Frontpoint vs. Vivint overview
Frontpoint and Vivint both offer high-quality security and smart home services but go about it in distinctive ways. That’s why we recommend these two home security system providers for different types of security shoppers.
Looking for a Tony Stark-level smart home? Get some of the coolest security and home automation gear professionally installed and managed in one app with Vivint. Willing to do a little work up front to make your smart home happen? Install Frontpoint’s home security system and Z-Wave devices with easy DIY installation.
Compare Vivint vs. Frontpoint
|Lowest monitoring cost||$34.99/mo.||$29.99/mo.|
|Installation & activation fees||None||$99|
|Contract length||36 months||42/60 months or no contract*|
|Trial period||30 days||3 days|
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans|
*Vivint offers a no-contract option if you buy your equipment up front.
Data and pricing current as of 07/10/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Frontpoint and Vivint pros and cons
- Simple DIY installation and moving
- 30-day trial
- Z-Wave home automation options
- Lots of equipment
- Friendly, knowledgeable customer support
- App access not included with all plans
- Only one contract option
- Emphasis on smart home tech
- Flexible contract options including no contract
- Affordable base monitoring plan
- Mobile app access with every plan
- Lots of smart home equipment controlled in one app
- Expensive equipment
- Long contracts unless you buy equipment outright
At first glance, Frontpoint and Vivint security systems appear to have similar monthly monitoring costs—the difference from package to package is about $5 a month. But there are a few key differences:
- Mobile access: Frontpoint makes you pay for its midlevel Interactive plan before you get mobile access. Vivint offers mobile app control of your system at every monitoring level, including its cheapest.
- Camera-only plan: Frontpoint offers an affordable camera-only plan for anyone who prefers security cameras over a traditional alarm.
- Video monitoring: Vivint’s video package starts at a cheaper price than Frontpoint’s and covers two cameras. But you have to pay $5 a month for every additional camera you add to your Vivint system—that can add up quick.
Frontpoint and Vivint security cost comparison
|Top-tier plan||$49.99/mo.||$44.99/mo. (additional $5/mo. per camera)|
|Camera-only plan||$14.99/mo.|| |
|Learn More||View Plans||View Plans|
Data effective 07/10/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Both companies charge premium prices for their equipment. Frontpoint is cheaper, but that doesn’t make it inexpensive. That said, you’ll pay more for a Vivint system than a Frontpoint system.
Frontpoint security systems use mostly Alarm.com equipment with some exclusive rights and equipment. Alarm.com is a well-known and well-respected name in the alarm industry, but it means you can get a lot of the same equipment from other companies—sometimes for less.
Vivint’s equipment offers cutting-edge home security and home automation equipment, most of which is made in-house, like the video doorbell. Designing and testing in-house can mean more expensive equipment, but it also means Vivint reacts quickly to customer feedback when a piece of equipment isn’t as good as it could be.
The table below compares the costs of standard security equipment from Frontpoint and Vivint.
|Device||Frontpoint cost||Vivint cost|
|Glass break detector||$74.99||$100.00|
|Carbon monoxide detector||$89.99||$100.00|
|Smart door lock||$159.90||$159.99|
|Frontpoint cost||Vivint cost|
Data effective 07/10/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
Both brands have long contracts, but Vivint gives you the option to buy all of your devices up front and avoid that. It’s a substantial initial investment but gives you more flexibility if you decide to part ways. If you can’t or don’t want to pay for your equipment outright, you can roll the cost of equipment into your monthly payments on your 42- or 60-month contract.
Frontpoint has one contract option of 36 months. At the end of that initial term, you can go month-to-month or upgrade your equipment and jump back into another 36-month contract.
Canceling Vivint or Frontpoint
Vivint is strict about cancellation unless you buy your equipment up front. You’re on the hook for 100% of the cost of your remaining contract term if you want to say goodbye to your security system. If you signed a 60-month contract and cancel a year in, that’s a lot of dough.
If you want to break your Frontpoint contract, you’re responsible for 80% of the remaining contract cost. That’s a bit more lenient than Vivint but still a lot of money if you cancel early on.
Frontpoint wins here with a 30-day money back guarantee. It’s not the best in the industry, but it beats out Vivint’s three-day trial. With both companies, you get a full refund if you cancel within those timeframes.
DIY and professional installation
Another significant difference between Frontpoint and Vivint? Installation.
Frontpoint’s equipment requires DIY installation, but the company makes the installation process effortless for new customers. When your security system arrives, you don’t have to deal with batteries, screwdrivers, or any complicated wiring. DIY installation has the potential to be stressful. But Frontpoint has taken that risk and turned it into a positive first impression for new customers.
With Vivint you’ll have to schedule and pay for a professional installer to come and set up your entire system. The benefit is that the installer will know the optimal placement for things like motion sensors and cameras. At the end of the installation, the installer will walk you through the mobile app to ensure you’re ready to take control of your new security system.
The benefit of having your system professionally installed is that the installer will know the optimal placement for things like motion sensors and cameras.
Mobile app access
All that smart home tech needs an app to control it. Both companies offer mobile app access, but Vivint doesn’t make you pay extra for it. Vivint’s most basic monitoring services plan also lets you control your system from your Smart Home app. Frontpoint reserves that for its more costly Interactive plan.
Mobile access isn’t just a cool extra—it makes it easier to use your system. It can be the difference between consistently using your system and not. For example, if you’ve already buckled the baby in the car but realize you forgot to set your alarm system, it’s not a problem with mobile access. You can stay in the car with baby and arm your system from your phone.
Vivint and Frontpoint both use a cellular connection for monitoring systems. We recommend cellular monitoring for most people because it’s so reliable. But if you’re in a rural part of the country or near a cellular dead spot that’s not going to work for you.
Smart home compatibility
Already got equipment you want to control with that handy Vivint or Frontpoint app? Vivint and Frontpoint both let you add Z-Wave equipment to the systems. But Vivint takes a slight edge here because you can also control your Google Nest gear, like your Nest Learning Thermostat, in the Vivint app. Frontpoint doesn’t support Nest in its app. You’ll need to control it from a separate app.
Wait. What’s Z-Wave?
Z-Wave is a protocol—or frequency—that certain devices use to work together. When you’re shopping for home security or smart home devices like door locks, check which protocol they use to be sure everything will work together.
Vivint brings together home security, proprietary smart home devices, Z-Wave products, and Nest seamlessly to create a smart home controlled with a single app. But you’ll pay for the experience and cool features.
Vivint also lets you use Google Home and Alexa for voice control. Frontpoint works only with Alexa.
Both companies offer video cameras and professional video monitoring with the highest monthly package tier. Professional monitoring gives monitoring centers access to your video feed if your alarm system detects suspicious activity.
Security cameras are an investment—they can be expensive, and monthly monitoring can add up. But cameras can also cut down on false alarms and help you collect information if there is a break-in or other emergency.
Vivint’s monthly video monitoring plan is cheaper than Frontpoint’s. But if you start adding more than the two included cameras to the plan it can get spendy.
Moving your security system
Depending on your setup, you can move your Vivint system yourself or the pros can do it for a fee. If you’re taking your old system with you and not upgrading at all, your contract will carry over to your new address.
If you need to move your Frontpoint equipment, you can do it all yourself as well. Just unplug your control panel, remove sensors, and pack up any other security devices you’ve got. If you call Frontpoint, the company will send you a free moving kit with new stickers for your sensors and boxes for your gear. You won’t have to start a new contract if you move your system.
Frontpoint security review
Call (888) 369-0171
Frontpoint Security prices
You’ve got three monthly monitoring packages for your Frontpoint alarm system. The tiers are structured similarly to Vivint’s.
Frontpoint’s Protection plan gives you a basic security system without smart home features. It monitors your control panel, motion detectors, and door/window sensors. Like Vivint’s base plan, the Protection plan also includes smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide monitoring to keep an eye on your entire home.
Frontpoint also includes Crash and Smash Protection, which protects your control panel’s communication with the monitoring center if someone tries to bust it. Unfortunately, Frontpoint doesn’t give you mobile access with this plan.
Interactive is Frontpoint’s introduction to smart security and is the Frontpoint plan we recommend for most people. You get everything from the Protection plan plus mobile app access so you can arm, disarm, or check in on your alarm system from anywhere. It also integrates a smart thermostat.
Take everything from the Interactive plan, add smart home devices and video monitoring, and you’ve got the Ultimate plan. With this plan, you can control your lights, get an automated door lock, use a doorbell camera, and watch live video on your Frontpoint app.
Frontpoint prides itself on quality customer service. It claims this is one of the reasons its customers keep their security systems long after their initial contract ends. Frontpoint’s customer support hours vary a little between weekdays and weekends:
- Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Eastern
- Saturday–Sunday: 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Eastern
Although Frontpoint has limited customer service hours, its employees know their stuff. They stand out for being knowledgeable, well trained, and just plain helpful, which you don’t always get from companies that outsource their customer support services.
>>Read our full Frontpoint review.
Vivint security review
Call (855) 256-1972
Vivint home security prices
Vivint offers three home security plans that range from basic alarm monitoring to the ultimate smart home and security system.
You’ll need to buy the basic equipment package to get you going—touch screen control panel, two door/window sensors, water sensor, and a motion sensor—for $599.
Vivint’s basic home security package comes with access to Vivint’s Smart Home app but no home automation integration. It also includes environmental monitoring—smoke, heat, carbon monoxide, and flood sensors—and medical pendant monitoring, so you’ll quickly know if you need emergency help of any kind. This is our favorite base package.
The midlevel package has everything from the base package and layers on smart home capabilities like a door lock and thermostat. If you’ve got to choose two home automation devices, those make a lot of sense. Smart door locks mean your house is always locked up tight, and a thermostat can save you money on your monthly utility bill. It’s one of the best smart security packages we’ve seen.
Vivint’s third package layers video onto everything from its lower packages. You can get indoor, outdoor, and video doorbell cameras for every possible angle and access your live video for up to two cameras with this plan. If you need extra cameras to watch your garage entrance or liquor cabinet (we see you, teens), you can add more to your plan for $5 a month per camera.
Vivint’s customer service has improved notably over the last few years, and the company is now available 24/7 by phone, chat, and email so you can always get help.
>>Read more in our Vivint review.
If you care more about shorter contracts, a more reasonable startup cost, and a stronger customer service reputation, go with Frontpoint.
Shorter contracts and subsidized equipment make Frontpoint more appealing for those on a budget. And that doesn’t come at the expense of quality equipment and Frontpoint’s commitment to providing excellent customer service. There’s a reason Frontpoint customers tend to stick around for much longer than their 36-month contracts.
>>View Frontpoint Plans
If you’re looking for industry-leading hardware and home automation integration, go with Vivint.
While its equipment costs more, Vivint manufactures a lot of its home security and home automation hardware in-house to best fit its systems. If you want a smart home that integrates seamlessly with an array of home automation products, Vivint is your best bet.
>>View Vivint Plans