoring in most cases, landline monitoring does have the benefit of a stable wired connection. Landline monitoring’s especially useful if your area has sketchy cell service reception. And $27.99 per month isn’t a bad price.

Overall, though, compared to ADT, Vivint’s plans give you more security features at a lower price point. For one thing, every Vivint plan comes with mobile access. ADT, on the other hand, charges close to $60 before providing that kind of convenience. That’s $30 more than what you pay with Vivint’s base plan and $15 more than what you pay with Vivint’s top-tier plan.

Compare Vivint and ADT security systems cost
Data effective 08/02/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

Equipment costs

Conversely, ADT is usually less expensive than Vivint for equipment. ADT doesn’t advertise its pricing, so it’s hard to keep track of exact numbers, but we’ve generally found the prices to be more affordable than Vivint’s.

Protect Your Home, the ADT Premier Provider we recommend, includes an essential security equipment kit at no extra cost at every monitoring level, which could mean hundreds of dollars in savings. If you choose Vivint, you have to either pay for equipment up front or spread out the cost of equipment by paying extra each month (on top of the monitoring price) and signing a 42- or 60-month contract.

ADT is usually less expensive than Vivint for equipment.

Equipment

Vivint designs and offers a lot of its own equipment—even smart home devices. This means easy compatibility. For example, Vivint sells an award-winning doorbell camera with night vision and two-way communication. You can pair it with a Vivint smart lock to see who’s there and unlock the door for them remotely.

Proprietary designs also mean the brand responds directly to issues or improvements. There’s nothing more frustrating than contacting the company that sold you a device only to learn that it didn’t make the merchandise and can’t help you fix the issue.

ADT, on the other hand, uses equipment made by third parties like Alarm.com, Honeywell, and DSC. The third-party equipment isn’t quite as impressive as Vivint’s proprietary gear, but Alarm.com and Honeywell both make reliable and easy-to-use equipment.

One thing to note: Vivint offers a larger selection of equipment than ADT, especially if you’re looking for cameras or home automation devices.

Installation costs

Both ADT and Vivint have $99 installation fees for basic and midlevel plans. But ADT’s top-tier plans cost a whopping $299 and $499 to install, while Vivint’s still costs $99.

Customer service

The differences between customer service with the two companies mostly come down to installation, contracts, trial period, and cancellation.

Installation timing: As we mentioned, both companies professionally install your equipment and help you understand how it works. But our preferred ADT provider, Protect Your Home, can usually install your system within 24 to 48 hours of your phone call. It may take longer to get a Vivint installation scheduled.

Contracts: Vivint gives you more flexibility by offering a no-contract option if you pay for your equipment up front. ADT requires you to sign a contract no matter what. However, if you do sign a Vivint contract, it will be longer than the contract required by ADT.

Vivint verbal contract renewal
Our Experience
Vivint has an unusual system for renewing contracts, according to customer reviews. A Vivint service representative may ask if the customer’s satisfied with their service and, if they say yes, offer a contract extension at a reduced rate. The Vivint rep then reads aloud a disclaimer that states the user is committing to a contract renewal. However, many Vivint customers don’t seem to remember hearing the disclaimer, so we wanted to point it out.1

Trial period: Vivint gives you a three-day trial period, while ADT offers an unrivaled six-month trial period. Trying out a new security system and having only three days to decide whether to keep it is...not good. If the three days fall during a busy week, you may not even be around to observe the system’s effectiveness.

Cancellation: ADT has one of the most lenient cancellation policies in the security systems industry. If you cancel your ADT contract, you have to pay 75% of your remaining balance. Vivint, on the other hand, requires 100%.


Vivint security systems review

Best for Home Automation
Vivint
Our rating:
4.5 out of 5.0
4.5 out of 5 stars4.5
Customer service
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Price
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Features & equipment
4.3 out of 5 stars4.3
Plans starting at 
$29.99
/mo.

    Compare Vivint plan prices

    Data effective 08/01/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

    We like that these plans range from standard to comprehensive video coverage. They cover the sliding scale of needs from users who just want a basic home security system to those who want it all. Vivint also provides mobile monitoring with every single plan, which is a huge plus.

    All three plans offer a medical alert pendant, which is perfect for anyone with medical needs. And even when the monthly monitoring costs go up, the installation costs don’t.

    Vivint pricing structure
    Protip
    Remember, you do have to pay for the security equipment and the alarm monitoring. You can pay for it up front or over an extended period of time. When you choose the extended period of time, this means you’re being “financed,” or essentially getting a loan. If you arrange to cancel the service before the equipment is paid off, you may still have equipment payment obligations even after the monitoring bills stop.

    Equipment

    Vivint equipment includes the following:*

    • SmartHub Panel: $549.99
    • Door and window sensors: $50.00
    • Recessed door sensors
    • Motion sensors: $100.00
    • Tilt sensors
    • Glass break detectors: $100.00
    • Key fobs
    • Medical pendants
    • Carbon monoxide detectors/alarms: $100.00
    • Smoke detectors/alarms: $100.00
    • Temperature/flood sensors: $50.00
    • Lamp modules
    • Vivint Doorbell Cameras (with two-way voice): $249.99
    • Indoor cameras: $199.99
    • Thermostats: $169.00
    • Dead locks/deadbolts: $100.00
    • Garage door controllers
    • Outdoor cameras: $299.99
    • Vivint Smart Drives: $249.00

    *Not every Vivint price is readily available to customers.

    Customer service

    Vivint used to get a bad rap for its customer service. We’ve seen a lot of improvement, and Vivint reps are available 24/7 through phone, email, and chat to resolve issues. There are tons of compliments about the customer service of the company salespeople, installers, and service agents.

    That said, some notable items keep coming up in customer reviews. One is the verbal contract confusion we called out earlier. Reviews suggested that customers are more likely to cancel in frustration from repeated verbal contract renewals than because of problems with the equipment itself.

    Another issue is that some customers contend that Vivint ran a hard credit check without permission or copied their electronic signature to contracts other than the ones they signed.

    APX Alarm Security Solutions
    Our Choice
    Vivint was founded in 1999 as APX Alarm Security Solutions. The company rebranded as Vivint, Inc. in 2011.2
    >>Read more in our Vivint review.

    ADT security systems review

    Best Reputation
    ADT
    Our rating:
    3.9 out of 5.0
    3.9 out of 5 stars3.9
    Customer Service
    4 out of 5 stars4.0
    Price
    3.5 out of 5 stars3.5
    Features & equipment
    1 out of 5 stars-24.0
    Plans starting at 
    $27.99
    /mo.

      Compare ADT plan prices

      Data effective 08/01/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

      *Lifetime equipment warranty is valid only if you have an ADT monitoring plan.

      The biggest added value of the high ADT costs is the lifetime equipment warranty. Also, like Vivint, the company offers a medical alert pendant with each plan. Otherwise, ADT monitoring costs are at a premium.

      The two ADT Pulse options have really only one difference between them: smart home integration. If you have any other smart home products, it’s more than worth it to spend a dollar more to integrate your system.

      The telegraph alert system
      Case Study
      ADT started life in 1874 as a telegraph company that eventually started sending alerts through its system. The name’s short for American District Telegraph.3

      Equipment

      ADT equipment includes the following*

      • Digital control panels
      • Entryway contacts (door and window sensors)
      • Wireless keychain remotes
      • Motion sensors
      • Smoke detectors/alarms
      • Carbon monoxide detectors/alarms
      • Flood sensors
      • Emergency buttons
      • Indoor cameras
      • Video doorbell cameras
      • Smart locks
      • Garage door sensors
      • Sirens

      *ADT does not advertise equipment prices.

      Customer service

      Like Vivint, ADT’s customer service has 24/7 availability. And you can call, email, or contact them through web chat.

      Also like Vivint, ADT has customer criticism for unauthorized credit checks and electronic contract signatures. But the big issue most customers have is the third-party dealers.

      ADT does all the monitoring, but it contracts with multiple third-party dealers who sell and install the equipment. This sometimes makes it difficult for customers to get a consistent experience.

      ADT contract cancellation
      Protip
      Some of ADT’s responses to customer reviews indicating that the brand’s policy requires customers to accept three ADT technician visits for a problem before accepting contract cancellation requests.

      Personally, we like ADT dealer Protect Your Home for both purchase and installation. You can save a lot of money through getting its essential security equipment kit.

      >>Read more in our ADT review.


      Our recommendation

      ADT and Vivint security systems both offer quality equipment and dependable monitoring, but in most cases we recommend Vivint because you get more features for your money.

      If you’re looking for a contract-free option or lots of home automation support, Vivint’s the company for you. You can get a system with or without a contract, use your phone to check on your home, and choose from a great selection of high-end equipment. To learn more about Vivint, read our full review.

      >>View Vivint Plans

      ADT and Vivint both offer quality equipment and dependable security monitoring.

      If you want a super fast system setup or a set of starter equipment, you’re probably best off with ADT. It has tons of security experience and some of the most reliable monitoring in the industry. Check out our full review to learn more about ADT’s plans.

      >>View ADT Plans


      Sources:

      1. Leagle, “Venditto v. Vivint, Inc.
      2. Bloomberg, “To Sell Home Automation, Vivint Needs ‘Some Aggressiveness’
      3. ADT, “Our History

      Contributing author: Brianna Jensen